Skip to comments.Deep Core Tests for the Age of the Earth
Posted on 05/01/2009 10:11:09 AM PDT by mnehring
The clash between young-earth and old-earth creationists can seem bewilderingly technical at times. Is there any easy-to-understand scientific data for determining whether Earth is young or old?
In recent months, new evidence has emerged that may be simple enough for everyone to understand, regardless of science background-as simple as counting tree rings.
Scientists are learning much about Earth's past by drilling deep into its surface-both ice and rock-with specialized instruments to remove long cylinders, or "core" samples. Six deep ice cores and one sediment core now provide a clear and continuous record of Earth's history. The ice cores reveal hundreds of thousands of ice layers laid down on top of one another year by year, just as a tree adds one new growth ring per year. Three deep ice cores pulled from Greenland record the past 120,000 years.1 Three deep cores in Antarctica-Dome Fuji, Vostok, and Dome C-allow researchers to look back 340,000, 420,000, and 740,000 years, respectively.2
How do scientists confirm that these ice layers correspond to years of Earth's past history? They can check for telltale markers, such as volcanic ash signatures. The Krakatoa eruption of 1883 and the Vesuvius eruption that wiped out Pompeii and Herculaneum in AD 79 left their specific marks in exactly the annual layers anticipated. Climatic cycles also allow for testing. As it turns out, these cycles-caused by regular variations in the eccentricity or ellipticity of Earth's orbit (period = 100,000 years) and the tilt of Earth's orbit (period = 41,000 years)-correspond perfectly with what's seen in those core layers. Finally, researchers have performed radiometric dating of minerals embedded in the ice to make sure their age corresponds with their annual layer, and in each case it does.
Further corroboration comes from a sediment core drilled off shore from New Zealand's Southern Alps. It reveals the past 3.9 million years of Earth's crustal history.3 Though each layer in this core represents a few centuries rather than a single year, the climatic cycles and events in this core for the past 740,000 years match perfectly with corresponding layers in the Dome C ice core. Such a calibration builds confidence that these cores yield a continuous climatic, geological, and astronomical record for the past few million years at least.
Proponents of young-earth creationism respond to this compelling evidence by pointing to possible problems at the tops and/or bottoms of the core samples as if such anomalies render the entire dating analysis unreliable.4 For example, the bottom 15,000 layers in two of the three Greenland cores are disturbed by ice folding close to the bedrock. Such disturbance (caused by extreme pressure conditions), however, in no way invalidates the 105,000 layers above or the 123,000 layers in the third core (the NGRIP core). The burial of the "lost squadron" of World War II under 250 feet of Greenland ice and snow in only 50 years has been offered as proof that the 10,000-foot-long Greenland ice cores cannot represent 100,000+ years of history.5 However, intrusions into the layers by localized forces and events does not invalidate them. In this case, the lost squadron crashed in a relatively warm area of southern Greenland where, unlike the sites of the three deep ice cores, several melts and refreezings per year can occur and seven times as much snow falls per year.
According to Psalm 19:1-4, God speaks not only through the words of the Bible but also through the record of nature. Since God speaks truth and chooses to reveal Himself, nature's record and the Bible's words can be expected to agree. The ice and sediment cores provide compelling extrabiblical evidence that the earth is indeed ancient. This evidence supports the literal interpretation of creation days in Genesis 1 as six long epochs.6
YECers (and that really bizarre “time changes over time” idea) in 3... 2... 1...
Just because the earth may have existed centuries before man proves nothing regarding human life.
Just because the earth may have existed centuries before man proves nothing regarding human life....correction THOUSANDS of YEARS before man.
>>correction THOUSANDS of YEARS before man.
I think you mean BILLIONS.
A sad day for GodGunsGuts. Reality comes knocking.
Reminder: The belief in the actual passage of time does not mean that we Christians don’t hold Jesus as our savior. G^3 forgets that and damns us all to hell.
The problem is this article starts with the false premise that creationist actually want to understand and want to seek the truth.
The author is forgetting Morton's Demon
I've never really thought of Archbishop Usher's genealogy as "bewilderingly technical."
Creationism hinges on a young (6,000 year old) earth. But proponents rarely address independent evidence of the vast age and scale of the universe beyond earth as shown by simple astronomical observations. They’re just Darwinists with telescopes...
It's only a problem if you consider young earth creationists to be the only creationists, and they aren't.
