The Age of the Earth
Radiometric Dating, Continental Drift, and the Big Bang
This is the first of a three-part series. In this part we will take a closer look at a few problems with old-earth concepts, such as: Radiometric Dating, Continental Drift, and The Big Bang. In parts two and three we look at Evidence for a Worldwide Flood, and Evidence for a Young Earth.
The age of the earth is Loudly proclaimed by the scientific establishment of evolution believers and the mass media as being around 4.6 billion years old. But is it really anywhere near that old? Or is there an underlying reason behind why evolution believers are so adamant about their beliefs concerning what they assert that "science" has "proven"?
Everybody knows that a frog can't turn into a prince over a short amount of TIME. But if we give him enough TIME, then anything is possible, or so the story goes...
And the fact is that, in order for the theory of evolution to have any chance at all of being a halfway credible account of how we got here, the earth has to be old -- VERY OLD.
However, a growing number of people are beginning to question what they have been told, over and over again, by the mass media and the (so-called) "scientific" establishment of evolution-believers, not only with regard to the earth's purported old age, but the age of the universe itself. It is also a fact that those who believe the theory of evolution are the same people who believe in an old earth. In addition, some who believe in God, also claim to believe in evolution; however, if they were honest, they would admit that they actually believe in (some form of) slow-Creation, as opposed to evolution -- apart from the influence of a Creator.
For a more detailed discussion of this and why a Creator must have been intimately involved with the Creation of Life see: A Closer Look at the Age of the Earth.1
The only dating methods discussed (over and over again) by evolution-believing scientists and the mass media are ones that supposedly "prove" that the earth is billions of years old. One of the most popular of these is known as radiometric dating. However, not as well known is the fact that such methods have a number of serious flaws -- which are usually glossed over, or ignored when writing on, or discussing this subject in public.
With the exception of Carbon-14, radiometric dating is used to date either igneous or metamorphic rocks that contain radioactive elements such as uranium. And even though various radioactive elements have been used to "date" these rocks, for the most part, the methods are basically the same. They consist of measuring the amount of radioactive (mother) element and comparing it to the amount of stable (daughter) element. A discussion of the Uranium/Lead method follows.
Uranium is radioactive, which means it is in the process of changing from an unstable element into a stable one. The most common form is uranium-238. It has a half-life of about 4.5 billion years. This means that if you had some pure uranium-238 with no lead in it, 4.5 billion years later one half of it would have decayed into its stable daughter product (lead-206). And after 9 billion years there would be 75% lead and 25% uranium, and so on. Few people realize it but all radiometric dating methods require making at least three assumptions. These are:
1) The rate of decay has remained constant throughout the past.
2) The original amount of both mother and daughter elements is known.
3) The sample has remained in a closed system.
Constant Decay Rate:
For purposes of radiometric dating it must be assumed that the rate of decay from mother element to daughter element has remained constant throughout the past. Although there is no way to prove whether or not this has been the case, scientists have attempted to alter the rate of decay of radioactive materials and have found that they are almost immune to change. Most creationists have few qualms in accepting this first assumption.
Original Amounts Known:
The second assumption is much more speculative since there is no way to verify whether or not some (or most) of the daughter element was already present when the rock solidified. Therefore, a guess must be made. However, in some cases, a few scientists are telling us that they have solved this problem.
For example, with the uranium/lead method scientists have attempted to estimate what the original ratio (of uranium-238 to lead-206) was when the Earth formed. To do this they have selected a certain meteorite, which contained various types of lead (including lead 204, 206, 207 and 208) but no uranium, and they have assumed that this ratio is equivalent to the earth's original lead ratio. They did this because it is almost certain that these lead isotopes were all present in large quantities when the earth was created. This is because "common" lead contains both radiogenic (lead 206, 207 and 208) and non-radiogenic lead (204) but it does not contain any uranium. In fact, about 98% of "common" lead is "radiogenic" (containing lead 206, 207,208) and only 2% non-radiogenic. 1,2,3,4,5,6
A Closed System:
The third assumption is that the sample has remained in a closed system. This is necessary due to outside influences such as heat and groundwater that can seriously alter the original material. And since the earth is not a closed system, these last two assumptions make radiometric dating highly subjective and questionable.
For example, if a rock sample was below the water table at any time, leaching would take place. For Uranium/Lead dating this means that some of the uranium that was initially present would be "leached" out of the rock. Leaching can also cause uranium to be leached into rocks that have little or no uranium in them. Therefore, in virtually every case, scientists do not know what the original condition of the rock was; and, even if they did know, they don't any more due to heat contamination, mixing, and leaching. This is discussed in great detail by Dr. Snelling in his article on this subject. 4
Note: As for the few cases where scientists do know what the "original" condition (or date of eruption) was, they still have not been able to come up with the correct "date" for the age of the rock without all sorts of fancy footwork and massaging of data. That's because radiometric dating (with the exception of Carbon 14) is almost always performed on igneous rocks (i.e. those that were once in a molten state). Also because, when different substances are in a liquid state, something known as mixing almost always takes place: meaning that whenever a liquid (or molten) rock is erupted out of the earth, both the mother and daughter elements will be "mixed" together, thus making it virtually impossible to determine the time that an eruption took place.
