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Radiometric dating methods estimate the age of rocks using calculations based on the decay rates of radioactive elements such as uranium, strontium, and potassium.
However, this causes a problem for those who believe based on the Bible that life has only existed on the earth for a few thousand years, since fossils are found in rocks that are dated to be over 500 million years old by radiometric methods, and some fossils are found in rocks that are dated to be billions of years old. After study and discussion of this question, I now believe that the claimed accuracy of radiometric dating methods is a result of a great misunderstanding of the data, and that the various methods hardly ever agree with each other, and often do not agree with the assumed ages of the rocks in which they are found. At the start, let me clarify that my main concern is not the age of the earth, the moon, or the solar system, but rather the age of life, that is, how long has life existed on earth. Geologic time is divided up into periods, beginning with the Precambrian, followed by the Cambrian and a number of others, leading up to the present. Each radioactive element has a half-life, which tells how long it takes for half of the element to decay. When it is stated that these methods are accurate to one or two percent, it does not mean that the computed age is within one or two percent of the correct age.
In order to use these methods, we have to start out with a system in which no daughter element is present, or else know how much daugher element was present initially so that it can be subtracted out. In general, when lava cools, various minerals crystallize out at different temperatures, and these minerals preferentially include and exclude various elements in their crystal structures.
The same question could be asked in general of minerals that are thought to yield good dates. It is known that neutrinos interact with atomic nucleii, so a larger density of neutrinos could have sped up radioactive decay and made matter look old in a hurry. Argon-40, the daughter substance, makes up about one percent of the atmosphere, which is therefore a possible source of contamination.
All of these special problems as well as others can produce contradictory and erroneous results for the various radiometric dating systems. The problems are compounded because many of the parent and daughter substances are mobile, to some extent.
Especially the gaseous radioactive decay byproducts such as argon, radon, and helium are mobile in rock.
In a similar way, argon could enter the rock from the air or from surrounding rocks and make it look older. I also question the assertion that argon, for example, is excluded from certain minerals when they crystallize and never enters later on.
Since K-Ar (potassium-argon) dating is one of the most prevalent techniques, some special commentary about it is in order. To get one part in 10 million of argon in a rock in a thousand years, we would only need to get one part in 10 billion entering the rock each year. I don't see how one can possibly know that there are no tiny cracks in rocks that would permit water and gas to circulate.
All of this argon is being produced and entering the air and water in between the rocks, and gradually filtering up to the atmosphere. I note that this concentration of argon, if it were retained in the rock, would suffice to give it a geological age well over 500 nillion years, assuming an average concentration of potassium.
We can also consider that most volcanoes and earthquakes occur at boundaries between plates, so if the lava has flowed before, it is likely to flow again nearby, gradually increasing the age. Other mechanisms include dissolving of rock, releasing its argon, fracturing of rock, with release of argon, argon from cooling lava under water entering the water and entering other rocks, and argon from cooling lave entering subterranean water and being transported to other rock.
Since even rocks with old K-Ar dates still absorb more argon from the atmosphere in short time periods, it follows that rocks should absorb quite a bit of argon over long time periods, especially at higher pressures. I mentioned a number of possibilities that could cause K-Ar dates to be much older than the true ages of the rocks. In areas where tremendous tectonic activity has taken place, highly discordant values for the ages are obtained. Some geochronologists believe that a possible cause of excess argon is that argon diffuses into mineral progressively with time. If such [excessive] ages as mentioned above are obtained for pillow lavas, how are those from deep-sea drilling out in the Atlantic where sea-floor spreading is supposed to be occurring?
A number of recent lava flows (within the past few hundred years) yield potassium-argon ages in the hundreds of thousands of years range.
It is true that an age difference in the hundreds of thousands of years is much too small to account for the observed K-Ar ages.
For rocks that are being dated, contamination with atmospheric argon is a persistent problem that is mentioned a number of times. We now consider in more detail one of the problems with potassium-argon dating, namely, the branching ratio problem. There are some very serious objections to using the potassium-argon decay family as a radiometric clock.
Thus any method based on simple parent to daughter ratios such as Rb-Sr dating is bound to be unreliable, since there would have to be a lot of the daughter product in the magma already. Even the initial ratios of parent and daughter elements in the earth do not necessarily indicate an age as old as 4.5 billion years. Furthermore, some elements in the earth are too abundant to be explained by radioactive decay in 4.5 billion years (such as calcium, argon, and, I believe, strontium).
In general, potassium-argon dates appear to be older the deeper one goes in the crust of the earth. Yet another mechanism that can lead to decreasing K-Ar ages with time is the following, in a flood model: One can assume that at the beginning of the flood, many volcanoes erupted and the waters became enriched in Ar40. Geologists also recognize that heating causes argon to leave minerals, and that dissolved argon in a mineral that does not escape will become incorporated into it, artificially increasing its K-Ar age. But argon does not need to move through all rock in order to influence radiometric dates, it only has to reach ancient lava flows. Modern lava flows often come down the sides of volcanoes, and thus become separated from their source by large distances.
Another point to note is that even after it cools, the lava or magma may still have many cracks in it, permitting argon to flow. Also, the diffusion of argon in cracks and channels of a mineral is likely much less temperature-dependent than diffusion through unbroken regions of the mineral, since diffusion through cracks and channels simply involves jumps through the air.
