The Evangelical Universalist Forum

Young earth creationism & 40000 year old frozen wolf

Tori Herridge, an evolutionary biologist at London’s Natural History Museum, witnessed the head’s discovery in August 2018. She performed carbon dating on the tissue and tweeted that it was about 32,000 years old.


@Invernessian - what say you, Norm my friend?

Would like to add - there was some new rock formation near the Hawaiian Islands around the late 70’s. They tested the rock using various forms of dating, including Potassium/Argon dating which is considered the best way (better than carbon dating). It showed that the newly formed rock was roughly 1.2 million years old based off of that data. That ended up being a bit off. Don’t think we should be coming to quick conclusions with this sort of stuff when the science behind it is very new.

FYI - haven’t looked at the study in a while so my numbers may be a bit off.

Here’s the Orthodox position on this subject:

Evolution or Creation Science?

Here’s an interesting statement, from the article:

These are the real lessons of Genesis. It has nothing to say, for or against, the theory of evolution. Its true lessons are located elsewhere.

So what about dinosaurs? I happily leave them in the museums, to the makers of movies (I love “Jurassic Park”), and the writers of National Geographic . The creation stories of Genesis give me lots to ponder and to live up to without multiplying mysteries. As Mark Twain once said, “It ain’t those parts of the Bible that I can’t understand that bother me; it’s the parts I do understand.”

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Some philosophical assumptions of radiometric dating:

  • The initial conditions are known

  • The decay rate is constant

  • The system is closed

Regarding some concerns about Carbon-14 Dating in particular:

Greetings Pastor Mark,

You might like to do an internet search using the question, “Is carbon dating accurate?” I think you will find that it is highly questionable according to many experts.

Yes sir, I am familiar with that argument. However, I was simply providing you with the original source you requested.

And very reliable according to many experts. I do find it odd that a dating system such as this one could be off by, say, 2 million years? A billion? I could understand an error factor of 100,000 years, but not 2 million. But then I’m a cranky, old-earth young-human person.

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We are talking about only 40000 years here not millions so any deficiencies in dating will be very small for this relatively small number of years but even if it were off by 50% which it isn’t, it would still make the wolf’s head older than 10000 years.

Another thing - look at the size of the head. This wolf was much bigger than any around today or in the recent past.

There is a quote, I always like:

In Essentials Unity, In Non-Essentials Liberty, In All Things Charity

The author ties this quote to

Often attributed to great theologians such as Augustine, it comes from an otherwise undistinguished German Lutheran theologian of the early seventeenth century, Rupertus Meldenius.

So I look at young earth vs old earth, big bang vs non-big bang, evolution vs non-evolution, etc. - as nonessentials to the faith. And they only address the “how” - NOT the “why”.

Even my theory that Z-Hell (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9) …is the most probable, end-times tribulation scenerio…is really “non-essential” to the faith.

And I’m open to other answers. I can easily envision a world…where AI from the Terminator series and the Matrix series…coexists with Zombies from The Walking Dead and Fear the Walking Dead. And we might become, “stuck in the middle”.

On the one hand, we might have this!

And on the other hand, we might also have this!

I surely don’t believe that this issue is critical for faith or fellowship - not ‘essential’ in HF’s patois - but I still find it very interesting, and people’s thinking on it even more interesting.
One church here in the Rogue Valley of southern Oregon makes young-earthism the FIRST item in their statement of faith!

Looks to me like everybody here are nothing but charitable. Now how bout that wolf! LOL

I’m thinkin’ GOT dire wolf…

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In theory views on creationism are not important to practicing faith but in practice it damages the church’s witness because many who have this viewpoint attack science and scientists. That might be fine if the holders of such views completely eschewed the products of science like medicine, cars etc. But to say science is flawed while relying on it to live comfortably leaves people with that view open to accusations of hypocricy which is damaging to the church’s witness.


An excellent point!


