Cover story article101 evidences for a young age of the Earth and the universe (rebuttal)

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101 evidences for a young age of the earth and the universe is an extensive list of arguments for young Earth creationism (YEC), compiled by Don Batten in June 2009 for Creation Ministries International (CMI). The original article can be found hereimg. The text below is the version of 26th March, 2012.

Batten collects a variety of supposed uncertainties in science dealing with the past that could allow one to simultaneously maintain belief in the validity of the scientific method and the literal interpretation of the Book of Genesis through confirmation bias. The apparent intent of the article is to help other creationists struggling with cognitive dissonance, and for use as a conversion tool.

In addition to numerous factual errors and failures to understand the theories which it is intended to criticize, the document suffers from faulty logic. A list of arguments broken down by fallacy is presented at the end of this page.

Although the list claims to have 101 points, several are just reworded duplicates and one is even a copy of the preceding item. Almost every reference link in the original article either goes directly to creationist sources, or to popular science magazines which support creationism; as there are no reputable peer-reviewed scientific papers. Ultimately, the article seeks to persuade by force of numbers, rather than force of argument.


Table of Contents
 
Can science prove the age of the earth?
Biological evidence:  1  -  2  -  3  -  4  -  5  -  6  -  7  -  8  -  9  - 10 - 11
Geological evidence: 12 - 13 - 14 - 15 - 16 - 17 - 18 - 19 - 20 - 21 - 22
 23 - 24 - 25 - 26 - 27 - 28 - 29 - 30 - 31 - 32 - 33
 34 - 35 - 36 - 37 - 38 - 39 - 40 - 41 - 42 - 43 - 44
 45 - 46 - 47 - 48 - 49 - 50
Radiometric dating: 51 - 52 - 53 - 54 - 55 - 56 - 57 - 58 - 59 - 60 - 61
 62 - 63 - 64
Astronomical evidence: 65 - 66 - 67 - 68 - 69 - 70 - 71 - 72 - 73 - 74 - 75
 76 - 77 - 78 - 79 - 80 - 81 - 82 - 83 - 84 - 85 - 86
 87 - 88 - 89 - 90 - 91 - 92 - 93 - 94 - 95
Human history: 96 - 97 - 98 - 99 - 100 - 101
Removed arguments
Analysis
See also
Footnotes


Original article   Analysis

[edit] Can science prove the age of the earth?

No scientific method can prove the age of the universe or the earth, and that includes the ones we have listed here. Although age indicators are called "clocks" they aren't, because all ages result from calculations that necessarily involve making assumptions about the past. Always the starting time of the "clock" has to be assumed as well as the way in which the speed of the clock has varied over time. Further, it has to be assumed that the clock was never disturbed.  

Creationism starts from a single assumption: that the history of the Earth is accurately recorded in the bible. It thus dismisses all scientific evidence that does not fit this credo.[1][2][3] The assumptions conventionally used in obtaining scientific estimates of the age of the Earth and the universe look supremely cautious compared to such a leap of faith.

The reference to the "way[s] in which the speed of the clock has varied over time" are a very thinly veiled attack on a bedrock assumption of scientific practice, uniformitarianism, in (for the sake of argument) contradistinction to catastrophism. Assuming good faith qua ignorance , this attack is simply a misconstruction of uniformitarianism - as a scientific assumption it does not claim that major disruptive events like ice ages, meteor impacts, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and so on have never happened (since plenty of people alive today have witnessed or been affected by one or more of them), but rather that the specific physical laws governing their causes and effects have remained constant over time. Assuming good faith qua scientific disagreement with uniformitarianism, none of the creationist theories predicated on alternatives to the constancy of physical laws over time can be valid without encountering big problems very quickly; cf.

  • c-decay, which requires changes in fundamental properties of the universe for which no evidence exists;
  • creationist theories on the constancy of the rate of radioactive decay over time, which if valid would mean that the entire planet had been bathed for quite a while in far more radiation than would have been required to kill off all life - problematic because life does, in fact, still exist on earth; or
  • white hole cosmology, which if correct would mean that Earth would experience a blueshift of all incoming light from outside the solar system so colossal in scale as to fry the planet's surface like an egg on a hot sidewalk.

If we don't assume good faith, it appears that CMI is combining a false dilemma with the Nirvana fallacy - one theory can't yet answer all possible questions, so the other should be accepted unquestioningly. This logic is both fallacious (wrong in its pattern of reasoning) and incorrect (wrong in the facts it reasons with).

There is no independent natural clock against which those assumptions can be tested. For example, the amount of cratering on the moon, based on currently observed cratering rates, would suggest that the moon is quite old. However, to draw this conclusion we have to assume that the rate of cratering has been the same in the past as it is now. And there are now good reasons for thinking that it might have been quite intense in the past, in which case the craters do not indicate an old age at all (see below).

Ages of millions of years are all calculated by assuming the rates of change of processes in the past were the same as we observe today — called the principle of uniformitarianism. If the age calculated from such assumptions disagrees with what they think the age should be, they conclude that their assumptions did not apply in this case, and adjust them accordingly. If the calculated result gives an acceptable age, the investigators publish it.

 

There is no need for an "independent natural clock" thanks to the principle that reality is objective: if analyses of many samples by different methods arrive at the same age, this is strong evidence that the estimate is correct, by consilience[wp]. Errors tend to be random; for the estimate to be incorrect, the errors would have to be the same for all samples and all methods, which is extremely unlikely. A single observation of a wildly discordant estimate is not enough to overturn the concordant estimates, because observations are always subject to errors and outliers. A failure to understand consilience is why many creationists postulate a conspiracy amongst scientific investigators, as the author does here.

It is important to note that creationists often use the term "uniformitarianism" in a different way to modern science and insist that it also refers to a uniformity of geological rate with no regard for well-known prevailing conditions.

The author misunderstands crater counting. It is not used to obtain absolute dates, but to compare the age of one region to another, whose age is known through radiometric dating. Its only assumption is that the bombardment of the moon was uniform over its surface (not necessarily over time).

We assume an approximately constant rate of meteor impacts on the moon, with variations depending on the stage of development of the solar system (e.g., the Late Heavy Bombardment[wp] 4 billion years ago). However, the "increased rate" that would be required to produce the observed craters is unrealistic: if the rate of impacts to the Moon was high enough to give it its characteristic surface in under 6,000 years — the standard[4][5][6] creationist time since creation, according to the chronology worked out by Archbishop James Ussher in 1650 — we'd expect a lot more craters on Earth; with an presumed abundance of meteors intersecting the shared orbit of Earth and the moon, it would stretch credulity indeed to suggest that something like 99.9% of them missed the larger target and hit the smaller one.

Examples of young ages listed here are also obtained by applying the same principle of uniformitarianism. Long-age proponents will dismiss this sort of evidence for a young earth by arguing that the assumptions about the past do not apply in these cases. In other words, age is not really a matter of scientific observation but an argument about our assumptions about the unobserved past.

 

This is partially true, but there is a crucial difference: the uniformitarian assumptions of science have reasons behind them: for phenomena which are used in dating, such as the radioactive decay of potassium-40, the observed rate is constant and no known mechanisms of changing the rate exist. The vast majority of creationist assumptions of uniformitarianism, however, end up absurd because they ignore important known mechanisms of rate change.

Radiometric dating does not merely give age for an assumed constant rate of decay, but also relative age. Comparing, for example, a 10,000 y.o. fossil with a 100,000,000 y.o. one will show that the decay of carbon-14 in the latter sample is far more advanced than in the former. To believe that they are about the same age, i.e. that dinosaurs walked the Earth with men, requires that two different places be subject to vastly different rates of decay. If they are found in the same place, the problem is exacerbated.

The assumptions behind the evidences presented here cannot be proved, but the fact that such a wide range of different phenomena all suggest much younger ages than are currently generally accepted, provides a strong case for questioning those accepted ages (about 14 billion years for the universe and 4.5 billion years for the solar system).

 

Indeed, the assumptions of constant rates used by many creationists cannot be proved — but they can easily be disproved by pointing out obvious mechanisms of rate changes. No such disproof is available for the assumptions behind mainstream methods of dating.

Also, a number of the evidences, rather than giving any estimate of age, challenge the assumption of slow-and-gradual uniformitarianism, upon which all deep-time dating methods depend.

 

This appears to contradict the article's support for uniformitarianism in previous paragraphs.

Many of these indicators for younger ages were discovered when creationist scientists started researching things that were supposed to "prove" long ages. The lesson here is clear: when the evolutionists throw up some new challenge to the Bible's timeline, don't fret over it. Sooner or later that supposed evidence will be turned on its head and will even be added to this list of evidences for a younger age of the earth. On the other hand, some of the evidences listed here might turn out to be ill-founded with further research and will need to be modified. Such is the nature of science, especially historical science, because we cannot do experiments on past events (see "It's not science"img).

 

Creationism is unanimously rejected by the scientific community. Deep time and the 4.5 billion year age of the Earth are not pet hypotheses of "evolutionists", a postulated faction of godless maverick scientists — they are uncontroversial and widely accepted facts, with consistent evidence from multiple disciplines.

Many of the scientists who discovered evidence for an Earth much older than the Biblical account were devout Christians and experienced crises of faith because the insistence that Ussher's 6,000-year timeline was inviolable strained consilience.

Many creationists make an artificial (and bogus) distinction between historical science, or science which makes them uncomfortable, and operational science, with which they claim not to have any problems.

Science is based on observation, and the only reliable means of telling the age of anything is by the testimony of a reliable witness who observed the events. The Bible claims to be the communication of the only One who witnessed the events of Creation: the Creator himself. As such, the Bible is the only reliable means of knowing the age of the earth and the cosmos. See The Universe's Birth Certificateimg and Biblical chronogenealogiesimg (technical). In the end we believe that the Bible will stand vindicated and those who deny its testimony will be confounded.

 

This claim is that God is a reliable witness, although He did not physically inscribe the Bible himself. This was done by the hands of many over the course of centuries, with well-established Biblical scholarship indicating tremendous amounts of editing and sources in older legends.

[edit] Biological evidence

[edit] 1

DNA in "ancient" fossilsimg. DNA extracted from bacteria that are supposed to be 425 million years old brings into question that age, because DNA could not last more than thousands of years.

 

A valid point is being made here. Unfortunately for them, it is probably not the point they intended to make.

In the early 1990s a number of studies were published which claimed to have isolated DNA from samples dating back as far as 250 million years [7] Unfortunately subsequent improvements in technology combined with a greater awareness of the potential risks of laboratory contamination have raised considerable doubts over the reliability of these studies.[8]

Regardless of the doubt about these studies of extremely ancient samples, DNA from human and other species going back as far as 100,000 years has been sequenced and there is scientific consensus that the results are reliable. [9] Current opinion holds that the maximum age possible for DNA sequencing is probably no more than 1,000,000 years.[10]

So, while accepting that DNA sequencing is probably impossible for remains that are a million years or more in age, it has been established that sequencing is reliable for DNA far older than the claimed 6,000 years. Consequently this is not evidence for young earth creationism.

[edit] 2

Lazarus bacteriaimg — bacteria revived from salt inclusions supposedly 250 million years old, suggest the salt is not millions of years old. See also Salty sagaimg.

 

The claimed isolation of 250 million year old bacteria from salt deposits in the Delaware Basin is still debated; the age of the salt is accepted — contrary to the claims in the second link — but the age of the bacteria is not.[11]

[edit] 3

The decay in the human genome due to multiple slightly deleterious mutations each generation is consistent with an origin several thousand years ago. Sanford, J., Genetic entropy and the mystery of the genome, Ivan Press, 2005; see review of the bookimg and the interview with the author in Creation 30(4)img:45–47, September 2008. This has been confirmed by realistic modelling of population genetics, which shows that genomes are young, in the order of thousands of years. See Sanford, J., Baumgardner, J., Brewer, W., Gibson, P. and Remine, W., Mendel's Accountant: A biologically realistic forward-time population genetics program, SCPE 8(2):147–165, 2007.

 

This argument relates to the claimed Fall of Man, in which it is posited that humans were cut off from God's life force and their genomes thus started "decaying". This is completely factually inaccurate. Not only is there no evidence of a general genetic decay, but there are known recent beneficial mutations in humans. e.g. lactase persistence,[wp] a mutation allowing humans to digest milk in adulthood that became common in Europe around 10,000 years ago[12][13] and separately in central Africa a mere 3-6,000 years ago.[14][15]

The cited book was written by John C. Sanford, who testified at the 2005 Kansas evolution hearings in support of intelligent design. Neither his book nor any paper promoting his concept of "genetic entropy" has ever been peer-reviewed. The last linked paper is from a peer-reviewed computer science journal, however the paper describes the computer program itself, and does not claim any biological significance for its output.

[edit] 4

The data for "mitochondrial Eveimg" are consistent with a common origin of all humans several thousand years ago.

 

Creationists and scientists aren't talking about the same "Eve" here. Mitochondria contain mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA), which scientists surmise derives from an early point in evolutionary history when mitochondria existing symbiotically with precursors to animals cells merged. mtDNA is passed only from the female to its offspring. In the cell, mtDNA is separate from nuclear DNA and is not recombined during cellular division. Thus, notwithstanding mutation of mtDNA in any particular individual, it is possible to track all human beings back in time through matrilineal ancestry to a single “Mitochondrial Eve”. “Mitochondrial Eve” is thought to have lived 170,000 to 200,000 years ago, which is completely consistent with human evolutionary timescales and with an old Earth — and inconsistent with the claim of a 6,000-year-old Earth.

Unlike the Eve of the Bible, Mitochondrial Eve is not believed to be the first human female; she is only the most recent matrilineal common ancestor of all persons living today. This does not imply that she was the only female around at the time; just that the mitochondrial lines of all the other women alive at that time were interrupted at some point, either by having no children or by having only sons. Mitochondrial Eve had to inherit her mtDNA from her mother, after all; and her mother inherited it from her grandmother, etc., on all the way back to the first mitochondrion in the first eukaryotic cell.

Finally, the geography that leads biologists to their conclusions about mitochondrial Eve's origin (in East Africa) is more or less conclusive disproof of the claim of the Garden of Eden as having been present in what we now call the Middle East. This isn't necessarily evidence against a young earth per se, but certainly a problem for CMI's belief in Biblical inerrancy.

