Home Church Community

Statement of Beliefs

Contact Us

Search Our Site

Bible Study Resource



Printer Friendly Version

Basic Worldview:
103 Science, the Bible,
and Creation



Origins - Section Four:
General Radiometric Problems


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:
The General Problem of Critical Unknowns

During the previous segment, which was an introduction to the basic concepts of radiometric dating, we briefly outlined 4 pieces of information that must be known in order for radiometric dating calculations to be performed. However, due to the primary importance of this issue, we promised to return and discuss those criteria and the problems they pose to radiometric dating in more detail during this segment.

For review, those 4 factors, which must be known in order to calculate radiometric ages, are as follows. First, we must know that the decay rate is constant, not fluctuating, and we must know what that constant decay rate is. Second, we must know the ratio of parent and daughter elements that were already present in a rock when it originally formed. And we must be able to identify, distinguish between, and “correct” for those daughter-type atoms, which were originally present, and those which result from decay. If we don’t know how much the rock began with, we cannot determine how much decay has occurred, or consequently, how old the rock is. Third, we must know what the current amounts of both parent and daughter atoms are in the item to be dated. And fourth, we must know how many parent or daughter isotopes migrated into or out of the rock, because such migration also alters our perception of the original parent-to-daughter ratios and the current parent-to-daughter ratios. These 4 factors are described in the following 2 quotes.

Dating Methods, III ABSOLUTE DATING METHODS. E Radiometric Dating, E1 Basic Theory –Radiometric dating techniques are based on radio-decay series with constant rates of isotope decay. Once a quantity of a radioactive element becomes part of a growing mineral crystal, that quantity will begin to decay at a steady rate, with a definite percentage of daughter products in each time interval. These "clocks in rocks" are the geologists' timekeepers.” – "Dating Methods," Microsoft® Encarta® Encyclopedia 99. © 1993-1998 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

Dating, Absolute dating, Principles of isotopic dating – Likewise, the conditions that must be met to make the calculated age precise and meaningful are in themselves simple: 1. The rock or mineral must have remained closed to the addition or escape of parent and daughter atoms since the time that the rock or mineral (system) formed. 2. It must be possible to correct for other atoms identical to daughter atoms already present when the rock or mineral formed. 3. The decay constant must be known. 4. The measurement of the daughter-to-parent ratio must be accurate because uncertainty in this ratio contributes directly to uncertainty in the age. Different schemes have been developed to deal with the critical assumptions stated above. In uranium–lead dating, minerals virtually free of initial lead can be isolated and corrections made for the trivial amounts present. In whole rock isochron methods that make use of the rubidium–strontium or samarium–neodymium decay schemes (see below), a series of rocks or minerals are chosen that can be assumed to have the same age and identical abundances of their initial isotopic ratios. The results are then tested for the internal consistency that can validate the assumptions…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.– Encyclopaedia Britannica 2004 Deluxe Edition

The quotes below plainly state that migrations can both significantly raise and significantly lower radiometric ages. Notice that the first quote, which is affirms that migrations can generate ages that are “too old” begins by also affirming that this phenomenon is relevant “in all dating systems.”

Dating, Absolute dating, Principles of isotopic datingAs in all dating systems, the ages calculated can be affected by the presence of inherited daughter products. In a few cases, argon ages older than that of the Earth which violate local relative age patterns have even been determined for the mineral biotite. Such situations occur mainly where old rocks have been locally heated, which released argon-40 into pore spaces at the same time that new minerals grew.” – Encyclopaedia Britannica 2004 Deluxe Edition

In addition, although the next quote is focused on the potential lowering of radiometric ages by reheating and migration, notice that this quote affirms the commonness and ease of reheating and migration with the phrase “All it takes for such an element to be purged from the mineral is sufficient heat.” Such phrasing clearly indicates that this is frequent and simple to achieve.

Dating, Absolute dating, Evaluation and presentation schemes in dating, Multiple ages for a single rock; the thermal effect Fossils record the initial, or primary, age of a rock unit. Isotopic systems, on the other hand, can yield either the primary age or the time of a later event, because crystalline materials are very specific in the types of atoms they incorporate, in terms of both the atomic size and charge. An element formed by radioactive decay is quite different from its parent atom and thus is out of place with respect to the host mineral. All it takes for such an element to be purged from the mineral is sufficient heat to allow solid diffusion to occur. Each mineral has a temperature at which rapid diffusion sets in, so that, as a region is slowly heated, first one mineral and then another loses its daughter isotopes. When this happens, the isotopic “clock” is reset to zero, where it remains until the mineral cools below the blocking temperature…Another problem arises if a region undergoes a second reheating event. Certain minerals may record the first event, whereas others may record the second, and any suggestion of progressive cooling between the two is invalid. – Encyclopaedia Britannica 2004 Deluxe Edition

Consequently, reheating and migration events cause parent and daughter isotopes to both leave and enter into rock formations, at which point the quantity of these isotopes in a rock no longer reflects decay, the duration of decay, or age. The inability to identify the amounts of migration into or out of a sample will create the following obstacles to dating. Parents might be missing through migration instead of decay, giving the mistaken impression that more decay has occurred, that more half-lives have passed, and that the item is older. Or, parents might be added by migration, giving the mistaken impression that less decay has occurred, that less time has passed, and that the item is younger. Or, daughters might be missing through migration, giving the impression that less decay has occurred, that less time has passed, and that the item is younger. Or, daughters might be added through migration, giving the impression that more decay has occurred, that more half-lives have passed, and that the item is older.

In summary, reheating and migration can both raise and lower ages, effectively making the age unknowable.

As stated above, there are 4 pieces of information, which are all regarded by Britannica as “critical” and as “conditions that must be met to make the calculated age.” Those pieces of information are the starting parent-to-daughter ratio, the current parent-to-daughter ratio, the decay rate, and the amount of migration. If any of these pieces of information is not known, then determining how much decay has occurred and how much time has passed is utterly impossible. Consequently, the occurrence of reheating and migration pose a significant obstacle to radiometric dating.

Insight into how severe these problems are for radiometric dating can be understood in 3 ways. First, we can understand how severe the problem is in terms of the fact that evolutionary scientists simply cannot develop any method for observationally detecting the true numeric values for these unknown factors. Instead of observation or evidence, evolutionary scientists have to simply assume idealized numbers and then adjust them as needed when calculating absolute ages. Second, we can understand how severely pervasive the problem is in light of the fact that migration due to heat is inherent to igneous and metamorphic rocks, the very items that are being radiometrically dated. And third, we can understand the severe scope of the problem by identifying how many methods suffer from the obstacle of migration. We will now examine each of these points individually, beginning with point number one.

The fact remains that 2 pieces of information necessary for calculating absolute age are simply not available through evidence or observation. The original parent-to-daughter ratio when the rock was formed and the amount of migration by parent or daughter atoms (either into or out of the rock) must be assumed and adjusted as needed when calculating ages. This fact is illustrated by what is known as the isochron method.

The name isochron method is perhaps misleading since the isochron method is not actually a dating method, as its name might imply. Instead, it is a presentation method, a way to format the data in order to show evolutionary geologists what numeric values to assume for the unknown factors required to calculate radiometric ages. The first quote below which we have seen before lists “the conditions” or factors that “must be met” or known in order to calculate absolulte age. The quote then goes on to state that “different schemes have been developed to deal with” the fact that some of these factors (all of them except the present parent and daughter quantities) must be “assumed.” The isochron method is then listed as one such “scheme” used to compensate for the fact that these crucial pieces of data are merely assumed.

Dating, Absolute dating, Principles of isotopic dating – Likewise, the conditions that must be met to make the calculated age precise and meaningful are in themselves simple: 1. The rock or mineral must have remained closed to the addition or escape of parent and daughter atoms since the time that the rock or mineral (system) formed. 2. It must be possible to correct for other atoms identical to daughter atoms already present when the rock or mineral formed. 3. The decay constant must be known. 4. The measurement of the daughter-to-parent ratio must be accurate because uncertainty in this ratio contributes directly to uncertainty in the age. Different schemes have been developed to deal with the critical assumptions stated above. In uranium–lead dating, minerals virtually free of initial lead can be isolated and corrections made for the trivial amounts present. In whole rock isochron methods that make use of the rubidium–strontium or samarium–neodymium decay schemes (see below), a series of rocks or minerals are chosen that can be assumed to have the same age and identical abundances of their initial isotopic ratios. The results are then tested for the internal consistency that can validate the assumptions.” – Encyclopaedia Britannica 2004 Deluxe Edition

The next quote plainly states that the isochron method is used to “display and evaluate data.” It is not a method for measuring isotopes or for collecting data in any way.

Dating, Absolute dating, Major methods of isotopic dating, Samarium–neodymium method – In theory, the samarium–neodymium method is identical to the rubidium–strontium approach (see above). Both use the isochron method to display and evaluate data.” – Encyclopaedia Britannica 2004 Deluxe Edition

Furthermore, the quote (appearing under the subheading “The isochron method”) likewise desribes how the isochron method is a way “to present the data” in a particular form. In particular, the quote also states that this presentation format, known as the isochron method, is used to compensate for the fact that the initial daughter abundance and the migration amounts need to be known but are not.

“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. These isotopes did not come from radioactive decay in the system but rather formed during the original creation of the elements. In this case, it is a big advantage to present the data in a form in which the abundance of both the parent and daughter isotopes are given with respect to the abundance of the initial background daughter…A second advantage of the method relates to the fact that under high-temperature conditions the daughter isotopes may escape from the host minerals.” – Encyclopaedia Britannica 2004 Deluxe Edition

Consequently, as we can see, the isochron method is way to present and format the data in order to show evolutionary geologists what numeric values to assume for the unknown factors and how to adjust those values as needed when calculating absolute ages. An example of an isochron diagram will further demonstrate this fact. The following isochron is provided by Britannica Encyclopedia.




