8—STRATA AND FOSSIL DATING—In two later chapters (Fossils and Strata and Effects of the Flood), we will discuss the strata dating method in detail. We will here discuss only its relationship to radioactive dating methods—and learn that there are no relationships!
There are only three primary methods of long-ages dating: (1) fossil-bearing rock strata, (2) radioactive dating, and (3) carbon-14 dating.
In the chapter on Fossils, we will discover that dating rocks by their fossils is based on circular reasoning: (1) Each strata is a certain age because of certain key fossils in it; (2) the fossils in the strata are a certain age because evolutionary theory says they should be that certain age, and also because they are in rock strata said to be that age. Thus, fossil/strata-dating methods are hopelessly foundered.
Yet fossil/strata dating is crucial to the evolutionary theory! Without it, the whole thing collapses! (1) None of the other dating methods (the twelve methods discussed in this present chapter) are reliable either, but instead are in continual conflict with one another and with fossil/strata dating conclusions. (2) The 19th-century dating theory was applied to the fossils and strata; and evolutionists in later decades are required to bring their dates into alignment with those dates theorized over a century ago! Yet it cannot be done. This is a most serious problem.
In chapter 12 (Fossils and Strata), we shall discuss in detail the problems associated with fossil and strata dating. But let us right now put to rest a frequently stated misconception: that radiodating methods have successfully dated and positively established as reliable the dating system conjectures in the so-called "geologic column" of rock strata. That is not true!
ONLY THREE USEABLE TEST RESULTS—In reality, it is impossible to date sedimentary rock strata and the fossils within it by radioactive mineral dating. In fact, radiodating is so conflicting in its results, that, out of hundreds of thousands of tests,—ONLY THREE test results have agreed sufficiently with evolutionary theory to be used as "norms." Each of these, of course, could only apply to a single stratum.
Out of tens of thousands of tests only three radioactive samples have been found to be near enough to rock strata age theories to be useable,—and two of them are just interpolated guesses based on "strata thickness." Evolutionists use but three undiscarded radiodatings to vindicate the reliability of the hundred-year-old strata and fossil dating theory!
INTERLOCKING IMAGININGS—A brief historical review will help explain the situation:
(1) Early in the 19th century, evolutionists decided that fossils in certain rock strata should be such-and-such an age.
(2) So they gave the strata containing those fossils dates which would match their fossil age theories.
(3) Then they announced that they had thought up the dates by peering at so-called "index fossils."
(4) They declared that they could now prove the ages of the fossils in the rocks—by the rock strata they were in. Thus, they started out by dating the strata by imagined dates for fossils; and they ended up dating the fossils by applying those imagined dates to the strata!
This circular reasoning pattern has continued on down to the present day in regard to the dating of fossils and strata.
But then, as the 20th century began, radioactive mineral dating began to be discovered. Repeatedly, scientists have tried to correlate radioactive dating with the dates they applied to fossils and strata a century before radiodating was known. But they have not been able to do so. Out of literally thousands of tests, they have been able to correlate only three of them (the Colorado, Bohemian, and Swedish dates given in the *Knopf quotation [a lengthy statement we did not have room to include in this paperback]. The evolutionists decided that three successes out of hundreds of thousands of test failures were enough to make their fossil/strata theory "scientific," by matching radiodating. It is on this basis that evolutionist scientists now grandly proclaim that the fossiliferous strata have been dated by radioactive minerals! See chapter 12, Fossils and Strata, for much, much more on this.
SOME DATING SAMPLES—To conclude this section on radiodating problems, here are a few dating samples. Many, many, many more could have been cited!
"Sunset Crater, an Arizona Volcano, is known from tree-ring dating to be about 1000 years old. But potassium-argon put it at over 200,000 years [*G.B. Dalrymple, ‘40 Ar/36 Ar Analyses of Historical Lava Flows,’ Earth and Planetary Science Letters 6, 1969, pp. 47-55].
"For the volcanic island of Rangitoto in New Zealand, potassium-argon dated the lava flows as 145,000 to 465,000 years old, but the journal of the Geochemical Society noted that ‘the radiocarbon, geological and botanical evidence unequivocally shows that it was active and was probably built during the last 1000 years.’ In fact, wood buried underneath its lava has been carbon-dated as less than 350 years old [*Ian McDougall, *H.A.
