Evidence for a Young Earth, Part 1

Clouds_over_the_Atlantic_Ocean

Okay, this post has been a long time coming. I mentioned during my Swiftocracy post on the subject that I’d soon be writing on some of the physical, measurable, scientific facts that are better explained by a Young Earth Creationist model than the standard Uniformitarian model. Unfortunately soon after the last Swiftocracy post I was hit with a rather large project at work and soon lost almost all of my writing time. On top of that, I wanted to be sure to do this post correctly, with some research instead of simply from memory. Research that I didn’t have much time to do.

But here it is. It’s a summary, mind you, but a summary is better than nothing. Here are some of the best evidences that the Earth may be a great deal younger than we think.

You may have noticed that I used the world Uniformitarian to refer to the standard model of dating the Earth. The whole idea of Uniformitarianism is that the key to understanding the past comes though observing the present. With a few exceptions the natural processes we see around us today have been essentially the same throughout the history of our Earth. This idea came about in contrast to Catastrophism, which theorized that the Earth had been shaped by several massive, near global catastrophes throughout it’s history.

However the Uniformitarian model has some issues when you break it down. The first group of “evidences” I’ll list here are those that are difficult for the Uniformitarian model to explain, but explained easily if the Earth is much younger.

1. The Amount of Salt and Sediment in the Ocean

Just about all the salt you can taste in ocean water started out on land. When rainwater collects into rivers salts and sediments are dissolved and brought to the ocean. We can fairly accurately measure the amount of erosion that occurs each year; that is, the amount of sediment that is transported from land into the ocean via rivers and other processes. We can also fairly accurately measure the amount of salt that is added to the ocean each year. Once salt and sediment enters the ocean it almost never leaves, but simply builds up. About 20 million tons of sediment and 450 million tons of sodium are added to the world’s oceans each year¹.

The sediments pile up on top of the basalt rock of the ocean floor. The salt is absorbed into the water, and about 27% of the 450 million tons that are added each year end up leaving the ocean through various means. The other 73% remains. At the current rate of deposition, it would take less than 46 million years for the ocean to have achieved it’s current level of saltiness if it started with no salt at all². This is far less than the current stated age of the oceans, which is 3 billion years.

Similarly to our best modern knowledge only about 1 billion tons of sediment are removed from the ocean floor each year through plate tectonic subduction, which means that 19 billion tons simply accumulate each year. Following Uniformitarian assumptions (that is the assumption that the amount of sediment that is deposited now will be very similar to the amount that has always been deposited) it would only take 12 million years to build up the amount of sediment that currently exists. Again, that’s 12 million compared to Uniformitarian ocean age of 3 billion years. There is a massive amount of missing sediment, and no current explanation for where it all went.

The next natural question is how the YEC model fares any better, since 12 and 46 million years are a far cry from the 15 to 7 thousand year age that the YEC model proposes. Still, an integral part of the YEC model is that at some point the Earth was devastated by a worldwide flood event. This event, if it occurred, would have resulted in massive amounts of sediment and sodium being eroded in an extremely short period of time.

2. The decay of the Earth’s Magnetic Field

The Earth’s magnetic field is something that we have been able to accurately measure since the mid 19th century. Since 1845 regular and well documented measurements have recorded that the magnetic field appears to be exponentially decaying. Archeological measurements seem to indicate that the magnetic field was 40% stronger in the year 1000 AD than it is today. The earth is rapidly losing it’s magnetism, with a 1.4% decrease recorded in only three decades, between 1970 and 2000¹. These measurements tell us that the Earth’s magnetic field has a half life of about 1,465 years: that is, the field’s strength is reduced by 50% every 1,465 years. However, this has interesting results if you extrapolate this trend into the past, with the magnetic field effectively doubling every 1,465 years into the past. At that rate the magnetic field would be so powerful that only 20,000 years ago the heat it generated would prevent life from existing on Earth’s surface. In other words there is no way that the current rate of decay has been maintained over more than 4 billion years, not even close. There are two explanations for this. The Uniformitarian explanation is that a complicated series of currents in the outer core of the planet create a kind of dynamo effect that “recharges” the Earth’s magnetic field over time, and that this current decay is just part of an oscillation where the field goes up and down in strength. The YEC explanation is that the Earth’s magnetic field is caused by a simple current of molten metal that is gradually slowing down due to friction (think of a giant bowl of pancake batter that you’re stirring rapidly. If you remove your whisk the batter will continue to rotate in the same direction, but will eventually come to a stop. It’s the same principle).

