Radiocarbon dating error factor

By old-Earth creationists, young-

Overview:

There is a great diversity of belief concerning the age of the Earth and the rest of the universe:

Conflict between theology and science, and why it is critical:

Back in 1991, scientists made many rough estimates of the age of the universe, ranging from 7 to 20 billion years. These were based on the crude models then available to scientists. Since then, estimates have been refined; almost all have grouped around 14 billion years.

Currently, there is a near consensus among earth scientists that the age of "Earth and [the rest of] our solar system is 4.54 billion years, plus or minus 0.02 billions years." 3 This estimate is based on:

Both values are in conflict with interpretations of the biblical accounts of creation by "young earth" creationists. The difference is factor of about half a million times. As author Henry Morris wrote:

". the Biblical chronology is about a million times shorter than the evolutionary chronology. A million-fold mistake is no small matter, and Biblical scholars surely need to give primary attention to resolving this tremendous discrepancy right at the very foundation of our entire Biblical cosmology. This is not a peripheral issue that can be dismissed with some exegetical twist, but is central to the very integrity of scriptural theology." 4

Many conservative Protestants are keen to prove that the earth is young -- under 10 millennia old:

Gallup released a survey in 2012-JUN showing that 46% of American adults believe that God created humans in their present form less than 10 millennia ago. This value has remained almost constant for the past three decades, since Gallup originally started asking the question. 10

Basis for dating the creation of Adam and Eve from the biblical text:

The two creation stories in the Bible start at Genesis 1:1. They are undated by the author(s). To compute a probable date of creation from the biblical record, it is necessary to work backwards from a date that is known from the historical record.

The earliest event in the Bible that can be dated with reasonable certainty is the beginning of Saul's reign as the first king of Israel. It is generally believed to have occurred about 1020 BCE, at a time when Egypt and Assyria were weakened and the Israelites were able to assert domination over their own territory. Many theologians have attempted to compute the date of creation by working back from this or a similar known date, through the various time intervals mentioned in the Bible. For example:

There are two inherent and unavoidable sources of error that are often overlooked in these calculations:

Computing the age of the earth and universe from the creation date of Adam & Eve:

There is a further complexity introduced by the creation story in Genesis itself. Even if one were to accept the biblical genealogies as truth, this only traces the creation of Adam back to perhaps sometime between 8000 to 4000 BCE. But the time interval from the creation of the universe to the creation of Adam is a matter of intense debate among bible-believing creationists. That is because of the ambiguity associated with the Hebrew word "yom" which appears frequently in the Genesis creation stories. It is translated as "day" in all of the English versions of the Bible of which we are aware. However, it can also mean an indeterminate interval of time.

Most young earth creationists believe that "yom" means a day of 24 hours. This puts the date of creation of the universe according to a literal interpretation of the Bible at 4000 to 8000 BCE. However, old earth creationists suggest that each of the six "days" of creation might have taken many hundreds of millions of years. Further, there might have been one or more long intervals of time between some of the "days."

2012-NOV-27: Leading evangelical abandons belief in a 6,000 year old earth:

Pat Robertson heads CBN, the Christian Broadcasting Network, and is regularly seen on the 700 Club TV program. He responded to a request received from a conservative Christian mother who was worried that her husband and three teenage boys are questioning the Bible. "Michelle" wrote:

"This scares me! They tell me that if the Bible is truth then I should be able to reasonably explain the existence of dinosaurs. This is just one of many things they question. . I am so afraid that they are walking away from God. My greatest fear is not to have my children and husband next to me in God's Kingdom."

Pat Robertson responded by saying that Bishop Ussher, who estimated creation to have happened on 4004 BCE, was not inspired by God. Robertson mentioned that radiocarbon dating, the existence of dinosaur fossils proves that the Earth is much older. He said to Michelle:

"If you fight with real science, you are going to lose your children. I believe in telling them the way it was."

Right Wing Watch, a project of the liberal group People for the American Way posted the following clip from CBN:

9

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Related essays:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.


