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Author Topic:   Research for a book - Survey of various dating methods
damoncasale
Member (Idle past 2418 days)
Posts: 41
From: Seffner, FL, USA
Joined: 12-09-2010


Message 1 of 82 (595692)
12-09-2010 9:55 PM


I'm doing research for a book on the origin of civilization, and I'd like some assistance on what dating techniques I should cover in summary in my book. Let me explain what I need.

After being raised by two parents who are both Christian but come from completely different perspectives (one is Catholic and the other one is part of a Sabbath-keeping group), I've come to the conclusion that just because someone says they're right, doesn't make them right. One of the main issues I've questioned over the years is the fundamentalist view that the earth is 6,000 years old, or the common alternative that there was a worldwide flood 6,000 years ago, before which the dinosaurs existed.

Because of my background, and because I've done a LOT of research into ancient history and comparative religion, I've come to the conclusion that Genesis 1-3 was never meant to be literal. (Other creation literature wasn't meant to be taken literally either, such as the creation literature of ancient Egypt or Sumer/Babylon.) I have a very good idea of what it *was* supposed to mean, but that's a topic for a different forum and another time.

My book is intended to take modern social issues, like terrorism and peace in the Middle East, etc., and look at them from the perspective of 6,000 years ago, at the dawn of civilization, and before the concept of the monotheistic god got split up into the three main monotheistic religions -- Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. The first thing I'll discuss about in my book is what Genesis 1-3 actually meant. But then I want to go on to explore what happened *before* Genesis, in order to give a good, solid background for exploring the two contemporary cultures that existed at the time of the Garden of Eden: Sumer and Egypt. Afterwards, I'll tie it all together and examine the social issues I started off the book with, in the context of a very simple but profound view of God and of ethical behavior vs. moral confusion, as espoused by the biblical Creation story.

In any case, in order to do this second part of the book justice, I need to be able to briefly address the issues that YECs have with the various dating methods commonly used.

One of the aspects I'd like to cover is how astronomy and astronomical events/synchronisms can be used for dating purposes. For instance, according to "The Cycle of Cosmic Catastrophes" by Richard Firestone, Allen West, and Simon Warwick-Smith, there's abundant evidence for a supernova that exploded only about 200 light years from earth around 41,000 years ago. This event caused major damage and both directly and indirectly affected life on earth, climate, etc., when the initial radiation burst hit around 41,000 years ago, again when the shock wave hit around 33,000 years ago, and finally when the debris cloud from the supernova hit the solar system around 13,000 years ago. I'd like to explore synchronizing astronomical events like this one to more common dating methods like radiocarbon dating.

I've already looked through some of the material that's already been written on this forum to explain how C-14 dating works, dendrochronology, varves, etc., and it's all really good stuff. My question isn't so much *how* each dating method works (although that will eventually be helpful as well), but rather *what* would be best to cover.

Finally, my hope is that my book will be able to bridge the gap between those of a religious perspective (mainly geared towards the monotheistic religions, though) and those of a scientific perspective, as I think science and religion have been needlessly set against one another when there are much more important issues to focus on.

{I've used the [blockcolor=white] code to white out a big chuck of text. This material is pretty much all background information that I believe to be outside of the real topic theme. Certainly, read that whited out material via highlighting it (dragging your mouse cursor across it), but be very cautious about commenting on that content. - Adminnemooseus}

Edited by Adminnemooseus, : Added the "Research for a book -" part to the topic title. Also [blockcolor=white]ed a big chunk of material and added related comment.


Replies to this message:
 Message 2 by Adminnemooseus, posted 12-09-2010 11:16 PM damoncasale has not yet responded
 Message 4 by Coyote, posted 12-10-2010 12:16 AM damoncasale has responded
 Message 6 by Dr Adequate, posted 12-10-2010 12:54 AM damoncasale has responded

    
Adminnemooseus
Director
Posts: 3830
Joined: 09-26-2002


Message 2 of 82 (595695)
12-09-2010 11:16 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by damoncasale
12-09-2010 9:55 PM


Made some modifications to your message 1
See my notes at message 1.

