How Old is the Earth

Early history[ edit ] In Ancient Greece , Aristotle BCE observed that fossils of seashells in rocks resembled those found on beaches — he inferred that the fossils in rocks were formed by living animals, and he reasoned that the positions of land and sea had changed over long periods of time. Leonardo da Vinci — concurred with Aristotle’s interpretation that fossils represented the remains of ancient life. Steno argued that rock layers or strata were laid down in succession, and that each represents a “slice” of time. He also formulated the law of superposition, which states that any given stratum is probably older than those above it and younger than those below it. While Steno’s principles were simple, applying them proved challenging. Over the course of the 18th century geologists realized that: Sequences of strata often become eroded, distorted, tilted, or even inverted after deposition Strata laid down at the same time in different areas could have entirely different appearances The strata of any given area represented only part of Earth’s long history The Neptunist theories popular at this time expounded by Abraham Werner — in the late 18th century proposed that all rocks had precipitated out of a single enormous flood.

The Age of the Earth

Use the contact form to ask your question about our work and you may see your question — and answer — on this website, or in the ‘ Evolution FAQ’ kiosk in the David H. Koch Hall of Human Origins. How does evolution work? To survive, living things adapt to their surroundings. Occasionally a genetic variation gives one member of a species an edge.

The question of the age of the earth has produced heated discussions on Internet debate boards, TV, radio, in classrooms, and in many churches, Christian colleges, and seminaries. The primary sides are Young-earth proponents (biblical age of the earth and universe of about 6, years)1 Old-earth.

Relative dating Studies of strata , the layering of rocks and earth, gave naturalists an appreciation that Earth may have been through many changes during its existence. These layers often contained fossilized remains of unknown creatures, leading some to interpret a progression of organisms from layer to layer. Lomonosov’s ideas were mostly speculative. In the Comte du Buffon tried to obtain a value for the age of Earth using an experiment: He created a small globe that resembled Earth in composition and then measured its rate of cooling.

This led him to estimate that Earth was about 75, years old. Other naturalists used these hypotheses to construct a history of Earth , though their timelines were inexact as they did not know how long it took to lay down stratigraphic layers. This was a challenge to the traditional view, which saw the history of Earth as static,[ citation needed ] with changes brought about by intermittent catastrophes. Many naturalists were influenced by Lyell to become “uniformitarians” who believed that changes were constant and uniform.

How are the ages of the Earth and universe calculated?

Acknowledgements Introduction his document discusses the way radiometric dating and stratigraphic principles are used to establish the conventional geological time scale. It is not about the theory behind radiometric dating methods, it is about their application, and it therefore assumes the reader has some familiarity with the technique already refer to “Other Sources” for more information. As an example of how they are used, radiometric dates from geologically simple, fossiliferous Cretaceous rocks in western North America are compared to the geological time scale.

To get to that point, there is also a historical discussion and description of non-radiometric dating methods.

G. Dalrymple has done a wonderful job in writing such a technical work on the history and direct data for the current estimate of the age of the Earth being Billion years old and the Universe being 7 – .

Clearly visible in the canyon walls are the light-colored granites, such as the Zoroaster Granite, which are stark against the darker, folded strata of the Vishnu Schist and the other metamorphic rock units of the Granite Gorge Metamorphic Suite1 see lowest purple and green shading in diagram. These are former sedimentary and volcanic strata that have been transformed by heat and pressure, possibly during the intense upheavals when the dry land was formed on Day 3 of Creation Week.

These were originally basalt lava flows several meters to tens of meters thick. In some outcrops pillow structures have been preserved, testimony to the basalt lavas having originally erupted and flowed under water onto the Creation Week ocean floor. Metamorphic rocks are not always easy to date using radio-isotopes. Results obtained usually signify the “date” of the metamorphism, but they may also yield the “age” of the original volcanic or sedimentary rock.

The “age” or “date” is calculated from the amount of the daughter isotope produced by radioactive decay of the parent isotope.

Radiometric Dating and the Geological Time Scale

This is what archaeologists use to determine the age of human-made artifacts. But carbon dating won’t work on dinosaur bones. The half-life of carbon is only 5, years, so carbon dating is only effective on samples that are less than 50, years old. Dinosaur bones, on the other hand, are millions of years old — some fossils are billions of years old. To determine the ages of these specimens, scientists need an isotope with a very long half-life.

Some of the isotopes used for this purpose are uranium , uranium and potassium , each of which has a half-life of more than a million years.

