Oct 1, 2009

Carbon 14 and False Assumptions

Nathan JonesBy Nathan Jones

Has Carbon 14 dating proven the universe is billions of years old? Can we be sure those dinosaurs roamed the Earth millions of years ago? Or, is Carbon 14 a flawed test based on false assumptions?

An academic who once didn't even question Carbon 14 dating was Dr. Jobe Martin, former dentist, professor and Evolutionist. Having clearly seen God's eternal power and divine nature from what has been made (Rom. 1:20), Dr. Martin came to faith in Jesus Christ and a trust in the biblical account of the six days of Creation. He and his wife Jenna Dee have since formed Biblical Discipleship Ministries based in Rockwall, Texas to teach on campuses, classrooms and churches that we can trust the Bible's account of the Creation and Jesus as Savior.

Is it true that carbon dating has proven that the world is millions of years old?

The Carbon 14 question comes up everywhere I go and on college campuses, even when I usually don't say anything about it. I reply by asking them a question. The conversation goes somewhat like this:

Dr. Martin: "How does the Earth's magnetic field affect the formation of Carbon 14?"

Skeptic: "Huh?"

Dr. Martin: How does the Earth's magnetic field affect the formation of Carbon 14?"

Skeptic: "What do you mean?"

Dr. Martin: "What I mean is, how does Earth's magnetic field effect the formation of Carbon 14?"

Skeptic: "I don't know."
I go on to explain that there are all sorts of assumptions behind these dating techniques that nobody knows anything about. Even the professors don't know about these assumptions. In the eight years I was in scientific education I was never taught the assumptions.

There is no scientific, testable evidence that is reproducible that proves that this universe is billions of years old. They'll use Carbon 14, but it would only work actually for a few hundred years if you want to do it accurately.

One of the assumptions Carbon 14 testing is based on is that there never was a world wide flood. Also, that there never was a water canopy around the Earth before the Flood that filtered out the kinds of rays that would have to get into our atmosphere to make Carbon 14. So, that would mean before the Flood there would have been very little Carbon 14 formed. So, if they find a bone (and it is organic things that they check with Carbon 14) and they date it with Carbon 14, they would conclude that the bone was so many millions of years old. Well, maybe not. If there was a canopy and it was a bone from a dinosaur, let's say that was here before the Flood, then the bone would not have picked up very much Carbon 14. And so, when they measure it they get a false reading.

The dating techniques are really arbitrary. If you began with evolutionary assumptions, then you are going to end up with what you want. For instance, if they know the age of a rock and they test it, you can't trust the dates. But, if they don't know the age of a rock but assume it is billions of years old, and they test it, then they think they can know what that age is. Like Mount Saint Helens, they dated the volcanic rocks and they knew how old they were because of the eruption back in 1980. They were dating the rocks up to 3.8 million years old, but it was only at that time about 10 years since the rocks were formed!

The dating techniques are arbitrary to fit within the evolutionary worldview. If you don't believe in God and you don't believe in the Creation, then what are you going to do? You are going to have to find ways to try and justify what you think it is going to take to get here, which is billions of years.

They just use those dating techniques and they publish the figures, but they don't tell you the huge assumptions that they have to assume to get those results. For instance, if in their dating they used a technique called "Uranium to Lead," if there is any lead in the rock to begin with, the dating result would totally be wrong. They just assume that there wasn't any lead to begin with, or they assume the rate at which it breaks down has always been the same. We know you can speed up and slow down those rates with heat and radiation and different things. So, yes, huge assumptions.

We both believe by faith in something eternal, whether we are an Evolutionist or a Creationist, whether an Atheist or a Christian. We either believe by faith in eternal matter, that would be an Evolutionist, or by faith in an eternal God. They are both faith based systems because you can't prove it — no one was there at the time. You can't make Adam from dust again. You can't make the Big Bang go "kaboom!" again, if it ever happened.

Related Links

Problems with Radiometric and Carbon-14 Dating - The California Institute for Ancient Studies
Carbon-14, Radiometric Dating and Index Fossils - CreationStudies.org
What does the Bible say about Creation vs. evolution? - GotQuestions.org
The Battle for the Beginning - John MacArthur (Book)
The Evolution of a Creationist - Jobe Martin (Book)