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Author Topic:   Carbon-14 Dating Debate Assistance Thread
Coyote
Member (Idle past 2220 days)
Posts: 6117
Joined: 01-12-2008


Message 7 of 38 (448222)
01-12-2008 4:01 PM
Reply to: Message 5 by Zucadragon
01-09-2008 8:31 AM



This message is a reply to:
 Message 5 by Zucadragon, posted 01-09-2008 8:31 AM Zucadragon has not replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 8 by AdminCoragyps, posted 01-12-2008 5:51 PM Coyote has replied

  
Coyote
Member (Idle past 2220 days)
Posts: 6117
Joined: 01-12-2008


Message 9 of 38 (448246)
01-12-2008 5:58 PM
Reply to: Message 8 by AdminCoragyps
01-12-2008 5:51 PM


I thought I might jump in on the thread.
I am an archaeologist/physical anthropologist, and have collected and submitted nearly 600 radiocarbon dates.
I let the labs do the middle part, but the collection of good samples and interpretation of the laboratory results are just as critical in understanding the past.
And I particularly dislike the lies that creationists tell about radiocarbon dating.

This message is a reply to:
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Replies to this message:
 Message 12 by SqU1r3, posted 05-31-2008 3:21 PM Coyote has replied

  
Coyote
Member (Idle past 2220 days)
Posts: 6117
Joined: 01-12-2008


Message 14 of 38 (468703)
05-31-2008 4:14 PM
Reply to: Message 12 by SqU1r3
05-31-2008 3:21 PM


Re: "Creationist Lies"
There is more C-14 in the atmosphere now than there was 40 years ago. This would prove the earth is not yet 30,000 years old!
False. Apparently Mr. Hovind is unaware of the nuclear tests in the late 1950s and early 1960s. From the abstract of an article on the subject:
This also means that plants and animals that lived in the past had less C-14 in them than do plants and animals today. Just this one fact totally upsets data obtained by C-14 dating.
As shown above, this is false.
...carbon-14 dating rests on two simple assumptions. They are, obviously, assuming the amount of carbon-14 in the atmosphere has always been constant, and its rate of decay has always been constant. Neither of these assumptions is provable or reasonable.
False again. Atmospheric variation was realized early on by de Vries (1958) and the radiocarbon dating method has taken that into account ever since. Radiocarbon measurements are calibrated by reference to a curve based on tree rings, ice cores, glacial varves and other indicators.
And the decay constant has been found to be remarkably constant in spite of creationists' wishes to the contrary. Some creationists even spent over a million dollars trying to show that the decay constant varied (google the "RATE Project"). They succeeded only in showing that science was correct all along. See Assessing the RATE Project by Randy Isaac.
The answer changes based on the assumptions. Similarly, scientists do not know that the carbon-14 decay rate has been constant. They do not know that the amount of carbon-14 in the atmosphere is constant. Present testing shows the amount of C-14 in the atmosphere has been increasing since it was first measured in the 1950's. This may be tied in to the declining strength of the magnetic field. "
"Assumptions" does not automatically mean "wrong" as creationists imply. Assuming the sun will rise tomorrow morning is not a very risky bet.
As noted above, creationists trying to show the decay constant varies failed. We do know the atmospheric levels of C14 vary, and take that into account. And the levels of C14 in the atmosphere have increased since the early 1950s due to atomic testing, not declining strength of the magnetic field.
Hovind strikes out on all claims.
These are not "lies".
OK, I guess we can be charitable. Shall we call it creation "science" instead?

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Coyote
Member (Idle past 2220 days)
Posts: 6117
Joined: 01-12-2008


Message 24 of 38 (492567)
01-01-2009 11:45 AM
Reply to: Message 23 by RAZD
01-01-2009 10:54 AM


Re: Overview of C-14 for Peg to aid her skepticism regarding reports of "unreliability"
Good overview.
Here are some good links that may also help:

ReligiousTolerance.org Carbon-14 Dating (C-14): Beliefs of New-Earth Creationists
[b]Radiometric Dating: A Christian Perspective by Dr. Roger C. Wiens.
This site, BiblicalChronologist.org has a series of good articles on radiocarbon dating.

