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# Earth science curriculum tailored to fit wavering fundamentalists

Author Topic:   Earth science curriculum tailored to fit wavering fundamentalists
kbertsche
Member (Idle past 2271 days)
Posts: 1427
From: San Jose, CA, USA
Joined: 05-10-2007

 Message 691 of 1053 (758795) 06-02-2015 4:27 PM Reply to: Message 689 by NoNukes06-02-2015 2:24 PM

Re: Looking for Libby paper
By "decay rate" I mean the same thing that is normally meant by the term as used in the radioisotope dating community. The decay rate is the rate at which a radioisotope decays. The decay rate can be expressed as half life, mean life, time constant, or decay constant. The decay rate is constan
My reason for asking is that I was pretty sure you were making that mistake.
I recommend that you check the definitions. Decay rate means the number of disintegrations over a period of time. The half life, time constant and decay constant are actually constants although some of those things (namely the decay constant) have reciprocal relationships to the half life. But the decay rate depends on how large the sample is.
The decay rate is constant per gram of material. But for an amount of material, such as the C-14 in the atmosphere, the rate of removal, which is essentially the decay rate is given by -N * lambda, where lambda is the decay constant and N is the amount. It's also pretty clear that N*lambda is the value that must be in equilibrium with the production rate, which ought to be enough to remove any ambiguity from what I posted.
Perhaps a source of confusion is that lambda is sometimes called 'the decay rate constant' because it is the constant factor used to calculate the decay rate.
Technically, your definition is correct. But in the radioisotope dating community, "decay rate" is often used to refer to the decay constant, the half-life, or the mean life. (Note that NONE of your quotes come from the radioisotope dating community.)
For example, see Thomas Higham (The method):
quote:
Libby, Anderson and Arnold (1949) were the first to measure the rate of this decay. They found that after 5568 years, half the C14 in the original sample will have decayed and after another 5568 years, half of that remaining material will have decayed, and so on (see figure 1 below).
or Beta Analytic (What is Carbon-14 (14C) Dating? Carbon Dating Definition):
quote:
It was also Mr. Libby who first measured radiocarbon’s rate of decay and established 5568 years 30 years as the half-life.
or Cook, Southon, and Wadsworth (http://www.tms.org/pubs/journals/JOM/0305/Cook-0305.html)
quote:
Because the decay rate of 14C is known (the half-life is 5,730 years), by using mass spectrometry to measure the amount that remains in a sample it is therefore possible to determine the age of that sample.
I understand the physics behind the situation at a level approaching your own. Apparently there are a few things about the subject where I know more than you do.
I am willing to discuss principles and concepts with any here who are truly interested in discussion and learning. But I am NOT interested in semantic arguments with folks who arrogantly claim to know more than everyone else.

"Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind." — Albert Einstein
I am very astonished that the scientific picture of the real world around me is very deficient. It gives us a lot of factual information, puts all of our experience in a magnificently consistent order, but it is ghastly silent about all and sundry that is really near to our heart, that really matters to us. It cannot tell us a word about red and blue, bitter and sweet, physical pain and physical delight; it knows nothing of beautiful and ugly, good or bad, God and eternity. Science sometimes pretends to answer questions in these domains, but the answers are very often so silly that we are not inclined to take them seriously. — Erwin Schroedinger

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NoNukes
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 (1)
 Message 692 of 1053 (758797) 06-02-2015 5:05 PM Reply to: Message 691 by kbertsche06-02-2015 4:27 PM

Re: Looking for Libby paper
I am willing to discuss principles and concepts with any here who are truly interested in discussion and learning. But I am NOT interested in semantic arguments with folks who arrogantly claim to know more than everyone else.
Well given that your contribution to addressing my question is to pretend that there was no question at all, I don't see that you've been very helpful. Apparently if I want to know what Libby and his detractors are arguing about, I'll have to look it up.
And I didn't claim to know more than everyone else. Just more than you, a person who feels the need to correct me when I am 'technically correct' and then complains about the fact that he is in a semantic argument.

