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Author Topic:   Soft Tissue Surviving 65 Million Years?
Percy
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Posts: 15494
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 4.3


Message 31 of 77 (509654)
05-23-2009 7:23 AM
Reply to: Message 29 by slevesque
05-23-2009 4:31 AM


Hi Slevesque,

You appear to be proposing that dinosaur bones found with good soft tissue preservation indicate that the dinosaur lived thousands instead of millions of years ago, and that the impact on geology (of the revelation that the containing layers must also be thousands instead of millions of years old) would be minor. But you seem unaware of how much of science such a finding would call into question.

This is nowhere more clear than where you discuss the Mount St. Helens "strata," which are the result of volcanic mudflows, not lava flows. In other words, those "layers" are just dried out mud, not rock. Ten thousand years from they'll still just be dried out mud, and no geologist of the future would ever mistake these mudflows for distinct eruption events millions of years apart.

So obviously geologists today are not making this same mistake when they study geologically recent volcanic eruptions. It is difficult to make such mistakes because mudflows in rapid succession do not resemble ancient mud or lava flows. In the case of mudflows they have to be buried for a period in order to turn them to rock, and it takes considerable time to build up a sufficiently significant overburden, then more time to erode back down to the original mudflow to expose it for our scientists to study. Plus there's the confirming and more accurate evidence from radiometric dating.

I believe the dinosaur fossils with preserved soft tissue were found in sandstone, not basalt (solidified lava) and certainly not dried out mud. Sandstone represents a former coastal area, and distinct layers form very slowly from the accumulation of sand. Only if the sand layer becomes buried sufficiently deep can the overlying pressure transform it into rock, and this gradual burial takes a very long time. If it turns out that the sandstone layers in which these fossils were found were actually geologically very young then it would overturn all we know about the formation of sandstone.

And since sandstone layers are usually interspersed with shale and limestone, this would overturn all we know about those layers, too. For example, it is very common for sandstone layers to reside beneath limestone layers, and limestone layers form in shallow seas over thousands and thousands of years due to a consistent rain of calciferous material from dead organisms that occupied the waters above. A typical deposition rate for limestone is about a yard every 7500 years, so when you have a limestone layer like the Kaibab Limestone of the Grand Canyon that is about 100 yards thick you know that it took about 750,000 years to form.

And geological theories of how these layers formed are confirmed by the results of radiometric dating. If we're wrong about the age of the sandstone layer in which the Schweitzer dinosaur was found then we're not only wrong about geologic sedimentary processes, but also about much of physics. This is because although we divide science into a variety of fields of study, the reality is that they are all tightly interwoven. Any unraveling of as significant a part of the fabric as sedimentary processes or radiometric dating would force us to discard much of what we think we know throughout all of science. That's why your casual dismissal of the consequences of a young date for dinosaur fossils with soft tissue is so revealing of just how little you know.

--Percy


This message is a reply to:
 Message 29 by slevesque, posted 05-23-2009 4:31 AM slevesque has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 35 by slevesque, posted 05-24-2009 2:45 AM Percy has responded

    
Coragyps
Member
Posts: 5266
From: Snyder, Texas, USA
Joined: 11-12-2002
Member Rating: 6.1


Message 32 of 77 (509660)
05-23-2009 11:16 AM
Reply to: Message 30 by Dr Adequate
05-23-2009 5:34 AM


I haven't been able to find out what the T. rex was buried in,

"The specimen was incorporated within a soft, well-sorted sandstone that was interpreted as estuarine in origin." - so it was at a river mouth. And the tyrannosaur was in the Hell Creek, which has been dated seven ways from Sunday as being ~65 million years old.
Science 25 March 2005: Vol. 307. no. 5717, pp. 1952 - 1955, and it's free at sciencemag.org

There's nothing wrong with the dating, Sleve, just with our current understanding of collagen preservation. As I mentioned upthread, perhaps there's an interaction between the minerals of the fossilizing bone and the protein that stabilizes bits of the latter.

The newer Schweitzer study took rather extraordinary care to avoid contamination and to replicate findings. I'm a chemist, not a palaeontologist, but I sure can't see any holes in their methodology. You can bet that a dozen bright young grad students scattered around the world are on the trail of how the preservation occurs.