In this sense the YEC model explains the facts we can measure today in a far simpler manner than the Uniformitarian model, which must posit a complicated continuously acting “dynamo” system in the outer core. I’ve also read that the YEC model better matches up with the electrical currents we can measure on the ocean floor, but since I am neither a geologist nor an electrical engineer I’m not going to go into that.

3. The Amount of Helium in the Atmosphere and in the Crust

One of the byproducts the radioactive decay of certain isotopes of uranium and thorium in helium. Helium is an extremely light gas, and is difficult to contain. Have you noticed that a helium balloon will slowly lose it’s lifting power over time, and that the balloon itself will seem to be shrinking? That’s because helium is an amazing escape artist and will slowly escape most materials that try to contain it. Rocks are no exception, so when helium is produced by radioactive decay the helium atoms will slowly make their way to the surface. We can measure this rate of escape pretty accurately.

However when certain geologists were drilling into Precambrian rocks in New Mexico they discovered samples of zircon crystals that showed something remarkable. They contained both uranium and helium within them; far more helium then should still be hanging around ¹. The helium contained within the zircons should have escaped over a maximum period of 100,000 years: however these zircons were from rock that was dated to be 1.5 billion years old. Using the confirmed rate of helium diffusion as a measuring device the zircons gave them a probable age of between 4,000 and 8,000 years old, fitting nicely within the YEC framework. As it stands the helium content of these zircons remains a puzzling mystery to the Uniformitarian model.

When helium escapes from rock, it enters the atmosphere. Some helium escapes into space, but for the most part it migrates to the upper atmosphere and remains. Given the current measured amount of helium escaping into the atmosphere the current levels of atmospheric helium would have accumulated in 1.8 million years. If a flood event occurred, followed by massive upheaval and tectonic activity (as the YEC model holds), then that could explain how that much helium escaped the crust in only 12 to 6 thousand years.

Hoo body, we’re at over 1,000 words already, and I’m only about halfway done. We’ll continue this on Wednesday.

Footnotes:

#1

¹M. Meybeck, “Concentrations des eaux fluvials en majeurs et apports en solution aux oceans,” Revue de Géologie Dynamique et de Géographie Physique 21, no. 3 (1979): 215.

²F. L. Sayles and P. C. Mangelsdorf, “Cation-Exchange Characteristics of Amazon with Suspended Sediment and Its Reaction with Seawater,” Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 43 (1979): 767–779.

#2

¹A. L. McDonald and R. H. Gunst, “An Analysis of the Earth’s Magnetic Field from 1835 to 1965,” ESSA Technical Report, IER 46-IES 1 (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1967).

R. T. Merrill and M. W. McElhinney, The Earth’s Magnetic Field (London: Academic Press, 1983), pp. 101–106.

#3

¹R. V. Gentry, G. L. Glish, and E. H. McBay, “Differential Helium Retention in Zircons: Implications for Nuclear Waste Containment,” Geophysical Research Letters 9, no. 10 (1982): 1129–1130.

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About Mark Hamilton

I am, in no particular order, a nerd, an aspiring writer, a Christian, an aspiring filmmaker, an avid reader, a male, a YEC, a GM, and a twenty something. I like learning how things are made, finding out how to do things from scratch, and I you can find more of my writing at thepagenebula.wordpress.com

Posted on January 13, 2014, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 31 Comments.

  1. “Banks and Holzer (12) have shown that the polar wind can account for an escape of (2 to 4) x 106 ions/cm2 /sec of 4He, which is nearly identical to the estimated production flux of (2.5 +/- 1.5) x 106 atoms/cm2/sec. Calculations for 3He lead to similar results, i.e., a rate virtually identical to the estimated production flux. Another possible escape mechanism is direct interaction of the solar wind with the upper atmosphere during the short periods of lower magnetic-field intensity while the field is reversing. Sheldon and Kern (112) estimated that 20 geomagnetic-field reversals over the past 3.5 million years would have assured a balance between helium production and loss.” ( Dalrymple 1984, p. 112 )

    Dalrymple’s references:

    (12) Banks, P. M. & T. E. Holzer. 1969. “High-latitude plasma transport: the polar wind” in Journal of Geophysical Research 74, pp. 6317-6332.
    (112) Sheldon, W. R. & J. W. Kern. 1972. “Atmospheric helium and geomagnetic field reversals” in Journal of Geophysical Research 77, pp. 6194-6201.

    • That may be a possible explanation for athmospheric helium, but it has it’s caveots. For instance it requires us to assume that the goemagnetic-field reversals occured over long enough periods of time to allow helium to escape. However there is confirmed evidence that reversals can take place over the period of a week.

