4 Billion Years Young

The That’s a Fact video for this fortnight is called Looking Young. The introducing paragraph reads:

No one’s ever discovered the “fountain of youth” but a lot of us still try to keep up a youthful appearance. Scientists also tell us about the age of this planet we call home. But not everyone’s in agreement.

That's a Fact - Looking YoungNow, a word on the videos themselves: the ICR has finally managed to set up a proper whitelist for embedding their vimeo videos, which naturally enough does not include me. I have thus replaced all the videos on old posts with ones from the new official, albeit rarely viewed, That’s a Fact youtube channel. But the uploads there are behind that on vimeo, so even the previous video (Evolving Bacteria) is not up there yet, let alone this one. So you’re stuck with screenshots unless they decide to pick up their game. Also new is that all my posts about these videos are now on a drop-down under the Archives tab above, as are a few other things.

To begin:

No one’s ever found the Fountain of Youth but a lot of us still try to keep up a youthful appearance.

One possible reason is that the Fountain is just a myth, or rather a collection of them. You’ll recognise this sentence as also opening the quote I gave at the start – note that what I give in these posts are my own transcripts and they don’t reflect the punctuation or spelling of the originals.

Makeup, botox, plastic surgery – it all helps for a short time.

Exercise and a healthy diet help for longer. It’s ironic that this video lists ways to make yourself look younger before arguing for Earth appearing to be young.

Scientists tell us that we will, unfortunately, still grow old.

These That’s a Fact videos ascribe the strangest things to ‘scientists tell us’ and similar positions of authority.

Scientists also tell us about the age of this planet we call home. But not everyone’s in agreement.

You can see where this is going. Technically this line is true, but only because there’s always going to be a little disagreement over the precise number of millions of years.

Some believe that Earth is billions of years old, and formed quite accidentally and spontaneously from the big bang.

The spin is tangible, even before you hear the next line. “From the big bang”? What is that supposed to even mean? And is ‘inevitable gravitational collapse’ an ‘accident’ now?

Other scientists look at the evidence in the geology of the Earth and can clearly see the youth of the planet.

No, these “creation scientists” first take a preconceived position and then hunt for random, occasionally contradictory pieces of evidence to support it. The actual scientists looked at the evidence first, and naturally enough drew entirely different conclusions.

Rocks and strata and fossils that formed quickly by powerful floods and mud-flows.

We have seen previously that many fossils could not have been formed in such conditions.

The evidence of carbon-14 in diamonds, for instance, shows that Earth cannot be millions or billions of years old.

Ah, that PRATT. Carbon-14 falls not to zero but to a background level caused by other nuclear decay in the surrounding rock or atmosphere, depending on where the object is. Thus, there is carbon-14 in everything, including billion-year-old rocks.

When making this particular argument a creationist needs to tread carefully least they reveal a profound lack of understanding of what is going on, over and above the call of duty. If ever a creationist claims that a rock or diamond has been carbon dated to 50 thousand years or so you have carte blanche to call them however much of an idiot as you feel like. Carbon dating relies on the sample having received its original carbon-14 from the atmosphere, as this allows the starting level to be determined. Rocks and diamonds were formed below the surface of the Earth and thus using carbon dating on them is profoundly stupid.

Saying that an object over x many thousand years should not contain any carbon-14 as it would have needed to be originally at concentrations higher than there are carbon atoms is a little smarter, but still falls to the fact that carbon-14 falls to a background level and will always be present.

The discovery of soft tissue in dinosaur fossils leaves palaeontologists scratching their heads, because squishy dino-tissue can’t last millions of years.

For a moment here the video reverts to Dino Cells from a few weeks back, including the (mammalian) blood graphic.

And the beauty of spiral galaxies and blue stars that astronomers observe through telescopes can only be seen if those formations are young.

That’s got nothing to do with the age of the Earth, however. I’m not sure where the blue stars part is going but the arms of spiral galaxies is something I’ve mentioned before – it’s not a problem.

From a scientific point of view, Earth looks young because, well, it is young.

Except it is not.

And that evidence supports the historical account in Genesis, that in the beginning God created the heaven and the Earth. The more we understand science the better we understand how great God is. And how he created and preserves our home here on a very young Earth.

There you go – that’s that over with for another fortnight. This video includes, at least at its end, a fair few animations, suggesting that the ICR has upgraded its subscription to whatever stockphoto repository they use for this.

Linked below the video is an Acts & Facts article by D. Russell Humphreys from 2005 called Evidence for a Young World. This gives a number of young Earth claims including the spiral galaxies and carbon-14 ones above, which we’ll finish up by going over.

