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Earth's rotation is slowing, indicating a young earth (Talk.Origins)

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Response Article
This article (Earth's rotation is slowing, indicating a young earth (Talk.Origins)) is a response to a rebuttal of a creationist claim published by Talk.Origins Archive under the title Index to Creationist Claims.

Claim CE011:

Earth's rotation is slowing down, so it cannot be more than a few million years old.

Source: Pathlights, n.d. The age of the earth - 2.

CreationWiki response:

Talk Origins is using a very poor source, so the figure in this claim is not accurate. Actually, this is tied to Lunar recession since the two are related. It actually places an upper limit on the Earth–moon system of about 1.2 billion years, not a few million. While not a problem for creation, it is still 3.4 billion years too young for the evolutionary model. (Talk.Origins quotes in blue)

1. The earth's rotation is slowing at a rate of about 0.005 seconds per year per year. This extrapolates to the earth having a fourteen-hour day 4.6 billion years ago, which is entirely possible.

First of all, the measured rate of slowing is about 0.008812 seconds per year (based on data from the CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics), which, if extrapolated to 4.5 billion years, is about a 7-hour day. Now this is a shorter day than any of the gas giants including Jupiter's 9.925 hour day. However, this calculation assumes a constant deceleration rate, but that is contrary to what the laws of physic say would occur.

The Moon is the major factor in the slowing of the Earth's rotation, and as the Earth's rotation slows, the Moon gets further away from the Earth. Because of gravity's inverse square law, as the Moon recedes, its tidal force gets weaker, and the rate of slowing of Earth's rotation declines. So when this effect is projected into the past, Earth's rotation gets dangerously fast and the Moon impossibly close by 1.2 billion years ago.

The number of days in a year


  • The number of days in a year over time.


  • Earth - Moon distance over time.

Maintaining a constant slowing rate over 4.6 billion years would require:

  1. A slowing rate significantly slower than what is actually observed.
  2. An unknown phenomenon that would exactly counter the increase in tidal force as the Moon gets closer. This is extremely unlikely.

The rate at which the earth is slowing today is higher than average because the present rate of spin is in resonance with the back-and-forth movement of the oceans.

This is not based on fact, but on a computer model invented out of the necessity to reclaim 6 billion years from laws of physics. Furthermore, it runs contrary to the fossil record, which according to uniformitarian dating methods shows a constant rate of slowing going back to nearly two billion years.


  • Uniformitarian age versus number of days in a year based on growth rings.
  • Made from data at Impact origin of the moon
  • This chart has stromatolites (green), fossil tidal rhythmites (blue), and fossil bivalves and coral (red).


  • A statistical curve fit is graphed to this data (the purple line).

The result is that there is no evidence for this alleged increase in slowing rate, particularly since the rate depicted by this data is about 0.01324 seconds per year per year, which is significantly faster than what is actually observed. This fact helps invalidate the uniformitarian interpretation of this data.

Fossil rugose corals preserve daily and yearly growth patterns and show that the day was about 22 hours long 370 million years ago, in rough agreement with the 22.7 hours predicted from a constant rate of slowing.

This is just one data point. When it is combined with others as shown above, it actually suggests a rate of slowing that is faster than is observed. Furthermore, the data proves that these corals were at times producing more than one growth ring per day. How many depends upon the theoretical system used.