[pp. 351-353]

"Of particular interest in this connection are the intensely powerful cosmic rays. The character of these rays is indicated by the following:

'To begin with, primary cosmic radiation, that is, the rays as they exist in space, is composed of atomic nuclei traveling with speeds so enormous as to approach that of light (186,000 miles per second).' [Arthur Beiser: "Where Do Cosmic Rays Come From?", Scientific Monthly, Vol. 77;, August 1953, p. 76]

The rays are mainly nuclei of atoms, of many of the chemical elements, especially hydrogen and helium but also including heavier elements. The energies of these particles are tremendous, ranging from one billion to over a billion billion electron volts, far beyond the capacities of our largest man-made accelerators (compare the 27 million-electron-volt energy barrier in uranium atom?). The tremendous energy of this radiation, as it enters the upper atmosphere and collides with air atoms, results in the formation of a secondary stream of charged particles in great variety.

'Before these particles (i.e., the primary cosmic radiation) can reach the earth's surface they must pass through the atmosphere. The blanket of air covering our planet is heavier than many realize - equivalent to a layer of water thirty-four feet thick.

Even the tremendous energy of the primary cosmic rays is not sufficient to enable them to get through this much matter unchanged. However, the debris resulting from their collisions with air atoms does reach the surface of the earth and in fact has been detected several hundred feet underground. This debris, in addition to the protons and neutrons of which the struck atoms are composed, includes mesons, unstable particles associated with nuclear structure that are not very well understood at present, gamma rays, like those given off by radium, only more penetrating, and positive and negative electrons.'

[ Ibid., p. 76]

Although comparatively little of the cosmic radiation actually reaches the earth's surface at present, that part which does reach it gives intimation of the tremendous energy that certain of its particles contain.'

'The extraordinary penetrating power of cosmic rays is shown, in the first place, by their ability to pass through the earth's atmosphere, the absorptive power of which for ionizing radiations is approximately equivalent to one meter thickness of lead. But that is not all. The rays have been detected underground and under water at distances equivalent to 1400 meters of water below the earth's surface. Only particles with many billions of electron volts of energy could have penetrated to such depths.'

[Samuel Glasstone: Sourcebook on Atomic Energy (2nd Ed., New York, Van Nostrand, 1958), p. 562]

The portion of the cosmic radiation reaching the earth's surface seems to consist predominantly of highly energetic mesons, along with some neutrons, electrons, protons and photons. Mesons are particles intermediate in mass between electrons and protons, which decay very rapidly into electrons.

The question arises as to what effects might be produced on the earth's surface if a substantial part of this 'hard component' of the cosmic radiation, rather than only a very insignificant part, could reach the earth... does seem highly probable that such an environment, which must have reached the earth's surface to at least some degree both during the first day of the creation and during the Deluge period and possibly at other times as well, would have had a marked effect on such radioactive elements in particular. The bombardment of these atoms, which are basically unstable anyway, by large amounts of various kinds of particles of extremely high energy could hardly fail to have added to their instability. Or, to put it in another way, the addition of large amounts of external energy into the atomic nucleus would have supplied the needed energy for alpha particles or other groups to overcome the energy barrier normally retaining most of them within the nucleus.

This means that it is not only possible, but highly probable, that the disintegration rates of radioactive elements would have been much higher than at present during at least these two periods of earth history. However, there seems to be no way on the basis of present knowledge by which the magnitude of this increase in rates can now be determined...

...The postulated environment would probably produce a variety of nuclear transmutations in addition to accelerating the disintegration of uranium, thorium, etc. The various elements in each decay chain would also be affected. It is thus not strictly correct to speak of a simple increase in decay rate as resulting from such an environment. However, the net effect is the same... namely, an increase in the ratios of 'daughter' to 'parent' elements in each series..."


[pp. 353-355]

"There may also have been other sources of radiation and energy during these periods. The mere fact that the quantity of actively radioactive material in the earth must originally have been greater than at present would have been one such environmental factor. Also, one of the results of the artificial satellite studies in the higher atmosphere has been to reveal a belt of very high incidence of corpuscular radiation.

