Wayne Spencer

The author of this manuscript has a Masters degree in physics and is a former high school science teacher. This is written to show that the young earth position is a reasonable alternative to the standard evolutionary timetable. It is understandable that these concepts will sound strange to individuals trained in science for years, only from the evolutionary point of view. It is hoped that the reader will evaluate the arguments presented here honestly, based on their own merits and not on preconceived biases. Many people with graduate degrees in the sciences, from around the world, have become convinced of the scientific validity of the creation position.  There is also technical level research that backs up the following points.

Click below to jump to these sections:

Radiometric Dating
Changes to Earth's Magnetic Field
Spiral Galaxies and the Solar System
Rapid Formation of Rock Strata

Probably the hottest controversy related to creation and evolution is the question of the age of the Earth and the universe. Evolutionists believe the Earth and Solar System are about 4.5 billion years old and the universe about 12 to 14 billion years old. Young Earth Creationists usually say the Earth is probably in the range of 6-10,000 years old. Though many scientifically trained people have turned from evolution to creation, the idea of a 10,000 year old Earth and universe is the hardest part of creation for many to accept. Some Christians will say, "what matters to me is the Rock of Ages, not the ages of rocks," thinking the issue to be unimportant. But the age of the Earth is an important issue because of the following.  1) Evolution absolutely requires billions of years.  Thus, if there is valid evidence of a young Earth that effectively rules out evolution as a possibility.  2) The Bible implies things are only thousands of years old.  This is based on interpreting Genesis as straightforward narrative and taking the Biblical history at face value.  3) Arguments for an old Earth, solar system, or universe are often used to make people question the authority and reliability of the Bible.  If the Earth is billions of years old and evolution occurred this calls into question Biblical history.  Indeed even many Biblical scholars do not take the Old Testament as historically accurate or treat the time scale from the Old Testament as realistic.  This makes the age issue very important.  The truth of the Bible hinges on real history and real people and events.  The Bible claims to be the revealed word of the infinite-personal Creator-God. Thus, if it is that, it must speak with authority even when it speaks about nature and history.  From a Christian perspective, Science does not speak with as much authority (or certainty) as the word of God. But it is legitimate to ask if there is scientific evidence to confirm the Biblical time scale.  The arguments below show that the Earth and universe could be only several thousand years old, as the Bible implies.  4) Being honest with the scientific evidence points to everything being young.  Modern evolutionary science, despite having the support of the scientific community, is wrong about the age of the Earth and universe.  There are a wide variety of unrelated processes that point to a young age. There are only a few processes that could suggest things are old and today with new research from creationists, there are better alternatives to the usual old-age ideas.  Although no one can really conclusively prove the Earth to be young or old, thousands of years is more reasonable or plausible than billions.  Young-age creationists do not have answers to all the technical questions that can be asked, but I believe very significant progress has been made in coming to some answers.  Many issues related to age questions in science need more research also.

Before we look at the problems with radioactive dating techniques and scientific evidences for things being young, let's consider what the Bible says about the age of the World. In Genesis 5 and 11 and in Luke there are genealogies tracing family lineages from Adam all the way to Jesus.  These lists in Genesis 5 and 11 give more than just genealogical information, they give chronological information as well.  Because these genealogies list the time from birth until one of the sons was born an approximate age of the earth can be calculated by adding up these ages.  By comparing the Genesis information with other passages and making a few reasonable estimates it is clear that the earth must be at least 6,000 years old. Comparing genealogies in the Bible show that there could be a few "gaps" in the genealogies where some individuals have been left out.  But this could not possibly add a really significant amount of time.  It is doubtful that this could add more than two thousand years to the 6,000, at the very most.1 So, the Bible implies the earth, the solar system, and the universe are "young," probably in the range of six to eight thousand years.

