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The second presentation at the April 2016 Bozeman young-Earth creation conference was “What You Haven’t Been Told About Radioisotope Dating” by Dr. Jake Hebert of the Institute for Creation Research. I could write a rather lengthy article in response, but I will try to keep things brief. I will start my review by quoting Dr. Hebert’s closing declaration: 2016年4月波兹曼年轻地球创造会议的第二个演讲是 “你没有被告知的放射性同位素测年”,由创造研究所的Jake Hebert博士报告。我可以写一篇相当长的文章来回应,但我将尽量保持简短。我将引用Hebert博士的结束语来开始我的评论。

“No Christian should be intimidated by radiometric dating.” “没有一个基督徒应该被放射性测定法所吓倒”。

This is a true statement. All truth is God’s truth, including the truths revealed in the creation. If radiometric dating works—and I believe it reveals accurate dates most of the time—Christians should not be intimidated. Geologists have known for a long time that the isotope geochemistry of Earth is complex, and that radiometric dating does not always return what is considered to be a geologically-valid result, but there is no reason for old-Earth Christians to be intimidated by discrepant dates. It turns out that “wrong” radiometric dates are often helpful, and provide additional insights into geologic history. 这是一个真实的声明。所有的真理都是上帝的真理,包括在创造中揭示的真理。如果放射性测定法有效(我相信它在大多数时候都能揭示出准确的日期),那么基督徒就不应该被吓倒。地质学家早就知道,地球的同位素地质化学(the isotope geochemistry of Earth)是复杂的,而且放射性测年法并不总是得出地质学上有效的结果,但是持有年老地球论的基督徒没有理由被不一致的日期吓倒。事实证明,”错误的”放射性测量日期往往是有帮助的,并提供了对地质历史的额外见解。

Before going into Dr. Hebert’s arguments, it is important to emphasize that geologists do not believe that our planet is many millions of year old because of radiometric dating. Young-Earth creationists regularly attack radiometric dating techniques, thinking that if they discredit these methods they will undermine the idea of an ancient Earth, but this is not the case. Most scientists who investigated Earth history in the late 1700s and early 1800s came to the conclusion that Earth must be far older than just a few thousand years. This was long before the discovery of radioactivity in the 1890s or the development of radiometric dating techniques in the 1900s. Most of these early geologists were Christians of one sort or another, and a number of them were quite orthodox in their theology. These early geologists—along with modern geologists—observed a rock record that tells a story. That story includes chapters that speak of processes that require lengthy periods of time, such as the cooling and crystallization of magma to form igneous rocks, weathering of rocks to produce ancient soils (paleosols) and unconformities; growth of fossil reef organisms (as well as other complete fossilized ecosystems), and transformation of rocks by metamorphic processes. Volcanoes are complex features representing numerous eruptions, coral reefs do not grow in just a few days (especially in muddy floodwaters), and many metamorphic processes involve the extremely slow diffusion of ions through solid crystalline structures. Geologists assemble the details of Earth history by the application of principles that are rooted in Christian thought: the universe is real and not an illusion, the universe is understandable, and the universe is governed by laws. Without the various radiometric dating methods, geologists would still believe Earth is ancient. What radiometric dating does is give geologists discrete ages to assign to many events in Earth’s long history, something that would be impossible to do using other techniques. 在讨论Hebert博士的论点之前,有必要强调,地质学家并不不是因为相信辐射测定法而认定地球有几百万年的历史。年轻地球创造论者经常攻击放射性测年技术,认为如果诋毁了这些方法,就会破坏年老地球的想法,但事实并非如此。大多数在17世纪末和19世纪初调查地球历史的科学家都得出了这样的结论:地球的年龄一定远远超过几千年。这早在1890年代发现放射性现象或在1900年代发展放射性测年技术之前。这些早期的地质学家大多是这样或那样的基督徒,其中一些人在神学上是相当正统的。这些早期地质学家与现代地质学家一样,发现岩石记录讲述了一个故事。这个故事包括需要长时间形成的章节,如岩浆的冷却和结晶形成火成岩,岩石的风化产生古土壤(古溶胶)和断层错位;珊瑚礁生物化石的生长(以及其他完整的生态系统化石),以及岩石变质过程。火山有着经过无数次喷发的复杂特征,珊瑚礁不是在短短几天内生长的(特别是在泥泞的洪水中),许多变质过程涉及离子通过固体结晶结构的极慢扩散。地质学家借助基本的基督教世界观来组装地球历史的细节:宇宙是真实的,而不是幻觉,宇宙是可以理解的,宇宙是受规律支配的。如果没有各种放射性测年法,地质学家仍然会相信地球是古老的。放射性测年法所做的是给地质学家提供离散的年龄,以定位地球漫长历史中的许多事件——这一点用其他技术是不可能做到的。


