The RATE Group Findings
In 1997 an eight-year research project was started to investigate the age of the earth. The group was called the RATE group (Radioisotopes and the Age of The Earth). The team of scientists included:
Larry Vardiman, PhD Atmospheric Science
Russell Humphreys, PhD Physics
Eugene Chaffin, PhD Physics
John Baumgardner, PhD Geophysics
Donald DeYoung, PhD Physics
Steven Austin, PhD Geology
Andrew Snelling, PhD Geology
Steven Boyd, PhD Hebraic and Cognate Studies
The objective was to gather data commonly ignored or censored by evolutionary standards of dating. The scientists reviewed the assumptions and procedures used in estimating the ages of rocks and fossils. The results of the carbon-14 dating demonstrated serious problems for long geologic ages. For example, a series of fossilized wood samples that conventionally have been dated according to their host strata to be from Tertiary to Permian (40-250 million years old) all yielded significant, detectable levels of carbon-14 that would conventionally equate to only 30,000-45,000 years “ages” for the original trees.8 Similarly, a survey of the conventional radiocarbon journals resulted in more than forty examples of supposedly ancient organic materials, including limestones, that contained carbon-14, as reported by leading laboratories.9
Samples were then taken from ten different coal layers that, according to evolutionists, represent different time periods in the geologic column (Cenozoic, Mesozoic, and Paleozoic). The RATE group obtained these ten coal samples from the U.S. Department of Energy Coal Sample Bank, from samples collected from major coalfields across the United States. The chosen coal samples, which dated millions to hundreds of millions of years old based on standard evolution time estimates, all contained measurable amounts of 14C. In all cases, careful precautions were taken to eliminate any possibility of contamination from other sources. Samples, in all three “time periods”, displayed significant amounts of 14C. This is a significant discovery. Since the half-life of 14C is relatively short (5,730 years), there should be no detectable 14C left after about 100,000 years. The average 14C estimated age for all the layers from these three time periods was approximately 50,000 years. However, using a more realistic pre-Flood 14C /12C ratio reduces that age to about 5,000 years.
These results indicate that the entire geologic column is less than 100,000 years old—and could be much younger. This confirms the Bible and challenges the evolutionary idea of long geologic ages.
Because the lifetime of C-14 is so brief, these AMS [Accelerator Mass Spectrometer] measurements pose an obvious challenge to the standard geological timescale that assigns millions to hundreds of millions of years to this part of the rock layer.10
Another noteworthy observation from the RATE group was the amount of 14C found in diamonds. Secular scientists have estimated the ages of diamonds to be millions to billions of years old using other radiometric dating methods. These methods are also based on questionable assumptions and are discussed elsewhere11. Because of their hardness, diamonds (the hardest known substance) are extremely resistant to contamination through chemical exchange. Since diamonds are considered to be so old by evolutionary standards, finding any 14C in them would be strong support for a recent creation.
The RATE group analyzed twelve diamond samples for possible carbon-14 content. Similar to the coal results, all twelve diamond samples contained detectable, but lower levels of 14C. These findings are powerful evidence that coal and diamonds cannot be the millions or billions of years old that evolutionists claim. Indeed, these RATE findings of detectable 14C in diamonds have been confirmed independently.12 Carbon-14 found in fossils at all layers of the geologic column, in coal and in diamonds, is evidence which confirms the biblical timescale of thousands of years and not billions.
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