A while ago I found myself challenging a dutch young earth creationist to a debate as his website "evolutie.eu" states he would put any debate on his website, whatever the outcome. I have been reading a lot around here and through links provided here and had challenged him about data concerning dendrochronology partially because he had no data on it and partially because there aren't a lot of ways to doubt the scientific validity of the data.
He refused that challenge because he stated he wasn't informed enough but was still interested in the information I had to offer though meanwhile challenged me to discuss one of the topics on his website on C14 dating problems. Now I'm at a point where I know a little about it and about some of the missconceptions made on C14 dating but I'm unsure if I actually know enough to rebute all his arguments, I'm wondering if I could get some good reading material on rebuttals of some of the claims that are not present on talkorigins or if I get a question from him I cant answer, that I ask it in a thread (either this one or somewhere else ?) for more information ?
Be assured that this will also be a learning experience for me :)
I'm thinking this belongs in the dates and dating forum but I'm not sure seeing as this just might not become an actual debate.
Now I'm at a point where I know a little about it and about some of the missconceptions made on C14 dating but I'm unsure if I actually know enough to rebute all his arguments, I'm wondering if I could get some good reading material on rebuttals of some of the claims that are not present on talkorigins or if I get a question from him I cant answer, that I ask it in a thread (either this one or somewhere else ?) for more information ?
It would probably be best to bring the arguments forth to see if there is a way in which the questions they raise can be answered or if there is a failure in the question themselves.
I think this debate idea ran out of hand.. We e-mailed back and forth for a while untill he made it clear that he would only debate about a subject he was familiar with (carbon dating) and he demanded that I send him any articles he could not get to himself.
I looked up the kind of articles I would be needing for my debate and found that most (even through school methods) require a subscription fee to getting them. This fee would be rediculously high. Especially in a situation where the only result is it being placed on a small home made website.
I ended up e-mailing him that I was not willing to debate when the costs for me would be too high because of the reason I gave above, so a formal debate as he had planned it would suddenly seem impossible simply because I'm a simple student who already needs to keep a close look on his income and bills :P
If you want textbooks, I like three by Erv Taylor which take an archaeological approach: R.E. Taylor, Radiocarbon Dating, an Archaeological Perspective R.E. Taylor, Chronometric Dating in Archaeology R.E. Taylor, Radiocarbon After Four Decades
For books taking a geological approach, I like: G. Faure, Principles of Isotope Geology M. Geyh, Absolute Age Determination
Here's an article by Mr Hovind (a Young earth Creationist):
"Whenever the worldview of evolution is questioned, this topic always comes up. Let me first explain how carbon dating works and then show you the assumptions it is based on. Radiation from the sun strikes the atmosphere of the earth all day long. This energy converts about 21 pounds of nitrogen into radioactive carbon 14. This radioactive carbon 14 slowly decays back into normal, stable nitrogen. Extensive laboratory testing has shown that about half of the C-14 molecules will decay in 5730 years. This is called the half-life. After another 5730 years half of the remaining C-14 will decay leaving only ¼ of the original C-14. It goes from ½ to ¼ to 1/8, etc. In theory it would never totally disappear, but after about 5 half lives the difference is not measurable with any degree of accuracy. This is why most people say carbon dating is only good for objects less than 40,000 years old. Nothing on earth carbon dates in the millions of years, because the scope of carbon dating only extends a few thousand years. Willard Libby invented the carbon dating technique in the early 1950's. The amount of carbon 14 in the atmosphere today (about .0000765%), is assumed there would be the same amount found in living plants or animals since the plants breath CO2 and animals eat plants. Carbon 14 is the radio-active version of carbon.
Since solar radiation causes the formation of C-14 in the atmosphere, and normal radioactive decay takes it out, there must be a point where the formation rate and the decay rate equalizes. This is called the point of equilibrium. Let me illustrate: If you were trying to fill a barrel with water but there were holes drilled up the side of the barrel, as you filled the barrel it would begin leaking out the holes. At some point you would be putting it in and it would be leaking out at the same rate. You will not be able to fill the barrel past this point of equilibrium. In the same way the C-14 is being formed and decaying simultaneously. A freshly created earth would require about 30,000 years for the amount of C-14 in the atmosphere to reach this point of equilibrium because it would leak out as it is being filled. Tests indicate that the earth has still not reached equilibrium. There is more C-14 in the atmosphere now than there was 40 years ago. This would prove the earth is not yet 30,000 years old! This also means that plants and animals that lived in the past had less C-14 in them than do plants and animals today. Just this one fact totally upsets data obtained by C-14 dating.
The carbon in the atmosphere normally combines with oxygen to make carbon dioxide (CO2). Plants breathe CO2 and make it part of their tissue. Animals eat the plants and make it part of their tissues. A very small percentage of the carbon plants take in is radioactive C-14. When a plant or animal dies it stops taking in air and food so it should not be able to get any new C-14. The C-14 in the plant or animal will begin to decay back to normal nitrogen. The older an object is, the less carbon-14 it contains. One gram of carbon from living plant material causes a Geiger counter to click 16 times per minute as the C-14 decays. A sample that causes 8 clicks per minute would be 5,730 years old (the sample has gone through one half life), and so on. (See chart on page 46 about C-14). Although this technique looks good at first, carbon-14 dating rests on two simple assumptions. They are, obviously, assuming the amount of carbon-14 in the atmosphere has always been constant, and its rate of decay has always been constant. Neither of these assumptions is provable or reasonable.
