Joe Meert prints a report of a recent RATE conference by Dr. Todd Feeley. RATE is a project by young earth creationists to undermine radiometric dating and try to show that the earth isn’t billions of years old. Naturally, such an absurd claim requires some serious mental gymnastics. This passage is particularly telling:
He also agreed that the mechanism for accelerating radioactivity by nearly a billion-fold during a single year (the flood year) was a major problem for the group that in the end will probably only be resolved by invoking a
“cosmic-scale event” or miracle. He further conceded that at this point they have no physical evidence for this miracle.
Apparently, dissipation of the heat produced during the event is, in the end, going to require yet an additional miracle.
This is a serious problem for young earthers and it’s something Joe has written about at great length before. If you’re going to argue that the decay rates of radioisotopes was faster in the past – so fast that 4.5 billion years worth of decay took place in only 6000 years – you’ve got a real heat problem. Radioisotope decay means release of radiation, which means releasing heat. Compress all of the heat and radiation released in the last 4.5 billion years into just a few thousand years and life on earth could not exist.
And radioisotope decay is not the only source of heat that messes with their timescale. There are loads of other processes that release heat as well – volcanic activity, seismic activity, meteor impacts. Compress all of the untold number of volcanic eruptions evidenced in the geological record into just a few thousand years and, again, you have massive amounts of heat released. Likewise compress all of the meteor impacts evidenced in the geological record and you have yet more heat released in a very short period of time. Mark Isaak computes the numbers:
Magma. The geologic record includes roughly 8 x 10^24 grams of lava flows and igneous intrusions. Assuming (conservatively) a specific heat of 0.15, this magma would release 5.4 x 10^27 joules while cooling 1100 degrees C. In addition, the heat of crystallization as the magma solidifies would release a great deal more heat.
Limestone formation. There are roughly 5 x 10^23 grams of limestone in the earth’s sediments [Poldervaart, 1955], and the formation of calcite releases about 11,290 joules/gram [Weast, 1974, p. D63]. If only 10% of the limestone were formed during the Flood, the 5.6 x 10^26 joules of heat released would be enough to boil the flood waters.
Meteorite impacts. Erosion and crustal movements have erased an unknown number of impact craters on earth, but Creationists Whitcomb and DeYoung suggest that cratering to the extent seen on the Moon and Mercury occurred on earth during the year of Noah’s Flood. The heat from just one of the largest lunar impacts released an estimated 3 x 10^26 joules; the same sized object falling to earth would release even more energy. [Fezer, pp. 45-46]…
5.6 x 10^26 joules is enough to heat the oceans to boiling. 3.7 x 10^27 joules will vaporize them completely. Since steam and air have a lower heat capacity than water, the steam released will quickly raise the temperature of the atmosphere over 1000 C. At these temperatures, much of the atmosphere would boil off the Earth.
There’s only one way to get rid of this problem for the creationists: invoke a miracle. God magically zapped away the heat. These are the kinds of contortions you must do with your brain in order to justify such a nonsensical position.