Polach, and *J.J. Stipp, ‘Excess Radiogenic Argon in Young Subaerial Basalts from Auckland Volcanic Field, New Zealand,’ Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, December 1969, pp. 1485, 1499].
"Even the lava dome of Mount St. Helens [produced in 1980] has been radiometrically dated at 2.8 million years [H.M. Morris, ‘Radiometric Dating,’ Back to Genesis, 1997]."—James Perloff, Tornado in a Junkyard (1999), p. 146.
9—THE CARBON-14 CYCLE—*Willard F. Libby (1908-1980), working at the University of Chicago, discovered the carbon-14 dating method in 1946. This was considered to be a great breakthrough in the dating of remains of plants and animals of earlier times. It is the special method used, by scientists, to date organic materials from earlier times in history.
Cosmic rays that enter our atmosphere from outer space strike the earth and transform regular nitrogen (nitrogen 14) to radioactive carbon (carbon 14). Carbon 14 has a half-life of about 5730 years. This method of dating is called carbon-14 dating, C-14 dating, or radiocarbon dating. Within about 12 minutes after being struck by cosmic rays in the upper atmosphere, the carbon 14 combines with oxygen, to become carbon dioxide that has carbon 14 in it. It then diffuses throughout the atmosphere, and is absorbed by vegetation (plants need carbon dioxide in order to make sugar by photosynthesis). Every living thing has carbon in it. While it is alive, each plant or animal takes in carbon dioxide from the air. Animals also feed on the vegetation and absorb carbon dioxide from it. There is some carbon 14 in all of that carbon dioxide. At death, the carbon 14 continues on with its radioactive decay. Theoretically, analysis of this carbon 14 can tell the date when the object once lived, by the percent of carbon-14 atoms still remaining in it.
*Libby’s method involves counting the Geiger counter clicks per minute per gram of a dead material in order to figure out when that plant or animal died.
It sounds simple and effective, but in practice it does not turn out that way.
MOST TEST RESULTS ARE TOSSED OUT—Before we begin our study of radiocarbon dating, here is a quotation to think about:
"It may come as a shock to some, but fewer than 50 percent of the radiocarbon dates from geological and archaeological samples in northeastern North America have been adopted as ‘acceptable’ by investigators."—*J. Ogden III, "The Use and Abuse of Radiocarbon," in Annals of the New York Academy of Science, Vol. 288, 1977, pp. 167-173.
*Flint and *Rubin declare that radiocarbon dating is consistent within itself. What they do not mention is that the published C-14 dates are only "consistent" because the very large number of radiocarbon dates which are not consistent are discarded!
Two researchers from the University of Uppsala, Sweden, in their report to the Twelfth Nobel Symposium, said this:
"C-14 dating was being discussed at a symposium on the prehistory of the Nile Valley. A famous American colleague, Professor Brew, briefly summarized a common attitude among archaeologists toward it, as follows: ‘If a C-14 date supports our theories, we put it in the main text. If it does not entirely contradict them, we put it in a footnote. And if it is completely ‘out-of-date,’ we just drop it."—*T. Save-Soderbergh and *Ingrid U. Olsson, "C-14 Dating and Egyptian Chronology," Radiocarbon Variations and Absolute Chronology, ed. *Ingrid U. Olsson (1970), p. 35 [also in *Pensee, 3(1): 44].
THIRTEEN ASSUMPTIONS—As mentioned above, radiocarbon dating was invented by *Willard Libby. From the beginning—and consistently thereafter—he and his associates proceeded on the assumption that (1) the way everything is now, so it always has been, and (2) no contaminating factor has previously disturbed any object tested with radiodating techniques.
The result is a nice, tidy little theory that is applied to samples, without regard for the immense uncertainties of how the past may have affected them individually and collectively. It is for this reason that *Libby was able to ignore all of a sample’s past.
Now let us consider the underlying assumptions about radiocarbon dating that are made in order to make it a workable method, even though not a reliable one.
(1) Atmospheric carbon: For the past several million years, the air around us had the same amount of atmospheric carbon that it now has.
(2) Oceanic carbon: During that time, the very large amount of oceanic carbon has not changed in size.