When viewing the isochron above, the important question to ask is “What actual data do the scientists have as a result of actual observable evidence?” What data are they starting off with when they formulate the isochron? The answer is that only the “closed” yellow circles on the diagram represent actual, observed data. Specifically, these circles represent “the values measured today,” or in other words, these circles represent the mass spectrometer readings showing the amount of parent and daughter isotopes presently in the 3 different samples.

Dating, Absolute dating, Evaluation and presentation schemes in dating, The isochron method, Figure 1: Isochron Diagram – With time, the line called an isochron rotates, and data plot at the positions shown by closed circles. These would be the values measured today, and the slope of the line would indicate the time elapsed.” – Encyclopaedia Britannica 2004 Deluxe Edition

Essentially, different samples are taken from the same rock formation, each sample is tested for its current quantity of parent and daughter atoms, and then the quantities for each sample are compared to the others. As indicated by the chart above, although the samples are taken from the same rock formation, the present isotope quantities are not the same for each sample. This creates a problem because it indicates that migration has occurred, and in addition it is also possible that some daughter atoms were already present at the time when the rock was formed. Normally, since the amount of these phenomenon are not known and cannot be determined by observation or testing the material, this would end the ability to radiometric date these rocks. However, the isochron method is designed to help identify what values can be assumed for migration and initial isotope quantities in order to come up with a calculation that at least works, even if it is based upon assumptions.

In the isochron above, the open circles (R1, R2, R3) represent assumed migration amounts and initial isotope quantities. As indicated by the second quote below, these values are “chosen.” They are not actually observed.

“Dating, Absolute dating, Evaluation and presentation schemes in dating, The isochron method – In practice, the isochron approach has many inherent advantages. When a single body of liquid rock crystallizes, parent and daughter elements may separate so that, once solid, the isotopic data would define a series of points, such as those shown as open circles designated R1, R2, R3 in Figure 1.” – Encyclopaedia Britannica 2004 Deluxe Edition

Dating, Absolute dating, Evaluation and presentation schemes in dating, The isochron method, Figure 1: Isochron Diagram – In this case, the value of the initial parent-to-stable ratio in R2 has been chosen to be twice that in R1, and R3 is set at twice that of R2.” – Encyclopaedia Britannica 2004 Deluxe Edition

As indicated by the quotes below, by assuming the right values, a straight line (or isochron) can be created. And this idealized, assumed line then indicates “a common value for the initial daughter isotope.” Or in other words, this line helps evolutionary scientists assume a quantity of daughter atoms already present when the rock was formed and it helps them to assume how many parent or daughter isotopes result from migration. But most importantly, this isochron line helps evolutionary scientists to assume a value that will actually work for their calculations.

Dating, Absolute dating, Evaluation and presentation schemes in dating, The isochron method, Figure 1: Isochron Diagram – With time, the line called an isochron rotates, and data plot at the positions shown by closed circles. These would be the values measured today, and the slope of the line would indicate the time elapsed.” – Encyclopaedia Britannica 2004 Deluxe Edition

Dating, Absolute dating, Principles of isotopic dating – When a single body of liquid rock crystallizes, parent and daughter elements may separate so that, once solid, the isotopic data would define a series of points, such as those shown as open circles designated R1, R2, R3 in Figure 1. They plot along a horizontal line reflecting a common value for the initial daughter isotope ratio (D/S)0. With time each would then develop additional daughter abundances in proportion to the amount of parent present.” – Encyclopaedia Britannica 2004 Deluxe Edition

Consequently, the isochron line indicates how much time would have passed based upon those idealized, assumed values. Once the points are plotted, the next quotes states that the “estimates” (assumed values) are “examined to assess how well they fit the required straight line.” If the assumed values do not work to create a straight line, but many points plot below the line, the “assumptions” are shown to have been incorrect.

“Absolute dating, Major methods of isotopic dating, Rubidium–strontium method, Dating simple igneous rocks –Once plotted as R1p (i.e., rock 1 present values), R2p, and R3p, the data are examined to assess how well they fit the required straight line. Using estimates of measurement precision, the crucial question of whether or not scatter outside of measurement error exists is addressed. Such scatter would constitute a geologic component, indicating that one or more of the underlying assumptions has been violated and that the age indicated is probably not valid.” – Encyclopaedia Britannica 2004 Deluxe Edition

As the next quote states, in dating methods where the isochron format is “extensively employed,” such as rubidium-strontium, “many” rocks did not give “precisely defined linear isochrons.” In other words, points were plotting above and below the line, an event which would not provide any help in identify assumed migration or initial daughter ratios that work. Consequently, calculating an age based upon assumed values would be untenable.

Dating, Absolute dating, Principles of isotopic dating – Rubidium–strontium (Rb–Sr) dating was the first technique in which the whole rock isochron method was extensively employed. Certain rocks that cooled quickly at the surface were found to give precisely defined linear isochrons, but many others did not.” – Encyclopaedia Britannica 2004 Deluxe Edition

However, as the next quote indicates, if a point should happen to plot below the line, additional migration or additional initial daughter atoms can be assumed, adjusting the location of the point, and correcting the line until it matches the idealized values necessary for the assumptions to make any working sense.

Dating, Absolute dating, Principles of isotopic dating, The isochron method Should a point plot below the line, it could indicate that a particular sample was open to migration of the dating elements or that the sample was contaminated and lay below the isochron when the rock solidified.” – Encyclopaedia Britannica 2004 Deluxe Edition

An earlier quote from Britannica also described this process of “correcting” the assumed values until they fit what is required for age calculations. Britannica specifically lists the inability to know but only assume migration amounts and initial daughter quantities, “assuming” initial isotope ratios, and the use of the isochron method as one of the “schemes” developed in order to “correct” for these factors and “test the assumptions for internal consistency.” In other words, even if the values have to be assumed, at least the isochron format makes sure the assumptions at least work among themselves.

Dating, Absolute dating, Principles of isotopic dating – Likewise, the conditions that must be met to make the calculated age precise and meaningful are in themselves simple: 1. The rock or mineral must have remained closed to the addition or escape of parent and daughter atoms since the time that the rock or mineral (system) formed. 2. It must be possible to correct for other atoms identical to daughter atoms already present when the rock or mineral formed. 3. The decay constant must be known. 4. The measurement of the daughter-to-parent ratio must be accurate because uncertainty in this ratio contributes directly to uncertainty in the age. Different schemes have been developed to deal with the critical assumptions stated above…In whole rock isochron methods that make use of the rubidium–strontium or samarium–neodymium decay schemes (see below), a series of rocks or minerals are chosen that can be assumed to have the same age and identical abundances of their initial isotopic ratios. The results are then tested for the internal consistency that can validate the assumptions.– Encyclopaedia Britannica 2004 Deluxe Edition

However, even descriptions of the isochron method admit that the ages it generates are not valid if the different rock samples it uses were not in a closed system (migration does not extend to adjacent rock formations), do not have the same initial ratio as one another, or are not in fact the same age.

Dating, Absolute dating, Principles of isotopic dating – With time each would then develop additional daughter abundances in proportion to the amount of parent present. If a number of samples are analyzed and the results are shown to define a straight line within error, then a precise age is defined because this is only possible if each is a closed system and each has the same initial ratio and age.” – Encyclopaedia Britannica 2004 Deluxe Edition

However, whether the rock system was a closed system, whether all of the samples had the same initial isotope quantities, or were in fact the same age, are all additional assumptions of unknown and unobserved factors. So, not only is the isochron format designed to adjust the assumptions made for one set of unknown factors, but in order to adjust for one set of assumptions, another set of assumptions must be made for other unknown factors. Assumption is clearly the basis of age calculations.

The following quote also affirms that while adjusting one set of assumptions, the isochron method actually relies upon another set of assumptions. But, the quote below includes one additional series of requirements in order for the isochron format to give “valid” readings. Specifically, the quote below states that in order for isochrons to be valid, the rocks they are applied to must be “well-preserved, unweathered rocks that crystallized rapidly and have not been subjected to major reheating events.” The quote also stipulates explicitly that “Volcanic rocks are most susceptible” to these kinds of events, which render isochrons invalid.

“Absolute dating, Major methods of isotopic dating, Rubidium–strontium method, Dating simple igneous rocks – For an isochron to be valid, each sample tested must (1) have had the same initial ratio, (2) have been a closed system over geologic time, and (3) have the same age. Well-preserved, unweathered rocks that crystallized rapidly and have not been subjected to major reheating events are most likely to give valid isochrons. Weathering is a disturbing influence, as is leaching or exchange by hot crustal fluids, since many secondary minerals contain rubidium. Volcanic rocks are most susceptible to such changes because their minerals are fine-grained and unstable glass may be present.” – Encyclopaedia Britannica 2004 Deluxe Edition

Igneous rocks are formed from volcanic processes such as the cooling and solidification of molten rock.

Igneous rockany of various crystalline or glassy rocks formed by the cooling and solidification of molten earth material. Igneous rocks comprise one of the three principal classes of rocks, the others being metamorphic and sedimentary.” – Encyclopaedia Britannica 2004 Deluxe Edition

Likewise, the 2 quotes below indicate the rubidium-strontium method is used on igneous rocks and that the rocks used in the rubidium-strontium method are susceptible to migration due to fluid movement and chemical weathering.

