60,000 years? Over the last few years I have heard this so often, I decided to check it out. Every time Australian Aboriginal heritage is mentioned, it comes with the supposed fact that “The world’s oldest living culture has been here for 60,000 years!” It is said as fact. But is it a fact? Or just an interpretation? How do we know it's true?
The 60,000 years is meant to imply nobility, resilience, and knowledge. Of course it doesn’t logically follow that just because a group has been here a long time, it demands they were good, bad, or indifferent, resilient or noble. Indeed there are some 300 Aboriginal nations across Australia, some better than others, so however long aboriginal peoples were here, it wasn't all unified...
But today I am not questioning the implications of the 60k claim, but the claim itself. Partly because it cuts against the 6,000 year chronology of a plain reading of Genesis 1-11 (which, by the way, can successfully interpret every scientific observation ever made.) But moreover simply as a matter of questioning and probing the 60k claim itself.
For such a claim to reach the status of “fact”, it must be verifiable, falsifiable, not based on circular assumptions. What I found is that the 60,000 year claim is not a fact but merely an interpretation, because: the claim is based on tests with interpretive assumptions; the claim ignores the only test with a measurable rate; the claim ignores the written historical records we have of human history.
1) Interpretive Assumptions
The list of evidence given to support the 60k claim appears strong at first, offering so many tests:
Archaeology, ancient tools, rock art, burial sites, campfires in certain soil strata, geological changes, climate changes, mega-fauna extinction. But these are all based on cross-referencing each other, or circular reasoning. The way out of the circle is supposed to be Carbon-14 dating. But C14 dating itself is based on interpretive assumptions, such as the ratio of C14:12 at the start of the timeline, or that the C14:12 ratio is entirely based on radioactive decay, not other contamination or leaching, or carbon-capture event, such as a global Flood. Similar interpretive assumptions apply to Thermoluminescence, Electron-spin resonance. And Thorium-uranium and Protactinium-uranium tests likewise rely on interpretive assumptions about ratios not being affected by environmental factors as if it is a ‘closed system.’ https://creation.com/the-dating-game. creation.com/how-carbon-dating-works. creation.com/carbon-dating-fooling-whom.
Mitachondrial DNA tests have had to be revised down too from 100,000 years to 50,000 years since that’s the upper limit of how long we can imagine DNA can survive. The truth must be much lower than that since DNA in sub-optimal conditions could not last that long. https://creation.com/was-adam-from-australia-the-mystery-of-mungo-man. But testing MtDNA is on the right track...
2) The One Test with a measurable rate - Ignored
In 1998 Mitochondrial mutation rates were finally measured, and they mutate much faster than expected. Calculating at this measured rate, back in time to a point of perfection, yields an age of some 6,000 years. Why do you think this test is ignored, the only one with a measured rate?
https://creation.com/a-shrinking-date-for-eve ; https://trueorigin.org/mitochondrialeve01.php
3) The Oldest Written Histories we have - Ignored
The Biblical accounts are among the oldest written histories we have. Back to the times of the Pharaohs, and before to Ur, takes us to a historical date of around 2000 BC. And chrono-genealogies take us further to the time of Adam around 4000 BC. These historical documents have proven reliable archaeologically time and again. Why ignore them? https://creation.com/how-old-archaeology-conflicts-bible.
Why would one prefer the results of dating methods based on assumptions and interpretations? I imagine for credence with one’s peers, I understand, but truth is not determined by social pressure.
Why ignore dating methods with measurable rates, using verifiable observations? Is it just because they yield results that don’t fit the peer-narrative? https://creation.com/young-age-of-the-earth-universe-qa
My interpretation of these observations is that 60,000 years is not a fact, it’s just an interpretation, ultimately based on self-serving assumptions. What’s your interpretation of the actual facts? And what foundation is it based upon?
Update: 3 Feb 2024
Someone asked about Dendrochronology (tree rings) as a way of verifying C14, but this is caught in the same circular loop. https://creation.com/tree-ring-dating-dendrochronology. So my doubt about the basis of the 60k claim still stands.
Is the Biblical 6000 years a recent invention? No, and I say that in light of the perspicuity of the text itself (creation.com/6000-years) [always wanted to use 'perspicuity' in public, now I have!], but also in light of more thorough reading of the past authors themselves, including Augustine. creation.com/old-earth-or-young-earth-belief
To approach scientific observations with the Creator’s Account as your hypothesis is not anti-scientific, it’s a quick way to find good hypotheses to test, because we can expect the Creator’s Account to interpret all observations consistently. Such an interpretation should be the true goal of science.
To approach scientific observations with long earth hypotheses is just as pre-deterministic as critics claim creationists are, but worse because it is based not on God’s Word but Man’s words. And it is a reductionist approach because it excludes data that hints at God because it hints at God (more circularity.) In other words, such a mindset is an atheistic stronghold. It is naive to think that this naturalistic ‘scientific method’ is altruistically self-correcting and open-minded, specifically when it comes to interpreting the past. creation.com/scientists-wrong . creation.com/its-not-science .
As you can see, I’m now just the go-between for you and the search bar at creation.com. Cut out the middle man and take your further questions there. I find they reference more facts, with footnotes, and do so with more clarity about the difference between observations and interpretations, and more self-awareness of their own bias. Seek answers that interpret ALL the observations consistently, Biblical & scientific.