It's logically consistent to believe in the facts of science and the bible. Many do.
took the words out of my mouth, thanks.
I’ve had that same talk before about the Genesis “day” as defined by godly not man’s 24 hour clock can be easilly interpretted as involving a great expanse of time.
Hence, the old joke:
A man asks God what a million years is to him, and God replies, “a second.”
Then he asks God what a million dollars is to him, and God replies, “a penny.”
So then he asks God if he could have a “penny.” God answered back, “Yes, in a second.”
“It’s logically consistent to believe in the facts of science and the Bible. Many do.”
Count me in on that! I remember my old man years ago talking to a guy he had built a house for and later became friends with. A Dr. Robert Page, inventor of radar in WWII. Dr. Page was very active in Bible studies, etc.. My old man (also a big Bible study guy, etc.) asked him once “So, don’t you ever have problems trying get some of the stuff in the Bible to fit in with your scientific view of the world”.
Dr. Page replied something to the effect of “No. Actually, the more I learn about our world from science, the more confident I am that there is a Creator.”
Although, like me, I’m pretty sure that when Dr. Page spoke of a Creator he was NOT thinking of the 6,000 year type of creation.
Actually, I didn’t know that one and am LOL here! :)
You’d really think this kind of evidence would end the debate, but of course not.. Sad.
I just wanted to have the debate on the science, not just the name calling and people proclaiming who is and isn’t Christian based on their level of scientific belief.
Well the science is either good or bad, and unless there is outright fraud this looks pretty good.
It’s impossible to completely convince any true believer though, since the conspiracy angle will always come around sooner or later.
6 days and on the 7th day God rested.
“That’s no biggie - Satan knows that there is a Creator and he knows the bible.”
Sorry about that, I thought this was a discussion about if there was a Creator or not.
What every single person who insists on 5,770-odd years as the age of the universe misses is that the first 6 days, those before Adam’s creation, WERE DIFFERENT. They are NOT 6 literal days, as we know them now from our perspective.
I’m not going to explain the whole thing, but I’d strongly advise anyone genuinely interested in the subject to read some books by Gerald Schroeder, who is both an astrophysicist and an Orthodox Jew (the latter of which means that he believes in the word of G-d as presented in the 5 Books of Moses - on which is based ALL Christian views of the age of the universe). He has written “Genesis and the Big Bang,” “The Science of God” and “The Hidden Face of God: How Science Reveals the Ultimate Truth.”
Essentially, he shows how the Bible and the Talmud are consistent with modern science in terms of both the age of the universe and the exact order of the unfolding of creation. Due to the time dilation effects of the Theory of Relativity, he states that the age of the universe is roughly 15 3/4 billion years according to the Bible - a figure that is remarkably consistent with the view of modern science.
For an article on this subject (long, but free and much shorter than 3 books), take a look at: http://www.geraldschroeder.com/age.html
A critical paragraph from that article lays out the problem of a literal interpretation of the Bible:
“In trying to understand the flow of time here, you have to remember that the entire Six Days is described in 31 sentences. The Six Days of Genesis, which have given people so many headaches in trying to understand science vis-?-vis the Bible are confined to 31 sentences! At MIT, in the Hayden library, we had about 50,000 books that deal with the development of the universe: cosmology, chemistry, thermodynamics, paleontology, archaeology, the high-energy physics of creation. Up the river at Harvard, at the Weiger library, they probably have 200,000 books on these same topics. The Bible gives us 31 sentences. Don’t expect that by a simple reading of those sentence, you’ll know every detail that is held within the text. It’s obvious that we have to dig deeper to get the information out.”
Read the rest of the article. This is a highly intelligent man of faith with his feet firmly planted in both the worlds of science and religion. He is, IMHO, virtually unique in his ability to understand both and tie them together in a way that is understandable by people from both sides.
Yes, but he didn't say six consecutive days did he? Besides that, man invented days not God. Are you foolish enough to believe that God is constrained by man's definition of a day?
Nothing to be sorry about - merely, stating satan knows there is a Creator but he doesn’t want anyone to believe it - thus all the deception surrounding it. ‘Doubting God’ which fits nicely into this discussion.
If yes, did any samples do so?
Not at all, this is part of a debate on the 'method' of creation, not if there is a creator. The source article as well as my belief, thus in posting, is that the existence is a given.
PNSN, why don’t you read post #27 and the link I provided there. There is NO conflict between belief in G-d and the current state of our science regarding the age of the universe.