Under a government which imprisons any unjustly, the true place for a just man is also in prison. Thoreau: Civil Disobedience (1846)
History will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people. Martin Luther King
If there are no stupid questions, then what kind of questions do stupid people ask? Do they get smart just in time to ask questions? Scott Adams

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kbertsche
Member (Idle past 2271 days)
Posts: 1427
From: San Jose, CA, USA
Joined: 05-10-2007

 Message 693 of 1053 (758798) 06-02-2015 10:58 PM Reply to: Message 669 by ThinAirDesigns05-31-2015 4:36 PM

Re: Looking for Libby paper
Back to the thread topic and JB's questions:
I'm looking for that particular paper because the YEC folk I am dealing with insist that Libby stubbornly opposed the notion that the atmosphere wasn't in equilibrium. I've read everything I can get my hands on and of course nothing of the sort is true (the opposite is true in fact). I'm just trying to read his work all the way back to the beginning so I can be knowledgeable.
JB
Have you been able to get a copy of Libby's paper? (I don't have a copy, unfortunately.)
Have you looked at Libby's book "Radioactive Dating" (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1952, 1955)? Curt Sewell claims that Libby expressed concern in this book that the specific decay rate did not seem to be equal to the specific production rate. (But Sewell's quote from Libby's book does not support his claim very well.)
FYI, Dave Matson has looked into some of the YEC non-equilibrium claims. These are similar to the ones that I've heard, that we are only 1/3 of the way to equilibrium, or are 60% out of equilibrium. Matson traces these claims back to Henry Morris and others in the 1960's.

"Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind." — Albert Einstein
I am very astonished that the scientific picture of the real world around me is very deficient. It gives us a lot of factual information, puts all of our experience in a magnificently consistent order, but it is ghastly silent about all and sundry that is really near to our heart, that really matters to us. It cannot tell us a word about red and blue, bitter and sweet, physical pain and physical delight; it knows nothing of beautiful and ugly, good or bad, God and eternity. Science sometimes pretends to answer questions in these domains, but the answers are very often so silly that we are not inclined to take them seriously. — Erwin Schroedinger

 This message is a reply to: Message 669 by ThinAirDesigns, posted 05-31-2015 4:36 PM ThinAirDesigns has replied

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JonF
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 (1)
 Message 694 of 1053 (758809) 06-03-2015 7:28 AM

FWIW the MIT libraries will send you a PDF of any paper they have (not OCR'd, just pictures of the paper) for \$20.
Document Services

ThinAirDesigns
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 Message 695 of 1053 (758812) 06-03-2015 12:05 PM Reply to: Message 693 by kbertsche06-02-2015 10:58 PM

Re: Looking for Libby paper
I have not found the article yet, though I have not had time to get to the library and try that route.
It's not a top priority -- I just like collecting all the parts of the story that I can collect for knowledge sake.
Thanks to all for the explanations and suggestions
JB

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 Message 696 of 1053 (758813) 06-03-2015 12:38 PM Reply to: Message 661 by ThinAirDesigns05-29-2015 8:38 PM

Re: Geology in the lab
People do make artificial marble out of calcium carbonate by applying temperature and pressure. It's hard to research this topic because people also make artificial marble a whole lot of other ways. But this seems to be an example: Grain growth in synthetic marbles with added mica and water | SpringerLink

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kbertsche
Member (Idle past 2271 days)
Posts: 1427
From: San Jose, CA, USA
Joined: 05-10-2007

 (1)
 Message 697 of 1053 (758819) 06-03-2015 4:16 PM Reply to: Message 695 by ThinAirDesigns06-03-2015 12:05 PM

