Creationism and Baraminology Research News

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An ongoing list of creationist research projects. This is not a creationism-verse-evolution site, but a site to publicize the research work done by members of the creationist community and the intelligent design community, or research work by the science community at large constructively relating to creation topics. Evolutionary critiques may be included on occasion but only under special consideration, and especially where the research pertains directly to developing a creationist model.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

RATE Group Presents Their Findings

After an eight-year research project, the RATE group gave the final presentation of their results at Shadow Mountain Community Church in El Cajon, California on Saturday (NOTE -- this marks the end of the original RATE commission, but not the end of similar research -- there are several follow-on projects planned). For those who are not familiar with the RATE group, RATE stands for Radioisotopes and the Age of the Earth, who are studying how radiometric dating fits in a young-earth setting. You can read more about them here. Their original book from 2000 describing their research intentions is now available for free download from ICR's site (I have not read this myself). Essentially what they claim is that the decay process of radioisotopes was different in the past than it is today, perhaps even being used by God in both creation and judgment. Specifically, they look to the creation and the flood as being events associated with accelerated nuclear decay. This is the cause of the "long-age" results of radiometric dating. The RATE group's purpose is to research this idea and determine if there is evidence for it.

I've read parts of Thousands not Billions (they lay book about the RATE results) vcat the bookstore, and I must say it is _excellent_. I'll present the results later when I actually own a copy and have more time (and once I read their new technical book).

Anyway, the conference at which they presented just finished, and therefore the new official RATE book will be available shortly. Let me summarize for you the basic lines of evidence they were working on:

  • Helium retention in zircons indicate that nuclear decay has been accelerated. Basically, if you look at the radioisotope decay rates, the zircons look old. But this radioactive decay produces helium. If you look at the helium diffusion rates, they look young. This indicates that there was a time when the nuclear decay was greatly accelerated.

  • Polonium halos -- I'm not all that clear on this one. I'll have to look into it more and get back with you.

  • Carbon 14 is ubiquitous in "ancient" carbon, and even in diamonds. Carbon-14 should be completely gone after 100,000 years.

  • Steven Austin did some work on radiometric dating that is very interesting. He showed some interesting features of radiometric dating that indicate that they aren't showing "dates" at all. First of all, he showed that not only do different methods of dating disagree, they often disagree in reliable ways. This indicates that there was some other process than aging in effect. I don't remember everything that Austin pointed out, but one of the things he pointed out was that the methods with longer half-lives always show longer dates. Anyway, I'll probably report more on all of this after I get the new RATE book.

This doesn't mean that the case is completely solid, nor that there aren't major problems. There are. They are planning a lot of follow-up research.

I'm not familiar with all of the problems, but the biggest problem is the heat problem -- all of this accelerated radioactive decay would produce a lot of heat, and it is unknown how such heat would have been managed. This is a big and significant problem, but I don't see it as insurmountable. There are many suggestions around, but the research remains to be done.

Anyway, this is a very exciting time. Creation Safaris has their own summary of the conference. Note that I was unfortunately not at the conference, but have been following the RATE group's activities for some time now.

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