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Basic Worldview:
103 Science, the Bible,
and Creation



Origins - Section Four:
Radiometric Conclusions, Non-radiometric Methods


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: Radiometric Dating Conclusions

Our six segments on radiometric dating have now been completed. We have covered the basics of radiometric dating, the general obstacles to igneous and metamorphic dating, the particular obstacles facing the prominent potassium-argon method, the obstacles facing the carbon-14 method as well as the problems a global flood imposes on all these dating methods, the minor remaining radiometric dating methods, and the problematic assumptions surrounding decay rates. Throughout these segments, we have established the specific problems that incapacitate radiometric dating. And, since we have used secular and evolutionary sources when establishing these problems, it should be no surprise that evolutionists know and admit to the problematic and unreliable nature of radiometric dating. However, when such admissions are made, they are articulated in language that hides the nature and the impact of the admission.

In order to recognize evolutionist admissions about radiometric dating, we first need to do some vocabularly. The word “precise” is defined below by Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary.

Precise1: exactly or sharply defined or stated 2: minutely exact 3: strictly conforming to a pattern, standard, or convention 4: distinguished from every other (at just that precise moment) – synonyms see correct.” – Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary

Below is the definition of “precise” according to the American Heritage Dictionary.

Precise1. Clearly expressed or delineated; definite. 2. Exactly corresponding to what is indicated; correct.” – American Heritage Dictionary

From both of these definitions, we note that “precise” has essentially 2 meanings. First, it can convey a degree of exactness or specificity. Second, it can convey a degree of correctness or accuracy. And, of course, in reality these 2 meanings are nearly synonymous. Both meanings converge around the concept of “accuracy.” An age that is defined with greater exactness or specificity is more accurate than an age, which is is vaguely defined. Likewise, an age that is more accurate is in a sense also more “correct” than an age, which is less accurate. As we can see, just like the definition of “precise,” the definition of “accurate” conveys both the concept of being correct or free from error as well as the concept of exactness, conveys.

Accurate1: free from error especially as the result of care 2: conforming exactly to truth or to a standard: exact.” – Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary

In fact, when we look up “accurate” in a thesaurus, we find that “precise” is listed as a synonym and so are “correct” and “exact.”

AccurateSynonyms CORRECT 2, exact, nice, precise, proper, right, rigorous.” – Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Thesaurus

And the same is true concerning the word “precise.” Precise is considered a synonym for accurate, correct, and exact.

Precise – 1 Synonyms DEFINITE 1, circumscribed, determinate, fixed, limited, narrow, restricted 2 Synonyms CORRECT 2, accurate, exact, nice, proper, right, rigorous.” – Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Thesaurus

Consequently, we can understand that the terms “precise” and “precision” generally denote the degree of accuracy. Understanding that “precise” is a synonym for “accurate” we can better grasp what Britannica means when it describes various dating methods in terms of their “precision.” It should be noted that all of the quotes below come from the same Britannica article, the article on “Dating.” Thus, the quotes below reflect how Britannica uses the term “precise” throughout its entire commentary on various dating techniques.

(In the quotes below we have highlighted words and phrases associated with precision by having them appear in all capitalized letters. These phrases were not capitalized originally in the quote.)

The quote from Britannica below uses the word “precise” with regard to radiometric dating in the phrase “precise isotopic ages.”

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

Similarly, the next quote uses the term “precision” to refer to the level of error in radiometric dating.

Dating, Absolute dating, Major methods of isotopic dating, Uranium–lead method – It is now clear that with recent advances the uranium–lead method is superior in providing precise age information with the least number of assumptions…Double uranium-lead chronometers – Thus the ratio of lead-207 to lead-206 changes by about 0.1 percent every two million years. Since this ratio is easily calibrated and reproduced at such A LEVEL OF PRECISION, errors as low as [plus or minus] 2 million years at a confidence level of 95 percent are routinely obtained on lead-207–lead-206 ages. By contrast, errors as high as [plus or minus] 30 to 50 million years are usually quoted for the rubidium–strontium and samarium–neodymium isochron methods (see below).” – Encyclopaedia Britannica 2004 Deluxe Edition

However, when we read the word “precise” in these quotes, the meaning of the statements doesn’t exactly come across. So, let’s reread the quotes once again replacing “precise” with the synonym “accurate.” As a result, Britannica’s meaning becomes quite clear.

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

Dating, Absolute dating, Major methods of isotopic dating, Uranium–lead method – It is now clear that with recent advances the uranium–lead method is superior in providing precise age information with the least number of assumptions…Double uranium-lead chronometers – Thus the ratio of lead-207 to lead-206 changes by about 0.1 percent every two million years. Since this ratio is easily calibrated and reproduced at such A LEVEL OF ACCURACY, errors as low as [plus or minus] 2 million years at a confidence level of 95 percent are routinely obtained on lead-207–lead-206 ages. By contrast, errors as high as [plus or minus] 30 to 50 million years are usually quoted for the rubidium–strontium and samarium–neodymium isochron methods (see below).” – Encyclopaedia Britannica 2004 Deluxe Edition

Oddly enough, in the very same paragraphs that refer to radiometric ages as “accurate,” Britannica explicitly clarifies that the level of accuracy can be wrong by plus or minus “1 or 2 million years” or even plus or minus “30 to 50 million years.” Consequently, as we can see, Britannica’s own comments are revealing that radiometric dating is not really very accurate at all.

And not only are the ages inaccurate by millions of years, but in reality the accuracy of the entire radiometric dating process is admitted to be very delicate and difficult to attain. This is demonstrated in the next quote where the words “precise” and “precision” appear 3 times. In the first instance, the phrase “the precision once only possible with fossiliferous units” compares the precision of radiometric dating to the high degree of precision attributed to relative dating. The second instance builds on previously mentioned “precision” of radiometric dating and refers to some radiometric methods as being “inherently more precise” than others. And finally, the third instance states that a geochronologist must be skilled enough to be able to have “precision” when it comes to performing the age analysis.

Dating, Absolute dating, Major methods of isotopic dating – Isotopic dating relative to fossil dating requires a great deal of effort and depends on the integrated specialized skills of geologists, chemists, and physicists. It is, nevertheless, a valuable resource that allows correlations to be made over virtually all of Earth history with A PRECISION once only possible with fossiliferous units that are restricted to the most recent 12 percent or so of geologic time. Although any method may be attempted on any unit, the best use of this resource requires that every effort be made to tackle each problem with the most efficient technique. Because of the long half-life of some isotopic systems or the high background or restricted range of parent abundances, some methods are INHERENTLY MORE PRECISE. The skill of a geochronologist is demonstrated by the ability to attain the knowledge required and THE PRECISION necessary with the least number of analyses.” – Encyclopaedia Britannica 2004 Deluxe Edition

However, once again when we read the word “precise,” the meaning of the statements doesn’t exactly come across. So, let’s reread the quote replacing “precise” and “precision” with the synonyms “accurate” and “accuracy.”

Dating, Absolute dating, Major methods of isotopic dating – Isotopic dating relative to fossil dating requires a great deal of effort and depends on the integrated specialized skills of geologists, chemists, and physicists. It is, nevertheless, a valuable resource that allows correlations to be made over virtually all of Earth history with AN ACCURACY once only possible with fossiliferous units that are restricted to the most recent 12 percent or so of geologic time. Although any method may be attempted on any unit, the best use of this resource requires that every effort be made to tackle each problem with the most efficient technique. Because of the long half-life of some isotopic systems or the high background or restricted range of parent abundances, some methods are INHERENTLY MORE ACCURATE. The skill of a geochronologist is demonstrated by the ability to attain the knowledge required and THE ACCURACY necessary with the least number of analyses.– Encyclopaedia Britannica 2004 Deluxe Edition

The context of these statements is clearly a commentary on how difficult it is to obtain accurate results from radiometric dating. As the first line of the quote indicates, accurate results “require a great deal of effort” and “depend on the integrated specialized skills” of the scientist involved. By simply replacing the word “precise” with its synonym “accurate,” Britannica’s meaning becomes clear. The ages produced from radiometric dating were once considered less accurate than the ages produced by relative dating techniques, such as stratigraphy and faunal succession. Some radiometric dating methods are less accurate than others. And the skill of the geochronologist is demonstrated by his or her ability to attain an accurate result. Already we are starting to see the true picture emerge, that radiometric dating methods neither simply nor easily produce accurate ages.

