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Debunking Creationism: "Radiometric Dating Is Unreliable!"

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Radiometric dating methods are very accurate and very trustworthy. Creationist arguments to the contrary are riddled with flaws, as is the scientific research used by them to support their position. Support my videos on Patreon!: https://www.patreon.com/askepticalhuman Follow me on Twitter: https://twitter.com/aSkepticalHuman Follow me on Google+: https://plus.google.com/u/0/+ASkepticalHumanOnYouTube Text or audio version of this content on my website: https://askepticalhuman.com/religion/2018/8/24/debunking-creationism-radiometric-dating-is-unreliable Thumbnail photos: Waiting For The Word/Flickr; rodoluca/Wikimedia Commons
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Text Comments (109)
A Skeptical Human (6 months ago)
Radiometric dating has revealed that today is the day you decided to support me on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/aSkepticalHuman
curtis reeves (1 month ago)
Debunk this https://youtu.be/OVNCFoXGdn8
2consider (4 months ago)
Why do you call yourself skeptical? You accept what you're told about radiometric dating, in spite of the fact your video shows you don't clearly understand the science. Seems your skepticism is selective. I should insert, I'm not a "young earth" creationist. There is one obvious and unavoidable problem with dating methods, they adopt a steady state assumption. In short dating methods do not and cannot account for the vast number of changes the earth has undergone. "Science" will tell you the earth's magnetic field has gone through many changes, bombarded with radioactive energy from solar activity. The earth has been slammed by countless asteroids, been through several global warming events and ice ages, the earth was molten at one time, none of this is accounted for in dating methods, because it cannot be known how much effect all this had, but there's no question it had an effect. Radiometric dating is the only method of dating the age of the earth, the magnetic field, sediments in the oceans, cosmic debris that has fallen on earth, the amount of certain gasses in the atmosphere, these are just some of the other ways to measure the age of the earth, but none of these methods give an age anywhere close to 4.5 billion years old.
99NEPtune99 ™ (2 days ago)
Thanks for the hard work you put into this video!
A Skeptical Human (2 days ago)
My pleasure! Thanks for watching.
James May (3 days ago)
There is no such thing as evolution that is why they call it the theory of evolution, because it's just a theory. not a conclusive platform to really trust in by my standards., I like to enjoy real science
The Watchful Hunter (6 days ago)
This kid sure is smug in all of his experience and wisdom. Maybe Evolutionism is just another fanatical religion full of factual flaws and dogmatic beliefs.
99NEPtune99 ™ (2 days ago)
You’re just jealous a kid is smarter than you
Dawson Stephens (15 days ago)
“Within analytical errors” but they don’t tell you that they throw out the errors that don’t work with their notions and that there’s a lot of them
Mysteroo Movies (21 days ago)
Been trying to find some good counterarguments to mull over and this is the first explicit thing I've found on the topic - gotta say I'm pretty disappointed. - Your first argument boils down to "this can't be wrong because these other things say the same thing". Well you can do an equation many different ways to get to the same wrong result - if only you interpret one foundational variable incorrectly across the board. I'm not familiar with those other dating methods, and I doubt others will be either - so this doesn't help my argument at all. - Your analogy of the crime investigation is just condescending. You *start* your list of evidence with the damning fact that "we saw you on the recording stabbing someone." In what world is factual, visible, recorded proof -- the same as calculating what no one was here to see. You can't convince people by insulting them. So this is also unhelpful to any mature argument. - Your following argument starts with a statement that dares to say "to my knowledge" as a citation, followed by a Wikipedia resource. Really? - The source following that states that decay rates have not been observed to change since they were found to be measurable. That is precisely the problem when considering ranges of time spanning vastly larger than periods the entirety of human civilization. You cannot look at 1/5,000,000th of the relevant timeline and presume the rest to follow suite. - You then claim that it's foolish to question professionals and scientists who use these methods daily. I would propose that it is much more foolishly to blindly accept the information given by anyone - even if they are a scientist. Data does not speak for itself, it must be interpreted. Watch Veritasium's video on the accuracy of published research. - You