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The Age of the Earth Paperback – February 1, 1994
Scientific Teaching Series
Shop the Scientific Teaching Series from Macmillan.
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Top Customer Reviews
Chapter 4, on the other hand, was far too laden down with terminology. There must be 50 words for different igneous rocks alone, and a neophyte will see no method (or reason) to distinguish between them. I kept wanting to hear verbs to go with the nouns and adjectives. The word "metamorphic" (and various synonyms) appeared a thousand times, with very few clues on what HAPPENED to cause metamorphism. Nevertheless, I was able to learn a great deal, despite these frustrations.
I was fascinated to hear in Chapter 5 that, by 1975, over 30 thousand pages of scientific research had already been published on moon rocks. That's a lot of serious study for 382 kg of rocks -- which is quite a bit more than I thought, at that.
The chief "problem" with the book is also its great virtue. Dozens of radiometric methods and the analysis (in some detail) of hundreds of rocks are discussed, when a few examples would suffice for most readers. This gets very soporific after a while.
But the many, many examples and the exhaustive chronology reveal how imaginative but sometimes wrong researchers have been, and how tirelessly other researchers have triple-checked their work until finding the errors and developing more trustworthy methods.Read more ›
Some of the other reviewers felt that the author was too anti-religion. And I'd agree that the author does ridicule "young-earthers". But if the author was intending to convince young-earthers the error of their ways, I'm not sure he is successful. Frankly, I don't think many young-earthers would be able to follow his discussion of radiometric dating.
I'm not current with what claims young-earthers are currently making to attempt to discredit radiometric dating, but I thought that there were some criticisms that at least superfically seem plausible that perhaps the author could have specifically addressed. Perhaps I'm mistaken on this point - I guess I'd have to ask a young-earther what they think is wrong with radiometric dating.
I'm not saying it is a bad book, it has its good points. And certainly most people with a science background should be able to understand and appreciate it. I'm just not sure you can give it to a young-earther and they'll go, "of course, how silly of me to have thought otherwise!"
He chronicles the early attempts and a variety of approaches used to date. He goes on to clearly explain how modern radiometric methods work and some of the problems that have been overcome. He then shows the direct evidence for the ages of the Earth from a plethora of independent studies over the past and the consistent, and reliable dates they provide. He then goes on to the dating of the Moon rocks and their concordance with those of the Earth. Next he discusses meteorites, the use of the lead isotope method, the evidence from the distribution of elements in the universe, and finally wraps it up with a chapter on what we know and don't know.
The conclusion after reading this book is undeniable. There is no doubt that the Earth is at least about 4.5 billion years old. This book is a must read for anyone who wants to argue credibly about the age of the Earth.
Dalrymple writes that he became interested in the need for the public to understand these basic geological ideas when he was called upon in the early 1980's to testify in a trial concerning an Arkansas law requiring "equal time" for evolution and creation "science". Much of the latter consists of arguments that the Earth is young (corresponding to a biblical literalist view of Genesis), but as Dalrymple shows, the view is scientifically unsupportable.
It makes one reflect that the same principles of physics and chemistry -- the nature of matter itself -- that put men and women in space are the same ones that allow us to establish principles like radiometric dating, which is at the heart of the argument that the Earth is about 4.5 billion years old. If geologists like Dalrymple are wrong about the age of the Earth, don't tell those guys up there in the Shuttle!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I purchased The Age of The Earth as a result of reading James L powells book. Neither book was disappointing, and I would recommend The Age of Earth very highly.Published 13 months ago by kevin w. wright
Recommended as a supplemental read in a radiogenic isotopes undergrad/grad class at UC Davis. It's an armchair read if one has familiarity with physics and chemistry, but it is... Read morePublished 16 months ago by Janos
At the time this book was published in 1991, G. Brent Dalrymple was Research Geologist at the United States Geological Survey; he has also written Ancient Earth, Ancient Skies: The... Read morePublished on May 3, 2013 by Steven H Propp
I looked and looked for the methods explained and the data summarized in one place that leads scientists to confidence in the age of the earth. Read morePublished on June 13, 2010 by gerald fitzgerald
An updated version of this book is Ancient Earth, Ancient Skies: The Age of Earth and its Cosmic Surroundings. Read morePublished on August 24, 2009 by David C. Bossard
G. Dalrymple has done a wonderful job in writing such a technical work on the history and direct data for the current estimate of the age of the Earth being 4. Read morePublished on July 8, 2008 by Scholastic Reader
"The Earth is approximately 4.5 billion years old", says the author.
Here are the problems I have with that:
1. Who was around 4. Read more
Dalrymple's book provides a good summary of earlier failed attempts to date the Earth with non-radiometric methods and the later successful development of radiometric dating. Read morePublished on July 17, 2001 by Kevin R. Henke