As an ongoing theme for this site, I will be addressing claims against evolution, this is one of the reasons I call the blog Danthropology, not only is it the greatest pun you have ever heard, but I am an anthropology major, more importantly, evolutionary anthropology.
So I take great interest when creationists like those at Answers in Genesis present their “facts” for creationism, and like the gift horse they are, they keep on giving.
Earlier this week they told us about the common myths about creationism that I had a fun time dissecting as not myths at all, and now they have presented us with, The 10 Best Evidences from Science that Confirm a Young Earth.
So I would like to take a look at these 10 pieces of evidence and explain why they could not be further from evidence for something as silly as young earth creationism.
1. Very Little Sediment on the Seafloor
If sediments have been accumulating on the seafloor for three billion years, the seafloor should be choked with sediments many miles deep.
This argument may make some sense if you read it naively of geological science, but it is simply not the case. According to Matthew S. Tiscareno of Cornell University:
Due to Plate Tectonics, ocean floor is continuously created at mid-ocean ridges and subducted into the Earth’s mantle at ocean trenches. This process moves at about an inch or two per year, so the average age of the ocean floor is in fact a few tens of millions of years, and thus the result is completely consistent with old-Earth science.
As you can see, science has explained this via plate tectonics, a proven, verifiable and natural occurrence. So no, very little sediment offers no proof of a young earth.
2 Bent Rock Layers
In many mountainous areas, rock layers thousands of feet thick have been bent and folded without fracturing. How can that happen if they were laid down separately over hundreds of millions of years and already hardened?
This argument is the same as their “the geological column doesn’t exist” argument. Creationists think you should see the layers of rock like those of a cake, all over the earth, and apparently if there is any bending, that is proof the earth is young.
Not so much. No one expects there to be an unbroken record of the earth as creationists are claiming must exist for the earth to be over 4 billion years old, so the claim they are making is very misleading from the start.
To quote from Matthew S. Tiscareno again:
Deposited layers can be later eroded away or destroyed in other ways, and drought can prevent layers from being deposited at all for long periods of time. However, the above statement is very misleading in that it insinuates that the geologic column is somehow a “figment of the evolutionist’s imagination.” The truth is that the geologic records all over the world are very well correlated with each other, not only with stratigraphy (i.e., which layer overlies which layer) and fossils, but with paleomagnetism, radiometric dating, and many other important factors, all of which fit together remarkably well.
The earth’s record may not be perfect, and if it was, geologists could just go home, but we have enough evidence and understanding to have a very good grasp about on what the geological record says.
So again, no young earth evidence.
3 Soft Tissue in Fossils
Ask the average layperson how he or she knows that the earth is millions or billions of years old, and that person will probably mention the dinosaurs, which nearly everybody “knows” died off 65 million years ago. A recent discovery by Dr. Mary Schweitzer, however, has given reason for all but committed evolutionists to question this assumption.
Actually, Dr. Schweitzer’s discovery, as remarkable as it is, is also fully explained, and our previous thought about how long tissue can last has shifted since discovering this.
In fact, these findings have enhanced our knowledge of the dinosaur and their DNA, but have also helped us confirm their very old age. The Smithsonian Magazine claims that young-earth creationists have hijacked Dr. Schweitzer’s find, and Dr. Schweitzer herself, a faithful Christian, believes the age of the tissue to be millions of years old, not thousands of years.
So Answers in Genesis is trumpeting Dr. Schweitzer’s findings, and using her name and she doesn’t even agree with them.
4 Faint Sun Paradox
Evidence now supports astronomers’ belief that the sun’s power comes from the fusion of hydrogen into helium deep in the sun’s core, but there is a huge problem. As the hydrogen fuses, it should change the composition of the sun’s core, gradually increasing the sun’s temperature. If true, this means that the earth was colder in the past. In fact, the earth would have been below freezing 3.5 billion years ago, when life supposedly evolved.
So this may be the closest creationists get to actual science, not actually doing science, just simply exploiting science that is not fully understood yet and claiming that to be evidence for their position.
This is not actually how science works, but it’s cute to watch them try. The original issue was actually raised by Carl Sagan and George Mullen in 1972, because studying sun like stars shows that the sun should get brighter and hotter over time, but the earth’s geological record shows a rather steady temperature with the exception of one really cold phase.
This does not however help the argument for young earth creationism though, because the layers that are being studied to measure the temperatures in this research are millions and billions of years old, so that alone means using the sun as evidence simply will not work.
If scientists today still don’t have a full understanding of the faint sun paradox, why would anyone think a group of people who believe in talking snakes do?
5 Rapidly Decaying Magnetic Field
The earth is surrounded by a magnetic field that protects living things from solar radiation. Without it, life could not exist. That’s why scientists were surprised to discover that the field is quickly wearing down. At the current rate, the field and thus the earth could be no older than 20,000 years old.
Not really, because evidence shows a fluctuation in the magnetic field, not a constant decay as Answers in Genesis is claiming.
