Radiometric decay and evolution
Radiometic dating methods have long been considered synonomous with "proof"of an ancient earth. Unfortunately, too many Christians have overlooked the strong evidence which radioactive decay provide us in discrediting Darwinian evolution. Indeed, most are unaware that lava flows from Mount St. Helens (which erupted not 25 years ago) date millions of years. Evolutionist will immediately describe the scientific reasons why the dates are innacurate but ignore that these same reasons equally apply to virtually every other date they provide. Indeed, there is no objective scientific evidence that can tell us what factors influenced the composition of the rock in question (as will be explain in more detail below).
With Mme. Curie's discovery of radioactive decay of atomic particles many scientists thought they had found a new way of dating rocks from antiquity. In the sameway that our skin may peel off if we are left in the sun too long, radiation from the sun will cause certain unstable atoms (or isotopes to be precise) to "peel off." The result is an elemental change in the rock which is equivalent to a chemical change in chemistry. For example, when you add two hydrogen molecules to a single oxygen molecule the chemicals will bond to form water (H2O). In the case of radioactive decay unstable isotopes will cause certain forms of Uranium to change into Lead compounds. Such changes occur not only in Uranium but also in several other compounds including Thorium, Potassium, and Rubidium.
Although the actual isotopes that "peel off" or decay is spontaneous and random,scientists are able to determine the average rate at which the isotopes decay. For example,by observing the decay of Uranium 238 over an extended period of time, scientists havebeen to estimate the amount of time which it would take for half the amount of U238 to change into Lead 206 based upon the average observed decay rate. This is called the half-life. In the case of U238 the half-life is approximately four and a half billion years. In other words, based upon current observation, the time that it takes for one half of any available U238 to become Lead was determined to be 4.5 billion years. As scientists began to observe the decay rates of other unstable isotopes such as Rubidium it was discovered that even longer half-lives exist. In the case of Rubidium the half-life is estimated at between 47 billion years and 120 billion years. This estimate is based uponīobserved decay rates.
While evolutionists have tried to apply radiometric decay as a means of dating rocks and the age of the earth, there is no objective way to determine what the original composition of the rocks were at the time of their formation and there is therefore no way to know how much of the rock was Lead (in the case of Uranium dating) to begin with. Moreover, Creationists have shown that many other problems exist in radiometric dating as is exemplified by the discovery of volcanic basalt rocks known to have been formed from volcanic activity in Hawaii in 1801, less than two hundred years ago, and yet it dates over three billion years by standard radiometric dating. Another example I have previously cited is that of Mt. St. Helens.
Christians should also be aware of the fact that evolutionary scientists themselves reject 70% of all radiometric dates. This is due to various unpredictable forms of contamination, neutron capture, and eaching effects. Radiometric decay cannot therefore be used as evidence for an ancient earth. It can, however, be powerful evidence against evolution.
Many Creationists seem to have overlooked the powerful message which radiometric dating provides the Christian. This is the ability to observe processes that take billions of years. Evolutionists have constantly claimed that because evolution took over four billion years to occur it occurs to slowly to be observed by empirical science. This claim is made because scientists have never been able to observe true evolution in the empirical realm. Although some scientists will claim that evolution does occur in the empirical realm this is not generally accepted, nor should it be. These claims usually involve either a distortion of semantics when they refer to evolution (change but not genetic Darwinian evolution) or else a liberal use of the term speciation (species as defined by evolutionists rather than a strict Linaean definition).
Most evolutionists no longer even expect to observe evolution occurring in the laboratory or in the modern world. Nonetheless, they insist that it does occur but that it occurs so slowly to be observed. No longer do evolutionists even try to prove evolution empirically, it is almost universally accepted that the process of evolution is to slow. If this is true, however, then why can we observe processes that take even longer? If we call the evolution of a single amoeba into a man a single evolutionary "cycle" then we would have to conclude that a single cycle takes a maximum of 4.5 billion years (the assumed evolutionary age of the earth). Since most evolutionists do not believe that life first appeared on the earth until a billion years later, this is actually a very lenient estimate. With radiometric decay we can observe the decay rate of Rubidium 87 which has a 47 to 120 billion year half-life. Hence, we can observe a process that takes over 50 billions years to complete a single half-life but we cannot observe an evolutionary cycle that takes only four and a half billions years maximum. Based upon what we can observe in radiometric decay evolution should be occurring between 10 and 27 times faster than the rate of Rubidium decay. It should be noted that this is actually being very lenient.
Most scientists believe that 75% of all evolution occurred in the past one billion years of earth history. If this were true then this would mean that evolution is currently occurring at a rate of 35 to 90 times (.75 x 47 or 120) faster then Rubidium decay. Nonetheless, Rubidium decay is generally observed by scientists whereas evolution remains an empirical mystery.
Perhaps it is time the evolutionists admit that evolution cannot be observed because evolution never occurred. The Scriptures clearly state that "God's invisible qualities ... have been clearly seen from what has been made, so that man is without excuse" (Romans 1:20). Isaac Newton as well as the other founding fathers of science saw science as an exploration of God's creation. Truly, science does not point to evolution but to an everlasting eternal God and Creator. This is the God of the Bible.
Note : Endnotes were removed for space but can be found in my forthcoming book, Controversies in the Old Testament.
Copyright = David Criswell = 2002 = All rights reserved
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