This abnormal radiation was found above the level about 450 miles high.

..These radiation belts contain far more radiation than that due to the incidence of the cosmic rays... ..The many and diversified electrical and magnetic phenomena in and around the earth's upper atmosphere are thus extremely interesting, but as yet little understood. Just how they all interact with each other at present, or how they may have acted in the past is not known. It is plain, however, that there is an abundance of rays and charged particles of high energies which, if any substantial portion could reach the earth's surface, would undoubtedly produce very significant changes in many geophysical processes and phenomena, certainly including those of radioactivity...

...A highly radioactive environment such as postulated may, in addition to accelerating the decay of certain elements, have formed artificial radioactive elements, with various decay rates. The fact that these have not been found in nature may mean either that they just have not yet been found, or else that their initial decay rates were also higher than at present and they have substantially vanished by now. It is only the elements with the very long half-lives that have survived the accelerated decay periods...

...We conclude, therefore, that a time measurement based on the principle of radioactive decay is in itself quite inconclusive. It is, in the first place, quite reasonable to believe that both parent and daughter elements in each radioactive chain were created at the beginning, probably in 'equilibrium' amounts. The amount of originally created radiogenic end-product in each chain is uncertain; it is likely, however, that homologous amounts were created in all such minerals so that all such elements would, when created, give an 'appearance' of the same degree of maturity or of age. Furthermore, the intense environmental radiation present in the upper atmosphere could well have resulted in much higher decay rates for the radioactive elements at one or more times in the past.

Thus, by the end of the Creation period, each radioactive mineral would very likely contain a sizeable amount of its radiogenic daughter, though actually but a few days old! Again, at the time of the Deluge, it seems reasonable that the increased radioactivity in the environment would have speeded up all decay processes by some unknown amount. Therefore, even in the relatively rare cases where the radioactive mineral was not disturbed excessively during the intense geologic upheavals of the Creation and Deluge periods, the relative amounts of parent and daughter elements would still be entirely incapable of yielding a valid record of true age, since neither the original amount of radiogenic material nor the changes in past decay rates can now be determined. The only thing thing reasonable certain is that the present decay rate and present amount of daughter element, if applied in a uniformitarian computation, must result in an age-estimate immensely too great!"



[pp. 334]

"Consider, for example, the various methods based on disintegration of uranium and thorium into lead. Each of the parent elements disintegrates by some process through a certain chain of elements and isotopes until it reaches a stable condition. Geochronological use of these facts requires very accurate measurements of the amounts of the various elements of the chain present in the mineral and also very accurate knowledge of the respective decay constants. The techniques for these determinations are exceedingly difficult and subject to large error.

Although radioactivity measurements of geologic age have been widely accepted for some fifty years and have been responsible for the wide acceptance of an age for the earth measured in billions of years, it is now generally admitted that most of the work done before 1950 was quite misleading, mainly because of defective measurements or interpretations of the measurements...

...Gordon Gastil has recently reminded his colleagues: 'Attempts to measure mineral age began soon after the discovery of natural fission. During each decade since then, analysts have discarded most of the age determinations made in the preceding one.' ['The Distribution of Mineral Dates in Time and Space,' American Journal of Science, Vol. 258, Jan. 1960, p.4]


[pp. 335]

"A more important reason for the errors in the earlier published ages was the neglect of the factor of original lead in the mineral. Obviously, if some of the lead in the sample was non-radiogenic, then the computed age would be too large by an indefinite amount, unless the 'common' lead were first determined and eliminated from the calculation... ...recognition of supposed common [i.e., original] lead depends on detection of lead of atomic weight 204 in the mineral. Ore lead contains a small amount of this isotope along with larger but varying amounts of 206, 207, and 208 atomic weights. Each of the latter isotopes can also be produced radiogenically. However, the all-important amount of 204 lead is quite difficult to determine accurately. As G. R. Tilton points out: 'It should be realized that the Pb 204 abundance is the least accurately known of all the isotopic abundances for the leads' " ['Interpretation of Lead-Age Discrepancies,' Transactions, American Geophysical Union, V37, Apr. 1956, p.225]

