Dating Methods

51


Discussion by: Mr DArcy

No not that kind of dating ! The scientific kind please.

During the recent debate between Ken Ham and Bill Nye, the young earth creationist Ken Ham made the claim that some 90% of dating methods were wrong. A quick flash to a chart during the debate purportedly showing so, and far too much to read in a second, and then on to somethig else. (Gish Gallop springs to my mischevious mind.)

So did Ham have a point that a piece of 4500 year old timber was found in a rock purportedly 45,000 years old?

"All these dating methods actually give all sorts of different dates, even different dating methods on the same rock." 

My sympathies lie completely with the currently accepted scientific methods of dating rocks, the Earth, the universe … but, and it is a discussion, is there room for doubt? Could Ham be right and the Earth / universe be some mere 6018 years old?

51 COMMENTS

  1. Without the reference to the alleged finding, it is impossible to be specific. But in general, creationists seize on such anomalies to rubbish radiometric dating in principle, even when it is known that the anomalies arise from, and give further information about, episodes in the rock’s history. I discussed this very topic today on 3 Quarks daily, at http://www.3quarksdaily.com/3quarksdaily/2014/03/antifragility-and-anomaly-why-science-works.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+3quarksdaily+%283quarksdaily%29

  2. I’m no expert on this subject, but are you sure about your numbers? Rocks are usually millions of years old… unless we are talking about lava rocks…

    EDIT: Ok, now I think I have found what you are talking about. Ken Ham seems to be referring to a geologist named Andrew A. Snelling, who also happens to be a young earth creationist. He posted an article on the Institute for Creation Sciences on this topic. (http://www.icr.org/article/radiocarbon-ancient-fossil-wood/)

    He’s claiming that there are documented findings of wood embedded within millions of years old rock that contains radiocarbon. Radiometric dating revealed the wood was only about 45 000 years old. His argument is of course that this does not make sense. In essence, he is arguing that radiometric dating is bullshit and hence we should accept that young earth creationism is true.

    As said I’m no expert on radiometric dating but these are my remarks. 1) This seems to be something only creationists talk about. If this was truly of such significance as he claims I think it would gather a lot more interest. As it stands it’s something only a few creationist goof balls talk about. 2) This test was done in 1945 and has never been repeated since. If Snelling is right we should find examples like this everywhere, but we don’t 3) Even if he was right that radiometric carbon dating is flawed it does not prove that the earth is in fact only thousands of years old. It would only mean that radiometric dating with regard to this specific isotope of carbon is not a reliable method. That would of course be a huge discovery in itself, but as said it could not be used as evidence for a young earth. 4) Radiometric carbon-14 dating is only useful when dealing with objects younger than 50 000 years. The fact that the age of the wooden object was determined to be about 45 000 years is a red flag. It’s very close to the limit of when this method becomes useless. I would not be surprised if you can get all sorts of nonsense values if you use this method to measure objects that are older than 50 000 years. 5) This piece of wood was found embedded in lava rock. Tree roots can penetrate rock and hence it’s not quite clear whether the wood actually stems from the same time period as the surrounding rocks. 6) Then we have all other forms of contamination. Snelling discusses this briefly. Although he does not seem to realize that even a very slight probability that we are dealing with a contaminated sample is much more probable than the alternative, that everything we know about carbon dating and the age of earth is wrong.

    In essence this is a typical example of a creationist desperately trying to find some evidence for his ludicrous beliefs. Snelling is not intellectually honest. He fails to take into account possible explanations. So far as he contemplates alternative explanations he seems extremely reluctant to give them due credit.

  3. “All these dating methods actually give all sorts of different dates, even different dating methods on the same rock.”

    This observation, whilst true, shows ignorance (perhaps wilful) of the subject at hand by the person making the observation. There are a number of different dating methods and they all serve different purposes. The comparison I’ve used in the past is like trying to time the runners in a marathon. You can time the race using several methods but not all of them will be appropriate. Timing a race that lasts 2-10 hours with a splitsecond stop watch that caps out at 60 seconds is no use, likewise a calendar that only counts years. The former can’t span the length of time required and the latter can’t give us the precision we need (just to spell that out, as sometimes needs to be done with creationists).

    If someone timed the London Marathon with such a calendar, confidently proclaimed everyone in the race took a year to complete it and then disregarded the official times for all the runners as being lies peddled by scientists they would be considered nuts. Which, incidentally, is exactly what creationists do and why I likewise consider them nuts.

    Yes, the dating methods give different dates because they’re used for different tasks. Make sure you’re using the right method of dating in the same way you’d use the right method to time a race. If someone points to all the wrong methods like the 60 second stopwatch or the calendar and uses that to say the race is a sham, don’t be surprised if I consider them an idiot.

    but, and it is a discussion, is there room for doubt? Could Ham be right and the Earth / universe be some mere 6018 years old?

    No. There is virtually no chance that the universe is 6000 years old. There’s far too much evidence against that position. Mountains and mountains of evidence. Including mountains.

    • In reply to #3 by BenS:

      “All these dating methods actually give all sorts of different dates, even different dating methods on the same rock.”

      This observation, whilst true, … . . . .

      It is simply not true to any significant extent. . .

      . . + or – minus a thousand years on a 100,000 year old sample, ( or + or – a million years on a 200,000,000 year old fossil) does nothing to support a YEC 6,000 or 10,000 year claim!

      People who quote the wrong isotope for the time span measured, are either incompetent or dishonest.

      • In reply to #8 by Alan4discussion:

        In reply to #3 by BenS:

        “All these dating methods actually give all sorts of different dates, even different dating methods on the same rock.”

        This observation, whilst true, … . . . .

        It is simply not true to any significant extent. . .

        I probably wasn’t clear. I wasn’t referring to the slight imprecision inherent in all the methods. I meant that if you tried dating using short and long span dating methods, you will get wildly differing results; largely because one of them is completely inappropriate for the task at hand. Creationists often sling this disparity about to imply that the dating methods are broken.

        “Ha, this test says 120 million years and this one says 60k years. One of the methods must be broken!”.

        When actually (as you know) one of the methods used is wrong, but it’s wrong in a predictable and expected way. Like the example I gave of trying to use a 60 second stop watch to time a marathon. The result will always be equal to or less than 60 seconds because that’s when the timing method caps out. So using Carbon 14 on dinosaur bones is, as you say, useless – but if you DO use it, it will give a result. We just know the result will be of no value. Doesn’t mean the method is broken – like the creationists claim – it just means some idiot’s using it incorrectly. Normally a creationist.

        If you test a sample with a whole battery of dating methods you will get back a load of different dates, simply because some of the dating methods used are totally inappropriate. That’s what I meant. We understand this, we expect this, it doesn’t mean what creationists think it means.

        People who quote the wrong isotope for the time span measured, are either incompetent or dishonest.