Dating, Absolute dating, Major methods of isotopic dating, Rubidium-strontium method, Dating simple igneous rocksThe rubidium–strontium pair is ideally suited for the isochron dating of igneous rocks.” – Encyclopaedia Britannica 2004 Deluxe Edition

Dating, Absolute dating, Principles of isotopic dating – Rubidium–strontium (Rb–Sr) dating was the first technique in which the whole rock isochron method was extensively employed. Certain rocks that cooled quickly at the surface were found to give precisely defined linear isochrons, but many others did not. Some studies have shown that rubidium is very mobile both in fluids that migrate through the rock as it cools and in fluids that are present as the rock undergoes chemical weathering.” – Encyclopaedia Britannica 2004 Deluxe Edition

Consequently, from these quotes, 2 all-important factors emerge. First, in order for the isochron format to even theoretically work to adjust one set of assumptions, the rock samples the isochron method is applied to cannot be subject to weathering or migration through reheating events, factors which primarily affect igneous rocks. Second, as we established during our introduction to the basics of radiometric dating, igneous rocks and metamorphic rocks, which are also formed through major heating events, are the exact same types of rocks that most radiometric dating methods are applied to. In fact, only the uranium-thorium method (which tests deep-sea sediments) and the carbon-14 method can be applied to rocks other than igneous and metamorphic rocks.

This concludes our examination of the isochron method. The most important point to keep in mind from this portion of our study is this. Although the isochron method may not be used for all radiometric dating methods, the isochron method was created to solve a problem that faces all methods used to date igneous and metamorphic rocks. As such, the isochron method illustrates that radiometric dating requires making calculations that are based upon assumed values. The actual values, which are critical to dating, cannot be observed or experimentally detected.

As we stated early on, we can understand the severity of the problems facing radiometric dating in 3 ways. The first was to understand the severity of the problem by demonstrating that evolutionary scientists must rely on assumed values for basic, critical factors in order to make age calculations. The calculations are not based upon observation or actual evidence. This is demonstrated by the isochron method, which we have just examined above. The second way was to understand how pervasive these problems are by demonstrating that migration and reheating events are inherent to igneous and metamorphic rocks. The fact that isochrons are not valid for rocks, which were subjected to weathering and particularly to migration and reheating events, leads us directly into this second issue.

Having established the obstacles posed to radiometric dating by the fact that migration amounts and initial isotope quantities are not known or experimentally detectable, we can go on to ask the question of how common these problems are. These problems are common in 3 ways.

First, the quote below highlights the previously mentioned difficulty of distinguishing between daughter atoms that actually result from radioactive decay as opposed to daughter atoms that were already present, perhaps even in “considerable amounts” when the rock was formed. Since the amount of daughter elements produced by decay is the direct indicator of how long decay has been occurring, like migration, this is an absolutely critical factor that must be known with certainty, otherwise the age could be severely exaggerated. Most importantly, the quote states that “many radioactive dating methods” utilize rocks into which such “considerable amounts of daughter-type isotopes already exist.” So, the problem of having daughter isotopes that do not result from decay is clearly common to “many radioactive dating methods.”

Second, the quote below also plainly states that migrations are also common and result from very common processes, including high-temperature reheating of the rock, fluid movement through the rock, and chemical weathering. Consequently, it would appear that both migration and initial daughter abundances are not only significant problems but they are also commonly occurring problems.

“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. These isotopes did not come from radioactive decay in the system but rather formed during the original creation of the elements. In this case, it is a big advantage to present the data in a form in which the abundance of both the parent and daughter isotopes are given with respect to the abundance of the initial background daughter. The incremental additions of the daughter type can then be viewed in proportion to the abundance of parent atoms…A second advantage of the method relates to the fact that under high-temperature conditions the daughter isotopes may escape from the host minerals. In this case, a valid age can still be obtained, provided that they remain within the rock…Some studies have shown that rubidium is very mobile both in fluids that migrate through the rock as it cools and in fluids that are present as the rock undergoes chemical weathering. Similar studies have shown that the samarium–neodymium (Sm–Nd) parent–daughter pair is more resistant to secondary migration but that, in this instance, sufficient initial spread in the abundance of the parent isotope is difficult to achieve.” – Encyclopaedia Britannica 2004 Deluxe Edition

“Dating, Absolute dating, Major methods of isotopic dating, Rubidium–strontium method, Dating simple igneous rocks –  Well-preserved, unweathered rocks that crystallized rapidly and have not been subjected to major reheating events are most likely to give valid isochrons. Weathering is a disturbing influence, as is leaching or exchange by hot crustal fluids, since many secondary minerals contain rubidium. Volcanic rocks are most susceptible to such changes because their minerals are fine-grained and unstable glass may be present.” – Encyclopaedia Britannica 2004 Deluxe Edition

Third, these problems, particularly the fact that migration events, reheating events, and weathering all prevent radiometric dating calculations altogether, are common in the sense that they affect all the dating methods used on igneous and metamorphic rock, which happens to be the predominant type of rocks that can be dated, as indicated in the quote below.

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.

Notice from the quote above that the very definition of metamorphic rock is “rock that forms when parent rock is submitted to intense heat and pressure.” Consequently, we can see that while metamorphic rock is one of the main 2 types of rock that radiometric dating can be used on, metamorphic rock is also inherently defined by the experience of reheating events. And reheating events in turn cause migration, raise or lower the age in a manner that cannot be empirically detected, and thus prevent radiometric dating.  This is not only true for metamorphic rocks. Igneous rocks are likewise associated with intense hot environments and volcanic activity, including extremely hot molten rock. Notice from the first quote below that “volcanic rocks” are synonymous with igneous rocks formed at the earth’s surface as opposed to igneous rocks formed deeper within the earth.

Earth, The major geologic features of the Earth's exterior, The surface of the Earth as a mosaic of plates, Activity along plate boundaries, Formation of igneous rocks – Igneous rocks are formed by the crystallization of magma. Extrusive igneous rocks (volcanic rocks) are produced bythe crystallization of magmas at the surface. Intrusive igneous rocks include those crystallized at shallow depth (hypabyssal igneous rocks), typically as dikes and sills, and those crystallized at medium to great depths (plutonic igneous rocks).” – Encyclopaedia Britannica 2004 Deluxe Edition

Igneous rocks – any of various crystalline or glassy rocks formed by the cooling and solidification of molten earth materialIgneous rocks are formed from the solidification of magma, which is a hot (600° to 1,300° C, or 1,100° to 2,400° F) molten or partially molten rock material.” – Encyclopaedia Britannica 2004 Deluxe Edition

Given their inherent relationship to heat, it is not surprising that igneous rocks are regarded as even more susceptible to reheating and migration than metamorphic rocks. This is indicated by the quote below, which we have seen previously.

“Absolute dating, Major methods of isotopic dating, Rubidium–strontium method, Dating simple igneous rocks –  Well-preserved, unweathered rocks that crystallized rapidly and have not been subjected to major reheating events are most likely to give valid isochrons. Weathering is a disturbing influence, as is leaching or exchange by hot crustal fluids, since many secondary minerals contain rubidium. Volcanic rocks are most susceptible to such changes because their minerals are fine-grained and unstable glass may be present.” – Encyclopaedia Britannica 2004 Deluxe Edition

Consequently, the severity of the problem posed by migration and reheating can be seen by the fact that these 2 processes are inherent to igneous and metamorphic rock by definition and these are the exact 2 forms of rock that radiometric dating is primarily used on.

Now that we understand that the critical calculation values are not observations or empirical data but assumptions and that migrations and reheating are inherent to the very types of rocks that radiometric dating is used on, we can further understand the severity of the problem in terms of how many radiometric dating methods these issues are acknowledged to affect. In particular, as stated in the next series of quotes, potassium-argon dating methods are affected directly by reheating and migration events. Consequently, as indicated by the third quote below, the isochron format, which itself doesn’t work, is used with the potassium-argon method.

Dating Methods, III ABSOLUTE DATING METHODS. E Radiometric Dating, E3 Potassium-Argon Method – The decay of radioactive potassium isotopes to argon is widely used for dating rocks. (The decay of potassium-40 to calcium-40 that also takes place is not useful.) Geologists are able to date entire rock samples in this way, because potassium-40 is abundant in micas, feldspars, and hornblendes.” – "Dating Methods," Microsoft® Encarta® Encyclopedia 99. © 1993-1998 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

Archeology, VIII DETERMINING THE AGE OF FINDS, B Absolute Dating, B4 Potassium-Argon DatingPotassium-argon dating provides approximate dates for sites in early prehistory. Geologists use this method to date volcanic rocks that may be as much as 4 billion to 5 billion years old.” – "Archaeology," Microsoft® Encarta® Encyclopedia 99. © 1993-1998 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

Dating, Absolute dating, Principles of isotopic dating – As in all dating systems, the ages calculated can be affected by the presence of inherited daughter products. In a few cases, argon ages older than that of the Earth which violate local relative age patterns have even been determined for the mineral biotite. Such situations occur mainly where old rocks have been locally heated, which released argon-40 into pore spaces at the same time that new minerals grew. Under favourable circumstances the isochron method may be helpful, but tests by other techniques may be required. For example, the rubidium–strontium method would give a valid isotopic age of the biotite sample with inherited argon.” – Encyclopaedia Britannica 2004 Deluxe Edition

Rubidium-strontium dating, which is “frequently used to check potassium-argon” dating, is also affected substantially by reheating and migration events.