An illustration may help: Imagine you found a candle burning in a room, and you wanted to determine how long it was burning before you found it. You could measure the present height of the candle (say, seven inches) and the rate of burn (say, an inch per hour). In order to find the length of time since the candle was lit we would be forced to make some assumptions. We would, obviously, have to assume that the candle has always burned at the same rate, and assumes an initial height of the candle. The answer changes based on the assumptions. Similarly, scientists do not know that the carbon-14 decay rate has been constant. They do not know that the amount of carbon-14 in the atmosphere is constant. Present testing shows the amount of C-14 in the atmosphere has been increasing since it was first measured in the 1950's. This may be tied in to the declining strength of the magnetic field. "
These are not "lies". :) Though that said, I'm not yet fully acquainted with the entire Carbon dating field, I'm merely passing on Hovind's views.
Yes, they are. Before Hovind went to prison for tax fraud, you could pretty much count on anything he said about science being a distortion, a misurstanding, or an outright lie.
There is more C-14 in the atmosphere now than there was 40 years ago.
It sounds like Hovind has never heard of aboveground nuclear testing.....
They are, obviously, assuming the amount of carbon-14 in the atmosphere has always been constant, and its rate of decay has always been constant. Neither of these assumptions is provable or reasonable.
The first assumption is not used by people that use radiocarbon dating - it is, in fact, well known to be false, and a very great deal of effort has been put into calibrating the carbon-14 clock against other clocks used to date things - tree rings, lake varves, annual layers in ice caps....
The second assumption is, contrary to Hovind's bald assertion, very reasonable. Nuclear physics is pretty well understood, after all: if radioactive elements didn't decay in an orderly sort of fashion, do you think we could really have smoke detectors and nuclear power plants that worked?
There is more C-14 in the atmosphere now than there was 40 years ago. This would prove the earth is not yet 30,000 years old!
False. Apparently Mr. Hovind is unaware of the nuclear tests in the late 1950s and early 1960s. From the abstract of an article on the subject:
The 14C station data show a sharp increase in tropospheric radiocarbon levels in the early 1960s and then a decline after the majority of nuclear tests came to an end on August 5, 1963 (Test Ban Treaty). The sharp peaks in tropospheric radiocarbon in the early 1960s are more pronounced in the Northern Hemisphere, reflecting the location of most atomic weapons tests. The measurements show large seasonal variations in the 14C level during the early 1960s mainly as a result of springtime transport of bomb 14C from the stratosphere. During the 1970s, the seasonal variations are smaller and due partly to seasonal variations in CO2 from fossil-fuel emissions. The rate of decrease of atmospheric radiocarbon provides a check on the exchange constants of the atmosphere and ocean.
This also means that plants and animals that lived in the past had less C-14 in them than do plants and animals today. Just this one fact totally upsets data obtained by C-14 dating.
As shown above, this is false.
...carbon-14 dating rests on two simple assumptions. They are, obviously, assuming the amount of carbon-14 in the atmosphere has always been constant, and its rate of decay has always been constant. Neither of these assumptions is provable or reasonable.
False again. Atmospheric variation was realized early on by de Vries (1958) and the radiocarbon dating method has taken that into account ever since. Radiocarbon measurements are calibrated by reference to a curve based on tree rings, ice cores, glacial varves and other indicators.
And the decay constant has been found to be remarkably constant in spite of creationists' wishes to the contrary. Some creationists even spent over a million dollars trying to show that the decay constant varied (google the "RATE Project"). They succeeded only in showing that science was correct all along. See Assessing the RATE Project by Randy Isaac.
The answer changes based on the assumptions. Similarly, scientists do not know that the carbon-14 decay rate has been constant. They do not know that the amount of carbon-14 in the atmosphere is constant. Present testing shows the amount of C-14 in the atmosphere has been increasing since it was first measured in the 1950's. This may be tied in to the declining strength of the magnetic field. "
"Assumptions" does not automatically mean "wrong" as creationists imply. Assuming the sun will rise tomorrow morning is not a very risky bet.
As noted above, creationists trying to show the decay constant varies failed. We do know the atmospheric levels of C14 vary, and take that into account. And the levels of C14 in the atmosphere have increased since the early 1950s due to atomic testing, not declining strength of the magnetic field.
Hovind strikes out on all claims.
These are not "lies".
OK, I guess we can be charitable. Shall we call it creation "science" instead?
They are falsehoods, whether they are "lies" would be dependent on whether they were intentional falsehoods meant to delude the gullible, or just stupidity, ignorance, or insanity.
Though that said, I'm not yet fully acquainted with the entire Carbon dating field, I'm merely passing on Hovind's views.
So instead of reading information from a number of sources and cross-checking them for validity, you have just posted something you read, verbatum, and that you have no idea how true it is, or how trustworthy the author is. That said, how did you decide they are not "lies" eh? Did you ask the local used car salesman?