bring up that the examples of inaccurate radiometric dating are likely a result of flawed research - not flawed methods. While that is possible (especially for the first one, for which you cite evidence), I see no reason why a creationist wouldn't see it as equally possible the the inverse is true. Again - this is a phenomenon established in Veritasium's video. When the results are skewed or interpreted in a misleading way, the goal is to get said research published. Reproducing such experiments is less profitable as it is less likely to be published again; it's less interesting. So there are are few people reproducing experiments to verify their results. And when it DOES happen - they are often rejected and told that they simply did something wrong. Much like you simply assumed that these examples are a result of them doing something wrong, rather than being open to the possibility that there is potential for credible flaws being found in the method. - What the creationists will bring up is that it is incredibly convenient that the dating method works *only* on rocks whose age we cannot actually verify outside of methods like these. It is like looking at a magic pole that is gradually shrinking at a constant rate and assuming that the rate has never changed. Sure - theoretically there's no reason to assume it would change, but one could argue that it is equally ignorant to assume that it certainly never has. - You do make one good point - limitations of a tool do not invalidate a tool. There is creationist propaganda that tries to dismiss dating methods entirely. On the other hand, I feel that while it may have some use - we give it far too little skepticism. There are too many unknown variables at work. Seals and mussel shells both returned inaccurate results due to unforeseen variables. There are doubtlessly many more variables at play that could be interfering with results. For example, how can we know the original proportion of stable and unstable isotopes has always been the same as it was today? If atmospheric conditions were much better (or worse), then it is hard to claim with certainty that the solar radiation that creates carbon isotopes today, created the same amount 40,000 years ago. - I think you make a good comparison with medical science. Sometimes they get it wrong, but that does not invalidate the method. However - lets not underestimate just how often medical science *does* get it wrong. I know people who were told that they just had a flu or something - only to realize (nearly too late) that they had appendicitis. Misdiagnoses happen very, very often - even when all variables are present and accounted for, right in front of us. - You say, "One problem with this quote - it doesn't appear to actually exist. Much like God, I might add." Well alright. It's been fun, but I don't intend to trudge through the last 15 minutes of someone pretending to present an objective argument - all while stooping to insult worldviews that are only trivially related to said argument. ✌
99NEPtune99 ™ (2 days ago)
If the decay rates somehow changed, how is it possible for the dates gotten via different dating methods yielded approximately the same results, with a margin of error? And you would discredit scientists who spend their lives dedicated to their field of research over a bunch of people who are inexperienced and are only trying to get findings that agree with their presumed conclusion of a young earth? Also the christian worldview is exactly opposite of being trivially related, because that’s the exact reason why there are people who assert that the earth is young.
Breandon Surprenant (27 days ago)
The science of radiometric dating is accurate for minerals, the problem is with using it for fossils. Dating fossils based on the stone that covered them initially give us accurate measurements of the stone, not the fossil. This is what destroys evolution.
R Truth (3 days ago)
+Dave Robson ouch https://youtu.be/fg6MfnmxPB4 explain this
Dave Robson (9 days ago)
No. No it doesn't. Not at all. Your logic here could not be more flawed. Like saying that dating the age of a person in a house by going by when we know ( or think, or calculate) the house was built "destroys" the accepted views on human reproduction. Just nonsense.
Rollingrockink III (1 month ago)
"hhhmmhhmmmhhmmm... that is not correct, because according to the encyclopedia of dhjuhvghdfhhbvgfhhgghh!!!!!"
Fred Gotoc (1 month ago)
The radioactive materials inside a rock can be interpreted in two ways it depends upon the preconceived idea. If I believe that the universe is already billions of years, then I will immidiatele conclude that all the stable radioactive materials inside that rock is a result of decay.
Fred Gotoc (8 days ago)
+Dave Robson Do we have evidence that a certain rock does not contain any lead when it was formed?
Dave Robson (9 days ago)
+Fred Gotoc So, you start with a conclusion and then.......just stay with it no matter the evidence you find? Well done.
