AIG's Snelling backpedaling bigtime on RATE

AIG’s Snelling is backpedaling bigtime on RATE. Age of solar system is 4.56 Billion years.


Thanks for this, Patrick. I think one reason that it is so importantly beneficial to be able to reference results from RATE is that they can’t be accused of having any pro-evolutionary agenda. So when they are compelled to finally admit something (and I believe this is not the first time – though I haven’t read beyond the abstract of your referenced article yet), it is valuable to help other YECs see that yes, there is indeed “hostile-appearing” evidence/interpretations out there to be wrestled with.

OK, this is pretty chunky stuff. Can you summarize what’s going on here?

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YECs in the past have made the audacious claim that radioactivity dating was very inaccurate. They put together a team to investigate the inaccuracies. Well low and behold, as technology has improved, not only has the radioactivity dating have gotten better at dating finer and finer materials, it has gotten more and more accurate. Snelling as a founding member of RATE has pretty much had to backpedal on all the wild claims of inaccuracies in radioactivity dating as the results now are pretty much spot on with accuracies in the 0.1%- 0.01% range. The solar system is 4.54 Billion years old, we are just arguing over the last decimal point.


Well … before anybody gets too excited here, Patrick, you should have been clear that the last sentence is just you talking. You make it sound as if Snelling was coming around on the age of the universe. But now that I’ve had time to look a bit closer (still a skim read), I see that Snelling does no such thing. The only “concessions” I managed to find in my quick review was that he concedes that any past episode of accelerated radioactive decay seems to have been ruled out. But even on that he still equivocated that God could have done anything he wanted specifically on earth without letting the rest of the cosmos being affected. Perhaps his appraisal for the consistent deep ages of the meteorites (although even here he still finds some space to equivocate) represents a significant concession as compared with previous RATE claims. That could be significant. Have you read any RATE documents, Patrick? Did you read this one? Concessions from RATE (to the extent that there are any) are significant, because they are highly motivated not to find anything that is “off message”; but statements from you about how old the universe is will be seen as … well … atheistic Patrick just being “on script”, and hence is written off by any YECs accordingly.

I do recall that RATE 2 from several years ago did finally concede some significant problems with all the necessary hyper-accelerated decay that would have fried everything on earth had it happened. It didn’t dissuade them from holding that at arm’s length for tentative future investigation (the same kind of language that seems to permeate Snelling’s report here as well). But it was significant that they were at least acknowledging the problem. Thanks again, for the link, Patrick. Make sure that you represent what they are really saying in it – not what you wish they were saying.

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I agree that its a good step forward, but we (or they) arent quite there yet. Snelling still claims that the “real” age of these meteorite fragments cannot be 4 billion years old, since they cant be more than 6000 years old.

This entire subject has always confused me. Why is it so important for YECs to cling to that 6000 years figure. It isnt in the Bible, its a calculation based on the ages of humans from Adam onward. So a literal interpretation of the Bible leads to no conclusion about Earth’s age. One could still believe in 6 day creation, and all the rest but assume it happened 4 billion years ago. I dont get it. Of course there is an awful lot I dont get.


Precisely. 2 Peter 3:8 and Psalm 90:4 both give a clear indication that the days of Genesis 1 weren’t necessarily 24 hour solar days. Furthermore, the Hebrew word for a “day” can be translated as an extended period of time. YECs claim that “yom” with a number can only be translated as a 24 hour period, but that rule is a complete fabrication – there’s no record of it anywhere earlier than about the 1970s, when it first appeared (surprise, surprise) in YEC literature. Yet despite this clear ambiguity in Scripture, they are insisting that the authority of the Bible stands or falls on the age of the earth.

The claim about accelerated nuclear decay really shocks me. It’s probably the single most absurd claim I’ve ever seen coming out of the YEC community. In fact it’s so bad that if I didn’t know it were a bona fide YEC claim, I’d have thought it was an atheist parody.


I am commenting on the science. RATE has been a total scientific disaster for YECs. Instead of finding sources of inaccuracies in decay rates they have instead found incredibly accurate results and with improving technology, more precise and even more accurate results now. Remember these “creation scientist” are says that if you start with a YEC biblical view, the science will support their literal read of the Bible. But it hasn’t, according to their measurements, their analysis, the answers for the age of the earth comes in tightly distributed around 4.54 billion years old. So scientifically they are boxed in, rates didn’t change over time, rates are not inaccurate because of an old Earth worldview. The only thing Snelling does is punt to the same old, “God can do whatever he wanted to do and make the asteroids look like their 4.54 billion years old but are really only 6000 years plus minus two days.” He even proposes that actual day of creation can be resolved with radiometric dating. Snelling has no scientific credibility whosoever.

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