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Author Topic:   Radiometric Dating and the Geologic Column: A Critique
crashfrog
Member (Idle past 778 days)
Posts: 19762
From: Silver Spring, MD
Joined: 03-20-2003


Message 4 of 113 (166210)
12-08-2004 11:17 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by Anti-Climacus
12-08-2004 7:41 AM


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;

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.

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'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.

But what's most astounding is that, even in your cherry-picked erroneous dates, there's still significant, if imprecise, corellation between the "phoney" radiometric dates and the expected ages from other geochronology techniques. This counters your prediction a.

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.

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.


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crashfrog
Member (Idle past 778 days)
Posts: 19762
From: Silver Spring, MD
Joined: 03-20-2003


Message 16 of 113 (166275)
12-08-2004 3:04 PM
Reply to: Message 9 by Anti-Climacus
12-08-2004 12:06 PM


It depends on what you define as a “prediction of geochronology”.

I really don't see how that's in the least relevant. Either radiometric dating is actually measuring some real quality of the rocks being studied, albeit with a lesser or greater degree of precision; or else the radiometric process returns dates that are entirely random.

Lets say that you had two digital scales, one of which is functional but very inaccurate - returning, say, errors of up to 100% or greater - and the other is a fake scale that, when you get on it, returns a random number between 0 and 500.

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.

If scientists can arbitrarily disregard ages that contradict their theories, they cannot then turn around and criticize creationists for doing the same.

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

Hire a few hundred assistants, and I suspect that the cited number of discordant ages would mount to an astronomical level.

Since there's a Nobel prize waiting for the guy who does this, what's the hold-up? "Government funding?" Please. We have a President who's an open YE creationist, and you think that there's a problem with funding? 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 effacacy of radiometric dating, not impugne it.

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.

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 proceedures 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.

Explaining away unwanted ages despite an absence of supporting evidence does not validate radiometric dating.

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.


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crashfrog
Member (Idle past 778 days)
Posts: 19762
From: Silver Spring, MD
Joined: 03-20-2003


Message 18 of 113 (166279)
12-08-2004 3:07 PM
Reply to: Message 15 by Anti-Climacus
12-08-2004 3:03 PM


I want to make sure that I respond to everyone, so I may lag behind a bit in posting replies.

You should definately feel free to take your time. None of us here would prize expediency over effort.


This message is a reply to:
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crashfrog
Member (Idle past 778 days)
Posts: 19762
From: Silver Spring, MD
Joined: 03-20-2003


Message 25 of 113 (166399)
12-09-2004 1:27 AM
Reply to: Message 22 by Anti-Climacus
12-08-2004 11:53 PM


Ouch, posts getting a little long and hard to read. It's recommended that one reply to one person per post (using the little red arrow reply button to preserve thread structure) and use the "QS" tags to denote quoted material. But, all in good time, I'm sure.

This is flawed reasoning, because a vague overall pattern does not help us one bit in assessing the actual weight of a specific person.

From one weighing, no. But it's statistical child's play to determine from multiple measurements of the same person not only their likely weight, but the precise level of confidence one should have in that measurment.

It simply leaves us with an undefined and unverifiable age correlation.

Only to one completely ignorant of statistics. Seriously, this is what people do with statistics - when handed a set of clustered, normally-distributed data, determine the likely value around which it is clustered, and the confidence one can have that that is the true value.

I'm surprised that you didn't see these counters to your argument. Is it that you are unaware of basic statistical tools? Or simply that you didn't see how they could be applied here? I should think that this would be the obvious application for these methods.

Such statements simply disregard how normal science operates under an established paradigm.

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.

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

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.

It would be much easier to reject YEC timescales if geochronology was an objectively precise field of study.

It would be much easier to do a lot of things, were that true.

But it isn't. The universe is under no constraint to operate in a way that renders our tests maximally precise. We do the best we can with what we have. 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 abolutely certain that you don't apply such a rigorous standard of precision to any other field of science.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 22 by Anti-Climacus, posted 12-08-2004 11:53 PM Anti-Climacus has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 82 by Anti-Climacus, posted 12-14-2004 6:44 PM crashfrog has replied

  
crashfrog
Member (Idle past 778 days)
Posts: 19762
From: Silver Spring, MD
Joined: 03-20-2003


Message 39 of 113 (166601)
12-09-2004 4:25 PM
Reply to: Message 36 by Coragyps
12-09-2004 3:46 PM


The one he's been known to cite as a reference.

