Creationist view of radiometric dating

11 Jun

The Bible does not give an age for the Earth, nor is any theological point drawn from the age of the Earth, so it may not be as important as some of the other issues.

Most scientists believe the Earth is about 4.5 billion (4,500,000,000) years old. Some creationists have attempted to reconcile this figure with the creation in Genesis by proposing that the rocky, lifeless planet was created long ago (perhaps 4.5 billion years), and God created life on this planet later (perhaps 6,000 to 10,000 years ago), when it suited His purposes to do so.

Biblical scholars do not agree on whether the Bible indicates that the planet Earth was created at the beginning of creation week or if it was already present as a lifeless, wet and dark planet here prior to creation week.

Thus, the question of the age of the Earth could refer to the time since the Genesis creation week or to the time since the planet was first created.

At this point, the ratio of one part potassium-40 to 7 parts of argon-40 would indicate an age of about 3.9 billion years, which is close to the age of the “oldest” known rocks on Earth.

Eventually, the amount of parent material becomes too small to detect, so that particular kind of atom can no longer be used to calculate the age of a rock. Riverside, CA: La Sierra University Press, p 116-136; (d) Brown RH.

For potassium-40, the half-life has been determined to be about 1.3 billion years.

Using this equation, scientists can calculate how long it would take for radioactive decay to produce the observed ratio of parent and daughter material. Several different types of radioactive atoms are used to calculate radiometric dates, such as uranium-lead, rubidium-strontium, etc.

The closed system hypothesis is carefully considered (the method is not applied to rocks that obviously have been chemically altered), but there is need for caution here.

The initial concentration hypothesis may be the weakest part of the process of calculating radiometric dates.

The most popular method is probably the potassium-argon method.

Potassium atoms vary in their numbers of neutrons, resulting in atoms with different masses (called isotopes).