In attempting to determine the real age of the earth, it should always be remembered, of course, that recorded history began only several thousand years ago. Not even uranium dating is capable of experimental verification, since no one could actually watch uranium decaying for millions of years to see what happens.
In order to obtain a prehistoric date, therefore, it is necessary to use some kind of physical process which operates slowly enough to measure and steadily enough to produce significant changes. If certain assumptions are made about it, then it can yield a date which could be called the apparent age. Whether or not the apparent age is the true age depends completely on the validity of the assumptions. Since there is no way in which the assumptions can be tested, there is no sure way (except by divine revelation) of knowing the true age of any geologic formation. The processes which are most likely to yield dates, which approximate the true dates, are those for which the assumptions are least likely to be in error.
Theoretically, there should be any number of processes that could be used to measure time, since all involve changes with time. It is not surprising that the only processes which are considered acceptable to evolutionists are those whose assumptions and rates yield great ages.
As far as the geological formations and of the earth itself are concerned, only radioactive decay processes are considered useful today by evolutionists. In each of these systems, the parent (e.g., uranium) is gradually changed into the daughter (e.g., lead) component of the system, and the relative proportions of the two are considered to be an index of the time since initial formation of the system.
For these or other methods of geochronometry, one should note carefully that the following assumptions must be made:
- The system must have been a closed system. That is, it cannot have been altered by factors extraneous to the dating process; nothing inside the system could have been removed, and nothing outside the system added to it.
- The system must initially have contained none of its daughter component. If any of the daughter component were present initially, the initial amount must be corrected in order to get a meaningful calculation.
- The process rate must always have been the same. Similarly, if the process rate has ever changed since the system was established, then this change must be known and corrected for if the age calculation is to be of any significance.
Other assumptions may be involved for particular methods, but the three listed above are always involved are critically important. In view of this fact, the highly speculative nature of all methods of geochronometry becomes apparent when one realizes that not one of the above assumptions is valid! None are provable, or testable, or even reasonable.
- There is no such thing in nature as a closed system. The concept of a closed system is an ideal concept, convenient for analysis but non-existent in the real world. The idea of a system remaining closed for millions of years becomes an absurdity.
- It is impossible to ever know the initial components of a system formed in prehistoric times. Obviously no one was present when such a system was first formed. Since creation is at least a viable possibility, it is clearly possible that some of the “daughter” component may have been initially created along with the “parent” component. Even apart from this possibility, there are numerous other ways by which daughter products could be incorporated into the systems when first formed.
- No process rate is unchanged. Every process in nature operates at a rate which is influenced by a number of different factors. If any of these factors change, the process rate changes. Rates are, at best, only statistical averages, not deterministic constants.
Thus, at best, apparent ages determined by means of any physical process are educated guesses and may well be completely unrelated to the true ages. That is why the “stage-of-evolution,” as discussed in the preceding section, is preferred over such methods by evolutionists, who consider it much more reliable than any physical process, even radioactive decay.
Henry M. Morris, Ph.D.