For those of you who do not want to wade through this entire article, here’s a summary: 对于那些不想浏览整篇文章的人来说,这里有一个总结。

YECs like to point to instances where radiometric dating doesn’t work. Geologists know that radiometric dating sometimes gives unexpected or conflicting results, so this is nothing new. What YECs don’t tell you is that radiometric dating usually does work, and that it usually gives results that are consistent with standard geological interpretations of Earth history. YEC喜欢指出辐射测定法不起作用的情况。地质学家知道放射性测年法有时会得到意想不到或相互矛盾的结果,所以这并不新鲜。YEC没有告诉你的是,放射性测定法通常是有效的,而且它通常给出的结果与地球历史的标准地质学解释相一致。

Non-radioisotopic YEC arguments for a young Earth, such as erosion rates, sedimentation rates, or the strength of Earth’s magnetic field, are generally based on distortions or misapplications of the principle of uniformitarianism. Why use processes that have variable rates rather than a process (radioactivity) that has been observed to occur at a highly regular rate? In addition, most of YECs arguments for the age of the Earth still yield dates that are in millions of years, not just a few thousands of years. YEC关于年轻地球的非放射性同位素论证,如侵蚀率、沉积率或地球磁场强度,通常是基于对均匀主义原则的歪曲或误用。为什么要使用具有可变速率的过程,而不是使用已经被观察到的、以精确速率发生的(放射性)过程?此外,大多数YEC关于地球年龄的论证仍然会得出以百万年为单位的日期,而不仅仅是几千年。

The results of the largest YEC investigation into radiometric dating—the RATE project (for Radioisotopes and the Age of The Earth)—actually confirm that radiometric dating is built on a firm scientific foundation. The YECs still like to point to oddities such as carbon-14 in coal (which is explainable in an old-Earth framework), but overall they acknowledge that a vast amount of radioactive decay has occurred in Earth history, that radiometric dates are usually consistent with standard interpretations of Earth history, and that geoscientists have valid means of determining whether or not parent or daughter isotopes have been added or removed from samples. The only thing left to YECs, in many cases, is the idea that the rate of radioactive decay was greatly accelerated at one or more times in Earth’s history, such as during Noah’s flood. There are a number of problems with this hypothesis, such as the amount of heat that would have been released by this million-fold increase in decay. YEC对放射性测定法最大的调查项目——RATE项目(放射性同位素和地球年龄)——的结果实际上证实放射性测定法建立在坚实的科学基础之上。YECs仍然喜欢指出一些奇怪的现象,如煤中的碳-14(这在年老地球框架下是可以解释的),但总的来说,他们承认在地球历史上发生了大量的放射性衰变,放射性测年通常与地球历史的标准解释一致,而且地球科学家有许多有效的方法来确定母体或子体同位素是否被添加或移除。在许多情况下,留给YECs的唯一办法是提出放射性衰变的速度在地球历史上的一个或多个时期被大大加快了——例如,在诺亚洪水期间。这个假说有很多问题,比如这种百万倍的衰变所释放的热量会轻易将所有洪水蒸发。


Dr. Hebert had four main “reasons to be confident that radiometric dating does not prove millions of years.” 赫伯特博士提出了四个主要”理由,使我们相信放射性测年法不能证明地球有数百万年”。

