Radiocarbon Dating and American Evangelical Christians
Carbon dating from a christian perspective. Carbon Dating: What it Means to the Christian Faith. Maggie Steinrauf. Loading Unsubscribe. Christian Answers web site, referring to the book of Genesis in the Bible. 1. bullet, "The radiocarbon dating method remains arguably the most. An article about radiometric dating and its impact on the creation science debate, Radiometric Dating - A Christian Perspective.
For example, to a question raised by Cordelius Erdmann, Monsma said, "I would not dare to answer that question because I am not a geologist. In a paper presented at the Los Angeles Convention of the ASA, Kulp argued that "the theory that a relatively recent universal flood can account for the sedimentary strata of the earth is entirely inadequate to explain the observed data in geology.
In a paper presented at the Convention, Roy M. Allen, a metallurgist, summarized the conditions that complicated the accuracy of radioactive dating, and then criticized the uncertainty of radioactive dates. But in the discussion session, Allen's paper was attacked by Kulp. Kulp, after pointing out the author's lack of geological training, refuted Allen's criticisms one by one.
In addition to his total commitment to contemporary geology, young Kulp's partisanship and power of persuasion contributed to converting the ASA to acceptance of C dating and the doctrine of the old earth and human antiquity. One was the fact that since its first decade, the ASA had many active scientists working in fields related to radioactive dating, such as geology, archaeology and anthropology.
They all had been trained in the contemporary scientific traditions.
Ramm summarized the intellectual atmosphere of the ASA in the early s, which was generally accepting of current scientific ideas. In supporting Kulp in his criticism of flood geology, Ramm said, "If uniformitarianism makes a scientific case for itself to a Christian scholar, that Christian scholar has every right to believe it, and if he is a man and not a coward he will believe it in spite of the intimidation that he is supposedly gone over into the camp of the enemy.
Ramm said, "If uniformitarianism makes a scientific case for itself to a Christian scholar, that Christian scholar has every right to believe it, and if he is a man and not a coward he will believe it in spite of the intimidation that he is supposedly gone over into the camp of the enemy.
Monsma, a believer in recent creation and a cataclysmic deluge, in Though he eventually dropped out the ASA, "not because it had become liberal, but because it was too conservative for him," Kulp widely influenced the ASA to accept radioactive dates, and the antiquity of the earth and life on earth. With the emergence of Kulp, supporters of the young earth and flood geology were gradually isolated within the ASA.
In the s, there was increasing evidence of personal and organizational factions among evangelical Christian circles. To fundamentalist evangelicals, the great flood and the age of the earth and life were incompatible with C dates.
In reaction to the shift in the ASA towards acceptance of the idea of an old earth and uniformitarianism, a revival of flood geology and the idea of a young earth and life occurred in evangelical Christianity in the early s.
The most significant sign of this revival was the publication in of The Genesis Flood by Whitcomb and Morris, supporters of Pricean flood geology. The Genesis Flood, which began in as Whitcomb's dissertation, was completed by the addition of several technical chapters by Morris.
As an Old Testament teacher at Grace Theological Seminary, a fundamentalist institution in Indiana, Whitcomb was deeply distressed by Ramm's The Christian View of Science and Scripture which contained what he deemed an unbiblical notion of the local flood.
Ramm's book, as Whitcomb confided to Morris, provided him a direct motivation to write the page dissertation on The Genesis Flood: Ramm's book would be sufficient incentive for me. Arnold and I had was that our advisors informed us that history extended back only 5, years Several Christian magazines praised The Genesis Flood for its defense of Genesis, while scientists, including ASA members, criticized the book for its total attack on contemporary science.
Most of the evangelicals who accepted the gap and day-age theories did not heartily accept flood geology and the idea of a young earth, recognizing that the main arguments of flood geology on the whole were incompatible with their theories.
Whitcomb, in a letter to Morris, expressed his embarrassment that practically everyone he knew accepted either the gap or day-age theory, "even though they seem to be happy about our position on the Flood!Bob Dutko: How Carbon Dating Actually Supports Creation
In contrast to the critical response of non-literalist evangelicals, however, many fundamentalists and fundamentalist institutions heartily accepted The Genesis Flood. Soon after its publication, the authors were invited to numerous meetings. Morris, who had a prestigious scientific background, was particularly forced to adapt a jetset lifestyle in order to meet nation-wide speaking engagements.