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JonF
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Posts: 3485
Joined: 06-23-2003
Member Rating: 2.8


Message 33 of 77 (509664)
05-23-2009 11:49 AM
Reply to: Message 19 by slevesque
05-19-2009 3:35 AM


Then the other possibility would be that the sediment is not as old as believed. You don't have to throw away all cosmology and geology for that to be true.

Um, indeed you would have to throw away pretty much all of cosmology and geology. And quantum mechanics and quantum chromodynamics, too. And most of chemistry.


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JonF
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Posts: 3485
Joined: 06-23-2003
Member Rating: 2.8


Message 34 of 77 (509665)
05-23-2009 12:02 PM
Reply to: Message 32 by Coragyps
05-23-2009 11:16 AM


And the tyrannosaur was in the Hell Creek, which has been dated seven ways from Sunday as being ~65 million years old.

Dalrymple has a brief table of results at Radiometeric Dating Does Work!, Table 2.
This message is a reply to:
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slevesque
Member (Idle past 1992 days)
Posts: 1456
Joined: 05-14-2009


Message 35 of 77 (509709)
05-24-2009 2:45 AM
Reply to: Message 31 by Percy
05-23-2009 7:23 AM


Yeah, well now that I know it was found in sandstone, I agree my example is not relevant in this case. (although I was implying mudflows rather than lava flows). Since you seem to know more then I do in geology, I'll agree that maybe it would change a lot of things in our knowledge of geology. But This is the power of falsification, isn't it ?

But I'll have to disagree with you on the second part. It would change a lot of what we know about radiometric dating, but not necesserely all of physics. We know how nuclear decay works, but up until now we always consider it to be constant in the past, because, up until now, the only data that would suggest that this may not be the case had being brought up by creationist.

But now if it is shown that this collagen could not have lasted 65 millions years, then for the first time their would be a legitimate reasons to question the validity of the radiometric methods.

This is also why it could be interesting to carbon date those fossils. If it turns out that it would give a carbon-14 amount within the error margin and so a date to the very limit of the dating technique, then it would be evidence that would favor the existence of a mechanism that can preserve collagen for vast amounts of time.

But if it turned out to give a carbon14 amount beyond the error margin (multiple dating on multiple bones would have to be done of course to prevent the possibility of contamination) then it would be in favor that maybe the fossil could actually be young.


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 Message 31 by Percy, posted 05-23-2009 7:23 AM Percy has responded

Replies to this message:
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slevesque
Member (Idle past 1992 days)
Posts: 1456
Joined: 05-14-2009


Message 36 of 77 (509711)
05-24-2009 2:56 AM
Reply to: Message 34 by JonF
05-23-2009 12:02 PM


The article represents badly what creationist say about radiometric dating ( I think you call that a 'strawman' in english)

Creationist are not saying radiometric dating don't work, they are saying that the assumption that the nuclear decay is constant may not be true. This is very different, concurring dates for the same rock or layer does not prove this.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 34 by JonF, posted 05-23-2009 12:02 PM JonF has responded

Replies to this message:
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cavediver
Member (Idle past 995 days)
Posts: 4129
From: UK
Joined: 06-16-2005


Message 37 of 77 (509712)
05-24-2009 3:27 AM
Reply to: Message 36 by slevesque
05-24-2009 2:56 AM


Creationist are not saying radiometric dating don't work, they are saying that the assumption that the nuclear decay is constant may not be true.

Really? How fast would the decay rates need to be changed to support a YEC view? What sort of Terrestrial heat output would that imply? How do they explain the data from Oklo? How would they explain just about all observed stellar astrophysics? Did you read that paper by Barrow, etc, or varying alpha? Did you notice the observed bounds on the variation of alpha across the age of the Universe?

Edited by cavediver, : No reason given.


This message is a reply to:
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bluescat48
Member (Idle past 1542 days)
Posts: 2347
From: United States
Joined: 10-06-2007


Message 38 of 77 (509714)
05-24-2009 3:36 AM
Reply to: Message 35 by slevesque
05-24-2009 2:45 AM


This is also why it could be interesting to carbon date those fossils.

The problem with this is all you would get from C14 would be, older than 50,000 years. Even if the Radiometric methods used were off, they would not be of by 65,000,000-(6 to 10 thousand that the creos belief).

Edited by bluescat48, : No reason given.