Thus there is some means by which argon from outside can become very firmly embedded within a rock, and one would expect that the quantity of this argon would continue to increase over time, giving anomalously old K-Ar ages. Let us consider the question of how much different dating methods agree on the geologic column, and how many measurements are anomalous, since these points are often mentioned as evidences of the reliability of radiometric dating. In the first place, I am not primarily concerned with dating meteorites, or precambrian rocks.
Now, several factors need to be considered when evaluating how often methods give expected ages on the geologic column.
Let us consider again the claim that radiometric dates for a given geologic period agree with each other. The measurements should be done in a double-blind manner to insure lack of unconscious bias. The only correlation I know about that has been studied is between K-Ar and Rb-Sr dating on precambrian rock. The reason for my request is that a correlation is not implied by the fact that there are only 10 percent anomalies, or whatever.
The question of whether different methods correlate on the geologic column is not an easy one to answer for additional reasons. It is often mentioned that different methods agree on the K-T boundary, dated at about 65 million years ago. Furthermore, the question arises whether bentonite always gives correlated ages, and whether these ages always agree with the accepted ages for their geologic period.
Note that if there are small pockets in crystals where both parent and daughter product can accumulate from the lava, then one can inherit correlated ages from the lava into minerals. If a date does not agree with the expected age of its geologic period, and no plausible explanation can be found, then the date is called anomalous.
As proof of the unreliability of the radiometric methods consider the fact that in nearly every case dates from recent lava flows have come back excessively large.
Another source said that about 5 or 6 of the historic lava flows give ages in the hundreds of thousands of years. Here are some quotes from John Woodmorappe's paper, "Radiometric Geochronology Reappraised," Creation Research Society Quarterly 16(2)102-29, p. Woodmorappe also mentions that very self-contradictory age spreads in the Precambrian era are common. In addition, Woodmorappe gives over 300 sets of dates "that are in gross conflict with one another and with expected values for their indicated paleontological positions." This table is limited to dates that approach 20% discrepancy, too old or too young.
There have been criticisms of John Woodmorappe's study, but no one has given any figures from the literature for the true percentage of anomalies, with a definition of an anomaly, or the degree of correlation between methods. A similar situation is reported in the December 1997 issue of Creation ex nihilo in which lava with a K-Ar age of about 45 million years overlays wood that was carbon dated by 3 laboratories using AMS dating to about 35,000 years.
Still another evidence for problems with radiometric dating was given in a recent talk I attended by a man who had been an evolutionist and taken a course in radiometric dating.
Another evidence that all is not well with radiometric dating is given in the following quote from Coffin p.
Since equilibrium should be reached in 1 million years, this is a problem for sediments that are assumed to be older than 1 million years. On another point, if we can detect minerals that were not molten with the lava, as has been claimed, then this is one more reason why there should be no anomalies, and radiometric dating should be a completely solved problem.
I'm not claiming that anomalous results are being hidden, just that the agreement of a mass of results, none of which has much claim to reliability, does not necessarily mean much.
Picking out a few cases where radiometric dates appear to be well-behaved reminds me of evolutionary biologists focusing on a few cases where there may be transitional sequences.
The fact that the only "valid" K-Ar isochrons are those for which the concentration of non-radiogenic argon (Ar36) is constant, seems very unusual. One of the main arguments in favor of radiometric dating is that so many dates agree with each other, that is, with the date expected for their geologic period. To make the case even stronger, "Many discrepant results from intrusives are rationalized away immediately by accepting the dates but reinterpreting the biostrategraphic bracket," according to John Woodmorappe. Now, the point about agreement is that whatever figure is given about how often ages agree with the expected age, is consistent with the fact that there is no agreement at all between K-Ar and other methods, since so many measurements are done using K-Ar dating. So when one combines all of the above figures, the statement that there are only 10 percent anomalies or 5 percent or whatever, does not have any meaning any more. It's not surprising that K-Ar dates often agree with the assumed dates of their geological periods, since the dates of the geological periods were largely inferred from K-Ar dating.
By the way, Ar-Ar dating and K-Ar dating are essentially the same method, so between the two of them we obtain a large fraction of the dates being used. Before the discovery of radioactivity in the late nineteenth century, a geological time scale had been developed on the basis of estimates for the rates of geological processes such as erosion and sedimentation, with the assumption that these rates had always been essentially uniform. This verifies what I said about almost all of the dates used to define correct ages for geologic periods being K-Ar dates. So the point is that there is now no reason to believe that radiometric dating is valid on the geologic column.
I mentioned the presence of excess argon 40 in a sample as a problem leading to artificially old K-Ar dates. It is true that by using additional isotopes (if they are sufficiently abundant and do not fractionate), one can often detect mixings of multiple sources.
It is a fundamental assumption of the mantle isochron model that neither isotope nor elemental ratios are perturbed during magma ascent through the crust. Your hypothetical example in "More Bad News for Radiometric Dating" is often hard to follow, but it is clearly invalid. This example is given to show that a mixing of three sources cannot be detected by the usual two sources test.