The Bible passages on which you are relying were not written in English, nor in Latin or Aramaic. They were written in Hebrew, and many scholars of the Bible who used that very same Hebrew on a daily basis from a young age, men who lived well over 1,000 years ago, understood that the Biblical explanation of 6 days of Creation was not meant to be taken literally (and you can hardly accuse them of lacking faith).
Frankly, as a person of faith myself, I find that people who stubbornly stick with literal translations of ancient texts written in a language that they don’t fully understand do more of a disservice to G-d than they’d like to admit. That stubbornness, that lack of any willingness to use those tools that G-d Himself gave to us (like eyes and a brain) paints all religious people as being ignorant, closed-minded, etc., and causes many to lose faith and many others (like the NY Times, Newsweek, etc.) to ridicule faith.
1) If these core samples are up to 11,000 feet long, was the Earth smaller in diameter all these millions of years ago and as such, spinning faster? 2) If the Grand Canyon was formed over millions of years, how large was the diameter of the Earth when it began to form, wouldn't it have been smaller (and spinning faster) when the lowest layers were put down, and wouldn't it have taken more than twice as long as accepted to form the deposits, then erode them? 3) If the "big bang" is to be believed and everything started from one speck billions of light years away, how fast did this planet's elements travel to arrive at this point in space, stop (while others went farther), form, develop life, develop intelligence, and develop technology to see light that took 187 billion years to arrive here from that "big bang"? 4) If evolution theory is to be believed, why have some things not evolved, seemingly forever? Is evolution "selective"? Why are we not continuing to evolve?
I don't expect finite answers, as nobody knows the answers except God and that is how it should remain.
See 76 and 105 here.
Not only what you said, but there is simply the issue of language translation and assumptions being made about the meaning of x, when x could mean ten different things.
(also for 2) Some areas shrink, other areas grow (tectonics, erosion, sedimentation, etc), on a planetary scale these are tiny fractions of a difference.
Re: 4, not sure what you are getting at, nothing 'stopped' in order to do this.
If evolution theory is to be believed, why have some things not evolved, seemingly forever? Is evolution "selective"? Why are we not continuing to evolve?
Who says it isn't happening all around us all the time. Heck, this week we've seen it all over the news on a micro scale with the new strain flu virus. We even cause it through selective breeding of livestock, pets, and plants. These are things we can all see even on our limited timescale.
IMHO, God created an amazing system of creation that reveals him through complexity and order. His creation doesn't trick us into not believing in Him as some may imply. The more we gain knowledge, the more we learn about Him, not the opposite.
LOL! You are putting your faith in man - 200,000 books seem to impress you. It takes 200,000 books to unravel ‘some mystery’ and they still come up w/the wrong answer. Man’s logic will never ever understand the supernatural.
Those of you with these ego’s who try and try, again, to disprove what God says...need to know - you aren’t God so get over it already - start humbling yourself.
And there was evening and then morning - the first day. And 200,000 books trying to deceive others to not take it literally. LOL!! Remember - it’s the inspired Word of God and it doesn’t matter what language it was written in. That ‘language tactic’ is old and just a deceptive means to ‘doubt God’s Word. And it worked! It’s no wonder - God says - only a remnant will be saved. God’s Word is true and every man a liar” That’s what happens when they trust in what man says and not God’s Word.
Thanks for the link to the Schoeder article. It was excellent and confirmed many things that I had suspected for years. I find it difficult to understand how some people can throw out thousands of years of scripture studies of the original text and place their entire faith on a modern translation of a translation of a translation.
"...and a night shall be as a thousand years...." Same book, different verse.
“...what God says....”
See, that’s the problem. You read a Bible in English (and the version that agrees with your religion), and think that it is the word of G-d. It isn’t. It may be a decent translation...of a Latin translation...of an Aramaic translation...of the original Hebrew - but what you’re reading is NOT the word of G-d.
I deeply believe in His existence, but I also try to use the brain that He is lending me for a while. 31 sentences in Genesis cannot possibly give a full explanation of the Creation, nor could such an explanation (if it were possible) be understood by people of all times and places, but especially by a nomadic people living 3,300 years ago who had been largely uneducated slaves for the past couple hundred. Give G-d a little bit of credit for being able to tell a story on many levels at once (or at least on 2) - 1, the surface, that appeals to people who simply cannot understand more, and the 2nd, on a deeper level that requires some analysis, some understanding of the world around you to fully comprehend.
