This week, Cherry Lewis of the University of Bristol presented a talk about the history of dating the Earth as part of the BA Festival of Science in York, England.
Before so-called radiometric dating, Earth's age was anybody's guess.
In 1898, Marie Curie discovered the phenomenon of radioactivity, in which unstable atoms lose energy, or decay, by emitting radiation in the form of particles or electromagnetic waves.
By 1904 physicist Ernest Rutherford showed how this decay process could act as a clock for dating old rocks.
Meanwhile, Arthur Holmes (1890-1964) was finishing up a geology degree at the Imperial College of Science in London where he developed the technique of dating rocks using the uranium-lead method.
By applying the technique to his oldest rock, Holmes proposed that the Earth was at least 1.6 billion years old.
Our planet was pegged at a youthful few thousand years old by Bible readers (by counting all the "begats" since Adam) as late as the end of the 19th century, with physicist Lord Kelvin providing another nascent estimate of 100 million years.
Kelvin defended this calculation throughout his life, even disputing Darwin's explanations of evolution as impossible in that time period.
In the course of constructing his now-crumbling creationist empire, Ham has created an alternate reality in which humans hunted dinosaurs to extinction a few thousand years ago after peacefully using them for transport and companionship.In this period a number of comprehensive cosmogonies were proposed.These were long on armchair speculation and short on substantive supporting evidence.Anyone who says otherwise—that is, anyone who accepts basic science—is just spreading the devil’s lies.(That includes me.) Bill Nye’s decision to debate Ham at the Creation Museum Tuesday night, then, was a puzzling one.