Podcast #013 - July 06, 2019
Diamonds and the Age of the Earth
Welcome to another edition of the science pastor. My name is Steve, and I have been working hard in a diamond mine all morning. That's right, I've been digging for diamonds. I haven't found one. Didn't find one all morning. But, I'm at the Crater of Diamond State Park. It's located in Arkansas. This is the eighth largest deposit of diamonds in the world. And it's where the largest diamond every found in the U.S., it was found right here, actually right out there in this diamond mine. You can come here to. Ten bucks is the admission fee. You can go out and dig for diamonds. And do you know what the good news is? Whatever you find, it doesn't matter how big the diamond is that you find, you get to keep it.
But that's not why we've cone to this state park today. We've come because diamonds are a very powerful evidence that the earth is very young. So today on Science Pastor we're going to be talking about diamonds, and the age of the earth.
So what does a diamond mine look like? Crater of Diamonds is a surface mine... meaning the diamonds are collected on the surface of the ground.
Most diamonds are found in volcanic craters. That's why this State Park is called “Crater of Diamonds.” Diamonds are formed deep in the earth, and they are carried up to the surface by volcanic action.
However, in some places the diamonds that don't make it all of the way to the surface. So in South Africa, for example, they dig down very deep to get the diamonds out. Or they dig a big pit such as this diamond mine in Russia.
Here in Arkansas there was a attempt to tunnel down onto the crater, to see f they could find more diamonds. The building you see here is where that shaft is located. However, they didn't find enough diamonds to make it worth digging, so the shaft was closed.
Notice that you can see rows of small mounds. What they do is plow the mine to turn over the dirt and rocks, bringing new diamonds to the surface. So this is what a diamond mine looks like.
If you come here you can just walk around and look for diamonds on the surface. Or you can dig a hole, if you wish... if you want to put that much effort into it... but you have to fill in the hole before you leave at the end of the day. Or you can bring buckets and fill them with dirt and rocks, bring them home, and sift through it all there at home.
So why do people go through all this effort for diamonds?
It's obvious, people love diamonds because they are pretty... and they are valuable. But, there's more to diamonds than just jewelry. They help us understand how old the earth actually is.
Let's begin by learning where diamonds come from.
Most diamonds form deep in the earth's crust. It is only at depths of 100 to 120 miles. That's where the temperature is high enough, and the pressure great enough to form diamonds.
Most diamonds form deep in the earth in what I'd call a Goldilocks zone for diamonds. The temperature has to be just right. The pressure has to be just right – a little bit deeper in the earth and you get graphite... that's pencil lead – instead of diamonds. A little bit shallower, the same thing... graphite instead of diamonds.
And if a diamond spends too much time in areas near to, but outside of the Goldilocks zone, the diamond will turn to graphite... pencil lead. Diamonds are actually very fragile in that way.
That means that for us to find a diamond, that diamond had to get to the surface quickly. It must be moved from over 100 miles deep in the earth, to the surface, in hours, not days. And the one thing that can do that is a volcano. That's why they are found in volcanoes, and that's why this diamond mine is a volcanic crater... that's why it is called Crater of Diamonds State Park.
But not just any volcano will work. It takes a volcano with a deep source of magma that forms a volcanic pipe called a lamproite pipe. Lamproite is the name for mantle derived volcanic rock... meaning it comes from deep within the earth.
The lamproite pipe is a narrow pipe through which the magma rises very quickly, from the deep source, carrying the diamonds up with it.
As the magma reaches the surface it typically explodes and covers the surrounding area with ejecta fragments called “xenoliths” and some of the xenoliths contain diamonds. Over time the material of the xenoliths weather away.
Diamonds, however, are resistant to weathering and become concentrated in the surface of the soil, as the xenoliths wear away. The result is a surface diamond mine such as Crater of Diamonds State Park.
So, now here's what's important... how do most natural diamonds form? Diamonds are special. They only form in a particular type of rock geologically known as a cratons. Cratons are the basement rocks, the foundation of the continents. That means they are the oldest rocks that exist... and that means that dating these rocks gives us the age of the earth.
Let's look at a geology book. I'll get my glasses here. We're going to get a definition of cratons. This is “Essentials of Geology” by Stephen Marshak... and we've got a bookmark here we're going to go to... page 261. And it tells us what a craton is:
“A craton consist of crust that has not been affected by orogeny for at least the last 1 billion years” – orogeny means, it essentially refers to mountain building... so what this is saying is that this is rock that has been undisturbed... it is the original rock, undisturbed for a billion years, and this rock contains diamond that are undisturbed. So, based on evolutionary thinking... by the way, these dates... billions of years... is a time frame based on evolutionary thinking.