Another problem that calls into question the credibility of radiometric dating is heat contamination. For example, In 1973, in Alberta, Canada (near the town of Grand Prarie) a high voltage line fell which caused nearby tree roots to fossilize almost instantly. When scientists at the University of Regina, Saskatchewan were asked what the results would be if these roots were dated by Potassium Argon method. Their response was that the results:
"WOULD BE MEANINGLESS; it would indicate an age of millions of years BECAUSE HEAT WAS INVOLVED IN THE PETRIFICATION PROCESS." The Mysteries of Creation, by Dennis Petersen, p. 47.
Two well-documented examples of "heat contamination" are the 1800 and 1801 eruptions from two Hawaiian volcanoes. Although these eruptions were less than 200 years old, the radiometric "dates" obtained from them were 140 million to 2.96 billion years for one, and from 0 to 29 million years for the other -- depending upon the (ocean) depth at which the lava sample was obtained. This is documented in Table 1 below.
This also brings up an important question:
If radiometric dating methods are unable to produce the correct date in cases where the actual date of eruption is known, why should we believe that these same methods can produce accurate dates when the date of eruption is unknown?
The point is simply this: radiometric dating is known to produce grossly erroneous dates when heat is involved in the formation or fossilization process. And since the only rocks which yield ages in excess of 100,000 years are of volcanic origin, this method of dating the earth is not based on science, but rather speculation and subjecting reasoning. Unfortunately, the public is rarely informed of these facts. The bottom line is that there are only two ways to verify whether or not radiometric dating methods have any credibility at all. These are:
1. To compare the results with known dates based on historical and/or archeological data,
2. To cross-check the results with one or more different methods of radiometric dating.
The following tables illustrate the highly questionable, if not totally unreliable, nature of the radiometric methods that are currently in use or have been used in the past to "date" volcanic materials.
Table 1: The following is a comparison between rocks of known age Vs radiometric "age."
Rock Sample Obtained From Known Age from Historical
or Archaeological Data
Rocks Age from
Sunset Crater, Arizona 7 1,900 yrs 210,000--230,000 yrs K/Ar Russian Volcano 8 24,000 yrs 50 m.---14.6 b. yrs K/Ar Mt Rangitoto, New Zealand 9 3,300 yrs 485,000 yrs K/Ar Vulcan's Throne, Grand Canyon 10 10,000 yrs max. 114,000--120,000 yrs K/Ar Hualalai Volcano, Hawaii 11,12,13 200 yrs 140 m.---670 m. yrs Helium Hualalai Volcano, Hawaii 11,12,13 200 yrs 160 m.---2.96 b. yrs K/Ar *Mt. Kilauea, Hawaii 14 200 yrs 0 yrs at 1400 meters depth K/Ar *Mt. Kilauea, Hawaii 14 200 yrs 10-14 m.y. at 3420 meters
K/Ar *Mt. Kilauea, Hawaii 14 200 yrs 13-29 m.y. at 4680 meters
Note: Where abbreviations are used: b. = billion; and m. = million.
* The depth here refers to the depth below the surface of the water, since this volcano produced a lava
flow that flowed down the mountain and into the ocean.
Table 2: The following is a comparison between different methods of dating rocks of unknown age.
Known Age from Historical
or Archaeological Data
Rocks Age from
Salt Lake Crater, Hawaii 15,16,17 Unknown 2.6 m.---140 m. yrs Helium Salt Lake Crater, Hawaii 15,16,17 Unknown 400,000---3.3 b. yrs K/Ar Cubic Diamonds, Zaire 18,19 Unknown 6,000,000,000 yrs K/Ar KBS Tuff, E. Turkana, Kenya 20,21 Unknown 290,000---221 m. yrs K/Ar KBS Tuff, E. Turkana, Kenya 22 Unknown 2,420,000 yrs Fission Track Cardenas Basalts, Bottom of
Grand Canyon 23,24,25,26
Unknown 715,000,000 yrs K/Ar Isochron Cardenas Basalts, Bottom of
Grand Canyon. 23,24,25,26
Unknown 1.17 b. yrs Rb/Sr Isochron Uinkaret Plateau, Top of
Grand Canyon 23,24,25,26
Unknown 0.01--117 million yrs K/Ar Uinkaret Plateau, Top of
Grand Canyon 23,24,25,26
Unknown 1,340 million yrs Rb/Sr Isochron Uinkaret Plateau, Top of Grand
Unknown 2,600 million yrs Pb/Pb Isochron Morton gneisses, Minnesota 27 Unknown 2.5 billion yrs K/Ar Morton gneisses, Minnesota 27 Unknown 3.3 billion yrs Ur/Pb "Allende" Meteorite 28,29,30 Unknown 3.91 b.--11.7 b. yrs Ur/Th/Pb
"Allende" Meteorite 28,29,30 Unknown 4.49 b.--16.5 b. yrs Ur/Th/Pb Moon Rocks 31 Unknown 4.6 b.--8.2 b. yrs Ur/Pb Moon Rocks 32 Unknown 2.3 -- 3.76 b. yrs K/Ar Moon Rock (breccia) 33 Unknown 123.8 -- 125.5 b. yrs K/Ar
* Notes: Where abbreviations are used: b. = billion; and m. = million.
* "Allende" is the name given to the meteorite that was used to "date" the age of the earth.
* KBS stands for Kay Behrensmeyer Site. It is the site where the famous 1470 skull was found.
* Cubic Diamonds from Zaire were included because the "age" derived from them is greater than the purported
(4.5 b.y.) age of the earth.
For those who want to know More:
Radiometric Dating Game What About Zircon? Stumping Old Age Dogma The KBS Tuff
This really did happen.
