Talk:Age of the Earth/Archive 6

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Interesting news article

re evolution •Jim62sch• 22:21, 12 April 2006 (UTC)

Again, please stay on topic. This article is about the age of the Earth, that news blurb is irrelevant here. Vsmith 22:40, 12 April 2006 (UTC)
I'm not so sure that it is. •Jim62sch• 23:22, 12 April 2006 (UTC)
Well, that one is about evolution, and this is the age of the earth article :/. Besides, from when I saw it earlier today, it looks like i'd for one just end up repeating the same creationist arguments as before on these sort of "missing links", which as I understand it just ends up with "Take it to talk.origins" . Homestarmy 23:42, 12 April 2006 (UTC)
Yes, note that it deals with time. •Jim62sch• 01:04, 13 April 2006 (UTC)
Jim, find a discussion forum. Not a talk page. These links you're putting up are very informative but they aren't contributing much to improving the article. Rolinator 01:46, 13 April 2006 (UTC)
It was directed at the YECs, additionally, given the section on "Early calculations: physicists, geologists and biologists", yes, it is relevant. In any case, if you want to improve the article, footnotes might be appropriate. •Jim62sch• 20:27, 13 April 2006 (UTC)
Look, this is not an area for carrying on a political argument by continually throwing up argumentative articles. If you want to put it in the footnotes, go ahead. Directing things at Scorpionman and YYY...uh, I mean YEC's in general...as bait isn't going to make this article any better. Its just going to get them back and carry on the kvetching.Rolinator 01:47, 14 April 2006 (UTC)
I could help Scorpionman though if we really want to talk about this one, I might be able to make a few arguments about it :D. Homestarmy 02:40, 14 April 2006 (UTC)
Intelligent design and creation are as likely as the Flying Spaghetti Monster, and should not be discussed here! /jk. Rolinator 05:56, 14 April 2006 (UTC)

note - moved from article

Removed the following:

Note: That whilst certain parts of Christianity (Christendom) may teach that the Earth has only been here for a number of thousand years, the Bible's account of Creation is held as a symbolic period of "Days". This by no means suggests, as later found in the bible, that a day here means a thousand years but merely represents seperate periods or stages within God's creative time. There is no argument between the bible and general science as to how long the Universe or the Earth has been here as the Bible simply does not tell us how long the Earth has been here. - 43

as it seemed a bit out of place - or ... Vsmith 14:25, 30 April 2006 (UTC)

Agreed, it is out of place: creationism is for other articles which are linked. But, since Young Earth Creationism is already there, seems fair to add Day-Age Creationism to the "See also" section too. bcasterline t 14:39, 30 April 2006 (UTC)

Yes, the Bible says so, however, science is a much more reliable source, and the Bible does not state precisely the amount of time that the world has gone through, it merely indicates the word, "Days," which does not specify the amount of "days" in which the Earth has gone through.

This is typical of evolutionists. They claim that their religion is science and scientific fact and refuse to read, listen, or understand other viewpoints. How many of you have gone to Answers in Genesis and read tried to understand their perspective? You just assume that it is false and ignore it. I thought we were supposed to be open-minded and tolerant. I guess not, when Christians are involved. Creation is a literal, 3 days. Christians get to 6000 years via all of the genealogies in the Bible. They believe that God, who wrote the bible who is, and has been, the only eye-witness to all of creation. Search Answers in Genesis, if you are truly open minded, and you could possibly learn what they teach. Have you guys thought this through? If evolution was true, then all that would exist is a very short life on earth, and then you die, and that is the end of it. Life, then, is utterly meaningless. When you die, you won't remember that you existed, and, in a short time, nobody else will either. If evolution is absolute truth, the Christian will die, and the evolutionist will die, and the Muslim will die, everybody. It doesn't matter, nothing matters. Why then, do you have to silence Christians and your other opposition? Since everybody will die anyway. To advance science? You aren't going to be around anyway, why do you care? Do you think you are achieving some noble goal? Nobody will remember you. Will you make it into the history books? Will you get your paragraph? Instead, as the Christians are teaching, there is hope. Hope that only the Christian could understand. They have God who is omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent. A person that cares about them and their family. So much so that he gave his only son, so that you might be with him for eternity, when Christ comes to judge the world. If you want to believe in your hopeless religion, that is fine, but know that there is a story that surpasses all stories, even evolution. Do you really want to have an open mind: Read What is the gospel? Since I wrote this on a evolutionist form, I wonder how long this message will really last, since we are all "open-minded". —Preceding unsigned comment added by 66.188.206.136 (talk)

I give you a 5.0 for artistic impression but only a 3.5 for technical merit, since the purpose of this page is discussing improvements to the article, and despite being open minded and so on and so on I cannot see how anything you mention could improve anyone's understanding or knowledge of the subject matter. Sheffield Steeltalkersstalkers 03:56, 10 August 2007 (UTC)

Neutral POV / Wikification

How is it that this entire article is on the scientific views of the age of the earth? Yes, usually "nonscientific" views or views otherwise rejected by the scientific community tend to be "mentioned at the bottom" or pushed aside (as perhaps it should be in an encyclopedia), but in this case -when polls have repeatedly shown that a majority of the polled doubt or reject this notion- the opposing views should definitely be given a lot more "screen time."

This article isn't called "Age of the Earth as Told by Atheist Geologists" it's "Age of the Earth" and should reflect the fact that the scientific view is only one among a sea of views. Keep in mind that Wikipedia is a collection of knowledge, and the fans of hard science that wrote this article need to understand that their Science does not comprise the whole of Knowledge, and information about nonscientific theories is just as valid in Wikipedia as information about scientific theories (if a bit less practical - thats why more time is usually given to document science). This invective is born of the haughty attitude I see in the discussion page, not just of noticing the paltry mention of nonscientific views in the Article.

Also, this article reads like a report, or a chapter out of a history book. Each section should be separate, not continue a narrative.

I'm marking this NPOV (because of the almost mocking way the nonscientific views are presented, and the forward way in which the scientific views are asserted - though I do applaud your efforts to make that as neutral as possible- as well as the extreme bias towards one view) and In Need of Wikification. I understand this is a "hot" issue, but understand that if this was anything else, the bias would have been immediately decried. The NPOV page (linked to twice already in this paragraph) is exceptionally well-written and I'd encourage you to read the section Reasoning behind NPOV; it's almost exactly what I'm trying to say (it startled me when I saw it!). To ensure the application of that policy here I'd like to point out that alternative views (specifically the young earth view) are most certainly "significant views" and, if described, provide the opportunity to prove NPOV by detailing the requisite alternative view.

I also cite Undue Weight in my NPOV mark; this article is a blatant violation of this very important policy. Remember, the body of scientific knowledge represents only one view, though science as a whole is in the clear majority (whether science as a whole or science on this particular matter should be addressed can be contested). In the latter parenthesized case, alternative views hold the vast majority and I'm almost tempted to cite If a viewpoint is held by an extremely small (or vastly limited) minority, it doesn't belong in Wikipedia (except perhaps in some ancillary article) regardless of whether it's true or not; and regardless of whether you can prove it or not. But in the former case, alternative views at least represent a "significant minority" and deserve more representation in this article. Fortunately for the writers, wikipedia has a policy to address the accepted scientific views as the "majority" - whether or not they're actually in the majority (see again the NPOV page). However, opposing views are explicitly required, especially if they represent a "significant minority."

I encourage you to write "facts about opinions" in regard to alternative earth age views, and to keep in mind that the scientific views are "facts about opinions" too. Remember to write "with fairness and in a sympathetic tone," which is missing entirely from this article and the nothing-less-than vicious talk page. I exhort you to remember that wikipedia has adopted a "neutral point of view" not a "scientific point of view."

--Froth 21:48, 13 June 2006 (UTC)

