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User:Awc/101 evidences for an old age of the earth and the universe

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I created this page in response to an exchange at Talk:Radioactive dating#Has Philip been paying attention? which included this comment by myself:

You link Age of the earth: 101 evidences for a young age of the earth and the universe by Don Batten. I must say I am not more impressed by 101 bad arguments than by 5 bad arguments, expecially when the list includes such silly arguments as the age of Niagara Falls. Obviously an old Earth will contain many young things. I'm sure you will agree with this principle when we discuss 101 Clear Contradictions in the Bible or any of the many similar lists of alleged problems in the Bible. I am convinced that it would not be a problem to find "101" arguments for an old Earth, although it would be a lot of busy-work. It might be kind of fun to do anyway, the more I think about it, so I will start collecting such a list. Still, from a logical and scientific point of view, it makes more sense to compare the strength of the handful of most powerful arguments on each side, not the total number.

I plan to collect here, at a leisurely pace, many arguments for an old Earth or universe, old being anything from >10,000 years up to ~14 billion years. Some starting points might be these pages at rationalwiki:

Of course, not all arguments in such a list can have the same strength as radiometric dating or dendrochronology, but I will not include anything that does not have a serious and logical argument behind it. In other words, I intend to maintain a higher standard that the list of young Earth evidences.

>10,000 years

  1. Dendrochronology
  2. Human Y-chromosomal ancestry
  3. Oxidizable Carbon Ratio dating
  4. Rock varnish
  5. Thermoluminescence dating

>100,000 years

  1. Coral
  2. Fission track dating
  3. Ice layering
  4. Lack of DNA in fossils
  5. Permafrost
  6. Weathering rinds

>1,000,000 years

  1. Amino acid racemization
  2. Baptistina asteroid family
  3. Continental drift
  4. Cosmogenic nuclide dating
  5. Erosion
  6. Geomagnetic reversals
  7. Impact craters
  8. Iron-manganese nodules
  9. Length of the prehistoric day
  10. Naica megacrystals
  11. Nitrogen in diamonds
  12. Petrified wood
  13. Relativistic jets
  14. Sedimentary varves
  15. Stalactites
  16. Space weathering

>1,000,000,000 years

  1. Distant starlight
  2. Helioseismology
  3. Lunar retreat
  4. Radiometric decay

Selected from http://www.asa3.org/ASA/education/origins/agescience2.htm:

Patterns of Small Fossils

  1. Microfossil Stratigraphy Presents Problems for the Flood
  2. Pollen Order in Varves Presents Problems for the Flood
  3. Isotopic Sorting and the Noah's Flood Model

Fossil Patterns in Geology

  1. Where were the animals at the beginning of the global flood?

Details within Layers

  1. While the Flood Rages, Termites Dig, Dinosaurs Dance and Cicadas Sing
  2. Tracks and Raindrop, Hail and Ice Impressions Demonstrates Slow Deposition
  3. Going to the Bathroom in the Global Flood
  4. Three Hundred Years in the Middle of the Flood--Evidence of Time in the Geologic Record
  5. River Channels Buried deep in the Geologic Column
  6. Salt, Meteors and the Global Flood

Selected from Indicators of a 4.5 billion-year-old Earth, with rebuttals based on creation science:

Age of the galaxy

  1. The sun is one of countless numbers of stars in our galaxy. The galaxy is over 100,000 light years across. This means that light from some stars in our galaxy has taken many tens of thousands of years to reach earth. This would indicate that our galaxy is much older than 10 millennia.

Indicators that the earth is over 8,000 years old

  1. Some bristlecone pine trees in the White-Inyo mountain range of California date back beyond 2000 BCE. One, labeled "Methuselah" germinated in 2726 BCE. This ocurred centuries before the date that conservative Christians assign to the Noachian flood. But their tree rings have been matched with those of dead trees; this shows that the latter germinated about 6000 BCE, which predates the year 4004 BCE by 2 millennia.
  2. In the Green River there are varves (millions of annual layers of sediment) laid down over the past 20 million years. 4
  3. During each springtime, tiny, one-celled algae bloom in Lake Suigetsu, Japan. They die and sink to the bottom of the lake. Here, they create a thin, white layer. During the rest of the year, dark clay sediments settle to the bottom. The result are alternating dark and light annual layers -- much like the annual growth rings on a tree. Scientists have counted about 45,000 layers; they have been accumulating since about 43,000 BCE. This is far beyond the estimates of 6 to 10 millennia made by many creation scientists.
  4. Ice core samples have been taken in Greenland that show 40,000 annual layers of ice.