4.6 Billion Years ??? What Age Do You Want? Carbon-14 Dating Dating Grand Canyon What About Carbon Dating? More Bad News
for Radiometric Dating
The theory of Continental Drift is also one of the primary lines of reasoning by popular science publications and the mass media to promote an old earth. The theory goes like this:
Since it appears that the East coasts of North and South America would fit together with the coasts of Africa and Europe, perhaps they once did. And if they were at one time joined together, then (so we are told) it must have taken millions of years for them to separate: 200 million years for North America and Europe, and about 20 million for South America and Africa. Few realize it but the 200 million year figure was arrived at (not by direct measurements but) by radiometric dating of ocean bottom rocks. In other words, since the oldest date for ocean bottom rocks is 200 million years, then this must be the length of time that it took for the continents to separate (or at least the North American part). So if we take the distance between any given point from the East Coast of North America to its corresponding midway point along the Mid-Atlantic Ridge (half-way point to Europe), this gives us the distance that the Continents have traveled. Then we simply divide this distance by our 200 million year "date" to arrive at the (assumed) amount that the Continents are still traveling each year, or so the theory goes. The figure is around five feet per century or 0.6 inches per year.
Although there are a number of problems with the continental drift theory itself (see Links below), there is also compelling evidence that the continents have split apart. This is supported primarily by:
- The puzzle-like fit between the North and South American coastlines and those of Europe and Africa.
- The location of the Mid-Atlantic ridge itself.
- The discovery that similar rock formations and mineral deposits match up along these two coastlines.
Since we have never witnessed rapid movements of huge landmasses over the surface of the earth, many think that it must have taken many millions of years for the continents to separate. They base this on present day earthquakes and radiometric dating of ocean bottom (igneous) rocks.
Since present day earthquakes only move adjoining faults from one to five inches per year (on average), it is assumed that this must have been the case throughout the earth's past. This assumption would be reasonable except for two things:
- There is little, if any, proof that earthquake faults are the same as ocean-bottom spreading, and
- There is very little, if any, scientific evidence that the Mid-Atlantic Ridge is still spreading.1
For these reasons it is difficult, if not impossible, to estimate how long it took for the continents to separate. In other words, this "clock" is invalid simply because the 200 million-year "age" of the Atlantic ocean is not based upon any measurable movement at the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, but rather upon the (assumed accuracy of) radiometric dating of ocean bottom rocks. 2
Radiometric Dating of Ocean Bottom Sediments
When one gets beyond the dogmatic parroting of popular (i.e. evolutionary) "science" publications, it becomes increasingly clear that virtually all radiometric dating methods are highly questionable and subjective. However, the dating of ocean bottom sediments by radiometric methods is even more questionable. Perhaps the simplest way to illustrate this is by looking at Table 1 of Radiometric dating. 3 In it there are three different dates given for the same eruption at Mt. Kilauea on the island of Hawaii.
Because this volcano produced lava flows that went into the ocean, it provided an excellent opportunity to take samples from the same flow at various depths beneath the ocean's surface. This allowed scientists to see whether or not there was any relationship between the radiometric "age" of the sample versus the depth at which the sample was collected. By doing this it was discovered that there is a relationship between the radiometric "age" (vs. true age) and the ocean depth at which the sample was collected. This means that the 200 million-year date for the oldest ocean bottom rocks is virtually meaningless. 4
If we assume that the continents did at one time form a solid land-mass, and if they have separated from the Mid-Atlantic ridge, then how long did it take for this to occur?
The answer to this question cannot be "proven" in a scientific sense because we can't go back in time to observe the splitting up of the continents. And since it has not been proven that the continents are still separating at the Mid-Atlantic Ridge it is impossible to know how long it took.
So How Long did it Take?
Since many creationists (both scientists and non-scientists) claim that the earth is less than 10,000 years old, the question that needs to be addressed is whether or not there is any evidence to suggest that this event took place rapidly within the recent past. For those who accept that the Bible is accurate, both historically and otherwise, the answer is simple since it tells us plainly that the earth was divided in one man's lifetime. For example, Genesis 10:25 tells us that:
"And two sons were born to Eber; the name of the one was Peleg, for in his days the earth was divided..." NASB
Some have said that this verse only applies to the spreading out of mankind from the Tower of Babel. This is certainly a possibility; however, it is also possible that it is talking about the literal break-up of the "earth" itself.
For those who don't believe the Bible the answer becomes more difficult to "prove." However, there still is evidence that the continents moved quite rapidly within a few hundred years after massive amounts of sediments were laid down. Lets look at some of this evidence.
Massive layers of sedimentary rock in many parts of the world have been severely distorted (i.e. bent out of shape), yet they display little, if any, cracking or breaking. 5,6 In other words these rocks appear to have been bent before they had time to harden. Even the crystalline structure displays little, if any, stretching of the individual sand grains -- thus strongly implying that they were bent while the sediments were still wet, and before they had time to harden. And since this hardening would only take from perhaps one hundred to a thousand years, this strongly implies that something caused these massive sedimentary rock layers to become bent within a relatively short time after being laid down. This also implies that the layers themselves were deposited rather rapidly (i.e. virtually all at once) and that some massive event--such as the moving of the continents -- caused them to be uplifted and bent.
