By Erich von Fange
Part 4 

Table of Contents

Bristlecone Pines Tell on C14
Certain discovered truths are held to be beyond any question or doubt. Among these of course are the constants of absolute zero, the speed of light, and the decay of radioactive materials. Certainly nothing in today's newspapers and textbooks give any hint that these are not sacred truths to be completely accepted. One of the first suggestions that the decay of radioactive material as a constant might be in trouble appeared in a news magazine as early as1964, when a group of physicists reported that they had proved that they could influence the rate of radioactive decay. Yet radioactive dating methods stand or fall on the assumption that the rate is a constant. Some geologists question the use of the C14 method for samples stored under moist conditions. This is a most serious limitation, for who can be sure that moisture has never come into contact with a given sample (Time , 6/19/1964, p.74: Faul, 1954, p.258, 352)? 
More trouble appeared several years ago with studies of bristlecone pine borings. These trees are considered by most scientists as the oldest living matter known on earth. However, C14 tests made with wood from these pines of at least approximately known age showed that C14 readings were in error from a few centuries up to a thousand years. This find cast further doubt on the assumptions of the method (The Reader's Digest , 12/1972, p.86-90).

C14 was originally calibrated with supposedly known dates of material from ancient Egyptian tombs. Egyptian chronology, however, is not as secure as we have been led to believe. Some decades later it was again recalibrated, this time with the California bristlecone pines. But these 'repairs' for the method only brought new problems for the use of C14 in dating. We note a few of such difficulties below.

Dr. Libby, the discoverer of the C14 method, which won for him a Nobel prize, expressed his shock that human artifacts extended back only 5000 years, a finding totally in conflict with any evolutionary concept. Older dates were found to be very unreliable (CRSQ , 1972, 9:3, p.157).

By this time tens of thousands of C14 dates have been published from tests performed by various laboratories around the world. In the annual volumes in which the dates are published, concerns have been expressed about many relatively young dates that violate established geological age notions. One example given was Ice-Age materials that were dated by C14 to fall within the Christian era (CRSQ , 1969, 6:2, p.114).
In his book on prehistoric America, Ceram notes a classic case of the difficulties that befall C14 dating. Bones 30,000 years old were found lying above wood dated at 16,000 years (Ceram, 1971, p.257-259).
Another classic C14 problem was noted for Jarmo, a prehistoric village in northern Iraq. Eleven samples were dated from the various strata and showed a 6000-year spread from oldest to most recent. Analysis of all the archaeological evidence, however, showed that the village was occupied no more than 500 years before it was finally abandoned (Custance, 1968, Mortar samples can be given normal C14 tests since mortar absorbs carbon dioxide from the air. Mortar, however, from Oxford Castle in England gave an age of 7,270 years. The castle was built about 800 years ago. The kind of contamination is unclear. Living trees near an airport were dated with C14 as l0,000 years old, because the wood contained contamination from plane exhaust (CRSQ , 1970, 7:2, p.126; 1965, 2:4, p.31). 
C14 analysis of oil from Gulf of Mexico deposits showed an age measured in thousands of years - not millions. Data produced by the Petroleum Institute at Victoria, New Zealand, showed that petroleum deposits were formed 6,000-7,000 years ago. Textbooks state that petroleum formation took place about 300,000,000 years ago (Velikovsky, 1955, p.287; CRSQ , 1965, 2:4, p.10).

Fossil wood was found in an iron mine in Shefferville, Ontario, Canada, that was a Precambrian deposit. Later the wood was described as coming from Late Cretaceous rubble, which made it about 100 million years old instead of more than 600 million years old. Two independent C14 tests showed an age of about 4000 years (Pensee , Fall 1972, 2:3, p.43).
The last major glacial advance in America was long dated at about 25,000 years ago. C14 dates forced a revision down to 11,400 years. The United State Geological Survey carried out studies that gave a C14 date as recent as 3300 years ago, but no text treats such a puzzling find that falls well within historic times (Velikovsky, 1955, p.158-159; CRSQ , 1968, 5:2, p.67). 

Here is a remarkable example of C14 difficulties in a book published by Stanford University Press. Six C14 ages were determined from a core in an attempt to date the formation of the Bering Land Bridge. The dates ranged from 4390 to 15,500 Before Present. 

The first problem was that the results were so disarranged from bottom to top of the core that no two samples were in the correct order. Then the oldest date was discarded because it was 'inconsistent' with other tests elsewhere. Next the remaining dates were assumed to be contaminated by a fixed amount, after which the authors concluded that the delta under study had been formed 12,000 years ago (Hopkins, 1967, p.110-111).
This is how 'truth' is manipulated and managed by evolutionists imprisoned by theoretical considerations.
Even more astonishing is this cynical statement made at a symposium of Nobel Prize winners in Uppsala, Sweden, in 1969:

If a C14 date supports our theories, we put it in the main text. If it does not entirely contradict them, we put it in a footnote. And if it is completely 'out of date,' we just drop it (Pensee , Winter 1973, p.44).