(3) Cosmic rays: Cosmic rays from outer space have reached the earth in the same amounts in the past as now.
(4) Balance of rates: Both the rate of formation and rate of decay of carbon 14 have always in the past remained in balance.
(5) Decay rates: The decay rate of carbon 14 has never changed.
(6) No contamination: Nothing has ever contaminated any specimen containing carbon 14.
(7) No seepage: No seepage of water or other factor has brought additional carbon 14 to the sample since death occurred.
(8) Amount of carbon 14 at death: The fraction of carbon 14, which the living thing possessed at death, is known today.
(9) Carbon 14 half-life: The half-life of carbon 14 has been accurately determined.
(10) Atmospheric nitrogen: Nitrogen is the precursor to Carbon 14, so the amount of nitrogen in the atmosphere must have always been constant.
(11) Instrumentation and analysis: The instrumentation is precise, working properly, and analytic methods are always carefully done.
(12) Uniform results: The technique always yields the same results on the same sample or related samples that are obviously part of the same larger sample.
(13) Earth’s magnetic field: Earth’s magnetic field was the same in the past as it is today.
We have some big "ifs" in the above 13 assumptions! In reality, there is not one instance in which we can point to a C-14 sample and declare with certainty that EVEN ONE of those assumptions applies to it.
LIBBY’S OTHER DISCOVERY—*Willard Libby’s training was in science, not history; so he and his co-workers were initially startled to learn that recorded history (actual historical events) only goes back to about 3000 B.C. They had been taught in school that it extended back 20,000 years!
(We will learn in the chapter on Ancient Man, that the earliest dates of Egypt are based on the uncertain and incomplete king-lists of Manetho. The earliest Egyptian dates should probably be lowered to 2200 B.C.)
Like many other bright hopes that men had at last found a way to date things prior to 4300 years ago, radiocarbon dating has turned out to be just another headache to conscientious scientists.
They work with a method that does not give accurate results. But they keep working, collecting data, and hoping for better dating methods at some future time.
"Well-authenticated dates are known only back as far as about 1600 B.C. in Egyptian history, according to John G. Read [J.G. Read, Journal of Near Eastern Studies, Vol. 29, No. 1, 1970]. Thus, the meaning of dates by Carbon 14 prior to 1600 B.C. is still as yet controversial."—H.M. Morris, W.W. Boardman, and R.F. Koontz, Science and Creation (1971), p. 85.
Aside from the few that can be checked by historical records, there is no way to verify the accuracy of C-14 dates.
SIXTEEN RADIODATING PROBLEMS—Here is a brief discussion of some of the serious hurdles to accuracy in C-14 (radiocarbon) dating:
(1) TYPE OF CARBON—Uncertainties regarding the type of carbon that may be in a given sample causes significant errors in dating. As mentioned earlier, every living thing is full of carbon compounds, and includes some carbon 14. But, after death, additional radioactive carbon may have drifted into the sample. Few researchers take the exhaustive time needed to try and figure out which carbon is which. Frankly, in most instances, it would be impossible to be certain how much of this secondary or intrusive carbon had entered the sample from elsewhere.
(2) VARIATIONS WITHIN SAMPLES—Then there is the problem of variations within each of the samples. Part of the sample tests one way and part tests another way. So many factors affect this that the experts are finding it seemingly impossible to arrive at accurate dates.
(3) LOSS OF Carbon 14—Rainfall, lakes, oceans, and below-ground moisture will cause a loss of Carbon 14, and thus ruin its radiation clock.
(4) CHANGES IN ATMOSPHERIC CARBON—In addition, it is not known what carbonic and atmospheric conditions were like in ancient times. We know it was different, but do not know to what degree. Evidence is surfacing that changes have occurred which would invalidate ancient dates determined by carbon-14 analysis.
(5) SUNSPOT EFFECT ON C-14 PRODUCTION—Sunspot production radically affects radiocarbon production in the atmosphere.