Dating Methods, III ABSOLUTE DATING METHODS. E Radiometric Dating, E4 Rubidium-Strontium Method –Used to date ancient igneous and metamorphic terrestrial rocks as well as lunar samples, this method is based on disintegration by beta decay of rubidium-87 to strontium-87. The method is frequently used to check potassium-argon dates, because the strontium daughter element is not diffused by mild heating, as is argon.” – "Dating Methods," Microsoft® Encarta® Encyclopedia 99. © 1993-1998 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

Dating, Absolute dating, Major methods of isotopic dating, Rubidium–strontium method, Dating metamorphic rocks – Should a simple igneous body be subjected to an episode of heating or of deformation or of a combination of both, a well-documented special data pattern develops. With heat, daughter isotopes diffuse out of their host minerals but are incorporated into other minerals in the rock. Eventually the 87Sr/86Sr ratio in the minerals becomes identical. When the rock again cools, the minerals close and again accumulate daughter products to record the time since the second event…Although rubidium–strontium dating is not as precise as theuranium–lead method, it was the first to be exploited and has provided much of the prevailing knowledge of Earth history…The mobility of rubidium in deep-level crustal fluids and melts that can infiltrate other rocks during metamorphism as well as in fluids involved in weathering can complicate the results.” – Encyclopaedia Britannica 2004 Deluxe Edition

Uranium-lead is also subject to reheating and migration events. For reference, the mineral titanite, also called sphene, is found in igneous rocks.

Dating, Absolute dating, Major methods of isotopic dating, Importance of zircon in uranium-lead dating – Given the two related uranium–lead parent–daughter systems, it is possible to determine both the time of the initial, or primary, rock-forming event and the time of a major reheating, or secondary, event. This is illustrated in Figure 3. Here, the uranium–lead isotopes in the mineral titanite (CaTiSiO5) from a series of rocks that have a common geologic history plot on a straight line. The minerals first formed 1,651 million years ago but were later heated and lost varying amounts of lead 986 million years ago.” – Encyclopaedia Britannica 2004 Deluxe Edition

Sphene – Sphene, calcium titanosilicate, formerly called titanite, chemical formula CaOTiO2SiO2…Sphene occurs as a microscopic accessory mineral in different types of igneous rocks-especially granite-and in larger crystals in pegmatites.” – "Sphene," Microsoft® Encarta® Encyclopedia 99. © 1993-1998 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

And lastly, fission-track dating, which is used to date items in the gap between potassium-argon and carbon-14, is also a method used on igneous and metamorphic rocks, such as micas and tektites. As such, these rocks are also likely to be subject to reheating and migration events.

Dating Methods, III ABSOLUTE DATING METHODS. E Radiometric Dating, E7 Fission-Track Dating – The method works best for micas, tektites, and meteorites. It has been used to help date the period from about 40,000 to 1 million years ago, an interval not covered by carbon-14 or potassium-argon methods.” – "Dating Methods," Microsoft® Encarta® Encyclopedia 99. © 1993-1998 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

Mica, Origin and occurrence –Micas may originate as the result of diverse processes under several different conditions. Their occurrences, listed below, include crystallization from consolidating magmas, deposition by fluids derived from or directly associated with magmatic activities, deposition by fluids circulating during both contact and regional metamorphism, and formation as the result of alteration processes—perhaps even those caused by weathering—that involve minerals such as feldspars…The common rock-forming micas are distributed widely. The more important occurrences follow: Biotite occurs in many igneous rocks (e.g., granites and granodiorites), is common in many pegmatite masses, and constitutes one of the chief components of many metamorphic rocks (e.g., gneisses, schists, and hornfelses). It alters rather easily during chemical weathering and thus is rare in sediments and sedimentary rocks.” – Encyclopaedia Britannica 2004 Deluxe Edition

Tektite – any of a class of small, natural glassy objects that are found only in certain areas of the Earth's surface. The term is derived fromthe Greek word tektos, meaning “melted,” or “molten.” Tektites have been the subject of intense scientific scrutiny throughout much of the 20th century owing to their unknown and possibly extraterrestrial origins, but they are now recognized as having formed from the melting and rapid cooling of terrestrial rocks that have been vaporized by the high-energy impacts of large meteorites, comets, or asteroids upon the surface of the Earth. The extremely high temperatures and enormous pressures generated by such impacts melted the rocks at the site, producing clouds of molten silicate droplets that quickly cooled to a glassy form before falling back to Earth.” – Encyclopaedia Britannica 2004 Deluxe Edition

As we can see, not only are igneous and metamorphic rocks the primary subject of radiometric dating, but almost all of the methods used to date these rocks specifically stipulate that they are plagued by the calculation obstacles posed by reheating and migration. In fact, the next quote specifically summarizes that “all dating systems” are susceptible to false ages because of the addition of daughter atoms into the rock through migration, citing reheating as the common causes of such migrations. 

Dating, Absolute dating, Principles of isotopic datingAs in all dating systems, the ages calculated can be affected by the presence of inherited daughter products. In a few cases, argon ages older than that of the Earth which violate local relative age patterns have even been determined for the mineral biotite. Such situations occur mainly where old rocks have been locally heated, which released argon-40 into pore spaces at the same time that new minerals grew.” – Encyclopaedia Britannica 2004 Deluxe Edition

In conclusion to our examination of the fact that radiometric dating in general does not work we have established the following facts. First, there are 4 pieces of information, which are all regarded by Britannica as “critical” and as “conditions that must be met to make the calculated age.” Those pieces of information are the starting parent-to-daughter ratio, the current parent-to-daughter ratio, the decay rate, and the amount of migration. The starting ratio and the migration amounts are not observable, empirically determinable, or ultimately knowable. They have to be assumed.

Second, as we have seen, the processes used to help make sure such assumptions at least work are entirely subjective, employing idealized data that is adjusted as needed to make age calculations. Furthermore, those processes themselves require even more assumptions, which do not fit with reality, such as the assumptions that the rocks have remained closed to migrations, had the same initial isotope ratio, have the same age, and have not been subjected to weathering or reheating events.

Third, as we have seen, the first and last of these events (migration and reheating) happen frequently to the main 2 types of rocks that radiometric dating is applied to. Consequently, as if using assumed data weren’t problematic enough, the assumption process itself is shown to be invalid by known geological data.

And fourth, these problems are so widespread that all radiometric dating methods (except for carbon-14 and uranium-thorium, which dates deep-sea sediments) are affected by them, specifically including: potassium-argon, rubidium-strontium, uranium-lead, and fission-track dating.

Having established these facts from secular and evolutionist sources, we close this section with comments from creationist Dr. Keith Wanser in which he likewise affirms that migration is an obstacle to radiometric dating. As Dr. Wanser states, “the ages can change several orders of magnitude just depending on how much the migration coefficients are.”

You have a parent and it gives birth to a daughter when it decays radioactively. You measure how many of the daughter product you have at time t. You assume how many there are initially. And then you’d measure the amount of the parent species at time t. And from that you infer the time that the system has been going on for. That’s assuming there’s no open system behavior. Well now, those equations get modified to something…much more complicated when you include the effects of things migrating in, parents migrating in, parents migrating out, daughters migrating in, and daughters migrating out from adjacent layers…Migration out of one layer into the above layer, migration out into a layer below of the parent nucleus. Then you can have parents from the other adjacent layers migrate in from layers above and below. So, that affects the number of atoms in the parent species in a given layer. And then the same thing in the daughter…We have migration out to adjacent layers of the daughter species and we have migration in from both adjacent layers. So, there are a lot of extra terms there. And one has to try and figure out what are these rates of migration, what are these atomic diffusion coefficients…How will it affect your parent radioactive ages?...It can still act like a closed system for when you date the thing. But what happens is the ages can change several orders of magnitude just depending on how much the migration coefficients are, how strong they are. So, that’s kind of an interesting effect because one might expect to have a depth-dependent kind of migration coefficient…This is preliminary…and it’s somewhat significant.” – “Radioactive Decay Update: Breaking Down the Old Age Paradigm,” Dr. Keith Wanser, AnswersInGenesis.org, Copyright 2003 Answers in Genesis, 7 minutes


Focus on Critical Evidence: Potassium-Argon Dating

So far in our focus on radiometric dating, we have covered 2 topics. First, we covered the basic concepts, processes, and criteria for radiometric dating. And second, we covered the general obstacles that inhibit radiometric dating with regard to igneous and metamorphic rocks, which happen to be the 2 rock types that radiometric dating is primarily used for. And, as indicated in both of these previous segments, the potassium-argon method is one of the radiometric methods used to date igneous and metamorphic rocks. However, potassium-argon also suffers from some other significant problems. And since potassium-argon is the most widely-used and prominent dating method (except for perhaps carbon-14), in this segment we will take some time to focus on potassium-argon by itself.

We will begin with a brief review, starting with the fact that potassium-argon dating (along with carbon-14) is the most widely used radiometric dating method.

Prehistoric People, Placing prehistoric people in time – By measuring the amount of each isotope in a fossil, scientists can determine how long the decay has been going on and therefore how old the fossil is. The most commonly used dating methods of this type are radiocarbon dating and potassium-argon dating.” – Worldbook, Contributor: Alan E. Mann, Ph.D., Professor of Anthropology, Princeton University.

