Im interested in why you would say that "an apparent old Earth is consistent with the great amount of scientific evidence". What "great amount" are you referring to? I believe in an old earth, however I don't see all this evidence you refer to.
An old earth is consistent with the assumption of evolution (its an assumption) Its consistent with the assumption of slow formation of rocks (rocks can form over hundreds of years, they do not need millions of years) Its consistent with radiometric dating (which functions under the assumption of the constancy of decay- its a mere assumption already proven incorrect)
So there are a lot of assumptions there to make up a "great amount" of assumptions. The evidence however is a little lacking. Sure the earth is most likely old, but that's a relative term.
Only short-life isotopes have been mentioned in those studies, the effects on the longer life isotopes, those used to measure earth's earliest rocks, are not discussed. But what can be seen is that there is a negative relationship between speed of decay and penetration of the earth's magnetic field. Slight changes to penetration (flares/seasons/suns core) cause slight changes to decay rates.
If slight changes to penetration of cosmic particles cause slight changes to decay rates, and proportionately, then its obvious that a complete blockout of the penetration of cosmic particles would have a dramatic effect on decay rates.
Due to the fact that the magnetic field was significantly stronger in the past, and cosmic particles that cause background radiation are highly vulnerable to changes in magnetic field penetration, its highly likely the historical effect of this phenomenon is highly significant to long-life decay rates.
There is no evidence that any of these things affect decay rates. Every attempt to link a real world cause (e.g. neutrinos, cosmic radiation) to the supposed affect on decay rates has been an absolute failure.
The patent application in the EU failed because the scientists and their lawyers were utterly unable to correlate the measured decay rates with solar flares or neutrinos or even to describe how someone else might do so.
The supposed science you are relying isn't nearly as steady as it was the last time you were here, and it was shaky even then.
I agree they have battled to link a cause to the effect, however the effect remains absolutely real and observable. I agree it cant be used to predict solar flares, which is not the subject under discussion. I also agree that the "neutrino" link is not proved, I believe they are barking up the wrong tree regarding that.
Something they have overlooked but which is actually the most obvious cause/effect on decay rates is neutrons (NOT neutrinos). Neutron capture can slow decay by retaining the instability of the parent isotope, preventing its decay into a stable daughter isotope. Muons are the main source of background neutrons, and muon densities are directly susceptible to the same conditions as these recorded changes to decay rates.
So there is an existing and logical cause and effect that would by its very nature effect decay rates.
1) please explain your thinking here. I'm not following. I require nothing more than the existing neutron flux for this to work. 2) The parent isotope would only become heavy if there was a net gain, not a net decay. Current observations of decay rates show a net decay, not a net gain. Parent isotopes are decaying into daughter isotopes , albeit slowly. 3) Yes, if completely shielded from the neutron flux they would revert to their natural decay rate. However most neutron shields do not shield for high speed muons which create the neutron flux from within the sample. The source is internal, the shield therefore has no effect from the highly penetrative muons, which cause an internal neutron flux. 4) Please show that the current neutron flux is lethal to life. It does exist, and it is quite safe. This neutron flux brings near equilibrium only to very slow decaying isotopes, the effect on fast decaying isotopes (eg iron) is near non-existent, that would require a massive amount of background radiation to affect fast decayers. The slow decaying isotopes require only a slight neutron flux to reach near equilibrium.
Educated people knew that the Earth was far older than 10,000 or so years in the early 19th century, mostly before Darwin was born. You can start with The Age of the Earth: Early Attempts. For your convenience I've posted a version of Table 1 with the religious-based dates removed and easier reading, click here (PDF). Changing Views of the History of the Earth.
Thanks for posting that, I see most of it was based on faulty reasoning based on rates of sedimentation. The catastrophic model was largely rejected. So hardly accurate stuff.
You are incorrect that I need detailed evidence that they all DID form quickly. Just the fact that evidence for evolutionary timeframes is lacking is perfectly sufficient. This thread is about the validity of evolutionary timeframes, (radiometric dating).
There would be a current radiation problem if all isotopes decayed rapidly now because of the slow build-up of unstable isotopes over time. But in a world where all isotopes decay rapidly that problem would have never existed.
The consilience is due to the decay being proportionate. The Purdue effect is the same across alpha and beta decay in the studies by the Israel Geological Survey.
If a neutron prevents a decay, then the neutron must exist proportional to the number of decays prevented. In order to have enough neutrons to convert a million year decay rate into a billion year decay rate, you need enough neutrons to prevent 999/1000 decays.
Are you saying that there are not enough neutrons in the background to do so? How do you quantify such a neutron flux?
You are claiming that the decays are stopped by neutron absorption. Such a thing would convert a nucleus to a higher and heavier is isotope. There is so evidence of any such conversion. I am not even complaining about the gain weight rather than a loss. I'm talking about a change in the isotopic ratio. In the earlier debate you claimed that lighter isotopes would replace the heavier ones that after absorption, but there are limited light isotopes and your scenario cannot work.
I am not claiming that decays are stopped by neutron absorbtion. They continue. What we know as the "decay rate" is actually the "net decay rate" after some absorbtion has also occurred by the daughter element.