The age of the Earth is ± billion years ( × 10 9 years ± 1%). This age may represent the age of the Earth’s accretion, of core formation, or of the material from which the Earth formed. This dating is based on evidence from radiometric age-dating of meteorite material and is consistent with the radiometric ages of the oldest-known terrestrial and lunar samples.

Reference to a case where the given method did not work This is perhaps the most common objection of all. Creationists point to instances where a given method produced a result that is clearly wrong, and then argue that therefore all such dates may be ignored. Such an argument fails on two counts: First, an instance where a method fails to work does not imply that it does not ever work. The question is not whether there are “undatable” objects, but rather whether or not all objects cannot be dated by a given method.

The fact that one wristwatch has failed to keep time properly cannot be used as a justification for discarding all watches. How many creationists would see the same time on five different clocks and then feel free to ignore it? Yet, when five radiometric dating methods agree on the age of one of the Earth’s oldest rock formations Dalrymple , p. The claim that the methods produce bad results essentially at random does not explain why these “bad results” are so consistently in line with mainstream science.

Claims that the assumptions of a method may be violated Certain requirements are involved with all radiometric dating methods. These generally include constancy of decay rate and lack of contamination gain or loss of parent or daughter isotope. Creationists often attack these requirements as “unjustified assumptions,” though they are really neither “unjustified” nor “assumptions” in most cases.

The Age of the Earth

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Introduction. Today, the vast majority of pastors and teachers do not interpret the days of creation to be twenty-four hours long. Many accept the current secular view of the age of the earth, and rather than questioning the “sure” and “tested” results of “science” they conclude that a literal six day creation is a misinterpretation of Scripture.

Radioisotope dating shows the earth to be billions of years old. T38, 4: What We Really Know about Dating Methods When someone mentions scientific dating methods, the first thing to come to mind for most people is carbon dating. However, there are many methods that can be used to determine the age of the earth or other objects. The textbooks focus on relative dating, based on the layering of the rocks, and radiometric dating. Relative ages are assigned to rocks based on the idea that rock layers lower in the strata were deposited before rock layers that are higher.

There is also a difference in the timescale used to explain the layers. Determining the relative age of a rock layer is based on the assumption that you know the ages of the rocks surrounding it. Uniformitarian geologists use so-called absolute dating methods to determine the ages of the surrounding rocks. Certain types of rocks, especially those that form from magma igneous , contain radioactive isotopes of different elements.

It is possible to measure the ratio of the different radioactive parent isotopes and their daughter isotopes in a rock, but the ratios are not dates or ages.

Age of the Earth

Roman poet Lucretius, intellectual heir to the Greek atomists, believed its formation must have been relatively recent, given that there were no records going back beyond the Trojan War. The Talmudic rabbis, Martin Luther and others used the biblical account to extrapolate back from known history and came up with rather similar estimates for when the earth came into being.

Within decades observation began overtaking such thinking. In the s Nicolas Steno formulated our modern concepts of deposition of horizontal strata. He inferred that where the layers are not horizontal, they must have been tilted since their deposition and noted that different strata contain different kinds of fossil. This position came to be known as uniformitarianism, but within it we must distinguish between uniformity of natural law which nearly all of us would accept and the increasingly questionable assumptions of uniformity of process, uniformity of rate and uniformity of outcome.

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There are lots of ways to guesstimate ages, and geologists knew the earth was old a long time ago and I might add that they were mostly Christian creationist geologists. But they didn’t know how old. Radiometric dating actually allows the measurement of absolute ages, and so it is deadly to the argument that the earth cannot be more than 10, years old. Radiometric methods measure the time elapsed since the particular radiometric clock was reset. Radiocarbon dating, which is probably best known in the general public, works only on things that were once alive and are now dead.

It measures the time elapsed since death, but is limited in scale to no more than about 50, years ago. Generally applied to igneous rocks those of volcanic origin , they measure the time since the molten rock solidified. If that happens to be longer than 10, years, then the idea of a young-Earth is called into question. If that happens to be billions of years, then the young-Earth is in big trouble. As of January, , The oldest rocks found on earth are 4.

This is reported in the paper Priscoan 4. Williams; Contributions to Mineralogy and Petrology 1:

Everything Worth Knowing About … Scientific Dating Methods

How Old Is The Earth? How old is the Earth? Scientists think that the Earth is 4. Coincidentally, this is the same age as the rest of the planets in the Solar System, as well as the Sun. In the early Solar System, all of the planets formed in the solar nebula; the remnants left over from the formation of the Sun. Small particles of dust collected together into larger and larger objects — pebbles, rocks, boulders, etc — until there were many planetoids in the Solar System.