        Have you ever known creationists to be even remotely competent or, in fact, honest? I really have very little time for these people because it takes an incredible amount of wilful ignorance to believe the Earth is 6000 years old in this day and age. Dishonesty and wilful denial absolutely must be involved at some stage for anyone who’s taken even the most cursory glance at the evidence. I have no problem with ignorance, I’m ignorant myself on many subjects, but I have no time for wilful ignorance. Almost all creationists – and absolutely all creationists who argue about it on forums – are wilfully ignorant. This annoys me.

        • In reply to #9 by BenS:

          In reply to #8 by Alan4discussion:

          I probably wasn’t clear. I wasn’t referring to the slight imprecision inherent in all the methods. I meant that if you tried dating using short and long span dating methods, you will get wildly differing results; largely because one of them is completely inappropriate for the task at hand.

          I thought you made the points well, but that some added examples with figures would add to the lurkers’ understanding.

          Creationists often sling this disparity about to imply that the dating methods are broken.

          This is to feed their fallacious thinking, that if complex science can be presented as inadequate or broken, the default is:_ “god-did-it – and let’s see you try to disprove that with a complex scientific explanation which will convince our scientifically illiterate followers who don’t understand even the basic scientific terminology”!

          It is the usual posturing assertion from false and dishonest pseudo-authority, which will be regurgitated as “show-stoppers” by sheeples who have no idea what they are saying, and will fail to comprehend any scientific reply or explanation!

          When arguing with YECs about dating methods, it is always worth raising the issue of THEIR long refuted Earth dating method – Ussher Chronology – adding up the ages of biblical characters. Ussher’s mathematics was quite clever for the 17th century (a bit like other YEC science notions) but the the basic premise of adding up the ages of sons of Adam from bible stories, is of course deeply flawed.

          • There is room for doubt about almost everything.

            However there is no doubt at all that the Universe is not around only 6000 years old.

            You don’t even need sophisticated dating techniques to figure this out. You can arrive at this by mere observation. You can calculate how long it takes for light from a star to travel. You can calculate the distance between planets and solar systems and calculate how long it would take to get there.

            1 light year =9.4605284 × 10 to the 15th power meters = 9.5 trillion kilometres

            The first successful measurement of the distance to a star other than our Sun was made by Friedrich Bessel in 1838 !!

            The point is , that It would take you much longer than 6000 years to travel to the edge of the Universe even at the speed of light , so it is impossible to believe that the universe could be that young.

            To get right across our galaxy, the Milky Way, it would take about a million billion years (or 1,181,401,000,000,000 years to be more precise) to make the journey of 621 million billion (or 621,000,000,000,000,000) miles.

  4. In The Greatest Show on Earth Richard Dawkins spends a whole chapter explaining the details of what does and doesn’t work, why and how we know this is all right. But here’s a quick overview.

    Radiometric dating allows us to deduce the age (to within experimental error bars) of an object provided certain conditions are met. After theoretical physics identified these conditions, experiments confirmed the predicted patterns of when a method works and when it doesn’t. Creationists love to look up the “it didn’t work” examples, but of course they didn’t work; they weren’t supposed to.

    Every age scientists expect you to trust based on radiometric dating (a) isn’t an example of this, (b) fits the conditions for reliability as far as we can tell, and (c) makes use of (i) assumption-testing (e.g. see isochron dating, where if something’s gone wrong you’d notice the data isn’t near a straight line) and (ii) comparisons between the results of independent methods to check they’re the same (it’d be physically absurd for all methods to get an answer wrong by the same factor, because the speed with which physical processes misalign their answers are different).

  5. Dating techniques rest upon the half lives of isotopes of elements. An example: carbon. Carbon has 6 protons—– always. However, it can vary in it’s neutron number. So, Carbon 12 has 6 protons and 6 neutrons (an atomic mass of 12). meanwhile an isotope of carbon has 6 protons and 8 electrons (an atomic mass of 14). Since the number of protons is the determining factor for the identity of an element, both species with 6 protons are carbon. However, they are distinguishable because they have different masses.

    Now, it turns out that the two isotopes of Carbon exist in nature in a ratio ( it is more than 99% to 1%, but nonetheless, a measurable ratio). So, it turns out that when an organism is alive, it is exchanging carbon with the environment and thus, it preserves the C12 to C14 ratio that we see it the atmosphere (plants take in the Carbons and run photosynthesis with them, incorporating them into sugars).

    Anyway, as soon as death occurs, the exchange stops and the clock starts. The C14 decays into C12 at a specific rate. It takes 5720 years for half of the C14 to become C12. So, to make the numbers easy to manipulate, say the atmospheric ratio is 99 to 1. If you fand a specimen where the ratio is 99.5 to .5, you know the specimen is ABOUT 5720 years dead. If the ratio is 99.75 to.25, then you know the specimen is ABOUT 11,440 years old and so on…. (about was in caps because there is statistically tolerable error built into every measurement of everything we’ve ever measured– this is no different).

    You see that this sets up an asymptote because half of a half of a half of a half is what is going on. It, therefore, breaks down when the error inherent in measurement becomes intolerable when compared to the ratio as it does the asymptote thing.

    This breakdown age is about 60,000 years old. So, the method is unreliable in dating any object over that age. However, scientists can use other isotopes of other elements (such as potassium) that have much longer half lives.

    In addition, we can check the accuracy of the dating methods with known objects as well as dendrochronology. When done blindly, the carbon dating process is extraordinarily accurate. As a matter of fact, The RCC used it to date the shroud of Turin, insurance companies use it to insure paintings (think a Rembrandt that has been forged and the money you could make claiming it was destroyed)… etc…

    The man who figured this out won the Nobel.

    The creationists read what I just wrote and think that the “inherent error” I mentioned allows them to claim that it is unreliable and inaccurate. Because they do not understand a damn thing about a damn thing.

  6. YECs often try to confuse the uneducated with true but misleading claims designed to bate the unwary.

    Claims like: ” Carbon dating is unreliable for dating dinosaur fossils!” (With a half-life of 5,730 years, Carbon14 is useless for multi million year dating)

    There are however, plenty of other isotopes which cover any range of dates required and cross check with each other.

    Here is a table of half-lives in years:- ( it omits the isotopes with very short half lives)

    http://astro.berkeley.edu/~dperley/areopagus/isotopetable.html

    Others can describe which systems are commonly used. There are already good descriptions on this thread of how half-lives are used to measure dates before present, and how after quantities have halved a number of times, the remaining quantity of the isotope is too small to accommodate errors.

  7. Radiometric dating can be thrown off by contamination of various sorts, but this is taken into account when dating is performed. Also, there are multiple methods, most of which are only valid for certain time spans,and non-radiometric methods that can be used to cross-reference results: counting tree rings, geology, etc… Ideally, multiple methods are used to date an object.

    The science of dating fossils is very good, has a lot of good evidence behind it, and has been calibrated by more than one independent method.

    Did Ham bring up Polystrate fossils?. Young Earth creations love them.

