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EvC Forum Science Forums Dates and Dating

# 14C Calibration and Correlations

Author Topic:   14C Calibration and Correlations
Coyote
Member (Idle past 1649 days)
Posts: 6117
Joined: 01-12-2008

 Message 14 of 59 (580834) 09-11-2010 4:21 PM Reply to: Message 13 by faith2409-11-2010 4:04 PM

There is very little C-14 to begin with that can be calibrated back to a few 6-10k years based on historical data.
Not sure what you are saying here.
If you are saying that the levels of C14 are very small, that is true. But there is no problem detecting enough C14 in samples to get age estimates back to about 50,000 years. Beyond that it takes very special equipment, but some experiments are being done with 80,000 years.
But it is easy to find historical samples going back past 6,000 years. Tree rings are one source. You can count the rings back about 12,500 years using the bristlecone pines from Southern California and determine how much C14 is in each ring.
I am confused about the half life thing. Can someone please explain what that is?
The quantity of C14 drops by half every 5730 years. We know the approximate amount that a sample started with by the amount in the atmosphere, as shown by the tree-rings.
Every 5730 years that amount drops by half, so we can use that information to estimate the age.
I guess i would have to say the correlation is only as good as your guess assuming the decay rate is a constant.
But somehow people will say " oh but it is constant"!
All the evidence so far shows that it is.
The RATE project tried to show that it is not a constant (funded by ICR), but they had to conclude that scientists were right. See the link I posted in the amino acid thread dealing with the RATE project for details.

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

 This message is a reply to: Message 13 by faith24, posted 09-11-2010 4:04 PM faith24 has replied

 Replies to this message: Message 15 by faith24, posted 09-11-2010 5:16 PM Coyote has not replied

Coyote
Member (Idle past 1649 days)
Posts: 6117
Joined: 01-12-2008

 Message 24 of 59 (580877) 09-11-2010 11:27 PM Reply to: Message 23 by faith2409-11-2010 10:45 PM

No, not debatable
Whether it is constant or not, that can be debatable. But either way you will have to choose one or the other based on the evidence you believe to go right where it leads you.
The only ones who dispute the decay constant are creationists, who do so for religious reasons rather than scientific ones.
The evidence, when you actually follow it, leads to the conclusion that the decay constant has been constant for billions of years.
Assessing the RATE Project: Essay Review by Randy Isaac.
The key points of the book can be summarized as follows:
1. There is overwhelming evidence of more than 500 million years worth of radioactive decay.
2. Biblical interpretation and some scientific studies indicate a young earth.
3. Therefore, radioactive decay must have been accelerated by approximately a factor of one billion during the first three days of creation and during the Flood.
4. The concept of accelerated decay leads to two unresolved scientific problems, the heat problem and the radiation problem, though there is confidence that these will be solved in the future.
5. Therefore, the RATE project provides encouragement regarding the reliability of the Bible.
They RATE study produced evidence which showed science was right, but they refused to accept their own findings!
Pertinent to your position, if the decay constant changed to permit radioactive decay that was sufficiently fast so as to accommodate a young earth, the heat and radiation produced by that accelerated decay would have cooked the earth and irradiated anything on it.
The RATE boys had no answer to this problem, and fell back on a priori religious belief that some solution would be found at some unspecified date in the future.
Sorry, that's not doing science. That's religious apologetics.
Even though the RATE boys spent over a million dollars of creationist money, they were unable to come up with any evidence to support their position.
So no, this question is not debatable--at least not within science. The debate, if there is one, is between scientific evidence on one side and religious beliefs which are contradicted by scientific evidence on the other.

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

 This message is a reply to: Message 23 by faith24, posted 09-11-2010 10:45 PM faith24 has not replied

Coyote
Member (Idle past 1649 days)
Posts: 6117
Joined: 01-12-2008

 Message 35 of 59 (690415) 02-12-2013 10:28 PM Reply to: Message 32 by CoolBeans02-12-2013 7:49 PM

Re: Bump for CoolBeans
I use C14 dating a lot in my work, and have studied the method for about 40 years. I have found that the claims pushed by creationists are nonsense.
If you can present some specific questions, I'll be happy to help out.
When the laboratories are measuring C14, they are dealing with incredibly small amounts. C14 is found in the atmosphere in about 1 part per trillion! Can you imagine how easy it is to contaminate a sample that starts at 1 part per trillion and gets smaller and smaller from there?
Groundwater is enough to contaminate dinosaur fossils! That can bring the readings of >50,000 or so down to 35,000 or so, or even less. Breathing on a sample with inherently no C14, such as a dinosaur fossil, which isn't then properly pretreated, can do the same. Creationists are not very good at submitting clean samples because they want their samples to be as contaminated as possible! That's the only way they can support a young earth.
Taylor's experiment with diamonds was designed to find out how much of a C14 signal could be produced using a sample that contained absolutely no C14. The "signal" in that experiment came from the interior of the equipment! And it was very small.
But these are the kinds of results that creation "scientists" are jumping on as absolute proof of a young earth. Their claims amount to nothing more than lies. Even the RATE group, with over a million dollars in creationist funds, could not show that C14 dating and other forms of radiometric dating were inherently inaccurate. Take a look at the following link for more details.
Assessing the RATE Project
Anyway, if you have any specific questions please post them. I have collected, submitted, and interpreted about 600 samples in a 40 year career as an archaeologist, and I have both written and lectured on the C14 process. Another poster here is very much more qualified to answer questions on the technical end of things. Several others are also pretty familiar with C14 dating. I would doubt that you could ask a question, relying on information from a creationist website, that couldn't be adequately answered.

Religious belief does not constitute scientific evidence, nor does it convey scientific knowledge.
Belief gets in the way of learning--Robert A. Heinlein
How can I possibly put a new idea into your heads, if I do not first remove your delusions?--Robert A. Heinlein
It's not what we don't know that hurts, it's what we know that ain't so--Will Rogers

 This message is a reply to: Message 32 by CoolBeans, posted 02-12-2013 7:49 PM CoolBeans has replied

 Replies to this message: Message 37 by CoolBeans, posted 02-13-2013 8:35 AM Coyote has not replied Message 42 by CoolBeans, posted 02-13-2013 10:18 AM Coyote has not replied

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