A preliminary age calibration for the post-glacial-maximum period

posted in: Dating | 8
Sea level curve for the post-glacial-maximum period (from Wikipedia)
Sea level curve for the post-glacial-maximum period (from Wikipedia)
The sea-level curve on Wikipedia allows a rough calculation to be made to convert uniformitarian dates into actual dates for the post-Flood period.

We use Oard’s estimate for the timing of the post-Flood Ice Age (see figure 9 on the article about Banks Peninsula). He estimated it took 500 years for the Ice Age to reach its maximum after the Flood, and 200 years for the ice to melt back at the end of the Ice Age maximum.

If we take the Flood at 4500 years ago (approximately) then the Ice Age maximum would be about 4000 years ago and the current sea levels were reached about 3800 years ago. On the Wikipedia image, therefore, we equate the last glacial maximum (22 ka ago) to the biblical age of 4,000 years ago. And we tie the point on the graph where sea level reached present level (7 ka ago) to the biblical age of 3800 years ago. This is a very tight compression of time in this 200 year period.

Calibration factor to convert uniformitarian 'age' to biblical age for the post-glacial-maximum period.
Calibration factor to convert uniformitarian 'age' to biblical age for the post-glacial-maximum period.
When we do this we obtain the calibration factor shown in the second figure as a function of uniformitarian ‘age’. This calibration curve likely reflects the sorts of adjustments that would need to be made to carbon-14 ‘dates’ in order to obtain actual dates. While this is a general calibration curve, I would anticipate there to be temporal and regional anomalies. The ‘ages’ connected with the sea-level curve shown on Wikepedia are most likely to have been measured by carbon-14 method, and that can be affected by many factors, including the revegetation after the Flood, volcanism, and changes to the magnetic field of the earth. I also suspect the melting of the ice sheets on the continents had some effect. (See What about carbon dating?)

The third figure allows us to read off the biblical age for the post-glacial-maximum period when we have the uniformitarian age.

Correction curve to convert uniformitarian age to biblical age for the post-glacial-maximum period.
Correction curve to convert uniformitarian age to biblical age for the post-glacial-maximum period.
What we have done is arbitrarily adjusted the results to fit in with what we consider to be the reliable ages based on the historical reports in the Bible. Some may claim this is circular reasoning, and it is, or that I have massaged the figures to get the answer I want, and I have. However, that is the way that all dating methods work. The researcher will do the measurements and calculations to work out the ‘age’. They will then compare this with what they think it should be. And when it does not agree they will work out a way of adjusting the figures to get what they want.

This is actually what has been done with carbon-14 in that the results did not agree with other methods so there has been a calibration curve produced to make the results match with what they expect it to be. What I have done here is no different. I have matched the results with some of the points that I consider can be established with some degree of reliability.

This is a ‘back of the envelope’ calculation provides an initial estimate for the sorts of corrections that need to be made, but we would need to consult more reliable sources and obtain other information in order to refine and test the curve. As we consider the form of the calibration function it will help us explore the sorts of factors that may be affecting the carbon-14 ratio in the atmosphere in the past, and develop research projects to explore these effects.

8 Responses

  1. ashley haworth-roberts

    Do you think we are in an inter-glacial or do you claim (despite today’s polar ice caps) that both glaciations AND inter-glacials are in the past?
    And how did the glaciers melt so quickly at the end of your ‘rapid ice age’?

    Tas Walker responds:
    Hi Ashley,
    Mike Oard’s biblical explanation for the Ice Age has the ice build-up beginning immediately after the Flood, driven by the warm oceans. The multiple Pleistocene glacials and inter-glacials are explained as a waxing and waning of the ice sheets over that 500-year period, similar to the way the polar ice caps wax and wane today. Some 500 years after the Flood, as the oceans cooled the ice sheets melted back to what we have today. It seems the ocean temperature has been quite stable in the 4000 years since the end of the Ice Age, and so the glaciers on the earth have been fairly stable since that time. The biblical model of the Ice Age interprets the other ‘ice ages’ that uniformitarian scientists talk about prior to the Pleistocene (Precambrian, Permian, etc.) in a different way. We consider that the evidence on which those ice-age interpretations are based is better explained as gigantic submarine debris flows during the Flood. So yes, it is a glacial period on the earth, but the time of much larger ice sheets would seem to be past. Thanks for your comment. BTW, I often think of you and talk about you with my friends and hope you are doing well and wish you all the best.