      Still, this doesn’t explain the helium found in the New Mexico zircons which by all accounts should not have remained present if they are as old as estimated.

      Coe, R. S.; Prévot, M.; Camps, P. (20 April 1995). “New evidence for extraordinarily rapid change of the geomagnetic field during a reversal”. Nature 374 (6524): 687. Bibcode:1995Natur.374..687C

    • I’ve read it over, and they do offer some valid criticisms, though I’m not wholely satisfied. Particularly the criticism that the crytals must be getting helium from elsewhere in the area. Even if true, this leads to more questions: why hasn’t that helium dissapaited as well? Why would there be excess helium in rocks below (read, far older) the zircon crystals in question? Still, even if these zircon crystals proved to be inadequate evidence it doesn’t change the other evidences I’ve presented, namely the sediment and saline buildup in the oceans.

      I respect you actually trying to engage with the evidence I’ve put forward instead of simply insulting my intellegence as many others would in your place (and as you have elsewhere, at other times). Before you spend to much time on this I feel I must clarify something to you on this point. I don’t believe in God because I am a YEC: I’m a YEC because I believe in God. What I mean by that is that even if you somehow convinced me not to be a YEC, I’d still be a Christian. Because of this I would still be incredibly skeptical about secular theories on the orgins of life and the Earth itself. As I’ve written about before, I believe God created everything and secular science begins with the assumption that no god had anything to do with it. Thus the theories will always be intrinsicly flawed, like a detective who refuses to consider that a particular person may be the culprit of a crime. If it turns out that person was the culprit the detective will never disocover it.

      • I understand. I just find it baffling that there are so many
        positions within Christianity itself, not to mention over 40,000 denominations.
        It is mind boggling to the non believer that you are all unable to agree upon a coherent belief system especially when the vast majority of Yahwehists and other religions are fully on board with recognized science.

        Furthermore, so many of the claims of YEC’s have been shown to be fraudulent ( human footprints alongside dinos) , T Rex blood, soft tissue etc etc that one would think it time to take a hard look at such ”evidence” and treat it (and its proponents) with the contempt they deserve.

        Somewhat sad (and worrying) is that the YEC belief is taught to children.

        ACE schools have textbooks with illustrations showing humans riding tame dinosaurs.
        Do you not see anything wrong with this?

      • I come from a church in the Stone-Campbell tradition. My joke about them is that they tried to unite all the denomenations and ended up making three more instead. But they had a saying: “In essentials unity, in non-essentials liberty, in all things charity.” I agree with that. I don’t think you need to be a YEC to be a Christian. It’s not an essential. Jesus is an essential. Christianity is about Christ at the center. YEC is way off to the side. If I die and find out that I was completely 100% wrong, I won’t feel too bad. If my Anglican brother who is a staunch evolutionist dies and finds out that he was wrong I don’t think he’ll feel to bad either. Almost all Christians agree on the essentials: that Jesus was the son of God, that because of his death on the cross we may be saved, and that we are to love God and our neighbor. We bicker about everything else under the sun, but that’s human nature.

        People talk about claims being shown to be fraudulent, but I find it’s always more complicated than that. One problem is that there is no central authority for YEC. I’ve seen books talk about the fradulent human footprints with dinos before, but I”ve read many more YEC books that specifically says that we shouldn’t use those as evidence because they aren’t real, and that we’re embarresing everyone else by still passing that “evidence” around.

        I don’t see too much problem with textbooks that show humans riding dinosaurs. I don’t know if it happened that way, but I believe they did live at the same time period. ACE isn’t taught in schools, and I believe that parents have a right to educate their children.

      • ACE isn’t taught in schools, and I believe that parents have a right to educate their children.

        Do you mean it isn’t taught in state schools?
        Because it is most definitely taught in schools. ACE schools ( Accelerated Christian Learning)

        The second highest number of these institutions are in my country, South Africa, and they managed to obtain state accreditation by claiming what they were teaching is science.
        There are moves to challenge this and investigations are under way.

        I also believe it is a parents right to teach educate their children I simply believe that it is immoral to lie to them.

        As much of Creationism has been clearly demonstrated to be palpably false it is unfair to indoctrinate children with such religious based stuff. If they choose it, as you have, then it must be done without any coercion and only when a person has reached adulthood.

      • Yeah, I’m talking about state schools. And yes, I believe it’s immoral to lie to your children. The problem is, the people who teach their kids ACE believe it’s true, and what they teach in state schools is a lie. How are you going to reconcile that divide? Will you force parents to have their children be taught what they consider to be lies?

