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Author Topic:   Great debate: radiocarbon dating, Mindspawn and Coyote/RAZD
Coyote
Member (Idle past 799 days)
Posts: 6117
Joined: 01-12-2008


(2)
Message 1 of 119 (710691)
11-08-2013 9:05 PM


Mindspawn writes:

Coyote, you are welcome to start a one on one public discussion if you would like. I feel bad that this thread was started by you in response to my request and yet I haven't given it the attention it deserved. Other than the moderation problem there are just too many posts in these public forums for me to keep up with.

I'm proposing a Great Debate between Mindspawn and Coyote on the subject of radiocarbon dating.

I contend that radiocarbon dating is reasonably accurate (±10% or better), and as such has disproved the young earth claim, as well as the claim of a global flood at about 4,350 years ago.

Evidence should be limited to accepted science, and not include numerous rabbit-holes which lead nowhere. "What-ifs" with no evidence supporting them should not be permitted.

This thread should be in the Science Forum.

If this thread is promoted, and Mindspawn agrees to participate, I will let Mindspawn have the first post.

Edited by Coyote, : No reason given.

Edited by Adminnemooseus, : Add RAZD to topic title (He's subbing for Coyote)


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

If I am entitled to something, someone else is obliged to pay--Jerry Pournelle


Replies to this message:
 Message 3 by mindspawn, posted 11-11-2013 4:49 AM Coyote has responded

  
Coyote
Member (Idle past 799 days)
Posts: 6117
Joined: 01-12-2008


(4)
Message 4 of 119 (710807)
11-11-2013 10:13 AM
Reply to: Message 3 by mindspawn
11-11-2013 4:49 AM


Your objection is unfounded
My main problem with carbon dating is its calibration against tree ring chronology...

If that is the case, this will be a short thread, because this objection is easily dealt with!

Let's forget all about the tree ring chronology (even though as the Peanut Gallery post shows, your objection is unfounded).

We can go with the the glacial varve chronology, or the coral chronology instead. Or use spelothems.

But let's ignore those also and not do a calibration at all! What do we get then?

The idea of a calibration using tree rings or these other materials is to correct for atmospheric fluctuations in the levels of C14. So, let's not correct for atmospheric fluctuations (even though creationists are constantly telling us we have to make such corrections). What do we get without these corrections?

During the past 10,000 or so years the uncalibrated ages are off by about 10% at the most extreme. The error gets a little larger up around 30,000 years ago. This shows quite clearly on the calibration curve.

The calibration curve has been posted here many times, but I'll post it again:

What this shows is that even if we totally ignore the tree rings and other methods of establishing atmospheric fluctuations, and do no calibration, we still get old dates. What the calibration curve allows us to do is get more accurate dates, but the uncalibrated dates are enough to disprove the young-earth claim all by themselves.

So I have clearly shown that your main objection to carbon dating, the tree ring calibration, is unfounded.

I guess this thread is pretty much over then, eh?


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

If I am entitled to something, someone else is obliged to pay--Jerry Pournelle


This message is a reply to:
 Message 3 by mindspawn, posted 11-11-2013 4:49 AM mindspawn has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 5 by mindspawn, posted 11-12-2013 4:58 AM Coyote has responded

  
Coyote
Member (Idle past 799 days)
Posts: 6117
Joined: 01-12-2008


(6)
Message 6 of 119 (710882)
11-12-2013 8:36 AM
Reply to: Message 5 by mindspawn
11-12-2013 4:58 AM


You missed the point entirely!
You missed the point entirely!

We are not talking about the calibration curve any longer. You objected to it, in fact it was your main objection to radiocarbon dating, so we'll just leave it out of the discussion entirely--forget all about it!

We will go with uncalibrated radiocarbon ages! They are not quite as accurate, but close enough.

The young earth belief is still falsified.

Your main objection to radiocarbon dating, that is, tree-rings, is out the window, gone, and radiocarbon dating still produces ages far in excess of what it would take to falsify your beliefs.

If I may add an editorial comment:

You don't understand how radiocarbon dating works, but you still know it's all wrong somehow. You're going through the internet literature looking for something--anything--that seems like a weak link, some thread that you can start pulling that will unravel the whole method. You have settled on tree-rings and lake varves, thinking that if you can cast doubt on those that everything comes apart.

