Saturday, 30 June 2012

CAN'T YOU DO BETTER THAN THAT? 3.0 - Radiometric Dating

I know that some of you will flee from any talk about radiometric dating and that's fine. But you need to understand that this is a spiritual stronghold. When threatened, Darwinists will attack the Bible using the age of the Earth, intimidating the believers with scientific authority. I have seen it work.

You need not feel intimidated. They have real unresolved scientific problems they are not telling you. The following is only one. An article on radiometric dates written by Dr Andrew Snelling,  a creationist geologist, shows potassium/ argon is still unreliable for dating rocks. Unfortunately for Darwinists, 85% of the data used in their justification of evolutionary timescale comes from this method.

Radioactive dating involves elements which are unstable and give off energetic particles from the nucleus of atoms. This changes the atoms from one element or isotope to another. When this process is measured in the laboratory it shows the decay has a half-life pattern. Each radioactive isotope has its characteristic half-life and this can then be applied when these elements are found in the rock to measure its age. However, it is not the half-life that is the problem. What the scientists are measuring in the field is the ratio of the parent element to the daughter element. If the ratio is disturbed with another process the calculated age changes. The dating method works in the laboratory only because all other processes are eliminated. In nature this is not a given.

Potassium is a common element in lavas and other rocks and is the most frequently used method to date rocks. Potassium is the parent element and argon is the daughter element.   Argon is a noble gas. It occurs naturally in the Earth beneath the crust. It does not react with chemicals in the lavas and can quickly and easily escape the rock before it solidifies. Thus it was assumed at first that naturally occurring argon gas would not be trapped in the rock when it finally cools. Thus all argon detected could be used to calculate its age. Well, that turned out to be...well, wrong.

When argon is trapped in the rock the measured Potassium/ Argon ratio is lowered and yields a higher age.  So why not test lavas of historical dates and determine how big the problem is. Historically dated lava flows were studied by Dalrymple (1). His Potassium/ argon results are on the right: 
1. Hualalai basalt, Hawaii (AD 1800-1801)           1.6 Million years±0.16                                                                                1.41Million years±0.08 
2. Mt. Etna basalt, Sicily (122 BC)                         0.25 Million years±0.08
3. Mt. Etna basalt, Sicily (AD 1972)                       0.35 Million years±0.14
4. Mt. Lassen plagioclase, California (AD 1915)     0.11 Million years±0.03
5. Sunset Crater basalt, Arizona (AD 1064-1065)   0.27±0.09 Ma;  and 0.25 Million years±0.15

The smallest error in age in this group is 110,000 years for a 100 year-old lava - an 110,000% error.
In 1998 Snelling (2) reported the following data in regards to the "excess" argon problem. Reported results of  old K-Ar "ages" in recent or young volcanic rocks are as follows:
Kilauea Iki basalt, Hawaii (AD 1959)                                         8.5 Million years±6.8
Mt. Stromboli, Italy, volcanic bomb (September 23, 1963)         2.4 Million years±2
Mt. Etna basalt, Sicily (May 1964)                                             0.7 Million years±0.01
Medicine Lake Highlands obsidian, Glass Mountains (<500 years) 12.6 Million years±4.5
Hualalai basalt, Hawaii (AD 1800-1801)                                   22.8 Million years±16.5
Rangitoto basalt, Auckland, NZ (<800 years old)                        0.15 Million years±0.47 Ma
Anorthoclase in volcanic bomb, Mt Erebus, Antarctica (1984)     0.64 Million years±0.03 Ma
Kilauea basalt, Hawaii (<200 years old)                                     21±8 Ma
Kilauea basalt, Hawaii (<1,000 years old)                                  42.9 Million years±4.2; 30.3 Million year

All these are historical eruptions or ones covering historically datable sites. Other samples from the Pleistocene and dated by evolutionary assumptions, are also grossly in error. They all contain excess argon. Errors range up to 23 million %! It is now general wisdom that this is naturally occurring argon that has not escaped during the cooling of the lavas. It is impossible to separate the naturally occurring argon from the radioactive daughter argon.

Darwinists object to this creationist argument. They say this method does not work on such young rocks because it is too insensitive to the small amounts of argon involved, resulting in ages of zero years. Their response assumes zero ages for young rocks. It does not deal with the non-zero ages in the tables above. Furthermore, according to Genesis all the rocks are young and potassium/ argon should never be used!

Besides the fresh lava flows of known age, how do you know which rocks are young or old? The potassium/ argon method always gives "old" ages. Which rocks are actually "young" but contain excess argon and which are genuinely old?  We do not know. Are scientists using a method that cannot date rocks of known age in order to date rocks of unknown age. If so how much confidence can you put in their conclusions? Ouch!

Let us see how this works in an actual example. Leakey discovered an ape-like fossil in Africa. He thought this ape, Skull 1470, fit into the evolutionary history of man at about 3 million years ago. He called in experts in potassium/ argon dating. Samples of lava rocks called tuff were taken from the strata where Skull 1470 was found. There were five papers published, each of which concluded the fossil layer was about 2.9 million years old.

Later, opinion shifted and Skull 1470 was fitted into evolution at 2 million years ago. Again experts were hired and they found that the initial samples of lava were contaminated with excess argon. Ooops! The potassium/ argon dates were actually out by 1 million years. The fossil strata dated to 2 million years! How pleasing it must have been to Leakey to have unbiased scientists using objective accurate scientific methods to arrive at the date that had already been agreed upon by the Darwinists. It was doubly pleasing to see them do it twice.

Can't you do better than that!

(1) G.B. Dalrymple, "40Ar/36Ar Analyses of Historic Lava Flows," Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 6 (1969): pp. 47-55.

(2) A.A. Snelling, "The Cause of Anomalous Potassium-Argon 'Ages' for Recent Andesite Flows at Mt. Ngauruhoe, New Zealand, and the Implications for Potassium-Argon 'Dating'," R.E. Walsh, ed., Proceedings of the Fourth International Conference on Creationism (1998, Pittsburgh, PA, Creation Science Fellowship), pp. 503-525.

1 comment:

  1. You are quite the brain aren't you! Praise the Lord for people like you who think about such matters. Keep up the good work!