The Earth is Young
|Voting Style:||Open||Point System:||7 Point|
|Updated:||5 months ago||Status:||Debating Period|
|Viewed:||370 times||Debate No:||94819|
Affirmative Position (Pro): The Earth is less than 10,000 years old.
Negative Position (Con): The Earth is greater than 4,000,000,000 years old.
Round 1 - Acceptance
Round 2 - Opening Arguments (No Rebuttals)
Round 3 - Rebuttals (No Defense of Arguments)
Round 4 - Defense of Arguments (No New Arguments)
Round 5 - Final Rebuttals (No New Arguments, No Defense of Arguments)
*No Red Herrings (http://www.logicalfallacies.info.........)
*No Anecdotal Evidence (http://rationalwiki.org.........)
*Only Science Arguments (http://undsci.berkeley.edu.........)
Both parties agree to these rules upon acceptance of the debate. Failure to adhere to these rules should at least result in the loss of conduct point per the judgment of any prospective voters.
Evidence Consistent With a Young Earth
Planetary magnetic field decay describes the process by which Earth's magnetic field, which is produced via current in the metallic core, decays or diminishes in strength over time. This decay is accepted by both secular and creation scientists. "Ever since scientists generated the first global model of Earth’s magnetic field nearly 180 years ago, its strength has decreased by some 10 percent" (1). The key issue of whether or not this supports a young Earth is how the magnetic field could maintain itself for more than thousands of years. Recent records of the International Geomagnetic Reference Field, the most accurate ever taken, show a net energy loss of 1.4% in just three decades (1970–2000). This means that the field’s energy has halved every 1,465 years or so. At this rate, the Earth cannot be much older than about 10 or 20,000 years. Unless Pro can adequately provide an observed mechanism which could sustain the field for millions of years, my case will stand (2).
Dr. Russell Humphreys, a well known creationist physicist, has provided a model which best represents and explains the phenomena of planetary magnetic field decay. In this model, magnetohydrodynamics accounts for the energy loss of the planetary dipole field: ". . .motions of the conducting fluid in the core should slowly twist the dipole magnetic lines of force into more complex shapes, subtracting from the dipole field and adding to the non-dipole field. Resistive losses then make the non-dipole field decay more rapidly, so eventually the latter type of losses should prevail" (3).
Basically, Humphrey's model proposes that the decay we observe is due to ohmic losses in the dipole-generating current of Earth's liquid core. Both creationists and secularists believe that the Earth was set into motion, and from this motion the planetary magnetic field was produced. But since, physically, the Earth's core provides resistance and turbulence between the inner and outer core. This resistance then in turn slows down the current and thus weakens the strength of the dipole field over time.
For Pro to effectually refute my case, he must provide a reason why we should not accept Humphrey's model and why we should rather accept another such as the dynamo model. The data is clear that the Earth's magnetic field is decaying at quite a substantial rate, and if it truly is an exponential decay due to energy loss, then the biblical creation view of a less than 10,000 year old Earth is supported.
I would like to thank creationtruth for providing his opening statements. Note that part of the arguments that I will present in this round are taken from the team debate that we unfortunately could not finish. The arguments that I will present are the ones that I wrote. I will also present a few new arguments that are not from the debate.
Note that I had an issue putting images into my debate. I linked it to the photo album where necessary.
Argument 1: Radiometric dating
According to scientific estimates, the Earth is roughly 4.5-4.6 billion years old. How do they come to such a conclusion and under what basis do they make this claim? One of the ways to test this is through radiometric dating. Radiometric dating is a technique that is used to date material such as rocks or carbon by the decay in the radioactive elements. There are over 40 elements that are used for radiometric dating .
Figure 2-1 (http://bit.ly...) gives a good diagram of how radiometric dating works .