How Science Figured Out the Age of Earth. For centuries scholars sought to determine Earth’s age, but the answer had to wait for careful geologic observation, isotopic analyses of the elements.

His calculations did not account for heat produced via radioactive decay a process then unknown to science or, more significantly, convection inside the Earth, which allows more heat to escape from the interior to warm rocks near the surface. For biologists, even million years seemed much too short to be plausible. In Darwin’s theory of evolution , the process of random heritable variation with cumulative selection requires great durations of time.

According to modern biology, the total evolutionary history from the beginning of life to today has taken place since 3. Huxley , attacked Thomson’s calculations, suggesting they appeared precise in themselves but were based on faulty assumptions. The physicist Hermann von Helmholtz in and astronomer Simon Newcomb in contributed their own calculations of 22 and 18 million years respectively to the debate: However, they assumed that the Sun was only glowing from the heat of its gravitational contraction.

The process of solar nuclear fusion was not yet known to science. In John Perry challenged Kelvin’s figure on the basis of his assumptions on conductivity, and Oliver Heaviside entered the dialogue, considering it “a vehicle to display the ability of his operator method to solve problems of astonishing complexity. Charles Darwin ‘s son, the astronomer George H. Darwin , proposed that Earth and Moon had broken apart in their early days when they were both molten.

Doesn’t Carbon-14 Dating Disprove the Bible?

For example, back in , Lord Kelvin calculated how long Earth might have taken to cool from its original molten state. He concluded that Earth was born 20 to million years ago. Their message proved difficult to decipher. How old is Earth?

Most people accept the current old-earth (OE) age estimate of around billion years. This age is obtained from radiometric dating and is assumed by evolutionists to provide a sufficiently long time-frame for Darwinian evolution.

See this page in: Hungarian , Russian , Spanish People who ask about carbon 14C dating usually want to know about the radiometric [1] dating methods that are claimed to give millions and billions of years—carbon dating can only give thousands of years. People wonder how millions of years could be squeezed into the biblical account of history. Clearly, such huge time periods cannot be fitted into the Bible without compromising what the Bible says about the goodness of God and the origin of sin, death and suffering —the reason Jesus came into the world See Six Days?

Christians , by definition, take the statements of Jesus Christ seriously. This only makes sense with a time-line beginning with the creation week thousands of years ago. It makes no sense at all if man appeared at the end of billions of years. We will deal with carbon dating first and then with the other dating methods. How the carbon clock works Carbon has unique properties that are essential for life on Earth. One rare form has atoms that are 14 times as heavy as hydrogen atoms: Carbon is made when cosmic rays knock neutrons out of atomic nuclei in the upper atmosphere.

Does carbon dating prove the earth is millions of years old?

Astronomy Many independent measurements have established that the Earth and the universe are billions of years old. Geologists have found annual layers in ice that are easily counted to multiple tens of thousands of years, and when combined with radio isotope dating, we find hundreds of thousands of years of ice layers. Using the known rate of change in radio-active elements radiometric dating , some Earth rocks have been shown to be billions of years old, while the oldest solar system rocks are dated at 4.

Astronomers use the distance to galaxies and the speed of light to calculate that the light has been traveling for billions of years. The expansion of the universe gives an age for the universe as a whole: Introduction Astronomers and geologists have determined that the universe and Earth are billions of years old.

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This age is obtained from radiometric dating and is assumed by evolutionists to provide a sufficiently long time-frame for Darwinian evolution. And OE Christians theistic evolutionists see no problem with this dating whilst still accepting biblical creation, see Radiometric Dating – A Christian Perspective. This is the crucial point: Some claim Genesis in particular, and the Bible in general looks mythical from this standpoint.

A full discussion of the topic must therefore include the current scientific challenge to the OE concept. This challenge is mainly headed by Creationism which teaches a young-earth YE theory. A young earth is considered to be typically just 6, years old since this fits the creation account and some dating deductions from Genesis.

The crucial point here is: Accepted Dating Methods Here we outline some dating methods , both absolute and relative, that are widely accepted and used by the scientific community. Absolute dating supplies a numerical date whilst relative dating places events in time-sequence; both are scientifically useful. Radiometric Dating This is based upon the spontaneous breakdown or decay of atomic nuclei. Radioactive parent P atoms decay to stable daughter D atoms e.

The time required for half the original number of parent atoms to decay is called the half life. Some half-lives are listed below:

Relative Dating of Rock Layers