Prophets or Evolution - An LDS Perspective


Chapter 20


Radiometric Dating



"Arizona State University anthropologist Geoffrey Clark echoed this view in 1997 when he wrote that 'we select among alternative sets of research conclusions in accordance with our biases and preconceptions -- a process that is, at once, both political and subjective.'  Clark suggested 'that paleoanthropology has the form but not the substance of a science."

Icons of Evolution - Science or Myth? Jonathan Wells, page 223





Dating of bones, fossils, rocks and other items is a very controversial issue.  To understand just how controversial it is, the same fossil might be dated by the evolutionists to be hundreds of millions of years old; yet the same fossil might be dated by creation scientists as being no more than 6 thousand years old.


Radiometric dating is the process by which bones or fossils are "dated," meaning an estimated date is chosen as to when the animal lived and died on the earth.


In the case of fossils; which are essentially bones that have fossilized, meaning turned to stone; fossils are generally dated on the basis of factors other than radiometric dating; such as a particular date may be chosen for a fossil because the date is consistent with aspects of the theory of evolution.


In other words, in dating fossils it is quite common that an assumption that the theory of evolution is true is used as a factor in dating fossils.  This is a self-serving way of dating fossils, but it is a common tactic because scientists are so confident that the theory of evolution is true.


For example, by using morphology and an assumption of the theory of evolution, it may be assumed that "Fossil A" evolved before "Species B" "evolved."  Thus, if "Fossil A" is believed to be 4,000,000 years old, "Fossil B" may be dated to be 3,700,000 years old solely on the basis of the date of "Fossil A" and a belief in evolution (i.e. it is dated based on where "Fossil B" fits on the phylogenetic tree relative to "Fossil A").


While the reader may assume that it takes millions of years to turn a biological specimen to stone, actually it has been demonstrated to have happened in less than 100 years (not 100 million years, just 100 years).  This is not theory; it is based on actual samples.


Because of fossilization, and other reasons (e.g. when an unstable parent atom becomes a stable daughter atom, the dating of the specimen can no longer be done accurately), dating of old fossils is generally impossible to do directly.  Thus, many assumptions must be made to date fossils.  These assumptions are generally made to be harmonious with the theory of evolution.


These assumptions leave the door wide open for huge debates as to when a particular species lived on this earth.



Radiometric Dating


Radiometric dating is generally done on bones or tissue which has not fossilized, and is supposedly the most scientific and most accurate dating technique.


However, even radiometric dating is a subject of controversy.  The truth is that flaws in radiometric dating are intentionally ignored in order for the specimen to yield dates which are very old.


It is not that the technique itself is inaccurate or that the theory behind the technique is flawed; it is the intentional way that key factors are ignored that is the key complaint.  In other words, factors which can have a huge affect on the dating of a sample are totally ignored in order to get the results scientists want; so the date is harmonious with the theory of evolution!!


Why would science want to intentionally misrepresent when an animal lived on this earth?  The reason is that the theory of evolution needs many, many, many millions of years to justify the time necessary to "prove" the theory of evolution could have happened.


But even more important than that, it is critical for the scientific establishment to date human skeletons to be older than Adam and Eve, the first humans mentioned in the Bible.


Thus, evolutionists tend to favor techniques which lead to huge numbers of years since the specimen died.  The important issue, however, is that scientists use techniques which are scientifically known to be massively flawed.



The Radiometric Dating of Bones and Tissue


All living tissue has radioactive isotopes in it.  For example, carbon-14 is a carbon molecule with 14 electrons.


It is well known how much carbon-14 is in the tissue of an animal (including a human being) while they are alive, meaning at the time of death.


After an animal dies (including humans) the amount of carbon-14 naturally "decays" over time, meaning the radioactive atoms decay into non-radioactive atoms over time.  In other words, the amount of decay is a function of time.


Thus, if scientists can determine the level of radioactive carbon-14 in the bone of a dead animal (including humans); they can determine when that animal died by looking at their decay charts.


There are actually many different types of radioactive atoms which can be used to perform radiometric dating and many different techniques and theories.


