Anyone who knows me knows - I don't take kindly to Young Earth Creationists (YECs). Usually I avoid conversations with these kinds of people because I am aware of my own intolerance to them and I don't want to be a big jerkwad, which is usually how I end up acting if I do find myself having a conversation with a YEC. I don't know exactly why, but people who seriously argue that Earth is 4,000 - 10,000 years old and that the bible is a literal account of the creation of both the planet and all life on the planet make me erupt with utter contempt.
That's why, in addition to it being both fascinating and exciting, news like this makes me smile -
Giving new meaning to the phrase "older than dirt," scientists have found evidence of an underground rock reservoir left over from the days when Earth was a ball of magma, a new study says.
Rocks recently found on Canada's Baffin Island erupted as lava from a deep rock reservoir that formed 4.5 billion years ago, when the solar system was new, the study says. The reservoir may hold the world's oldest rock, according to the authors.
Because Earth recycles its building blocks so thoroughly—particularly in the mantle, the layer just below the planet's relatively thin outer crust—no purely primordial material has been found before.
"We've been looking for pieces of the mantle that might have survived the chaotic mixing and churning within the deep Earth," said Boston University geochemist Matthew Jackson. "But until now we haven't seen anything that looks like the original stuff that Earth formed from," added Jackson, who co-authored the study, published today in the journal Nature.
Even better, the newly analyzed rocks—which reached the surface some 62 million years ago—suggest a whole reservoir of the primordial rock could still lie somewhere beneath the Arctic, the study says.
I know, I know - no matter what we find, without some unquestionable, undeniable proof that we understand completely, YECs will always be ready to argue that there are pieces of information missing, therefore the whole of the information is worthless. But the problem is, there are ALWAYS pieces of information missing. That's why the scientific method is such a great tool for people to use to understand the world around them - it establishes criteria for considering information in order for it to be established as evidence for or against a given hypothesis and is able to change at any time with the onset of new information.
I think the biggest problem I have with Young Earth Creationists is that they tend to argue from the position that if everything isn't known, then nothing is known. And so because they follow a religion which feels comfortable assigning arbitrary and often entirely ridiculously illogical explanations to the more difficult questions in life, such as why we're here and how life began, they seem to feel secure in their position because even though their answer seems crazy, they have an answer and that's better than nothing.
Except it isn't better than nothing. My position is that when you don't know, the best response is - I don't know. That seems far more productive, truthful, and all around better than any position where any answer - no matter how truthful - is better than admitting that there are still mysteries regarding existence. And though a YEC might feel comfortable molding their entire understanding of life solely around the wisdom of a tome written by uneducated bronze aged people 2000 years ago, I can't imagine what would make anyone think that this position is one that is strong enough to argue from.
Do these people use medical information that is 2000 years old? No! That would be crazy! So...why get other aspects of science - the same science that makes modern medicine as successful as is is today mind you - from a 2000 year old book?
So, here we go. Bring on the reasons why the dating method used in this instance is flawed, why the scientists who found the rocks have ulterior and sinister secular motives, why the geochemist is wrong and the charismatic Dr. of religious studies is right - eventually there will be enough evidence against Young Earth Creationism that it will fizzle out - then we'll just have those Flat Earthers and the Time Cube guy to worry about, right? Riiiiiight.