The "whited out" material can still easily be read, but I fear it would be a major source of digression from the intended real topic theme - Commenting on it would not be a part of the desired survey.

We sometimes get students or others showing up here, trying to get the forum members to do their research for them. Such is the case with you. Generally, forum management is inclined to reject such topics but I am looking on your research project as being worthy of promotion.

As I read it, you are looking for guidance from the science side (aka non-creationists). As things go around here, you are also going to get input from the creationist side (eg. radiometric dating doesn't work because...). You may find the creationist input to be useful, or you may find it to only be topic clutter. Regardless, I'm confident it's going to happen.

We shall now see what else happens.

Adminnemooseus


This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by damoncasale, posted 12-09-2010 9:55 PM damoncasale has not yet responded

    
Adminnemooseus
Director
Posts: 3830
Joined: 09-26-2002


Message 3 of 82 (595697)
12-09-2010 11:16 PM


Thread Copied from Proposed New Topics Forum
Thread copied here from the Research for a book - Survey of various dating methods thread in the Proposed New Topics forum.
    
Coyote
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Posts: 6027
Joined: 01-12-2008
Member Rating: 2.5


Message 4 of 82 (595702)
12-10-2010 12:16 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by damoncasale
12-09-2010 9:55 PM


Radiocarbon dating
One of my specialties is radiocarbon dating (I'm an archaeologist). Here are some good links detailing the method:

ReligiousTolerance.org Carbon-14 Dating (C-14): Beliefs of New-Earth Creationists

Radiometric Dating: A Christian Perspective by Dr. Roger C. Wiens.

This site, BiblicalChronologist.org has a series of good articles on radiocarbon dating.

Tree Ring and C14 Dating

Radiocarbon WEB-info Radiocarbon Laboratory, University of Waikato, New Zealand.

Radiocarbon -- full text of issues, 1959-2003.

You ask what should be included in the book. An example:

One of the most often heard criticisms of radiocarbon dating is that it "relies on assumptions." The assumption most often pointed out is atmospheric variation caused by changes in cosmic rays or the earth's magnetic field or some such. Actually that problem was identified in 1958, shortly after the radiocarbon method was developed. A calibration curve has been worked out to account for these changes, using tree-ring dating and annular information in such things as corals, spelothems, and glacial varves to mention a few. These diverse methods have been used to create a calibration curve that is remarkably consistent from material to material, and has no more than about a 10% variation at any point.

In other words, radiocarbon dates can be correlated with a wide variety of other annular indicators, which shows that the method is quite accurate.

The important thing to note in your book is that all of the objections, such as atmospheric variation, above, that creationists come up with have long-since been thought of and taken into consideration by the various scientists who deal with this field. We want the most accurate dates we can get! Dates that are wrong are worse than useless.

Take a look at the links I provided and let me know if you have any questions. I am sure that one or another of the posters here can help you out with the answers.


Religious belief does not constitute scientific evidence, nor does it convey scientific knowledge.
This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by damoncasale, posted 12-09-2010 9:55 PM damoncasale has responded

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damoncasale
Member (Idle past 2418 days)
Posts: 41
From: Seffner, FL, USA
Joined: 12-09-2010


Message 5 of 82 (595703)
12-10-2010 12:31 AM
Reply to: Message 4 by Coyote
12-10-2010 12:16 AM


Re: Radiocarbon dating
Although this is helpful, I had already come across similar material that had already been posted on the forum.

Again, what I'm mainly looking for isn't so much *how* these dating methods work, but *which* dating methods I should focus on, since I'm quite prepared to do the research into the "how" for my book. (And including radiocarbon dating is a given, of course.) I've read about quite a number of them (thermoluminescence, archaeomagnetic dating, amino acid dating, etc.) but my question is actually more about which dating methods would give a good general sampling of what's out there. I don't know what's commonly used, what dating methods only have specific applications, etc. I'm ordering a book on different dating methods through interlibrary loan (see link below), but I'd rather not just rely on one source.

http://www.amazon.com/...al-Science/dp/0306457156/ref=sr_1_1

Does my question make more sense now?