Baptists invited him most frequently, but conservative Presbyterian, Lutheran, Reformed, Episcopalian, Wesleyan, Mennonite and even Pentecostal institutions heard his flood geology and his arguments for a young earth. Among these, the CRS and the ICR were the most prominent in spreading the ideas of flood geology and a young earth, which were the most distinct features of the so-called "scientific creationism.
It was started in by a group of strict creationists who were disappointed by the changing position of the ASA. Marquart stated, "If the ASA had remained true to the doctrines and principles on which it was founded, the Creation Research Society would never have been necessary.
Cook, a Mormon metallurgist and professor at the University of Utah, criticized the assumption of C equilibrium in the biosphere.
This assumption states that a dynamic equilibrium has existed in the earth's reservoirs of carbon for several tens of thousands of years. Cook denied the existence of this equilibrium: Whitelaw, a professor of mechanical engineering at Virginia Polytechnic Institute, presented more quantitative arguments on the nonexistence of equilibrium among the major carbon reservoirs.
Morris, director of the ICR, pointed out that for the time-period prior to dynamic equilibrium, the C age would be much larger than true ages if calculated from the equilibrium model. It was stated thoroughly by Robert E. Lee pointed out the possibility of contamination in the whole dating process, from collecting samples in the field to the final measurements in the laboratories. Charcoal and peat, frequently favorable samples for C dating, were noted for their ability to absorb foreign substances.
In fact, Bolton Davidheiser, a zoology Ph. The first person who systematically investigated this was Thomas G. Barnes, a physicist and member of the steering committee of the CRS. According to his study, the magnetic field of the earth decays exponentially. Based on figures from tohe calculated the half-life of the magnetic field of the earth to be years.
The greater the magnetic field, the less the cosmic ray influx. If the magnetic field in the past was many times stronger than it is today, there would have been less cosmic ray entering the atmosphere, and consequently less C would have been produced. Therefore, any C dates taken from samples from that time period would appear older than they really were. DeYoung, a Grace Brethren physicist, also reported variations in the half-life of several radioactive elements under various physical and chemical stimuli or human and natural influences.
Since the Industrial Revolution, coal, oil and gas have been burned in quantity, and the carbon dioxide produced in the process has been liberated into the atmosphere. Although the Industrial Revolution was less than two centuries old, Morris pointed that the effect of this carbon dioxide must be taken into account in C dating.
These released neutrons increased the amount of C in the atmosphere. Davidheiser argued that within the past 50, years large amounts of nonradioactive carbon dioxide have been released into the atmosphere by volcanic activity.
According to them, in the past there was much more extensive and vigorous vegetation than now. Thus there would have been significantly more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Therefore, they argued that C dates older than 5, years would be highly suspect 73 and concluded that organisms alive before or immediately after the flood would contain much less C than present organisms and therefore would appear to be older than they really are.
Through numerous publications, popular talks and lectures and public debates, the ICR greatly influenced evangelical thought. From its start, as would be expected from the founder's background, the ICR adhered strictly to the doctrines of flood geology and recent creation, and, hence, the C dating method was severely criticized. This lab seems to be the first C dating facility run by an evangelical Christian organization committed to testing the C dating assumptions and presenting their own data regarding C dating.
The C dating project is led by Gerald E. Aardsma, a nuclear physics Ph. Aardsma has published a monograph, Radiocarbon and the Genesis Flood Although these data "should not be accepted until he or someone else has made a much more critical analysis of the assumptions and correlations used in dendrochronology," to our surprise, Morris recognized that "his study has real merit and should be made available to the wider readership.
Without doubt, however, Aardsma's research will contribute to broadening the intellectual horizon of fundamentalist evangelicals. Young flatly opposes the idea of a young earth and flood geology. Rejecting the fundamentalists' criticisms on the antiquity of the earth, Young pointed out that the decay rate of radioactive elements is constant, that dating elements are not lost or gained during geologic time, and that the original amount of daughter element has been determined with reasonable accuracy.
But his argument for C dating was not as thorough as his evaluation of the age of the earth, that being the primary aim of the book.
He harmonized belief in the Bible with his geologic knowledge through the day-age theory: The numerous critiques raised by strict creationists have not been taken seriously by the secular scientists and even some evangelicals, such as ASA members. Why was this so? The key factor was the ready availability of the gap and day-age interpretations of Genesis 1.
In fact, most evangelicals, and even Adventists who refuted the flood theory and the idea of a young earth, could accept one of these interpretations without seriously compromising evangelical tenets. For example, Edwin K. Stoner and Davis A.
