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No. 25: Jan-Feb 1983

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Three "proofs" of a young earth

Responding to letters published in the June 1982 issue of Physics Today that insisted (some, very emotionally) that no evidence exists for a very young earth, Robert V. Gentry summarized three kinds of evidence that certainly seem to undermine current dating schemes.

  1. Halos produced by the alpha particles emitted by Po218 are found in granite rocks in many areas. Yet, the half-life of Po218 is only 3 minutes. Since the Po218 has no identifiable pre-cursors in the rock,

    "...how did the surrounding rocks crystalize rapidly enough so that there were crystals available ready to be imprinted with radiohalos by alpha-particles from Po218 ? This would imply almost instantaneous cooling and crystallization of these granitic minerals -- and we know of no mechanism that will remove heat so rapidly; the rocks are supposed to have cooled over millennia, if not tens of millennia."

  2. In coalified wood dated as older than 200 million years, the ratio between U238 and Pb206 should be low. It is actually very high.

    "Thus ages of the entire stratigraphic column may contain epochs less than 0.001% the duration of those now accepted and found in the literature."

  3. Diffusion calculations insist that Pb in zircon crystals found in deep granite cores at 313C should diffuse out of the crystals at the rate of 1% in 300,000 years. No loss of Pb can be detected at all. Therefore, the granite must be younger than 300,000 years.

(Gentry, Robert V.; "Creationism Discussion Continued," Physics Today, 35: 13, October 1982.)

Comment. Scientists admit that Gentry's work raises questions but apparently would rather live with the anomalies than with the thought of a young earth!

From Science Frontiers #25, JAN-FEB 1983. 1983-2000 William R. Corliss

Science Frontiers Sourcebook Project Reviewed in:


  • "A sourcebook of unexplained phenomena is therefore a valuable addition to a collection of scientific literature. William R. Corliss has provided this in the past with his source books of scientific anomalies in several subjects, and now he has provided it for astronomy. He has done an excellent job of collecting and editing a large amount of material, taken in part from scientific journals and in part from scientific reporting in the popular or semi-scientific press." -- "The Mysterious Universe: A Handbook of Astronomical Anomalies", reviwed by Thomas Gold, Cornell University, in Icarus, vol.41, 1980

  • "An interesting, systematic presentation of unusual weather [..] This book is recommended for a general audience" --"Corliss, William R., Tornados, Dark Days, Anomalous Precipitation, and Related Weather Phenomena, Sourcebook Project, 1983.", revieweed in Choice, September 1983
  • "..the science is necessarily somewhat speculative, but Corliss's symthesis is based on reputable sources." -- "Corliss, William R. (Compiler). Lightning, Auroras, Nocturnal Lights, and Related Luminous Phenomena" reviwed by Joseph M. Moran, Univ. of Wisconsin in Science Books and Films, Sep/Oct 1983

  • "Before opening the book, I set certain standards that a volume which treads into dangerous grounds grounds like this must meet. The author scrupulously met, or even exceeded those standards. Each phenomenon is exhaustively documented, with references to scientific journals [..] and extensive quotations" -- "Book Review: The moon and planets: a catalog of astronomical anomalies", The Sourcebook Project, 1985., Corliss, W. R., Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, Vol. 81, no. 1 (1987), p. 24., 02/1987