Speir Explains His YEC View

(r_speir) #1

There seems to be a large collection here who do not understand what I am saying. So I have decided to do a series of small posts to aid in your understanding. We will start with this

  1. I am not questioning the age of the earth.

Reforming Young Earth Creationism
(John Harshman) #2

Nobody has, to my knowledge, been confused on this point. Please go a bit faster in your explanation, and try to get to the part that’s a response to my question.

(S. Joshua Swamidass) #3

@r_speir, go ahead and lay it out here. Everyone, leave him be till he finishes his point.

(r_speir) #9
  1. I believe a WW Flood occurred approx 4000 years ago (or 4500) give or take that buried billions of organisms in sedimentary rock around the globe. (Please forgive this insertion, but I really do not care if you believe this or not. I am quite confident of its occurrence.)

  2. Mixed in with that catastrophic burial. Wait. That needs an explanation. That “catastrophic burial” I believe occurred layer by layer probably resulting in a slow death of the earth’s population.

…mixed in with that burial were untold tons of lava flows and ejecta from 1000s of volcanic eruptions WW.

  1. I believe that you believe that you are dating the fossil remains of that WW burial when you - or rather - when those who do such things - perform radio isotopic dating of the surrounding volcanic rock.

  2. When those dates are returned…I believe them for the most part. I hope you understand that. And I will pause there.

  3. I believe those dates. I don’t mind that they return millions of years. But like you, I believe those dates must conform to certain criteria, in that, geologist/paleontologists, etc expect the results to be in line with fossil indexing which has been around for a long time. This should not surprise you. It must be done. I guess I am surprised that you are surprised

  4. However, here is where you and I divide. You are trying to assign radiometric dates in the millions of years to living (now dead) organisms from the Flood…! Do you understand the problem? I will pause

  5. If you - or again those who do such things - are not able to properly date these “recently died off” organisms, then just admit it. If we cannot date sedimentary rock - or if you refuse to use C14 dating - then so be it. You lose and I lose. We all lose, because we are not really doing proper science. We are just parroting what our professors and textbooks have told us (that is, by claiming these organisms are millions of years old)


  1. I am sort of finished. That’s it. Very simple. That is all I am saying. I hope you got the part very clearly that I am not arguing with your dates.

(Retired Professor & Minister.) #10

Help me to understand:

What is your evidence (whether scientific and/or Biblical) of massive lava flows and volcanic eruptions worldwide?

Also, what is your explanation for the distinct “layer by layer” catastrophic burials if such flood layers were produced in the single chaotic year of that flood? Why are there so many clear boundaries between layers. (Once again, I refer you to my post in the closed thread where I asked you about the Haymond Formation’s 15,000 alternately sandstone and shale sedimentary layers, each with its own countless animal tunnels/burrows and plant root casts showing long periods of habitation and growth.)

Why use Carbon-14 instead of more appropriate radiometric dating methods?


What we are measuring is the amount of time that has passed since that volcanic rock solidified from molten lava. During this solidification you can get crystals such as sanidine or zircons.

Let’s take zircons as our example. They can’t form until the lava has cooled. Zircons can’t exist in molten lava because they would melt. When a zircon forms it includes Uranium but it excludes Lead due to their charges. Two isotopes of Uranium decay into two Lead isotopes, and since Lead is excluded when the zircon forms we know that the Lead in the zircon came from the decay of Uranium. This allows us to use the ratios of U to Pb to measure the time since the zircon formed when the lava solidified.

In the geologic column we find lava flows that moved out on land and then solidified. We also find ash that solidified in the air and fell to the Earth. Radiometric dating measures the time since those deposits formed.

There is another way to test your claims. We could use these methods on volcanic eruptions from recent history. When this is done, the greatest departure from a young age is 250,000 years. When we are talking about 100 million year old rocks, that is a error of less than 1%.

When you step on your bathroom scales at home do the scales read your mind and show you the weight you want to see? This is what you are proposing for radiometric dating.

The mass spectrometers that measure radioisotopes can’t read the minds of the scientists, nor do they know the fossils that are found in relation to the samples it is reading. What you are proposing requires scientists to lie about their data. If this is what young Earth creationists think is going on then all they need to do is go to those same rock formations and measure the isotopes themselves, then report their results. The fact we don’t see this happening says a lot.

Why wouldn’t we refuse to misuse a tool? There will be trace amounts of 14C in any sample, and it doesn’t mean anything.

(George) #12


It’s okay if you make adjustments to your timeline, right?

Anywhere from 4000 to 4500 years ago puts the utter destruction of the Flood sometime after the first pyramid of Giza is completed!

Are you really going to stick with the idea that we had a global flood that skipped over the Nile Valley?

What’s more, the same flooding that created fossils of all these animals 4000 years ago would have also created fossils of thousands, if not dozens of thousands of Egyptians!

And yet we find zero Egyptian humans fossilized with all plant (and MEAT!) eating dinosaurs!

[ Click on the image to enlarge it and improve readability! ]

(Retired Professor & Minister.) #13

If that were indeed the case—and radiometric dating was truly built on “sinking sand” [pun somewhat intended]—I wonder what is stopping opportunistic young Ph.D. candidates who could make huge names for themselves by publishing the ultimate destruction of a long-standing methodology? I can think of few better routes to fame and academic advancement than toppling a long-accepted paradigm.

(r_speir) #14

I believe in profoundly old lava flows. In the billions of years. I don’t see a problem.

Regarding soft tissue finds, any paleontologist worth his salt would definitely want to do a carbon dating test. You are wrong here. It would mean a whole lot.

