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Radiometric Dating Methods
A Thoughtful Analysis
By Jonathan A. Drake
©TrueAuthority.com - 5/02
We are expected to believe that the issue is settled. We are told that there are methods by which we can determine accurately the age of this incredible earth. Does radiometric dating provide the desperately needed 'proof' that evolutionists have long been searching for? Is it accurate enough? Is it valid? In the next few thoughts, I seek to enlighten you to the reality of the fallacy of radiometric dating, and answer these probing questions.
In order to correctly understand the issue, you must come to an understanding of the process or mechanics behind the idea of radiometric dating. There are several methods used, but in this small article, only two will be examined:
- The Uranium-Thorium-Lead method
- And the Potassium-Argon method
Each of these methods rely upon the common fact that the parent component in a system (e.g., uranium) will gradually 'decay' into the daughter component (e.g., lead). To gain an index of time since the original formation of the system, you document the relative proportions of the two components. Therefore, based on the certain amounts of the components in a sample, you can tell how old the sample is.
This is all seemingly fine until you evaluate the assumptions that this system is built upon. In order for the radiometric dating system to be accurate, the system would:
a.) Need to be a closed system.
1. That is, that the process was not or is not affected by any outside or inside influences. The process is unhindered in development, it is separate from outside factors.
b.) Not have any of the daughter components present in the initial system.
2. If there existed any of the daughter components in the original system, you would have to know that amount and incorporate it into your calculations. Otherwise your age determination would be faulty.
c.) Have the same process rate.
3. Since the establishment of the system, the decay or process rate has remained stable and unchanged. If it were changed, then any calculation of the earth's age or the sample's age would be incorrect. To obtain a proper date, you would need to compensate for the fluctuating process rate.
The main and obvious problem with these assumptions is that they are not valid. Examine them closely.
1. Is there such a thing in nature as a closed system?
This is an ideal concept. But it is a non-existent ideal. The idea that a system in nature could remain closed (that is, not influenced by any outside sources) for millions or billions of years is absurd to the highest degree.
2. Is it possible to know the original components of a system formed billions of years ago?
According to evolutionists, there were no humans around during that time, so the notion that we can know the original components is once again absurd.
3. What process rate in an open system remains unchanged?
Every process in nature operates at a rate influenced by many different factors. If one of the factors changes, the rate is altered. Any so called 'age determination' by a physical process is, once stripped down, only an educated guess, and is most likely entirely unrelated to the actual age.
As we progress further in this evaluation, we will examine the actual processes by which these methods work, and carefully determine their validity and accuracy. Despite the overwhelmingly dogmatic support from the textbook community, the methods are simply inconsistent in the answers they put forth.
Of the dating methods that we will examine, the Uranium methods will be the first. The Uranium method is actually a compilation of a many methods. The function of this method is based on a chain of decay from Uranium and its sister element Thorium, into Lead and Helium. This process is called "alpha decay". The positively charged atoms of helium gas, otherwise known as alpha particles, escape the nuclei of the parent atoms at rates which have been shown to be statistically constant.
There are three decay chains in the Uranium methods:
1. Uranium 238 decays into Lead 206 plus 8 helium atoms; has a half-life of 4.5 billion years.
2. Uranium 235 decays into Lead 207 plus 7 helium atoms; has a half life of 0.7 billion years.
3. Thorium 232 decays into Lead 208 plus 7 helium atoms; has a half life of 14.1 billion years.
The crucial problem with these methods, in accordance to the invalid assumptions, is the fact that Uranium minerals NEVER exist in a closed system, only and always in open systems. Their reliability is commented on by Henry Faul:
"Uranium and lead both migrate (in shales) in geologic time, and detailed analyses have shown that useful ages cannot be obtained with them. Here again much chemical activity is known to take place and widely diverging ages can be measured on samples from the same spot."
Unless it is absolutely known that the system has always been a closed system, the dates provided are meaningless. Evelyn Driscoll said:
"If all of the age-dating methods (rubidium-strontium, uranium-lead and potassium-argon) had yielded the same ages, the picture would be neat. But they haven't."
Another factor to consider is that the Uranium decay rates may not be stable, but variable in nature. Dr. Fred Jueneman deals with this:
"Being so close, the anisotropic neutrino flux of the super-explosion must have had the peculiar characteristic of resetting all our atomic clocks. This would knock our Carbon-14, Potassium-Argon, and Uranium-Lead dating measurements into a cocked hat. The age of prehistoric artifacts, the age of the earth, and that of the universe would be thrown into doubt."
Yet another factor to take into view is that the daughter products were most likely present from the beginning. There is no way possible to know whether or not the daughter components were actually absent from the original system. This possibility is evident in the case of modern volcanic eruptions. Sidney P. Clementson performed detailed studies on modern volcanic rock, and endeavored to obtain their radiometric ages. All of the uranium-lead ages he produced for the volcanic rock he studied were vastly older than the rock's true age. A majority of the tested rocks put forth ages of over a billion years, when in fact it was known that the rocks had been formed in very recent times.
Clementson stated that:
"Calculated ages give no indication whatever of the age of the host rocks."
Who would readily accept a method of dating when it is known and proven to be wildly inaccurate? Why should Uranium methods be assumed correct on rocks of an unknown age, when it is known that the methods are incorrect on rocks of a known age? Is it just plain ignorance of the facts? Or blatant acceptance of obvious fallacies? It will not be admitted, in fact most likely denied, but the true method of dating which is always consulted is that of the Geologic Column (see article entitled, "Come, Let Us Reason In Circles Together"). This quote supports my point:
"The most reasonable age can be selected only after careful consideration of independent geochronologic data as well as field, stratigraphic and paleontologic evidence, and the petrographic and paragenetic relations."
The most widely used method for dating rocks is the Potassium-Argon method. Found in igneous and sedimentary rocks, Potassium 40 minerals decay along the lines of "electron-capture" (the capture of an orbital electron by the nucleus). The daughter component is Argon 40, and the process has a half-life of 1.3 billion years. Also, simultaneously, using the "beta decay" (emission of an electron and a neutrino) Potassium 40 decays into Calcium 4.
Problems with Potassium-Argon:
- As with the majority of the other methods, Potassium-Argon is calibrated to Uranium-Lead, which we have seen to be a faulty system. Any age given by the Potassium-Argon methods will be incorrect as it is matched with an incorrect system. Therefore, it in itself is a faulty dating method.
- The decay process is an open system, and as Argon 40 is a gas, migration in and out of a Potassium mineral is quite common. Therefore any date achieved in this method will be in the margin of error because of a modulating amount of daughter component. This quote is support to my point:
"Processes of rock alteration may render a volcanic rock useless for potassium-argon dating. We have analyzed several devitrified glasses of known age, and all have yielded ages that are too young. Some gave virtually zero ages, although the geologic evidence suggested that devitrification took place shortly after the formation of a deposit."
Potassium itself is a mobile element:
"As much as 80 percent of the potassium in a small sample of an iron meteorite can be removed by distilled water in 4.5 hours."
So if the actual contents and potassium are not concrete in existence, then it seems foolish to rely upon such a dating for accurate results.
I could go on and on relating boring facts. The main fact is this: All these are facts about the dating systems. They are simply not magical formulas proving an old earth. There will be further postings about other dating methods. In the meantime, make sure you make yourself acquainted with the article, "Come, Let Us Reason In Circles Together," dealing with the subject of the Geologic Column.
Available online at www.trueauthority.com/cvse/radiometric.htm