[edit] 5

Very limited variation in the DNA sequence on the human Y-chromosome around the worldimg is consistent with a recent origin of mankind, thousands not millions of years.

 

The Y chromosome, unlike most DNA, is inherited only from the father, which means that all DNA on the human Y chromosome can be followed back to a single most recent common male ancestor. That male would have inherited his Y chromosome from his father, who inherited it from his father, etc. The existence of a Y-chromosomal Adam does not mean that there was only one man alive at that time, but rather that the male-exclusive lineages of all the other men alive at that time have been broken — either by childlessness or by having only daughters. The only factor affecting the DNA on the Y chromosome is mutation, so measuring mutation rates and extrapolating them backwards can provide an estimate of when this most recent common male ancestor lived: not less than 60,000 years ago,[16] and possibly as long as 340,000 years ago — before Homo sapiens.[17] This is evidence against a creation within the last few thousand years.

Note that the age estimates for Mitochondrial Eve and Y-chromosome Adam are not particularly close; there is no reason to suspect that they would be. Even in the Biblical account of the Flood, Noah would be the Y-chromosome "Adam," since no other males survived the Flood except for Noah's sons. So even in creationism, the origin of mankind and the dating of Y-chromosome Adam really have nothing to do with one another.

[edit] 6

Many fossil bones "dated" at many millions of years old are hardly mineralized, if at all. See, for example, Dinosaur bones just how old are they really?img

 

There is no requirement that fossil bones have to be re-mineralized — bones and teeth are naturally made from a mineral (apatite,[wp] which is largely calcium phosphate[wp]) in the first place, so have some chance of preservation. And this still leaves fossil bones which are dated many millions of years old that have been mineralized. There are also other hard parts, notably shells, that are formed of calcium carbonate (calcite or aragonite) and can be found almost unchanged since deposition as far back as the Cambrian.

Dinosaur bones date from as far back as 235 million years ago.[18] There have been and will probably continue to be disputes among paleontologists about the dating of specific fossils. However these disputes are of the form "150 million years vs 200 million years", and certainly not "6000 years vs 200 million years".

[edit] 7

Dinosaur blood cells, blood vesselsimg, proteinsimg (hemoglobinimg, osteocalcinimg, collagenimg) are not consistent with their supposed age, but make more sense if the remains are young.

 

Claims of protein, DNA, or any other extant biological material extracted from dinosaur remains are controversial even among paleobiologists. Evidence supporting such claims includes iron-bearing substances theorized to represent heme compounds found in bone marrow. Opponents contend that certain "dinosaur soft tissues" could well have been recent bacterial sediment.[19] Though there are models that sufficient material could remain to work out some protein structures.[20]

[edit] 8

Lack of 50:50 racemization of amino acids in fossilsimg "dated" at millions of years old, whereas complete racemization would occur in thousands of years.

 

Amino acid racemization dating is a technique that uses the ratio of amino acid isomers to date fossilized objects up to several millions of years into the past. Measuring the racemization of the amino acid isoleucine, for example, can date objects as far back as the claimed-implausible several million years back.[21]

While it is true that there can be great variability in the rate at which amino acids undergo racemization, the changes in humidity, temperature, and acidity required to make the oldest known samples conform to a young Earth (6,000 years or less) are completely unfeasible.

[edit] 9

Living fossilsimg — jellyfish, graptolites, coelacanth, stromatolites, Wollemi pine and hundreds more. That many hundreds of species could remain so unchanged, for even up to billions of years in the case of stromatolites, speaks against the millions and billions of years being real.

 

The jellyfish have actually changed, as have the coelacanths — same order[wp], different species. Of the lifeforms given as examples, only the Wollemi pine is a species, and not such an old one as claimed.[22] Graptolithinia[wp], now considered an ancestor of Pterobranchia[wp], went extinct 310 million years ago.

The "many hundreds of species" are out of millions of species. Only a tiny proportion of fossil species have modern counterparts.

The key point, however, is that the "living fossils" didn't change much because they were well-adapted to a stable environment. This argument also presumes that the only changes are morphological — evolution also includes biochemical changes, behavioral changes, and others that are not preserved in the fossil record.

[edit] 10

Discontinuous fossil sequences. E.g. Coelacanthimg, Wollemi pineimg and various "index" fossils, which are present in supposedly ancient strata, missing in strata representing many millions of years since, but still living today. Such discontinuities speak against the interpretation of the rock formations as vast geological ages—how could Coelacanths have avoided being fossilized for 65 million years, for example? See The "Lazarus effect": rodent "resurrection"!img

 

Fossilisation is a rare event, and for those fossils then to be dragged somewhere we can find them is even rarer. Marine fossils, e.g. coelacanths, are very rare.

An index fossil[wp] is a species used as an indicator by paleontologists as a working convenience. The (incorrect) creationist claim that coelacanths were an index fossil originates with Kent Hovind, who misdescribes what an index fossil is, and confuses coelacanths with graptolites.[23]

The linked articles suggest that fossils were all laid down during the Great Flood. This does not explain why dinosaurs (other than birds[wp]) are only found in the lower strata.

If the flood was as suitable for the creation of fossils as is described, there should be more fossils than we actually find; the described mechanism would fossilise a large proportion of everything that was living at the time. We would also expect modern animals, such as cows, to be found in the fossil record. The author's interpretation of the data is inconsistent with his stated model.

[edit] 11

The ages of the world's oldest living organisms, treesimg, are consistent with an age of the earth of thousands of years.

 

The oldest living individual trees are younger than 6,000 years — but dendrochronology, which the linked article endorses, is not limited to studying a single tree. Because the thickness of rings differs depending on weather conditions during each season, tree ring patterns can be matched between living and dead trees, extending the record beyond the lifetime of a single tree. In suitable places, the record has been extended this way to roughly 11,000 years before present.[24] Thus, even the tree trunks — which give dates exact to a single year — are at odds with a biblical timeline.

Regardless of the age of individual trees, Pando, a massive clonal colony of aspen in Utah verified by genetic markers to be a single monolithic organism - at a weight of 6,000 tons, by far the heaviest on Earth - has a lower bound on its age projections of 80,000 years and may be as old as a million years.

Regardless of the above, current scientific opinion is that the oldest living organisms are sea-grasses, not trees, and the oldest known example has been given an age in the vicinity of 80,000 to 100,000 years. [25]

[edit] Geological evidence

[edit] 12

Lack of plant fossils in many formations containing abundant animal / herbivore fossilsimg. E.g., the Morrison Formation (Jurassic) in Montana. See Origins 21(1):51–56, 1994. Also the Coconino sandstone in the Grand Canyon has many track-ways (animals), but is almost devoid of plants. Implication: these rocks are not ecosystems of an "era" buried in situ over eons of time as evolutionists claim. The evidence is more consistent with catastrophic transport then burial during the massive global Flood of Noah's day. This eliminates supposed evidence for millions of years.

 

Plants are almost completely soft tissue and so most of their remains decay very quickly. Animals, on the other hand, have bones (and teeth, and shells, etc.) — and these are the parts that are fossilized most readily. "Trackways" are only made in moist sediments which are largely devoid of vegetation in the first place. Owing to the transitory nature of tracks, no modern geologist insists that they were buried over eons. They all recognise that a special event which covered the tracks took place — which does not imply a global flood, but only a small-scale local event. If tracks were buried in situ over eons, then the Earth would be covered in them.

The Coconino sandstone shows extensive evidence, such as clear tracks of small insects and wind ripples, that it was formed from wind-blown desert sand dunes. Deserts don't have a lot of plants.[26]

[edit] 13

Thick, tightly bent strata without sign of melting or fracturing. E.g. the Kaibab upwarpimg in Grand Canyon indicates rapid folding before the sediments had time to solidify (the sand grains were not elongated under stress as would be expected if the rock had hardened). This wipes out hundreds of millions of years of time and is consistent with extremely rapid formation during the biblical Flood. See Warped earthimg (written by a geophysicist).

 

This refers to the creationist hypothesis of soft-sediment deformation (which bears no relation to the use of the term[wp] in geology).

What is happening is ductile deformation. What seems like "solid rock" to us is actually "plastic" with geological timescales and conditions — under long term stress or strain, these crystalline structures can deform into convoluted shapes. And, of course, many rocks are fractured as a result of folding.

The creationist theory fails to account for

  • fold formation on large scales and for the inability of wet sediments to form extremely tight folds. If the wet sediment mechanism was responsible for fold formation, sediment would slump to the bottom, and so the fold would be thinnest at the peak (crest), with the sides (limbs) increasing in thickness down to the trough. This is contrary to observations: the hinges are thickest and the limbs thin.
  • the presence of folded chemical and biochemical sedimentary rocks, which are lithified (made into rock) instantly on the ocean floor, and never consisted of wet sediment.
  • strata flipped by tectonic activity.

Purple slates from North Wales often contain light green discolourations from ferrous reduction spheres which formed around iron nuclei; these are deformed into long thin ovals, which are evidence of folding after the rock has lithified.

It is unclear how the fact that hard quartz sand grains were not elongated is relevant in this case. We are talking about a huge, 400 km long geological structure that was uplifted by 1.6 km. The changes in the dimensions of sand grains would be undetectable, especially since they would not have had perfectly uniform dimensions to begin with.

[edit] 14

Polystrate fossils — tree trunks in coal (Auracaria spp. king billy pines, celery top pines, in southern hemisphere coalimg). There are also polystrate tree trunks in the Yellowstone fossilized forestsimg and Joggins, Nova Scotiaimg and in many other places. Polystrate fossilized lycopod trunks occur in northern hemisphere coalimg, again indicating rapid burial / formation of the organic material that became coal.

 

This is in fact well-understood. A tree becomes buried in a layer of soft sedimentary rock. As the wood decays, its cellular structure is replaced by minerals precipitated from percolating groundwater and it becomes petrified. These fossilizing minerals, however, are hard so that later, as the softer surrounding sedimentary rock wears away, it leaves a "petrified forest". Other sediments are then deposited around these fossilized trees and subsequently become layers of new rock over time. Voilà! Fossil trees extending through layers dated tens or hundreds of thousands of years later than the dead trees.

[edit] 15

Experiments show that with conditions mimicking natural forces, coal forms quicklyimg; in weeks for brown coal to months for black coal. It does not need millions of years. Furthermore, long time periods could be an impediment to coal formation because of the increased likelihood of the permineralization of the wood, which would hinder coalification.

 

You can dig a hole in two minutes with a shovel, but that doesn't mean that all holes are two minutes old. Even assuming that coalification can occur rapidly under certain circumstances (volcanism mixing clays with organic matter in the correct proportion, then providing unvarying heat above the boiling point of water for many months), it cannot then be assumed that all coal is formed by this particular method, which requires very specific conditions, including the coal having first been buried at considerable depth. All coal deposits would be associated with great quantities of volcanoclastic sediments — which they are not. Dating of the coal strata usually shows that they are hundreds of millions of years old.

[edit] 16

Experiments show that with conditions mimicking natural forces, oil forms quicklyimg; it does not need millions of years, consistent with an age of thousands of years.

 

Again, if oil can form quickly (assuming the time for the raw materials to reach suitable conditions), it does not follow that all of it must form quickly, and moreover it does not follow that there is some lower age limit for the Earth.

[edit] 17

Experiments show that with conditions mimicking natural forces, opals form quicklyimg, in a matter of weeks, not millions of years, as had been claimed.

 

The linked article speaks of Len Cram, an opal expert who claims he can grow opals. It claims that Cram's opals have been examined by the CSIRO[wp] and found to be indistinguishable from natural opals. But Cram denies that any scientific analysis has been done of his opals, and specifically by neither the CSIRO nor the Gemological Institute of America.[27] Nor has he revealed his method for others to check.

The main issue, of course, is that although opals can form quickly,[28] this in no way implies they formed recently — opals form at the same time as the sediments in which they are found, and the surrounding rocks are dated at 100-150 million years.

[edit] 18

Evidence for rapid, catastrophic formation of coal bedsimg speaks against the hundreds of millions of years normally claimed for this, including Z-shaped seams that point to a single depositional event producing these layers.   The formation and distortion of coal seams is easily explained by accepted (slow) geological processes. See, e.g., Coal Geology by Larry Thomas,[29] which explains coal seam folding.

The linked article asserts that Noah's flood "would have uprooted the entire pre-Flood biosphere and buried it with huge quantities of sand and mud" and correctly states that "The coal seams occur within thick layers of clay, sand and basaltic lava, which together form a 700-metre (2,300-foot) sequence of rocks". But there are multiple seams interleaved by well defined layers of other materials which indicates that they have been formed by a cyclical process rather than a single event, yet "There has only ever been one global Flood".

Any catastrophic mingling of vegetation, rock and water would — depending on the relative proportions — either have produced deposits resembling a giant "fruit cake", with ingredients more or less evenly distributed, or a single sequence of differentiated layer with the heaviest particles at the bottom and lighter vegetation near the top covered by the finest clay. It would not have produced "three groups of major coal seams, separated and underlain by clays and sands".[30]

In any case, possible fast seam formation would not preclude slow seam formation.

[edit] 19

Evidence for rapid petrifaction of woodimg speaks against the need for long periods of time and is consistent with an age of thousands of years.

 

See #15. The provided evidence for rapid natural petrification consists mostly of anecdotes. The artificial "instant petrification" method[31] is nothing like natural petrification and involves soaking the wood in hydrochloric acid and sodium metasilicate[wp] (which does not occur in nature) then baking in a furnace at 1400°C.

[edit] 20

Clastic dykes and pipes (intrusion of sediment through overlying sedimentary rock) show that the overlying rock strata were still soft when it happened. This drastically compresses the time scale for the deposition of the penetrated rock strata. See, Walker, T., Fluidisation pipes: Evidence of large-scale watery catastropheimg, Journal of Creation (TJ) 14(3):8–9, 2000.

 

This is factually incorrect. A clastic dike,[wp] an intrusion of sediment into cracks in harder rock layers, does not imply the rock was intruded when it was soft, but that it cracked when it was hard, e.g. during an earthquake.[32] If the sediment had been soft it would show signs of deformation in the direction of the intrusion.

