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Author Topic:   Radiometric Dating and the Geologic Column: A Critique
Anti-Climacus
Inactive Member


Message 1 of 113 (166168)
12-08-2004 7:41 AM


Radiometric Dating and the Geologic Column: A Critique

Hello all!

This is one of my first posts on the EVC Forum. I hope that I can offer some fresh perspectives on the various debates that take place here, including this one.

The age of the earth is an important issue that affects all theories of origins, including Evolution, Creation, and Intelligent Design. A common claim made with regards to these matters is that the theory of Young Earth Creationism (YEC) has been falsified by numerous lines of empirical evidence that contradict the YEC assumption of a young earth no more than 15,000 years old.

The purpose of this post is to critique radiometric dating and the geologic column; which are arguably the strongest lines of evidence that contradict YEC and support an ancient earth. If these time-designating methods can be proven to be flawed, then the paradigm of YEC will be greatly strengthened.

YEC Paradigm Predictions of Radiometric Dating

The YEC paradigm asserts that radiometric dating is unsound and predicts the following in accordance with this assertion: (a) radiometric dating will frequently yield ages which are grossly discordant compared with the predictions of geochronology; (b) such discordances will frequently exhibit poor precision; (c) the reliability criteria used in the ascertainment of accuracy will frequently contradict geochronological expectations; and (d) the geologic column for strata between and including the Tertiary and Cambrian is virtually nonexistent.

Due to space limitations, I will only address claims (a) and (b) in this initial post. I hope to comprehensively cover claim (d) and at least touch on claim (c) later on.

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).

Additional procedures were performed in addition to those by Woodmorappe. 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.

To assist the reader in comprehending the significance of the calculated average magnitude of error, an example has been provided which begins with an expected age within each geologic period. The average magnitude of error for that specific period was then applied to the expected age to compute an age of discordance. For example, in the 432 trials analyzed, discordances for the Permian period have an average magnitude of error of 164.49% for “too old” ages; which means that a geochronologist who expects a date of 250 million years will instead compute an age of 661 million years. In like fashion, in the 432 trials analyzed, discordances for the Permian period have an average magnitude of error of 40.48% for “too young” ages; which means that a geochronologist who expects a date of 250 million years will instead compute an age of 149 million years.

Results are summarized as follows:

Average Magnitude of Error for “Too Old” Ages

(Period…..Magnitude of Error…..Expected Age…..Computed Age)

Tertiary………….1001.64%.......50 mya…….551 mya
Cretaceous………..259.42%.....100 mya…….359 mya
Jurassic…………...532.92%.....150 mya…….949 mya
Triassic…………….85.84%.....200 mya…….372 mya
Permian…………..164.49%......250 mya…….661 mya
Carboniferous…….121.23%......300 mya……664 mya
Devonian…………..47.55%......375 mya…….553 mya
Silurian…………….65.57%......425 mya…….704 mya
Ordovician…………46.25%......475 mya…….695 mya
Cambrian…………..62.58%......525 mya…….854 mya
Precambrian………100.00%......625 mya…...1250 mya

Average Magnitude of Error for “Too Young” Ages

(Period…….Magnitude of Error…….Expected Age…….Computed Age)

Tertiary………………-39.43%............50 mya………..30 mya
Cretaceous……………-47.72%.........100 mya………..52 mya
Jurassic……………….-48.18%.........150 mya………..78 mya
Triassic……………….-43.48%.........200 mya………113 mya
Permian………………-40.48%.........250 mya……….149 mya
Carboniferous……….. -39.61%.........300 mya……….181 mya
Devonian……………..-32.52%.........375 mya……….253 mya
Silurian……………….-36.51%.........425 mya……….270 mya
Ordovician……………-32.19%.........475 mya……….270 mya
Cambrian……………..-29.37%.........525 mya………..371 mya
Precambrian…………..-39.67%.........625 mya……….377 mya

Note that for computed ages which overshoot geochronological expectations (i.e., “too old”), 6 of the 10 periods yield an average magnitude of error exceeding 100%; and that all 10 periods yield an average magnitude of error exceeding 46%. Also note that for computed ages which underscore geochronological expectations (i.e., “too young”), 4 of the 10 periods yield an average magnitude of error exceeding 40%; and that all 10 periods yield an average magnitude of error exceeding 29%.

An additional study was performed by computing the range between the smallest and largest age for any trials exhibiting multiple results. The average range was computed for each geologic period and summarized below. The alleged time span for each period (talkorigins.org/origins/geo_timeline.html) has been provided for comparison purposes.

Average Ranges for Discordances

(Period …….Range…….Alleged Length of Geologic Period)

Tertiary………………125 mya……….65 mya
Cretaceous…………...119 mya……….70 mya
Jurassic………………..89 mya……….70 mya
Triassic………………101 mya……….45 mya
Permian………………..98 mya……….40 mya
Carboniferous………...150 mya………65 mya
Devonian……………..111 mya……….55 mya
Silurian……………….119 mya……….28 mya
Ordovician…………….92 mya………..67 mya
Cambrian……………..106 mya……….40 mya

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.

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.

Released from Proposed New Topics by Admin


This, that a man’s eye cannot see by the light by which the majority see could be because he is used to darkness; but it could also be because he is used to a still clearer light, and when this is so, it is no laughing matter.

Replies to this message:
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Anti-Climacus
Inactive Member


Message 5 of 113 (166211)
12-08-2004 11:20 AM


Well, to start off, I would like to thank the administrators for posting my thread, as well as my soon-to-be opponents for their criticisms. I hope we can have a respectable debate, not only on this topic, but for others in the future.

PaulK: According to the YEC paradigm ALL the dates - even those classified "too low" are orders of magnitude too high. Therefore any sources of error that reduce the reported age, as well as errors that rely on the existence of older material to raise the age have no place in the YEC paradigm unless and until a reasonable explanation for the actual results is found.

Reply: The basis for my full-length article is that even though some evidence exists to support radiometric dating (e.g., vague “younging-up” trends), the ranges of the dates are frequently massive and the geochronologist is frequently incapable of objectively narrowing the range of dates to a level that provides value to his experiments.