Important discoveries have been made recently in regard to sunspots. Major variations in sunspot production have occurred in the past, some of which we know of. These have resulted in decided changes in radiocarbon production. (1) From A.D. 1420 to 1530 and from 1639 to 1720 there were few sunspots; during those years not a single aurora was reported anywhere around the globe. Northern Europe became something of an icebox; and there was an increase in solar wind, with consequent higher C-14 production in the atmosphere at that time. (2) In the 12th and early 13th centuries, there was unusually high sunspot activity for a number of years. At that time, there was less C-14 production, warmer climate, increased glacial melt, and unusually brilliant displays of the aurora borealis. Thus, we see that the past is not the same as the present in regard to radiocarbon production; yet "uniformity"—"the past is like the present"—is a basic premise in all carbon-14 dating. When radiocarbon production in the atmosphere is so drastically changed, dating results, based on carbon 14 in creatures who lived at that time, are seriously affected.
A number of additional sunspot changes in the centuries before then have been discovered. Each major change has generally lasted from 50 to several hundred years.
(6) RADIOCARBON DATE SURVEY—A major survey of 15,000 dates obtained by carbon 14 dating revealed that, in spite of its errors, radiocarbon dating continually yields dates that are millions and even billions of years younger than those obtained by other radiodating techniques (uranium, thorium, potassium, etc.).
(7) CHANGE IN NEUTRINO RADIATION—A change in neutrino radiation into our atmosphere in earlier times would also affect radiocarbon levels. But we have no way of measuring past neutrino radiation levels.
(8) COSMIC RAYS—The amount of cosmic radiation entering our atmosphere and reaching the earth would also be crucial.
A partial change in cosmic radiation amounts would also greatly affect C-14 dating. But a change in cosmic radiation from outer space would not be necessary, only a change in the amount of water or warmth—or both—in our atmosphere.
(9) MAGNETIC FIELD—Scientists now know that there has been a fairly rapid weakening of earth’s magnetic field. (This was discussed in chapter 4, Age of the Earth.) It is cosmic radiation entering our atmosphere that changes Carbon 12 into Carbon 14. The three go together: earth’s magnetic field, cosmic rays, and Carbon 14. Thus the strength of earth’s magnetic field has a major effect on the amount of carbon 14 that is made.
(10) MOISTURE CONDITIONS—Atmospheric changes in moisture content in the past would also significantly affect C-14 amounts. Changes in ground moisture, even temporary ones, would have an even greater impact. How much moisture came into contact with a given sample at various times in past ages? Could water have trickled alongside or through the sample at some earlier time? What about storage problems in more recent times or after the sample was collected? Prior to testing, was the sample placed in a location more damp than where it was found? —All these factors can decidedly affect the internal clockwork of radiocarbon samples.
(11) IF WARMER AND MORE WATER VAPOR—If the earth was either warmer at an earlier time or had more water in the atmosphere (both of which we believe happened before and during the Flood), then the C-14 clocks would register long ages of time prior to about 2000 B.C.
(12) DRAMATIC CHANGES AFTER FLOOD—For some time after the Flood there were changes in the atmosphere (a loss of water from the vapor canopy), changes in climate (due to worldwide warmth changing to cooler conditions), and changes due to volcanism and glaciation.
Because of these dramatic worldwide alterations, plants, animals, and people living in the early centuries after the Flood would have received much less carbon 14 than they would receive today. This would make those earlier life forms and civilizations appear to be much more ancient by radiocarbon dating methods than they actually were.
With the passing of the centuries, the carbon-14 radiation levels would have gradually increased until, by about 1000 B.C., they would have been close to early nineteenth-century levels.
This is why radiocarbon dates for the past 2600 years (going back to c. 600 B.C.) generally show a better correlation with historically verified chronologies. But even in dates from 2600 B.C. on down to the present there are discrepancies in carbon-14 dates.
(13) RECENT DATES ARE MOST ACCURATE—It is rather well-known that carbon-14 dates, going back about 2600 years, tend to be the most accurate. But, prior to about 600 B.C., the dates given by radiocarbon analysis begin lengthening out excessively.
(14) EVEN MODERN SPECIMENS ARE INACCURATE—It is a surprising fact that even specimens from recent centuries show serious problems. Consider a few examples. They reveal that radiocarbon dating cannot be relied on as accurate evidence for anything:
Mortar from Oxford Castle in England was dated by radiocarbon as 7370 years old, yet the castle itself was only built 785 years ago (E.A. von Fange, "Time Upside Down," quoted in Creation Research Society Quarterly, November 1974, p. 18).
