Talk:Age of the Earth

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The statement that "Charles Lyell supported Hutton's idea in 1830, in Principles of Geology" seems inadequate. Did Lyell set forth a scientific theory about an Old Earth in 1830? I'm skeptical.--Aschlafly 12:38, 18 June 2007 (EDT)

Lyell was a geologist who created several theories related to the geologic age of the earth, including I believe uniformitarianism, and contained in his book Principles of Geology. Karajou 12:50, 18 June 2007 (EDT)
Here's a copy of "Principles of Geology". The table of Contents is in HTML, but the text in PDF. [1] The first few chapters are about the development of ideas of the age of the earth.--Steve 13:45, 18 June 2007 (EDT)

Helium diffusion, polonium halos, C14 dating

All of these methods give ample evidence for a young earth(C14 works best for more recent things). I was wondering if anyone wanted to write about these(If not, I can do some independent research for this article, but I'm in school right now so I can't promise anything).

-- RichardTTalk 23:26, 4 September 2007 (EDT)

We already briefly discuss these in Young Earth Creationism. Philip J. Rayment 07:53, 5 September 2007 (EDT)

Reversion explanation

The article doesn't say that individual scientists haven't been around for billions of years, it says that the scientific community hasn't been around that long. The people of God have been around for six thousand or so years, so have direct, first-hand records of the earliest days of creation. Jcw 15:41, 7 June 2011 (EDT)

The age of the scientific community and what the term "scientific community" means can be debated, and that's the point - this debate and the current debate over which group has the more accurate age of the Earth shouldn't be in the overview section of the article but instead represented in the sections dealing with the controversy over the age of the Earth. --Mike127 17:41, 8 June 2011 (EDT)

Atheism and Old Earth Theories

The opening section of this article currently states that “atheists ... insist that Earth is somehow 4.5 billion years old” but it implies that all atheists (or only atheists) believe the Earth is billions of years old. This is incorrect and the section should be clarified: it is the majority scientific community that assert the Earth is billions of years old, regardless of religious orientations of individuals in this community. Simply put, not all atheists believe the Earth is billions of years old and not all Christians or others with religion believe the Earth is only thousands of years old. --Mike127 22:40, 10 June 2011 (EDT)

Would you likewise object to a statement that "Republicans oppose Obama's policies"?--Andy Schlafly 23:16, 10 June 2011 (EDT)
Yes, it's to general of a statement – conservatives oppose the liberal policies of the Obama administration, or it can be said that the Republican Party (leadership) opposes the Obama administration. Not all Republicans are conservative on all issues (e.g. the Log Cabin Republicans) and not all of Obama's polices are liberal (e.g. keeping Guantanamo Bay's prison open). The statement would be similar to asserting that Republicans agree on all issues (otherwise why would Republicans bother to have a presidential primary) and that the Obama administration is consistently liberal (they've done plenty of flip flopping to try and gain votes in the upcoming election). So bringing this back to the current article, the overview section (or opening section, whatever one would like to call it) should be more explicit on which groups are putting forward the Young-Earth vs. Old-Earth theories. When it comes to Old-Earth theories - "atheists" is to general of a term and insinuates that those of the scientific community that support Old-Earth theories are without religion. --Mike127 23:55, 10 June 2011 (EDT)
Your objection would silence many useful observations. Under your view, is it wrong to say that obesity is unhealthy? There may be one case out of a million where the person is actually better off getting fatter. If that case exists, would you object to commenting about the majority?--Andy Schlafly 19:53, 14 June 2011 (EDT)
Unfortunately, you've missed my point. What I was referring to is the need to avoid over generalizing and casting all old Earth supporters into the ranks of atheists; there is a need to rework the opening section of this article for greater clarity. To say that supporters of an old Earth are atheists is making too big of an assumption, especially if one's religion espouses an old Earth.
And I hardly think your analogy of obesity and health applies to your original loaded question regarding the political persuasions of Americans: I'm sure far more than 1 in a million Democrats oppose Obama and far more than 1 in a million Republicans support Obama's more conservative polices - America's not that black & white, nor is the issue of who are the supporters of old Earth vs. young Earth. --Mike127 22:44, 14 June 2011 (EDT)