  8. I have had this discussion with YECs before… it should be remembered that radiometric dating is not the only dating technique indicating an old earth. I have listed these methods and watched as the replies became more and more tortured and absurd until the evangelical had finally been silenced by his own contradictions and as they do, shut down the conversation.

    Dendrochronography via the Bristle Cone Pine tree goes back in excess of 50,000 years. Coral growth even by the most conservative estimates indicates tens of thousands of years of growth in various coral reefs. Annual snow layers in the Antarctic going back 400,000 years. Annual sediments layers in lakes etc going back hundred of thousands of years or millionsin some cases. The time taken for light to reach us from distant stars. The growth rate of stalagmites and stalagtites again requiring much longer to form than allowed for by YEC dogma. All support an old earth and our interpretation of all of these measure must needs be wrong for the YEC to be right.

    At the end of the day you are dealing with people that judge facts in the light of arguments or dogma rather than arguments in the light of facts.

  9. Thank you all so far for such educational replies, which is what I wanted in posting this as a topic for discussion, bearing in mind the lurkers. Hopefully a passing YEC might take a bite at the bait ? Nunbeliever mentioned Andrew A. Snelling who appears to have a doppleganger. One a respectable geologist, the other a YEC toady.

    What got me in the Ham / Nye debate, was the blatant assertion by Ham that 90% of dating methods are wrong ! No evidence given as to why they are wrong, apart from the reference to 4500 year old timber in older rock,(explained above), and no evidence given that Ussher’s chronology was correct ! To be fair to Archbishop Ussher, he used the best available methods of his time to ascertain the Earth’s age, and he was a scholar. But he just didn’t / couldn’t know any better. Ken Ham certainly does have to opportunity to know better, but as he admitted, nothing would persuade him away from the Bible. Luckily others do, and have changed their minds, in the face of evidence.

    • In reply to #12 by Mr DArcy:

      Thank you all so far for such educational replies, which is what I wanted in posting this as a topic for discussion, bearing in mind the lurkers. Hopefully a passing YEC might take a bite at the bait ? Nunbeliever mentioned Andrew A. Snelling who appears to have a doppleganger. One a respectable…

      That was a really interesting article. It sheds a light on our remarkable abilities of compartmentalization…

    • That was an interesting article about Dr Snelling’s double life. Amusing short biography at Rational Wiki:

      His creation research has centred around dating methods, with his pet hobbyhorse being polonium halos, which according to Answers in Genesis, he has used to demonstrate that most rock layers and fossils were deposited by a global flood 4,300 years ago. He has been repeatedly overlooked for a Nobel prize despite the importance of this discovery.

      For his excellent publication record Snelling has became an Associate Professor of Geology at the Institute for Creation Research, a title as meaningful as being a Discordian Pope.

      I wonder if it would it be possible to refute a Dr A Snelling (YEC toady) article with reference only to articles/papers by Dr A Snelling (respectable geologist)?

      In reply to #12 by Mr DArcy:

      Thank you all so far for such educational replies, which is what I wanted in posting this as a topic for discussion, bearing in mind the lurkers. Hopefully a passing YEC might take a bite at the bait ? Nunbeliever mentioned Andrew A. Snelling who appears to have a doppleganger. One a respectable…

  10. Hello Mr DArcy, I hope Miss Bennet approves of your dating methods… Sorry, couldn’t resist!

    The short answer to your question is an emphatic NO. It has been proven beyond reasonable doubt that the earth is much older.

    The GISP2 (Greenland Ice Shelf Project 2) ice core reveals 110,000 uninterrupted annual ice rings. The varves from Lake Suigetsu, Japan reveal around 100,000 uninterrupted annual layers of sediment deposits from dead single celled organisms. There are other methods, already mentioned in this thread, which show the Earth to be older than 6000 years old, and older by a large disparity. On a separate note, non of these methods show any evidence of a supposed ‘Global Flood’ either. Let’s put this in perspective – Young earth creationists believe the Earth was created whenever Humans had already entered the Agricultural Age…

    • In reply to #17 by EightBitz:

      When it comes to dating, the universe lies about it’s age.

      (It’s a joke, people.)

      Unfortunately, YECs don’t get the joke, and can’t understand why people are laughing at them!

    • In reply to #19 by rjohn19:

      If you haven’t watched any of this guys videos, you are in for a treat. Here is Potholer refuting Carbon Dating Doesn’t Work. Richard really needs to form an alliance with this witty debunker.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QbvMB57evy4

      The video features “Dr.” Kent Hovind with his fake creationist “doctorate” and his fraudster convictions! His claim to be “a science teacher” is utterly comical in the context of his dishonest attempts to explain the science of dating in this video.

      Kent Hovind promotes himself as Dr. Kent Hovind or Dr. Dino. Prior to his 58 felony convictions and ten-year prison sentence, Hovind received a Ph.D. from Patriot Bible University, an unaccredited Christian college. Because of Hovind’s use of the title of “Doctor” based on a degree from an unaccredited institution, legitimate scientists have closely examined his bona fides, including the work he submitted to fulfill the requirements for a doctorate.

      This has proved difficult, because, unlike common academic practice, Patriot does not make its students’ dissertations available to the academic community.

      On December 9, 2009 Wikileaks released of Hovind’s dissertation in Christian Education.[1] Usually, legitimate scholars are thrilled to find that people want to read their dissertations, but legitimate scholars don’t get their degrees from diploma mills like Patriot Bible University. Bloggers and forum participants have widely linked to Hovind’s dissertation since it contains a heady mixture of scientific inaccuracy, incoherent writing, frequent spelling errors, shoddy scholarship and other things which make the skeptical community giggle with glee.

      In 2013, Hovind claimed to have four doctorates, in (Christian) Education, Theology, Biblical Ministry, and Divinity (Honorary).[2] This article focuses on the first, and makes brief mention of the third. Evidence of the supposed degree in Theology has not as yet been found, nor are any details available on the “honorary” doctorate in Divinity.

      http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Kent_Hovind%27s_doctoral-dissertations

      His comically ignorant and scientifically illiterate son, Eric Hovind has taken over his anti-science preaching and YEC “Dinosaur Museum”!

      Eric also features in comical videos!

  11. The short answer is no.
    There is now a very long answer below!

    For all manner of reasons beyond radiometric dating, such as thick sequences of sediments (in some basins up to 18 km thick, that could not possibly be deposited in a mere 6000 years). There are coarse igneous rocks exposed at the surface that have been intruded at depths in the lower crust. What realistic erosional and uplift processes could do this in 6000 years? We see mountain belts at a great variety of stages of development (Alps, Himalayas etc) and other older mountain belts that have been greatly eroded (the Palaeozoic Caledonides and Appalachians; the Precambrian of Australia, Canada, and Africa). You would not get this great variety in development in just 6000 years (for example the Caledonides in Norway expose large tracts of lower and middle crustal level rocks (i.e. erosional depths of 10-30+ km) yet at some stage in their history they had relief like the Himalayas. Do you think that disparity in relief and erosion could have occurred in 6000 years? Geologically the difference is between 490-390 million years, Ma – for the Caledonides, and 50 Ma to Present for tectonic activity associated with the Himalayas.

