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Basic Worldview:
103 Science, the Bible,
and Creation



Origins - Section Four:
Dating and Circular Reasoning


Origins - Section One: Introduction and the Basics
Origins - Section Two: Premature Dismissals
Origins - Section Two: Application of the Basics
Origins - Section Three: Creation
Origins - Section Three: Evolution, Origin of Life
Origins - Section Three: Evolution, Environment for Life 1
Origins - Section Three: Evolution, Environment for Life 2
Origins - Section Three: Evolution, Another Planet
Origins - Section Three: Evolution, Origin of Species
Origins - Section Three: Evolution, Speciation Factors
Origins - Section Three: Evolution, Speciation Rates
Origins - Section Four: Time and Age, Redshift
Origins - Section Four: Philosophical Preference
Origins - Section Four: Cosmological Model 1
Origins - Section Four: Cosmological Model 2
Origins - Section Four: Dating Methods, Perceptions, Basics
Origins - Section Four: Global Flood Evidence
Origins - Section Four: Relative Dating
Origins - Section Four: Dating and Circular Reasoning
Origins - Section Four: The Geologic Column
Origins - Section Four: Radiometric Dating Basics
Origins - Section Four: General Radiometric Problems
Origins - Section Four: Carbon-14 Problems
Origins - Section Four: Remaining Methods and Decay Rates
Origins - Section Four: Radiometric Conclusions, Other Methods
Origins - Section Five: Overall Conclusions, Closing Editorial
Origins - Section Five: List of Evidences Table
Origins Debate Figures and Illustrations


Focus on Critical Evidence:
Circular Reasoning, Dating Methods, and Evolution

In this segment, we will consider the element of circular reasoning inherent to supporting evolutionary theory. In particular, this segment will address the circular reasoning between evolution, absolute (radiometric) dating, and relative dating including the relative dating of both rocks and fossils.

Since we have not examined absolute dating in depth previously, the first step in this segment is probably to establish some basic vocabulary to avoid confusion. Specifically, it is important to note that there are several synonyms for absolute dating. Absolute dating is also known by the terms “isotopic dating,” “radioactive dating,” “radiometric dating,” and “chronometric dating.” This can be seen in the descriptions provided in the quotes below.

Earth, geologic history of, Time scales – There are, in fact, two geologic time scales. One is relative, or chronostratigraphic, and the other is absolute, or chronometric.” – Encyclopaedia Britannica 2004 Deluxe Edition

Archeology, VIII DETERMINING THE AGE OF FINDS, B Absolute DatingAbsolute dating, sometimes called chronometric dating, refers to the assignment of calendar year dates to artifacts, fossils, and other remains. – "Archaeology," Microsoft® Encarta® Encyclopedia 99. © 1993-1998 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

Dating, General considerations, Distinctions between relative-age and absolute-age measurements – The need to correlate over the rest of geologic time, to correlate nonfossiliferous units, and to calibrate the fossil time scale has led to the development of a specialized field that makes use of natural radioactive isotopes in order to calculate absolute ages. The precise measure of geologic time has proven to be the essential tool for correlating the global tectonic processes (see below) that have taken place in the past. Precise isotopic ages are called absolute ages, since they date the timing of events not relative to each other but as the time elapsed between a rock-forming event and the present. Absolute dating by means of uranium and lead isotopes has been improved to the point that for rocks 3 billion years old geologically meaningful errors of [plus or minus] 1 or 2 million years can be obtained. The same margin of error applies for younger fossiliferous rocks, making absolute dating comparable in precision to that attained using fossils.” – Encyclopaedia Britannica 2004 Deluxe Edition

Dating, Absolute Dating – Whereas studies using fossil dating began almost 300 years ago, radioactivity itself was not discovered until roughly a century ago, and it has only been from about 1950 that extensive efforts to date geologic materials have become common. Methods of isotopic measurement continue to be refined today, and absolute dating has become an essential component of virtually all field-oriented geologic investigations…Attention has been called wherever possible to those rocks that contain minerals suitable for precise isotopic dating.” – Encyclopaedia Britannica 2004 Deluxe Edition

Dating, Absolute dating, Evaluation and presentation schemes in dating, The isochron method – Many radioactive dating methods are based on minute additions of daughter products to a rock or mineral in which a considerable amount of daughter-type isotopes already exists.” – Encyclopaedia Britannica 2004 Deluxe Edition

Dating Methods, II DEVELOPMENT OF RELATIVE AND ABSOLUTE METHODS – After radioactivity was discovered, radiometric dating methods were quickly developed.” – "Dating Methods," Microsoft® Encarta® Encyclopedia 99. © 1993-1998 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

Having established these terms are synonyms, there will be no need for confusion when one term or another appears in the quotes throughout this segment.

The second step in this segment is to define the concept of circular reasoning and why such reasoning is a problem. In its article on “Applied Logic,” Britannica begins with a description of the basics of argumentation and reasoning. In simple terms, Britannica denotes a valid argument is one in which the premises necessitate accepting a particular conclusion.

Applied logic, The critique of forms of reasoning, Correct and defective argument forms – In logic an argument consists of a set of statements, the premises, whose truth supposedly supports the truth of a single statement called the conclusion of the argument. An argument is deductively valid when the truth of the premises guarantees the truth of the conclusion; i.e., the conclusion must be true, because of the form of the argument, whenever the premises are true.” – Encyclopaedia Britannica 2004 Deluxe Edition

Conversely, Britannica goes on to state that invalid arguments are those arguments in which the “the premises give no rational grounds for accepting the conclusion.” Such defective arguments are called “fallacies.”

Applied logic, The critique of forms of reasoning, Correct and defective argument forms – Some arguments that fail to be deductively valid are acceptable on grounds other than formal logic, and their conclusions are supported with less than logical necessity. In other potentially persuasive arguments, the premises give no rational grounds for accepting the conclusion. These defective forms of argument are called fallacies. An argument may be fallacious in three ways: in its material content, through a misstatement of the facts; in its wording, through an incorrect use of terms; or in its structure (or form), through the use of an improper process of inference.” – Encyclopaedia Britannica 2004 Deluxe Edition

Britannica then procedes to describe some common fallacies, or defective arguments in which the premises offer no valid reason to accept the conclusion. The fourth fallacy listed by Britannica is “the fallacy of circular argument.” Notice that the fallacies in this particular list are defective because they involve too much “presumption,” specifically they tend to “covertly assume” or presume “the conclusion” itself. Furthermore, this is the very definition of a “circular argument.” A circular argument is one “when the premises presume the very conclusion that is to be demonstrated.”

Applied logic, The critique of forms of reasoning, Kinds of fallacies, Material fallacies – The material fallacies are also known as fallacies of presumption, because the premises “presume” too muchthey either covertly assume the conclusion or avoid the issue in view…4) The fallacy of circular argument, known as petitio principii (‘begging the question’), occurs when the premises presume, openly or covertly, the very conclusion that is to be demonstrated (example: “Gregory always votes wisely.” ‘But how do you know?’ ‘Because he always votes Libertarian.’).” – Encyclopaedia Britannica 2004 Deluxe Edition

As Britannica’s description continues, it gets even more specific regarding how circular reasoning works. Notice the following statements from the quote below. First, Britannica notes that circular reasoning “typically” is used in “complex arguments” that involve multiple steps or premises. The, Britannica provides a generic example in which one premise (designated p 1) is used to prove a series of other premises (designated as p 2 through p n). In short, premise p 1 proves premise p n. However, as Britannica states, “then p n is subsequently used in a proof of p 1.” So, premise p 1 proves premise p n to be true and premise p n proves premise p 1 to be true.

Applied logic, The critique of forms of reasoning, Kinds of fallacies, Material fallacies – A special form of this fallacy, called a vicious circle, or circulus in probando (“arguing in a circle”), occurs in a course of reasoning typified by the complex argument in which a premise p 1 is used to prove p 2; p 2 is used to prove p 3; and so on, until p n − 1 is used to prove p n ; then p n is subsequently used in a proof of p 1, and the whole series p 1, p 2, . . . , p n is taken as established (example: “McKinley College's baseball team is the best in the association [ p n = p 3]; they are the best because of their strong batting potential [ p 2]; they have this potential because of the ability of Jones, Crawford, and Randolph at the bat [ p 1].” “But how do you know that Jones, Crawford, and Randolph are such good batters?” “Well, after all, these men are the backbone of the best team in the association [ p 3 again].”). Strictly speaking, petitio principii is not a fallacy of reasoning but an ineptitude in argumentation: thus the argument from p as a premise to p as conclusion is not deductively invalid but lacks any power of conviction, since no one who questioned the conclusion could concede the premise.” – Encyclopaedia Britannica 2004 Deluxe Edition

Britannica concludes that circular arguments “lack any power of conviction” and qualifies them all as “an ineptitude in argumentation.” Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary defines “ineptitude” as “the quality or state of being inept” or “incompetent.” Consequently, according to Britannica, any argument in which “the premises prove the conclusion” and “the conclusion proves those same premises” has no ability to prove or convince at all.

In this light, we can understand the relationship between relative dating methods, absolute dating methods, and evolution theory. There are 3 ways that evolution falls into the category of circular reasoning. First, evolution theory uses a circular argument in relative dating when rock layers are used to assign ages (with years) to fossils in them and fossils are used to assign ages (with years) to the rock layers they are in. Second, evolution theory uses a circular argument between relative dating in general and biological evolution. Specifically, in order to know which fossils species are “older” and which fossil species are “younger” and assign ages (with years) to the rock layers by those fossils, you have to presume that species evolved from more primitive to more complex. However, when the arrangement of fossils and rock layers is complete, it is asserted as proof of evolution. Third, evolutionary theory uses a circular argument between relative dating and absolute dating. Absolute dating is only performed on an item when a relative age (indicating years) is already provided for that item. Yet, relative dating methods provide no actual age (in years or amounts of time) but can only obtain an age after absolute dating is performed. However, although each method depends upon the other, both methods are said to confirm or prove the other to be valid.

The first form of circular reasoning in evolutionary theory surrounds the fact that, in relative dating, the ages of fossils are determined by the age of the rock layers they are found in and the ages of rocks are determined from fossils in them. Although the problematic nature of this relationship is largely overlooked, the circular nature of the relationship is widely acknowledged. Consequently, this circular relationship can be easily found, as is evidenced in the following quotes.