"but in this case -when polls have repeatedly shown that a majority of the polled doubt or reject this notion". Please note: although Young Earth Creationism is enjoying resurgence in the USA, but as was highlighted in the recent Miller, Scott and Okamoto paper [1], this is not a trend that is observed more generally. The USA is just one country of many, so your comments probably deserve some qualification. Ordinary Person 03:29, 16 October 2006 (UTC)
It is quite clear that the article is about the scientific view and is for the most part a description of the history of scientific understanding of geologic time. The other views are clearly linked to in the disamb. notice at the top of the article - right there upfront for everyone to see. In addition the prescientific concepts section presents some of these views as a prelude to the historical development that follows. I don't really think the content of the Origin beliefs and Dating Creation articles needs to be reproduced here. Is that what you are proposing? Or should we rename this article to more specifically address the scientific content - perhaps Scientific evidence for the age of the Earth? Your ...as Told by Atheist Geologists comment above really says quite a bit about the POV you are pushing here and I would highly reccommend a close reading of the lengthy debates above on this page.
As to the format. The development of the science is presented in chronologic order which seems a most logical approach. No doubt there is room for improvement, always is, but I see no need for the wikify tag as your brief sentence on that doesn't convince me.
Vsmith 00:33, 14 June 2006 (UTC)
Tags removed. The neutrality bit has been hashed over at great length previously and we don't need to rehash every time someone wants to push a YEC POV. The wikify tag was an unneeded detriment to the article. If the sections need a better transition then do it, don't just slap a tag on and expect someone else to fix things. Vsmith 00:53, 14 June 2006 (UTC)
Yes, I am primarily suggesting merging all of these articles to give alternative views fair hearing in the "main" Age of the Earth article. I requested discussion before the tag removal, a reasonable request especially since that's wikipedia policy, unless the tag was frivolous or arbitrary, which it wasn't. Anyway, your reply ("The neutrality bit has been hashed over at great length previously and we don't need to rehash every time someone wants to push a YEC POV") tells me at least that this is a continuing problem and an NPOV tag needs to be present at least to warn readers that the content is disputed. Again, a little disclaimer at the top is not sufficient, and the article needs to thoroughly discuss all views on the argument. I'm also encouraged by RoyBoy's skeptical acceptance of my argument, and you should realize that you aren't the owner of this page, and you cannot remove NPOV tags at will; the point of them being there is that if nobody agrees, nobody can remove them.
Please research the NPOV issue (and also wikification, this article does not in fact conform to stardards - enormous blocks of historical text, a narrative rather than an encyclopedic tone, though it's referenced nicely) and reconsider my argument after reading the powerful text at WP:NPOV.
--Froth 15:50, 14 June 2006 (UTC)
This articles does not need to thoroughly discuss every alternative, that is what other articles are for. I am in favor of a controversy sub-section that summaries alternatives; but as they are minority views they will be given appropriate weight and space. Consequently a merge is against policy. Allow me to clarify, policy favors mentioning other notable/verifiable views, but does not favor giving them equal attention; by, for example, merging them into an established article. Examples abound, such as Kennedy assassination theories and Apollo moon landing hoax accusations. These minority views are mentioned (I actually had to add the hoax section to Moon landing).
Point is, these minority views should be mentioned; but not elaborated on in the article. Your NPOV tag was appropriate in as much as alternatives are not mentioned sufficiently in the modern context, but the NPOV tag cannot simply be levied because you believe policy isn't being followed as per your precise interpretation. It can be levied if there is a systematic/pervasive problem with the article, there is not; as the article (as I've explained) is not required to detail every alternative. If the NPOV tag could be used in this way, every controversial article could be so tagged; such as abortion, because some people don't agree with "death" in the opening sentence. (this has happened, as I frequent the article and have participated in editing the lead; however such disagreements aren't defacto against policy, rather against ones POV) I am by no means perfect in interpreting Wikipolicy; but I am experienced on how articles (especially controversial ones) handle minority views, and that Wikipolicy follows common sense. It is not common sense to give a minority view a detailed hearing on a main article; NPOV requires us to present majority and minority views accordingly. - RoyBoy 800 04:46, 16 June 2006 (UTC)
I think there is something to be said about the current creationist view not being presented. Trying to review policy and see if this articles does have any blind spots, I may have found one in the following in NPOV policy:
Rather, we employ a different understanding of "neutral" and "unbiased" than many might be used to. The policy is simply that we should characterize disputes rather than engage in them.
Reading the article, one would be under the impression there is no dispute over the Age of the Earth. There is, we need to summarize the arguments and the significant proponents who make them... then provide context with the scientific response. This can be done in a new section called, Young Earth... or better yet "Social and religious controversies", taken from the Evolution article. - RoyBoy 800 04:13, 14 June 2006 (UTC)
The note is there already in the prescientific concepts section: Today some religious groups continue to accept only theological accounts regarding the age of the earth, rejecting scientific evidence which contradicts their beliefs. That and the disambig links at the top are more than enough for the religious mythologies. There is no dispute within the science community, the only dispute is by YECers trying to push their religion - covered adequately by the disamb links. Vsmith 16:48, 14 June 2006 (UTC)
Doesn't clarify who, where they predominantly are, and what they do believe, and how they justify those beliefs (religious texts, and pseudoscientific arguments) (PS:I know the section goes into that, but for notables in the prescientific era, we need current advocates, beliefs and the thrust of their arguments in the new section). Most importantly having that in the "prescientific" section gives the impression this occurred only in the past (despite "Today", which actually makes it ill fitting for the section). As it is ongoing, we need a controversy section; just as I outlined; and that sentence can be moved into it as the lead sentence. - RoyBoy 800 03:58, 16 June 2006 (UTC)

I have removed the NPOV tag, as the article is very well written and very neutral. Ok, it does not cover all believes around this issue, but that is not part of a science article, and does not warrant a NPOV tag. -- Kim van der Linde at venus 16:29, 14 June 2006 (UTC)

This isn't a science article, it is an article on Age of the Earth; which involves a great deal of science, but also beliefs (mentioned), and some ongoing controversy (not mentioned). The fact there isn't scientific controversy doesn't matter; as this isn't a science article. - RoyBoy 800 03:58, 16 June 2006 (UTC)
Well, it seems it is now :D Homestarmy 05:20, 16 June 2006 (UTC)
Yes, exactly, it is not an article on the science of the Age of the Earth. It's an article on the body of human knowledge concerning the Age of the Earth, and science cannot dominate the article. Vsmith you're blantantly ignoring the policy "wikipedia cannot be written from a scientific point of view, we have a neutral point of view." I don't know how you can possibly justify the removal of the NPOV tag, I can't think of a single better example to illustrate the purpose of NPOV than this Age of the Earth article. --Froth

The question 'what is the age of the earth' is an inherent scientific question and thus it can only be answered by science. Therefore it is only natural that an article on the subject should exclusively be about science. As for wikipedia NPOV policy, it just isn't clear about the subject. Either you are right, which would result in a butchery of all wikipedia pages, destroying the whole project, or soon wikipedia will embrace science as being NPOV by definition.--80.56.36.253 22:11, 16 May 2007 (UTC)

Agreed. I imagine readers will be primarily interested in what the Age of the Earth actually is, and not so much what age people in general think it is. It's misleading to suggest that science is merely one view on our knowledge - the article does provide information on the body of human knowledge concerning the age of the earth; whilst views on what people think are also encyclopedic, that doesn't mean it is part of that knowledge. (Consider as another example - I would expect an encyclopedia article on Iraq to tell me where Iraq actually is located, and not that many Americans seem to think Iraq is located elsewhere...) 81.102.135.22 18:14, 27 August 2007 (UTC)

Re NPOV stuff about science

I think the problem (a minor one) with this article is that the first section is entitled 'pre scientific concepts' - which seems to suggest that anything before scientific method is obsolete?. Perhaps the 'religious' age concepts should be given their own section rather than being treated as simply leaing up to the scientific explanation?

An alternative would be to disambiguate, the "age of earth (disambig.)" page would link to "age of the earth (scientific method)", "age of the earth (biblical) dating creation" etc etc with a see also to "origin belief"?

Would anyone object to such a disambiguation page replacing the note at the top of the article? HappyVR 23:17, 16 June 2006 (UTC)

Actually I think if things are done correctly, the disambig statement can be removed entirely. Will move it to a renamed prescience section. - RoyBoy 800 02:26, 17 June 2006 (UTC)
There did some first steps to integrating the minority view into the article. Key was moving religious concept lead paragraph, into the lead of the article. Got rid of the disambiguation message, which I now realize prefaces the article inappropriately as being scientific. - RoyBoy 800 03:15, 17 June 2006 (UTC)
However if someone is looking for a scholarly analysis of the age of the earth based on the bible or other religious text they would be directed here if they search for say "age earth". Clearly there is a link to the dating creation page but I can't help thinking both pages should be given parity via a disambiguation page. This would solve many problems. (Also as a side point User:RoyBoy calls the religious view a minority view - this could be seen contentiously as an example of non neutral viewpoint - I should apologise for nit-picking).HappyVR 01:42, 18 June 2006 (UTC)
I disagree with a disambiguation page. I think users would expect if they wanted to look for an analysis of the age of the earth based on their religious text of choice they would incorporate that in the search parameters, and I don't think they would be surprised to find a scientific treatment here instead of their particular religious mythology. I fail to understand your comment about RoyBoy's comment expressing a non-neutral viewpoint; I believe it's neither expected nor desirable for talk page comments to conform to some adaptation of NPOV. Mine certainly don't; I violated it in that sentence itself. Furthermore, you are conflating holding a religious view with non-acceptance of the scientific model. — Knowledge Seeker 02:29, 18 June 2006 (UTC)
Well I still say calling holding the 'religious' view a minority view isn't right - I don't think either of these viewpoints is sufficiently minor to be called minority. And sorry about any conflation - I was using 'religious' (note I've started putting it in quotes) to refer to the young earth theories - sorry for causing that confusion. HappyVR 13:23, 18 June 2006 (UTC)
I'd like to suggest that users searching for 'age of the earth' might expect or want to find links to all possible methods of dating the earth not just scientific - they might not have a preset religious viewpoint or text - people aren't neccessarily searching for confirmation of their views or only within there current belief system - thats why I think a search for what seems to be the most obvious term "earth age" should lead to links to all the relavant articles. Currently this seems to require disambiguation.HappyVR 13:36, 18 June 2006 (UTC)
Also, obviously nobody is required to have a neutral point of view but to reject a disambiguation page on the grounds that the other pages have minority views goes beyond the scope of this (scientifically based) page. If your viewpoint is biased can you really give a fair opinion on whether or not disambiguation is required - I suggest not.HappyVR 13:52, 18 June 2006 (UTC)
If you come across anything indicating Young Earth creationism are not in a minority (dare I say even significant minority), please point it out. Having a religious view of Earth and the Universe is quite different than believing its only a few thousand years old; and its prevalance in the U.S. need not be overemphasized. I don't like the disambig message as it is. While I don't have a problem with one generally speaking; this one reiterates the obvious in the first sentence. I understand how that can shortcut POV edits in the future, but I don't see such disambigs on other science focused articles. (eg. Age of the universe) - RoyBoy 800 14:41, 18 June 2006 (UTC)
Sorry, this talk page is a real minefield. I terms of belief of the two systems I can't comment - however what I am suggesting is that the page dating creation is not irrelevant - in fact it's a good and interesting article (as is this one) and it is relevant to the queston "what is the age of the earth". The 'dating creation' article does not follow a 'fundamentalist' viewpoint but is a wide ranging article comparing the date of creation based on mostly religious texts - to a scholar of these things this would be the relavant article - what I was trying to say that in terms of looking for info on the age of the earth the dating creation article is relavant - whether or not the reader believes any or part of it. I'm not arguing here on which viewpoint is most believed but that both articles are equally relevant to the question 'what is the age of the earth (according to different sources)'. Realistically I'd describe this article as having a scientific bias - the dating creation article covers the historical aspects of this subject in far more depth.HappyVR 15:13, 18 June 2006 (UTC)
RoyBoy, you didn't check Ultimate fate of the universe. Silly Billy! - RoyBoy 800 14:49, 18 June 2006 (UTC)

