Anthracite Coal
From Northeastern Pennsylvanial
Purest form of coal
Earth as viewed by
Apollo 17 astronauts
Image courtesy NASA

How the earth came into being and when has been the subject of much speculation by those who do not accept the biblical six-day creation account.   The reality is that this type of speculation cannot be proven with any certainity because it relates to an historical event that cannot be repeated. 


Table 4 – AGE OF THE EARTH (Part 2)


F   Facts     A   Assumptions [1]





Old Age

If the age of the earth can be measured by the relatively short-lived C-14, then the general theory of evolution that requires the earth to be 100s of millions or billions of years old is false.


C-14 is not used for dating the earth because the earth is assumed to be older than can be measured by carbon- 14 decay.




F   1.  There are three known isotopes of carbon (C): C-12, C-13, and C-14.  C-12 and C-13 are stable, and C-14 is unstable. 

F   2.  C-14 is continuously produced in the upper atmosphere because of cosmic rays acting on the atmosphere. [2] C-14 then readily combines with oxygen in the atmosphere to form carbon-14 dioxide.

F   3.  The present C-14/C-12 ratio in the atmosphere is about 1 to 1 trillion.

F  4.  Atmospheric C-14 equilibrium will occur when the rate of new C-14 atoms produced matches the rate of loss of C-14 atoms from the atmosphere by decay. 


A   1.  The radiocarbon method of dating was initially premised on the following old earth and uniformitarian assumptions:

(1)  Rate of generation of C-14 has been essentially constant at today’s rate. 

(2)  Rate of decay of C-14 has remained constant with a half-life of about 5,700 years.

(3)  Sufficient time has elapsed for atmospheric C-14 equilibrium to have been reached.

(4)  The C-14/C-12 ratio in the atmosphere was essentially constant to the industrial revolution from the distant past.

A   2.  “Radiometric dating has vindicated the ideas of James Hutton, Charles Darwin, and others who inferred that geologic time must be immense.” [3]




F   1.  “Coal is formed from the dead remains of trees, ferns and other plants…” [4]

F   2.  With few exceptions, all plants thru absorption and animals thru eating plants have the same C-14/C-12 ratio as the atmosphere at the time of their death.  After death, no new carbon is added and the C-14 continues to decay thus reducing the C-14/C-12 ratio. This latter ratio is used to estimate the date of the organism’s death.

F   3.  See Young Age, COAL, F 1 below for the ages that evolutionists think various coal deposits were formed.


A   1.  The estimated age of organic (plant or animal) remains can be estimated by comparing the C-14/C-12 ratio in the remains to the atmospheric C-14/ C-12 ratio. [5] A smaller ratio in the remains is assumed to give an older age because of the loss of C-14 thru decay back to N-14.

A     2. Coal is much too old to have any measurable C-14 left; therefore, any C-14 found must result from contamination or special environmental effects including underground radiation.




A   1.  Natural diamonds are thought by evolutionists to be at least 100s of millions of years and in most cases between one and 3 billion years old. [6]

A   2.  Diamonds are too old to be dated by C-14.

A   3. “Diamonds themselves can’t be dated. But if the mineral inclusions contain certain elements like potassium and things that can be used in a radioactive dating scheme, then by dating the inclusion in the diamond you get some sense of the age of the diamond itself.” [7]

A   4.  “Most diamond formation probably took place in the Earth in the first couple of billion years of the Earth’s history.” [8] [9]



Young Age

(Maximum of 10s of thousands of years and reducible to thousands of years based on past conditions?)


Creationists generally agree with the facts listed under Old Age above, except, of course, the immense ages.


All calculations in this section have been made based on uniformitarian assumptions usually favored by evolutionists.




F   1.  “The Specific Production Rate (SPR) of C-14 is known to be 18.8 atoms per gram of total carbon per minute.  The Specific Decay Rate (SDR) is known to be only 16.1 disintegrations per gram per minute.” This may indicate that earth is younger than the 50,000 years required for equilibrium of atmospheric C-14 at the present SDR. [10] 

F   2.  Conditions that can greatly affect calculated ages using radiometric dating are as follows:

(a)  A much larger earth electromagnetic field in the past would greatly reduce the rate of C-14 generated then than at present. [11]

(b) The huge amounts of fossil fuels buried in the earth imply that the earth’s biosphere contained at least 500 times the present C-12 in the past. [12]


A   1.  The earth is only thousands of years old based on the Bible.

A   2. The earth’s atmosphere was created on the second day of creation.

