Authors: Corey Carroll (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Bill Hyde (email@example.com)
Title: The Jehovah's Witness Water Canopy Claim
By Corey Carroll:
Well, here's an interesting theory I found in one of the Jehovah's
Witnesses' older (1967) books. It was the old version of their
current book, _Life : How did it get here? By evolution or by
creation?_ In it you will find such wonderful things as claims
that the proposed transitional fossils in the horse lineage are
'in the wrong order', theories of catastrophism and the flood of
Noah's day may have accounted for some of the world's features, and
it is hinted at that evolution violates the 2nd law of thermodynamics
(they never mention the law specifically, just in generalized terms).
BTW, the book is called _Did Man Get Here by Evolution or by Creation?_
Now, the Witnesses believe the 6 days in Genesis were not literal
24-hour periods, but rather, millennia. (Actually, once they said the
days were 7,000 years long, but that is hard to reconcile. 42,000 years
still is a long way off from the MILLIONS of years life has been on the
earth. This was found in their older literature. Interestingly, they
do not repeat it any more in their newer literature :) However, they
DO believe that man was a special creation, and that Adam and Eve were
created wholly about 6,000 years ago. Therefore, a problem exists. How
do they reconcile the dates attributed to man that are older than 6,000
Well, they think the answer lies in the global deluge. Supposedly, a
bunch of water was suspended in the 'heavens' (around the earth?) before
the flood. That's where some of the water came from. The rest came from
springs under the earth. Before the flood, the water would have shielded
living things from radiation, so that radiocarbon dates before the flood
would be inaccurate, perhaps by great factors. Let me quote from
_Did Man Get Here_, in the chapter "How Old is Man?", page 99 and on:
What is often ignored, too, is the fact that there
was a much greater shielding of the atmosphere
from cosmic rays 4,300 years ago. The Bible explains
that prior to that time a vast water canopy was
suspended high above the earth, and that its fall
caused a global delube in the days of Noah, who wrote
an eyewitness account of the event. (Psalm 104:6,7;
Genesis 1:6,7; 7:11,12) This water canopy shielded
the atmosphere from cosmic rays to a greater extent
than is true today, thus *reducing the formation of
radiocarbon.* That is why objects dated from before
that time appear older than they really are, for
they did not absorb as much C-14 as objects have
absorbed since then.
Now, what I want to know, is what this "theory" would predict.
Certainly such a major chance must have been recorded somewhere
in the earth's history..the rocks, magnetic fields, etc?
Are there other methods INDEPENDENT of C-14 dating that could
be used to check the validity of these claims?
What exactly would a 'shield of water' do? How much would it
protect the earth from radiation?
P.S. While this claim of the water canopy changing the apparent dates of
rocks is found in their old creation book, it was left out of the new
creation book. In fact, although the old book has no color pictures,
it was written much better and made a stronger case. It seems that as
time goes by and the Witnesses try to appeal to the mass uneducated
populations, they simplify their literature more and more. It's my
guess that their current _Life_ book is written on an 8th grade level,
whereas their older one was much more sophisticated. Incidentally,
the 'water canopy' is briefly mentioned in their book _Insight on the
Scriptures_, but it isn't said for sure whether or not this changed
the dates of objects older than the flood.
By Bill Hyde:
kv07@IASTATE.EDU (Warren Vonroeschlaub) writes:
>12) "radiocarbon" does not form from cosmic rays, the carbon-14 drops
>in from the sky itself.
C-14 forms in the reaction
N-14 + neutron --> C-14 + H
where the free neutrons are generally produced by
cosmic rays. So the JW's are correct that such
a canopy would foul up C-14 dating. However, as you
pointed out in your post, it would also have many other
effects, none of which are observed. I would add:
13) Such a canopy would have a serious effect on
solar and thermal radiation. Just exactly how this
would affect the climate depends on the canopy's thickness,
but it is unlikely to have no effect. No such effect is
evident in the paleoclimatic record.
14) As well as dendrochronology, thermoluminescence dating,
fission track dating, amino-acid dating, and uranium/thorium
dating confirm C-14 dates for humans at the last ice age
(i.e. about 21,000 years ago for the glacial maximum) within
20%. If the canopy had existed up to 4,000 years ago this
would not be the case since all of the above, with the possible
exception of thermoluminescence dating, are unaffected by
the presence or absence of cosmic rays.
15) If there was very little C-14 production before 4000 B.P.
and normal production since, no objects would carbon date
between 4000 and about 20,000 years old. This is not
what is observed.