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Woodmorappe Has NOTHING Good to Say about
Radiometric Dating

Dr. Kevin R. Henke

The following material may be freely copied and distributed as long as the author is properly acknowledged
and the material is not altered, edited or sold.

Young-Earth creationist (YEC) John Woodmorappe (pseudonym) is infamous for scouring the scientific literature for information that he can exaggerate or misquote to defame radiometric dating.  However, even a superficial review of the literature that Woodmorappe (1979, 1999) misuses demonstrates that radiometric dating routinely produces powerfully reliable results (e.g., Tauxe et al., 1992; Baadsgaard et al.,1988;  Baadsgaard et al., 1993; Queen et al., 1996;  Montanari et al., 1985; Foster et al., 1989; Harland et al., 1990; Jacobs and Thomas, 1996; LoBello et al., 1987; Shirey, 1991;  Fleck et al., 1996, etc.).  Rather than admit the reality of these positive results, Woodmorappe (1979, 1999) consistently ignores or misrepresents them as he sieves through the literature looking for 'dirt' on geochronology.

Woodmorappe's critics (including: Dalrymple, 1984; Steve H. Schimmrich, and me) have repeatedly accused him of having unrealistic biases against radiometric dating, generating unrepresentative laundry lists of 'bad dates' from the literature, and having NOTHING good to say about radiometric methods.  But, why is this surprising?  If Woodmorappe even admits that one radiometric date in excess of 10,000 years is real, his archaic Bible interpretations are demolished.

Rather than admit his improper biases, Woodmorappe (1999, p. 1) complains that his critics tend to 'stereotype' his efforts by only referring to his laundry lists of bad dates (see Table 1 in Woodmorappe, 1979, for a prime example of a misleading laundry list). Woodmorappe (1999, p. 1) boasts that he has spent a 'fair amount of time' discussing good dates, concordance and reliability criteria in his writings.  However, slandering good dates and isochrons is NOT the same thing as objectively discussing the strengths and weaknesses of radiometric dating.  That is, maligning both good and bad radiometric dates is not an example of being 'fair, objective and balanced.'

I and others have thoroughly documented countless examples of Woodmorappe (1979, 1999) misquoting the literature, misunderstanding basic information on mineralogy and metamorphic and igneous petrology, and grossly misrepresenting other aspects of geology and geochronology (e.g., Dalrymple, 1984 and the above web links).  In comparison, the scientific literature (such as Dickin, 1995) is much more realistic and objective than Woodmorappe and other YECs.  Dickin (1995), for example, discusses the limitations, failures and problems associated with radiometric dating, as well as the useful and reliable results.


Baadsgaard, H.; J.F. Lerbekmo; and I. McDougall, 1988, 'A Radiometric Age for the Cretaceous - Tertiary Boundary Based upon K-Ar, Rb-Sr, and U-Pb Ages of Bentonites from Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Montana', Can. J. Earth Sci., v. 25, p. 1088-1097.

Baadsgaard, H.; J.F. Lerberkmo; J.R. Wijbrans; C.C. Swisher III; and M. Fanning, 1993, 'Multimethod Radiometric Age for a Bentonite near the Top of the Baculites reesidei Zone of Southwestern Saskatchewan (Campanian-Maastrichtian Stage Boundary?)', Can J. Earth Sci., v. 30, p. 769-775.

Dalrymple, G. B., 1984, 'How Old is the Earth?: A Reply to "Scientific" Creationism', in  Proceedings of the 63rd Annual Meeting of the Pacific Division, American Association for the Advancement of Science, v. 1, pt. 3, Frank Awbrey and William Thwaites (Eds).

Dickin, A.P., 1995, Radiogenic Isotope Geology, Cambridge University Press, New York.

Fleck, R.J., R.W. Kistler, and J.L. Wooden, 1996, 'Geochronological Complexities Related to Multiple Emplacement History of the Tuolumne Intrusive Suite, Yosemite National Park, California', Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs, Cordilleran Section, v. 28, n. 5, p. 65-66.

Forster, D.A.; T.M. Harrison and C.F. Miller, 1989, 'Age, Inheritance, and Uplift History of the Old Woman-Piute Batholith, California and Implications for K-feldspar Age Spectra', J. of Geol., v. 97, p. 232-243.

Harland, W.B.; R.L. Armstrong; A.V. Cox; L.E. Craig; A.G. Smith and D.G. Smith, 1990, A Geologic Time Scale 1989, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.

Jacobs, J. and R.J. Thomas, 1996, 'Pan-African Rejuvenation of the c. 1.1Ga Natal Metamorphic Province (South Africa): K-Ar Muscovite and Titanite Fission Track Evidence', J. Geol. Soc. (London), v. 153, p. 971-978.

Lo Bello, Ph.; G. Feraud, C.M. Hall, D. York, P. Lavina, and M. Bernat, 1987, '40Ar/39Ar Step-Heating and Laser Fusion Dating of a Quaternary Pumice from Neschers, Massif, Central, France: The Defeat of Xenocrystic Contamination', Chemical Geology (Isotope Geoscience Section), v. 66, p. 61-71.

Montanari, A.; R. Drake; D.M. Bice; W. Alvarez; G.H. Curtis; B.D. Turrin and D.J. DePaolo, 1985, 'Radiometric Time Scale for the Upper Eocene and Oligocene Based on K/Ar and Rb/Sr Dating of Volcanic Biotites from the Pelagic Sequence of Gubbio, Italy', Geology, v. 13, Sept., p. 596-599.

Queen, M.; L.M. Heaman; J.A. Hanes; D.A. Archibald and E. Farrar, 1996, '40Ar/39Ar Phlogopite and U-Pb Perovskite Dating of Lamprophyre Dykes from the Eastern Lake Superior Region: Evidence for a 1.14 Ga Magmatic Precursor to Midcontinent Rift Volcanism', Can. J. Earth Sci., v. 33, p. 958-965.

Shirey, S.B., 1991, 'The Rb-Sr, Sm-Nd, and Re-Os Isotopic Systems', p. 103-166, in L. Heaman and J.N. Ludden, Applications of Radiogenic Isotope Systems to Problems in Geology, Short Course Handbook, v. 19.

Tauxe, L.; A.D. Deino; A.K. Behrensmeyer and R. Potts, 1992, 'Pinning Down the Brunhes/Matuyama and Upper Jaramillo Boundaries: A Reconciliation of Orbital and Isotopic Time Scales', Earth Planet. Sci. Lett., v. 109, p. 561-572.

Woodmorappe, J., 1979, 'Radiometric Geochronology Reappraised', Creation Research Society Quarterly, vol. 16, September, p.  102f.

Woodmorappe, J., 1999, The Mythology of Modern Dating Methods, Institute for Creation Research, El Cajon, CA.  

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