The Hoodwinking Art of Radiometric Dating

Radiation DecayRadiometric dating is one of the most popular techniques used to establish the age of materials, like stones and bones.  Reported dates often fall in the million or billions of years. However, questions surround the validity of radiometric dating−for good reasons. 

The Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) recently ran the story “1.8 million-year-old skull may revise understanding of human evolution.” Since the skull was unearthed in a medieval ninth century A.D. village in the former Soviet Republic of Georgia known as Dmanisi, the obvious question centers on the validity of the million year radiometric dating of the skull found within the same geological stratum as the medieval ninth century A.D. village.

What’s driving the demand for millions of years dating; is it science or is it theory? Without question, the theory of evolution from a single cell to a sophisticated carnivore demands millions and billions of years−not thousands of years.  This prerequisite was recognized by evolutionists even before Charles Darwin published The Origin of Species in 1859.

Sir John Herschel (1792-1871), a nineteenth century Victorian elitist, argued for “many thousand millions of years” for the age of the earth; an argument that paralleled the then popular uniformitarian theory advanced by the English geologist Charles Lyle.  When the HMS Beagle ported in Cape Town in South Africa in 1836, Darwin spent time with Herschel.  

Herschel’s “many thousand million years” and Lyle’s uniformitarianism shaped the cornerstone of Darwin’s theory. In the first paragraph of the Introduction in The Origin of Species, Darwin highlighted the centrality of Lyle’s and Herschel’s influence of on his theory: “to throw some light on the origin of species — that mystery of mysteries, as it has been called by one of our greatest philosophers.” Herschel had used this signature phrase, “that mystery of mysteries,” in a letter to Lyle endorsing his Principles of Geology. 

A long-age of the Earth is an absolute pre-requisite for the theory of biological evolution. Based on evidence from radiometric dating, the age of the Earth has been estimated to be approximately 4.5 billion years. 

Radiometric dating is a process of measuring radioactive isotope decay rates of unstable atoms that loses energy by emitting radiation. The chemical element Argon (Ar) formed from the radioactive isotope Potassium-40 (40K) and the chemical element Lead (Pb) from radioactive isotope Uranium (92U) are the most common types of elements studied in rocks for the radiometric dating of the rock. The use of Carbon dating is now recognized as too inaccurate and unreliable.

Use of the radioactive decay of Uranium to Lead was first published in 1907 by radiochemist Bertram Boltwood (1879-1927) to measure the age of rocks.  Boltwood’s first rock measurements estimated an age of the Earth at 400 to 2200 million years old. Since then, other measurements have extended the age of the Earth.

Radiometric dating is not an absolute science since it must be based on assumptions; radiometric dating can only estimate an “apparent age.” As the executive director of the National Center for Science Education, Eugenie Scott, explains in Evolution vs Ctreationism: “If certain assumptions are made about it [radiometric dating], then, it can yield a date which could be called the apparent age. Whether or not the apparent age is the true age depends completely on the validity of the assumptions.” The quantitative study of geological time is known as geochronometry−a branch of geochronology.  

The essential factors required to calculate an age include 1) measuring the element concentrations, 2) certainty of element stability over long periods of time, 3) knowledge of the half-life – how long it takes for the initial (parent) radioactive substance to be reduced to the daughter element by 50% (half-life), and 4) initial concentration of the parent and daughter radioactive elements, i.e., the initial concentrations on Earth’s first day.

Science can measure the concentration of elements, but science can only speculate on assumptions regarding the element stability, half-life, and the original concentration at the beginning. “Since there is no way in which these assumptions can be tested,” Scott notes, “there is no sure way (except by divine revelation) of knowing the true age of any geological formation.”

What is the chance of verify these assumptions? The chance does not exceed zero.  As Scott explains, “In view of this fact, the highly speculative nature of all methods of geochronometry becomes apparent when one realizes that not one of the above assumptions is valid! None are provable, or testable, or even reasonable.”  

“We must remember that the past,” Scott continues to elaborate, “is not open to the normal processes of experimental science, that is, repeatable experiments in the present… A scientist cannot do experiments on events that happened in the past… Scientists do not measure the age of rocks, they measure isotope concentrations… [and] the age is calculated using assumptions about the past that cannot be proven.”

Similar to the radiometric problem of the 1.8 million year old Dmanisi skull found in the same strata a medieval ninth century A.D. village, geologist Steve Austin, Ph.D. from Pennsylvania State University and professor of Geology at the Institute for Creation Research, discovered a radiometric problem in the Grand Canyon−the rocks on top of the canyon wall are measured to be several hundred million years older than the rocks at the base of the canyon−a physical impossibility.

Yet another major problem emerges with radiometric dating: different techniques often yield different dates. As Scott points out, “If the dating methods are an objective and reliable means of determining ages, they should agree… However, with radiometric dating, the different techniques often give different results.”