Radiometric dating contradicts common sense 放射性测年法与常识相抵触

Dr. Hebert mentioned a few commonly-used YEC examples of radiometric dates which do not conform to reasonable old-Earth interpretations. One of these was the study done in the 1990s by Steven Austin of the Institute for Creation Research, in which ICR submitted samples from the 1986 dacite lava dome eruption of Mt. St. Helens to a laboratory for potassium-argon dating. The resultant dates for mineral and whole-rock samples ranged from 0.34 to 2.8 million years old, even though the dacite was a product of an eruption that occurred in 1986. The YEC reasoning on this is that if radiometric dating cannot yield a “common sense” date on a sample of known age, how can scientists trust it for dating any rocks? 赫伯特博士提到了几个常用的YEC例子,即放射性测定法的日期不符合预期的年老地球解释。其中之一是创造研究所的史蒂文-奥斯汀(Steven Austin)在20世纪90年代所做的研究。在这项研究中,创造研究所将1986年圣海伦火山熔岩圆顶喷发的样品提交给实验室进行钾氩测定。研究报告说,矿物和整块岩石样本的放射性定年从34万年到280万年不等,尽管这些白云岩是1986年爆发的产物。YEC对此的推理是,如果辐射测定法不能在已知年龄的样本上产生一个”常识性”的日期,那么科学家们怎么能相信它能测定任何岩石的年龄?

There are several good critiques available of this YEC argument about the 1986 Mt St Helens samples (such as this article by Kevin Henke) , so I will only summarize: 对于YEC关于1986年圣海伦火山样本的论点,有几个很好的批评(比如Kevin Henke的这篇文章),所以我只总结一下。

This experiment by ICR was set up to fail from the beginning. K-Ar dating is not expected to work on samples that formed only a few years ago. The half-life of potassium-40 is 1.25 billion years. The amount of radiogenic argon-40 produced from potassium-40 in only a few years is miniscule, and so in general, standard K-Ar dating is not recommended for samples believed to be less than 2 million years old, as there is a risk of contamination from residual argon from previous samples. This problem in itself is sufficient to lead one to be skeptical of this YEC claim. ICR的这个实验从一开始就注定会失败。K-Ar测年法不可能对几年前形成的样品起作用。钾-40的半衰期是12.5亿年。钾-40在短短几年内产生的放射性氩-40的数量微不足道,因此一般来说,不建议对预计年龄小于200万年的样本进行标准的K-Ar测年,因为结果有可能被以前的样本中残留的氩污染掉。这个问题本身就足以让人对YEC的这种说法产生怀疑。

Additional problems abound, such as the presence of xenocrysts (crystals that appear to be derived from the walls of the magma chamber or other sub-volcanic conduits rather than crystallizing from the magma itself), zoned crystals (which indicate that mineral grains crystallized in stages in the magma chamber), and presence of volcanic glass in the samples (which would have trapped much of any argon-40 that was dissolved in the magma). 其他问题比比皆是,如异型晶体(似乎来自岩浆室壁或其他次火山管道的晶体,而不是从岩浆本身结晶)的存在,分区晶体(表明矿物颗粒在岩浆室中分阶段结晶),以及样本中存在的火山玻璃(这将捕获溶解在岩浆中的大部分氩-40)。

Radiometric dating ages disagree with ages determined by other methods 放射性测年年龄与其他方法确定的年龄不一致

Dr. Hebert stated that most other means of determining the age of the Earth, such as the rates of accumulation of various salts in Earth’s oceans and the decay of the strength of Earth’s magnetic field, give ages much younger than billions of years. Hebert博士说,确定地球年龄的大多数其他方法,如地球海洋中各种盐类的积累率和地球磁场强度的衰减,给出的年龄比数十亿年要年轻许多。

There are several obvious problems with this argument: 这种说法有几个明显的问题。

Why would one think that processes with highly variable rates, such as erosion of continents or addition of various salts to seawater, would be more reliable geochronometers than a process with known rates, such as radiometric dating (I will address the issue of constant decay rates later)? 为什么人们会认为具有高度可变速率的过程,如大陆的侵蚀或向海水中添加各种盐类,会比具有已知速率的过程,如放射性测年法(我将在后面讨论恒定衰减速率的问题),在测定地球的年龄上更为可靠?