Dating Methods, III ABSOLUTE DATING METHODS. E Radiometric Dating, E3 Potassium-Argon MethodThe decay of radioactive potassium isotopes to argon is widely used for dating rocks. (The decay of potassium-40 to calcium-40 that also takes place is not useful.) Geologists are able to date entire rock samples in this way, because potassium-40 is abundant in micas, feldspars, and hornblendes.” – "Dating Methods," Microsoft® Encarta® Encyclopedia 99. © 1993-1998 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

Geologic Time, III DATING METHODSThe two radioactive decay sequences most useful to geologists are the decay of carbon-14 into nitrogen-14 and the decay of potassium-40 into argon-40. Carbon-14, or radiocarbon, dating works for organic materials less than about 50,000 years old…Geologists can use potassium-argon dating to determine ages of rocks from about 100,000 years old to as old as the earth itself.” – "Geologic Time," Microsoft® Encarta® Encyclopedia 99. © 1993-1998 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

Furthermore, as indicated by the last quote above and the next quote below, potassium-argon is used to supply dates to the bulk of the geologic column, from 100,000 years ago all the way back to the 4 or 5 billion years ago, when evolution dates the formation of the earth. Considering that the evolutionary age for the earth is approximately 4.5 billion years and all but the most recent 100,000 years is dated by potassium-argon dating, this means that potassium-argon dating is the primary method for providing dates to to 99.99778 percent of evolutionary earth history. The most recent 100,000 years represent only about 0.00222 percent of evolutionary earth history.

Moreover, potassium is one of “the 10 most abundant elements that together make up 99 percent of Earth’s crust.”

Dating, Absolute dating, Major methods of isotopic dating, Potassium–argon methods – The radioactive decay scheme involving the breakdown of potassium of mass 40 (40K) to argon gas of mass 40 (40Ar) formed the basis of the first widely used isotopic dating method. Since radiogenic argon-40 was first detected in 1938 by the American geophysicist Lyman T. Aldrich and A.O.Nier, the method has evolved into one of the most versatile and widely employed methods available. Potassium is one of the 10 most abundant elements that together make up 99 percent of the Earth's crust and is therefore a major constituent of many rock-forming minerals.” – Encyclopaedia Britannica 2004 Deluxe Edition

The large amount of potassium in the crust means that there is a better likelihood of rocks and minerals containing potassium than the other elements used in radiometric dating.

Consequently, potassium-argon dating is prominent for 3 reasons. First, it is prominent because (along with carbon-14 dating) it is the most widely used method. Second, it is prominent because it serves as the backbone for the bulk of the earth’s age. And third, it is prominent because it is likely to be applicable to more rocks and minerals than any other radiometric dating method. Conversely, however, given its prominence, if potassium-argon dating does not work, then the majority of radiometric dating is lost. And, in fact, in the previous section we have already seen that age calculations using potassium-argon dating cannot work because migrations are frequent in the rocks to which the potassium-argon method is applied and migrations, in turn, prevent the isotope ratios and decay amounts from being identified, which is a necessary step before age calculations can be performed. So, we already know that potassium-argon dating doesn’t work. However, in order to further substantiate this fact, we will now provide additional obstacles, which demonstrate that potassium-argon dating, the most prominent dating method and the method responsible for the bulk of radiometric dates, simply does not work.

To demonstrate this fact, we will now take a closer look at the procedure for measuring the present potassium-argon qauntities. First, the daughter isotope, argon, is a gas at room temperature, which makes this dating method different from other radiometric dating methods. The fact that argon is a gas complicates the measuring procedure, making it more difficult. Specifically, measuring the present potassium-argon quantities in a sample requires unique procedures and different technology than other methods.

Dating, Absolute dating, Major methods of isotopic dating, Potassium–argon methods –Argon dating involves a different technology from all the other methods so far described because argon exists as a gas at room temperature.” – Encyclopaedia Britannica 2004 Deluxe Edition

Conventional potassium-argon quantity measuring is described in the quote below.

Dating, Absolute dating, Major methods of isotopic dating, Potassium–argon methods – In conventional potassium–argon dating, a potassium-bearing sample is split into two fractions: one is analyzed for its potassium content, while the other is fused in a vacuum to release the argon gas. After purification has been completed, a spike enriched in argon-38 is mixed in and the atomic abundance of the daughter product argon-40 is measured relative to the argon-38 added. The amount of the argon-36 present is then determined relative to argon-38 to provide an estimate of the background atmospheric correction. In this case, relatively large samples, which may include significant amounts of alteration, are analyzed. Since potassium is usually added by alteration, the daughter–parent ratio and the age might be too low. A method designed to avoid such complexities was introduced by the geochronologists Craig M. Merrihue and Grenville Turner in 1966.” – Encyclopaedia Britannica 2004 Deluxe Edition

As we can see from the quote, measuring the present quantities of potassium and argon in a sample involves the following process. First, the sample is split in two. One part is then tested for potassium and the other part for potassium’s daughter isotope argon-40. A second argon isotope (argon-38) is mixed in. And then the quantity of argon-40 is measured against the quantity of argon-38 that was added in. Next, the quantity of another argon isotope, argon-36, is measured and compared to the amount of argon-38. This comparison serves as a basis for determining how much argon is already present in the atmosphere and is not a result of potassium decay in the sample. Using this “estimate,” the amount of argon-40 is “corrected.” The next sentence informs us that “relatively large” samples “may” include “significant amounts of alteration.” During “alteration” potassium (the parent isotope) is added. Consequently, the age indicated by the procedure is deemed to be “too low” as result of “extra” parent atoms that “may” have been added. Due to all of these issues, this procedure is considered to have multiple “complexities” and those complexities are considered so problematic that an entirely different measuring method was designed as an alternative. The important point here is that the conventional means of measuring the present potassium-argon quantities is not reliable.

The alternate procedure for measuring present potassium-argon quantities is described in the following quote.

Dating, Absolute dating, Major methods of isotopic dating, Potassium–argon methods – A method designed to avoid such complexities was introduced by the geochronologists Craig M. Merrihue and Grenville Turner in 1966. In this technique, known as the argon-40–argon-39 method, both parent and daughter can be determined in the mass spectrometer as some of the potassium atoms in the sample are first converted to argon-39 in a nuclear reactor. In this way, the problem of measuring the potassium in inhomogeneous samples is eliminated and smaller amounts of material can be analyzed. An additional advantage then becomes possible. The sample can be heated in stages at different temperatures and the age calculated at each step. If alteration is evident, the invalid low-temperature age can be eliminated and a valid high-temperature age determined. In some cases, partly reset systems also may be detected.” – Encyclopaedia Britannica 2004 Deluxe Edition

As indicated in the quote, this alternate procedure uses a nuclear ractor to actually trigger the decay or conversion of the parent isotope potassium into the daughter isotope argon-39. During this conversion in the nuclear reactor, a mass spectrometer can measure the parent (potassium) to daughter (argon-40) ratio. As noted early on, knowing the radioactive decay rate is required for age calculations.

Dating, Absolute dating, Principles of isotopic dating – Likewise, the conditions that must be met to make the calculated age precise and meaningful are in themselves simple: 1. The rock or mineral must have remained closed to the addition or escape of parent and daughter atoms since the time that the rock or mineral (system) formed. 2. It must be possible to correct for other atoms identical to daughter atoms already present when the rock or mineral formed. 3. The decay constant must be known. 4. The measurement of the daughter-to-parent ratio must be accurate because uncertainty in this ratio contributes directly to uncertainty in the age. Different schemes have been developed to deal with the critical assumptions stated above.” – Encyclopaedia Britannica 2004 Deluxe Edition

Earth sciences, The 20th century: modern trends and developments, Geologic sciences, Radiometric dating – By determining the amount of the parent and daughter isotopes present in a sample and by knowing their rate of radioactive decay (each radioisotope has its own decay constant), the isotopic age of the sample can be calculated.” – Encyclopaedia Britannica 2004 Deluxe Edition

Furthermore, as also indicated in the quotes above, the radioactive decay rate must be constant over time because if the decay is not constant, then more or less decay will occur at different periods of a rock’s history and we won’t know how long it takes for a certain amount of parent atoms to decay into daughter atoms. Essentially, we won’t know the half-life and so we won’t know the age of the rock because we won’t know how long decay has been occurring.

Encyclopedia Britannica states that we can be confident that decay rates are known, reliable, and constant because decay processes take place “within the atomic nucleus.” In short, decay rates are constant because they are governed by processes that occur in a location that is isolated from the influence of “external forces.” Consequently, according to Britannica, it is the fact that decay processes are isolated from change that guarantees decay rates remain constant.

Dating, Absolute dating, Principles of isotopic dating, Potassium–argon methodsThe results show that there is no known process that can alter the rate of radioactive decay. By way of explanation it can be noted that since the cause of the process lies deep within the atomic nucleus, external forces such as extreme heat and pressure have no effect. The same is true regarding gravitational, magnetic, and electric fields, as well as the chemical state in which the atom resides. In short, the process of radioactive decay is immutable under all known conditions. Although it is impossible to predict when a particular atom will change, given a sufficient number of atoms, the rate of their decay is found to be constant. The situation is analogous to the death rate among human populations insured by an insurance company. Even though it is impossible to predict when a given policyholder will die, the company can count on paying off a certain number of beneficiaries every month. The recognition that the rate of decay of any radioactive parent atom is proportional to the number of atoms (N) of the parent remaining at any time gives rise to the following expression.” – Encyclopaedia Britannica 2004 Deluxe Edition

However, a nuclear reactor is clearly able to affect the processes occurring in the atomic nucleus. In fact, as we have seen described above, in this alternate procedure for measuring present potassium-argon quantities, the nuclear reacter is precisely being used to affect the atomic nucleus and trigger potassium atoms to convert or decay into argon-39. Consequently, the measuring procedure actually has the potential to affect the decay rate and induce potassium to change into argon atoms. With the guaranteed constancy of the decay rate now removed and atomic conversion actually being induced by the nuclear reactor, the factors required for making age calculations become unattainable and age calculation becomes impossible.