[edit] 21

Para(pseudo)conformities—where one rock stratum sits on top of another rock stratum but with supposedly millions of years of geological time missing, yet the contact plane lacks any significant erosion; that is, it is a "flat gap". E.g. Coconino sandstone / Hermit shale in the Grand Canyon (supposedly a 10 million year gap in time). The thick Schnebly Hill Formation (sandstone) lies between the Coconino and Hermit in central Arizona. See Austin, S.A., Grand Canyon, monument to catastrophe, ICR, Santee, CA, USA, 1994 and Snelling, A., The case of the "missing" geologic timeimg, Creation 14(3):31–35, 1992.

 

All of this is well understood in geology. The sandstone of the Schnebly Hill formation eroded away in the Grand Canyon region, but not further south in Arizona. Both regions were subsequently covered with Hermit shale. The argument about the "flat gap" (lack of erosion on the contact surface) is based on the findings of a creationist expedition investigating Park Service signs, as well as quote mining. It has the same problems as #23.

Furthermore, not all environments form new layers of sediment. In many places on Earth one can walk on ancient rock billions of years old. If such areas were subsequently covered by sediment, we would have a paraconformity.[33]

[edit] 22

The presence of ephemeral markings (raindrop marks, ripple marks, animal tracks) at the boundaries of paraconformities show that the upper rock layer has been deposited immediately after the lower one, eliminating many millions of "gap" time. See references in Para(pseudo)conformities.

 

True — these markings are preserved only by rare events such as lava flows, which explains their great rarity. Once again, the error is the assumption that rapidity of some depositions means rapidity of all depositions.

Furthermore, one would expect a world-wide flood, which creationists claim was violent enough to erode almost all geological formations - including forming the Grand Canyon - to have completely erased any ephemeral markings.

Ephemeral markings are actually a problem for creationists because they must either be completely antediluvian or post-diluvian; they could not have been formed during the flood itself. The fact that these marks occur in sediments within supposed flood deposits provides an inherent contradiction and makes it impossible for them to say what was the lowest level of rocks before the flood. Also, raindrop marks might even be considered evidence against a flood as they need to be baked hard before being covered by further sediments.

[edit] 23

Inter-tonguing of adjacent strata that are supposedly separated by millions of years also eliminates many millions of years of supposed geologic time. The case of the "missing" geologic timeimg; Mississippian and Cambrian strata interbedding: 200 million years hiatus in question, CRSQ 23(4):160–167.

 

The basic idea behind this claim is that strata from the Mississippian and the Cambrian lie "next" to each other in the Grand Canyon such that there is no obvious disruption. This would "prove" that there was no time gap between what geologists have found to be about a 200 million year time period.

The biggest issue with this is that no one else has found this interbedding or lateral connection of layers. The only people reporting it are a single group of five creationist researchers who visited in 1986.[34] Instead of using standard geologic procedures to identify which layers corresponded to which period, they used a Park Service sign, some hand lenses, and coloration. Conventionally, scientists use an array of properties and instruments that examine the qualities of the rock, fossils in the rock, and chemical composition to assign periods to a layer. The creationist researchers did none of this. Most importantly, no-one else has been able to see this effect, or replicate the findings, in the nearly 25 years since this was originally published.[35]

[edit] 24

The lack of bioturbationimg (worm holes, root growth) at paraconformities (flat gaps) reinforces the lack of time involved where evolutionary geologists insert many millions of years to force the rocks to conform with the "given" timescale of billions of years.

 

The link does not mention bioturbation at paraconformities at all. Instead, it nitpicks an article in The Skeptic criticizing creationist interpretation of a landform in Australia. (Admittedly, the article does not appear to be perfect.) It mentions "vertical tree trunks" buried in sandstone, which the creationists themselves were forced to admit are actually unusual iron concretions.[36]

Even ignoring this, signs of bioturbation tend to be destroyed in the process of lithification — transformation of buried soil and sediments into rock. There is nothing surprising about this.

Furthermore, the fact that the worm holes and root growth exist in different stratigraphic layers is evidence of separate depositional sequences rather than a single flood event.

There is no such thing as an "evolutionary geologist".

[edit] 25

The almost complete lack of clearly recognizable soil layers anywhere in the geologic column. Geologists do claim to have found lots of "fossil" soils (paleosols), but these are quite different to soils today, lacking the features that characterize soil horizons; features that are used in classifying different soils. Every one that has been investigated thoroughly proves to lack the characteristics of proper soil. If "deep time" were correct, with hundreds of millions of years of abundant life on the earth, there should have been ample opportunities many times over for soil formation. See Klevberg, P. and Bandy, R., CRSQ 39:252–68; CRSQ 40:99–116, 2003; Walker, T., Paleosols: digging deeper buries "challenge" to Flood geologyimg, Journal of Creation 17(3):28–34, 2003.

 

The linked article is a response to an essay by Joe Meert[37] which shows a photo of a paleosol[wp] and states that the creationist claim of lack of true paleosols is nothing more than denial. The creationist explanation is extremely contrived, and based on a single low resolution photo interpreted without any further investigation.[38] Meert has since responded to the linked article with a detailed rebuttal,[39] highlighting that the criticisms are largely straw men or beside the point.

[edit] 26

Limited extent of unconformities (unconformity: a surface of erosion that separates younger strata from older rocks). Surfaces erode quickly (e.g. Badlands, South Dakota), but there are very limited unconformities. There is the "great unconformity" at the base of the Grand Canyon, but otherwise there are supposedly ~300 million years of strata deposited on top without any significant unconformity. This is again consistent with a much shorter time of deposition of these strata. See Para(pseudo)conformities.

 

Badlands[wp] are places where soft sediments devoid of vegetation receive rare but intense rain showers, and have very high rates of erosion. They are not a typical landscape in this respect. The point of the rest of the argument is not clear enough to respond to.

The link given in #21 contradicts the claim here of only one unconformity in the Grand Canyon — it accepts there are five of them.

[edit] 27

The amount of salt in the world's oldest lake contradicts its supposed ageimg and suggests an age more consistent with its formation after Noah's Flood, which is consistent with a young age of the earth.

 

The author of the linked article has misread the paper[40] he references — it estimates the content of salt in the catchment of the lake (the entire land area which drains into the lake), not in the lake itself. The paper also clearly states that its figures are assumptions, based on the estimation of sodium chloride in the catchment and how it is evidently responsible for the bulk of the salinity of the lake. In no way is 73,000 years an official consensus of how old Lake Eyre is, nor how long it took for salt to accumulate in the lake. Determining how long it took for the overall salt content of Lake Eyre to build up can only truly be done through speculation, since the salinity of Lake Eyre varies as a consequence of a variety of conditions.[41]

[edit] 28

The discovery that underwater landslides ("turbidity currents") travelling at some 50 km/h can create huge areas of sediment in a matter of hours (Press, F., and Siever, R., Earth, 4th ed., Freeman & Co., NY, USA, 1986). Sediments thought to have formed slowly over eons of time are now becoming recognized as having formed extremely rapidly. See for example, A classic tillite reclassified as a submarine debris flowimg (Technical).

 

Assuming this means, per creationist theory, that the world was rapidly formed when an ocean appeared and started sweeping around sediment, underwater turbidity currents are most common in areas of seismic instability. This theory would imply that only parts of the world around tectonic plates would be formed, thus leaving massive holes in the Earth. These are not observed.

Note that sediments laid down by turbidity currents are just older unconsolidated sediments that have been dislodged.

[edit] 29

Flume tank research with sediment of different particle sizes show that layered rock strata that were thought to have formed over huge periods of time in lake beds actually formed very quickly. Even the precise layer thicknesses of rocks were duplicated after they were ground into their sedimentary particles and run through the flume. See Experiments in stratification of heterogeneous sand mixturesimg, Sedimentation Experiments: Nature finally catches up!img and Sandy Stripes Do many layers mean many years?img

 

These experiments merely show that sand composed of grains of varying sizes may produce features that superficially resemble sedimentation layers. In geology, appearance alone is not sufficient. The same kind of argument, based on perceived similarity, is made in #30.

[edit] 30

Observed examples of rapid canyon formation; for example, Providence Canyonimg in southwest Georgia, Burlingame Canyonimg near Walla Walla, Washington, and Lower Loowit Canyon near Mount St Helens. The rapidity of the formation of these canyons, which look similar to other canyons that supposedly took many millions of years to form, brings into question the supposed age of the canyons that no one saw form.

 

Canyons can form rapidly, especially in the volcanic and alluvial deposits the article mentions; however, this does not mean that all canyons formed quickly, or recently.

"Look similar" is not sufficient in geology, where just "looking" does not give enough information to understand the formation and physical properties of the soils and rocks in question.

[edit] 31

Observed examples of rapid island formation and maturation, such as Surtseyimg, which confound the notion that such islands take long periods of time to form. See also, Tuluman—A Test of Timeimg.

 

Surtsey[wp] is a volcano; not all islands are volcanoes. Britain's path to islandhood involved a massive lake bursting its banks thousands of years ago, cutting away the chalk deposits linking it to Europe. Other islands such as Sri Lanka and Cuba were formed as rising sea levels isolated them from the mainland. Still other islands, such as New Zealand and Madagascar, were formed when the movement of tectonic plates sheared them off of previously adjoined landmasses (i.e., Australia and India, respectively).

Volcanic island chains formed by plate movement over crustal hotspots (e.g., Hawaii, Galápagos) show increasing erosion from the most recent (i.e., active) end of the chain to the older end. This demonstrates that the islands have existed and been weathered for significantly different lengths of time, which does not fit with the recent creation scenario that they were created around the same time with the majority of the erosion due to floodwater.

[edit] 32

Rate of erosion of coastlinesimg, horizontally. E.g. Beachy Head, UK, loses a metre of coast to the sea every six years.

 

Presumably this is meant to imply that if the earth were old, all land would have been eroded into the ocean by now.

Land lost from coastlines, however, does not necessarily just disappear, but is often deposited somewhere else. For example, Rye, East Sussex,[wp] a town in the same county as Beachy Head,[wp] was once an important port but is now inland. Similarly, Cape Cod,[wp] which is entirely sand and gravel (a glacial moraine), sometimes loses substantial amounts of shoreline in places — while aggregating large amounts in other places.

Likewise, land can rise above the ocean, e.g., Surtsey (which the article lists in #31), or land raised by tectonic plates colliding.

[edit] 33

Rate of erosion of continents verticallyimg. See Creation 22(2):18–21.

 

Continents are not eroding uniformly, nor is erosion the only process taking place. The continents (or lithosphere) are composed of lighter materials than the underlying crust (the asthenosphere) and the lithosphere floats on the asthenosphere as icebergs float in water. This means that high peaks are matched by compensating deep roots — and this is verified by measurement of both gravitational anomalies and seismic waves. As the surface of the lithosphere is eroded, the continents readjust their buoyancy and rise. For example, southern Sweden and the area surrounding the Baltic Sea has been well-known to be rising since 1810.[42]

[edit] 34

Existence of significant flat plateaux that are "dated" at many millions of years oldimg ("elevated paleoplains"). An example is Kangaroo Islandimg (Australia). C.R. Twidale, a famous Australian physical geographer wrote: "the survival of these paleoforms is in some degree an embarrassment to all the commonly accepted models of landscape development." Twidale, C.R. On the survival of paleoforms, American Journal of Science 5(276):77–95, 1976 (quote on p. 81). See Austin, S.A., Did landscapes evolve?img Impact 118, April 1983.

 

This is an example of quote mining: the author has misread the referenced paper and picked out a quote he thinks supports his position, but the source of the quote itself shows the author's claim to be incorrect. At no point does Twidale's paper suggest that the results of dating are in error. It recounts various theories of landscape development, points out that all of them fail to explain all observed features of paleoforms, and proposes an alternative model that does explain them. The author is using inadequacies in old theories mentioned by Twidale to suggest that the data itself is wrong, which is completely backwards.

The conclusion says: "Even if the conclusions reached by many workers over the years are only partly correct, it is clear that remnants of paleoforms are an integral part of the modern land surface ... The hills are not everlasting as Jacob implied (Genesis, 49, 26), but they persist for much longer periods than has been generally conceded."

[edit] 35

The recent and almost simultaneous origin of all major mountain ranges around the world: all "dated" at only 5 million years ago, whereas the continents have, it is claimed, been around for up to billions of years. See Baumgardner, J., Recent uplift of today's mountainsimg. Impact 381, March 2005.

 

The statement is completely incorrect. The Appalachians[wp] date back so far — 480 million years — that they pre-date the Atlantic Ocean. Rocks found in the Appalachians match those found in Scandinavia and Scotland.[43] The Rocky Mountains[wp] are 55 million years old, the Himalayas[wp] started forming 50 million years ago.

In any case, even if the claim were correct, 5 million years is over eight hundred times longer than the standard creationist time frame of 6,000 years.

[edit] 36

Water gaps. These are gorges cut through mountain ranges where rivers run. They occur worldwide and are part of what evolutionary geologists call "discordant drainage systems". They are "discordant" because they don't fit the deep time belief system. The evidence fits them forming rapidly in a much younger age framework where the gorges were cut in the recessive stage / dispersive phase of the global Flood of Noah's day. See Oard, M., Do rivers erode through mountainsimg? Water gaps are strong evidence for the Genesis Flood, Creation 29(3):18–23, 2007.   There is no such thing as an "evolutionary geologist".

"Discordant" means that the course of the river does not match the arrangement of geological layers. It does not refer to some problem with deep time.

Water gaps are well understood: the river was there first, then the area underwent uplifting. Because the uplift process was much slower than erosion, the river cut through the mountain range as it rose.

[edit] 37

Erosion at Niagara Fallsimg and other such places is consistent with just a few thousand years since the biblical Flood. However, much of the Niagara Gorge likely formed very rapidly with the catastrophic drainage of glacial Lake Agassiz; see: Climate change, Niagara and catastropheimg.

 

Waterfalls are sites of rapid erosion and therefore highly dynamic. There is absolutely no reason to suppose any waterfall is as old as the Earth.

Furthermore, we might ask that, if under a creationist scenario the Grand Canyon and Niagara Gorge supposedly both came into being after the global flood, why aren't they of similar sizes? After all, they would supposedly be cutting through similar soft flood sediments; but the more energetic Niagara River (200,000 ft3/s) has incised a much smaller canyon than the Colorado River (30,000 ft3/s) in a supposedly equal period of time. This highlights the absence of coherency in the flood geology paradigm where the apparent aim is only to try to undermine the old-Earth model rather than give a consistent alternative.