[Dr. Don R. Patton, op. cit., notes]:

"What complicates things for the uranium-lead method is that non-radiogenic lead 204, 206, 207, and 208 also exist naturally, and scientists are not sure what the ratios, of non-radiogenic to radiogenic lead were early in the moon's history... The problem of how much lead was around to begin with still remains... If all of the age-dating methods (rubidium-strontium, uranium-lead and potassium-argon) had yielded the same ages, the picture would be neat. But they haven't. The lead ages, for example, have been consistently older... Isotopic ages have been obtained for material from five landing sites in the moon - those of Apollos 11, 12, 14, 14 and Luna 16; each site has a different age. But in a given site, the ages also vary ... Ideally, however, any one basaltic rock from a given site should yield the same isotopic age, regardless of the method used." [Everly Driscoll, SCIENCE NEWS, Vol. 101, p. 12]


[pp. 335-336]

"Other possible sources of error are known to exist, of course, and have often been used as the basis for rejecting measurements which seemed incapable of harmony with the accepted chronology. Hahn indicates one possibility:

'It may be that part of the lead was leached out; then the age determined would be too low. However, it is also possible that uranium was removed; then relatively too much lead would be found, and the age determined would be too high. It follows that reliable lead values can be expected only from specially selected, dense mineral samples that are weathered as little as possible.'

[Otto Hahn, 'Radioactive Methods for Geologic and Biologic Age Determinations,' Scientific Monthly, V.82, May '56, p. 258]

The serious probability of significant uranium leakage is clearly shown by the following:

'Most igneous rocks also contain uranium in a form that is readily soluble in weak acids. Hurley (1950) found that as much as 90 percent of the total radioactive elements of some granites could be removed by leaching the granulated rock with weak acid...

Larsen and Phair (in Faul, 1954, p. 80) note that 'commonly, as much as 40 percent of the uranium in most fresh-appearing igneous rocks is readily leachable.'

[M. R. Klepper and D. G. Wyant, Notes on the Geology of Uranium, U. S. Geological Survey Bulletin 1046-F, 1957, p. 93]

The seriousness of these defects is also pointed out by Faul:

'Countless determinations have been made by this method, but it was found that the premises on which the method rests are not valid for most uranium minerals. There is definite evidence of selective uranium leaching by acid waters, and it is now known that most radioactive minerals contained some lead when they were formed. As a result, most of the early [and for that matter ALL of the] lead:uranium age determinations are questionable.' "

[Henry Faul, Nuclear Geology (New York, John Wiley & Sons, 1954), p. 282]

[Dr. Don R. Patton, RE:printed notes from Creation/Evolution Seminar, quotation by J. D. Macdougall, Scientific American, Vol. 235 (6): 118]

"The fourth assumption presupposes that the concentration of uranium in any specimen has remained constant over the specimen's life. ...ground-water percolation can leach away a proportion of the uranium present in the rock crystals. The mobility of the uranium is such that as one part of a rock formation is being... [impoverished] another part can become abnormally enriched. Such changes can also take place at relatively low temperatures.' "


[Dr. Don Patton, op. cit., Tape #1]:

"There've been a number of very diligent efforts to try to overcome these limitations to the accumulation [problem], knowing how much there was to start with at the bottom, how much has leaked in, how much has leaked out. One of those methods involves the isochron method - the whole rock isochron method. Using several different dates that are supposed to plot mathematically along a straight line... If they line up in a straight line then we are supposed to know that this is uncontaminated - nothing leaked in or leaked out... Well, the result is it just doesn't work... For example, in a recent example done by... the Institute for Creation Research dating the lavas in the Grand Canyon... Up at the top of the plateau [which was tested] there are the supposed young basalts or lavas that have formed over the lip of the canyon and down into the canyon and actually down the river in some places - obviously the youngest portion of rock - flowing over the edge, down into the river. However, down into the inner gorge, in the metamorphic rock, we have the Cardenas Basalt - supposed to be among the oldest rocks in the canyon. Here we see a date that has been achieved at 1.07 billion years. And an isochron has been done. It plots along the straight line and that's supposed to tell us that there is no contamination.... But, we go up to the top where we have the very recent lavas that flow over the lip and we find a date of 1.34 billion years compared to the 1.07 billion years at the bottom. Now, wait a minute, here's the... youngest older than what's supposed to be much older at the bottom. And we do the whole rock isochron method on this date and we find it plots in a straight line with 1.34 billions, supposedly, very precisely. And yet we know that cannot be so. When you get to the proof of the pudding, so to speak, then you find that it simply doesn't work. In Science magazine recently there was an article called 'Pseudo Isochron.' Thirty examples were given of isochrons forming straight lined that we know from the physical evidence is not dated accurately - where you have rocks that are interbedded, laid down necessarily at the same time which give widely different dates by hundreds of millions of years but all date on the isochron. Well, the system of trying to determine those beginning conditions, then, just does not work. What actually happens is illustrated in the quote by Richard Mauger from the department of geology at East Carolina University in Contributions to Geology: [Vol. 15 (1): 17] He says, 'In general, dates 'in the correct ballpark' are assumed to be correct and are published, but those in disagreement with other data are seldom published nor are the discrepancies fully explained.'

Now, this is how it works: You keep what fits, you chuck what doesn't fit. You unjudiciously select, if you please."


[pp. 336-340, underlining mine]

"Another method consists of comparing the relative amounts of the two lead isotopes, 206 and 207, which are present in the mineral...

'Actually, the method is subject to several errors.

Loss of radon 222 raises the lead:lead ratio and the calculated age. A rather large error may be introduced by the uncertainty in the composition of the original lead. This error may exceed the measured value when dealing with younger uranium minerals containing even small amounts of original lead, as clearly recognized by Holmes when the method was first proposed...

...It is common now to attempt to allow for contamination by original common lead by assuming [without actual proof] that the presence of lead 204 in the mineral indicates such contamination...

"Presence of old radiogenic lead (formed in a prior site of the parent uranium) may [also] cause great error...

...Many, or most, such minerals might equally well contain some contaminating radiogenic lead from some other source; if so, the age computation would of course be too high by a quite unknown amount. The possibility of this type of phenomenon occurring is indicated by a recent study at the University of Toronto:

'There are some leads that have been referred to as anomalous which have isotope ratios that do not, at first sight, seem to participate in this regularity. We believe that additional amounts of radiogenic lead have been added to these leads, at or about the time of final mineralization. That is, an anomalous lead is simply an ordinary or non-anomalous lead which has been further altered.'

[R. M. Farquhar and R. D. Russell: 'Anomalous Leads from the Upper Great Lakes Region of Ontario,' Rransactions, American Geophyusical Union, Vol. 38, August 1957, p. 552]

...The above authors [Farquhar and Russell] were concerned about the fact that too much radiogenic lead was present in certain supposedly ancient lead ores to harmonize with the [false] theory that 'common' lead has been uniformly enriched during geologic time with increments of radiogenic lead as evidenced by the larger proportion of lead isotope 204 in older common leads. These anomalous [i.e., so- called abnormal] leads show less 204 lead than should be present according to the theory. The really significant thing, however, is that it is thereby evident that radiogenic lead can contaminate any uranium-lead bearing mineral to an unknown amount and thereby make any age determination on it meaningless.

That such contamination of ordinary lead deposits by radiogenic lead is far from rare is indicated by the following:

'True ordinary leads are probably derived from below the crust, and anomalous leads are derived in turn from these by variable radiogenic contamination in the crust. Thus ordinary and anomalous leads form a series rather than two distinct groups. It is likely, furthermore, that no absolutely ordinary leads occur on the earth's surface, as all have probably received at least minute radiogenic contamination in coming from the mantle.'

[R. L. Stanton and R. D. Russell: 'Anomalous Leads and the Emplacement of Lead Sulfide Ores' Economic Geology, Vol. 54, June-July 1959, p. 606]

Thus, as Boyle recognizes:

'The ratio of the lead isotopes in deriving their lead from such rocks is, therefore, neither a measure of the age of the deposits nor the age of the sedimentary host rocks but is rather a function of the complex geochemical processes through which the lead may have passed.'