The next quote from Britannica uses the word “precise” two times in the midst of a discussion about “refining isotopic measurements,” the dangers of “contamination,” and “the analytic and geologic problems that have to be overcome” in radiometric dating.

Dating, Absolute dating, Principles of isotopic dating – In the process of refining isotopic measurements, methods for low-contamination chemistry had to be developed, and it is significant that many such methods now in worldwide use resulted directly from work in geochronology. It has already been explained how different Earth processes create different rocks as part of what can be considered a giant rock-forming and -reforming cycle. Attention has been called wherever possible to those rocks that contain minerals suitable for PRECISE ISOTOPIC DATING. The following discussion will show why this is so, treating in some detail the analytic and geologic problems that have to be overcome IF PRECISE AGES ARE TO BE DETERMINEDPrinciples of isotopic datingSuch 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 widelyspaced localities. The importance of internal checks as well as interlaboratory comparisons becomes all the more apparent when one realizes that geochronology laboratories are limited in number. Because of the expensive equipment necessary and the combination of geologic, chemical, and laboratory skills required, geochronology is usually carried out by teams of experts.” – Encyclopaedia Britannica 2004 Deluxe Edition

Here again, in order to allow Britannica’s meaning to become more apparent, we have replaced the word “precise” with the synonym “accurate.”

Dating, Absolute dating, Principles of isotopic dating – In the process of refining isotopic measurements, methods for low-contamination chemistry had to be developed, and it is significant that many such methods now in worldwide use resulted directly from work in geochronology. It has already been explained how different Earth processes create different rocks as part of what can be considered a giant rock-forming and -reforming cycle. Attention has been called wherever possible to those rocks that contain minerals suitable for ACCURATE ISOTOPIC DATING. The following discussion will show why this is so, treating in some detail the analytic and geologic problems that have to be overcome IF ACCURATE AGES ARE TO BE DETERMINEDPrinciples of isotopic datingSuch 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 widelyspaced localities. The importance of internal checks as well as interlaboratory comparisons becomes all the more apparent when one realizes that geochronology laboratories are limited in number. Because of the expensive equipment necessary and the combination of geologic, chemical, and laboratory skills required, geochronology is usually carried out by teams of experts.” – Encyclopaedia Britannica 2004 Deluxe Edition

Consequently, we can see that Britannica is discussing what is necessary for radiometric ages to “refined” enough for the ages to be accurate, correct, and reliable. For accurate, correct, and reliable ages to be produced “analytic and geologic problems” have to be “overcome.” This means that there are barriers to accuracy in both the mathematic calculations themselves and barriers in terms of the actual physical geology.

Notice also that midway through the quote “relative ages” are said to be a “check” that is necessary to ensure the radiometric ages are accurate. In other words, resolving the “analytic and geologic problems” in radiometric dating requires basing radiometric ages on relative ages. Once again, the circular reasoning of evolutionary dating methods is revealed as is the primacy of relative dating over radiometric in the creation of the evolutionary timescale. Relative dating, which is strictly based upon speculation and assumption, actually dictates the ages produced by radiometric dating. Radiometric dating simply cannot overcome its analytic and geologic problems without deferring to the ages produced by relative dating. The primacy of relative dating over radiometric dating, the fact that radiometric ages are determined by relative ages, will be further corroborated as we move ahead.

Lastly, we notice from the tail end of the quote above that “correctness” is ultimately the kind of accuracy that Britannica has in view. To ensure the correctness and reliability of radiometric ages, “internal checks” are required and this severity of this concern regarding “correctness” is only properly understood “when one realizes that geochronology laboratories are limited in number,” and the magnitude of complexity of “the necessary equipment” and the “required skills.” The process is highly complex and as a result, Britannica is expressing the inherent concerns this extreme difficulty and complexity brings to the question of accuracy.

This brings us to 2 final quotes admitting to key points we have established during the detailed analysis of the preceding segments.

First, although relative dating is based upon speculation and assumption and lacks any evidence for actual ages, it is relative dating that is the determining factor in developing the evolutionary timescale. Radiometric dating is actually determined by the relative ages, which are considered more reliable and more “accurate.”

This is seen in the quote below, which uses the term “precise” to contrast the superiority of relative ages over radiometric ages.

Dating, General considerations, Determination of sequenceRelative geologic ages can be deduced in rock sequences consisting of sedimentary, metamorphic, or igneous rock units. In fact, they constitute an essential part in any precise isotopic, or absolute, dating program. Such is the case because most rocks simply cannot be isotopically dated. Therefore, a geologist must first determine relative ages and then locate the most favourable units for absolute dating. It is also important to note that relative ages are INHERENTLY MORE PRECISE, since two or more units deposited minutes or years apart would have identical absolute ages but precisely defined relative ages. While absolute ages require expensive, complex analytical equipment, relative ages can be deduced from simple visual observationsThe principles for relative age dating described above require no special equipment and can be applied by anyone on a local or regional scale. They are based on visual observations and simple logical deductions and rely on a correlation and integration of data that occurs in fragmentary form at many outcrop locations.” – Encyclopaedia Britannica 2004 Deluxe Edition

Once again, Britannica’s meaning becomes more apparent when we replace “precise” with the synonym “accurate.”

Dating, General considerations, Determination of sequenceRelative geologic ages can be deduced in rock sequences consisting of sedimentary, metamorphic, or igneous rock units. In fact, they constitute an essential part in any precise isotopic, or absolute, dating program. Such is the case because most rocks simply cannot be isotopically dated. Therefore, a geologist must first determine relative ages and then locate the most favourable units for absolute dating. It is also important to note that relative ages are INHERENTLY MORE ACCURATE, since two or more units deposited minutes or years apart would have identical absolute ages but precisely defined relative ages. While absolute ages require expensive, complex analytical equipment, relative ages can be deduced from simple visual observationsThe principles for relative age dating described above require no special equipment and can be applied by anyone on a local or regional scale. They are based on visual observations and simple logical deductions and rely on a correlation and integration of data that occurs in fragmentary form at many outcrop locations…Absolute dating, Principles of isotopic datingThe importance of internal checks as well as interlaboratory comparisons becomes all the more apparent when one realizes that geochronology laboratories are limited in number. Because of the expensive equipment necessary and the combination of geologic, chemical, and laboratory skills required, geochronology is usually carried out by teams of experts.” – Encyclopaedia Britannica 2004 Deluxe Edition

Consequently, as we can see, according to Britannica relative dating is “inherently more accurate” than radiometric dating. This accuracy involves both components of the definition of “precise.” Relative dating is more “exact” since two samples might have the same, vaguer absolute age but distinct, more sharply defined relative ages. And relative dating is more reliably correct than radiometric dating because relative ages are based upon simple logic, deduction, and observation whereas radiometric ages require expensive, special equipment to provide the necessary computing power that still requires highly complex skills to perform. This vastly greater simplicity and straightforwardness in relative dating is what makes its ages are more reliable than radiometric ages. This is reflected in the quote below as well, which plainly states that earth’s history is “most accurately dated” by the relative dating of the sedimentary rock layers than by the dating of igneous and metamorphic rock, which of course utilizes radiometric dating.

Sedimentary rock – Despite the relatively insignificant volume of the sedimentary rock shell, not only are most rocks exposed at the terrestrial surface of the sedimentary variety, but many of the significant events in Earth history are most accurately dated and documented by analyzing and interpreting the sedimentary rock record instead of the more voluminous igneous and metamorphic rock record.” – Encyclopaedia Britannica 2004 Deluxe Edition

Second, the factors that need to be known in order for radiometric dating to be performed and produce accurate dates are not known. The next quote below uses the term “precise” as it comments briefly on “the conditions that must be met” in order for radiometric age calculations to be made. Those conditions are the original parent and daughter ratio, the amount of migration, the present parent and daughter ratio, and the decay constant.