You do make a good point, however, in requesting a “reasonable explanation” from creationists to account for the large ages. There are, actually, competing theories that attempt to provide an explanation. But even if the YEC Paradigm was incapable of providing an alternative explanation, the imprecision and rationalizations of uniformitarian geochronology still stand.

PaulK: “In fact without any attempt to explain the results the YEC paradigm can offer no predictions about the nature of the expected errors . . . So thus the predictions have not been shown to follow from the YEC paradigm and no attempt has been made to support point a) despite the fact that that was the major purpose of the post. These are serious errors.”

Reply: Even if the computed ages are simply attributed to unexplained geochemical distributions, the YEC assertion that radiometric dating is unsound would automatically predict analytical imprecision and results that contradict geochonological expectations.

PaulK: “There is a further logical error in that an analysis that is restricted to discordant results cannot confirm point a) because it provides absolutely no information on the frequency of such results.”

Reply: Good observation. And it would be exceedingly interesting to see a huge compilation of ALL dates computed for thousands of studies to determine the overall reasonableness. Such a study, however, is impossible, for various reasons:

(1) The uniformitarians and evolutionists will most likely not perform such an analysis, simply because they are convinced of the reliability of the radiometric dating.

(2) Many of the discordant dates are not published in the literature, thus skewing the results.

(3) Due to the absence of governmental funding, creation scientists do not have the resources to perform such an extensive experiment.

In light of this situation, the skeptic is limited in options. However, from the 400+ date study provided by Woodmorappe, as well as citations from scientific literature, it is my opinion that this is the best type of critique currently available.

JonF: “You have extrapolated the analysis of a flawed and biased sample to the statistics of a much larger population. Alas, that's invalid.”

Reply: Again, considering how a comprehensive random sampling of both discordant and concordant ages is virtually impossible, this is the only study capable of critiquing the methodologies employed.

JonF: “To support your thesis, you need to discuss exactly how the 432 sample dating studies were chosen (the brief answer is that Woodmorappe specifically chose samples that were known to exhibit problems), the relationship of the statistics samples chosen to the population of all possible samples (the brief answer is that the samples chosen are hopelessly biased and therefore the analysis of them bears no relationship to the statistics of the population), and you should discuss whether or not Woodmorappe accurately transmits and represents the content of the chosen studies (the brief answer is that in many cases he does not).”

Reply: The pages in Woodmorappe’s book that I cited in my original post includes exactly how he compiled the information. I did not want to include that in this post, as it would have surely become too lengthy.

Again, the study you suggest, although a great idea, is virtually impossible.

Also, your contention that Woodmorappe misrepresents the data is flawed for a variety of reasons. First, you must read his work to understand exactly how the information was compiled. Next, you must take a sample size of the references to demonstrate that the dates he recorded were inaccurate, instead of relying on the statements of ostensibly preconditioned “critics”.

I can most definitely say that I did not trace all 432 data lines to the relevant scientific literature. I do remember tracing a few back, however.

JonF: “You also need to discuss the many "age-diagnostic" radioisotope dating methods such as Ar-Ar, the several varieties of isochron methods (especially including Pb-Pb), and the concordia-discordia methods. These avoid several of the issues which can (but seldom do, as verified by cross-checking) affect K-Ar dating. Since a large majority of the dating studies performed in the last 20 years or so (that is, several thousands to tens of thousands) are not K-Ar studies but are the more robust age-diagnostic methods, ignoring them relegates your "study" to yet another YEC sidestepping of the real data.”

Reply: The compilation of ages include dozens of Pb-Pb results. Even if they didn’t, I would still disagree. The compilation of ages, in and of themselves, provide the evidence sufficient to prove my point: imprecision and contradictory results.


This, that a man’s eye cannot see by the light by which the majority see could be because he is used to darkness; but it could also be because he is used to a still clearer light, and when this is so, it is no laughing matter.

Replies to this message:
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 Message 19 by PurpleYouko, posted 12-08-2004 5:22 PM Anti-Climacus has not replied
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Anti-Climacus
Inactive Member


Message 9 of 113 (166227)
12-08-2004 12:06 PM


Thanks for your post, Crashfrog. I think you brought forward some important questions.

Crashfrog: “These are not the correct predictions. The YEC paradigm would predict that radiometric dating would always yield ages which bear no concordinance with the predictions of geochronology. Your article begins, and is pinned on, this erroneous interpretation . . . But what's most astounding is that, even in your cherry-picked erroneous dates, there's still significant, if imprecise, correlation between the "phony" radiometric dates and the expected ages from other geochronology techniques. This counters your prediction a.”

Reply: It depends on what you define as a “prediction of geochronology”. You may be referring to the younging-up trend prediction, which appears to have been at least partially confirmed (although unpublished discordances may add greater imprecision). But even if such a trend exists, if geochronologists are incapable of narrowing the wide ranges of ages with objective and consistent reliability criteria (which they can’t), then the field of geochronology loses much of its explanatory power, and even provides a basis for outright falsification of evolutionary theory, because it places alleged descendants before their supposed ancestors.

I have personally noted numerous rationalizations invoked by geochronologists to explain away clusters of dates that are materially different from the expected age of the sample. If scientists can arbitrarily disregard ages that contradict their theories, they cannot then turn around and criticize creationists for doing the same.

Crashfrog: “I'm not surprised that Woodmorappe was able to cherry-pick the most discordant dates. What controls did he use to make sure these discordant dates were not simply the result of procedural errors in the laboratory? This approach is akin to hand-picking 400 of the world's most inaccurate, poorly-constructed stopwatches and using them to prove that there's no such thing as time.”

Reply: First of all, the comprehensive study which could verify the few “poorly-constructed stopwatches” in geochronology is impossible – as I have already pointed out in an earlier post. Second, you must remember that these 400+ discrepancies were compiled by one man. Hire a few hundred assistants, and I suspect that the cited number of discordant ages would mount to an astronomical level. Third, we must not forget citations from the scientific literature, where dozens of scientists have openly admitted the common presence of discordant ages and the difficulties in narrowing the age pool objectively.