There is no better love between 2 people than mutual respect for each other WT Young, 2002

Who gave anyone the authority to call me an authority on anything. WT Young, 1969

Since Evolution is only ~90% correct it should be thrown out and replaced by Creation which has even a lower % of correctness. W T Young, 2008


This message is a reply to:
 Message 35 by slevesque, posted 05-24-2009 2:45 AM slevesque has responded

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slevesque
Member (Idle past 1992 days)
Posts: 1456
Joined: 05-14-2009


Message 39 of 77 (509718)
05-24-2009 4:09 AM
Reply to: Message 37 by cavediver
05-24-2009 3:27 AM


My comment was not really of the facts for or against what they are saying.

All I'm saying is this: creationist (rightly or wrongly) say that the nucler decay was not constant. They do not say that radiometric dating is invalid.


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slevesque
Member (Idle past 1992 days)
Posts: 1456
Joined: 05-14-2009


Message 40 of 77 (509719)
05-24-2009 4:11 AM
Reply to: Message 38 by bluescat48
05-24-2009 3:36 AM


I agree, but simply 'older then 50 000 years' as a result (assuming the max age is 50 000 years) would be sufficient to cast doubt on the interpretations creationist do of this data.
This message is a reply to:
 Message 38 by bluescat48, posted 05-24-2009 3:36 AM bluescat48 has not yet responded

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bluescat48
Member (Idle past 1542 days)
Posts: 2347
From: United States
Joined: 10-06-2007


Message 41 of 77 (509723)
05-24-2009 5:11 AM
Reply to: Message 37 by cavediver
05-24-2009 3:27 AM


Depending on if one uses the oldest dated rocks or the estimated age of the earth, it is between 600,000 & 750,000 times the activity.


There is no better love between 2 people than mutual respect for each other WT Young, 2002

Who gave anyone the authority to call me an authority on anything. WT Young, 1969

Since Evolution is only ~90% correct it should be thrown out and replaced by Creation which has even a lower % of correctness. W T Young, 2008


This message is a reply to:
 Message 37 by cavediver, posted 05-24-2009 3:27 AM cavediver has not yet responded

    
Percy
Member
Posts: 15494
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 4.3


(1)
Message 42 of 77 (509727)
05-24-2009 7:46 AM
Reply to: Message 35 by slevesque
05-24-2009 2:45 AM


Hi Slevesque,

I think you have to make up your mind whether you're advocating a young Earth or an old Earth. You were advocating an old Earth when arguing that some dinosaurs survived until just some thousands of years ago. Now you're advocating a young Earth when you argue that radiometric decay isn't constant. It wasn't so bad when you were advocating different positions in different threads, but now you're switching back and forth between different positions in the same thread.

slevesque writes:

I'll agree that maybe it would change a lot of things in our knowledge of geology. But this is the power of falsification, isn't it?

All science is tentative and open to falsification, but the falsifying evidence has to be at least the equal of existing evidence. We have several pieces of evidence from one lab of ancient soft tissue preservation sufficient to preserve details of protein structure. You prefer to reinterpret this as evidence of dating errors, proposing that this paltry amount of evidence could overturn the mountains of evidence from geology and physics.

As I've said a couple times now, you do not appear to know how much you do not know, else you wouldn't give this possibility serious consideration. Ask yourself these questions:

  • What is the one piece of evidence that establishes that the sun lies at the center of the solar system and is orbited by the planets?

  • What is the one piece of evidence that establishes that all matter and energy in the universe once existed in a space smaller than the size of a single atom billions of years ago?

  • What is the one piece of evidence that establishes that the Earth's crust is divided into about 20 plates that move about like an incredibly complex animated jigsaw puzzle?

  • What is the one piece of evidence that establishes that species are a result of descent with modification and natural selection?

The answer is the same for all these questions: there is no one piece of evidence. There aren't even any several pieces of evidence. In each case it took literally mountains of evidence to establish these theories.

And you're proposing that a few pieces of evidence from a single lab could overturn entire fields of science when you say things like this:

But now if it is shown that this collagen could not have lasted 65 millions years, then for the first time there would be a legitimate reasons to question the validity of the radiometric methods.

Now I understand that you are not aware of how much evidence has been gathered in support of these theories, but it is not within the power of a discussion board to provide several years of science education. This is a lack only you can remedy, if you're sufficiently motivated. Most creationists are not so motivated because, as polls tell us, the more you know the less likely you are to believe in creationism. For creationists, learning is a threat to belief.