Dr. Hebert used a distorted definition of uniformitarianism in his presentation. I know of no modern geologists who would say that either erosion or sedimentation occurs at a constant rate. This goes for a large number of geological processes. Hebert博士在演讲中使用了一个扭曲的均匀主义定义。据我所知,没有哪个现代地质学家会说侵蚀或沉积是以恒定的速率发生的。大量的地质过程都不能说是匀速发生。

Many have critiqued YEC seawater arguments. I have written about seawater as well: Aluminum and the 100-year old oceans and The YEC “salty seawater” argument — not worth a grain of salt. There is also no clear evidence that I know of that the oceans are becoming more saline over time. 许多人都批评了YEC关于海水盐度论点。我也写过关于海水盐度的文章。铝和100年的海洋,以及YEC的 “咸海水 “论点–不值得一说。据我所知,没有明确的证据表明海洋会随着时间的推移而变得更咸。

The old YEC argument about Earth’s “decaying” magnetic field has no merit. YECs will point to the decreasing strength of Earth’s magnetic field over the past few hundred years and claim that if this trend were extrapolated back tens of thousands of years, the magnetic field would be so strong that Earth would be uninhabitable. But they have no compelling reason (other than their YEC beliefs) to plot their magnetic field strength points on an exponential decay curve. Given the fact that we know that the polarity of Earth’s magnetic field is highly variable, it is also likely that the strength of Earth’s magnetic field is also variable, and that what we have seen over the past few centuries is just variations of a cycle. We cannot go back in time and directly measure the strength of Earth’s magnetic field, but proxies (substitutes) which are measurable indicate that the intensity of the field varies rather than decays over time (see Earth’s Magnetic Field Strength – Past 800,000 Years). YEC关于地球磁场 “衰变 “的老论点没有任何意义。YECs会指出过去几百年来地球磁场强度的下降,并声称如果这一趋势被逆推到几万年前,磁场将非常强大,以至于地球将不适合任何生物居住。但他们没有令人信服的理由(除了他们的YEC信仰)认定磁场强度以指数衰减。鉴于我们知道地球磁场的极性是高度可变的,地球磁场的强度也很可能是可变的,而我们在过去几个世纪所看到的只是一个周期的变化。我们无法回到过去直接测量地球磁场的强度,但是可以测量的代用指标(替代物)表明,磁场强度随时间变化而不是衰减(见地球磁场强度–过去80万年)。

I cannot think of a single geological process that unambiguously points to an Earth that is only 6000 years old. I also cannot think of a single geological process that is inconsistent with an Earth that is many millions of years old. 我想不出有哪一个地质过程能明确地指出地球只有6000年的历史。我也想不出有哪一个地质过程与一个有几十亿年历史的地球不一致。

Radiometric ages disagree with other radiometric ages 辐射年龄与其他辐射年龄不一致

This is the “problem” of discordant ages. Dr. Hebert emphasized two examples of discordancy: helium diffusion from zircon and radiocarbon dating of materials believed to be millions of years old. 这就是年龄不一致的 “问题”。Hebert博士强调了两个不和谐的例子:锆石的氦扩散和被认为有数百万年历史的材料的放射性碳测定。