Re: Looking for Libby paper
You might also find some useful comments on equilibrium from Libby's Nobel lecture:
Willard Libby writes:
To return to radiocarbon dating - knowing that there are about 2 neutrons formed per square centimeter per second, each of which forms a carbon-14 atom, and assuming that the cosmic rays have been bombarding the atmosphere for a very long time in terms of the lifetime of carbon-14 (carbon-14 has a half-life of about 5,600 years) - we can see that a steady-state condition should have been established, in which the rate of formation of carbon-14 would be equal to the rate at which it disappears to reform nitrogen-14. This allows us to calculate quantitatively how much carbon-14 should exist on earth (see Fig. 1); and since the 2 atoms per second per cm2 go into a mixing reservoir with about 8.5 grams of carbon per cm2, this gives an expected specific activity of living matter of 2.0/8.5 disintegrations per second per gram of carbon.
The mixing reservoir consists not only of living matter which dilutes the radiocarbon, but of the dissolved carbonaceous material in the oceans which can exchange carbon with the atmospheric carbon dioxide and thus dilute it. In fact, the ocean is the larger part of the diluting carbon reservoir (see Table I). For each square centimeter of the earth’s surface, there are about 7.25 grams of carbon dissolved in the ocean in the form of carbonate, bicarbonate, and carbonic acid, and the biosphere itself contains about 0.33 gram per square centimeter of surface. Adding all the elements of the reservoir, we get a total of 8.5 grams of diluting carbon per cm2, and the 2.0 carbon-14 atoms disintegrating every second should be contained in 8.5 grams of carbon. Thus, the specific activity of living carbon should be that number. We find this to be the actual value observed to within about 10 percent (see Table 2). Of course, the times for mixing of all parts of the reservoir must be short compared to the average lifetime of radiocarbon, 8,000 years. The time for mixing of the oceans is the longest, about 1,000 years on the average.
This is interesting, for it means the following : The present intensity of the cosmic radiation (unless there have been canceling errors in our calculations) corresponds to the average intensity over the last 8,000 years, the average life of carbon-14. It says also that the ocean is mixed nearly perfectly to its bottom depths in 8,000 years. This we know because we included all of the dissolved carbon in the sea. Also, direct measurement of the carbonate and bicarbonate in deep ocean water confirms this. These conclusions could be false if errors in the very different quantities - the intensity of the cosmic rays and the mixing rate and depths of the oceans - should happen just to cancel one another. Being so unrelated, we believe this to be very unlikely and conclude that the agreement between the predicted and observed assays is encouraging evidence that the cosmic rays have indeed remained constant in intensity over many thousands of years and that the mixing time, volume, and composition of the oceans have not changed either.

"Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind." — Albert Einstein
I am very astonished that the scientific picture of the real world around me is very deficient. It gives us a lot of factual information, puts all of our experience in a magnificently consistent order, but it is ghastly silent about all and sundry that is really near to our heart, that really matters to us. It cannot tell us a word about red and blue, bitter and sweet, physical pain and physical delight; it knows nothing of beautiful and ugly, good or bad, God and eternity. Science sometimes pretends to answer questions in these domains, but the answers are very often so silly that we are not inclined to take them seriously. — Erwin Schroedinger

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RAZD
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Posts: 20714
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 Message 698 of 1053 (758856) 06-04-2015 10:26 AM Reply to: Message 697 by kbertsche06-03-2015 4:16 PM

Re: Looking for Libby's equilibrium
You might also find some useful comments on equilibrium from Libby's Nobel lecture:
Excellent.
... we can see that a steady-state condition should have been established, in which the rate of formation of carbon-14 would be equal to the rate at which it disappears to reform nitrogen-14. ...
And I would assume from this that this is what he means by equilibrium -- a steady state condition where number of 14C atoms formed ≈ number of 14C atoms that decay (within the tolerances of measurements).
quote:
The mixing reservoir consists not only of living matter which dilutes the radiocarbon, but of the dissolved carbonaceous material in the oceans which can exchange carbon with the atmospheric carbon dioxide and thus dilute it. In fact, the ocean is the larger part of the diluting carbon reservoir (see Table I). ...
And of course only using the quantity of 14C decaying in the atmosphere to compare to the total generation of 14C and ignoring the quantity of 14C that gets deposited in the oceans (and decays there) gives a false low level of decaying 14C.
ie - a proper comparison includes all the 14C in all the reservoirs (atmosphere, biological organisms, oceans, etc).
Thanks, I think that pretty well demonstrates that the creationist claims are wrong wrong wrong.
Enjoy.

