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Author Topic:   Radiometric Dating and the Geologic Column: A Critique
Member (Idle past 982 days)
Posts: 4696
From: Colorado, USA
Joined: 01-09-2002

Message 21 of 113 (166377)
12-08-2004 11:23 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Anti-Climacus
12-08-2004 7:41 AM

The Frequency, Magnitude, and Range of Discordant Results

One could compile a listing of discrepant dates and analyze the frequency, magnitude, and range accordingly. This has been performed by using the listing of over 400 discrepant dates compiled by John Woodmorappe (“Studies in Flood Geology”, p. 148-158).

I cannot fathom why one would do an error analysis by only looking at errors. However, I can easily imagine that Woody would do it.

So, he has 400 discordant dates.... What about the thousands that are concordant? Are you serious about this?

Additional procedures were performed in addition to those by Woodmorappe.

What does this mean?

The listing of discrepancies were analyzed and organized by geologic period. The difference (and related magnitude of error) between the expected age and the most deviant calculated age (which designated either an age “too old” or “too young”) was then computed for each of the 432 trials. These results were then used to compute an average magnitude of error for each geologic period.

And he found that there were huge errors when he analyzed only erroneous dates. Makes sense to me!

AC, do you understand what happens when you only analyze a part of the data? What if I analyzed only concordant dates and found 12,000 of them? And say they had a standard deviation of 1%. Would that change your mind?

No? Well why not? You ask us to do exactly that. This is silliness.

To assist the reader in comprehending the significance of the calculated average magnitude of error, an example has been provided ...

I cannot tell who is providing this explantion. Is it you or Woody? If he used his own dates, there is an obvious source of error.

Results are summarized as follows:


Nonsense. If I did an error analysis like this, I'd be fired.

(snip)...An additional study was performed by computing the range between the smallest and largest age for any trials exhibiting multiple results.

Hmmm, this sounds like standard statistics. I think we call it max and min. But wait! We usually do statistic on the entire population not just the tail. Are you serious about this?

(snip)Of notable interest is that the average range for discordances exceeds the alleged time length for every geologic period between and including the Tertiary through the Cambrian. This demonstrates a character of gross imprecision.

Exactly what I would expect when selectively using flawed data...

This empirical evidence strongly supports the YEC assertion that radiometric dating is flawed, because it verifies YECs first and second predictions that radiometric dating will frequently yield ages which are grossly discordant compared with the predictions of geochronology and that such discordances will frequently exhibit poor precision.

Well, we know that it couldn't be the analysis that was flawed. Right? Do you not see what Woodmorappe is doing to you?

This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by Anti-Climacus, posted 12-08-2004 7:41 AM Anti-Climacus has taken no action

Member (Idle past 982 days)
Posts: 4696
From: Colorado, USA
Joined: 01-09-2002

Message 53 of 113 (166734)
12-09-2004 9:17 PM
Reply to: Message 23 by Anti-Climacus
12-09-2004 12:05 AM

Reply: I averaged the ages and computed the max ranges using Woodmorappe’s raw data.

So, you took erroneous data and then computed averages, max and mins. Great. Just what does that give you? Do you really think you can get anything meaningful? What you are doing is taking the bulk of the data between two arbitrary deviations from the mean and simply throwing it out. And you are the one who says that geochronologists toss out data!

Reply: My reasoning for using “Woody’s” 400+ dates, as well as other scientific literature, ...

Could you give us a sampling of what those sources are? As far as I know you are making this up.

... to draw my conclusions was given in an earlier post. There is simply no way to compile an accurate sample of computed ages that include unpublished discordances.

Most scientist would wonder why you are obsessed with erroneous information. This is an improper way to do statistics.

The age charts, in and of themselves, only give an idea of how imprecise discordances are. It is not meant to provide the comprehensive, random sample.

Just my point. It produces a biased sample. A sample with a bias toward error. The only reason for a biased sample would be that you are selling something, usually something that cannot stand on its own merit. Go ahead and believe this if you want, but I repeat my question about analyzing only the data within one standard deviation of the average. Would you then accept my analysis?