As wikipedia explains it: Natural neutron background. A small natural background flux of free neutrons exists everywhere on Earth. In the atmosphere and deep into the ocean, the "neutron background" is caused by muons produced by cosmic ray interaction with the atmosphere. These high energy muons are capable of penetration to considerable depths in water and soil. There, in striking atomic nuclei, among other reactions they induce spallation reactions in which a neutron is liberated from the nucleus. Within the Earth's crust a second source is neutrons produced primarily by spontaneous fission of uranium and thorium present in crustal minerals.
This neutron background is difficult to quantify: http://www.slac.stanford.edu/...pubs/8000/slac-pub-8939.html "Fast neutrons from cosmic-ray muons are an important background to underground low energy experiments. The estimate of such background is often hampered by the difficulty of measuring and calculating neutron production with sufficient accuracy. Indeed substantial disagreement exists between the different analytical calculations performed so far, while data reported by different experiments is not always consistent"
In the case of a nuclear reactor high speed muons are easily stopped by lead shielding and steel shielding. Neutrons are stopped by boronated poly shielding. The U-235 ought to be consumed at high rates. We ought to detect within the reactor compartment after shutdown high levels of gammas produced by nuclear decay. Instead we find that the U-235 is not lost and there are no extra decay gammas. In the previous discussion, you relied on another poster to describe a similar situation before you punted on this nonsense.
Can you please show evidence that muons were actually shielded in the scenario you are describing? You originally said they did shield for neutrons, now you are saying "muons are easily stopped" but can you prove that they did actually shield for muons.
The current neutron flux is not lethal to life. However the neutron flux required to make this scheme work would be lethal. The amount of flux required to slow down the decay of 1 cubic centimeter sample of U-238 after I isolate it isotopically, so the neutron flu must exist everywhere on earth since you don't know where I am going to move my sample. And the total number of neutrons/sec must match the rapid decay that it is supposed to be preventing.
Could you kindly provide links or quantify the claims you are making. The existing neutron flux is not dangerous to life, and yet has not yet been quantified. Please provide figures to back up your claim that the flux is not enough to prevent rapid decay. It is currently an unknown quantity.
Regarding my agreement with PY, I have realised that there was a tendency to shield for neutrons and not muons during the early establishment of the constancy of decay. Shielding for neutrons apparently ruled out neutrons as a source of decay variation, but more recent studies as per the links posted in this thread show that muons are the main source of the neutron flux and muons penetrate standard neutron shields.
Yes, inaccurate. But far more accurate that an 10,000-ish year old Earth. As Asimov wrote (well worth reading in its entirety):
Just for the record, I'm not a YEC.
Wow, that's got to be the dumbest thing anyone's ever said about decay. The problem has nothing to do with the buildup of unstable isotopes, and radioactive decay does not lead to the buildup of unstable isotopes; it leads to the buildup of stable isotopes.
Each decay of a radioactive atom releases heat and radiation. The amount it releases is constant. We are exposed to that heat and radiation today but it's not enough to cause serious problems. In a world where all isotopes decay rapidly the same amount of heat and radiation is produced but over a much shorter period of time. In any scenario YECs have produced that time period is so short that it would melt the Earth and kill all life twice over from the heat and radiation (as acknowledged by the RATE group). Again I post the link: See Heat and radiation destroy claims of accelerated nuclear decay. The math is not difficult, it's just arithmetic. )
Are you saying that we still have not reached equilibrium on earth yet? Please make up your mind, either there's still a build up of unstable isotopes or we have reached equilibrium already, which is it?
If we have reached equilibrium, then where is the so-called heat problem if the quantity of new unstable isotopes is equal to the quantity of recently stabilised istopes?
Maybe the "dumbest thing anyone's ever said" relates to your lack of understanding of the macro-situation.
The heat in question is generated by decay of the primary atom. Equilibrium with the daughter products is not an issue. The problem is the generation of heat in a very short period of time (thousands of years rather than billions.
JonF is correct. Your position is ridiculous.
Its great to throw around terminology like "ridiculous" but unfortunately others read your posts and are most likely waiting for a scientific rebuttal. And its easy to see the point I am making here:
The heat is generated in the decay of the primary atom, yes, so whether the world's parent isotopes are decaying rapidly or slowly, the entire earth is 1) undergoing a net gain in radioactivity 2) undergoing a net reduction in radioactivity 3) has reached equilibrium
If your answer is 1 or 2 then please explain why If your answer is 3, then this proves your heat problem would not be a problem. Because if it takes 5000 years to reach equilibrium, or 500 million years to reach equilibrium the amount of heat produced daily is directly related to the new unstable isotopes produced daily. Once equilibrium is reached the heat is the same whether rapid decay or slow decay.
Re: Same lame response you gave year and half ago.
Wrong. The neutron flux has been quantified. Unlike the case with neutrinos, neutrons are easily detected and measured. The instruments installed in a nuclear reactor measure neutron flux over a range of about 15 decades (orders of magnitude).
Where do you get the idea that we are walking around in an unmeasurable neutron field? Reference please.
Have you got a link for your assertion that it has been quantified? If you were reading my posts you will see that I already posted links showing that it is difficult to quantify the neutron flux so I'm interested in your source of information for the extent of the neutron flux. So yes, I definitely need a source, and a recent one that takes into account the underground neutron flux which has a direct bearing on radiometric dates.