Carbon Dating Shows that the Earth is Young
Bible Chronology and Dating of the Early Bible
The Tablet Theory of Genesis Authorship
Christ in the Passover
published in "Creation Matters," Vol.6, No.5, Sept./Oct. 2001, pg.7
...to be included in an upcoming book, Persuaded by the Evidence, by Curt Sewell
When I was in school in the 1930's and early 40's, I had never heard of anyone with an interest in science who actually believed early Genesis. I was raised in church, and believed the Bible (except for early Genesis), since my church was liberal and I hadn't become a born-again Christian. I had an active interest in science, and so I believed in evolution and ancient Earth-age, because that was what they taught in school. That belief was reinforced when the Army put me in the Manhattan Project (developing the first atomic bomb) and I met a number of scientists whose names you've all heard of.
Later, while I was Chief Engineer of Isotopes Inc., several of our top staff were Ph.D.'s, including one who was also Professor of Geochemistry at Columbia University. He and a few others were Wheaton graduates, and Christians, who believed in Progressive Creation. We often had lunch together, and the subject of origins was one of our favorite "arguing points." By that time I had become a born again Christian, and studied the Bible.
Still, I had never heard of any scientist who accepted the YEC (Young Earth Creationist) viewpoint, so I didn't either. (By the way, most Young Earth Creationists believe that God miraculously created the Earth and its inhabitants in a six-day period, no more than some thousands of years ago, not millions or billions. Most also believe in the worldwide devastating Flood described in Genesis 6-9.)
In our lunchtime discussions, I asked many questions, about radioactivity, dating methods and foundational assumptions, etc. This Professor was generally recognized as one of the world's experts on geochronology, gave testimony before Congress on that subject, and was also a true gentleman who tried to answer my queries honestly. He and another Ph.D. believed fervently in OEC (Old Earth Creationism) and Progressive Creation over extreme times. My questions kept getting back to "Well how do you really know?" on various aspects of the foundations of radio-dating. Our lunchtime group wasn't just a bunch of dummies -- we were all quite knowledgeable about dating procedures etc -- that was one of our company's products. But I kept feeling subtle doubts about the foundational accuracy of radio-dating. (BTW, this was in the years around 1960.)
During the 1960's I kept studying technical journals and books, and finally became convinced that circular logic and faith in previous beliefs played a strong part in radio-dating -- in other words, it wasn't a "scientific fact, provable by scientific methods." There was too much unprovable belief involved. For example, radio-dating depended strongly on belief that all "daughter isotopes" came from the decay of "mother isotopes," and also that decay rates had always been the same as today's rates, and that the earth and its rocks had been formed slowly, a very long time ago. But in order to believe this, the Bible's literal truth must first be rejected. On the other hand, God could have simply created the rocks with an appearance of age, like He created trees, animals, and humans. This is circular logic -- relying on a belief-system that rejects the straightforward Bible statements, in order to show that the Bible couldn't be true!
Paleontologists, long before this, had developed a sequence of "index fossils," showing the relative timing of various kinds of creatures. These were used to date rock strata, and then to date other previously unknown fossils. A number of scientists agreed that this was circular logic, but even today this is the accepted best method. Radio-dating produces many anomalies, but there are plenty of excuses available so as to explain these errors. If a radio-date clashes with a stratigraphical (fossil) date, the radio-date is discarded and not even reported. If they agree, then the report says that radio-dating has "confirmed" the fossil date. In this way, we see that in effect, results of radio-dating are based on earlier dates obtained by evolutionary assumptions. In fact, I have an article showing that in 1927 Arthur Holmes published a table of dates of the Geologic Column, based mostly on "geologic intuition," that are amazingly close to those radio-dates used today.
After learning these and other technical details relating to origins and ancient ages, I realized that much of the "historical science of origins" was actually a form of scientism -- a religious belief. I had been a dedicated Christian for years, and kept being bothered by this dichotomy of my own beliefs. The question became clear -- which of these two belief-systems (Christianity or scientism) was founded on solid truth? Which was just a product of human egotism?
I was open to a YEC attitude, but still had never known there was such a thing as a "scientific creationist" who believed in YEC. When I finally met one, and he gave me one of the early copies of a Bible-Science Newsletter, I found there was actually such a thing as a scientist who really believed in early Genesis. I subscribed, and quickly became an active scientific creationist -- (that was the common term in those days, but I still don't like that term).
When someone asks me why I'm YEC now, one facet of my answer always includes the closer relationship to God the Creator, and the comfort that gives. No, you don't have to believe in YEC to be a Christian, but it certainly does help one's relationship with God. When I finally developed a complete Biblical and scientific world-view outlook, everything seemed to make sense, and it all fit together, perfectly.
Email to Curt Sewell: Curtsewell@aol.com
Last Revised 5/7/04