Both creationists and evolutionists spend a great deal of time trying to find the exact age of the earth, and for a good reason. As extensive evidence continues to unfold that indicates the earth is less than 10,000 years old, the evolutionary theory falls apart. If the earth is truly less than 10,000 years old, it would be impossible for man to have evolved from a lower order in that amount of time.
Let's look for a moment, at how evolutionists date the age of the earth.
The radiocarbon dating method was developed by Professor Willard Libby from California, for which he was awarded a Nobel prize. It is quite accurate in many applications for which the specimens are only a few thousand years old.
Here is how it works. The stratosphere above our earth is bombarded with cosmic rays from the sun, which converts the N14 in the stratosphere to radioactive carbon, or C14. This weak isotope is a part of our environment, and is absorbed by all living organisms (plants and animals) along with another version of carbon, C12, which is not radioactive. As long as the organism is alive, the ratio of C12 to C14 in the organism is theoretically the same as that of the environment; that is, the organism is in balance with the environment.
Once the organism dies, there is no longer a carbon intake. The amount of C12 in the organism remains constant, but the radioactive C14 decomposes with a half life of 5730 years into nitrogen. Nitrogen is a gas, which leaves the organism. This means after 5730 years, there will only be half as much C14 as when the organism died. Thus, by measuring the ratio of C12 to C14, one can (at least theoretically) determine when the organism died.
For practical reality, however, this doesn't always work. Researchers testing the shell of a live clam showed this live clam had been dead for 300 years. Dried up seal- carcasses only thirty years old have tested as old as 4600 years. Fresh carcasses often date as old as 1300 years.
Radiocarbon dating makes several assumptions. If any of these is wrong, the results can be in error.
This method assumes the C14 is absorbed by the organism at the same rate as the C12 from the environment. This is not always true. Some organisms have some type of internal metabolism that can reject the C14 more effectively than the C12. At death, then, these organisms have abnormally low C14 levels and appear much older than they really are.
In addition, while living the organism may eat and metabolize organic material that is old, thus loading their own system with the outdated organic material that returns the false reading.
Another assumption made in radiocarbon dating is that the ratio of C12 to the radioactive C14 has remained constant for thousands of years. Scientists today have a growing conviction that this ratio has not been constant. Immanuel Velikovsky and other scientists believe that cataclysmic events in the history of the earth could have radically altered the stratosphere, affecting the amount of C14 created.
Velikovsky, writing in WORLDS IN COLLISION, believed that the history of the earth was dramatically altered by the close approaches of Mars and Venus. The book described Venus as originally a planet which passed the earth as a comet only 3500 years ago and was captured by our solar system. Velikovsky believed the flood, the parting of the Red Sea as the Israelites escaped Egypt, the manna from heaven, and the day the sun stood still as the Israelites battled their enemies were all related to natural events.
For years several noted astronomers vigorously blocked the publishing of this book by Macmillan, as these concepts were contradictory to their own theories and the publishing would have affected their own income and status. With the landing of the astronauts on the moon, however, the dust levels that should have been several feet high for the Big Bang theory were found as only a few inches high, giving credence to Velikovsky's theories and giving him fresh recognition during the last years of his life.
Today more and more scientific evidence gives proof to Velikovsky's theories. The Bible describes the long life- times of early man, perhaps due to the increased cloud cover at that time. The lower levels of C14 at that time would make the current samples appear older than they actually are. Evidence exists that the earth's magnetic poles switch occasionally, as old samples often show magnetic patterns that do not match with he current magnetic alignment. Tropical plants have been found buried in Sweden that could not have there unless Sweden was, at one time, a lush tropical paradise.
Once the organism has died, the theory assumes the only continuing process is the decay of the C14. This, in fact, is seldom true. Ground water can leach C14 from a rock. Heat, changes in the magnetic field, and other factors can affect the ratio of C12 to C14.
There is no way to know how much radioactive daughter elements are actually in the sample at death. Other elements can affect the ratio.
Other dating methods are often used that have similarities to the radiocarbon method. One popular method is potassium-argon dating. Radioactive potassium is found in small quantities in some rocks. This decomposes into calcium and argon. Another alternative is uranium-lead dating. With uranium-lead dating, radioactive uranium decomposes into lead and other elements. The half-life is a long 4 1/2 billion years. All of these suffer from the same basic assumptions.
Another method of dating that is popular with some scientists is tree-ring dating. When a tree is cut, you can study a cross-section of the trunk and determine its age. Each year of growth produces a single ring. Moreover, the width of the ring is related to environmental conditions at the time the ring was formed.
The Bristle cone Pine, found particularly in California, is a very old tree, with specimens supposably dating as old as 7000 years. Scientists have studied the rings on these trees in an attempt to date the tree and the origins of the earth.
Unfortunately, this dating method leaves much to be desired. Ring patterns vary considerably between trees of similar ages. To resolve the discrepancies, patterns are compared between several trees, with the attempt made to identify common years in several ring patterns. The key rings that are used to align different trees are the rings for drought years, or the narrowest rings. In some cases, however, a drought year ring may be missing altogether, falling on the ring for an adjacent year.
This leads to what is known as the ''missing ring'' problem. To solve this, the scientists fall back to radiocarbon dating to identify the rings more completely. This, in turn, leads to circular logic; if the radiocarbon dating is incorrect, the resulting ring dating will also be incorrect. In the final analysis, the BRISTLE CONE Pines still hide their secret.
There are many methods that can be used to find the actual age of the earth, as various effects can be measured over a period of time and used to establish the historical time line.
Since 1836, observations of the sun indicate it is shrinking about five feet an hour. Studies show this has been true for at least 400 years. At this rate, 100,000 years ago the sun would be twice as large as it is today. Twenty million years ago the sun would have touched the earth.
Interplanetary dust and meteors is depositing dust on the moon at the rate of at least 14,300,000 tons per year. At this rate, if the moon were 4.5 billion years old there would be at least 440 feet of dust on the moon. The astronauts, however, found a layer only 1/8 to three inches thick. Three inches would take only 8000 years. Even evolutionists believe the moon is the same age as the earth, giving the earth's age as only 8000 years.
The earth has a magnetic field that is constantly decreasing due to the Second Law of Thermodynamics. The half-life of the magnetic field is 1400 years. Only 2800 years ago the magnetic field would be four times as strong as it is now. Only 10,000 years ago the magnetic field would be as strong as a magnetic star and be a nuclear power source as the sun. For this reason the earth could not be more than 10,000 years old.
The rotation of the earth is gradually slowing down at about .00002 seconds a year. The lost energy is transferred to the moon. The moon, therefore, is slowly moving away from the earth at about 4 centimeters a year. This would put the moon in contact with the earth less than 2 billion years ago. Yet, if the moon were closer than about 11,500 miles, the moon would be broken into tiny pieces, much as the rings of Saturn.
Helium is generated as radioactive uranium decays. This is known as radiogenic helium, and is the primary source of helium in the earth's atmosphere. If the earth were really 4.5 billion years old as claimed by the evolutionists, the atmosphere would be saturated with this helium. But it isn't. Where did it go? It can't escape to space. The simple answer, of course, is that the earth isn't really that old.
Comets, as they orbit the sun, are literally torn apart by gravitational forces, internal explosions, and solar winds. Short period comets can't exist for more than 10,000 years. Most astronomers believe that comets originated at the same time as the solar system. That limits the age of the solar system to about 10,000 years.
Putting this all together, there is growing evidence that the solar system is certainly less than 10,000 years old. As mentioned at the beginning, the issue is particularly important, as if the solar system is less than 10,000 years old there is not enough time for man to have evolved from a lower form.