Fred Gotoc (9 days ago)
+Dave Robson If I believe that God created this rock 6,000 years ago and I found out that it contains 40% uranium and 40% lead, then I will immidiately conclude that he created it that way and after 6,000 years, some of the uranium became lead already.
Dave Robson (9 days ago)
That is the ONLY valid conclusion. They have tested, retested, retested, tested some more, and retested some more the processes that go on here. It is pretty solid . Your claim is like stating that the only reason that an auto mechanic will tell you that the lack of oil in your engine is the reason that it stopped working is because they already have a belief that lack of oil can cause an engine to stop functioning and not the empirical evidence that A LACK OF OIL CAN CAUSE AN ENGINE TO STOP WORKING!!!! They say it because it has been shown to be true over and over and over again. Same thing here. Geologists have methods ( well tested methods) to prove whether or not there has been contamination in a sample. By the way " stable radioactive materials" is an oxymoron. A material cannot be both radioactive AND stable. In these instances the "parent" element is "radioactive" and the ( end) "daughter " element is " stable". Though there can be " intermediate daughter elements" which are also radioactive.
Fred Gotoc (1 month ago)
How can we be so sure of the original amount of radioactive materials inside the rock? The rate of decay can be accepted. It is reasonable. But how can we be so sure of the original amount? If I have the preconceived idea already in place, there is no problem, isn't it? I will instantly conclude that all the lead in there is a decay product.
curtis reeves (1 month ago)
Hitler was probably the biggest advocate of evolution and one of Darwin's greatest admirers
curtis reeves (7 days ago)
+Dave Robson apparently I learned it from you
Dave Robson (7 days ago)
+curtis reeves Well, you got one thing correct. You CAN'T debate.
Dave Robson (7 days ago)
+curtis reeves Again. THE 19th century SCIENTIST( not "scientists") was Darwin , and YOU began the thread referencing him.
curtis reeves (7 days ago)
+Dave Robson well it's been great debating with a child but actually have a life and I can't debate with somebody that doesn't know the meaning of productive
curtis reeves (7 days ago)
+Dave Robson yeah it was a fifth, and I believe you referenced 19th century British scientists and none of my previous comments mentioned British scientist so you're insane
Deisel 1968 (2 months ago)
I’d like to see you do a video on the so called immigration crisis Trump is spouting about.
Morgenstund (2 months ago)
When it comes to Snelling there is no doubt. He knows that he’s lying. The guy is a bona fide geologist and has earned his keep doing real scientific work. Now he’s being paid to ‘put a lab coat’ on Creationism. As someone with a very minor degree in geology I must say that I’m very disappointed.
Ignostic (2 months ago)
You should make a follow-up episode, because there are creationist arguments against the reliability of radiometric dating which might prove to be more difficult to refute. Take this for example: https://answersingenesis.org/geology/radiometric-dating/key-flaw-found-radioisotope-isochron-dating/
A Skeptical Human (2 months ago)
You know I actually had several other anti–radiometric dating arguments that I didn't get around to responding to, and I plan on making a Part 2 to this video sometime in the future. It's probably something I'm going to hold off on for at least a few months, however.
Holy Koolaid (3 months ago)
This was fantastically done. Props!
Joseph Radd (4 months ago)
In short... you're wrong 100%.
ApeX D34ST (13 days ago)
Lennart Van Tuijl Allah is the same god as the Christian and Jewish one, this one just has a boner for murder though. Odd how the same god could be so different.
