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Author Topic:   Reliable Radiometric Dates as an Artifact of Assumptions
Coyote
Member (Idle past 556 days)
Posts: 6117
Joined: 01-12-2008


(1)
Message 4 of 30 (588949)
10-29-2010 10:06 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by Itinerant Lurker
10-28-2010 3:38 PM


Radiocarbon dating
I do a lot of radiocarbon dating and could answer any specific questions you have on that method.

In the mean time, here are some good links that might help you out:

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.


Religious belief does not constitute scientific evidence, nor does it convey scientific knowledge.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by Itinerant Lurker, posted 10-28-2010 3:38 PM Itinerant Lurker has not yet responded

  
Coyote
Member (Idle past 556 days)
Posts: 6117
Joined: 01-12-2008


Message 9 of 30 (589381)
11-01-2010 11:34 PM
Reply to: Message 8 by Itinerant Lurker
11-01-2010 11:17 PM


Re: Thanks
Here's what you might try.

The largest commercial firm doing radiocarbon dates in the US is Beta Analytic. They have processed several hundred samples for me, and I have found the staff there very knowledgeable and very willing to help.

They have a website:

http://www.radiocarbon.com/

There is a "Contact us" button on that site, giving an email address and a phone number. I would be willing to bet that they would answer your questions if you kept them concise and somewhat limited.

It might help if you read all of the links I posted upthread and became very familiar with their website, which has a lot of good technical information. This way you have a fighting chance at understanding their answers.

This is only one form of radiometric dating, but it is the one I am familiar with.

The information you get from these links and from Beta Analytic won't convince your creationist debating partner though. He is most likely not relying on evidence for his doubts, so all the evidence you could ever provide won't answer his questions. In other words, it's a fool's errand, but at least you'll know that you tried.


Religious belief does not constitute scientific evidence, nor does it convey scientific knowledge.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 8 by Itinerant Lurker, posted 11-01-2010 11:17 PM Itinerant Lurker has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 13 by Itinerant Lurker, posted 11-03-2010 11:06 PM Coyote has responded

  
Coyote
Member (Idle past 556 days)
Posts: 6117
Joined: 01-12-2008


Message 14 of 30 (589715)
11-04-2010 12:18 AM
Reply to: Message 13 by Itinerant Lurker
11-03-2010 11:06 PM


Re: Thanks
Here is a link to a page at Beta Analytic that should be of help:

http://www.radiocarbon.com/international.htm


This message is a reply to:
 Message 13 by Itinerant Lurker, posted 11-03-2010 11:06 PM Itinerant Lurker has not yet responded

  
Coyote
Member (Idle past 556 days)
Posts: 6117
Joined: 01-12-2008


Message 16 of 30 (590084)
11-05-2010 7:51 PM
Reply to: Message 15 by Itinerant Lurker
11-05-2010 7:25 PM


Re: Parchance
I couldn't get your link to work.

The chart you have shows the "calibration curve" established using tree rings and other annular data. This provides a correction for atmospheric fluctuations.

Creationists like to make a big deal out of the fluctuations in C14 levels in the atmosphere, and for some reason they don't think that we know about those fluctuations or that we haven't corrected for those fluctuations.

This curve is the result of a lot of work to make just those corrections. And nothing changes by more than about 10% anyway.


Religious belief does not constitute scientific evidence, nor does it convey scientific knowledge.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 15 by Itinerant Lurker, posted 11-05-2010 7:25 PM Itinerant Lurker has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 17 by jar, posted 11-05-2010 7:56 PM Coyote has not yet responded
 Message 18 by Itinerant Lurker, posted 11-05-2010 8:18 PM Coyote has responded

  
Coyote
Member (Idle past 556 days)
Posts: 6117
Joined: 01-12-2008


Message 19 of 30 (590090)
11-05-2010 8:29 PM
Reply to: Message 18 by Itinerant Lurker
11-05-2010 8:18 PM


Re: Parchance
Typical creationist tactic.

They won't accept any evidence that contradicts their narrow religious beliefs, no matter how detailed.

It's sad to see minds deliberately blinded to what is evident for everyone else to see. A few of them even still argue that the earth is the center of the universe.

But one of them, on another site, took the prize for his reference to the "second law of thermal documents" in place of "second law of thermodynamics." That shows the level of technical prowess we're dealing with in many of these discussions. They know nothing about science, but feel free to lecture working scientists on how they should be practicing their profession.

As Heinlein noted, "Belief gets in the way of learning."


Religious belief does not constitute scientific evidence, nor does it convey scientific knowledge.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 18 by Itinerant Lurker, posted 11-05-2010 8:18 PM Itinerant Lurker has not yet responded

  
Coyote
Member (Idle past 556 days)
Posts: 6117
Joined: 01-12-2008


Message 30 of 30 (623486)
07-10-2011 10:14 PM


Bump for Mazzy
In the Why are there no human apes alive today? thread Mazzy Gish Galloped over into radiometric dating (Message 790).

I will address just the portions dealing with radiocarbon dating. I will let others here address other radiometric methods and the abuses we see from creationists.

Among many other mistakes in Mazzy's post:

Mazzy writes:

With Carbon dating you need closed systems which you have really no idea if this is so, and you need to know the carbon composition at the time the organic matter was alive. You cannot possibly know and can only best guess.

