Earth History Research Center

Science/Bible Problems Requiring a Research Solution

Radiometric dating is the process of dating the earth by looking at unstable, radioactive elements that break down at a regular rate. The method most widely known to the general public is the Carbon-14 method. As creationists, we can re-interpret this method in a scripturally consistent manner. The same is not true at present for other radiometric dating methods.

Problem #1: Interpretations based on Potassium-Argon (K/Ar), Fission Track, and Electron Spin Resonance/Thermoluminesence radiometric dating techniques applied to rocks containing fossil life apparently shows that life has been on earth for millions of years. If correct, this would support the evolutionary assertion that the Genesis account of earth history is incorrect.

Problem Definition: There have been numerous studies published where sediments containing fossils have produced radiometric dates of many millions of years, particularly using the K/Ar dating technique (Evernden, et al., 1964; Woodburne, 1987). The problem is that in publications, only the data that support the paper's position are reported; conflicting data are generally not published. This makes re-interpretation in a scripturally consistent manner difficult. Some doctoral dissertations contain all of the data, both supporting and conflicting, reported. These dissertations reveal problems with the results that need further investigation. A recent investigation of mine supports this observation. Along the Columbia River in North-Central Oregon, I had collected fossil vertebrates that elsewhere had produced K/Ar dates of six to seven million years of age. I sent samples of the kinds of rocks that can be dated to a well known secular university for K/Ar analysis. They reported several ages ranging from 160 to 11 million years, but no dates were "correct". This study further reinforces our contention that there are potential problems with the method. However, all of this still does not explain why the method appears to give the expected dates at other locations.

Research Plan: In a cooperative effort utilizing the expertise of specialists in nuclear physics, geochemistry, sedimentology, and a vertebrate paleontology, specimens will obtained from which radiometric dates involving at least three different methods will be analyzed on the same rocks associated with a suite of vertebrate fossils. Initially, the dates will be done by commercial laboratories, both for credibility and cost. If the preliminary studies yield promising results, a more intensive investigation will be proposed.