To really understand what's going on you have to sample the recent works of many different authors. What you find is that Jesus has something to say about how you are living in every area of your life, and He wants you to obey Him.  When you think about all He has done for you, surely you’d want to, too! It sounds a lot like marriage and that’s because the purpose of dating someone is to see whether that person might be your future husband or wife.  But dating is not marriage!
DATING can be a GOOD THING but it can also be a BAD THING.  It depends on how it is done, when it is done, and with whom it is done.
If you are single, but you are attracted to someone of the opposite sex in such a way that you don’t want to stay single, you should get married. You are to use your body in a way that pleases God, showing self-control and not taking advantage of others.
Purity should characterise your relationship with others, particularly those of the opposite sex. The Bible is clear that the reason for starting a special kind of friendship with someone is for the purpose of marriage.  It also says that when you are dating someone, you are to show purity and not take advantage of them. Can you see how this is different from what your friends, the TV, movies would say about dating? There are things to do with love that need to wait until after you are married.  They are not to be done before the proper time. If the purpose of dating is marriage, the question you need to ask yourself is this: Am I ready to get married?  Am I ready for this commitment?  Could I support a family? Now this kind of thinking is different from that out in the world.  But it’s the way someone who is a new creation, who has a new way of life to live, should think. Paul in 1 Corinthians 7 speaks about the time and energy that married people spend on caring for and nurturing each other, single people can spend serving God. Leaving aside the basics such as they need to be of the opposite sex and issues of compatibility.  Something else the Bible is crystal clear on is that a Christian is only to date and marry another Christian.
Now why is it so important that a Christian only dates and marries another Christian?  In the Old Testament, Moses teaches the Israelites about how God wants them to live and says to them, “Don’t marry outside God’s people because they will cause you to turn away from following God!”  And that’s what happened, with Samson and Solomon being two famous examples.
So the right person to date if you are a Christian is someone of the opposite sex, who is a good match, but most importantly who loves the Lord Jesus. Dating can be a good thing.  It depends on how it is done, when it is done, and with whom it is done. Use the time you are single to get to know lots of different people and have a good time with them without the relationship baggage. Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.
A Christian apologetics ministry dedicated to demonstrating the historical reliability of the Bible through archaeological and biblical research. Crucial to any worldview, the age of the earth has been a wedge deeply splitting Christianity. Dinosaurs which are supposed have lived at least 60 million years ago, should not yield dates of thousands of years. On the surface, radiometric dating methods appear to give powerful support to the statement that life has existed on the earth for hundreds of millions, even billions, of years.
If these dates are correct, this calls the Biblical account of a recent creation of life into question. I believe that there is a great need for this information to be made known, so I am making this article available in the hopes that it will enlighten others who are considering these questions. Some fossils are found in Precambrian rocks, but most of them are found in Cambrian and later periods. The original element is called the parent, and the result of the decay process is called the daughter element.
Potassium is present in most geological materials, making potassium-argon dating highly useful if it really works.
It just means that there is enough accuracy in the measurements to compute t to one or two percentage points of accuracy, where t is the time required to obtain the observed ratio of daughter to parent, assuming no initial daughter product was present at the beginning, and no daughter or parent entered or left the system. We also need to know that no parent or daughter has entered or left the system in the meantime.
Thus one would know that any strontium that is present had to come from the parent rubidium, so by computing the ratio and knowing the half life, one can compute the age.
This would seem to imply that the problem of radiometric dating has been solved, and that there are no anomalies.
There must have been no incorporation of Ar40 into the mineral at the time of crystallization or a leak of Ar40 from the mineral following crystallization.
The system must have remained closed for both K40 and Ar40 since the time of crystallization. In the lead-uranium systems both uranium and lead can migrate easily in some rocks, and lead volatilizes and escapes as a vapor at relatively low temperatures. But how can we know that this claim is true, without knowing the history of rocks and knowing whether they have in fact experienced later heating or leaching?
I believe that all parent substances are water soluble, and many of the daughter products as well. So if a rock has tiny cracks permitting gas to enter or escape or permitting the flow of water, the radiometric ages could be changed substantially even without the rock ever melting or mixing.


And this can also happen by water flowing through the rock through tiny cracks, dissolving parent and daughter elements.
For example, different kinds of quartz have different colors due to various impurities that are included but not part of the repetitive unit of the quartz crystal. One could say that we can detect whether the daughter is embedded in the crystal structure or not. But we know that rocks absorb argon, because correction factors are applied for this when using K-Ar dating. There are so many mechanisms that it is hard to know what pattern to expect, and one does not need to rely on any one of them (such as more argon in the magma in the past) to account for problems in K-Ar dating.
In fact, if a rock can absorb only a ten millionth part of argon, that should be enough to raise its K-Ar age to over 570 million years, assuming an average amounts of potassium.
Here is another way that K-Ar dates can be too old: If we assume the earth went through a catastrophe recently, then the crustal plates might have been agitated, permitting lava and argon to escape from the magma. There seems to be a great deal of question regarding the branching ratio for K40 into Ar40 and Ca40. There is far too much Ar40 in the earth for more than a small fraction of it to have been formed by radioactive decay of K40. Significant quantities of argon may be introduced into a mineral even at pressures as low as one bar. But excess argon is commonly invoked by geologists to explain dates that are too old, so I'm not inventing anything new. Here the actual observed branching ratio is not used, but rather a small ratio is arbitrarily chosen in an effort to match dates obtained method with U-Th-Pb dates. Henke criticized some statements in my article taken from Slusher about the branching ratio for potassium. And Harold Coffin's book Creation by Design lists a study showing that Rb-Sr dates are often inherited from the magma.