HappyVR, I suggest that your arguments will carry more credence if you refrain from making judgments about other contributors or attacking their beliefs. Comment on content, not on the contributor. — Knowledge Seeker 16:02, 18 June 2006 (UTC)

I haven't attacked anyones beliefs? HappyVR 16:06, 18 June 2006 (UTC)
If your viewpoint is biased can you really give a fair opinion on whether or not disambiguation is required - I suggest not.” — Knowledge Seeker 18:06, 18 June 2006 (UTC)
How is that an attack on somones beliefs?HappyVR 18:15, 18 June 2006 (UTC)
I think some of you need to read WP:NPOV. This policy makes it quite clear that the scientific POV is the majority POV. It also makes it clear pseudoscience/minority POVs should not be given undue weight. We clearly mention the pseudoscience viewpoints. Perhaps we should expand discussion of them a bit more but IMHO, it's not really neccessary. We cover them enough and since it's an extreme minority POV (I'm not only talking about Americans here) we shouldn't cover them much. Bear in mind this article isn't particularly long anyway Nil Einne 20:01, 19 June 2006 (UTC)
Yeah, as the new Religious Controversy is new (and this is a scientific article), the religious POV(s) can indeed be expanded a bit. Using "Extreme" seems a touch POV, although it could be entirely accurate depending on its intended meaning. Ummmm, unsure if I can stand more mentions of NPOV policy. Just do it, if there is POV editing on the article then mention it all y'all want. Just trying to get ppl to use it sparingly, as it becomes a rhetorical mechanism carrying, ironically, little weight. - RoyBoy 800 04:23, 20 June 2006 (UTC)

All I was trying to say that this topic exists in the study of theology as well as science hence disambiguation needed directing the reader to either science or theological articles. Please don't remove the disambiguation. I'm not trying to push a psuedoscience section here or make this article cover a topic which is already better covered elsewhere. HappyVR 08:04, 20 June 2006 (UTC)

Format

In terms of formatting I think the article is a bit wrong - I'm suggesting lumping all the sections on the radioactive method into one section and having the section headings as subsections - In other words this:

4 Discovery of radioactivity 5 Invention of radiometric dating 6 Arthur Holmes establishes radiometric dating 7 Modern radiometric dating 7.1 Why meteorites were used 7.2 Why the Canyon Diablo meteorite was used

becomes this:

4 Radioactive dating (or similar suitable title) 4.1 Discovery of radioactivity 4.2 Invention of radiometric dating 4.3 Arthur Holmes establishes radiometric dating 4.4 Modern radiometric dating 4.4.1 Why meteorites were used 4.4.2 Why the Canyon Diablo meteorite was used

In general the radioactive method takes up a lot of the article - I would suggest that the current section order would be suitable in an article labelled "history of scientific dating of the earth" but makes the radioactivity sections look overblown in this article.

I also am thinking that the article lacks an explanation relating to rocks becoming 'contaminated' with traces of foreign elements due to decay - eg non lead containing rocks containing lead due to decay of other elements - this seems to be the essence of the dating but isn't clearly explained in the article. I'm suggesting that the article is quite technical and would benefit from a simplified 'overview' in each case of a different method for dating. Any thoughts?HappyVR 23:48, 17 June 2006 (UTC)

I went ahead and made the formatting changes I suggested above as I couldn't see any reason why this would be wrong. Also I've suggested an addition of an introduction or overview below. Hope this is ok.HappyVR 01:25, 18 June 2006 (UTC)

radioactivity again

I think that the radioactivity section (as mentioned above by me) could do with an overview or introduction - as a first attempt something like this:

"Overview

Rocks and minerals naturally contain certain elements and not others. By the process of radioactive decay of radioactive elements occuring in a rock non native elements can be introduced over time. By measuring the concentration of the end product of the decay coupled with knowledge of the half life and initial concentration of the decaying element and estimate of the age of the rock can be calculated. Typical radioactive end products are Helium from alpha decay and Lead from Thorium decay. Unfortunately if the rock becomes molten as happens in the mantle of the earth such non radioactive end products are typically lost. Thus the age of a terrestial rock gives a minimum for the scientific estimate of the age of the earth."

Would this be suitable as an introduction to the radioactive dating section? - I really think this (quite technical) section needs an introduction that introduces the reader to concepts used further on. The rest of the section could remain unchanged without dumbing down. ?HappyVR 01:17, 18 June 2006 (UTC)

I've added this anyway - is this ok - no doubt it may need a little tidy?HappyVR 14:00, 18 June 2006 (UTC)

re removal

I removed this: "Some fundamentalist Christians believe the Earth to only be around 6,000 years old, claiming that this is the sum of the ages of all people in the Bible."

My reason was that the infomation is partially duplicate - a calculation based on the bible is mentioned in a preceeding paragraph in the same section. Also there is the religious controversy section at the end.HappyVR 15:21, 18 June 2006 (UTC)

changes to disambiguation intro

I removed the link to origin belief as I believe this relates more the creation of the 'universe'. The dating creation link seems more relavant - is this ok/HappyVR 20:21, 24 June 2006 (UTC)

Sorry forget that - decided to revert - I can reword this "The age of the Earth is an area of study in geology which attempts to determine the point in history when the planet Earth first formed, by means of geochronology." so it reads well.

Reverted.HappyVR 20:26, 24 June 2006 (UTC)

Origin belief details a number of different creation mythologies, while Dating Creation covers only those which involved more precise dating. So, I think a link to Origin belief is appropriate.
The disambiguation text at the top should not be that long, though, and you've deleted the lead sentence, which provided some context. I'm going to change it back, if you don't mind. -- bcasterlinetalk 20:29, 24 June 2006 (UTC)

Re first sentence

(User Bcasterline - we seem to be editing at the same time - apologies if what I've just done seems inpolite) I've no real problems with the changes to the disambuation line - However this sentence "The age of the Earth is an area of study in geology which attempts to determine the point in history when the planet Earth first formed, by means of geochronology" is not good.

Sorry to be pedantic but 'geochronology is an area of study in geology' is right , 'the age of the earth is an area of study in geology ' is not really the right description - it sounds dumb in the context of this sentence. Hope that makes sense.

Other than than please keep in mind when changing the 'disambig intro' that the alternative page is one relating to the study of theology (and the analysis of religious texts etc) and is not necessarily a 'religious viewpoint page' - analysis of religious texts can be just as scientific as science. Sorry for all that.HappyVR

Analysis of religious texts can be scientific, but the viewpoint they provide is still religous. I don't really see the problem with that (former) first sentence, but perhaps it's redundant anyway. I've left it out. -- bcasterlinetalk 20:57, 24 June 2006 (UTC)
Specifically - the bible - the dates can be useful in terms of archeology and history - giving a near approximation to the transition from hunter gatherers to the first farmers for an example 'tribe'. I would like to change the loaded term 'religious' to 'theological'.HappyVR 21:08, 24 June 2006 (UTC)
I would classify most of the information in Origin belief as religious belief rather than theology, which is needlessly specific. Although it doesn't imply science, "religious" is not a loaded term. In this case, it's the best description. -- bcasterlinetalk 21:14, 24 June 2006 (UTC)

Whatever, the original disambig. line was more accurate - "This article describes the historical development of the estimation of the age of the Earth, concentrating on scientific dating methods..." - that's what the article does - including a short sentence on pre science methods. But the change "this article details scientific methods.." is not as accurate. User:Stevertigo's edit 'this article focusses on scientific methods" is better than the current state.

I don't know exactly why it was changed since it 'wasn't broke' before - now it's not as good for apparently the sake of being one line shorter. That's no good. I'd like to just change it back.HappyVR 21:25, 24 June 2006 (UTC)

Because of its length, it was broke. The goal of the disambiguation line is not to summarize the article in one sentence; it's too give the reader a quick choice they can understand. The current version (science vs. religion) is fine. If you think "focuses on" is more accurate than "details", you can change it, although I'm not sure I see the difference. -- bcasterlinetalk 21:34, 24 June 2006 (UTC)


sun

added bit about confirming age of earth using age of sun (not radiometric) - with reference. ezkerraldean

Thanks. - RoyBoy 800 21:39, 31 July 2006 (UTC)

Fact or Fiction?

This article is very informative and I am glad it has been created, however there seems to be a problem with its context. It presents the most common scientific ruling of Earth's age as the necessarily correct, whilst discluding the other more religiously-slanted ideas. I, for one, am a promoter of the "Young Earth" theory, which is only mentioned in the article once in the short paragraph on "Creationist objections". The Creationist/Young Earth theories are very well developed and scientific, yet have recieved virtually no acknowledgement in this article. I have gotten into some trouble for trolling, recently, and thus my articles have been repeatedly deleted. For this reason, I don't want to risk wasting time by adding to this article, since my addition could appear too controversial, and would possibly be removed. I would have liked to add to this article a more extensive section on the objections, though, in an attempt to bring to level the common-scientific and religious-scientific theories.