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

Once again, by simply replacing the word “precise” with its synonym “accurate,” Britannica’s meaning becomes clear. Furthermore, the fact that Britannica has “accuracy” in mind here is demonstrated by the fact that the fourth condition listed in the quote actually uses the word “accurate” when describing the required criteria.

Dating, Absolute dating, Principles of isotopic dating – Likewise, the conditions that must be met to make the calculated AGE ACCURATE 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

In order for the “calculated age” to be “accurate” these four factors must be known. As we have already shown in detail in the previous segments, except for the present parent and daughter ratios, none of these factors are known, particularly the original parent and daughter ratios and the amount of migration. Consequently, the conditions required for “accurate” radiometric ages are not met and what remains are simply inaccurate ages based upon what the closing line of the quote calls “assumptions.” So, once again, as we understand what Britannica is saying, the picture continues to emerge that it is a well-known fact among evolutionists that radiometric dating methods neither simply nor easily produce accurate ages. In fact, since these required conditions are not met, radiometric dating cannot produce accurate ages at all.

(For an illustration of how missing factors must be assumed in order to radiometrically calculate age see Dating Procedures Figures 8, 11-13.)

Finally, we can see that radiometric dating is considered far from a simple, straightforward, observable fact in the admission presented in the following 2 quotes.

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

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

As stated in the quotes above, to this day, radiometric dating is regarded as “more difficult task” than relative dating and radiometric dating remains “one of the greatest challenges” in determining earth’s history. Radiometric dating simply is not a simple, concrete observable fact. Rather, radiometric dating is an incompentent, problem-filled, unresolved, assumption-based, circular-reasoned process that is actually dictated by the entirely speculative ages produced by relative dating, which itself is based upon the presupposition of evolutionary theory.

With our analysis of radiometric dating now complete, we are ready to move on to the non-radiometric absolute dating methods, which is our final category of dating procedures.


Focus on Critical Evidence: Non-radiometric Absolute Dating

Having examined both relative dating and the radiometric methods for obtaining absolute ages, we will now turn our attention to the handful of methods used to obtain absolute ages, which are not based upon radioactive isotopes. Although radiometric dating methods were the first methods to generate absolute dates, other methods were also developed afterwards. These methods include dendrochonology (also known as tree-ring dating), varve analysis, hydration dating, TL dating, ice cores, and paleomagnetism.

Dating Methods, III ABSOLUTE DATING METHODS – Although development of radiometric methods led to the first and principal breakthroughs in establishing an absolute time scale, other absolute methods were devised that have limited applications. Chief among these are dendrochronology, varve analysis, hydration dating, and TL dating.” – "Dating Methods," Microsoft® Encarta® Encyclopedia 99. © 1993-1998 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

Geology, V Fields of Geology, B Historical Geology, B3 GeochronologyGeologists can count the annual layers recorded in tree rings, ice cores, and certain sediments such as those found in lakes, for very precise geochronology.” – "Geology," Microsoft® Encarta® Encyclopedia 99. © 1993-1998 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

As we can see from the first quote above, each of these methods has “limited application.” We will explore these limitations and the reasons for them as we discuss each of these methods below. However, we should also note that in the second quote above, the mention of counting “sediments… found in lakes” refers to varve analysis. This is stated plainly in the quote immediately below.

Geologic Time, III DATING METHODS – A few non-radiometric techniques, such as varve analysis, dendrochronology, and paleomagnetism, also provide absolute ages. Varves are layers of sediment deposited yearly in glacial lakes.” – "Geologic Time," Microsoft® Encarta® Encyclopedia 99. © 1993-1998 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

As a further introductory note, we should point out that more than one of these methods is based upon assuming that certain markings are “annual” or “yearly” and therefore, the number of those markings indicates the number of years. However, as the next quote plainly states, with regard to the “many other processes” used “in addition to radioactive decay” to develop “absolute dating,” the rates of these processes “lack universal consistency” and “human observation” cannot be “maintained long enough to measure present rates of change.” Consequently, as the quote concludes, “it is not at all certain on a priori grounds whether” the rates observable at present “are representative of the past.” As such, we have to realize that like relative dating and radiometric dating, many of these processes are going to be based upon assumptions that simply are not valid.

Geochronology, Nonradiometric dating – In addition to radioactive decay, many other processes have been investigated for their potential usefulness in absolute dating. Unfortunately, they all occur at rates that lack the universal consistency of radioactive decay. Sometimes human observation can be maintained long enough to measure present rates of change, but it is not at all certain on a priori grounds whether such rates are representative of the past.” – Encyclopaedia Britannica 2004 Deluxe Edition

As indicated above, there are six prominent non-radioactive dating methods. The first method that we will discuss is paleomagnetism. The term “paleomagnetism” is a compound word formed from the word “magnetism” and the prefix “paleo,” meaning “ancient” or “early.” According to Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, paleomagnetism refers to “a science that deals with the intensity and direction of residual magnetization in ancient rocks.” The use of paleomagnetism to provide absolute dates surrounds the idea that switches in the orientation of earth’s magnetic poles (called magnetic reversals) have been recorded in the magnetic rocks produced along the mid-ocean ridge where new seafloor is being created. The new seafloor along these mid-ocean ridges is formed as molten rock emerges from beneath the seafloor, creating a mountain range and pushing the continents apart.

PaleomagnetismPaleomagnetism, in geology, the study of the changing orientations of the earth's magnetic field (see Earth; Magnetism). Such study aids in determining the course of other geological processes such as plate tectonics. The reasons for the occasional polar reversal of the earth's magnetic field are not well understood, but currently the reversals themselves are recorded at sites of seafloor spreading by the alignment of magnetic grains in igneous rock.” – "Paleomagnetism," Microsoft® Encarta® Encyclopedia 99. © 1993-1998 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

Plate Tectonics, VI HISTORY OF TECTONIC THEORY, C Seafloor SpreadingDuring the 1950s, as people began creating detailed maps of the world's ocean floor, they discovered a mid-ocean ridge system of mountains nearly 60,000 km (nearly 40,000 mi) long. This ridge goes all the way around the globe. American geologist Harry H. Hess proposed that this mountain chain was the place where new ocean floor was created and that the continents moved as a result of the expansion of the ocean floors…These studies also found marine magnetic anomalies, or differences, on the sea floor. The anomalies are changes, or switches, in the north and south polarity of the magnetic rock of the seafloor. Scientists discovered that the switches make a striped pattern of the positive and negative magnetic anomalies: one segment, or stripe, is positive, and the segment next to it is negative. The stripes are parallel to the mid-ocean ridge crest, and the pattern is the same on both sides of that crest. Scientists could not explain the cause of these anomalies until they discovered that the earth's magnetic field periodically reverses direction.” – "Plate Tectonics," Microsoft® Encarta® Encyclopedia 99. © 1993-1998 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

Plate Tectonics, VI HISTORY OF TECTONIC THEORY, D Magnetic Field Reversals – In 1963, British scientists Fred J. Vine and Drummond H. Matthews combined their observations of the marine magnetic anomalies with the concept of reversals of the earth's magnetic field. They proposed that the marine magnetic anomalies were a "tape recording" of the spreading of the ocean floor as the earth's magnetic field reversed its direction. At the same time, other geophysicists were studying lava flows from many parts of the world to see how these flows revealed the record of reversals of the direction of the earth's magnetic field. These studies showed that nearly four reversals have occurred over the past 5 million years. The concept of magnetic field reversals was a breakthrough that explained the magnetic polarity switches seen in seafloor spreading as well as the concept of similar magnetic patterns in the rocks used to demonstrate continental drift.” – "Plate Tectonics," Microsoft® Encarta® Encyclopedia 99. © 1993-1998 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

These newly-forming rocks emerge as lava at the mid-ocean ridge. The magnetic particles of the rock become oriented to the force of the earth’s magnetic field. Of particular interest to paleomagnetism is the idea that rocks along either side of the ridge exhibit a pattern of alternating north-south poles. The alternation between north and south polarity is further taken to indicate that the earth’s north and south magnetic poles have switched locations at different points in the past and each subsequent “switch” was recorded in the rocks forming at that time along the ridge. Thus, the magnetic pattern along the ridge is understood to be a record of the switches in earth’s poles. As a consequence, the specific orientation of the magnetic rocks correlates to a time when the earth’s magnetic field had that same orientation.

