Posts Tagged ‘radiometric dating’

One tactic of creationists that Joe has taken a particular interest in is finding a legitimate problem that rational people have with creationists and then turning that problem around and using it on things creationists disagree with. Joe’s age of the earth lie is a weak sort of example of this tactic.

Billions of years were accepted with no evidence? Lie!

Joe’s assertion is that scientists decided the earth was billions of years old long before there was any evidence to support such a conclusion. This is a little lie that becomes a filthy monster lie when Joe asserts that every single scientist since then has misrepresented the data to fit in with this false conclusion. Joe’s filthy lie slanders scientists and is completely ignorant of how science works. Like any God fearing creationist, Joe wants people to believe that scientists use the same illogic that creationists use.

Let’s talk about Joe’s first lie. It doesn’t take much research to learn what scientists believed about the age of the universe, when they believed it, and what their rationale was. Joe asserts the following:

James Hutton said that? Where?

James Hutton is known as the father of modern geology and is a popular target of creationists since he had the audacity to suggest that the earth was much older than the bible accounted for. Hutton believed the earth itself was eternal and the geologic formations were formed slowly by a hot inner core and eroded away slowly by the elements. Hutton himself did not estimate the age of the earth, in fact he suggested the earth had existed forever. The final sentence of his 1200+ page masterwork, The Theory of The Earth – the distillation of years of meditation on landscape formation, would become famous: “The result therefore of our present enquiry is that we find no vestige of a beginning – no prospect of an end.”

Because of the enormity of the volumes of Hutton’s work, much of it remained obscure and little known in his day. In 1830, Sir Charles Lyell developed Hutton’s ideas that the earth was under  a very slow process of building up and eroding away that was constant and roughly uniform world-wide. This view became known as uniformitarianism. Lyell’s work went on to give great insight to Charles Darwin during Darwin’s famous voyage on the HMS Beagle. Darwin, of course, is the arch enemy of creationists world-wide. All of Darwin’s ideas must, necessarily, be destroyed by any means necessary and in this case, the path is through those who had an influence on Darwin: Lyell and by extension Hutton. Bear in mind, however, that neither Hutton nor Lyell specified any age for the earth and both of them had extremely well thought out rationale for their views.

Nevertheless, even the most well thought out views can be wrong. The uniformitarian view was to be countered fiercely by the physicist William Thompson who would later be known as Lord Kelvin. Thompson thought the earth did have a beginning and was at one point entirely molten. In 1862, Thompson calculated a figure of the age of the earth by determining how long it would take the surface of the earth to cool to its present temperature. Thompson’s figure was between 20 and 400 million years. Other scientists used different methods to date the solar system including Hermann von Helmholtz in 1856, Simon Newcomb in 1892, and Charles Darwin’s son, George Darwin. Helmholtz and Newcomb derived the age of the solar system from how long it would take gasses to condense down and form the sun and reached ages of 22 and 18 million years respectively.

It wasn’t until French chemist A. Henri Becquerel discovered radioactivity in 1896 and until Pierre Curie would show that radioactive materials produce heat that we understood that there was another factor adding heat to the system. George Darwin was the first to point out that this heat generated was not accounted for in Lord Kelvin’s calculations. What’s more, radiation provided another way to date the age of the earth. In 1907, Bertram Boltwood published a study of rock samples that he used radiometric dating to arrive at an age of 250 million to 1.3 billion years. It wasn’t until 1921 that there was a consensus that the earth was billions of years old and that radiometric dating was credible.

So as you can see, there was not one single instance of scientists coming up with and age for the earth that wasn’t supported by rational reasons. Furthermore, the earth was first considered to be eternal and in a constant and uniform state of uplift and erosion. This view was challenged and the age of the earth was then considered to be in the tens or hundreds of millions of years. The figure of billions of years was not agreed upon by science until after the discovery of radioactivity and the understanding of radioactive decay. Further analysis has refined the age of the earth by radiometric dating of meteorites and has been corroborated  by helioseismic dating methods.

Joe Cienkowski has clearly lied. He lied about his understanding of the subject, he lied about the conclusions of scientists from the past, and worst of all he lied about the motives of scientists in the present. Joe expects you to believe that scientists are simply manipulating data so they can agree with pre-formed conclusions. Don’t you believe it. Joe Cienkowski is a filthy liar.