Creationists and Carbon 14

Creationists and Carbon 14 February 13, 2014

The quotation comes from a comment on Facebook, and is used with permission.

The comment was on this post from “Questioning Answers in Genesis” which I shared, which addresses a specific claim that Ken Ham made in his debate with Bill Nye, as well as the broader issue of what young-earth creationists say about radiometric dating.

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  • Sven2547

    Thanks for this. I was raging at the screen when Nye failed to call out Ham for this at one point.

  • Will

    This only scratches the surface of what Young Earthers say about radiometric dating that just isn’t true.

  • John Wilkins

    I now know a meme originator!

  • melodysheep has a new video with the following description:

    “A marvelous excerpt from Bill Nye’s recent debate set to original music.”

  • $41348855

    The main creationist argument against radiometric dating seems to be that the rate of decay might have been different in the past. There are a number of objections to this, including the fact that if the rate had been speeded up as much as it would have needed to be to make a 6000 year old earth look 4.5 billion years old, the earth would have fried.

    Another objection is that the radiometric dates fit with other observations. We know that the continents are drifting across the earth at a slow but steady rate. It’s an interesting fact that the theory of continental drift (plate tectonics) was established before anyone could actually observe the continents moving. Only later was it possible to observe the movement directly. Ken Ham might have said,”Has anyone seen them move? Then how do you know?”

    Anyway, we know that new seafloor is being created at the mid-Atlantic Ridge, which pushes Africa and South America apart, and we know the rate at which it is happening. We can use this to check the reliability of radiometric dating by obtaining samples of the oceanic crust in the Atlantic and dating them. Samples from the Ridge should be young and samples further away should be progressively older. The two methods are in agreement.

    If the rate of decay had been different in the past then the rate of seafloor spreading would also have had to be different by the same amount in order to give the present agreement. Since the two processes are completely different this would be an odd coincidence.

    • David_Evans

      “the earth would have fried.”

      I once emailed Answers in Genesis pointing out this problem, after they referred to the allegedly scientific RATE program:
      They replied that there were 3 possible solutions:

      1 The accelerated decay happened during the Flood

      2 The accelerated day happened during one of the 6 days of creation

      3 the rocks were created with the appearance of age
      Of course options 1 and 2 would greatly increase the problem, and option 3 is just the Omphalos argument and totally unscientific. At that point I gave up on them.

      • $41348855

        Yes, I think this objection to their argument is absolutely decisive. There are other objections, but this one is more than enough on its own to settle the debate. Accelerating the rate of decay to the extent that it melts the rocks would have the effect of resetting the clock. So if it really happened it would give the earth a misleading impression of youth, not of age.

        If they have option 3 up their sleeves, it makes you wonder why they bother with options 2 and 3.