The fact that I clearly stated that the charts were only of discordances refutes your criticism.

The fact that you stated your sample to be biased admits that your study is completely bogus. I repeat: no one does statistics like this (except, obviously, a wayward YEC).

This message is a reply to:
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Member (Idle past 982 days)
Posts: 4696
From: Colorado, USA
Joined: 01-09-2002

Message 93 of 113 (168273)
12-14-2004 9:00 PM
Reply to: Message 86 by Anti-Climacus
12-14-2004 6:55 PM

Reply: Your argument loses all validity if the methodologies used to deem discordances as “erroneous” are themselves invalidated. This is precisely what I have done with my analysis of Borg et al.

Where have you done this? Are you saying that weathering or metamorphism will not alter the radiometric clock? This is silly.

But then again, when “discordant” is equated with “erroneous”, there is truly no way to debate with that kind of “logic”.

What is really illogical is for you to complain that geochronologists throw out dates that they disagree with and then turn around and throw out all of the precise dates to do you analysis.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 86 by Anti-Climacus, posted 12-14-2004 6:55 PM Anti-Climacus has taken no action

Member (Idle past 982 days)
Posts: 4696
From: Colorado, USA
Joined: 01-09-2002

Message 94 of 113 (168275)
12-14-2004 9:14 PM
Reply to: Message 82 by Anti-Climacus
12-14-2004 6:44 PM

Reply: Nonsense. The overturning of paradigms is the product of scientific revolutions, not normal science. Normal science is simply the method of interpreting phenomena within the established parameters of the reigning paradigm.

Perhaps you should actually read our posts. Crashfrog did not say normal science, but simply 'science.'

And normal science is precisely where geochronology operates: the attempt to produce results consistent with orthodox theory.

Do you think you are the only one who has read Kuhn? Actually, you are partly right. Radiometric dating was a revolution and now it is operating in normal fashion. As yet, there is no crisis to precipitate another revolution (well perhaps in the minds of YECs there is). By the way, there is no limit on the amount of time that normal science may operate, so you may be waiting for a long time.

“Not so. A number of radiometric calibration studies have been performed, most famously the Lake Suigetsu calibration study. This study is exactly what you describe - a comparison of radiometric dates to known dates, going back about 45,000 years. When graphed, there's an amazing and obvious corellation between the radiodates and the actual dates, even including the discordinant dates.”

Reply: It is disturbing, although psychologically interesting, to keep hearing that isotopic-dating results are in “amazing and obvious corellation” with the predictions of geochronologists, when it is, in fact, the predictions of geochronologists themselves which are pervasively used as perhaps the only true reliability criterion in the assessment of isotopic dating, as my analysis of the Borg et al study adequately demonstrates.

Actually, it is only amazing in the context of the YEC mindset. In truth, it only makes sense. And no, your analysis did no such thing. Your analysis was a pathetic attempt to prop up your own viewpoint in the face of overwhelming evidence against it.

Or perhaps you could document for us an error analysis study where the good data was thrown out and only discordant data evaluated. I would really like to hear about this new statistical method you have discovered.

This message is a reply to:
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Member (Idle past 982 days)
Posts: 4696
From: Colorado, USA
Joined: 01-09-2002

Message 103 of 113 (172566)
12-31-2004 5:00 PM
Reply to: Message 102 by Anti-Climacus
12-31-2004 1:56 PM

(1) The very same “alteration”, “open system behavior”, “re-heating”, “secondary alteration”, “shock metamorphism”, etc. ad infinitum, that is used to disqualify the validity of discordant data somehow miraculously exempts concordant data from befalling the same fate, even if such concordances are contradictory to geochronological expectations (note: Borg et al found the concordances “surprising, given the ubiquitous nature of shock melts in this meteorite”). ...

Sorry, AC, but wrong. When alternate explanations are used for discordant dates there is evidence for those processes. When dates cannot be rationalized they are simply held for future interpretation, which is why the dates are not 'thrown out' as YECs claim.