The initial hint of this circular relationship can be seen in the following quote, which very simply states that geologists use both “rock sequences” and “the fossils contained within these sequences” to create a relative time scale. Notice that it is the quote itself that denotes the fossils are “within” the very same “rock sequences” that are also used to provide ages in relative dating.

Geology, III THE GEOLOGIC TIME SCALE, A Relative Time – Geologists create a relative time scale using rock sequences and the fossils contained within these sequences.” – "Geology," Microsoft® Encarta® Encyclopedia 99. © 1993-1998 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

As indicated in the previous statement, according to the principle known as the law of superposition, rock layers are assigned a relative age based upon how high or how low they are in an overall rock formation.

“Dating, General considerations, Determination of sequence Relative geologic ages can be deduced in rock sequences consisting of sedimentary, metamorphic, or igneous rock units…The sequence of a layered sedimentary series is easily defined because deposition always proceeds from the bottom to the top. This principle would seem self-evident, but its first enunciation more than 300 years ago by Nicolaus Steno represented an enormous advance in understanding. Known as the principle of superposition, it holds that in a series of sedimentary layers or superposed lava flows the oldest layer is at the bottom, and layers from there upward become progressively younger.” – Encyclopaedia Britannica 2004 Deluxe Edition

Consequently, because the rock layer has a relative age based upon how high or how low it is in the overall rock formation, the objects in that rock layer have the same age as the layer itself, including both archeological artifacts like stonework and biological items such as a skull.

[PHOTO CAPTION: StratigraphyArchaeologists determine the age of artifacts and other remains in relation to each other and to the present through a technique called stratigraphy. This illustration depicts a cross-section into the ground in which many layers of soil, rock, and other materials can be seen. In most cases, objects buried in lower layers, such as the stonework, are older than those in higher layers, such as the skull. © Microsoft Corporation. All Rights Reserved.” – "Stratigraphy," Microsoft® Encarta® Encyclopedia 99. © 1993-1998 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.]

Thus, the relative age of each individual fossil is determined by the level of the rock layer it is found in. Fossils found in rock layers higher up are assigned a relatively younger age and fossils found in rock layers lower down are assigned a relatively old age.

Geology, III THE GEOLOGIC TIME SCALE, A Relative Time – Geologists create a relative time scale using rock sequences and the fossils contained within these sequences. The scale they create is based on The Law of Superposition, which states that in a regular series of sedimentary rock strata, or layers, the oldest strata will be at the bottom, and the younger strata will be on top. Danish geologist Nicolaus Steno (also called Niels Stensen) used the idea of uniformity of physical processes. Steno noted that sediment was denser than liquid or air, so it settled until it reached another solid. The newer sediment on the top layer is younger than the layer it settled uponB Biostratigraphy – British surveyor William Smith and French anatomist Georges Cuvier both reasoned that in a series of fossil-bearing rocks, the oldest fossils are at the bottom, with successively younger fossils above. They thus extended Steno's Law of Superposition and recognized that fossils could be used to determine geologic time.” – "Geology," Microsoft® Encarta® Encyclopedia 99. © 1993-1998 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

Furthermore, the fact that rock layers are used to date fossils is why stratigraphy, the practice of assigning relative ages to rock layers based upon their position, is commonly described as being applied to “fossil-bearing” rock layers. Since the rocks are fossil-bearing, the age of the rock layers is also the age of any fossil in it.

Dating, General considerations, Correlation, Principles and techniques – Suppose there exist a number of fossil-bearing outcrops each composed of sedimentary layers that can be arranged in relative order, primarily based on superposition.” – Encyclopaedia Britannica 2004 Deluxe Edition

In fact, from the very beginning of relative dating, rock layer were used to assign relative ages to fossils. Charles Lyell, “one of the founders of stratigraphy, the study of the layers of the earth's surface,” observed that rock beds closest to the surface were vastly more recent, and therefore, so were the fossils in those upper layers.

Lyell, Sir Charles – Building on the pioneering work of the 18th-century Scottish geologist James Hutton, Lyell developed the theory of uniformitarianismLyell is also considered one of the founders of stratigraphy, the study of the layers of the earth's surface. He developed a method for classifying strata, or layers, by studying ancient marine beds in western Europe. Lyell observed that the marine beds closest to the surface, therefore the most recent, contained many species of shell-bearing mollusks that still live in today's seas. On the other hand, deeper, older strata contained fewer and fewer fossils of living species. Lyell divided the rocks of this period into three epochs, based on decreasing percentages of modern species. The names he proposed-Eocene, Miocene, and Pliocene-are still used today.” – "Lyell, Sir Charles," Microsoft® Encarta® Encyclopedia 99. © 1993-1998 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

Since this it has been the historic practice to date fossils according to the rock layer they are found in, the following quote describes this as the “traditional” fossil-dating process.

“Prehistoric People, Placing prehistoric people in timeScientists have traditionally dated fossils by studying the deposit in which the fossil was found. Based on knowledge of geological history, scientists can determine the age of the deposit. They then interpret this information to provide an approximate age for the fossil.” – Worldbook, Contributor: Alan E. Mann, Ph.D., Professor of Anthropology, Princeton University.

And, even when radiometric dating is used, often it is rock surrounding the fossil that is radiometrically dated and then the fossil is assigned an age that is “relative” to that particular, dated rock.

Archaeology, How archaeologists interpret findings – Potassium-argon dating is used mainly in Africa to determine the age of rocks associated with fossils of early human ancestors.” – Worldbook, Contributor: Thomas R. Hester, Ph.D., Professor of Anthropology, University of Texas, Austin.

Fossil, VI DATING AND CLASSIFYING FOSSILSPaleontologists use radiometric dating to determine more precisely the age of fossils (see Dating Methods: Radiometric Dating). In this process, they study the isotopes of minerals in the rock surrounding the fossil. Knowing the rates at which the isotopes decay, and having determined how much of the isotope has decayed in the rock sample, paleontologists can determine the age of the rock-and thus the age of the fossil preserved in the rock.” – "Fossil," Microsoft® Encarta® Encyclopedia 99. © 1993-1998 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

Fossil, Dating fossils – Paleontologists determine how old a fossil is by measuring the radioactive isotopes in the rocks that contain the fossil. Radioactive isotopes are forms of chemical elements that break down, or decay, to form other materials. Scientists know the rates of decay of various radioactive isotopes. By comparing the amount of a radioactive isotope in a rock to the amount of the material produced by its decay, scientists can calculate how long the decay has been taking place. This length of time represents the age of the rock and the fossils it contains.” – Worldbook, Contributor: Steven M. Stanley, Ph.D., Professor of Earth and Planetary Sciences, Johns Hopkins University.

Consequently, it is very clear that fossils are assigned an age based upon the ages of the rock that surrounds them. However, the converse is equally well-attested: the rock surrounding a fossil is assigned an age based upon the age of the fossil. This is plainly stated in the following quotes.

FossilFossils also provide the geologist a quick and easy way of assigning a relative age to the strata in which they occur.” – Encyclopaedia Britannica 2004 Deluxe Edition

Geology, VI HISTORY OF GEOLOGY, D Geology in the 18th and 19th Centuries – Cuvier and his co-worker Alexandre Brongniart, along with English surveyor William Smith, established the principles of biostratigraphy, using fossils to establish the age of rocks and to correlate them from place to place. Later, with these established stratigraphies, geologists used fossils to reconstruct the history of life's evolution on earth.” – "Geology," Microsoft® Encarta® Encyclopedia 99. © 1993-1998 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

Geochronology, Development of radioactive dating methods and their applicationAs has been seen, the geologic time scale is based on stratified rock assemblages that contain a fossil record. For the most part, these fossils allow various forms of information from the rock succession to be viewed in terms of their relative position in the sequence.” – Encyclopaedia Britannica 2004 Deluxe Edition

Geologic Time, III DATING METHODSIn order to determine the relative age of rock layers, scientists use three simple principles. The first is the law of superposition, which states that younger beds of rock occur on top of older beds of rock in an undisturbed sequence of layers (see Stratigraphy). The second is the law of cross-cutting relationships, which states that any feature or structure that cuts through and disturbs a rock sequence must be younger than the disturbed beds. The third principle, that of fossil succession, deals with fossils in sedimentary rock…All of these methods facilitate the relative dating of rock sequences, but do not provide absolute ages for the rocks.” – "Geologic Time," Microsoft® Encarta® Encyclopedia 99. © 1993-1998 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

Dating, General considerations, Correlation, Principles and techniques From an examination of such outcrops with special focus on the sequence of animal forms comes the empirical generalization that the faunas of the past have followed a specific order of succession, and so the relative age of a fossiliferous rock is indicated by the types of fossils it contains.” – Encyclopaedia Britannica 2004 Deluxe Edition

Dating, General considerations, Correlation, Principles and techniquesTo this day, fossils are useful as correlation tools to geologists specializing in stratigraphy. In dating the past, the primary value of fossils lies within the principle of faunal succession: each interval of geologic history had a unique fauna that associates a given fossiliferous rock with that particular interval. The basic conceptual tool for correlation by fossils is the index, or guide, fossil…Almost without exception, the relative order of strata defined by fossils has been confirmed by radiometric ages.” – Encyclopaedia Britannica 2004 Deluxe Edition

An important technical concept, which illustrates that rock layers are dated by fossils, is the concept of the “index fossil” or “guide fossil.” An index fossil or guide fossils is a specific fossil organism that is used to identify the ages of rock layers.

