# how do we date things that are millions of years old?

## 34 posts in this topic

Hey all, thanks for the input. I'm a Christian and just googling about how things are dated.... so this has been interesting. Believe me, I've got a lot of questions too about God/Christ vs. Scientific explanations. But I keep leaning towards Jesus... mostly because of the intangibles, we certainly are sinful people, but we also are loving people too. It just keeps "making sense" to me... that something must have created love, we are rebellious people... and separated ourselves from that power of love, and that creator of love made a way back to him.... namely the sacrifice of himself...a sinless God man... Jesus. It is a crazy story... but I keep coming back to it.

Anyway, just wanted to point out that I'm pretty sure the bible never does define a 6,000 year earth.... so I assume MAYBE it's older than that based on science...but I'm not s scientist so it's impossible for me to understand the carbon dating stuff, etc.... but I imagine it could be reality.

Also... just fyi, someone said the bible was mostly written 1,000 years after Christ. I'm pretty sure it's been pretty well proven that the old testament wad written roughly in the 3,000 years before Christ came to earth, and the new testament was written in first 100 years after Christ came.

Thanks again. Deep stuff. Scott

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Believe me, I've got a lot of questions too about God/Christ vs. Scientific explanations. But I keep leaning towards Jesus...

I don't see why there should be any conflict. There are, and always have been, many religious scientists of all faiths.

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Thanks Strange. That's so true.

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how do we date things that are millions of years old?

I generally date younger girls.

And people are not 'things' !

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Hey all, thanks for the input. I'm a Christian and just googling about how things are dated.... so this has been interesting. Believe me, I've got a lot of questions too about God/Christ vs. Scientific explanations. But I keep leaning towards Jesus... mostly because of the intangibles, we certainly are sinful people, but we also are loving people too. It just keeps "making sense" to me... that something must have created love, we are rebellious people... and separated ourselves from that power of love, and that creator of love made a way back to him.... namely the sacrifice of himself...a sinless God man... Jesus. It is a crazy story... but I keep coming back to it.

So you just assume that Jesus existed, god is love, the bible is true...?

Anyway, just wanted to point out that I'm pretty sure the bible never does define a 6,000 year earth.... so I assume MAYBE it's older than that based on science...but I'm not s scientist so it's impossible for me to understand the carbon dating stuff, etc.... but I imagine it could be reality.

You would be correct, the bible does not make that claim. Carbon Dating doesn't work on things as old as the earth. For that you use other radioactive elements like uranium.

Also... just fyi, someone said the bible was mostly written 1,000 years after Christ. I'm pretty sure it's been pretty well proven that the old testament wad written roughly in the 3,000 years before Christ came to earth, and the new testament was written in first 100 years after Christ came.

Your dates on when the bible was written are mistaken. The bible is a series of stories written down separately over a long period of time starting a few hundred years BCE. Many different authors wrote the bible but the oldest copy we have dates back to around 800 years ago.

The New Testament was started at least a generation after Jesus was supposedly crucified and finished 400 years later via the council of Nicea where a popular vote decided to exclude as many as 20 other gospels.

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... I keep leaning towards Jesus... mostly because of the intangibles, we certainly are sinful people, but we also are loving people too. It just keeps "making sense" to me... th

It just "makes sense" to you that God couldn't do any better than create a bunch of sinners?

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!

Moderator Note

This probably should have been pointed out more than a decade ago, but this is posted in chemistry. Please confine your responses to science, and leave religion out if it.

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Posted (edited)

and just googling about how things are dated.... so this has been interesting.

For organic matter (or used-to-be organic matter f.e. ancient papyrus) there is used Carbon C-14 radio-dating method.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carbon-14

C-14 isotope is created in upper level of atmosphere where atoms are bombarded by cosmic rays from the Sun, and for example following reaction occurs:

$N^{14} + n^0 \rightarrow C^{14} + p^+$

Neutron is captured and proton is ejected to conserve energy, momentum, charge and Baryon number.

Carbon C-14 isotope is unstable and decays via following path exclusively:

$C^{14} \rightarrow N^{14} + e^- + \bar{v}_e + 156.5 keV$

Its half-life time is 5730 years.

That means if you would have 1 kg of C-14 at the beginning,

after 5730 years, you would have 500 grams,

after yet another 5730 years (11500 years total), you would have 250 grams,

and so on, so on.

This allows dating organic matter to something like 50k years.

Calcium Carbonate rocks have organic source, but were made a long long time before 50k years ago.

Carbon C-14 produced in atmosphere is absorbed by living plants in Carbon Dioxide (CO2).

Plants are eaten by animals, and either of them are eaten by human.

Dead body, dead plant, does not absorb Carbon C-14 anymore, so its amount is decreased when it's decaying.

So scientist can take sample of ancient dead body, and measure amount of Carbon C-14 isotope remaining in it.

To measure date of non-organic matter, rocks, there could be used radioactive isotope of Rubidium Rb-87 which is decaying exclusively to Strontium Sr-87

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rubidium-strontium_dating

It has astonishing high half-life 49.23 billions years. Therefor only a tiny fraction of it decayed after rocks were made (melted the last time).

Edited by Sensei
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Religious belief usually is a matter of faith. Usually. Hard Science works by a continuous retesting of observed facts. Usually.

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