Creation vs. Evolution
Determining the age of the Earth -
The age of the Earth is important to the theory of evolution,
because in order for evolution to occur, millions of years are
needed. If the Earth is only 7-10 thousand years old as
Creationists claim, then evolution cannot be true. This is why this
is a major topic in the evolution vs. creation debate.
How Old Is The Earth, And How Do We
Scientists use several methods to determine the age of the
- Erosion. Scientific observation shows that
erosion takes place at about 1 ft. every 5,000 years. Knowing this
method, we can estimate the age of rock formations like the Grand
Canyon. If the Canyon started out flat, it would take 30,000,000
years for the Colorado river to erode 600 ft of the Grand
- Sedimentation. Another method used is to
measure the rate at which sediment is deposited. Scientists think
it takes between 500 and 10,000 years to deposit 1 foot of
sediment. This method is not as accurate as the erosion
- Salinity of the oceans. Some geologists try to
measure the age of the earth by the amount of salt in the ocean.
First they need to find out how much salt is in the oceans. Then
they find out how much salt rivers carry into the oceans each year.
By comparing how much salt there is in the oceans now to how much
is carried in by rivers each year, scientists can estimate the age
of the oceans.
- Radioactive method.. One of the methods used
is to study the uranium in igneous and metamorphic rocks. Uranium
is a mildly radioactive substance that breaks down very slowly to
form other elements and eventually lead. Uranium breaks down at a
slow and steady pace which cannot be altered by
temperature or pressure. Scientists calculate that it takes about 5
billion years for a half of a piece of uranium to become lead. By
looking at different rocks and comparing the amount of uranium
still in the rock to the amount of lead that has been formed, they
can measure the age of the earth. Using this method, scientists
have determined that the earth is 4-5 billion years old.
- Carbon-14 dating. All organic life forms have
some amount of carbon-14 in them. When they die, no more carbon-14
is produced but instead the carbon-14 begins to slowly break down.
Scientists think it takes 5,600 years for half of a piece of
carbon-14 to break down. The fossil remains of creatures that had
carbon-14 in them are found in sedimentary rock. By comparing the
amount of carbon-14 in a rock to the amount of other substances
that have been formed as a result of the breaking down of the
carbon-14, scientists can date the rock. Carbon-14 dating is used
to find the age of rocks up to 15,000 years old and the radioactive
method is used for older rocks.
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rights reserved. Last modified: Friday August 28, 1998.