Index fossilany animal or plant preserved in the rock record of the Earth that is characteristic of a particular span of geologic time or environment. A useful index fossil must be distinctive or easily recognizable, abundant, and have a widegeographic distribution and a short range through time. Index fossils are the basis for defining boundaries in the geologic time scale and for the correlation of strata.” – Encyclopaedia Britannica 2004 Deluxe Edition

Index Fossil, I INTRODUCTION – Index Fossil, remains or traces of prehistoric plants or animals that can provide information about the rock layer in which they are found. Index fossils can be used to determine the age of the sediments that make up the rock, or they can provide information about the environment in which the sediments were deposited. Index fossils are also used to compare, or correlate, rocks exposed in separate locations. Geologists and paleontologists use index fossils to learn about the history of life and the geologic history of the earth. Synonyms for the term index fossil include guide fossil, key fossil, type fossil, zonal fossil, characteristic fossil, and diagnostic fossil.” – "Index Fossil," Microsoft® Encarta® Encyclopedia 99. © 1993-1998 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

“Dating, General considerations, Correlation, Principles and techniques The basic conceptual tool for correlation by fossils is the index, or guide, fossil. Ideally, an index fossil should be such as to guarantee that its presence in two separated rocks indicates their synchroneity. This requires that the lifespan of the fossil species be but a moment of time relative to the immensity of geologic history. In other words, the fossil species must have had a short temporal range. On the practical side, an index fossil should be distinctive in appearance so as to prevent misidentification, and it should be cosmopolitan both as to geography and as to rock type. In addition, its fossilized population should be sufficiently abundant for discovery to be highly probable. Such an array of attributes represents an ideal, and much stratigraphic geology is rendered difficult because of departure of the natural fossil assemblage from this ideal.” – Encyclopaedia Britannica 2004 Deluxe Edition

Notice from the quotes above that, in order to work for dating purposes, guide fossils must have certain traits. However, as stated plainly in the last quote below, “much stratigraphic geology” is “difficult” because the distribution of most fossils departs from these necessary traits. Consequently, not only are we seeing that relative dating is based upon circular reasoning, but the particular tools involved, such as guide fossils, simply don’t work either.

As we continue, another important technical concept, which illustrates that rock layers are dated by fossils, is the concept of “faunal succession.” The quote below not only affirms the role that fossils have in “associating a given rock with a particular interval” of time, but is also states that “the primary value” of fossils in accomplishing this task is “the principle of faunal succession.”

Dating, General considerations, Correlation, Principles and techniquesTo this day, fossils are useful as correlation tools to geologists specializing in stratigraphy. In dating the past, the primary value of fossils lies within the principle of faunal succession: each interval of geologic history had a unique fauna that associates a given fossiliferous rock with that particular interval.” – Encyclopaedia Britannica 2004 Deluxe Edition

We should note that faunal succession is here specifically identified as a “principle” of geologic dating. Here, the most obvious question is, “what is faunal succession?” As indicated by the quote above, faunal succession is the idea that “each interval of geologic history has a unique fauna.” The next question is, “what does the term ‘fauna’ mean?” Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary defines “fauna” as “animals” of a region or period.

Fauna – Function: noun – animal life; especially: the animals characteristic of a region, period, or special environment faunal, adjective – faunal, adverb.” Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary

Consequently, faunal succession is “the principle” that different animals lived at different times throughout the long ages earth’s history and as such, the time period of individual rock layers can be identified by what fossilized animals that layer contains. There will be more to say on this subject as we consider the second manifestation of circular reasoning in evolutionary theory. However, here again we see that rock layers are dated by their fossils even though, as we have already seen, fossils are dated by their rock layers.

And, to even further highlight how dominant of a role the fossils play in determining the ages of rock layers, it is important to note that even the law of superposition is subordinate to and can be overturned by the fossils. Specifically, as we have established, the law of superposition dictates that the lowest rock layers are older and the highest layers are younger. However, the following quote describes that if a series of rock layers contain fossils in an order that is reversed from the evolutionary order of species, (i.e. faunal succession) the law of superposition is discarded entirely. The bottom layers are instead deemed to be the youngest and the top layers are deemed to be the oldest.

“Dating, General considerations, Determination of sequence On occasion, however, deformation may have caused the rocks of the crust to tilt, perhaps to the point of overturning them. Moreover, if erosion has blurred the record by removing substantial portions of the deformed sedimentary rock, it may not be at all clear which edge of a given layer is the original top and which is the original bottom. Identifying top and bottom is clearly important in sequence determination, so important in fact that a considerable literature has been devoted to this question alone. Many of the criteria of top–bottom determination are based on asymmetry in depositional features. Oscillation ripple marks, for example, are produced in sediments by water sloshing back and forth. When such marks are preserved in sedimentary rocks, they define the original top and bottom by their asymmetric pattern. Certain fossils also accumulate in a distinctive pattern or position that serves to define the top side.” – Encyclopaedia Britannica 2004 Deluxe Edition

With the youngest layers now at the bottom and the oldest at the top, the fossils now match the expected evolution of species. Effectively, in some cases, the law of superposition defines the evidence of rock ages in a way that contradicts faunal succession and evolution’s designation of which species evolved and lived at which times. The only way that the fossil record can match faunal succession is if younger rock layers are lower and older rock layers are higher.

The issue of faunal succession and overturning the law of superposition raises another manifestation of circular reasoning in evolutionary dating methods, particularly the circular argument between relative dating and evolution itself. We will discuss this second circular argument in evolutionary theory momentarily. However, first it is important to note that the circular relationship between dating rocks and dating fossils is at times even admitted by evolutionists themselves. In 1976, the American Journal of Science published an article describing and admitting this circular relationship in which rock layers are dated by fossils and fossils are dated by the rock layers.

The intelligent layman has long suspected circular reasoning in the use of rocks to date fossils and fossils to date rocks. The geologist has never bothered to think of a good reply, feeling the explanations are not worth the trouble as long as the work brings results.” – “Pragmatism versus Materialism in Stratigraphy,” J.E. O’Rourke, American Journal of Science 1976, 276:51 (Cited in “Lies in the Textbooks,” Dr. Kent E. Hovind, Creation Science Evangelism, Pensacola, FL, www.drdino.com, Windows Media Video, 24 minutes, 45 seconds)

The rocks do date the fossils, but the fossils date the rocks more accurately. Stratigraphy cannot avoid this kind of reasoningThe charge of circular reasoning in stratigraphy can be handled in several ways. It can be ignored, as not the proper concern of the public…It can be denied, by calling down the Law of Evolution. It can be admitted, as a common practice…Or it can be avoided, by pragmatic reasoning.” – “Pragmatism versus Materialism in Stratigraphy,” J.E. O’Rourke, American Journal of Science 1976, 276:51 (Cited in “Lies in the Textbooks,” Dr. Kent E. Hovind, Creation Science Evangelism, Pensacola, FL, www.drdino.com, Windows Media Video, 24 minutes, 55 seconds)

Lastly, it is crucial to note that Britannica regards the role of fossils in dating rocks as “comparable in precision” to radiometric dating methods. Actually, the preceding statement does not do justice to Britannica’s statement. In reality, in Britannica’s comparison, radiometric dating is not serving as the recognized standard to which fossil-dating is being equated in order bolster confidence in fossil-dating. Rather, it is the other way around. Britannica is relying on the reader’s confidence in fossil-dating and using fossil-dating as the recognized dating standard in order to bolster the reader’s confidence in absolute dating methods.

Dating, General considerations, Distinctions between relative-age and absolute-age measurements – The need to correlate over the rest of geologic time, to correlate nonfossiliferous units, and to calibrate the fossil time scale has led to the development of a specialized field that makes use of natural radioactive isotopes in order to calculate absolute ages. The precise measure of geologic time has proven to be the essential tool for correlating the global tectonic processes (see below) that have taken place in the past. Precise isotopic ages are called absolute ages, since they date the timing of events not relative to each other but as the time elapsed between a rock-forming event and the present. Absolute dating by means of uranium and lead isotopes has been improved to the point that for rocks 3 billion years old geologically meaningful errors of [plus or minus] 1 or 2 million years can be obtained. The same margin of error applies for younger fossiliferous rocks, making absolute dating comparable in precision to that attained using fossils.” – Encyclopaedia Britannica 2004 Deluxe Edition

Once again, this indicates just how extremely important the role of fossils is in dating rocks and arranging geologic history. Moreover, Britannica’s comparison reflects how much evolutionary geologists regard fossils as industry standard for dating methods, so much so that even radiometric dating can be endeard by equating it to the value of fossil-dating.

In summary, as we have seen, the relative dating of rocks and the relative dating of fossils is a textbook example of a circular argument. As Britannica described, it “presumes” or “covertly” assumes “the very conclusion that is to be demonstrated,” in this case the age of the fossils and the rocks. How do we know how old a rock layer is? We know how old a rock layer is because we know how old the fossils found in that rock layer are. And how do we know how old the fossils found in that rock layer are? Because we know how old the rock layer is that the fossils were found in. Consequently, Britannica’s conclusion regarding circular arguments applies. The circular reasoning for the age of rocks and the age of fossils is “an ineptitude of argumentation,” “is not deductively valid,” and “lacks any power of conviction.”

The second form of circular reasoning in evolutionary theory surrounds the interdependence between relative dating methods and the theory of biological evolution itself. In short, relative dating cannot provide evidence for a sequence in which life forms emerged and evolved throughout earth’s history because in order to work, in order to produce any ages at all, relative dating requires first presupposing evolution occurred.

We have already seen one manifestation of this circular reasoning in an earlier quote from Britannica Encyclopedia. The quote (repeated below) described how the ages of rocks as dictated by the law of superposition is overturned so that the fossils in the rock layers will match rather than contradict the expected evolutionary order of species, (also known as “faunal succession”). 

“Dating, General considerations, Determination of sequence On occasion, however, deformation may have caused the rocks of the crust to tilt, perhaps to the point of overturning them. Moreover, if erosion has blurred the record by removing substantial portions of the deformed sedimentary rock, it may not be at all clear which edge of a given layer is the original top and which is the original bottom. Identifying top and bottom is clearly important in sequence determination, so important in fact that a considerable literature has been devoted to this question alone. Many of the criteria of top–bottom determination are based on asymmetry in depositional features. Oscillation ripple marks, for example, are produced in sediments by water sloshing back and forth. When such marks are preserved in sedimentary rocks, they define the original top and bottom by their asymmetric pattern. Certain fossils also accumulate in a distinctive pattern or position that serves to define the top side.” – Encyclopaedia Britannica 2004 Deluxe Edition

Earlier we only briefly touched on this issue in order to note that the principle of faunal succession demonstrated the circular reasoning in which fossils date the rock layers they are in and rock layers date the fossils in them. However, since we also mentioned at that time that faunal succession also demonstrates the circular reasoning between relative dating and evolution itself, we will now take some time to discuss this aspect of faunal succession as well.

As we have already seen, faunal succession is defined as the idea that different periods of geologic history are populated by distinct collections of animal species.