    I am a professional structural geologist who has worked a lot with dating of rocks and tectonic events. I’ll try and make a few points about a) why dating is actually amazingly good and effective, but sometimes wrong, or misinterpreted, and b) how characters like Ken Ham distort, and cherry pick scientific data to defend their scientifically indefensible positions (but like politicians etc. to keep your believers happy you don’t need to be right, you just need to give enough dirt to the faithful that they are

    Getting back to dating.

    1) It is based on well known physics principals regarding the decay of radioactive materials – clearly well established with respect to nuclear weapons and power stations.

    2) The main issue is that when we measure the decay of one element into another (Uranium-Lead, Argon 40-Argon 39, Carbon 13, 14) how closed is the rock/mineral system, or could these elements be added or lost to the system with time?

    Well certainly things can go wrong and dates can be bad, but the scientists have developed better and better techniques and more sensitive techniques so that dating now is remarkably accurate in many cases.

    For example zircons commonly grow in stages in rocks, and so a bit like tree rings the oldest part of the zircon is in the middle and the youngest part on the outside. Using narrow laser beams the composition of each of the zones in the zircon can be sampled, and dates obtained. Labs around the world have dated thousands of zircons (usually U-Pb method) now, and consistently the results show the oldest ages in the middle and the youngest ages on the rims. If dating was such a dodgy technique this degree of consistency would not occur.

    3) In many circumstances (for example lavas or volcanic ashes that were laid down within a sedimentary interval) it is possible to get dates from fossil evidence from the sediments and radiometric ages from the lavas. If in a separate basin a similar fossil assemblage indicated the same age, but ashes gave a very different radiometric age, then there would doubts about either the stratigraphic range of the fossils, or the radiometric dating technique. Such debates have occurred, and geoscientists work to understand the nature of such discrepancies and the causes of such problems can generally be understood. But in the great majority of cases the correlations do work, and provide independent confirmation that radiometric dating is reliable.

    4). A radiometric date of a rock or mineral can have a variety of interpretations. For example if we sample a granite, find a zircon and date that using U-Pb, and get an age of 100 Ma, and then take a mica from the granite, use the Argon40-Argon 39 method on that and get a 60 million year age does it mean that the dating method is wrong? No it doesn’t because the radiometric clock for the zircon starts at high temperatures (~1000°C) close to the crystallisation temperature of granite, while the clock starts ticking at much lower temperatures for mica (~300°C). Hence zircon will provide the age of emplacement of the granite, while mica says something about the cooling history (possibly a phase of uplift and erosion occurred at 60 Ma in the example above). If in the example above the mica gave an older age than the zircon – then there would be a lot of explaining to do! We can use many different dating techniques on some rock samples, in which case the techniques have to be consistent with each other and the known geological setting. I have used (i.e. collected samples, and had then analysed in labs) these techniques to date events and they for the most part have come back with consistent, results, which in some cases have been verified by other independent studies. So I think there is no question that radiometric dating is reliable.

    Ok onto the creationists and other sceptics

    1) They tend to refer to older studies that were less reliable, and to cherry pick results rather than look at the vast array of radiometric data that is available. We have gone from whole rock dating in the 1950′s and 60′s to as I mentioned above dating zones within an individual zircon grain. So now there is much more specific information about the meaning of the dates than there was even 10 years ago.

    2) They deliberately use the wrong method to get a bad result. For example archaeologists like the Carbon 14 dating method because the half life of carbon 14 is 5,730±40 years. Hence it is possible to date young carbon containing objects, but not much beyond 50,000 years.

    On the other hand if you wanted to date a Precambrian rock from the beginning of Earth’s history something with a much longer half life would be needed (zircon and the U-Pb method again), Uranium 238 has a half life of 4.47 billion years and U-235 is 704 million years. So if for example someone obtained a piece of recent lava, dated using the potassium-argon method (half life of Potassium 1.248×10 (power 9) years, and obtained an ages ranging from 0.29-3.5 million year does this prove that radiometric dating is useless? http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/cm/v22/n1/dating.

    What is demonstrate to me is that:

    1) there is some unreliability to the method, because the argon measured in the rock had to come from a source other than radioactive decay.

    2) K-Ar whole rock dating is known to be an error prone technique (sometimes it is the only one that can be used). It was widely used, but less so know, there a much better dating techniques available. Hence It is a bit like saying all cars are rubbish because you test drove a Lada.

    3) Just as carbon14 dating cannot be used to effectively date something 10 million years old because of the short half life, something very young cannot be very accurately using a technique with a long half life. So either the the author of the study was too ignorant of the technique to be using and commenting on it (would not appear to be the case from the details within his paper), or he deliberately used an inappropriate technique for the age of the rock to mislead people, and to make his erroneous case. This deliberate misuse of scientific data and methods, whilst using enough science to appear knowledgeable appears to be a hallmark of the creationist approach to the “debate” about geological time. However reasonable their arguments may appear to the layman, I can guarantee that the geological time scale, and methods used by professional and academic geologists are appropriate and reliable, while at the same time acknowledging that improved techniques, new knowledge will result in changes to some correlations, and that the precise ages of many formations, eras, periods etc. will be subject to revision (but not from 4.4 billion years to 6000 years!). Sometimes radiometric ages can be wrong, but where the ages are of critical importance (for example dating of hominid fossils) then the scientific community tends to very rigorously debate and test the results of dating.

    • In reply to #22 by Geochris:

      The short answer is no.
      There is now a very long answer below!

      For all manner of reasons beyond radiometric dating, such as thick sequences of sediments (in some basins up to 18 km thick, that could not possibly be deposited in a mere 6000 years). There are coarse igneous rocks exposed at the surf…

      I enjoyed reading your comment, it’s very factual, very informative.

      I’d like to tell you an experience I had last year.

      I had a conversation with a YEC when he was doing his door to door rounds. There was an event being held at a local church hall promoting YEC teachings.

      As we talked I realised how closed to rational reason he was. He clung to the argument that Carbon 14 wasn’t accurate to gauge the age of the Earth – a point we both agreed on. Interestingly, he seemed to reject that any other dating methods were not legitimate to date the Earth – he offered no reasoning on this – and was not open to the suggestion of them. He suggested I read the ‘answersingenesis’ website for the ‘facts’. It seems to be their default website.

      Cutting a long story short, I asked him to explain why the science doesn’t agree with his claims, I referenced the Greenland ice cores, as well as tree rings and sediment varves recovered from various lakes. His response left me shell shocked – He claimed that the earth was indeed billions of years old but that God made it that way only 6000 years ago! At this point the conversation ended and I bid him good day.

      Apparently this is a new teaching gaining momentum in the YEC camp.