Radioactive decay would be faster in the bodies of stars, which is where scientists assume the heavy elements formed.
It is true that this can be accounted for by the fact that argon in the air has Ar36 and Ar40, whereas only Ar40 is produced by K-Ar decay. Then any lava under water would appear older because its enclosed Ar40 would have more trouble escaping.
Plaisted wants to give his readers the impression that argon can readily move in and out of minerals and, therefore, the gas is too volatile for radiometric dating.
This it can do by following the path of the ancient lava flow itself, coming up along the path of the magma. This argon will tend to deposit on the surface of minerals, but with the passage of time it will tend to diffuse into the interior, even if only a very small distance. By a combination of diffusion through cracks and channels, and short passages through unbroken regions of the mineral, argon may be able to reach a considerable distance into the mineral.
247) mentions a study showing that volcanic rocks contain excess atmospheric argon, some of which cannot be removed by baking in a vacuum. Added atmospheric argon can be detected, because the ratio of argon 40 to argon 36 for atmospheric argon is 295.5 to one (Faure, 1986, p. The argon that may either diffuse into the minerals or may be occluded within them is derived by outgassing of K-bearing minerals in the crust and mantle of the Earth.
It takes a long time to penetrate the confusion and find out what is the hard evidence in this area. What I am more interested in is the fossil-bearing geologic column of Cambrian and later age.
Some of these are taken from John Woodmoreappe's article on the subject, but only when I have reason to believe the statements are also generally believed. I would like to know what is the exact (or approximate) information content of this assertion, and whether it could be (or has been) tested statistically. We will have to restrict ourselves to places where Gi is exposed, to avoid having to dig deep within the earth. What about rocks that are thought not to have their clock reset, or to have undergone later heating episodes?
I showed that the fact that the great majority of dates come from one method (K-Ar) and the fact that many igneous bodies have very wide biostratigraphic limits, where many dates are acceptable, makes the percentage of anomalies irrelevant to the question I am asking.
Since the bulk of K-Ar dates are generally accepted as correct, one may say that certain minerals are reliable if they tend to give similar dates, and unreliable otherwise.
I believe that bentonite occurs in a number of formations of different geologic periods, so this could be checked. But if we really understand what is going on, then we should be able to detect discrepant dates as they are being measured, and not just due to their divergence from other dates.
But there are quite a number of rather outstanding anomalies in radiometric dating that creationists have collected. One example is the rocks from the Kaupelehu Flow, Hualalai Volcano in Hawaii which was known to have erupted in 1800-1801. Geologists explain the Kaupelehu date by the lava being cooled rapidly in deep ocean water and not being able to get rid of its enclosed argon.
This does not include dates from minerals that are thought to yield bad dates, or from igneous bodies with wide biostrategraphic ranges, where many dates are acceptable.
Steven Schimmrich's review of this study often concerns itself with John W's presentation of geologists explanation for anomalies, and not with the percentage of anomalies; the later is my main concern. This suggests that what is occuring is some kind of a mixing phenomenon, and not an isochron reflecting a true age.
If a lava flow lies above geologic period A and below B, then allowable ages are anything at least as large as A and no larger than B.
This of course means that the result is no longer anomalous, because the geologic period has been modified to fit the date. And one of the strongest arguments for the validity of radiometric dating is that the methods agree. This statement is made so often as evidence for the reliability of radiometric dating, that the simple evidence that it has no meaning, is astounding to me.
On the basis of being unacceptably old, many geologists of the time rejected these early twentieth century determinations of rock age from the ratio of daughter to radioactive parent (large). Also, the uncertainty in the branching ratio of potassium decay might mean that there is a fudge factor in K-Ar ages of up to a third, and that the occasional agreements between K-Ar ages and other ages are open to question.
One cannot always use an isochron, since many minerals may have about the same K and Ar40 concentrations, and there may be some fractionation of argon among the minerals. 180-199) mentions a number of other isotopic techniques that are used to detect mixing between multiple sources.
However, it is now generally accepted that this assumption is not upheld with sufficient reliability to attribute age significance to erupted isochrons. It seems reasonable, then, that mixings may be affecting all Rb-Sr isochrons in igneous rock. Rocks known to have formed in historical times should not yield dates of millions of years. In 1997 five specimens were taken from this dome at five different locations and subjected to conventional Potassium-Argon dating. We are told that these methods are accurate to a few percent, and that there are many different methods. Thus radiometric dating methods appear to give evidence that the earth and meteorites are old, if one accepts the fact that decay rates have been constant. We can assume that the Precambrian rocks already existed when life began, and so the ages of the Precambrian rocks are not necessarily related to the question of how long life has existed on earth. Assuming we start out with pure parent, as time passes, more and more daughter will be produced. Radiometric dating is commonly used on igneous rocks (lava), and on some sedimentary minerals. Thus the composition of the lava continues to change, and later minerals can form having significantly different compositions than earlier ones. So if we take a lava flow and date several minerals for which one knows the daughter element is excluded, we should always get the exact same date, and it should agree with the accepted age of the geological period. But are dates from mica always accepted, and do they always agree with the age of their geologic period? It has been suggested that free neutrons could transform Pb-206 first to Pb-207 and then to Pb-208, thus tending to reset the clocks and throw thorium-lead and uranium-lead clocks completely off, even to the point of wiping out geological time. Potassium volatilizes easily, is easily leached by water, and can migrate through the rocks under certain conditions. However, since it is possible for argon-36 to be formed in the rocks by cosmic radiation, the correction may also be in error. In general, if lava was heated after the initial flow, it can yield an age that is too young.