So... based on evolutionary thinking... since diamonds are found in cratons, that means diamonds had to have formed when the original foundation rock formed... and they have remained unchanged and stable since then. That means that if we can date a diamond, we then have a rough estimate of when the earth's foundation rock formed... and thus the age of the earth.
Note, read more here: https://answersingenesis.org/geology/rocks-and-minerals/dazzling-diamonds-special-delivery
So now. What is a diamond made out of? Carbon. It used to be thought that diamonds were made from coal that had been heated and compressed deep in the earth. But, we now know the carbon – by the way, diamonds are made from carbon – and we know now that that carbon did not come from coal. The chemical composition is different between coal and diamonds. But, diamonds are made from carbon... scientifically they don't know where the carbon came from.
So, they are made from carbon. And there is a dating method you've probably heard of... carbon dating. However, there are limits to carbon dating... it cannot be used to date things that are older than roughly 50,000 to 60,000 years old. Carbon dating looks for a isotope of carbon called C14... and after about 100,000 years there is no measurable C14 at all left in the object being date. That just means it is all decayed away and is gone.
So, carbon dating can only be used to date things that are fairly young
In addition,carbon dating can only be used to date things that were once living. Living things are made from carbon... you and I are made from carbon.
A volcanic rock for example... the type of rock, a type of vocanic rock is called basalt, or if it comes from deep in the earth's mantle, lamproite... if I pronounced that correctly (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iLA02MgGRkU), they can not be carbon dated. They don't contain any carbon at all. [Unless there is a diamond embedded in the lamproite.]
So we have two limits of carbon dating. The object to be dated has to be fairly young, and certainly not millions of years old... and the object has to have carbon. And that's why nobody had ever tried to carbon date a diamond... they are supposedly at least a billion years old... so there is no way... no possibility that there would be any Carbon 14 in a diamond.
This shows how evolutionary thinking limits scientific investigation. They don't even look because, they assume, based on evolutionary thinking, there is no point in looking.
But, scientists who believe the Bible did look, and they found C14 in diamonds. Showing that diamonds are just thousands of years old. Multiple diamonds have been carbon dated and the ages fall in the range of about 55,000 years.
If we take that at face value, then the earth is 55,000 years old, not billions or even millions of years. In fact, it is impossible for the earth to be old... because then there would not be any C14 in diamonds. Diamonds tell us that everything that ever lived, trilobites, dinosaurs, T-Rex... all lived within the past 55,000 years.
Creation skeptics claim that the C14 results from contamination. But diamonds are the hardest material on earth. It is a known fact that internal contamination is impossible.
So they then claim the equipment used to test the diamonds was contaminated or the testing process was picking up background radiation. However, the testing was done under controlled conditions using calibrated equipment, the same as is done for carbon dating anything else. The records of the testing show there was no possibility of contamination... and no errors in the results.
So according to carbon dating of diamonds, the earth is very young, about 55,000 years old. The millions and billions of years never happened.
But doesn't the Bible indicate the earth is just 6,000 years old? Yes, it does. So are we misunderstanding the Bible? Have we got something wrong? No. First we need to understand how carbon dating works.
Carbon dating measures the amount of carbon14 in an object. This can be done very very accurately.
And carbon 14, it decays at a steady rate. Every 5730 years half of the carbon 14 decays away, becoming nitrogen. So if there are 100 grams of C14 today, in 5730 years there will be 50 grams. After another 5730 years, there will be just 25 grams left.
So, if we make some assumptions about how much carbon 14 there was to start with, it is easy to calculate how old an object is. But those assumptions are can be a problem. Why is that?
Well, where does carbon 14 come from? When cosmic rays hit a nitrogen atom in the atmosphere, the nitrogen turns into a carbon 14 atom. So we have carbon 14 in the atmosphere.
Plants take in carbon from the atmosphere, mostly in the form of CO2... carbon dioxide. Plants take in the carbon, including carbon 14, and using energy from the sun they break the carbon-oxygen bonds, releasing the oxygen to the atmosphere and they the carbon to grow. By the way, that's how we get oxygen to breath and keep us alive.
The ratio of carbon 14 vs regular carbon in the plant, will be the same as in the atmosphere. They are at equilibrium.
So how does carbon 14 get into people? Carbon is the basic building block of all life, including people. In fact, we need to take in carbon in order to live. Not only to build and maintain our bodies, but we get our energy from carbon. In our bodies we combine oxygen with carbon... metabolizing the carbon and releasing the energy we need to... move my arms around like this... just to live. So we need carbon.
But we can't get carbon from the atmosphere like plants do. We get our carbon by eating plants, or eating animals that eat plants. And that results in the ratio of C14 to regular carbon in our bodies... being the same as in the atmosphere. It's at equilibrium.