Helium leakage from zircon 锆石的氦气泄漏

ICR’s Radioisotopes and the Age of The Earth (RATE) program studied zircon mineral grains from a geothermal well in New Mexico. The rocks have been dated at around 1.5 billion years, while the RATE team determined a helium diffusion (outgassing) age of only 6,000 years. A good critique of the RATE helium diffusion dates is given at Helium Diffusion in Zircon: Flaws in a Young-Earth Argument, Part 1 (of 2). To summarize, the YEC team used the present high rate of heat flow in this geothermal field and applied this to the entire thermal history of the area, rather than a thermal history model that takes into account the fact that these rocks have been much cooler for most of their history. Warm mineral grains lose helium much more rapidly than cool grains do. This is another example of YECs using a distorted version of uniformitarianism (by extending the present blindly into the past) as the foundation for their young-Earth arguments. In addition, the RATE team used an overly-simple model for helium diffusion from zircons rather than a more realistic model that takes into account defects in the crystal structure. All of this biased the results in favor of a younger Earth. ICR的放射性同位素和地球年龄(RATE)项目研究了来自新墨西哥州一个地热井的锆石矿物颗粒。这些岩石的年代约为15亿年,而RATE小组确定的氦扩散(放气)年龄仅为6000年。对RATE的氦气扩散日期的一篇很好的批评文章是在锆石中的氦气扩散——年轻地球论证中的缺陷,第一部分(共2部分)。总而言之,YEC团队使用了这个地热场中目前的高热流率,并将其应用于该地区的整个热历史,而不是基于这些岩石在其大部分历史中都更冷的事实而建立的热历史模型。温暖的矿粒比冷的矿粒失去氦气的速度要快得多。这是YECs使用扭曲的均变主义(通过盲目地将现在延伸到过去)作为他们年轻地球论点基础的另一个例子。此外,RATE团队使用了一个过于简单的锆石氦气扩散模型,而不是一个考虑到晶体结构缺陷的更现实的模型。所有这些都使研究结果偏向于年轻地球的观点。

Radiocarbon 辐射碳

Dr. Hebert stated that radiocarbon dating assumes the same ratio of carbon-14 (radiocarbon) in the atmosphere for thousands of years. I was really surprised that he said this; perhaps my notes are wrong. Geochronologists have known for a number of years that the amount of carbon-14 in the atmosphere is somewhat variable, so radiocarbon dates are calibrated based on radiocarbon dates from archeological or biological samples (such as tree rings) of known age. Hebert博士说,放射性碳测年法假定数千年来大气中的碳-14(放射性碳)比例相同。我真的很惊讶他这么说;也许我的笔记是错的。地质年代学家多年来一直知道,大气中的碳-14的数量是有变化的,所以放射性碳测定是根据已知年龄的考古或生物样本(如树环)的放射性碳测定来校准的。

Dr. Hebert stated that there should be no carbon-14 in samples over 100,000 years old. He then stated that carbon-14 has been found in coal, dinosaur bones, diamonds, and petroleum, all of which are believed to be millions of years old. It is true that any traces of original carbon-14 in a sample should be gone after 100,000 years. But there are a number of perfectly reasonable ways for more recently-formed carbon-14 to be present in ancient deposits. One is by groundwater contamination, which brings atmospheric carbon-14 into underground systems. This would be particularly effective at bringing carbon-14 into coal. Another mechanism is naturally-induced nuclear reactions, in which neutrons (mostly from uranium and thorium) react with nitrogen-14 already in the samples to produce carbon-14. But the most likely source for carbon-14 in these samples is laboratory contamination. Most of the carbon-14 detected in YEC experiments has been at levels that push the limits of detection. It is impossible to completely clear mass spectrometers and other laboratory equipment of residues from previous analyses, and so chances are, virtually any sample analyzed will register at least some miniscule trace of carbon-14 whether or not there was any actual carbon-14 in the sample. Hebert博士说,超过10万年的样本中不应该有碳-14。他接着说,在煤、恐龙骨、钻石和石油中都发现了碳-14,而所有这些样本都被认为有数百万年的历史。诚然,样品中任何原始碳-14的痕迹1万年后应该完全消失了。但是,有许多完全合理的方法可以让最近形成的碳-14出现在古代矿藏中。一种是通过地下水污染,将大气中的碳-14带入地下系统。这对于将碳-14带入煤中特别有效。另一个机制是自然诱导的核反应,其中中子(主要来自铀和钍)与样品中已有的氮-14发生反应,产生碳-14。但是这些样品中的碳-14最可能的来源是实验室污染。在YEC实验中检测到的大多数碳-14的水平已经超过了检测的极限。不可能完全清除质谱仪和其他实验室设备中以前分析的残留物,因此,几乎任何被分析的样品都会至少记录到一些微小的碳-14痕迹,无论样品中是否有任何实际的碳-14。