Regarding the (very cool) wolf’s head,

  • we don’t know how much C-14 was in the creature when it died, or what the C-14/C-12 ratio in the environment at the time of the death of the sample

  • we don’t really know about the quality of the testing that has been done on this sample

  • we don’t know what “carbon contamination” of the sample may have occurred from its death until the present time

Carbon contamination can really skew test results. Regarding contamination affecting carbon dating, this discussion cautions (emphases mine):

IF the carbon in freshwater is partly acquired from AGED carbon, such as rocks, THEN the result will be a REDUCTION in the C-14/C-12 ratio in the water. For example, rivers that pass over limestone, which is mostly composed of calcium carbonate, will acquire carbonate ions. Similarly, groundwater can contain [AGED] carbon derived from the rocks through which it has passed. These rocks are usually so old that they no longer contain any measurable C-14, so this carbon LOWERS the C-14/C-12 ratio of the water it enters, WHICH CAN LEAD TO “apparent” ages of THOUSANDS of years …It is NOT POSSIBLE to deduce the effect of the effect by determining the hardness of the water: the aged carbon is not necessarily immediately incorporated into the plants AND ANIMALS that are affected, and the delay AFFECTS THEIR APPARENT AGE. The effect is VERY VARIABLE and there is NO general offset that can be applied…

That is, if the animal sample was exposed to a mineral like bicarbonate (from say, exposure to hard mineral groundwater after its death, or through its diet while alive), excessively high ages can be found —just as a LIVING shellfish today will yield a radiocarbon date which is excessively old.

Similarly, another research discussion cautions:

The most common cause of high APPARENT ages in freshwater systems is the presence of dissolved ancient carbonates, leading to the so-called hardwater effect.

One of the basic assumptions in radiocarbon dating is that a sample incorporates carbon in equilibrium with the atmosphere. This can be directly, e.g. in a plant via photosynthesis, or indirectly, e.g. when an animal feeds on plants. This type of sample is called terrestrial. [BUT] If a sample obtains its carbon from another reservoir with a lower C-14 level than the atmosphere, the basic ASSUMPTION is NO LONGER VALID. The measured ages can be TOO OLD.

I remember once reading (e.g., here) about a late 800’s Viking burial ground discovered in England (and compared to the wolf’s head, that’s the comparatively recent past). They tested the skeletons, but their assumptions about the initial C-14 levels gave them a wrong date of a hundred years too old, compared to the known historical record. It was decided that this was probably because the Vikings had a high C-12 (“aged” carbon) diet from seafood —which would not have been accounted for in the initial correction factors of the carbon-dating calibration…

Those are interesting facts. But it seems to me that we are dealing with errors of, in the fossil record, geological record, astronomical measurements etc, factors of billions of years; where I am willing to allow for some scepticism as to exact dating, but not willing to throw the entire old-earth out the window because of some relatively trivial examples. $.02

Oh, no! Does that article, give us fuel for thought? And this article is from the Smithsonian Institute - of all places!

There are basic philosophical differences in the interpretation of the same data:

Catastrophism is the theory that the Earth had largely been shaped by sudden, short-lived, violent events, possibly worldwide in scope.This is in contrast to uniformitarianism (sometimes described as gradualism), in which slow incremental changes, such a s erosion, created all the Earth’s geological features. Uniformitarianism held that the present was the key to the past, and that all geological processes (such as erosion) throughout the past were like those that can be observed now.

Catastrophism held that geological epochs had ended with violent and sudden natural catastrophes such as great floods and the rapid formation of major mountain chains. Plants and animals living in the parts of the world where such events occurred were made extinct…[Wikipedia]

A polystrate fossil is one that crosses more than one layer of stratified rock, which is problematic for uniformitarianists/macroevolutionists.

Fossilized trees, for example, are frequently found in upright positions passing through two or more layers. These kinds of fossils offer clear evidence against a uniformitarian view of the earth’s fossiliferous strata. Polystrate fossils are found in many parts of the world. [Creation Wiki]


As to “billions of years,” here is an informative 4 minute video:

True to some extent, of course. But that cuts both ways - for instance, would someone who had never read the few verses in Genesis even THINK the world was only 6K yrs - or 60K years - old, in light of substantial evidence otherwise? It is a ludicrous thought at first blush and though I respect those YE believers, I surely do not understand them at all. Fossils aside, the fact that we can measure the distance of stars from the earth, and with knowing the speed of light, we can calculate pretty accurately how long that light took to get here leads to a conclusive fact that the universe is billions of years old.
However, I do know people can believe in a flat earth, so I’ve no doubt all the obvious scientific facts can be explained away in some sort of narrative. I’ve had the starlight fact explained to me in a YE context but imo it takes a wilful appropriation of a heavy filter to ignore what is plain.
Still - I respect, but don’t understand, YE folks.

(We’re plowing this field again; if someone wants to see earlier efforts, you can enter the search term ‘young earth’ you’ll find many threads already covered this. Maybe it’s time for this refresher thread? )