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Intelligent Design - It's Just Evolution in Disguise

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Does the Earth's Magnetic Field
Prove a Young Earth?

See Also

Young Earth Claim

Dr. Thomas Barnes (see also Moon Recession) is the source of the young Earth side of this claim.

He claims that the Earth's magnetic field has been declining since it was first measured back in 1829.  If we use the current rate of decline and extrapolate back even a million years ago, the field would have been impossible strong.  Therefore, the Earth must be fairly young.

Old Earth Rebuttal

Does the magnetic field prove a Young Earth?  The short answer is no.

The Young Earth view assumes that the magnetic field has experienced a uniform decline.  While there is much debate as to how and at what rates the magnetic field has changed, the evidence is clear that it has not been a uniform decline.  It has had periods of increase, decrease, and even pole reversals.

Would you look at an outgoing tide of 1.5 mph, and knowing that the width of the ocean is ~2300 miles, then estimate the ocean must be less than 64 days old?  Of course not!

One must consider the physical nature of the system.  Just because the tide is going out right now, doesn't mean that it has always been going out.

The Earth's core strongly affects the magnetic field.  The core is in a constant state of change due to natural cooling, nuclear heating, physical shifting, etc.  The rates of these changes and their effects are poorly understood as are their impact on the magnetic field; some changes causing the magnetic field to increase, others causing it to decrease.

Ancient volcanic rocks show that the magnetic field has not been in steady decline, as suggested by this claim, and has even reversed itself several times.  This is determined by studying the minerals in volcanic rocks.  These become fixed to the orientation the magnetic field was in when they cool.  They essentially become a "frozen compass" showing the orientation of the magnetic field at the time they cooled.  This provides a history of the Earth's magnetic field.

NASA has also studied the issue of Earth's changing magnetic field.

According to Glatzmaier, the ongoing 10% decline doesn't mean that a reversal is imminent. "The field is increasing or decreasing all the time," he says. "We know this from studies of the paleomagnetic record." [NASA: Earth's Inconstant Magnetic Field]

Clearly the magnetic field has not steadily decayed as required by this Young Earth theory.

Click images for enlarged view

Studies from the USGS showing the changes in direction of the Earth's magnetic field in the past, demonstrating that the field has clearly not been in a decline since the Earth's formation.

Just the facts, ma'am
Dr. Barnes assumed that  Earth's magnetic field has always decayed at the same rate that it has exhibited since 1829.  The evidence shows that this simply is not the case.

This is from a conference on "Geophysical and Geochemical Evolution of the Deep Earth" and sums of the current state of affairs (we just don't know enough).

SEDI 6 Dynamos and the Deep Earth:

Many numerical geodynamo models have proved capable of reproducing some gross features of the geomagnetic field, despite lying far from the appropriate parameter regime for Earth. Statistical properties of their observed secular variations often fail to match those inferred from paleomagnetic observations. All kinds of dynamo models will be discussed, but emphasis should be on those that will help inform us better about geomagnetic field behavior and evolution. Will the Ekman number problem be resolved by ever-increasing resolution, or can other approaches help such as characterization of turbulence either computationally or experimentally? Is there a common response amongst the various kinds of models to differences in boundary conditions, and can the most important influences be identified? Can numerical dynamo models help us understand how and why the geomagnetic field reverses? 

Want to learn more?

Here is a site is in particularly interesting because it presents a description a Dr. Barnes' position and then refutes it with another Creationist view.  It also provides some additional statistics for the changing field strength.  The new theory suffers the same flaw as Barnes' claim, in that it also assumes that the magnetic field changes are predictable enough to use them for precise dating.  However, it does a better job of hiding this flaw in the subterfuge.  Also pay close attention to the math he gives.  It doesn't do what he says it does nor what it needs to do for the new theory to work.  And he also trots out the Blue Elephant.

Here are some sources.  I've tried to include all sides of the debate.

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