Earth exploration, Conclusions about the deep EarthA rock tends to retain its magnetic orientation, so that measuring it provides information about the Earth's magnetic field at the time of the rock's formation and how the rock has moved since then. The field of study specifically concerned with this subject is called paleomagnetism.” – Encyclopaedia Britannica 2004 Deluxe Edition

Earth, The major geologic features of the Earth's exterior, The surface of the Earth as a mosaic of plates, Evidence for polar wandering, continental drift, and seafloor spreading, PaleomagnetismThe direction and inclination of the magnetic field of rocks of different ages have been measured from rock samples collected from all over the world, and this information can be used to ascertain the location of the Earth's magnetic pole at the time when those rocks were formed.” – Encyclopaedia Britannica 2004 Deluxe Edition

Geologic Time, III DATING METHODS – Paleomagnetism involves measuring the angle of magnetic molecules in rocks. When lava is hot, magnetic minerals in the molten rock orient themselves to the earth's magnetic field. As the temperature of cooling lava drops to a certain point, these tiny magnets lock into place. Because the earth's magnetic field has switched orientations several times during the history of the earth, the magnetic orientation of the rocks that cooled during different times may be different. Scientists know the dates of the magnetic reversals, so the magnetic orientation of a rock sample can provide an estimate of its age.” – "Geologic Time," Microsoft® Encarta® Encyclopedia 99. © 1993-1998 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

There are several problems with using this concept to produce absolute dates. The first problem, which is clear from the 3 quotes above, is that circular reasoning is occurring here with regard to the dating. Notice from the first 2 quotes that it is timing of the rocks formation that indicates when a “magnetic reversal” took place in the earth’s magnetic field. Thus, the rocks are the record of the timing of the earth’s magnetic reversals. Yet, notice from the third quote that the rocks are dated by the “known” dates of the reversals. Consequently, here we arrive at a textbook case of circular reasoning. The rocks date the reversals and the reversals date the rocks. As a result, even if such magnetic reversals did occur, this makes dating them impossible.

The second problem is that there seems to be some uncertainty as to when the rocks actually oriented to the earth’s magnetic field. A quote above from Microsoft Encarta clearly states that such rocks orient to the earth’s magnetic field when they are hot and molten and then simply “lock into” or become fixed in that orientation as the rock cools.

Geologic Time, III DATING METHODS – When lava is hot, magnetic minerals in the molten rock orient themselves to the earth's magnetic field. As the temperature of cooling lava drops to a certain point, these tiny magnets lock into place.” – "Geologic Time," Microsoft® Encarta® Encyclopedia 99. © 1993-1998 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

Similarly, the next quote explains that at low temperatures, the particles of the rocks are “rigidly maintained” in their existing positions and the only time that the “external field” (the earth’s own magnetic field) is exerted on the magnetic particles is when the rocks are molten at high temperatures.

AntiferromagnetismAt very low temperatures, the solid exhibits no response to the external field, because the antiparallel ordering of atomic magnets is rigidly maintained. At higher temperatures, some atoms break free of the orderly arrangement and align with the external field.” – Encyclopaedia Britannica 2004 Deluxe Edition

As we can see, the reason that the rocks orient themselves to the earth’s field during the time when they are molten is because only when the rock is liquid are the magnetic particles freed from their fixed positions in the rock and enabled to reorient according to the earth’s magnetic field. However, Worldbook states the exact opposite. Worldbook states that when the rocks are hot and molten they cannot “be influenced by the Earth’s magnetic field” and only once they cool can their magnetic particles “align with Earth’s magnetic field.”

Plate Techtonics, Plate movement, Evidence of plate movementWhen such a rock was hot and liquid, the magnetic particles moved too rapidly to be influenced by Earth's magnetic field. But as the rock cooled and solidified, the particles aligned themselves with Earth's magnetic field, like tiny compass needles. Thus, the particles continue to point in the direction of the magnetic field that was present during the time that the rock cooled.” – Worldbook, Contributor: Mark Cloos, Ph.D., Professor of Geological Sciences, University of Texas, Austin.

Notice that the contributor of Worldbook’s article has a PhD in Geological Sciences and works as a professor at the University of Texas, Austin. Consequently, it is difficult to simply dismiss this contradictory statement. In addition, this analysis by Worldbook is confirmed by what is known as the “Curie Point.” The Curie Point is a temperature level above which magnetic materials lose their magnetic properties.

Curie, Pierre – He showed that magnetic materials made of iron compounds lose their magnetic properties if heated beyond a certain temperature. This temperature, different for every material, is now called the Curie point.” – "Curie, Pierre," Microsoft® Encarta® Encyclopedia 99. © 1993-1998 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

As indicated by the next quote below, the Curie Point has a counterpart called the Neel temperature. At temperatures above the Curie and Neel temperatures, the magnetic properties of formerly magnetic materials are “entirely disrupted” and only a weak form of magnetism called “paramagnetism” remains. Furthermore, the amount of paramagnetism itself decreases with the increase of temperature. This is indicated by both of the quotes below.

Curie pointRaising the temperature to the Curie point for any of the materials in these three classes entirely disrupts the various spontaneous arrangements, and only a weak kind of more general magnetic behaviour, called paramagnetism, remains. Temperature increases above the Curie point produce roughly similar patterns of decreasing paramagnetism in all three classes of materials…The antiferromagnetic Curie point is called the Néel temperature in honour of the French physicist Louis Néel, who in 1936 successfully explained antiferromagnetism.” – Encyclopaedia Britannica 2004 Deluxe Edition

AntiferromagnetismAt higher temperatures, some atoms break free of the orderly arrangement and align with the external field. This alignment and the weak magnetism it produces in the solid reach their peak at the Néel temperature. Above this temperature, thermal agitation progressively prevents alignment of the atoms with the magnetic field, so that the weak magnetism produced in the solid by the alignment of its atoms continuously decreases as temperature is increased.” – Encyclopaedia Britannica 2004 Deluxe Edition

The first quote above mentions a particular type of magnetism known as “antiferromagnetism” it also mentions “three classes” of magnetic materials. These 3 classes are ferromagnetic, antiferromagnetic, and ferromagnetic, which will be discussed more below. But more importantly, we should also point out that the phrase “spontaneous arrangements” refers to the normal way that these substances orient themselves due to their own internal magnetism. Thus, according to the quote the normal way that these substances magnetically orient themselves is “entirely disrupted” by high temperatures. Consequently, as the second quote indicates, any alignment to the earth’s magnetic field, which occurs at high temperatures when the rock is still “solid,” disappears as the rock becomes molten. As the temperature continues to increase enough to cause the rock becomes molten, it loses its magnetic properties and is not even influenced by the earth’s magnetic field, just as previously stated by Worldbook.

So as we can see, there are 2 debilitating problems with this this dating method. First, there appears to be no working articulation of exactly when and how the “reorientation” of the magnetic particles in the rock occurs. And second, the dating of both the rocks and the magnetic field switches are entirely based upon circular reasoning. Consequently, according to Britannica’s article on “Applied Logic,” like all circular reasoning this dating method is “an ineptitude of argumentation,” is “not deductively valid,” and “lacks any power of conviction.”

We can take this analysis of paleomagnetism a step further and ask the question, “What’s really going on with these magnetic patterns in mid-ocean rocks?” The answer is that the altered magnetic orientations in rocks at the mid-ocean ridge are not really switching direction. Instead of being neat and uniform stripes, they are actually more of a marbled, confusing mish-mash. Creationist Dr. Kent Hovind establishes this fact in a quote from the journal Science.

