Radioactive! (Imagine Deep Time)-Confessions of a YEC part 22

I will freely confess that I am a Young Earth Creationist (YEC). I believe Genesis 1 when it tells us how God created the heavens and the earth about 6,000 years ago. Previously I showed how the Bible- including the words of God in the Old Testament and the words of Jesus in the New Testament- confirms this over and over. I also showed how Big Bang cosmology fails to provide an alternative, and now we’re examining why Geology doesn’t even scratch the paint off Genesis 1 but rather confirms the Genesis history, especially the flood.

But wait! There is one more fabu` super powered, very popular and little understood science trick up the deep time sleeve which is SURE to save the day for BILLIONS of years! Radio Dating! This is where a device which was designed to receive signals from various AM and FM sources logs onto a popular matching website to find an MP3 player which he feels he is compatible with, and they go out for dinner and a movie.

Oh, wait, no! That may be the plot of a new Pixar movie. But Radio Dating is those methods which use the decay rates of unstable atoms to determine the age of rocks. The majority of these methods are only able to be used on volcanic rock. When the liquid hot rock cools and hardens, the clock is set at zero and the radioactive elements in the rock begin to decay. We can measure the rate at which radioactive elements decay and thus we can measure the amount of original element to the amount of daughter element which it becomes when it decays. If you know the ratio of parent to daughter and you know the rate of radioactive decay, then you know how old the rock is, right?

Here’s a metaphor. Imagine a box full of red marbles. No matter how many marbles you start with, HALF of them will turn blue in one hour after you open the box, and every hour after, half of the remaining red ones will also turn blue, hour after hour until ALL of them are blue. Thus, one hour is the HALF LIFE. If you find a box, you can determine how long it has been open by counting the red ones and the blue ones and doing a little math.

If you start with 100 red ones, in one hour, fifty will be blue. Another hour later, seventy five will be blue because half of the remaining red ones will have turned blue. After three hours, another 12 marbles will be blue. If you count 87 blue marbles in a box of 100 marbles, the box has been open for three hours.

Here’s the problem.

Suppose we come upon such a box and do the counting and math:

  • How do we know all of the marbles were red to start with? How do we know NONE of the marbles were already blue when the box was opened? We don’t. We have to assume that.
  • How do we know the red ones turn blue at the same rate all the time? We don’t know that. We have to assume it.
  • And how do we know that no one has come along and put more blue or red marbles since it was opened? We don’t know that either. We have to assume that the number of marbles has remained unchanged.

How can we trust our method of determining how long the box has been open? Either we stubbornly dig in our heels and cling to the unprovable assumptions, or we admit that we cannot use that method to know anything for certain.

Do we have any cause to doubt the results of Radio Dating? Boy, do we!

I could go on for pages with examples, but my favorite comes from right here in the good old US of A. When the lava rock at the top of Mt. St Helens was dated using these methods, we first got dates that ranged from 300,000 to 2.8 Million years. That’s a HUGE margin- like two scientists measuring the Empire State Building and one declaring that it is 1,250 feet tall (Which it is) and the other declaring that it is more than two MILES tall. Which it is not. That’s a ratio of 8:1, which I do not consider very accurate. However, the accuracy is wrong by far more then eight times.

The best part about this lava flow they tested is this: We KNOW when the lava rock formed. How? We watched it happen in 1980. (Quick unnecessary joke: Science tells us that the rock is 300,000 years old, and we know that Madonna is older than that rock! I suppose she does look good for her age. [rim-shot] OK, back to the science.)

The rock was less than 30 years old. This is like our two scientists having come to the two measurements above by measuring a model of the Empire State Building which is actually an inch and a half tall.

Starting to see why some of us don’t trust these methods? This is like figuring out that someone calculated how long your box of marbles had been open, and determined it was six hours, when you had opened the box yourself just fifteen seconds before. His math might be perfect, but his assumptions lead to a false conclusion. To put a point on it- we ALWAYS find blue marbles when we open a new box. In fact, we may never find any boxes which are all red to start with. What does that do to our system of determining how long the box has been open? Once again, it proves it to be unreliable.

And this is not a new issue. We didn’t just discover the failure of these dating methods recently. Check out the date on this quote:

“200 year old lava rock dated at 1.60 million to 2.96 billion years!”
Journal of Geophysical Research, July 15, 1968.

This system has been failing ever since we started using it. Optimism dies hard, I suppose. I wonder if there are an unbalanced number of Chicago Cub’s fans among these geologists? (note- this comment was funnier before 2016)

There is another issue to consider. We’ve assumed that the red marbles turn blue at the same rate, under any conditions. However, what if we discover that, the higher the humidity or temperature, the faster they change? The calculations between February and August would be VASTLY different for boxes opened the same amount of time. But is there evidence that anything like that can happen with radioactive decay? Yes, there is. To get the details on one such report, read this article.

This is like discovering that your box of one hundred marbles can turn almost entirely blue in less than eight seconds. That should shake your confidence in the process, yes?

Here’s one more quote which I think sums up my argument.

“The radioactive potassium-argon dating method has been demonstrated to fail on 1949, 1954, and 1975 lava flows at Mt Ngauruhoe, New Zealand, … We know the true ages of the rocks because they were observed to form less than 50 years ago. Yet they yield “ages” up to 3.5 million years which are thus false. How can we trust the use of this same “dating” on rocks whose ages we don’t know? If the method fails on rocks when we have an independent eye-witness account, then why should we trust it on other rocks where there are no independent historical cross-checks?”

The funny thing about such scientific results is the response from those who are DETERMINED to hold onto these dating methods. They will cry some form of contamination. They either argue,

“A whole bunch of blue marbles from some other box fell into this one before we started counting,”

or, “A whole lot of red marbles fell out of the box before we started counting,”

or “A bunch of these marbles were blue before the box was opened.”

Somehow they think those are argument in defense of these methods, but if you give it any thought, you’ll see that they are agreeing with my premise; Their assumptions CANNOT be trusted to be accurate, and thus the conclusions of these dating methods are NOT reliable. We have the data to back that up in droves.

Here is a link to an article which lists more examples of volcanic rock being dated MILLIONS of years older than we KNOW it actually is.

EVERY TIME we date volcanic rock we know the age of, the resulting ages are wrong by hundreds of thousands or millions of years. Why would we trust it to find the age of rocks we don’t know? If my bathroom scale says my hamster is 800 lbs, I’m not stepping on that thing to see what I might weigh.

Enjoy a fun look at more of the same from Ian Juby, including even more funny replies from the stubborn optimists who refuse to let radio dating go. And as always, remember #JesusLovesYou

This entry was posted in Confessions of a YEC and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Radioactive! (Imagine Deep Time)-Confessions of a YEC part 22

  1. lnhereford says:

    Excellent blog! Warms my heart to find another YEC on WordPress.


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