Lennart Van Tuijl (1 month ago)
Joseph Radd Oh no here we have a brainwashed Muslim who brings his imaginary hatred friend Allah, if he is so powerful let him stop me from insulting. Oh wait he is powerless😂😂😂😂😂
The Centrist Gamer (1 month ago)
+Joseph Radd The Following Cartoon is one I’ve been fond of since coming across it in the past. I’ve included two links in case one of them dies in the future. If the links both die, Google image search the following phrase and you should be able to track down the comic: “Eat. Survive. Reproduce. -- What’s it all about” https://qph.ec.quoracdn.net/main-qimg-41c530add6e301297d74b9d9482d964c-c https://www.reddit.com/r/funny/comments/1722ti/i_dont_know_im_still_stuck_in_eat_survive_and/ The comic lays out a chain of evolving animals and each one up to the human thinks “Eat. Survive. Reproduce.” until the human thinks to himself, “What’s it all about?” I’ve included this comic to demonstrate some important drives that living things share and to introduce the utility that ideals of right and wrong can have for meeting survival goals. The behaviors that communities deem to be appropriate and moral are often mutually beneficial. There are exceptions to this -- but I’m not aware of any exceptions where the people did not at least believe that their actions were in their best interest.There tend to be very real anthropological reasons that traditions or rules that seem strange to us (or even barbaric) have been practiced within their contexts. Of course not all groups benefit equally or benefit at all and what really muddies the water here is power. Power and leverage seem to be a large part of why some groups have been subjugated while others have profited at their expense (this is an example of the irony referred to initially in this section). What does seem to occur over time however is a general “leveling out” of sorts. I think it’s reasonable to say that people hate being oppressed and it turns out it’s often extremely costly and difficult to subjugate other groups without an enormous advantage -- just look at World War II. For an example of what I mean by a general “leveling out”, take recent history in the USA for example: - Slavery was outlawed. - Segregation was outlawed - Women obtained the right to vote - Gay marriage became legal To clarify, I’m not arguing about the way I think things should be. My attempt in this section has been to outline that our notions of right and wrong do not necessarily come from a higher power because there are other reasons people adopt moral codes. I’ve heard some argue that those other sources could not exist without god(s), but then you’re back at the First Cause Argument. Using a higher power’s decree as criteria for what is right and wrong does not take into account what god(s) does and does not do themself; their actions are beyond question and they can arbitrarily choose what is right and wrong or change what is right or wrong based on their own personal whims. According to this criteria, god(s) could say, destroy all of humanity with a flood and this be considered objectively good and right or have their people engage in religious justified genocide and this be considered objectively good and right because they said to do it and they make the rules. In this scenario, right and wrong are entirely dependent on the whims and desires of the most powerful being -- “He who has the gold makes the rules.” If this were our determinant for right and wrong, god(s) could simply decree murder and rape to be just and right and, by our criteria, they objectively would be. Suppose you disagree with god(s)’s idea of right and wrong. Well, that’s just too bad -- supposing we go with Allah or Yahweh for sake of example, they have the power (and apparently the will) to punish you severely if you refuse to follow them. If we use god’s fiat as our criteria for what is right and wrong then, supposing Islam is true, the 9/11 and other terrorist attacks were, in fact, not at all monstrous, but rather objectively good and moral acts committed at god’s decree. Eternal suffering in hell for a life of finite crimes or for a genuine lack of belief or a genuine belief in the wrong god(s)? Objectively good and moral. Religious justified genocide? Objectively good and moral. Suppose you question what real authority criteria other than god(s) truly has. A problem with this is that using god(s) as a determinant for right and wrong is every single bit as subject to that same line of questioning as any other criteria. In the same way one might get abstract and ask why well-being or self-interest really matter or what authority they really have one can ask this same question in the same way about a higher power. Why does god(s)’s fiat matter and what authority does it really have? The only difference is that now instead of making use of our own criteria or our own opinions, we just default to whatever the higher power’s opinion is. Consider the following scenario: Person A says that well-being and the starting point that suffering is bad are their criteria for determining what is right and what is wrong. Person B says that god(s) determines what is right and what is wrong. Person A and Person B are both making a value judgement and their disagreement ultimately devolves into a game of Who-Says-So. Person B’s position is akin to someone saying that they will trust the conclusion of their village chieftain on matters of right and wrong. One can certainly do this, but their village chieftain’s positions on right and wrong are every single bit as subject to question and criticism as the next guys. Why does Allah or Odin’s position on what is right and what is wrong matter more than your own? Well, provided they exist, they are certainly more powerful and they can surely punish you