Niagara Falls first formed at the end of the last ice age, 12,500 years ago.[44] Fitting even this date into the young Earth timescale would require inventing flaws in radiometric dating.

There is no evidence available that suggests that the erosion rate was anything other than 3 feet per year.

[edit] 38

River delta growth rate is consistent with thousands of years since the biblical Flood, not vast periods of time. The argument goes back to Mark Twain. E.g. 1. Mississippi—Creation Research Quarterly (CRSQ) 9:96–114, 1992; CRSQ 14:77; CRSQ 25:121–123. E.g. 2 Tigris–Euphrates: CRSQ 14:87, 1977.

 

Deltas form around sea level, and the current sea level dates only from the end of the last ice age — that is, about eight to ten thousand years ago; prior to that sea-level had been much lower.

[edit] 39

Underfit streams. River valleys are too large for the streams they contain. Dury speaks of the "continent-wide distribution of underfit streams". Using channel meander characteristics, Dury concluded that past streams frequently had 20–60 times their current discharge. This means that the river valleys would have been carved very quickly, not slowly over eons of time. See Austin, S.A., Did landscapes evolve?img Impact 118, 1983.

 

This "evidence" turns out to be another example of quote mining. In the 1950s, a misfit stream[wp] was thought to arise when the drainage area of a river was reduced. George H. Dury recognized that misfit streams are more common in some regions, and therefore cannot arise only by this mechanism, which would have no regional variation.[45] This phenomenon is thought to be caused by climate change in the past, which reduced precipitation; indeed, other research by Dury provided important evidence that the climate of Europe and northern U.S. was once tropical and much more humid than today.[46] None of his work provides any evidence for a young Earth.

[edit] 40

Amount of salt in the seaimg. Even ignoring the effect of the biblical Flood and assuming zero starting salinity and all rates of input and removal so as to maximize the time taken to accumulate all the salt, the maximum age of the oceans, 62 million years, is less than 1/50 of the age evolutionists claim for the oceans. This suggests that the age of the earth is radically less also.

 

The rate of increase — and decrease — in salinity of the oceans has varied over time.[47] When seawater is separated from the ocean itself, and subsequently evaporates, the salts ("evaporite") left behind are no longer in the ocean, and the evaporated fresh water eventually returns through rain. The author of the linked article here tries to model salt accumulation in the ocean with a simplistic linear equation, which is grossly inadequate and based on an incorrect uniformitarian assumption.

[edit] 41

The amount of sediment on the sea floorsimg at current rates of land erosion would accumulate in just 12 million years; a blink of the eye compared to the supposed age of much of the ocean floor of up to 3 billion years. Furthermore, long-age geologists reckon that higher erosion rates applied in the past, which shortens the time frame. From a biblical point of view, at the end of Noah's Flood lots of sediment would have been added to the sea with the water coming off the unconsolidated land, making the amount of sediment perfectly consistent with a history of thousands of years.

 

The calculation arriving at 12 million years has been shown to be flawed and simplistic.[48] It takes little account of subduction[wp] of the tectonic plates, and, in bringing ocean floor sediments into flood geology, exposes one of its major flaws: deposition via a single, global flood would have mixed the sediments into a single mélange[wp] of one type of sediment, with all sorts of rock and soil types jumbled together. The truth is that sediments vary in different parts of the world, with true mélanges occurring mostly in subduction zones.

Note that the "12 million years" is itself very substantially greater than the Ussher value of 6,000 years.

[edit] 42

Iron-manganese nodules (IMN) on the sea floors. The measured rates of growth of these nodules indicates an age of only thousands of years. Lalomov, A.V., 2007. Mineral deposits as an example of geological rates. CRSQ 44(1):64–66.

 

This is almost completely incorrect. Manganese nodule[wp] growth is so incredibly slow that it takes several million years to form one centimeter. It is one of the slowest known geological phenomena. Fast-growing nodules (at least 500 years per centimeter) do exist in some locations,[49] but are by no means the usual case.

All examples of fast growth given in the cited paper refer to nodules found growing on man-made steel objects. In this case, nodule growth is greatly accelerated by electrochemical[wp] processes driven by the dissolution of iron from the steel.

[edit] 43

The age of placer deposits (concentrations of heavy metals such as tin in modern sediments and consolidated sedimentary rocks). The measured rates of deposition indicate an age of thousands of years, not the assumed millions. See Lalomov, A.V., and Tabolitch, S.E., 2000. Age determination of coastal submarine placer, Val'cumey, northern Siberia. Journal of Creation (TJ) 14(3):83–90.

 

Lalomov has been shown to have erroneously represented geological evidence in this matter, inserting names of metals into quotes from other scientists, and cherry-picking only those placer deposits that fit his ideas.[50]

[edit] 44

Pressure in oil / gas wells indicate the recent origin of the oil and gas. If they were many millions of years old we would expect the pressures to equilibrate, even in low permeability rocks. "Experts in petroleum prospecting note the impossibility of creating an effective model given long and slow oil generation over millions of years (Petukhov, 2004). In their opinion, if models demand the standard multimillion-years geochronological scale, the best exploration strategy is to drill wells on a random grid." Lalomov, A.V., 2007. Mineral deposits as an example of geological rates. CRSQ 44(1):64–66.

 

Many meters of solid rock can and do hold the oil and gas in place at least as well as a few millimeters of steel. The Lalomov paper's assertion otherwise is an argument from incredulity.

The assertion as to the recommendations for petroleum prospecting is factually incorrect. No oil company expert recommends drilling on a random grid.

The citation from Petukhov's paper is presented as if he were a mainstream petroleum expert. However, this paper was published in a Russian creationist monograph rather than an oil-related journal, and Petukhov is a proponent of the pseudoscientific abiotic oil theory.

[edit] 45

Direct evidence that oil is forming todayimg in the Guaymas Basin and in Bass Straitimg is consistent with a young earth (although not necessary for a young earth).

 

The fact that oil is forming today means absolutely nothing with regards to the age of the Earth. People are still being born today, but this does not mean there was no Earth before the oldest living human was born. This overlaps with #16.

[edit] 46

Rapid reversals in paleomagnetismimg undermine use of paleomagnetism in long ages dating of rocks and speak of rapid processes, compressing the long-age time scale enormously.

 

The author of the cited "rapid reversal" paper has stated that his work was misused, as his own estimated timescale for the "rapid" event he studied is several thousand years.[51]

Furthermore, the author of the linked creationist article argues that the simple explanation is that rapid reversals would be associated with the flood event — yet overlooks that the lava which was the subject of the research was actually extruded on dry land, not under water.

[edit] 47

The pattern of magnetization in the magnetic stripes where magma is welling up at the mid-ocean trenches argues against the belief that reversals take many thousands of years and rather indicates rapid sea-floor spreading as well as rapid magnetic reversals, consistent with a young earth (Humphreys, D.R., Has the Earth’s magnetic field ever flipped? Creation Research Quarterly 25(3):130–137, 1988).

 

Humphreys' general theory, detailed in several papers,[52] is that the geological record shows many extremely fast reversals, on the order of taking days to weeks, rather than the accepted minimum of many tens or hundreds of thousands of years. Later works[53] show that he has misread data on fast (on the order of decades) fluctuations in the magnetic field as being fast reversals.[54] See also #46, #49.

The referenced paper is not readily available, though the abstractimg is available. Until we obtain the full paper, we can't offer further comment.

[edit] 48

Measured rates of stalactite and stalagmite growthimg in limestone caves are consistent with a young age of several thousand years. See also articles on limestone cave formationimg.

 

Stalactites and stalagmites result from the deposition of calcium carbonate by groundwater. The solubility of this mineral, which determines the rate at which these features can grow, depends on the water's carbon dioxide content. Since this has varied widely over geologic time and is now being altered by human activity, the rate currently observed cannot be expected to hold throughout the past.

But even if this were true, the argument says nothing: the age of the earth is in no way limited by the time it takes a stalactite to form.

It should be noted that the entire evidence for this claim is an anecdote from a travel magazine and four creationist publications.

[edit] 49

The decay of the earth's magnetic fieldimg. Exponential decay is evident from measurements and is consistent with theory of free decay since creation, suggesting an age of the earth of only thousands of years. For further evidence that it follows exponential decay with a time constant of 1611 years (±10) see: Humphreys, R., Earth’s magnetic field is decaying steadily — with a little rythm [sic], CRSQ 47(3):193–201; 2011.

 

The Earth's magnetic field does not decay exponentially, but reverses direction from time to time. This is actually pointed out by the article's author in #46 and #47, so the author has contradicted himself.

Geomagnetic reversal[wp] events can be as rapid as 50,000 years or as slow as several million years apart. During the period between shifts, the magnetic field will decay. After a very, very long time of this it will flip. In fact, we have evidence of magnetic reversals going as far back as the Ordovician[wp] (485 to 463 million years ago).

[edit] 50

Excess heat flow from the earth is consistent with a young age rather than billions of years, even taking into account heat from radioactive decay. See Woodmorappe, J., 1999. Lord Kelvin revisited on the young age of the earthimg. Journal of Creation (TJ) 13(1):14, 1999.

 

The link criticizes an inference about something which cannot be directly observed (the sources of geothermal heat) because it relies on a fact that creationists deny (an old Earth). As such, this is not an argument, but a complaint that someone used the scientifically-accepted age of the Earth to learn something new.

Although Lord Kelvin himself was an anti-evolutionist, his calculations[wp] — made before the discovery of heat generation from radioactivity — still put the age of the Earth at 20 to 40 million years. This is an argument against a young Earth.

[edit] Radiometric dating

[edit] 51

Carbon-14 in coal suggests ages of thousands of years and clearly contradict ages of millions of years.

 

The origin of carbon-14 in coal deposits is well understood. Almost all fossil fuel deposits contain small concentrations of uranium. Rarely, a uranium atom will decay through spontaneous fission (0.00005% of all decays for uranium-238 and even lower for uranium-235), producing neutrons. Each 75 grams of natural uranium will generate on average one neutron per second. These neutrons then react with nitrogen-14, always present in coal, in the reaction 14N(n,p)14C, resulting in "young" radiocarbon in fossil fuel hundreds of millions of years old.[55]

[edit] 52

Carbon-14 in oilimg again suggests ages of thousands, not millions, of years.

 

As per #51, the mechanism by which carbon-14 is created in old deposits is well understood. Other possible sources of anomalous carbon-14 readings include contamination of the sample with recent biological material and measurement errors.

[edit] 53

Carbon-14 in fossil woodimg also indicates ages of thousands, not millions, of years.

 

As per #51 and #52, the mechanism for carbon-14 in old deposits is well understood. If your sample is much older than 60,000 years, the results of carbon-14 dating are meaningless. Use a different dating method that works for longer ages, e.g. potassium-40.

[edit] 54

Carbon-14 in diamondsimg suggests ages of thousands, not billions, of years.

 

As per #51, #52 and #53.

This is a good example of how lists of this sort can inflate their apparent size by repeating the exact same point in a slightly different form.

More importantly, applying radiocarbon dating to diamonds shows a lack of understanding of radiocarbon dating.[wp] Unlike living entities, diamonds are not made from atmospheric carbon, but are formed deep within the Earth. They naturally contain some nitrogen that can be altered by decay of radioactive elements present in the diamond into C14. Radiocarbon dating is based on the measured ratio of unstable C14 to stable C12 and C13 in atmospheric carbon dioxide — but the original ratio of these two isotopes in a newly-created diamond is unknown. Like trying to measure the speed of light with a stopwatch, radiocarbon dating of diamonds is using entirely the wrong tool for the job.

Even if it were not, the ages claimed here for the diamonds (55,700 years) are not only at the upper limit of radiocarbon dating, but are well in excess of Ussher's 6,000-year timescale.

[edit] 55

Incongruent radioisotope dates using the same technique argue against trusting the dating methods that give millions of years.

 

The citation given is a chapter of a creationist book which itself says carbon-14 dating is unreliable past 35-45 thousand years, due to that being the upper limit of the test. Anything older will return a result of "35-45 thousand years or older".

Furthermore, the book criticizes dates obtained using argon–argon dating[wp] (where Ar-40 is compared to Ar-39). It's true that this method is sensitive to loss of argon from the rock, for example through weathering, which leads to apparent ages older than in reality, just as described in the chapter. However, this doesn't cast any doubt on dating methods in general; it's at most another argument for being careful to use the right tool for the job.

[edit] 56

Incongruent radioisotope dates using different techniques argue against trusting the dating methods that give millions of years (or billions of years for the age of the earth).

 

This is a duplicate of #55.

[edit] 57

Demonstrably non-radiogenic "isochrons" of radioactiveimg and non-radioactive elements undermine the assumptions behind isochron "dating" that gives billions of years. "False" isochronsimg are common.

 

The referenced paper does not actually demonstrate that isochrons are not radiogenic. It merely suggests that isochrons are a result of mixing between isotopically-light and isotopically-heavy sources of strontium, rather than a result of radioactive decay. The proposed source of this strontium is miraculous isotope separation in the mantle and meteorites. No evidence that such systems actually exist is presented, nor have the postulated strontium sources been found.

The author of this conjecture is John Woodmorappe, author of Noah's Ark: A feasibility study.[56]

[edit] 58

Different faces of the same zircon crystal and different zircons from the same rockimg giving different "ages" undermine all "dates" obtained from zircons.

 

The link is a criticism of two papers that fails to show understanding of the field.

The first paper criticised is about the dating of zircon grains in Australia.[57] The author of the linked article complains that the oldest obtained age was reported instead of taking an average, completely failing to understand that the dating method used gives minimum estimates of age, so obviously the oldest value is a better estimate of true age than an average of minima. Moreover, he does not mention that the dates obtained from 17 different grains vary only slightly.

The second paper criticised describes diamonds from Zaire with abnormal argon content that results in a bogus K-Ar dating result of 6 billion years.[58] Here the contention is that the age of the diamonds was rejected due to dogma, which demonstrates a failure to comprehend the concept of outliers. It's also a mystery why the author is defending a claim that the Earth is older than commonly accepted while arguing that it's a million times younger than commonly accepted.

