The age of the earth

by Richard on July 12, 2010

I doubt I’ll be able to do any blogging today, but before I sign off, this headline on the BBC caught my eye: Earth younger than previously thought, say scientists. The article says

A new geological study has set a more accurate age for planet Earth, according to scientists.

Researchers say their investigation shows the Earth is 70 million years younger than the 4.537 billion-year-old planet “we had previously imagined”.

Here’s my question. How does a revision of 1.5% on a geological age make a headline?

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

1

Kim 07.12.10 at 10:23 am

It’s still an old fart as far as I’m concerned - but it’s the thin end of the wedge for creationists!

2

David 07.12.10 at 10:33 am

It will be when it is cited by some statistically illiterate young earther to prove the inaccuracy of geological dating methods…

3

Paul Martin 07.12.10 at 11:10 am

Still older than Kim - just!

4

phil_style 07.12.10 at 11:24 am

I wonder what the margin of error is for the data? Probably around 1 or 2% anwyays… so I also don’t see how this is newsworthy… 4.5 v 4.6 billion years doesn’t really change much for most of us. Maybe if they had to revise the date by 10-20% that would be astonishing… but 1 or 2% reflects increasing accuracy, or just play within the margins.

5

dh 07.12.10 at 4:28 pm

Phil, increasing accuracy? Not if there is a predisposition toward an old earth by the researchers themselves. Kind of a “self-fullfilled prophesy” when it comes to these issues. Even under peer-review the peer-review can have predispositions going into the review which support the self-fullfilled prophetic results as well.

6

Kim 07.13.10 at 11:41 am

Hey Paul, as Satchel Paige observed, the key question is “How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you were?” In any case, in dog years - not to mention baptism - I’m already dead.

7

Kim 07.13.10 at 11:44 am

A thought: to make the earth at least look younger, how about a global Botox and some implants in the Alps and Himalayas?

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