6 thousand years old

I was wondering, is there a reason why this number is written in this way? personally I would either say "6,000 years old" or "six thousand years old", but I wanted to ask for your opinions before changing it. --Leo-from-UK 19:42, 14 June 2011 (EDT)

No particular reason. Either of your suggested edits would be fine.--Andy Schlafly 19:48, 14 June 2011 (EDT)
Thanks, change implemented. Personally I think that little, apparently meaningless details like this improve the perceived quality of an encyclopedia. I chose 6,000 years because it's more "visually immediate" than "six thousand". --Leo-from-UK 19:53, 14 June 2011 (EDT)
You're right. Thanks.--Andy Schlafly 19:54, 14 June 2011 (EDT)

Exact age

I have not been able to find out an exact age. It is always referred to as "about 6,000 y.o". Has anyone found a study calculating the exact age of the Earth ? --ARamis 20:02, 6 September 2011 (EDT)

No, I haven't, and wouldn't expect to find one. Dates of events far more recent than creation are in dispute.--Andy Schlafly 20:14, 6 September 2011 (EDT)
Tends to be anywhere from 5-10k years. Depends on if you follow ushers example and dont think there mght be some names missing from the lists of names in genesis and the gospels.--SeanS 22:24, 19 September 2011 (EDT)

Why the removal?

Why was the mention of Old Earth removed? The fact of the matter is, the majority of the scientific community has accepted radiometric dating as true, and that the Earth is in fact 4 billion years old. Also, why does it matter what historic figures felt the age of the Earth to be. Isn't this an appeal to tradition? Our ancestors also believed that, prior to Christianity, the Sun and Moon were Gods. Should their opinions be held to be correct as well? JohnPaulJonesRevWar 08:32, 24 October 2011 (EDT)

First, must? Second, secularist/deistic fashions among scientists don't carry a lot of weight. Conservative 08:54, 24 October 2011 (EDT)
So if they disagree with you they are automatically inferior and their opinion matters less? That's dancing awfully close to censorship isn't it? JohnPaulJonesRevWar 09:39, 24 October 2011 (EDT)
I don't see in his reply anywhere that he stated he disagreed with those ideas, and whether or not anyone does is irrelevant. Passing scientific fads never carry much weight, regardless of our personal views on the matter. (Conservative, please correct me if I misstate your views). Thank you! Kevin Davis Talk 12:40, 24 October 2011 (EDT)
Passing scientific fads? The basis of scientific thought today, outside of creation science, is that the Earth is older than 4 billion years. So dismissing them is either a willful dismissal for several of the key theories that make up our understanding of the universe, how it works, and how it came into being out of hand; or simply a dismissal of these as contrary to what the author wishes to believe. It seems Conservative is saying it is the latter, as they are wrong simply because they are secular. JohnPaulJonesRevWar 12:52, 24 October 2011 (EDT)
So you're saying the author should not believe in God at all? We have to believe in these scientific theories without question or criticism? We have to accept them as fact, regardless of conflicting evidence? Karajou 15:49, 24 October 2011 (EDT)
No, but you need to state where the majority of the scientific community lies and what evidence they place stock in. Most of those who are not members of the YEC (which is a minority) do not hold to the idea that the Earth is less than 4 billion years old. JohnPaulJonesRevWar 19:37, 24 October 2011 (EDT)