In many parts of the world tree stumps have been found imbedded in vertical position running through multiple layers of strata. Such facts indicate that these trees were buried catastrophically (i.e. rapidly) before they had time to decay. In Nova Scotia, for instance, at a place called Joggins, 7 tree stumps are imbedded vertically and randomly throughout approximately 2,500 feet of layered sedimentary strata. In some cases they are more than 20 feet long. 8,9 For more on this see the Polystrate Fossil section of Scientific Evidence for a Worldwide Flood. For a more detailed discussion see: The "Fossil Forests" of Nova Scotia. Numerous Links to other sites are provided both in the text and at the end of the these documents.
According to Roth, "a clastic dike is a cross cutting body of sedimentary material which has been intruded into a foreign rock mass." 10
"These dikes... (may) penetrate horizontal sedimentary strata (or) they may occur... in igneous and metamorphic rocks. The process of formation of a clastic dike is analogous to wet sand oozing up between ones toes, but on a much larger scale." 10
Clastic dikes present a problem to the "millions of years" mindset of evolution in that "millions of years" older sediments (that should have been rock-hard for "millions of years") are found intruding up into overlying younger ones while still in a plastic state. This presents a profound and puzzling question:
What took these older sediments so long to become hard?
One would think that 80--400million years would be more than enough time to turn massive sand-laden sediments into sandstone, 10,11,12 yet these were still in a wet and plastic state when an earth movement caused them to be forced up into "younger" sediments. Such things place serious strain on the evolutionary method of "dating" rock formations. They also provide us with strong evidence that massive amounts of sediments were laid down rapidly, and suggest that the Earth isn't very old at all.
Unpetrified Tree Trunks:
On Axel Heiberg and Ellesmere Islands, in Northern Canada, numerous large tree stumps and fallen tree trunks have been found at or just below the earth's surface. 13,14,15,16 What is so strange about this is that today the only type of vegetation that grows in this area are small plants and shrubs. 14
How did these trees get there? And more importantly, when did they get there?
Evolutionists claim that these trees are leftover remnants of numerous forests which inhabited this area 45-60 million years ago; 14 however, the scientific data seems to suggest otherwise. For instance, these trees are not petrified 13,14,15,16 -- meaning that the wood can be sawed and burned. In addition, pine cones, pine needles, and leaves are also preserved in the sandy silt-like soil.14,15 Another clue to this puzzle is that the roots of these trees are not preserved. 13,14,15 This strongly suggests that they were missing when the trees were deposited, and that the trees themselves were uprooted by a catastrophic event similar to what happened to the trees at Mt. St. Helens during its 1980 eruption. And although the trees on these two islands are frozen for most of the year, each summer the snow melts and for several months the temperature reaches into the 70 degree F. range. I mention this because warm temperatures allow decomposition to take place much more rapidly. Taken together, the evidence suggests that these trees were uprooted via a major catastrophe and transported by water and buried at different depths -- (most likely) within the past 5-10,000 years -- otherwise they would have decayed long ago.
Magnetic Evidence on the Ocean Floor
Another piece of evidence to the continental drift puzzle is the existence of magnetic imprints in ocean bottom rocks on both sides of the Mid-Atlantic ridges. These suggest that the earth's magnetic field may have oscillated back and forth many times when the continents were spreading apart. This evidence was collected by towing magnetometers along the ocean bottom and by drilling holes into the rocks at regular intervals away from the ocean ridges. The data shows that the reversals were randomly distributed both horizontally along and vertically down these rock holes. This finding was unexpected and implies that whatever mechanism caused the continents to split was much more complex than old earth models had predicted. 17,18,19,20,21
The San Andreas Fault :
The evidence seems to suggest that the plates along San Andreas Fault have only been moving for a few thousand years at most. This can be observed by looking at a map of the San Andreas fault area, near Point Reyes, California. For even though the fault runs directly through two peninsulas (Sand Point and Toms Point), neither of them appear offset at all. 22 Furthermore, since these plates (presently) move at the rate of one to two inches per year, if we assume that this has been going on for (only) the past 10,000 years, then these two peninsulas should be offset by more than 1/4 mile. However we don't observe even the slightest offset of these peninsulas on the map.
Some have suggested that this is because of the types of sediments along this portion of the coast, and that they would be worn down as they were beaten up by the waves; if this were the case then it would still only apply to the Northern (or upper left side) portions, but not to the lower Southern (lower left side) portions. In other words, the bottom portions should still be offset. This strongly suggests that the San Andreas fault is quite young (probably less than 5,000 years old). It also is an indication that the continents themselves are young as well. The diagram below illustrates this point.
In spite of what we have been told by the mass media and "science" publications, there is no strong evidence (much less proof) that the continents have been drifting apart for millions of years, and in fact, the evidence suggests that they split up quite rapidly. There is also no strong evidence that plate movements today have anything to do with the (proposed) Continental spreading along the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. It is also doubtful that what caused the continents to separate along the Mid-Atlantic Ridge 23 is still occurring today. And although plate movements still occur, resulting in earthquakes, the evidence seems to suggest that such movements have only been taking place for a few thousand years.
For those who want to know More:
The Big Bang:
Another pillar upon which Old Earth beliefs rest is the Big Bang and the (proposed slow) expansion of the Universe. However, recent discoveries are suggesting that something is wrong with the Big Bang theory and the way it has been portrayed to the public. That's because astronomers and cosmologists really DON'T have it all figured out yet -- and they may not even be on the right track. For example, it has been said that:
"The currently popular cosmological model is subject to many doubts based upon observational data which suggest that, perhaps, there never was a Big Bang." 1
This statement came from three highly respected astronomers and was published in a prestigious scientific journal in 1990. More recently though, another science article carried the following introductory headline:
"There's not one crisis but two: the universe seems to be younger than the stars in it, and a huge chunk of it is headed in the wrong direction, fast. As cosmologists scramble for answers, no theory is safe anymore." 2
The theory of the Big Bang was first conceived as a result of the work of American astronomer, Edwin Hubble. Hubble was the first to propose the idea of an expanding Universe. 3 If he is correct, and if we could travel back into the past, to the beginning of time, when it all expanded (or so the theory goes), then there must have been a time when everything was clumped together into one tiny ball of matter. And then we are told that something happened...
