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How Young is the Earth

By Richard Gunther


"We are not afraid to follow truth wherever it may lead, nor to tolerate any error so long as reason is left free to combat it" - Thomas Jefferson.

Most children are brought up to believe that the earth and the universe are very old, that is, millions or billions of years old, but there is a large amount of scientific evidence which indicates that this conclusion is totally wrong. Much of the evidence indicates that the earth and universe are in fact only a few thousand years old.

Here is some of that evidence.


The stars of our galaxy, the Milky Way, rotate around the galactic centre at different speeds. The inner ones rotate faster than the outer ones. From observations, including those made by the Hubble telescope, many scientists have realised that the shape of our galaxy does not match its proposed age, which is usually measured in billions of years.

If our galaxy is as old as 10 billion years, it should not have its present spiral shape, but instead should be a featureless mass of scattered stars.

This observed phenomena is called the "winding-up dilemma" and many theories have been proposed for it, all of which have come and gone as more evidence comes to hand.

The most logical conclusion is that our galaxy is really very young, and that it was formed and set in motion only a very short time ago - perhaps only a few thousand years - otherwise it would not have its present shape.


Comets are usually said to be the same age as our solar system, which is usually said to be about 5 billion years. The presence of comets totally contradicts this.

Comets which orbit close to our sun always lose a huge amount of their material. Even the biggest comet possible could not last much longer than 100,000 years at this rate, yet the average maximum age for a comet is about 10,000 years. If our solar system is as old as some scientists say, there should not be any comets in it.

Possible theories to explain this problem are that :

1. comets might come from an unobserved 'Oort cloud' which is said to be well beyond the orbit of Pluto,

2. comets might come from improbable interactions between passing stars which might knock them into our solar system,

3. comets might come from some sort of planetary effect.

So far none of these three theories have been substantiated by any observed or calculated proof.

The best conclusion which explains the presence of comets is that they are very young - perhaps only a few thousand years - otherwise they would not be there.


Every year, water and winds erode about 25 billion tons of dirt and rock from the continents. This material is washed down from the land by rivers and deposited on the floor of the ocean, where it accumulates as sediment on the hard basaltic ocean floor. The average depth of all the mud in the whole ocean, including the continental shelves, is less than 400 metres.

How old is the earth? Some theories say about three billion years. If the earth is three billion years old we should expect to find sedimentary layers several kilometres deep, but of course we do not. The present depth of sediment is consistent with a very young earth.

One theory for getting rid of the sediment is plate tectonic subduction. This means that the sea floor slides slowly beneath the continents, taking some sediment with it (about 1 or 2 cm per year). This process removes about 1 billion tons per year. Obviously, this leave about 24 billions tons to account for, which does not exist.


Every year, rivers carry about 450 million tons of sodium off the land and into the sea. Only 27% of this sodium leaves the sea in different ways, leaving the remaining 73% in the oceans. This means that the sodium content of the oceans must be steadily increasing, which presents a very difficult problem to those who say that the oceans, along with the earth are three billion years old.

The oceans should be outstandingly salty today if they are as old as the theories say they are, but if the earth is relatively young, then present saltiness (salinity) is about what we should expect to find.


The total energy stored in the earth's magnetic field has steadily decreased by a factor of 2.7 over the past 1000 years. If the earth is as old as some theories would have us believe, the magnetic field should have long disappeared, but if the earth is only a few thousand years old, the present magnetic field is exactly what we would expect to find.


In many mountainous areas, strata thousands of metres thick are bent and folded into hairpin shapes. The usual theory is that, millions of years ago, these strata were buried as relatively horizontal or straight layers of sediment, and then later bent, but modern observers have noted that the bending has not cracked or disrupted the layers.

The only possible explanation for this is that the layers of strata were formed very quickly, and bent into their present shapes very soon after they were formed. This means that the formations must be very young. Since no such formation of similar bent strata is occurring today, the formation of these shapes must also have been quite recent, perhaps only a few thousand years ago - otherwise they would not exist.


Radio halos are rings of colour which form around microscopic bits of radioactive minerals in rock crystals. They are records of radioactive decay.