  2. ashley haworth-roberts

    Thanks. If you claim that there has only been one ‘ice age’ (meaning ice age glaciation) as you and Oard do (contrary to the evidence though I will merely speak of the Pleistocene here) then you either have to reject the notion of inter-glacials (like today) during it or must assume lots of ‘rapid’ inter-glacials during that ‘ice age’ as you appear to do and as Richard Fangrad and Calvin Smith did in a CMI video I watched recently. By doing the latter – and if you suggest (contrary to the views of mainstream scientists who think ongoing orbital factors over many millennia trigger glaciations) that times of much larger ice sheets are all in the past – then you are saying that what we are now in is ‘not’ an inter-glacial (despite polar ice caps which have not always existed) because inter-glacials were what occurred during Earth’s ‘single’ ‘post-flood’ ice age. Thus the logic of the YEC position (ONE ‘ice age’ in Earth’s past) is that we are NO LONGER in an inter-glacial – contrary to your claim that “it is a glacial period on the Earth”.
    I also see no obvious mechanism for the rapid melting of glaciers from glaciation levels to their present levels that your compressed timescale requires (manmade global warming would not be able to account for it as that is a recent phenomenon).

    Tas Walker responds:
    The mechanism is the cooling of the oceans.

  3. Lee Abel

    @ashley haworth-roberts
    The biggest issue here is actually READING historical accounts (bible) and adding up actual FACTS (as stated here) and if we can form diamonds in labs why not coal as we are told coal formed into diamonds. C-14 dating should ONLY work up to about 100k years IF reliable but I have seen the actual failure of it to “age” many different objects, some merely a few decades being aged at millions.
    There are several different radiometric dating methods, so NONE have been verified as guaranteed accurate.
    Also man made global warming is a SHAM. A tool of deceptive and dishonest types to maintain gov’t funding.
    I remember around 30 yrs ago the so called experts were publishing in all the science magazines about the coming ice age, and horrible lack of fuel sources for heat and power.
    I also remember the much touted “science” they used to “prove” it.
    So with something my baby sitter taught me (critical thinking) I started putting two and two together.
    The FACTS are I have seen coal made in low flood areas on my grandfathers farm land in the low flood areas. We even found old iron markers that were from the farms marker line that had been driven into trees. ALSO in that whole area there is low land that has been flooding for hundreds of years and has many deposits, ie coal industry in the area.
    Young Earth/non global warming makes more sense than ever. The Earth heats and cools due to solar winds from a properly positioned and formed solar furnace called a sun.
    See,,,, God’s intelligent design is awesome!

  4. ashley haworth-roberts

    Lee Abel

    Please tell me whether you agree with Tas Walker’s answer “the mechanism is the cooling of the oceans” and if so why you agree with it.

    Your claim that coal formed into diamonds is nonsense. But hey Tas Walker approves of people posting nonsense here. Putting the word ‘FACT’ in upper case does not make your comments factual. Your comments also have nothing to do with the original article or with my comments.

    I have tried to challenge Tas’ answer but after awaiting moderation for around three days my comment was censored by him without explanation. If young Earth creationism is not intellectually bankrupt, why is censorship of contrary views and awkward questioning regularly practised by so many YECs?


    Tas Walker responds:
    You are correct that it is not the conventional view that diamonds formed from coal. However, it is known that carbon in the form of coal can be changed into diamond in the lab.

    You would find that you would have more success with getting your ideas considered if if you were less aggressive and more polite.

  5. Saito Singh

    Lee Abel said,
    >”. C-14 dating should ONLY work up to about 100k years IF reliable but I have seen the actual failure of it to “age” many different objects, some merely a few decades being aged at millions.”

    That’s fascinating! So you were working in a lab that did radiometric dating?

    But I’m confused by your statement. You rightly point out that C-14 dating is applied on scales of up to 100,000 years at most. And that’s because the equations CAN’T produce results any older than that because of the accuracy of the lab equipment. Yet you say that you’ve seen it produce ages of millions of years, if I understood you properly. How is what you are saying even possible?

    Perhaps I’m misunderstanding what you are saying because no scientist would ever claim the lab equipment or that the calculations could ever ever produce a result in the millions. Thanks for clarifying.

    Tas Walker responds:
    It’s not the accuracy of the lab equipment that sets the limit for carbon-14 dating but the short half-life of carbon-14. After 100,000 years there would be next to no carbon-14 left. After a million years there would not be an atom.