Young accept the day-age view. The second reason was the overwhelming number of practicing scientists who accepted C dating. Most strict creationists, with the exception of G.
Aardsma at the ICR, were not technical experts on the C dating method, not having advanced degrees in geochronology, geochemistry, or radiometry. Third, with few exceptions, 82 "serious" criticism about the C method appeared mainly in religious journals. All of them are conservative or fundamental publications. Among them, CRSQ is the most prominent in criticizing the C method, publishing more than 25 critical papers to date. In addition to journals, most of the religious books critical of C dating were written by fundamentalist evangelicals 83 and published by religious publishers, and their distribution was limited to Christians.
The fourth reason is the conservative bent of established science. Since C dating was introduced on a wide scale in the s, it quickly replaced the older dating methods. Once accepted, "adjustments were made to achieve internal order in the radiocarbon chronology! Once that comforting operation was completed, a feeling of security enveloped the exponents and their followers.
Within a normal science, only minor corrections or improvements of a theory, or puzzle solving activities are done.
By the late s, radioactive dating was not taken seriously by evangelicals. Although there might be some trace of internal tension, there was not much strife over it among Christians. But the emerging influence of J. Kulp in the ASA caused a split in the evangelical Christian community: Largely because of Kulp's influence, supporters of flood geology and a young earth found themselves increasingly isolated within the ASA.
In the late s the Adventists had no Kulp.
Why most religious conservatives reject the C dating system
Although Hare did try to fill a similar role, he failed to persuade major Adventist scholars. Many orthodox Adventists remained critical toward C dating. But in the late s, R. Hare opened fire on the tenets of the fundamental creationists. They indirectly challenged the authority of the writing of Ellen G.
White, the founder of the Adventist church. Unlike the ASA, however, the community of orthodox Adventist scientists did not split, due to the strong doctrinal bonds of the church.
Numbers of the University of Wisconsin-Madison for his valuable comments and permission to use his personal collections. Also the author is grateful to Dr. For the history of C dating, besides Libby's several original papers, see R. Whitcomb and Henry M. Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Co. Southern Publishing Association, pp. Review and Herald Publishing Association, pp.
Criticism of Points Raised in It was cited by M. Southern Publishing Associations, p.
Carbon-14 Dating Does Not Disprove the Bible
Barnes, "Time and Earth's History," Spectrum 3 1 Numbers, The Creationists, Ch. By the mids, Brown was still quite critical of C dates: Brown, "Radiocarbon Dating," in H. An Archaeological Perspective in R. Brown, Origins 14 1 And in a recent article Brown tried to correlate C ages with the biblical time scale: Brown, Origins 17 2 Pearl, "Letter To Hackett," March 11, Originally Pearl presented this view in his master thesis in ?
For an assesment of Brown's argument, see Ross O. Barnes, "Time and Earth's History," Spectrum, 3 1 Depth Profile Characteristics," Origins 15 1 Couperus, Spectrum 10 4: Ervin Taylor, "Genesis and Prehistory: Taylor recently published comprehensive review on the C dating: Archaeological Perspective Orlando, FL: Academic Press, p.
It was cited in F. Its Growth and Early Development p.
Voskuyl, and archaeologist George R. Horner participated in the ASA. Master Book Publishers, pp. Creation scientists cannot accept these dates as accurate since they believe that the world was created sometime between and BCE. Since the accuracy of the Bible cannot be questioned, C dating must contain massive errors -- by as much as a factor of five.
Similarly, other radiometric measurements which do not use carbon, have dated rocks in northern Quebec, Canada, at almost four billion years old. Reasons for rejection of C dating, with rebuttals: It is our policy to accurately portray both or all sides to each belief whenever multiple viewpoints exist.
If you feel that we are not fairly describing one side, please use the "Contact Us" button at the bottom of this page to send us a complaint. Please be sure to include the name of this file c14datc. Some direct criticisms of the C dating technique are: A team of researchers, headed by Willard F. Libby calibrated the C measuring technique by comparing the measured age of samples from ancient Egypt with their known date. For example, they tested a piece of wood from Pharaoh Zoser's tomb with the known tomb date, which was known to be circa to BCE.
The agreement was excellent. That work pushed the calibration back well beyond recorded history to 10, BP years before the present.
Other correlations have extended that to 26, years BP. It may eventually go back as far as 45, years, which is the approximate limit of the C technique. This will increase the level of cosmic rays in the upper atmosphere, generate more C, and upset the C dating process.