      • And this is why human beings and dinosaurs did NOT co exist and why those that teach children they did are liars. Period.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chauvet_Cave#Dating

      • I’m not sure what your argument is here. Is it that there are no paintings of dinosaurs in that particular cave? By your logic this proves that lions, emus, and trout didn’t exist at the same time as humans as well, since they also aren’t featured.

        But I must take offense at your continued accusation that people who teach their children these things are “liars.” I’m fine if you say they’re wrong, mistaken, even ignorant. But calling them a liars implies that they KNOW they are wrong and are deliberately teaching their children falshoods. This is absurd and insulting.

      • You are right. Using the word ”Liars” may be a tad strong. One cannot blame children for the ignorance of their teachers and parents. I suppose, especially when much of what they are indoctrinated with is accompanied by unquestioning obedience and admonitions concerning a “Fear of the lord”

        I sometimes get annoyed by the intransigence of people like Ken Ham and worse, the late Ron Wyatt ( who WAS a liar and a fraud), and tend to lump all such people together.

        Apologies.

        Hopefully you might become more informed during our chats. At least, enough to look at the big picture.

        For what its worth, re: dinosaurs.
        If ALL the animals, Including humans, lived together then it would be expected that bones from all species would be recovered together.
        I am unaware of fossilized caches that include such finds.
        Are you aware of any?
        Have people such as Ken Ham produced irrefutable evidence to demonstrate that dinosaurs and mammals and humans coexisted?
        If he has claimed there is evidence , rather than just the models he has on display in Kentucky, I would be very, very interested in reading.
        Do you have a link?

      • Hay Ark:
        Can I point out that Akhenaten believed in One God? So… IF you’re an atheist why did you pick the one pharo that chose to only acknowledge one God (the sun god Aten) as your user name?

        and since we’re having a war of who’s got more cites to back them up here you go!
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atenism
        http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/akhenaten
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Akhenaten
        http://www.digitalegypt.ucl.ac.uk/chronology/akhnaton.html

        Yes most of them are wiki but we can agree that they lead to other credible cites that say basically the same things. But, if you really want me to take the time to track down all the cites I originally used for a big LONG paper I did on “Ancient Gods of Egypt” I can… maybe… if I find time out of my life of a masters degree and a night time job split.
        Then sure!

      • Of ‘course I know all about Akhenaten.
        I like the irony, that is why I chose him.

        And why the hell should I care how LONG your paper or anything else is for that matter?

        What’s your point?

  2. http://www.oldearth.org/dino.htm

    Very interesting about the Dinosaurs. In fact this site pretty much has everything and they are religious! I am impressed.

  3. http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/hovind/howgood-yea2.html

    Thought you might find this interesting….
    Always worthwhile checking out the ”opposition”, right?

    Young-earth “proof” #21: Given the rate of sediment transport into the ocean by the world’s rivers, the ocean basins should have a much thicker layer of sediment than they actually have. Only a small amount of sediment is on the ocean floor, indicating a few thousand years of accumulation. This embarrassing fact explains why the continental drift theory is vitally important to those who worship evolution.
    (The present influx of sediment into the oceans is 27.5 x 109 tons per year; the present mass of sediment in the oceans is 820 x 1015 tons. That yields 30 million years.)

    This is the other half of Nevins’ argument (see point #15). Dr. Hovind has botched it further by asserting that only a few thousand year’s worth of sediment is on the ocean floor! In the case of the Atlantic Ocean, the sediment varies in thickness. The thinnest sediment is near the Mid-Atlantic Ridge where new sea floor is currently being generated. That is to say, sediment thickness there is zero. The thickest sediment hugs the continental margins, which certainly have more than a few thousand years of accumulation. Try around 150 million year’s worth! Funny, that the measured rate of sea floor spreading, when extrapolated backwards in time, gives the same age for the Atlantic sea floor as does radiometric dating. Funny, how the sediment gets thicker and thicker as one moves away from the sea floor spreading zone! That is, the farther we get from the Mid-Atlantic ridge the thicker the sediment tends to get; that thickness correlates with increased age of the sea floor as determined by radiometric dating as well as the known rate at which the Atlantic is widening. (Funny, how Dr. Hovind always comes up with “a few thousand years” no matter what we are looking at!)

    • I don’t find much meat in this argument. It doesn’t answer the question of where the excess sediment has gone: the person quoted states himself that continental margins have 150 million years worth of accumulation, which is far from the estimated age of over 3 billion years for the ocean. Where did the excess sediment go?