This is also why it could be interesting to carbon date those fossils. If it turns out that it would give a carbon-14 amount within the error margin and so a date to the very limit of the dating technique, then it would be evidence that would favor the existence of a mechanism that can preserve collagen for vast amounts of time.

All it would prove is that collagen can survive for at least fifty or sixty thousand years, not fifty or sixty million years.

But if it turned out to give a carbon14 amount beyond the error margin (multiple dating on multiple bones would have to be done of course to prevent the possibility of contamination) then it would be in favor that maybe the fossil could actually be young.

Scientists are already familiar with the great amount of evidence supporting sedimentary processes and radiometric dating, and they wouldn't waste their time on such an exercise. Besides, dating of ancient organic material has been done a many times, usually on coal and oil deposits, and the results always come back at around fifty or sixty thousand years, the outer limits of radiocarbon dating.

Your dismissive reply to Cavediver in Message 39 indicates that you do not understand what would happen if billions of years of radioactive decay occurred in just a few thousand years. Think of it this way. What would happen to a car is you crashed it into a brick wall at 1 mph 60 times? Almost nothing, right? But what would happen if you crashed it into a brick wall at 60 mph just once? The car would be destroyed, right?

So what happens to rocks when exposed to the radiation from some contained uranium over a few billion years? Almost nothing, right? But what would happen to these rocks if exposed to all that billions of years of radiation compressed into just a few thousand years? They would melt, right? Probably even vaporize, right? The entire Earth would probably melt and then explode, right? See the problem?

You also apparently didn't understand Cavediver's other reference to astrophysics. When we peer out into space we see stars as they were millions and billions years ago, and the physical processes astrophysicists observe are the same ones we observe today here on earth. The laws of physics, including those governing radioactive decay, were the exact same in the past as they are today.

There were a lot of references in a short space in Cavediver's post, and you also missed the Oklo reference. Going from memory, this is a cave somewhere in the former USSR where evidence was found of a sufficiently rich natural deposit of uranium to sustain a continuous nuclear reaction. The rock melted. If radioactive decay were instead a million times faster then it would have exploded. But obviously it didn't explode because all we found were melted rocks containing uranium.

I'd have to refamiliarize myself concerning Cavediver's reference to alpha, but it represents another mountain of evidence for an ancient universe with physical laws that if they vary over time vary only a very tiny amount.

You know little of the evidence supporting current views within science. You see a piece of supposed creationist evidence like dinosaur protein and consider the possibility of a young age for that protein, then you weigh it against the contrary scientific of which you're aware and you find that you're not aware of any. So naturally you conclude that there's a strong possibility that the dinosaur protein is young. Your ignorance is leading you astray. Thinking uninformed by knowledge is called fantasy.

--Percy


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 Message 35 by slevesque, posted 05-24-2009 2:45 AM slevesque has not yet responded

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JonF
Member
Posts: 3485
Joined: 06-23-2003
Member Rating: 2.8


Message 43 of 77 (509734)
05-24-2009 9:20 AM
Reply to: Message 35 by slevesque
05-24-2009 2:45 AM


But I'll have to disagree with you on the second part. It would change a lot of what we know about radiometric dating, but not necessarily all of physics. We know how nuclear decay works, but up until now we always consider it to be constant in the past, because, up until now, the only data that would suggest that this may not be the case had being brought up by creationist.

Yes, only creationists have brought up "data" that nuclear decay may have been different in the past. But not for lack of looking. Real scientists have looked long and hard in all sorts of ways for evidence that nuclear decay (and the linked phenomena) could have been different. Al of them have concluded either that decay rates have been constant or that they might have varied a tiny bit billions of years before the Earth existed.

The rate of nuclear decay is not independent of other phenomena. It is deeply intertwined with all sorts of other aspects of our universe. If nuclear decay had been significantly different in the past, it would have left traces. We have looked diligently for those traces. They aren't there. Case closed.

See The Constancy of Constants, The Constancy of Constants, Part 2, Modifications of Nuclear Beta Decay Rates and their references.

Look, you don't realize it all fits together. The processes that govern radioactive decay are fundamental to how the universe operates, and if those processes were ever noticeably different our universe would be very different.

In particular, if the bones from the Hell Creek formation were young enough to be datable by 14C dating, then the rate of radioactive decay would have to have been high enough to kill all life by radiation and to melt the a good portion (if not all) of the Earth. We would have noticed, except for the fact we wouldn't be here to notice.