Crashfrog: “If radiometric dating was truly flawed, there would be no corellation, under any circumstances, ever. Dates returned would be entirely random. But your own data, hand-picking the most egregious examples of erroneous radiodating, shows that this is not the case. There is significant correlation between dates and ages, which is exactly what we would expect if radiometric dating was a legitimate tool for geochronology, which it is.”

Reply: But it takes a lot more than overall trends to justify geochronology as a “legitimate tool”. Explaining away unwanted ages despite an absence of supporting evidence does not validate radiometric dating. On the contrary, it acts as evidence against it.

Crashfrog: “Good post but your data outright contradicts your thesis. Nonetheless this is infinitely better than the majority of YEC arguments put forth, and you should be applauded for that, at least.”

Reply: Thank you. I am hoping to provide some fresh perspectives on issues here and I definitely hope to learn from other participants.


Replies to this message:
 Message 16 by crashfrog, posted 12-08-2004 3:04 PM Anti-Climacus has not replied

  
Anti-Climacus
Inactive Member


Message 15 of 113 (166274)
12-08-2004 3:03 PM


Thank you for all of your posts. I want to make sure that I respond to everyone, so I may lag behind a bit in posting replies.

Good questions and criticisms all around.


This, that a man’s eye cannot see by the light by which the majority see could be because he is used to darkness; but it could also be because he is used to a still clearer light, and when this is so, it is no laughing matter.

Replies to this message:
 Message 18 by crashfrog, posted 12-08-2004 3:07 PM Anti-Climacus has not replied
 Message 20 by Buzsaw, posted 12-08-2004 7:28 PM Anti-Climacus has not replied

  
Anti-Climacus
Inactive Member


Message 22 of 113 (166385)
12-08-2004 11:53 PM


Roxrkool: “Age-dating is not within my area of expertise, but I am confused as to how compiling a list of ONLY discordant dates is going to give you anything BUT discord. It doesn't really seem to say anything other than, "age-dating can result in discordant dates." Well, we already know that! It seems to me all you've done is calculated some sort of biased standard deviation using questionable data. Questionable because I can't see the actual data and how it was collected.”

Reply: You must keep in mind that the confirmation of frequent and extreme discordances with geochronological predictions does not, in itself, invalidate radiometric dating. If geochronological reliability criteria are consistently applied to the results, and frequently provide convincing evidence to reject discordant ages and accept concordant ages, then the method of radiometric dating would be strengthened. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Geochronologists have at their disposal an endless pool of rationalizations that can be applied to virtually any situation to explain away discordant ages; none of which are applied consistently.

Roxrkool: “As JonF stated, before anyone can critically review your proposal, you're going to have to show exactly how and from where the numbers you used were collected. So you are probably going to have to write up that long summary.”

Reply: You make a good point. Perhaps I should provide a different form of argument; instead focusing on one or a few studies instead of citations from dozens. I plan on making such a post in the near future. For now, however, I will ride this one out.

Loudmouth: “I have 2 major problems with Woodmorappe’s "bad dates.”

Reply: Before addressing your criticisms of Woodmorappe, let me first repeat what I said on another thread:

I have read the critiques of Woodmorappe’s works, as well as the on-line articles that criticize him for taking citations out of context. Ironic, it seems, that the very critics who charge him of invalid quote mining must take his statements out of context to make their case.

For example, I will arbitrarily take the first criticism from An example.

Fixed broken link. --Admin

quote:
”Woodmorappe (1999) presents numerous examples of what he claims are "discrepant" radiometric dates that contradict each other, fossil data, field structures and/or stratigraphic evidence. For example, Woodmorappe (1999, p. 41) quotes the following statement from Swisher et al. (1993, p. 1994) to "demonstrate" that dates from Evernden et al. (1964), which were once highly regarded and characterized as state-of-the-art, are now considered unreliable: “The same unit was most likely the one dated by Evernden et al. (1964) at 66.4 Ma [Ma ]. These ages are most likely too old, owing to the inclusion of detrital grains in the mineral separates.”

Yet, how anomalously old are Evernden et al.'s results? We find the answer in the proceeding sentences, which Woodmorappe (1999, p. 41) chooses to ignore. Here's a more complete quotation from Swisher et al. (1993, p. 1993-1994): “Obradovich and Cobban (1975) and Obradovich (1984) dated biocide from dacitic pumice located approximately 22 [meters] above the K-P [Cretaceous-Tertiary (Paleocene)] boundary at 65.9 Ma by K-Ar and 65.8 +/- 0.3 Ma (2 sigma) by 40Ar/39Ar methods. The same unit was most likely the one dated by Evernden et al. (1964) at 66.4 Ma. These ages are most likely too old, owing to the inclusion of detrital grains in the mineral separates.”
Swisher et al. (1993, p. 1993-1994) are arguing over trivial errors of about 1% and Woodmorappe (1999, p. 41, 52) is misleading us into believing that these errors are huge and fatal to radiometric dating!


But when one reads Woodmorappe’s book, one notices that it is segregated into 100 separate sub-topics, for which each section within a given subtopic attempts to address a specific issue. Henke gives the impression that Woodmorappe was trying to establish gross discrepancies, and was misleading the reader. So, what is the title of the actual subsection from which the apparent “invalid” reference was used to support?
quote:

quote:
Myth: Further, scientists are routinely able to detect open-system behavior and to correct or ignore data from open systems.

Oh? So Woodmorappe was only attempting to refute the detection of “open-system behavior” regardless of the spread of dates. And this is precisely why he cited the reference from Evernden et al. In fact, Woodmorappe, on page 40 (the page immediately preceding the one cited by Henke), stated the following:

quote:
Apart from everything else that has been discussed in this section of the paper, the fallacy of the claims advanced by Leveson and Seidemann is proven by the many cases of dates which are recognized as reliable, only to be later discarded in favor of some other presumably-reliable dates which contradict the first set of erstwhile-reliable dates. Many such examples are given in this paper. Let me give another: Some U-Pb zircon dates from the Adirondack Mountain region of New York (McLelland et al 1997, p.A-466), based on bulk-zircon dating, yielded values up to 1416 million years old. These had been accepted as reliable – that is, until single-grain dates yielded results some 250 million years younger. All of a sudden, the earlier ostensibly-reliable dates had to be rejected.