  • Too few supernova remnants.
    The claim that there aren’t enough of these was covered back in a September DpSU article, at a time when I really should have been doing exams. In a word, it’s false.
  • Comets disintegrate too quickly
    Humphreys tries to rubbish the existence of both the Oort cloud and the Kuiper belt. See here for more information on that topic.
  • Not enough mud on the sea floor
    This is CD220, and the problem is that sediment on the sea floor varies with the age of the rock beneath it, in precisely the way you would expect it to.
  • Not enough sodium in the sea.
    CD221.1, in other words – as much salt does indeed get out of the ocean in a year as gets in.
  • The earth’s magnetic field is decaying too fast.
    Back here again, eh?
  • Many strata are too tightly bent.
    CD510: strata don’t actually have to be damp to be folded.
  • Biological material decays too fast.
    Ah, soft tissues.
  • Fossil radioactivity shortens geologic “ages” to a few years.
    Humphreys points to not just Polonium halos, but squashed polonium halos. Which are probably even less likely to be a real thing.
  • Too much helium in minerals.
    CD015, part of the infamous RATE project.
  • Not enough Stone Age skeletons.
    Humphreys fails to realise that not all of these skeletons will fossilise or otherwise be preserved, and that they’re not all dug up yet.
  • Agriculture is too recent.
    He claims that “It is very improbable that none of the eight billion [stone age] people mentioned in item 12 should discover that plants grow from seeds.” In order to use agriculture to a degree that will show up in the archaeological record your lifestyle must be such that you are staying in the same place for a long time. The last glaciation was not particularly suited to such a way of life and it should come as no surprise that agriculture pops up as soon as it is over.
  • History is too short.
    Written history, that is – Humphreys doesn’t know, it seems, that not all cultures developed writing and that it therefore wasn’t exactly inevitable and nor was it quick and easy either. There is no reason to suppose that said stone age people should have come up with it given even a hundred thousand years.

And that’s all he has. This list is much less impressive than the claimed “101 evidences [sic] for a young age of the Earth and the universe,” though it falls just as easily. Can they think of something new someday?

4 thoughts on “4 Billion Years Young

  1. I also came across this (not sure if it’s new): http://www.icr.org/article/evidence-for-young-world/

    Some brief comments on the points:
    1. Not all galaxies are spiral galaxies like the Milky Way is, some are more diffuse or elliptical;
    2. If the universe is only 6,000 years’ old there should be NO supernovae yet;
    3. The Oort Cloud is not just a random ‘guess’;
    4. “As far as anyone knows, the other 19 billion tons per year simply accumulate”. That looks like a guess to me;
    5. “Calculations that are as generous as possible to evolutionary scenarios still give a maximum age of only 62 million years. Calculations for many other seawater elements give much younger ages for the ocean”. All these are non peer-reviewed YEC calculations;
    6. YECs making uniformitarian assumptions – back to the time of Christ – based on recent centuries only?
    7. “Yet the folding occurred without cracking, with radii so small that the entire formation had to be still wet and unsolidified when the bending occurred.” I very much doubt that. What about the role of heat and pressure, built up over a long period of time?
    8. “Measurements of the mutation rate of mitochondrial DNA recently forced researchers to revise the age of “mitochondrial Eve” from a theorized 200,000 years down to possibly as low as 6,000 years”. Not according to this: http://www.leeds.ac.uk/news/article/245/new_molecular_clock_aids_dating_of_human_migration_history;
    9. “Orphan” Polonium-218 radiohalos, having no evidence of their mother elements, imply accelerated nuclear decay and very rapid formation of associated minerals”. As understand it, accelerated nuclear decay (certainly at a level necessary to reveal a 6,000 year old planet) is contrary to the laws of chemistry;
    10. Ditto;
    11. Why should those diamonds formed deep within the mantle (rather than from initially subducted organic material) contain any – supposedly atmospherically-derived – carbon 14 AT ALL (even if they were ‘young’)?
    12. “They would have buried at least eight billion bodies”. The reference supporting that is suspiciously old;
    13. “The usual evolutionary picture has men existing as hunters and gatherers for 185,000 years during the Stone Age before discovering agriculture less than 10,000 years ago”. Note that for much of that period the climate was much cooler than today;
    14. “Why would he wait two thousand centuries before using the same skills to record history?” Why wouldn’t he?

  2. I normally read ‘Eye on the ICR’ after posting my comments on the ICR piece. Just seen that he has had a go at the 14 Humphreys points too! Will now check what he said.

    “If ever a creationist claims that a rock or diamond has been carbon dated to 50 thousand years or so you have carte blanche to call them however much of an idiot as you feel like.”
    Rocks and diamonds cannot be radiocarbon dated – this method is used for organic materials. Though some diamonds are eclogitic, they are too old to be dated by radiocarbon dating (eclogitic diamonds contain organic carbon from organic detritus that has been pushed down from the surface of the Earth’s crust through subduction).


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