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Wonders of Creation - Ice Layers and Tree Rings

National Radio (24th March 2005) ran a debate between David Penny an evolutionist, and Adrian Bates a creationist, in which both men were allowed a little time to present their case. Adrian went first, and spoke meekly but accurately, defending the Bible point of view and keeping within the limits of the debate theme.

David however had no interest in being objective. His opening words were prefaced with a laugh of mockery, and from there on he attacked Mr. Bates with personal slights, ridiculed the Bible and the God of the Bible, cast aspersions at Christians in general, and turned the debate into a grandstand for his atheistic opinions. He repeatedly cut in and drowned Adrian out, dominating at least two thirds of the allotted interview time with his opinions, which stretched far and wide. Intelligent listeners would have been struck by the radically different styles of the two men.

David raised two main points, on which he rested his belief in an ancient Earth: ice core samples and tree rings. Ironically, these two supposed evidences for an ancient Earth are actually very good evidences for the very opposite.

It was claimed by David that the "annual rings" in the ice core samples, taken in the north polar regions, prove that the ice is . . . National Radio (24th March 2005) ran a debate between David Penny an evolutionist, and Adrian Bates a creationist, in which both men were allowed a little time to present their case. Adrian went first, and spoke meekly but accurately, defending the Bible point of view and keeping within the limits of the debate theme.

David however had no interest in being objective. His opening words were prefaced with a laugh of mockery, and from there on he attacked Mr. Bates with personal slights, ridiculed the Bible and the God of the Bible, cast aspersions at Christians in general, and turned the debate into a grandstand for his atheistic opinions. He repeatedly cut in and drowned Adrian out, dominating at least two thirds of the allotted interview time with his opinions, which stretched far and wide. Intelligent listeners would have been struck by the radically different styles of the two men.

David raised two main points, on which he rested his belief in an ancient Earth: ice core samples and tree rings. Ironically, these two supposed evidences for an ancient Earth are actually very good evidences for the very opposite.

It was claimed by David that the "annual rings" in the ice core samples, taken in the north polar regions, prove that the ice is hundreds of thousands of years old. All one needs to do, he claimed, is count the layers. Each layer represents one year, therefore the ice is very old. This however flies in the face of observed events, because in some years several snowstorms may come to the region, each storm producing a layer. The age of the ice is therefore greatly exaggerated.

It is usually assumed that the buildup of glacial ice is extremely slow, but real-time evidence has shown that up to 250 feet of solid ice can form in only 75 years! This was proved by the discovery of WWII planes, downed in 1942 in Iceland and abandoned on the surface. In 1980 the planes were discovered 250 feet down. This proved that so-called "annual layers" were not evidence of one layer per year, but of many.

Tree rings can be used to date the age of a tree, but no tree has ever been found which gives an age (based on one ring per year) of more than about 3500 years. Many claims have been made of trees of greater age, but not one has been conclusively proved. For example, no Huon Pine, said to be one of the oldest living trees in the world, has ever been found over 3,500 years.

It used to be claimed that the King's Holly of Tasmania, and a colony of Box Huckleberry in Pennsylnania were over 10,000 years, but these estimates have been revised down due to the uncertainty of past growth rates. Just because a plant grows very slowly today is not proof that it grew very slowly in the past. Besides, neither plant gives an assumed age of over 10,000 years, so neither proves much.

The only other contender for being ancient is the Creosote bush of North America. The ?granddaddy? of them all is a plant called ?King Clone?, which was discovered in 1980 and claimed to be 11,700 years old. It has since been reduced to 7,500 and its age continues to fall as new data is produced. The bush grows outward from its edges, while its center dies. The effect is an ever-widening circle of new growth while the original bush is long gone. The problem with dating a tree which is largely not there is the difficulty of knowing how fast or slow the rings grew in the past. Based on some known years the original bush may have started many thousands of years ago, but if the climate was wetter in the past, the beginning date would need to be brought forward. Again it must be stated that no living tree proves that the earth is even a hundred thousand years old.

Why is it then that there are no really ancient trees? Is it simply because they have relatively short lifespans? In many cases the answer must be "No" because there are forests of trees still alive which look healthy and strong enough to last many more thousands of years. What the evidence points to is some point in time in the past when every tree still alive today, began to grow. The Bible supplies the answer to this riddle.

Genesis describes a global flood, in which the planet was stripped of life, including all its forests. Much of this organic material was buried in sediment as the flood waters ravaged the surface, and huge amounts of wood were buried and became today's enormous coal mines. When the flood ended, seeds began to sprout, and some of those seedlings are still alive today.

Richard Gunther, Copyright 2006