I've been discussing, among other things, radiometric dating with another poster on another forum for quite some time now and have come to the point where I no longer am able to answer some of the questions put to me about the specifics of the process and equipment involved. I've always enjoyed lurking around and learning from the expertise of the EvC forums and was hoping some of you guys could take this and run with it. I don't know if cross-forum discussions are appropriate but I thought I'd give it a shot.
quote: Itinerant Lurker: Can you come back and say that all evidence is open to interpretation? Yes! But if you do please be so kind as to present a consistent interpretation of the evidence from radiometric dating that supports a YEC timeline.
I’ll tell you what, you bring me radiometric dating instruments and I’ll get started right away.
It doesn’t make sense to suggest I could, if I don’t have access to the equipment, the calibration or the actual results before the outliers land in the garbage.
I can’t analyze what I don’t have data for, and that only leaves me with assurances that don’t account for the assumptions.
quote: Itinerant Lurker: Is that something you can do? If so I can't wait to read about it, if not why should one give weight to such an interpretation as opposed to the interpretation that can present a consistent explanation of the evidence?
Ryan R: Because people always have interpretations that they championed as consistent explanations of the evidence, and by the time the interpretations are developed and graphed in those pretty charts that you often include in your posts, it all looks good and neat and tidy, but the actual data doesn’t look anything like that.
When you look at quantitative charting of the data, like strata, it looks nothing like those pretty, colour coded interpretations. Nothing at all.
From that evolutionists and Creationists can come up with their interpretations, test them, if they’re not outright contradicted by the observational science according to the assumptions they employed then it’s positioned as truth and presented in a pretty little graph, all the while updating, revising or outright replacing the last seemingly consistent interpretations of truth.
It’s an ongoing cycle of untrustworthy interpretations based on assumptions, to which weight should not be applied.
Let me explain something about applying weight to data, you have to have a multiplier based on calculated representative numbers versus actual numbers. You can't say that a quantitative method has a certain weight, unless that weight is calculated by a multiplier.
You keep saying the evolutionary views hold weight, but unless you can show me a multiplier matrix then that’s not even quantitatively accurate. That’s something you’re saying as though it has merit, but in point of fact you’re not weighting anything, you’re valuing things qualitatively. The words you're using have the pretence of empiricism, but are simply value statements.
There really is so much pretence of evolutionary authority, and it’s veiled in these pseudo-quantitative claims that aren’t actually quantifiably. Non-quantitative is qualitative, and is therefore founded not on evidence but on feelings.
The short answer is that Ryan is wrong about the point of disagreement.
I don't see any way you'll ever make any progress arguing with Ryan R. RR believes that scientists are perpetrating a fraud in order to discredit the Bible. Since he believes in a scientific conspiracy to throw out Bible supporting data, he'll never believe he's being shown all of the data, and he'll never accept that any data he collects as a layperson that appears to support a 6000 year old earth is wrong.
Don't buy Ryan any lab equipment. Instead ask him why the RATE group's study for ICR shows that billions of years worth of radioactive decay have occurred. ICR simply insists that the decay must have happened in a couple of days.
The truth is that no scientist is doing work aimed at verifying or rejecting literal Bible dates using carbon or any other radiometric dating. Thus they wouldn't conspire to hide the data. Even ICR does not seem to attack the data, but instead attempts to attack scientific interpretation. There is no scientific conspiracy and very few if any seem to believe in a conspiracy that works the way Ryan R suggests.
There is plenty of irrefutable evidence that the earth and the universe are billions of years old, that the human race is many tens of thousands of years old, and that dinosaur fossils are on the order of hundreds of millions of years old. The evidence for the age of the universe in particular has absolutely nothing to do with radiometric dating.
The truth is that no scientist is doing work aimed at verifying or rejecting literal Bible dates using carbon or any other radiometric dating.
You might have meant to express this a bit differently? Radiocarbon dating does play a non-trivial role in dating Biblical sites and some types of artifacts, and these results are often used to argue the accuracy of Biblical accounts and chronologies.
You might have meant to express this a bit differently?
You mean in some way that isn't competely wrong?
I should have said that secular scientists are not doing work for the purpose of discrediting the Bible's creation account. Data that are Genesis friendly would not be rejected just because they support YEC chronology.
I had previously pointed out that it seemed pretty ridiculous to say that scientists the world over were dishonestly conducting radiometric dating, to which I received the reply that essentially they weren't doing it intentionally. . .but were simply somehow unaware of their own bias that was skewing their results. . .somehow. . .or something.
The claims being made essentially are that:
-Scientists aren't calculating the margin of error for radiometric dating acurately -Scientists are ignoring anomalous dates that don't agree and thus misrepresent the data -Scientists aren't calibrating their testing equipment correctly
The most frustrating part of this is that no evidence supporting any of these suspicions is ever given, but because I'm unable to talk about how margins of error are calculated or how this or that piece of equipment is calibrated from my own personal storehouse of knowledge it is assumed that thus the answer is unknown and all radiometric dating techniques are unreliable.
While I realize that this is a completely ridiculous way to argue something, I would still like to know if there is someplace I could go to find some of this technical information. One of the things that obliterated my own past YEC views was in seeing how scientists weren't trying to hide their work but where, in contrast, actively publishing not only their conclusions but also their methods and results specifically so that any other scientists could repeat their work and reach the same conclusion. Error is best remedied with knowledge, and hey I might even learn something new.
I know this isn't exactly how threads typically go down here but I appreciate the help nonetheless.
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.
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 is cliché, of course, but still worth asking: how do you expect to reason someone out of a position they never reasoned themselves into. The person you're discussing with isn't seeking knowledge, but protection from it.
but were simply somehow unaware of their own bias that was skewing their results. . .somehow. . .or something
Doesn't this suspicion require that there be essentially no scientifically trained folks that are Christians? Surely not every scientist could have this bias.
Scientists aren't calculating the margin of error for radiometric dating accurately -Scientists are ignoring anomalous dates that don't agree and thus misrepresent the data -Scientists aren't calibrating their testing equipment correctly
With respect to calibration and margins of error, the claim is pretty silly for dates assigned to the age of the earth and the age of dinosaurs. No error bars are going to bring those dates inside of 10,000 years. My understanding is that valid U238 dates, for example, are always going to be greater than about 1 million years.
Sweet. I think I've gotten the issues down concisely as they're going to get over there:
I've already told you why I'm skeptical of outliers and such, and you were trying to get me that data. If you do, I'll be able to show you how those outliers are treated and what that implies and, if you provide me with data from multiple tests used on the same sample and a description of how the instruments are calibrated, I'll be able to show you whether or not there are relationships in the data (correlations), or if they're coincidence (based on insufficiency of data to establish relationship or frequency of falling outside the appropriate standard deviations on either side within the accepted confidence interval), or if they are actually codependents (as in calibrated off of one another or according to similar assumptions).
I'm going to try and turn this into a sensible question to email off to Beta Analytic, are there any other suggestions anyone has on where to look for the above information? Thanks.
I've used this graphic in the original thread, as well as elsewhere, as an example of age-dating correlations:
Am I missing something or does the source for this chart pretty much contain everything being asked for in regards to data (after several disappointments I'm giving up on the whole "equipment calibration" thing, it doesn't seem very realistic for any organization to give out that kind of technical information for an internet discussion)?