Radiometric Dating Assumptions 放射性测年的假设

Dr. Hebert listed three conditions (he called them assumptions) that must be true in order for radiometric dating to work: Hebert博士列出了三个条件(他称之为假设),认为这些条件必须真实地满足,才能使放射性测年发挥作用。

  • No starting daughter isotope present. 没有起始的子代同位素存在。
  • Neither parent nor daughter isotope can be added or taken away. 母体和子体同位素都不能被添加或拿走。
  • Decay rate must be constant. 衰变率必须是恒定的。

The first of these is true for some radiometric techniques, but not for all. In many cases, we know that there was some of the daughter isotope present in the sample when it formed. This is not a problem for either isochron dating (commonly used with Rb-Sr dating) or U-Th-Pb dating, which uses concordia diagrams. In both of these cases, the mathematics of the technique reveals the amount of daughter element that was present when the sample formed. If you disagree, then your problem is with math, not with geology. 其中第一条对某些放射性测量技术是正确的,但不是所有的。在许多情况下,我们知道在样品形成时,有一些子代同位素存在。这对于等时线测年(通常用于Rb-Sr测年)或U-Th-Pb测年都不是问题,后者使用协和图(Concordia diagram)。在这两种情况下,该技术的数学原理揭示了样品形成时存在的子元素的数量。如果你不同意,那么你的问题是在数学上,而不是在地质学上。

The second condition must be fulfilled in order to determine an accurate radiometric date. Geochronologists will generally avoid samples that have obviously been altered since formation, as these are likely to have experienced gain or loss of either the parent or daughter nuclide. Instead, they know that it is best to analyze samples that appear fresh, unaltered, and unweathered. For isochron techniques, the graphs produced by the analyses will usually reveal whether any parent or daughter elements have been added or removed. Hyperphysics gives a good summary of isochron dating techniques. 第二个条件必须得到满足,才能确定准确的放射性测量日期。地质年代学家通常会避免那些自形成以来明显被改变的样品,因为这些样品很可能经历了母核素或子核素的增加或损失。相反,他们知道,最好是分析那些看起来新鲜、未被改变和未被风化的样品。对于等时线技术,分析产生的图表通常会显示出是否有任何母体或子体元素被添加或移除。Hyperphysics网站给出了一个很好的等时线测年技术的总结。

The third condition—constant decay rates—must also be true in order for radiometric dating to work. YECs have spent much effort trying to demonstrate that radioactive decay has greatly accelerated in the past, and have thus far been unsuccessful. They also tend to dismiss the critique that their million-fold increase in radioactive decay during Noah’s flood would have irradiated all life on Earth, including everything on Noah’s Ark, and would have released enough heat to vaporize Earth’s oceans, and then some. 第三个条件(恒定的衰变率)也必须是真实的,这样放射性测年才会有效。YECs花了很多精力试图证明放射性衰变在过去大大加快了,但到目前为止还没有成功。他们还倾向于回避这样的批评:在诺亚洪水期间,他们的放射性衰变增加了一百万倍,这么强的辐照将杀死地球上的所有生命,包括诺亚方舟上的一切,并将释放出足够的热量来蒸发地球的海洋,还绰绰有余。

Other discordant dates, such as where K-Ar dates do not agree with Rb-Sr dates, are not uncommon in geological research, but they are also the exception in radiometric dating rather than the rule. When discordant dates do occur, geologists actually often get excited, as this may mean that more information can be learned about the history of a sample than just how old it is. For instance, when an igneous rock forms from magma, both the K-Ar and Rb-Sr clocks are set to zero. If the rock is re-heated (but not melted) millions of years later, such as by contact metamorphism, the Rb-Sr clock may keep on running, but argon may be driven out of the rock, resetting the K-Ar clock. This will result in two discordant, but highly useful, dates: one (Rb-Sr) for the initial rock crystallization, and one (K-Ar) for the subsequent heating event. The scientist just has to be smarter than the rocks. 其他不协调的日期,如K-Ar日期与Rb-Sr日期不一致,在地质研究中并不少见,但它们也是放射性测年中的例外,而不是常规。当不一致的日期确实发生时,地质学家实际上经常感到兴奋,因为这可能意味着可以了解到更多关于样品历史的信息,而不仅仅是它的年龄。例如,当火成岩从岩浆中形成时,K-Ar和Rb-Sr时钟都被设置为零。如果岩石在数百万年后被重新加热(但没有融化),例如接触变质作用,Rb-Sr时钟可能继续运行,但氩可能被赶出岩石,重新设置K-Ar时钟。这将导致两个不和谐的、但非常有用的日期:一个(Rb-Sr)用于最初的岩石结晶,一个(K-Ar)用于随后的加热事件。但科学家必须更加聪明,预料会碰到这样的岩石。