It is important to note that the next quote from Britannica Encyclopedia immediately follows the 2 previous quotes describing the 2 forms of measuring present potassium-argon quantities. In short, the following comments from Britannica are part of their ongoing analysis of the potassium-argon dating method. It is after describing both the conventional and the alternate measuring procedures that Britannica notes that “inherited daughter products” (daughter atoms not resulting from decay) remain a problem that is not solved by either measuring procedure.

Dating, Absolute dating, Principles of isotopic dating, Potassium–argon methodsAs in all dating systems, the ages calculated can be affected by the presence of inherited daughter products. In a few cases, argon ages older than that of the Earth which violate local relative age patterns have even been determined for the mineral biotite. Such situations occur mainly where old rocks have been locally heated, which released argon-40 into pore spaces at the same time that new minerals grew. Under favourable circumstances the isochron method may be helpful, but tests by other techniques may be required. For example, the rubidium–strontium method would give a valid isotopic age of the biotite sample with inherited argon.” – Encyclopaedia Britannica 2004 Deluxe Edition

As mentioned previously, Britannica states that the “inherited daughter” problem infects “all dating systems,” not just the potassium-argon method. Furthermore, the result of the inherited daughter problem is that the calculated ages are “too old,” in one example “older than” the earth itself. In the case of potassium-argon dating, the inherited daughter atoms are argon atoms. And, as indicated by the last quote above and the next quote below, despite new technology and the development of new approaches to potassium-argon dating, potassium-argon dating is generally so unreliable and uncertain that other dating methods are needed to check the potassium-argon dating method.

Dating Methods, III ABSOLUTE DATING METHODS. E Radiometric Dating, E4 Rubidium-Strontium Method –Used to date ancient igneous and metamorphic terrestrial rocks as well as lunar samples, this method is based on disintegration by beta decay of rubidium-87 to strontium-87. The method is frequently used to check potassium-argon dates, because the strontium daughter element is not diffused by mild heating, as is argon.” – "Dating Methods," Microsoft® Encarta® Encyclopedia 99. © 1993-1998 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

In particular, as indicated by the last 2 quotes, it is the rubidium-strontium method that is used to double-check and correct that potassium-argon ages. However, as we have already established earlier, rubidium-strontium is also extremely susceptible to inherited daughter products due to reheating and migration events. The long quote below states in detail how rubidium-strontium ratios are complexly affected by migration.

Dating, Absolute dating, Major methods of isotopic dating, Rubidium–strontium method, Dating metamorphic rocks – Should a simple igneous body be subjected to an episode of heating or of deformation or of a combination of both, a well-documented special data pattern develops. With heat, daughter isotopes diffuse out of their host minerals but are incorporated into other minerals in the rock…Here, an essentially rubidium-free, strontium-rich phase like apatite retains its initial 87Sr/86Sr ratio over time, whereas the value in such rubidium-rich, strontium-poor minerals as biotite increases rapidly with time. The rock itself gives the integrated, more gradual increase. At the time of heating, identical 87Sr/86Sr ratios are again achieved as described above, only to be followed by a second episode of isotopic divergence. Approaches to this ideal case are commonly observed, but peculiar results are found in situations where the heating is minimal. If one assumes for a moment that only the mineral with the lowest blocking temperature loses its daughter isotope, it is easy to imagine that other low-temperature minerals formed at this time may acquire extremely high 87Sr/86Sr ratios. Epidote, a low-temperature alteration mineral with a very high concentration of radiogenic strontium, has been found in rocks wherein biotite has lost strontium by diffusion. The rock itself has a much lower ratio, so that it did not take part in this exchange. Although rubidium–strontium dating is not as precise as theuranium–lead method, it was the first to be exploited and has provided much of the prevailing knowledge of Earth history. The procedures of sample preparation, chemical separation, and mass spectrometry are relatively easy to carry out, and datable minerals occur in most rocks. Precise ages can be obtained on high-level rocks (i.e., those closer to the surface) and meteorites, and imprecise but nevertheless valuable ages can be determined for rocks that have been strongly heated. The mobility of rubidium in deep-level crustal fluids and melts that can infiltrate other rocks during metamorphism as well as in fluids involved in weathering can complicate the results.” – Encyclopaedia Britannica 2004 Deluxe Edition

Despite the numerous complications and assumptions caused by reheating and migration outlined throughout the quote and despite the fact that the quote itself concludes by stating that rubidium is very mobile and therefore open to migration due to heat, “complicating the results,” rubidium-strontium is still referred to in the quote as “providing much of the prevailing knowledge of Earth history.” This is very similar to potassium-argon dating. As we have seen throughout this segment, neither the conventional nor the alternative isotope measuring procedures work for potassium-argon dating and the double-checking method, rubidium-strontium, suffers from the same problems and need for assumptions as the potassium-argon method does. Furthermore, it should be emphasized that these are just problems measuring the present quantities of potassium-argon isotopes. Even if these problems were to be solved or ignored, the other factors that must be known in order to perform radiometric dating (such as the original quantity of parent and daughter isotopes when the rock was formed, the amount of migration into or out of the rock, and the decay rate) still remain unidentified, rendering age calculation simply impossible. Yet like the rubidium-strontium quote above, despite these insurmountable problems, potassium-argon dating is considered to “provide a great deal of information about the Earth’s recent and ancient past.”

Dating, Absolute dating, Major methods of isotopic dating – The potassium–argon method has provided a great deal of information about the Earth's recent and ancient past.” – Encyclopaedia Britannica 2004 Deluxe Edition

However, in conclusion to this segment, it is quite clear that neither potassium-argon nor rubidium-strontium meet the requirements for calculating absolute age. The initial starting quantities of the parent and daughter isotopes cannot be determined. Migration is rampant in these methods, but the amount of migration cannot be determined. There is difficulty determining the exact present parent and daughter isotope ratio in potassium-argon dating. And the alternate measuring procedure for potassium-argon dating even directly induces radioactive decay. Since these factors must be known in order to calculate absolute ages, calculating ages from potassium-argon dating (or rubidium-strontium dating) is neither possible, nor reliable, nor a matter of anything other than performing calculations using assumed, idealized values. The ages are not objective or empirical observations or evidence.


Focus on Critical Evidence: Reheating, Migration, and the Flood

The prohibitive obstacles posed to radiometric dating by reheating events and the migration of isotopes are made even more substantial due to the evidence for a worldwide flood. In a previous segment, we established 3 grounds why a global (or at least near-global) flood must be accepted. First, there is significant evidence in the historical record in the form of independent legends of a global flood in cultures literally all around the world. Second, there is significant geological evidence in the form of the earth’s physical features, including the fossil record itself and specifically the geographic distribution of fossils. And third, there is simply no principle within evolution, uniformitarianism, or even atheism that remotely prevents accepting a global flood. In short, a global-flood is not incompatible with evolution or uniformitarianism particularly because belief in a global flood does not require believing in God and because of evolution’s acceptance that the world was covered or nearly covered by ice. Consequently, evolution and uniformitarianism are left with no reason to reject a global (or near-global flood) and instead only with ample historical and geologic evidence for accepting such a flood.

In light of the dramatic grounds for accepting a global flood, it is also important to establish the impact that a flood of this kind would have on reheating and migration events. In other words, the most detailed account of the flood is found in the Judeo-Christian historic record and that detailed account indicates massive volcanic activity as a part of the cataclysm.

The Biblical account of the global Flood speaks of the “fountains of the deep being opened,” which then spew forth the flood waters into the sky. This water shot up into the atmosphere as if from massive fountains and eventually, as it cooled, it came back down in the form of rain.

Genesis 7:5 And Noah did according unto all that the LORD commanded him. 6 And Noah was six hundred years old when the flood of waters was upon the earth. 7 And Noah went in, and his sons, and his wife, and his sons’ wives with him, into the ark, because of the waters of the flood. 8 Of clean beasts, and of beasts that are not clean, and of fowls, and of every thing that creepeth upon the earth, 9 There went in two and two unto Noah into the ark, the male and the female, as God had commanded Noah. 10 And it came to pass after seven days, that the waters of the flood were upon the earth. 11 In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month, the same day were all the fountains (04599) of the great deep broken up (01234), and the windows of heaven were opened. 12 And the rain was upon the earth forty days and forty nights.

The Hebrew word for “fountain” in the phrase “fountain of the deep” is “ma‘yan” (Strong’s No. 04599), which simply means, “spring.” Out of its 23 occurrences in the Old Testament, it is translated as “fountain” 16 times, as “well” 5 times, and as “springs” 2 times. Notice also the word “broken up” is the Hebrew word “baqa” (Strong’s No. 01234) which means, “to split, cleave, break open, divide.” This could very easily convey the idea of the crust breaking up or splitting into separate plates, so that the fountains spewed forth along these newly formed fault cracks were the water was exposed to the molten material beneath. This will be significant as we move ahead to discuss geysers and mid-ocean ridges.

This fountain-like spewing forth of water is probably similar to the activity of a geyser. Geysers are springs. Geysers shoot forth jets of water. Geyser activity is a manifestation of volcanic activity. Geyser activity is associated with volcanic activity and water that comes close to magma or molten rock. The following figure from Microsoft Encarta and the quotes which follow describe the interaction between volcanic activity and the water jets of geysers.




