by Jay Johansen | Jan 4, 2008
Radiometric dating supposedly proves that the Earth is billions of years old. The theory behind radiometric dating sounds very convincing. But does it actually work in practice? When someone tells us that a certain rock is a billion years old, how can we confirm this? No one was there to see it, right?
A recent letter-writer says that radiometric dating is proven because many different methods all give the same results. This would be interesting if true, but it simply isn’t. Many different methods have been proposed to estimate the age of the earth, and they give results ranging from billions of years (e.g. radiometric methods), to a million or so (e.g. influx of salts into the oceans), to thousands (e.g. decay of the Earth’s magnetic field).
One researcher, Dr. David Plaisted, searched the technical journals for studies that compared the results of different dating methods on specific samples. He found only one such study, comparing Potassium-Argon to Rubidium-Strontium, and, he writes, “the results were not good”. He cautiously concludes, “[A]n assumption of agreement appears to be without support so far.”
There are many examples of disagreement.
Potassium-Argon tests on a lava flow from Rangitoto volcano in New Zealand dated it at 400,000 years. Buried in the lava flow are trees trunks, which were carbon-14 dated to 225 years.
Five samples from a lava flow in Washington state were dated by Potassium-Argon, giving ages ranging from 340,000 to 2.8 million years. That’s quite a range! Another dating method gave an even younger age: Eyewitnesses watched that lava flow being formed when Mt. St. Helens erupted in 1980.
Lava flows from Hualalai Volcano in Hawaii were dated at 140 million to 2.96 billion years. In fact Hualalai erupted in 1801.
In some cases the evolutionists offer explanations of what went wrong. They say the lava from Hualalai was under water for many years, which caused certain chemical and physical effects that contaminated the sample. Maybe so. But are they then telling us that all the other sites that have been dated to such long ages were never, ever, in all those supposed billions of years, ever under water or otherwise contaminated?
If when you CAN corroborate the evidence, someone is repeatedly proven to be wrong, perhaps you should be cautious about taking their word for it in cases where there is no way to test their claims.
© 2008 by Jay Johansen
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