Indicators that the earth is much older than 10,000 years of age

  1. The Los Alamos National Laboratory has developed a method of measuring the length of time that surface rocks have been exposed to cosmic rays. Cosmic rays stream into the atmosphere from all directions in outer space and break neutrons free when they collide with air molecules. When these neutrons hit rocks on the ground, they sometimes react with a tiny number of mineral atoms which create radioactive isotopes. At sea level, a few hundred modified atoms are created each year in a gram of quartz which is near the surface of the ground. New measuring techniques can detect very small numbers of these atoms and thus estimate the number of years that the rocks have been exposed. Scientists have found ages of about 8,500 years for "recent" glacial moraines in Newfoundland and 830,000 years for extinct volcanoes in Nevada.
  2. The "nuclide" argument is one of the best proofs of an "old earth". Nuclides are forms of matter that are radioactive. Each nuclide decays into another form of matter at a certain rate. After an interval of time equal to its half-life, only half of the original material is left. Scientists have found that: Every nuclide with a half-life over 80 million years can be found naturally occurring on earth. All Nuclides with a half-life under 80 million years do not exist naturally at detectable levels. The only logical explanation for these observations is that the world formed billions of years ago. There are enough long-lived nuclides still around to be still detectable. The short-lived nuclides have long since decayed and disappeared. The only exceptions to the latter are short lived nuclides which are being continuously generated by the decay of long-lived nuclides.
  3. Because of tides, the rotation of the earth is gradually slowing, by about 1 second every 50,000 years. About 380 million years ago, each day would have about 20 hours long! There would have been about 398 days in the year. Studies of rings on rugose coral fossils that were independently estimated to be 370 million years old revealed that when they were alive, there were about 400 days in the year. This relationship has been confirmed with other coral fossils. This is rather good evidence that the world was in existence a third of a billion years ago. 1 More information.
  4. The thickness of the coral reef at Eniwetok atoll in the Pacific Ocean has been measured at up to 1,380 meters. Even the most optimistic coral growth rates would require that the atoll be over 130,000 years of age.
  5. It takes thousands of years of below-freezing temperatures to build a 100 foot layer of permafrost. But large areas in the north are permanently frozen to depths of almost one mile! This took many tens of millennia to accomplish.
  6. Radiocarbon dating of wood, using accelerator mass spectrometry, is accurate as far back as 50,000 years. The method has identified many wooden and textile objects to be many tens of thousands of years old.
  7. Reversals of the earth's magnetic pole are recorded in the Atlantic Ocean sea bottom for the past 80 million years.
  8. The rate at which the continents are spreading apart from each other indicates that the Atlantic Ocean is about 200 million years old.
  9. Accelerator mass spectrometry measures particles of high atomic mass. Surface rocks have had their ages measured up to 10 million years old by detecting their level of Beryllium-10 and aluminum-26 isotopes. 2 Other elements like Potassium and Argon are used for older rocks. Radioactive dating of some earth rocks gives an age of almost 4,000 million years. Some moon rocks and meteorites from outer space give dates in excess of 4,000 million years.
  10. If we assumed that all of the minerals which are carried by rivers into the oceans remains trapped in the oceans, then it would take 260 million years for the concentration of sodium to reach its present level. If plankton, fish or other plants adsorb sodium, then it would take much longer. We can conclude that the age of the earth is something greater than a quarter billion years, and is in all probability much longer.
  11. Measurements by sensors attached to satellites shows that space dust accumulates on the moon at the rate of about 2 nanograms per square centimeter per year. (A nanogram is one thousandth of a million of a gram.) This rate would require 4.5 billion years to reach a depth of 1.5 inches, which is approximately the depth experienced by the astronauts who walked on the moon. This agrees rather well with radioactive dating of moon rocks.
  12. Estimates for the length of time for the galaxies to have spread apart to their present spacing are in excess of 10,000 million years.
  13. Evolutionary principles applied to geology indicate that about 100 million years ago, the ancient super continent of Pangea was beginning to split apart so that land that would become South America and Africa drifted apart. At first, the drift caused some shallow seas and a few land bridges. Later, the Atlantic Ocean opened up and became gradually wider until it became the ocean that we see today. This theory would have a logical consequence in the evolution of dinosaurs. Before this split in land mass took place, dinosaurs would have evolved into a variety of species which were found throughout Pangea. Since 100 million years ago, when the land bridges disappeared and the seas became too deep to cross, the dinosaurs would have evolved differently in Africa and South America, due to their isolation from each other. This is precisely what has been observed in the fossil record.
  14. The human genome project has mapped all of our genes. Arthur Caplan of the University of Pennsylvania's Center for Bioethics has written:
    "The genome reveals, indisputably and beyond any serious doubt, that Darwin was right -- mankind evolved over a long period of time from primitive animal ancestors...The core recipe of humanity carries clumps of genes that show we are descended from bacteria. There is no other way to explain the jerry-rigged nature of the genes that control key aspects of our development...The theory of evolution is the only way to explain the arrangement of the 30,000 genes and three billion letters that constitute our genetic code...The message our genes send is that Charles Darwin was right."
    Eric Lander of the Whitehead Institute in Cambridge, Mass., said that if you look at our genome it is clear that "evolution...must make new genes from old parts." Since evolution of the species must have taken billions of years to evolve from bacteria to humans, the earth must be very old.

