Age of the Earth
See also Counterexamples to an Old Earth.
The Age of the Earth has been a matter of interest to humans for millennia. The subject is still debated today, particularly between young-Earth scientists, who believe that the Earth is only approximately 6,000-10,000 years old, and most scientific organisations who believe that Earth is approximately 4.5 billion years old. The scientific evidence points to a young age of the earth and the universe, and the biblical creation organization Creation Ministries International published an article entitled 101 evidences for a young age of the earth and the universe, which further argues for the young age of the Earth.
Proponents of an Old Earth rely on the assumption that the rate of radioactive decay remains constant over thousands of years. In fact, a large number of physical processes, such as neutron capture and fluctuations in solar radiation, can affect the rate of radioactive decay of elements in the Earth's crust and render radioactive dating measurements unreliable with errors up to 5%, depending upon the specific methods used. Even so, such an error will not cause a calculation of the age of the Earth based on radiometric dating to be off by up to five orders of magnitude.
Saint Cyril who came into Great Moravia (present day Slovakia and Moravia in Czech Republic) from Byzantine Empire in 863 as Christian missionary wrote in his poem Proglas (dedicated to his works on translation of the four biblical Gospels to Slavonic language) following sentence that brings testimony about the perception of the age of the world that time:
To the holy Gospels I am the Foreword for as it was promised by the prophets Christ comes to gather the nations for he sheds light on the world entire. That is what happened in our seventh millennium
Included in Hales' list is James Ussher, who calculated the famous date of 4004 B.C. for creation. Young Earth creationists still consider this date to be close to the actual date.
In 1778 George-Louis Lecrerc, Count of Buffon, proposed that the Earth was about 74,832 years old. James Hutton, while not proposing a date, dismissed the Biblical account and claimed in 1785 that there was not evidence of a beginning at all. Charles Lyell supported Hutton's idea in 1830, in Principles of Geology.
In 1854 Hermann von Helmholtz estimated an age of between 20 and 40 million years. Around the same time Lord Kelvin put his mind to deriving an age, and came up with a range between 20 million years and 400 million years. He later refined that down to between 20 million and 40 million years. More recent discoveries of radioactivity and mantle convection explain why the assumptions Helmholtz and Kelvin made resulted in dates that are much lower than current uniformitarian estimates.
By about 1930, J. H. Jeans was arguing for an age of the Earth of around two billion years.
Using circular logic -- assuming that decay rates remained constant despite necessarily changing physical characteristics as time approached the origin -- Old Earth proponents insist that the Earth is 4.5 billion years old based on an assumption of constancy in Potassium-argon (K:Ar) decay rates and other radiometric methods.
William R. Corliss is a cataloger of scientific anomalies (observations and facts that challenge prevailing scientific paradigms) and has published many works on the subject. He also wrote 13 books for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), a dozen educational booklets for the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC), and a dozen articles for the National Science Foundation (NSF). The science magazine New Scientist had an article which focused on the career of William Corliss. New Scientist wrote regarding Corliss's work: "All I can say to Corliss is carry on cataloging".  Arthur C. Clarke described Corliss as "Fort's latter-day - and much more scientific - successor."
- Burnet, Thomas, The Sacred Theory of the Earth, chapter V, 1691.
- Encyclopedia Britannica, 11th edition (1911). On-line page facsimiles.
- Hammerton, J.A. (Ed.), "Universal History of the World" (8 volumes) The Educational Book Co., London, c1930.
- Batten, Don, Old-earth or young-earth belief: Which belief is the recent aberration?, Creation 24(1):24–27, December 2001.
- The age of the Earth (Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia (INGV)).
- Peck WH, Valley JW, Wilde SA, and Graham CM (2000) Ion microprobe Evidence for Pre-4.4 Ga Continental Crust and Low Temperature Water/Rock Interaction. Geol. Soc. Am. Abstr, vol 32, no. 7.
- Age of the earth by Creation Ministries International
- How old is the earth? - Refuting evolution - Chapter 8 by Dr. Jonathan Sarfati at Creation Ministries International
- Age of the Earth and Universe by Creation Ministries International
- Burnet, p. 259.
- Burnet, p. 258.
- Proglas (Slovak). sme.sk. “The parchment version of Proglas in Cyrillic from 13th century was discovered in 1858 by Russian Slavic scholar Hilferding”
- Proglas, the foreword to the Old Church Slavonic translation of the four Gospels. The Centre for Information on Literature, Slovakia.
- Konštantín Filozof. Proglas (Slovak). sme.sk. “Under the seventh millennium is meant here the age from the creation of the world. The figure was composed of the time elapsed by the birth of Christ, i.e. 5508 years, on top of which was added 863 years (date for the arrival of Constantine and Methodius to Moravia). The result was 6371 years, thus the seventh millennium.”
- Batten 2002 quotes from "Young’s Analytical Concordance of the Holy Bible", 1879 8th Edition, 1939, which relates this, and reproduces the selection of the dates from Young.
- Encyclopædia Britannica, pp 650-651.
- Universal History of the World, p.76.
- Peck, 2000, p.376.
- Science Frontiers (Corliss' web-site)
- Corliss, 2002
- Adrian Hope, Finding a Home for Stray Fact, New Scientist, July 14, 1977, p. 83
- Quoted on the Science Frontiers web-site
- Clarke, Arthur C. (1990) Astounding Days: A Science Fictional Autobiography. Gollancz. Page 110
- Geological Catalogs (Science Frontiers)