For example Polonium-210 radiohalos in three different layers of rock in the Colorado plateau indicate that they were each deposited within months of each other. The usual estimate for their deposition is hundreds of millions of years, but the radiohalos would not be the way they are if time periods of this size were allowed for.


All naturally occurring families of radioactive elements generate helium as they decay. If such decay took place through billions of years, much helium should be in the earth's atmosphere. At the same time, helium is being lost all the time to space, but at a very low rate.

Working with the amount of helium being produced and the amount being lost, we find that earth's atmosphere has only 0.05% of the amount of helium it would have accumulated if the earth is several billion years old. Logically, the earth must be much younger that the theories say it is.

Another measurement of the age of the earth can be calculated from the rate of radioactive decay in deep, hot rocks. These rocks are supposed to be billions of years old, yet their helium has still not escaped into the atmosphere as it should have by now.

The helium retention of these rocks shows that they must be only a few thousands of years old, otherwise they would not contain so much helium.



Man, that is theoretical primitive Man, is supposed to have been on earth for millions of years. The Stone Age, as it is called, was supposed to have lasted about 100,000 years, during which time Cro-Magnon and Neanderthal men were supposed to have numbered around 10 million. All that time they were burying their dead with artefacts.

If this is so, then there should be about 4 billion bodies available to examine. Buried bones can last for many thousands of years - some scientists (paleontologists) say well over 100,000 years in good conditions, yet there are hardly any bones to be found.

Only a few thousand bodies and a handful of artefacts have been found so far - this implies that the so-called Stone Age was only a few hundred years, which means that earth's history is a lot shorter than many people believe.


In modern times human populations are seen to be increasing consistently at more than 1% per year. Allowing for disease, famine, war and so forth, and taking a much more conservative figure of 0.5% every year, we can work backwards to estimate the population of the world in the past. At the rate chosen, it would take only about 4,000 to 5,000 years, starting with four couples, to reach present world population figures.


Carbon-dating is often used to determine the age of an object, but contrary to popular belief, carbon-dating has nothing to do with millions of years. Even with the best analytical equipment available today, the carbon-dating method can be used only to make estimates to an upper limit of 100,000 years.

What usually happens is that those who operate the carbon-dating system calibrate the measurements with great age already built into it. An assumption is made that the substance or object to be tested is already x number of years old, so this is added to the final answer, thus supposedly providing support for what was already assumed.

Carbon-dating can only date things which contain organic carbon - which rules out most fossil bones.

As an example of how unreliable carbon dating methods are : Carbon dating of wood found under lava, which came from the Rangitoto eruption about 200 years ago gave it about the correct age. But when the lava on top of the wood was tested, the result gave it an age of half a million years. How can the lava be older than the wood under it?

As an example of how unreliable carbon-dating is :

living mulluscs have had their shells carbon dated at 2,300 years,

new wood was dated at 10,000 years,

mortar from Oxford castle which is about 800 years old was dated as 7370 years,

and freshly killed seals were dated as 1300 years

while mummified seals only 30 years old were dated as 4,600 years.

How too, can a dating method which is so far out with known dates, be used to measure things in terms of millions of years?


What is a fossil? Usually, it is a plant or animals which has been buried quickly and thoroughly by water-borne sediment. Most fossils show evidence of rapid burial because the impression made by softer tissue is still there.

Fossils are said to be millions of years old, yet some fossil bones have been found with the remains of blood cells still in them. How can this be, if the bones are millions of years old? The evidence points to a recent event, otherwise decay would have obliterated the tissues completely.


When rivers reach the sea, they usually continue into the water, dropping their sediments in a fan-shape. The Nile is an obvious example of this, where the delta is used clearly seen on an atlas.

The average rate of silt-dumping under the sea can be measured, and projections made forward and backward in time, which in turn can give us an estimate of the age of the river.

At present average rates, the fan-shaped deposits should be enormously bigger than they are, if the earth is as old as we are told. But if the earth is only a few thousand years old, and present rates of erosion and silt-dumping have remained constant, then the earth must be only a few thousand years old.


