A Summary of the Million Dollar RATE Research Project (Radioisotopes and the Age of The Earth)
Introduction: Rocks and fossils do not come with dates on them. In fact, the very concept of strata representing long ages does not come from the rock strata themselves. That concept began with eighteenth-century French naturalist Georges Cuvier, picked up steam with Charles Lyell, and it has been in vogue ever since. This is despite the fact that it causes more problems for interpreting rock strata than it solves. And today we know through lab experiments and natural disasters (such as the eruption of Mt. St. Helens) that major layering of rock strata can happen catastrophically in a short period of time.
Young-earth creation geologists have long held that most sedimentary strata resulted from waterborne deposits during Noah’s Flood. The resulting rock strata may harbor fossils from a particular habitat area or ecosystem, but do not represent a particular age or era. Why else do we find marine fossils on the tops of all the major mountain ranges? An examination of sedimentary rocks worldwide shows a striking consistency with the unimaginably massive Flood that wiped out whole environments. It caused massive sedimentary layering and sorting and fossilizing of the creatures buried therein.
Also, remember that modern disasters (on a smaller scale) like Mount St. Helen’s and Southwest Pacific tsunamis produced large deposits of multi-layered strata in a matter of hours or days… not millions of years. Yes, we all have been inundated with teaching that rocks are dated in the millions and billions of years, but are they really? What is the real science behind dating of rocks? Do they really NEED to be millions or billions of years old?
Actually the assignment of a certain number of millions of years to a rock formation does not derive from the strata itself. The standard Geological Column became the reference point, even though it does not appear anywhere on earth except in text books. And the ages assigned to the layers were derived from long age evolutionary assumptions – not from the scientific facts, – as the column was established long before we even had radiometric dating. Yet the column and its assumptions are used along with index fossils to assign dates to sedimentary rock layers and which in turn are used to date any fossil in that rock layer.
In geology, the buzzword is “The present is the key to the past” – but today – no 100 mile cavern systems are being formed, vitually no fossils are being formed, and no new strata covering entire continents are being laid down. What we see around the earth are huge layers of sedimentary rock filled with dead things. Everywhere! -including tops of the mountain ranges. Unfortunately, uniformitarianism has gripped geology academia and no other viewpoints are allowed. This evolutionary assumption has become a naturalistic religion, an ideology established already before Darwin published his book in 1859.
Since the early 20th century, Radioisotope dating has been used to bolster the vast time spans ascribed to the geologic record. However, research by geologist John Woodmorappe (a pen name) revealed that the radiometric methods used today were actually hand-picked to coincide with the dates previously assumed for the geologic column diagrams. These dating methods rely on a series of assumptions about the amounts of the parent-daughter elements, and a constant rate of decay. Radioisotope dating, using the trace amounts of radioactive elements within the rock, was quickly accepted as proof the earth is millions and millions of years old. So what does radiometric dating really do? How does it work?
It has been accepted that an igneous rock is formed when it first cools down from a molten or semi-molten state, which may include a variety of elements, including radioactive ones. The Radioactive elements decay from heavier larger atomic elements (parent) into smaller atomic elements (daughter) that are more stable. For example, Uranium (U) decays into Lead (Pb). This was confirmed in 1905. For the last 100 years we have been able to measure the decay rate, and during this time it has been very steady, very consistent. The rate of decay and the amount of parent / daughter elements present today in a rock sample is used to calculate back to the estimated age of when the rock was first formed. This method is used only on metamorphic and igneous rocks – not sedimentary rocks (which are rocks laid down by water – and is where the fossils are primarily found). The radio-dating calculations are based on a series of Assumptions:
1) The decay rate has not changed. A 100 year sample of decay rates is inadequate when talking about millions of years. We do not know for sure if the rate of decay was the same 1000 years ago, let alone 10,000 years ago, or millions of years ago.
2) It is a closed system. Has there been contamination into the rock of either extra amounts of parent or daughter elements? What if extra lead leached into the rock? Or U washed out? This is assumed to be immaterial, but can change the end results drastically.
3) The starting point contains only the parent element. How do we know that there wasn’t lead in the rock when it was first formed? What is the real initial percentages of the U parent and Pb (lead) daughter elements? To assume the rock starts with only U and no Pb is a big assumption. (Isochron dating, which relies on multiple rock samples, is an attempt to correct this, but still has underlying assumptions based on 1 and 2 above.)
