Rather than reading the Bible through the eyes of modern secularism, this provocative six-part course teaches you to read the Bible through its own eyes—as a record of God’s dealing with the human race. When you read it at this level, you will discover reasons to worship God in areas of life you probably never before associated with “religion.”
© Charles A. Clough 1996
Charles A. Clough
Biblical Framework Series 1995–2003
Part 2: Buried Truths of Origins
Appendix C: Physical & Chemical Natural History: Is the Universe Thousands or Billions of Years Old?
Lesson 29 – Physical and Chemical Natural History:
Is the Universe Thousands or Billions of Years Old?
Terrestrial “Time” Clocks and the Bible
23 May 1996
Fellowship Chapel, Jarrettsville, MD
Last time we dealt with biology. Notice the titles of Appendix B and Appendix C have parallelism and it’s deliberate, because I think that all these questions that keep coming up are questions that involve the category of natural history. We are dealing, in both cases, whether its biology or dating systems and measuring ages, you’re still dealing with the same topic, natural history. It’s helpful if you keep that in mind so when we look at the different principles we don’t get lost in the park for the trees. What I’m trying to do here, there’s a vast amount of material that is summarized in these appendices, and you can get totally buried in it if you don’t see the basic argument. So details come and go but the argument remains intact.
Just to review in biological history, we pointed out that there’s a difference in structure between what the Bible says and what is usually given to us in our studies. It goes back to the fact that if we have God, who is the Creator, and we have the universe that is the created, and the universe is made of man and nature, we’ve got major distinctions here, the Creator/creature distinction and the man/nature distinction. And we have to review these and review these over and over until it becomes almost a subliminal reaction to look for these things, because no matter where you go, no matter what the argument is, you will always find that when the Bible is denied these categories go away. Every time, no exceptions! Every time the Scripture and God’s Word is demeaned or lessened, the Creator/creature distinction goes away. That’s why the Bible warns us in the 1st and great commandment, “Thou shalt worship the Lord, thy God, only,” ONLY, not you will worship Him along with other people, or other gods.
This is what’s wrong with the gospel. Where paganism has influenced evangelicals today—you can listen to the gospel presentation and what you will hear is invite Jesus into your heart because He’ll make your life better or something, and that’s nothing different than the old, old paganism, where in the 1st century, for example, what offended pagans wasn’t the claim that Jesus was God because they had lots of gods. The problem was they absorbed G-o-d inside a pagan frame of reference, and the pagans had no problem, invite Jesus into the pantheon and we’ll sit Him up here with all the other gods and goddesses, no problem! But what was so offensive was about Christians, eventually wound up in the catacombs and getting tossed to lions, was the fact that they worshiped ONLY Jesus, and denied all other Gods, in particular one called Kurios also, and the other person to whom Kurios or the word lord was proclaimed was Caesar. The Christians refused to accord him that Kurios title; it was reserved for Jesus Christ and Jesus Christ alone. In that, they earned the hatred, the animosity, of pagan society. The reason is not hard to see because it goes back to this, if Jesus Christ is the Creator, you’ve got the Creator/creature distinction, and that means that if Caesar is man, then Christ is higher than man. It’s just a reaffirmation of the Creator/creature distinction. And this is centrally offensive.
So as I go through the details of these little scientific arguments, don’t lose the forest for the trees. No matter what we talk about, we’re still ultimately talking about the Creator/creature distinction. If I fail to communicate that, then I failed to communicate, because I don’t want you worrying about all the little minutia, I’m going to deal with some of the minutia, but I just do that to show you that, indeed, to give you confidence as Christians on a biblical basis have answers. But it’s more just to reassure you, but what I really want you to understand is that these basic categories and basic approaches are unavoidable. And of course, evolution smears the man/nature distinction. In fact, there are lots of other distinctions in nature, and in particular the offensive thing in the bio realm, or the realm of living things, is the mention in Genesis of kinds. We showed you last time that this has important spiritual implications. I can’t emphasize that enough. We are not just talking biology here; we are talking about the fact that if the biology is wrong, then all the talk about salvation is wrong because the talk about salvation in the New Testament is grounded on the biological truths of kinds. We demonstrated that last time from 1 Corinthians 15. Or put this way, if you can think of us being in Adam before we became Christians, and us being in Christ after we become Christians, we are two kinds. What’s the Biblical definition of “kinds?” That they can’t interbreed, that you can’t go from one to the other. Isn’t that fundamental to the gospel? If you could go from Adam to Christ, if you could transmute, there would be salvation by works. What is needed to pass from being “in Adam” to being “in Christ?” A new creation.
