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Index to Creationist Claims,  edited by Mark Isaak,    Copyright © 2006
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Claim CD701:

The earth's magnetic field is decaying at a rate indicating that the earth must be young.


Barnes, Thomas G. 1973. Origin and destiny of Earth's magnetic field, ICR Technical Monograph No. 4. El Cajon, CA: ICR.
Humphreys, D. Russell. 1986. Reversals of the Earth's magnetic field during the Genesis Flood. Proceedings of the 1st International Conference on Creationism, Creation Science Fellowship, 2: 113-126.
Humphreys, Russell. 1993. The Earth's magnetic field is young. Impact 242 (Aug.).


  1. The earth's magnetic field is known to have varied in intensity (Gee et al. 2000) and reversed in polarity numerous times in the earth's history. This is entirely consistent with conventional models (Glatzmaier and Roberts 1995) and geophysical evidence (Song and Richards 1996) of the earth's interior. Measurements of magnetic field field direction and intensity show little or no change between 1590 and 1840; the variation in the magnetic field is relatively recent, probably indicating that the field's polarity is reversing again (Gubbins et al. 2006).

  2. Empirical measurement of the earth's magnetic field does not show exponential decay. Yes, an exponential curve can be fit to historical measurements, but an exponential curve can be fit to any set of points. A straight line fits better.

  3. T. G. Barnes (1973) relied on an obsolete model of the earth's interior. He viewed it as a spherical conductor (the earth's core) undergoing simple decay of an electrical current. However, the evidence supports Elsasser's dynamo model, in which the magnetic field is caused by a dynamo, with most of the "current" caused by convection. Barnes cited Cowling to try to discredit Elsasser, but Cowling's theorem is consistent with the dynamo earth.

  4. Barnes measures only the dipole component of the total magnetic field, but the dipole field is not a measure of total field strength. The dipole field can vary as the total magnetic field strength remains unchanged.


Matson, Dave E., 1994. How good are those young-earth arguments?

Thompson, Tim, 1997. On creation science and the alleged decay of the earth's magnetic field.


  1. Barnes, Thomas G. 1973. Origin and destiny of Earth's magnetic field, ICR Technical Monograph No. 4.
  2. Gee, J. S. et al. 2000. Geomagnetic intensity variations over the past 780 kyr obtained from near-seafloor magnetic anomalies. Nature 408: 827-832.
  3. Glatzmaier, G. A. and P. H. Roberts. 1995. A three-dimensional self-consistent computer simulation of a geomagnetic field reversal. Nature 377: 203-209.
  4. Gubbins, David, Adrian L. Jones and Christopher C. Finlay. 2006. Fall in Earth's magnetic field is erratic. Science 312: 900-902. See also: Kono, Masaru. 2006. Ships' logs and archeomagnetism. Science 312: 865-866.
  5. Song, X. and P. G. Richards. 1996. Seismological evidence for differential rotation of the earth's inner core. Nature 382: 221-224.

Further Reading:

Brush, Stephen G., 1983. Ghosts from the nineteenth century: Creationist arguments for a young earth. In Godfrey, 1983, Scientists Confront Creationism, New York: W. W. Norton & Company, pp. 49-84.
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created 2001-2-18, modified 2006-5-12