      • Did you read the entire sediment article?

      • He explains:
        “the measured rate of sea floor spreading, when extrapolated backwards in time, gives the same age for the Atlantic sea floor as does radiometric dating.”

        This is not my area of expertise, but this seems straightforward enough.

      • From Wiki. Maybe this will makes things clearer as you seem to be confused over the age of the ocean.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atlantic_Ocean#History

        My highlight

        The Atlantic Ocean appears to be the second youngest of the five oceans. It did not exist prior to 130 million years ago, when the continents that formed from the breakup of the ancestral super continent Pangaea were drifting apart from seafloor spreading.

        See?
        He is pretty much spot on.

      • Well if we’re talking about the Atlantic only then we have a problem. The evidence I referred to is in regards to the Pacific Ocean, which dates roughly back to 3 billion years but certianly doesn’t have the sediment for it.

  4. Also the evidence for coral reef growth and dendrochronology ( trees) is fascinating.
    Are you aware of the rate of growth for coral reefs?
    Amazing stuff.

    Any clues how YEC squares these two things away?

  5. Well if we’re talking about the Atlantic only then we have a problem. The evidence I referred to is in regards to the Pacific Ocean, which dates roughly back to 3 billion years but certianly doesn’t have the sediment for it.

    Citation, please.

  6. Reading over what I see here there seems to be a couple of contentions.

    1.) There is a lack of evidence, e.g. stories, artwork and the like that keep representation of dinosaurs interacting with humans. This is strange considering dinosaurs size and apparent prolific presence it would make sense that people would take notice of them.

    Mark and I approach this from the point of view of certain cataclysm’s having occurred, for example the Great Flood. Standard opinion is that the environment after the Flood was to different from what the dinosaurs were used to that they were unable to thrive, thus the primitive people painting in the caves very easily could have gone a lifetime without seeing a dinosaur. There are also representations of humans having run ins with dinosaurs, and because they didn’t understand what they were seeing they called them by other names. For example the story of St. George and the Dragon. Since the time when dinosaurs were prolific humans had forgotten them and come to call them Dragons.

    2.) If humans and dinosaurs and lived together we would find their bones side by side in fossils.

    The problem with this is once again answered by the cataclysm that occurred. During the Flood there were massive volcanic eruptions and rapid tectonic dispersal. The dead victims of the Flood would have been scattered everywhere as the land masses rapidly broke apart, as mountain ranges and valleys formed. In addition small creature bones like humans would be more fragile than larger creatures and less likely to form fossils.

  7. Huh don’t know why my comment went so out of line it’s up among the points on the 14th.

  8. Sadly, discussions such as this eventually run the risk of becoming circular and degenerate to the ”goddit” stage, which, I was surprised to discover, is an actual term.

    Anyway, be that as it may. I have a genuine question I would like you to answer, please.

    As your worldview is most definitely in the minority, right across the board and including all humans, what could possibly be the motivation behind the hundreds of thousands of scientist over the years across the globe for promoting such massive fraud regarding evolution and an Old Earth?

    • It’s as I’ve stated in multiple posts in the past. I simply believe that scientists are working off a false assumption: the assumption that God was not involved in the creation of the universe. Because of this false assumption they are bound to come to a false conclusion. I don’t think they’re liars, or frauds, or part of some conspiracy. I just think that their theories are flawed on a fundamental level.

      I’m fully aware that I could be very, very wrong: and I often find myself struck with bouts of anxiety on the subject. I don’t think anyone is evil or immoral for believing in an old Earth. It’s certainly not a requirement to be a Christian. I’m just trying to explain why I believe what I believe.

      Also someone requested I write about actual “evidences” instead of the philosophy behind YEC, so I felt obliged to do so.

      • The problem is not simply .scientists’ but almost every other christian on the planet disagrees with your Young Earth Belief.

        This is simply not the case. I live in Oregon, one of the most liberal states in the US, and even here I’ve only met a handful of Christians who don’t believe in creation and a young earth. And that is in one of the more anti-christian states around. I’d be willing to put it at least 75% of the Christians I know here believe the same way Mark and I do. If the number is that high here it has to be even higher in the more fundamentalist states. They don’t call the southern US the Bible Belt for nothing. As far as there being no current writings in support of the YEC position either that’s ridiculous. I have at least 7 books in my house alone. And the Library I work in? Yeah has a whole section devoted to it.

  9. Correction

    To clarify. There are millions upon millions of Christians who believe in Creation, probably all of them in fact, but most of them do NOT believe in a young earth.

    .

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