When the plant dies... or we die... we stop taking in carbon. The C14 we have in us decays... and is not replaced. So the ratio of C14 to regular carbon slowly decreases over time, as the C14 decays and is not replaced... and that is the basis of carbon dating.
Okay... is everyone still awake? I had a very nice compliment this past week after preaching a sermon. Someone who had not attended our church before was there and after the service they came up to me and said, “I loved your sermon. You are loud so I didn't fall asleep.” We don't use a sound system, by the way, in our church... I'm just an old disk jockey turned street preacher with a big voice. So apparently I keep people awake.
But you can't hear that in a video... and I understand that talking about science... sometimes results in people losing interest... and maybe drifting off. But having the facts is important. Having this background is important to understand how we arrive at a young age for the earth.
Truth. And decisions about truth, such as the decisions about truth that many people make today, such as decisions about the truth of climate change, are so often made in ignorance. Not meaning that people are stupid... just that they are uniformed... they lack knowledge. They don't have enough knowledge to evaluate whether what they are hearing is true or not. If you are just hearing things in a vacuum, you have no way evaluate whether this is true or not. So people will believe anything.
So... now that I have insulted everybody... but it is true... American's are pretty much scientifically and biblically illiterate... and that's why we are producing these podcasts... But anyway... I just lost the last of my viewers, right there. So, after that, if there is anybody left watching this... let's continue...
There is just one more point to finish up... we've seen that all living things, with some exceptions, have the same ratio of carbon 14 to regular carbon as does the atmosphere. One of the major problems is that the ratio in the atmosphere is constantly changing. That makes carbon dating useless for measuring specific dates, unless we have something to calibrate the C14 dating with the changes of the C14 in the atmosphere.
For dates going back about 2,000 or so years we do have calibration materials such as written records, inscriptions, pottery, and other human artifacts. So carbon dating is generally fairly accurate going back about 2,000 years and maybe a little bit further. Anything older than that and it really can't be trusted, because it can't be calibrated. We just don't know the initial conditions.
I should mention that tree ring data is often used to calibrate carbon dating. The problem with that is the tree ring data is notoriously inaccurate. Half of my immediate family have degrees in one form or another of forestry. Counting rings is not an accurate way to determine the age of a tree. You could almost say that falls in the category of an old wive's tale. That is not how you can accurately determine the age of the tree.
But there is more...
Another major bump in the road of carbon dating is that there is strong evidence that the rate of radioactive decay... the rate at which carbon 14 decays to nitrogen, has changed in the past. The evidence is strong that there was a period of accelerated decay, right around the time of the Biblical flood.
Of course, if you are a creation-denier, a world-wide flood is not acceptable... and we have another case of the belief in evolution hindering the advancement of science. To deny the flood requires denial of some plain and obvious facts such looking at continent wide layers of sediment. Even to deny that there was an accelerated rate of radioactive decay, means you have to deny obvious facts such as the amount of helium in zircons, fission tracks, and radio halos. But that's all a subject for another time.
Let's get to the bottom line. We're getting close to the end. I'm going to have to wrap this up. Carbon dating showing diamonds are about 55,000 years old... and ased on assumptions that are going to cause those dates to show much older ages than they actually are. Assumptions about the amount of C14 in the atmosphere, the initial conditions... about radioactive decay rates, mean that something that is only 6,000 years old, can have a carbon date of 55,000 years.
Oh... and before we finish, I'd like to mention that coal, which is supposedly 300 million years old based on evolutionary thinking, has also been carbon dated. As with diamonds, it has C14 showing that it also is very young.
[For more information: https://creation.com/c14-equilibrium-in-the-atmosphere]
So what we have is solid, scientific evidence that the earth is young, as measured by carbon dating. Those who believe in evolution never even thought to look for thees evidence because evolution blinded them to the possibility that it existed. In other words, evolution hindered scientific inquiry.
That C14 is found in diamonds, that it is even found in diamonds, a place where contamination is impossible, shows scientifically that the earth is young, not billions of years, or even millions of years old.
Christians often spend a lot of time showing that evolutionary beliefs are not valid. Showing evidence against evolution. But, although the Bible does not need scientific evidence to prove it is true, there is an overwhelming amount of evidence proving the earth is young and God created everything recently. Carbon 14 in diamonds is just one small part of that evidence.
Thank you for watching this episode of the Science Pastor. If you have a question or comment, please send to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. My name is Steve... I'm the Science Pastor... and I'll see you next time!
Fore information about theformation of diamonds, see: https://geology.com/articles/diamonds-from-coal (Provides information on the four ways diamonds are formed.)
https://indianapublicmedia.org/amomentofscience/how-old-diamonds (In the secular view, diamonds are at least a billion years old.)