Dating, General considerations, Correlation, Principles and techniquesTo this day, fossils are useful as correlation tools to geologists specializing in stratigraphy. In dating the past, the primary value of fossils lies within the principle of faunal succession: each interval of geologic history had a unique fauna that associates a given fossiliferous rock with that particular interval.” – Encyclopaedia Britannica 2004 Deluxe Edition

Fauna – Function: noun – animal life; especially: the animals characteristic of a region, period, or special environment faunal, adjective – faunal, adverb.” Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary

And, we have also already noted from the first quote above, that faunal succession is identified as a principle of geology. However, a comparision between the definition of faunal succession and the definition of evolutionary theory itself reveals that the two terms are synonymous. Just as faunal succession is defined as the idea that different organisms populate different periods of geologic history, evolution itself is the theory that throughout history as generations pass, new species arrive and old species disappear so that the collections of organisms is not uniform throughout geologic history. This definition of evolution can be seen in under 4a and 4b of Merriam-Websters’s entry on evolution.

Evolution – 1: one of a set of prescribed movements 2a: a process of change in a certain direction: unfolding b: the action or aninstance of forming and giving something off: emission c(1): a process of continuous change from a lower, simpler, or worse to a higher, more complex, or better state: growth (2): a process of gradual and relatively peaceful social, political, and economic advance d: something evolved 3: the process of working out or developing 4a: the historical development of a biological group (as a race or species): phylogeny b: a theory that the various types of animals and plants have their origin in other preexisting types and that the distinguishable differences are due to modifications in successive generations 5: the extraction of a mathematical root 6: a process in which the whole universe is a progression of interrelated phenomena.” – Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary

As we can see, Merriam-Webster’s defines evolution in terms of the “historical development” of organisms, particularly a development throughout history in which new types of organisms emerge that are distinct from the organisms of past generations.

Britannica Encyclopedia’s own article on evolution mirrors this definition.

Evolution – theory in biology postulating that the various types of animals and plants have their origin in other preexisting types and that the distinguishable differences are due to modifications in successive generations…All living creatures are related by descent from common ancestors. Humans and other mammals are descended from shrewlike creatures that lived more than 150,000,000 years ago; mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and fishes share as ancestors aquatic worms that lived 600,000,000 years ago; all plants and animals are derived from bacteria-like microorganisms that originated more than 3,000,000,000 years ago. Biological evolution is a process of descent with modification. Lineages of organisms change through generations; diversity arises because the lineages that descend from common ancestors diverge through time.” – Encyclopaedia Britannica 2004 Deluxe Edition

Like Mirriam-Webster’s Dictionary, Britannica defines evolution in terms of the arrival of distinct organisms in successive generations. Thus, since evolution states that the organisms in later generations become distinct from those in previous generations, each period of time would consequently have a distinct collection of organisms, which is the very concept that defines faunal succession. In fact, as we can see from the quote above, Britannica actually goes on to describe how particular types of organisms are only present during certain time periods, just as faunal succession specifically states. As such, faunal succession must be viewed as either a synonym for evolution or as a direct corollary from it.

And the fact that faunal succession is merely a synonym for evolution is quite clear in the next quote from Microsoft Encarta, which actually defines faunal succession as the result of the evolution of species.

Stratigraphy, II PRINCIPLES OF STRATIGRAPHYStratigraphy relies on four simple principles to unveil geologic historyThe principle of faunal and floral succession states that because animals and plants evolve into new species, sedimentary rocks of different ages will contain fossils of different species. Knowing the age of a fossil helps to date the rock in which it is found…These four principles of stratigraphy can be used to unravel the geologic history of a given area.” – "Stratigraphy," Microsoft® Encarta® Encyclopedia 99. © 1993-1998 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

Notice also that the last line from Encarta also summarizes that the principle of faunal succession, which is really just the presumption of evolution, is one of guiding factors used to “unravel geologic history.” While geologic history is asserted as evidence demonstrating evolution, evolution itself is one of the basic “four principles” used to determine what geologic history is. Thus, evolution is a key premise in the argument used to prove that evolution is true. This is another textbook example of circular reasoning.

We can further see exactly how this circular argument works by examining how age sequences are determined for non-biologic artifacts. For instance, the excerpts below focus on the example of clay pots (potsherds). Notice the following from the 2 quotes below that “typology” is also known as “morphology” and “morphology” is the “most common” means of classification. And most importantly, notice from both of the quotes above that “variations in characteristics” are assumed to indicate “sequence” from “more primitive” to “more advanced.”

Archeology, VIII DETERMINING THE AGE OF FINDS – When studying potsherds or other artifacts, archaeologists record variations in characteristics such as material composition, form, style, and decoration. This information forms the basis for developing seriations (artifact sequences), which chronicle artifact evolution over hundreds or thousands of years. Pottery characteristics, like modern automobile designs and clothing fashions, changed over time, growing and then diminishing in popularity. By noting these changes, archaeologists can establish long sequences of artifact styles.” – "Archaeology," Microsoft® Encarta® Encyclopedia 99. © 1993-1998 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

Archaeology, How archaeologists interpret findings – Archaeologists follow three basic steps in interpreting the evidence they find: (1) classification, (2) dating, and (3) evaluation. Classification. Archaeologists can interpret their findings only if they can detect patterns of distribution of artifacts in space or through time. To find these patterns, archaeologists must first classify artifacts into groups of similar objects. Typology is the most common approach in classification. Artifacts are usually first sorted into groups based on their shape, known as morphological types. If the shape and manufacturing methods found among morphological types are distinctive during certain periods, they may represent temporal types. Archaeologists use temporal types to construct a sequence that reflects changes in the style or manufacture of artifacts over time. A sequence of different temporal types from a region reflects cultural change through the years. More detailed studies, such as the microscopic examination of a flint blade or the analysis of residues on a potsherd, can lead to the recognition of functional types.” – Contributor: Thomas R. Hester, Ph.D., Professor of Anthropology, University of Texas, Austin.

Just like distinctions in “morphological types” in pottery artifacts are assumed to indicate that those types came about “sequentially,” the characteristics of forms of individual species are assumed to indicate the order or “succession” that all species came in. With regard to the first quotes below, the term “faunal succession” refers to this concept regarding animals and the related term “floral succession” refers to this concept regarding plants. In other words, the characteristics or forms of fossil species in the rock layers indicate which rock layers are older and which are younger. And once again, it is important to note that in the quotes below, this principle of “faunal succession,” is listed right alongside “the principle of superposition” as one of the “four simple principles” that are “relied on” to “unveil geologic history.”

Stratigraphy, II PRINCIPLES OF STRATIGRAPHY – Stratigraphy relies on four simple principles to unveil geologic history. The principle of original horizontality states that the sediments that form sedimentary rocks are usually deposited in approximately horizontal sheets…The principle of superposition states that, in an undeformed sequence of strata, younger strata lie on top of older strata…The principle of cross-cutting relations states that if a layer of rock is cut, for example, by a fault or an intruding rock, then the cut rock must be older than the event or intrusion that cut it…The principle of faunal and floral succession states that because animals and plants evolve into new species, sedimentary rocks of different ages will contain fossils of different species. Knowing the age of a fossil helps to date the rock in which it is found. Index fossils, which form from species that only exist for a short time, are especially valuable in determining a rock's age. Two rocks from different locations containing the same index fossil must be approximately the same age. This principle is especially useful because it allows geologists to show that different rock layers from different areas were deposited at roughly the same time…These four principles of stratigraphy can be used to unravel the geologic history of a given area.” – "Stratigraphy," Microsoft® Encarta® Encyclopedia 99. © 1993-1998 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

Dating, General considerations, Correlation, Principles and techniques – From an examination of such outcrops with special focus on the sequence of animal forms comes the empirical generalization that the faunas of the past have followed a specific order of succession, and so the relative age of a fossiliferous rock is indicated by the types of fossils it contains…To this day, fossils are useful as correlation tools to geologists specializing in stratigraphy. In dating the past, the primary value of fossils lies within the principle of faunal succession: each interval of geologic history had a unique fauna that associates a given fossiliferous rock with that particular interval.” – Encyclopaedia Britannica 2004 Deluxe Edition

Geologic Time, III DATING METHODSIn order to determine the relative age of rock layers, scientists use three simple principles. The first is the law of superposition, which states that younger beds of rock occur on top of older beds of rock in an undisturbed sequence of layers (see Stratigraphy). The second is the law of cross-cutting relationships, which states that any feature or structure that cuts through and disturbs a rock sequence must be younger than the disturbed beds. The third principle, that of fossil succession, deals with fossils in sedimentary rock…All of these methods facilitate the relative dating of rock sequences, but do not provide absolute ages for the rocks.” – "Geologic Time," Microsoft® Encarta® Encyclopedia 99. © 1993-1998 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

This central role that is played by the “distinct characteristics” of individual species in the principle of faunal succession further highlights the fact that faunal succession is merely a synonym for evolution. We already noted earlier that both Britannica and Merriam-Webster’s definition of “evolution” explicitly included “the distinguishable differences” between organisms over generations.

Evolution4a: the historical development of a biological group (as a race or species): phylogeny b: a theory that the various types of animals and plants have their origin in other preexisting types and that the distinguishable differences are due to modifications in successive generations.” – Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary

Evolution – theory in biology postulating that the various types of animals and plants have their origin in other preexisting types and that the distinguishable differences are due to modifications in successive generations.” – Encyclopaedia Britannica 2004 Deluxe Edition

It is important to note that the term “fossil succession” is also a synonym for “faunal succession.” This is indicated in the description below.

Geology, III THE GEOLOGIC TIME SCALE, B Biostratigraphy – In the field of biostratigraphy geologists study the placement of fossils to determine geologic time. British surveyor William Smith and French anatomist Georges Cuvier both reasoned that in a series of fossil-bearing rocks, the oldest fossils are at the bottom, with successively younger fossils above. They thus extended Steno's Law of Superposition and recognized that fossils could be used to determine geologic time. This principle is called fossil succession.” – "Geology," Microsoft® Encarta® Encyclopedia 99. © 1993-1998 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

Please note that the subheading for the Encarta quote above is “B Biostratigraphy.” “Biostratigraphy” is yet another synonym for the principle of faunal succession. According to Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, the prefix “bio” refers to “life” or “living organisms or tissue.” Consequently, this name denotes that the principle deals with the idea that the once-living things indicate the age of the rock layers, or “strata,” they are found in.

