Amino Acid Racemization

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When an organism dies, the amino acids within its body begin the process of 'racemization', in which the molecules gradually change from a 'left-handed' or 'orderly' state into a random mix of left's and right's. By measuring the rate of this process, you can estimate the time of the organism's death.

Dr. Larry S. Helmick, Professor of Chemistry at Cedarville College in Ohio, calculates a generous upper limit of some 20 million years1. That is, after a maximum of 20 million years, any quantities of amino acid found would be a 50:50 mix of both forms, even if they were all the left-handed form to begin with. This conclusion is supported by old-earthers as well2.

Because of this 'time-limit', any rock samples still containing unstable amino acids cannot be more than 20 million years old; yet they're found in even the 'old' layers of the geological column:

The chert (chert is a siliceous rock of which flint is an example) layer known as Fig Tree Chert, South Africa, is estimated to be three billion years old, yet it contains only amino acids in the left-handed form. A similar result applies to several Precambrian and Miocene sediments (supposedly some 1,200 million and 30 million years old respectively)3.

It is no surprise that the Green River (Wyoming, USA) oil shale, estimated to be 60 million years old by old-earthers, contains amino acids, since its oil originates from living materials. What is surprising is that they are not completely racemized yet4.

The old-earther has no choice but to argue that somehow most of the geological layers have become contaminated with amino acids produced at a much more recent time. The racemization that has already occurred does not require large time periods either, because a short heating event may greatly increase the rate of racemization.(5)

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