News Reports Promote Gross Scientific Error

by Ken Ham on November 16, 2015

The national media certainly has been buzzing since Thursday’s exciting announcement of the opening date of our Ark Encounter! It’s July 7, 2016—not far away at all! We’re expecting big crowds so the Ark will be open 40 days and 40 nights with advance tickets going on sale January 19, 2016. You can start planning your family trip to Ark Encounter soon!

Ark Encounter

Well, a number of news outlets reported on the Ark’s grand opening date, including the Columbus Dispatch of Ohio, up Interstate 71 from us. Toward the end of their article, they wrote the following:

[Answers in Genesis] is an organization that believes the world is about 6,000 years old and events in the Bible, such as the creation of Earth in six days, happened as they were written.

Scientists have calculated that Earth is more than 4 billion years old, based on carbon dating of rocks [emphasis ours] and other research.

Here are links to other news articles with the same claim about carbon dating:

Well, the first part of the Columbus Dispatch item is accurate concerning the beliefs we adhere to at Answers in Genesis.1 But the second part shows a major misunderstanding about the nature of science. Scientists haven’t “calculated” Earth’s age at more than 4 billion years using carbon dating! If Answers in Genesis made a gross scientific error like that, the secular world would mock us with great fervor! That’s because carbon dating has absolutely nothing to do with dating items supposedly billions of years old. Now, that’s not creationists saying this; it’s the reality of the carbon-dating method. It can only be used to date items that are thousands of years old (up to 100,000 years maximum) because the half-life of radioactive carbon is so short.

Let me state this categorically: no scientist uses carbon dating as a method of trying to determine the age of the Earth! Carbon-14 decays too rapidly. If the whole Earth was made of carbon-14, in less than one million years there would be nothing measurable left; it would have decayed away. The irony is that this same paper which has blasted Answers in Genesis for being supposedly anti-scientific has made an utterly ridiculous statement about carbon dating. This newspaper has mocked AiG and its Creation Museum going back to 2005.2

I have found that, for whatever reason, there is a great misconception in the culture concerning carbon dating. For some reason, an urban legend has grown that has caused many people to think that carbon dating proves the billions of years—yet that method is not used (and cannot be used) to determine the supposed billions of years.

To me, this shows once again that reporters and even some scientists often do not do their basic research and do not understand the topic correctly, but they will use such a misunderstanding and misuse of information to denigrate Answers in Genesis!

We have many articles about the radioactive carbon dating method on our website if you want to understand this topic in more detail. I encourage you to check out these articles:

Now, scientists use carbon-14 to supposedly date once-living things (like fossils), but even then, there are a lot of unprovable assumptions that go into carbon-14. It can’t be used as a reliable method for obtaining dates anyway. Actually, carbon-14 doesn’t support old ages for things like fossils—it supports a young universe. Since it decays so quickly, we shouldn’t expect to find any carbon-14 in things that are supposedly millions of years old. And yet we find carbon-14 in fossils that are supposedly hundreds of millions of years old, and even in diamonds, supposedly billions of years old! There’s no way carbon-14 could last that long!

Carbon-14 supports a young universe, just like the Bible describes. But even if secularists won’t accept this truth (they will usually claim contamination or something like this), how about secular scientists chastising the secular media for using incorrect information about carbon dating and being prepared to challenge them on such a gross error?

As we so often see with secularists, when they make obvious errors, they give their own a free pass. But when a Christian makes even the smallest of errors, the secularists will blow it out of all proportion!

I was encouraged to see a Cincinnati Enquirer article written by a reporter who has carefully researched and written an accurate, lengthy piece about the Ark Encounter and the tax money it will bring to northern Kentucky. I encourage you to read it. [To read it on mobile, click the "x" top right in the browser, and then you will be able to read the article.]

You can learn more about the upcoming opening (July 7) of Ark Encounter and stay updated at

Thanks for stopping by and thanks for praying,

This item was written with the assistance of AiG’s research team.


  1. Apparently their article was cobbled together from a few news sources.
  2. In November 2005, the Columbus Dispatch printed a very harsh editorial against AiG (it was followed up by AiG with a phone call to what turned out to be a very snide editor at the paper) and then the next month the paper printed a guest commentary that also slammed AiG. (These two pieces apparently are no longer on the paper’s website.)

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