BTW, anyone who wants to comment on the whited out portion of the post can message me privately. Well, either that or start another thread in the appropriate forum.


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Dr Adequate
Member
Posts: 15972
Joined: 07-20-2006
Member Rating: 4.9


Message 6 of 82 (595705)
12-10-2010 12:54 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by damoncasale
12-09-2010 9:55 PM


For instance, according to "The Cycle of Cosmic Catastrophes" by Richard Firestone, Allen West, and Simon Warwick-Smith, there's abundant evidence for a supernova that exploded only about 200 light years from earth around 41,000 years ago. This event caused major damage and both directly and indirectly affected life on earth, climate, etc., when the initial radiation burst hit around 41,000 years ago, again when the shock wave hit around 33,000 years ago, and finally when the debris cloud from the supernova hit the solar system around 13,000 years ago.

The trouble is that this has garnered nothing but disdain from the wider scientific community. In fact it's hard to find anyone who likes this idea except the people who thought of it.

The notion that there was a comet is tenuous enough --- and linking it to a supernova is about as speculative as blaming aliens.

There's a skeptical article here. They quote some telling comments from other scientists:

Paquay et al.: No evidence of extraterrestrial geochemical components at the Blling-Allerd/Younger Dryas transition. ("Our study discredits the YD impact hypothesis.") Surovelle and Holliday: Non-reproducibility of Younger Dryas extraterrestrial impact results. ("We were unable to reproduce any results of the original Firestone et al. study and find no support for Younger Dryas extraterrestrial impact.") Pinter et al.: Extraterrestrial and terrestrial signatures at the onset of the Younger Dryas. ("Many of the purportedly unique markers at the YD boundary layer were found in most or all other sites and horizons analyzed, often at concentrations much higher than at the YD layer itself.") Holliday and Meltzer: Geoarchaeology of the 12.9 ka impact hypothesis. ("Sites purported to provide direct evidence of the 12.9 ka impact are not well constrained to that time. An ET impact is an unnecessary solution' for an archaeological problem that does not exist.")

This is not to say that some or all of the hypothesis might not be confirmed one day, but right now it is perceived as flaky, and as such would detract from what is meant to be a serious book. Certainly if anyone wanted to criticize your writing, they could and would use it against you. ("If he'll believe that, he'll believe anything.")


This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by damoncasale, posted 12-09-2010 9:55 PM damoncasale has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 8 by damoncasale, posted 12-10-2010 8:44 AM Dr Adequate has responded

  
Dr Adequate
Member
Posts: 15972
Joined: 07-20-2006
Member Rating: 4.9


Message 7 of 82 (595706)
12-10-2010 1:02 AM
Reply to: Message 4 by Coyote
12-10-2010 12:16 AM


Re: Radiocarbon dating
Coyote --- as you're an archaeologist, perhaps you could tell us how much use archaeologists make of radiometric dating of igneous material such as volcanic ash? Should this be on damoncasale's list? I've never heard anyone mention it, perhaps because it's always possible to use radiocarbon dating instead.

(It would also be interesting to know if anyone has used it as a check on radiometric dating --- for example, since we know the date that Pompeii was buried, this provides a method for testing radiometric techniques.)

Thanks.


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Replies to this message:
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damoncasale
Member (Idle past 2418 days)
Posts: 41
From: Seffner, FL, USA
Joined: 12-09-2010


Message 8 of 82 (595744)
12-10-2010 8:44 AM
Reply to: Message 6 by Dr Adequate
12-10-2010 12:54 AM


For instance, according to "The Cycle of Cosmic Catastrophes" by Richard Firestone, Allen West, and Simon Warwick-Smith, there's abundant evidence for a supernova that exploded only about 200 light years from earth around 41,000 years ago. This event caused major damage and both directly and indirectly affected life on earth, climate, etc., when the initial radiation burst hit around 41,000 years ago, again when the shock wave hit around 33,000 years ago, and finally when the debris cloud from the supernova hit the solar system around 13,000 years ago.