Why would Woodmorappe go out of his way to take a 2 mya discordance “out of context” when he already cited a 200 mya discordance in the same subsection?

Could it be, perhaps, that he was only attempting to refute the detection of “open-system behavior” regardless of the spread of dates.

Ironically, Henke never addressed the 200 mya spread at his website. He was apparently too busy taking quotes out of context.

Now on to your example.

Loudmouth: “Aha, Woodmorappe, by claiming that they threw out an isochron is in fact fudging the data. No isochron ever formed because the data points did not form a straight line. This date was mentioned in the original study because it was an example of the isochron method detecting a contaminated or unclosed system.”

Reply: But you must look a little closer. How, exactly, did the geochronologist “know” that there was an open system? Was it by independent examination of samples for weathering or contamination? No. The invocation of “contamination” and “closed system behavior” is a purely ad hoc rationalization that can be called upon at any time the data points contradict the expected age of the samples. If there was truly an independent method of weeding out contaminated samples, discordances would not be computed as often as they are.

Another important point should be made. Geochronologists are quick to dispatch “bad” isochrons when the scatter does not confirm their presuppositions, but are equally quick to dispatch “good” isochrons under the same conditions. This is true for every reliability criterion! The geochronologist selects the dependability “standard” that gives him the answer he already “knows” is true, and ignores the rest. A Self-Fulfilling Prophecy at its finest.

And this is precisely why the compilation of discordant ages must be independent of the application of reliability criteria! We must first understand the characteristics of the raw data before we begin to refine it. Geochronologists and supporters for an ancient earth are exhibiting fallacious logic in saying that many discordant ages are simply not a part of the raw data because they can be “explained” by fanciful hypothetical geologic events that allegedly occurred in the distant past.

Loudmouth: “You are claiming that bad dates occur "frequently". What is frequently?”

Reply: Good question. We will never know exactly how “frequently” bad dates occur. The fact that many discordances are not published makes it effectively impossible to perform an accurate survey. Thus, what I have done is taken a sample of discordances (from Woodmorappe) to gain an understanding of how imprecise ages can be, and then subsequently researched some literature from geochronologists and scientists to get an overall understanding of their frequency. It is clear to me that discordances are frequent and imprecise.

Dr. Cresswell: “And, at least 400 such results have been published. Where else did the numbers in the analysis presented come from if not published literature?”

Reply: I think you are using faulty logic. It is clear that many discordant ages are not published in the literature. The fact that one man has cited 400 does not falsify that concept, but only exponentiates the total possible number of discordances (both published and unpublished).

Dr. Cresswell: “Besides, a relatively simple analysis of the literature would reveal if there was any significant under-reporting of outlying results. Collect as many reported results as possible, it'll take a while going through the literature but neither impossible nor expensive (a moderately capable scientist with access to on-line journals and some spare time could do it), and for each method and time frame (assume initially that different methods and ages will result in different distributions) determine the difference between each measurement and the assume aged of the sample measured. Plot a histogram of these differences and one would expect something not too far from a normal distribution; a significant step down at greater than 3 or 4 standard deviations from the mean would indicate that a lot of outliers are not reported.”

Reply: This is an excellent idea. And I pondered, on more than one occasion, in doing so. But again, the concept of unpublished discordances renders such a study incapable of accurately reflecting the true scatter of ages.

Roxrkool: “It can tell us about metamorphism, re-heating due to igneous events, etc.”

Reply: You must understand that discordant dates cannot “tell us about metamorphism, re-heating due to igneous events, etc.” unless we use reliability standards consistently. We do not. Instead, we equate “discordance” with “metamorphism”, and “concordance” with “closed system”, effectively solidifying the conclusions of our experiments before they are even conducted.

Roxrkool: “Even better, if creationists wanted to save money they could tag along on a geologic survey.”

Reply: Actually, I want to do this myself. I have not, however, looked into it. If someone has a good contact or website for such an excursion, I would more than appreciate it.

Loudmouth: “Why don't we see this happening? Because it is easier to fool your audience with smoke and mirrors instead of doing the actual work of substantiating your claims with real evidence. This is why Woodmorappe uses supposed "bad dates", accuses geologists of conspiring to hide the skads of supposed "bad dates", and claims that radiometric dating produces random scatter. He is unwilling to do the work, and probably knows that radiometric dating has none of the flaws he claims it does.”

Reply: This is a possibility. There is, however, another possibility.

PaulK: “An early (1961) paper on K-Ar dating of glauconite (a difficult mineral to date) reported 5 discordant results Woodmorappe uses. And 40 dates that were within 10% of the expected value. Assuming that there are no other discrepant results…”

Reply: But considering how geochronology operates, one can never safely make that assumption, as I have already demonstrated.

Crashfrog: “At a single weighing, both scales might produce numbers so discordant with my actual weight that we wouldn't be able to distinguish between the scales. But repeated weighings, taking the average, would show that one scale clustered results around a certain value - my actual weight - while the other exhibited no such clustering. Moreover, were I to compare weights with my friend - a man vastly heavier than I - we would see that, in the majority of cases, one scale returned larger weights for him than for I, while the other one had no such pattern.”

Reply: Good analogy. Let’s imagine a scale that, on average, tends to give a higher weight to a heavy man compared to a light man. Now assume that we want to weigh accurately the weights of 3 billion men, but we can only view the resulting measurements, not the men themselves. What we end up with is endless scatters of weights, each of which span multiple body plans (e.g., skinny to large), for which the only possible way of confirming the actual weight is to establish a pre-conceived body plan that we assume we are confirming.

This is flawed reasoning, because a vague overall pattern does not help us one bit in assessing the actual weight of a specific person. It simply leaves us with an undefined and unverifiable age correlation.