It is clear that the simple model of uniformly magnetized crustal blocks of alternating polarity does not represent reality.” – Hall, J. M., and P. T. Robinson, “Deep Crustal Drilling in the North Atlantic Ocean,” Science, vol. 204 (May 11, 1979), pp 578 (Cited by Dr. Kent E. Hovind, “Creation Seminar Part 6: The Hovind Theory”)

Consequently, this magnetic phenomenon along the mid-ocean floor does not occur because magnetic particles in the rocks are reorienting according to switches in orientation of earth’s magnetic field. To further establish this fact, we need to understand a little about the basics of magnetism. Normally, different magnetic atoms orient themselves locally in accordance with the magnetic atoms around them. As mentioned earlier, there are 3 types of magnetism. Ferromagnetic materials reinforce each other’s magnetic orientation so that magnetic north lines up with magnetic north in the other atoms, creating an overall magnetic field. Antiferromagnetic materials align opposite to one another so that magnetic south lines up next to magnetic north in other particles, nullifying the overall field. And finally, there are ferrimagnetic materials, which have some ferromagnetic material and some antiferromagnetic material, creating “only a partial” overall field.

Curie point – In ferromagnetic materials, such as pure iron, the atomic magnets are oriented within each microscopic region (domain) in the same direction, so that their magnetic fields reinforce each other. In antiferromagnetic materials, atomic magnets alternate in opposite directions, so that their magnetic fields cancel each other. In ferrimagnetic materials, the spontaneous arrangement is a combination of both patterns, usually involving two different magnetic atoms, so that only partial reinforcement of magnetic fields occurs.” – Encyclopaedia Britannica 2004 Deluxe Edition

At high temperatures, these normal magnetic orientations within magnetic rocks are disrupted from these uniform states. As stated earlier, the temperature point when magnetism is disrupted is known as the Curie Point or Curie Temperature.

Curie point – also called Curie Temperature, temperature at which certain magnetic materials undergo a sharp change in their magnetic propertiesBelow the Curie point—for example, 770° C (1,418 [degrees] F) for iron—atoms that behave as tiny magnets spontaneously align themselves in certain magnetic materialsRaising the temperature to the Curie point for any of the materials in these three classes entirely disrupts the various spontaneous arrangements, and only a weak kind of more general magnetic behaviour, called paramagnetism, remains.” – Encyclopaedia Britannica 2004 Deluxe Edition

Curie, Pierre – He showed that magnetic materials made of iron compounds lose their magnetic properties if heated beyond a certain temperature. This temperature, different for every material, is now called the Curie point.” – "Curie, Pierre," Microsoft® Encarta® Encyclopedia 99. © 1993-1998 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

Curie, Pierre – His early work involved research on the magnetic properties of metals. The temperature at which such properties suddenly change became known as the Curie point.” – Worldbook, Contributor: Romualdas Sviedrys, Ph.D., Associate Professor of History of Science, Polytechnic University.

The term “Neel temperature” refers specifically to this temperature point concerning antiferromagnetic materials.

Curie point – The antiferromagnetic Curie point is called the Néel temperature in honour of the French physicist Louis Néel, who in 1936 successfully explained antiferromagnetism.” – Encyclopaedia Britannica 2004 Deluxe Edition

Magnetism, VI OTHER MAGNETIC ORDERINGS – There is a temperature analogous to the Curie temperature called the Neel temperature, above which antiferromagnetic order disappears.” – "Magnetism," Microsoft® Encarta® Encyclopedia 99. © 1993-1998 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

Consequently, the alterations at the mid-ocean ridge are caused because the rocks were hot and liquid, which disrupted their magnetic orientation. As they cooled (possibly quite rapidly during the flood), this disruption became set or fixed, creating the mish-mash of oddly oriented, non-uniform striations in the rock bed on either side of the eruption line of new molten rock along the ridge. As such, the disrupted, mish-mash of magnetism along the ridge indicates neither a switch in the earth’s magnetic poles, nor the age of the rock’s formation at some particular polar orientation.

As Dr. Hovind explains in the quote below, magnetic rocks are aligned in different directions as a result of being subjected to massive amounts of liquefying heat. This disrupts their magnetism after which they cooled at a rate that preserved an odd, mixed up orientation of their magnetic particles. Ultimately, the patterns on the ocean floor are not reversals but areas of weak and strong magnetism, caused by the heating and subsequent cooling of rock by ocean water. The mixed up patterns along mid-ocean ridges are just the alternating between greater and weaker intensity of magnetism. The magnetism never crosses over and points south, which would be the case in a reversal. North still points north. And the magnetism never actually reverses.

There are no magnetic reversals in the ocean floor. There are only areas of weak magnetismWhen rock is hot it does not retain its magnetic strengthThe lines are caused by the bulging of the earth. And the rock rips or cracks and the water rushes into the crack and cools it down. The water rushing in cooling off this rock changes the magnetic structure of the rock…Hot basalt loses its magnetism…areas of weak magnetism and strong magnetism but none of them are actual reversals. There is no place on the ocean floor where a north-pointing compass will point south.” – “Creation Seminar Part 6: The Hovind Theory,” Dr. Kent E. Hovind, www.drdino.com, Pensacola, FL, RealPlayer Video, 9 minutes, 5 seconds

And ultimately, this leaves the concept that earth’s magnetic poles switch locations with very little proof. Ultimately, even in evolutionary science, reversals in earth’s magnetic field and their causes are not well-understood.

Paleomagnetism – The reasons for the occasional polar reversal of the earth's magnetic field are not well understood, but currently the reversals themselves are recorded at sites of seafloor spreading by the alignment of magnetic grains in igneous rock.” – "Paleomagnetism," Microsoft® Encarta® Encyclopedia 99. © 1993-1998 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

In light of the fact that neither the suggested evidence nor the cause of magnetic reversals is understood, we must ask the following question. Why propose such a strange concept as the idea that the earth’s magnetic poles have drifted or swapped positions, a concept for which we have no explanation, when a much more plausible explanation is already available? The answer is simple. Evolutionists are trying to desperately trying to find some empirical evidence to support their merely speculative assumptions that the earth is extremely old. In their efforts, they propose a variety of precariously constructed assumptions, which simply don’t work.

The second method that we will discuss involves ice cores. The first item to note about ice cores is that they simply cannot support the evolutionary timescale of millions or billions of years. Ice cores have a limited potential and even theoretically they can only date back tens of thousands of years.

Geology, V Fields of Geology, B Historical Geology, B3Geochronology – Geologists can count the annual layers recorded in tree rings, ice cores, and certain sediments such as those found in lakes, for very precise geochronology. However, this method is only useful for time periods up to tens of thousands of years.” – "Geology," Microsoft® Encarta® Encyclopedia 99. © 1993-1998 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

The second item to understand is exactly how ice cores are used in the effort to derive absolute ages. Effectively, the process surrounds the concept of counting “annual layers” in ice. As indicated by the quotes below, the basic idea is that if one layer forms a year, then the number of layers equals the number of years.

Geology, V Fields of Geology, B Historical Geology, B3 GeochronologyGeologists can count the annual layers recorded in tree rings, ice cores, and certain sediments such as those found in lakes, for very precise geochronology.” – "Geology," Microsoft® Encarta® Encyclopedia 99. © 1993-1998 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

Core sampling – In an additional application of core sampling, polar ice sheets have been penetrated to secure information about the age and rate of accumulation of the ice.” – Encyclopaedia Britannica 2004 Deluxe Edition

Glacier, The great ice sheets, Flow of the ice sheets, Information from deep cores – Continuous cores, taken in some cases to the bedrock below, allow the sampling of an ice sheet through its entire history of accumulation. Near the surface it is possible to pick out annual layers by visual inspection. In some locations, such as the Greenland Ice core Project/Greenland Ice Sheet Project 2 (GRIP/GISP2) sites at the summit of Greenland, these annual layers can be traced back more than 40,000 years, much like counting tree rings.” – Encyclopaedia Britannica 2004 Deluxe Edition

The third item to note is exactly how the ice layers themselves form. As indicated by the quotes below, ice layers are thought to be formed as snows melt in summer, re-freeze, and then are compacted by winter snow summer and winter snow.