—The preceding unsigned comment was added by Dmar198 (talkcontribs) 22:21, 7 August 2006.
Please read the disambiguation note at the top This article details scientific methods. Thanks for posting here before adding to the article. A short scan of this talk page will clearly show that this has been discussed before. And the Creationist/Young Earth theories are not scientific. Vsmith 22:50, 7 August 2006 (UTC)

I beg your pardon?

Vsmith: I see the disambiguation notice, and I do not think that it applies. The Creationist/Young Earth theories are as scientific, if not more so, than the more common conclusion. What is mentioned about them on Wikipedia.org may not be, but the wikipedia articles are not the final say on these theories. There are other articles online, but those are usually not reliable, so I don't recommend them. There is a book called The World that Perished by John C. Whitcomb, which is an introduction to biblical catastrophism, and a sequel to his other great work, The Genesis Flood. These both are very scientific, showing the problems with modern theories of Earth's age, and promoting the sciences that illustrate the Young Earth theories. There are numerous resources, including books and seminars, available to show these theories and compare them with the more common scientific theories, and they show that your statement, "The 'Creationist/Young Earth theories' are not scientific" is entirely ignorant. 71.50.236.210 20:43, 8 August 2006 (UTC)Dmar198

As the John C. Whitcomb article points out, The Genesis Flood quote mines and misquotes science and scientists. [2] It cannot be considered "very scientific." - RoyBoy 800 05:46, 9 August 2006 (UTC)
Indeed. Also of note, Whitcomb holds no degree in science, has not published a peer reviewed journal on the subject, and is a theologian. JPotter 16:26, 9 August 2006 (UTC)
Royboy and JPotter, your objections are fallacy. The manner in which John C. Whitcomb writes his book does not subtract anything from its credence. The point of the book was not to say what scientists say what on the matter, it was to show that there is scientific evidence in both directions on the Age of Earth matter. For Whitcomb to write a good book on scientific matters, he does not have to be a well-respected scientist. For someone to write intelligently on a matter of great importance, they do not have to dedicate their entire life to it. He wrote intelligently, he checked his resources, he wrote a good book that still holds great credence in this matter.Dmar198 17:44, 9 August 2006 (UTC)Dmar198
Dmar, for it to be 'scientific evidence' it must be research which roduces original data which is 'verifiable, repeatable and meets the standards of science; if all that Whitcomb does is clip holus bolus quotes from other publications and comes up with some justification of his owwn theory without actually addressing anything in a scientific manner (ie; addresses the hypotheses and conclusions of those articles and tenets he finds wrong), then it is hardly 'scientific evidence'. It is simply fillibuster and obfuscation by piling on the bullshit.
Sure, he may cite a bunch of references. It is easy to find 1,000 quotes from 1,000 papers which, taken individually, may be construed as contrary to the gist of each paper or as a whole. But this isn't science; this is just reviewing, a base form of journalism. Sure, he may not have devoted his life to "science" or "geology", but that hardly makes him an expert on the subject. And if we are to place his work alongside that of respected and learned scientists who have studied geology - not just geology as it relates to the age of the Earth - then we are basically elevating him to undue prominence. See, when I went to university, I earned my right to say Bachelor. I earned it by proving a mastery of the science of geology. It took effort. It didn't simply take a few years of bible school, a word procssor and a bunch of arm waving.
Elevating someone who is an amamateur to the level of a scientist or any professional is ridiculous, no matter how many grey hairs they have. Would we want a garbage collector in control of our surgical insturments? No. Rolinator 14:33, 10 November 2006 (UTC)

Clarification

Upon reviewing my above comments, I have realized that I my comment about Vsmith's statement being ignorant may be seen as a personal attack. If this happens, my comment may be removed, which I do not want to happen, so I am going to clarify what I meant by "ignorance". I was not trying to insult Vsmith by saying that he himself is ignorant; I was saying that his statement was ignorant. The purpose of the above comments are not to declare that my position on the subject matters is any better than anyone else, specifically I am not saying that the Creationist/Young Earth theories are any better or any more accurate than any other theories. I am stating that this article on Earth's age deals entirely with theories, since the age of Earth has not been scientifically proven. As such, the article should accurately reflect all theories on subject matter, including those theories (I.E. the Creationist/Young Earth theories)that are not generally accepted by the mainstream scientific community. Especially so since all of the mentioned theories are scientific and well developed. 71.50.236.210 22:58, 8 August 2006 (UTC)Dmar198

So because it hasn't been proven with direct measurement (requiring direct observation), it is not scientific? What we are saying is they are not scientific alternatives; that is well established through the scientific community rejecting them and debunking attempts to poke holes in established scientific theories. Equivocation is a tired creationist tactic (re: scientific theory = just a theory = creationists have theories too), and undermines rather than helps your position. - RoyBoy 800 06:05, 9 August 2006 (UTC)
Royboy, I'm afraid your objection is as much fallacy that which you condemn. What you regard as equivocation is not so. The word "theory" has only one real meaning, and is used in the same context when refering to the common scientific theories and the religious scientific theories. When the open-minded refer to the religiously slanted theories, they are refering to the same kind of theory (i.e. An assumption based on limited information or knowledge) as the more common scientific theories represent. I did not say anywhere in my comments that the scientific theories in question are not scientific. Neither the religious nor the uniformitarian have direct observation, thus they are both equal. Since this is true, they should both be discussed in the article equally.

Dmar198 15:51, 9 August 2006 (UTC)Dmar198

That is a gross oversimplication, I hope in time you will recognize it as such. Because both concepts share one quality does not make them equal in the least. The amount of evidence for a scientific theory outclasses religious explanations. Uniformitarianism is supported by the evidence, from eroded mountains to DNA variation and inheritance. Nothing contradicts it. So there is no reason to seek an alternative theory, nor is there any reason to elaborate on alternatives on this article. - RoyBoy 800 17:14, 9 August 2006 (UTC)
What I have said is in no way a "gross oversimplication". Both theories have powerful evidence in their direction, giving them equal credence. There are contradictions to the "eroded mountains, DNA variation, and inheritance", and a simple example of this can be found in the article on creation science. What reasons there are for "alternative" theories is irrelevant. The purpose of this article is not to say which theories are correct and which are not, or which theories are more accepted by whom. The purpose of this article is to represent the theories on the age of the Earth, and thus all theories should be equally represented, whether scientists have preferences or not.

Dmar198 17:44, 9 August 2006 (UTC)Dmar198

One has powerful evidence; the other does not. That is reflected in the coverage of the articles. Your ignorance of Wikipolicy makes further discussion problematic. It (and our articles) do take into account scientists "preferences". - RoyBoy 800 17:58, 9 August 2006 (UTC)
To do as you suggest, Dmar, would be against Wikipedia policies. They state that we must not give undue weight to fringe ideas such as young earth creationism. The article fairly represents the level of mindshare that exists within the scientific community dedicated to YEC. YEC is an extreme minority position within the relevant field, earth science. Moreover, you are incorrect in your assessment of what is and what is not a theory. A theory, in science, is a well documented, explaned and observed phenomena, representing the highlest level of certainty within science. A theory also must be testable, falsifiable and natural. YEC is none of those things and cannot even be rightly called a hypothesis. It is a conjecture based on religious scripture. Currenly scientific evidence yields that the Earth is ~4.55 billion years old and this article represents that science. Please see Dating creation for religious ideas regarding the matter. Thanks JPotter 16:06, 9 August 2006 (UTC)
Jpotter, the policies clearly state that the writer of an article should: "Avoid bias. Articles should be written from a neutral point of view, representing all views on a subject, factually and objectively, in an order which is agreeable to a common consensus. (This is a Foundation issue that applies to all Wikimedia Foundation projects.)" The YEC theories are definately and unarguably strong views on the subject, and they should be discussed as objectively and as much as the other theories. YEC is not a "frnge idea". It is not widely accepted by the mainstream scientific community, true, but it is still an essential theory, and "Science" has not yet reached a concensus on the actual age of Earth. You are correct, it is a minority in the Earth Science field. However, it is still based on scientific views, even though it has been misconceived that it only exists because of scripture. Being based on scientific views, and being a relevant and widely debated topic places it on a comparable level to the uniformitarian views. As such, it should be discussed in this article as much as its rival view. The fact that the majority of the examined "scientific evidence yields that the Earth is ~4.55 billion years old" (not to be confused with the only scientific evidence, but the most commonly examined) is not relevant. The fact of the matter is that both views exist, both are widely accepted, and both are equal. Being that this is the case, this article is biased toward the uniformitarian view, and must be changed.

Your statement about the definition of a scientific theory is also flawed, wheras mine is not. A scientific theory explains scientific observations; both theories do this. Both of the groups of people who work on this "Age of Earth" subject observe the science involved in the subject and draw a conclusion from it. Also, each theory has been tested, each theory is falsifiable (though neither has been verified), and both theories are natural. Therefore, both theories are scientific theories. Dmar198 17:00, 9 August 2006 (UTC)Dmar198

If both theories accomplish this, then why is one accepted by the scientific community and the other is not. Your assertions they are both scientific and equal does not make them so. - RoyBoy 800 17:14, 9 August 2006 (UTC)
The scientific community rejects the YEC theories on the basis that they are not "natural". They continue to do so even after it has been shown that they are. The scientific community's continued assertion that the YEC theories are not natural does not make this so.