Examples of Problems with Radiometric dating of rocks: Grand Canyon Lava flows:
Sedimentary rocks make up the layers of the Grand Canyon and these are not dateable by radiometric dating. All the canyon layers are ocean bottom sediments, filled with fossils of ocean-dwelling creatures and plants almost a mile high from top to bottom. The Cardenas Basalt bottom layer (below the Cambrian explosion) is usually dated with Rhobidium -Strontium and calculated to be about 1 billion years old. Much later after the Grand canyon was already formed, igneous rocks were formed from a volcano on top of the canyon, that Indians saw erupt, only about 1000 years ago. (The volcano lava flows have Indian artifacts in them, and go over the canyon walls.) These rocks were dated using the same method in the lab and were assigned an age of 1.3 billion years old. How can the very top, volcanic rock be older than the very bottom layer basalt rock? Even evolutionists admit that those Indian artifacts are not 1.3 billion years old! This is a real and common problem with radiometric dating techniques. Consider also:
- Mt. Etna – erupted 2100 years ago, but rocks were dated 25 million years ago.
- Sunset Crater, Northern Arizona – erupted in 1065 AD, but rocks were dated 200,000 years old.
- Lava flows at Mt. Ngaurhoe, New Zealand – erupted in 1949, 1954, but rocks dated 275,000 yrs old.
- Hualalai basalt, Hawaii erupted 200 years ago, but rocks were dated 1.4 to 22 million yrs old.
- Mt. Etna basalt, Sicily, erupted in 1971, but rocks were dated 140,000 to 350,000 yrs old.
- Mount St. Helens erupted in 1980, but rocks were dated up to 2.8 million years old.
ALL of the samples taken from volcanic eruptions of known times and dates are carefully collected and sent to the labs. Then they ALWAYS come back dated at 100,000s to millions of years old. ALWAYS. NEVER do they come back from the lab, with the note: Too young to measure. It is a definite pattern. If you know the date of the source of the rock, they say you don’t have to accept this dating technique’s numbers… but if it’s an unknown sample, then they say: “Oh, you can trust the lab dates!”.
You see, the radiometric dating technique’s do not work when you can check the dates, but you should trust them when you can’t check them. Got It? Not very scientifically consistent is it?
This has been known for many decades. It is the prime reason many scientists have had doubts about radiometric dating all along. But recently, the RATE research team has conclusively demonstrated (with independent lines of evidence) that radioactive decay rates, widely used to bolster ‘deep time’, were dramatically accelerated in the past.
RATE found 3 indicators that strongly indicate decay rates changed in the past, all pointing to a young age for the rocks and for the earth.
1) Helium retention in Zircons – High levels of radiogenic Helium have been found in Zircon crystals. The very small crystals were taken from core samples deep in the earth’s crust. (multiple-mile deep cores drilled in New Mexico) Within the biotite rocks are Zircon crystals that contain trace clusters of U. As the U decays into Lead, it goes through various stages and gives off alpha particles which become Helium atoms. This Helium (He) is released into the crystal and rock.
Helium atoms are pretty thin and can seep through solid rock. But even for He, this takes some time. The speed of Helium diffusion through solid rock has been measured. If long -age evolutionary guesses of the original amount of U are correct, then we can calculate how much Helium should have been produced and then seeped out of the crystal.
If the granite is billions of years old, only the most recent Helium would still be trying to work its way out of the rock. So there would be very little Helium left in the rock.
BUT, if the rock is only thousands of years old (not billions), there should still be plenty of He still trapped in the solid granite rock. What do we actually find? What does the data (basis of true science) show?
There is enough Helium left in the rocks, to account for an age for Earth of only (you guessed it!) about 6000 years!
The standard age of the rock is said to be 1.5 billion years old. Plenty of time for the process to reach steady state by uniformitarian standards. All this time as Helium (a very light element) is given off, it slips around the other atoms and leaves the crystal lattice. The hotter the crystal, the faster the He escapes into the surrounding rock. As the Zircon crystals were studied, it was apparent there was a lot of He still in the crystal – in fact much too much – if this was going on for a billion years.