[edit] 59

Evidence of a period of rapid radioactive decay in the recent pastimg (lead and helium concentrations and diffusion rates in zircons) point to a young earth explanation.

 

This claim is refuted, in excruciating detail, at the talk.origins archive.[59] Basically, Humphreys gathered some shabbily acquired, faulty data, combined this with a deeply flawed model of helium diffusion in zircons, and claimed it proved young earth creationism. His claim was then thoroughly discredited — by old Earth creationist Gary H. Loechelt.

[edit] 60

The amount of helium, a product of alpha-decay of radioactive elements, retained in zircons in granite is consistent with an age of 6,000±2000 years, not the supposed billions of years. See: Humphreys, D.R., Young helium diffusion age of zircons supports accelerated nuclear decay, in Vardiman, Snelling, and Chaffin (eds.), Radioisotopes and the Age of the Earth: Results of a Young Earth Creationist Research Initiative, Institute for Creation Research and Creation Research Society, 848 pp., 2005

 

This refers to the same work as #59.

The authors of these articles have failed to consider the full implications of their hypothesis that radioactive decay was much faster in the past. If all past decay happened in just 4540 years instead of 4.54 billion years, the released heat would provide 50 times more power per unit of Earth's surface than the Sun in zenith, and the background radiation dose at the end of the accelerated decay period would have been around 2000 Sv per year, or more than one lethal dose per day. How would anything have survived such conditions?

[edit] 61

Lead in zircons from deep drill cores vs. shallow ones. They are similar, but there should be less in the deep ones due to the higher heat causing higher diffusion rates over the usual long ages supposed. If the ages are thousands of years, there would not be expected to be much difference, which is the case (Gentry, R., et al., Differential lead retention in zircons: Implications for nuclear waste containment, Science 216(4543):296–298, 1982; DOI: 10.1126/science.216.4543.296).

 

The calculations used to arrive at this conclusion are in error. A better estimate results in dates tens of millions of years older.[59]

[edit] 62

Pleochroic halos produced in granite by concentrated specks of short half-life elements such as polonium suggest a period of rapid nuclear decay of the long half-life parent isotopes during the formation of the rocks and rapid formation of the rocks, both of which speak against the usual ideas of geological deep time. See, Radiohalos: Startling evidence of catastrophic geologic processesimg, Creation 28(2):46–50, 2006.

 

There is no good evidence that "polonium halos" are really caused by polonium decay.[60] Moreover, polonium-218 is continuously generated from the decay of radon-222, itself a decay product of uranium-238, a common component of granite. Radon-222 is a gas with a half-life of 3.8 days that can easily migrate through cracks in the rock, explaining why claimed polonium and uranium halos are close to each other. The claim that polonium must have been formed rapidly is a non sequitur.

[edit] 63

Squashed pleochroic halosimg (radiohalos) formed from decay of polonium, a very short half-life element, in coalified wood from several geological eras suggest rapid formation of all the layers about the same time, in the same process, consistent with the biblical "young" earth model rather than the millions of years claimed for these events.

 

Duplicate of #62.

[edit] 64

Australia's "Burning Mountain"img speaks against radiometric dating and the millions of years belief system (according to radiometric dating of the lava intrusion that set the coal alight, the coal in the burning mountain has been burning for ~40 million years, but clearly this is not feasible).

 

There is fairly clear evidence — presented in the linked article — that the Burning Mountain coal seam was ignited around 6,000 years ago, so it couldn't have been ignited by the 40 million years old lava intrusion. Moreover a lava intrusion cannot ignite coal while it is still underground, because there is no oxygen in which it could burn.

The author essentially says that he can't believe that any of the known natural origins of coal seam fires (e.g., lightning, forest fire, spontaneous ignition) could have started the fire, so it must have been the lava, and therefore radiometric dating is wrong. This is a combination of an argument from incredulity and a straw man.

[edit] Astronomical evidence

[edit] 65

Evidence of recent volcanic activity on Earth's moon is inconsistent with its supposed vast age because it should have long since cooled if it were billions of years old. See: Transient lunar phenomena: a permanent problem for evolutionary models of Moon formation and Walker, T., and Catchpoole, D., Lunar volcanoes rock long-age timeframeimg, Creation 31(3):18, 2009. See further corroboration: “At Long Last, Moon’s Core ‘Seen’”; http://news.sciencemag.org/sciencenow/2011/01/at-long-last-moons-core-seen.html?rss=1   The observations of transient lunar phenomena,[wp] discussed by the first article, are irreproducible to date. All of them are sufficiently explained by non-volcanic processes, such as meteor impacts, outgassing, electrostatic phenomena and bad observation conditions. No volcanic gases or ash have been detected by the many orbital science missions that have sampled the moon's atmosphere.

The "recent" activity described in the second link does not mean 6,000 years — the work, based on counting craters, says that there was localized volcanic activity on the far side of the Moon as "recently" as 2.5 billion years ago,[61] compared to dating based on Moon rock samples indicating that volcanism ended roughly 3 billion years ago.

The last link describes seismic evidence that the Moon has a slightly molten core, though the core is proportionately much smaller than those of bodies of comparable size. This is not evidence for a young universe.

[edit] 66

Recession of the moon from the earthimg. Tidal friction causes the moon to recede from the earth at 4 cm per year. It would have been greater in the past when the moon and earth were closer together. The moon and earth would have been in catastrophic proximity (Roche limit) at less than a quarter of their supposed age.

 

Using a linear equation to model Moon recession is too simplistic to give anything even close to correct results.

Moving a satellite into a higher orbit, or away from the primary object, requires energy input. Recession of the Moon is caused by tidal friction, which converts the rotational energy of the Earth into the potential energy of the Moon,[62] and tidal friction in turn depends on the layout of the continents, which was different in the past.

Evidence from tidal rhythmites[wp] — sediment deposits that show a thinly layered structure with each layer corresponding to one Moon orbit, similar to tree rings — indicates that 2.45 billion years ago the Moon was just 10% closer to the Earth than at present.[63]

[edit] 67

Slowing down of the earth. Tidal dissipation rate of Earth's angular momentum: increasing length of day, currently by 0.002 seconds/day every century (thus an impossibly short day billions of years ago and a very slow day shortly after accretion and before the postulated giant impact to form the Moon). See: How long has the moon been receding?img   Since the day length is connected with the Moon recession discussed in #66, a linear equation is too simplistic to model this case as well. Note also how the author dismisses uniformitarianism for phenomena such as radioactive decay, for which no mechanisms of rate change are known, yet insists on using uniformitarian assumptions in places where they are clearly wrong and there are obvious mechanisms for rate changes.

The evidence listed in #66 from tidal rhythmites suggests that 2.45 billion years ago the day was 17.1-18.9 hours long.[63]

[edit] 68

Ghost craters on the moon's maria (singular mare: dark "seas" formed from massive lava flows) are a problem for long ages. Evolutionists believe that the lava flows were caused by enormous impacts, and this lava partly buried other, smaller, impact craters within the larger craters, leaving "ghosts". But this means that the smaller impacts can't have been too long after the huge ones, otherwise the lava would have hardened before the impacts. This suggests a very narrow time frame for lunar cratering, and by implication the other cratered bodies of our solar system. They suggest that the cratering occurred quite quickly. See Fryman, H., Ghost craters in the sky, Creation Matters 4(1):6, 1999; A biblically based cratering theoryimg (Faulkner); Lunar volcanoes rock long-age timeframeimg.

 

This description of ghost crater formation is a straw man, oversimplified to the point of incorrectness. The mare-forming eruptions are known to have occurred millions of years after the impacts, based on radiogenic dating of the volcanic basalts and the pre-mare ejecta. Chemical differentiation and layering observed in Hadley Rille show that the maria were formed from episodes of volcanism extending over geologic time, not in a single event.

Evolutionists do not study lava flows, that's what geologists and selenologists do. Evolution by natural selection has nothing to say about geology.

The last link about supposed lunar volcanoes is a duplicate of the second link discussed in #65.

[edit] 69

The presence of a significant magnetic field around Mercuryimg is not consistent with its supposed age of billions of years. A planet so small should have cooled down enough so any liquid core would solidify, preventing the evolutionists' "dynamo" mechanism. See also, Humphreys, D.R., Mercury's magnetic field is young!img Journal of Creation 22(3):8–9, 2008.

 

Space probes sent to Mercury have observed tiny changes in its rate of rotation, and proven beyond reasonable doubt that it has a molten core.[64] The postulated explanations are a high sulfur content in the core, which would lower its melting point, and the high eccentricity of the planet's orbit, causing tidal heating.[wp] Mercury's core is 42% of its volume, compared to 17% for Earth; even this generates a magnetic field only 1% of Earth's.[65]

Humphreys' own model postulates that the field arises due to a decaying electrical current running through the core of Mercury, said current having been started by God as a miracle. However, such a current would dissipate in minutes, not the postulated 6,000 years, unless the core was superconducting — an absurdity given the temperatures on and inside Mercury.

It is also unclear what place a claim of miraculous intervention, that would invalidate physics, has in a list of arguments that claims to be consistent with science.

[edit] 70

The outer planets Uranus and Neptune have magnetic fields, but they should be long "dead" if they are as old as claimed according to evolutionary long-age beliefs. Assuming a solar system age of thousands of years, physicist Russell Humphreys successfully predicted the strengths of the magnetic fields of Uranus and Neptuneimg.

 

The link given is a duplicate of point #49. Again, the article posits an incorrect uniformitarian assumption of an exponentially decaying magnetic field that contradicts the author's own argument in #46.

The mechanism of magnetic field generation on Neptune and Uranus is considered to be substantially different to that of Earth. Simulations support the notion that the field is generated by a thin convecting layer of fluid that surrounds a stable, stratified interior.[66]

Also the claim that Humphreys predicted the magnetic fields of Uranus and Neptune is false. Data was already available at the time of Humphreys' "predictions" that placed strict limits on the strengths of the magnetic fields. Considering these limits, Humphreys was about as far off as he could have been.

The scientific reasoning of long ages for the planets is not "evolutionary". This conflates two unlinked fields.

[edit] 71

Jupiter's larger moons, Ganymede, Io, and Europa, have magnetic fieldsimg, which they should not have if they were billions of years old, because they have solid cores and so no dynamo could generate the magnetic fields. This is consistent with creationist Humphreys' predictions. See also, Spencer, W., Ganymede: the surprisingly magnetic moonimg, Journal of Creation 23(1):8–9, 2009.

 

This is factually incorrect. Only Ganymede[wp], Jupiter's largest moon, has its own magnetic field. Io[wp] has no field at all, while Europa's[wp] field is induced by Jupiter's own. Ganymede is thought to have a molten core, and thus generates its own field through the standard dynamo effect model.

[edit] 72

Volcanically active moons of Jupiter (Ioimg) are consistent with youthfulness (Galileo mission recorded 80 active volcanoes). If Io had been erupting over 4.5 billion years at even 10% of its current rate, it would have erupted its entire mass 40 times. Io looks like a young moon and does not fit with the supposed billions of year's age for the solar system. Gravitational tugging from Jupiter and other moons accounts for only some of the excess heat produced.

 

It is widely accepted that the volcanism on Io arises through tidal heating.[wp] Because Io is subjected to gravitational forces from Jupiter and three of its large moons, Europa, Callisto[wp] and Ganymede, its crust is flexed in an irregular pattern, with the tidal bulges being up to 100 meters high. This generates tremendous amounts of heat — around 2.5 W/m2, or 50 times Earth's geothermal heat flux of 0.05 W/m2 — to power its volcanoes.[67][68]

Note also that the age of Io is unknown, so there is little basis for using a date of 4.5 billion years. It could well have been captured later.

[edit] 73

The surface of Jupiter's moon Europa. Studies of the few craters indicated that up to 95% of small craters, and many medium-sized ones, are formed from debris thrown up by larger impacts. This means that there have been far fewer impacts than had been thought in the solar system and the age of other objects in the solar system, derived from cratering levels, have to be reduced drastically (see Psarris, Spike, What you aren't being told about astronomy, volume 1: Our created solar system DVD, available from CMI).

 

Europa's outer crust is ice and very active, as shown by the large fractures on its surface.[69] Only large, recent craters and their effects would have a chance of remaining visible any large amount of time.

Moreover, this argument contradicts the article's basic thesis: If there have been far fewer impacts (the cratering rate was lower), then the ages of heavily cratered bodies such as Mercury and the Moon have to be increased. The author contradicts himself by claiming that the cratering rate was much higher (point #68) and much lower (this one) at the same time.

[edit] 74

Methane on Titanimg (Saturn's largest moon)—the methane should all be gone because of UV-induced breakdown. The products of photolysis should also have produced a huge sea of ethane. As the original Astrobiology paper said, “If the chemistry on Titan has gone on in steady-state over the age of the solar system, then we would predict that a layer of ethane 300 to 600 meters thick should be deposited on the surface.” No such sea is seen, which is consistent with Titan being a tiny fraction of the claimed age of the solar system.

 

While interesting, this is reasoning ahead of the evidence. The most likely explanation is that Titan's atmospheric methane is replenished from underground repositories. This explanation is supported by observations made by Cassini that detected surface carbon dioxide, which indicates outgassing from the core. As for ethane, the Cassini probe has in fact found considerable ethane forming vast liquid ethane seas and lakes, while vastly more forms an ethane "mist."

We can show through simple arithmetic that the 6,000 year time scale is far short of that required to produce all the observed ethane on Titan. Given the current best estimates of the rate of photodisassociation of methane on Titan 4×10−12 kg per m2 per second, and given the generous (and obviously wrong) assumption that the entire surface area of Titan is insolated year round, we can come up with a ceiling of 6.28×1013 kg of methane disassociated in the history of Titan, of which ~12.5% would have been lost as hydrogen gas. This gives us, at very most, 5.52×1013 kg of ethane. Assuming a liquid density in the region of 520 kg per m3, we would expect no more than 1.06×1011 m3 of ethane on Titan. This means that the so far observed seas and lakes on Titan (with only 30% of the surface surveyed) could only be on average 0.2 cm in depth at best, which we know is wrong since most of them don't return a radar signature, indicating they are more than 10 metres deep.

This also excludes the vast reservoir of gaseous ethane in the atmosphere, which is in fact observed.

