Creation Science

Creation Science Rebuttals

Limiting Factors for the Age of the Earth

 

by Greg Neyman

© Old Earth Ministries

First Published 27 February 2012

 

     One of the common arguments put forth by young earth creationists concerns claims that there are some scientific facts that limit the age of the earth, therefore the earth cannot be billions of years old.  One webpage contains many such claims, so let's look at these closer.

 

Population

 

     Evolution says that man has been here for 3 million years! If that were true then the population would be about 250,000 people per square inch!

 

      This would indeed be too many people for the earth.  The YEC response is that we came from Noah and his sons, just over 4,400 years ago.  The old earth creationist response (including theistic evolutionists) is...we agree, we are descended from Noah.  Problem solved.

     Even a secular solution would solve this problem.  A claim of this type was made by Henry Morris of ICR.  TalkOrigins has the answer.

 

Receeding Moon

 

     This claim states that the moon is receeding from the earth at 3 inches per year.  That would place the maximum age of the Earth/Moon system at less than 1.2 billion years.  My initial thought...1.2 billion is still a lot longer than 6,000 years!

     Here is the short answer, from TalkOrigins.  For a technical response, see this webpage.

  1. The moon is receding at about 3.8 cm per year. Since the moon is 3.85 × 1010 cm from the earth, this is already consistent, within an order of magnitude, with an earth-moon system billions of years old.

  2. The magnitude of tidal friction depends on the arrangement of the continents. In the past, the continents were arranged such that tidal friction, and thus the rates of earth's slowing and the moon's recession, would have been less. The earth's rotation has slowed at a rate of two seconds every 100,000 years (Eicher 1976).

  3. The rate of earth's rotation in the distant past can be measured. Corals produce skeletons with both daily layers and yearly patterns, so we can count the number of days per year when the coral grew. Measurements of fossil corals from 180 to 400 million years ago show year lengths from 381 to 410 days, with older corals showing more days per year (Eicher 1976; Scrutton 1970; Wells 1963; 1970). Similarly, days per year can also be computed from growth patterns in mollusks (Pannella 1976; Scrutton 1978) and stromatolites (Mohr 1975; Pannella et al. 1968) and from sediment deposition patterns (Williams 1997). All such measurements are consistent with a gradual rate of earth's slowing for the last 650 million years.

  4. The clocks based on the slowing of earth's rotation described above provide an independent method of dating geological layers over most of the fossil record. The data is inconsistent with a young earth.

 

The Sahara Desert

 

     The claim is that the Sahara is only 4,000 years old, so we should have a larger desert some other place. 

      True, the current Sahara desert is only a few thousand years old, but it cannot be used to date the rest of the planet...that is just the date of the current Sahara.  It has nothing to do with the age of the earth.  This is an argument based not on evidence, but on lack of evidence.  Also note I used the term "current Sahara."  A desert has existed in the Sahara's location long before 4,000 years ago, it just comes and goes based on climate change.

     Should there be a larger, more ancient desert somewhere else on earth?  It doesn't really matter, as climate changes come and go, and deserts come and go frequently (throughout geologic history). But, if you want to get technical about it, there is a larger, more ancient desert than the Sahara...it's called the continent of Antarctica, which is the world's driest place (less than two inches of precipication annually).  It's been ice covered, basically in its present state  for the last 15 million years.

 

The Lost Squadron

 

     The claim has to do with a squadron of aircraft buried by snow and ice in World War 2.  The aircraft were located in 1988, 250 feet deep.  I have a previous article on this topic, which can be viewed here.

    

Petrified Trees

 

     The claims made by this webpage are:

 

     "Petrified trees are found standing up going through rock layers proving the geologic column is not true." 

 

     Uniformitarian geology has no problems with trees going through rock layers.  Trees can be buried quickly in floods, and several sequences of rock layers can be laid down rapidly.  (Within uniformitarianism, there are catastrophic events.)  Yes, a flood can deposit a lot of sediment quickly, and there are many instances of flooding in the geologic column, but this has no bearing on disproving the existence of the column.

 

It happened during the Flood.

 

    The tree burial happened during "a" flood.  Every time a young earth creationist finds evidence for a flood in the geologic record, they claim it was Noah's Flood.  In reality, there is evidence for many different flood events, not one massive flood event.

 

Petrification does not take millions of years. A petrified cowboy leg, firewood, and a fish giving birth were all found.

 

     YEC's frequently try to pull a 'bait and switch' when it comes to petrification.  One must distinguish between petrification and other processes, such as permineralization and silicification.  For an article explaining this, click this link.  You may also find this article on petrified flour interesting.