But there are severe problems with radiometric dating.  I will not discuss all of the potential problems with radiometric dating; I will simply provide a few examples.



Leeching of Radiometric Material


To understand the problem, suppose there are two animals that died on the same day.  The first animal, at the time of death, was immediately moved to an air conditioned building located in the desert and it was placed in a dark room.  The humidity in this desert was very, very low.  Furthermore, because the specimen was indoors, no moisture from the rare rainfall ever touched the specimen.  Furthermore, the specimen was kept cool and in a dark room.


On the other hand, the second specimen was buried next to a river in a shallow grave.  The bones were exposed to the moisture in the soil due to the river.  The bones were exposed to the high humidity of the general area.  The bones were exposed to the extreme moisture of the flooding of the river; during which time the specimen was literally soaking underwater.  And the specimen was exposed to the water from rainfall since it was in a shallow grave.  Water flowing down from nearby hills would have increased the amount of water the bones were exposed to due to the rain.


Will radioactive dating, after two hundred years, give the same date for both specimens?  Absolutely not!!  The second specimen may date to be ten times older, or more, than the first animal.


Why is this so?


The reason is that moisture, from any source, will "leech" or draw out radioactive material from the bones of the sample.  If one specimen is exposed to very high levels of moisture, a great deal of radioactive material will leech out of the specimen and the radiometric dating will date the species far, far too old.


This radioactive material which has leeched over time will be interpreted by scientists as radioactive decay.  But it is not radioactive decay, it is leeching of radioactive atoms by moisture.


The problem is that radiometric labs don't make any type of adjustment in their dating of bones for known or potential moisture or heat which might have affected the sample.


For example, if the first specimen dated to be 200 years old, the second specimen might have dated to 2,000 years or more.  Yet the two animals died on the same day!!


It is not that the radioactive isotopes were miscounted; it is because the lab totally failed to take into account the environment the sample was decaying in.





All of the common types of caves are formed by water.  The water may have come from above (e.g. rainfall or a creek) or it may have come from below (i.e. a hot springs), but all of the common types of caves were cut-out by water.


Caves are very, very humid because there is almost always an existing source of water in the cave, such as a creek or dripping water, to name but two sources.


Thus, skeletons found in caves are, by definition, highly exposed to moisture.


Do scientists take the massive amount of moisture found in caves into account when they date a skeleton found in a cave?  The answer is 'no'.


Even though the moisture in a cave can be more accurately estimated than the moisture a skeleton found buried next to a river is exposed to; scientists still do not take this into account.


Is this because scientists are simply incompetent or is it because scientists intentionally want us to believe that all skeletons are very, very old?


Since caves are places where "cave men" have dwelled, it is critical to calculate very high dates for "cave men," meaning it is important to make their bones seem very, very old.  The goal is to get the date prior to 6,000 B.C., when most Christians believe Adam and Eve lived.  When they can do that, by intentionally ignoring key factors, it appears the Bible is not accurate.


In addition, most cave drawing were drawn using organic material, such as blood.  Would the humidity in caves affect the dating of cave drawings?  Absolutely!!  Yet the dating of cave drawings never takes into account the high humidity in caves.



Kennewick Man


"Kennewick Man" (or Richland Man) is a skeleton which was found in central-southern Washington state in 1996.


The skull of Kennewick Man was found in a pond or lake which had been formed by the McNary Dam in Kennewick on the Columbia River.  The dam had been completed in 1954.


The dam was built for irrigation purposes, meaning the annual rainfall in that area is lower than normal (about 6 to 8 inches of annual rainfall).


While his skull had been found in a pond, the rest of his bones had been scattered and were found near the Columbia River.


Because the dam was finished in 1954, the vast majority of the time Kennewick Man was in the ground there was no dam in that area of the Columbia River.


No matter when Kennewick Man died, his bones were exposed to the flooding of the Columbia River, plus the bones were exposed to rain, humidity, moisture in the soil (i.e. water which came from the river through the soil), and so on.


The dirt near a river is always very moist because the water seeps through the dirt near the river.  Thus, his bones would have been subject to constant moist dirt.