In other words, the same kind of act that created the original kinds is necessary to go from one kind to another kind; you don’t evolve, one doesn’t evolve from Adam into Jesus. But all forms of salvation by works, and all religion outside of the Scripture is basically a scheme of doing this, salvation by works is ultimately evolution applied in the spiritual realm, if you think about it that way. Isn’t salvation by works mutating one’s self from being a sinner to being a saint, from being “in Adam” to being “in Christ,” crossing a kinds boundary? You see, the implication is consistent that from the standpoint of the Bible are these kinds that God has made, reproducing after their kinds, you can’t violate these. The whole theory and presentation of salvation in the Bible assumes this is right. So if this is wrong, then flush the New Testament.
That’s why last time in Appendix B we covered evidences of what is going on here with how do we support the fact biologically, and we gave you the 4 categories of evidences. There are lots of little details, but basically one of them is the design and information theory argument, namely that you have these structures and they aren’t explainable sheerly on the basis of chance. The second one is that artificial and natural selection, while they change and there are adaptations, they don’t transgress kinds of boundaries. Black moths and white moths are still moths. I think the easiest way to think of artificial and natural selection is to look at dogs, because they are familiar to us. Think of all the breeds of dogs there are in the world. Now just think if you didn’t know there were such things as dogs and you lived a thousand or a million years from now, and you were digging fossil strata and you dug up a skeleton of a chihuahua and a collie. Would you ever dream that they were the same kind? If you had no flesh, no organs, nothing except a few chipped bones, how are you going to analyze whether those bones are in the same general species or what? It gets very subjective. That’s why another feature is that in real life the systematic gaps and the fossil record are enormously important because we may be screwing up the analysis of the fossils we do have, because there may be some of these creatures that are bone structures that belong to the same species and don’t represent evolution at all, it represents the same kind of thing you would discover inside the canine family, namely that you have all this breeding going on and making these subgroups that look to all the world like they’re different creatures.
A Chihuahua and a Great Dane is a good example, but they’re all out of the same group. So look at the variation that God built into the kinds, but still they’re still dogs, they do not cross over into the feline category and become cats. That’s the central issue, and the bone of contention, if I may use a pun, between creationists and evolutionists is whether this is true or whether it is a continuum, basically, where everything shades into everything else. The man/nature distinction goes away, we have a chimpanzee looking very close genetically like a man, therefore this boundary just kinds of get erased. You can’t have it both ways, either you have hard and fast categories in the biological realm, or you have slippery ones. That is the debate, whether you’re discussing breeding, whether you’re discussing fossils, whether you’re discussing anything else, that’s the issue. Do you or do you not have uncrossable chasms in the biological realm?
The reason evolutionists want to have a continuum is because, since they don’t have a Creator, the only way of getting… we said that one of the so-called facts of evolution is that you can supposedly order all living things, you can classify them from complex to simple, and no one is arguing that, no one in the world is arguing that, we creationists are not debating that, we accept that, it’s obvious. It’s obvious that you can classify them, that’s not the question. The question is, after you classify them, can you explain the rise of the higher classes, the more complicated classes from the simpler classes. That’s the debate. Where do the classes come from? Were these boundaries fuzzy? Were they transgressed so you have an upward development? Or, and the only other possible being is that all these classes were individually created and that smacks too heavily of supernaturalism to be acceptable to most people. So out of the hatred for supernaturalism, ultimately animosity to the Creator, there is a philosophical horror of considering this hypothesis.
But please note, evidence isn’t the issue here. Both sides are citing evidence. Evidence isn’t going to decide the issue, in one sense; in one sense it does because the evolutionist’s hypothesis hasn’t proven itself on the basis of evidence which it says it has. So last time in Appendix B we dealt with an aspect of creation, the deal about kinds. Kinds have to do with living things, plants and animals. The Bible makes assertion that thus and such is the case, so the question … and we want to again reiterate, that our faith hinges on fact. We Christians are not off in la-la land dreaming this salvation. The salvation that we enjoy through Jesus Christ is based on factual historical claims of the Scripture. Did Jesus rise from the dead on the third day or didn’t He? And if He didn’t, it’s a specific fraud, a big hoax.
In other words, the Bible makes faith contingent on historical reality. That’s why a lot of people out there, a lot of very well educated people, cannot understand where we are coming from. You’ll hear this stuff, what is wrong with these fundamentalists, for crying out loud, nobody else makes their religious faith based on objective history, we all know as modern people that religion is totally a subjective feeling, it’s just something in the emotions, it’s not related to truth, it’s just an opinion that we hold in our hearts, but certainly not a truth we hold in our minds. That’s the modern view of modern man and that’s why we fundamentalists are the last people left in society, basically, that stubbornly retain the linkage between what we believe religiously and what we know to be true.
