Age of the Earth

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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 4.54 billion years.[1][1] 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.

Old Earth advocates rely on one flawed assumption to the exclusion of other evidence, similar to how an investigator may mistakenly rely on one eyewitness's opinion to the exclusion of all else. In fact, eyewitness testimony is proven to be less reliable to than other indicators, just as the assumption by Old Earth proponents that the rate of radioactive decay has always been constant is flawed. 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.[2] 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.

Historical views


For most of recorded history humans of many backgrounds, such as St. Barnabas and St. Irenæus,[3] viewed the age of the Earth to be around 6,000 years.[4]

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[5] (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

In 1830, Dr. Hales published a list of 120 historical authorities from various cultures who had decided on an official date of creation. These ranged from 6984 B.C. to 3616 B.C.[8]

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.[9] 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.[9] Charles Lyell supported Hutton's idea in 1830, in Principles of Geology.[9]

In 1854 Hermann von Helmholtz estimated an age of between 20 and 40 million years.[9] 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.[9] 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.

The 1911 edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica discussed dates up to 500 million years.[10]

By about 1930, J. H. Jeans was arguing for an age of the Earth of around two billion years.[11]

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.[12]


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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.[13] 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).[14] The science magazine New Scientist had an article which focused on the career of William Corliss.[15] New Scientist wrote regarding Corliss's work: "All I can say to Corliss is carry on cataloging". [16] Arthur C. Clarke described Corliss as "Fort's latter-day - and much more scientific - successor."[17]

Corliss's work on geological anomalies catalogs scores of anomalies which challenge the old-earth paradigm.[18]


External Links


  3. Burnet, p. 259.
  4. Burnet, p. 258.
  5. Proglas (Slovak). “The parchment version of Proglas in Cyrillic from 13th century was discovered in 1858 by Russian Slavic scholar Hilferding”
  6. Proglas, the foreword to the Old Church Slavonic translation of the four Gospels. The Centre for Information on Literature, Slovakia.
  7. Konštantín Filozof. Proglas (Slovak). “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.”
  8. 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.
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 9.4 INGV
  10. Encyclopædia Britannica, pp 650-651.
  11. Universal History of the World, p.76.
  12. Peck, 2000, p.376.
  13. Science Frontiers (Corliss' web-site)
  14. Corliss, 2002
  15. Adrian Hope, Finding a Home for Stray Fact, New Scientist, July 14, 1977, p. 83
  16. Quoted on the Science Frontiers web-site
  17. Clarke, Arthur C. (1990) Astounding Days: A Science Fictional Autobiography. Gollancz. Page 110
  18. Geological Catalogs (Science Frontiers)