JohnPaul, you wrote: "The basis of scientific thought today, outside of creation science, is that the Earth is older than 4 billion years." You are either not being truthful or you are seriously deceived. Any cursory review of the history of science shows the scientific opinion about the age of the earth has changed multiple times and all the while this was occurring there was plenty of scientific progress which was going on. Plus, there is plenty of science that occurs where the age of the earth is irrelevant to the investigation at hand. In addition, you seriously need a better understanding between mere opinion and fact. For example, it is fact that scientific opinion has changed multiple times about the age of the earth. Now you may say that now it is "near fact" about the age of the earth being whatever age is fashionable now among some errant scientific circle, but given your previously illogical pronouncement please don't expect people to kowtow to your pronouncement. Conservative 17:05, 24 October 2011 (EDT)

As I said, since the advent of radiometric dating, the consistent concensus has been that the tests of radiometric dating have all stated that the Earth is at least 4 billion years old. If you wish to question radiometric dating then fine, but you should at least mention it as a major stubmling block towards YEC. JohnPaulJonesRevWar 19:37, 24 October 2011 (EDT)

Decay rates

I don't think this article should say that the assumption that decay rates have stayed constant is "implausible," for the simple reason that it isn't. I don't for a minute think it's a CORRECT assumption, but for it to be an IMPLAUSIBLE one there would have to be a reason why they COULDN'T have remained constant; there is no more reason why they couldn't have remained constant than there is one why they couldn't have changed. Unless someone can give a reason why decay rates MUST change the word "implausible" is not appropriate. --ArtWellesley 22:01, 30 December 2011 (EST)

It is obviously "implausible" because the universe is cooling over time, which would cause decay rates to change. It's no more possible for decay rates to remain constant than it would be for a sun to remain constant in energy.--Andy Schlafly 22:43, 30 December 2011 (EST)

Decay rates, again

Do we discuss anything here or is everything too scared of the 90/10 rule to bother? In changing "unreliable" to "imprecise", I took the time to try to explain in the edit summary why I was doing so yet it seems others can't actually be bothered to explain why they disagree with the change. Once it's simply "Unnecessary Edit" and now you can apparently just indicate you agree with someone else by stating "Consensus". It would be nice to at least have the opportunity of trying to understand the objections to the change. I do wonder if I'd be wasting my time expanding on my reasoning. Adambro 18:32, 10 January 2012 (EST)

Since your reasoning is flawed, yes, it would be a waste of your time to expand on it. By the way, nitpicking individual words in a post doesn't count towards your 90/10 count, so focus on creating content, instead of pushing some nonsensical agenda against certain words. Does the word unreliable offend you, or is it that we don't treat evolutionists with kid gloves and euphemisms?

TonyPark 18:43, 10 January 2012 (EST)

I wouldn't accept that it is nitpicking. When I looked up info on some of the variations in decay rate that have been identified, none of them would make a significant difference to the magnitude of the time periods involved. None of them would explain the gap between 6,000-10,000 years old and the billions of years at the other end of the scale. They impact on the precision, not the reliability. That isn't to say there aren't other problems in assuming decay rate is a good way of determining the age of the earth but the possibility of variation in decay rate identified don't support the suggestion that what is known about decay is so wrong that the the figures calculated from it could be millions of times out. The facts as to the known variation of radioactive decay just don't support that. Adambro 18:58, 10 January 2012 (EST)

So you admit that radioactive dating is wrong, but you won't admit that the results are wrong. I find your arguments to be non-sensical. TypicL liberal claptrap. TonyPark 19:36, 10 January 2012 (EST)

No, I don't accept that radiometric dating is wrong or that the results are wrong, at least not to the degree you are alluding. I accept that some variations in decay rate have been identified which can affect the precision to which the method can date samples but what I cannot accept is that those undermine the fundamental principles behind radiometric dating. It seems you're trying to use these variations to suggest that the method must be so wrong that there could be scope for samples thought to be billions of years old actually being 6,000-10,000 years old but I just don't see how the facts as to what is known about those variations supports that. What we have here is a criticism of an assumption that the rate of radioactive decay is a constant followed by what is effectively simply an opposite assumption, that the rate of radioactive decay is completely not a constant. That despite the fact that there is no evidence to back up that assumption. If it is unwise to assume the rate is constant then surely it is just as unwise to assume the rate isn't constant. Adambro 08:16, 11 January 2012 (EST)

