One of the best current blogs on the topics of geology, young-Earth creationism, and Christianity is Age of Rocks, written by Jonathan Baker. Today he published his 100th post, and commemorated that milestone with a fantastic article: 100 Reasons the Earth is Old. I liked all 100 reasons, and think he could follow this up with 500 reasons the Earth is old when he hits his 500th post. Here are five of my favorite reasons from his list:
6. There is no radiocarbon in old samples, despite claims to the contrary. Geologically old samples of coal, diamonds, and graphite, for example, yield finite radiocarbon ages that are consistent with the expected level of contamination invariably introduced during sample collection and preparation.
15. Quaternary deposits and landscapes are far too complicated to have accumulated in the ~4,500 years following the Flood. Everywhere we look on Earth, we truly find evidence for ~2 million years worth of processes, whether at high latitudes (where we find evidence for repeated glaciations and deglaciations, separated by warm intervals) or in the tropics (where we find thick desert dune sequences alternating with humid intervals) or in the oceans (where 2 million+ years of Milankovitch cycles are recorded in only a few meters of silt and clay) or in the high mountains (where alpine valleys have been carved out by rivers or glaciers, then infilled by coarse sediment, then eroded again, etc.). Flood geologists unanimously assert that the Quaternary period represents the ‘post-Flood’ era, but there is good reasons that conventional geologists ascribe a much longer age: 2.6 million years.
26. Volcanic ash beds (sedimentary tuff), frequently used to date sedimentary rock layers, were mainly deposited in dry conditions. Geologists can distinguish between ash layers that settled in ocean basins (marine tephra) and those that fell over dry land (air fall deposits). When volcanic ash is deposited in flowing water, it produces yet different features identifiable in outcrops, such as grain sorting and lamination. Therefore, not a few volcanic ashes in sedimentary strata contradict the Flood geology scenario, especially because these ash falls take time to accumulate from the air and harden to the point that water-lain sediments can be deposited on top without compromising the structure of the soft ash.
27. The geologic column is no remnant of an ancient flood deposit, global or not. Fine details, in the form of thin layers of alternating clay and limestone, or irregular sand deposits that resemble modern river channels, defy catastrophic explanation, which explains why catastrophism has long been abandoned by research geologists.
29. The distribution of sedimentary rocks is weighted to heavily over the continents, which is the opposite of what we’d expect in a global flood. Floods move sediments from high elevation to low elevation, depositing them in sedimentary basins. During the Flood, the oceans would have constituted the largest and deepest basins, but most sediments remained on elevated continents. How did this happen? Did the laws of physics stop working?
Note that I picked my top five from the first 29; there were just so many good old-Earth evidences to choose from. I could have selected all 100 reasons from the list of 100 reasons!
An equally important list would be top reasons why the Bible does not require anything like young-Earth creationism. A few of Jonathan Baker’s thoughts on the Bible and science can be found on his Theology/Scripture tab.
Grace and Peace
I said “One of the best blogs” because it is hard to choose between Age of Rocks and Naturalis Historia. Both have been producing top-notch articles.
#26 was near and dear to my heart, as my Master’s degree research involved a study of Quaternary volcanic ash deposits in eastern Washington.
6 thoughts on “100 reasons the Earth is old — from Age of Rocks”
Thanks, Kevin! I’ve always appreciated your thoughts here as well. I may be in trouble though, because I really like your idea of producing a “why the Bible does not require anything like young-Earth creationism” list… ;) Hmm…
By the way, I didn’t realize you studied Quaternary ash deposits. I would love to ask you more about this sometime.
Good stuff, Kevin..from an Australian geologist. May I add my personal take on old earthism. This may sound blasphemous, but I consider the information preserved in the geologic record is, literally, God’s diary of Creation . Being crafted personally by God, it logically, must outrank all other sources of authority. Even Genesis must be subject to it. I realise Ken Ham & co will argue that science is but fallible Man’s opinion or interpretation, but that stance equally applies to any translation or interpretation of scripture. Yours in Christ, Geoffrey Gee
“This may sound blasphemous”
Thats probably because it is. You are in essence claiming that one word of God in the rocks trumps another word of god in the text. I could even see you putting them on equal footing but to claim any part of God’s word must bow to what we know of geology – not just merely our interpretation is some serious error
Yes – some fundamentalist Christians reject science if it appears to contradict the Bible.
Aileenn — God’s rocks don’t trump God’s Word. Neither does God’s Word trump God’s world. If all truth is God’s truth, then there can be no contradiction between the two. If there seems to be a conflict between the two, either we don’t understand God’s Word, or we don’t understand God’s world. The problem with young-Earth creationism is that its advocates come up with all sorts of really bad scientific explanations, and then use these to try to “prove” the Bible.
The author of “100 Reasons the Earth is Old” has written an excellent follow-up that addresses your comment:
Inspired to question my beliefs more, from reading GeoChristian, I have been thinking about what position I hold regarding whether the earth is young or old from a Biblical viewpoint as I believe the Bible is the source of all that is true when it has not been misinterpreted by biblical scholars (allowing for the man made mistakes of grammer or semantics) .So then, I have reread Genesis and this is what I have come to believe.
God created light and dark on the first day. But light and dark on the first day does not mean that a day was 24 hours. Infact, by this understanding of a day, a day on the north or south pole would be 1 year of time as light and dark are for 6 months. We read in Genesis that ‘lights in the firmament to divide the day from the night and for the sign of the seasons” was not created until the 4th day! This may mean that the first 3 days of creation were not our days at all as the earth had no gravitational pull from a sun or moon. The original light and dark that God created on the first day may have been supernaturally supplied until until He created the Sun and the Moon (the two great lights as Genesis says) on the 4th day! Therefore the earth was created by God during 3 days of which had absolutely nothing to do with time as we know it! There was no time except God’s time, which might account for God’s Day of creation being a million or 100 milion years of our time!!!! And so the waters of the earth, firmanent (sky), the dry land appearing and the beginning of vegetation were all created during the first 3 days of God’s holy light and substance! After the fourth day, we now have a 24 hour day with the sun and moon and ‘other lights in the firmanent’, the creation of man and creatures in the seas and on the land and the beginning of life as we know it!
So then, I would say that the earth is very very old and that man came upon earth after it had been completely formed by the finger of God millions and millions of years later. But for God, those millions of years are but a nano second since He is all time!!!!