Geology, III THE GEOLOGIC TIME SCALE – Geologists use several methods to determine geologic time. These methods include physical stratigraphy, or the placement of events in the order of their occurrence, and biostratigraphy, which uses fossils to determine geologic time. Another method geologists use is correlation, which allows geologists to determine whether rocks in different geographic locations are the same age…A Relative Time – Geologists create a relative time scale using rock sequences and the fossils contained within these sequences…B Biostratigraphy – In the field of biostratigraphy geologists study the placement of fossils to determine geologic time…Smith and Cuvier also noted that unique fossils were characteristic of different layersC Correlation – Fossils are the most useful tools for correlation. Since the work of Smith and Cuvier, biostratigraphers have noted that ‘like fossils are of like age.’ This is the principle of fossil correlation.” – "Geology," Microsoft® Encarta® Encyclopedia 99. © 1993-1998 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

Geology, VI HISTORY OF GEOLOGY, D Geology in the 18th and 19th Centuries – Cuvier and his co-worker Alexandre Brongniart, along with English surveyor William Smith, established the principles of biostratigraphy, using fossils to establish the age of rocks and to correlate them from place to place. Later, with these established stratigraphies, geologists used fossils to reconstruct the history of life's evolution on earth.” – "Geology," Microsoft® Encarta® Encyclopedia 99. © 1993-1998 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

As we return to our main point, the fact that this principle is termed “biostratigraphy” denotes that it is simply the biological counterpart to the principle of stratigraphy that is used to assign an order to non-biological artifacts, such as clay pots, by their characteristics. This fact becomes even more apparent when we view the description of how non-biological artifacts are dated and assigned an order side by side with the description of how fossils are dated and assigned an order. As we can see in the 3 quotes below, the exact same terms and processes are applied equally to non-biological artifacts and fossils.

Archeology, VIII DETERMINING THE AGE OF FINDS – When studying potsherds or other artifacts, archaeologists record variations in characteristics such as material composition, form, style, and decoration. This information forms the basis for developing seriations (artifact sequences), which chronicle artifact evolution over hundreds or thousands of years. Pottery characteristics, like modern automobile designs and clothing fashions, changed over time, growing and then diminishing in popularity. By noting these changes, archaeologists can establish long sequences of artifact styles.” – "Archaeology," Microsoft® Encarta® Encyclopedia 99. © 1993-1998 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

Archaeology, How archaeologists interpret findings – Archaeologists follow three basic steps in interpreting the evidence they find: (1) classification, (2) dating, and (3) evaluation. Classification. Archaeologists can interpret their findings only if they can detect patterns of distribution of artifacts in space or through time. To find these patterns, archaeologists must first classify artifacts into groups of similar objects. Typology is the most common approach in classification. Artifacts are usually first sorted into groups based on their shape, known as morphological types. If the shape and manufacturing methods found among morphological types are distinctive during certain periods, they may represent temporal types. Archaeologists use temporal types to construct a sequence that reflects changes in the style or manufacture of artifacts over time. A sequence of different temporal types from a region reflects cultural change through the years. More detailed studies, such as the microscopic examination of a flint blade or the analysis of residues on a potsherd, can lead to the recognition of functional types.” – Contributor: Thomas R. Hester, Ph.D., Professor of Anthropology, University of Texas, Austin.

Fossil, VI DATING AND CLASSIFYING FOSSILSFossils are classified using several techniques. The three most popular techniques are evolutionary taxonomy, numerical taxonomy, and cladistics. Evolutionary taxonomy is the method that was most commonly used in the past. It is based on comparing the shape, structure, and relationships of organisms within a stratigraphic framework. Many paleontologists believed this method was too subjective and developed numerical taxonomy as an alternative. Numerical taxonomy uses a mathematical comparison of organisms in which measured features of the organisms are related. In an effort to achieve still greater objectivity, some paleontologists developed a third method, cladistics, based on classifying organisms according to certain features that are either primitive or derived. Primitive features are those that are common to all organisms within a group, whereas derived features are evolutionary novelties. Paleontologists have had problems with subjectivity in cladistics as well, and the method also does not easily take into account the time dimension of the geological record. A combination of the methods used in cladistics and the geological record may provide a clearer picture of the evolution of life on earth.” – "Fossil," Microsoft® Encarta® Encyclopedia 99. © 1993-1998 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

So, as we can see, the principle of faunal succession uses the characteristics of each fossil to determine a sequence of evolution. An example would be that fossil organisms with “more primitive” or simpler looking forms would be assigned a lower or “older” timeframe than more complex fossil organisms, which would have evolved later. But how would a species’ characteristics indicate how much older or younger it was than other species unless we presuppose that species evolved from more “primitive forms” to “more complex forms,” thus assuming evolution itself?

Even evolutionary scientists admit and recognize that merely arranging objects in a sequence based upon the observer’s perception of what is more primitive and what is more advanced is “too subjective” and not real, objective science, now matter how it is formulated. This is acknowledged in the quote below.

Fossil, VI DATING AND CLASSIFYING FOSSILSFossils are classified using several techniques. The three most popular techniques are evolutionary taxonomy, numerical taxonomy, and cladistics. Evolutionary taxonomy is the method that was most commonly used in the past. It is based on comparing the shape, structure, and relationships of organisms within a stratigraphic framework. Many paleontologists believed this method was too subjective and developed numerical taxonomy as an alternative. Numerical taxonomy uses a mathematical comparison of organisms in which measured features of the organisms are related. In an effort to achieve still greater objectivity, some paleontologists developed a third method, cladistics, based on classifying organisms according to certain features that are either primitive or derived. Primitive features are those that are common to all organisms within a group, whereas derived features are evolutionary novelties. Paleontologists have had problems with subjectivity in cladistics as well, and the method also does not easily take into account the time dimension of the geological record.” – "Fossil," Microsoft® Encarta® Encyclopedia 99. © 1993-1998 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

Notice the closing 2 lines of the quote above conclude that “problems with subjectivity” remain even in “cladisticts,” which itself is the most advanced effort to remove subjectivity from classification of organisms. So, even evolutionists admit that this ordering of organisms is subjective. It exists in the mind of the interpreter only and is not a matter of objective evidence or fact.

In summary concerning this second manifestation of circular reasoning in evolutionary theory, relative dating cannot be used as evidence for evolution, for evolution’s time scale, or for sequencing species into an evolutionary order, because in order for relative dating to produce any ages at all, even relative ages, evolution has to be presupposed. Under the terms “faunal succession,” “fossil succession,” or even “biostratigraphy,” evolution itself is inserted as a guiding influence for arranging geologic history, which is then asserted as proof for evolution. In short, evolution is assumed as the guiding factor for assigning geologic age. Then the geologic ages of fossils are used to confirm the idea that those organisms have evolved, the defining pillar of the theory of evolution. Therefore, in relative dating not only the fossils themselves but also the rock layers they are found in are assigned dates by presupposing evolution. Since the process presupposes evolution, it cannot prove evolution. And since determining the relative ages of the fossils and rock layers requires presupposing that evolution is true, the resulting ages themselves are not objective facts at all.

Consequently, once again we have seen that evolutionary theory relies upon circular reasoning. This manifestation of circular reasoning between relative dating and evolution itself is also a textbook example of a circular argument. As Britannica described, it “presumes” or “covertly” assumes “the very conclusion that is to be demonstrated,” in this case the age of the fossils and the rocks. Consequently, Britannica’s conclusion regarding circular arguments applies. The circular reasoning for relative dating and evolution is “an ineptitude of argumentation,” “is not deductively valid,” and “lacks any power of conviction.”

The third form of circular reasoning in evolutionary theory surrounds the interdependence between relative dating methods and absolute dating methods. As indicated much earlier in this segment, a perception exists that radiometric dating methods independently establish the evolution of life on earth and the age of the earth itself. But this is not true. And the reason is simple. Absolute dating methods, particularly radiometric dating, do not independently establish evolution or the age of the earth because radiometric dating is guided by and conformed to the relative dating timescale. This fact can be demonstrated in 2 ways. The first is the history of relative dating and absolute dating and how they first came to interact historically. The second is the modern practices for performing radiometric dating.

To first understand how radiometric dating is inherently dependent upon relative dating, we need to know the historic circumstances in which radiometric dating was developed and used in relation to relative dating.

In the previous segment, we saw how even in theory, relative dating techniques could only indicate age information for the most recent 13 percent of earth’s history, which equates to about the last 598 million years.

Geochronology, Development of radioactive dating methods and their application – Approximately the first 87 percent of Earth history occurred before the evolutionary development of shell-bearing organisms. The result of this mineralogic control on the preservability of organic remains in the rock record is that the geologic time scale—essentially a measure of biologic changes through time—takes in only the last 13 percent of Earth history. Although the span of time preceding the Cambrian period—the Precambrian—is nearly devoid of characteristic fossil remains and coincides with some of the primary rocks of certain early workers, it must, nevertheless, be evaluated in its temporal context.” – Encyclopaedia Britannica 2004 Deluxe Edition

Geology, V FIELDS OF GEOLOGY, B Historical, B4 Paleontology and Paleobiology – The oldest fossils are older than 3 billion years, although fossils do not become abundant and diverse until about 500 million years ago.” – "Geology," Microsoft® Encarta® Encyclopedia 99. © 1993-1998 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

Geology, III THE GEOLOGIC TIME SCALE, B BiostratigraphyIn the field of biostratigraphy geologists study the placement of fossils to determine geologic time…Biostratigraphy is most useful for determining geologic time during the Phanerozoic Eon (Greek phaneros, "evident"; zoic, "life"), the time of visible and abundant fossil life that has lasted for about the past 570 million years.” – "Geology," Microsoft® Encarta® Encyclopedia 99. © 1993-1998 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

Furthermore, in the previous segment, we saw that even though 570 to 598 million years was the maximum limit that fossils could determine age in theory, in reality the fossil record is so discontinuous and irregular that it is “virtually impossible” to use relative dating techniques to construct any time scale or history for even that time time period.

Geochronology, Development of radioactive dating methods and their application, Early attempts at calculating the age of the Earth – Equally novel but similarly flawed was the assumption that, if a cumulative measure of all rock successions were compiled and known rates of sediment accumulation were considered, the amount of time elapsed could be calculated. While representing a reasonable approach to the problem, this procedure did not or could not take into account different accumulation rates associated with different environments or the fact that there are many breaks in the stratigraphic record. Even observations made on faunal succession proved that gaps in the record do occur. How long were these gaps? Do they represent periods of nondeposition or periods of deposition followed by periods of erosion? Clearly sufficient variability in a given stratigraphic record exists such that it may be virtually impossible to even come to an approximate estimate of the Earth's age based on this technique. Nevertheless, many attempts using this approach were made.” – Encyclopaedia Britannica 2004 Deluxe Edition

However, other methods for providing a great age for the earth were also explored, including calculations based upon the salt content of the oceans or the cooling of the earth. Before absolute dating but after the dawn of uniformitarianism, these methods of dating the earth, using specific assumptions of their own, produced ages of only 20 to 90 million years old. However, as indicated by the quote below, each of these methods was also negated by the evidence.