The trouble is that this has garnered nothing but disdain from the wider scientific community. In fact it's hard to find anyone who likes this idea except the people who thought of it.

I've already responded to this via PM, but in an attempt to stay on topic in the forum, let me ask this. What astronomical dating methods -- if any -- do scientists normally use for purposes of dating?

I already know that astronomical synchronisms are generally out. For example, attempts to date the Great Pyramid of Giza using astronomical alignments with stars have resulted in construction dates of 4370 BC and 2430 BC, to name two that I can remember offhand. (Sorry, don't have sources handy, but I read one in a magazine recently.) Unless we know beforehand what star the builders of whatever structure, menhir, or whatever meant to align it to, then this is a completely unreliable dating method. But are there any reliable ones, even ones that only have applications to specific situations?

Damon
PS. Is there a "reply with quote" feature on this forum, or do I just have to manually copy and paste the pseudo-HTML from a previous post and edit it for quotation?


This message is a reply to:
 Message 6 by Dr Adequate, posted 12-10-2010 12:54 AM Dr Adequate has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 9 by Dr Adequate, posted 12-10-2010 9:06 AM damoncasale has responded
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Dr Adequate
Member
Posts: 15972
Joined: 07-20-2006
Member Rating: 4.9


Message 9 of 82 (595747)
12-10-2010 9:06 AM
Reply to: Message 8 by damoncasale
12-10-2010 8:44 AM


I've already responded to this via PM ...

I'm fairly sure that the moderators would agree that what you sent me was on topic.

For example, attempts to date the Great Pyramid of Giza using astronomical alignments with stars have resulted in construction dates of 4370 BC and 2430 BC, to name two that I can remember offhand. (Sorry, don't have sources handy, but I read one in a magazine recently.) Unless we know beforehand what star the builders of whatever structure, menhir, or whatever meant to align it to, then this is a completely unreliable dating method.

Ah, yes, Hancock's method.

(1) Assume without proof that the builders of ancient monuments were trying to build star maps.
(2) Assume without proof that they did so correctly.
(3) Conclude that therefore they built correct star maps.
(4) Observe that they did not build star maps that are correct for any time within the last 100,000 years.
(5) Conclude that they built them more than 100,000 years ago.
(6) Observe that they wouldn't have been correct even then.
(7) Conclude that they weren't building correct star maps, so that's not a problem.

There ought to be a word for the opposite of circular reasoning.

But are there any reliable ones, even ones that only have applications to specific situations?

To a certain extent. For example many ancient historical records include observations of eclipses of the Sun. Also Chinese records note the supernova that formed the Crab Nebula.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 8 by damoncasale, posted 12-10-2010 8:44 AM damoncasale has responded

Replies to this message:
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Percy
Member
Posts: 16170
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 3.1


Message 10 of 82 (595748)
12-10-2010 9:11 AM
Reply to: Message 8 by damoncasale
12-10-2010 8:44 AM


damoncasale writes:

PS. Is there a "reply with quote" feature on this forum, or do I just have to manually copy and paste the pseudo-HTML from a previous post and edit it for quotation?

When composing a reply you'll see two radio buttons at the top of the box containing the text of the message you're replying to. They're labeled Normal and Peek Mode. Select Peek Mode and you'll see the original code with markup for easy cut-n-pasting.

Reply w/quote was disabled on this forum because thoughtless use of it in long discussions (common here) caused too many messages to have huge nested quoted portions of the full text of entire message chains. This board has forward and backward links for each message in a message chain, so full message quoting isn't necessary. All that's usually needed is a quote of the portion of a message you're replying to.

--Percy


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Coragyps
Member
Posts: 5295
From: Snyder, Texas, USA
Joined: 11-12-2002
Member Rating: 3.6


Message 11 of 82 (595749)
12-10-2010 9:15 AM
Reply to: Message 7 by Dr Adequate
12-10-2010 1:02 AM


Re: Radiocarbon dating
(It would also be interesting to know if anyone has used it as a check on radiometric dating --- for example, since we know the date that Pompeii was buried, this provides a method for testing radiometric techniques.)