I don’t require the words in 200,000 books for my faith, even if I had the time to read and understand them all. Those books simply explain the physical universe and the world around us as science currently understands them. Undoubtedly, there are things that are incorrect in each of them - but the evidence of the extreme age of the universe has been mounting for centuries, and is becoming MORE solid, not less, as our instruments improve and as our knowledge builds.
Further, and this is critical for me, many Talmud scholars that were intellectually the equal of Einstein and other Nobel Prize scientists in their studies, and who were EXTREMELY faithful Jews, believed that the 1st 6 days were NOT 6 days as we understand them - enough to put their thoughts on paper for all of eternity to examine. THAT belief, backed up by their study of THE BIBLE, is good enough for me.
In Judaism it is a matter of our basic creed that the Bible can, must and does appeal to people of every nation at every time in history. There is a way for every person to find and reinforce their faith through its words (actually, it is supposed to be capable of being interpreted 70 different ways, matching the number of the nations G-d created). Tell me, do you think that someone growing up in the USA in 2009 would interpret things in exactly the same way as a goat herder in ancient Israel 2,500 or 3,000 years ago? My answer is “no, that’d be impossible” - and I would still not have my faith shaken that said goat herder’s faith in G-d was as valid for him, in terms he could understand, as mine or anyone else living now or since.
Dont’ be so narrow-minded - G-d doesn’t require it for faith in Him, nor for you to act as a decent and moral human being.
The Bible / Torah reads; on the first day....on the second day...etc.....it counts 6 days and then God rested on the seventh day.
Ok, show us an error in any literal English translation from the original language. You won’t be able to. It has been authenticated long ago.
The God I know is able to keep His written Word from being damaged.
Adaptation, mutation and selective breeding are not "evolution". Wouldn't ALL species continue to "evolve"? There is evidence that many most definitely have not continued to do so.
As for the "stopped": OK, we are still hurtling through space at an untold rate of speed (are we slowing down or speeding up and how can you tell?), but the elements that compose us, our planet, our solar system and our galaxy are right here, right now and are "stopped", relatively speaking, as compared to the supposed beginning point of time/space/creation. These elements had to travel at a given rate of speed to the points they are now in time/space, then form into what they are now, then we had to wait another 187 billion years to see the light from that beginning, according to recent reports of astrophysicists and astronomers.
If you have that, I would like to see it.
cockroach, alligator, crocodile, sharks, fish, many birds, many bugs, . . . .
How is that evidence they stopped evolving and the state you see is a final state?
If they haven’t changed for millions of years, that would indicate an ending point, wouldn’t it? If evolution were real, there would be no separation of species, as every individual would evolve differently. While everyone is different, there are no branches of humans that have naturally evolved with special characteristics that are completely unlike the rest of us.
The elements which compose Earth, this solar system, this galaxy, etc. have NOT stopped at this point in space (or any other, ever). They (of which we are a part) are moving. Away from the galactic center, up and down through the galaxy, and away from other galaxies (at roughly the speed of light).
Nothing took 187 billion years. The age of the universe according to the best scientific estimates of our day is somewhere between 15 and 16 billion years, and according to the Talmud is roughly 15 3/4 billion years. You're off by an order of magnitude.
As to the development of life, let alone intelligent life, I cannot explain that. Dr. Schroeder (see my posts above) states that it is statistically nearly impossible for matter to have transformed by random action from inorganic to organic, and he attributes that act to G-d (many eons ago, I might add).
As to the development of technology, that is damned near a given when you understand that the nature of intelligence is to master its own environment as much as possible. It is a matter of a geometric progression, once intelligence arose (although being land-based, where fire is possible, is a huge help - porpoises and whales are intelligent, but they're not exactly competition to us for global mastery). As to what gave rise to intelligence...see the paragraph above (though such may have also been inevitable once organic matter came into existence - I simply don't know).
As I've mentioned in posts above, there is IMHO, no dichotomy between science and my religion (Judaism) on the issue of the age of the universe or the order of the unfolding of Creation. The opinions of the majority of people on FR on this issue are based in the teachings of Christianity, which are themselves based on the Hebrew Bible's Book of Genesis (31 lines worth). You can have a robust faith in G-d while still understanding that science is not entirely wrong (or even mostly wrong, or is even mostly correct).