Tree Rings Are Proof of Noah’s Flood

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!

Copyright © 2012. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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22 responses to “Tree Rings Are Proof of Noah’s Flood

  1. It’s turned into a tree ring circus over at AiG from the sounds of it. ;=)

  2. Dean says: “a tree ring circus”

    That’s good!

  3. This one is too easy. The first 6 days of Creation were not 24 hour days. Each one of those days was exactly as many hours long as a tree requires to generate 833 rings. The trees took day 7 off to let the bark cool down.

  4. This explains the life-span of Methuselah. His father planted a tree when he was born, and he lived 35 years. But they cut down the tree when he died and it had 900 rings. That’s how they did things back then.

  5. Don’t waste your time with the “YEC” fanatics. Just as evolution is the “god” of the Atheists, a ten thousand year old Earth is the god of young Earth dogma.

    Don’t let them fool you. They are not interested in teaching the truth of the Bible. They “don’t care” about the truth. They want to promote their own foolishness, and refuse to learn what the truth of Genesis is. Since they refuse to accept biblical evidence of their error, you KNOW they will refuse evidence from secular science.

    Herman Cummings

  6. You have to admit, Morris is good. It costs alot of money to live in uptown Dallas where he mainatins his “church” and “research” office. When that much is at stake, it helps to be glib, not to think too much and stick to the story line. Plus, he has the added benefit of having been edumactaed by
    daddy.
    Those Cadillacs don’t come cheap.

  7. Dean says: “a tree ring circus”

    Curmie says: “That’s good!”

    Good? I thought we clowned on that sort of behavior?

  8. Morris: 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.

    Say now, that’s a good idea! All that excessive weather should leave corresponding patterns in alluvial fans all over the world. If some careful examination of these Post-Flood deposits showed correlation with the tree-ring data, that would provide confirmatory evidence for the theory.

    Or not. This idiot No, idiot is too good for him moron wannabe is going to be in Fond Du Lac, a mere 70 miles away from me, in 25 days. Maybe I’ll go and make this suggestion.

  9. Charles Deetz ;)

    Even a creationist has to read this thing by Morris and figure out: 1. It’s not research, it’s conjecture. 2. It’s pathetic.

    Tomato Addict’s point about corresponding evidence of weather patterns would be terrific research to build Morris’ case. It is the Institute of Creation Research, isn’t it?

  10. Oops, looks like this is already an active topic. A quick Google of “correlation tree ring alluvial” gets 120K hits. No doubt one of these will turn up the proof for them. All Morris needs to do is wait … and wait … and wait …

    PS: Hi Herman. We agreed for a whole sentence this time. Be well.

  11. Doctor Stochastic

    If a tree rings, answer it.

  12. Doctor Stochastic

    Not only do varves agree with tree rings, so do ice cores. One is an event; two a conincidence; three a conspiracy.

  13. Doctor Stochastic says: “Not only do varves agree with tree rings, so do ice cores.”

    The devil’s lies are everywhere. You must be strong, my son.

  14. Doctor Stochastic

    Or to paraphrase Barbara Walters, “What kind of tree-ring would you like to be?”

  15. retiredsciguy

    If the weather had been so awful after the Flood, why isn’t that recorded in the Bible? And if the Flood occured ~4,000 years ago, how come there are bistlecone pines living today that are over 6,000 years old? Wouldn’t they have been drowned in the Flood? ICR’s got some ‘splainin’ to do.

  16. If the Grand Canyon was carved out by the Flood, why isn’t that recorded in the Bible? If species arose by rapid micro-evolution from the created kinds, why isn’t that recorded in the Bible? Why is there nothing
    recorded in the Bible about the Americas, Australia and Antarctica? Why are the only things about the natural world recorded in the Bible those things which would be familiar to residents of the Ancient Near East?

    BTW, according to Wikipedia, Oldest living things#Individual plant specimens, the oldest living plants are a bit less than 5000 years old.

  17. Curmudgeon, thought you might be interested in this. Let the YEC explain this.
    Core Sample Sends Carbon Clock Further Back in Time

  18. @Doctor Stochastic:

    make that 4, stalactite data from Devil’s Hole (I think, may be confusing that one), go back farther and cross-correlate with dendrochronology and varves, and ice cores. We’re dealing with a secularist conspiracy of mind-blowing proportions here. Someone needs to grab some pitchforks and torches and we need to go down to the nearest You-Nee-Ver-City and have a good old fashion hangin’.

  19. And then, all the trees magically survived the global flood. Because that also makes perfect sense.

  20. P.s to the ICR: dendrochronologists can tell the difference between annual layers and the occasional false ring.

  21. TJW says: “the occasional false ring.”

    Something about ICR’s argument just doesn’t ring true.

  22. For what’s it worth, the famous, now dead bristlecone pine “Prometheus”, which had 4844 annual rings when a researcher cut it down in 1964, was described by the researcher as:

    ““This tree, WPN-114, grew at an altitude of 10,750 ft., on the gently sloping crest of a massive lateral moraine of Pleistocene age”

    A lateral moraine means it started growing only AFTER Ice Age glaciers piled up moraines. The ICR idiots have the Ice Age occurring at the same time as the “new-sprouting” bristlecones like Prometheus, but there wasn’t a moraine for Prometheus to sprout on.