Geochronology, Development of radioactive dating methods and their application, Early attempts at calculating the age of the EarthFrom the time of Hutton's refinement of uniformitarianism, the principle found wide application in various attempts to calculate the age of the Earth…Many independent estimates of the age of the Earth have been proposed, each made using a different method of analysis. Some such estimates were based on assumptions concerning the rate at which dissolved salts or sediments are carried by rivers, supplied to the world's oceans, and allowed to accumulate over time…The notion that all of the salts dissolved in the oceans were the products of leaching from the land was first proposed by the English astronomer and mathematician Edmond Halley in 1691 and restated by the Irish geologist John Joly in 1899Based on these calculations, Joly proposed that the Earth had consolidated and that the oceans had been created between 80 and 90 million years ago. The subsequent recognition that the ocean is not closed and that a continual loss of salts occurs due to sedimentation in certain environments severely limited this novel approach…William Thomson (later Lord Kelvin) applied his thermodynamic principles to the problems of heat flow, and this had implications for predicting the age of a cooling Sun and of a cooling EarthUsing the same criteria, he concluded in 1899 that the Earth was between 20 and 40 million years old…His estimate came into question after the discovery of naturally occurring radioactivity by the French physicist Henri Becquerel in 1896 and the subsequent recognition by his colleagues, Marie and Pierre Curie, that compounds of radium (which occur in uranium minerals) produce heat…Within a short time another leading British physicist, John William Strutt, concluded that the production of heat in the Earth's interior was a dynamic process, one in which heat was continuously provided by such materials as uranium. The Earth was, in effect, not cooling.” – Encyclopaedia Britannica 2004 Deluxe Edition

Tracing the role of circular reasoning in the development of an evolutionary timescale prior to the onset of radiometric dating is helpful to understanding that circular reasoning is inherent to radiometric and relative dating. The quote above asserts that early attempts to calculate the age of the earth followed from the acceptance of uniformitarianism. We have already seen that in regards to geology, uniformitarianism is the evolutionary principle that assumes that the features of the earth were formed slowly as a result of long, gradual processes rather than forming rapidly from catastrophes. And we have also already seen that the assumption of uniformitarianism is made in spite of the recognition of the significant role that catastophism plays in the formation of the earth’s features.

So, the thought process that leads to the current estimate of the earth’s age can be constructed as follows. Evidence from history and archeology only records 5,000-6,000 years of history on earth. Although catastrophes play a role in forming the earth’s features quickly and would allow for their formation over a short time, assume instead that only long, gradual processes are responsible for the formation of the earth’s features. Assuming that only long, gradual processes are responsible for the formation of the earth’s features, conclude that the earth must be very much older than 6,000 years. Find some observable evidence to support the purely speculative assumption that the earth is much older than 6,000 years.

The entire process begins with and is dependent upon circular reasoning. As a result the need arises to seek evidence that would independently confirm these assumptions of a very, very old earth without itself depending upon these assumptions. Early attempts to find such evidence were all found to be contradicted by other observations and discoveries. And that is how the situation remained until the advent of radiometric dating. The assumptions foundational to the theory remained in desperate need of independent confirmation rather than circular reasoning. However, as we will see, radiometric dating doesn’t prove an old earth either unless we first make these same assumptions.

What is most significant from the quote above is that these problems in dating the earth persisted right up through 1896 and 1899, right into the turn of the twentieth century. Although they were proven wrong by the evidence, even if these ages were correct, they were still too short to provide enough time for evolution to occur. Consequently, while speculations abounded that the earth was millions or hundreds of millions of years or older instead of the 6 to 10 thousand years asserted by the Judeo-Christian record, there was still no evidence indicating such a great age and no methods capable of producing such a great age. As such, in order to provide enough time for the automatic, routine processes of uniformitarianism and evolution to bring about the earth itself, the earth’s geologic features, the origin of life, and all of the species on earth today, another dating method was required, one capable of giving actual ages in years.

Evolutionists believed that the earth was older than 6 to 10 thousand years and that the earth itself, its geologic features, and all of its numerous forms of life came about by slow, automatic, routine processes. However, they had no concrete evidence, no observations or proof that provided any indication of this beyond their own assumptions. And so, believing this to be true but having no evidence for it, the quote below states that“for a long time” evolutionists continued to “search for an absolute” dating method that “could turn their relative chronologies into absolute dates.”

Archaeology, Interpretation, Dating – Absolute man-made chronology based on king lists and records in Egypt and Mesopotamia goes back only 5,000 years. For a long time archaeologists searched for an absolute chronology that went beyond this and could turn their relative chronologies into absolute dates.” – Encyclopaedia Britannica 2004 Deluxe Edition

A possible solution to this lack of evidence was eventually found in the form of radiometric dating. It was only shortly after the turn of the century that radioactivity was discovered, leading to the onset of the first use of radioactive dating to estimate the age of the earth. And consequently, it was not until the arrival of radioactive dating (absolute dating) that Lord Kelvin’s 20-40 million year estimates were fully disproved.

Earth sciences, The 20th century: modern trends and developments, Geologic sciences, Radiometric dating In 1905, shortly after the discovery of radioactivity, the American chemist Bertram Boltwood suggested that lead is one of the disintegration products of uranium, in which case the older a uranium-bearing mineral the greater should be its proportional part of lead. Analyzing specimens whose relative geologic ages were known, Boltwood found that the ratio of lead to uranium did indeed increase with age. After estimating the rate of this radioactive change he calculated that the absolute ages of his specimens ranged from 410,000,000 to 2,200,000,000 years. Though his figures were too high by about 20 percent, their order of magnitude was enough to dispose of the short scale of geologic time proposed by Lord Kelvin.” – Encyclopaedia Britannica 2004 Deluxe Edition

With the onset of radioactive dating, for the first time evolutionists finally had enough time for evolution to occur.

Dating Methods, II DEVELOPMENT OF RELATIVE AND ABSOLUTE METHODSWith the methods then available, 19th-century geologists could only construct a relative time scale. Thus, the actual age of the earth and the duration, in millions of years, of the units of the time scale remained unknown until the dawn of the 20th century. After radioactivity was discovered, radiometric dating methods were quickly developed. With these new methods geologists could calibrate the relative scale of geologic time, thereby creating an absolute one.” – "Dating Methods," Microsoft® Encarta® Encyclopedia 99. © 1993-1998 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

Geochronology, Development of radioactive dating methods and their application, An absolute age framework for the stratigraphic time scale – In 1905 Strutt succeeded in analyzing the helium content of aradium-containing rock and determined its age to be 2 billion yearsAlthough faced with problems of helium loss and therefore not quite accurate results, a major scientific breakthrough had been accomplished. Also in 1905 the American chemist Bertram B. Boltwood, working with the more stable uranium–lead system, calculated the numerical ages of 43 minerals. His results, with a range of 400 million to 2.2 billion years, were an order of magnitude greater than those of the other “quantitative” techniques of the day that made use of heat flow or sedimentation rates to estimate time. Acceptance of these new ages was slow in coming. Perhaps much to their relief, paleontologists now had sufficient time in which to accommodate faunal changeAs a result of this work, the relative geologic time scale, which had taken nearly 200 years to evolve, could be numerically quantified. No longer did it have merely superpositional significance, it now had absolute temporal significance as well.” – Encyclopaedia Britannica 2004 Deluxe Edition

There are several items to note from the quote above. First, we note that the quotes explicitly state that paleontologists were “relieved” that absolute dating finally provided them with enough time for evolution to occur. They had believed it without any working proof or evidence. But now, they finally had a potential much-needed means to support what they had believed without proof all along.

Second and perhaps most importantly, notice that the quotes explicitly state that “the relative geologic time scale, which had taken nearly 200 years to evolve, could be numerically quantified.” This is significant because it means that the geologic column and the evolutionary time scale were not created starting from radiometric dating. But instead, the evolutionary timescale came from relative dating, which as we have seen was constructed only by presupposing evolution. That evolutionary relative timescale had been thoroughly developed for over 200 years. And when radiometric dating was discovered, its dates were simply applied to the already-existing evolutionary timescale of history, even as the first quote above stated, “with these new methods geologists calibrate the relative scale of geologic time.” They merely used radioactive dating to provide years to the existing, evolutionary timescale.

Consequently, radiometric dating has never been used independently of relative dating but relative dating has always provided the framework into which radiometric dates were simply inserted. Radiometric dates have never been and to this day never are used or derived without first identifying the expected evolutionary timescale so that the radiometric dates can conform to that evolutionary timescale. This is simply a matter of historical fact. The evolutionary timescale was developed first. For years, evolutionists searched for a way to assign actual years to their merely speculated timescale. And finally, radiometric dating methods were discovered and were immediately plugged into the existing timescale, just as had been sought all along. No timescale was ever constructed from radiometric dating. Radiometric dating has always, only been used in conformity to the existing, presupposed evolutionary timescale. And, as we will see, radiometric dates are not independently calculated apart from the evolutionary timescale. Instead, radiometric dates are derived by using the relative dates assigned hypothetically by evolution theory. Since radiometric dates are calculated in accordance with evolution theory they cannot and do not function to confirm the pre-existing evolutionary timescale.

However, at this point the question might arise as to whether or not this historic circular relationship between relative and absolute dating continues or has been overcome in present practice.

Concerning modern dating practice, the first important item to note is that relative dating and absolute dating simply cannot be done independently of one another. It simply is not possible to independently construct a relative dating timescale or to independently construct an absolute time scale. Constructing an evolutionary timescale requires using both relative and absolute dating in an interdependent, interwoven manner. This is stated specifically in the quote below.

“Archeology, VIII DETERMINING THE AGE OF FINDSAccurately dating an archaeological site requires the application of two distinct methods of dating: relative and absolute. Relative dating establishes the date of archaeological finds in relation to one another. Absolute dating is the often more difficult task of determining the year in which an artifact, remain, or geological layer was deposited.” – "Archaeology," Microsoft® Encarta® Encyclopedia 99. © 1993-1998 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

Since relative and absolute dating must be used together in an interwoven manner in order to produce the evolutionary timescale, it is a simple matter of fact that relative dating and absolute dating do not and cannot independently confirm one another. In order to independently confirm one another, they would have to work independently of one another. But instead, as we will continue to neither one works without the other. And neither one is ever done on its own.