      From a Geologists point of view, what are your thoughts on this..?

      • In reply to #23 by iHuman:

        He suggested I read the ‘answersingenesis’ website for the ‘facts’. It seems to be their default website.

        This is the egotistical “all knowing answer” of the spoon-fed, brain-lazy, faith-head!

        Hence the YEC love of fake credentials as badges of false authority. (Pseudo-doctorates from fake universities which are private Bible-babble schools. .. or YECs who have gone to real universities to get science credentials before rejecting scientific methodology and promoting biblical literalism at AIG.)

        He claimed that the earth was indeed billions of years old but that God made it that way only 6000 years ago! At this point the conversation ended and I bid him good day.

        Once they have been indoctrinated to believe that the magic fairy can do anything – and waving a bible over some wild claim validates it, the gullibility score rises to 100%.

        For the faith-thinking YEC, AIG has “Deity approved”, stamped on all its nonsensical claims, so anyone, and any evidence, contradicting them is “wrong”. ( No further thought needed) YECs need to convert others to reassure themselves, because their “faith” in nonsense is constantly being “tested”, (by god, devils, or whatever), and by “devilish conspiracies” and “deceptive appearances”.

        It is all heavily indoctrinated magical mysticism, which has been around in paranoid dogmas for centuries.

        “9. Hence all faithful Christians are forbidden to defend as the legitimate conclusions of science those opinions which are known to be contrary to the doctrine of faith, particularly if they have been condemned by the Church; and furthermore they are absolutely bound to hold them to be** errors which wear the deceptive appearance of truth**.” (Vatican Council I)

        “10. Not only can faith and reason never be at odds with one another but they mutually support each other, for on the one hand right reason established the foundations of the faith and, illuminated by its light, develops the science of divine things; on the other hand, faith delivers reason from errors and protects it and furnishes it with knowledge of many kinds.” (Vatican Council I)

        According to various Xtian dogmas:- “Faith” trumps reason and evidence!

        Consequently the indoctrination not only inculcates “know-it-all” ignorance, but it teaches circular thinking from preconceptions is a virtue. Once their reasoning capabilities have been disabled by indoctrination, YECs are insulated from evidence, reasoning, and objective knowledge.

        • In reply to #24 by Alan4discussion:

          In reply to #23 by iHuman:

          He suggested I read the ‘answersingenesis’ website for the ‘facts’. It seems to be their default website.

          This is the egotistical “all knowing answer” of the spoon-fed, brain-lazy, faith-head!

          Hence the YEC love of fake credentials as badges of false authority. (Pseudo…

          Seems to pretty much sum things up…

          ‘This is the egotistical “all knowing answer” of the spoon-fed, brain-lazy, faith-head!’ – So derogatory, but so very true!

      • Oh dear, but not really surprising. As far as I see it Theology = tortuous explanation/word play of passages in holy scripts to fit the agenda of a religious group. So of course they will use words rather than scientific methods to overcome their difficulties in explaining geological time. How can you really argue against the old Victorian argument God put fossils in the rocks to test our faith? If God is that devious, (and all the other worse things you find in the Old Testament) then yes we cannot rely on any scientific evidence because even the Physics that works and can be proven can be said to have been invented by god to test our faith. But it does beg the question why did god go to so much trouble to make us fail? He’s clearly not of the fatherly loving kind of god to go to such lengths of entrapment. I know…… the faithful really like to be tested so that they can really demonstrate their faith.
        It is amazing the details that god went to (like zoning the ages in all those millions of zircons that are out there, getting all the fossils just right), he must have been very busy.
        Funny how well the geology of Earth, dating, fits with physics, astrophysics and the development of the universe, the speed of light etc. The only thing it doesn’t fit is some fictional, superstitious literature from several thousand years ago.
        When I was doing my Ph.D. I shared an office with a guy who during his fieldwork became born again. He was quoting the Bible, – the seas boiled and the mountains melted like wax – which he claimed meant that the laws of thermodynamics as we know them did not apply back then. He wanted to squeeze the geological history from the Cambrian – Present day into the 190 days of the flood (think I got that right 40 days of raining and 150 days when everything was covered). He seemed quite ok with it, and he wanted plate tectonics to operate during that period (needless to say at a much faster rate than observed today).

        You cannot really argue with them because everything will be distorted to fit with the faith – with time the easiest thing for them to say is that although it says 1 day in the bible it didn’t really mean a day as we know it now, it means 100,000 years or something unsupportable like that.
        Of course they may absolutely insist on other passages in the bible being taken literally, but seem to have flexibility when it comes to dealing with awkward passages that don’t fit.
        Slippery as bloody eels, with no data, just words.

        In reply to #23 by iHuman:

        In reply to #22 by Geochris:

        The short answer is no.
        There is now a very long answer below!

        For all manner of reasons beyond radiometric dating, such as thick sequences of sediments (in some basins up to 18 km thick, that could not possibly be deposited in a mere 6000 years). There are coarse ign…

        • In reply to #26 by Geochris:

          You cannot really argue with them because everything will be distorted to fit with the faith – with time the easiest thing for them to say is that although it says 1 day in the bible it didn’t really mean a day as we know it now, it means 100,000 years or something unsupportable like that. Of course they may absolutely insist on other passages in the bible being taken literally, but seem to have flexibility when it comes to dealing with awkward passages that don’t fit.

          Yes, accommodationists that try to find some sense in that which makes no sense at all. Trying to prove that god did not make a mistake he intentionally gave the wrong info because people could only count up to 10 and people were ignorant and stupid so god could not be bothered with the truth because people would not be able to understand. I think they have watched too much startreck since that is where most of these ideas seem to come from.

          They claim that god is benevolent but when you show the passages of all the horror god enjoys to shower upon his people, they default to the “You just don’t understand, and you need to have faith” Position.

          I had a tenant who owned a slate rock quarry in Arizona and he claimed to be a xtian. He would preach passages of the bible and the typical stuff. He had brought over some of the rocks from the quarry to make pavers or something.

          I asked him if he knew how old those rocks were. And he responded rapidly millions of years old. Then I asked him how he could say that and then say god made the rocks as described in the bible genesis. There was a long silence while he was thinking on a good answer that never came.

          So rocks are much older than gods, I answered for him…

        • In reply to #26 by Geochris:

          Oh dear, but not really surprising. As far as I see it Theology = tortuous explanation/word play of passages in holy scripts to fit the agenda of a religious group. So of course they will use words rather than scientific methods to overcome their difficulties in explaining geological time. How can y…

          Thanks for your thoughts on that Geochris.