[R. W. Boyle: 'Some Geochemical Considerations on Lead Isotope Dating of Lead Deposits,' Economic Geology, Vol. 54, Jan-Feb. 1959, p. 133]

In spite of the necessarily unknown amount of radiogenic contamination of all lead deposits, the [false] theory that common leads have been uniformly enriched by gradual accumulations of radiogenic lead during geologic time has been made the basis of probably the most important present geologic estimate of the total age of the earth's crust, leading to a [false] figure of the order of five billion years. As Harrison Brown claims:

'Thus solely on the basis of the isotopic composition of common leads we can say that the age of the earth probably lies somewhere between 3.1 and 5.6 billion years.'

[Harrison Brown: 'The Age of the Solar System,' Scientific American Vol. 196, April 1957, p. 86]

This sort of calculation, though containing numerous unverifiable assumptions, has been widely accepted and circulated...

...It would seem.. [however] ...that it is quite possible for any lead deposit or any mineral containing lead (including the uranium minerals on which most age-estimates have been based) to contain substantial though unknown amounts of antecedent radiogenic lead. This would necessarily make all such age-estimates too high by an unknown amount."

Instrumental errors in mass spectrometry may [also] yield consistently high apparent proportions of lead 204 and lead 207.

[And finally] Redistribution of elements by renewed hydrothermal activity may be a serious source of error in all lead methods.'

[Faul, op. cit. p. 295]


[pp. 340 underlining mine]

"Still other methods have been used to some extent, for example,

The thorium-lead 208 ratio.

As Aldrich says, however:

'The two uranium-lead ages often differ from each other markedly, and the thorium-lead age on the same mineral is almost always drastically lower than either of the others.'

[L. T. Aldrich: 'Measurement of Radioactive Ages of Rocks,' Science, Vol. 123, May 18, 1956, p.872]

Apparently a satisfactory explanation of this conflict is not yet available:

'most of the ages obtained by the lead:thorium method disagree with the ages of the same minerals computed by other lead methods. The reasons for this disagreement are largely unknown.'

[Henry Faul: Nuclear Geology (New York, John Wiley & Sons, 1954, p. 295]

Another method is the lead 210 method, lead 210 being a particular stage in the decay series leading to lead 206. The ratio of lead 206 to lead 210 is used to compute the age of the mineral. But as Faul says:

'Unfortunately, the lead 210 method is subject to similar errors as the lead:uranium and lead:lead methods, owing to loss of constituents of the radioactive series of leaching or emanation.'


The very light gas, helium, is a product of the disintegration of uranium and thorium, along with lead, and helium measurements in minerals have long been used as indices of age.

The method has had many ups and downs in the favor of geophysicists, due to experimental difficulties and the presumed ease of helium leakage. In a recent review of the present status of all the various radioactivity methods, Dr. Adolph Knopf concludes:

'Because of such uncertainties about the helium age determinations, the method has again fallen into nearly complete disuse.'

[Adolph Knopf: 'Measuring Geologic Time,' Scientific Monthly, Vol. 85, Nov. 1957, p. 228]


[p. 341]

"After listing all the various requirements for successful determination of an age by the lead method, Rankama says:

'No radioactive minerals have been analyzed that satisfy all these requirements. Consequently, errors are liable to creep into the calculated lead ages. In particular, the alteration of radioactive minerals is the cause of errors in the age values. Even the freshest-looking minerals usually have gained or lost small quantities of the pertinent nuclides.'

[Kalervo Rankama: Isotope Geology (New York, McGraw-Hill, 1954), p. 379]

In view of all the sources of error in the various uranium-thorium series methods, it is small wonder that most age measurements have been found hopelessly discrepant and have been rejected. Only those few minerals which give agreement by more than one method are now considered really reliable, and these are so few and far between that at least some of these apparent agreements can be explained on the basis of pure chance."