Climate, Determining past climatesGlaciers are composed of layers of ice created by the compression of winter snows. Each layer corresponds to one winter's snowfall.” – Contributor: Joseph M. Moran, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus, Department of Earth Science, University of Wisconsin, Green Bay; Associate Director, Education Program, American Meteorological Society.

In summer the top layer of snow melts and refreezes as clear ice which shows up dark…In winter the snow packs and shows up as a white layer.” – “The Age of the Earth,” Dr. Kent E. Hovind, Creation Science Evangelism, Pensacola, FL, www.drdino.com, Windows Media Video, 1 hour 29 minutes

Now that we understand the basic premise for using ice cores to provide absolute dates, we can also understand why this method does not work. The problem is that this method assumes the alternating ice layers are caused strictly by the annual cycle of seasons, particularly winter and spring. Thus, since the layers are thought to be caused by the annual cycle of seasons, each layer is presumed to represent one “year.” However, in reality, all such layers really denote is the number of times that the temperature was warm enough for the ice to thaw and then became cold enough to refreeze. In other words, instead of being caused by alternating cycles of summer-winter, summer-winter, the layers are actually caused by alternation between warm-cold, warm-cold combined with the compression caused by additional snowfall, both of which happen more often than just once every spring and winter. Consequently, ice layers cannot provide absolute ages at all because each layer does not designate a year at all, but merely the interval of time between relatively warm and cold temperatures and additional snowfall.

Furthermore, it is also thought that ice sheet can indicate absolute ages simply by sheer depth alone, without counting layers

Glacier, The great ice sheets, Flow of the ice sheets, Information from deep cores – If the vertical profile of ice flow is known, and if it can be assumed that the rate of accumulation has been approximately constant through time, then an expression for the age of the ice as a function of depth can be developed.” – Encyclopaedia Britannica 2004 Deluxe Edition

However, this is also problematic because it requires that the ice has accumulated at a constant rate through time. This is an assumption and it cannot be known, particularly if there were climate changes. The climate shifts after a global Flood would undermine this severely. Consequently, ice cores, ice layers, and ice sheets imply provide no objective, empirical evidence for the producing absolute ages.

The third method that we will discuss is varve analysis. As stated plainly in the quote below, a “varve is a sedimentary bed” deposited in a body of still water.

Dating Methods, III ABSOLUTE DATING METHODS, B Varve AnalysisOne of the oldest methods employed for absolute age determination, varve analysis, was developed by Swedish scientists in the early 20th century. A varve is a sedimentary bed, or sequence of beds, deposited in a body of still water within a year's time. Counting and correlation of varves have been used to measure the ages of Pleistocene glacial deposits. By dividing the rate of sedimentation in terms of units per year by the number of units deposited following a geologic event, geologists can establish the age of the event in years.” – "Dating Methods," Microsoft® Encarta® Encyclopedia 99. © 1993-1998 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

There are 2 primary problems with varve analysis. First, as indicated by the last quote above, varve analysis involves calculations based upon sedimentation deposited in bodies of water and during geologic events. Given the role of bodies of water and geologic events in varve formation, varve dating is going to be severely affected by the cataclysmic global flood.

Second as also indicated by the last quote above, like ice core dating, varve analysis is based upon the presumption that each bed is deposited annually, “within a year’s time.” However, once again, this “annual” assumption is not valid. The cause for varve formation is simply the alternation between rapid and calmer runoff. The idea that these changes in runoff can only or do only occur in spring and winter is simply an unfounded assumption.

Geologic Time, III DATING METHODS – Varves are layers of sediment deposited yearly in glacial lakes. A thick layer of coarse sediment deposited during the spring by glacial runoff and a thinner layer of fine sediment that settles out during the calmer winter make up each varve. Earth scientists extract cores of sediment from these glacial lakes and can count back the number of years since a certain geologic event took place.” – "Geologic Time," Microsoft® Encarta® Encyclopedia 99. © 1993-1998 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

Like paleomagnetism and ice core dating, varve analysis simply does not work and does not produce any empirical data supporting long ages of time.

The fourth method that we will discuss is hydration dating. This dating method involves the thickness of hydration layers (rinds or rims) produced by “water vapor slowly diffusing” into “freshly chipped surfaces” of obsidian artifacts.

Dating Methods, III ABSOLUTE DATING METHODS, C Obsidian Hydration DatingAlso referred to as hydration rind dating or obsidian dating, this method is used to calculate ages in years by determining the thickness of rims (hydration rinds) produced by water vapor slowly diffusing into freshly chipped surfaces on artifacts made of obsidian, or recent volcanic, glass. The method is applicable to glasses 200 to 200,000 years old.” – "Dating Methods," Microsoft® Encarta® Encyclopedia 99. © 1993-1998 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

Geochronology, Nonradiometric dating, Geologic processes as absolute chronometers, Weathering processesOnly one weathering chronometer is employed widely at the present time. Its record of time is the thin hydration layer at the surface of obsidian artifacts. Although no hydration layer appears on artifacts of the more common flint and chalcedony, obsidian is sufficiently widespread that the method has broad application. In a specific environment the process of obsidian hydration is theoretically described by the equation D = Kt 1/2, in which D is thickness of the hydration rim, K is a constant characteristic of the environment, and t is the time since the surface examined was freshly exposed.” – Encyclopaedia Britannica 2004 Deluxe Edition

One problem with supporting the evolutionary timescale from hydration dating stems from the fact that hydration dating is extremely limited and is used simply to provide ages for artifacts made from obsidian.

Obsidian – Obsidian was used by American Indians and many other primitive peoples for weapons, implements, tools, and ornaments and by the ancient Aztecs and Greeks for mirrors. Because of its conchoidal fracture (smooth curved surfaces and sharp edges), the sharpest stone artifacts were fashioned from obsidian; some of these, mostly arrow heads, have been dated by means of the hydration rinds that form on their exposed surfaces through time.” – Encyclopaedia Britannica 2004 Deluxe Edition

Geochronology, Nonradiometric dating, Geologic processes as absolute chronometers, Weathering processes – Only one weathering chronometer is employed widely at the present time. Its record of time is the thin hydration layer at the surface of obsidian artifacts.” – Encyclopaedia Britannica 2004 Deluxe Edition

In addition, this dating method suffers from complications and the assumption of factors, which are not known. These complications are described in the quote below.

Geochronology, Nonradiometric dating, Geologic processes as absolute chronometers, Weathering processesIn a specific environment the process of obsidian hydration is theoretically described by the equation D = Kt 1/2, in which D is thickness of the hydration rim, K is a constant characteristic of the environment, and t is the time since the surface examined was freshly exposed. Practical experience indicates that the constant K is almost totally dependent on temperature and that humidity is apparently of no significance. Whether in a dry Egyptian tomb or buried in wet tropical soil, a piece of obsidian seemingly has a surface that is saturated with a molecular film of water. Consequently, the key to absolute dating of obsidian is to evaluate K for different temperatures. Ages follow from the above equation provided there is accurate knowledge of a sample's temperature history. Even without such knowledge, hydration rims are useful for relative dating within a region of uniform climate. Like most absolute chronometers, obsidian dating has its problems and limitations. Specimens that have been exposed to fire or to severe abrasion must be avoided. Furthermore, artifacts reused repeatedly do not give ages corresponding to the culture layer in which they were found but instead to an earlier time, when they were fashioned. Finally, there is the problem that layers may flake off beyond 40 micrometres (0.004 centimetre, or 0.002 inch) of thickness—i.e., more than 50,000 years in age. Measuring several slices from the same specimen is wise in this regard, and such a procedure is recommended regardless of age.” – Encyclopaedia Britannica 2004 Deluxe Edition

The quote above actually acknowledges that not only hydration dating (or obsidian dating), but all absolute dating methods, “have their problems and limitations.” Specifically, in order for hydration dating to work, the artifact’s environment, specifically the temperature, must have been constant or the temperature history of the object must be known. Artifacts subjected to fire (which affects temperature) or severe abrasion (which would affect the layers) will not yield accurate dates. Furthermore, layers more than “0.004 centimeters” or “0.002 inches” might flake off affecting dating. This factor alone generally limits this method to dating objects less than 50,000 years, which severely undermines the ability of this process to corroborate the long ages of time necessary for evolution to occur.