Years ago, I’ll never forget this, a friend of mine studied at Harvard University and he sat in theology class right next to a Catholic priest, and he and that Catholic priest were the only ones in the class that fought against all the liberal protestants when it came to an issue. Later my friend ran across the Catholic priest after Vatican II and after a lot of the liberalization of the Catholic Church and he was shocked to hear the priest tell him, remember when we used to argue with the Unitarians—well I think they were right. This is a Catholic priest! So he says wait a minute, how can you be a member of the Catholic church and believe this. Well, he says, all Catholic theologians are doing this now, we have all come to accept the fact that the voice of the church is the voice of religion and religion by contention is subjective, so we don’t bother with history any more, that’s the old Catholicism, but that’s not the new Catholicism. Whether it’s Protestant or Catholic, it’s the same issue again. So the fundamentalists have become the isolated ones. There are probably a few of the old guard Catholics who believe, and we would debate about the nature of the church, etc., but at least we both would hold to the fact that there is definite religious truth linked to historical truth.
But increasingly we are becoming isolated and the more we become isolated in our society, and the smaller we become numerically as a percent of the total population, the more our rights are going to get stepped on. We are rapidly approaching one of the most maligned minorities, Chuck Colson said recent statistics, some guy did a survey in the U.S. and they asked, who would you least likely want to have to be your neighbor? The most unpopular neighbor was a fundamentalist. I have some black friends who are Christians and one of them said it’s interesting, we blacks in the south had to get in the back of the bus, but as a creationist, black or white I can’t even get on the bus, that’s how bad it is. Just prepare yourselves that you face an uphill battle in our generation because we are the ONLY people in society that hold to these quote “obscure positions.”
Tonight we move into Appendix C because we want to deal with the area of physics, and look at the issue of the age of the universe, because just as in biology it’s an issue of these categories. So when we come to physics and chemistry it’s an issue of how old is the universe. I want introduce this the same way I introduced Appendix B on the biological realm; I want repeat a few points that I made before. When you look at that chart, no matter who you are, no matter how educated you are, no matter how much experience you have, you have no direct knowledge outside of that box, none of you. Your professors don’t, the greatest authors in history don’t, the most brilliant people in the laboratory don’t. All human experience is in that box and not outside of it. That box is the limits of direct human experience in space and time. You cannot experience anything faster than a fraction of a second; you cannot experience anything that exists beyond the average lifetime; you cannot experience and see anything below a few fractions of a centimeter in size; and you cannot really observe anything in detail above a certain scale of size.
That’s your limits, so whatever your view of history is, you’ve got to contend with this problem.
Here, in a very graphic way is finite, limited human knowledge. We can extend our knowledge in 3 of the 4 directions by instrumentation. With high speed film we can extend our perception down into fractions of a second. At Aberdeen Proving Ground when you take high-speed photography it’s into the billionths of a second, when rounds are ejected from a gun and are coming out at high rates of speed, you can take pictures and watch the fragmentation of the metal as this happens, you can do a lot of study that you can’t perceive, it happens too fast, but you can study it by means of a tool. You can go down with a microscope, you can go up with a telescope, but there’s one side of the box that’s different from the other three, and don’t forget it. You cannot extend your know-ledge to the right by any known instrument; there’s not an instrument to be used to extend to the right. The only thing you can extend partially is human records of people who have gone before you and you can push that boundary out only so far and that’s it, no more direct observation.
The question in writing a natural history boils down to this, whether it’s a biological history, a physical history, or a chemical history, the issue is how do you know what went on when you don’t have human observations as data as to what went on. How do you do that? How it’s often done is to say we conjecture and we speculate that the rules and observations of data that we see inside the box hold outside the box. Reasonable, right? After all, what holds here you would expect to hold on the moon, on Jupiter, outside of the solar system in space, so why don’t we extrapolate relationships and chemical laws that we’ve discovered in the box outside of the box? What’s the problem with that? No problem, except you want to recognize that you’re speculating. That’s the point, we aren’t arguing that you can’t produce a theory; we’re not arguing that you shouldn’t teach any kind of theory, all we’re saying is that when you discuss this, be intellectually up front and confess that you are, in fact, extrapolating. Not only are you extrapolating, but if you think of the fact that this limit is only a few thousand years and you’re going to come up with a natural history in which you’re talking about millions of years or billions of years, 10 to the 9th, and you only have 10 to the 3rd worth of human observations? I don’t know but that sounds like a million-fold extrapolation to me.
What would you think if I took a piece of sewing thread, have somebody take the end of that thread and walk out the door, way out on the street? The distance of that thread might represent the amount of time you’re extrapolating, millions of years. Do you know how much the data source would be? About one eighth of an inch of that thread. Let’s back off and look what we’re doing here. On the basis of an eighth of an inch of observations I’m telling you what the thread is doing out in the parking lot? Excuse me, but that is not the hard science of a laboratory experiment. If I can reproduce something in a laboratory that’s what we call hard, rigorous science. But when I start talking about something that’s going on in the parking lot on a thread that I only have data an eighth of an inch along the thread, I don’t have too much. That’s the central issue that’s going on here. The contention of the pagan mind is that it has the right to extrapolate outside of the box. We say you can try to extrapolate outside of the box, but the point is, once you extrapolate outside of the box, by definition you are outside of the box and therefore you are uncheckable, you can’t verify it.