severely if you do not comply with their fiat. But the real criteria then is power, not divinity -- “He who has the gold makes the rules.” Suppose we say that whoever has the most power decides what is objectively right and wrong. Well then, supposing there is no god(s), Hitler did nothing wrong while he had the power to bend others to his will. Furthermore, what is right and what is wrong would change constantly depending on who holds the most power at any given time. This is the whole crux of it: Power does not make your position or a higher power’s position about what is right and what is wrong more valid than anyone else’s. What it does do is give you the tools you need to bend people to your will by force, but this is not the same as objectively setting or changing what is right and wrong. The following excerpt is taken from Bertrand Russell who I think does a far better job of explaining the problems with the Moral Argument than I have: “One form is to say that there would be no right or wrong unless God existed. I am not for the moment concerned with whether there is a difference between right and wrong, or whether there is not: that is another question. The point I am concerned with is that, if you are quite sure there is a difference between right and wrong, you are then in this situation: is that difference due to God’s fiat or is it not? If it is due to God’s fiat, then for God Himself there is no difference between right and wrong, and it is no longer a significant statement to say that God is good. If you are going to say, as theologians do, that God is good, you must then say that right and wrong have some meaning which is independent of God’s fiat, because God’s fiats are good and not bad independently of the mere fact that He made them. If you are going to say that, you will then have to say that it is not only through God that right and wrong came into being, but that they are in their essence logically anterior to God. You could, of course, if you liked, say that there was a superior deity who gave orders to the God who made this world, or could take up the line that some of the gnostics took up—a line which I often thought was a very plausible one—that as a matter of fact this world that we know was made by the devil at a moment when God was not looking. There is a good deal to be said for that, and I am not concerned to refute it.” - Bertrand Russell, “Why I am not a Christian” The Moral Argument makes the same mistake the Teleological Argument does in that it states that a higher power must necessarily exist because something else exists. This is akin to my saying that because rocks exist a higher power must exist when in reality all I know is that rocks exist. In that sense, I find a lot of these arguments are just masked or tweaked versions of the First Cause Argument.
The Centrist Gamer (1 month ago)
+Joseph Radd My understanding is that a theist using this argument would say that our sense of right and wrong are ultimately derived from a higher power. A theist making use of this argument would say that this is how we know that one action “ought” to be done or not done over another or how we know that one action is monstrous while another is good or selfless. A theist using this argument might also say that there is no criteria for right and wrong to be asserted from without the existence of a higher power. The Moral Argument essentially states that there would be no right or wrong unless god(s) existed. There are several reasons this does not make sense: The Moral Argument presupposes that right and wrong are mandated by a higher power when it is entirely possible that right and wrong are human constructs. There are other criteria that people use to determine what is right and wrong. Using a higher power as a determinant for right and wrong has huge problems and numerous relevant criticisms; it turns right and wrong into a game of “He who has the gold makes the rules.” Even if you get very abstract and call into question the criteria that people use for right and wrong, using god(s) as criteria is not exempt from being undermined in the same way. I recommend watching Sam Harris’ Ted talk on right and wrong because he does a much better job discussing it than I will: https://www.ted.com/talks/sam_harris_science_can_show_what_s_right *(If at some point the above link dies, Google search: “Sam Harris: Science can answer moral questions”) The main point, as I understand it and in an admittedly brief summary, is that right and wrong are rooted in well-being. One of the early points Sam makes is that we treat a rock differently than an animal because we know the animal has the capacity for happiness and sadness and pain and suffering. If you asked me where right and wrong come from I would say that I largely agree with Sam Harris in that right and wrong seem rooted in well-being and self-interest though there are a number of places people draw their sense of right and wrong from such as empathy or the starting point that suffering is undesirable for example. One might even argue that suffering is built into the definitions of right and wrong. One of life’s cruel ironies is that something one does to minimize their own suffering can cause another to suffer. For example, if you and I are hungry and I take your bread I may suffer less but you will suffer because I took your bread. Suppose two business owners are neighbors. Now, neither one wants the other to come ransack their shop, steal their things, or blow their brains out. It’s simply not in their own best interest. So what can they do? Well, suppose in this example both owners create rules forbidding such harmful actions and set up consequences to ensure the other guy sticks to it. This I think is the foundation of many laws: mutual self-interest.