“[Photo Caption] Formation of Geysers –Geysers are caused when underground chambers of water are heated to the boiling point by volcanic rock. When heat causes the water to boil, pressure forces a superheated column of steam and water to the surface. The initial amount of water released at the surface lessens the column's weight, which also lowers its boiling point. When the boiling point drops, the entire column of water vaporizes at once, shooting out of the ground in a spectacular eruption. © Microsoft Corporation. All Rights Reserved.” – "Formation of Geysers," Microsoft® Encarta® Encyclopedia 99. © 1993-1998 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

Volcano, Types of volcanic activity, Other manifestations of volcanic activity, Hydrothermal featuresHot springs and geysers also are manifestations of volcanic activity. They result from the interaction of groundwater with magma or with solidified but still hot igneous rocks at shallow depths. Yellowstone National Park is one of the most famous areas of hot springs and geysers in the world…Geysers are actually hot springs that intermittently spout a column of hot water and steam into the air. This action is caused by the water in deep conduits beneath a geyser approaching or reaching the boiling point.” – Encyclopaedia Britannica 2004 Deluxe Edition

Geyser – is a spring that throws up hot water with explosive force from time to time. Often, the water shoots up in great columns, cloudy with steamHow geysers form – Geysers form in areas where water drains through the earth deep below the surface. A deep channel reaches from the surface far into the earth. Cold water seeps down this channel until it reaches rocks that are hot. Then it fills the channel. The water at the bottom is heated by the rocks…This process, in turn, lifts the column still more, until suddenly all the water near the bottom of the channel expands into steam and forces out the rest in a steam explosionGeysers have often been compared with volcanoes, for they act similarly. But volcanoes shoot forth melted rock, while geysers erupt water containing dissolved mineral matter.” – Worldbook, Contributor: Nicholas C. Crawford, Ph.D., Professor and Director, Center for Cave and Karst Studies, Western Kentucky University.

Geyser – any of a class of hot springs that discharges jets of steam and water intermittently. The term is derived from the Icelandic word geysir, meaning “to rush forth.” Geysers are generally associated with recent volcanic activity and are produced by the heating of underground waters that have come into contact with, or very close to, magma (molten rock)…Geysers often make a most spectacular display as they discharge a roaring column of steam and boiling water high above the surface…Geysers are nearly everywhere associated with various other, less violent manifestations of the interaction of magmatic heat and groundwater—e.g., bubbling hot pools and fumaroles (steam vents). In many areas it has proved possible to tap and control the steam discharged from geysers and to use it in turbines for generating electricity (e.g., the geysers near San Francisco). The main drawback of such operations is that frequently the site on which a power station must be located to exploit this steam is vulnerable to damage either by volcanic activity or by earthquakes.” – Encyclopaedia Britannica 2004 Deluxe Edition

As can be seen by the quotes above, volcanoes, molten rock, and even earthquakes are also associated with geyser activity. Given the association of geysers and earthquakes is not a surprise to find that hot springs, such as geysers, are also found at faults in the earth’s surface.

“Hot springs – Hot springs are springs that discharge water heated by natural processes within the earth. Most hot springs are steadily flowing streams or calm pools of water. But many are fumaroles, geysers, or bubbling pools of mud called mudpots or mud volcanoes (see FUMAROLE; GEYSER). Hot springs are also called thermal springs…Hot springs originate when surface water, which results from rain and snow, seeps into the ground. Many springs occur in volcanic regions where hot molten rock called magma lies near the surface of the earth. Surface water trickles down through layers of rock until it is heated by the magma. Then the water rises to the surface through channels in the rock…Hot springs also occur in regions that have faults (breaks) or folds (bends) in the layers of rock beneath the earth's surface. The temperature of the earth increases toward the interior. Faults and folds enable surface water to penetrate to depths where it is heated.” – Worldbook, Contributor: Roy M. Breckenridge, Ph.D., Associate Director, Research Geologist, Idaho Geological Survey, University of Idaho.

Furthermore, the force of a hot spring or geyser depends on the depth, the heat supply, and rate at which the water can flow into the fault, column, or vent.

Geyser –Geyser, hot spring that erupts intermittently in a column of steam and hot water…A geyser erupts when the base of a column of water resting in the earth is vaporized by hot volcanic rock. The force with which the water column is expelled depends on its depth. The weight of the water column increases with its depth. The weight, in turn, increases the pressure exerted on the base of the column, thereby increasing the boiling point of the water there. When the water finally boils, it expands, driving some water out into the airEruption intervals depend on such variables as the supply of heat, the amount and rate of inflow of subsurface water, and the nature of the geyser tube and its underground connections.” – "Geyser," Microsoft® Encarta® Encyclopedia 99. © 1993-1998 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

In addition, although the activity is currently quite mild by comparison to eruptions that would have been involved in the flood, similar elements of hot springs, fault lines, volcanic activity and magma are present on the ocean floors.

Deep-Sea Exploration, IV SCIENTIFIC RESULTS – The first large exploration using occupied submersibles was the French-American Mid-Ocean Undersea Study (FAMOUS) project. In 1974 the Alvin (operated by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution), the French bathyscaphe Archimède, and the French diving saucer Cyane, assisted by support ships and the Glomar Challenger, explored the great rift valley of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, southwest of the Azores. The rift valley is considered by geologists as the separation between the Eurasian plate and the North American plate of the earth's crust, and it constitutes one of the many sites in the ocean bottom where molten rock oozes forth to form new crust…In a series of dives in 1979 and 1980  into the Galápagos Rift, off the coast of Ecuador, French, Mexican, and U.S. scientists found chimneylike vents, nearly 9 m (nearly 30 ft) high and about 3.7 m (about 12 ft) across, discharging a mixture of hot water (up to 300° C/570° F) and dissolved metals in dark, smokelike plumes (see Hydrothermal Vent). These hot springs play an important role in the formation of deposits that are enriched in copper, nickel, cadmium, chromium, and uranium.” – "Deep-Sea Exploration," Microsoft® Encarta® Encyclopedia 99. © 1993-1998 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

Hydrothermal Vent – Hydrothermal Vent, spring of hot water on the deep ocean floor. Such springs were proposed to exist in 1965, as part of the developing theory of plate tectonics. Since then more than 80 such vents have been found in the Pacific Ocean at sites of rapid seafloor spreading. These vents emit sulfur-rich water at temperatures that can reach 350° C (660° F). A few vents have also been found in the Atlantic Ocean, at sites of slower spreading; the water from these vents tends to be cooler but still rich in sulfur. Hydrothermal vents have also been found at sites of seafloor spreading in the Red Sea. In 1995, scientists started looking for hydrothermal vents in the Indian Ocean and quickly discovered one that had previously been active. Scientists have also found hydrothermal vents at hot-spots where magma rises in the middle of crustal plates to form volcanic islands, such as Hawaii. The vents form when cold seawater sinks deep into cracks in the ocean floor until warmed by rock heated by magma (see Igneous Rock).” – "Hydrothermal Vent," Microsoft® Encarta® Encyclopedia 99. © 1993-1998 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

Microbiology, The study of microorganisms, Applied microbiology, Microbiology of water supplies, wastewater, and other aquatic environments – Large populations of archaea live in volcanic ridges 2,600 metres (8,500 feet) below the ocean surface in areas immediately surrounding hydrothermal vents (deep-sea hot springs). The vents spew superheated water (350 °C [662 °F]) that contains hydrogen sulfide (H2 S); the water surrounding the vents has a temperature range of 10–20 °C (50–68 °F).” – Encyclopaedia Britannica 2004 Deluxe Edition

Ocean, Ocean basins, Oceanic ridges, Spreading centre zones and associated phenomenaSpreading centres are divided into several geologic zones. The neovolcanic zone is at the very axis. It is 1 to 2 kilometres wide and is the site of recent and active volcanism and of the hydrothermal vents. It is marked by chains of small volcanoes or volcanic ridges. Adjacent to the neovolcanic zone is one marked by fissures in the seafloor. This may be 1 to 2 kilometres wide. Beyond this point occurs a zone of active faulting. Here, fissures develop into normal faults with vertical offsets…Warm springs emanating from the seafloor in the neovolcanic zone were first found on the Galápagos spreading centre. These waters were measured to have temperatures about 20° C above the ambient temperature. In 1979 hydrothermal vents with temperatures near 350° C were discovered on the East Pacific Rise off Mexico. Since then, similar vents have been found on the spreading centres off the Pacific Northwest coast of the United States, on the south end of the northern Mid-Atlantic Ridge, and at many locations on the East Pacific Rise. Hydrothermal vents are localized discharges of heated seawater. They result from cold seawater percolating down into the hot oceanic crust through the zone of fissures and returning to the seafloor in a pipelike flow at the axis of the neovolcanic zone.” – Encyclopaedia Britannica 2004 Deluxe Edition

These deep ocean hydrothermal vents are present at the exact places where the earth’s crust is breaks into multiple plates.