Given the amount of “unknowns” particularly in terms of the need for a “constant temperature,” it is no wonder that in the introductory paragraph for this type of dating, Britannica cites the general problem that dating methods involve such processes, which are not “known” and are “not at all certain” to have had uniform rates throughout the past

Like so many of the other absolute dating methods, hydration dating involves artifacts that have been subjected to processes that can affect the dating. And while these factors must be known in order for dating to occur, these factors are not known but instead have to be assumed. Consequently, this dating method is not based upon actual observed evidence but merely on assumption.

The fifth method that we will discuss is TL dating. “TL” stands for “thermoluminescence” and the process of TL dating centers on the concept that free electrons trapped in a mineral escape when heated to a certain temperature. It is assumed that thermoluminscent electrons are produced at a constant rate by natural radiation. Consequently, by measuring the amount of thermoluminescent electrons that escape when a mineral is heated in the present, scientists can determine how long the mineral has been building up thermoluminescent electrons and, therefore, how long it that mineral has been exposed to that constant rate of natural radiation. Thus, it can be determined how much time has passed since the last major heating event. Notice from the second quote below that the time frame for TL dating is “several hundred thousand years.”

Dating Methods, III ABSOLUTE DATING METHODS, D Thermoluminescence (TL) Dating – This method is based on the phenomenon of natural ionizing radiation inducing free electrons in a mineral that can be trapped in defects of the mineral's crystal lattice structure. These trapped electrons escape as TL when heated to a temperature below incandescence, so that by recording the TL of a mineral such as quartz and assuming a constant natural radiation level, the last drainage of the trapped electrons can be dated back to several hundred thousand years. In TL dating of pottery, for example, the specimen is heated until it glows with energy stored since it was fired.” – "Dating Methods," Microsoft® Encarta® Encyclopedia 99. © 1993-1998 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

ThermoluminescenceThe light energy released is derived from electron displacements within the crystal lattice of such a substance caused by previous exposure to high-energy radiation. Heating the substance at temperatures of about 450° C (842° F) and higher enables the trapped electrons to return to their normal positions, resulting in the release of energy. The intensity of the emission can be correlated to the length of time that a given substance was exposed to radiation; the longer the time allowed for the radiation to build up an inventory of trapped electrons, the greater the energy released. Because of this feature, thermoluminescence has been exploited as a means of dating various minerals and archaeological artifacts.” – Encyclopaedia Britannica 2004 Deluxe Edition

However, as noted above, TL dating relies on the assumption of a constant natural radiation level. If uniformitarianism is not true and the radiation level is not constant, then this process doesn’t work and its dates are not reliable. And not only have we already seen that uniformitarianism is not true, but the problematic nature of assuming the uniform rate of TL production is further highlighted by the fact that solar and volcanic heat are the 2 types of “natural radiation” that produce TL.

Archeology, VIII DETERMINING THE AGE OF FINDS, B Absolute Dating, B5 Other Methods of Absolute Dating – Thermoluminescence is a technique that measures electron emissions from once-heated materials, such as pottery or rocks that were once exposed to solar or volcanic heat.” – "Archaeology," Microsoft® Encarta® Encyclopedia 99. © 1993-1998 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

In short, TL dating requires the assumption that exposure to solar and volcanic heat has been uniform and has not varied for “several hundred thousand years,” which is the timeframe covered by TL dating. This assumption is clearly not reliable. In conclusion, even, as a result of these issues, even Microsoft Encarta notes that “thermoluminescence” dating is “unreliable” and in need of refinement.

Archeology, VIII DETERMINING THE AGE OF FINDS, B Absolute Dating, B5 Other Methods of Absolute Dating – Many thermoluminescence tests have produced unreliable results. Archaeologists are attempting to refine the technique.” – "Archaeology," Microsoft® Encarta® Encyclopedia 99. © 1993-1998 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

Consequently, TL dating does not work and does not provide any absolute ages or support for the evolutionary age of the earth.

The sixth method that we will discuss is dendrochronology, also known as tree-ring dating. As indicated by the quotes below, this method was originally developed in the southwestern United States.

Archeology, VIII DETERMINING THE AGE OF FINDS, B Absolute Dating, 2 Tree-Ring Dating – Dendrochronology, or tree-ring dating, was originally developed in the Southwest United States using the annual growth rings on long-lived trees, such as bristlecone pine.” – "Archaeology," Microsoft® Encarta® Encyclopedia 99. © 1993-1998 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

Geologic Time, III DATING METHODS – Dendrochronology is a technique that uses the annual rings of trees in temperate climates to estimate a tree's age.” – "Geologic Time," Microsoft® Encarta® Encyclopedia 99. © 1993-1998 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

The basis of dendrochronology is the fact that trees generally produce rings as they grow new wood around their trunk. Trees that are in a “Temperate Zone” of climate produce new wood twice a year, once in the spring and once in the summer. As indicated by the quote below, these rings are visible because “in most trees” the spring wood is lighter in color than the summer wood. Thus, it is the alternation of lighter and darker rings that displays the growth of the wood.

Wood, II GRAIN AND STRUCTURE – Many woods have prominent annual rings. The trunk of a tree does not grow in length, except at its tip, but does grow in width. The only portion of the trunk that is engaged in active growth is the cambium, a thin layer entirely surrounding the trunk. In trees of the Temperate Zone, the cambium lays down new wood during the spring and summer, and in most trees the early wood is more porous and therefore lighter in color than the wood produced later in the season. The trunk of a tree is thus surrounded each year by a new pair of concentric sheaths, one darker than the other. Although the thin layer of cambium is the only part of the trunk that is alive in the sense that it is engaged in active growth, living cells are also interspersed among the xylem cells of the sapwood. As the tree grows older, however, the central portion of the trunk dies completely; the ducts become plugged with gums or resins, or merely air (see Gum). This central part of the trunk is called heartwood. The internal changes are accompanied by changes in color typical of the species of trees, so that the heartwood is usually darker than the sapwood.” – "Wood," Microsoft® Encarta® Encyclopedia 99. © 1993-1998 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

Consequently, since the rings are usually produced annually, if you count the number of rings, you know how many years the tree has lived.

Growth ringIn temperate or cold climates the age of a tree may be determined by counting the number of annual rings at the base of the trunk or, if the trunk is hollow, at the base of a large root.” – Encyclopaedia Britannica 2004 Deluxe Edition

But it is important to notice the qualifiers in these quotes. As stated by the second to last quote above, only “most trees” in “temperate zones” produce rings that are discernable because the spring and summer wood are different in color. Why are these qualifiers present, particularly the “temperate zone”?

To answer this question, we need to understand what a temperate zone is. The climates of the earth were originally divided up into 5 zones by the Greeks in the 5th century BC according to lines of latitude.

“Zone – Zone, in geography, any of the five divisions of the surface of the earth, characterized by similar temperature and sunshine distribution. An ancient concept, the zone system roughly corresponds to modern systems of climatic classification. An ancient concept, the zone system roughly corresponds to modern systems of climatic classification. The zone system originated with the ancient Greeks, who observed that temperatures and angles of the sun's rays differed at different locations. In the 5th century BC, the Greek philosopher Parmenides proposed the division of the world into five zones, separated by lines of latitude. These divisions included a torrid zone between the tropic of Cancer [about 23 degrees North] and the tropic of Capricorn [about 23 degrees South]; the north and south temperate zones between the tropics and the polar circles [66 degrees North and South]; and the north and south frigid zones, which lie between the polar circles and the poles. This system excluded other factors relevant to climate, such as differences in elevation, the proximity of oceans, levels of precipitation, and movement of air masses.” – "Zone," Microsoft® Encarta® Encyclopedia 99. © 1993-1998 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

As outlined by the quote above, these five zones included a torrid zone around the equator spanning from the Tropic of Cancer to the Tropic of Capricorn, a frigid zone around the north pole and the Arctic circle, a frigid zone around the south pole in the Antarctic circle, a northern temperate zone between the tropic of Cancer and the polar zone, and a southern temperate zone between the tropic of Capricorn and the polar zone. However, due to the fact that the “zone” system did not accurately represent actual climates because it did not take into consideration things like “levels of precipitation,” this ancient climate system was replaced by “a more comprehensive system” that took these critical factors into account. This new system was put forward by Wladimir Peter Koppen “in the late 19th and 20th centuries.”