[edit] 75

The rate of change / disappearance of Saturn's rings is inconsistent with their supposed vast ageimg; they speak of youthfulness.

 

This links to another extensive list similar to this one, which uses considerable misunderstood quote mining. Instead of refuting each point individually, here is a short explanation. The age of a gas giant is not necessarily related to the ages of its rings. A planetary ring[wp] can originate in one of two ways:

  • The protoplanetary dust left over after a planet's formation is within the Roche limit,[wp] the minimum distance below which an object held together only by its gravity will disintegrate due to tidal forces. This will stop it consolidating into a moon.
  • A previously captured rubble-pile asteroid orbit decays within the Roche limit. If the asteroid is below the synchronous orbit radius, e.g., orbiting faster than the planet's rotation, tidal friction will cause it slow down further, and pass through the Roche Limit. This is also the case for retrograde orbits (opposite to the planet's rotation). This way, an old planet can have young rings.

Small moons can survive within the Roche Limit if they are held together by tensile strength and not just their gravity. Orbital resonances and collisions with those moons, known as shepherd moons, cause the rings to maintain sharp edges and gaps.

Observations from the Cassini probe made in 2007 suggest that while the rings of Saturn are a dynamic structure, they are likely as old as the Solar System — 4.5 billion years — and so were formed with Saturn itself.[70]

[edit] 76

Enceladus, a moon of Saturn, looks young. Astronomers working in the "billions of years" mindset thought that this moon would be cold and dead, but it is a very active moon, spewing massive jets of water vapour and icy particles into space at supersonic speeds, consistent with a much younger age. Calculations show that the interior would have frozen solid after 30 million years (less than 1% of its supposed age); tidal friction from Saturn does not explain its youthful activity (Psarris, Spike, What you aren't being told about astronomy, volume 1: Our created solar system DVD; Walker, T., 2009. Enceladus: Saturn's sprightly moon looks young, Creation 31(3):54–55).

 

The origin of extra heat emanating from Enceladus is indeed a subject of current research in planetary science. This is not surprising, because the Cassini probe approached it only in 2005. The conventional tidal heating mechanism, known from Io (per #72), explains only a small part of the heat. Various other mechanisms were proposed, including enhanced heating through orbital resonances in the past, but most were found to be inadequate.[71][72] The missing heat is rather small on planetary scales (6 gigawatts), and equivalent to the thermal output of a large coal power plant.

The author's proposed age of 30 million years is an argument against a 6,000-year timescale.

The difference in behavior between the sides of the debate is illustrative. The scientists are actively working to arrive at an explanation and critically evaluate each other's hypotheses, while the creationist authors here make no attempt to explain anything, and only go back to the myth. In this case, their only argument rests on a false dichotomy between the current state of science and biblical literalism. See also God of the gaps.

[edit] 77

Miranda, a small moon of Uranus, should have been long since dead, if billions of years old, but its extreme surface features suggest otherwise. See Revelations in the solar systemimg.

 

The genesis of the surface features of Miranda is not fully understood. Proposed explanations involve tidal heating and repeated shattering by large impacts. Notably, the surface is a mix of apparently ancient and young regions.[73][74]

Just as with Enceladus in #76, the existence of open questions in science does not prove that creationism must therefore be correct.

[edit] 78

Neptune should be long since "cold", lacking strong wind movement if it were billions of years old, yet Voyager II in 1989 found it to be otherwise — it has the fastest winds in the entire solar system. This observation is consistent with a young age, not billions of years. See Neptune: monument to creationimg.

 

Contrary to what the author asserts, large quantities of latent geothermal heat would not explain the strong winds. The current scientific hypothesis, based on simulations, is that the winds are caused by a combination of deep convection and conservation of angular momentum.[75] However, the matter is not settled, notably because the model might not agree with the one proposed to explain the magnetic field in #70.

The linked article also makes a claim similar to #91 for Neptune.

[edit] 79

Neptune's rings have thick regions and thin regions. This unevenness means they cannot be billions of years old, since collisions of the ring objects would eventually make the ring very uniform. Revelations in the solar systemimg.

 

This appears to refer to the arcs of the Adams ring,[wp] which under normal circumstances should dissipate and the ring should become uniform. It is thought that the arcs arise due to interactions of the dust particles with the moon Galatea.[76] See also #75.

[edit] 80

Young surface age of Neptune's moon, Triton — less than 10 million years, even with evolutionary assumptions on rates of impacts (see Schenk, P.M., and Zahnle, K. On the Negligible Surface Age of Triton, Icarus 192(1):135–149, 2007. <doi:10.1016/j.icarus.2007.07.004>.

 

Triton[wp] is geologically active and its surface is constantly changing. There is no reason to expect that the analysis of craters will give a good estimate of the age of the object, for craters can only give the age of last resurfacing.

There is no such thing as "evolutionary assumptions on rates of impact". Astrogeology and biological evolution have nothing to do with each other.

And once again, 10 million years is an argument against a young universe.

[edit] 81

Uranus and Neptune both have magnetic fields significantly off-axis, which is an unstable situation. When this was discovered with Uranus, it was assumed by evolutionary astronomers that Uranus must have just happened to be going through a magnetic field reversal. However, when a similar thing was found with Neptune, this AD hoc explanation was upset. These observations are consistent with ages of thousands of yearsimg rather than billions.   It is not stated how the fields would be consistent with a young universe, nor is an alternative proposed mechanism of magnetic field generation given.

There is no such thing as an "evolutionary astronomer".

The argument about the magnetic fields of Uranus and Neptune is a duplicate of point #70, and is discussed there. The link itself is duplicated from #78.

[edit] 82

The orbit of Pluto is chaotic on a 20 million year time scale and affects the rest of the solar system, which would also become unstable on that time scale, suggesting that it must be much younger. (See: Rothman, T., God takes a nap, Scientific American 259(4):20, 1988).

 

Pluto's orbit is indeed chaotic in the long term, but this argument, which appears to quote-mine a popular science magazine, has two basic errors.

Firstly, it makes the elementary mistake of misunderstanding the word "chaotic" to mean "random" or "arbitrary". The weather is chaotic,[wp] but this doesn't mean that a tornado can suddenly form on a windless day. Pluto's precise position is unpredictable on timescales longer than its Lyapunov time[wp] of 10-20 million years, but this absolutely does not mean that after this time it will be destroyed or ejected from the Solar System. The 3:2 orbital resonance of Pluto with Neptune means that it is nearly certain that it will remain in the Kuiper belt for billions of years.

Secondly, the assertion that a chaotic behavior of Pluto induces or even implies a chaotic behavior for the rest of the Solar System is completely incorrect.

[edit] 83

The existence of short-period cometsimg (orbital period less than 200 years), e.g. Halley, which have a life of less than 20,000 years, is consistent with an age of the solar system of less than 10,000 years. ad hoc hypotheses have to be invented to circumvent this evidence (see Kuiper Beltimg). See Comets and the age of the solar systemimg.   The Kuiper belt[wp] is not an "ad hoc hypothesis", it really exists. (Look, here's a picture of it!) The author of the linked article claims that comets cannot come from the Kuiper belt, because the objects discovered so far are too large, while ignoring the fact that large objects are the easiest to detect, an effect known in astronomy as Malmquist bias.[wp] We also have another case of affirming the consequent: the author thinks that young comets mean a young Solar System.

The link is from 2002, and many new discoveries related to Kuiper Belt objects have been made since then. Most notably, the dwarf planet Eris was discovered and found to be of a size similar to Pluto, and as an indirect result of this discovery the category "dwarf planet"[wp] was created, which includes objects such as Eris, Pluto, Ceres, Haumea and Makemake.

[edit] 84

"Near-infrared spectra of the Kuiper Belt Object, Quaoar and the suspected Kuiper Belt Object, Charon, indicate both contain crystalline water ice and ammonia hydrate. This watery material cannot be much older than 10 million years, which is consistent with a young solar system, not one that is 5 billion years old." See: The "waters above"img.

 

Crystalline water and ammonia ice on Kuiper Belt objects, such as Quaoar, is a recent discovery. The proposed explanations are an impact event, cryovolcanism driven by the heat of radioactive decay or a combination of both, but there is not enough data to answer this question definitely.[77][78]

The creationist hypothesis, given in the linked article, is that these objects are made of remnants of a "watery halo" that God created on Day 2 as "waters above" and which caused the global flood: a postulate of miraculous actions which would invalidate physics.

It is also based on accepting the existence of the Kuiper Belt, even though #83 dismisses the Kuiper Belt as an "ad hoc hypothesis".

10 million year timescales do not support a 6,000 year old earth.

[edit] 85

Lifetime of long-period comets (orbital period greater than 200 years) that are sun-grazing comets or others like Hyakutake or Hale–Bopp means they could not have originated with the solar system 4.5 billion years ago. However, their existence is consistent with a young age for the solar system. Again an ad hoc Oort Cloudimg was invented to try to account for these comets still being present after billions of years. See, Comets and the age of the solar systemimg.   An argument which shares many problems with #83. The author is basing his claim of no evidence for the Oort on special pleading, by excluding the evidence from long-period comets.

The cited article from Nature says that simulations of the formation of the Oort cloud indicate that it may contain less material than previously thought, which is a far cry from saying that the Oort cloud doesn't exist.[79] However, later work suggests that over 90% of material in the cloud might have been captured from other stars.[80]

[edit] 86

The maximum expected lifetime of near-earth asteroids is of the order of one million years, after which they collide with the sun. And the Yarkovsky effect moves main belt asteroids into near-earth orbits faster than had been thought. This brings into question the origin of asteroids with the formation of the solar system (the usual scenario), or the solar system is much younger than the 4.5 billion years claimed. Henry, J., The asteroid belt: indications of its youth, Creation Matters 11(2):2, 2006.

 

This refers to the Yarkovsky effect:[wp] a difference in the emitted thermal radiation between the "dusk" and "dawn" sides of a rotating asteroid that causes changes to its orbit over the long term.

The problem with this claim is that the force arising from the Yarkovsky effect depends on the direction in which the asteroid is rotating. For prograde satellites (rotating in the same direction as their orbit), the effect will actually cause the asteroids to move away from the Sun, and practically all asteroids in the main belt are prograde. Among over 500,000 identified objects in the Solar system, only 36 retrograde asteroids have been identified, and none of them are confined to the main belt.[81] Moreover, this effect is dependent on the size and shape of the asteroid, and is negligible for large asteroids.

Since calculations involving the Yarkovsky effect are highly complex, the claimed 1 million year age limit appears completely arbitrary.

In any event, even accepting the age of one million years rather than the standard 4.5 billion still provides no support for young Earth creationism.

[edit] 87

The lifetime of binary asteroids—where a tiny asteroid "moon" orbits a larger asteroid— in the main belt (they represent about 15–17% of the total): tidal effects limit the life of such binary systems to about 100,000 years. The difficulties in conceiving of any scenario for getting binaries to form in such numbers to keep up the population, led some astronomers to doubt their existence, but space probes confirmed it (Henry, J., The asteroid belt: indications of its youth, Creation Matters 11(2):2, 2006).

 

The current hypothesis is that binary asteroids are formed when fast rotation of an asteroid tears it apart into two new bodies — a process called rotational fission.[82] The rate of rotation can increase through the YORP effect,[wp] an effect related to the Yarkovsky effect discussed in the previous point, but acting on irregular surfaces and inhomogeneities in albedo.

[edit] 88

The observed rapid rate of change in starsimg contradicts the vast ages assigned to stellar evolution. For example, Sakurai's Object in Sagittarius: in 1994, this star was most likely a white dwarf in the centre of a planetary nebula; by 1997 it had grown to a bright yellow giant, about 80 times wider than the sun (Astronomy & Astrophysics 321:L17, 1997). In 1998, it had expanded even further, to a red supergiant 150 times wider than the sun. But then it shrank just as quickly; by 2002 the star itself was invisible even to the most powerful optical telescopes, although it is detectable in the infrared, which shines through the dust (Muir, H., 2003, Back from the dead, New Scientist 177(2384):28–31).

 

Sakurai's Object[wp] is one of several observed "born again" objects that are believed to be white dwarfs which undergo a second phase of swelling to become red giants. Its transient nature indicates its origins as a star which first became a white dwarf prior to its swan song. This is not a good argument for a young universe.

[edit] 89

The faint young sun paradox. According to stellar evolution theory, as the sun's core transforms from hydrogen to helium by means of nuclear fusion, the mean molecular weight increases, which would compress the sun's core increasing fusion rate. The upshot is that over several billion years, the sun ought to have brightened 40% since its formation and 25% since the appearance of life on earth. For the latter, this translates into a 16–18 °C temperature increase on the earth. The current average temperature is 15 °C, so the earth ought to have had a -2 °C or so temperature when life appeared. See: Faulkner, D., The young faint Sun paradox and the age of the solar systemimg, Journal of Creation (TJ) 15(2):3–4, 2001.

 

Insolation is not the only factor which determines the surface temperature of a planet, as we are discovering here on Earth. It is simply not possible to perform this sort of simplified extrapolation. The faint young Sun paradox also has a number of proposed solutions.

Even if it were true that there was no solution, this claim still says nothing useful, e.g. at least one theory has it that life first formed around undersea geothermal vents, in which case insolation is totally irrelevant.

[edit] 90

Evidence of (very) recent geological activity (tectonic movements) on the moon is inconsistent with its supposed age of billions of years and its hot origin. Watters, T.R., et al., Evidence of Recent Thrust Faulting on the Moon Revealed by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera, Science 329(5994):936–940, 20 August 2010; DOI: 10.1126/science.1189590 (“This detection, coupled with the very young apparent age of the faults, suggests global late-stage contraction of the Moon.”) NASA pictures support biblical origin for Moonimg.

 

The recent (meaning less than a billion years ago) thrust faulting on the moon actually confirms long held theories about the initial conditions of the moon as is explained in the referenced paper. The misunderstanding of the creationists is that they claim that the moon would be cold and dead 2 billion years after its formation. Not only does this claim lack scientific merit and common sense but again, the author's own claim is strongly against a young earth. See also #65.

[edit] 91

The giant gas planets Jupiter and Saturn radiate more energy than they receive from the sun, suggesting a recent origin. Jupiter radiates almost twice as much energy as it receives from the sun, indicating that it may be less than 1 % of the presumed 4.5 billion years old solar system. Saturn radiates nearly twice as much energy per unit mass as Jupiter. See The age of the Jovian planetsimg.

