Geology
All of the Models of the Universe state that the Earth is old (i.e. billions of years), apart from Young Earth Creationism which states that the Earth is thousands of years old.
So, how do we tell how old stuff is?
  • Word of mouth - reasonably reliable for up to 100 years of history, especially if there is confirmation from independent sources
  • Documentation - can be reliable for thousands of years, the Bible is a good example of this (see the table at Jesus is Real )
  • Carbon dating - used for dating the remains of living things up to about 50,000 years old, but is based on several unfounded assumptions (Note: it cannot be used for dating fossils)
  • Radiometric dating - used for dating igneous rocks up to millions of years, but is based on several unfounded assumptions
  • Inference (such as the Geologic Column ) - a model is developed and observations are aligned to fit the timeline
Interpretation of evidence needs to be scientific, that means unbiased, but often this isn't the case. For example, there is anecdotal evidence of refined gold objects (such as rings or trinkets) embedded in coal, which would provide clear evidence that the coal is thousands rather than millions of years old. However, it is difficult to prove they are genuine as someone could have planted them there. Analysis of rocks, geological strata, fossils, etc., is often not as objective as you might think. There is inherent bias in the process: the analyst is told what the approximate age to expect and if the result doesn't fit then it is often disregarded. However, objective analysis produces results that are in conflict with an old Earth and seem to provide evidence for a young Earth. There are also examples of strata where upper layers are dated as being older than layers underneath ! See More and more wrong dates
The model of the Geologic Column is used to assign dates to strata or rocks. For example, the Hawkesbury Sandstone in Australia (see above right), is typically assigned a Middle Triassic ‘age’ of 225–230 million years. Note that this date is not directly measured by analysis, it is simply inferred by a model that cannot be scientifically tested. In June 1997 a large piece of wood was discovered in a Hawkesbury Sandstone slab which wasn't completely fossilised (see below right). If the wood was millions of years old, then there wouldn't be any carbon 14 remaining. However, a sample was tested for carbon 14, and was dated at about 34,000 years old, in complete conflict with the inferred age of the sandstone. Either the inferred method of dating rocks is horrendously wrong, or the assumptions around carbon dating are wrong, or both. (See the detailed article Dating Dilemma: Fossil Wood in 'Ancient' Sandstone).
Stalactites and stalagmites used to be thought of as very old structures, dating back millions of years due to very slow growth rates. However, in Sequoyah Caverns, Alabama, stalactites protected from tourists from 1977-1987 grew at a rate of 1 inch / year. Claims about the largest ones in the world range from 20m to 62m, which would have taken just 800 - 2,500 years to form at this rate.
For life to slowly change over time, the model of Evolution requires hundreds of millions of years. So the established scientific community is not going to let go of these dating issues lightly. Nor are they willing to rethink the model or dates as to do so would open the door to some kind of intelligent design theory. Top scientists that have questioned the complete rejection of intelligent design within the scientific community have found their jobs threatened and their research funding withdrawn (see the trailer for the "Expelled" documentary ).



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