Let’s talk about some of the dating theories. On page 115 I point out that while all this is going on, extrapolating outside of the box, etc., you want to be aware that there are spiritual motives here. Don’t get snookered when you’re trying to answer a question, the illustration, how many times last week did you beat your wife? You can’t answer that question without incriminating yourself. What has happened when I ask that kind of a question? What I’ve done, I’ve set it up for you. You’re playing my game, I ask the question and you’re foolishly trying to answer my question. No-no! What we have to do as Christians is learn, yes, we’re going to answer questions all right, but we’re not going to naïvely answer each and every question. Jesus didn’t. Look at His trial before Pilate. Pilate asked Him what is truth, a sarcastic question. Did Jesus answer? No. I’m sure there were many other times when the great saints of the Scripture refused to answer questions, because they’re stupid questions. Proverbs says this: don’t answer a fool according to his folly… don’t answer him, it’s stupid, ask a stupid question you don’t necessarily give an answer. That’s what we want to do here, we want to think about what’s going on and not just say, oh, this is just an innocent objective mathematical question. Is it or is this question talking about the very structure of life itself. And if it’s talking about the very structure of life itself, there are some spiritual factors that operate here, right? Because a pagan may believe this but we know the pagan’s heart better than the pagan knows his heart. What do we know about the pagan’s heart from Rom. 1? That he knows that God is there, and he’s spending an enormous amount of energy suppressing the knowledge of God.
That’s why I say what I say on page 115, “This pagan insistence upon vast ages is not surprising to any Bible-believing student of paganism. Vast ages,” now watch this, “push back any creative work of God far beyond the human horizon and sense of ethical responsibility to Him. A long chronology offers spiritual ‘relief’ to the rebellious heart.” I’ll repeat that sentence, very important. “A long chronology offers spiritual ‘relief’ to the rebellious heart. If any conceivable creation is too distant in the past to contemplate, then any judgment would probably also be too distant in the future to worry about. Thus both ancient and modern paganisms agree in conjecturing that the universe (the creature) has divine attributes (of the Creator),” that is, it extends the creation, that’s a bad sentence in there, I left out a sentence, transition of thought, what I’m saying there is that by extending time, you’re building into the universe a semi-eternality. In other words, you’ve rendered the creature a creator now. You’ve idolized the universe.
On page 114 I quote something we saw earlier in The Epic of Gilgamesh, they lived many days adding years to days. We went through that many moons ago, I showed you this overhead. There was Enuma Elish, the pagan epic which we read to contrast it with Genesis. We said read your Bible and read it against the time in which it was written, read other literature and look at the difference. Right there is that phrase. It’s typical of pagan literature. It’s talking about the gods and the goddesses at the beginning of time; they lived many days adding years to days. It’s a theme of pagan literature; it’s always there, that the universe is forever.
Hopefully we’re now sensitive to the fact there’s a spiritual issue, it’s not just an intellectual issue. Look at the next paragraph on page 115, “On the presuppositions of paganism modern science has developed a doctrine of ‘natural law’. Hiding behind this legal metaphor, modern paganism seeks to establish an autonomous base for knowledge independent of God and His Word. An illusion is thus created that seems to provide the necessary constants for mathematical calculations. Such constants or ‘laws’ are then universalized throughout space and time, far beyond mankind’s local experience and data sets. All measurement of past historical time builds upon such constants, that are hypothesized for the speed of light and radioactive decay.” See what’s happening? They’re expanding their knowledge outside of the box, but you can only expand the knowledge outside of the box by conjecture. Why do you want to conjecture? We call it laws, natural law.
Let’s think about the word “natural law.” What does that convey to you? What is the connotation, a very important connotation? That nature never changes. A law, that sounds profound. But just think about it, why do you call it a law, without a lawmaker who makes natural law. Of course we know but on a pagan basis isn’t it striking that in order to insure that knowledge, when extrapolated outside of the box is okay to do and we won’t get in any trouble. What are we doing? We’re saying that that knowledge outside of the box is for sure because after all, it’s natural law. But how do you know it’s natural law? Well, I call it that. In other words, you’ve exercised your Adamic nature, Genesis 1, thou shalt name, name, name, here the pagan is exercising his dominion, he is, he’s naming things, and he’s named this conjecture process after a legal metaphor. And the thing just builds on itself and everybody talks about natural law. If you want to create a spinner sometime in conversation, just say I don’t understand natural law, what do you mean? And play with the box for a little bit; see how far you can push it. Question someone, see if they really get the point that outside the box you can’t really be sure it’s law because you never can check on it.