Measurements in a blind experiment were taken that showed how much Helium should be left after certain amounts of time, at various heat levels of the rock and the diffusion rate of He leaving the crystal. Predictions were made for the diffusion rates based on two different relationships – one for an evolutionary time frame of billions of years, and one for a Creationist time frame of thousands of years. The results from an independent lab showed the diffusion rate to be practically the same as the predicted creationist rate. Extremely close – excellent results for the young-earth creationist time frame, and not at all what the evolutionary time frame predicted. This is proof that those deep earth rocks with large amounts helium still in the zircon crystals were only thousands of years old. They cannot be a billion years old, or close to that figure. If you believe in predictive, quantifiable science, then you cannot believe in 1.5 billion year old rocks.
In order to get the level of helium found in the rocks, there had to have been a lot of radioactive decay. But the results show also that there was not only very a rapid decay episode, but the helium still in the crystal, shows it happened in the recent past. Recent as in thousands of years ago, not millions let alone billions.
2) Radio Halos in Granite (picture from ICR.org website)
Polonium halos in granite and metamorphic rocks formed in the catastrophic world-wide flood indicate a young age as well. Samples came from several granites. (ie Stone Mountain in Georgia, Yosemite Park, and Australia). Halos are a microscopic spherical pattern of damage in the crystalline structure of the granite. The damage is caused by high energy alpha particles that are emitted by radiometric decay of the Uranium in the rock.
Particles like tiny bullets pierce the rock and leave a spherical pattern, outward from the U atoms. These are found in high numbers, and at today’s rates would take millions of years to form. Polonium is one of the intermediate steps in U’s decay. Polonium is very unstable, and decays quickly. Some can decay in 3 minutes, some a few days. Po halos are also found in all rocks and in large numbers. How can they be there in large numbers? They are in what some consider flood-age granites, but also in “ancient” rocks which have not only large numbers of short-life polonium halos BUT ALSO long-life U halos. This conundrum can only be explained if there were one or more rapid changes in U decay rates. The large numbers of these Po halo finds do indicate very quick changes in decay rates and that the rocks cannot be millions and millions of years old. Again, the observable science fits the Creation model and not the uniformitarian model.
3) Carbon 14 in Fossils and Deep Earth Diamonds / (this is the one that makes evolutionists who understand C-14 … jaws drop!)
Carbon 14 (or radiocarbon) is an entirely different method of dating materials in the earth. It is only used on material that was once alive. Bones, flesh, plants, and any remains that are not entirely fossilized into rock, is what C-14 can be used on. It is only good for a dating back with any confidence to less than 80,000 years. This is because C-14 (the radioactive parent element) has a half life of only 5,730 years. C-14 is from the atmosphere and becomes part of the food chain. As plants take in carbon dioxide, the C-14 is the carbon atom, instead of the normal and stable C-12. It is everywhere and all through the food chain, such that all living things as well as the atmosphere, have about the same amount of carbon-14 inside their living tissue. While the C-14 is replenished by breathing and eating, the C-14 already in the body is beta-decaying back to nitrogen N-14, and a steady state is held, matching the amount of C-14 in the body with the amount in the atmosphere. (only about 1 part per million of Carbon elements in CO2 is made up of C-14.)
However once a plant or animal dies, it stops ingesting new C-14. The existing C-14 in the body continues to decay, reducing the percentage of C-14 to C-12 in the physical remains. After digging up a sample, and caring to insure no contamination occurs from handlers, the sample’s percentage of C14- to C12 is measured, compared to the atmosphere’s percentage and the time since death is then calculated. That’s basically how it works. Again, radio-carbon dating is only used on samples that were once alive, and is typically good for only ages up to 80,000 years with any reliability. It was never used to indicate millions of years of age for fossils or rocks or anything else. Evolutionists never use C-14 on samples they believe to be millions of years old. To them it would be a waste of money to do the test, since they ‘know’ the rock or sample or fossil is millions of years old – and should therefore be C-14 dead (no trace amounts of C-14 to be measured).
Yet samples of rocks believed to be millions of years old, do contain tiny (microscopic) fragments of shells, bone, graphite (wood) and other organic materials. Marble is metamorphosed limestone (calcium carbonate) and has been studied for other reasons many times. The compositional analysis of its contents from these studies have been published in many scientific journals. These studies always show some amount of C-14 in the details ( that should not be there), but it is recorded – just not commented on in the publications.