Crashfrog: “But there's absolutely nothing "arbitrary" for the rejection of these dates. There are legitimate, rigorous statistical procedures for the rejection or dismissal of results that are sufficiently divergent from the majority.”

Reply: I must disagree with you here. First of all, there cannot exist “rigorous statistical procedures” if such procedures are not applied consistently. I have noted numerous instances where, for example, consistency in dates were ignored for no more than the very fact that the ages were discordant. Second, geochronologists cannot claim that concordance is in the “majority”. This is because they have never compiled a comprehensive trend analysis representing all concordant, published discordant, and unpublished discordant dates in the population. I suspect that there are psychological reasons for the absence of such an analysis.

Crashfrog: “Since there's a Nobel prize waiting for the guy who does this, what's the hold-up?”

Reply: A common statement made by uniformitarians/evolutionists. Such statements simply disregard how normal science operates under an established paradigm.

Crashfrog: “The reason that this research has never been performed, and never will be, is because the majority of Creationists, Woodmorappe most likely included, know that their objections are hollow, and that such a survey would confirm the efficacy of radiometric dating, not impugn it.”

Reply: This statement conveniently ignores the fact that no geochronologist/evolutionist has performed a comprehensive analysis of concordant/discordant (published/unpublished) ages either.

Crashfrog: “Ah. So, since we don't know everything with absolutely perfect knowledge, we know nothing at all? I don't believe that anybody ever said that radiometric dating is easy, or astronomically precise. We are, after all, trying to do very sensitive procedures on objects that have been outside in the elements for as long as billions of years. Nonetheless the level of precision we are able to achieve is more than sufficient to reject YEC timescales out of hand.”

Reply: It would be much easier to reject YEC timescales if geochronology was an objectively precise field of study. It does an impressive job, I must say, of masking its imprecision via layer upon layer of unsubstantiated rationalizations.

Crashfrog: “Since that's the exact way that measurements are validated in any field, that's precisely what it does. There are relatively few discordant dates compared to the dates that line up with each other. Your objections simply run counter to the way scientific measuring is done.”

Purple: “The only way it is going to take an inordinately long time to find the underlying correlations is if you have to sift through the massive pile of "good" data to find the one or two examples of "bad" data that even then, cannot prove the YEC position. The data is out there. Why not go get it yourself to find out how well it all correlates?”

Reply: My experience with the literature shows otherwise. The final results may show “relatively few discordant dates compared to the dates that line up with each other”, but only after a thorough “distillation” process of rationalizations.

Roxrkool: “This is enough for me to never view Woodmorappe as a professional scientist ever again. Where are his ethics?”

Reply: Note the wording of the geochronologist: “Continuous partial argon loss may have occurred as a result of weathering or heating from deep burial, although neither phenomenon is apparent from field or petrographic studies.” This effectively nullifies any independent contamination evidence. Again, if geochronologists could objectively identify which samples were contaminated, they would be able to identify them prior to their experiment, instead of relying on ad hoc “explanations”.

Roxrkool: “And an excellent example of why any calculations based on Woodmorappe data are dubious at best.”

Reply: Ironically, I would say that the very fact that a geochronologist can consider analytical precision and consistency as “fortuitious” by citing a fanciful hypothetical “event” that allegedly occurred in the distant past with NO SUPPORTING EVIDENCE adequately falsifies the concept of “consistency” as a reliability criterion.

Buzsaw: “Hi Anti C. I wish I were apprised enough on this stuff to jump in and help out, but it's outa my field.”

Reply: You should attempt to make it your field. I felt the same way only a few years ago, but if you enjoy researching historical sciences, then you should spend some time each night and plug along. After a while, you can begin debating your positions. But you must be willing to concede points to the other side when they are obvious. Understanding that there will be some evidence for both sides is the way to start. We just need to figure out a reasonable conclusion.

I can offer you a listing of some good resources to start with.

To all: I do not want this post to metamorphosize into a “he said, she said” thread. I will attempt, at my earliest convenience, to focus on one (or a few) studies and provide a posting summarizing my findings. Such a strategy will effectively nullify any criticisms of “quote-mining” or “invalid sample sizes”.

In any case, thank you all for your opinions. I hope that I am contributing something new to this debate.

This message has been edited by Admin, 12-09-2004 12:24 PM


This, that a man’s eye cannot see by the light by which the majority see could be because he is used to darkness; but it could also be because he is used to a still clearer light, and when this is so, it is no laughing matter.

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Anti-Climacus
Inactive Member


Message 23 of 113 (166387)
12-09-2004 12:05 AM


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

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

Edge: “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 . . . 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?”

Reply: My reasoning for using “Woody’s” 400+ dates, as well as other scientific literature, 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. 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. The fact that I clearly stated that the charts were only of discordances refutes your criticism.


This, that a man’s eye cannot see by the light by which the majority see could be because he is used to darkness; but it could also be because he is used to a still clearer light, and when this is so, it is no laughing matter.

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Anti-Climacus
Inactive Member


Message 48 of 113 (166656)
12-09-2004 6:47 PM


This thread has officially exploded with responses.

Don't worry though. I am preparing replies. Hopefully in an easier to read format.


This, that a man’s eye cannot see by the light by which the majority see could be because he is used to darkness; but it could also be because he is used to a still clearer light, and when this is so, it is no laughing matter.

Replies to this message:
 Message 54 by crashfrog, posted 12-09-2004 9:38 PM Anti-Climacus has not replied

  
Anti-Climacus
Inactive Member


Message 60 of 113 (166983)
12-10-2004 2:36 PM


An Example
Hello all.

Before addressing your specific objections (which I will hopefully get to this weekend), I would like to provide an example of how geochronology is applied in practice. The radiometric study to be analyzed is related to Rb-Sr Isotopic Systematics of the Lherzolithic Shergottite Lew88516 by Borg et al. The study can be found here.