(r_speir) #15

I don’t want to get into a brawl about the date of the Flood and about you being an expert in Egyptology and the dates you think pyramids were built. Also, I don’t really care to get into my specific views about if the Flood was a hell-bent occurrence in every location on the planet - there may have been large regions where its effects were benign.

Again, I am not going there with you.


These flows have fossils buried under them. How do you think they got there?


(r_speir) #17

Sorry but this is amusing. As a paleontologist, if I found soft tissue in a collection of million year old fossils, I would definitely think that the “appropriate dating method” was indeed a C14 test.


Why would 14C dating be the appropriate test? The method can’t measure the age of anything older than 50,000 years old due to contamination from environmental 14C. Something 100 million years old would have gone through about 17,000 half lives meaning there isn’t enough original 14C to measure, if any at all. At that age, 14C contamination is all you would be measuring.


Thank you for succinctly laying out your view, @r_speir. I can see why some of the ideas may have some trouble getting traction in the broader YEC community. Best of luck with AiG and others.

(T J Runyon) #20

Well, as a paleontologist, you’re wrong.

(John Harshman) #21

I note, first, that you didn’t actually answer the question that prompted your reply. I will also note that your story isn’t self-consistent and doesn’t hold up under any sort of real examination.

Do you have any knowledge of the geological record? Do you know the terms “Cambrian”, “Devonian”, “Cretaceous”, and so on? If so, can you inform us which parts of the geologic column are pre-flood, which are flood, and which are post-flood? Are the pre-flood parts accurately dated radiometrically?

You have also failed to account for the clear time-series of radiometric dates, correlated with the succession of index fossils. You have claimed both that scientists are not dishonest and that the radiometric dates are all fudged. You must realize that those claims are not logically compatible.

No, you don’t believe those dates. Again your various claims are mutually incompatible. The radiometric dates can’t be both correct and fudged. If they’re correct, then the fossil dates are also constrained. There is no way to put old lava flows on top of young sediments. If they’re fudged, you must accuse scientists of systematic lying.

I don’t believe that.

No. I do not understand at all. The problem seems to be that you won’t accept that there was no flood. There’s plentiful evidence of that, quite aside from any radiometric dating. You have no idea what you’re talking about and you don’t want to know.

You are not arguing with my dates but you think my dates are all wrong. You contradict yourself constantly.

(S. Joshua Swamidass) #22

I agree.

To everyone else, slow down and understand @r_speir before you critique. Of course we think he hasn’t accounted for all the evidence. Try and understand him first.


Just for fun, I did some calculations. There is an online half-life calculator for those who want to join in. Please correct any of the math I might get wrong.

First, let’s get a handle on how much 14C there is in a living sample:

That’s a tiny amount. Out of every 1 trillion carbon atoms only 1 to 1.5 are 14C. For the purposes of this calculation, let’s go with 1.5. That means for every 1 kg of carbon there is 1.5E-9 grams of 14C (1.5 nanograms). A sample for carbon dating containing 1 kg of carbon is absolutely ridiculous, but let’s just roll with it.

If we start with 1.5 nanograms of 14C, a molecular weight of 14 g per 6.022E23 atoms that gets us 64521428571428 atoms, or 6.45E13 atoms when that animal dies. Half of that 14C will go away every 5,700 years. After 500,000 years, how much do we have left? After 500,000 years we have 2.5325848467726E-13 atoms left. In other words, there is no more 14C left over from the animal that died. It’s gone. After 200,000 years you have ~2,000 atoms left which isn’t going to be measurable.

Remember, we are starting with 1 kg of carbon which is WAY more than is used for 14C dating. Put quite simply, 14C is an extremely limited tool for measuring the age of organic samples.

(Chris Falter) #24

@r_speir - Thanks for clarifying your stance. I am happy you think no one is being dishonest.

I would be interested in your response to this observation, @r_speir. What our friend T is stating is that geologists are not making assumptions about their radiometric dating techniques that might turn out to be inaccurate due to, say, ancient zircons mixed in with young lava flows due to flooding.

Here’s what geologists have done: They have calibrated their radiometric measurement techniques by measuring lava flows/igneous formations of known age. They have done this with rocks spewed by Mt. Saint Helens, WA about 40 years ago. They have done this with rocks spewed by Mt. Etna. They have in fact done this with 45 different formations across the planet.

Now let us suppose that the WW Noahic flood hypothesis you present is correct, and that your hypothesis of dating 4000 year old igneous formations is correct. What would we expect these 45 radiometric studies of formations with known ages to show?

It seems to me that your hypothesis would predict radiometric dates of 45 formations from the past 2000 years to have the same scale and distribution of ages as the radiometric dates of formations from 4000 years ago, right? Consider that 2000-4000 years is scarcely the blink of an eye with regard to radioactive decay for a substance like 40K with a half-life of 1.2 Billion-with-a-b years. That would imply that measurements of contempaneous formations should be basically the same as measurements of formations from 4000 years ago, wouldn’t you agree?

But I don’t want to assume anything. I’m going to pause here to make sure you agree with me about the predictions your hypothesis would make with respect to the radiometric dates of samples with known ages.

Chris Falter

(S. Joshua Swamidass) #25

I think @r_speir’s point is that we still detect C14 in these samples, which appears to be in conflict with this math. A few thoughts:

  1. He is right, until we take contamination into account.

  2. Even without taking contamination into account, the dates are inconsistent with YEC.

I think actually concedes this last point. It appears he is advocating for Young Life Creationism (old earth, recent life), and might be able to accommodate life going back, say, 100,000 years ago. Is that right @r_speir?