This sharply disagrees with the teachings of evolution but actually does agree with the scientific evidence, if one looks at all of the facts. The word "fact," in common usage means something that is true. The word has been used in this way in reference to evolution, which is unprovable and unfalsifiable using scientific methods. In science, "fact" properly means an observation, something learned using the five senses. Creationists and Evolutionists both have their own particular biases or beliefs which affect how they interpret the facts. No theory of origins can possibly be proved by the scientific method, since origins deals with events that happened once in the past. Anything that cannot be repeated in experiments of some kind cannot be conclusively proven by the scientific method. Scientists can only do tests or calculations in the present. So, in the study of origins, we are limited scientifically to the question of how plausible or reasonable a theory is. And where a scientist's bias comes from is irrelevant to whether his view of origins is scientifically plausible. The challenge in issues of origins is to get all of the relevant information and to be willing to face the truth when one finds it. Information pointing to the Earth and universe being young is too often blindly dismissed, rather than intelligently evaluated.

Radiometric Dating

The primary thing used by evolutionists to argue for an old earth is radiometric dating. In these techniques the amounts of different radioactive atoms in a rock or other objects are measured precisely. In radioactivity an unstable atom gives off particles and radiation as it changes from one element to another. From the amounts of the different radioactive atoms (radioisotopes) present and from the rate one atom changes to another the age of the sample can be calculated. This has been applied to organic material such as wood in Carbon-14 dating. Carbon-14, however, can only be used to measure thousands of years. Other radioactive elements are used to attempt to measure longer times, such as Uranium/Lead, Potassium/Argon and Rubidium/Strontium dating.2

Although scientists are very good at the calculations and at doing accurate laboratory measurements of the amounts of the different atoms, these techniques are based on very questionable assumptions and yield unreliable results. Evolutionists assume first that the decay rate of one atom changing to another is known and has never been different than it is today.  There is new research that this assumption is not correct.  See the Creation Answers newsletter articles from June 2004 to March 2005 on this research.  Secondly, evolutionists tend to assume that no radioactive atoms have been taken away or added to by other means; that the sample has been a "closed system" since it formed. This is a very bad assumption since various natural processes can interfere with the process and make the calculated ages too large. One example would be rain washing Uranium out of rocks, making the rock appear older than it really is. Another example would be that basalt rocks, which are solidified lava, often contain trapped Argon and this can throw off Potassium/Argon radioisotope ages for these rocks.  

The third assumption of radiometric dating is of scientists assuming what amounts of the different radioactive atoms were present when the rock formed. The conditions at the beginning must be put into the calculations somehow. At this point it is very easy for evolutionists to use numbers which conveniently fit old earth thinking, regardless of whether they fit the facts. This assumption regarding the initial amounts is a bad one since there simply were no scientists there in the beginning to measure the initial conditions. So, there is no way to really know how much was there in the beginning or when the rock formed.2 At this point many geologists would say that a common technique called the isochron method is able to determine the initial concentrations of the radioactive isotopes and so this assumption can be checked and allowed for in the calculation.  Without going into details here, the isochron method does not work so well as often believed.  There are false isochrons that make the technique appear to work sometimes when it really doesn't.  Also, using more than one radioisotope method on the same samples often gives inconsistent results.  Creation scientists from the Institute for Creation Research have thoroughly documented problems with the isochron technique with their own field and laboratory studies.  Technical level material is published on this research in technical books from the Institute for Creation Research and in the proceedings from the International Conferences on Creationism.

These are general problems in the assumptions of radiometric dating techniques. There are sometimes other problems peculiar to each method. The Rubidium/Strontium "isochron" method is a case deserving special comments, given below.  Sometimes, radioisotope dating methods yield absurd results and different radioisotope methods may not agree with each other:

"Radiocarbon analysis of specimens obtained from
mummified seals in southern Victoria Land has yielded
ages ranging from 615 to 4,600 years. . . . A seal freshly
killed at McMurdo had an apparent age of 1,300 years."

Dort, Wakefield Jr., 'Mummified seals of southern Victoria
Land,' Antarctic Journal (Washington), vol. 6, Sept.-Oct.
1971, p211. [taken from The Revised Quote Book]

"It is obvious that radiometric techniques may not be the
absolute dating methods that they are claimed to be. Age
estimates on a given geological stratum by different
radiometric methods are often quite different (sometimes by
hundreds of millions of years)."