          I have no formal education in geophysics, but like the others here, I’m not ignorant to it either. I know the sheer frustration I feel when I hear YEC’s denying the most simplest of facts, I can only imagine how compounded the frustration you must feel as a professional being lectured by an ignorant YEC. There is nothing more infuriating than someone of ignorance trying to patronise someone of intelligence…

          • Yes it’s frustrating when you know there is so much work, so much complexity to the data etc. and it’s either being ignored, misrepresented or trivialised. Of course the thing with science is that there is a strong incentive to advance knowledge, people want to come up with new ideas, so if an old theory can be knocked over someone will want to do it. There maybe resistance from established people who have a vested interest in the existing theory that is being attacked, but if it is wrong, it will eventually be found out. While of course the YEC view is just that everything must be made to fit 6, 24 hour days of creation.

            As people have discussed here they are incapable of arguing based on sound scientific principals. The only way to address them is really to demonstrate that the literal interpretation of the bible is wrong. Clearly not an easy task, for something that should be blindingly obvious to anyone.
            In that respect: all sedimentary rocks that we have were supposed to be laid down during the flood. And during the flood and I quote”They rose greatly on the earth, and all the high mountains under the entire heavens were covered. The waters rose and covered the mountains to a depth of more than fifteen cubits.”
            In other words, no dry land. The tallest mountains covered by 15 cubits (6.85 m) of water. For 150 days.
            So how come in many sedimentary basins we can laterally trace marine deposits into river deposits, peat and coal swamps, saline lake deposits, dune sands? These don’t occur just at the bottom or the top of the sedimentary record, they occur throughout.

            Ok they will squirm their way out of that argument somehow. If I was going to have a debate with them and I could chose someone to join me, it wouldn’t be a scientist like Richard, or someone like Stephen Fry, (because clearly logic and reason to them are like water off a ducks back) it would be Bart Ehrman, who is a textual critic, and he knows so much detail on where the texts of the bible came from, how much they have been altered in key places over time, and why you cannot take it literally. Still probably wouldn’t change their minds, but at least the debate could move to their turf. If you haven’t come across his books I highly recommend “Misquoting Jesus” and “Lost Christianities, The battles for scripture and faiths we never knew”.

            In reply to #32 by iHuman:

            In reply to #26 by Geochris:

            Oh dear, but not really surprising. As far as I see it Theology = tortuous explanation/word play of passages in holy scripts to fit the agenda of a religious group. So of course they will use words rather than scientific methods to overcome their difficulties in explain…

          • In reply to #35 by Geochris:

            And during the flood and I quote”They rose greatly on the earth, and all the high mountains under the entire heavens were covered. The waters rose and covered the mountains to a depth of more than fifteen cubits.” In other words, no dry land.
            .
            … it would be Bart Ehrman, who is a textual critic, and he knows so much detail on where the texts of the bible came from, how much they have been altered in key places over time, and why you cannot take it literally.

            You might like to add this to your list of quotes (although YECs already have stock denials). It is hard evidence the original flood story which they probably picked up during the Babylonian exile about a 1000 years earlier and copied in the Noah story!

            Noah’s ark was never built, still less crash landed on Mount Ararat, a British Museum expert has declared – despite holding in his hand 3,700-year-old instructions on exactly how to construct one.

            However, the tablet studied by Finkel is unique, the only one with precise instructions on how to build the ark – and the crucial detail that it should be circular. He believes the data on its exact dimensions, the two kinds of bitumen, and the precise amount of rope needed, are evidence not that the vessel once existed, but of a storyteller adding convincing details for an audience that knew all about boat-building. http://www.theguardian.com/culture/2014/jan/24/babylonian-tablet-noah-ark-constructed-british-museum

            The Flood Tablet, relating part of the Epic of Gilgamesh

          • In reply to #35 by Geochris:

            As people have discussed here they are incapable of arguing based on sound scientific principals. The only way to address them is
            really to demonstrate that the literal interpretation of the bible is wrong.

            I had no more luck doing that with my particular YEC than with anything else. Even pointing out specific contradictions in the bible after he’d asserted it was the inerrant word of god only got the response “they might seem like mistakes but that’s only because we are not blessed enough to fully understand his grand purpose but we pray that one day he’ll enlighten us.”

            When one’s starting position is that nothing in my belief system can possibly be wrong then even blatant errors and contradictions can be brushed away as minor inconveniences. It is baffling and frustrating to those of us who espouse logic and strict cause/effect that people like this can do the exact opposite. Start from one’s desired finishing point and just ignore anything that disagrees with it. It’s why I no longer see any point in debating them. The key opening question is “is there any evidence of any sort whatsoever that could make you change your mind?” If the answer is no then simply move on. You are dealing with a mind so closed and warped into illogical ways of thinking that nothing can get through to it.

          • In reply to #42 by Arkrid Sandwich:

            In reply to #35 by Geochris:

            As people have discussed here they are incapable of arguing based on sound scientific principals. The only way to address them is
            really to demonstrate that the literal interpretation of the bible is wrong.

            I had no more luck doing that with my particular YEC than with…

            Your ending line of: ‘You are dealing with a mind so closed and warped into illogical ways of thinking that nothing can get through to it’ sounds like an opening prologue of a darkly sinister sci-fi/horror movie. What is most disturbing is that you are describing a common everyday occurrence. How the hell have we ended up back in the dark ages…!

      • In reply to #23 by iHuman:

        His response left me shell shocked – He claimed that the earth was indeed billions of years old but that God made it that way only 6000 years > ago!

        When I met my first YEC in the early 90s I too was astonished at the stuff he used to come out with over the year or so of our debates to try and justify his beliefs or refute scientific evidence. I had no idea such people existed or that there was an entire industry devoted to churning out YEC books full of pseudoscience and literature they could quote from to refute each scientific argument put to them. I was arguing from first principles off the top of my head never having done anything like this before. He clearly was primed in advance although I didn’t realise it at the time.

        I chucked what I thought were irrefutable facts at him and he just batted them away like mildly irritating flies.

        1) If the universe was only 6000 years old we wouldn’t be able to see stars more than 6000 light years away and obviously we can. Answer: God created the light already most of the way here so it only had the last 6000 light years to travel.

        2) There isn’t anything like enough water on earth to cover the mountains in a flood even if all the ice in Antarctica, Greenland and on every mountain top was melted to generate rainfall. Answer: God magicked the water into existence and the magicked it away again when he was done.

        3) Fossilisation takes millions of years to occur. Bones don’t turn into rock in just a few thousand years. Answer: God created the fossils, already conveniently fossilised, and laid them down in the rock strata for us to find.

        4) Radiometric dating gives us ages much greater than a few thousand years. Answer: There’s no way of knowing if radioactive decay rates were much faster in the past than they are now which fools us into thinking rocks are millions of years old.

        Many of these responses were much too slick for him to have come up with them on the spur of the moment and I finally realised they came from these books the YEC nutters churn out.

        Essentially there are NO arguments you can put to people like this. Their faith is sacrosanct so anything that conflicts with it must be refuted or ignored. In extremis just wave the magic wand card. God can do anything so he can magic anything to appear like anything else. Why he would want to play out this enormous charade on humanity to make the universe appear to be billions of years old is another matter. That then invokes the “it’s not our place to question God” card. All we can do is pray that one day he’ll reveal his purpose to us.