    Yet, when we test for carbon-14 in samples that are ‘supposed’ to be millions of years old there is detectable carbon-14 in them. That is evidence that the samples are not millions of years old. You can find lots of examples of this on the web, in particular on creation.com if you search for “carbon-14”. Of course, those who beleive in millions of years have various explanations for this pervasive presence of carbon-14 which was not expected to be present.

  6. Saito Singh

    Tas Walker responded:
    >It’s not the accuracy of the lab equipment that sets the limit for carbon-14 dating but the short half-life of carbon-14. After 100,000 years there would be next to no carbon-14 left.

    No, except in the sense that “next to no carbon-14 left” is your way of saying exactly what I wrote: that at those very low levels of C-14, our equipment is simply unable to accurately measure the remaining quantity above “noise level”. So yes it IS the accuracy of the lab equipment which stops us, long before we get to C-14 measurements which would get to millions of years.

    Tas Walker responded:
    If the samples are millions of years old then of course the c-14 concentration would be less than what the instrument can measure. But that assumes millions of years. But we don’t accept those ages, which is why we tested for carbon-14. As we anticipated we found levels well within the measuring accuracy of the lab equipment, providing good evidence that the million-year ages are not true.

  7. Neil

    Yep, you’re right. c14 can only produce revliable results of up to 100,000 years. This is purely based on its half life. That’s why we look at different isotopes with a slower rate of radioactive decay when dating older formations. Google uranium/lead dating. It was introduced by a relatively smart man (Ernest Rutherford), and is surprisingly accurate.
    Use you’re critical thinking skills to look at both sides fairly. I have 🙂
    Neil (MSc, Bsc geol)

    Tas Walker responds:
    Thanks for your comment. This article is about calibrating carbon-14 on the basis of taking biblical history as a given. It does not deal with the problems with radioactive dating or explain the reasons why dating methods are subjective and philosophy driven. Here are some that deal with that issue, which I think you will find useful:
    Diamonds: a creationists best friend
    Geological conflict: young radiocarbon date for ancient fossil wood challenges fossil dating
    Dating dilemma: fossil wood in ‘ancient’ sandstone
    The fatal flaw with radioactive dating methods
    How dating methods work

  8. Neil

    Thanks for the reply Tas. Sorry I’m off topic, but just thought I’d get it out there, as the comments certainly heading in that direction (RE: where did millions of years come from if C14 only valid for 100k).

    Obviously I disagree with all of those articles, but I do find them very interesting. I was just reminded of several of my religious co-students who took geological sciences with me. They actually ended up dropping out of the course, as they said that they were starting to question their belief. With each lecture and fieldtrip, they were presented with countless facts and evidence for an ancient earth. “How did you last so long in the course?” I asked. “Oh, we just ignore the facts”.

    But anywho, just make sure you look at the evidence on both sides. Thats the wonderful thing about science. If you come up with a theory and publish a paper, there are about 20 others who try their best to prove you wrong! They’re pretty ruthless actually (first hand evidence)!



    Tas Walker responds:
    Hi Neil,
    Of course I have looked at the evidence from both sides. I obtained an honours degree in geology (a four year course) as a mature-age student in my late 40s. I was required to understand and regurgitate the standard long-age evolutionary view on all sorts of ascpects of geology, geomorphology, paleontology, biology, astronomy, etc. In my experience it was the evolutionists who did not want to talk about the issue, neither the lecturers nor the students. Except when we were on field trips and they had loosened up with some alcoholic lubricant.

    The thing is that all the information at university and college is presented within the long-age evolutionary worldview. That creates a problem for someone who has grown up in a church but has not thought the issue through. The problem is not that the evidence proves long ages. No, the problem is that they are only presented the evidence in that view and they have not had the time to think through the alternative. It is actually double the work because you have to understand the long-age perspective and also research and think about the biblical view. So, unlesss they feel a special calling to persist in that subject they take the easier route.

    For all you say, I doubt that you have really thought about this issue from a different perspective. Forgive me if I am wrong, but what books have you read on biblical geology? What biblical models have you applied, and what areas of the country have you applied them to? Have you read the experiences recounted of geologists who have worked through this issue? (See this item for example.)

    I would encourage you to do some more reading on this site (main site and the blog) and on creation.com. I have met and spoken to geologists who have been challenged to get on top of this issue and they have read every article on geology that is available on these sites. They said it took them months but that is not a particularly long time compared with the amount of reading and study they had to do from the other perspective. They eventually came to a position where they had a confidence in the biblical position.

    The biggest hurdle is actually deciding to do it.