The Verdict of Reason
In PART X Jerry tackled the biological questions. And if you are a committed evolutionist there are many without satisfactory answers. In today’s installment, our ‘Science Guy’ will look at what we can learn from the study of geology.
THE GEOLOGICAL EVIDENCE
In previous weeks we looked into radiocarbon dating, biology, and evolution, we saw that a recent young Earth was just as likely as a 14 billion year universe. The facts could go either way. The interpretation of the facts depended upon the world view. Simply, is there a Creator? Science depends on observable, reproducible and testable experiments. It is impossible to set up experiments that involve millions of years, so much of these facts are sort of pseudo-science. Non-observational. It is all extrapolate backwards in time. That is as logical as saying I have been making $50,000 / year on my last 10 tax returns. That is all the facts that we have. Is it logical to extrapolate backwards and say that is what I have been doing the last million years? Just as assumptions are needed to be made when direct observation was not possible with my income, the same needs to be done in science. Unless, someone was there to observe what happened. If someone was there, was it recorded? Is this historian trustworthy? Did this person who was there write other things that could be tested? That answer is plain and simple. Jesus was present at creation, and beyond. Jesus is the Word (John 1), Jesus did record the information in the bible. The final question is “Are there parts of the bible that are testable, are reproducible with results?” That my friend is an answer that only you can prove to yourself through faith. As for me, I see his word is true every day of my life.
This week, it is geology, the study of rocks. Rocks can tell a history, it is all a matter of how they are interpreted. Rocks are dated using radioactive decay, but rocks give billions of years for answers. Instead of Carbon 14, the methods are similar, but use other elements. A few of the elements are potassium, argon, lead, thorium, and uranium. The Math is quite difficult, but straight forward. The science is tricky, but it is easily summed up in the ratio of the radioactive element that you started with, and compare it to the daughter atom that it decays into. Tests are easily reproducible to see how fast something decays. A few molecules out of a billion every year, assume that it stays constant because we all learned in high school, nothing short of a nuke changes radioactive decay, then we know how old it started at.
Here are a few assumptions.
- Argon is a gas, that never forms compounds, so when the lava cooled, it should have no argon in it at the start. Any argon came from decay of radioactive potassium
- Once argon formed, no argon escaped to its surroundings? Doesn’t Natural gas slowly come out of rocks? A few miles from here is a park with an eternal flame that kids have been lighting for decades.
- Once in a rock, potassium does not leach out. Potassium is very similar to sodium, common salt. Last time I checked, salt leaches out of rocks into rivers, then into oceans and hence, we have salt water.
- No argon entered the rock. In one of my college engineering labs we cooked a rock overnight at 500 degrees to see how much water vapor left. It was long ago, but the result amazed me on how much water can enter a rock, so therefor could argon, or potassium
- Other radioactive elements such as uranium did not cause absorption or loss of nuclear material that was measured.
There are other assumptions that are beyond my level of expertise, but you can see that there are some difficulties. Assumptions similar to this involve other elements, but the arguments are nearly the same. It comes down to this. If you knew starting concentrations, ending concentrations, and knew the rock did not ever do anything funky for its billion year life, then the math will be true, but these assumptions cannot be corrected for. In reality, they are corrected for to give values that can reflect the world view of long ages.
An igneous rock, that is rocks from volcanoes, can easily be dated. It is interesting to collect rock samples from recent eruptions and have them dated. The dating in done by third part labs, they were not told where the rocks came from so no bias can come about. Here were some results.[i] Ma is millions of years, potassium Argon dating is accurate for rocks over 100,000 years, less than that, not enough daughter element built up for an accurate reading.
Hualalai basalt, Hawaii (AD 1800-1801) 1.6±0.16 Ma; 1.41±0.08 Ma
Mt. Etna basalt, Sicily (122 BC) 0.25±0.08 Ma
Mt. Etna basalt, Sicily (AD 1972) 0.35±0.14 Ma
Mt. Lassen plagioclase, California (AD 1915) 0.11±0.03 Ma
Sunset Crater basalt, Arizona (AD 1064-1065) 0.27±0.09 Ma; 0.25±0.15 Ma
The critics are quick to point out, poor sampling techniques, of course erroneous answers are expected from new rocks (they should read zero in my opinion). Critics will say the rock was contaminated or not fully melted.
Outside the world of radioactive dating, the average gas and oil well drilled is over 6,000 feet deep. The Grand Canyon is on the same scale, slightly less. Dinosaur bones and fossils are found at the surface. Let me frame the paradox. Conventional theory says that gas, coal and oil, came from pre-dinosaur plant life about 100 million years ago. Some quick math tells you on average about 1,000 years to get it an inch below the surface. So here is a problem. As I grew up, I often went to the creek bed to skip stones. The creek was only a few feet below ground level. I could pick up shale, from the side of the creek bed, drop it on some limestone that is the creek bed, and I would undoubtedly see fossilized shells that are from 100 million years ago when Western New York State was covered by a shallow sea. I am not an expert, but surface rocks are 100 million years old, and 6,000 feet below me are more dead plants and animals from 100 million years ago in shale gas? The top of the Grand Canyon has 70 million year old fossils, and at the bottom are 100 million year old fossils? Where are the current rocks? Scientists will tell you erosion cancelled out the rates, but it is way too common. Easter Montana has the same fossils on top, oil below.
My bible tells me of a catastrophic flood in Noah’s day. Catastrophic floods can cause huge amounts of dirt and rock to be moved. Cubic miles of debris pushed down stream. The scab land of eastern Washington State was the first place this was recognized. An ancient lake (Missoula) let loose and carved out 1000 foot deep canyons after the ice age (approx. 10,000 years ago) in approximately 2 weeks![ii] Niagara Falls near me is another example to rapid erosion making nearly 400 feet deep canyons. The water is estimated at 200 feet deep. The Black sea was a fresh water lake until the Mediterranean Sea pushed its salty water into the Black Sea. All of these are known recent floods. The Grand Canyon cannot explain large boulders in precarious positions unless it too was carved rapidly. The Grand Canyon cliffs along the Colorado River are higher than some of the river upstream. Water does not flow uphill, so the billion year old Colorado Plateau could not have been carved over 7 million years of the current river.
The flood deposited unprecedented amounts of sedimentary rocks. Some deposits were thousands of feet deep. The ice age followed shortly after with incredibly warm ocean waters causing huge snowfall over the land. The weather models have shown this is a possibility, but super volcanoes shifting continents and superheating ocean water is only in science fiction movies, or is it? Did it not say in Genesis 7:11 of the King James Version, it reads: 11 “In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month, the same day were all the fountains of the great deep broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened.” Next – Dinosaurs and humans together?
[i] G.B. Dalrymple, “40Ar/36Ar Analyses of Historic Lava Flows,” Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 6 (1969): pp. 47-55
[ii] THE CARVING OF THE SCABLANDS, The US Geological Survey,