Sunday, 2 March 2014

Chapter 12: Ocean Salinity

On pages 215-18 of The Greatest Hoax on Earth, Sarfati gives a relatively lengthy discussion of the salt in the Earth's oceans as something that proves the Earth must be thousands, not billions, of years old.

Here's a link to a paper titled 'Ocean Salinity as a Failed Scientific Clock'.  The paper is written by a graduate student and explains simply and clearly why young-Earth creationist are being disingenuous when they use ocean salinity to claim the Earth can't be billions of years old.  

Here's an excerpt from the paper that serves as a good summary:

For a process to be considered a good natural clock, it must contain the following: a known initial condition, an irreversible process, a uniform rate, and a final condition. With the salt clock, the initial condition is not known. The process of salt accumulation has been proven to be reversible and in constant change. There is also no uniform rate of accumulation of salt. The only criterion met is the known final condition. Because of these factors, the salt clock can obviously not be used as a natural clock to calculate any type of age.
Despite the known scientific reasons for which this method cannot be used as an accurate natural clock, measuring the salinity of the ocean has recently been used by young earth creationists as supposed proof that the earth is not, in fact, billions of years old. The website Answers in Genesis, a young earth proponent, actually explains the salt clock as a valid measuring device. According to the site, "Many processes bring salts into the sea, while they don't leave the sea easily. So the saltiness is increasing steadily. Since we can work out how much salt there is in the sea, as well as the rates that salts go into and out of the sea, we should be able to calculate a maximum age for the sea (Sarfati)."
What is even more curious about this selected article is that the author even cites the works of John Joly and Edmund Haley in his references. The works of Joly and Haley, while vital in tracing the progression of scientific thought on the age of the earth, are in no way current or up to date. The article fails to comment on the shortcomings of the salt clock, and concludes by reiterating that the amount of salt present in today's oceans coincides with the age of the earth according to biblical accounts.

1 comment:

  1. The young Earth creationist DVD 'Set in Stone' also uses an ocean salinity argument among other things in an attempt to make a 6,000 year old (mostly catastrophic) Earth appear plausible.