Stansfield, William D., The Science of Evolution, Macmillan,
1977, pp 82, 84. [taken from The Revised Quote Book]


"Such enthusiasts continue to claim, incredible though it
may seem, that 'no gross discrepancies are apparent.'
Surely 15,000 years of difference on a single block of soil
is indeed a gross discrepancy! . . . 'Absolute' dates
determined by a laboratory carry a lot of weight, and are
extremely helpful in bolstering weak arguments. . . . No matter
how 'useful' it is, though, the radiocarbon method is still not
capable of yielding accurate and reliable results. There are
gross discrepancies, the chronology is uneven and relative,
and the accepted dates are actually selected dates."

Lee, Robert E., Radiocarbon: Ages in Error, Anthropological
Journal of Canada, vol. 19, no. 3, 1981, pp 9-29. Also reprinted
in the Creation Research Society Quarterly, vol. 19, no. 2, Sept.
1982, pp 123, 125. [taken from The Quote Book]


The "isochron" technique is a method used in radioisotope dating to avoid some of the potential problems. The isochron method uses multiple samples and uses straight line graphs to obtain the age of the material in question.  As such, the method involves certain assumptions about the molten rock in the earth's mantle. The rubidium/strontium (Rb/Sr) method depends on measurements of the ratio of the amount of Strontium-87 to the amount of Strontium-86. In an article in Science, Sept. 17, 1976 (vol.193, p 1086) C. Brooks, D. E. James, and S. R. Hart explain how concentrations of these radioactive elements in the mantle can cause Rb/Sr dates to be much too large. There the authors construct graphs called "pseudoisochrons," which should have slopes of zero, according to the standard assumptions of the method. But the slopes were not zero, indicating what the authors call "excess" ages. The authors give examples of cases where the excess time is from 70 million to 3 billion years.

Dr. Steven A. Austin at the Institute for Creation Research has done original research dating samples of basalt rock from the Grand Canyon.  The Grand Canyon contains two formations of rock which formed from lava flows-the Cardenas Basalt, among the lowest layers of the canyon, and the basalts of the Uinkaret Plateau. The basalts at the Uinkaret Plateau are known to be much more recent than the Cardenas basalts since they poured over the rim of the canyon some time after the canyon formed. Dr. Austin has sent several whole-rock samples to three different laboratories to be dated. The results show certain assumptions of the Rubidium/Strontium technique to be demonstrably in error since the younger lava flows of the Uinkaret Plateau calculate to be older than the accepted age figure for the lower Cardenas basalts.3 Other problems could be mentioned and more quotes from the scientific literature cited to demonstrate the problems with radiometric dating.

Creationists are working on developing techniques to correct some of these age calculations using better assumptions.  The RATE research project conducted by the Institute for Creation Research examined several key issues related to radioisotope dating methods.  First, Helium is produced by the decay of Uranium in many granite rocks.  The RATE study looked at the rate of diffusion of this Helium out of zircon crystals in granite.  They found that the amount of Helium strongly supported a young Earth, giving an age of from 4,000 to 8,000 years.  There is other extraordinary evidence from the RATE research effort that Earth must be young because of the amount of Carbon-14 that still remains in various materials that should not still have radioactive Carbon in them.  Radioisotope dating labs always find that no matter how careful they are with their techniques there is always a minimum amount of Carbon-14 present, even in samples that should be old enough that Carbon-14 should no longer be measurable.  Carbon-14 still exists in many materials where no measurable Carbon-14 should be left (such as in diamonds for example).  This research gives very strong evidence of the Earth being young.  

The point is, radiometric dating is not reliable.  There is a need for other methods and there is a need to correct radioisotope ages. Creationists have found literally dozens of totally unrelated things in nature which show that the earth and universe cannot be billions or millions of years old. The strength of the evidence for a young earth and universe lies in the fact that there are so many unrelated phenomena pointing to the same conclusion.  There is more evidence closer to home, as it were, such as for the Earth because we have better data and there has been more research by creationists.  There is less evidence in astronomy related issues because there has been less research on those issues by creationists.  However, the new RATE research, and other studies by creationists, may be changing this.  The oldest living things are Bristlecone Pine trees; one of these in eastern Nevada is about 4,900 years old.11 There is no reason these trees could not live longer than that.  This must indicate the time since the Great Noahic Flood. Following are brief descriptions of some of the best evidences that the world is young, just as the Bible implies.