A   3.  Before Noah’s flood, the atmosphere was different.

A  4.  Initial concentration of C-14 may or may not have been zero.

A   5.  Rate of generation of C-14 was less in the past.

A   6.  Rate of decay of C-14 may not have been constant.




 F   1.  C-14 has been found in all coal samples tested in the RATE project.  A  total of 10 coal samples were tested from Cenozoic (34-55 million years ago), Mesozoic (65-145 million years ago) and Paleozoic (300-311 million years ago) eras according to evolution time assumptions.  The results for all 3 periods were nearly the same with an average of about 0.25 percent of modern carbon (pMC) after the lab subtracted 0.08 pMC for background. [13][14] The 0.25 pMC translates to about 48,100 years. 


A  1.  Coal deposits were formed during Noah’s flood.

A   2.  Adequate precautions have been made so that no C-14 contamination is present in the RATE samples.

A   3.  Dates obtained by C-14 testing for coal are thought to be high and easily reduced to several thousands of years based one or more of the following:

(1)  The conditions outlined in Young Age, ATMOSPHERE, F 2 above.

(2)  A possible accelerated radioactive decay rate for C-14




F   1. Diamonds are extremely resistant to contamination through chemical exchange [15]

F   2.  C-14 has been found in all diamond samples tested in the RATE project.  A total of 12 samples of diamonds from various African diamond mines and placer deposits were tested for C-14. Their average pMC after the lab subtracted 0.08 pMC for background was about 0.09. [16][17] This translates to about 57,000 years compared to the 100s of millions and billions of years required by evolutionists.

F   3.  The source of C-12 and C-14 in diamonds is uncertain and could significantly affect the C-14/C-12 ratio. 

F   4. The initial C-14 to C-12 ratio in the diamonds is not known.


A   1.  Natural diamonds are no more than thousands of years old based on the Bible.

A   2.  The calculated 57,000 years date for diamonds assumes that the average initial C-14 /C-12 ratio was close to the 1 in 1 trillion ratio in today’s atmosphere with no accelerated decay of C-14 in the past. [18] 

A   3.  Dates obtained by C-14 testing of diamonds may be reduced to several thousand if one or more of the following is true:

(1)  The initial C-14 /C-12 ratio in the diamonds is a lot smaller than 1 to 1 trillion

(2) The C-14 went thru accelerated decay



Back to Part 1

[1] Not all assumptions have been listed.

[2] The earth’s atmosphere is composed of about 78% nitrogen-14, 21% oyygen-16, 0.4% carbon dioxide, and 0.6% other gases.   Cosmic rays entering the earth’s upper atmosphere continuously interact with the atmosphere and as a secondary effect convert a small percentage of the nitrogen-14 atoms to radiocarbon (carbon- 14).  Carbon-14 immediately begins to decay back to nitrogen-14.

[3] Lutgens, Frederick and Tarbuck, Edward, Essentials of Geology, 9th ed., Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Pearson Prentice Hall, 2006, 431

[4] Fossil Energy: How Fossil Fuels Were Formed, U.S. Department of Energy, date viewed Dec. 8, 2013, online,

[5] This is an oversimplification for brevity here as adjustments were made from the beginning for certain conditions such as volcanic eruptions that would have affected the C-14/(total C) ratio.

[6] Lineberry, Cate, Diamonds Unearthed, Smithsonian Magazine, Dec. 2006, http://www/

[7] Lineberry

[8] Ibid.

[9] “Almost every diamond that has been dated formed during the Precambrian Eon – the span of time between Earth’s formation (about 4,600 million years ago) and the start of the Cambrian Period (about 542 million years ago).”  How Do Diamonds Form?,

[10] Sewell, Curt, Carbon-14 and the Age of the Earth, Revolution Against Evolution, Nov. 8, 1999,

[11] Ibid.

[12] Riddle, Mike, Doesn’t Carbon-14 Dating Disprove the Bible? Answers in Genesis, Sept. 20, 2007,

[13] DeYoung, Don, Thousands… Not Billions, Green Forest, AR: Master Books, 2005, Tables 3-1 and 3-2

[14] Morris, John, The Young Earth, revised and expanded, Green Forest, AR: Master Books, 2009, from table page 66

[15] Riddle

[16] DeYoung, 57

[17] Morris, John, from table page 67

[18] If the average initial C-14 to C-12 ratio in a diamond was double that of today’s atmosphere, it would add only about 5,700 years.





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The Age of the Earth