Now I’m going to tell you a little story about free observers. Let’s imagine a thought experiment. What we’re going to is take a trip back to the Garden of Eden. We want to go back to the sixth day of the universe, and we’re going to talk about the creation of Adam, not Eve, we could tell a similar story about the creation of Eve, that would be more exciting because quite clearly Eve was supernaturally… if you want a metaphor size the creation of Adam from the dust of the earth and make that evolution, you’ve still a problem, where did Eve come from. The story won’t let you allegorize that one. So here’s Adam, and we have observer A, observer B, observer C. Let’s tell the story of the three observers. This story should illustrate the point about natural law and where we stand as creationists.
Observer A is watching God created Adam and let’s just say for the sake of argument, God creates Adam at 10:00 o’clock on the 6th day, and between 10:00 and 10:05 God is working the earth, and He shapes the body, just like a sculpture, just like an artist, He shapes this body with His divine hands. Then He blows into the body and it becomes man, just as the Bible says, surprise, surprise. So observer A is sitting there with a video camera and his video camera has a timer in it, and he’s clocking, making a video tape, and the clock at the bottom of the picture is clicking away, 10:01, 10:02, 10:03; 10:04, and he finishes his observation, 10:05. He’s got a film of five minutes of creation activity.
Now observer B comes on the scene at 10:10. However, observer B doesn’t see observer A, observer B doesn’t have any tools, observer A has no idea, God’s disappeared, He’s not there anymore, but what observer B observes as he walks into the Garden he sees Adam. Observer B, we’ll imagine him taking a time machine from our own day, looks at Adam and sees he’s about 6’2”, weighs about 180 pounds, looks to be about 25. On what basis is observer B concluding that Adam is 25 years old? Think about that observation. Out of his experience, observer B, think back, we said experience comes out of the box, has observer B in his box of observations ever observed a creation before? No. What he has observed again and again and again to the point that he’s convinced it’s natural law, babies being born and growing. So within his box he sees that Adam is 25 years old. Observer A’s question to the answer how old is Adam at 10:10 is five minutes.
What are we going to do now about our dating systems? We’ve got two observers, both of them aren’t lying, can you say that observer B is lying? Is he going on the basis of his experience and what he’s defined to be his natural law? Yes. Why are we getting two different clock answers here? Does Adam look different to observer A than he looks to observer B? Is the data any different? Do A and B share the same data set? Think about that. What did we say the qualification of observer B was? When observer B walked into the Garden, what didn’t he have? He came late, so he’s talking about the past, and he doesn’t have a video camera. What then in effect does he not have? He does not have observational data of what happened, he has to go on the basis of extrapolation.
Now let’s bring in the spiritual aspect to the conflict, just to show you this is not a mathematical scientific problem. At 10:10 from the other side of the Garden observer C enters. Observer C has also taken a time machine back, his box, he understands the same thing observer B does, but observer C has an additional quality. Observer C is buddy with observer A, so observer A walks over to him and says hey, look what I got on my video cam, take a look at this, I was here, I saw it, look what I saw. So now observer C has to decide, does he trust observer B or does he trust observer A. What would you do and why? Put yourself in observer C’s position, you walked in late, you can’t observe this, this is past time. So you’re dealing with a historical question. You’ve got a guy who claims to have photographed this stuff, with a clock on it, you check out the clock and it’s 10:10, and your watch reads the same as the clock in the video. Think about the process.
If you think about the simple little story of the three observers, you’ve got the chronology locked up. On what basis, if you are observer C, do you decide the question? Why would you, for example, say I agree with observer B; what would you be doing if you sided with observer B against observer A? What in effect would you be doing? To agree with B means you put higher confidence in extrapolated natural law than you do in eye witness evidence, witness that you can’t get at because by definition you weren’t there, but someone else was there and is giving you eye witness evidence. Is this a little bit of reflection about what you believe about the integrity of observer A? If observer A has come forth and told you, I took this record, here’s my camera and I’m not lying to you, this is what I have, now if you side with observer B, what else are you saying about the character of observer A? He’s either deceitful or something happened in His camera; he must have been watching television.
See the questions that are involved. Go back to this story time and time again, every time you get the [can’t understand word] dating question. The problem here is that when you are observer C walking in on the scene and you have to choose between A and B, you can’t choose between them without going back to your basic presupposition of life. If you agree here, your basic presupposition of life is that the universe couldn’t possibly do that. Whatever this camera has recorded has to be fake because I know the universe doesn’t operate that way. If you were observer A how would you feel? You’re observer A and I’m observer C, and I don’t buy this stuff, my buddy B has it together, I don’t know how you got the film, but it just can’t be. Don’t you feel slighted? For crying out loud, I was here, I filmed it, it went on before my very eyes. So if you side with observer B your presupposition is, the world view you have to hold is, that what goes on today always has and always will, and that’s exactly what Peter warned against in 2 Pet. 2, he said all things continue as they were from creation, there’s no such thing as interruptions, no such thing as any discontinuities, no such thing as any miracles, and Peter said therefore you deny the Second Advent of Christ too, very consistent.
