A 4800 Year Old Living Tree: Confirmed Prediction of Creationism

The scientific Theory of Special Creation and the Flood, commonly referred to as Creationism for short, predicts that the oldest living plant could not be much over 5000 years old because this is the approximate oldest date for the Great Flood of Noah, in which all terrestrial life (including plants) was destroyed. It turns out that this prediction is correct as demonstrated by the discovery in 1957 of Methuselah. Wikipedia has this to say about “Methuselah” …

Methuselah (estimated germination 2832 BC) is a bristlecone pine in the White Mountains of California, which was 4,789 years old when sampled in 1957 (when the trees were originally being surveyed by Schulman and Harlan). It is the oldest living organism currently known and documented. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Methuselah_%28tree%29

There is another bristlecone called Prometheus which is a bit older than Methuselah, but it was cut down in 1964.  Numerous claims of older plants of other species have been made, but these are all of clonal colonies, not individual plants. One such claim appears below in Science, but it is debunked as you can see …

Science 25 July 1997:
Vol. 277. no. 5325, p. 483
DOI: 10.1126/science.277.5325.483a

Random Samples

A team of Tasmanian botanists claims to have found the world’s oldest living plant–a vast, low-growing, one-of-a-kind shrub born more than 43,000 years ago. If their conclusions are accurate, this Lomatia tasmanica, a member of Proteaceae family otherwise known as King’s holly, would be more than three times as old as the previous record holder, a 13,000-year-old box huckleberry in Pennsylvania.

The leader of the research team, Rene Vaillancourt, a plant geneticist at the University of Tasmania, says the plant ranges over an area of 1.2 km. Its age–about 43,600 years–was estimated using carbon-14 dating of charcoal found along with fossilized leaf fragments. The fragments themselves were too fragile to date, he says. [This explains a lot]

Vaillancourt admits that there is no direct evidence linking the plant fossil to the living representative.

Another claim for an organism older than the Methuselah tree is the Creosote Bush in the Mojave Desert. Read closely though (click link at left) and you will see this is a shaky claim at best. The author says …

Creosote bush clones were estimated to attain ages of several thousand years on the basis of growth rates derived from radiocarbon ages of two wood samples (Vasek et al., 1975; Sternberg, 1976). However, two radiocarbon dates constitute a narrow base from which to project age estimates.

True. And I will add that the whole enterprise of radiocarbon dating further back than about 4000 years ago is based upon the erroneous assumption that there was no Global Flood and that the Carbon 14 concentration in the biosphere has not been radically changed. (It WOULD have changed radically as a result of the Flood) So when you hear anti-creationists trumpeting King’s Holly and Creosote Bushes as being far older than the Methuselah Tree then you can dismiss it as just one more fairy tale foisted upon us by the Darwinist/Deep Time Crowd.

NOTE: This ‘prediction’ is actually what is known as a ‘retrodiction.’ See my article discussing Sir Karl Popper for more on this.

6 Responses to “A 4800 Year Old Living Tree: Confirmed Prediction of Creationism”

  1. danieljamesdevine says:

    The Journal of Creation had a recent article suggesting that bristlecone pines might grow more than one ring per year (during rains, I guess)–which means they could be even younger.

  2. bobcu says:

    “The scientific Theory of Special Creation and the Flood, commonly referred to as Creationism for short, predicts that the oldest living plant could not be much over 5000 years old because this is the approximate oldest date for the Great Flood of Noah, in which all terrestrial life (including plants) was destroyed.”

    Hello. Don’t you think it would be very unusual and virtually impossible, for anything alive today to be older than 5,000 years? This would be a very easy prediction for creationists to make, because even if the earth is more than 4 Billion years old, it’s not likely any life would be older than the tree you were talking about.

    I’m disappointed you would call creationism a scientific theory. Creationism is not science at all. It’s a religious belief. It would be impossible to find a competent scientist who thought the earth was just a few thousand years old instead of the actual age of about 4 1/2 Billion years. Even the most religious scientists agree with this proven scientific fact that the earth is Billions of years old.

    Also, even the very religious scientists, if they are competent, would never agree that there is any truth in creationism. Virtually every scientist in the world agrees the evidence proves all life evolved and humans are an ape species that developed from other animals.

    There is a lot of false information being spread about what scientists agree about. Of course scientists disagree about a lot of things, but they all agree evolution is a fact. The rare scientist who doubts evolution is almost never a biologist, and is likely very incompetent.

  3. dhawkinsmo says:

    Your claim that Creationism is not science is not supportable, but I challenge you to try to support it if you can. I have debated many an evolutionist and shown them with support from prominent non-creationists that Creationism is at least as scientific, if not more so, than Evolution. You should read some of these quotes at http://afdave.wordpress.com/more-useful-quotes-for-creationists/

  4. bwe1 says:

    Re: Multiple rings…

    Except that Bristlecones don’t grow extra rings. That article likely refers to a claim made by a Don Batten where he tries to equivocate Monterey pines -actually his were even farm raised- with Bristlecones. Since he is a plant physiologist, he knows that this is a dishonest claim.

    I may be wrong though, the reference may be someone else. If you find it, post it and I’ll double check.

    Dave and I are having a little debate on the subject as a matter of fact:


  5. bwe1 says:

    Boy. If anyone is actually curious to know whether creationists have any facts whatsoever on their side, that debate is shaping up to be a humdinger. Worth a read for sure.

  6. lordkalvan says:

    I see that the artcicle you link to refers to dendrochronology studies based on bristlecone pines extending back some 11,000 years. I also notice that while you claim that the 43,600 years old lomatia tasmanica has been ‘debunked’, it would be more accurate to say that the evidence for its age is indirect; your claims that C14 dating is unreliable seem to be based solely on the fact that it fails to support a literal belief in a global Flood. I note as well that the quotation references a box huckleberry 13,000 years old which you seem to pass unchallenged. Your ‘Confirmed Prediction of Creationism’ banner would seem therefore to be misleading and takes no account of a great deal of data from a wide variety of fields that all tend towards the conclusion that the age of the Earth can be measured in billions of years. This evidence is independent and consilient.

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