Because of these observations, the RATE Team collected samples of coal (Metamorphosed plant remains) from deep mines from all over the earth. Each one is thought to be hundreds of millions of years old, and therefore should be C-14 dead. These samples were sent to independent labs for C-14 dating. EVERY ONE of the samples was dated to be only thousands of years old based on the C-14 content that was still there – in EACH AND EVERY SAMPLE. This occurs despite the assumption that the surrounding rock was supposed to be millions of years old.
Bones of dinosaurs were also dated, as well as petrified wood. EVERY sample contains C-14 . In fact, fossil samples from a large spectrum of the fossil record were also tested. EVERY ONE contains C-14 indicating an age in the thousands – NOT millions of years old.
Diamonds from deep mines were also tested. Samples of industrial diamonds from around the world were also tested. (Since they are so dense, diamonds are not susceptible to internal contamination.) These are thought to have been formed early in the earth’s history – “billions” of years ago.
And yet EVERY one had C-14 detectable. If DEEP-EARTH Diamonds contain C-14, it is truly impossible for this planet to be in the millions and billions of years in age. This is real observable science. Not conjecture and not a series of “assumption after assumption” processes as used in the billion year old thinking.
- Nuclear decay rates went through a major acceleration in the past!
- Dates derived from Radiometric dating are off by massive amounts.
- The regular presence of C14 in samples tested shows that our planet cannot be millions of years old. These are repeatable, verifiable results from experimental science.
- Based on these repeatable results – “Long-Age” dating is dead.
- No way can this planet be millions – let alone billions of years old.
- This calls into question the entire assumption of millions of years – and the foundation of evolutionary theory.
- It’s over. Without millions of years as a smoke screen, it is apparent that evolution is nothing but another “frog morphing into a prince” fairy tale. Modern genetics and DNA have already shown there is a Creator – that evolution is not true – And this confirms it.
Plus there are many other “natural processes” like the recession rate of the moon, the decay of earth’s magnetic field, outer planet magnetic fields, the Hot Sun paradox, the sodium and silt build up rates in earth’s oceans – all can be used to estimate the age of the earth. And all of these methods give maximum dates that are that are not in the billions of years and are totally incompatible with evolutionary time spans.
Thus, the nineteenth-century old age assumptions are in serious trouble. In fact, the modern findings of jumbled dinosaur and marine-life graveyards all over the earth, soft tissue in dinosaur bones, as well as the C-14 mentioned above, all make the old-earth age beliefs look very wrong.
Fossils as well as dinosaur footprints and human footprints are in the “wrong” strata (i.e. Laetoli foot prints in Africa and the Paluxy river footprints in Texas) and in the wrong sequences based on evolutionary assumptions. All the many inconsistencies simply make the million year old age of rocks and strata untenable.
Changing your viewpoint to one that includes a ‘young earth’ and the year-long Noahic Flood, makes sense in light of modern scientific findings and makes the geological world (and every other branch of science) much more compatible with observable and repeatable science.
And yes, if the obvious conclusion is that there is a Creator and the Bible can be trusted – it does have deep spiritual repercussions.
Radioisotopes and the Age of The Earth: A Young-Earth Creationist Research Initiative, edited by L. Vardiman, A.A. Snelling, and E.F. Chaffin (Institute for Creation Research, El Cajon, CA., and Creation Research Society, St. Joseph, MO., 2000)
Laymans Version: THOUSANDS…NOT BILLIONS as a BOOK and DVD. By Dr. Donald DeYoung
Examine the physical evidence for a young earth. Understand the findings of the RATE project.
Dr. DeYoung authored this non-technical book in order to equip the layperson to defend scientific six-day creation and refute modern dating techniques. For more than five years, the RATE team labored examining modern dating techniques and found that these techniques do not support an earth that is billions of years old. The relevance and processes of helium diffusion, fission tracks, and methods of radioisotope dating are described in a way that the attentive reader can understand. The RATE project findings are significant for more than just science; the results confirm the Scriptural account and the reliability of God’s Word!
Author(s): Donald DeYoung Publisher: Master Books Publication Date: 2005
Teacher: Well, I grant you that evolution started as a theory – but it has ‘evolved’ into a fact!
And the way this happened – is the acceptance of “millions of years”, long before radiometric dating was developed. Long before Madam Curie and the invention of radiation detectors.
And of course well before the billion year age of the earth was debunked.