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Baker (2008) observes that a lot of time has been spent by various groups of experts trying to establish just how old the earth is. Different researchers have based their studies on different theories such as the evolution and creation theories but none of their studies has been able to establish the true age of the earth just yet. Through intensive research, scientists have been able to come up with differing earth ages that range from a low as 6000 years to as large as 4.5 billion years. Nobody has however been able to oppose all these assumptions as the different groups appear to all have evidence to back their claims.
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Probably the most contested theories about the true age of the earth is that proposed from biblical evidence. Christian researchers hold the position that the earth is 6000 years old. Most Christians site their evidence from the book of genesis which talks of the beginning of God's creation which includes the earth and all the living and non- living things. The dating systems in the bible also support this argument that the earth might probably be as old as 6000 years. James Ussher, whose bible translation is known as the King James Version was the first person to include the date 4004 B.C in the book of Genesis (Hodge, 2007). He explained that his arrival to this date was from the addition of lengths patriarchs' lives given in the book of genesis from chapters 5 to 11. Scientists have come up with a lot of reasons why James' calculations cannot be deemed accurate. Astronomers, through the calculation of the speed of light, have come to a conclusion that it has taken billions of years for light from stars millions of kilometers away to reflect their light to the earth therefore refuting claims that the earth might be 6000 years old.
According to Rev. Jack Barr in his article How Old is the Earth? The earth is probably as old as 10000 years. He gives various reasons as to why he thinks his argument is correct. In his first explanation he states that studies point towards the sun shrinking at the rate of five feet every hour. He dates this observation since 1836 and indeed studies show that for more than 400 years now this claim has been right. From this argument, there is a high possibility of the sun touching the earth if it existed twenty years ago, so that leaves the earth to be at least 10000 years old. Rev. Jack also goes a head to cite evidence about the decreasing magnetic field of the earth to support his theory. Studies about thermodynamics' second law indicate that the magnetic field of the earth is constantly increasing. If the magnetic field of the earth were to be calculated as per 10000 years ago, it would match the strength of a magnetic star and produce nuclear power like that of the sun (Dalrymple, 2006).
The earth's rotation can also be used to support the claims that the earth is aged about 10000 years. The rate at which the earth is rotating is seen to be slowing down at almost 0.0002 seconds annually. According to Stassen (2009) this implies that the distance between the earth and the moon is widening at about four centimeters annually. From this evidence, there is no possibility that the earth could even be 2 billion years old as this would mean that the moon was in contact with the earth which is virtually impossible. Another theory about helium generated from uranium's radioactive decay states that a period of 4.5 billion years would mean that the atmosphere would be saturated by helium which is not the case. All these theories support the argument that the earth is at least 10000 years old.
Geologists date the earth to be at least 4.5 billion years old. Geologists base their claims through the study of rocks and relate the age of the oldest rocks on the earth to that of the actual age of the earth. Through various dating, methods such as the radiometric dating method, they have found the oldest rocks on earth to have formed about 3.9 billion years ago. Other rare sedimentary rocks and minerals have also been found to have formed about 4.2 billion years ago. Geological scientists arguing that the earth is about 4.5 billion years old have also used meteorite and earth samples to push their claims. In this study, they assume that the solar system which includes the earth, sun, moon and other heavenly bodies were formed from a common pool of matter with uniformly distributed ratios of uranium to lead isotopes which are affected by one center of gravity. The decay of these isotopes is studied to establish the ages of different meteorites and there results are related to the age of the earth. Meteorites containing uranium have been found not to date less than 4.2 billion years (Berr, 2010).
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It is clear from the above theories that man has made a lot of effort to try and find out the true age of the earth. So far from all the different studies and theories, the age of the earth lies between 6000 and 4.5 billion years. Some theories have so many weaknesses leading to most people doubting their credibility while others appear to have a lot of supporting evidence that makes them more credible. One thing for sure is that nobody has so far has been able to explain the true age of the earth. Just how old is planet earth?