Freshly killed seals have been dated at 1300 years. This means they are supposed to have died over a millennium ago. Other seals which have been dead no longer than 30 years were dated at 4,600 years (*W. Dort, "Mummified Seals of Southern Victoria Land," in Antarctic Journal of the U.S., June 1971, p. 210).
Wood was cut out of living, growing trees. Although only a few days dead, it was dated as having existed 10,000 years ago (*B. Huber, "Recording Gaseous Exchange Under Field Conditions," in Physiology of Forest Trees, ed. by *K.V. Thimann, 1958).
Various living mollusks (such as snails) had their shells dated, and were found to have "died" as much as 2300 years ago (*M. Keith and *G. Anderson, "Radiocarbon Dating: Fictitious Results with Mollusk Shells," in Science, 141, 1963, p. 634).
(15) CARBON INVENTORY—Due to drastic changes at the time of that immense catastrophe, the Flood, there is reason to believe that dramatic changes were occurring at that time in the carbon-14 content of the atmosphere. In addition, massive amounts of carbon were buried then. Immense worldwide forests became fossils or coal, and millions of animals became fossils or petroleum.
A world carbon inventory by *W.A. Reiners reveals that the total amount of carbon in the world today is less than 1/500th of the total amount that is locked into fossil plants and animals within sedimentary rock strata! (See *W.A. Reiners, Carbon and the Biosphere, p. 369). An enormous amount of carbon was buried at the time of the catastrophe of the Flood. If the same world inventory of carbon 14—as now exists—were distributed in that pre-Flood biosphere as living plants and animals, the level of C-14 activity back then would have been 500 times as much as the amount existing now.
This alone would account for nine C-14 half-lives, or 51,000 years of the radiocarbon timescale. This factor alone totally destroys the usefulness of radiocarbon dating.
(16) THROWING OFF THE CLOCK—In his book, Evolution or Degeneration (1972, pp. 80-81), H.R. Siegler mentions that *Willard F. Libby, the developer of radiodating, found a serious discrepancy at a certain point in past history that indicated his assumed build-up of terrestrial radiocarbon was inaccurate. But, since he was convinced that the earth was millions of years old, he went ahead with his date assumptions. Siegler suggests that a relatively recent Creation (plus, we might add, the catastrophic effects of the Flood) would account for the discrepancy. Keep in mind that, before the Flood, a vast vapor canopy was in our atmosphere, which would tend to shield the earth from radiocarbon buildup.
This is the problem: Prior to about 1600 B.C., radiodating tends to go wild. Something happened back then that threw the clock off. Creation scientists recognize that the problem was the Genesis Flood and the abnormal conditions that existed for centuries after it ended.
C-14 DATA POINTS TO THE FLOOD—An immense number of plants and animals died at the time of the Flood, as recorded in Genesis 6-9. One would expect that radiocarbon dating should produce a large number of specimens that died at about the same time. Due to errors in dating, we would not expect those carbon-14 dates to correspond with the time of the Flood, but we should expect them to nonetheless point to a time when there was a dramatic increase in the number of deaths.
In 1970, R. Whitelaw, of Virginia Polytechnic Institute, went through the research literature on radiocarbon dating and carefully compiled 25,000 C-14 dates up to that year. The specimens were of people, animals, and vegetation obtained from above and below sea level. Whitelaw then applied certain principles to help avoid disparity problems between radiocarbon production and disintegration. He then put the results of his research into a single graph.
The chart (shown on the next page) shows a gradual increase in deaths from about 5000 B.C. onward. The deaths peaked at about 4,000 years ago (2000 B.C.). Errors in radiocarbon dating would be responsible for the 2,000-year spread in the largest number of deaths—although the Flood took place in a much smaller period of time. (Biblical chronology indicates that the Genesis Flood occurred c. 2348 B.C.) But the basic facts are there:
A gigantic loss of life occurred at about that time. Robert Whitelaw found that 15,000 C-14 dates placed it about 2500 B.C. (See R. Whitelaw, "Time, Life and History in the Light of 15,000 Radiocarbon Dates," in Creation Research Society Quarterly, 7 (1970):56.)
