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Author Topic:   Radiometric Dating and the Geologic Column: A Critique
JonF
Member
Posts: 6174
Joined: 06-23-2003


Message 76 of 113 (167162)
12-11-2004 11:43 AM
Reply to: Message 72 by PurpleYouko
12-10-2004 11:26 PM


Meteorite ages
Again I am no expert but I hear that most meteorites that come from ateroid collisions etc. come in at around 4.5Ga (the same age as the solar system and a little older than terrestrial rock)

Yup. Dalrymple discusses this extensively in "The Age of the Earth", Stanford University Press, 1991. Since you appear to be in an academic setting there's a pretty good chance you can find it in your library, and it's the classic fairly technical introduction to radioisotope dating methods and the sources of the evidence for Earth's age (he doesn't talk much about studies of things younger than the Earth). You want to know more about dating, start with Dalrymple. You want to know more about analytical techniques and serious technical discussion, read "Principles of Isotope Geology, 2nd Edition", Gunter Faure, Wiley 1986 and "Radiogenic Isotope Geology", Alan P. Dickin, Cambridge University Press, I don't know the date 'cause I'm on the road. The second edition of Dickin is available, now with figures, at Radiogenic Isotope Geology, but this may disappear at any moment (publication is scheduled for March 2005).

Some relevant tables from Dalrymple are at the end of http://lordibelieve.org/time/age4.PDF. More evidence at http://www.lordibelieve.org/page15.html.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 72 by PurpleYouko, posted 12-10-2004 11:26 PM PurpleYouko has replied

Replies to this message:
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JonF
Member
Posts: 6174
Joined: 06-23-2003


Message 77 of 113 (167164)
12-11-2004 11:48 AM
Reply to: Message 75 by PaulK
12-11-2004 5:34 AM


Re: An Example
It seems that your primary point is that you reject the explanations offered by geologists for "discordant" dates.

I agree, but IMHO a nearly-as-important secondary point/claim is the frequency of discordant dates, which he has made no effort to support other than by asssertion.

Of course, if one were to accept his claim of frequent errors, that would immediately lead to the conclusion that some of the radiosotope age determinations are correct!

It all boils down to the ol' chestnut: we don't know everything therefore we know nothing.


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roxrkool
Member (Idle past 220 days)
Posts: 1497
From: Nevada
Joined: 03-23-2003


Message 78 of 113 (167180)
12-11-2004 1:35 PM
Reply to: Message 76 by JonF
12-11-2004 11:43 AM


Re: Meteorite ages
Is age-dating rocks what you do for a living, Jon?

This message is a reply to:
 Message 76 by JonF, posted 12-11-2004 11:43 AM JonF has replied

Replies to this message:
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PurpleYouko
Member
Posts: 714
From: Columbia Missouri
Joined: 11-11-2004


Message 79 of 113 (167217)
12-11-2004 3:38 PM
Reply to: Message 76 by JonF
12-11-2004 11:43 AM


Re: Meteorite ages
Thanks for the references Jon. I will look them up when I get the chance.

PY


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JonF
Member
Posts: 6174
Joined: 06-23-2003


Message 80 of 113 (167219)
12-11-2004 3:48 PM
Reply to: Message 78 by roxrkool
12-11-2004 1:35 PM


Who is this JonF guy?
Is age-dating rocks what you do for a living, Jon?

Nope, just an enthusiastic amateur. I have a BSME & MSME from MIT. I spent about 25 years designing and supervising design of capital equipment used in the semiconductor industry. Got out when the industry collapsed about three years ago; it's just not as much fun as it used to be now that the industry is more mature (some might say stodgy). Now I consult on design and AutoCAD (I'm probably one of the world's greatest experts on connecting AutoCAD and databases ... talk about a minuscule puddle in which to be a big frog!), do course development and some teaching for my wife's training & organizational development consulting business, and do PC repair in the local area just to get out of the house and meet people and pick up a little extra money.


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roxrkool
Member (Idle past 220 days)
Posts: 1497
From: Nevada
Joined: 03-23-2003


Message 81 of 113 (167259)
12-11-2004 8:46 PM
Reply to: Message 80 by JonF
12-11-2004 3:48 PM


Re: Who is this JonF guy?
Thanks. I was just curious. You seem pretty well read on the subject. More so than I am.

Edited to fix wrong word.

This message has been edited by roxrkool, 12-13-2004 10:49 AM


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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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crashfrog
Member (Idle past 698 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.


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crashfrog
Member (Idle past 698 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.


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PaulK
Member
Posts: 17167
Joined: 01-10-2003
Member Rating: 3.6


Message 89 of 113 (168259)
12-14-2004 7:15 PM
Reply to: Message 83 by Anti-Climacus
12-14-2004 6:46 PM


The number of published discordant dates has little bearing on the number that are unpublished. To establish a claim you must provided sufficient evidence that it would be unreasonable to refuse to accept it. This you have not done.

I also must point out that I suggested only that all interestign discorant dates - which should include all those that could possibly help your case should be published. To argue that they must be published is a waste of time since you are claiming that results that would be classified as interesting should be published.

I also point otu that you claim that radiometric dating is produced to be in accorance with established dates misses the point. If early attempts at radiometric datign had produced obviosuly bad results then geochronologists might rightly have rejected radimetric dating as a failure - instead the results produced were good enough for the method to be accepted. And for further tests to be carried out which also indicated that the methods were reliable.

As to your final paragraph I only note that your "quantitative analysis" was only a count of the number of discordant dates "cherry pcicked" by Woodmorappe without any attempt to consider the frequency. As you have already conceded it could not support your claim. So no, this cannot count to supprot your claim that discordant dates are frequent.

I woul add that there are serious questions over whether the methods used are invalid according to your example - and even if you were correct it would not support either of the two points.

And appealing to quotes which were only ever present in the topiv proposal is a poor way of arguing. Especially as given the all-too-common misuse of quotes in creationist sources every single one of them would probably have to be examined in context before it could be trusted.

And still you have not addressed your claim that your point b) was a prediction of creationism.


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Jazzns
Member (Idle past 3142 days)
Posts: 2657
From: A Better America
Joined: 07-23-2004


Message 90 of 113 (168260)
12-14-2004 7:20 PM
Reply to: Message 85 by Anti-Climacus
12-14-2004 6:51 PM


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.

Why wouldn't it produce a reliable age? The age of the trauma.

From what I understand, the isochron formed by a sample that has undergone geologic trauma can often be the age of the trauma. In your example the analysis was of a meteor which had undergone a severe trauma for which the isochron if any was the age of said trauma. Not withstanding that there was probably no "expected age" for a non terrestrial sample to begin with.

The McKee & Noble example where you get your "fortuitous" mantra that you keep repeating speaks of a case where the K-Ar date fit an isochron due to a trauma. It makes perfect sense to me why a heating event would reset the radiometric clock of one type of system and not another. How is this an example of the method failing?

Also, you have failed to address my clarification of Dr Cresswell's statistical strategy to diagnose data fudging by geochronologists. You have a valid method of detecting selective reporting so why don't you exercise it?

This message has been edited by Jazzns, 01-03-2005 12:37 AM


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