In one of Job’s introspective rebuttals (12:8-9) he expresses his confidence that the message of the earth itself absolutely corroborates Scripture’s account of a creative and judgmental sovereign “hand” in her past.
If the geologic column is a true schematic of earth’s ancient timescale, as scientific consensus promotes, then there should be no measureable carbon in any formations assigned ages beyond 100,000 years. The problem is radiocarbon is found to be present in petrified or fossilized wood embedded in rock layers given supposed age-classifications ranging from 32 million up to 250 million years old (see “Carbon-14 Dating – An Evolution Dilemma” written by Andrew Snelling for Answers Magazine). Likewise, coal sampled from seams separated by hundreds of millions of years and assigned ages up to 320 million years, not only contained Carbon-14, but were measured at virtually the same age (48,000-50,000 years) radiometrically. How does 50,000 year-old coal come to be sandwiched between rocks aged at hundreds of millions of years? Uniformitarian geology predictably claims “contamination” foul, but labs would not maintain credibility if samples were continually compromised – particularly if the results regularly bristled the mainstream.
While the measurement data represents enormous flaws in the assumed ages of the rocks and the uniformitarian model, those familiar with the biblical timeline recognize that the Carbon-14 dating numbers are still as much as 10 times higher than the chronogenealogies of Scripture allow. Is there a logical explanation?
In a follow-up to his previously mentioned contribution to Answers Magazine, geologist Dr. Andrew Snelling offers that there are 3 basic assumptions used in the carbon dating exercise in an article entitled “50,000-Year-Old Fossils – A Creationist Puzzle.”
Assumption #1 – The production of Carbon-14 has always been the same in the past as now.
Assumption #2 – The atmosphere has had the same Carbon-14 concentration in the past as now.
Assumption #3 – The biosphere has always had the same overall Carbon-14 concentration as the atmosphere, due to the rapid transfer from the atmosphere to the biosphere.
It is well known that levels of atmospheric Carbon-14 can vary based on divers factors including latitude, cycles in sunspot activity, and the measurable diminution of earth’s magnetic field.
Snelling says, “A stronger magnetic field in the past would have reduced the influx of cosmic rays. This in turn would have reduced the amount of radiocarbon produced in the atmosphere. If this were the case, the biosphere in the past would have had a lower Carbon-14 concentration than it does today.”
Based on the present decay rate of earth’s magnetic field, protection from destructive cosmic energies could have been 8 times stronger at the time of the great Flood than it is today signaling far lower levels of C-14 when an entire biosphere became covered in sedimentary mud-flows and encapsulated in rock. This would reduce the original ratio of radiocarbon to non-radioactive carbon and correspondingly lessen the representative age allocation.
Another critical consideration is the current inventory of organic material trapped in rock layers below the surface of the earth. Skeptics of the biblical model of earth history boast that earth’s current plant covering is only a fraction of the necessary biomass needed to produce the coal seams that we see today. This is a true observation. A similar geological phenomenon is the massive deposits of natural gas and oil that carry a biogenic signature intimating a past source of organics beyond modern comprehension (see Scripturosity article “Oil, Oil, Everywhere – Part 3). This evidence suggests that the pre-Flood atmosphere was far different than today – one having the carbon-capacity necessary to generate a biosphere that would support earth’s enormous fossil-fuel reserves (see Scripturosity article “The Longevity of the Ancients – Part 2).
If earth’s fossil-fuel inventory intimates higher carbon content in the past and the decaying magnetic field suggests lower production of radiocarbon previously, then the ratio of today’s radioactive carbon to its stable isotope is a flawed starting point for reliable dating. If there was a way to synchronize the radiocarbon “clock” with the apparent conditions of the pre-Flood atmosphere, carbon dating would likely reflect ages more compatible with the timeline represented in the book of Genesis.
In summary, let’s review what we know about carbon dating.
- Carbon dating is based upon the natural atomic response of an unstable isotope to seek nuclear equilibrium.
- Both radioactive carbon (Carbon-14) and non-radioactive carbon (Carbon-12) enter earth’s biosphere and the food chain through photosynthesis after they combine with oxygen to form CO².
- As long as an organism is engaged with earth’s ecosystem, it will maintain its 1-to-1 trillion radioactive to stable carbon ratio.
- Once a creature dies or plant fades it can no longer add molecular carbon to its structure initiating the radiocarbon “clock.”
- This “clock” is a function of the natural nuclear decay process that takes place with all unstable isotopes and is expressed in units called “half-lives.”
- A half-life is the amount of time needed to reduce the number of unstable atoms by half in a given sample.
- The consensus half-life of Carbon-14 is 5,730 years.
- The effective measurement range of Carbon Dating is around 60,000 years since there should be virtually no radioactive carbon left in a sample after 10 half-lives.
- Radiocarbon dating presents profound inconsistencies within the evolutionary paradigm of earth history.
- Two factors suggest a reduced original ratio of unstable to stable carbon in earth’s early atmosphere – the decay rate of earth’s magnetic field (lower production of radiocarbon in the past) and earth’s enormous fossil-fuel inventory (higher total carbon in the past).
- Such conditions would lessen the representative age-allocation of carbon dating producing results that are far more compatible with the history of earth and humanity as detailed in the eyewitness account of Scripture.
“For ever. O Lord, Thy Word is settled in heaven. Thy faithfulness is unto all generations: Thou hast established the earth, and it abideth. They (speaking of the settled Word and the established earth) continue this day (in harmonious compatibility) according to Thine ordinances: for all are Thy servants (Psalm 119:89-91).”