Sunday, August 18, 2019

Exploring Earth Creationist Claims for the Age of the Earth :: Creationism Science Essays

The relative age of the earth is not often seen as a topic of controversy. Much of the scientific data published in school textbooks and taught to students indicate an age on the order of billions of years. Radiometric dating, as well as geological rock studies, have been used as evidence to support such a large expanse of time. However, a small but determined minority, mostly composed of fundamentalist Christians, has been vehemently challenging this age. These so-called â€Å"creation-scientists† have disputed the evidence in support of a young earth. They have added their own measurements and observations, as well as interpreted other scientists’ data, in an attempt to convince others of the possibility and ultimately, the â€Å"truth† of a young earth, one that is no more than 6,000 to 10,000 years old. The young earth idea has its roots in the Bible. If the lineages and families were traced back from known dates in the not-to-distant past, the creation of the world by the eternal Creator would have been around 4000 B.C. Because these creationists call their endeavors scientific, the question arises as to their method for making the claim of a young earth. Creation-science discussions of the age of the earth usually contain several standard items. The first is usually a criticism of the standard evolutionist methods for age determination, radiometric dating. Radiometric dating is the process of determining the age of a substance based on the ratio of isotopes in a given sample. The number of protons in the nucleus of an atom defines a particular element. However, the number of neutrons in the nucleus can vary, giving rise to different isotopes of the same element. Some of these isotopes are stable, while others are not. These unstable isotopes radioactively decay to more stable, often lighter elements, called daughter atoms, thereby releasing energy in the form of high-energy particles or electromagnetic waves. A particular isotope will have a characteristic half-life, based on the time that it takes for half of the population of the isotope to decay into the daughter elements.

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