It would be difficult to measure the tiny changes in concentration that would suffice to make large changes in the radiometric ages over long time periods.
So it must be possible for that excess argon to get in, even though the crystal is supposed to exclude it. This would suffice to give a rock having an average concentration of potassium, a computed potassium-argon age of over 500 million years!
It seems to me to be a certainty that water and gas will enter rocks through tiny cracks and invalidate almost all radiometric ages. All its argon will either remain inside and give an old age to the flow, or will travel through surrounding rock, where it can be absorbed by other rocks. It leaks out of rocks very readily and can move from down deep in the earth, where the pressure is large, and accumulate in an abnormally large amount in the surface where rock samples for dating are found. Geochronologists use the branching ratio as a semi-emperical, adjustable constant which they manipulate instead of using an accurate half-life for K40.
Second, there may have been a lot more more argon in the magma in the past, and with each eruption, the amount decreased. It is claimed that we can know if a rock has added argon by its spectrum when heated; different temperatures yield different fractions of argon. About 11% of K40 decays by electron capture and gamma ray emission to Ar40 and the remaining 89% of the K40 decays by B-particle emission to form Ca40. Slusher asserted that the best known value of the branching ratio was not always used in computing K-Ar radiometric ages.
He admits that Slusher's statements about it would have been true in the 1940's and early 1950's, but are no longer true. In general, the dates that are obtained by radiometric methods are in the hundreds of millions of years range. So it's not clear to me how one can be sure of the 4.5 billion year age, even assuming a constant decay rate. But for rocks deep in the earth, the mixture of argon in their environment is probably much higher in Ar40, since only Ar40 is produced by radioactive decay.
If they contained a hundred times more excess argon, their K-Ar ages would be a hundred times greater, I suppose. As time passed, this Ar40 would gradually pass into the atmosphere, reducing this effect and making rocks appear younger. Specifically, he quotes one of his anonymous friends that claims that argon easily diffuses from minerals (p. But it is more difficult to remove argon that has deposited on cracks in the mineral, which can be difficult to see. However, it does not seem likely that sedimentary rocks would be this hot very often, except near lava or magma flows. As the magma or lava cools, this path will consist entirely of hot magma or lava, and so the argon will have a free path, and will continue to enter the magma as it cools.
The flatness means that the lava is a contiguous mass, and can still be reached from the hot magma by a continuous path of hot rock.
Thus modern lava flows are not subject to the same mechanism of artificial increases in their K-Ar ages as are ancient ones. At low temperatures, this may become the dominant means by which argon diffuses into a mineral, but the effect of this kind of diffusion at low temperatures may not be evident until many years have passed.
First, many igneous formations span many periods, and so have little constraint on what period they could belong to. Let's only include rocks whose membership in the geologic period can be discerned independent of radiometric dating methods. Let's apply all known dating methods to Gi that are thought to apply to this kind of rock, and obtain ages from each one.
Just to make the test unbiased, we will assign altitude limits to each geologic period at each point on the earth's surface (at least in principle) and include all rocks within these altitude limits within Gi, subject to the condition that they are datable.
And since this agreement is the strongest argument for the reliability of radiometric dating, such an assumption of agreement appears to be without support so far. We can also say that certain formations tend to give reliable dates and others do not, depending on whether the dates agree with K-Ar dates. This agreement of different methods is taken as evidence for a correlation between methods on the geologic column.
If bentonite does not always give correlate and correct ages, this calls into question its use for dating the K-T boundary.
He states that the number of dates within range are less than the number of anomalies, except for the Cenozoic and Cretaceous. And as I said above, I'm also interested to know how much of the fossil-bearing geologic column can be dated by isochrons, and how the dates so obtained compare to others. We have analyzed several devitrified glasses of known age, and all have yielded ages that are too young. Thus these ages, though they generally have a considerable scatter, are not considered as anomalies. Finally, the fact that the great majority of dates are from one method means that the general (but not universal) agreement of K-Ar dating with itself is sufficient to explain the small percentange of anomalies (if it is small). So I'm very interested to know what data there is about how often _different_ methods agree. I don't object to having some hard evidence that there are real agreements between different methods on the geologic column, if someone can provide it. By 1925, increased confidence in radioisotope dating techniques and the demands of evolution theory for vast amounts of time led to the establishment of an expanded geological time scale. It's not clear to me if this three dimensional plot always works, and how often it is used. But since these multiple mixing tests are more difficult and expensive, they may not be done very often. There is a lot of flexibility in the design of such examples, as I indicate, and it is reasonable to assume that some of these examples would be natural.