The primary reason why relative dating and absolute dating must be used together and cannot be used independently flows from the following facts. First, as Britannica Encyclopedia specifically states when describing absolute or radiometric dating, not all rocks can be radiometric dated.

Geology, Absolute dating – It is important to remember that precise ages cannot be obtained for just any rock unit but that any unit can be dated relative to a datable unit.” – Encyclopaedia Britannica 2004 Deluxe Edition

Second, radiometric dating can only be used on igneous and metamorphic rocks. Other than carbon-14 (radiocarbon), radiometric dating cannot be used on sedimentary rocks. Thus, as Microsoft Encarta indicates below, radiometric dating is “of limited use in sedimentary rocks.” This is the case particularly because carbon-14 dating can only be used on rocks 50,000 years or younger, as we will see when we cover carbon-14 dating later on.

Geology, III THE GEOLOGIC TIME SCALE, D Radiometric Dating – Another fundamental goal of geochronology is to determine numerical ages of rocks and to assign numbers to the geologic time scale. The primary tool for this task is radiometric dating, in which the decay of radioactive elements is used to date rocks and minerals. Radiometric dating works best on igneous rocks (rocks that crystallized from molten material). It can also be used to date minerals in metamorphic rocks (rocks that formed when parent rock was submitted to intense heat and pressure and metamorphosed into another type of rock). It is of limited use, however, in sedimentary rocks formed by the compaction of layers of sediment.” – "Geology," Microsoft® Encarta® Encyclopedia 99. © 1993-1998 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

And third, the vast majority of all fossils are formed and found in sedimentary rock.

Dating, General considerations, Distinctions between relative-age and absolute-age measurements – Unlike ages derived from fossils, which occur only in sedimentary rocks, absolute ages are obtained from minerals that grow as liquid rock bodies cool at or below the surface.” – Encyclopaedia Britannica 2004 Deluxe Edition

Because fossils are found in sedimentary rock and radiometric dating can only date igneous and metamorphic rock, in order to construct a geologic history which dates fossils and rocks going back 4.6 billion years, both radiometric and relative dating must be used together. This is what Britannica means when it states that “just any rock” cannot be radiometrically dated but any rock can be dated “relative to a datable unit.”

Geology, Absolute dating – It is important to remember that precise ages cannot be obtained for just any rock unit but that any unit can be dated relative to a datable unit.” – Encyclopaedia Britannica 2004 Deluxe Edition

In other words, sedimentary rock and fossils cannot be radiometrically dated, and so they can only have absolute ages that are assigned based upon their relative position above or below igneous and metamporphic rocks nearby. This is the manner in which relative dating and absolute dating are combined. We will see this same concept in the quote below in which Britannica similarly states, “because most rocks simply cannot be isotopically dated…a geologist must first determine relative ages and then locate the most favourable units for absolute dating.” Once again, this indicates that sedimentary rocks and fossils can only be assigned absolute ages based upon their relative position above or below nearby igneous or metamorphic rocks.

However, the few quotes below assert an even more important point. Specifically, both of the quotes below attest that relative ages must be determined first before absolute dating can occur. First, it is important to note that when rock samples are collected at a particular fossil site or outcrop, their precise location within the layers is recorded.

Archeology, VIII DETERMINING THE AGE OF FINDSRelative dating relies on the principle of superposition. This principle states that deeper layers in a stratified sequence of naturally or humanly deposited earth are older than shallower layers. In other words, the uppermost layer is the most recent, and each deeper layer is somewhat older. Relative chronologies come from two sources: (1) careful stratigraphic excavation in the field, noting the precise location of every artifact and remain within layers of earth; and (2) close study of the characteristics of artifacts themselves.” – "Archaeology," Microsoft® Encarta® Encyclopedia 99. © 1993-1998 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

As the next quote states, relative geologic ages “constitute an essential part in any precise isotopic, or absolute, dating program.” It goes on to specify further that relative dating “must” be determined “first” before absolute or radiometric dating. Thus, this quote affirms that determining radiometric ages requires knowing the relative age of the sample first.

Dating, General considerations, Determination of sequenceRelative geologic ages can be deduced in rock sequences consisting of sedimentary, metamorphic, or igneous rock units. In fact, they constitute an essential part in any precise isotopic, or absolute, dating program. Such is the case because most rocks simply cannot be isotopically dated. Therefore, a geologist must first determine relative ages and then locate the most favourable units for absolute dating.” – Encyclopaedia Britannica 2004 Deluxe Edition

The next quote is also explicit, stating that “geologists” must “first determine the relative age of rocks” and “construct a geologic time scale” from the relative ages before they can perform radiometric dating. As the quote states, radiometric dating is not in any way used to construct the timescale. Instead, the timescale is constructed already and radiometric dating is simply used to place “years” or “numbers” to the time scale. 

Geology, III THE GEOLOGIC TIME SCALEThe process of determining geologic time includes several steps. Geologists first determine the relative age of rocks-which rocks are older and which are younger. They then may correlate rocks to determine which rocks are the same age. Next, they construct a geologic time scale. Finally, they determine the specific numerical ages of rocks by various dating methods and assign numbers to the time scale.” – "Geology," Microsoft® Encarta® Encyclopedia 99. © 1993-1998 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

Concerning the fact that radiometric dating uses the relative timescale (or geologic column) in order to produce its ages, in 1976, the American Journal of Science published an article asserting this very fact. In short, rather than being an objective observation or independent dating method, radiometric dating is based upon the relative ages produced by relative dating.

Radiometric dating would not have been feasible if the geologic column had not been erected firstThe rocks do date the fossils, but the fossils date the rocks more accurately. Stratigraphy cannot avoid this kind of reasoning.” – “Pragmatism versus Materialism in Stratigraphy,” J.E. O’Rourke, American Journal of Science 1976, 276:51 (Cited in “Lies in the Textbooks,” Dr. Kent E. Hovind, Creation Science Evangelism, Pensacola, FL, www.drdino.com, Windows Media Video, 24 minutes, 55 seconds)

And, as we saw in an earlier quote, that pre-existing relative timescale, upon which radiometric ages are based, was put together for a period of 200 years prior to the onset of radiometric dating.

Geochronology, Development of radioactive dating methods and their application, An absolute age framework for the stratigraphic time scale – In 1905 Strutt succeeded in analyzing the helium content of aradium-containing rock and determined its age to be 2 billion yearsAlthough faced with problems of helium loss and therefore not quite accurate results, a major scientific breakthrough had been accomplished. Also in 1905 the American chemist Bertram B. Boltwood, working with the more stable uranium–lead system, calculated the numerical ages of 43 minerals. His results, with a range of 400 million to 2.2 billion years, were an order of magnitude greater than those of the other “quantitative” techniques of the day that made use of heat flow or sedimentation rates to estimate time. Acceptance of these new ages was slow in coming. Perhaps much to their relief, paleontologists now had sufficient time in which to accommodate faunal change. Researchers in other fields, however, were still conservatively sticking with ages on the order of several hundred million, but were revising their assumed sedimentation rates downward in order to make room for expanded time concepts. In a brilliant contribution to resolving the controversy over the age of the Earth, Arthur Holmes, a student of Strutt, compared the relative (paleontologically determined) stratigraphic ages of certain specimens with their numerical ages as determined in the laboratory…As a result of this work, the relative geologic time scale, which had taken nearly 200 years to evolve, could be numerically quantified. No longer did it have merely superpositional significance, it now had absolute temporal significance as well.” – Encyclopaedia Britannica 2004 Deluxe Edition

Furthermore, the next quote explicitly states that in order to perform radiometric dating, geochronologies must “rely on geologists for relative ages.” This clearly demonstrates that the expected relative age is already in view when radiometric testing is performed and that the radiometric date simply works to conform to the existing relative age and pre-existing, long-standing relative timescale. This is important since the ages of relative dating are simply hypothetical assertions of evolution theory that are not based on observation or evidence.

Dating, Absolute dating, Principles of isotopic dating – Most geologists must rely on geochronologists for their results. In turn, the geochronologist relies on the geologist for relative ages.” – Encyclopaedia Britannica 2004 Deluxe Edition

If we pull together the information in the previous 5 quotes, the following picture of the process emerges with resounding clarity. First, geologists take rock or fossil samples from sites in the field. They record a sample’s exact position within the layer and precise relative age information. That precise position and relative age are placed within the existing relative geologic timescale, which is based upon evolutionary assumptions and was created without radiometric dating. All of this information is needed for radiometric dating to be performed. And taking all of that information about the sample’s exact position in the layer and place on the existing geologic scale, the radiometric dating lab renders an age in years that fits the age already identified for them using relative dating methods. And this was not only the case in terms of the historical origins of radiometric dating, but it continues to be a matter of the ongoing practice of relative and radiometric dating to this very day. It is difficult to avoid stating the obvious on this point. The radiometric age is not an objective fact at all but merely a ploy for disguising the speculative and baseless relative age by means of a number in years.

Moreover, what is so significant is that these facts unequivocally mean that evolution’s timescale was not and is not constructed using radiometric dating. Evolution constructs geologic history from relative dating in a process of circular reasoning guided by the presumption of evolution in the form of the principle of faunal succession. Radiometric procedures are only used afterward to derive dates that fit the existing timescale that had already been established over hundreds of years without radiometric dating.

This raises some primary questions. If radiometric dating works, if you can simply test the age of rocks and determine or confirm the geologic age of items using radiometric dating, then why can’t the evolutionary geologic timescale be constructed by using only radiometric dating on its own ? Why is an essential step in the radiometric dating processes to first assign the specimen a relative age in accordance with the timescale of evolution theory? As we have seen already in the quotes above, without first asserting the relative ages assumed by evolution theory, radiometric dating cannot be used to substantiate the evolutionary timescale. And we will see why this is the case later in our segment detailing the processes and problems of radiometric dating.

Returning the issue of circular reasoning, not only does relative age dictate the radiometric age, but in true circular fashion, the radiometric age is heralded as proof that the relative age is correct.