All of the sudden, this tiny clump of matter is supposed to have exploded into a Big Bang, and then Vwuallah! Seven to 20 billion years later (depending on whom you ask, and what year you asked them), here we are -- without any sort of Intelligence to plan out, or act upon any of that matter. And this it still the ONLY viewpoint that is allowed to be taught in our classrooms today; for any viewpoint that even HINTS at the (very strong) probability of a Creator being involved is said to be off limits, and out of the realm of "science" and therefore should not even be examined and explored, or even mentioned.
Those who promote this theory also usually speculate that this small "clump" of matter, that (supposedly) contained all the matter in the universe, was no larger than a golf ball.
In other words, the Big Bang theory speculates that out of a great chaotic explosion came all of the order and complexity that we see around us today, with no intelligence required to plan out, design or build anything. In reality though, this theory is nothing more than an attempt by men (whose knowledge is quite limited) to try and explain how they think we might have been created -- without a Creator. For this reason, this theory goes hand in hand with the theory of evolution, which is an attempt to do likewise. Small wonder that those who promote this theory are also, more often than not, believers in evolution.
In reality though, astronomers are not even sure that the Universe is expanding. 4,5,6 That's because no one has ever seen it doing so. Rather the expansion of the Universe (theory) is based on indirect evidence, such as the red shift of many stars and galaxies.
Some scientists are also trying to tell us that the cosmic microwave background radiation (or CMB) also supports the belief in an expanding Universe; however, as we shall see, the actual data appears to contradict it.
Even if the Universe is expanding, speculative theories such as the Big Bang still cannot account for the order and complexity that we see around us. This is because, explosions are never observed to create (or result in) order, but rather disorder and chaos. Also because we never actually observe self-replicating organisms, or anything even remotely similar to them forming by themselves in laboratories or slime pools or ocean vents: nor have we been able to make one ourselves by (LOTS and LOTS of) DNA programming (i.e. ordering), and organizing (i.e. planning, designing and ordering) all sorts of different proteins and even more complicated structures that are found inside of living organisms. And even IF we do get to the point where we can DESIGN one, it takes an almost preposterous amount of FAITH (as in wishful thinking) to expect or suppose that the BLIND, and (for the most part) DESTRUCTIVE forces of mother nature could (over any amount of time) accomplish the same feat.
However, in spite of these facts many scientists (apparently) WANT to believe that (somehow), in a land far, far away, the impossible happened. Not only that, but they also WANT us to do likewise. Its as if they WANT to believe in anything but a Creator/God, even when that is where the evidence clearly leads. Why this is we may never know: perhaps because they don't like the idea that they were created by a Being FAR GREATER than they, or perhaps because they're upset that this Creator (of theirs) would dare to try to assert any control over them and their lives -- and especially not if it involves any of their time, talents, or money, or more personal things, such as what they do with their free time. Or perhaps they are simply afraid that their colleagues won't approve of them if they were to admit that a Creator is, in fact, the best and most logical explanation as to how we got here.
The Red Shift
There once was an astronomer whose name was Hubble. And Mr. Hubble noticed that some stars have an orange or reddish color to them while others are white or green or bluish. So Mr. Hubble theorized that this was because they were either (in the case of orange or reddish stars) moving away from us, or (in the case of bluish ones) moving toward us. For when one considers that red colors have a longer wavelength than blue colors, and that a glowing object that is moving away from an observer will have a stretched out (or longer) wavelength than if it were stationary, or moving toward that observer, then the idea of red shift (or that reddish colored stars or galaxies are red because they are moving away from us) seems logical. And since many stars outside of our own Milky Way galaxy are shifted to the red side of the color spectrum, many scientists have interpreted this as evidence that the Universe is expanding.
However, there are a few unexplained problems with the data: one of which is that almost all of the most distant galaxies that we observe are blue-shifted. 7,8 This would seem to indicate that they are moving toward us, and that the Universe is not expanding, but rather imploding, or coming back together.
Another problem with regard to the red-shift / expansion theory concerns some observations made by American astronomer William Tiff, and later verified by British astronomers Bruce Guthrie and William Napier, who reported that:
"New evidence has been found to support the controversial claim that the red shifts or nearby galaxies show a periodic pattern: that is, they are 'bunched' together at regular intervals..." And that "...new physics is needed to explain them." 9
They also reported that the odds of the stair-stepped (periodic) pattern occurring in the red shift were about 1 in 100,000.
This means is that, if the Universe is (or at one time was) expanding, then it appears that the expansion itself was controlled -- as opposed to being simply a randomly scattered outward explosion. To those who reject the idea of (and belief in) a Creator/God, this evidence may be unsettling; however, to those who believe in God, such a concept it is readily acceptable since we are told very plainly in Psalm 104:2 and Isaiah 40:22 (and various other places in the Old Testament) that God did, indeed, stretch out the Heavens.
For a more detailed explanation of this, and how it is that we see stars and galaxies that are supposed to be many thousands (or millions) of light years away, see "Starlight and Time" by D. Russell Humphreys, Ph.D.
