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Author Topic:   Validity of Radiometric Dating
Taq
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Joined: 03-06-2009
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Message 69 of 200 (733389)
07-16-2014 9:29 PM
Reply to: Message 65 by mram10
07-16-2014 11:31 AM


Re: why wiki may be a poor source
I digress, but I too have questions about the validation of radiometric dating methods that are too old to verify by observation.

Perhaps it might help to list the observations that do verify radiometric dating.

1. The observed decay rate of isotopes, and the constancy of the physical laws that govern radiometric decay as seen across the entire universe verify the validity of using decay rates as clocks. Even a small amount of an unstable isotope can produce thousands of decay events in a few minutes, even for isotopes with very long half lives. This means that measuring their decay rates does not require us to sit around for billions of years. We also know that the stability of isotopes is governed by atomic forces, the very same atomic forces that govern the power output of stars and the spectra that they produce. We observe that stars all have the same power output throughout the universe, and have the same spectra.

2. The observed properties of newly formed rocks verify the validity of the models used for radiometric dating. For example, we observe that the chemistry of zircon formation results in the inclusion of uranium and the exclusion of lead. Therefore, we can know that any Pb found in a zircon got there from the known decay products of U.

3. The cross correlation of different radiometric methods is another independent test of the methods validity. There are many different radioisotopes used in dating, and they each have a different stable product. Three examples are K/Ar, U/Pb, and Rb/Sr dating. Different isotopes have different decay rates, and there are different types of decay processes (e.g. beta and gamma). Therefore, if radiometric dating didn't work, then there would be no reason why dates from completely different isotope pairs would produce the same dates, but they do. Different methods using different isotopes give us the same dates.

4. Correlation of radiometric dating with non-radiometric dates is also a very strong source of validation. For example, if radiometric dating really does work then we should see a strong correlation between radiometric dates and specific fossils and sediments. That is exactly what we see. This is exactly what they did with radiometric dating and the famous K/T boundary which marks the end of the dinosaurs. The K/T boundary had already been defined at several places around the globe well before radiometric dating came along. When they used radiometric dating on that boundary it returned the same date at every location.

If you want to argue that radiometric dating doesn't work, then you need to explain all of these correlations, be they correlations with fossils or correlations between different radiometric dating methods. In science, this type of consilience (a very important term to understand) is the gold standard for validating a method.

Edited by Taq, : No reason given.


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Taq
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Posts: 8409
Joined: 03-06-2009
Member Rating: 1.9


(2)
Message 70 of 200 (733390)
07-16-2014 9:43 PM


How do creationists explain these correlations?
Below is a chart from the article "Radiometric Dating Does Work" written by G. Brent Dalrymple, and expert in radiometric dating.

Dalrymple does a good job of summarizing the data.

"First, the Cretaceous and Tertiary periods were defined by geologists in the early 1800s. The boundary between these periods (the K-T boundary) is marked by an abrupt change in fossils found in sedimentary rocks worldwide. Its exact location in the stratigraphic column at any locality has nothing to do with radiometric dating — it is located by careful study of the fossils and the rocks that contain them, and nothing more. Second, the radiometric age measurements, 187 of them, were made on 3 different minerals and on glass by 3 distinctly different dating methods (K-Ar and 40Ar/39Ar are technical variations that use the same parent-daughter decay scheme), each involving different elements with different half-lives. Furthermore, the dating was done in 6 different laboratories and the materials were collected from 5 different locations in the Western Hemisphere. And yet the results are the same within analytical error. If radiometric dating didn’t work then such beautifully consistent results would not be possible."

I would love to see someone who discounts radiometric dating to explain how it is possible to get such consistent results.


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Taq
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Posts: 8409
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(1)
Message 97 of 200 (733502)
07-17-2014 5:26 PM
Reply to: Message 74 by mram10
07-17-2014 12:31 AM


Re: why wiki may be a poor source
1. I have been reading about helium dating of rocks from 0-12000 ft in new mexico done by the RATE team. The article mentioned the uranium alpha particles becoming helium levels were different than originally thought, thus making the age based on helium dating, younger. It was the first I had heard of this, so I am seeking more info.

Others have covered other aspects of this particular case. Needless to say, the RATE team did not demonstrate that the helium levels were consistent with a young date.

However, there is another comment I would like to make. Many creationists will criticize radiometric dating techniques because they rely on an assumption that the daughter product can not move in or out of the rock. Of course, this assumption has been tested inside and out for the main dating methods that geologists use. What is curious is that when the creationists try to devise a methodology, they picked a daughter product that does move in and out of the rock, and does so in a temperature dependent manner.

So why would creationists pick a dating methodology that has the very problems that they falsely accuse other methodologies of having? Seems a bit two-faced to me.

2. I also have questions about the assumptions you listed (rate been a constant, etc). Again, I read a study by the same RATE team, that I need to link, stating ideas to the contrary.

The constancy of decay rates is a fact, not an assumption. In order to change decay rates you would need to change the funadmental laws of physics to do so. Such changes would easily be seen in distant stars, be it spectra or the brightness/longevity of type Ia supernovae.

While I am tempted to really tell you what I think of the RATE team, I won't. I often complain that creationists refuse to get in the lab and test their ideas. The RATE team actually did that. They botched their research on purpose, but at least they tried to do some science.


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Taq
Member
Posts: 8409
Joined: 03-06-2009
Member Rating: 1.9


(1)
Message 98 of 200 (733505)
07-17-2014 5:35 PM
Reply to: Message 73 by mram10
07-17-2014 12:21 AM


Re: why wiki may be a poor source
As for my experience, I have not met many true scientists. Fact Every time I have questioned macro ev, I get the "you must be a ...." treatment. I mentioned piltdown, nebraska, etc being found to be flawed, to make sure they were no longer part of the debate and I get met with the above

You have to understand that you get the "you must be a ....." because you are repeating the hogwash that creationist organizations peddle to christian groups. It is also quite apparent that you get your information solely from non-scientific creationist sites.

So the real question is why you think a few creationist sites gives you teh information you need to tell hundreds of thousands of highly trained and highly experienced scientists that they are all wrong? Surely you understand just how silly you must look, right?

{Things biological evolution is definitely off-topic - Adminnemoosseus}

Edited by Adminnemooseus, : Off-topic banner and note.


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Taq
Member
Posts: 8409
Joined: 03-06-2009
Member Rating: 1.9


Message 99 of 200 (733506)
07-17-2014 5:38 PM
Reply to: Message 88 by ringo
07-17-2014 12:36 PM


Re: why wiki may be a poor source
How about: Nobody but a creationist thinks there's a fundamental difference between micro and macro.

I don't know about fundamental, but there is a crucial difference between the two. Macroevolution needs a mechanism not found in microevolution, and that mechanism is speciation. In order to get multiple and diverse species you need populations to be isolated from one another, and then accumulate different mutations over time.

{Things biological evolution are definitely off-topic. - Adminnemooseus}

Edited by Adminnemooseus, : Off-topic banner and note.


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