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NoNukes
Inactive Member

 (1)
 Message 699 of 1053 (758861) 06-04-2015 12:11 PM Reply to: Message 698 by RAZD06-04-2015 10:26 AM

Re: Looking for Libby's equilibrium
And I would assume from this that this is what he means by equilibrium -- a steady state condition where number of 14C atoms formed ≈ number of 14C atoms that decay (within the tolerances of measurements).
More precisely, Libby defines equilibrium based on the average rate of production of C-14 and provides some evidence/argument that the the C-14 level was consistent with equilibrium (within 10%) at the point in the time Libby made the argument. The last couple of posts by kbertsche pretty much nail that down at least to my satisfaction.
By contrast, people like Morris were making the claim that the current levels of C-14 were well away from equilibrium. Whether or not Morris was using good information or bad information about the production rate is part of the problem. The other part of the problem is that the sources Morris was relying were already at least speculating on the fact that C-14 production varied with the earth's magnetic field which meant that simple determinations of equilibrium, unlike the one's Libby apparently used, were not valid.

Under a government which imprisons any unjustly, the true place for a just man is also in prison. Thoreau: Civil Disobedience (1846)
History will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people. Martin Luther King
If there are no stupid questions, then what kind of questions do stupid people ask? Do they get smart just in time to ask questions? Scott Adams

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ThinAirDesigns
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 Message 700 of 1053 (758922) 06-05-2015 5:49 PM

Theories or other?
I'm struggling a bit with what is considered theory, hypothesis, study, etc. (yes, I've read a TON on this)
Evolution -- one of the best tested theories in history.
Big Bang -- some good evidence for it, but evidence is hard to come by that far back. Not sure if theory or hypothesis by science standards.
Abiogenesis -- seems to me it's more of a study. I'm not sure I've even seen something as cohesive as a hypothesis.
Am I off here? Do we in science cut slack to fields where data is hard to come by and elevate things to theory status sooner than in areas where data is simply a matter of pounding out the lab work?
JB
Edited by ThinAirDesigns, : No reason given.

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jar
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 Message 701 of 1053 (758925) 06-05-2015 8:03 PM Reply to: Message 700 by ThinAirDesigns06-05-2015 5:49 PM

Re: Theories or other?
Let me try with the last, Abiogenesis.
This is another area where folk tend to misrepresent what it means.
Basically, there is very convincing evidence that there was a period when there was no life here on Earth.
There is very convincing evidence that there is currently life here on Earth.
So a reasonable conclusion is that somehow non living matter became living critters.
In a nutshell that is all Abiogenesis means. It does not say anything more than that...non-living ----> living.
So that is pretty much it.
From that the next step again is just to follow the evidence and that shows very conclusively that everything did not come into existence at once or over a short period of time.
The evidence shows that for a long long period of time there was no life on land.
Then the evidence shows plant life on land.
So Abiogenesis is the study of the evidence that is available at this earliest period where there is living stuff.
Again, the evidence shows that during that very early period only simple living stuff existed. And when all the living stuff is as simple as possible the only possible direction is towards complexity.
So the question Abiogenesis tries to answer is "What were the steps, method or processes that make a transition of non-living to living possible?"
Edited by jar, : appalin spallin her ---> here

Anyone so limited that they can only spell a word one way is severely handicapped!

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RAZD
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Posts: 20714
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 (1)
 Message 702 of 1053 (758928) 06-05-2015 8:43 PM Reply to: Message 700 by ThinAirDesigns06-05-2015 5:49 PM

Re: Theories or other?
A theory is a tested hypothesis, 1 test or a thousand.
Enjoy

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Coyote
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 (2)
 Message 703 of 1053 (758930) 06-05-2015 9:02 PM