For some reason Mazzy throws these two links in with a discussion of dating fossils:

Mazzy writes:

http://www.specialtyinterests.net/carbon14.html
http://www.varchive.org/ce/c14.htm

Mazzy then goes on to claim:

Mazzy writes:

Here is Carbon used to date the earth to 100,000 years. Much is based on assuptions that are simply different to yours.

http://ldolphin.org/sewell/c14dating.html

All three links are to creationist websites which make more or less the same silly arguments, refuted time and time again.

Let's look at the points Mazzy picks out:

The first point, that carbon-14 dating requires a closed system, is silly. Any sample that is contaminated from the current carbon reservoir (i.e., is an open system) will end up younger than it should be, not older. If it is excessively contaminated it will end up as "modern." I don't know why that should worry creationists. (I guess they think that contamination from the outside will make samples date older or something.)

The second point is that we need to know the carbon composition of the organic matter when it was alive. Assuming you mean the isotope ratios of C-14 to C-12, that's not too hard either. We can get a lot of information about a sample from the C-13 reading. Plant material should produce a C-13 reading of about -25, while shell should be near 0. Other materials will also have expected readings. If you date a sample that has a C-13 reading far from what it should have, that sample is probably unreliable.

Or, if by "carbon composition" you mean the levels of C-14 in the atmosphere at the time the sample was alive, that's easy too. You agreed that tree rings are accurate, so by locating tree rings of particular ages, and then radiocarbon dating them, we can see the degree to which the radiocarbon method reflects the actual date. After doing a lot of these we can set up a calibration curve to correct for the small fluctuations that have occurred in atmospheric carbon. The calibration changes are <10% at the most. We can do the same thing using a number of other materials, such as coral. Not surprisingly, the calibration curves using various materials agree with each other quite closely.

Your final point, that Carbon-14 is returning dates of 100,000 is also silly. With the current equipment the maximum age that can be dated is about 50,000 years. Beyond that the background becomes the primary signal. Ages in the >50,000 range generally reflect contamination. When dealing with such tiny amounts of C-14, breathing on a sample of radioactively dead carbon could be a major source of contamination. That's why scientists are carefully dating materials which have no C-14 -- they are trying to determine the residual contamination in their equipment! (See below.)

Your three links cite a lot of garbage to try to make one believe that the radiocarbon method is unreliable. I'll just deal with two (out of many silly claims):

One which creationists love to cite is "coal" that should be hundreds of millions of years old being found to be 1680 years old. Wrong! This goes back to a silly mistake originally made in Ken Ham, Andrew Snelling, and Carl Weiland’s The Answers Book (1992). They misread a Radiocarbon article which described "coal" samples as that age, but they didn't realize that the article was translated from Russian and was referring to charcoal in a cultural site. The actual date description in Radiocarbon is as follows:

Mo-334. River Naryn, Kirgizia — 1680 ± 170. A.D. 270

Coal from the cultural layer on the left side of the r. Naryn (Kirgizian SSR), 3 km E of the mourh of the r. Alabuga (41° 25′ N Lat, 74° 40′ E Long). The sample was found at a depth of 7.6 m in the form of scattered coals in a loamy rock in deposits of a 26-m terrace. According to the archaeological estimations the sample dates from the 5 to 7th centuries A.D. The sample was found by K. V. Kurdyumov (Moscow State Univ.) in 1962. Comment: the find serves as a verification of archaeological data on the peopling of the Tien Shan.

This simple mistake by Ham et al. has been included in virtually every creationist article attempting to trash radiocarbon dating. It is an error passed from creationist to creationist, none of whom knows a thing about the subject. Certainly none bothered to look up the original Radiocarbon article enough to note that the report dealt with archaeological rather than geological samples. (Creation "science" as usual, eh?)

A second silly mistake by creationists dealing with radiocarbon dating is their treatment of diamonds which returned radiocarbon ages within the last 100,000 years. That's proof, creationists claim, that the earth is young. Wrong! Scientists consider it important to identify how much of a radiocarbon signal comes from contamination within the equipment they use. The way they test for this is to use materials that are radiocarbon dead and see what readings they get. Coal and diamonds are among these. When they get C-14 readings they can see what the baseline equipment contamination is.

Ever eager to grab on to "evidence" for a young earth, and knowing little to nothing about the subject, creationist authors gladly proclaim this as either evidence for a young earth or as evidence for the unreliability of the radiocarbon method. It is neither.

An excellent article discussing this whole problem, and more, and written by an EvC member, can be found here: RATE’s Radiocarbon: Intrinsic or Contamination?

In short, the links you cite as evidence that the radiocarbon method is flawed, or based on unsupported assumptions, are typical creationist nonsense. And so far, you haven't learned enough to tell the difference.

But here is your big chance!

You can provide any rebuttals or fresh evidence in this thread, that radiocarbon or radiometric dating is flawed.

But be advised: you can't just troll the creationist websites with no personal understanding of whether they are right or wrong. They tend to lie, misrepresent, misinterpret, ignore contrary data, and otherwise dissemble. And so far, you have fallen victim to their attempted deceptions.

Fortunately, there are several of us here who know something about radiometric dating and who can advise you where you (and they) are going wrong.


Religious belief does not constitute scientific evidence, nor does it convey scientific knowledge.

  
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