Another problem with the red-shift expansion theory is an observation by astronomers Halton Arp and Fred Hoyle. For they have discovered galaxies with “very different red shifts” that “appear to be connected.”9,10,11 See also Discovery Poses Cosmic Puzzle 10 and, More evidence for galactic "shells". 11
Other problems also spell trouble for the Big Bang, such as measurements made by two separate teams of astronomers contradict what astrophysicists have been saying for years: i.e. that:
"... there is almost no doubt that the oldest stars in the Milky Way... are at least 14 billion years old." 12 Emphasis Added
However two separate studies by well respected teams of astronomers, have indicated that the Universe is only 7-12 billion years old. This, of course, presents a problem for cosmology, since:
"A universe younger than the stars it contains is, to say the least, a fundamental contradiction." 12
Regarding these measurements, and other unexplained data, one astronomer remarked that:
"It would be premature to panic... But if these results are confirmed, we theorists will be in big trouble. We really have no good ways of explaining these observations. 12
And regarding attempts to reconcile this age problem by stretching the theoretical formulas that (supposedly) prove such great ages for "old" stars, one astrophysicist said that:
"We really are happier with 17" 13 -- as in 17 billion years for the age of the oldest stars...,
"The cosmologists are constantly pressuring us to stretch this a little further, but believe me, we can't. And our group consistently gets younger ages for the stars than most others do. The stars could easily be as old as 19 or 20 billion years old, or even older." 13
Other sources make similar statements, 14,15,16,17 such as:
"Reports that the big bang is dead may be premature. But the theory that the universe originated in a single, gigantic explosion of matter has definitely been dealt some savage blows in recent years." 14
"Observations of red supergiant stars in a nearby galaxy... suggest that the universe is less than 10 b.y. old... This is ... less than the ... age of some stars, posing an awkward problem for cosmologists." 18
In the above referenced article we note that Sandage and Tamman came up with an age of between 13-17 billion years for the universe, while Pierce, Ressler, and Sure came up with around 8 billion. The latter group stated that:
"These values... imply that the Universe is only 7.6 to 9.6 b.y. old." 18
Isn't it amazing how astronomers know so much about stars that they can declare their ages just by looking at them? And isn't it noteworthy how one team of astronomers can come up with 13-17 billion years for the age of the universe, while a few years later another team comes up with half that much. 19 Is it not possible, if not probable, that neither astronomers nor cosmologists really know how old the universe is?
One of the problems is the fact that the Universe is quite large, and the stars and galaxies in it are too far away to measure directly, or even with much accuracy. For example, it is said that:
"The speed of a galaxy can be deduced from its Doppler shift of the lines in its spectrum. Most of the motion of nearby galaxies is caused by the gravitational effects of their neighbors, so astronomers have to study galaxies at least 20 or 30 million light years away to disentangle the effects of the expanding universe." 19
The Big Bang's Shaky Foundation:
The evidence for the Big Bang consists of the following:
1. The alleged expansion of the Universe, based on the red shift.
2. The Microwave Background Radiation.
3. the abundance of helium in the Universe. 20,21
However, none of these evidences are proof of a big bang, since each can be accounted for by things other than an explosion. 22 In this regard, the editors of New Scientist remarked that:
"Never has such a mighty edifice been built on such insubstantial foundations." 23
"... the big bang theory will definitely need some major modifications if it is to survive into the future." 23
From Big Bang to Long (and Continuous) Smooth Bang
The Jan. 1997 issue of Discover magazine stated that:
"...with the flood of (new) data, old ideas about galaxy formation are toppling. Particularly imperiled is the notion that virtually all galaxies came into existence at the same moment in the distant past, emitting a collective burst of light like some grand fireworks display." 24
"Now... astronomers believe that galaxies..." (were created) "not all at once but continuously ... over a period of billions of years." 24
The only thing the author didn't tell us is what it was that made astronomers change their "notion" about the "collective burst of light" (i.e. their former belief in the Big Bang) and why they now think that new galaxies are continually being created. However, the author did give a clue when she stated that astronomers:
"... figured there was a precise era when galaxies were first constructed, when all those islands of new stars 'turned on' in relative unison... (they) therefore were looking for signs of a sudden eruption of light in the distant cosmos." 24
"For years they probed the distant cosmos and came up empty handed. They could say only that distant galaxies and clusters looked a bit 'bluer,' a sign perhaps of heightened star formation. Young and massive stars... tend to put out more blue light." 24
Or so we are told, at least.
If the Data Doesn't Fit, Change the Rules a Bit:
In effect, astronomers are now saying that many of the closer galaxies are red shifted because they are moving away from us, but the furthest ones are blue shifted, not because they are moving toward us, but because they are younger. In other words, since the (blue-shift-for-furthest-galaxies) data doesn't fit with the red shift theory, for objects that are (supposed to be) moving away from us, and since we are not ready to completely dump the Big Bang, then we'll simply change the rules a bit, by saying that the furthest galaxies are blue shifted, not because they are moving toward us, but because they are young, while the red ones are red (not because they are old, but) because they are moving away from us. In other words, they want it both ways.
For IF the Universe were indeed expanding, and IF the galaxies were all created as the result of a Big Bang, then they would all have formed at about the same time: meaning that the furthest galaxies should have the highest degree of red shift (and actually be red, as opposed to blue). But since they don't, astronomers are now saying that the blue color has nothing at all to do with their motion, but is simply a sign of their age.