Volcano, VI VOLCANO DISTRIBUTIONThe magma-forming regions of the earth and the volcanoes built above them are not randomly scattered but instead are confined to several zones and special places. While these volcanically active areas have long been known, the scientific reason for their distribution was not understood until the emergence of the theory of plate tectonics in the late 1960s. According to this theory, the earth's surface is broken into a dozen or so large solid slabs (called plates). These plates consist of both crustal and rigid upper mantle material. They are 50 to 150 km (30 to 95 mi) thick and ride upon hotter, more free-flowing mantle. The plates are moving relative to one another at average rates of several centimeters a year. The vast majority of the world's active volcanoes, above and below the sea, are found along or near the boundaries between these shifting plates. Volcanoes can also be found in the middle of tectonic plates, although midplate volcanoes are relatively rare. The Hawaiian Islands are the exposed part of a midplate volcanic chain…A Volcanoes at Plate Boundaries – Even though most of the earth's volcanism occurs along divergent boundaries, the eruptions often occur unobserved because divergent boundaries are covered by the oceans, except those in Iceland and East Africa.” – "Volcano," Microsoft® Encarta® Encyclopedia 99. © 1993-1998 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

Ocean and Oceanography, II OCEAN BASIN STRUCTUREIn the central parts of the oceans are the midocean ridges, which are extensive mountain chains with inner troughs that are heavily intersected by cracks, called fracture zones. The ridges are sections of a continuous system that winds for 60,000 km (40,000 mi) through all the oceans.” – "Ocean and Oceanography," Microsoft® Encarta® Encyclopedia 99. © 1993-1998 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

Volcanism – A second major site of active volcanism is along the axis of the mid-ocean ridge system, where the plates move apart on both sides of the ridge, and magma wells up from the mantle, creating new ocean floor along the trailing edges of both plates. Virtually all of this volcanic activity occurs under water.” – Encyclopaedia Britannica 2004 Deluxe Edition

If the earth’s crust was first “broken up” into plates at the time of the Flood, this would explain why so much water would shoot forth like “fountains” as the ocean came in contact with the molten material underneath.

In summary, the Judeo-Christian record of the flood indicates massive, submarine volcanic activity similar to the manifestations of geysers, but on a much larger scale. And the Judeo-Christian record of the flood also indicates that the breaking up of the earth’s crust into plates also is described as occurring at this time. On this last point, the Judeo-Christian model even scientifically predicts the discovery that the earth’s crust is divided up into separate plates.

As we have noted in previous sections, radiometric dating does not work on sedimentary rock layers but instead is used for igneous and metamorphic rocks.

Geology, III THE GEOLOGIC TIME SCALE, D Radiometric DatingAnother 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.

Consequently, if a flood involved or occurred as a result of intense volcanic activity initiated by a literally earth-shaking event, such intense volcanic activity would by definition include massive reheating events in igneous and metamorphic rocks. As stated in the quote below, volcanic activity is directly associated with continental plate activity, particularly on the ocean floor.

Volcano, Volcanism and tectonic activityActive volcanoes are not scattered over the Earth randomly; instead, most occur in belts, especially in the island arcs and mountain ranges bordering the Pacific Ocean (Figure 5). The concept of seafloor spreading and, more broadly, the theory of plate tectonics offer a logical explanation for the location of most volcanoesVolcanoes related to plate boundariesTopographic maps reveal the locations of large earthquakes and indicate the boundaries of the 12 major tectonic platesVolcanoes occur along both subduction and rift zones but are generally absent along strike-slip plate margins. Of the 1,144 volcanoes listed in Table 2, 80 percent occur along subduction zones and 15 percent along rift zones. These percentages are somewhat misleading, however, because most of the Earth's rift zones are about two to three kilometres below sea level. At those inaccessible depths active submarine volcanoes have yet to be observed, though a few hydrothermal areas have been found along submarine rift zones with deep-diving submarines.” – Encyclopaedia Britannica 2004 Deluxe Edition

Moreover, the quote below is very specific that radiometric dating methods are used to date rocks and minerals that are formed and “subjected to high temperatures” where continental plates “collide” and these “geologic events” directly impact the ages indicate by such rocks or minerals.

“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. When rocks are subjected to high temperatures and pressures in mountain roots formed where continents collide, certain datable minerals grow and even regrow to record the timing of such geologic events.” – Encyclopaedia Britannica 2004 Deluxe Edition

Furthermore, the heating events caused by volcanic and continental plate activity would in turn trigger the migration of key isotopes around, into, and out of the various parts of those rocks. As stated in the 2 quotes below, this migration would result in dated ages that could be either higher or lower than the real age of the rocks. In fact, according to the first quote below, higher ages have been exemplified in rocks that have dated older than the earth itself.

Dating, Absolute dating, Evaluation and presentation schemes in dating, Multiple ages for a single rock; the thermal effect Fossils record the initial, or primary, age of a rock unit. Isotopic systems, on the other hand, can yield either the primary age or the time of a later event, because crystalline materials are very specific in the types of atoms they incorporate, in terms of both the atomic size and charge. An element formed by radioactive decay is quite different from its parent atom and thus is out of place with respect to the host mineral. All it takes for such an element to be purged from the mineral is sufficient heat to allow solid diffusion to occur. Each mineral has a temperature at which rapid diffusion sets in, so that, as a region is slowly heated, first one mineral and then another loses its daughter isotopes. When this happens, the isotopic “clock” is reset to zero, where it remains until the mineral cools below the blocking temperature…Another problem arises if a region undergoes a second reheating event. Certain minerals may record the first event, whereas others may record the second, and any suggestion of progressive cooling between the two is invalid. – Encyclopaedia Britannica 2004 Deluxe Edition

Dating, Absolute dating, Principles of isotopic datingAs in all dating systems, the ages calculated can be affected by the presence of inherited daughter products. In a few cases, argon ages older than that of the Earth which violate local relative age patterns have even been determined for the mineral biotite. Such situations occur mainly where old rocks have been locally heated, which released argon-40 into pore spaces at the same time that new minerals grew.” – Encyclopaedia Britannica 2004 Deluxe Edition

Consequently, the very rocks that radiometric dating is used to date are rocks that would have been formed by or at least subjected to the massive reheating and migration events occurring as a result of the intense volcanic and continental plate activity described as a part of the global flood. Thus, as indicated explicitly by the first quote below, the ages of such rocks could have been significantly raised by the volcanic and plate activity of the flood. Therefore, as also stated in both of the quotes below, no rock which has been subjected to these conditions would meet the criterion necessary for calculating radiometric ages. In short, radiometric dating would be simply impossible for all igneous and metamorphic rocks.

“Absolute dating, Major methods of isotopic dating, Rubidium–strontium method, Dating simple igneous rocks –Once plotted as R1p (i.e., rock 1 present values), R2p, and R3p, the data are examined to assess how well they fit the required straight line. Using estimates of measurement precision, the crucial question of whether or not scatter outside of measurement error exists is addressed. Such scatter would constitute a geologic component, indicating that one or more of the underlying assumptions has been violated and that the age indicated is probably not valid. For an isochron to be valid, each sample tested must (1) have had the same initial ratio, (2) have been a closed system over geologic time, and (3) have the same age. Well-preserved, unweathered rocks that crystallized rapidly and have not been subjected to major reheating events are most likely to give valid isochrons. Weathering is a disturbing influence, as is leaching or exchange by hot crustal fluids, since many secondary minerals contain rubidium. Volcanic rocks are most susceptible to such changes because their minerals are fine-grained and unstable glass may be present.” – Encyclopaedia Britannica 2004 Deluxe Edition

Dating, Absolute dating, Principles of isotopic dating – Likewise, the conditions that must be met to make the calculated age precise and meaningful are in themselves simple: 1. The rock or mineral must have remained closed to the addition or escape of parent and daughter atoms since the time that the rock or mineral (system) formed. 2. It must be possible to correct for other atoms identical to daughter atoms already present when the rock or mineral formed. 3. The decay constant must be known. 4. The measurement of the daughter-to-parent ratio must be accurate because uncertainty in this ratio contributes directly to uncertainty in the age. Different schemes have been developed to deal with the critical assumptions stated above. In uranium–lead dating, minerals virtually free of initial lead can be isolated and corrections made for the trivial amounts present. In whole rock isochron methods that make use of the rubidium–strontium or samarium–neodymium decay schemes (see below), a series of rocks or minerals are chosen that can be assumed to have the same age and identical abundances of their initial isotopic ratios. The results are then tested for the internal consistency that can validate the assumptions…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.– Encyclopaedia Britannica 2004 Deluxe Edition

In conclusion to our examination of radiometric dating methods that are applied to igneous and metamorphic rocks, we can see that the stated conditions necessary for dating are not met, the key factors are not known but must be assumed, the very rocks that are used are disqualified by the additional criteria stipulated for making assumptions, nevertheless idealized numeric values assumed and adjusted as needed, and the most widely-used prominent methods such as potassium-argon and rubidium-strontium don’t work on an individual basis either. In particular, we have seen repeatedly that reheating and migration events disqualify igneous and metamorphic rocks from being dated, placing key factors beyond reach, such as the original isotope quantities and degree to which actual radioactive day itself has contributed to present isotope quantities. And lastly, the events surrounding the historic, global flood (which evolutionists, atheists, and uniformitarians have no basis for rejecting) would also create massive worldwide heating and migration events further disabling any radiometric dating of igneous and metamorphic rocks.

Consequently, the age of the earth rendered from radiometric dating methods used on igneous and metamorphic rock are shown to be inherently unreliable and the product of mere assumption. They are not observable or empirical scientific facts. And as a result, the 6,000 to 10,000 year age of the earth is not disproved or even marred in any way by the radiometric dating methods used on igneous and metamorphic rocks. This leaves only a 2 broad issues of geologic dating to discuss. First, we need to discuss the remaining radiometric dating methods, which are used on items other than igneous and metamorphic rocks. And second, we will also discuss further problems generally affecting all radiometric dating methods that utilize long half-life isotopes, which will also provide additional reasons negating the methods used on igneous and metamorphic rocks.


Related Images



Gene Pool
(Figures 1-6)




Defining the
Boundaries of Kinds



Gaps in the
Fossil Record




Britannica
Geologic Column



Misperceptions of
Dating Methods
(Figures 1-8)




Dating Facts



Dating Procedures
(Figures 1-13)




Isotope Dating Chart



Cosmology
Figure 1



Cosmology
Figure 2 (a-d)



Cosmology
Figure 3 (a-f)