Theory
Nobody spelled out the details, so you're stuck with this:
Theory: a well-substantiated explanation of some aspect of the natural world; an organized system of accepted knowledge that applies in a variety of circumstances to explain a specific set of phenomena; theories can incorporate facts and laws and tested hypotheses. Theories do not grow up to be laws. Theories explain laws.
Theory: A scientifically testable general principle or body of principles offered to explain observed phenomena. In scientific usage, a theory is distinct from a hypothesis (or conjecture) that is proposed to explain previously observed phenomena. For a hypothesis to rise to the level of theory, it must predict the existence of new phenomena that are subsequently observed. A theory can be overturned if new phenomena are observed that directly contradict the theory. [Source]
When a scientific theory has a long history of being supported by verifiable evidence, it is appropriate to speak about "acceptance" of (not "belief" in) the theory; or we can say that we have "confidence" (not "faith") in the theory. It is the dependence on verifiable data and the capability of testing that distinguish scientific theories from matters of faith.
Hypothesis: a tentative theory about the natural world; a concept that is not yet verified but that if true would explain certain facts or phenomena; "a scientific hypothesis that survives experimental testing becomes a scientific theory"; "he proposed a fresh theory of alkalis that later was accepted in chemical practices."
What this boils down to is a theory is an explanation that has been tested and that has made successful predictions.
Even more basic --a scientific theory is the single best explanation for a given set of facts.

Religious belief does not constitute scientific evidence, nor does it convey scientific knowledge.
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Tangle
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 (1)
 Message 704 of 1053 (758939) 06-06-2015 3:10 AM Reply to: Message 700 by ThinAirDesigns06-05-2015 5:49 PM

Re: Theories or other?
I think it's perfectly reasonable to be confused about the absolute meanings of the terms because in practice they DO mean different slightly things to different sectors of the sciences. They're also used almost interchangeably outside science - and sometime within it. For example, in 'big physics' the scientists have multiple 'theories' for explanations of the so far unknown - they're not theories in my book - they're all hypothesises. And will stay that way until empirical evidence can support them - such as finding the once theoretical Higgs Boson.
Sociology is almost worse, it has hundreds of so called theories which are often no more than untestable beliefs - in my book anyway.
ToE is the best example of a 'proper' theory because it has dozens of testable and tested hypothesises and deals both with both the what of what happens - speciation and common descent - and the how of what happened - natural selection. It also has mountains of evidence and contains the necessary clauses to disprove itself. Not every situation can be as clear as that.
You obviously know the various definitions, I think it more important to apply them to each situation in the meanings they take there and be suspicious of their uses at all times.

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Faith is the denial of observation so that Belief can be preserved."
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RAZD
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 Message 705 of 1053 (758974) 06-06-2015 5:23 PM Reply to: Message 700 by ThinAirDesigns06-05-2015 5:49 PM

Re: Theories or other?
I'm struggling a bit with what is considered theory, hypothesis, study, etc. (yes, I've read a TON on this)
My first response was from my tablet.
What you may want to consider is being a tad pedantic to delineate between common usage and scientific usage:
A scientific hypothesis is one that can be falsified by objective empirical evidence and it is based on observation to explain a phenomenon, and it should predict something new.
A scientific theory is a tested scientific hypothesis - a prediction came true, a falsification test failed (and then you make new predictions and falsification tests). No matter how strong a theory becomes it is still subject to testing and falsification.
Evolution -- one of the best tested theories in history.
Here one needs to be careful to distinguish between the process of evolution (the change in frequency etc), which has been observed and it is a fact, and the theory of evolution (that evolution can explain the diversity of life), which is tested with every fossil find and every DNA comparison. So yes still a theory, a very strong theory.
Big Bang -- some good evidence for it, but evidence is hard to come by that far back. Not sure if theory or hypothesis by science standards.
Many consider this still an hypothesis. There are also competing concepts (brane\string theory). The new double ability Hadron collider may give us some answers.
Abiogenesis -- seems to me it's more of a study. I'm not sure I've even seen something as cohesive as a hypothesis.
See Self-Replicating Molecules - Life's Building Blocks (Part II), I did a bit of review of the work being done in 2009. I believe the predominant hypothesis is that the first life was based on RNA (the "RNA world" hypothesis)
Am I off here? Do we in science cut slack to fields where data is hard to come by and elevate things to theory status sooner than in areas where data is simply a matter of pounding out the lab work?
If you have an hypothesis that is testable (predictions come true, falsification fails) then you can do science, whatever field you are working in.
Enjoy

we are limited in our ability to understand
by our ability to understand
RebelAmerican☆Zen☯Deist
... to learn ... to think ... to live ... to laugh ...
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