Radioactive Dating

Adapted from The Death of Evolution by Wallace Johnson

We have been moving the argument toward an earth which is not awesomely ancient, but surprisingly young.  But, you may object, what about radioactive dating?  Does it not tell us that the oldest rocks are 4.5 billion years old?

Radioactive dating uses minerals like uranium (decaying into lead) and potassium (decaying into argon-40 gas). Both methods are based on assumptions that are not justified.

The first assumption is that of a closed system.   The assumption is that the uranium and potassium were there, in the rock, for millions of years in a closed (uncontaminated) system.  But this is not possible in rocks. In reality, the minerals in the rocks would be subject to contamination, leaching, mixing, evaporation, and other spoiling factors, which make dating by minerals impossible.

A second assumption is that radioactive decay rates never vary.  Decay rates will vary if, for instance, cosmic radiation varies.  Cosmic radiation almost certainly has varied through variations in the earth's magnetic field, and also through Supernova explosions in nearby stars.   Dr. Frederick Juneman commented in 1972 that the effects of such super-explosions must reset our atomic clocks, knocking our radioactive dating measurements "into a cocked hat."

The third assumption regards measuring the "decay-produced" (or "daughter") lead or argon.  It is assumed that none of the daughter lead or argon was present when the parent uranium or potassium entered the rock.  Recent research on young rocks has upset this assumption.  As the assumption is basic, this means that the dating is not just marginally wrong, but is totally meaningless.  Radioactive dating has been wrecked on rocks of known ages.

Less than 1% of the argon in rocks is the result of decay from potassium.  It is difficult to determine which is daughter argon and which is not.  Furthermore, the dating method rests on another assumption, namely that the ratio of argon-40 (daughter) to argon-36 (non-radiogenic) has always been 300 to 1.  Space probes have shown that the ratio on Mars is very different, with much less argon-36; while the ratio on Venus is very different the other way.  This is bad news for Potassium-Argon dating, discrediting its very basis.

Similar objections apply to the Rubidium-Strontium dating method as to Potassium-Argon.

If there were some rocks of known ages, we could test the validity of radioactive dating on them.  There are such rocks.

In the sea near Hawaii, rocks were formed by a volcano in the late 18th century.  They were dated by Potassium-Argon at up to 22 million years.   Other rocks near Hualalei, Hawaii were formed by volcanic action in 1801.   Potassium-Argon dated these young rocks at 160 million to 3 billion years.  By this crucial test, Potassium-Argon stands discredited.

Research data on rocks from Russia, the Azores and Vesuvius – all recently formed rocks – showed "ages" (calculated by the Uranium-Lead method) of anywhere from 100 million to 10.5 billion years.

Carbon-14 Dating

This method is used on organic remains such as bones and trees, coal and oil.  It is limited to ages of up to about 30,000 years.   Actually, there is good authority for regarding it as increasingly unreliable beyond about 3,000 years.  Carbon-14 is produced by cosmic rays and nitrogen high up in the atmosphere.  The dating method depends on one thing – equilibrium; on production of C-14 up there and its decay down here on earth being in equilibrium – which should have been achieved after 30,000 years.  When Walter Libby devised the dating method in 1946, his figures showed 20% greater production than decay.  This means an earth younger than 30,000 years.  Accordingly his figures were dismissed as an experimental error; and equilibrium was assumed to exist.  But modern data show the imbalance to be about 40% or more.

While its accuracy is questionable, C-14 dating results often are an embarrassment to evolutionists.  Robert Whitelaw, in an extraordinary effort, has checked 30,000 recorded C-14 datings, applied corrections and plotted them.  He found two important things:

(a) There appears to be a period, about 5,000 years ago, when there existed almost no living things, but abundant life preceding that point of time, and then evidence of increasing life following it.  He regards this as evidence of extinction of life by the Deluge.

(b) Everything subjected to C-14 testing has given a C-14 reading, except 3 megapod eggs from a Philippines cave.  The testing included many fossil bones, such as Neanderthal Man, Rhodesian Man, and the supposedly extremely ancient Keilor Skull; Mammoth bones (only 3,370 years!), extinct animals like Sabre Tooth Tiger, coal, oil, and fossil wood; also deep ocean cores of what was supposedly the most primitive life.

Virtually every once-living thing was datable by the short-term C-14 method.  Many give astonishingly recent dates, and all gave reasonably recent dates.  For any faithful evolutionist, this is not only embarrassing, it is impossible.  If evolution is true, and if creatures have been living and dying for hundreds of millions of years, then in every 30,000 random specimens tested by C-14, only 2 should be datable and 29,998 undatable.  Whitelaw's research showed the opposite to be true.

Not too long ago, dinosaur footprints were found in a rock formation in the bed of the Paluxy River in Texas, along with what appeared to be human footprints!  The latter has been disputed, but in 1978 a charred fossilized tree was discovered 200 yards downstream.  The tree must have fallen into mud while burning, and then fossilized.  But the dinosaur footprints would also have been made shortly before the mud hardened, and so are the same age.  The charred wood has been dated by C-14 at about 12,800 years; with "Deluge" corrections – 6,000 years!

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