Large focus on what is untrue

I just read this page, and noticed one strange thing. It mentions several reasons why old-earth theories are flawed, then lists several views of different people throughout the ages, while the actual accepted theory is described in one single, fairly vague line. Would it not be more useful to dedicate this article to a summary of proof/evidence for young-earth creationism? -Mal Peeters (talk) 13:56, 29 March 2014 (EDT)

This entry is not about "creationism". It is about the age of the earth.--Andy Schlafly 22:36, 29 March 2014 (EDT)
Mal Peters, via an essay, why don't you attempt to refute the work How old is the earth? by the scientist Dr. Jonathan Sarfati? It is a chapter from the book Refuting Evolution by Dr. Sarfati. Refuting Evolution is a very prominent creationist work and it sold 350,000 plus copies (which probably makes it the most prominent creationist work dealing with the age of earth). To date, no evolutionist and/or proponent of an old earth has been able to refute the work How old is the earth?. Conservative 01:27, 30 March 2014 (EDT)
Perfect! That's exactly the kind of source I'm referring to. This page should at least have a section summarizing the evidence described in the book you mentioned. So far, it's just one single sentence.
By the way, I am not trying to refute anything -- I am not sure why you are assuming that. -Mal Peeters (talk) 01:45, 30 March 2014 (EDT)

Not off by up to five orders of magnitude

I'd like to ask whether this sentence in the article makes sense: "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." If it should be kept, is it possible to at least attribute it to the correct source [that is convinced about the validity of the given proposition]?--AK (talk) 13:05, 29 August 2015 (EDT)

Fabulous catch. I've removed the incorrect statement implying an old earth. Thank you.--Andy Schlafly (talk) 13:37, 29 August 2015 (EDT)
I also dare to question wording: "Old Earth advocates rely on one flawed assumption to the exclusion of other evidence, similar to how an investigator may mistakenly rely on one faulty eyewitness's opinion to the exclusion of all else. In fact, eyewitness testimony is proven to be less reliable to than other indicators, ..." Rationale is following: YEC advocates sometimes use argument like this: "I enjoyed Lewis’s book because she so vividly demonstrated that the billion-year age of the earth is subjective and arbitrary. Thus, it is perfectly valid scientifically to start with the biblical data on the age of the earth and interpret the scientific evidence accordingly. In reality, the only sure way of knowing the age of anything is by reliable eyewitnesses." Western culture and the age of the earth The aforementioned sentences in bold about reliability of eyewitness are in mutual contradiction and the wording in article implies absured conclusion that God as eyewitness who made his report about His creation through Revelation [which can be further tested against reality / cf. "it is perfectly valid scientifically to start with the biblical data on the age of the earth"] is "proven to be less reliable to than other indicators". IMHO, the wording with such absurd implication about God who claims "I am the way and the truth and the life" should be changed. More similar arguments could be found:
  • 1. "However, the only way that we can reliably know what happened in the past is by the historical method. I know my age to the nearest day by this method. My birth certificate has my date of birth as recorded by eyewitnesses." Trial balloons and the age of the earth
  • 2. Years later someone may uncover new evidence that contradicts that attempted explanation, forcing a rethink of what might have happened. Sometimes someone is able to make up a more convincing story. Or, what can happen in some cases (especially when a substantial reward for information is offered), eyewitnesses come out of hiding to say what really happened, and who was involved. (Sometimes one of the eyewitnesses can even be the criminal himself, plagued by guilt and wanting to confess and repent.) Ultimately, a corroborated eyewitness account is the only way of knowing what happened in the past, as the Bible makes clear (see, e.g., 2 Corinthians 13:1 (quoting Deuteronomy 19:5); Job 38:4,21). CSI ... and CMI
  • 3. "But the Bible’s take on history is different, emphasizing eyewitness testimony in matters of historical record." Cuvier’s analogy and its consequences: forensics vs testimony as historical evidence --AK (talk) 15:18, 1 September 2015 (EDT)