Selected from rationalwiki's rebuttal of 101 ...:

  1. Growth rates of oceanic manganese nodules: Implications to their genesis, palaeo-earth environment and resource potential - Be10, with a half-life of 1.5 million years, is produced in the atmosphere by cosmic rays and deposited in sediments within 300 years. The concentration decreases exponentially away from the surface of encrustations (see Fig.4), dropping a factor of ten in the first 15 mm.
  2. Formation of natural gypsum megacrystals in Naica, Mexico - some of the largest gypsum crystals on earth. Specimens in the area have been found that exceed 11 meters in length and 1 meter in width. Based on classical crystal growth theory, these crystals are older than one million years.

Some of my own:

  1. The spiral structure of galaxies takes a billion years or so to form.
  2. The fact that the primeval matter is very nearly 3/4 protons and 1/4 alpha particles by mass indicates that the universe was once in a hot, dense state, i.e. Big Bang.
  3. The LCDM model predicts the rather complex form of the CMB fluctuations based on a handful of parameters, unexplainable except if there was a Big Bang.
  4. With the exception of those currently produced by natural processes, only nuclides with half-lives longer than 82 Ma are found in nature.
  5. The age of globular clusters is calculated to be up to 13 billion years.
  6. The geochron: When (207Pb/204Pb) is plotted against (206Pb/204Pb) for various terrestrial deposits and meteorites, the point fall on a straight line, easily explainable by a common origin 4.55+/-0.08 billion years ago, but an amazing coincidence otherwise.
  7. There are at least 5 clonal trees extimated to be older than 9,500 years. Estimates of the age of one of these, Pando, a quaking aspen colony, range up to 1 million years, although most estimates are closer to a mere 80,000 years.

From Life-Activity Details within Geological Strata — in the middle of a flood?

  1. bio-varnish (this is in the links-page)
  2. turtle Poop
  3. [http://home.entouch.net/dmd/NorthSeaTime.htm many geo-details] [it's long, with lots of geology details]
  4. [http://home.entouch.net/dmd/hardgrounds.htm carbonate with burrows]
  5. sideways burrows,… (is in links-page)
  6. sideways burrows (is in links-page)
  7. sand/shale burrows (is in links-page)
  8. river channels (is in links-page)
  9. buried canyons
  10. termites & dinos (is in links-page)
  11. tracks & raindrops (is in links-page)
  12. fossilized dung (is in links-page)
  13. insects in amber
  14. multi-droughts (is in links-page)
  15. thick + details
  16. geological details
  17. salt deposits (is in links-page)
  18. flood lithification
  19. rock properties & age [has been moved into "fossil patterns"] </p>

How do surface features appear far from the surface? How could these have appeared in the midst of a catastrophic flood? Deep in the geologic column there are formations which could have originated only on the surface, such as:

  1. Rain drops. [Robb, 1992]
  2. River channels. [Miall, 1996, especially chpt. 6]
  3. Wind-blown dunes. [Kocurek & Dott, 1981; Clemmenson & Abrahamsen, 1983; Hubert & Mertz, 1984]
  4. Beaches.
  5. Glacial deposits. [Eyles & Miall, 1984]
  6. Burrows. [Crimes & Droser, 1992; Thackray, 1994]
  7. In-place trees. [Cristie & McMillan, 1991]
  8. Soil. [Reinhardt & Sigleo, 1989; Wright, 1986, 1994]
  9. Desiccation cracks. [Andrews, 1988; Robb, 1992]
  10. Footprints. [Gore, 1993, has a photograph (p. 16-17) showing dinosaur footprints in one layer with water ripples in layers above and below it. Gilette & Lockley, 1989, have several more examples, including dinosaur footprints on top of a coal seam (p. 361-366).]
  11. Meteorites and meteor craters. [Grieve, 1997; Schmitz et al, 1997]
  12. Coral reefs. [Wilson, 1975]
  13. Cave systems. [James & Choquette, 1988]

That gets me over the top with an even 102. I probably have some duplicates in there. I suspect that I would find some of the arguments too weak to satisfy my standards when I look at them more closely. Still, I think I was able to assemble a "proof of principle" in very short order, and it could certainly be extended or improved. It is invalid of creationists to cite Batten's list as indicating that the "preponderance" of scientific evidence points to a young Earth. Assembling long lists of arguments is just busy work. If you want to know what science says about the age of the Earth, you have to examine a handful of the best arguments in each direction in detail. --Awc 21:42, 6 December 2010 (UTC)

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