Some other problems with the YEC "hypothesis" are:

"Radioactive decay" is an umbrella term that covers several very different processes (three major ones, with each having sub-versions). To change radioactive decay rates and fit the observed data you need some mechanism that changes thse very different processes in some manner that maintains the lock-step agreement between radiometric dating methods that rely on the different processes.

The killer that no YEC addresses is the curves agree. Radiometric and non-radiometric methods agree with each other, radiometric methods agree with each other, non-radiometric methods agree with each other. No YEC has ever attempted to address this overacrching show-stopping fact based on hundreds of thousands of studies conducted over the last 200 or so years.

Accelerated nuclear decay (AND) is a non-starter.

(And AND is the only hope for overturnign radiometric dating).

This is also why it could be interesting to carbon date those fossils. If it turns out that it would give a carbon-14 amount within the error margin and so a date to the very limit of the dating technique, then it would be evidence that would favor the existence of a mechanism that can preserve collagen for vast amounts of time.

Well, those particular foissils are hopelessly contaminated by now. But 14C dating isn't all that expensive, a few hundred dollars per sample. The expense is in colelcting the samples and preventing contamination. E.g smoking near a sample is verboten. You need to maintain a chain of control, just like evidence in criminal cases. But you could probably get a prefessional volunteer to do it. Coyote?

Over at the old IIDB we even got up a collection to do it, except the YEC who claimed to be interested disappeared when it seemed that it might actually happen. I'll put up US$500; how much will you put up? Collection season's coming up.

BTW, some YECs did once date some dinosaru bones, except they (apaprently purposefully) selected samples that were coated with recent contamination; Radiocarbon Dates for Dinosaur Bones:

quote:
The papers by Dahmer et al. (1990) and Fields et al. (1990) work very hard at mimicking scientific reports, but they are pseudoscientific misapplications of technical expertise and equipment. The radiocarbon dates which they report are meaningless. The dinosaur fossils which CRSEF obtained (under false pretenses) are not bone and, even if they were, the specimens were thoroughly contaminated by chemical preservatives. CRSEF researchers were informed of this fact by Carnegie Museum curators. The extensive contamination was independently confirmed by University of Arizona geochemists. CRSEF had the samples dated anyway.

(Irrelevant snippet: the Dahmer mentioned is the father of Jeffrey Dahmer).


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JonF
Member
Posts: 3485
Joined: 06-23-2003
Member Rating: 2.8


Message 44 of 77 (509735)
05-24-2009 9:23 AM
Reply to: Message 36 by slevesque
05-24-2009 2:56 AM


Creationist are not saying radiometric dating don't work, they are saying that the assumption that the nuclear decay is constant may not be true.

The fact that nuclear decay is and has been constant is not an assumption. It is a conclusion from many different lines of evidence, observations and calculations.

Oh, and many creationists are saying that radiometric dating doesn't work and giving all sorts of silly reasons, based only in their ignorance.

You are coming pretty close to being one of them.


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 Message 36 by slevesque, posted 05-24-2009 2:56 AM slevesque has not yet responded

  
JonF
Member
Posts: 3485
Joined: 06-23-2003
Member Rating: 2.8


Message 45 of 77 (509737)
05-24-2009 9:36 AM
Reply to: Message 42 by Percy
05-24-2009 7:46 AM


Going from memory, this is a cave somewhere in the former USSR where evidence was found of a sufficiently rich natural deposit of uranium to sustain a continuous nuclear reaction. The rock melted. If radioactive decay were instead a million times faster then it would have exploded. But obviously it didn't explode because all we found were melted rocks containing uranium.

A uranium mine in Gabon, Africa. It was actually a nuclear reactor that went critical many, many, many times. There was plenty of water (moderator) about, and it slowed the neutrons to the point where there was a chain reaction. The heat of the chain reaction boiled the water, the steam escaped, the neutrons weren't slowed, and the chain reaction stopped until the water seeped back in. The cycle seems to have been about three hours!

But this only worked because the ratio of 235U to 238U was higher in the past. Since 235U decays faster than 238U, the ratio is constantly decreasing. It couldn't happen on Earth today (0.7%). If we extrapolate backward, it would have worked with the 235U/238U ratio that there was 1.8 billion years ago (3%). And the rocks date to ... wanna guess?

Natural nuclear fission reactor


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