But if on the other hand you agree with observer A, what presupposition allows you to do that? What presupposition would allow you to agree with observer A over against B? What would you tell your friend B, you look at the camera, you look at the clock, you look at Adam, and you say I’m sorry, something happened here, this must be possible. What you’re saying is that you believe in the integrity of observer A.
That story should summarize the principles that we’re going to illustrate in our clocks, the issue of clocks. I’ll spend the rest of the time on a set of clocks, several of the clocks that are used in dating. Just to start us off in this area, what does the Bible say about the age of the earth? People sometimes say it doesn’t say anything about the age of the earth. Excuse me, but if we have a lineage from Adam to Jesus that’s given in at least three places in the Bible, and we know that there’s a connection and we say well, maybe there’s gaps in the genealogy, there may be gaps but there’s only so many gaps you can put in a genealogy before it looks absolutely ridiculous. So let’s say this forces a limit to the age in, say thousands of years. Let’s just say the argument of 6,000-7,000 years, something like that, order of magnitude issue, thousands of years. What did we say about Genesis? When was Adam created? Sixth day. We’ve only got six days here, unless you want to make them ages. So by any kind of Scriptural interpretation we’re down to less than 10,000 years. Anybody got a clue as to what the popular glowing bet is on the age of the earth right now? Billions of years, 4-5 billion years, somewhere in there. [blank spot]
… We’ve got two different ages, don’t we. What do we have in the Garden between observer A, B and C? Didn’t we have an order of magnitude problem there? Five minutes, twenty-five years. What’s the difference? The difference is the same thing that happened to the three observers. What do we have in this book that’s analogous to the video camera? We have a historical record. By conjecturing or is the historical record the record of what actually happened by an observer. Who was the observer to five of the six days of creation? God was. So where do you suppose the narration came from the five days? It couldn’t have been Adam, he’s got the record from the time he woke up, but who’s telling about the stars and the creation of the plants and all the rest of it. It had to come from God. Was He an observer to His own work? I hope so; we’re worshiping the wrong God if He isn’t. So we have historical record. So this really isn’t a tremendous intellectual problem, is it? It’s just the details are kind of messy, but I think everyone sees what the problem is, what the basic outline is.
Let’s look now at a clock. I’m going to go through some of the clocks that are mentioned. On page 117 I give several of them. “The Pagan Age of the Earth. In the pagan view, present day observations fix the value of all time constants. Any supposed ‘discontinuities’ such as creation and a flood are ignored,” etc. “What is not usually mentioned is that even with this method there are widely varying ages that result.” I give four examples, and here’s why I give those examples. I want you to go into this gently. Here’s the argument: these ages, in this paragraph, those 4 examples, are examples of clocks that operate by natural law. I’m not saying those dates are correct, I’m saying if you want to play the natural law game, I’ll play it with you, and I can find, on the basis of natural law, the fact that all natural law clocks don’t coincide. We’re not getting the same date off of all the clocks.
Let’s explain the first one, and so you’ll appreciate, there are more than that, here are twelve terrestrial clocks. By the way, in this section we are only dealing with clocks that are available locally in space. Next week we’ll talk about astronomical issues. But just a quick review, here are twelve different clocks, all of which give different ages, on the same premise, that if you measure the ticking rate of these clocks right now, inside the box of observations, and you extrapolate that clock rate out and you ask where times = zero is, here are the dates you’re getting, on the right hand column. Just look at the variation, none of which give 4 billion years.
Let’s go through these. The recorded history of man itself is kind of an indication, if man lived for millions of years, where are the records. What suddenly happens is that we don’t have any more records before 3,000 BC. Has anybody ever asked that? Isn’t that interesting? Have you ever been in a course where they raised the question, what happened, did men just discover how to write in 3,000 BC, after a million years of walking around with clubs?
Population growth, this is a ripper, this is really cute, easy to understand. Do you know how we can tell the population growth rate of the earth? We’ve got a subset of human beings called Jews. When was the first Jew? Who was he? Abraham, he lived about 2,000 BC. So what do you do? You take the population of Jews today and you work backwards to Abraham in 2,000 BC, that’s 4,000 years, every Jew came out of Abraham. And you’ve got built in corrections for your clock, it’s very conservative, right, because the Jews, Hitler killed 6,000,000 of them so they had a lot of setbacks to their growth rate, so you can’t argue that the number you’re getting is a massively over-estimate of growth rate of Jews because it includes all the genocides of history. Now if you can get all the Jews that now live out of one man in 4,000 years, you take that same growth rate to the world population, apply the rate and work backwards, and you get no greater than 9,000 years for all human beings. Human being couldn’t have been around for more than 9,000 years, if it was we’d be packed like sardines, 5 people deep. Where are all the people?
