We’ve written before about Creationism and Tree Ring Chronology. To put the matter simply, the science of Dendrochronology uses tree ring patterns to construct chronologies that not only show the age of trees, but also the climatic conditions in which they grew. According to Wikipedia:
Fully anchored chronologies which extend back more than 11,000 years exist for river oak trees from South Germany (from the Main and Rhine rivers) and pine from Northern Ireland. Furthermore, the mutual consistency of these two independent dendrochronological sequences has been confirmed by comparing their radiocarbon and dendrochronological ages. Another fully anchored chronology which extends back 8500 years exists for the bristlecone pine in the Southwest US (White Mountains of California).
As you can easily understand, this is a problem for young-earth creationists. It’s not just that tree ring chronologies exceed the time available since Noah’s Flood, the chronologies also extend back thousands of years before Creation. This is very embarrassing. Not only that, but the evidence is easy to see and understand.
The last time we wrote about this (see the link in our first sentence above) was to discuss an article from Answers in Genesis. AIG’s author actually acknowledged that tree ring chronologies were a problem. He tried to attack the evidence in several different ways, and each time he admitted that he wasn’t successful. He even suggested that immediately after the Flood, climate conditions somehow caused multiple rings to appear each year, but he gave up on that because there are known instances of wild weather that don’t result in any tree ring growth rate changes.
AIG didn’t resolve the problem, but as you’re about to learn, the creation scientists are much more adept at the granddaddy of all creationist outfits — the Institute for Creation Research (ICR). They’re the fountainhead of young-earth creationist wisdom. This new article appears at their website: Tree Ring Dating. It’s written by John D. Morris, Ph.D., and that name requires us to consult the ICR begats in order to know who he is.
ICR was founded by Henry Morris (1918-2006), about whom we wrote Henry Morris: the Ultimate Creationist. Together with John Whitcomb, he wrote The Genesis Flood, published in 1961. Morris is regarded as the father of the modern creation science movement. Not only that, but he founded a creationist dynasty.
The founder’s eldest son, Henry Morris III, is carrying on the family business as ICR’s Chief Executive Officer. His son, Henry IV (the grandson of ICR’s founder), is “Director of Donor Relations at the Institute for Creation Research.” He has a degree in Business from Liberty University. Another son of ICR’s founder, John D. Morris, is now president of ICR and is “best known for leading expeditions to Mt. Ararat in search of Noah’s Ark.” Our guess is that he wrote today’s article.
Okay, now we’re ready to begin. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us and ICR’s scripture references omitted:
Overlapping and correlating rings have been used to produce “chronologies” of past years. Linear sequences of rings are obtained by cross-matching tree ring patterns from living trees and those from older dead wood. A well-known study involved bristlecone pine trees in California’s White Mountains, but others have employed oak trees in south Germany and pine trees from Northern Ireland. Most chronologies only go back a few centuries, but a few give longer ages than the Bible seems to allow, supposedly up to 10,000 years or so.
Yes — perhaps the devil is messing around with those tree rings to confuse us. Let’s read on:
By assuming the outer ring records the most recent year and that each ring signals one year, a researcher can determine the “date” of a particular ring simply by counting rings.
But how valid is the assumption of one ring per year in a climate where tree-growing conditions are variable? That very assumption is regularly put to the test by research foresters. They investigate how a tree grows, how and when it adds a new ring, effect of nutrients, rainfall, etc., over a range of related conditions.
Morris has a footnote leading to a creationist publication. Assuming it’s rubbish, we’ll ignore it and continue with ICR’s article:
Scientists have observed that numerous “normal” conditions can produce an extra ring or no ring at all. Weather was fingered as the most “guilty” culprit. Unusual storms with abundant rainfall interspersed with dry periods can produce multiple rings, essentially one per major storm. Thus, the basic assumption of tree ring dating is demonstrably in error. Can we trust the overlapping calibration curves?
Even if a storm can occasionally produce an extra ring, the Flood is supposed to have occurred about 4,000 years ago, and Creation was only 2,000 years before then, so how could any tree ring chronology show an uninterrupted time span of 11,000 years? That’s 5,000 extra rings! As you may have suspected, there’s information about tree ring chronology at the TalkOrigins website: Index to Creationist Claims. Hint: they’re not in agreement with ICR. Here’s more from ICR:
As it pertains to Flood model considerations, remember that the centuries immediately following the Flood witnessed the coming of the Ice Age. All trees growing on the continents were recently sprouted, actively growing trees. The still-warm oceans rapidly evaporated seawater, thus providing the raw material for major monsoonal-type storms. Earth was ravaged by frequent and wide-ranging atmospheric disturbances, dumping excessive snowfall in northern regions and rainfall to the south. If ever there was a time when multiple rings could develop in trees, this was it.
Yes — but could that account for literally thousands of extra tree rings? Besides, how does Morris know what the weather was like back then? Was he there? Here’s his very predictable conclusion:
Those centuries probably produced tree ring growth that was anything but annual. Thus, far from disproving biblical history, tree ring studies provide supportive and instructive information about true history.
Ah, all those thousands of extra tree-rings aren’t a problem at all. They actually help to prove that the bible is true!
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