“Dating, General considerations, Correlation, Principles and techniques –Nevertheless, there is no greater testimony to the validity of fossil-based stratigraphic geology than the absolute dates made possible through radioactive measurements. Almost without exception, the relative order of strata defined by fossils has been confirmed by radiometric ages.” – Encyclopaedia Britannica 2004 Deluxe Edition

Geology, III THE GEOLOGIC TIME SCALE, D Radiometric DatingOne of the great triumphs of geochronology is that numbers acquired by radiometric dating matched predictions based on superposition and other means of geologic age determination, confirming the assumption of uniformitarianism.” – "Geology," Microsoft® Encarta® Encyclopedia 99. © 1993-1998 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

This is classic circular reasoning. Relative age information serves as the basis for determining radiometric ages. And then radiometric ages are said to provide the dates in years that fill out the relative dating timescale. This was stated explicitly moments ago in a previous quote. The geologists get the ages in years from the geochronologists who perform the radiometric dating, but the geochronologists who perform the radiometric dating first get the age range from the geologists who use only relative dating.

Dating, Absolute dating, Principles of isotopic datingMost geologists must rely on geochronologists for their results. In turn, the geochronologist relies on the geologist for relative ages.” – Encyclopaedia Britannica 2004 Deluxe Edition

Exactly how the geochronologist, who determines radiometric dates, relies upon the geologist for relative ages will be explored in detail when we discuss radiometric dating processes. What we will see is that a hypothetical date based on the evolutionary timescale is the critical factor in the formula used to determining the absolute, radiometric age of a sample. Other factors are adjusted so as to arrive at a date that fits with this pre-specified, hypothetical date from the evolutionary timescale.

And just as the quotes above established that radiometric dating cannot be performed without relative ages being supplied first, it is also conversely the case that relative ages are empty and unsupported if radiometric ages are not supplied. Notice that many of the quotes below state specifically that radiometric dating is not used to construct evolutions’ timescale but merely to superficially assign dates to it.

Geologic Time, III DATING METHODS – All of these methods facilitate the relative dating of rock sequences, but do not provide absolute ages for the rocks. Geologists have several methods for determining the actual age of a rock layer. The most important is radiometric dating, which uses the steady decay of radioactive elements (seeRadioactivity) in the rock to provide a measure of age.” – "Geologic Time," Microsoft® Encarta® Encyclopedia 99. © 1993-1998 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

Archaeology, Interpretation, Dating – Absolute man-made chronology based on king lists and records in Egypt and Mesopotamia goes back only 5,000 years. For a long time archaeologists searched for an absolute chronology that went beyond this and could turn their relative chronologies into absolute dates.” – Encyclopaedia Britannica 2004 Deluxe Edition

Fossil, Studying fossils, Dating fossils  – When a fossil species is first discovered, it is usually found along with other species. If paleontologists know the position of the other species in the history of life, they can determine the position of the new species. This type of dating only indicates whether one fossil is older or younger than another fossil. It does not provide a fossil's age in years. Paleontologists determine how old a fossil is by measuring the radioactive isotopes in the rocks that contain the fossil.” – Worldbook, Contributor: Steven M. Stanley, Ph.D., Professor of Earth and Planetary Sciences, Johns Hopkins University.

Fossil, Dating fossils – Through many years of research, paleontologists have come to understand the order in which most kinds of fossils occur in the geological record. When a fossil species is first discovered, it is usually found along with other species. If paleontologists know the position of the other species in the history of life, they can determine the position of the new species. This type of dating only indicates whether one fossil is older or younger than another fossil. It does not provide a fossil's age in years. Paleontologists determine how old a fossil is by measuring the radioactive isotopes in the rocks that contain the fossil.” – Encyclopaedia Britannica 2004 Deluxe Edition

Index Fossil, IV USE OF INDEX FOSSILSUsing index fossils and the principle of faunal and floral succession, scientists can determine a relative chronology, or a sequence of events. Yet, absolute age, or the number of years that have passed since a rock layer formed, cannot be determined using fossils alone. Absolute age must be derived from dating methods such as radiometric dating.” – "Index Fossil," Microsoft® Encarta® Encyclopedia 99. © 1993-1998 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

“Archeology, VIII DETERMINING THE AGE OF FINDS – Accurately dating an archaeological site requires the application of two distinct methods of dating: relative and absolute. Relative dating establishes the date of archaeological finds in relation to one another. Absolute dating is the often more difficult task of determining the year in which an artifact, remain, or geological layer was deposited.” – "Archaeology," Microsoft® Encarta® Encyclopedia 99. © 1993-1998 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

“Stratigraphy, III RELATIVE  VERSUS ABSOLUTE AGESThe above example gives only the sequence of geologic events for a particular place; it provides no information as to how long ago the events occurred. The example illustrates the use of relative ages by showing the occurrence of events with respect to each other. In contrast, absolute ages specify, in years, when a rock formed.” – "Stratigraphy," Microsoft® Encarta® Encyclopedia 99. © 1993-1998 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

Archaeology, How archaeologists interpret findings – Relative dating gives information about the age of an object in relation to other objects. Thus, relative dating methods produce only comparisons, not actual dates...Absolute dating determines the age of an object in years.” – Contributor: Thomas R. Hester, Ph.D., Professor of Anthropology, University of Texas, Austin.

Geology, III THE GEOLOGIC TIME SCALE, D Radiometric Dating – Another fundamental goal of geochronology is to determine numerical ages of rocks and to assign numbers to the geologic time scale. The primary tool for this task is radiometric dating, in which the decay of radioactive elements is used to date rocks and minerals…Using dated rocks, geologists have been able to assign numbers to the geologic time scale.” – "Geology," Microsoft® Encarta® Encyclopedia 99. © 1993-1998 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

Dating Methods, II DEVELOPMENT OF RELATIVE AND ABSOLUTE METHODSWith the methods then available, 19th-century geologists could only construct a relative time scale. Thus, the actual age of the earth and the duration, in millions of years, of the units of the time scale remained unknown until the dawn of the 20th century. After radioactivity was discovered, radiometric dating methods were quickly developed. With these new methods geologists could calibrate the relative scale of geologic time, thereby creating an absolute one.” – "Dating Methods," Microsoft® Encarta® Encyclopedia 99. © 1993-1998 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

Earth, geologic history of, Time scales – There are, in fact, two geologic time scales. One is relative, or chronostratigraphic, and the other is absolute, or chronometric. The chronostratigraphic scale has evolved since the mid-1800s and concerns the relative order of strataThe chronometric scale is based on specific units of duration and on the numerical ages that are assigned to the aforementioned chronostratigraphic boundaries.” – Encyclopaedia Britannica 2004 Deluxe Edition

“Dating, General considerations, Distinctions between relative-age and absolute-age measurements – In fact, even in younger rocks, absolute dating is the only way that the fossil record can be calibrated. Without absolute ages, investigators could only determine which fossil organisms lived at the same time and the relative order of their appearance in the correlated sedimentary rock record.” – Encyclopaedia Britannica 2004 Deluxe Edition

In addition to the fact that the relationship between relative and radiometric dating is a circular one, notice that Britannica encyclopedia does not consider radiometric dating to be an objectively reliable procedure but instead regards the processes as entirely subject to the the degree of objectivity possessed by the individual performing the dating. “In all cases,” according to Britannica, radiometric dates are valid or invalid based entirely on whether or not the investigators sufficiently and open-mindedly attempt to prove their dates wrong.

Dating, Absolute dating, Principles of isotopic datingIn all cases, it is the obligation of the investigator making the determinations to include enough tests to indicate that the absolute age quoted is valid within the limits stated. In other words, it is the obligation of geochronologists to try to prove themselves wrong by including a series of cross-checks in their measurements before they publish a result. Such checks include dating a series of ancient units with closely spaced but known relative ages and replicate analysis of different parts of the same rock body with samples collected at widely spaced localities. The importance of internal checks as well as interlaboratory comparisons becomes all the more apparent when one realizes that geochronology laboratories are limited in number. Because of the expensive equipment necessary and the combination of geologic, chemical, and laboratory skills required, geochronology is usually carried out by teams of experts. Most geologists must rely on geochronologists for their results. In turn, the geochronologist relies on the geologist for relative ages.” – Encyclopaedia Britannica 2004 Deluxe Edition

So, while Britannica asserts that the validity of radiometric dates rests solely on whether or not the individual geochronologist is objectively trying to determine if his calculations are in error, we already know that the entire operating procedure is based upon circular reasoning, a reasoning process that according to Britannica “presumes” or “covertly” assumes “the very conclusion that is to be demonstrated.” So, since radiometric ages are not objective facts but are right or wrong depending on the objectivity of the investigator performing the dating, how can we rely on such ages when we know that the investigators are not “trying to prove themselves wrong” but are instead “presuming” or “covertly” assuming “the very conclusion” that they are trying to prove, namely that the samples fit the ages determined by the relative dates assumed by evolution? Britannica even concludes this quote with reaffirming that geochronologists performing the radiometric dating actually get the ages from geologists and the relative dating scale. Having seen the role of philosophical preference before and having seen the circular reasoning in the procedure, which relies on covertly presuming the very thing that it is setting out to prove, there is simply no reason to regard radiometric ages as objective observations or independent verifications of the evolutionary timescale.

In summary, the circular reasoning between relative dating and radiometric dating is a textbook example of a circular argument. As Britannica described, it “presumes” or “covertly” assumes “the very conclusion that is to be demonstrated,” in this case the age of the fossils and the rocks. Consequently, Britannica’s conclusion regarding circular arguments applies. The circular reasoning for relative dating and radiometric dating is “an ineptitude of argumentation,” “is not deductively valid,” and “lacks any power of conviction.”

We leave this segment with the following points. First, evolution is based upon circular reasoning in 3 areas, all of which are critical to geologic dating: the relationship between dating fossils and dating rocks, the relationship between all forms of relative dating and evolutionary theory itself, and finally the relationship between radiometric dating and relative dating. Not a single dating method works or supports evolution without first presuming evolution in the first place as part of the premises. Second, throughout this segment, we have established the claim that radiometric dating is a superficial ploy that is not grounded in objective observation but is adjusted to fit the presumed and predetermined evolutionary timescale. After out next segment exploring the evolutionarty timescale itself, we will find out exactly why and how this adjusting can occur in radiometric dating as we explore radiometric dating itself. This adjusting of radiometric dates to fit with the relative dates assumed by evolution will serve to further demonstrate that radiometric dating is not an independent confirmation of the evolutionary timescale. Rather radiometric dating is used to prove evolutionary timescale by first assuming the evolutionary timescale and then adjusting to “correct” any “discrepancies” with the evolutionary timescale.


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