The opening paragraph makes a forceful statement that is typical of geochronological studies, as well as uniformitarians/evolutionists:

quote:
Our analyses yield a crystallization age of 183 ± 10 Ma and an initial 87Sr/86Sr ratio of 0.710518 ± 60. This age agrees well with the ~170 Ma age previously determined for LEW by the U-Th-Pb method by [5] and with the Rb-Sr age of 187 ± 12 Ma determined on ALH by [6], but is older than the 154 ± 6 Ma Rb-Sr age determined on ALH by [7]. (p. 1)

Here we see that two different dating methods applied by 4 different studies yielded ages concordant with the expectations of geochronologists. On the surface, this appears to be an outright victory for radiometric dating. We shall soon see, however, that this apparent “victory” is no such thing, but is instead a superficial camouflage veiling a mountain of rationalizations invoked for the sole purpose of explaining away contradictory data as mere “coincidence”.

The two lines of contradictory evidence in this study are the following: (1) Isochron-yielding leachates producing an age of approximately 726 million years (discordant by about 400%); (2) Four separate mineral separate/leachate pairs yielding an age of approximately 90 million years (discordant by -50%).

Borg et al recognize the discordant isochron and plot it in Figure 1. They write:

quote:
Note that the leachates fall to the left of the mineral isochron and with the exception of Px (L) define a line with a slope corresponding to an age of about 726 ± 287 Ma. (p. 1)

The geochronologists attempt an explanation for the discordant isochron:

quote:
The Rb-Sr isotopic systematics of the leachates are consistent with Rb removal and Rb/Sr fractionation from the host mineral fractions at ~90 Ma. This fractionation may be associated with secondary alteration or shock metamorphism. (p. 1)

They justify their explanation as follows:

quote:
Several petrographic features of the lherzolitic shergottites underscore potential problems with the isotopic analyses of these rocks and emphasize the need for very careful mineral separations. Shock features are ubiquitous throughout the lherzolitic shergottites and include the presence of maskelynite, mosaicism of olivine and pyroxene, and the presence of shock melts [2,7]. Shock melts are likely to have been re-equilibrated with the bulk rock at the time of the shock event [7] and therefore may have incorporated secondary alteration products that are not in isotopic equilibrium with LEW mineral separates. Thus, shock melts should be excluded from the mineral separates. An additional potential problem arises from the fact that the olivine compositions are too Fe-rich to be in equilibrium with the pyroxenes. The disequilibrium between olivine and pyroxene in the lherzolitic shergottites has been attributed to crystallization from different source liquids [7] and to nearsolidus re-equilibration of the olivine in a closed system [1,9]. Obviously, xenocrystic olivine is not expected to lie on the isochron defined by the other phases and would have to be excluded from the age calculation. (p. 1)

As is clearly seen, the geochronologist is sure to begin his experiment with rationalizations at hand, just in case. They proved to be of great value for this study in particular, because they were used to explain away samples Mask(L), Wr-2(L), Oliv(L), Mg-Px(L), and Fe-Px(L), which formed a very neat isochron that contradicted geochronological expectations. Such a distillation process is invoked frequently by geochronologists to easily discard non-preferable ages. If there is a scatter of unwelcome dates, the typical invocations of “alteration”, “open system behavior”, or “re-heating events” are deployed at a moment’s notice. If the unwelcome dates, however, form an isochron (a very common occurrence, as evidenced by the fact that it took me no more than 5 minutes on-line to find such an incident), then much more imaginative hypothetical geologic “events” are to be concocted. Hence, the references to “secondary alteration” and “shock metamorphism” (p. 1) by Borg et al, which can somehow magically produce analytically precise isochrons with no geologic significance whatsoever.

But the dubious nature of such “explanations” doesn’t end there, as is evidenced by the following statements:

quote:
Rb-Sr isotopic analysis of maskelynite, whole rock, olivine, and pyroxene fractions from LEW yield a crystallization age of 183 ± 10 Ma. Despite the fact that there is some scatter in the data, all of the analyzed mineral fractions lie on the isochron. This is somewhat surprising, given the ubiquitous nature of shock melts in this meteorite, and indicates that the Rb-Sr isotopic systematics of the mineral fractions have not been significantly reset by shock metamorphism. The fact that olivine lies on the isochron indicates that this phase is probably not xenocrystic in origin and supports the suggestion by [1] and [9] that the disequilibrium between olivine and pyroxene is the result of subsolidus re-equilibrium in a closed system. (p. 1, 2)

So 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. This state-of-affairs effectively destroys the concept of “open system behavior” as a reliability criterion, and instead establishes the concept as a convenient rationalization to be used by geochronologists.

Borg et al also recognize the four separate/leachate pairs and plot their slopes in Figure 3. They write:

quote:
Note that the leachates fall to the left and above the mineral isochron and that tie lines (dashed) between mineral separate/leachate pairs have slopes corresponding to ages between 87 and 92 Ma. (p. 2)

The geochronologists attempt an explanation for the separate/leachate pairs:

quote:
However, unlike QUE, the LEW mineral separate/leachate pairs appear to define ages of ~90 Ma (Fig. 3). The chronological relationship between mineral separate/leachate pairs may simply be fortuitous, and reflect ternary mixing between various primary igneous components in the meteorite and secondary alteration products with low Rb/Sr and high 87Sr/86Sr ratios. On the other hand, the fact that the same age is reproduced by four different mineral separate/leachate pairs is not required by ternary mixing, and suggests that Rb and Sr in the host silicates may have been fractionated and partitioned into leachable sites at ~90 Ma. This process may have resulted in Rb loss, but could not have added significant amounts of extraneous Sr. The fractionation of Rb from Sr may be the result of secondary alteration processes or shock metamorphism. (p. 2)

Again, we see how analytical precision of discordant ages requires the concoction of hypothetical geologic processes that allegedly occurred in the distant past. And again, the very “reliability criterion” – analytical precision – that is used to confirm the validity of concordant data is somehow magically transformed into a “fortuitous” event when applied to discordant data, 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.

Another point of notable interest is that 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.

