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Evolution: Tree Ring Dating & Circular Reasoning

The radiometric dating methods have a less convenient partner in the form of tree-ring dating.

Tree Ring Dating

Tree ring dating is based on a simple belief that every year a tree forms one ring in the wood that it creates as it grows. Just count the number of rings from the trunk’s outer edge to its center and you discover the number of years the tree was alive. However, there are multiple problems with this type of dating. The most questionable assumption in tree ring dating is the rate of ring formation.

1. It has been found that all trees, even slow-growing ones, respond dynamically to tiny environmental changes, even hourly changes in growing conditions. So how valid is the assumption of one ring per year in a climate where tree-growing conditions are variable?

Scientists have observed that numerous normal conditions can produce an extra ring or no ring at all. And weather has the biggest effect - unusual storms with large amounts of rainfall mixed with random dry periods can produce multiple rings. You can be certain that with every major storm, there will be at least one extra ring added.

For example, recent research on seasonal effects on tree rings in other trees in the same genus, the plantation pine Pinus radiata, has revealed that up to five rings per year can be produced and extra rings are often indistinguishable, even under the microscope, from annual rings. The basic assumption of tree ring dating is clearly in error.

Furthermore, in some temperate trees that at times produce multiple rings, growth can occur in two or three periods, separated by brief intervals of dormancy. Dormancy of this type is classified as temporary, as it lasts a few days or a few weeks. In other words, a tree can form a countable ring in a matter of weeks!

2. A great deal of subjective interpretation is required to judge between true and false rings and true and false pattern matches between different pieces of wood. Rings may be indistinct, and easily missed.

Indistinct or missing rings pose two problems, and extra rings present a third.

3. There are many other things that can alter tree ring spacing. A tree may grow in the shadow of a larger tree and have close rings due to less light, or when the larger older tree falls, the smaller one grows faster with more light. Also two trees on opposite sides of the same hill can have different soils, sunlight (north side shadows), and even rain fall (rain shadow).

Evolutionists also use circular reasoning with tree ring dating (which only proves what is assumed to begin with). Radiocarbon is calibrated with tree rings, but the tree-ring dating chronology is calibrated using radiocarbon!

The tree ring dating is no different to radiometric dating; both methods pose major problems that evolutionists simply ignore. We also know that since the global flood, and the wild climate swings, from the Ice Age, there is every reason to expect extra rings in trees that began growing soon after the Flood.

Index Fossils (Circular Reasoning)

If one fossil was only found in rocks thought to be between 200 and 180 million years old and no where else, and then that “index fossil” is found in a different rock of unknown age, secular scientists just assume that particular rock to also be between 200 and 180 million years old. In other words, the fossils found in rocks are used to date other rocks.

But how do they know the age of the original rocks? Radiometric dating techniques can be used, but we know that secular scientists reject such ages if they contradict the evolutionary story - even if the dates from multiple methods agree with one another!

Therefore, the fossils (the assumed evolutionary story) are used to date the rocks, and the rocks are used to date the fossils (Figure 1). This kind of circular reasoning is also used in every other dating methods (ice cores, seafloor sediments, and tree ring dating mentioned above... etc).


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