Perhaps astronomers and cosmologists really don't know all that much about how our universe (and the stars in it) was created, nor even when it was created. In fact, they don't even know whether or not it is expanding or collapsing. For those who doubt this, consider the following remark from Astronomy magazine:
"Four years ago an ambitious pair of young astronomers ... looked deep into the ... sky trying to confirm a prediction made by every respectable cosmological theory. On very large scales, these theories said, the universe should be moving just one way -- outward..."
"That is not the way it worked out. Instead, Laur and Postman found that a huge chunk of the universe appears to be heading off ... toward some far off point in the direction of Virgo..." 25
Laur and Postman's results sent shock waves through the world of cosmology. If all that mass is moving away on so large a scale, then the big bang was not as smooth and uniform as virtually all modern cosmological theories demand. As one astronomer put it, 'If this result is true then we know less than nothing.'" 25 Emphasis Added
Cepheid Variables and Great Distances
Because the universe is so large, astronomers are unable to measure distances to the overwhelming majority of stars and galaxies directly, but must devise other (indirect) methods of doing so, such as the use of stars called Cepheid variables.
Cepheids are stars that vary in brightness over time. The time it takes for them to go from their brightest phase to their dimmest and back again is referred to as the period. It usually varies from several hours to ten days. But perhaps the most interesting thing about these stars is not that they vary, but rather that the individual star's period is believed to be proportional to its brightness, and therefore, it is also believed that:
"... the distance to a Cepheid can be calculated from its period and its average brightness (or luminosity as observed from the earth)." 26
In principle, determining the value of the (believed) expansion rate of the Universe (referred to as the Hubble Constant, or H.C.) is rather simple, requiring only a measurement of distance and velocity. 26 And although it is said that: "... measuring the velocity of a galaxy is straightforward, gauging the distance is rather difficult." 26 It should also be mentioned here that the "straightforward" method used to determine a galaxy's velocity is its red shift, 26 and that determining the distance to a galaxy requires the use of a "variety of complicated methods," each of which "has its advantages" but none of which are "perfect." 26 In addition, each of the methods requires the use of Cepheid Variables.
Difficulties with Using Cepheids to Measure Great Distances
Even IF astronomers are correct in saying that a Cepheid's period is related to its brightness, there are still assumptions which must be made in order to use this technique to calculate how far away a given Cepheid is. And even IF their assumptions are correct, there are still other significant problems.
For example, it must be assumed that Cepheids with similar periods are also the same size, and therefore the same brightness. While this may be a reasonable assumption, it is an assumption nevertheless.
But then there is the problem of Polaris: for although it is a Cepheid, its pulse "mysteriously stopped beating" 28 for several years, and then, just as mysteriously, started up again at a different pulse rate, and now it appears to be slowing down again rather fast. 27,28,29,30,31
Another problem with using Cepheids as distances ladders (or yardsticks) is that their luminosity can be diminished by space dust. To compensate for this "astronomers either observe" (them) at infrared wavelengths where the effects are less significant," or they "observe them at many different wavelengths so they can assess the effects and correct for them." 32
Then there is the local vicinity (or nearness) problem, since Cepheids are "... bright enough to be observed only in the nearest galaxies, not the distant ones." 32 And although we are told that nearby galaxies are "participating in the expansion of the universe, the gravitational interactions among the neighbors may be causing some to move faster or slower than the rest of the universe" 32 -- except, of course, for the HUGE CHUNK (which we are a part of) that is moving in the direction of Virgo. Therefore "... to calculate the Hubble Constant, astronomers must accurately determine the distances to remote galaxies, and the task is extremely difficult." 32 Emphasis Added
Translation: Although Cepheids are used as a "standard candle" to measure distances, they are really not that foolproof, and especially when it comes to measuring distances to far-off galaxies.
"Nevertheless," we are told that "astronomers have developed several methods for determining distances to remote galaxies," 32 but that:
"Because many of these techniques must be calibrated using the Cepheid distance scale, they are considered secondary distance indicators ... Yet scientists cannot reach a consensus about which, if any, secondary indicators are reliable." 32
"Furthermore," (astronomers) "disagree about how they should apply any of the methods and then whether they should adjust the results to account for various effects that might bias the results." 32
What is CMB, and Why it Doesn't Support the Big Bang:
CMB is short for Cosmic Microwave Background radiation. It is supposed to be radiation left over from the Big Bang that we are told occurred from 7-20 billion years ago. Scientists were hoping they could point a directional radiation detector in a certain direction in outer space, and come up with a greater amount of radiation coming from that direction. They were hoping that such would be an indication of the direction that the far off bang is supposed to have come from, and provide a bit of confirmation for the Big Bang theory. However, what they found is that no matter what direction they pointed their detector in, they got (almost exactly) the same result. This was a big disappointment to Big Bang theorists and required some fancy footwork to "recover" (their theory) from. Below are a few quotes with regard to this episode.