But have no fear, just as the geochronologist has a pool of excuses to assist him in narrowing the raw data to his liking, he has a pool of pretexts to justify the implementation of a large net for the designation of “agreement” between isochrons:

quote:
These differences are outside the combined analytical uncertainties calculated from the individual isochrons. It is therefore likely, that despite their textural, mineralogical, geochemical, and chronological similarities, LEW and ALH are derived from different magma sources as suggested by [12] on the basis of slightly different bulk trace element abundances. Differences in initial Sr isotopic ratios of this magnitude are commonly observed in comagmatic terrestrial rocks. Therefore, perhaps the best explanation is that LEW and ALH represent very similar batches of magma that were contemporaneously intruded into the same pluton. LEW may be derived from a slightly different mantle source, or may have had slightly more interaction with the Martian crust than ALH, and thus assimilated slightly more radiogenic Sr. (p. 2)

Amazing. 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.

In any case, I have seen many of these “studies” in the past few years, and they have greatly succeeded in not only convincing me of the invalid nature of radiometric dating, but of the fact that the long lists of “concordant” and “consistent” radiometric ages are simply the knavish product of completely invalid methodologies designed to confirm an outcome that was pre-determined at the outset.


This, that a man’s eye cannot see by the light by which the majority see could be because he is used to darkness; but it could also be because he is used to a still clearer light, and when this is so, it is no laughing matter.

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Anti-Climacus
Inactive Member


Message 82 of 113 (168238)
12-14-2004 6:44 PM
Reply to: Message 25 by crashfrog
12-09-2004 1:27 AM


Crashfrog:
quote:
“Hardly. Science operates by overturning paradigms. That's how people win Nobel prizes. Nobody ever won a Nobel prize by shoring up a failing theory. You casually dismiss this argument; presumably because you have no compelling response. Unfortunately this off-hand dismissal shows that it is you who disregards how normal science operates.”

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

Crashfrog:

quote:
“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.

Crashfrog:

quote:
“To reject the hard work and thousands of man-hours put into gathering this body of knowledge simply because it's not quite precise enough to meet your impossibly high standards is the height of evidence, and I'm absolutely certain that you don't apply such a rigorous standard of precision to any other field of science.”

Reply: Ah yes, the typical amalgamation of the “no evidence would be convincing enough for you” claim coupled with an argument from authority. With regards to my “impossibly high standards”, the only demand I make of geochronologists is the consistent application of reliability criteria, which is in no way apparent from my studies of geochronology. With regards to my rejection of the “hard work of thousands of man-hours put into gathering this body of knowledge”, I do so only because I feel there exists reasonable grounds to do so. Unfortunately for orthodox theory, science is not a majority opinion. And I will not bow unconditionally before the apparent Priesthood of modern society any more than I will the Institutional Church, regardless of how many “man-hours” have been logged on the books.


This, that a man’s eye cannot see by the light by which the majority see could be because he is used to darkness; but it could also be because he is used to a still clearer light, and when this is so, it is no laughing matter.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 25 by crashfrog, posted 12-09-2004 1:27 AM crashfrog has replied

Replies to this message:
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Anti-Climacus
Inactive Member


Message 83 of 113 (168241)
12-14-2004 6:46 PM
Reply to: Message 26 by PaulK
12-09-2004 2:40 AM


PaulK:
quote:
“At this stage I must point out that it is not the case that you have established that there are many unpublished discrepant dates.”

Reply: And what, exactly, would qualify as “establishing” such a claim? I have identified dozens of admissions of geochronologists in the scientific literature that refer to unpublished discordant ages. But then again, you said it yourself:

quote:
”It is far from clear that the majority of discordant dates go unpublished - and if they do it will likely be because they are the result of uninteresting errors. If the errors indicate a genuine problem then they will usually be published for that reason.”

I take the position that ALL data are to be summarized in a published article. The fact that discordances are “uninteresting” is no grounds for not providing an explanation.

PaulK:

quote:
“But without real data we should consider that radiometric dates are not produced simply to deny YEC claims. Geologists have an obvious interest in making sure that their methods are accurate and so the presumption must be that discordant dates are relatively uncommon and can usually be adequately explained. Any other assumption has to explain why a profession would continue to use a method that plainly did not work. Indeed it is hard to see that a method that routinely failed could ever become established.”

Reply: Before radiometric dating was established, the scientific community had already accepted uniformitarianism and the geologic column. Geochronology is simply an area of study that is interpreted to coincide with these pre-existing concepts.

PaulK:

quote:
“You might like to consider why, in your 5 posts to this thread, you have still to even lay the ground work for the two points your original post argued for.”

Reply: If providing a quantitative analysis of the well-documented imprecision of discordances, summarizing the numerous admissions from geochronologists in the scientific literature of the common occurrence of discordant dates (which was a part of my full-length article initially posted), and analyzing a specific example of the invalid methodologies practiced by geochronologists is not an adequate basis for questioning geochronology, then we have reached an impassible difference of opinion.


This, that a man’s eye cannot see by the light by which the majority see could be because he is used to darkness; but it could also be because he is used to a still clearer light, and when this is so, it is no laughing matter.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 26 by PaulK, posted 12-09-2004 2:40 AM PaulK has replied

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Anti-Climacus
Inactive Member


Message 84 of 113 (168243)
12-14-2004 6:50 PM
Reply to: Message 67 by Loudmouth
12-10-2004 7:46 PM


Re: An Example
Loudmouth:
quote:
“Do you know what is meant by a "bad isochron"? It means that the ratio of the radionuclide and daughter product vary wildly in the same rock sample. A "bad isochron" is produced by movement of the parent and daughter products within the rock sample which indicates an open system. If you are familiar with statistics, a bad isochron will yield a poor r squared value. Bad isochrons are never used to give a date. The example I listed inserted a line representing the expected age to show how badly the scatter was. Dates from bad isochrons are thrown out for objective criteria since a bad isochron is a sign of an open system. Even if a bad isochron gives the expected age it is still thrown out.”

Reply: This is incorrect. There are, in fact, many instances where isochrons are produced subsequent to the “elimination” of scattered data points. But since every citation from scientific literature is ipso facto “out of context”, there is really no point of me summarizing such quotes here.