Rocks around oil beds are not stable. measurements have shown that they gradually give way to the enormous pressures exerted by the oil beds under and inside them. If oil is as old as we are usually told it is, then it should not be trapped so securely under the rock - but if oil beds are only a few thousand years old, then we should find them as they are at present.

The powerful pressures found within oil beds indicates that they and the rock they are a part of were formed about 10,000 years ago.

(It is also known that oil and coal can be produced in a matter of weeks or even hours in the case of oil, using heat and pressure.)


Present-day rates of erosion can be quite rapid. Some mountain ranges are being eroded away at 2 to 3 cm per year. This may not sound much, but multiply it over a few million years and the entire mountain range is gone. Even allowing for upthrust forces of the earth's crust, the present shape of the earth, given a few million years, should not be what we see today.

But if the earth is only a few thousand years old, and given that erosion has been relatively unchanged, the present shape of the earth is what we would expect to find.


Coal (and oil and gas) are called fossil fuels because they can be burned by Man. Coal is the remains of wood, mainly trees, which were buried very quickly and covered, or sealed, thus preventing the usual breakdown of the cellulose - as we see when a tree falls to the ground in a forest. Under the seal of sediment, the wood turns black and becomes coal.

How is a coal field formed. It must be a rapid event, because natural processes are quick to recycle wood if they are allowed to proceed. Coal fields are often very thick, sometimes whole kilometres thick, representing millions and millions of buried trees.

One theory has it coal is formed by forests constantly dropping leaf and twig litter, which builds up over millions of years. Nowhere in the world has this been seen to be happening. What usually happens is that the litter becomes humus, on which the successive generations of trees feed, thus keeping the layer of humus much the same over thousands of years.

Coal fields are full of tree trunks, which lie at all angles, as if they were tumbled and pushed roughly together. Often the trunks stand vertically through other layers, which shows that rapid burial took place, otherwise the upper part of the trunk would have long decayed.

Coal also often contains marine fossils, which shows that it was not formed in a fresh-water swamp.

Because coal does not require millions of years to form, its presence indicates that the earth may be much younger than some people would believe.

All the above can be said of oil too.


Space researchers were worried that when the first vehicles, or the first men landed on the moon, they would sink into something like 60 metres of dust. This figure was arrived at by a simple calculation based on the presumed age of the earth and moon times the amount of meteorite and cosmic dust dropping down.

If - as it was correctly reasoned - the moon had been there for millions of years, there should be a large quantity of dust on the surface, sufficient to soak up any moon lander - hence the large, round feet on the lander, to help prevent it from sinking in.

If, on the other hand, the earth and moon were very young, perhaps only a few thousand years old, the amount of dust on the moon should be almost insignificant.

As we all know now, the astronauts found a very thin layer of dust, which shows that the moon is probably very young.


It is a fact that all natural processes tend to go from a higher energy level to a lower energy level. To illustrate this, take a brand new car. It arrives as a fully organised machine, with everything working, clean and complete - but leave it outside for a few years and drive it for a while and it gradually falls apart. The paint work flakes off, the plastic perishes and cracks, the tyres wear down . . . eventually it rusts away and is no longer a car.

The world and the universe show the same process. Whole, complete systems are gradually winding down, or falling apart. Galaxies are flying apart. The earth is cooling. The gravitational forces in the earth are weakening. Animal and plant species are disappearing with no new species taking their places. The land is eroding away. The seas are becoming saltier. The atmosphere is degrading.

It should be obvious that a system which is slowly winding down must have, at some point in the past, been 'wound up' to start it all off. It should also be obvious that no disorganised collection of things is working the other way today - that is, nowhere do we find the opposite to the laws of thermodynamics. Disorder never forms into order without some external help. (For example, a house left to itself, will not keep itself clean and tidy without an intelligent organiser).


Reasons why people believe that the earth is millions of years old :

1. They were taught it at school,

2. They think science in general teaches this unanimously

3. They get this message from books, videos, movies, advertising, television programs, songs, paintings, and they hear it from experts in teaching positions,

4. They hardly ever hear the other side of the argument.

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