 

Jupiter generates significant quantities of internal heat through the well understood Kelvin–Helmholtz mechanism.[wp] As a result of this heat radiation, Jupiter shrinks by 2 cm per year. Given that it is 2.5 times more massive than all the other planets put together, one can assume that it has been radiating more heat than it gets from the sun for a bit more than 6,000 years, and the author's claim would put the age of Jupiter at a sprightly 45 million years.

[edit] 92

Speedy stars are consistent with a young age for the universe. For example, many stars in the dwarf galaxies in the Local Group are moving away from each other at speeds estimated at 10–12 km/s. At these speeds, the stars should have dispersed in 100 Ma, which, compared with the supposed 14,000 Ma age of the universe, is a short time. See Fast stars challenge big bang origin for dwarf galaxies.

 

These dwarf galaxies are several million light years away, meaning it would take several million years for the light to get here, which does not support a 6,000-year-old universe (the starlight problem). The 100 million year figure also fails to support a 6,000 year timescale. In fact, the conventional explanation for non-dispersal of these galaxies is that they contain significant amounts of dark matter, whose gravitational attraction keeps the stars bound. While the existence of dark matter remains to be confirmed, there is considerable indirect evidence of its gravitational effect, and many experiments are underway aimed at direct detection. Furthermore, there is no reason some stars could not have formed recently, and star formation is indeed occuring at present.

[edit] 93

The ageing of spiral galaxies (much less than 200 million years) is not consistent with their supposed age of many billions of years. The discovery of extremely "young" spiral galaxiesimg highlights the problem of this evidence for the evolutionary ages assumed.

 

This point refers to the winding problem.[wp] If we assume that the stars orbit the galactic core in orbits that match the shape of the galactic disk, then the outer stars would orbit slower than the inner stars. This would lead to the arms being coiled tighter and tighter around the core until they disappeared.

There are two hypotheses that explain the long-term stability of spiral galaxies. The first possibility is that stars do not orbit the core in circular orbits, but rather in elliptical orbits which are partially aligned with each other. This naturally leads to regions of greater star density, which would be visible as arms (see picture).

Spiral galaxy arms diagram.svg

The second possibility is that the arms are not actually regions of substantially higher matter density, but regions of increased luminance. As a spiral density wave propagates through the galaxy, it causes the ignition of bright, short-lived stars in its wake. In other words, the spiral arms are not like ribbons on a stick, but like a grass fire.[83]

[edit] 94

The number of type I supernova remnantsimg (SNRs) observable in our galaxy is consistent with an age of thousands of years, not millions or billions. See Davies, K., Proc. 3rd ICC, pp. 175–184, 1994.

 

We have found many third stage remnants, so this claim is factually incorrect. See, for example, the North Polar Spur.

For even the most massive stars to reach the nova stage, millions of years would have had to have passed.

[edit] 95

The rate of expansion and size of supernovas indicates that all studied are young (less than 10,000 years). See supernova remnantsimg.

 

This claim is factually incorrect. This supernova is found in a distant galaxy some 380 million light years away, hence it must have occurred 380 million years ago. Where the figure "less than 10,000 years" comes from is unknown. Light from the remnants takes several million years to reach us. If we were very close to the supernova, we would be incinerated. Something of this nature may have caused the Ordovician-Silurian event. The gamma ray burst in question came from about six thousand light years away. Aside from supernovae, deep space quasars have redshifts indicating they are as far away as 2.44 billion light years.

[edit] Human history

[edit] 96

Human population growth. Less than 0.5% p.a. growth from six people 4,500 years ago would produce today's population. Where are all the people?img if we have been here much longer?

 

We can be certain that there were far more than six people 4500 years ago, before or after the putative flood. 2500 BC corresponds to the Fourth Dynasty of Egypt[wp] which saw the construction of the Great Pyramid of Giza,[wp][84] and the Mature Harappan period of the Indus Valley Civilization[wp] during which it was most prosperous. Note that these are before the standard Great Flood date of 2348 BC.[6]

In fact, a Jesuit missionary, Martino Martini,[wp] who was sent to China in the 1650s, was shocked to find that Chinese records chronicled the Imperial dynasty from the first emperor in 2952 BC. An emperor, of course, requires a large population to rule over, not a single individual. Even to a strict Jesuit the Chinese records appeared more reliable and detailed than those of the Jews, they contained no gaps, even the earliest entries were written by contemporary authors, they were strictly factual without any reference to myths or legends, and they could be cross-referenced to the dates of solar eclipses calculated by European astronomers.[85]

The linked article says that of course the growth rate has changed, but still fails to consider that in some periods, more people died than were born, which meant the population growth was negative. e.g., the Black Death[wp] epidemic in 14th century Europe and Asia, which exterminated almost a fourth of humanity.

The reality is that, as we see in animals today, the human population was relatively static for much of our history, and determined by the carrying capacity[wp] of the environment — quality of soil, fresh water, diseases, weather, and so on. Only our technical advances in agriculture and medicine have allowed us to dramatically expand the carrying capacity of the Earth and thus increase our population.

[edit] 97

"Stone age" human skeletons and artefacts. There are not enough for 100,000 years of a human population of just one million, let alone more people (10 million?). See Where are all the people?img

 

This item contains three oversights. Firstly, fossilization is a rare event, and most bones — including human bones — simply degrade over time until nothing remains. Secondly, in the past not everyone was buried — many people died during hunting and wars, and cremation was common. Thirdly, because burying someone with useful possessions is wasteful, burial with artifacts was a honor bestowed only upon the highest ranking members of society as a sign of respect. That's why discoveries of such tombs are rare.

The idea that there should be physical remains of everyone who has ever lived over the past over even the last 1000 years, let alone the last 100,000 years, is preposterous and ignores the even greater number of large beasts around the world which have also lived during this time but remain unrepresented in the archaeological record.

The link also contends that bones should be preserved over 100,000 years, because some paleobiologists have claimed to find a dinosaur bone with traces of soft tissue. This claim is discussed in point #7.

[edit] 98

Length of recorded history. Origin of various civilizations, writing, etc., all about the same time several thousand years ago. See Evidence for a young worldimg.

 

The linked article states the following argument from incredulity: "Prehistoric man built megalithic monuments, made beautiful cave paintings, and kept records of lunar phases. Why would he wait a thousand centuries before using the same skills to record history?"

Civilisations independently invented writing[wp] as and when they had a use for it: first as symbols, then as numbers[wp] for trade, then codified law, property records and priestly hierarchies. People started writing when it became useful to do so.

There's a further problem: as noted in #96, the Chinese had been chronicling their Imperial dynasty for several centuries prior to the claimed date of the Flood; and yet the first five books of the Bible, the Pentateuch, are generally agreed by even those Biblical scholars believing in their literal truth to have been written down by Moses only some time after 1491BC (per the Ussher timeline). Surely a physical copy of such an important work would have been committed to parchment much sooner.

[edit] 99

Languages. Similarities in languages claimed to be separated by many tens of thousands of years speaks against the supposed ages (e.g. compare some aboriginal languages in Australia with languages in south-eastern India and Sri Lanka). See The Tower of Babel account affirmed by linguisticsimg.

 

If there was a single common ancestor to all modern languages (such an idea is generally just sort of shrugged off as "we have no idea about that beyond the couple of thousands of years in the past we can reconstruct a language."), and if there was a common language and it diverged only 6,000 years ago, languages should be very, very similar to each other. There are variations in estimates about how old proto-Indo-European was, but we're talking about the vast majority of the European languages plus the Indian languages and Iranian having diverged from a common language (in most linguists' opinions) a good deal older than 3,500 years ago. If all languages were very recently connected, they should be FAR more similar than they are now. And linguistics has absolutely no problem with all existing languages being only 6,000 years old. Bottlenecks are the norm for language families. Problem is, beyond a certain point randomness creeps in and linguists can't tell the difference between a natural tendency of languages (a newborn can tell the difference between language sounds and other sounds, for instance). Again, it should be noted that rather than languages being too similar to have diverged 6,000 years ago (which would present no problem to linguistics), they are too diverse to be closely related.

The article itself contains some odd assertions. A sampling of points follows.

"man would at some point have gained the ability to speak. This process of change would actually be superbly dangerous, as they admit." Um... no? Why would language have been dangerous? Where did this even come from?

"But still, if speech did evolve somewhere, somehow, we would expect to find that all languages are genetically related." Actually, you would expect the opposite. If language evolved rather than was invented to work upon existing neurological circuitry (which I personally believe is almost certainly the case), then it would have developed gradually from not-quite language into language. Each region of earth would have a different language as genes would spread for the capability of improving on language without much actual language being passed on. Unless you're dumb enough to think there is just one gene for language capability. P.S. "genetically related" in linguistics means that two or more languages at one point were the same language, but diverged. The evolutionary model of Indo-European languages, posits hierarchical divergence of several new languages from a single old one into branches, sub-branches, etc. Evolutionary models of language are not universally accepted in the study of all related languages.

The author again asserts that languages must have evolved immediately at once in the same cultural group because "This suggestion is beyond belief, considering the dangers involved in the supposed evolution of speech." I really honestly don't even understand where this is coming from enough to argue against it. Why is having primitive communication methods dangerous, but having advanced communication safe?

What follows next is a fairly accurate description of historical linguistics in general. Maybe a bit dramatic for my tastes, but it sounds well-informed. Following that, the author seems to be a bit conservative in what linguistic reconstructions can do. Then the author bizarrely posits that learning to speak makes you choke. What? Does learning to bark make a dog in danger of choking? Is it even possible to exhale while swallowing? I honestly don't know, this really doesn't come up much in any class or book I've been taught. Following that, it's basically just an account of the Tower of Babel.

After that, the article says that because a particular study they cited didn't explain a different linguistic phenomenon than the one written about, then it is unexplainable. It does appear to be true (but controversial) that languages seem to have a long-term trend (following at the very earliest at least the introduction of writing) in which languages are more Analytic (like Chinese where words are words that can be broken apart) and less like Latin (where we get words like anti-dis-establish-ment-arian-ism[wp]). English, for instance, has been systematically getting rid of "irregular" verbs (changing the vowel in a word in a way that got way too complicated and no one knows the rules anymore), such as goose versus geese, in favor of adding on a second clitic morpheme "-s."

Following this, the author appears to confuse a proto-language (a language which appears to be the oldest form a language family) with what would be not-quite-language-yet. Linguists agree that proto-Indo-European was a fully-developed, modern language. In many ways far more complicated than our own English (though probably with a smaller vocabulary which seems to come about with literate cultures).

Honestly, the argument seems to be "Linguistics says IF all languages are related, they diverged more than 6,000 years ago. Since the Earth is younger than that, they diverged earlier. Since linguistics says that's not very likely, linguistics is wrong and the only explanation is the Tower of Babel."

[edit] 100

Common cultural "myths" speak of recent separation of peoples around the world. An example of this is the frequency of stories of an earth-destroying floodimg.

 

These myths also speak of many gods, yet the argument here is not for polytheism. Many important details are also different: some of these stories have two or more global floods, some have only local floods. The means by which some humans survive also differ greatly.[86]

It is important to note that frequent floods in river valleys create very fertile soil, which is the reason why many ancient civilizations (e.g. Egypt, Mesopotamia, China) began in environments prone to flooding. In this context, the prevalence of flood myths is not surprising.

[edit] 101

Origin of agriculture. Secular dating puts it at about 10,000 years and yet that same chronology says that modern man has supposedly been around for at least 200,000 years. Surely someone would have worked out much sooner how to sow seeds of plants to produce food. See: Evidence for a young worldimg.

 

By this argument, we should be wondering why it took people so long to invent the aeroplane, space flight or the television. If we are to wonder why it takes time for people to invent things, then are they arguing that God created us already knowing all inventions there would ever be? This is an argument from incredulity.

Farming requires the adoption of a lifestyle in which the farmer must learn to produce or trade for all the things he requires, to build and maintain irrigation systems, and to defend a permanent settlement. These innovations and the social structures needed to maintain them only seem obvious in hindsight.

More importantly, almost all of the plants and animals that humans depend on do not exist in nature. It was only by ages of selective breeding that certain animals were made docile and certain plants made edible and nutritious (e.g., the banana).

Other cultural advances that seem obvious to us today also have relatively late origins. For example, coinage replacing barter did not happen until 900BCE at the earliest, and the otherwise sophisticated Inca knew nothing of the wheel.

In contrast, a literal reading of the Bible allows 30 years at most for the development of agriculture.

[edit] Removed arguments

Some points have been changed since the article first appeared.[87] For completeness, this section collects analyses of arguments which are no longer present on the list.

[edit] Introduction

In the end the Bible will stand vindicated and those who deny its testimony will be confounded. That same Bible also tells us of God's judgment on those who reject his right to rule over them. But it also tells us of his willingness to forgive us for our rebellious behaviour. The coming of Jesus Christ, who was intimately involved in the creation process at the beginning, into the world, has made this possible (see Good newsimg).[88]   Apart from having no relevance to questions of the science (likely the reason for this point's removal), this religious declaration is dubious in terms of Biblical scholarship. John 1:1-3, although introducing a Gospel, does not mention Jesus, and has its origins in the ancient Greek philosophical term Logos.[wp]

[edit] Former point 90

Cometesimals. From his studies, astronomer Louis Frank says that 100 million tonnes of water is being added to Earth every year in cometesimals (small comet remnants). This has strong implications for the supposed age of the oceans, if confirmed. See: Bergman, J., Advances in integrating cosmology: The case of cometesimals, Journal of Creation (CENTJ) 10(2):202–210, 1996.[88]

 

The small comet hypothesis proposed by Louis A. Frank has been largely rejected as pseudoscience. The tenuous evidence for it consists of dark pixels interpreted as "atmospheric holes" in images taken by satellites observing the Earth from space. Their size does not depend on observation altitude, which would be expected of clouds of vapor from disintegrating comets, and are adequately explained as a combination of instrument noise and artifacts of the algorithm Frank and coworkers used to clean the images from bright spots caused by energetic particles.[89] Furthermore, 30,000 small comets disintegrating in the Earth's atmosphere every day would leave all sorts of other evidence, such as quite a light show every night, which is simply not there.[90]

[edit] Analysis

Many arguments on the list suffer from a specific combination of affirming the consequent with the spotlight fallacy:

  • If the Earth is 6,000 years old, we expect X to be less than 6,000 years old.
  • Under some circumstances, X can form in less than 6,000 years.
  • Therefore, the Earth could be 6,000 years old.