Let’s have a look together at some geological features used to ‘read time’ and hear how they whisper “The earth is young!”—just as the Bible would indicate.Presented in DVD format by Dr.
The results indicated ages of less than one half to almost three million years old, all from eleven year old rock.
We are told that of all the radiometric dates that are measured, only a few percent are anomalous. Furthermore, there is still disagreement of 15 percent between the two preferred values for the U-238 decay constant. Furthermore, the value of the decay constant is still disputed, although the scientific community seems to be approaching agreement. Argon from the environment may be trapped in magma by pressure and rapid cooling to give very high erroneous age results. If the minerals in the lava did not melt with the lava, one can obtain an age that is too old.
Thus crystals, as they form, may have tiny imperfections that accept parent and daughter products in the same ratios as they occur in the lava, so one can inherit ages from the lava into minerals in this way.
So a rock can get a very old radiometric age just by having average amounts of potassium and argon. In fact, it probably rises to the top of the magma, artificially increasing its concentration there. The partial pressure of argon should be largest deepest in the earth, and decrease towards the surface.
Also, as the rock deforms under pressure, more cracks are likely to form and old ones are likely to close up, providing more opportunity for argon (and other gases) to enter.
As intrusive flows of lava cooled inside the crust, they would have been in an environment highly enriched in argon, and thus would not have gotten rid of much of their argon. It is claimed that the argon that enters from the atmosphere or other rocks, is less tightly bound to the crystal lattice, and will leave the rock at a lower temperature. The geochronologist considers the Ca40 of little practical use in radiometric dating since common calcium is such an abundant element and the radiogenic Ca40 has the same atomic mass as common calcium. One can understand this by the fact that the clock did not get reset (if one accepts the fact that the magma "looks" old, for whatever reason).


At the moment of formation, as two nucleii collide, the uranium nucleus will be somewhat unstable, and thus very likely to decay into its daughter element.
In addition, this would cause a gradient of Ar40 concentrations in the air, with higher concentrations near the ground. Thus in many cases, the lava or magma will never completely degas, and extra argon will end up trapped in the cooled rock. The fact that they soon are covered over means that the argon has a hard time escaping vertically from the lava, so argon coming up from the mantle will tend to enter the cooling rock. Also, it is reasonable to assume that as argon leaves the mantle in successive eruptions, the amount of argon remaining is reduced, so that later lava flows are less susceptible to such artificial increases in age. This will make it more difficult to detect this added argon by the spectrum test described below. Thus it may take experiments lasting 50 or 100 years at low temperatures to detect the effects of this kind of diffusion of argon, which however could be significantly increasing the K-Ar ages of minerals over long time periods. 74) also states concerning removing atmospheric argon before dating, "The difficulty can be reduced, if not completely avoided, by the removal of adsorbed atmospheric argon before the argon is extracted from the samples. But argon 40 coming up from the mantle and diffusing into a mineral would not be detectable in this way, because it has a higher ratio of argon 40 to argon 36.
The presence of excess 40Ar increases K-Ar dates and may lead to overestimates of the ages of minerals dated by this method. Let's also only include rocks which are considered datable by at least one method, since some rocks (I believe limestone) are considered not to hold argon, for example.
It is undoubtedly being claimed that the mean values ascend as one goes up the geologic column.
As far as I know, no study has been done to determine how different methods correlate on the geologic column (excluding precambrian rock). Thus we can get an apparent correlation of different methods without much of a real correlation in nature. One study found some correlated dates from bentonite that are used to estimate the date of the K-T boundary. Of 12 dates reported the youngest was 140 million years and the oldest was 2.96 billion years. When one adds in the fact that many anomalies are unreported, which he gives evidence for, the true distribution is anyone's guess. Now, according to Woodmorappe's citations, many lava flows have no such limits at all, and most of them have large limits. The precambrian rock is less interesting because it could have a radiometric age older than life, but this is less likely for the rest of the geologic column.
With the K-Ar dating techniques developed after World War II, this time scale was refined to the standard Geologic Time Scale adopted in 1964. This gives us the impression that all but a small percentage of the dates computed by radiometric methods agree with the assumed ages of the rocks in which they are found, and that all of these various methods almost always give ages that agree with each other to within a few percentage points. Perhaps the earth was made from older pre-existing matter, or perhaps decay rates were briefly faster for some reason. Since Cambrian and later rocks are largely sedimentary and igneous (volcanic) rocks are found in Cambrian and later strata, if these rocks are really 550 million years old, then life must also be at least 550 million years old.
When lava is hot, argon escapes, so it is generally assumed that no argon is present when lava cools. This type of lava cools quickly, leaving little time for crystals to form, and forms basalt. Historically, the decay constants used for the various radiometric dating systems have been adjusted to obtain agreement between the results obtained.
Leaching can also occur; this involves water circulating in rock that can cause parent and daughter elements to enter or leave the rock and change the radiometric age. In fact, some sources say that Sr and Ar have similar mobilities in rock, and Ar is very mobile. It is also possible that parent and daughter elements could be present in boundaries between regular crystal domains. It seems reasonable to me that the large radiometric ages are simply a consequence of mixing, and not related to ages at all, at least not necessarily the ages of the rocks themselves.
