Saturday, October 10, 2009

The Age of the Earth - An Introduction

This post begins a series on the Age of the Earth. Many scientists say the Earth is millions, if not billions of years old, but this series of posts will provide 101 scientific reasons as to why that common belief is actually wrong.

By Dr. Don Batten

No scientific method can prove the age of the earth and the universe, and that includes the ones we have listed here. Although age indicators are called “clocks” they aren’t, because all ages result from calculations that necessarily involve making assumptions about the past. Always the starting time of the “clock” has to be assumed as well as the way in which the speed of the clock has varied over time. Further, it has to be assumed that the clock was never disturbed.

there is much evidence for a young age of the earth

There is no independent natural clock against which those assumptions can be tested. For example, the amount of cratering on the moon, based on currently observed cratering rates, would suggest that the moon is quite old. However, to draw this conclusion we have to assume that the rate of cratering has been the same in the past as it is now. And there are now good reasons for thinking that it might have been quite intense in the past, in which case the craters do not indicate an old age at all (see below).

Ages of millions of years are all calculated by assuming the rates of change of processes in the past were the same as we observe today—called the principle of uniformitarianism. If the age calculated from such assumptions disagrees with what they think the age should be, they conclude that their assumptions did not apply in this case, and adjust them accordingly. If the calculated result gives an acceptable age, the investigators publish it.

Examples of young ages listed here are also obtained by applying the same principle of uniformitarianism. Long-age proponents will dismiss this sort of evidence for a young age of the earth by arguing that the assumptions about the past do not apply in these cases. In other words, age is not really a matter of scientific observation but an argument about our assumptions about the unobserved past.

The assumptions behind the evidences presented here cannot be proved, but the fact that such a wide range of different phenomena all suggest much younger ages than are currently generally accepted, provides a strong case for questioning those accepted ages (about 14 billion years for the universe and 4.5 billion years for the solar system).

Also, a number of the evidences, rather than giving any estimate of age, challenge the assumption of slow-and-gradual uniformitarianism, upon which all deep-time dating methods depend.

Many of these indicators for younger ages were discovered when creationist scientists started researching things that were supposed to “prove” long ages. The lesson here is clear: when the evolutionists throw up some new challenge to the Bible’s timeline, don’t fret over it. Sooner or later that supposed evidence will be turned on its head and will even be added to this list of evidences for a younger age of the earth. On the other hand, some of the evidences listed here might turn out to be ill-founded with further research and will need to be modified. Such is the nature of science, especially historical science, because we cannot do experiments on past events (see “It’s not science”).

Science is based on observation, and the only reliable means of telling the age of anything is by the testimony of a reliable witness who observed the events. The Bible claims to be the communication of the only One who witnessed the events of Creation: the Creator himself. As such, the Bible is the only reliable means of knowing the age of the earth and the cosmos. See The Universe’s Birth Certificate and Biblical chronogenealogies (technical).

In the end the Bible will stand vindicated and those who deny its testimony will be confounded. That same Bible also tells us of God’s judgment on those who reject his right to rule over them. But it also tells us of his willingness to forgive us for our rebellious behaviour. The coming of Jesus Christ, who was intimately involved in the creation process at the beginning (John 1:1–3), into the world, has made this possible (see Good news).


Part 2 >


  1. I was so dissapointed when Jack VanImpe came out with a video a few weeks ago saying he can prove the Earth is 13 byo. arrg!
    Great article! I look forward to more posts.

  2. hi i would just like to point out that carbon dating has been verified against 8000 year old tree ring dating.

    now whilst tree ring dating itself proves the earth is not a mere 6000 years old as perposed by YEC's (Young Earth Creationists) it acts as a means to INDEPENDENTLY evaluate the effectiveness and reliability of carbon dating.

  3. Hi Aydan, one thing about carbon dating. Carbon 14 disappears completely after 50 thousand years, so when that is considered it only is able to date things under that age. It is also only accurate to within 2 thousand years give or take.

  4. Hi David.

    you seem to be working off outdated material, the accuracy of carbon dating has increased incredibly within the last few decades and the fact that it can be independently confirmed by other dating methods is a testament to it's reliability.

    the only time it's really inaccurate these days is when it's being used inappropriately such as on igneous rock or aquatic life who live in environments with and feed off other organisms with a high carbon content (eg. oceans and fish).

    now whilst modern technologies have been able to date things back to around 70,000 years it has been independently confirmed up to 8000 years: : Can We Prove That Carbon Dates Are Accurate?

  5. Ayden,

    From the cited website - "..anything older than 50000 years old probably cant be dated at all."

    Are you referencing something different for your 70000 years of dating or do you disaggree with your own citing? :)

    As for the rest of your objection, the error rating on C14 dating is due to the fact that most things dated have a question mark over the rate of C14 absorption. So unless you have come up with something that no scientist yet has (a way of measuring ancient atomospheric C14) the error is up to date.

  6. "After about ten half-lives, there's very little C14 left. So, anything more than about 50,000 years old probably can't be dated at all" - that's a general statement that usually holds true, however the pinacle of modern technology has allowed certain materials to be dated successfully up to 70,000 years. they dont contradict eachother.

    i'm saying your supposed error rating is not a factor because carbon dating has been confirmed independently against other radiometric dating methods (which do not depend on the amount of given material in the atmosphere) and tree ring dating.

    your saying there's an error margin and i'm saying no there's not and i can prove it.

  7. Sigh, are we back to this already Aydan? Do you claim that you have some special knowledge that both the rest of the scientific community and your cited article don't?

    Where is your proof that there is no error and that you can date something beyond the age of 50,000 years with C14? If you have some evidence I'd love to see it.


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