Funny. Pathetic, but funny.


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crashfrog
Member (Idle past 778 days)
Posts: 19762
From: Silver Spring, MD
Joined: 03-20-2003


Message 54 of 113 (166744)
12-09-2004 9:38 PM
Reply to: Message 48 by Anti-Climacus
12-09-2004 6:47 PM


This thread has officially exploded with responses.

Maybe I'll bow out. I think others are making the points I wished to; clearer and deeper than I, to boot. Don't feel you have to respond to my posts if you don't wish to.


This message is a reply to:
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crashfrog
Member (Idle past 778 days)
Posts: 19762
From: Silver Spring, MD
Joined: 03-20-2003


Message 55 of 113 (166746)
12-09-2004 9:41 PM
Reply to: Message 51 by Harlequin
12-09-2004 7:39 PM


This is brilliant. Exactly what I was hoping someone would be able to do. You can see both the general, if imprecise, corellation preserved in the majority of the "discordinant" dates, as well as the big hole right down the center where the concordinate, valid dates would be.

I notice too that the hole gets wider as the dates get larger; this would be expected as the margin of error increases as the dates rise.


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crashfrog
Member (Idle past 778 days)
Posts: 19762
From: Silver Spring, MD
Joined: 03-20-2003


Message 61 of 113 (166985)
12-10-2004 3:01 PM
Reply to: Message 60 by Anti-Climacus
12-10-2004 2:36 PM


Re: An Example
What evidence do you have that he's wrong?

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crashfrog
Member (Idle past 778 days)
Posts: 19762
From: Silver Spring, MD
Joined: 03-20-2003


Message 87 of 113 (168250)
12-14-2004 6:55 PM
Reply to: Message 82 by Anti-Climacus
12-14-2004 6:44 PM


Nonsense.

Reality. What Nobel prizes have been won by those who have upheld the traditional dogma in the face of disconfirming evidence?

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.

How does that apply to the Lake Suigetsu experiment, which was not based on the predictions of geochronologists, but rather the independant chronology of the lake varves? The answer is, it does not; you simply substituted some kind of stock response to the evidence of an experiment you were unfamiliar with.

Ah yes, the typical amalgamation of the “no evidence would be convincing enough for you” claim coupled with an argument from authority.

I made the first charge because it was accurate; but I don't see the argument from authority in my statement. You apply impossible and unique standards to geochronology; standards that you don't apply to other fields.

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.

If it were apparent; if geochronologists were applying these reliability criteria (which they are); how would you know? To what "criteria" are you referring to, and how would you recognize them? You're simply pointed to a few cherry-picked examples (examples that actually disprove your argument when statistically analyzed) and asserted that they are failures in reliability with no justification as to why that would be so.

I do so only because I feel there exists reasonable grounds to do so.

Why should we accept your grounds as reasonable? I certainly don't, neither does anyone else here; we've told you why but you have not defended yourself.

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.

I'm not asking you to. Ask all the questions you like. But none of us here are interested in playing a game where the rules are stacked against geochronology and no other similar field, from the outset.


This message is a reply to:
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crashfrog
Member (Idle past 778 days)
Posts: 19762
From: Silver Spring, MD
Joined: 03-20-2003


Message 88 of 113 (168253)
12-14-2004 7:04 PM
Reply to: Message 85 by Anti-Climacus
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.

That's a laughable and ludicrous statement. It's easy, through error, to reduce the concordinancy of concordinant data. But it doesn't work the other way. Error doesn't make discordinant data concordinant. Error makes discordinant data equally discordinant. Analogy: adding static on top of static in a TV doesn't create a picture, but rather, static. To repeat - you can't create concordinancy through error.

That's obvious. That you would offer such a ridiculous statement displays your profound unseriousness about the material, and displays your double standard regarding the reliability of geochronology versus other fields.


This message is a reply to:
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Replies to this message:
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