Loudmouth:

quote:
“Secondly, there is nothing fallacious about finding metamorphisis in rocks and then applying this to the movement of parent and daughter isotopes in and out of the rocks. Why wouldn't this occur in rocks that have been reheated since their first closure? Why shouldn't geologists look for signs of post-closure modification? Even before an isotopic analysis is done, geologists are able to predict that argon concentration, for instance, has been affected by metamorphisis. Bad dates are not explained away ad hoc, but by observations of how rocks are affected in the present day by the very same forces that happened millions of years ago.

Reply: If geochronologists could predict “metamorphisis” objectively, they would surely be able to weed out most discordances prior to dating the materials. This is not so. Also, if “metamorphisis” is a true reliability criterion, then concordant dates that showed obvious disturbance would not be accepted. This is also not so.

Loudmouth: “So which is it? Is it "impossible to know" or is it "clear"?”

Reply: It is clear from admissions in the scientific literature that discordances are frequent and pervasive. From this, it logically follows that it is effectively impossible to perform an accurate survey.


This, that a man’s eye cannot see by the light by which the majority see could be because he is used to darkness; but it could also be because he is used to a still clearer light, and when this is so, it is no laughing matter.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 67 by Loudmouth, posted 12-10-2004 7:46 PM Loudmouth has replied

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Anti-Climacus
Inactive Member


Message 85 of 113 (168245)
12-14-2004 6:51 PM


If a geochronologist can consider discordant isochrons and multiple pairs of analytically precise discordant ages as fortuitous products of geochemical phenomena that give unreliable ages, then a YEC has every right to consider concordant isochrons and multiple pairs of analytically precise concordant ages as fortuitous products of geochemical phenomena that give unreliable ages.

There were also various claims that leachates are used for the identification of traumatic geologic events, not as true age indicators. If they are used as true age indicators, then my critique of Borg et al stands. If, on the other hand, they are used as a “reliability criterion” for the identification of traumatic geologic events, then geochronology is no more vindicated. This is because, like every other “reliability criterion”, leachates are applied inconsistently. In my studies I have noted a variety of experiments whereby leachates gave ages in concordance with separate samples, and others that gave ages in discordance with separate samples; and, like every other experiment in geochronology, the separates are accepted if they are consistent with expectations and rejected if they are not, despite the presence or absence of a discordant leachate isochron.

Another point of notable interest. With all of these geochronological references to “shock metamorphism” and “secondary alteration”, one might question how such events would yield isochrons when such “reliability criteria” are reliant on the preservation of a closed-system. In other words, in the presence of traumatic geologic events, one would not expect an isochron to be produced with a reliable age. And the pervasive occurrence of invalid isochrons would justify the creationist position that concordant isochrons are also not indicative of reliable ages.


This, that a man’s eye cannot see by the light by which the majority see could be because he is used to darkness; but it could also be because he is used to a still clearer light, and when this is so, it is no laughing matter.

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Anti-Climacus
Inactive Member


Message 86 of 113 (168249)
12-14-2004 6:55 PM


My computer is malfunctioning a bit. I will post the rest of my replies here.

JonF:

quote:
“There is an independent method; statistical analysis of the fit to a straight line.

Reply: If such a method was independent, then straight lines that were discordant would be accepted. This is not so.

Harlequin:

quote:
“Those who actually work in the field are very clear that this is not the case. Now why should I not accept the word of thousands of workers involved with radiometric dating? It seems for more likely that a handful of YEC critics are full of it.”

Reply: Another argument from authority. And I thought science was not a majority opinion.

Edge:

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


This, that a man’s eye cannot see by the light by which the majority see could be because he is used to darkness; but it could also be because he is used to a still clearer light, and when this is so, it is no laughing matter.

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Anti-Climacus
Inactive Member


Message 102 of 113 (172537)
12-31-2004 1:56 PM


My example of the Borg et al study convincingly demonstrates the following points:

(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”). This state-of-affairs effectively destroys the concept of “open system behavior” as a reliability criterion, and instead establishes the concept as a convenient rationalization to be used by geochronologists.

If the ages computed are concordant with expectations, and signs of metamorphism are not apparent, the age is accepted. If the ages computed are concordant with expectations, and signs of metamorphism are apparent, the age is accepted anyways. If the ages computed are discordant with expectations, and signs of metamorphism are apparent, the age is rejected. If the ages computed are discordant with expectations, and signs of metamorphism are not apparent, the age is rejected anyways. 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.

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”.

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

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

(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. 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.

This specific example establishes, beyond any reasonable doubt, that geochronology studies are not allowed, under any circumstances, to conflict with geochronological expectations. 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).

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.

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…….%)

0…….107…….11.07%
1…….80……….8.27%
2…….123…….12.72%
3…….105…….10.86%
4…….99……...10.24%
5…….123…….12.72%
6…….90……….9.31%
7…….101…….10.44%
8…….82……….8.48%
9…….48……….4.96%
10…...9………...0.93%

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.

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.

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.

Yet another shocking finding 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.

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.

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

quote:
“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)

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.

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

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:

(a) radiometric dating will frequently yield ages which are grossly discordant compared with the predictions of geochronology;
(b) such discordances will frequently exhibit poor precision;

These claims were demonstrated with the mutual application of numerous quotes from geochronologists admitting the frequency of discordances (both published and unpublished) that is a part of my full-length article, as well as the statistical analysis of over 400 discordant ages that typifies the range of dates obtained from geochronology.

(c) the reliability criteria used in the ascertainment of accuracy will frequently contradict geochronological expectations;

This claim was irrefutably proven as fact thru a specific analysis of the Borg et al study.

(d) the geologic column for strata between and including the Tertiary and Cambrian is virtually nonexistent.

This claim is irrefutably proven as fact thru the analysis presented earlier in this post.

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. 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.

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. 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). 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.

Well, the easiest person to fool is yourself, 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.


This, that a man’s eye cannot see by the light by which the majority see could be because he is used to darkness; but it could also be because he is used to a still clearer light, and when this is so, it is no laughing matter.

Replies to this message:
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