Now, some rocks in the crust are believed not to hold their argon, so this argon will enter the spaces between the rocks.
This is around 100 times the amount that would be generated by radioactive decay over the age of 4.5 billion years. Even some figures from (Faure, Principles of Isotope Geology, 1977) are based on another constant that is 2 or 3 percent too low, according to Dalrymple, and so there may be many ages in the literature that need revision by small amounts. That is, we can get both parent and daughter elements from the magma inherited into minerals that crystallize out of lava, making these minerals look old. The same applies to all nucleii, implying that one could get the appearance of age quickly.
It seems reasonable that gas would collect at the top of these chambers, causing artificially high K-Ar radiometric ages there.
This would probably have a larger effect lower down, where the pressure of argon would be higher. I also read of a case where a rock was K-Ar dated at 50 million years, and still susceptible to absorbing argon from the air. This also could make flows on the land appear older than they are, since their Ar40 would also have a harder time escaping.
Both facts will tend to produce artificially high K-Ar ages in these flows which will not be seen in modern lava flows in the same manner. The path of magma also becomes longer for later flows, and the magma probably also is a little cooler, inhibiting argon flow. In addition, some kinds of rocks are not considered as suitable for radiometric dating, so these are typically not considered. It's also possible for other matter to be incorporated into lava as it rises, without being thoroughly melted, and this matter may inherit all of its old correlated radiometric dates. However, it would be better to date all five craters by all four different methods, and see what the agreement is.
He also combines evidence from the literature to conclude that "somewhat less than half of all dates agree with 10% of accepted values for their respective biostratigaphic positions." I believe this estimate even includes igneous bodies with very wide biostrategraphic limits, and does not include unpublished anomalies. For example, a flow lying on precambrian rock with nothing on top would have no limits on its dates. The construction of this time scale was based on about 380 radioisotope ages that were selected because of their agreement with the presumed fossil and geological sequences found in the rocks.
Since there doesn't seem to be any systematic error that could cause so many methods to agree with each other so often, it seems that there is no other rational conclusion than to accept these dates as accurate. When one considers the power of God, one sees that any such conclusions are to some extent tentative. Thus we obtain K-Ar dating, U-Pb dating, and Rb-Sr dating, three of the most common methods. If the radiometric dating problem has been solved in this manner, then why do we need isochrons, which are claimed to be more accurate? I don't know how we can be sure that a crystal will exclude argon or other daughter substances except by growing it in the laboratory under many conditions. The fact that not all of the argon is retained would account for smaller amounts of argon near the surface, as I will explain below.
So magma should have at least 20 times as much argon as a rock 570 million years old by K-Ar dating. It could be that this argon which is initially loosely bound (if it is so initially) gradually becomes more tightly bound by random thermal vibrations, until it becomes undetectable by the spectrum technique. The issue is not just how well this was known in the past, but which value was actually used, and whether dates published in the past have been computed with the most recent value. However, Harland et al (1990) imply that nearly the correct value for the branching ratio has been known and used since the mid-fifties. Since the magma has old radiometric dates, depending on how much the clock gets reset, the crust can end up with a variety of younger dates just by partially inheriting the dates of the magma. In addition, with each successive eruption, some gas would escape, reducing the pressure of the gas and reducing the apparent K-Ar radiometric age. Or it could be that such a distribution of argon pressures in the rocks occurred at some time in the past. This shows that one might get radiometric ages of at least 50 million years in this way by absorbing Ar40 deep in the earth without much Ar36 or Ar38 present. Young frequently, but I was not able to find Young referenced in any of the other sources I examined except Dalrymple (1991).
79) mentions that the ratio of argon 40 to argon 36 in the mantle may be as high as 10,000 or even 25,000 to one.
It is also being claimed that the different methods have distributions that are similar to one another on a given geologic period.
It is also possible that each crater gives a scatter of dates, and the best ones were selected.
If lava intrudes upon geologic period X, then any date for the lava of X or later will not be seen as anomalous. And such flows often have a large internal scatter of dates, but these dates are not considered as anomalies because of the unrestricted biostratigraphic limit. Both of these tend on the average to have wide biostrategraphic limits, meaning that a large spread of ages will be regarded as non-anomalous. A ratio of infinity (that is, all daughter and no parent) means an age of essentially infinity. This could happen because of properties of the magma chambers, or because of argon being given off by some rocks and absorbed by others. In fact, the argon in the magma may well be even higher, as it may concentrate near the top. The same goes for extrusive flows on the surface, since argon would be filtering up through the earth and through the lava as it cooled. Also, since some rocks hold the Ar40 stronger than others, some rocks will have a large apparent age, others smaller ages, though they may actually be the same age. Often values for constants are standardized, so that the values actually used may not be the most accurate known. Thus the decreasing K-Ar ages would represent the passage of time, but not necessarily related to their absolute radiometric ages. Finally, the overwhelming majority of measurements on the fossil bearing geologic column are all done using one method, the K-Ar method. It may also be that lava is produced by melting the bottom of continents and successively different layers are melted with time, or there could be a tendency for lighter isotopes to come to the top of magma chambers, making the lava there appear older.