Dmar198 17:30, 9 August 2006 (UTC)Dmar198

I'll take their assertion over yours. - RoyBoy 800 17:44, 9 August 2006 (UTC)
Fine with me. Who you choose to believe is not my issue.

Dmar198 17:48, 9 August 2006 (UTC)Dmar198

Indeed. I should have said: Wikipedia takes their "assertion" over yours. Hopefully that clarifies things. I would add, scientists do not make and build their careers by making unfounded assertions. - RoyBoy 800 18:03, 9 August 2006 (UTC)
Dmar, again your suggestions violates Wikipedia policy, specifically Wikipedia:Neutral point of view#Undue_weight. The policy states that extreme minority opinions ought not to be included as it would mislead the reader as to the shape of the dispute. As YEC is an extreme minority position, the amount of space dedicated to it in this article is appropriate. As the current consensus is that YEC is an extreme minority position, the onus is upon you to show otherwise. Thanks, JPotter 18:00, 9 August 2006 (UTC)
JPotter, my suggestion conforms completely with wikipedia policy. According to the very article you entered a link for, "...though a view may be spelled out in great detail, it should not be represented as the truth." This article, The Age of Earth, clearly states in the first sentence that "...the age of the Earth {is} around 4.567 billion years (4.567x109 years)." This has not been proven, and is not known to be the truth. As to the rest of your comment, as I have said before, the YEC theories are not in the minority position. The current concensus on Wikipedia may be that it is, but, also as I have said before, Wikipedia.org is not the final say. What I am attempting to do through this very talk page and my comments is to show that it is not in the minority position. Therefore, I demand that this article be changed to bring to level the uniformitarian and YEC views.

Dmar198 18:11, 9 August 2006 (UTC)Dmar198

You've been asked repeatedly to show that YEC is not an extreme minority is true. Please provide some evidence that shows this. You also have said that YEC is a minority in the field of Earth science, which is the criteria of which we measure. Thanks. JPotter 18:15, 9 August 2006 (UTC)
You've been told and shown repeatedly that YEC is not an extreme minority position. Authors such as John C. Whitcomb and his constituents, speakers such as Dr. Kent Hovind and his followers, etc. all clearly show that the Age of Earth issue is still in question. YEC is a minority in the firld of Earth Science. This field is not the only criteria by which "we" measure. It is a great one, but not the only. Secularists, of which I am aware that you are, JPotter, may draw exclusively from this resource, but not every editor on Wikipedia is a secularist, myself included. Thank you.

Dmar198 18:22, 9 August 2006 (UTC)Dmar198

You have not shown that in the least. Hovind and their followers show that some people still think its in question, but that does not put it in question. By that rationale any following by any group can put anything in question. Sorry, but moon landings and established scientific theories, cannot be put into question by a few insistent advocates. - RoyBoy 800 18:36, 9 August 2006 (UTC)
Yes, you have told us that YEC is not an extreme minority position, but you have yet to show it. Earth scientists are the folks that study and who are qualified authorities on the age of the earth: what percentage of Earth scientists hold to the YEC viewpoint? That is the criteria that must be used on Wikipedia as per the links above. Whitcomb and Hovind are not scientists and this is a science article. There is already a separate article for the religious views of the age of the Earth. Thanks, JPotter 18:37, 9 August 2006 (UTC)
I can still reply to these, but I don't know if it is necessary anymore. (See bottom of page) If you guys still feel more arguement is necessary, then by all means, I will continue. But JPotter has made a suggestion that I feel ends this discussion, and I will follow that. - Dmar198 22:06, 9 August 2006 (UTC)Dmar198

Also it seems that YEC is out of favor even in Catholic cicles these days: The current Pope says the Earth is 4.5 billion years old. JPotter 18:42, 9 August 2006 (UTC)

Evidence for Evolution and an Old Earth, a Catholic Perspective "According to the widely accepted scientific account, the universe erupted 15 billion years ago in an explosion called the 'Big Bang' and has been expanding and cooling ever since. Later there gradually emerged the conditions necessary for the formation of atoms, still later the condensation of galaxies and stars, and about 10 billion years later the formation of planets. In our own solar system and on earth (formed about 4.5 billion years ago), the conditions have been favorable to the emergence of life. While there is little consensus among scientists about how the origin of this first microscopic life is to be explained, there is general agreement among them that the first organism dwelt on this planet about 3.5 - 4 billion years ago. Since it has been demonstrated that all living organisms on earth are genetically related, it is virtually certain that all living organisms have descended from this first organism. Converging evidence from many studies in the physical and biological sciences furnishes mounting support for some theory of evolution to account for the development and diversification of life on earth, while controversy continues over the pace and mechanisms of evolution. While the story of human origins is complex and subject to revision, physical anthropology and molecular biology combine to make a convincing case for the origin of the human species in Africa about 150,000 years ago in a humanoid population of common genetic lineage. However it is to be explained, the decisive factor in human origins was a continually increasing brain size, culminating in that of homo sapiens. With the development of the human brain, the nature and rate of evolution were permanently altered: with the introduction of the uniquely human factors of consciousness, intentionality, freedom and creativity, biological evolution was recast as social and cultural evolution." (From the International Theological Commission, headed by then Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger now Pope Benedict XVI, statement "Communion and Stewardship: Human Persons Created in the Image of God," plenary sessions held in Rome 2000-2002, published July 2004)

JPotter, this is not quite true. The Pope does not say one way or the other, if you examine the article a little more closely. He is saying here the Old Earth/Evolutionary theories have some merit toward them, and he is clarifying that the Church does not hold preference one way or the other, allowing its members to choose for themselves their own side on the issue.

Dmar198 21:45, 9 August 2006 (UTC)Dmar198

Wow, I wrote an extensive comment on this that disputed what both Royboy and JPotter said. But when I posted, Wikipedia deleted my article because of some sort of a posting dispute. Wait a short while. I'll repost, but I have to cool off first. Dmar198 18:58, 9 August 2006 (UTC)Dmar198

If you had an edit conflict, just hit back and copy/paste the material into a new editing session. JPotter 19:05, 9 August 2006 (UTC)
Also, it might be useful for you to outline precisely what changes you'd like to see. We might be able to agree that some wording could be softened. Are you looking for 50-50 representation ? JPotter 19:13, 9 August 2006 (UTC)
Yes, JPotter, and thank you for your cooperation. I think that a more accurate representation of the theories is necessary. (50-50 or not, I think that the YEC theories are deserving of more say in this article.) I think that, especially in the first sentence, the article should soften the effect of the statement, "geologists have determined the age of the Earth to be around 4.567 billion years" so that it states more along the lines of, "the mainstream theory, receiving the most general concensus among prominent scientists, is that Earth is around 4.567 billion years old". I think that the current statement goes against Wikipedia policy by presenting the information as fact. Wikipedia's policies clearly state that "...though a view may be spelled out in great detail, it should not be represented as the truth." I thusly think that the mispresentation of theory as fact should be rectified. Being that the YEC theories are not mainstream in the scientific community, it probably should not be quite as fully represented. But it is still a valid theory, and this article makes it seem as if the theory has been debunked. The change I mentioned is a minor one; I think this article needs more major revision (not total, mind you. As I said in my first comment, I am glad this article is here and so well-developed.) I will further outline the changes I would like to see a short time in the future; as of now, I am happy that I am getting some cooperation.

Dmar198 21:56, 9 August 2006 (UTC)Dmar198

"Prominent scientists" sounds very misleading to me; "nearly all scientists" would be more accurate, given a quick Google Scholar search. Not to pile on, but I'm of the impression that the section entitled 'Creationist objections' is sufficient weight to give this viewpoint, and it properly characterises the validity of the argument. Ziggurat 22:18, 9 August 2006 (UTC)
Alright, "nearly all scientists" would be fine with me. However, the section on "Creationist Objections" is not, as I see it, sufficient enough. I think that the YEC theories are more prominent than most of you think (no offense, sincerely). This is because, as I have said before, the first sentence of this article violates Wikipedia policy, as I see it, and this must be corrected. Thus, a replacement sentence must be put in place. How about I make a "replacement" article, which I will only post on my userpage, and when I am done we can see if anything can be arranged? - Dmar198 22:38, 9 August 2006 (UTC)Dmar198
I think people have rightly asked for evidence of them being more prominent above, and I haven't seen any yet. Every piece of literature I have seen or found on this subject says the opposite, characterising YEC as a 'manufactured controversy' (there was a great article on this subject in the Quarterly Review of Biology back in 1985, available here). In terms of balance, this is a very fringe theory and should be represented as such, lest Wikipedia distort the nature of the 'debate'. Ziggurat 23:17, 9 August 2006 (UTC)
Heh, ironically challenging the prominence (or notability) of YEC is the most reasonable argument you've made thusfar. (though as Ziggurat points out, you still need present compelling evidence) Notability is always a difficult thing to quantify and reflect in articles, and over time it even changes requiring us to tweak things a bit. So that is an issue that can be looked at, but your assertions that YEC is entirely natural, scientific and just as good as scientific theories are offensive to those of us who are scientifically literate and have debated this issue extensively in the past. Not only because we personally find that to be wrong, but those assertions do go against Wikipedia policy which takes the scientific communities view as the current mainstream view. (and those views explicitly contradict your assertions) Your intepretation that policy requires "equal" or "50/50" treatment of YEC in this article is simply incorrect.
On the issue of notability itself, please be aware Wikipedia tries to reflect a global viewpoint in its articles. This means, that although YEC may appear prominent in your area/state/country; this is not necessarily reflected in the world and reality. Bare this in mind as you work on an article "replacement". - RoyBoy 800 23:26, 9 August 2006 (UTC)
This is a very good point. I have just discovered from a reliable resource that the issue of Creationist Theories vs. Evolutionary Theories is mostly debated only in the USA, where I reside. On this basis, I will concede now that Wikipedia must respect the most common concepts from all nations, and should thus keep this article as it is, unchanged. Even though I personally don't agree with it. 71.50.236.210 21:36, 20 September 2006 (UTC)Dmar198
Following edit conflict :-) You leave out an important part of that first sentence: Based on extensive and detailed scientific evidence, geologists have determined the age of the Earth to be around 4.567 billion years. It does not state that as truth, just as the current state of scientific understanding which is based on current research and evidence. And yes, they may revise that if new evidence is found, that is the way science works. Scientists work to find evidence to understand nature. YECers seek to find evidence to support their preconceived ideas or religious beliefs - and that is not science. YEC theories are simply pseudoscience. And all or essentially all scientists - rather than that nearly... bit. Vsmith 23:37, 9 August 2006 (UTC)
On the matter of scientists, essentially all can be stipulated for scientists with expertise in relevant fields. Nearly all could potentially be more accurate, as there are likely a few dozen scientists in other fields which disagree with mainstream views. Though having them present a scientific alternative is another matter. - RoyBoy 800 00:01, 10 August 2006 (UTC)
How about this? "Based on extensive and detailed scientific evidence, nearly all geologists and Earth Scientists have agreed that the age of the Earth to be around 4.567 billion years."