     The claim of a petrified cowboy leg has long been shown to be false.  Here is an excellent article by Glen Kuban about this claim. 

     I haven't examined the firewood claim, but the burden of proof rests with the YEC claims...is it petrified, or simply permineralized or silicified?

     About the fish, this is a reference to a fossil Ichthyosaur.  You can read a rebuttal to this claim here.

 

The Mississippi River

 

     The claim is the delta only has 30,000 years worth of mud...the Gulf should be full of mud by now.  TalkOrigins has a post on this Hovind argument.   

 

Oldest Tree

 

      A Bristle Cone Pine in Southern California is 4,300 years old.  Trees can produce up to 2 rings a year.  Why don’t we have an older tree around if the earth is millions of years old?

 

      There are several issues here.  First, the date of the oldest living pine (this website claims as 4,300 yrs old) indicates nothing about what happened before the tree sprouted.  Second, tree rings have an unbroken record dating back more than 11,000 years (you can correlate tree rings from one tree to another).  Third, this is not the oldest living plant.  The King Clone creosote bush in the Mojave Desert is 11,700 years old, which pre-dates the young earth age for Noah's Flood by about 7,000 years.

 

The Great Barrier Reef

 

Less than 4200 years old found in Australia. 

 

     The current Great Barrier reef structure is about 20,000 years old, and it is built over top of older reef structures.  Reefs first started growing about 24 million years ago, but due to shifting climate, they have not remained a continuous feature during all that time. 

 

Niagara Falls

 

      This one has been a staple argument in the young earther's arsenal for a long time.  Yes, Niagara Falls is relatively young, but the age of the Falls has no bearing on the age of the earth.  Just because Niagara Falls is young, does not mean that the rest of the world is young.  This is like looking at a month old baby, and then claiming the rest of the human race is only a month old...not very sound logic!

 

Salt in Ocean

 

     This argument has been floating around young earth circles for a long time also, and was answered by Glenn Morton, who showed that some of the YEC numbers were inaccurate, and did not account for all processes that remove salt.  Interestingly, YEC's are still making this claim (Sept 2012), and even reference Morton's article.  The main point of contention has to do with removal of sodium during formation of basalts at mid-ocean ridges.  The YEC claim is that the sodium is returned to the ocean as the seafloor basalts move away from the ridges...but their reference for this claim has nothing to do with the return of sodium, so we are left guessing.  Do the ocean waters dissolve the basalt, releasing sodium?  (YEC's frequently make claims without substantiating them.  This is because they are not trying to convince the scientific community, but the common young earth reader, who will accept the words of the so-called young earth expert as truth.  The goal is to keep the young earth believer a young earth believer...not to convert a scientist to young earth belief).

     Another excellent, more reader-friendly explanation of the sea salt argument is from TheNaturalHistorian.com.  Here are links to this series of articles:

  1. The Salty Sea and the Age of the Earth: Confirmation Bias
  2. The Salty Sea Part II:  A Young Earth Salt Chronometer?
  3. The Salty Sea Part III: Are the Oceans Getting Saltier Over Time?
  4. The Salty sea Part IV:  Dr. Wile’s Use of the Salt Chronometer

Stalactites and Stalagmites

 

Evolutionist’s say the cave formations took millions of years: 2.5 inches per thousand years. In the 60’s, 60-inch stalactites were found under the Lincoln Memorial built in 1922.  In Indiana there’s building with huge flowstone formations within 40 years!  Over 10 feet long stalactites in the 55 year old lead mine in Mt. Isa, Australia.

 

   In short, we are talking apples and oranges here.  There are different stalactite processes.  Also, the time for stalactite growth also has to allow time for the cave in which it forms to dissolve.  Read the long answer here (from TalkOrigins):

 

Conclusion

 

      If you limit yourself to young earth websites, you limit your understanding of God's creation.  Once you honestly examine science without young earth prejudice, you remove the limits to your understanding.

 

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     If you are not a Christian, and you have been holding out on making a decision for Christ because the Church always preached a message that was contrary to what you saw in the scientific world, then rest assured that the Bible is the inerrant Word of God, and you can believe in Christ and receive salvation, while still believing in an old earth.  Click here for more.

 

    Are you a Christian who believes in young earth creationism?  Now that we have shown the many difficulties of the young earth creation science model in this and many other articles, how does this impact your Christian life?  If you are a young-earth creationism believer, click here.


 

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