Furthermore, if there had been any hills around where the bones were found, the run-off from the rain which landed on the hills would have passed right over Kennewick Man's bones.


Furthermore, because his skull was found separated from his body, his body had probably not been buried deep beneath the soil, meaning his body was probably originally put in a shallow grave, near the river.  Had it not been put in a grave, animals would probably have eaten the flesh and bones many years earlier.


Thus, the bones of Kennewick Man were constantly subject to moisture and constantly the radioactive isotopes of his bones were being leeched or pushed out of the bones by the moisture.


Under ideal conditions, the lowering of the percentage of radioactive material in a sample is only caused by decay over time.  But in the case of this man, the lowering of radioactive material was exacerbated (i.e. intensified) by the additional actions of water leeching radioactive materials from the bones.


Thus, when scientists determined the percentage of radioactive material in his bones, if they did not take into account an estimate of how much extra radioactive material was leeched out of the bones by a river flooding, by rainwater, by moist soil next to a river, etc., their dates would be very, very wrong.


In reality, the scientists did not take any of these things into account.  All they did was measure the percentage of radioactive isotopes!!


When the Kennewick Man skeleton was radiometric dated, his skeleton was dated to be 9,000 years old.  This is scientific nonsense because zero moisture the bones would have been exposed to was taken into account in the date.


Rather than providing a single date; scientists should have chosen a range of dates for this skeleton, where both endpoints of the range took into account an estimate of moisture and heat.  However, scientists totally ignored these items and simply gave a single date as if the skeleton, on the day he died, had been wrapped in plastic, frozen and protected from all kinds of moisture, heat and light.


To ignore the moisture, heat and other items; is incompetence at best.  But there was no incompetence; there was intentionally sloppy science which reflected an inexcusable lack of integrity.  The dates they provided for this skeleton were wrong by a wide margin.


This skeleton was probably of a man who died less then 500 years ago.  It is highly unlikely this man died more than a thousand years ago, considering he died and was buried next to a large river.


So here is the key question, why would scientists intentionally ignore a large number of factors related to the dating of his bones?


By giving his bones a date of 9,000 years old, they are claiming to prove that Adam and Eve were not placed on this earth about 6,000 years ago, which would be the date a Bible scholar would pick for the creation of Adam and Eve.


In other words, their pretended incompetence was really a highly calculated attack on the divinity of the Bible!!


Scientists wanted Kennewick man to be dated 3,000 years prior to Adam and Eve, even if it took blatant negligence to come up with that date!!


Not only is the theory of evolution based on a long series of bogus science and absurd assumptions, the theory of evolution is supported by a total lack of integrity.  Any scientist should know that moisture leeches radiometric isotopes from bones, thus to intentionally ignore highly significant leeching can only be called a calculated lack of integrity.


By the way, one anthropologist said the bone structure of Kennewick Man were most like the bone structure of the Polynesians.


Book of Mormon scholars believe that the Polynesians were people who left the America's by ship and were actually descended from the prophet Lehi and/or those who went with him to America.


Thus, saying that the bones of Kennewick Man were most like the Polynesians is consistent with what Book of Mormon scholars believe.



Other Pre-Historic Humans


The bones of any true human being (homo sapiens sapiens), which truly date back before the flood of Noah, may have been submerged in massive amounts of water for more than a year due to the flood in the time of Noah.  The bones of these individuals (if any have been found) are also not adjusted for massive leeching of radioactive materials in the bones.


Most of the bones which scientists have found of "near humans" are not true homo sapiens sapiens.  The origin of these near-humans is unknown.  These are mysteries which have not been revealed to the prophets.  But you can rest assured that the truth about when true homo sapiens sapiens have died is consistent with the Biblical account, if the flood of Noah and other known factors which affect radiometric dating are taken into account.


But these factors are not taken into account, thus the dating of true homo sapiens sapiens is not in any way accurate!!