...Thus, signs of metamorphism are invoked to explain away discordances but completely ignored to preserve concordances. This isn’t science. It’s a Self-Fulfilling Prophecy.

Nonsense. The very existence of Ar/Ar dating tells you that multiple thermal events actually make sense and are predicted by geochronologists. Some clocks may time the origin of the rock while others might record a metamorphic event that did not affect other clocks.

Do you really think that no one noticed this lack of scientific reasoning before YECs came along to enlighten us? I'd say the vast majority of actual scientists disagree with you on this. The real issue here is that you and many other YECs do not understand the level of reasoning necessary to do radiometric dating, to you it's simply magic that is under the control of the geomagicians.

The uniformitarians on this “forum” would do themselves well in admitting to this obvious fact that FALSIFIES the radiometric reliability criteria for independent identification of “bad samples” based on “metamorphism”.

Not really. It only means that you simply don't understand the procedures involved. Getting your information from YEC websites is not the recommended method of inquiry for laymen.

(2) The very “reliability criterion” – analytical precision – that is used to confirm the validity of concordant data is somehow magically ...

Yes, in your own words: to you it is magic.

... transformed into a “fortuitous” event when applied to discordant data – even if such analytical precision is contradictory to geochronological expectations (note: Borg et al was able to develop an isochron despite their prediction of shock metamorphism) – for no other reason than the fact that it is discordant. This state-of-affairs effectively destroys the concept of “analytical precision (consistency)” as a reliability criterion, and instead establishes the concept as yet another convenient rationalization to be used by geochronologists.

Again, no. There are plenty of ways to get multiple dates from rocks, measuring different events in the history of a geological body. Modification of a technique might well obviate a problem with metamorphism. By the way, I am not convinced that I would expect a shock-metamorphosed rock to have reset radiometric clocks.

If the age computed is concordant with expectations, and is also analytically precise, the age is accepted. If the age computed is concordant with expectations, and is not analytically precise, the age is accepted anyways. If the age computed is discordant with expectations, and is not analytically precise, the age is rejected. If the age computed is discordant with expectations, and is also analytically precise, the age is rejected anyways.

This is not my experience. However, since you are so well informed on geochronology, I will have to accept your explanation...

Thus, analytical precision is invoked to preserve concordances but completely ignored when rejecting discordances. This isn’t science. It’s a Self-Fulfilling Prophecy.

Wrong again. Only to those uneducated in radiometric dating see it this way. But then, that IS where you are getting your information, isn't it?

(3) The plastic definition of “concordancy” was exposed. Borg et al reference another study where U-Pb isotopic systematics yielded an isochron of 212+-62 (p. 2). This study increases the range of isochrons to over 58 million years (over 32% of the expected age), with the lowest isochron age at 154 and the highest at 212. If we take the wider range that results from taking the max (212+62) and min (154-6), we end up with a range of 126 million years (over 70% of the expected age). This is a generous gap to be claiming “agreement” between isochrons.

I would like to see this example documented. Do you have the data?

When isochrons are developed that exceed analytical uncertainty – even ranging up to 70% of the alleged age to be confirmed – the geochronologist is free to designate “contemporaneous intrusions”, or simply claim that some isochrons were produced from a “slightly different mantle source”, which conveniently allows isochrons exhibiting significant age differences to be considered in “agreement” while safely bypassing the need for analytical precision. This isn’t science.

I know of no study that has mad such interpretations on such bad data. Please document. However, if the data were that equivocal, I agree that the observer should make some kind of a guess as to what the age is and why the data are skewed.

This specific example establishes, ...

What specific example? As far as we know you made this up.

... beyond any reasonable doubt, that geochronology studies are not allowed, under any circumstances, to conflict with geochronological expectations.

That's funny, it's happened to me... I must be special.

Discordant dates are explained away (regardless of whether or not the supposed “reliability criteria” predict the opposite result), while concordant dates are accepted (regardless of whether or not the supposed “reliability criteria” predict the opposite result).