Case-in-Point

The age measured from radiometric dating of rocks from the Grand Canyon by Austin was 10,000 years using the Potassium-Argon (K-Ar) method but 2,600,000 years with the Lead-Lead (Pb-Pb) method. Can science arbitrarily disregard the bad dating? Within the realm of science, arbitrarily selecting data is an act of flagrant fraud.

As Scott argues, while “all sorts of reasons can be suggested for the ‘bad’ dates… this is posterior reasoning. Techniques that give results that can be dismissed just because they don’t agree with what we already believe cannot be considered objective.” Scott mentions this, since selectively discarding dates is a common practice within the radiometric dating industry.

Declaring radiometric dates as a scientific fact now remains only as an advanced hoodwinking art perfected by the evolution industry. As Scott points out further, radiometric dating can only yield unproven dates since  

  • No one has ever measured decay rates directly
  • If assumed decay rates are in the range of billions of years, it is impossible to determine the actual decay rate from measurements over only a few decades
  • Decay rates are poorly known
  • Decay rates are affected by the physical environment
  • Original parent element concentration is not known and no method exists to measure the original concentration
  • Original daughter decay product concentration is not known and no method exists to measure the original concentration

Making Matters Worse

To test the validity of radiometric dating on newly formed rocks, in 1993 Austin submitted newly formed molten rocks recovered from the 1980 eruption of Mount Saint Helens volcano to the Geochron Laboratories of Cambridge, MA for dating using the K-Ar method. While expecting as age of 13 years, the laboratory reported a staggering dating range from 340,000 to 2.8 million years.

While criticizing Austin’s findings as “inappropriate,” David Bailey of the Lawrence Berkley National Laboratory in California points out the problem with the radiometric industry -

Radiometric dating, like any other experimental discipline, is subject to a variety of errors, ranging from human errors to rare anomalies resulting from highly unusual natural circumstances.

Radiometric dating is still just an experimental disciple-incapable of establishing an actual dates.  Since the convergence of scientific natural evidence actually undermines the validity of radiometric dating. Using non-radiometric indicators, the age of the Earth is compatible with the Genesis account rather than millions and billions of years. These non-radiometric indicators include -

  • Ocean sedimentation rates
  • Ocean salinity
  • Magnetic field decay
  • Meteorite collisions
  • Moon dust
  • Earth–Moon separation
  • Preservation of soft tissue in pre-Cambrian fossils
  • Carbon 14 in diamonds
  • Spiral galaxies
  • Blue stars
  • Preservation of DNA in dinosaurs

Estimating the Earth to be millions and billions of years was popular in during the nineteenth century with the early uses of radiometric dating confirming Hershel’s “many thousand million years.” Since then, investigators have increasingly recognized the limitations of radiometric dating techniques, especially in the context of non-radiometric dating techniques, to establish an age for the Earth.   

 Despite the known limitations, radiometric dating must continue as a hoodwinking art in the hands of evolution industry. Without “many thousand millions of years,” the theory of biological evolution would collapse further into chaos.

 Evolution was once a theory in crisis, now evolution is in crisis without a valid theory.

Biological evolution exists only as a philosophy – not as a scientific fact.

One Response to “The Hoodwinking Art of Radiometric Dating”

  • Cole Thompson:

    There is no problem with real science; the measuring and observing of things that exist in the present. The problem is in the unprovable assumptions that are made. Assumptions are not science.

    For example, with the Carbon 14 dating process. The inventor, Dr. William Libby, observed that all life absorbs radioactive carbon that originates from the interaction of cosmic radiation that manages to penetrate through earths protective magnetic shield. When those charged particles collide with atmospheric Nitrogen (N14), they can produce Carbon 14. When this radioactive carbon combines with another carbon as CO2 it is absorbed by plants. Animals eat the plants and so on until all living things wind up absorbing this radioactive carbon until they die. When the organism dies, the clock starts ticking for the decay of the C14..which if I remember correctly has a half life of @5,730 years. Now this much is observable science today. So we can take a sample of an organic fossil, measure the ratio of C12 (Our regular stable Carbon) to C14. Anything beyond this is not science. Scientists have measured the C12 to C14 ratios in living organisms today and the best they can do is assume that the fossil they are testing had the same amount of C14 in it when it was alive as the same or similar living organisms have today. This seems to be an excellent dating method for determining the ages of fossils within perhaps a few thousand years and at times they calibrate to tree ring dates.

    The problem is that Dr. Libby assumed that the C14 levels produced in our atmosphere have been relatively constant through the ages. This is a serious assumption that is not founded by any science! What we do know from scientific observation, is that the earths magnetic field acts as a shield against most cosmic radiation and that the stronger the field, the less penetration into our atmosphere by these dangerous particles. We also know that since we’ve been measuring the earths magnetic moment, it has been dramatically decreasing and so much so, that it has been determined that if the field continues to decay at the rate it has been since @ 1835, that it will be depleted by @ 2991, if I remember correctly. The point being that the C14 production in the atmosphere has NOT been relatively constant through the ages. With a stronger magnetic field in the past, there would have been remarkably less C14 in the organisms in the first place…not because they were millions or billions of years old.

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