"...cosmic background radiation now seems to be contradicting our very existence, by telling us that matter in the early universe was distributed extremely smoothly, with no evidence of any lumpiness out of which galaxies could have condensed." 33
"Another problem was the very smoothness of the so-called background radiation. Large scale surveys of space have shown that matter is not evenly distributed at all, but exists in the form of huge clusters of galaxies, and even larger-scale clumping, including some huge structures... like the Great Wall... while there are vast empty reaches..." 34
They wanted some proof, and so:
"Big bang theorists decided that if they could find some variation or ripples in the pervasive 3K radiation, this would be an adequate explanation of the origin of the large-scale structures." 34
"To verify this prediction, NASA designed a special satellite detector called COBE (Cosmic Background Explorer). COBE was launched in 1989; however, the expected ripples were never found." 34
"By 1991, no variation had been detected and the big bang theorists were beginning to panic. Then in April of 1992 a computer program was used to analyze the data, and at last something was detected -- hot and cold spots differing in temperature by up to about 3/100,000ths of a degree Celsius. 9" 34 Emphasis Added
Other possible explanations for these minute differences (other than a big bang) are given in references 10-13 of this paper. 34 Instrument sensitivity was not listed, but this is certainly also a possibility.
What Scientists are Reluctant to Admit about Star Formation Theories:
Cosmologists have theorized that stars form from huge clouds of gasses (primarily hydrogen and helium) that somehow collapse in on themselves due to gravity. But this is only speculation.
The truth is that, as far as we know, gasses resist being compressed. And the more they are compressed, the greater the outward force becomes. However, in outer space, there is nothing to keep a cloud of gas from moving (or expanding) outward into a larger and larger area. There is also no proof that once a cloud of gas gets so large it will somehow collapse in on itself. Therefore, in outer space, the more gas there is, the more space that any given gas cloud will take up. This is also why we (even today) still observe extremely large clouds of gasses way off in outer space. And when we do so, they are not always round, but take up all sorts of different shapes. And although some stars may be nuclear furnaces with lots of gas in them, we do not know how they came to be, nor have we ever actually seen a new star turn on, or light up (i.e. come into existence). 35 Some may say that this is because it would take "millions of years" for it to do so; however, such notions are nothing more than fanciful excuses for a theory that is weak. For the fact is that once that furnace ignited, it would immediately begin producing light, that would immediately begin traveling outward in all directions.
In other words, one would think that IF new stars were indeed still forming in other galaxies, that they would be doing so almost continuously, and that, at least some of them, somewhere in this great universe of ours would start "popping up" somewhere. But as far as we know, NOT ONE of them has done so; however, we have witnessed their destruction on many occasions.
The Hidden Secret Behind Dark Matter:
For some time now astronomers have been telling us that the universe consists of 95-99% cold dark matter (CDM), that cannot be seen or even detected except by its gravitational force; however, they haven't told us why they believe this, other than to say that the motions of stars and galaxies demands it.
What is wrong with this scenario? Are cosmologists and astronomers hiding something from the public?
Let's take a look at some of the things that have been said in this regard:.
"With 95% of the visible universe consisting of cold dark matter of unknown composition, we are in the humiliating position of knowing only about 5% of what we see is made of." 36
And with regard to what this "dark matter" consists of we are "completely in the dark." 36
"...calculations have shown that the detected matter in the universe is only about 1% of the amount required to produce the gravitational attraction needed to form all the galaxies and clumps of galaxies, even within ... 15 billion years. This problem was solved with the stroke of a pen..." 37
And so, to account for this:
"In the early 1980's, cosmological theoreticians decided that the universe was now made up of nearly 99% 'cold dark matter' (CDM) -- necessarily 'dark' because no one has ever seen it or detected it..." 37
In a nutshell, the theory of Dark Matter was invented (out of thin air) to try and explain why Galaxies exist, and especially why they have "structure" (i.e. spiral arms) and why they look as if they are quite young -- when, of course, we just KNOW they must be (very, very) OLD.
For more on the subject of Dark Matter and how the Galaxies themselves provide evidence of a Young Universe see What Happened to all that Dark Matter? 38
Conclusion: Scientists don't really know how old the universe is, nor how old the earth is, and many of them are heavily biased due to their overly optimistic beliefs regarding the mysterious power of mother nature to make ordinary, dead, matter organize itself, and come to life. The Laws of science and probability tell us that it would never happen in a trillion, trillion, years, ... and yet here we are. Therefore, they want us to think that.... they know a LOT MORE than us Creationist / believers in God about our origins and the age of things, and that only THEY should be allowed to teach our children what THEY believe -- no matter how unscientific and / or preposterous of a theory it turns out to be.
Copyright, 2006 Randy S. Berg; No part of this paper may be reproduced, used, or sold for profit without
the express written consent of the author. Copies may be distributed freely for educational purposes only.
For those who want to know More:
Scientific Evidence for a Worldwide Flood
Evidence for a Young Earth
Articles On the Age of the Earth:
The Mssng Roots
The Missing Matter
Essays on Evolution
Science Vs Evolution
The Age of the Earth
Young Earth Evidences
The Age of the Universe
The Continental Drift Story
Evidence for a Young World
The Age of the Earth 1 & 2
The Evolution Of A Creationist
Evidence Supporting A Recent Creation
The Bible and the Young Age of the Earth
Is the Earth Really 4.5 Billion Years Old?
Books on the Earth's Age:
The Young Earth
The Age of the Earth
Thousands... Not Billions
Its a Young World After All
The Illustrated Origins Answer Book
Radioisotopes and the Age of the Earth
Links to Creationist Web Sites
Creationist Author Link Page
Creation Web Sites Link Page
VHS & DVD Video Link Page
The Age of the Earth Link Page
Modern Science's Christian Foundation
True Origin Archive of Creationist Papers
‘Young’ age of the Earth & Universe Q&A
Evidence for an Old Earth
A Closer Look at the Age of the Earth
And The Science Vs Evolution Debate
What You Probably Didn't Know About Those Ice Cores