The Dating Game: Fresh Flesh

Dating was always a difficult thing for me, even in high school. The awkwardness of looking the tall, long-haired girl in the eye, the sudden loss of courage to speak, the cold clammy hands that wouldn’t stop shaking, all that were not conducive to successful dating experiences. Dating was a game I never could initiate. In Year 12 Physics, I was again challenged with the dating game, carbon dating actually. Then, it was to understand the concept of the sun’s radiation hitting the nitrogen in our atmosphere to produce Carbon-14. Carbon-14 in the air is absorbed by plants in the CO2 they breathe, and then eaten by animals. Dating can only start when the animal stops accumulating C-14 at death. The carbon decays by half every 5,730 years. Nitrogen-14 is the result. This works only if the specimen is buried, otherwise the gas would be dissipated and cannot be measured. C-14 dating is good up to 50,000 years only. The process is attenuated by the earth’s magnetic field. The stronger the magnetic field, the lower the production of C-14. The earth’s magnetic field has decreased markedly. Some scientists claim that in the year 7800 BC, the magnetic field would have been 128 times stronger than it is now. Difficult to understand and accept, isn’t it? This makes radiometric dating susceptible to attacks by the Creationists who prefer to believe the earth is only 6,000 years old.

A good friend, Mak shared with me a 4-hour video of a conference held by young-Earth Creationists. They gave a litany of examples why their belief is more believable. Many Creationists knock the reliability and accuracy of the C-14 dating method. They commonly point to the presence of C-14 in petrified wood, coal, oil and even diamond. Some scientists in the Creationists camp cleverly point out that these things are supposedly millions of years old, so why would there be any traces of C-14? They did not share with us the knowledge that alpha or gamma radiation from any radioactive materials in the ground can re-irradiate atoms of the N-14 and convert them to C-14 again. Instead, the young-Earth Creationists reinforce their argument by informing us of new man-made processes which can manufacture pure diamond in a day or gold in five hours, rejecting the claim that these resources require millions of years to form. They continue by asserting that the earth “cannot be old” by falsely claiming that the scientific community says that stalactites and stalagmites take millions of years to form. A photo of a Mayan stalagmite growing to over ten feet tall from a Mayan pottery was presented to prove that the stalagmite can only be about 1,400 years old. That was how they dismissed the relevance of carbon dating, and from that, they surmised that the earth cannot be 4.7 billion years old as claimed but rather, only thousands of years old. The young-Earth Creationists use the apparent decay of the Earth’s magnetic field as further evidence that the Earth is only thousands of years old. Unfortunately, their premise is based on the wrong assumption that the decay is constant and exponential. Cyclic fluctuations of the Earth’s magnetic field mean that we cannot use the strength of the magnetic field as a clock to prove the Earth’s age.

The moon is moving almost four cm away from Earth every year. George Darwin, son of Charles, calculated that it would have taken at least 56 million years for the moon to reach its current distance from Earth. Instead, some young-Earth scientists use the rate of the moon’s recession to calculate that the Earth is younger than ten thousand years old. They are eager to accept this as further evidence that the Earth’s age is accurately mentioned in the Bible and did not concede that Darwin’s assumption about the rate of heat dissipation from tidal friction was incorrect.

Another dating method is the K-Ar test. This is a more accepted test for specimens older than 50,000 years. The decay of potassium to argon is a much slower process. Its accuracy was also thrown in doubt by the Creationists using Andrew Snelling’s data. Tests of the 1801 Hualalai basalt in Hawaii dated them at 1.05 and 1.19 million years old! The 1792 lava from Mt Etna also gave a ridiculous date of 100,000 years. What they failed to disclose was that Snelling’s data was miscopied from G Brent Dalrymple’s 1969 samples, perpetuating the false claim that K-Ar dating is unreliable and inaccurate.

What then can we make of Mary Schweitzer’s discovery of soft tissue and blood vessels from a T-Rex bone fragment in Montana? Apparently, DNA breaks down in less than six million years, even when frozen. How then can we explain the discovery of soft tissue of dinosaurs from 68 to 77 million years ago? Unless the Bible is right and the Earth is young? Or, is there a Jurassic Park out there? That’s a creation I would like to believe is possible. Fresh dinosaur flesh, anyone?

A dating dilemma