  1. A.D. White, "A History of the Warfare of Science with Theology in Christendom," Prometheus Books, Buffalo NY, (reprinted 1993), Volume I, Pages 249 to 265.
  2. Reason to Believe's web site is at: http://www.reasons.org/
  3. "Evolutionary age of the Earth: 4.54 billion years," ChristianAnswers.net, at: http://www.christiananswers.net/
  4. Henry Morris, The Biblical Basis for Modern Science, Baker, (1984), Page 115. Quoted in Ref. 3.
  5. Bert Thompson, "The Bible and the age of the Earth, Part 1," Reason & Revelation, 1999-AUG, Vol. 19, #8, Pages 57-63. Online at: http://www.apologeticspress.org/
  6. R.L. Wysong, "The Creation-Evolution Controversy," (1976), Inquiry Press, Page 144. Quoted in Ref. 5.
  7. "John Morris, geological engineering," Answers in Genesis, at: http://www.answersingenesis.org/
  8. "Does Genesis tell us how old the world is?," Plain Truth Ministries, at: http://www.ptm.org/
  9. "Even Pat Robertson denies the earth is 6.000 years old," You Tube, posted 2012-NOV-28, at: http://www.youtube.com
  10. Dan Mercia, "Pat Robertson challenges creationism," CNN religion blogs, 2012-NOV-29, at: http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/

Copyright 1997 to 2012 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance

Origins of agriculture

origins of agriculture , the active production of useful plants or animals in ecosystems that have been created by people. Agriculture has often been conceptualized narrowly, in terms of specific combinations of activities and organisms—wet-rice production in Asia , wheat farming in Europe , cattle ranching in the Americas, and the like—but a more holistic perspective holds that humans are environmental engineers who disrupt terrestrial habitats in specific ways. Anthropogenic disruptions such as clearing vegetation or tilling the soil cause a variety of localized changes; common effects include an increase in the amount of light reaching ground level and a reduction in the competition among organisms. As a result, an area may produce more of the plants or animals that people desire for food , technology , medicine , and other uses.

Over time, some plants and animals have become domesticated, or dependent on these and other human interventions for their long-term propagation or survival. Domestication is a biological process in which, under human selection, organisms develop characteristics that increase their utility, as when plants provide larger seeds, fruit , or tubers than their wild progenitors. Known as cultigens, domesticated plants come from a wide range of families (groups of closely related genera that share a common ancestor; see genus ). The grass (Poaceae), bean (Fabaceae), and nightshade or potato ( Solanaceae ) families have produced a disproportionately large number of cultigens because they have characteristics that are particularly amenable to domestication.

Domesticated animals tend to have developed from species that are social in the wild and that, like plants, could be bred to increase the traits that are advantageous for people. Most domesticated animals are more docile than their wild counterparts, and they often produce more meat , wool , or milk as well. They have been used for traction, transport, pest control, assistance, and companionship and as a form of wealth. Species with abundant domesticated varieties, or breeds, include the dog (Canis lupus familiaris), cat (Felis catus), cattle (Bos species), sheep (Ovis species), goat (Capra species), swine (Sus species), horse (Equus caballus), chicken (Gallus gallus), and duck and goose (family Anatidae).

Because it is a cultural phenomenon, agriculture has varied considerably across time and space. Domesticated plants and animals have been (and continue to be) raised at scales ranging from the household to massive commercial operations. This article recognizes the wide range of activities that encompass food production and emphasizes the cultural factors leading to the creation of domesticated organisms. It discusses some of the research techniques used to discern the origins of agriculture as well as the general trajectory of agricultural development in the ancient societies of Southwest Asia, the Americas, East Asia, Southeast Asia , the Indian subcontinent, and Europe . For specific techniques of habitat alteration and plant propagation , see horticulture . For techniques of animal propagation, see livestock farming ; poultry farming .

How agriculture and domestication began

Agriculture in ancient Asia

Scientific agriculture: the 20th century

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