Here is my point.  The theory of evolution is not about truth and the theory of evolution is definitely not about science.  Science today is all about justifying the theory of evolution, even if it takes outright deception.  Deception, in this case, is intentionally ignoring known scientific facts.  If the date of bones is calculated to be before Adam and Eve, science accepts the date because it is "what they want to hear" to justify philosophical naturalism.



Additional Situations


In nature, animals need water.  In certain locations, such as water holes (i.e. small ponds or other sources of water); animals tend to congregate.


When you have a wide variety of animals at a specific water hole, there is likely to be fighting, either because these species always fight when they are in the same location or they may fight to get water, such as during a drought.


In either case, water holes are common locations to look for, and find, animal skeletons.  These skeletons have exactly the same potential problems for dating errors that the Kennewick man had.


In addition, some climates have a lot more rain than other climates.  This is never taken into account when dating skeletons.


In addition to these things, little is known about how much of the earth was covered with water during the flood of Noah.  We do know that parts of the earth were covered with water for more than a year.


However, some parts of the earth may have been covered by water for less than a year or for no time at all (Noah didn't travel all over the world to know how much of the world was covered with water).  Other parts of the earth could have been covered by water for much, much more than a year.


For example, suppose Africa was covered with water for 50 years after the flood of Noah.  This would mean that all skeletons of all animals (including near-human skeletons), which died prior to the flood, would be submerged for 50 years, yielding dates far too high (i.e. far too long ago) when dated by radiometric means.  Many of these near-humans could also have been directly exposed to the rain and heat for many years.


What is interesting about the flood is that the writers of the Bible did not know that radiometric dating techniques would be intentionally flawed in the twenty-first century.  Thus, the writers of the Bible cannot be accused of fabricating the flood of Noah in order to justify God placing Adam and Eve on this earth about 6,000 years ago.  There was no scientific reason to fabricate the flood of Noah when the Bible was originally written because they didn't know about radiometric dating (though certainly God knew).


A great deal is made by scientists that the ark of Noah could not have held animals unique to Australia, for example.  The Biblical account of Noah was written by Noah or from records written by Noah.  Noah did not know how much of the earth was covered with water and he probably never visited Australia.


Furthermore, even if many animals had become extinct in Australia (for example), there is no reason to think that God could not have put them back in Australia after the flood, assuming they were there before the flood.


This, of course, is just one example.  It must be remembered that the Bible was not written as a science textbook, it was written to teach about God and his prophets.  Many, many details about the flood and other events in the Bible are left out because science was not the purpose of the Bible.



Another Problem - Radiation (including Heat)


Suppose a skeleton is found in the middle of a large desert.  Is this skeleton exempt from errors in radiometric dating?


The answer is that it is not exempt from gross errors.


Scientists may not know when the climate changed and an area of earth which was highly exposed to water (e.g. the area was covered by an ocean) suddenly or slowly became exposed to dry heat and became a desert.


But that is not all, radiation, including heat, can speed up the appearance of decay of radioactive material.  This can be caused by evaporation (technically: volatilization), the migrating of atoms, exciting the atoms by heat, etc.


For example, consider the Kaupelehu Flow, Hualalai Volcano; which occurred in 1800-1801.  Twelve different samples were taken of the lava.  The dates for these samples ranged from 140 million years ago to 2.96 billion years ago.  While the ocean water may have affected the dating of these samples; many things could affect the dating of any sample!  For example, volcanic rock is known to be hot both during and after the explosion.


Thus, a volcano which is known to have occurred a little over 200 years ago, dated to as much as 3 billion years ago using state-of-the-art dating techniques.


Five different samples were taken from Mt. St. Helens, in Washington state; which erupted in 1986.  The samples dated from half a million years ago to almost 3 million years ago.  No ocean water was involved in Mt. St. Helens, only heat was involved.


What does this tell us about fossils of near-humans who were killed by a volcano, or whose skeleton had volcano lava run over it after the death of the individual?  It tells us the dating of fossils is a very inexact science.  That is exactly the way the scientific establishment likes it because their current methods give them the dates they want.



What Should Be Done


First, scientists should do many experiments to try to understand just how significant a skeleton soaked in water (due to flooding of a river, flooding of a pond by rain, etc.) and other scenarios, affects the dating of organic matter.