Another one is the decay of the earth’s magnetic field, a subtle one, but the earth’s magnetic field has been measured since the 19th century, about 18 something they started measuring it and the interesting thing that they’re getting is that the strength of the earth’s field is decreasing. Thomas Barnes points out that if that’s so, then as far back as you go in history the earth’s magnetic field must have been stronger and stronger and stronger, and if you make the earth’s magnetic field too strong, that is you keep perpetuating the clock backwards, the earth would have to be a star to support the magnetic field energy. So you have an upper limit there of 10,000 years.
Carbon-14, that’s an interesting one. Through measurements carbon-14 is one of the dating, that’s critical because it’s one of the center things of dating back to, say 30,000 of 40,000 years, that’s used. Carbon-14 ratios with carbon-12, same element, different atom, carbon-14 breaking down. Now what’s interesting is carbon-14 is not an equilibrium. All the dating methods assume that because the earth must be millions of years old, that surely the carbon-14 has had time to become an equilibrium, and all the equations are built on what they call an equilibrium model. But if you take the observations, as far back as we can go, a few decades, it turns out that carbon-14 is not an equilibrium, it’s still building up. And if it’s still building up, it means the earth is young enough that it hasn’t had time to stabilize yet, which means that you have a boundary of 10,000 years.
The helium content of the atmosphere is another one. It’s not an equilibrium, it’s building up. We’re not arguing that these dates are right, I repeat my point, we are not arguing that these dates are right, all we’re saying is the logic behind them is identical to the logic on the other clocks. Will the real clock please stand up, which one.
Buildup of meteoric dust. By the way, these numbers here are the rating of a Christian physicist on a scale of 0 to 5 and what he thinks the reliability of those clocks are as far as a good argument. But here’s a cute one, you can measure the meteoric dust as it’s settling down on the earth. We know the rate of dust fall, and we know how much the average meteoric dust is on the earth’s surface, we ought to be obtain the earth’s age, and it comes out 100,000 years, not four billion.
The rate of erosion of the continents, obviously the continents are running down, rain washes off the continents and takes sand and dirt with it. You measure that. The continents then would have washed out after so many years, so they couldn’t have been around more than a million years, not four billion.
The cooling of the earth’s surface, that’s a cute one. Do you know who invented that argument? That was Lord Kelvin in the 19th century who happened to be a Christian who argued with Darwin, and Kelvin had heat transfer equations and he showed that the earth’s losing so much heat that you can’t explain the warmth of the interior, if the earth is very, very old it would have cooled off in the interior, so he had an upper boundary of 24 million.
Here’s another one that’s interesting, decrease in the earth’s rotation rate. What’s significant about that is the earth is slowing down in its rotation rate. Now if it’s slowing down in its rotation rate and it’s been slowing down at that same rate, you go back in time, what happens to the earth’s spin? It speeds up. If the earth keeps spinning up and fast, all the continents, because of the centrifugal, force would be spread out along the equator.
So these are just some arguments of why this clock system isn’t quite so cut and dried as you would like to believe. I’m going to conclude the class with showing a rather spectacular one that came up in a court trial in Louisiana, the evolutionary party saw this argument, couldn’t answer it, and the head, I think he was the head of the American Geological Society, was so offended that one of the Christian physicists brought this up that he said I can’t answer it, it’s just a tiny mystery.
Let’s see this so-called tiny mystery. There’s a rather exciting implication to this tiny mystery. Both those circles are died sections of mica rock under a microscope. The man who studied this probably knows more about this than any living person, the man who originated this was a Canadian back many years ago he did his study, and Dr. Gentry went ahead and embellished the work, but those little patterns… mica is important because mica represents slices off of very old rock, the bedrock of the planet. So whatever we observe by way of history in that rock, we’re not talking about the sedimentary rock on top. We’re talking about the bedrock of our planet. And what Gentry and these other guys noticed is that if you slice the mica very, very thin, appropriately color it, you get these strange things that show up. What causes those things? It turns out that what causes them is radioactive decay, and at the core of each one of those circles you see these little dark things. Those dark things are the element, or the compound in which the element is located, that decays. And when that element decayed by radioactive decay, it emitted radiation, and these circles are the burn marks left by the radiation of those elements as they deteriorated and radioactively decayed. It also turns out that we can tell what those elements are by measuring the diameter of those circles. And you can work back.