This would remove much of the mispresentation of theory as fact, which was my main beef to begin with. I am sure that, had the article said something along the lines of this, I would not have started this argument. - Dmar198 16:55, 10 August 2006 (UTC)Dmar198

  • Just so you all know, the above comment was not from me. The issue that I have been discussing is not "which theory is right" (though that seems to be what the argument had turned into), but that both views should be accurately reflected, by the Wikipedia.org policies. As per the person who posted "Heh, ironically challenging the prominence..." above, I at first shot for a "50/50" representation mark, but I have since changed my mind due to the overwhelming majority (unanimous, to be exact) objections that I have received since those postings. However, I still think that the YEC theories are undermined in this article, and should be more examined. As per the rest of you, I am tired, now. Arguing with you all has racked my brain. If I can, I will continue arguing in the morning, as I can now see that my writing a "replacement" article would do no good, as per right now, no one would agree that I should post it in the place of the current article. Goodnight.

Dmar198 02:00, 10 August 2006 (UTC)Dmar198

  • Uhm...I believe that I am going to stop arguing with you all, being that I am receiving almost no recognition for my objections. I am going instead to start work (soon) on the "replacement" page (I continually put "replacement" in quotes because I don't want you all to think that I am working on a complete rerendering of the page. I am only changing certain parts.) The up to date version can be found on my userpage (As of right now, I have not begun work on it, so you will not find anything there for a short time), and when I am through, I will post it on this talk page and we can discuss what changes are acceptable, which changes are outright nonacceptable, and which changes are negotiable. - Dmar198 17:07, 10 August 2006 (UTC)Dmar198
I have just discovered from a reliable resource that the issue of Creationist Theories vs. Evolutionary Theories is mostly debated only in the USA, where I reside. On this basis, I will concede now that Wikipedia must respect the most common concepts from all nations, and should thus keep this article as it is, unchanged. Even though I personally don't agree with it. 71.50.236.210 21:36, 20 September 2006 (UTC)Dmar198


Anon Criticism

However a point must be made that all forms of scientific dating is based on assumtions. The use of radiation dating is still based on a scientific theory.

I removed the above from the Creationist objections section, because it was ill prepared. But I think it could be somehow worked into the section to perhaps clarify the Creationist position. - RoyBoy 800 03:52, 10 August 2006 (UTC)
I do actually think that the tone of this section should be altered; I've made a start myself, removing some of the inaccurate or overly vituperative statements, but some references would be a good step in the right direction. Ziggurat 03:56, 10 August 2006 (UTC)
Looks good. Tweaking last sentence. - RoyBoy 800 03:59, 10 August 2006 (UTC)
Whoops, thanks for correcting those. Obviously I'm more tired than I thought. - RoyBoy 800 04:25, 10 August 2006 (UTC)

Age_of_the_Earth#Creationist_objections

I think the "ignores evidence from meteorites" need tweaking. Perhaps initially it ignored such evidence, but I'd imagine they attempted to address and "debunk" such evidence. I think that should be included, ideally with a Wikilink to such efforts. - RoyBoy 800 17:09, 2 October 2006 (UTC)

metorites and heavy elements were not created in this solar system according to current star life cycle theories so what does a metoritec have to do directly with the age of the earth? The "star stuff"(sagan) metorites are made of has to have been part of at least 2 other solar systems if the "big bang" is correct. Many biblical scholars and schools of thot (crime) exist besides the perjoritive prejudice expressed in the charactorization of "creationists". Science is constantly undergoing revision, creationists and views of the old testament language also are prone to a wide range of readings not just the 6000 solar/human years view. Clock a man in 16hours a day and parade even half the known animals past as a thought exercise,how long would it take to name them all a distinct name? :10seconds-30seconds each? Buelier ... Buelier...anyone...anyone?


Good question, the article does need to clarify this. If the meteors are not originating from Earth, what use are they in calculating the age of the Earth? Also, what is "the accreting solar disk?" Harksaw 18:31, 16 November 2006 (UTC)
Meterorites which have been unchanged by erosion, weathering, subduction, metamorphism, melting etc, unlike those rocks found on earth. These meteorites are left over from the formation of the solar planets, so dating the minerals here give a better estimate on the age of the Earth. Hope this helps. MeanStreets "...Chorizo..." 11:45, 20 April 2007 (UTC)

Helioseismic verification

Quote: The radiometric date of meteorites can be verified with studies of the sun. The sun can be dated using "helioseismic" methods which strongly agree with the radiometric dates found for the oldest meteorites.

What the? How could helioseismicity have anything to do with dating meteorites? Ordinary Person 12:37, 12 October 2006 (UTC)

Reference was added - I just made a Harvard link to it at the end of said quote. Now we need to de-red that helioseismic link, but I don't feel up to it just now - as it's all new stuff to me. Cheers, Vsmith 01:32, 28 October 2006 (UTC)
OK. Just made that a redirect to Helioseismology and added the age bit there also. Vsmith 01:50, 28 October 2006 (UTC)
I see now, I misunderstood what the text I quoted above was saying. Thank you for those links. Ordinary Person 09:30, 10 November 2006 (UTC)

Radioactive Half-life

I was reading an article about radioactivity, and got a link to the page concerning the age of the Earth. However, in the article no mention is made of the use of Earth's age as a yard-stick for radioactivity decay rates. Can anyone write a section on this? While I know very little about the topic I feel this would improve the article. Paddyman1989 01:02, 20 October 2006 (UTC)

Um. There's very little of that. Almost all of it is the other direction, using decay rates to estimate age. JoshuaZ 02:16, 20 October 2006 (UTC)
OK, thanks for putting me straight on that one!

Paddyman1989 16:24, 1 November 2006 (UTC)

Rapid-decay theory

This may be bunkum and probably is. However, it is an internal link that is relevant to the article and should remain while there is an article. If it is worth an article it is worth a link. If you are not happy, put it up for AfD rather than trying to conceal its existence. BlueValour 01:37, 8 November 2006 (UTC)

If your feel that it probably is - bunkum, then why are you pushing it. If anything, it is either pseudoscience or some creationist dream. Doesn't rate a link from this or any science article. Vsmith 03:22, 8 November 2006 (UTC)
Also, there is the category of notable bunkum but shouldn't be linked here. See the undue weight section of WP:NPOV. JoshuaZ 03:32, 8 November 2006 (UTC)
I am not pushing it - simply that it is a published and widely circulated theory and therefore merits a place in Wikipedia. Theories get articles not because they are true but because they are verifiable. This is shown by one of the references that sets out the case against it! Articles should have all relevant internal links, whether or not you or I might disagree with them, for NPOV reasons. Had I been pushing the article I would have added its content to this article - I haven't but a link is the minimum we should do and is not undue weight. BlueValour 03:33, 8 November 2006 (UTC)
Given how much of a minority position it is, it is undue weight to mention it here. I agree having an article on it is a good thing. JoshuaZ 03:40, 8 November 2006 (UTC)
BlueValour, please don't ask people to 'see talk' when the Talk page reflects that most people disagree with you. For the record, so do I in this case. We generally do not link from general subjects to fringe subjects, but rather the other way around. -- Ec5618 04:04, 8 November 2006 (UTC)
Chill! 'See talk' is just to avoid putting lines of explanation in the edit summary. I have made my points, they haven't been accepted and that's just fine. That's how we edit on here and I won't try to press this link.BlueValour 04:32, 8 November 2006 (UTC)

*poof* then it was

What event defined the beginning of the earth? From what I've learned, the solar system gradually coalesced from a cloud of gas and dust, so when did our favorite dustball become a planet instead of a loose dust cloud? 71.205.107.239 02:40, 19 November 2006 (UTC)

When it wasn't loose anymore. - RoyBoy 800 04:38, 5 December 2006 (UTC)
The isotopic ages we get from meteorites merely record the point at which the meteorites cooled to such a state that the isotopic systems were locked in. This is different from when the Earth formed as a planetary clot on the disc, and different from when the sun ignited, etc. So...there appears to be a few dozen million years of difference between the oldest zircon and the ages of meteorites of various compositions. One records the disc cooling after its formation, the other records the Earth cooling to the point a zircon could grow. But they probably overlapped.Rolinator 04:47, 6 December 2006 (UTC)

