The age of , years is a little steep for creationist purposes, so Dr. Hovind informs us that "God must have started the earth with some. Helium-4 is the product of radioactive alpha decay whereas Helium-3 is primordial. The rates of their "production" are simply the rates of their escape from within the earth to the atmosphere. A fair amount of helium is lost from the earth's atmosphere by simply being heated up in the elevated temperature of the exosphere Dalrymple, , p. The exosphere is the outermost layer of our atmosphere, beginning after the ionosphere at about miles above the earth.
"Polonium Haloes" Refuted
Helium Evidence for A Young World Remains Crystal-Clear
It can be an especially difficult challenge when the Creationist author has professional credentials and has published in mainstream scientific journals. One such individual is Robert Gentry, who holds a Master's degree in Physics and an honorary doctorate from the fundamentalist Columbia Union College. For over thirteen years he held a research associate's position at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory where he was part of a team which investigated ways to immobilize nuclear waste. Gentry has spent most of his professional life studying the nature of very small discoloration features in mica and other minerals, and concluded that they are proof of a young Earth. Geologists classify rocks into three main categories - sedimentary, igneous, and metamorphic - based on the way in which they form. Sedimentary rocks are secondary in formation, being the product of precursor rocks of any type.
Helium Diffusion in Zircon: Flaws in a Young-Earth Argument, Part 1 (of 2)
Scientists use certain elements present in a certain abundance to calculate an approximate age for rocks. One of the decay ratios used is Uranium decaying through a series of alpha and beta decays to Lead. The number in superscript preceding the element name indicates the atomic mass, the sum of its protons and neutrons. Alpha decay releases a Helium nucleus two protons and two neutrons from the parent atom to create two atoms: the released Helium and a daughter product that has an atomic number two less than the original and an atomic mass four less than the original. Using the amount of the remaining Uranium, the amount of Lead that has built up, and the original amount of Lead which is not created by any known decay process, scientists can calculate an approximate age based on the decay rate of Uranium and the ratios of Uranium to Lead and Lead to Lead.
This article was originally published at Reasons to Believe - ed. Radiometric dating methods have long been a target of young-earth creationists, and for good reason. Rock ages obtained by these dating methods, usually ranging from millions to billions of years, directly contradict belief in a 6, year old earth.