Sorry, but that is completely wrong! I have tossed those two methods of calibrating radiocarbon ages out the window, and tossed calibration itself out the window, and your belief in a young earth is still falsified.


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

If I am entitled to something, someone else is obliged to pay--Jerry Pournelle


This message is a reply to:
 Message 5 by mindspawn, posted 11-12-2013 4:58 AM mindspawn has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 7 by mindspawn, posted 11-13-2013 3:06 AM Coyote has responded

  
Coyote
Member (Idle past 799 days)
Posts: 6117
Joined: 01-12-2008


(2)
Message 8 of 119 (710957)
11-13-2013 9:34 AM
Reply to: Message 7 by mindspawn
11-13-2013 3:06 AM


Re: You missed the point entirely! Again!!
You just don't understand radiocarbon dating enough to get the point I'm making. This is becoming frustrating!

What you are arguing is the various methods to establish a calibration curve may be flawed.

What I am saying is we can discard the idea of calibration entirely and just use the uncalibrated ("conventional") ages. This is where radiocarbon dating was in the 1950s, before it was realized that the effects of atmospheric fluctuation should be accounted for.

So we are no longer talking about tree-rings, varves, corals, or any of those other methods of establishing a calibration curve.

We are talking about "conventional" radiocarbon ages. These are the measured age as corrected for isotopic fractionation. No calibration is done at all.

These conventional ages still show that the young-earth belief is incorrect.


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

If I am entitled to something, someone else is obliged to pay--Jerry Pournelle


This message is a reply to:
 Message 7 by mindspawn, posted 11-13-2013 3:06 AM mindspawn has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 9 by mindspawn, posted 11-14-2013 1:49 AM Coyote has not yet responded
 Message 10 by mindspawn, posted 11-14-2013 2:26 AM Coyote has not yet responded
 Message 11 by mindspawn, posted 11-14-2013 5:03 AM Coyote has responded

  
Coyote
Member (Idle past 799 days)
Posts: 6117
Joined: 01-12-2008


Message 12 of 119 (711026)
11-14-2013 10:18 AM
Reply to: Message 11 by mindspawn
11-14-2013 5:03 AM


Re: You missed the point entirely! Again!! Still!!!
You are still missing the point entirely, and this is due to your lack of understanding of the radiocarbon method. You simply do not have the knowledge necessary to discuss this subject.

As a basic primer, here is some information for you.

When the laboratory does radiocarbon dating, they obtain a reading from the sample. This is the amount of carbon 14 that remains. This number is then converted to what is called the "measured age."

The measured age is adjusted for isotopic fractionation, as not all materials take up carbon 14 at the same rate. Carbon 14 is heavier than carbon 12. This adjustment is rarely more than a few hundred years. The resulting figure is called the "conventional radiocarbon age."

In order to obtain a little more accuracy, the conventional age is adjusted using the calibration curve. This corrects for fluctuations in atmospheric C14. During the past 10,000 years or so this change is not more than about 10%, and is usually much less.

What you have been arguing in this thread, and for months previously, is that the radiocarbon method is fatally flawed because of some perceived flaws in creating the calibration curve. This is where you are missing the point entirely. Again. And still.

The calibration curve was not designed as a device for corroborating the radiocarbon method itself, but a way to correct for the small fluctuations in atmospheric C14 levels.

It is a nice side benefit that all the research going into creating the calibration curve has allowed radiocarbon dating of thousands of items of known age, and thus has demonstrated the validity of the radiocarbon method (to everyone but young-earth creationists). But that is not what we are discussing. I have taken the calibration curve off the table for the time being, as that was where your primary objection to the radiocarbon method was.

So, do you have any objections to the radiocarbon method other than tree-rings and varves, etc., which are entirely incidental to the method itself?

(Incidentally, I would suggest that, before you make any more replies, you actually study the radiocarbon method. You're not doing very well so far.)


