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The main assumption of Radiometric Dating is that the decay rates are constant with time. If the decay rate has varied significantly over time then any date based on radioactive decay is worthless.
A Group of Scientists called RATE ( Radioisotopes and the Age of The Earth ) was started by ICR to study this issue from a creationist perspective. They have determined that the most likely times for accelerated decay were the first 2.5 days of the creation week, and during the Flood and shortly there after.
If radioactive decay has been go for millions and Billions of years then there is insufficient argon diffusion, insufficient lead diffusion, insufficient helium in the air, and too much Helium in Rocks.
Recent experiments commissioned by RATE indicate that "1.5 billion years" worth of nuclear decay have taken place, but in one or more short periods 4000 - 8000 years ago. This would shrink the alleged 4.5 billion year radioisotope age of the earth to only a few thousand years.
This was done by extracting hard, dense, microscopic crystals called zircons. Much of the uranium and thorium in the earth's continental crust is in zircons and it is often imbedded in flakes of biotite; a black mica. Helium is made as uranium decays to lead as it emits eight alpha particles per atom. These helium nuclei quickly gathers two electrons from the crystal becoming complete helium atoms.
Los Alamos measurements of uranium, thorium, and lead showed "1.5 billion" years worth of nuclear decay at today's rates. After calculating how much helium had been deposited by decay, they then measured how much helium was still in the zircons. It turned out that up to 58% of helium had not diffused out of the zircons and the percentages decreased with depth and temperature.
Made on from data on pages 51and 54
Radioisotopes and the age of the Earth II
At the time that RATE began its work, the diffusion rates had not been measured for the Zircons and biotite. So based on the helium found in zircons, Dr. Russell Humphreys calculated the diffusion rates for both Creation and Uniformitarian models. He found that the rates for the two models differs by a factor of 100,000.
Made on from data on pages 45, 51 and 54
Radioisotopes and the age of the Earth II
When the diffusion rate was measured they matched the Creation Model while they were found to be totally incompatible with the Uniformitarian Model These results along with the helium observed in zircons shows that diffusion has been occurring for 6000 ± 2000 years. These rates are about 250,000 times to high for the uniformitarian model, there by eliminating the 1.5 billion years. In order for zircons to retain the observed amount of helium for 1.5 billion years it would have to have been at the temperature of liquid nitrogen (-196șC below zero) and is that incompatible with life.
In the conventional theory on radioactive decay alpha particles are trapped in nucleus by strong force potential barrier. In radioactive nuclei alpha particles some times tunnel through the barrier. This process has only been treated statistically. It is claimed that quantum mechanics does not allow accelerated decay. This is not really true because, quantum mechanics treats the subatomic world statistically, providing no cause and effect relationship for decay.
One simple case is that a variation in the strong force would change decay rates.
String theory which has extra dimensions curled up to 10-34 m and theoretically decay rates are related to the size of these dimensions. A change the size of these dimensions changes decay rates.
Nikola Tesla; who did a lot of experimental work with Electromagnetism; suggested that some type of ray may trigger radioactive decay. Others have taken up this idea and had proposed what the rays could be. Some suggest neutrinos, since they are associated with nuclear reactions and are detected by triggering a nuclear reaction. If neutrinos or some other agent triggers nuclear decay, then an increase in the presence of this of this agent would accurate nuclear decay.
An interesting mechanism is suggested by General Grand Unification model.
In this model probabilistic behavior such a tunneling is controlled by an intelligent agent, it maters not theoretically if this is an actual being, a preprogrammed algorithm programmed by God, or God's thoughts. In any case God could have simply adjusted the controls governing quantum tunneling so as to speed up nuclear decay for a time.
The biggest objection to the possibility of accelerated nuclear decay is the fact that nuclear decay produces heat. If it were accelerated high enough, the heat would cause problems.
Interestingly God gave us the solution about 3,000 years ago, in Psalms 104:2.
Psalms 104:2. Who coverest thyself with light as with a garment: who stretchest out the heavens like a curtain:
This is a reference to the expansion of space described by General Relativity. If accelerated decay had been occurred at the same time as a rapid stretching of space, that would also get rid of the excess heat. So accelerated nuclear decay could have occurred as long as it was accompanied by a rapid expansion of space.
The Bible definitely indicates that such an expansion occurred during the creation week.
Genesis 1: 6,7
6. And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.
7. And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so.
An additional expansion could have occurred during the Flood.
2 Samuel 22: 9 - 16
9. There went up a smoke out of his nostrils, and fire out of his mouth devoured: coals were kindled by it.
10. He bowed the heavens also, and came down; and darkness was under his feet.
11. And he rode upon a cherub, and did fly: and he was seen upon the wings of the wind.
12. And he made darkness pavilions round about him, dark waters, and thick clouds of the skies.
13. Through the brightness before him were coals of fire kindled.
14. The Lord thundered from heaven, and the most High uttered his voice.
15. And he sent out arrows, and scattered them; lightning, and discomfited them.
16. And the channels of the sea appeared, the foundations of the world were discovered, At the rebuking of the Lord, at the blast of the breath of his nostrils.
Both Dr. Henry Morris and Dr. Russell Humphreys, indicate that David was comparing his own deliverance to the Flood in these verses. Dr. Russell Humphreys goes on to indicate that the reference to "fire out of his mouth devoured" to be an indication that accelerated nuclear decay occurred during the Flood, since the hebrew word translated fire can mean any consuming heat. He also shows that the hebrew word translated "bowed" can mean to stretch out. So this passage seems to indicate both accelerated nuclear decay and an expansion of space during the Flood.
Accelerated nuclear decay is not a theory of desperation as some critics claim but there are both Biblical and scientific support for it. Further more accelerated nuclear decay explains allot more than reconciling detected amounts of nuclear decay with a young Earth., in fact it provides a mechanism for triggering the Flood and more. One sign of a good theory is that it explains more than what it is intended too.
Is There Evidence to Support an Accelerated Decay Hypothesis and A Young Earth?
Helium Diffusion Rates Support Accelerated Nuclear Decay
A Mechanism for Accelerated Radioactive Decay
Billion-fold Acceleration of Radioactivity Demonstrated in Laboratory
Radioactive decay rate depends on chemical environment
Radioisotopes and the Age of the Earth
ACCELERATED DECAY: THEORETICAL MODELS
Radioactive Crystals Make and Lose Helium