Changes in the Earth's Magnetic Field

This may be the strongest argument for the Earth being young. It may also have implications for the planets. This is original work from a practicing physicist, Dr. D. Russell Humphreys; he says the Earth must be less than 9,000 years old based on how the Earth's magnetic field has lost energy since creation.5 The Earth is an electromagnet; electrical currents in the Earth's liquid iron core produce a field with a North and South pole like the Earth has today. Evolutionists have believed for years that the Earth's magnet has reversed polarity many times throughout the supposed 4.6 billion years of Earth history. This means the North pole would become the South pole and vice versa. Evolutionists think of the Earth as a kind of generator, called a dynamo, continually generating magnetic energy as it maintains itself for billions of years through cycles of reversals.

Dr. Humphreys has shown that there have been magnetic reversals, but they happened very rapidly during the year of Noah's Flood, not over billions of years. The evidence for reversals is from measuring magnetized minerals in volcanic rock at many locations around the earth.6 When lava containing iron cools below a certain temperature called the Curie Point, it will become permanently magnetic due to the Earth's field. Scientists find that in places around the Earth the magnetism of rocks will be in strips or zones pointing in different directions. Dr. Humphreys theories seem to explain these facts very well; other researchers, not creationists, found evidence of a magnetic reversal that only took two weeks, just as Humphreys theories required.7

Dr. Humphreys has proposed a model for magnetic fields of planets unlike the evolutionary dynamo model. Humphreys used his model to correctly predict the strengths of the magnetic fields of Uranus and Neptune before the Voyager spacecraft measured them.7 This is a prime example of an area where a creationist approach explains the facts better than an evolutionist approach. Humphreys suggests that the Earth's field was much stronger at Creation and has lost energy since that time, probably losing most of its energy during the violent upheavals of Noah's Flood.5

Spiral Galaxies and the Solar System

Galaxies with spiral shapes have a "lifetime" because the spiral arms slowly wrap up into a circle as the galaxy rotates. It has been estimated that some spiral galaxies' arms would be destroyed in 200 million years or less.9 But there are many spiral galaxies that still exist. So, the universe could be young. The author and other creationists are currently studying other processes in space which point to youth rather than billions of years.

There are processes in our solar system that suggest our solar system is young.  One example is short-period comets.  There are at least three categories of comets, distinguished by the periods of their orbits.  Short-period comets have periods less than 200 years, which is how long it takes for them to make one full orbit.  It is believed by many planetary scientists that comets come from something called the Oort cloud which is believed to exist at great distance from our Sun.  It is thought that occasionally passing stars will pull objects out of the Oort cloud and send them in toward the Sun.  This would make comets with very long periods.  If long-period comet orbits pass near to one of the outer planets, such as Neptune, its orbit can be altered and changed into a shorter period orbit.  Thus, scientists believe comets orbits get converted from being very long, to shorter where they pass beyond the orbit of Neptune but they can come close to the Sun on occasion.  We see them when they come near the Sun.  There has long been a problem that scientists can't explain how the short-period comets can be replenished fast enough.  Short-period comets can only survive a few trips around the Sun before the volatile materials "burn off" and we can no longer see them.  So, if the solar system is billions of years old, something must be replenishing the short-period comets.  There has never been an adequate explanation of this. 