According to Talk Origins the concept itself was dreamed up by two creationists who often had to use divine intervention in their explanations for the for the magnetic decay they claimed to have found, and according to Matthew S. Tiscareno again:
“[…] The evidence shows that the magnetic field has fluctuated back and forth in strength as well as direction. These fluctuations are clearly observed in places where the stratigraphy (i.e. which rocks are older than which rocks) is obvious due to either layering or distance from a sea-floor spreading ridge. The decrease measured in the past few hundred years, therefore, is nothing more than a downward trend as part of an overall fluctuation, and has no implication for the age of the Earth.”
6 Helium in Radioactive Rocks
During the radioactive decay of uranium and thorium contained in rocks, lots of helium is produced. Because helium is the second lightest element and a noble gas—meaning it does not combine with other atoms—it readily diffuses (leaks) out and eventually escapes into the atmosphere. Helium diffuses so rapidly that all the helium should have leaked out in less than 100,000 years. So why are these rocks still full of helium atoms?
Talk Origins explains this rather perfectly in that helium diffusion is not a straightforward rate that applies universally; subsurface pressure and temperature affect just how quickly helium would leak out of these rocks.
Creationists would have you believe that what is true for one rock is true for all, and this is simply dishonest and misleading. In fact, the leader young earth creationist pushing this theory, Dr. D. R. Humphreys has invoked miracles in his findings when he cannot explain a phenomena and has refused to publish or submit any of his findings to a single peer-review journal, instead publishing them in his own books.
7 Carbon-14 in Fossils, Coal, and Diamonds
Carbon-14 (or radiocarbon) is a radioactive form of carbon that scientists use to date fossils. But it decays so quickly—with a half-life of only 5,730 years—that none is expected to remain in fossils after only a few hundred thousand years. Yet carbon-14 has been detected in “ancient” fossils—supposedly up to hundreds of millions of years old—ever since the earliest days of radiocarbon dating.
You can basically read everything in #6 above to understand the methods used to make this claim. Creationists simply ignore how radiocarbon dating works and how the process actually takes place.
If you ignore the actual science and invent you own, you can claim anything is possible, as creationists have.
8 Short-Lived Comets
A comet spends most of its time far from the sun in the deep freeze of space. But once each orbit a comet comes very close to the sun, allowing the sun’s heat to evaporate much of the comet’s ice and dislodge dust to form a beautiful tail. Comets have little mass, so each close pass to the sun greatly reduces a comet’s size, and eventually comets fade away. They can’t survive billions of years.
The basic claim here is that comets would not exist if the universe was old because they would have melted by now.
According to Matthew S. Tiscareno:
“[…] The point is a valid one. However, this claim is a One-Sided Equation that considers the rate at which comets are destroyed without considering how the comet population is replenished. The population of comets is kept in equilibrium by new comets which are continuously introduced into our solar system from beyond Pluto’s orbit. When they are far away from the Sun’s deteriorating effects, comets can last indefinitely.”
The claim by creationists would posit that no new comets are being created and that they all make such regular trips around the sun they would be gone, but this simply isn’t the case.
9 Very Little Salt in the Sea
If the world’s oceans have been around for three billion years as evolutionists believe, they should be filled with vastly more salt than the oceans contain today.
These claims are starting to feel a little desperate aren’t they?
And to quote Matthew S. Tiscareno for the thousandth time:
There are many processes that take salt out of seawater, including sea spray, high-temperature alteration of brine into albite at undersea hydrothermal vents, and deposition to the ocean floor. Precipitates on the sea floor will be swept clear periodically by plate tectonic subduction. It is also important to realize that there is a great deal that we do not understand about the deep ocean floor, due to the obvious difficulties in studying it, and it is likely that there are other important processes going on there that have yet to be discovered.
So as you can see, it is not as simple as saying salt should be there when there are scientific explanations for why it is not.
I think there should be a million dollars in my bank account, but there are many reasons there are not. None of them being that because I stated it, it must be true.
10 DNA in “Ancient” Bacteria
In 2000, scientists claimed to have “resurrected” bacteria, named Lazarus bacteria, discovered in a salt crystal conventionally dated at 250 million years old. They were shocked that the bacteria’s DNA was very similar to modern bacterial DNA. If the modern bacteria were the result of 250 million years of evolution, its DNA should be very different from the Lazarus bacteria (based on known mutation rates).
For starters, yes, the age of the salt is dated to be 250 million years old, but the age of bacteria has not. So while it is believed the bacteria is old, it is most likely not as old as the salt.
Answers in Genesis leave that nugget of info out of their explanation. But the real thing here is simple; scientists themselves still don’t understand this ancient DNA and are still studying it. Yet Answers in Genesis, an organization that conducts no scientific research and has zero access to this DNA claims to have it all figured out.
Yet their discovery has not been published in any journal, or presented to any scientific organizations, they simply sit in their own arrogance and claim to know all about it.
So as you can see, not a single one of these 10 claims proves creationism and none of them even provide something close. All they provide is proof that Answers in Genesis is either completely scientifically ignorant, or they think their members and supporters are, so they exploit that ignorance.
Given that they are consistently untruthful, I think we can safely assume they know they are lying, but have a great understanding that their lies are worth money.
(Image: Answers in Genesis / YouTube Screenshot)