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

If I am entitled to something, someone else is obliged to pay--Jerry Pournelle


This message is a reply to:
 Message 11 by mindspawn, posted 11-14-2013 5:03 AM mindspawn has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 13 by mindspawn, posted 11-14-2013 3:38 PM Coyote has responded

  
Coyote
Member (Idle past 799 days)
Posts: 6117
Joined: 01-12-2008


Message 14 of 119 (711057)
11-14-2013 4:33 PM
Reply to: Message 13 by mindspawn
11-14-2013 3:38 PM


Another try?
Thanks for explaining in more detail. I do understand your point better now. My main objection to the radiocarbon method is what I believe to be the underestimation of the effect of the magnetic field from 1800bp and earlier. With a large increase in magnetic field strength, a small effect of 10% to radiocarbon dates is unrealistic. The magnetic field causes "significant variations to carbon-14 production rates"

A ten-fold increase was recorded in AD 774-775. Spikes are possible. The strength of the magnetic field causes significant variation. It appears that the conventional carbon dates require significant calibration to be an accurate reflection of true dates. The accuracy of carbon dating is entirely dependent on calibration with known dates.

It looks like you may be learning something finally! This is an entirely different objection than you started with. Or it is stated in a manner that is more readily understood.

Secular variation is something that has been recognized for over 50 years, and is readily accounted for. de Vries (1958) is one of the primary references for this.

In order to calibrate the conventional radiocarbon age, items with known dates were tested. This resulted in the calibration curve that I posted earlier, and the lengthy discussion that RAZD has provided in the Peanut Gallery thread. Your objection that "The accuracy of carbon dating is entirely dependent on calibration with known dates" is taken care of.

And your objection that cosmic rays/magnetic field can cause radiocarbon dates to vary wildly is unfounded. That is what the calibration curve does--it permits correction of the conventional radiocarbon ages for the effects of cosmic rays and the changing magnetic field. In other words, the variations in C14 levels in the atmosphere are accounted for! There goes your objection.

Unless you have some evidence to support your religiously-based belief that calibrated radiocarbon dates are not adequately corrected by the calibration curve, this discussion would seem to have come to a conclusion?


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

If I am entitled to something, someone else is obliged to pay--Jerry Pournelle


This message is a reply to:
 Message 13 by mindspawn, posted 11-14-2013 3:38 PM mindspawn has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 15 by mindspawn, posted 11-14-2013 5:00 PM Coyote has responded

  
Coyote
Member (Idle past 799 days)
Posts: 6117
Joined: 01-12-2008


(1)
Message 16 of 119 (711063)
11-14-2013 5:21 PM
Reply to: Message 15 by mindspawn
11-14-2013 5:00 PM


Re: Another try?
My problem is that the objects they are choosing to calibrate carbon levels have highly doubtful dates. If you can prove certainty of your dates, then my objection is dealt with, until then the calibration curve is based on dodgy dates and my objection remains valid.

This is just absolute nonsense.

You expect us to believe that all of the different elements that go into the calibration curve are all wrong, for a variety of different reasons, in the exact same manner?

Tree-rings in California and Europe, lake and glacial varves in a variety of locations, spelothems, and corals are all wrong but still give the same answers!

If you want to get serious let me know. Otherwise, your just wasting our time.


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

If I am entitled to something, someone else is obliged to pay--Jerry Pournelle


This message is a reply to:
 Message 15 by mindspawn, posted 11-14-2013 5:00 PM mindspawn has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 17 by mindspawn, posted 11-15-2013 2:42 AM Coyote has responded

  
Coyote
Member (Idle past 799 days)
Posts: 6117
Joined: 01-12-2008


(1)
Message 18 of 119 (711201)
11-15-2013 3:45 PM
Reply to: Message 17 by mindspawn
11-15-2013 2:42 AM


Substitute
Since you are leaving the field of radiocarbon dating and descending into various rabbit holes and "what-ifs," RAZD has proposed that he substitute for me in discussing those issues.

If this is acceptable, I will cease participation until those issues are dealt with.


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

If I am entitled to something, someone else is obliged to pay--Jerry Pournelle


This message is a reply to:
 Message 17 by mindspawn, posted 11-15-2013 2:42 AM mindspawn has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 19 by mindspawn, posted 11-16-2013 3:32 AM Coyote has not yet responded

  
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