        In fact if you scratch these people deeply enough under the skin you find they’re terrified of even questioning their faith too hard. They’re not supposed to question God, challenge him or even speculate as to his nature in case they put their souls in jeopardy. So basically it’s believe everything we tell you, don’t question it, if you do question it you’re in danger of losing your faith and anything anyone tells you that conflicts with it is a lie sent to test you. So refuting facts is actually a good thing in their book. It means their unshakeable faith is still, well, unshakeable. It’s a wonderfully constructed closed loop of illogical thought they can never break out of. They can go round and round it but always get back to the same starting point.

        • In reply to #29 by Arkrid Sandwich:
          >

          Their faith is sacrosanct so anything that conflicts with it must be refuted or ignored. In extremis just wave the magic wand card. God can do anything so he can magic anything to appear like anything else.

          If you understand the psychology, this is in fact so – in the perceptions of a YEC brain!
          “God” can if fact do anything, according to the self assessed god-delusion in a programmed YEC brain. It will look at the indoctrinated fantasy god activities of the god-delusion and build circular rationalisations from, and consistently around these, to keep any external evidence or critical rationality suppressed!
          Some of these delusions and rationalisations will be lazily copied or sought from other YECs, but the simplistic fantasy world view, will boost their egos, telling them that they know-it-all, and have answers to everything!
          They can then feel good and superior, concentrating on regularly chanting dogmas, with no need to bother with any of that difficult complicated sciency stuff which requires deep thinking and tackling real-world problems! Leave it all to god and trust “His will” will make it turn out for the best!
          Relax! – No need to take personal responsibility for decisions or actions! – The magic-parent figure (or his representative “authorities”) will take all the decisions for you, and you can remain a mentally responsibility-free child all your life – but with airs of all-knowing superiority!

          There is also the issue, that if they were persuaded to reject their fundamentalist “book of all-knowledge”, not only would they lose their illusory superiority status, and “eternal life”, but would have to admit to themselves, that having wasted their learning opportunities of life, they now know little or nothing about reality!

          Knee-jerk-denial and “god-did-it-by-magic”, are the lazy line of least resistance!

        • In reply to #29 by Arkrid Sandwich:

          In reply to #23 by iHuman:

          His response left me shell shocked – He claimed that the earth was indeed billions of years old but that God made it that way only 6000 years > ago!

          When I met my first YEC in the early 90s I too was astonished at the stuff he used to come out with over the year or so of…

          Hi Akrid Sandwich (that’s a funny username!)

          Those four points you highlighted were exactly the same ones I was hit with during my last experience with a YEC. Talk about them reading from a script!

          For all its mind numbing, infuriating, downright laughable ignorance, there is a darker side to this that worries me most. The darker side I speak of relates to the mindset of fanatical YEC’s. It disturbs me that so many people have become brainwashed to this extreme degree. To the degree that that even common sense has no part in there lives. To the degree that anything fed to the them by there leaders is, by default status, an irrefutable fact of reality. History can directly relate to this in numerous events. Nazi Germany comes to mind, as does the Wako incident, Cult of the Purple Shroud, etc.

          I’m not suggesting that they pose an immediate physical threat to themselves or others, but as history has always shown, nothing good has ever come from this type of mindset…

        • In reply to #29 by Arkrid Sandwich:

          In reply to #23 by iHuman:

          His response left me shell shocked – He claimed that the earth was indeed billions of years old but that God made it that way only 6000 years > ago!

          When I met my first YEC in the early 90s I too was astonished at the stuff he used to come out with over the year or so of…

          The only way to treat that is to ace them.

          “The universe,” you must explain in wearied tones, ” was created last Thursday.”

          • In reply to #34 by phil rimmer:

            In reply to #29 by Arkrid Sandwich:

            In reply to #23 by iHuman:

            His response left me shell shocked – He claimed that the earth was indeed billions of years old but that God made it that way only 6000 years > ago!

            When I met my first YEC in the early 90s I too was astonished at the stuff he used to…

            “The universe,” you must explain in wearied tones, ” was created last Thursday.”
            Irrefutably true as I can’t remember last Wednesday… :-/

  12. Yes and it begs the question : “If there was such a thing as intelligent design, don’t you think stupid people would not exist?”

    And I mean people in general because we do nothing but destroy pillage and create chaos. We are the biggest mistake resulting from evolution in my opinion. No intelligent being would create such monsters..

  13. iHuman:

    Irrefutably true as I can’t remember last Wednesday… :-/

    I think Jaspar Carrot expressed the same idea well !

    Goodness knows how the conversation between two goldfish about radiometric dating would go !

    • In reply to #39 by Mr DArcy:

      iHuman:

      Irrefutably true as I can’t remember last Wednesday… :-/

      I think Jaspar Carrot expressed the same idea well !

      Goodness knows how the conversation between two goldfish about radiometric dating would go !

      Had a good laugh at the video! Thanks for that. I was thinking… Carrot could have easily have changed the two goldfish for two YEC’s! Now that would be funny..!

  14. Here is something for you to get a laugh at. Maybe you have seen this already. But it is the shortest creationism argument with a scientist I have ever seen.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=txzOIGulUIQ

    After watching this, I conclude that the best way to discuss with them is by making it clear, that is not science.

    This video was almost painful to watch. It is so hard for me to hear people say stupid things like, scientists lied about evolution, there is no proof of that it is something that was invented to fool people into thinking there is no god….

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Oju_lpqa6Ug#t=177

    • In reply to #40 by GFZ:

      Here is something for you to get a laugh at. Maybe you have seen this already. But it is the shortest creationism argument with a scientist I have ever seen.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=txzOIGulUIQ

      After watching this, I conclude that the best way to discuss with them is by making it clear, tha…

      I watched the video, it certainly was painful to watch! A classic cringe worthy performance by a YEC.

      • In reply to #45 by iHuman:

        A classic cringe worthy performance

        Indeed and it is hard to believe that they were not just acting. If it wasn’t because I have met people like this I would not believe they were for real.
        Specially the militant YEC that looked a lot like Henry Rollins . I just can’t understand how someone who knows nothing about Geology or anything for that matter since all was an elaborate charade by god, can even try to go against a professor and doctor of Geology with 40 years under his belt of study and field experience.
        To say that there are many YEC scientists ? If there are they are on in a million no? Like the example of Geochris. People who went through something that affected their critical thinking.

        It is hard to watch people deny all the work done by scientists in pursuit of the truth. The mountains of evidence literally inscribed in the walls of the Grand Canyon.

        Would it not make more sense to accept the science and say that the bible scribes made a mistake ? To simply say people did not know back then . If it is so important for them to have a god, just say god created the universe 14 billion years ago more or less.
        Could it hurt to just face the fact the stuff in the books is wrong ? I think people would be glad to stop all the lies and BS.