Here’s a three dimensional view of what those little things are. The mica shows them as circles because we’ve sliced the mica, but if we didn’t slice the mica they’d be spherical. At the center you have the element that’s decaying. It radiates energy and as it decays in certain stages, the energy is left on these outer rings. This is polonium-218, a halo cross-section. Polonium-218 has been the identifying thing at the center of these pictures; many of those are polonium-218 halos. What’s significant about them is written in the language just below that sphere, half-life, three minutes. Half-life means the average existing time period for that element, three minutes. You could say well maybe polonium-218 came from another element that decayed that had millions of years of life, and it came to the polonium, the polonium boom, three minutes, and it decayed to something else. You could explain it that way except for one problem, in this case there’s no known precursor of polonium-218, no known precursor in the decay chain. That means that polonium-218 was the original element. Does anybody see where I’m headed with this? It’s a rather astounding conclusion. Here’s the point. What do we usually get in our textbooks about the earth when it was first formed? Was it a solid or was it molten blob? A molten blob. Would this rock, then, have been crystallized when the earth was first formed? It would have taken millions of years to cool down out of this blob to the point where we had crystallized mica. The problem is, how do you preserve this polonium-218 from decaying, it’s got to wait until the earth is all cooled down and crystallized before it can leave those burn marks.
So you’ve got a problem here, either way you go. You can argue that radioactive decay didn’t start until some other time, late, recently, in which case now you’ve got a denial of the radioactive decay constant, it’s not a radioactive decay constant, it’s a radioactive decay variable, OR it is a constant and what we’re observing are the finger marks of God’s creation, that God created the earth instantly and crystallized white mica formed, the rock was created like this, the decay happened in the first three minutes of the universe, in which case now the earth doesn’t fit the whole model from which the earth came as a molten blob from millions of years. To argue against this, obviously this is quite troublesome to evolutionists, so what they have tried to argue is that these holes, these things you see here, were not there at first, but rather in tiny little cracks in the mica they were dissolved in water and oooched their way through the mica and just happened to rest at that point. Does anyone see a little problem with that? That has been known to happen, it’s called leeching. But let’s just suppose it happened; let’s suppose those did leech into that position. What did we say the half-life was? Three minutes. It leeched in what, thirty seconds, got into position and then decayed. Or, if it did leech and took its time leeching, you wouldn’t see a sphere, you would see a streak along the leeching pathway. But you don’t observe any streak there; there are no streaks there, just circles, so how do you explain that one. They didn’t have an explanation. The man in the trial mocked Dr. Gentry and said, just a tiny mystery.
So here is how evidences are created. You see, they can talk about evidence all they want to until we creationists bring up the evidence, and then all of a sudden it’s excused as tiny mysteries. Dr. Gentry’s diagram and conclusion for his finding is that what he’s discovered, by the way the thanks that Dr. Gentry got was that all of his fellowship money dried up from the National Science Foundation after he testified at the trial, we’re all open-minded of course in this country, freedom of speech, etc. This would be the billion year view, here you have all of the universe, the big bang and the stars form, the super nova, the solar nebula, the earth forms, you would have had all the natural activity gone by the time the earth solidified, 4.5 billion years, Precambrian granites, they formed after… after all this activity had gone away. That can’t be. That’s why Gentry points out that what we have is the chemical elements were called into existence, and the primordial polonium halos are extinct natural radioactivity reduce this time period to less than 3 minutes.
Either you accept that or you must deny the fact that radioactive decay is a constant.
I watched one time in a university physics department, when Gentry gave… he was smart, he didn’t go into all these conclusions, he just went around the country for a few years getting his work accepted before he drew the conclusions, slick operator, and I was in a room when he did this at a major university, and I knew what he was up to, so I wanted to watch what happened to the atmosphere in the room when he began to present his story. He didn’t go into it like I did tonight and explain it, he didn’t have to. These PhDs took one look at those polonium halos and 3½ minute half-life and they knew very well where things were going to lead. Gentry got about 15 minutes into his presentation and I’m a meteorologist but I don’t always carry a thermometer with me, but it seemed like the temperature of the room dropped, a cold front passed, and there was a decided shift in everybody in that room, unspoken but you could tell by the rate of the questions, oh, there’s got to be something wrong with this, Gentry, you screwed up, not a careful researcher, etc. The fact was they were stunned by this, and that’s when I first began to realize, ha-ha, I know that this guy has something solid, because I sat there for an hour and I wanted to see what kind of an answer you guys are going to come up with this cutie—no answers, just a lot of bad research or something.
The funny part was, all the research, not the conclusions for the research, but all the research had been sponsored by the National Science Foundation, funded, and peer reviewed, before they realized oh-oh, before we review this we’ve got to watch what we’ve just done, we’ve opened Pandora’s box with this guy. Of course, they cut the funds off so he can’t do any more research, he was reduced to doing it in his kitchen sink at home on Saturdays. A man who knows more about [can’t understand word] halos than any other man living on the earth today has to do his research in his wife’s kitchen sink. So this is what goes on. I tell you the story because it’s real; this is the battle we’re in. The other side is not going to bow the knee, and they are going to fight us in every area they can fight us, and we have to stand straight, and we are not going to be doormats in this battle. But it is a spiritual battle.
The handout you have tonight finishes these, and goes into the astronomical side, a little technical, I understand but the only reason I’m giving you these appendices is because inevitably somebody comes up and asks questions about this or that, and all I’m trying to do is cover my bases and go through this material.