This is wrong on two levels. Firstly, an Earth that is billions of years old can be expected to have things younger than 6,000 years on it — such as you. Secondly, even if one example of X really is "young", it doesn't mean all X are — the vast majority of X mentioned in the arguments can be shown to be far older than the entire young Earth timescale.

Logically, we can also note that any evidence proffered by creationists that shows the Earth to be significantly older than 6,000 years — however lower than the conventionally accepted age — is an "own goal" which, far from undermining the scientific case, is actually an argument against a young age of the Earth. (In general: if A is evidence for X, then not-A is evidence against X.)

Another common error is assuming a false dilemma between current scientific knowledge about the age of the Earth and the universe, and the young Earth creationism perspective: either science can explain everything, or YEC is true. In reality, it is infinitely more likely that further investigation will result in evidence supporting explanations consistent with deep time and will further discredit the YEC view.

Below is a breakdown of problems in the author's arguments. It does not exhaustively list all errors, merely the common ones.

[edit] Fallacies

[edit] Technical problems

From this we see that there are not 101 "evidences", only 93, several of which contradict each other, with the rest containing logical and rhetorical errors which seriously undermine the intellectual rigour of the list.

[edit] See also

Icon fun.svg For those of you in the mood, RationalWiki has a fun article about 101 evidences for a young age of the Earth and the universe.

[edit] Footnotes

  1. What we believeimg (Creation Ministries International, source of the original "101 evidences" article)
  2. The AiG Statement of Faithimg (Answers in Genesis)
  3. Foundational Principlesimg (Institute for Creation Research)
  4. The Forgotten Archbishopimg (Creation Ministries International)
  5. Archbishop's Achievementimg (Jonathan Sarfati, Creation Ministries International)
  6. 6.0 6.1 Can the Ussher Chronology be Trusted?img (Institute for Creation Research)
  7. Fish SA, Shepherd TJ, McGenity TJ, Grant WD (May 2002). "Recovery of 16S ribosomal RNA gene fragments from ancient halite". Nature 417 (6887): 432–6. Template:Citation error. PMID 12024211. 
  8. Willerslev E, Hansen AJ, Binladen J et al. (May 2003). "Diverse plant and animal genetic records from Holocene and Pleistocene sediments". Science 300 (5620): 791–5. Bibcode 2003Sci...300..791W. Template:Citation error. PMID 12702808. 
  9. [news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/5052414.stm BBC Science & Nature - Tooth gives up oldest human DNA (2006)]
  10. Section "What is possible?" of: Svante Pääabo, Hendrik Poinar, David Serre, Viviane Jaenicke-Després, Juliane Hebler, Nadin Rohland, Melanie Kuch, Johannes Krause, Linda Vigilant and Michael Hofreiter. "Genetic Analyses from Ancient DNA." Annu. Rev. Genet. 2004. 38:645–79. doi: 10.1146/annurev.genet.37.110801.143214
  11. Robert M. Hazen, Edwin Roedder. "Biogeology: How old are bacteria from the Permian age?" Nature 411, 155 (10 May 2001) doi:10.1038/35075663
  12. Coelho, M., Luiselli, D., Bertorelle, G., Lopes, A. I., Seixas, S., Destro-Bisol, G. and Rocha, J. 2002. Microsatellite variation and evolution of human lactase persistence. Human Genetics 117(4): 329–339.
  13. Bersaglieri T., Sabeti P. C., Patterson N., Vanderploeg T., Schaffner S. F., Drake J. A., Rhodes M., Reich D. E. and Hirschhorn J. N. 2004. Genetic signatures of strong recent positive selection at the lactase gene. American Journal of Human Genetics 74(6): 1111–20.
  14. Study Detects Recent Instance of Human Evolution (Nicholas Wade, New York Times, 2006-12-10)
  15. Tishkoff et al. "Convergent adaptation of human lactase persistence in Africa and Europe." Nature Genetics 39, 31-40 (2007). doi:10.1038/ng1946
  16. Hillary Mayell (2003). "Documentary Redraws Humans' Family Tree." (National Geographic News). Accessed November 17, 2007.
  17. The father of all men is 340,000 years old (Colin Barras, New Scientist, 13 March 2013)
  18. As stated here.
  19. Scientists question dinosaur soft tissue find (Reuters, 2008-07-29)
  20. Open access journal articleSan Antonio et al., Dinosaur Peptides Suggest Mechanisms of Protein Survival, PLoS ONE (2011)
  21. Michael D. Petraglia, Ravi Korisettar (1998). "Early Human Behaviour in Global Context". Routledge Education. Page 63. ISBN 0415117631.
  22. Age & Ancestry: Just how old is a Wollemi Pine? (Botanic Gardens Trust)
  23. Dr Hovind's Creation Seminars: Part 4a: Lies in the Textbooks (response)
  24. Dendrochronology (Peter Ian Kuniholm, American Journal of Archaeology) — this references B. Becker, "An 11,000-Year German Oak and Pine Dendrochronology for Radiocarbon Calibration," Radiocarbon 35:1 (1993) 201-13.
  25. Science Daily (7 Feb 2012): Ancient Seagrass Holds Secrets of the Oldest Living Organism On Earth
  26. Index to Creationist Claims: CC365.1 (Mark Isaak, talk.origins Archive)
  27. The world of opals by Allan W. Eckert (1997), p.36
  28. Quarterly Notes, Geological Survey of New South Wales (June 2011, No.136) - Fossil microbes in opal from Lightning Ridge — implications for the formation of opal.
  29. Coal Geology (Google Books image)
  30. Case History No. 9.1. Latrobe Valley, Victoria, Australia, by C. S. Gloe, State Electricity Commission of Victoria, Victoria, Australia
  31. Presto! Instant Petrified Wood Created in Lab (Brandon Miller, Live Science, 2005-01-27)
  32. e.g., the example reported in: Tsafrir Levi, Ram Weinberger, Tahar Aıfa, Yehuda Eyal, Shmuel Marco. "Earthquake-induced clastic dikes detected by anisotropy of magnetic susceptibility." Geology February 2006; v. 34; no. 2; p. 69–72; doi: 10.1130/G22001.1.
  33. About.com Geology: Unconformities: Gaps in the Record
  34. Waisgerber, W., Howe, G.F. and Williams, E.L., 1987. "Mississippian and Cambrian strata interbedding: 200 million years hiatus in question." Creation Research Society Quarterly, vol. 23(4), pp. 160-167. Abstract,img text.
  35. Trivializing Creationist Scholarship see: "Quality of Creationist Research" section.
  36. CMI: Vertical ‘logs’ in sandstone are most likely iron concretionsimg
  37. Joe Meert. Radiometric Dating, Paleosols and the Geologic Column: Three strikes against Young Earth Creationism
  38. Jonathan Clarke: Paleosoils and Noah's Flood
  39. Joe Meert: Geology at 200 d.p.i., Remote Sensing from the Antipodes
  40. RH Gunn and PM Fleming. "The estimated store of soluble salts in the Lake Eyre catchment in Queensland and their possible transport in streamflow to the lake." Australian Journal of Soil Research 22(2) 119-134.
  41. http://www.k26.com/eyre/The_Lake/Papers/Lake_Eyre_basics/lake_eyre_basics.html
  42. Leopold, Baron von Buch
  43. Trewin, N. H. The Geology of Scotland
  44. Facts about Niagara Falls
  45. "The essence of Dury's contribution was his recognition that, contrary to Davis's claims, such [misfit] streams were regionally distributed, and therefore could not be due to purely localised stream capture, but must bear the imprint of some regionally operative event." R. W. Young, George Dury 1916–96: an appreciation. Australian Geographer 1997, 28(1), 89-96
  46. G. H. Dury, Relict deep weathering and duricrusting in relation to the paleoenviroments of middle latitudes. The Geographical Journal 1971, 137(4), 511-522
  47. McIntyre, K. and Schrag, D.P. The Salinity, Temperature, and delta 18O of the Glacial Deep OceanScience, vol. 298, no. 5599, p.1769 (2002)
  48. Tentinger, J. Ocean Floor Sediment as a Creationist Clock
  49. e.g. S. Hlawatsch, T. Neumann, C.M.G. van den Berg, M. Kersten, J. Harff, E. Suess. "Fast-growing, shallow-water ferro-manganese nodules from the western Baltic Sea: origin and modes of trace element incorporation." Marine Geology 182 (2002) 373-387.
  50. A Review of a Creationist Interpretation of Placer Gold Deposits
  51. Joe Meert. "Rapid reversals of the magnetic field." Science, AntiScience and Geology (blog), 2007-02-26.
  52. Creation Science and the Earth's Magnetic Field (Tim Thompson, talk.origins, 2003-06-29)
  53. D. Russell Humphreys, 1993. "The Earth's magnetic field is young."img ICR Acts & Facts. 22 (8). Also in ICR Impact #242.
  54. Is the Earth's magnetic field young? (Joe Meert, 2008-08-10) This article also shows the original graph that Humphreys misread the average line of as the zero line, and then flipped horizontally.
  55. G. Bonvicini, N. Harris, V. Paolone, The chemical history of 14C deep oilfields
  56. Noah's Ark: A Feasibility Study (review by Glenn Morton, talk.origins)
  57. W. Compston, R. T. Pidgeon, Jack Hills, evidence of more very old detrital zircons in Western Australia. Nature 1986, 321, 766-769
  58. F. A. Podosek, J. Pier, O. Nitoh, S. Zashu, M. Ozima, Normal potassium, inherited argon in Zaire cubic diamonds. Nature 1988, 334, 607-609
  59. 59.0 59.1 Dr. Humphreys' Young-Earth Helium Diffusion "Dates": Numerous Fallacies Based on Bad Assumptions and Questionable Data (Kevin R. Henke, talk.origins, 2010-06-20)
  60. TalkOrigins Archive: "Polonium Haloes" Refuted
  61. Space.com: Signs of Late Volcanism Seen on Moon
  62. Why do people laugh at creationists? (part 20) — the clearest explanation of Moon recession on the Internet.
  63. 63.0 63.1 George E. Williams, Geological constraints on the Precambrian history of Earth's rotation and the Moon's orbit. Reviews in Geophysics, 2000, 38(1), pp. 37-59. Full text PDF
  64. http://physicsworld.com/cws/article/news/29905
  65. Russell, C. T.; Luhmann, J. G. (1997). "Mercury: Magnetic Field and Magnetosphere." Space Physics Center, UCLA Institute of Geophysics and Planetary Physics.
  66. S. Stanley, J. Bloxham, Convective-region geometry as the cause of Uranus' and Neptune's unusual magnetic fields. Nature 2004, 428(6979), pp. 151-153. Full text PDF
  67. Io: Jupiter's Volcanic Moon — Tidal heating
  68. Views of the Solar System: Io's Volcanic Features
  69. Ice on Europa (NASA, 2005-01-06)
  70. NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory: Saturn's Rings May be Old Timers
  71. MIT homepage of Prof. Jack Wisdom (includes several papers about Enceladus)
  72. L. Czechowski, Parameterized model of convection driven by tidal and radiogenic heating. Advances in Space Research 2006, 38(4), pp. 788-793
  73. Miranda & Ariel, Lunar and Planetary Institute, 1997
  74. Views of the Solar System: Miranda
  75. V. E. Suomi, S. S. Limaye, D. R. Johnson, High Winds of Neptune: A Possible Mechanism. Science 1991, 251, 929-932
  76. F. Namouni, C. Porco, The confinement of Neptune's ring arcs by the moon Galatea. Nature 2002, 417(6884), 45-47
  77. D. Jewitt, J. Luu, Crystalline Ice on Kuiper Belt Object (50000) Quaoar. Nature 2004, 432, p. 731-733. Full text PDF
  78. Dave Jewitt: Kuiper Belt: Latest Research
  79. S. A. Stern, P. R. Weissman, Rapid collisional evolution of comets during the formation of the Oort cloud. Nature 2001, 409(6820), pp. 589-591
  80. H. F. Levison, M. J. Duncan, R. M. Brasser, D. E. Kaufmann, Capture of the Sun's Oort Cloud from Stars in Its Birth Cluster. Science 2010, 329(5988), pp. 187-190
  81. w:List of notable asteroids#Retrograde and highly inclined
  82. Universe Today: Asteroids Can Create Their Own Mini Planetary Systems
  83. C. C. Lin, F. H. Shu, On the Spiral Structure of Disk Galaxies Astrophysical Journal 1964, 140, p. 646
  84. In fact the Great Pyramid of Giza was finished in 2560 BC, which according to the standard Ussher timeline means it must have survived the flood that carved out the Grand Canyon.
  85. The story of Martini's shock at the Chinese records is told in Measuring Eternity: The search for the beginning of time by Martin Gorst (2001). Gorst references: Historians of China and Japan ed. W.G.Beasley and E.G.Pulleyblank, London, 1961; The Forgotten Christians of Hanzhou by David E. Mungello, Honolulu, 1994; Curious Land: Jesuit Accommodation and the Origins of Sinology by David E. Mungello, Honolulu, 1989; and Observations mathématiques, astronomiques, geographiques, chronologiques, et physiques, tirées des anciens livres chinois; ou faites nouvellement aux Indes et a la Chine par les pères de la Compagnie de Jesus, Paris, 1729, for how the Jesuits cross-referenced eclipses with Chinese history.
  86. TalkOrigins Archive: Flood Stories from Around the World
  87. Internet Archive
  88. 88.0 88.1 Present up to at least November 2010.
  89. F. S. Mozer, J. P. McFadden, I. Sircar, J. Vernetti, Small‐comet “atmospheric holes” are instrument noise.
  90. NASA: Other views of small comets debate — see the "Arizona scientists highly skeptical of small comet theory" section
  91. For example, claiming that recent origin of humans implies a recent origin of Earth.
  92. For example, claiming that the only possible explanation is that ages are wrong, or confusing an argument against a specific age estimate with an argument for creationism.
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