Evolutionists don’t trust radiometric dates either 进化论者也不信任放射性测量日期

The YEC criticism here is that geologists will throw out radiometric dates that do not meet their preconceived notions about how old a rock is. Dr. Hebert gave several examples of this. My response is that it is valid to weigh or prioritize various contradictory evidences, rather than throwing out what you know from a long list of reasons just because of one discrepant result. If geoscientists consistently got inconsistent results from radiometric dating, they would never use it. But radiometric dating usually gives results that are consistent with the order of events in Earth history that geologists have reconstructed over the past 200 years. Precambrian rocks usually have Precambrian radiometric dates, Paleozoic rocks usually have Paleozoic radiometric dates, and Pleistocene materials usually have Pleistocene radiometric dates. When “goofy” results come back from the radioisotope lab, geologists do not just throw up their arms and give up on the techniques. Nor do they throw out the geologic history of an area that is based on multiple investigations. Sometimes the discrepant result will lead to a better understanding of geologic history. At other times the discrepant result will remain a mystery, perhaps to be solved by the next generation of geoscientists. That is how science often works in a complex world. YEC在这里的批评是,地质学家会把那些不符合他们对岩石年龄先入为主观念的放射性测量日期扔掉。Hebert博士举了几个这样的例子。我的回答是,权衡或优先考虑各种矛盾的证据是有效的,而不是因为一个不一致的结果就把你从一长串理由中知道的东西扔掉。如果地球科学家一直从放射性测年得到不一致的结果,他们就不会使用它。但是放射性测定法通常给出的结果与地质学家在过去200年里重建的地球历史事件的顺序一致。前寒武纪岩石通常有前寒武纪放射性测年,古生代岩石通常有古生代放射性测年,更新世材料通常有更新世放射性测年。当放射性同位素实验室传来 “愚蠢 “的结果时,地质学家并不只是放弃他们的手臂和放弃这些技术。他们也不会抛弃基于多项调查的地质历史。有时,不一致的结果将导致对地质历史的更好理解。在其他时候,不一致的结果仍将是一个谜,也许将由下一代的地质科学家来解开。这就是科学在一个复杂的世界中经常运作的方式。


Dr. Hebert entitled his presentation “What You Haven’t Been Told About Radiometric Dating.” What his audience needed to hear, however, was a talk entitled “What YECs Haven’t Told You About Radiometric Dating.” What Dr. Hebert did not tell his audience was that the findings of the RATE study were an implicit admission that radiometric dating works most of the time. The RATE team determined that A tremendous amount of radioactive decay has occurred in rocks during Earth history. Hebert博士将他的演讲题目定为 “关于辐射测定法,你没有被告知的内容”。然而,他的听众需要听到的是题为 “YECs没有告诉你的辐射测定法 “的演讲。Hebert博士没有告诉他的听众的是,RATE研究的结果隐含着承认辐射测定法在大多数情况下是有效的。RATE团队确定在地球历史上,岩石中发生了大量的放射性衰变。

The first two assumptions of radiometric dating are usually satisfied in geologic settings, and that it is often possible to recognize when this is not the case. 放射性测年法的前两个假设在地质环境中通常得到满足,不满足测定条件的情况也很容易识别。