The Centrist Gamer (1 month ago)
+Joseph Radd Again... I am not paying for something I can't afford. For a person that does believe in God you sure did give a stupid answer to my question. You can be Muslim and be a good person, you can be Muslim and be a bad person. You can be Atheist and be a good person, you can be an atheist and be a bad person. You have NO CLUE WHATSOEVER as to who I am. I hate baseless assumptions off of peoples character, and I hate semantics. Stop playing semantics.
Joseph Radd (4 months ago)
If radiometric dating is reliable, why do they keep changing the age of the earth? Not only that but let's think about the origin of life. If the universe and all the matter in it has always existed, can we accurately establish the date of the universe seeing that the universe has always existed? That would most likely give rocks an ageless timeline and we would never be able to determine age to anything before the existence of life.
The Centrist Gamer (1 month ago)
+Joseph Radd The problem with your logic is that it's this 1. I observe complexity 2. Therefore God This is entirely non-sequitur and is not the conclusion you should logically come to. You're completely skipping the step to which you validate your reasoning for complexity to indicate a designer. Without that step your argument is absurd and worthless.
Joseph Radd (2 months ago)
+Louie Taylor You misread my post. I said nothing different.
Louie Taylor (2 months ago)
+Joseph Radd I understand your point there, it seems different to your original point however. though, if this is you concept, i understand. I don't deny that there is potential for God to be the originator, I was merely disputing a question of whether the universe was eternal.
Joseph Radd (2 months ago)
+Louie Taylor Clearly this question was beyond your capabilities of understanding. How about you go and educate yourself and then come back and discuss these issues when you are more capable. This discussion is not for you. And you have no place here yet. But thank you for your comments.
Joseph Radd (2 months ago)
+Louie Taylor The concept I was trying to relate, but clearly I failed to get across is this... One cannot determine the age of a system or being that has no beginning. So if we give scientists every possible assumption as to the origin of the universe, they will still be left with unanswered questions simply because their theories and hypothesis are erroneous. They have no basis or foundation without God as the Originator of everything that is visible in invisible. Glory be to Allāh forever and ever.
budsio (6 months ago)
Just found your channel after stumbling on your blog. I was trying to search the IronChariots wiki but it's down for admin purposes or something and the backups on archive aren't working. This channel definitely deserves more attention. I hope you get it.
Jonathan Nguyen (6 months ago)
You’ll always find a radiometric dating denier that’s also a young earther because it serves their needs. You’ll never find a denier that’s also an old earther who just isn’t convinced with the current evidence.
The Centrist Gamer (1 month ago)
+أبو مريم وليد أنصاري No it shows that the evidence is convincing and likely to be true. Please avoid using a strawman next time.
That shows that there aren't really unbiased "skeptics" there. Are there?
Test Vex (6 months ago)
One creationist told me it’s impossible to know how old the earth is because you would have to believe the numbers that these dating methods give us. He then said that science does not go against a young earth because this is not science.
2consider (4 months ago)
It's "junk science."
Ink129 (6 months ago)
Wait... young-earth creationists aren't doing science correctly? Whoa!
Dobs R (1 month ago)
It’s not question of its helps determine a age of something. My question is how do you determine something is a million years old .
Fred Gotoc (1 month ago)
If I have already a belief that our universe is billions of years old, I will instantly conclude that all the lead inside the meteorite is the decay product of uranium. But if I have the preconceived belief that this universe is not even 10 thousand years old, I will conclude that uranium and lead are originally created inside that rock and the uranium inside it has not yet even spent its half-life decay process.
Tort (6 months ago)
Ink129 I'm utterly astounded by this incredibly unpredictable and wholly unexpected behavior!

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