MASS SPECTROMETER—Here is a technique that you are not likely to hear much about. The problem for evolutionists is that it consistently yields dates that are too low. Yet if its conclusions were accepted, ALL fossils, ALL coal, ALL petroleum, and ALL hominid (ancient man) bones would be dated less than 5000 years in the past!
The mass spectrometer technique is fairly new, and the equipment is quite expensive. Unfortunately, when working with radiocarbon, the results will still be skewed (dates will appear to be too ancient) because the atmosphere in ancient times had a different amount of carbon 14 than it now has. (The mass spectrometer is discussed again in chapter 13, Ancient Man.)
LESSON FROM JARMO—Jarmo was an ancient village that was inhabited for not over 500 years. It was discovered in northeast Iraq. Eleven different C-14 tests were made there, and dates with a 6000-year spread were tallied up! A fundamental scientific principle is that a correct method will give the same result when repeated; if it cannot do this, it is not scientific.
CONCLUSION—As with the other methods of non-historical dating, we find that radiocarbon dating is also highly inaccurate.
"The troubles of the radiocarbon dating method are undeniably deep and serious . . It should be no surprise, then, that fully half of the dates are rejected. The wonder is, surely, that the remaining half come to be accepted."—*R.E. Lee, "Radiocarbon, Ages in Error," in Anthropological Journal of Canada, March 3, 1981, p. 9.
10—AMINO ACID DECOMPOSITION—In 1955, *Philip Abelson reported on a new dating method, and immediately a number of researchers began exploring its possibilities.
Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins. At the death of the creature that they were in, amino acids begin decomposing at varying rates.
A major difficulty in applying this dating method is that, of the twenty amino acids, some decompose much more rapidly than others. Scientists can only try to estimate the age when an animal died by the amount of decomposition it has experienced since death. Gradually more stable compounds remain while others decompose in varying ways.
Accompanying this is the problem that various organisms have different ratios of amino acids. Each type of plant and animal has its own special amino acid ratios. Because of this, trying to analyze their later decomposition to establish the dates when they died is risky business. Because there is a wide variation in decomposition time among different plant and animal species, researchers who have worked with this dating method have written several reports stating that amino acid dating, on the basis of comparative decomposition, can only yield broad ranges of fossil age. In other words, it is not a useful dating method.
NO ANCIENT FOSSILS—One worthwhile discovery that scientists made when they applied amino acid dating methods (both amino acid decomposition and amino acid racemization) out in the field—was that traces of amino acid still exist all through the fossil strata! This means that none of the fossils are ancient!
Although we cannot accurately date with amino acid methods, yet we can know that, when amino acids still exist in the field,—they are not very old! We will discuss this more in a later chapter (Fossils and Strata).
11—RACEMIC DATING—This is a different dating method based on amino acid remains from once-living creatures. It is also called racemization. A leader in research in both amino acid dating methods has been the Carnegie Institute of Washington, D.C.
Of the twenty amino acids, all but one (glycine) can be formed in one of two patterns: the L (left-handed) and the D (right-handed). The chemical structure of the L and D are identical to one another. The difference lies only in their shape. Imagine two gloves: a left-handed glove and a right-handed one. Both are made of the same materials, but they are mirror opposites. The L and D amino acids are both identical in every way; except, in the L form, some molecules stick out on the left side and, on the D form, some protrude on the right side. (In two later chapters, Primitive Environment and DNA, we will discuss L and D amino acids again.)
ONLY L—Only the L (left-handed) amino acids ever occur in animal tissue. The D (right-handed) ones are never found in the protein of animals that are alive.
When man makes amino acids in a laboratory, he will always get an equal number of both L and D. Only very complicated methods are able to separate them so the experimenter can end up with only L amino acids. There is no way to synthetically make only L amino acids. This is a marvelous proof that living things could not form by chance. More on this in chapter 8, DNA and Protein.
SEEKING A RACEMIC MIXTURE—This brings us back to racemization as a dating method: At death, the L amino acids begin converting to the D type. The changeover in animal remains is completely random, with Ls changing into Ds, and Ds changing back to Ls. Gradually, over a period of time, a "racemic mixture" is the result. The amino acids become "racemic" when they contain equal amounts of both L and D types.
