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Johan Appelgrein
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Is the earth really 4.5 billion years old?

23 January 2014, 07:25

The purpose of this article is to question the widely popularized age of the earth as determined by the interpretation of data using evolutionary assumptions. The aim is not to give an exact age of the earth, as it would require more knowledge than is available to give an exact age. This article in no way claims to supply all knowledge needed to analyze the detailed science involved in determining the age of the earth. The information provided should be sufficient for the start of an honest study of real scientific observations, instead of adhering to the prevailing world view and succumbing to propaganda.

It has been shown in the past that scientific progress is restricted by limiting publications that appear to challenge the prevailing world view. Once the paradigm shift happens, views previously rejected seem quite logical….

From an evolutionary perspective the earth has been calculated to be approximately 4.5 Billion years old. This is held as fact even though the calculations contain many unproven assumptions. Many of the assumptions have been shown to be flawed by observations that could not be explained if the assumption is maintained.

The basic principle used to determine the evolutionary ages is called uniformitarianism. It is assumed that the “The present is key to the past”, which means that observations made in the present day can be used to work backwards to get an age for the earth. Due to written history being less than 10 000 years old (evolutionary age), a large number of assumptions is necessary to determine the age of the earth. There are many observations and measurements that can be made about the past, but the determination of the age of the earth still rests on assumptions to fill in the gaps.

From a scientific viewpoint the aim is the following:

·         Use sensory perception (seeing, hearing, feeling, tasting) to make observations using instrumentation where necessary.

·         To interpret the observations using known fields of study. These fields include, but are not limited to astronomy, biology, mathematics, archaeology and paleontology. There are observations applicable to each of these fields and related proven methods of analysis.

·         To make conclusions regarding the past from the observed data and subsequent investigation and interpretation of the data.

The observations below are quoted directly to avoid the criticism that I as a layman got it wrong. The details involved when making the observations can be found in the articles and related references.

The first observation is in the field of astronomy. The following basic astronomical observation casts doubt on the assumption of an age for the earth in the order of billions of years.

“The moon’s former magnetic field - Rocks sampled from the moon’s crust have residual magnetism that indicates that the moon once had a magnetic field much stronger than earth’s magnetic field today. No plausible ‘dynamo’ hypothesis could account for even a weak magnetic field, let alone a strong one that could leave such residual magnetism in a billions-of-years time-frame (1)

Additional observations that cast doubt on the evolutionary age of the earth include, but are not limited to the following:

1.       Biological Evidence:

a.       Discontinuous fossil sequences. E.g. Coelacanth, Wollemi pine and various ‘index’ fossils, which are present in supposedly ancient strata, missing in strata representing many millions of years since, but still living today. The question is:  how could Coelacanths have avoided being fossilized for 65 million years? (1)

b.      DNA in ‘ancient’ fossils. DNA could not last more than a few thousand years extracted from bacteria that are supposed to be 425 million years old brings into question that age, because DNA could not last more than thousands of years. (1)

2.       Geological Evidence:

a.       The amount of sediment on the sea floors at current rates of land erosion would accumulate in just 12 million years; a blink of the eye compared to the supposed age of much of the ocean floor of up to 3 billion years. Furthermore, long-age geologists reckon that higher erosion rates applied in the past, which shortens the time frame. (1)

b.      The decay of the earth’s magnetic field. Exponential decay is evident from measurements and is consistent with theory of free decay since creation, suggesting an age of the earth of only thousands of years. For further evidence that it follows exponential decay with a time constant of 1611 years (±10) see: Humphreys, R., Earth’s magnetic field is decaying steadily—with a little rhythm, CRSQ 47(3):193–201; 2011. (1)

3.       The amount of helium in the atmosphere:

“Air is mainly nitrogen (78.1%) and oxygen (20.1%). There is much less helium (0.0005%). But this is still a lot of helium—3.71 billion tonnes. However, since 67 grams of helium escape from the earth’s crust into the atmosphere every second, it would have taken about two million years for the current amount of helium to build up, even if there had been none at the beginning. Evolutionists believe the earth is over 2,500 times older—4.5 billion years. Of course, the earth could have been created with most of the helium already there, so two million years is a maximum age. (It could easily be much younger, such as 6,000 years in age.)”

“Most helium on earth is produced by radioactive decay in rocks. The small atoms of helium gas have no trouble escaping from the rocks into the atmosphere. The rate of entry into the atmosphere is known. But we can also measure the rate at which helium escapes from the rocks. This process is faster in hotter rocks, and the deeper one goes into the earth, the hotter the rocks become.

Physicist Robert Gentry was researching deep granite as a possible way of safely storing dangerous radioactive waste from nuclear power stations. Safe storage requires that the elements should not move too fast through the rock. Granite contains mineral crystals called zircons (zirconium silicate, ZrSiO4), which often contain radioactive elements. Thus they should produce helium, which should be escaping.

But Gentry found that even the deep, hot zircons (197°C or 387°F) contained far too much helium—that is, if it had had billions of years to escape. However, if there had really been only thousands of years for this helium to escape, then we shouldn't be surprised that there is so much left. (2)

4.       Human History:

Origin of agriculture - Secular dating puts it at about 10,000 years and yet that same chronology says that modern man has supposedly been around for at least 200,000 years. Surely someone would have worked out much sooner how to sow seeds of plants to produce food.  – A simple question regarding historicity of the established view – How dumb was modern man all those years ago? (1)


The evolutionary hypothesis requires a very old earth to create the slim chance for the occurrence of an improbable event. The above observations (only a few observations among many) illustrate the fact that evolutionary age calculations ignore easily observable anomalies. As such, the evolutionary as well as the creationist view remain unproven and cannot be called a proven scientific theory. Both viewpoints are simply a framework for scientific study.

The ideological view of science as totally objective, ignores the fact that the fallible nature of human beings preclude total objectivity. Objectivity in science is created by performing experiments and providing the related experimental data for evaluation (by further experimentation) by other scientists (operational science). Origins science by nature is not repeatable and therefore only partially adheres to the definition of operational science (only limited observations can be made). Many assumptions must be made to arrive at calculated ages (some more plausible than others), which cannot be proven or disproven according to the scientific method.

Expert doubts:

The myth that evolution has been proven as fact is propagated extensively in the “scientific” world as well as the mainstream media, leading to a general belief that any alternative view is held by “illiterates” and other less complimentary attributes. This myth can only be dispelled by honest review of both sides of the argument.

It seems that evolutionists themselves have some doubt as to the finality of the proof for evolution:

Stephen J. Gould, Harvard:

"Every paleontologist knows that most species don't change. That's bothersome....brings terrible distress. ....They may get a little bigger or bumpier but they remain the same species and that's not due to imperfection and gaps but stasis. And yet this remarkable stasis has generally been ignored as no data. If they don't change, its not evolution so you don't talk about it." Lecture at Hobart & William Smith College, 14/2/1980.


The References provided indicate additional references to journals and other materials. These materials include secular/evolutionary publications as well as creation publications (both equally scientific). These should be used for further evaluation of the creation hypothesis.

(1)    Search Term: “101 evidences for a young age of the earth and the cosmos”

(2)    Search Term: “Blowing old-earth belief away”

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