Nonsense. It is the job of a geologist to explain dates. Somehow, I don't think that there is any way you would be satisfied with any explanation that didn't agree with you. I think you are simply projecting through this entire post. You think we do this because it is what you would do.

On a general note, it is effectively impossible for me to respond to 10 or more replies for every one of my posts, lest I wish to spend every waking moment of my personal life arguing with fundamentalist naturalists that deny irrefutable facts derived from specific studies from the scientific literature that falsify critical underlying foundations of geochronology.

Well, I'm sure you won't selectively choose which post to respond to...

Since the title of this thread includes a reference to the geologic column, I now provide an analysis of its essential nonexistence.

The Geologic Column

With regards to the geologic column, the study used in this post is John Woodmorappe’s compilation of studies which document the existence of periods in the geologic column all over the world [Studies in Flood Geology, p. 103-130]. The world was divided into 967 equal areas and the relevant data was compiled from the scientific literature. A summary of the results are as follows:

(Geologic Periods Present…….# of Areas On Earth…….%)


Wait... What about the places where there is a complete geological column? According to this analysis, it doesn't exist anywhere. Interesting way to do statistics with an agenda.

A clear observation from this information is that over 11% of the earth has 0 geologic periods present, over 42% has 3 or less periods present, over 55% has 5 or less periods present, and less than 1% has all 10 periods present.

Umm, did you ever take a geology course? Do you think there is ANYWHERE in geology that we say all geological periods must be represented in any single location? In other words, Woody is creating a strawman argument and bashing it to pieces, then thumping his chest. And guess who is out there cheering him on?

As an example of the difficulties this situation can cause, let us analyze the fact that 55% of the earth’s surface has 5 or less geologic periods present. Taking into consideration the alleged duration of the geologic time periods (see earlier in this article), there is a minimum total of absent geologic time equal to 208 million years (adding the 5 shortest periods – Silurian, Permian, Cambrian, Triassic and Devonian) out of 545 million years (adding together alleged geologic time from Tertiary through Cambrian), and there is a maximum total of absent geologic time equal to 337 million years (adding the 5 longest periods – Cretaceous, Jurassic, Ordovician, Tertiary, and Carboniferous) out of 545 million years.

Completely fals analysis. Your premise is wrong. Plain and simple.

In other words, those who wish to defend the geologic time scale must engage in special pleading and rationalizations to explain how 55% of the earth’s surface lost 208-337 million years of geologic time in the rocks. This data provides empirical evidence that as high as 61% of the earth’s supposed geologic time is completely absent in over 55% of the earth’s locations and over 80% of the geologic column is absent in 42% of the earth’s locations.

Wrong. I never expected the entire column to be present at any given location. In fact, I'm surprised that it is so complete in the places where it is present.

Yet another shocking finding ...

Another shocker! Must be magic all over again.

...in this analysis is that over 11% of the earth’s surface shows no evidence of any of the geologic periods from the Tertiary to the Cambrian. This means that the geochronologist must attempt to explain how all 545 millions years of sedimentation buildup is somehow missing. This evidence, in itself, greatly weakens the uniformitarian paradigm and the apparently ancient age of the earth.

Yes, it is called an unconformity. If you don't believe in those, then ask just what geological feature you are standing on.

This already unimpressive situation only becomes worse when one attempts to find successional periods of geologic time in the same location, for the reason that the confirming percentages become even less. For instance:

Complete Lower Paleozoic………………….21%
Complete Upper Paleozoic………………….17%
Complete Mesozoic…………………………16%
Complete Paleozoic (lower and upper)…….5.7%
Upper Paleozoic/Complete Mesozoic ……...4.0%

Even more convincing is the presence of young rock overlying directly upon Precambrian basement rock. Take these examples:

Tertiary found on Precambrian………………>4%
Cretaceous found on Precambrian…………...>9%
Jurassic found on Precambrian………………..4%
Triassic found on Precambrian……………..>11%

This means that those who support geologic time must again resort to special pleading and rationalizations to explain how, in cases where Tertiary is found lying directly upon Precambrian, 480 million years of geologic time just happened to disappear; or for the other three examples given above – 410 million, 340 million, and 295 million years of alleged geologic time just happened to vanish into thin air.