There are other processes in the solar that suggest the solar system is young.  Many of these are topics that deserve more research.  In several planets and moons there are a variety of processes where there is a problem explaining how the object could have so much energy to drive various processes.  For example, Neptune, which is far from the Sun and gets little energy from it, has very high speed winds. Where does the energy come from to drive these winds?  If Neptune is old, it should "run down" and it should have lost energy and the winds should not be so intense.  But if it is only thousands of years old, it is easier to understand how it could still have the energy to drive the high speed winds.  Io, one of the moons of Jupiter, has extremely active volcanism and gives off vast amounts of infrared radiation. Basically, it is very hot.  It is known that tidal forces produce a lot of heat in Io but the tidal forces have not adequately explained the incredible heat flux from Io.12  One model of the interior of Io suggested that there could be large magma chambers that build up lava for up to 10,000 years and then erupt generating massive volcanic eruptions like we see on Io (and similar to a few Earth volcanoes).  The data on Io can be interpreted to mean it is actually less than approximately 10,000 years old, and not billions.  There are often other possibilities for interpreting the observations in terms of a young age rather than an old age.  Sometimes a young age point of view actually makes it much easier to explain the facts.  This seems to be the case with Io.  Old age assumptions actually get in the way of good science.  

Rapid Formation of Rock Strata

The May 18, 1980 eruption of Mt. St. Helens had great significance for geology. It demonstrated how rapidly geological forces can work in catastrophic conditions. Creationist geologists have studied the area surrounding Mt. St. Helens for several years and have learned some very interesting lessons. These lessons include 1) rapidly formed stratification, 2) rapid erosion, 3) upright deposited logs, and 4)coal and coal-precursor formation.

During and after the eruption, layers of debri formed up to 600 feet in thickness, much of this has now become rock. The initial blast, ash falling out of the air, and mud flows were some of the means of the strata being deposited. Pyroclastic flows of fine ash pumice formed laminated layers from one millimeter in thickness to up to more than one meter each. Finely laminated layers such as this would normally be interpreted as representing many years, with each thin layer corresponding to perhaps one year, for instance. But at Mt. St. Helens these deposits formed in seconds to several minutes! Certain deposits, 25 to 200 feet thick, contain many fine laminae, and yet it is known that they formed in less than one day. Material was naturally sorted into layers quickly and straight vertical cliffs hardened to rock in a surprisingly short time.

A variety of processes produced pits, gullies, and other formations for some years after the eruption. The erosion accomplished a great deal of "geological work" in surprisingly short times. In many cases features were formed rapidly that resemble those of other locations far removed from the Washington area. On March 19, 1982 a canyon system was eroded that has been described as a one-fortieth scale model of the Grand Canyon. This canyon at Mt. St. Helens is up to about 140 feet deep.

Other observations at Mt. St. Helens have shed light on the formation of so-called "petrified forests," and on coal formation. Logs from the forest surrounding Spirit Lake in the area formed a huge log mat on the lake. In time the logs were found to float upright and then later sink vertically into the soft ash, mud, and organic matter on the bottom of the lake. If the lake water were gone and the sediment on the bottom hardened to rock, the area could be easily called a "petrified forest." These "forests" are normally understood to be from forest trees of several generations being buried in place or fossilizing over long periods of time.

Bark and other organic material from these many trees has formed layers of what is very similar to coal. Scientists from the Institute for Creation Research have said that actual coal has been found at Mt. St. Helens in small quantities. This shows that coal formation has nothing to do with so-called peat swamps, but is actually related to floating vegetation mats and volcanism. In fact, coal has been formed from plant material in days or weeks in the laboratory using minerals commonly found in volcanic ash. Another creationist geologist, John MacKay, has traveled around the world studying coal seams. He has found that volcanic ash and coal are found together and large volcanoes, or extinct ones, are often found near large coal seams. MacKay has photographic evidence of this that is quite shocking and perplexing to geologists.

This research from Mt. St. Helens demonstrates the effectiveness of catastrophic flood-related processes in forming geologic features quickly.10 Creationists have made excellent progress in various topics in geology, such as on the question of "ice ages," glacial varved sediment deposits, and even the rapid formation of metamorphic rocks in a global Flood.  It is not that earth's features cannot be explained in terms of them being young. Rather, some of the facts are not being told in evolution-based textbooks and scientists are not trained to interpret things from non-evolutionary perspectives.  