“Zone – The distribution of climate and biomes, or ecological communities such as deserts or rain forests, is therefore considerably more complex than these five zones suggest. In the late 19th and 20th centuries, German meteorologist Wladimir Peter Köppen developed a more comprehensive system of climatic mapping, based on temperature and precipitation variations, that has formed the basis for subsequent systems of classification. Köppen's system recognizes five major climate types: tropical moist climates, dry climates, moist mid-latitude climates with mild winters, moist mid-latitude climates with severe winters, and polar climates.” – "Zone," Microsoft® Encarta® Encyclopedia 99. © 1993-1998 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

This new system also had 5 major climates, including tropical moist climates, dry climates, moist mid-latitude climates with mild winters, moist mid-latitude climates with severe winters, and polar climates. Microsoft Encarta provides a map of this modern climate system.

Climate and Terrestrial Biomes [IMAGE CAPTION] – Regional climates may be described in terms of five different types of biomes. A biome is characterized by the particular combination of temperature, humidity, vegetation, and associated animal life in an area. This map shows the distribution of the world's major biomes: [1] rain forest and savanna, [2] mixed forest and grasslands, [3] needle-leaf and mixed forests, [4] steppe and desert, and [5] tundra and icecaps. © Microsoft Corporation. All Rights Reserved.” – "Climate and Terrestrial Biomes," Microsoft® Encarta® Encyclopedia 99. © 1993-1998 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

As we can see, this map does not correspond to the “zone” system (including the “temperate zones”) developed by the Greeks according to simple lines of latitude. In fact, if you look at the southwestern United States on the map, you will see that the Great Basin is in the arid, dry, desert climate classification (the darker yellow color). Furthermore, Britannica qualifies the Great Basin as “an arid expanse” and as a desert.

Great Basin – also called Great Basin Desert – distinctive natural feature of western North America that is equally divided into rugged, north-south–trending mountain blocks and broad intervening valleys. It covers an arid expanse of about 190,000 square miles (492,000 square km) and is bordered by the Sierra Nevada range on the west, the Wasatch Mountains on the east, the Columbia Plateau on the north, and the Mojave Desert on the south. With the Sonoran, Chihuahuan, and Mojave deserts, the Great Basin forms one of four divisions of the North American Desert.” – Encyclopaedia Britannica 2004 Deluxe Edition

This is relevant for 2 reasons. First, as we have seen in earlier quotes, the basis for tree-ring dating is the idea that “most trees” in “a temperate zone” produce visible rings annually.

Wood, II GRAIN AND STRUCTURE – In trees of the Temperate Zone, the cambium lays down new wood during the spring and summer, and in most trees the early wood is more porous and therefore lighter in color than the wood produced later in the season. The trunk of a tree is thus surrounded each year by a new pair of concentric sheaths, one darker than the other.” – "Wood," Microsoft® Encarta® Encyclopedia 99. © 1993-1998 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

However, this fundamental basis for tree-ring dating is not really applicable to the oldest trees in the world, which are not found in temperate zones at all but in the arid, desert climate of the Great Basin, as indicated by the following quote.

Great Basin Bristlecone Pine [PHOTO CAPTION] – The Great Basin bristlecone pine can live over 4000 years and is believed to be one of the oldest living trees on the planet.” – Rod Planck/Photo Researchers, Inc., "Great Basin Bristlecone Pine," Microsoft® Encarta® Encyclopedia 99. © 1993-1998 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

Second, under extreme conditions and environmental or climate fluctuations, “such as drought” sometimes no ring forms at all, or more importantly, sometimes more than one ring forms.

Angiosperm, Structure and function, Tissue systems, Vascular tissue, Organization of the vascular tissue Growth rings in the secondary xylem of temperate woody angiosperms are usually annual, but under environmental fluctuations, such as drought, more than one can form, or none at all.” – Encyclopaedia Britannica 2004 Deluxe Edition

Growth ring – in a cross section of the stem of a woody plant, the increment of wood added during a single growth period. In temperate regions the growth period is usually one year, in which case the growth ring may be called an “annual ring.” In tropical regions growth rings may not be discernible or are not annual. Even in temperate regions growth rings are occasionally missing, or a second, or “false,” ring may be deposited during a single year, for example, following insect defoliation.” – Encyclopaedia Britannica 2004 Deluxe Edition

In addition, in tropical climates the rings are either not discernable (visible) or are not annual at all. In othe words, in tropical climates, tree rings form more frequently due to the fact that the climate is favorable for growth year round, not just growth in spring and summer. Consequently, such rings are more properly regarded as denoting “a single growth period” rather than “a year.” In fact, for this reason, Worldbook stipulates that the rings are “annual rings” only “In regions where trees make a new layer of wood once a year.”

Tree, Tree/How a tree growsIn regions where trees make a new layer of wood once a year, the layers form a series of annual rings.” – Contributor: Richard H. Waring, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus of Forest Ecology, Oregon State University.

Because there can often be either extra rings or missing rings from year to year, the ages determined by this could be higher or lower than they should be. Since it is a dry, arid, desert climate, this factor is heightened in the Great Basin where the oldest trees in the world are located. Morevoer, this factor is also heightened in tropical climates. And as we explained in depth during our segment entitled, “Focus on Critical Evidence: Evidence for a Global Flood,” creationism proposes that before the flood the climate was tropical worldwide. As a result, trees found in archeological sites dating from before the flood, such as those cited in the quote below, would not necessarily reflect the true age of the tree or the site.

Archeology, VIII DETERMINING THE AGE OF FINDS, B Absolute Dating, 2 Tree-Ring Dating – In recent years, researchers have applied dendrochronology to European oaks and a variety of Mediterranean trees. Dendrochronologists have established tree-ring chronologies that extend to as early as 6600 BC in Germany. Using these tree-ring chronologies, archaeologists have been able to date the earliest farming in central Europe to between 6000 and 5000 BC. Tree-ring dating has also allowed scientists to date drought cycles that may have been important in the rise and fall of cultures in the Mediterranean and Aegean regions. At the site of one of the world's earliest farming villages, Çatal Hüyük in Turkey, British archaeologist Ian Hodder used a tree-ring sequence to date individual houses within the settlement that existed in about 7000 BC.” – "Archaeology," Microsoft® Encarta® Encyclopedia 99. © 1993-1998 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

In conclusion concerning dendrochronology, we can see that tree-rings are not necessarily annual depending on climate fluctuations and droughts. Some years might not produce any rings. Other years might produce more than one. Furthermore, tree-ring dating only goes back until the time of the flood, about 4,000-4,500 years, a fact which itself provides evidence that there was such a flood. After all, if there was no flood, we should have trees that are older than 4 thousand years. Furthermore, these trees come from deserts where climate fluctuations and droughts are common. Consequently, even in cases where those living trees have a few more rings than the number of years since the flood, that wouldn’t disprove the flood. In a life that is 4,000 years old, those extra rings could just as easily be the product of inclimate weather. And finally, tree-ring dating would not be accurate for dating any trees from before the flood, since the pre-flood climate is believed to be tropical, in which case the climate is more favorable to growth and rings are not annual.

This completes our segment on the non-radiometric forms of absolute dating. As we can see, none of the 6 forms of non-radiometric absolute dating are reliable or based upon actual observed, empirical evidence. Instead, they are based upon either unsubstantiated or invalid assumptions. Consequently, non-radiometric dating methods provide no support for the evolutionary age of the earth and no means of identifying absolute ages or dates.


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