By Jonathan Sarfati
What do hard sparkling diamonds and dull soft pencil ‘lead’ have in common? They are both forms (allotropes) of carbon. Most carbon atoms are 12 times heavier than hydrogen (12C), about one in 100 is 13 times heavier (13C), and one in a trillion (1012) is 14 times heavier (14C). Of these different types (isotopes) of carbon, 14C is called radiocarbon, because it is radioactive—it breaks down over time.
Some try to measure age by how much 14C has decayed. Many people think that radiocarbon dating proves billions of years.1 But evolutionists know it can’t, because 14C decays too fast. Its half-life (t½) is only 5,730 years—that is, every 5,730 years, half of it decays away. After two half lives, a quarter is left; after three half lives, only an eighth; after 10 half lives, less than a thousandth is left.2 In fact, a lump of 14C as massive as the earth would have all decayed in less than a million years.3
So if samples were really over a million years old, there would be no radiocarbon left. But is this not what we find, even with very sensitive 14C detectors.4
Diamond is the hardest substance known, so its interior should be very resistant to contamination. Diamond requires very high pressure to form—pressure found naturally on earth only deep below the surface. Thus they probably formed at a depth of 100–200 km. Geologists believe that the ones we find must have been transported supersonically5 to the surface, in extremely violent eruptions through volcanic pipes. Some are found in these pipes, such as kimberlites, while other diamonds were liberated by water erosion and deposited elsewhere (called alluvial diamonds). According to evolutionists, the diamonds formed about 1–3 billion years ago.5
Geophysicist Dr John Baumgardner, part of the RATE research group,6 investigated 14C in a number of diamonds.7 There should be no 14C at all if they really were over a billion years old, yet the radiocarbon lab reported that there was over 10 times the detection limit. Thus they had a radiocarbon ‘age’ far less than a million years! Dr Baumgardner repeated this with six more alluvial diamonds from Namibia, and these had even more radiocarbon.
The presence of radiocarbon in these diamonds where there should be none is thus sparkling evidence for a ‘young’ world, as the Bible records.
References and notes
- For example, the ‘Rev.’ Barry Lynn, leader of the anti-Christian group Americans United for the Separation of Church and State, proclaimed in a nationally televised debate, ‘Carbon dating, that shows the earth is billions of years old!’ (Firing Line, PBS, 19 December 1997). Return to text.
- The time t since radioactive decay commenced can be given by N/N0 = e–λt, where N is the number of atoms measured in the present; N0 is the initial number; λ, the decay constant, which is related to the half life t½ by λ = ln2/t½. This presupposes that the system is closed, so that the loss of atoms is solely by decay, and that the decay rate is constant. See also Sarfati, J., Refuting Compromise, ch. 12, Master Books, Arkansas, USA, 2004. Return to text.
- The earth’s mass is 6x1027 g; equivalent to 4.3x1026 moles of 14C. Each mole contains Avogadro’s number (NA = 6.022x1023) of atoms. It takes only 167 halvings to get down to a single atom (log2(4.3x1026 mol x 6.022x1023 mol–1) = log10(2.58x1050) / log102), and 167 half-lives is well under a million years. Return to text.
- AMS (accelerator mass spectrometry) counts the atoms themselves, and can detect one 14C in more than 1016 atoms, or measure a 14C/C ratio of <10–16 or 0.01% of the modern ratio (0.01 pMC, percent modern carbon). Return to text.
- Otherwise the diamond would anneal into graphite, so-called pencil ‘lead’. See Snelling, A., Diamonds—evidence of explosive geological processes, Creation 16(1):42–45, 1993; cf. Diamond Science, <www.diamondwholesalecorporation.com/DiamondScience.html>, accessed 22 May 2006. Return to text.
- Vardiman, L., Snelling, A. and Chaffin, E., Radioisotopes and the Age of the Earth, Vol. II, ch. 8, Institute for Creation Research, California, USA, 2005. Dr Baumgardner also investigated many coal samples, and they also turned out to have 14C. Return to text.
- Baumgardner, J., 14C evidence for a recent global flood and a young earth; in ref. 6, ch. 8. See also his paper Measurable 14C in fossilized organic materials: confirming the young earth creation-flood model, 5th International Conference on Creationism, 2003. Return to text.
Source of the article: Creation Ministries.