Scientists much prefer racemic dating to amino acid decomposition dating. Analyzing for a racemic mixture can be done more quickly and with less expensive equipment than the amino acid decomposition method. In addition, the starting point will, with the exception of glycine (the simplest amino acid, which is neither L nor D), always be 100 percent L amino acid content.
But there are serious problems in trying to use racemic activity to date ancient materials:
TEN RACEMIC PROBLEMS—Many different factors can affect the accuracy of racemic dating methods; and, as with problems accompanying radioactive and radiocarbon dating analysis, for any given specimen no one can know which factors are involved or to what degree. Why? Because the person would have to be there studying the specimen since its clock first started thousands of years ago, at its death, and its L amino acids began their journey toward racemization.
The rate at which racemization occurs is dependent on at least ten different factors:
(1) What have been the surrounding water concentrations? (2) What amount of acidity and/or alkalinity has been nearby at different times? (3) What has been the varying temperature of the specimen since death? (4) To what degree has there been contact with clay surfaces in the past? (Clay is highly absorbent.) (5) Could aldehydes—especially when associated with metal ions—have contacted the sample at some past time? (6) What buffer compounds have contacted it? What were their concentrations? (7) To what degree in the past has the amino acid specimen been "bound" (isolated from surrounding contamination)? (8) If bound, what was the location of the tested specific amino acid, in relation to the outer membrane or shell of the specimen? (9) How large was the specimen it was in? Have changes in size occurred in the past? (10) Were bacteria present at some earlier time? Because bacteria can produce one of the amino acids (D-alanine), test results can be thrown off by this one factor.
CONTAMINATION FACTOR—Soft materials are the most easily contaminated. Using this method, amino acids in very hard materials, such as bone, tend to produce dates up to 20,000 years. But amino acids in more easily contaminated materials, such as sea shell meat, will run to long ages of time, peaking out about 150,000 years.
TEMPERATURE CHANGE—Just a one degree increase in temperature at 23° C [73.4° F]—just one degree—will produce a nearly 16 percent increase in the rate at which racemization occurs. So any temperature change will significantly affect the racemic clock within the amino acid mixture.
Interestingly enough, the only time when racemic dating agrees with the theorized long-ages dating of radioactive materials is when the racemization has been done in the laboratory with very high temperatures! Thus, as would be expected, samples from out in the field reveal ages that are far less than those acceptable to evolutionary conjectures.
THE COLD STORAGE PROBLEM—Another problem lies with the fact that "cold storage" slows down racemization and give an appearance of a longer age span since death. After the Flood, intense volcanic activity spewed so much dust into the air that the earth cooled and glaciers spread from the poles southward for quite some time. Since then, the climate has gradually been warming up. Thus, if an animal died in A.D. 500, and if it was free from various contamination factors, it might yield a date of 1,500 years. But an animal dying in 2200 B.C., shortly after the Flood, might yield an age of 150,000 years.
The Racemic researchers themselves admit that their dates can only be tentative at best. The fact is (as they know all too well), there is no characteristic racemization rate that is reliably constant.
MOISTURE: A DOUBLE PROBLEM—*Wehmiller and *Hare have suggested that racemization can only occur during the hydrolysis of the protein. In other words, moisture has to be present all during the time that the amino acids are racemizing. But that moisture, coming from outside and flowing in and through the specimen, will bring with it contamination of various kinds. In contrast, amino acid samples from extinct dinosaurs, from the La Brea tar pits in southern California, indicate that they died only yesterday! This is because tar sealed water away from the samples. Yet scientists can have no way of knowing the temperature and other factors of the water and air that earlier contacted any given sample.
pH FACTOR—If the water moistening the amino acids had a higher pH (if it was more alkaline), then racemization would occur in only a fraction of its normal time, giving the impression of great age to the sample. But who can know the pH of the contaminating water at various times in the past?
A SAMPLE TEST—One example of racemic dating problems is the dating of a single Late Pleistocene Mercenaria shell, which, when several tests were run on it, produced a variety of dates ranging from 30,000 to 2 million years for its various amino acids! Other examples could be cited (see the radiodating section on our website).
ANOTHER RADIODATING PROBLEM—Efforts have been made to confirm racemization dating by radiocarbon dating, but this has failed also.
Because of the very low dates it produces, racemic dating has cast yet another shadow over the integrity of the high-age dates produced by the various radioactive dating methods.