Most radiometric dates are consistent with the order of events that both YEC scientists and old-Earth geologists agree on. Radiometric dates of Precambrian rocks are usually older than radiometric dates of Paleozoic rocks, which are usually older than radiometric dates of Mesozoic rocks, which are usually older than radiometric dates of Cenozoic rocks. Despite YECs continuing to point to discordant or discrepant dates, these are the exceptions rather than the rule. 大多数放射性测定法的日期与YEC科学家和年老地球地质学家都同意的事件顺序一致。前寒武纪岩石的放射性测量日期通常比古生代岩石的放射性测量日期早,古生代岩石的放射性测量日期通常比中生代岩石的放射性测量日期早,中生代岩石的放射性测量日期通常比新生代岩石的放射性测量日期早。尽管YECs继续指出不和谐或不一致的日期,但这些都是例外,而不是规则。

RATE is an admission that radiometric dating works. The only thing left for YECs to cling to is accelerated nuclear decay. And their only remaining argument for the actual occurrence of accelerated nuclear decay in Earth history is that it is the only way for them to compress the clear evidence for past nuclear decay into their young-Earth timespan. RATE项目实际上承认了放射性测定法的有效性。YECs唯一还可以坚持的就是加速核衰变。他们一口咬定地球历史上曾经发生过加速核衰变,因为这是将过去核衰变的明确证据压缩到年轻地球时间范围内的唯一办法。

Radiometric dating is based on chemistry and physics, not evolution, naturalism, or even belief in an old Earth. There are no reasons for Christians to be intimidated by radiometric dating. 放射测定法是基于化学和物理学,而不是进化论、自然主义,甚至是对年老地球的信仰。基督徒没有理由被放射性测定法吓倒。

Grace and Peace


Notes 注释

I interacted a little bit with Dr. Hebert between sessions. He is a bright, articulate individual, and was respectful of me as an old-Earth Christian. 我在会议间隙与赫伯特博士进行了一些交流。他是一个聪明、善于表达的人,而且对我这个坚持年老地球论的基督徒很尊重。

My analysis is based on handwritten notes I took during the meetings. There is always the chance that I mis-heard or misunderstood the speaker, or mis-wrote my notes. If this is the case, I apologize in advance to the speakers. 我的分析是基于我在会议期间的手写笔记。我总是有可能听错或误解了演讲者的意思,或者写错了我的笔记。如果是这种情况,我提前向发言人道歉。

For a much more thorough presentation of radiometric dating, see Radiometric Dating: A Christian Perspective, by Roger Wiens. 关于辐射测定法的更全面的介绍,请看Roger Wiens的《放射性测年:基督徒的观点》(Radiometric Dating。A Christian Perspective)一书。

Dr. Hebert usually used the term “radioisotope dating” rather than “radiometric dating.” They are synonymous terms. Hebert博士通常使用 “放射性同位素测年 “一词,而不是 “放射性测年”。它们是同义词。

YECs are very hesitant to state that “All truth is God’s truth.” This YEC denial that all truth is God’s truth, whether revealed in Scripture or in the creation, is a denial that creation is real rather than an illusion, and has much in common with both Gnosticism and postmodernism. YEC极不情愿承认”所有的真理都是上帝的真理”。YEC否认,无论是在圣经中还是在创造物中所揭示的所有的真理都是上帝的真理,乃是否认创造的真实性,与诺斯替主义和后现代主义都有很多共同之处。

Dacite (e.g. from Mt. St. Helens) is a volcanic rock intermediate in composition between rhyolite and andesite. 达克岩(例如来自圣海伦山)是一种火山岩,其成分介于流纹岩和安山岩之间。

Dr. Hebert illustrated the conditions necessary for radiometric dating to work by describing someone peeling potatoes. If you walked in on someone peeling potatoes, could you determine how long ago they started peeling potatoes based on the amount of potatoes peeled and the rate at which they were presently being peeled? Hebert博士用某人在削土豆皮来说明放射性测定法发挥作用的必要条件:如果你走进一间房间,看到有人在削土豆,你能根据所削土豆的数量和目前削土豆的速度来确定他们在多长时间前开始削土豆吗?














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