        In the video there was a woman when they went to meet the teabaggers for jesus, saying that women who have abortions are murderers. Then admitted to having had two abortions. Which makes it clear that her agenda is a personal one. She could not deal with it and now she wants all women to be disallowed from deciding one way or another. This is an example of how religion and politics mix to affect other people’s lives.

        For them to say that they take the Garden of Eden story as a fact makes me laugh because most jews don’t believe it , why would these people cling to a story not even written by their people ?

        The only people missing in this video were jewish people… I guess they could not find a single jewish young earth creationist .

        • In reply to #46 by GFZ:

          In reply to #45 by iHuman:

          A classic cringe worthy performance

          Indeed and it is hard to believe that they were not just acting. If it wasn’t because I have met people like this I would not believe they were for real.
          Specially the militant YEC that looked a lot like Henry Rollins . I just can’t un…

          Those two lines: ‘Specially the militant YEC that looked a lot like Henry Rollins’ and ‘meet the teabaggers for jesus’…

          I laughed till my sides were sore! I remember back in the 90′s when I last listened to Rollins Band, Rollins seemed to have anger management issues too just like the YEC in the video!

          You raise some compelling points, points which should normally be enough to get through to the most hardened Christian, but, I think it’s clear that we’re dealing a completely different strain of Christian mindset with the YEC movement. These people haven’t just buried there heads in the sand, they’ve permanently cemented them in…

  15. I don’t think we ever left the dark ages, at least in many parts of the world; The middle east, africa and some others. However it is sad when people in the supposedly enlightened parts of the world still think in ways that would have kept us all firmly in the 14th century if others had not driven the industrial and technological revolutions that make our modern world what it is.

    You can see the damage religious fundamentalism does to prosperity when you look at countries like Afghanistan. With 50% of the population, the female half, unable to contribute to GDP growth these countries are destined to lag centuries behind the west. The Middle East, Persia particularly, used to be a centre for science, astronomy, mathematics, writing and other intellectual pursuits but in the last 800 years it’s contributed almost nothing to any of these fields. I’m not saying Islam is the sole reason for this but it’s a very large part of it.

    Ignorance breeds poverty and poverty just breeds. In countries with no effective care system for the elderly, people want big families to look after them in their old age. Couple this with poor availability or unaffordability of contraceptives and populations spiral out of control. As global warming starts to impact on crop yields, sea fish shoal sizes and location, water shortages, it will be overpopulation that tips us into disaster and it will be poor countries, and by that you can almost always say deeply religious ones, that suffer most.

  16. So I keep thinking about the fact that the only reason 6k is the figure they use to describe the age of the universe planet or whatever, is because of the Old Testament. A jewish holy book. Which by the way most jews do not take literally.
    This bothers me. So I wanted to find out what Rabbi would answer to creation ideas. After all it is jewish concept even though it is not the only creationist idea out there, this is what they latched on and other stories that do not belong to xtianity.

    This from a Rabbi giving someone advice about how to explain god and creation to her son. Assuming the son is a child.

    Question: Judaism teaches that God created the world. Who created God?
    Dear Rabbi,
    My son had asked me a question that was very hard to answer for me. I would to hear your opinion about that. His question is: If G-d created the world, who created G-d? Thank you so much for your help.
    Thanks, Tanya

    Answer: Dear Tanya,

    Thank you for your question, or rather, your son’s question. He asks, “If God created the world, then who created God?” It seems like such an obvious question, sort of like the question about the chicken and the egg!

    It is important to remember that when we talk about God, we are speaking almost entirely in metaphors. We say that God “creates,” but we do not mean that God creates the same way that a human sculptor creates a sculpture. When we say that God “speaks,” we do not mean that God’s mouth opens and sounds come out. God is not human and the words we use to talk about God are, at best, the closest we can come to understanding God given our limited human experience. This is what Rashi, the classical commentator, meant when he said that “Torah speaks in the language of human beings.”

    One Jewish perspective of creation is that God is the source of all will in the universe. When we say that God created the universe, we mean something like, “God willed the universe into existence.” Judaism holds that the universe exists for a reason. Something desired that it should exist — it is not just a random accident. However, it is not the universe itself that desired its own existence. That thing which desires there to be any reality at all is what we call “God.” It is God’s act of will that begins all reality, and that gives the universe its purpose and direction.

    It makes no sense to ask, “What willed God into existence” because, without God, there is no will and no existence. Before there is any reality, there is only the desire for there to be a reality. God is the beginning of all causality, the simple urge that there should be “somethingness” as opposed to nothingness.

    Interestingly, this is a question that scientists ask, too. Scientists can talk about the beginning of the universe all the way back to a billionth of a second after the Big Bang. However, when you ask, “So, what happened one billionth of a second BEFORE the Big Bang?,” most scientists will say that the question itself makes no sense. Since time itself is a part of the universe, there can be no moment before the moment that space and time began. At some point, you cannot find a cause before the first cause. The scientists, in effect, give the same answer as the rabbis, just in different language.

    Your letter did not reveal the age of your son, so this answer may not be appropriate for him. When my four-year-old asks questions like this (she does!), I usually say something like, “God is not a person or a thing, so God does not need to be created. God exists in every moment without beginning or end. God can be seen in the cycles of the seasons and in the way that we love each other. We and all of creation are a part of God.”

    I hope this is helpful.

    L’shalom,
    Rabbi Jeffrey W. Goldwasser

    Now as you can see it sounds as though even the Rabbi has no idea what he is talking about but gives it his best try. Notice that he never says it happened 6k years ago, or that evolution never happened.

    This is what I mean about people just accepting the science and if they really need a god, just say what the Rabbi says here. Although to me it sounds like he is everything and he is nothing. But this sounds more reasonable than yec ideas.

    • In reply to #47 by GFZ:

      So I keep thinking about the fact that the only reason 6k is the figure they use to describe the age of the universe planet or whatever, is because of the Old Testament. A jewish holy book. Which by the way most jews do not take literally.
      This bothers me. So I wanted to find out what Rabbi would an…

      I think the late Carl Sagan had the most graceful response in relation to the mothers’ question to the Rabbi. It’s nicely captured on film, here’s the URL: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4E-_DdX8Ke0

      • In reply to #49 by iHuman:

        In reply to #47 by GFZ:

        Thanks for that, a very nice video. I love how he talks. Interesting that such a culture could have come up with these ideas about time. mostly because in India there seems to be many charlatans through out time. And they seem to be very gullible people now.

        We are not the dream of gods , we are their nightmare lol

  17. Yea here is an example of that lol, but this song is brilliant and perfect for this. It is as if he is describing indoctrination…he was a militant YEC I mean even a paranoid one. The most militant are the most unsure of their faith. That’s why the blinders…

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iaysTVcounI

    Yes it is very funny , it is true, this pic says it all

    https://scontent-b-lax.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-frc1/t1.0-9/p180x540/10007053_10202872391563351_838870447_n.jpg

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