Exactly that has been done with potassium/argon (or argon/argon?) dating on ash from Pompeii - and they came out correct on the date. I have the paper at home, and can look up the citation if anyone wants it.


This message is a reply to:
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damoncasale
Member (Idle past 2418 days)
Posts: 41
From: Seffner, FL, USA
Joined: 12-09-2010


Message 12 of 82 (595752)
12-10-2010 9:31 AM
Reply to: Message 9 by Dr Adequate
12-10-2010 9:06 AM


Ah, yes, Hancock's method.

(1) Assume without proof that the builders of ancient monuments were trying to build star maps.
(2) Assume without proof that they did so correctly.
(3) Conclude that therefore they built correct star maps.
(4) Observe that they did not build star maps that are correct for any time within the last 100,000 years.
(5) Conclude that they built them more than 100,000 years ago.
(6) Observe that they wouldn't have been correct even then.
(7) Conclude that they weren't building correct star maps, so that's not a problem.

Umm...have you heard of the planisphere that was discovered in Mesopotamia? (Tablet K8538 in the British Museum in London.) It basically showed that ancient peoples were using constellations to represent places on Earth. So having Orion represent Egypt -- however accurately or inaccurately the pyramids were built to match the stars of Orion -- isn't exactly far-fetched.

Willem Zitman, in his book "Egypt: Image of Heaven" posited that the ancient Egyptians used astronomical symbolism in their Creation mythology to explain where it was they had originally come from. Tracing the evidence back, Zitman arrives at a site in northeastern Africa, at paleo lake Chad, where pottery shards carbon-dated to 8500 BC (!) were found, along with rock art which seems to correspond to predynastic Egyptian motifs.

I don't want to diverge too far from the topic at hand, but I was planning on including this material in my book, as part of the investigation of what happened prior to Genesis 1-3. Nevertheless, I'm still looking for any kind of archaeo-astronomical dating methods that might possibly be used to date prehistoric artifacts and events. (Things like the eclipse observations of ancient Babylon, I already know about, but those don't really help me to understand the time period in question -- from roughly 3500 BC back to the end of the last Ice Age, and even before if it's had an impact on later human civilization.)

Damon


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Replies to this message:
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jar
Member
Posts: 29622
From: Texas!!
Joined: 04-20-2004
Member Rating: 2.1


Message 13 of 82 (595756)
12-10-2010 9:50 AM
Reply to: Message 12 by damoncasale
12-10-2010 9:31 AM


Umm...have you heard of the planisphere that was discovered in Mesopotamia? (Tablet K8538 in the British Museum in London.) It basically showed that ancient peoples were using constellations to represent places on Earth.

Not exactly.

The Dendara Zodiac happens to be in a temple that was not even built until the Ptolemaic period, most likely around 50BC, maybe even later, so the pyramid building was a least 3000 years earlier.


Anyone so limited that they can only spell a word one way is severely handicapped!
This message is a reply to:
 Message 12 by damoncasale, posted 12-10-2010 9:31 AM damoncasale has responded

Replies to this message:
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damoncasale
Member (Idle past 2418 days)
Posts: 41
From: Seffner, FL, USA
Joined: 12-09-2010


Message 14 of 82 (595757)
12-10-2010 10:07 AM
Reply to: Message 13 by jar
12-10-2010 9:50 AM


The Dendara Zodiac happens to be in a temple that was not even built until the Ptolemaic period, most likely around 50BC, maybe even later, so the pyramid building was a least 3000 years earlier.

Um...we're talking about two completely different things. The planisphere is a clay tablet, found in *Mesopotamia* (not Egypt), that divided the constellations into eight different sections and labeled them with various place names on Earth.

Damon


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 Message 13 by jar, posted 12-10-2010 9:50 AM jar has responded

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jar
Member
Posts: 29622
From: Texas!!
Joined: 04-20-2004
Member Rating: 2.1


Message 15 of 82 (595758)
12-10-2010 10:09 AM
Reply to: Message 14 by damoncasale
12-10-2010 10:07 AM


Link please?


Anyone so limited that they can only spell a word one way is severely handicapped!
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