The mathematical expression that relates radioactive decay to geologic time is
D = D0 + N(t) (eλt − 1)
t is age of the sample,
D is number of atoms of the daughter isotope in the sample,
D0 is number of atoms of the daughter isotope in the original composition,
N is number of atoms of the parent isotope in the sample at time t (the present), given by N(t) = Noe-λt, and
λ is the decay constant of the parent isotope, equal to the inverse of the radioactive half-life of the parent isotope times the natural logarithm of 2. 
So, how do we know that these dating methods are reliable? For one, scientists have tested radiometric dating against the historical record. If the dating techniques match up to what we know the age is, then we make a good case for the reliability of such a method.
Mt. Vesuvius erupted in the early afternoon on August 24, 79 C.E. In 1997, scientists from the Berkeley Geochronology Center and University of Naples wanted to test the 40Ar/39Ar method of radiometric dating to see if it could accurately measure the age of this very young volcanic material. Incremental heating experiments on 12 samples of sanidine yielded 46 data points that resulted in an isochron age of 1925 94 years. The actual age of the flow in 1997 was 1918 years. This is only a 7 year deviation from the actual date of the material 
Based on the oldest known zinc, radiometric dating has found the Earth to be at least 4.3 billion years old . Furthermore, dating ancient meteorite impact showed the Earth to be around 4.5 billion years old:
“The ages measured for Earth's oldest rocks and oldest crystals show that the Earth is at least 4.3 billion years in age but do not reveal the exact age of Earth's formation. The best age for the Earth (4.54 Ga) is based on old, presumed single-stage leads coupled with the Pb ratios in troilite from iron meteorites, specifically the Canyon Diablo meteorite.” .
It is incumbent on the affirmative to prove that the Earth is younger than ~10,000 years old. Thus, if we can show that there are objects and items on the Earth that are older than 10,000 years old, we negate that part of the resolution. Although it would not fulfill our burden to show the Earth is ~4 billion years old, it will add a much stronger case for our side.
Example 1: Oldest Desert
Example 2: Oldest fossil
In order for Pro to effectively refute my case and affirm his own resolution, he must show why we must reject the scientific evidence for radiometric dating and also account for the history that we see that suggests a much older date for the Earth. The data is clear that Earth is far older than 10,000 years old and the scientific consensus is clear that the Earth is roughly 4.56 billion years old.
I would first like to begin by stating that I fully agree that the math behind radioisotope dating is sound and that the operational methods used to measure ratios of isotopes yield very precise results. What I do not agree with however are the assumptions behind the process of actually interpreting results as a "date" to determine the age of a rock. I will begin by attempting to explain, for the prospective reader, how radioisotope dating works.
Basics of Radioisotope Dating
Radioisotope dating, or radiometric dating as it is also known, refers to the method by which secular scientists attempt to formulate an age for a given rock specimen based on the ratio of isotopes within the rock. Isotopes are basically radioactive forms of elements which naturally decay in an attempt to become more stable. These volatile atoms will, over time, decay to become different atoms with different numbers of protons and neutrons.
By measuring the current rate of decay, scientists can determine how long it would take for a given decay process to occur. By measuring the amount of parent (radioactive isotope) atoms and daughter (more stable element) atoms, an age can then be acquired by calculating how long it would have taken for the parent atoms to decay to the measured amount of daughter atoms. There are however key assumptions which, if they were in error, would greatly alter the dates given and therefore would be grossly misrepresentative of the age of what is being measured.
Assumption #1 - Initial Isotope Ratios
This first assumption is entirely unknowable, to state the obvious. If one is no present to record data, one is left with pure speculation. Clearly it is impossible to know for sure what the initial ratio of isotopes were in any given rock sample. If a particular sample had any amount of Pb at its conception, assuming a zero amount for the sample would grossly inflate the age. No geologists were present when most rocks formed, so they cannot test whether the original rocks already contained daughter isotopes alongside their parent radioisotopes. My opponent addresses this issue with the usage of zircon crystals which indeed seem to control for the problem of initial ratios. Regardless, this assumption remains model-dependent (1).