For example, they should take two bones, either from the same animal or from two animals which died on the same day, and expose the two bones to vastly different conditions over several years time.  Then they should date the bones.


Using information from their research, they should then give realistic ranges of possible dates as to when a person or animal died, since current weather conditions are not necessarily the same weather conditions which existed a thousand years ago.


For example, in the case of Kennewick man, instead of saying that this man died 9,000 years ago, which is totally ludicrous, scientists should have taken into account highly probable flooding rates, the known moisture of soil next to the river, estimated rainfall levels, nearby hills, etc. etc.  Then they should have given a range of dates as to when he died.


The true ranges of dates, if integrity had been used to date Kennewick man, would not have been from 500 years to 9,000 years, for example, because it is known that this river would have flooded and that the soil was moist (because the body was next to a river) and that a 9,000 year date would be ludicrous.


The true range would have been something like: from 500 to 2,000 years old.  Actually, the bones could have been of a man who died 200 years ago.  That is how much water this skeleton may have been exposed to.


The example of Kennewick man is a good example of the passion of scientists to justify evolution.  There is simply no excuse to simply take a bone they know nothing about and measure the level of radioactive material in the sample.  It is inexcusable!!!


However, even though it is inexcusable, there is a reason for their incompetence.  The reason is that the "scientific establishment" (the people who control the media, schools, etc.) wants to get the dates of fossils as old as possible to justify the theory of evolution and belittle those who believe in the Bible.



When Did Adam and Eve or George and Mary Live?


The Biblical dates of Adam and Eve are about 6,000 years ago.  The theory of evolution dates George and Mary to be 100,000 years ago, at least.


According to the Bible, the length of time from Adam and Eve to the B-2 bomber was 6,000 years.


According to the theory of evolution, the length of time from George and Mary was 100,000 years?


So which is more logical when thinking about technology?


First of all, scientists can only trace significant technology (e.g. the use of the wheel for transportation and the building of roads) back perhaps 4,000 years (ignoring bogus dating techniques).


This means that in the time span of 4,000 years, humans went from knowing very little about technology to building a B-2 bomber and putting men in space.


With this in mind, if George and Mary had existed 100,000 years ago, it is safe to say that humans should have built the B-2 bomber 90,000 years ago (being generous, as always, to the theory of evolution).


Why in the world did it take 100,000 years to build the B-2 bomber?  Why, for the first 96,000 years, did humans not progress at all in science and then suddenly, in 4,000 years time, they perfected the wheel for transportation and built the B-2 bomber?


As always, the theory of evolution ignores reality.  If George and Mary had our DNA, the B-2 bomber would have been build 90,000 years ago.





In summary, the dating of bones and fossils is a very imperfect science, riddled with intentional errors.  It is one of the most subjective aspects of the evolution debate.  A person can read into the evidence any way they wish.


From an unbiased, scientific viewpoint; the creation scientists have a far stronger case for their dating techniques than do the evolutionists because they take environmental factors into affect.


As far as the evolution debate is concerned, this aspect of the debate is so complex and so affected by pre-conceived notions (such as the fact that many dinosaur fossils are dated according to their location on the phylogenetic tree), that for all practical purposes, dating techniques cannot be used as a proof for evolution or as a proof for creation science.


Considering that modern dating methods are corrupted by known flaws in radiometric dating; by techniques which are known to be based on an assumption that the theory of evolution is a fact; and by other flawed techniques, it is clear that the dating of bones, fossils, etc. is a non-differentiating issue (i.e. the issue cannot differentiate between the theory of evolution and creation science).


While the reader may think that more information is needed to determine who "wins" this issue; the fact is that all the information in the world isn't going to end this aspect of the evolution debate.  Some people are blind to the truth because they don't love truth.


The good news is that there are other issues of the evolution debate in which the data is very convincing because real scientific data is available from living species.  One of these sources of excellent information is that of "genetic entropy," meaning the deterioration of the DNA of all animals.  Much will be said about verifiable data throughout this book.