Request for Comment: weasel words

See all over this page for previous arguments about this. --frothT C 05:55, 3 December 2006 (UTC)

Outside Comments

This article is in a really bad shape as far as referencing goes. There's only one in-line citation. I couldn't find anything specific, but I wouldn't be surprised if they were a lot of weasel words flowing around. It's usually a direct result of having bad citations. I suggest people start using templates {{fact}}, {{unreferencedsect}}, and {{OR-section}} to bring these problems into people's attention. But as of right now it's really hard to tell what is being debated. Taxico 07:40, 3 December 2006 (UTC)

Please don't conflate no-citations with bad references. The article was written by an expert; and abundant references and further reading are included. - RoyBoy 800 04:41, 5 December 2006 (UTC)
  • This concern is not ready for an RfC. I can't tell what is currently in dispute. GRBerry 11:02, 4 December 2006 (UTC)
I agree; there are plenty of references at the bottom of the page in both the References section and the Further Reading section. Maybe they aren't linked in with the text properly, but that can be achieved fairly easily by someone who's good at it. And if they aren't? Well, just scroll down and get hunting and prove us wrong.
The other thing to note is that currently despite being written by 'an expert' which is apparently "a bunch of wheezing geeks" sorry with all respect, RoyBoy, the article is a narrative of historical concepts rather than a scientific treatise on the data itself. It would be best if you don't confuse a story relating the achievements and milestones in the development of the current conception of terrestrial age, with the science behind it.
In a narrative, for instance, we can allow some interpretive statements as to the motives, thoughts and considerations given by the people who developed the theories. These may seem like wild assumptions

by 'the expert' but are probably based on biographies of the people concerned and historiographies of the scientific achievements themselves, for instance of Arthur Holmes' life and works, which he never (to my limited knowledge) ever expounded upon himself in an autobiography. So, therefore, if some of this flavour text seems weak and unsourced, it can hardly be improved upon by adding a million footnotes and references. That's my $0.02.Rolinator 07:04, 5 December 2006 (UTC)

Early calculations: physicists, geologists and biologists

This section is flawed in a significant way by failing to come to grasp with the influence that dates calculated from the Bible had on scientists in the 19th century. For example, the statement that, when presented with Lord Kelvin's estimate that the Earth's was soemwhere between 20 & 400 million years, "Geologists had trouble accepting such a short age for the Earth" -- this completely ignores the fact that many establishment men of science thought it was too long because calculations based on the Bible provided a date of 4004 BC (to offer the year most commonly repeated in the US at the time). The resistence that Lord Kelvin faced from his audience was far more complex than this statement implies.

It took many years -- at least a generation or two -- for educated Western people to accept that the Bible might be mistaken in some details. This belief that the Bible accurately reported the date came under attack not only from science, but from archeology: as information gradually was recovered about the history of ancient Egypt & Mesopotamia, historians had to wrestle with the conflict between the Biblical dates of Creation & the Flood, with undeniable evidence that the historical record stretched back beyond these dates. In other words, biblical inerrancy was the unquestioned belief of all Western educated men until the second half of the 19th century, when the contradictions between observed phenomena & this sacred book were increasingly acknowledged, & educated people found themselves forced to accept the results of scientific research, the literal statements of the Bible or find some kind of compromise between the two (for example, silently ignoring the 4004 BC date for the Creation). I'm sure it's obvious from disputes over this article that this contradiction has still not reached a consensus. -- llywrch 21:03, 5 December 2006 (UTC)

Sorry, but this is plain wrong. James Ussher only published the famous 4004 B.C. only around 1650. And debates about the interpretation of the Bible and faith in general have a tradition as old as Christendom. In fact, in Byzantium, there were street fights about different interpretation of the Christian creed. In the West, free thinking had been widespread since before the French Revolution. In the 19th century, relatively few educated man believed in a literal interpretation of the Bible - this is a fairly recent phenomenon. --Stephan Schulz 21:33, 5 December 2006 (UTC)
I picked the year "4004 BC" only as an example. And while people have argued from earliest times over the interpretation of the Bible, its statements were accepted by the vast majority of educated people as indisputable fact without question until the 20th century. This is illustrated by the scarcity of critical analysis of the composition of the Bible until the late 19th century, when it seems that a floodgate was opened: before that point, every book of the Bible was naively accepted as being written by one specific author; after that point, many scholars (of whom many were sincere & devout in their faith) analysed these works for clues to their sources and how they were written. There was an evolution of thinking about not only the evidence of the physical world, but also about sacred writings. -- llywrch 00:28, 7 December 2006 (UTC)
I think you leap too soon; llywrch is as right as you are in saying people in the 1800's did not believe one thing as much as you are in saying they did. Or vice versa. Both of you weren't alive back then and you are both making an interpretation about past events from, and this is my interpretation, incredibly limited research and flawed understandings. I would actually agree with llywrch simply because "Geologists had trouble accepting such a short age for the Earth" is not really accurate on several points;
  1. There were decidedly few actual geologists in England in the 1800's; most educated men of that era were naturalists and would have studied botany as heavily as geology and archaeology or classicism. On this point it would be fairer to say "Those who studied the geological age of the Earth considered that more time was required to explain the known facts and relationships within the Earth's geological record."
  2. There were also those who, as said, did not accept the scientific facts before them; indeed they argued wheher these were facts or not. This is not a slight on their faculties, it is just that geology qwas in its nfancy in the early 1800's and even until the end of WWI and up to WWII a great amount of geology was purely descriptive without great amounts of theorisation and models.
  3. It is true, also, to say that the age of the Earth and conceptions of the interpretation that it could not be 20Ma or even 400Ma old, were borne out by not only geological (ie; stratigraphic relationships such as the law of superposition etc, but also by archaeology which conflicted with the biblical Flood, and also with naturalism and Botany.
So, I tend to think that llywrch is not wrong. The development of geological theories is not as clear cut as we like to think, empowered with hindsight. It took until the 1940's for thrust faults to be recognised, after all, and until then vast amounts of the fossil record and statigraphy were uninterpretable. In 1920, people thought it mad to drill into the ground for oil. And the age of the earth problem was solved in the 1930's, but wasn't accurately confirmed beyond a reasonable amount of error, until much later. This isnt about free thinking and suppositions about who believed the bible was inerrant or not; the barest interpretation of the facts is that debate was vigorously carried on at the time with the best of then-modern science and then-novel ideas, tempered by the orthodoxy of biblical interpretations and an orthodoxy of the previous scientific conceptions. Rolinator 04:38, 6 December 2006 (UTC)
Well, there was a fairly sizable group of geologists in the 1800s: the Geological Society of London was created from the reorganization of an earlier body, & their earliest most important act was to exclude William "Strata" Smith from joining their group. But, Rolinator, you've grasped my point: knowledge is very often advanced in fits & starts, with many cases of politically-motivated half-measures. It continues today, even on Wikipedia: look at all of the archived talk pages for global warming. -- llywrch 00:28, 7 December 2006 (UTC)

Who's a good lil weasel?!

"They provide alternative explanations through flood geology, which is a theory based on biblical inerrancy that ignores evidence from meteorites, the Moon, and Mars, and has been rejected by scientists. The scientific community characterises such efforts as pseudoscience."

Whoever wrote this is a Genius. I'm sorry that the flood theory for dating the Earth doesn't use your evidence, now say your sorry for not using Creationist evidence in your theory. You won't? Dang, atleast I tried. Not 'all' Scientist reject the Flood theory as the statement blatantly tries to say. SOME, not all dear friend. Way to push your agenda. Keero 18:28, 18 December 2006 (UTC)
I take it yu consider Ken Ham a scientist, then?Rolinator 22:15, 18 December 2006 (UTC)
First time I ever heard of him, actually. Keero 00:37, 19 December 2006 (UTC)
A quick scan of creation science websites shows that the evidence mentioned is not ignored at all. "Has been rejected by scientists" is also untrue. BenC7 04:52, 19 December 2006 (UTC)
Scientific evidence is not ignored, I'll grant you that. It is just plastered over with so much philosophical bullshit it ceases to have any relevance. For exmple, the Grand Canyon is dealt with in most CS websites as a great rambling story about how it was formed in a flood; then they go on to show evidence which proves it was formed in a flood, and reject out of hand any other explanations. In fact, evidence which to most other scientists would discount flood hypotheses is not presented at all. So I would dispute the fact that scientific evidence is presented; it is misrepresented.Rolinator 23:19, 19 December 2006 (UTC)
Oh please. Among other issues, see WP:NPOV's undue weight clause. A small number of religiously motivated people is not notable dissent. JoshuaZ 04:54, 19 December 2006 (UTC)
This is my understanding of the undue weight clause as well. A 4.5 billion year Earth enjoys an overwhelming scientific consensus and anything more than a mention (single sentence) in this article violates NPOV. JPotter 04:58, 19 December 2006 (UTC)
I suspect there is still a problem however, because there's a big difference between ignoring the evidence and interpreting it in radically different ways that most scientists say isn't really scientific at all. Homestarmy 15:09, 19 December 2006 (UTC)
That's a fair statement. JPotter 17:18, 19 December 2006 (UTC)
Scientific point of view is not Neutral point of view. IIRC in the early days of wikipedia there was a big uproar over whether these articles should be written from a scientific point of view or a totally neutral point of view, and obviously neutral won. The rule, if I may paraphrase, ended up being "Science always gets the 'feature' position in an article, but all other notable views must be fairly presented". And regardless of scientific consensus, there are more people that identify Christian than Atheist so it's certainly a "significant minority". Joshua you cited notable dissent, that's within science, not science vs other. Re-read WP:NPOV --frothT C 06:57, 10 January 2007 (UTC)
Yeah, and there's ways of presenting and interpreting evidence that is so radical, it ceases to be science and tends to be SciFi or SciFant. Ie; religious in nature.Rolinator 23:19, 19 December 2006 (UTC)
Perhaps, but the point is that regardless of how much people dislike the way Creationists interpret the evidence in Creationism's favor, is that it is still interpreted in fashion, which the article currently asserts is false. Homestarmy 23:57, 19 December 2006 (UTC)

Science is the business of dismissing false claims. Every page on wikipedia where science disproves the claims of the bible there is a talk and discussion page that runs longer than the article itself. Science is not a compromise of ideas, and no amount of berating will change that. Wikipedia is about knowledge, and explaining that knowledge.