Furthermore, it is possible that the craters were chosen as those for which the dating methods agreed. And even if the date is one or two geologic periods earlier, it may well be close enough to be accepted as non-spurious. Again, the percentage of anomalies means nothing for the reliability of radiometric dating. And if we recall that most radiometric dating is done of igneous bodies, one sees that the percentage of anomalies is meaningless. About 85% of the selections were K-Ar date s, 8% rubidium-strontium dates, and 4% uranium-lead dates.
85) cites a source (Kramer, Arndts, and Overn, Bible-Science Newsletter, 1981) that applied the mixing test to 18 Rb-Sr isochrons from the literature and found that nearly all of them had correlations suggesting a mixing. Zircons exclude lead, for example, so U-Pb dating can be applied to zircon to determine the time since lava cooled.
Argon is released from lava as it cools, and probably filters up into the crust from the magma below, along with helium and other radioactive decay products.
This amount of argon is enough to raise 20 times the volume of magma to a K-Ar age of 570 million years, and probably 200 times the volume of the magam to an age of 57 million years. Since geochronologists assume that errors due to presence of initial Ar40 are small, their results are highly questionable.
If you were to measure Ar40 concentration as function of depth, you would no doubt find more of it near the surface than at deeper points because it migrates more easily from deep in the earth than it does from the earth into the atmosphere.
All that Dalrymple (1991) says is that his ages were all recomputed using the most accurate values of the constants. As a result, lava found in deeper layers, having erupted earlier, would generally appear much older and lava found in higher layers, having erupted later, would appear much younger. 101) notes that argon would more likely adsorb onto the surfaces of the minerals rather than move into their tight structures. Henke states that hornblendes retain argon very well, but then later says that they can easily absorb excess argon. 247) mentions that atmospheric argon adsorbed onto a rock can be as high as 70 percent of the total argon, especially for young material. But anyway, I think it is important really to know what patterns appear in the data to try to understand if there is a correlation and what could be causing it. If one does not know the geologic period of a rock by other means, then of course one is likely to date it to find out, and then of course the date agrees with the geologic period and this will not be seen as anomalous. Dalrymple goes to great lengths to explain this away, but I think this figure is very telling, and find his explanations unconvincing. I also believe that the evidence indicates that the earth has recently undergone a violent catastrophe.
Micas exclude strontium, so Rb-Sr dating can be used on micas to determine the length of time since the mica formed. It is easy to see how the huge ages are being obtained by the K40-Ar40 radiometric clock, since surface and near-surface samples will contain argon due to this diffusion effect. This implies that some of them were originally computed using less accurate values, which is similar to Slusher's point.
This could account for the observed distribution of potassium-argon dates, even if the great sedimantary layers were laid down very recently. Geochronologists are aware that excess argon may accumulate on mineral surfaces and the surface argon would be removed before analysis.
This shows that rocks can adsorb a large amount of argon relative to the argon needed to give them old K-Ar ages, and also suggests that old K-Ar ages can be produced by external argon from the mantle. For example, if 80 percent of the measurements were done using K-Ar dating, and the other 20 percent gave random results, we still might be able to say that most of the measurements on a given strata agree with one another reasonably well.
The rapid cooling might mean that any enclosed argon is retained, but if not, the fact that this cooling occurs near the volcano, with a lot of argon coming out, should guarantee that these beads would have excess argon.
So it is difficult to know what would be a reasonable test for whether radiometric dating is reliable or not. The crucial determiners are therefore volcanic (extrusive igneous) rocks that are interbedded with sediments, and intrusive igneous rocks that penetrate sediments. It is also remarkable that we have a test for mixing, which is commonly cited in support of the accuracy of radiometric dating, but when it gives contrary results, it is simply ignored.
It is not necessary for this increase in age to happen all at once; many events of this nature can gradually increase the K-Ar ages of rocks. In addition, lava emerging later will tend to be hotter, coming from deeper in the earth and through channels that have already been warmed up. Over a long period of time, adsorbed argon will tend to diffuse into the rock, and thus it will be possible for even more argon to be deposited on the surface, increasing K-Ar ages even more. So to me it seems quite conceivable that there is no correlation at all between the results of different methods on the geologic column, and that they have a purely random relationship to each other.
As the gas bubble explodes, its enclosed argon will be rushing outward along with these tiny bubbles as they cool. The percentage of published dates that are considered as anomalous has little bearing on the question. In general, older rocks should have more argon because they have been subject to more exposure to such argon, but their true age is not necessarily related to their K-Ar radiometric age. This lava will take longer to cool down, giving more opportunity for enclosed argon to escape and leading to younger radiometric ages.
In addition, the rapid cooling and the process of formation means that these beads would have Rb, Sr, U, and Pb concentrations the same as the lava they came from, since there is no chance for crystals to form with such rapid cooling. And yet, with a large amount of argon in the air and also filtering up from rocks below, and with excess argon in lava, with argon and potassium water soluble, and argon mobile in rock, we are still expecting this wisp of argon to tell us how old the rock is! So to assume that the K-Ar dates, Rb-Sr dates, and U-Pb dates all reflect the age of the lava, one would have to assume that this lava had no Sr, no Pb, and that all the argon escaped when the beads formed.
Since the magma generally has old radiometric ages, I don't see how we could have magma without Pb or Sr. For example, it would be about one in 100 million for rocks in the vicinity of 57 million years old.



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