Bishop Ussher, Dendrochronology

I have always assumed that 6,000 years was approximately correct, and I still tend to believe that. However, I've learned a couple other interesting facts along the way. It was originally Bishop Ussher who counted off the genealogies in the Bible and came to the estimate of 4004 years from Adam to Jesus. However, other theologians say that he made an error in the estimate, since he assumed that every generation was listed, but in fact (according to them) some are not. Given these "known" gaps in genealogy, some have estimated that it was really more like 6,000 years from Adam to Jesus. This would mean that the earth is closer to 8,000 years old, discounting the gap theory.
Additionally, here is a bit of evidence which seems to support this. Scientist have found that the rings in trees are actually quite distinctive from year to year, and have created a sort of index of rings. Using petrified wood, wood from buildings, and wood from many other sources, they have developed a remarkably accurate dating system. Know as Dendrochronology, wood can be dated based on this "index" of tree rings. There is one problem with this method, though--It has the unfortunate limitation that it cannot date anything more than about 8,000 years old. Of course, this is just an unfortunate coincidence to them, so they often prefer carbon dating (which we all know is a joke).
ICR recently released an interesting article on this topic also, suggesting that the earth might be more like 8,000-12,000 years old. They were looking at ice core samples from Antarctica for that claim. I tried finding the article on their website, but could not. All I see on there are pages like this one which say 6,000 years (based in this case on genes).
Does anyone else know factors which prove or disprove this 8k estimate? --David B (TALK) 16:50, 16 February 2018 (EST)

It's true that Ussher was the first who specifically came up with the October 23, 4004 BC date of creation, but he was not the first to have calculated date of creation to be around 4000 BC based on the Bible's genealogies: [2][3]
About with the gaps in the genealogies, I've heard similar arguments, but nearly all of them come from those who accept evolution and/or long ages who use that argument to fit millions of years into the Bible. AiG has some good articles on this topic: [4][5][6] I'm open to believing that there might be some gaps somewhere, but I haven't seen much evidence for it, and the motives of many of this view's proponents are clear. I am interested to see what ICR says -- they seem like a great organization, though I prefer to read AiG's website with its more layman-oriented articles (I'm excited to visit their new museum in Dallas when it opens).
If the articles I shared here have not been added to this article, I recommend that they be added. --1990'sguy (talk) 18:25, 16 February 2018 (EST)
Regarding tree rings, some of them can grow multiple rings every year: [7][8][9] Are these articles relevant to what you mentioned above? --1990'sguy (talk) 18:36, 16 February 2018 (EST)

Interesting, okay. I figured that in any case it didn't really matter much, since 8,000 years is still a young earth. It doesn't really change my theology either way, I was just curious. In looking at the AiG articles you referenced, it is interesting to note that some trees to produce multiple rings. However, they (especially the first one) seem to be saying that a specific kind of tree (Bristlecone Pine) never produces more that one per year. This seems to imply that there is in fact a reliable record in tree rings. Those articles on genealogy gaps are also interesting. It did sound odd to me that this might happen, since the Jews were quite, well, religious about their history in this matter. It was important to them to know what tribe they came from (for reasons made clear in the old testament). To skip a generation in a genealogy would seem like a fatal mistake in this history-keeping. I will try to relocate the ICR article. --David B (TALK) 16:11, 17 February 2018 (EST)
Also, AiG does seem like a great organization. I've generally tended to favor ICR, but sometimes they do get a little too technical for me. I would love to visit their museum also, but it will probably be several years before that can happen for me. --David B (TALK) 16:14, 17 February 2018 (EST)