Firstly I would like to start off by apologising for the slightly long-winded essay below. However it is not entirely my fault to do it this way as some things need quite a lot of explaining to get the ideas and message across to the not so intellectual minds amongst us N24 readers.
There is this ongoing debate on the estimated age of planet Earth between the religious creationists and the atheists. Just for clarity here, a religious creationist is one who believes god created the universe in 6 days, takes the scriptures verbatim and is fixated on the assumption that the Earth is approximately 6000 years old. Interestingly, I know quite a few religious people who think a little more logically and while they believe in the existence of god, also believe that the earth is billions of years old and believe in evolution as well, without it hindering their 'personal' relationship with god, how about that! Anyhow, please note that in this way I include creationists from any faith that believe in this 'theory', and not just Christianity as is most evident in other posts. My aim here is not to convince the reader of the existence or lack thereof of god, but to table the FACTS to the misinformed that indeed we are not sure how old the planet is to the closest million years, but however are very certain that it is much, much older than 6000 years as postulated by the creationists. FACTS that prove! How can I possible state this you might ask? Well, it is actually quite easy if you are willing to comprehend the following essay with the help of a little intellect and LOGIC! The tool we will use is geology. Now I know most creationists practically dispel all sciences, so for me to even mention the geology spells doom for my argument. However I am going to offer just 2 very simple examples of what I call observable geology, that is, science (geological science in this case) that does not require theories or experiments to drive a point. It is geology that is observable and/or currently in progress, for example if I show a person a picture of an extinct volcano and say to them it spews out lava when active, they could argue that it does not, however if I show them a picture of similar active volcano then there is no more debate as my evidence becomes FACT whether you believe it or not due to the evidence of the lava spewing from the volcano. Hope this makes sense!?
So to the BIG question is not how old the Earth is, but can one say that it is 6k years old!? Can any one honestly and logically state without ridicule or embarrassment that indeed the earth is this young? The first bit of evidence I will attempt to explain is the geology of plate tectonics and continental drift, in particular the relationship between the South American and African continents and the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. It does not take much intellect by just observing the 2 continents on a map that they look like they could fit together like puzzle pieces, is this true? But that could be just an observational theory and coincidental, not so? Well then, how could anyone prove beyond any doubt that these two continents did once actually form one large land mass? For this we must observe the geology closely on either side of the Atlantic. And what do we find? There are geological features, rock types, etc, on both sides that are very similar and/or where once the same or joined. So what does this prove you may ask? To illustrate the importance of this, I will use a simple exercise to explain the significance. Take a clean piece of paper and draw a line that runs from left to right on the paper. Now tear the paper in half from top to bottom making sure the line is split in two. Now to make it a little more realistic, tear each piece of paper just to the side of each original tear, this will ensure that if you tried to put the two pieces of paper together there would be a sort of okay fit but they will not match up perfectly anymore. Put the two pieces of paper on a flat surface and move them apart, what you are looking at is the two continents with a line on each representing some geological feature. From this I can prove that although the two pieces of paper are now separate and the torn edges do not match that indeed they were once the same piece of paper due to the fact that the line on them was drawn before they were torn. So you may ask, "How does that prove that the age of the earth is greater than 6k years?" Well firstly we must all agree here from the observable geological evidence so far that indeed the South American and African continents were once one big land mass, agreed, a FACT! So now, can we estimate when they were one continent? Yes we can, by bringing in our friend the Mid Atlantic Ridge. In short, this is a submarine mountain formation that runs the entire length of the Atlantic, pretty much at the centre distance between each continent. The interesting thing about the MAR, is the fact that it is an ongoing volcanic mountain formation than causes the continents on either side to slowly more away from one another, by an almost constant 2.5cm per annum, this is measurable and a FACT, not a theory or guess. So by dividing the average distance between the 2 continents by 2.5cm/year you will get the average time in years it took for them to be in the position they are today. It works out to roughly 180 million years. And even if that estimate is incorrect, no matter how you try shorten the period, it will always be in the 10s to 100s of millions of years, FACT!
So creationists and the 6k old Earth believers can you explain how it took so long for this measurable activity to happen in your time period of 6k years? I would like to read a rebuttal of facts and logical explanations please, not conjecture and faith in the 'word' or 'god made it happen' statements. I would like concise logical arguments based on measurable evidence to support your argument please. And when you are finished I want you to also explain the following observable geological phenomenon known as the K-T Boundary (look it up here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/K-T_Line). This like the drifting of the continents is not a theory or scientific conjecture; it is the clear evidence of an Earth-wide cataclysmic event that happened in the very distant past. In short it is the line drawn in the earth (literally) which separates the time before and after land bound dinosaurs roamed the Earth, i.e. this was the remnants of the event that caused the extinction of 99.99% of all land bound dinosaurs. What it actually is is a layer of ash sediment that is found throughout the world at a particular depth below the surface. What is significant about it is that when deep core samples are taken and studied, it can be used like the rings of tree to actually age the earth. Now it is known that it dates back to approximately 65 millions years ago, this is measurable and a FACT, not a guess or belief, a FACT. So once again I ask for a logical explanation from the 6k side of the fence on how this could be possible if in 'fact' the Earth is only 6k years old or there about. And while you at it please explain where you stand on the matter of the existence of dinosaurs and how and when they suddenly disappeared, I have never fully understood the 6k argument or the lack of evidence in any 'religious' or ancient scripture on this subject.
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