There are many other arguments for a young Earth, solar system, and universe which imply that God created all things less than about 10,000 years ago and that God sent a world-wide Flood about 4,000-5,000 years ago. Interpreting the data in terms of things being young sometimes greatly simplifies the process of explaining how the various features of the Earth formed. As time goes on creationists keep discovering more and more processes which show that the world is young. In April of 1978 there was a conference of scientists addressing the age of the universe and the earth. The following quote is by John A. Eddy who at that time worked at the High Altitude Observatory in Boulder, Colorado. The quote mentions a date by Bishop Ussher. Ussher was the archbishop of Armaugh in Ireland in the 17th century. He published a date for God's creation of 4004 B.C., a date many creationists would say is probably at least close to being correct.

"There is no evidence based solely on solar observations,
Eddy stated, that the Sun is 4.5-5 X 109 years old. 'I
suspect,' he said 'that the Sun is 4.5 billion years old.
However, given some new and unexpected results to the
contrary, and some time for frantic recalculation and theo-
retical readjustment, I suspect that we could live with
Bishop Ussher's value for the age of the Earth and Sun. I
don't think we have much in the way of observational evidence
in astronomy to conflict with that.' "

Kazmann, Raphael G., "It's About Time: 4.5 Billion Years,"
Geotimes, September 1978, p 18.




1. Morris, Henry, The Genesis Record, El Cajon, California: Master Books, 1976, pp. 281-2 and 308-310.

2. Slusher, Harold S., Critique of Radiometric Dating, (Technical Monograph #2), El Cajon, CA: Institute for Creation Research (ICR), 1973.

3. Austin, Steven A., see ICR Impact Articles numbers 178 and 224, April 1988 and February 1992, available for $.10 each from ICR, P.O. Box 2667, El Cajon, CA 92021.

4. Vardiman, Larry, The Age of the Earth's Atmosphere, El Cajon, CA: ICR, 1990.

5. Humphreys, D. R., "Physical Mechanism for Reversals of Earth's Magnetic Field During the Flood," PROCEEDINGS OF THE SECOND INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON CREATIONISM, Vol. 2, Creation Science Fellowship, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, 1991, pp. 129-142.

6. Humphreys, Dr. R., "Has the Earth's Magnetic Field Ever Flipped?", CREATION RESEARCH SOCIETY QUARTERLY (CRSQ), Vol. 25, NO. 3, Dec. 1988, pp. 130-137.

7. Humphreys, D. R., "Good News from Neptune: the Voyager II Magnetic Measurements," CRSQ, Vol. 27, No. 1, June 1990; Also, less technical summary found in Impact Article #203, from ICR, May, 1990; also see March 1990 CRSQ (Vol 26, No. 4) for evidence of a two week reversal, pp. 132-3.

8. Slusher, Harold S., Age of the Cosmos, El Cajon, CA: ICR, 1980, p. 45. See also "The Lifetime and Renewal of Comets," in PROCEEDINGS OF THE SECOND INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON CREATIONISM, Vol. 2, by William E. Stillman, pp 267-278.

9. Ibid. pp. 15-16.

10. Austin, Steven A., See I.C.R. Impact Article No. 157 for a brief summary, or for a better study of the issue see the video by Steve Austin on Mt. St. Helens, available from I.C.R. or available on loan from the Mid-Kansas Bible-Science Assoc. lending library in Wichita, Kansas, phone # (316) 683-3610, or write to BSA, 1429 N. Holyoke, Wichita, Kansas 67208. For John MacKay's coal research see the video "An Evening at Oxford," a film of Mr. MacKay speaking to the geology dept. at Oxford University; or, write to CREATION RESEARCH, P.O. Box 281, Hartsville, TN 37074

11. Wysong, R. L., Creation-Evolution: the Controversy, Midland, Michigan: Inquiry Press, 1976, pp. 164-165.

12. Spencer, Wayne R., "Tidal Dissipation and the Age of Io," Proceedings of the Fifth International Conference on Creationism, 2003, Creation Science Fellowship, Pittsburgh, PA, pp 585-595.