Assumption #2 - Lack of Contamination
As with the first assumption, assuming no contamination is speculative at best. Both assumptions are model-dependent in that they require a model such as the accretion model of the Earth's formation from molten rock. If the biblical account be true, then even zircon crystals could have been formed with Pb already in them; and the Flood could have provided a medium for plenty of isotopic exchange between rocks. Since not much more can be said about these assumptions other than that they are ultimately unknowable, allow me to focus most of my addressal to the following assumption (2).
Assumption #3 - Constant Decay Rate
Indeed, decay rate constancy seems to be the most impervious to dissent. Yet, utilizing certain methods of dating other than radioisotopes, such as that of planetary magnetic field decay, have revealed that the Earth could not be much older than 6,000 years. Thus, it is clear that decay rates are likely to have drastically varied in the past. One clear example is the presence of detectable amounts of helium in zircon crystals which have been dated to be 1.5 billion years old. It was found that, "up to 58% of the helium that the nuclear decay would produce was still in the zircons. This was surprising because helium diffuses (leaks) rapidly out of most minerals." The presence of helium in these zircons is linked directly to U-Pb decay as it is a by product of the decay process. For the helium to be present in these zircons, radiodecay would have had to be over 100,000 times faster in the past (3).
As Pro's case rests entirely on the reliability of radioisotope dating, I have effectually refuted it. Radioisotope dating cannot be trusted to yield accurate dates as many unknowable factors can be greatly inflating ages and explain the ubiquitous discordant measurements which are inconsistent with each other. I look forward to Pro's response to my rebuttals and defending my case against his.
Note I apologize to my opponent for my delay. I am typing this up with only 9 hours remaining and have been in the hospital most of the day with my step-dad. This is not my best argument, but it is better than forfeiting.
I would like to thank my opponent for his reply. Pro's argument rests entirely on the decay of Earth's magnetic field. Pro's problem is that he fails to take into consideration the fact that Earth's magnetic field has fluctuated and fails to take into consideration polar shifts. Let's look at these a bit closer.
Issue 1: Magnetic Fluctuation
Pro's case relies on the Earth's magnetic field decay to be a constant. The problem is, this assumption is clearly false as seen by this graph (http://www.windows2universe.org...) Lenny Flank notes:
"[W]hen rocks on the sea floor are scientifically examined, they demonstrate a striking magnetic pattern: on each side of the mid-Atlantic rift where the earth's plates emerge from the mantle, differing "stripes" of varying magnetic intensity can be found, each the mirror image of the stripes on the other side. As each area of crust emerges and solidifies, the metallic particles within it are magnetized, and take on the strength and polarity of the magnetic field within which they emerged. As the sea floor spreads apart through plate tectonics, new areas of rock emerge and are similarly magnetized. This produces a pattern of different magnetic strengths." (http://www.huecotanks.com...)
Issue 2: Polar shift
Overwhelming evidence from both lava flows and oceanic ridges support evidence that the magnetic field has shifted overtime. The last time such an event occured was about 780 KYA as NASA notes:
"Sediment cores taken from deep ocean floors can tell scientists about magnetic polarity shifts, providing a direct link between magnetic field activity and the fossil record. The Earth's magnetic field determines the magnetization of lava as it is laid down on the ocean floor on either side of the Mid-Atlantic Rift where the North American and European continental plates are spreading apart. As the lava solidifies, it creates a record of the orientation of past magnetic fields much like a tape recorder records sound." (http://www.nasa.gov...)
For the reasons mentioned above, the decay of Earth's magnetic field cannot be used as a reliable indicator of the age of the Earth - either from an old Earth or a young Earth. There is no scientific justification for Humphreys' model to attempt to extrapolate their magnetic measurements for the last 150 years or so back to the moment of creation.
I turn it over to Pro.
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