 Nina 137.111.47.182 05:29, 31 May 2007 (UTC)

Just to call to your attention

From WP:NPOV: Wikipedia is a general encyclopedia, which means it is a representation of human knowledge at some level of generality. But human beings disagree about specific cases; for any topic on which there are competing views, each view represents a different idea of what the truth is, and insofar as that view contradicts other views, its adherents believe that the other views are false and therefore not knowledge. ... A solution is that we accept, for the purposes of working on Wikipedia, that "human knowledge" includes all different significant theories on all different topics.

Religious views are undeniably a "significant minority" and it's inappropriate to write them off with "Today some religious groups ... reject scientific evidence which contradicts their beliefs."

I'm also editing "They provide alternative explanations through flood geology, which is a theory based on biblical inerrancy that ignores evidence from meteorites, the Moon, and Mars, and has been rejected by scientists. The scientific community characterises such efforts as pseudoscience." to make it at least civil. Come on.

--frothT C 08:51, 2 January 2007 (UTC)

Thanks, since you got my attention, I removed a bit of excess detail re: the three creation science dudes. Refer to the undue weight section of that policy. Cheers, Vsmith 11:59, 2 January 2007 (UTC)
I wasn't referring to the balance of content but of the language used. We don't need to tell them that religion is wrong, only what religion thinks. "Let the facts speak for themselves" if you don't believe it. (WP:NPOV) --frothT C 20:28, 2 January 2007 (UTC)

The little section at the beginning about creation science has been polished up to my great satisfaction- I think we've done a perfect job of achieving a neutral, nonconfrontational balance. Technically WP articles have license to assert science as a stated/assumed fact in sentence structure, for example saying "young earth creationism is pseudoscience" rather than the gracious "the scientific community classifies it as pseudoscience"--frothT C 06:51, 10 January 2007 (UTC)

That wasn't sarcasm BTW, after re-reading my comment it kind of comes off as cynical --frothT C 06:52, 10 January 2007 (UTC)
Your edit from fable to narrative was very good. I changed 'many' (religious groups) back to 'some'. If you'd like, we could break down the % of the worlds population believe what, in the intro. What American YEC's believe is VERY different than what Hindus believe - so to lump all 'religious believers' together is fallacious, IMHO. - Fairness And Accuracy For All 06:59, 10 January 2007 (UTC)

Sentence removed under "religious concepts"

See WP:NPOV:

Let the facts speak for themselves You won't even need to say [saddam hussein] was evil. That is why the article on Hitler does not start with "Hitler was a bad man" — we don't need to, his deeds convict him a thousand times over. ... If you do not allow the facts to speak for themselves you may alienate readers and turn them against your position.

This applies here too I think. --frothT 19:29, 17 January 2007 (UTC)

And replaced. Your analogy fails. The scientific community characterises this explanation as religious-based pseudoscience. is quite factual. note that it doesn't say the reli views are pseudoscience, but that the scientific community characterises is as such. Throwing in the Hitler bit was quite absurd. Vsmith 19:50, 17 January 2007 (UTC)

What a technicality! The spirit of the section is still directly applicable to the situation. Also I'm not the one who wrote the hitler thing, and it was just an example --frothT 22:47, 17 January 2007 (UTC)

That sentence strikes me as being a needlessly cruel barb tacked onto the end of what is otherwise a fine summary of religous concepts. I don't think we need to document scientists' opinion of these religous concepts any more than we should add YEC commentary to the end of paragraphs about, say, radiometric dating results. SheffieldSteel 03:13, 17 February 2007 (UTC)

Significant Figures

The current introduction for this page lists the age of the earth as 4.567 billion years, but the uncertainties stated further down are 1%. It would be more appropriate to give the numbers in the introduction to 3 significant figures: 4.57 or 4.04 billion years since 1% uncertainty is 0.04 billion years. Gavoth 22:34, 11 February 2007 (UTC)

Big edit?

There is a great deal history and background information on Radiometric Dating here - more, in fact, than there is on that page. What are people's views on trying to move some of this material there? Obviously we need to retain the material which is more relevant to Age-of-Earth calculations here. SheffieldSteel 20:31, 27 February 2007 (UTC)

I completely agree. This seems like it would be a worthwhile edit. It seems like a pretty large task to undertake, though. --Fastolfe00 16:10, 5 April 2007 (UTC)

Religious concepts = separate article?

Wouldn't it be better to split the religious ideas of the Earth's (Universe's_ age off into a separtate article? PiCo 11:11, 13 April 2007 (UTC)

If the sub-section continued to grow, absolutely... however the article is stable. I guess the lead should be tweaked to clarify there are many religious views. - RoyBoy 800 15:08, 2 September 2007 (UTC)

Early calculation

According to a BBC documentary,some guy had mad an attempt to measure the age of the earth,before kelvin.What was his name?I forgot ,and i realy what to read on him and he has a place in the article.He supposed that earth started as a molten hot ball that cooled to it's present form.He used iron balls of different sises that he put in the fire until they got red hot.Then he measures the time they need so that he is able to touch them,from there he extrapolated to the diameter of earth,his result was something like 60.000 years(at the the time when the bible was a history book).The reason that i find it interesting for the article,is not the accuracy of the result,but because in spite of knowing nothing,about geology,thermodynamics,heat transfers,radioactivity... he did what he could anyway.--87.65.134.218 02:10, 16 April 2007 (UTC)

Contribution of Thomson (lord Calvin)

There are two separate accounts of Thomson's contribution in the article. He changed his estimates a few times, which made straight forward accounting a bit hard for us who does not have a complete list of references. MegaHasher 21:56, 27 August 2007 (UTC)

Difficult to determine?

The last sentence of the lead reads: "…the exact age of the Earth is difficult to determine." How difficult is it? The errors mentioned all seem to be <=100 million years. So, might it not be better to say that the age of the Earth is difficult to determine to better than a 100 million year accuracy? (Noting that the ~4.5 billion mark is just about right.)

Further, some discussion on this page indicates that the exact age of the Earth may be difficult to define, let alone determine. Given the inherent ambiguity, then, in a statement like "age of the earth", it seems like it would be helpful to be specific about what the claim is.

I understand that there's an uncertainty involved; I'd like to be certain about that uncertainty, though! :) I guess what I'm after are some error bars, e.g., (4.54\pm 0.08)\times 10^9 yrs. — gogobera (talk) 00:20, 21 November 2007 (UTC)

Were the Hindus really that accurate?

The section on Hindu beliefs states that the world is 4,320,000,000 years ago before it is recreated. That is remarkably close to the correct answer. Can someone cite a primary source saying this?--Loodog (talk) 16:05, 21 December 2007 (UTC)

I first looked at Hindu cosmology. It pointed my to the idea that the term is a kalpa. I'd point out that one Kalpa is not usually looked at as the age of the Earth, but rather the more mystical "day (or night) of Brahma". In a tradition as rich in large numbers as Hinduism, it may not be too surprising to find one that seems to fit. Also, once science pops out a number, it's common for mystics to claim the religions have predicted the same number.
As far as sources, supposedly the '81 Guinness Book lists the Kalpa as the "longest unit of time". It's commonly quoted on Wikipedia, so I'd guess it's fairly straightforwardly laid out in the Vedas. Maybe someone here will point out exactly where. — gogobera (talk) 22:24, 22 December 2007 (UTC)

Kelvin's estimate...

I'm not 100% sure on this, but I think that the reasons why Kelvin's estimate was wrong wasn't mainly becuase he hadn't accounted for heat produced by radioactive decay. For a start, the energy released from radioactive decay doesn't add up (I think please correct me if I'm wrong) to the huge difference between 100m years and 4.5 billion years?

But also I'm pretty sure that seen as Kelvin had no idea about the internal structure of the Earth (i.e. solid core, etc.), he wouldn't accurately know the mechanisms of heat loss via convection/conduction etc... anyway does anyone have any thoughts on this? Am I totally wrong here?

(edit) Found a possible source on this http://www.americanscientist.org/template/AssetDetail/assetid/55536

—Preceding unsigned comment added by 81.104.66.85 (talk) 05:42, 10 January 2008 (UTC)

Dalrymple (reference #7 in the article) might be out of date. However, in dicussing Kelvin's calculations on the cooling of the Earth Dalrymple wrote, "probably the most important source of continuing heat production is radioactivity" but also "the relative importance of the various sources of heat is poorly known". In 1862 Kelvin published two calculations, one for the cooling of the Earth and another for the estimating how long an object like the Sun might be expected to produce enough energy to maintain life on Earth. Kelvin's calculations for energy released from the Sun also failed to take into account nuclear energy. Both of Kelvin's methods were wrong yet were taken by many physical scientists as "authoritative" estimates of a relatively young age for the Earth. --JWSchmidt (talk) 05:50, 11 January 2008 (UTC)