From: "The World Peace Prophecies: The Unification of Science,
Religion, and Humanity," donated by its author, Monte Benson
Part 4: The Earth’s Age and the Science of Genesis 1.
Science supports an old Earth and Universe (Concl'd).
This essay is a continuation of Part 3
Is the Sun Shrinking?
Another popular creationist claim is that the sun is shrinking, and that, at the rate it is doing so, it would have been impossibly large millions of years ago, and that, if the earth is 4.6 billion years old, the sun would have collapsed into a black hole long ago. 1,2 Initially the sun did shrink due to gravitational forces. Eventually, as the temperature and pressure increased and the ignition of thermonuclear-fusion occurred in its core, it stabilized. John A. Eddy, Ph.D., did write a paper in 1979 that claimed the sun was shrinking, but it soon became clear that the data he cited was incorrect. Studies since then have instead found evidence that the sun goes through an eighty year cycle of expanding and contracting. 3 Besides, if the sun had shrunk as much as many creationists claim it did, the resulting temperature decrease would have shown up in the climatic record, yet it hasn’t. 4 Also, another important point is this: If the sun had continuously shrunk at the rate these creationists claim it did, the solar eclipses recorded in ancient records from thousands of years ago could not have occurred. 5
Sediment Deposits and Minerals in the Ocean: Falsehoods Exposed:
To support their claim that the earth is not billions of years old, young-earth creationists refer to what they erroneously believe are the rates at which specific minerals accumulate into the oceans from river inflow. They then divide the amount of minerals present today in earth’s oceans by this rate to arrive at an age for the earth of less than 260 million years. Apparently, they do not realize that the figures they use are actually the “average time that a small amount of an element stays in seawater before being removed.” They do not mention the fact that at present minerals are actually being added at approximately the same rate at which they are being removed.
These creationists also claim that the thickness of the sediment on the ocean floor in relation to how fast such sediment is added and also in relation to how fast it is removed each year by the subduction of one tectonic plate beneath another indicates that the earth is no more than 12 million years old. Nonetheless, sediments are not just removed from the ocean floor through subduction. There are a number of other mechanisms involved, as well—such as, conversion into biomass, a lowering of sea level, uplift as part of a continent, and dissolution. 6 Therefore, based on the information in this section, the two young-earth arguments in question pose no threat to the idea that the earth is 4.6 billion years old.
Helium in the Atmosphere: More ‘Hot Air’
Young-earth creationists claim that at the rate helium is produced in the atmosphere today its concentration is far below what it should be if it has been accumulating for billions of years. But what they will not tell you is that scientists presently know that helium production and loss are equal. Thus this is another example of how young-earth proponents have not yet caught up with science. They do not take into consideration the ways by which helium is lost from the atmosphere, such as “photoionization of helium by the polar wind and its escape along open lines of the Earth’s magnetic field” and “direct interaction of the solar wind with the upper atmosphere during the short periods of lower magnetic-field intensity while the field is reversing.” (This field reversal has occurred twenty times in the last 3.5 million years.) 7
What About the Decay of Earth’s Magnetic Field?
Another false creationist claim is that the earth’s magnetic field has been decreasing at an exponential rate so that it would have been unrealistically high around 25,000 years ago. This argument is based on the work of Dr. Thomas Barnes. His book, which unsuccessfully attacks Dynamo Theory -- the standard theory concerning earth’s magnetism -- has been critiqued quite well by Tim Thompson. 8 Barnes plotted 150 years worth of magnetic data and then came to the conclusion that the earth’s magnetic field is decreasing at an exponential rate, although the original data he used actually fits much better a linear decrease, which, extended back in time, would have taken 100 million years to reach the point he claimed occurred at 10,000 BCE In reality, however, the magnetic field has fluctuated in a sine-wave like fashion, as has been confirmed by core samples from igneous rocks. 9
Barnes’ main mistake is that he studied just the dipole aspect of the earth’s magnetic field while neglecting the non-dipole aspect, which actually increased, almost canceling out the decrease in the dipole aspect. Also, his extrapolation of 150 years worth of data back thousands of years is obviously quite unreliable. The truth is that an extrapolation of no more than about a century or two could be accurate based on such limited data. Nevertheless, much more accurate measurements of the dipole aspect of the earth’s magnetic field have been made far beyond Barnes’ 150 years worth of data. Scientists have measured the remnant magnetism in igneous rocks and archaeological objects, such as clay pots, and have determined the strength of the dipole aspect of earth’s magnetic field clear back to 10,000 BCE and beyond; and this much more comprehensive data completely disproves Barnes’ exponential decrease theory. 10,11
The Final Proof Against Young-Earth Creationism:
Young-earth creationism cannot be correct unless evidence of drastic erosion, plate tectonics, and volcanism during just one year’s time is found around 2300 BCE. One problem though is that the G-forces involved with such catastrophe would have shattered even the ark, despite its sturdy design. Also, the atmospheric dust, debris, heat, gases, and ashes released by such incredible catastrophes during such a short amount of time would have shut down photosynthetic processes for many years. There is also the fact that the energy needed to cause all of the events young-earth creationists say happened during this one year would have caused the earth to become so hot that life could not have existed on it. It is also true that if such tectonic uplift had occurred the earth’s core would still be ringing in a manner that would be detectible today. The fact that no such ringing is detected makes it clear that a worldwide catastrophic flood did not occur. 12
This topic continues in Part 5
The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above
essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.
- Paul Taylor, The Six Days of Genesis (Green Forest: Master Books, Inc., 2007), 53.
- Isaak, The Counter-Creationism Handbook, 182
- Howard J. Van Till, Robert Snow, and John H. Stek, Portraits of Creation: Biblical and Scientific Perspectives on the World’s Formation (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1990), 171-176.
- Dave E. Matson, “How Good are those Young Earth Arguments?” The TalkOrigins Archive, (1994), Retrieved from: http://www.talkorigins.org/ 15 July 2004
- Sten F. Odenwald, Back to the Astronomy Cafe: More Questions and Answers about the Cosmos from "Ask the Astronomer,” (Boulder: Westview Press, 2003), 68.
- Isaak, The Counter-Creationism Handbook, 164-165
- Dave E. Matson, “How good are those young-earth arguments?” The TalkOrigins Archive, (1994), Retrieved from: http://www.talkorigins.org/ 15 July 2004
- Tim Thompson, “On Creation Science and the Alleged Decay of the Earth’s Magnetic Field,” The TalkOrigins Archive, (1997), Retrieved from: http://www.talkorigins.org/ 15 July 2004
- Dick Fischer, The Origins Solution: An Answer in the Creation-Evolution Debate (Lima: Fairway Press, 1996),
- Howard J. Van Till, The Fourth Day: What the Bible and the Heavens are Telling Us about Creation (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1986), 243-245.
- Isaak, The Counter-Creationism Handbook, 171-172
- Ross, The Genesis Question, 148-149
Originally posted: 2012-OCT-13
Author: Monte Benson
Source: "The World Peace Prophecies: The Unification of Science, Religion, and Humanity," Chapter 4, at: http://www.angelfire.com/