Yawn... Sorry but you have just wasted several epochs of your own precious lifetime in reviewing this false analysis.

And it only gets worse for the apologists of an ancient earth, as the following statement adequately demonstrates:

“The column is supposed to represent a vertical cross-section through the earth’s crust, with the most recently deposited (therefore youngest) rocks at the surface and the oldest, earliest rocks deposited on the crystalline “basement” rocks at the bottom. If one wishes to check out this standard column (or standard geologic age system), where can he go to see it for himself? There is only one place in all the world to see the standard geologic column. That’s in the textbook! ... almost any textbook, in fact, that deals with evolution or earth history. A typical textbook rendering of the standard column is shown in Figure 44. This standard column is supposed to be at least 100 miles thick (some writers say up to 200), representing the total sedimentary activity of all of the geologic ages. However, the average thickness of each local geologic column is about one mile (in some places, the column has essentially zero thickness, in a few places it may be up to 16 or so miles, but the worldwide average is about one mile).”
(Morris H. and Parker G., What Is Creation Science?, p. 230-232)

No. Wrong from the beginning. The geological column that Morris discusses is actually the geological time scale which does not represent any locality on earth. He is confused and has passed that negative information on to you.

When confronted with the fact that only 8% (16/200) of the geologic column has ever been discovered and that only 0.5% (1/200) is pervasive around the world (i.e. 99.5% of the alleged sedimentation buildup is missing), one could be forgiven to conclude that the concept of geologic time reflects nothing more than artificial time partitions that have no basis in reality whatsoever.

In Morris' dreams, perhaps.

Such facts, in and of themselves, are sufficient to completely invalidate the supposed ancient age of the earth.

Except for one little detail: they are not facts.

Finally, with regards to the incessant rants about my “failure” to demonstrate my points made on my opening post, it is now time to revisit them: ...

Sorry, but you have still failed to make your points, as I have shown.

The incessant preaching of “good intentions” by geochronologists that is uttered at every one of my claims is completely irrelevant when the application of the scientific method is itself perverted.

It seems that YECs would know about this perversion.

Any studies to be referenced demonstrating high percentages of concordances are questionable for none other than the boatload of admissions from geochronologists themselves that discordances frequently “disappear in the lab datafile” and go unpublished. I suspect that the only discordances published are those that can be superficially rationalized.

THen how do you know about them?

In any case, I find the religious resolve of naturalists in the face of contradictory evidence to be more impressive than that of any YEC. Admissions of unpublished discordances in the scientific literature are explained away with accusations of quote-mining.

Well, then prove to us that they are not. You have not made any points here yet...

Demands for evidence impossible to obtain are made to preserve a victory by definition (this is evident in the demand for my “proving” the existence of unpublished discordances thru means other than admissions from the scientific literature, which is effectively impossible).

Or it could be that they don't exist... Nah!

Application of the dogmatic sophism of arguments from authority to squelch dissent (which is eerily familiar to the tactics used by Organized Religions when their beliefs are threatened). Etc.

Do you know how funny this sounds coming from a YEC?

Well, the easiest person to fool is yourself, ...

I'm glad you have admitted this.

...and the naturalists here have done a most remarkable job in their complete dismissal of the facts that I have demonstrated in this thread, which undermine some of the most critical foundations of geochronology.

And you managed to do this after just a few days surfing the net. You are GOOD! Why not publish now, before anyone else gets wind of this? Other than the fact that the only thing you have demostrated is a complete lack of understanding of the theory, practice and interpretation of geochronology.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 102 by Anti-Climacus, posted 12-31-2004 1:56 PM Anti-Climacus has taken no action

Replies to this message:
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