Other methods, for example, uranium-lead and thorium-lead ages, have been found to result in contradictory evidence. A classic example is that the dust samples on the surface of the moon seem to be older than the rocks underneath (CRSQ , 1971, 8:3, p.203).

The age of moon rocks reported in the press is not as clear cut as it appears. Dates acceptable to preconceived theory have been generally published. Much less is said about unacceptable dates found by means of potassium-argon dating, all the way from 7 to 20 billion years in age. Rather than question the method and the assumptions underlying the method, the bad samples are regarded as 'contaminated.' A geophysical research journal reported that lava which formed in the year 1800-1801 was tested by the potassium-argon dating method and showed an age of 160 million up to 3 billion years in age. Other reports have been published of similar dates for young rocks in Norway, Germany, France, and the Soviet Union (Journal of Geophysical Research , July, 1968; CRSQ, 1970, 7:3, p.145; Time , 10/3/1969, p.72-74).
In the Canadian Arctic on a rock ledge on Victoria Island, researchers found a number of brachiopods and tracks in a Precambrian deposit. No such life was known to appear until the Cambrian period, however. Laboratory dating produced the impossibly young date of 445 million years (Ordovician Period). Presumably laboratory tests will continue until a reassuring date of more than 600 million years is secured (Time , 11/12/1965, p.160 plus 11/19/1965 letter to the editor).

The author of a text on nuclear geology admits that most of the time scales used in geology are based on the uncritical compilation of a wide variety of data, so that the overall figures are necessarily very rough (Paul, 1954, p.258, 352). Just how rough these figures are is the main point of this whole discussion.
Dr. Robert V. Gentry is the world's leading authority on radiohalo research. He has published a remarkable series of papers in such distinguished journals as Nature , Science , and Annual Review of Nuclear Science . His findings are of great significance to the question of radiometric dating. Among his carefully drawn conclusions are the following: Earth's primordial crustal rocks, rather than cooling and solidifying over millions or billions of years, crystallized almost instantaneously. Some geological formations thought to be 100 million years old are in reality only several thousand years old (Research Communications Network Report , 2/10/1977, p.3). 

The topic of radioactive decay in connection with dating suggests an interesting fact about another kind of decay in the world. In 1968, Time reported that we have only 2023 years to go. By 399l A.D. the earth's magnetic field may have disappeared. Here is what may happen (and these events have happened before on the earth): Catastrophic mutation of plant and animal life, widespread climatic changes, lush valleys becoming barren wastes, deserts blooming, icecaps growing and covering the land or melting and drowning coastal cities (Time , 3/15/1968, p.36-38).

For the past century and a half careful measurements of the earth's magnetic field have been conducted. The rapid decay of the magnetic field is startling. Assuming that this rate is constant, scientists are able to show mathematically how strong the magnetic field was in the distant past. Instead of an age in the millions or billions of years, however, the magnetic field can be projected back in time less than 20,000 years. The world could not exist with the powerful magnetic field projected beyond 20,000 years. This finding is strong evidence for a young earth (CRSQ , 1972, 9:1, p.47).

Standard texts say that the world experienced 171 magnetic reversals in the last 76 million years, that is, since Late Cretaceous times. The last reversal is said to have occurred 700,000 years ago, and the next event is long overdue. Some authorities say that the 171 reversals are nothing more than arbitrary interpretations of selectively chosen samples (Briggs, 1971, p.10; CRSQ , 1972, 9:1, p.47).

But while geologists proclaim and debate such 'facts,' sophisticated research by archaeologists shows that there was a magnetic reversal as recently as the eighth century B.C. These studies were made with Etruscan pottery. The authors also note that polarity changes also bring about faunal extinctions, climatic changes, fantastic extent of volcanic activity, earthquakes, tidal waves, and other awesome phenomena (Nature , 227:930).

We all like to live in hope, and one of the best examples of hope is the hope scientists have that some day radiometric dating will become a very precise tool. We can agree that this would be most interesting and helpful. The examples above show, however, that there are a great many serious problems with the method and especially with the assumptions underlying the method. In some carefully defined situations, C14 dating appears to be of value, and research must continue to determine the limits of its valid use. Whether we are talking about the astonishingly rapid decay of the earth's magnetic field or about radiometric dating that focuses on various decay rates, there is no reason to believe that the earth is an old one.