Trusted local news leader for Prescott area communities since 1882
Sat, Aug. 24

Letter: Science has settled earth age debate


In mid-August, the Courier publicized a seminar at the Heights Church where information was presented that supported a "Young Earth," created only a few thousand years ago. In contrast, science has concluded that the Earth is over four billion years old, based on scientific evidence.

One important piece of this evidence uses radiometric dating, a technique first published in 1907. This theory has been refined over the last century.

Some elements in rocks have radioactive isotopes that decay at a predictable rate, allowing the date at which that rock was formed to be calculated. You've probably heard of radiocarbon dating, used to date plant or animal matter, but that method cannot go back hundreds of thousands of years because of carbon's short half-life. Instead, potassium-argon and uranium-lead isotopes are used to date rocks over millions of years.

The fundamentalist claim (a few thousand years) and the scientific claim (billions of years) cannot both be right. If (a big if) fundamentalists have evidence showing radiometric dating is invalid, please let us all know in which scientific journal the evidence against radioactive decay has been published so the Courier can provide that important reference.

Radioactivity isn't a matter of religion or faith, but science. Thus, the common excuse by fundamentalists that mainstream science journals will not publish creationist articles is unconvincing, and doesn't apply in this case. They print facts, not opinions.

This is a free country, so fundamentalists can believe whatever they like. However, if they want their Young Earth hypothesis to be taken seriously, please show why radiometric dating is invalid. Until then, it's impossible to take their claims seriously.

Nigel Reynolds


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