Department of the History of Science Helen C. White Hall Madison, WI PSCF 45 December R adiocarbon C dating has several implications for Christianity, particularly in terms of the interpretation of the first part of Genesis. Since its advent in the midth century, it has been one of the central topics in the creation-evolution controversy.
As of the mids, radioactive dating had not attracted serious attention from the majority of evangelicals.
Since the invention of the C method and the appearance of evangelical professionals in this How does christianity explain carbon dating, however, American evangelicals have divided themselves into two groups. One group has been made up of fundamentalist evangelicals, who accepted the global effect of Noah's flood and a young earth and rejected radioactive dates.
The other, non-literalist group of evangelicals accepted some kinds of evolutionary uniformitarian hypotheses and radioactive dating. The Seventh-day Adventists and the American Scientific Affiliation were central forums in the controversy regarding radioactive dating during the first decade after the invention of the C dating method.
Then the controversy spread out into wider evangelical circles. This paper traces the reactions of Seventh-day Adventists and American evangelical Christians toward C dating.
Among several radioactive dating How does christianity explain carbon dating, the radiocarbon C dating method which was invented by Willard Frank Libby of the University of Chicago in the late s occupies a special position in archaeology and ancient history, as well as geology, because it can give the absolute age of those carbonaceous archaeological findings that were not older than the half-life of C This method also drew special attention from Christian scholars because of its effect on biblical interpretation.
C dating received special attention from evangelical Christians who emphasized the authority and reliability of the Bible, because it could date the age of organic remains of ancient plants, animals and men in terms of the biblical chronology.
Literally how does christianity explain carbon dating porn tube
In particular, the C dating method is important in the study of the Old Testament, since it professes to supply absolute dates for events within the past forty thousand years, which covers the apparent periods of Old Testament history. Since the revival of scientific creationism in the early s, one of the most important events has been the on going debate over the validity of C dating.
The apparent contradiction between C dates and the literal interpretation of Genesis has split the evangelical Christians of the United States into two factions: Although the Adventists regard themselves as evangelicals, some hesitate to include them in a list of evangelical Christians because of their strong commitment to the writings of Ellen G.
White, the Adventist prophetess. But during the twentieth century the Adventists played a very important role in the formulation of the so-called "scientific creationism" in the United States, influencing evangelical Christian responses to the idea How does christianity explain carbon dating a young earth.
Therefore, in order to understand the relationship between Christians and C dating, we must include the SDA in our discussions.
Seventh-day Adventists' opinions on C dating and the age of the earth have varied somewhat over time. In his book The New Geology and in other publications, George McCready Price, an Adventist geologist, framed the so-called "flood geology" theory, which greatly influenced fundamentalist evangelicals as well as the Adventist scholars. One of the first Adventist critics of C dates was Robert W. Woods, a college physics teacher, who criticized not the technical process of C activity measurement but the assumptions by which the dating How does christianity explain carbon dating were interpreted.
Thus he said that the method was good as far back as shortly after the flood, which seemed to be the practical limit of historical dating. To Woods, if How does christianity explain carbon dating assumptions of C dating were accepted, the C method was capable of measuring some 20, years into the past.
However, this is the case only if certain conditions are met. First, the rate of the formation and decay of C has always been the same. Woods admitted that no method had been found to accelerate or retard the radioactive decay of an atom.
However, the assumption that the rate of formation for C has been the same for long ages past was, to Woods, not certain. Such an assumption presumes that: Another figure was Lester E. Harris, an Adventist biologist. While not a major figure in the creationist debate, he did demonstrate the possibility of contamination in C dating samples. One of the most interesting and controversial defenses of a young earth was raised by Robert V.
Gentry, an Adventist geophysics professor at Columbia Union College, who published several scientific articles in authoritative journals on the pleochroic halo and its implications. Gentry argued that these halos indicated that some of the How does christianity explain carbon dating rocks were created suddenly and recently. He used radiohalo evidence to prove the youth of the earth, Noah's flood, and the uncertainty of C dating.
Ironically, many Adventist scholars gave little credence to Gentry's findings, some even opposing them. In the late s, orthodox Adventists relaxed their attitude toward the C method. Even Price, a major critic of C dating, admitted the validity of C dates for the post-diluvian period, 8 assuming that the C method might be reasonably accurate up to the flood.
Yet he continued to believe that the environment of the pre-flood era was totally different from the present one and argued that the present conditions of cosmic radiation from outer space did not prevail before the flood.