Radiocarbon dating age limit

The rise of science produced a major change in attitude.

In the pre-scientific world view the issue of the age of the Earth was a theological question.

There were various attempts to estimate the Earth's age, working back from sedimentation rates and other geophysical phenomena.

The attempts produced estimates from about 100 million years up to several billion years. The first is that the geological history was still being reconstructed.

The account in Genesis is replete with miracles that do not stand up under rational analysis.

This did not matter; the theological perspective did not require physical rationalization.

The selections and comments here are not a complete exposition of the works of the authors mentioned; rather they were chosen to illustrate and exemplify changing perspectives over time.

It became clear that there had been significant changes in the Earth's topography over time and that these changes could neither be accounted for by natural processes operating during the brief nor by the postulated Noachian flood.

It was not ruled out, per se, but it was not necessary. In the new science, however, rational explanation was desirable. In 1640 Ussher produced his famous calculation that the Earth was created in 4004 BC.

In 1637 Descartes produced a cosmogony that was highly influential for more than a century. It was not in their estimates of the age of the Earth - Descartes retained the biblical date.

If, in the year AD 1600, you had asked an educated European how old the planet Earth was and to recount its history he would have said that it was about 6000 years old and that its ancient history was given by the biblical account in Genesis.

If you asked the same question of an educated European in AD 1900 you would have received a quite different answer.

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