by Bill Nugent
Eight PhD scientists joined together in 1997 to study the radioisotope evidence for the age of the earth. They were called the RATE group (Radioisotopes and the Age of The Earth). They spent eight years on the project. They studied many radioisotopic dating methods including carbon 14.*
You may remember the carbon 14 dating method from your high school biology class. Carbon 14 is useful only in dating samples containing carbon which usually means plant and animal matter (though diamonds also contain carbon). Carbon 14 has a half life of only 5,730 years. This means an object 5,730 years old should have half the amount of carbon 14 (in ratio to carbon 12) as a new object.
Any object that is older than twenty carbon 14 half lives should not have any detectable carbon 14. In other words, since carbon 14’s half life is 5,730 years, twenty half lives would be 114,600 years. There should be no detectable carbon 14 in a sample that old.
Coal is formed from plant matter that contained both carbon 14 and carbon 12. The plant matter was crushed and buried and formed coal. We can study coal and determine if any carbon 14 remains in it and thus determine the age of the coal.
The RATE group tested ten samples of coal which it obtained from the US Department of Energy Coal Sample Bank. The ten samples were of coal taken from coalfields all across the United States. The samples represented a wide range of standard time frames in the geologic column including the Cenozoic, Mesozoic and Paleozoic. The coal samples were considered to be tens to hundreds of millions of years old by traditional old earth standards. However, to the surprise of many observers, all ten samples of coal had significant levels of detectable carbon 14.
If the coal was formed from plant matter that was crushed and buried and became coal just one million years ago all carbon 14 would have decayed to carbon 12 long ago and no carbon 14 would be detectable. The only carbon present would be carbon 12. Even in a hypothetical case where the million year old coal was composed of 100 percent carbon 14, all of that carbon 14 would have decayed long ago to become carbon 12.
The fact that carbon 14 was detected in coal clearly shows that the standard old earth age estimates for the age of coal are wrong by several orders of magnitude. We have a highly regarded, generally accepted dating method that shows that the coal samples could not be older than 114,600 years. This is scientific evidence of young earth. If the earth is young, there is not enough time for Darwinian evolution to take place. The young age of earth points to the necessity of the creator and a relatively recent creation of earth.
The RATE group tested twelve samples of diamonds and also found detectable levels of carbon 14. This is especially significant because diamonds are not prone to any kind of potential contamination because of their extreme hardness. Old earth evolutionists claim that diamonds are up to 3.5 billion years old. The presence of carbon 14 in diamonds clearly shows the absurdity of that claim.
Other groups of scientists have found detectable levels of carbon 14 in dinosaur bones. There is documentation in the scientific literature that scientists, even old earth evolutionist scientists, cannot find any fossil or coal that does not have carbon 14.
The RATE group was composed of scientists who believe in creation. Their work however, merely confirmed the work of noncreationist scientists who have measured carbon 14 in coal and diamonds since accelerator mass spectrometry was used to measure carbon 14 in the early 1980s. As you can imagine, the discovery of carbon 14 in coal beginning in the 1980s sent shockwaves through the radiocarbon community. Dozens of papers were published in peer reviewed journals dealing with this paradigm shifting development. Painstaking efforts were made to eliminate any sample contamination or equipment malfunction yet carbon 14 kept showing up in coal!
One of the RATE scientists, John Baumgardner PhD has cited many noncreationist scientific writings on carbon 14 in coal and diamonds including a 2007 paper by Taylor and Southon discussing the detection of carbon 14 in diamonds.*
Creationists claim that coal was formed rapidly during Noah’s flood when “all the fountains of the great deep burst open” (Gen. 7:11 NASB.) This Bible passage refers not only to flooding and tsunamis but also to massive volcanism and tectonic shifts that occurred during the flood. Huge land masses containing dense vegetation were subducted (buried) during the movements of the earth’s plates. This resulted in vast stores of vegetation being buried deep beneath the surface where temperature and pressure caused it to change to coal and oil. Some oil deposits are more than five miles below the surface. Fossil evidence shows that preflood forests were far more dense than today’s forests.
Coal formation had to happen rapidly because slow accumulation of plant matter allows the plant matter to rot before it can be turned into coal. Plant matter in today’s Amazon basin rots far more rapidly than plant matter in more temperate climates.
Carbon 14 in coal and diamonds gives persuasive evidence favoring a young age of planet earth. Carbon 14, like the recent finds of blood remnants in dinosaur bones and other natural clocks showing a young age of earth are persuading an ever growing number of scientists to embrace young earth chronology. Formerly, creationists were like a hidden guerrilla band among PhD scientists. Now with the rapidly growing Intelligent Design Movement a regular army of evolution denying scientists has emerged.
Creation of this planet occurred within the biblical timeframe. Young age of earth clearly disproves Darwinian evolution.
Many secular people are taking a fresh look at Christianity. Educated people see the complexity of living things and believe that there must be a creator of life. Philosophers are taking note of the collapse of communism and socialism and see that the sinfulness of people is self-evident and must be remedied through Christ.
God sent His Son Jesus Christ, the promised Messiah and redeemer of mankind. Christ came in fulfillment of over three hundred prophecies that were written in the Old Testament hundreds of years before His birth. No other person in history can make this claim. Christ alone fulfilled the Messianic prophecies. Additionally, Christ worked miracles of healing in front of eyewitnesses. Christ’s followers today still receive miracles of healing and other miracles in answer to prayer. The fulfilled prophecies and the miracles prove the Bible’s claim that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and our redeemer.
The prophets foretold that Christ would suffer and die, taking upon Himself the penalty we deserved for our sins, thus making atonement for us before God the Father. The following words, which were fulfilled by Jesus Christ, were written by the Hebrew prophet Isaiah over eight hundred years before the birth of Christ:
“But He was pierced through for our transgressions,
He was crushed for our iniquities;
The chastening of our well-being fell upon Him,
And by His scourging we are healed.
All of us like sheep have gone astray,
Each of us has turned to his own way;
But the Lord has caused the iniquity of us all
To fall on Him” Isaiah 53:5-6 NASB.
Having earned eternal redemption for us through His suffering and death, Christ rose from the dead to offer forgiveness of sins to all who repent and call upon Him. I invite you to call upon Jesus Christ today to receive forgiveness of sins.
My source for much of the material in this article is from The New Answers Book edited by Ken Ham and also the website:www.answersingenesis.org
Steps to salvation:
Jesus said “Ye must be born again” (John 3:7).
Prayer to receive salvation:
“Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Romans 10:13).
To receive the salvation that Jesus purchased for us at the terrible cost of His suffering and death on our behalf I invite you to pray this simple prayer:
“Dear heavenly Father, I thank you for sending Jesus, the promised Messiah, to die for my sins. I admit that I am a sinner. I repent of my sins and I ask for your forgiveness on the basis of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. I ask you to fill me with your Holy Spirit to empower me to serve you under the Lordship of Jesus Christ, Amen.”
If you prayed this prayer in the humble sincerity of your heart then you have received everlasting life, which includes power to live right in this life and entrance into heaven in the afterlife!