Are tree-ring chronologies reliable? (The Biblical Chronologist, Vol. 5, No. 1)
How does the radiocarbon dating method work? (The Biblical Chronologist, Vol. 5, No. 1)
How precise is radiocarbon dating?
Is radiocarbon dating based on assumptions?
Has radiocarbon dating been invalidated by unreasonable results?
Tree Ring and C14 Dating
Radiocarbon WEB-info Radiocarbon Laboratory, University of Waikato, New Zealand.
Radiocarbon -- full text of issues, 1959-2003.

Religious belief does not constitute scientific evidence, nor does it convey scientific knowledge.

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Coyote
Member (Idle past 2220 days)
Posts: 6117
Joined: 01-12-2008


Message 30 of 38 (492662)
01-02-2009 1:19 AM
Reply to: Message 29 by Peg
01-02-2009 1:05 AM


Re: Bump for Peg to air her skepticism regarding carbon dating
others also recognise variences as a problem for C14 dating...
Because of atmospheric variation, there are some potential errors that could creep into radiocarbon dates. Charts showing the magnitude of this variation were posted above. It doesn't amount to much and all of the major laboratories provide both the measured or conventional ages (raw measurements) as well as the calibrated age, which corrects for this variation. (The conventional age is also corrected for C13, but you don't need to worry about that; its just another minor correction that improves accuracy.)
So what are your concerns with this dating method?

Religious belief does not constitute scientific evidence, nor does it convey scientific knowledge.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 29 by Peg, posted 01-02-2009 1:05 AM Peg has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 31 by Peg, posted 01-02-2009 2:47 AM Coyote has replied

  
Coyote
Member (Idle past 2220 days)
Posts: 6117
Joined: 01-12-2008


Message 36 of 38 (492716)
01-02-2009 11:28 AM
Reply to: Message 31 by Peg
01-02-2009 2:47 AM


Re: Bump for Peg to air her skepticism regarding carbon dating
Peg, its clear that you don't know anything about C14 dating from your own research and that you are reading about it only on creationist websites. They are lying to you.
On this site you have several people who are very familiar with the method. I've done nearly 600 samples in my career as an archaeologist, and I've both written and lectured on the subject. Now, to your creationist websites' objections:
contamination of the samples tested for instance. Its always possible that a bit of wood, for example, from the heart of an old tree might contain live sap. Or if it was extracted with an organic solvent (often made from petroleum), a trace of the solvent might be left in the portion analyzed. Charcoal could have been penetrated by rootlets from living plants. Any of these senarios could affect the levels of C14
That's why you never rely on just one sample! My last major excavation included 31 radiocarbon dates on a variety of materials, and those results were compared to two other dating methods and the results from other local sites.
There is also a method for estimating the trustworthiness of your sample--establishing the C13/C12 ratio. C13 is a stable isotope, and because it is heavier it is taken up slightly differently into different parts of the food chain. If you find a piece of marine shellfish with a -26.0 ratio, or a piece of wood charcoal with a 1.0 ratio you know those samples are questionable!
Sap is not a problem. And if there was sap, it would make the sample artificially younger. A more serious problem is dating part of a 1,000 year old tree that was collected and burned on an archaeological site. That would make your date artificially old.
Extraction is not a problem. Give the laboratories some credit for not being total dolts, eh? And rootlets! Don't you think the professionals have thought of that one too? The pretreatment methods include a procedure for dissolving those rootlets!
Live shellfish have been found with carbonate from minerals long buried or from seawater upwelling from the deep ocean where it had been for thousands of years. Such things can make a specimen appear either older or younger than it really is.
No, only older. Dating freshwater shellfish in an area heavily influenced by old carbonates is just not done. That's where you get your living shellfish that are thousands of years old. But marine shellfish are different--they make a fine dating material. They are short-lived, so you don't have the problem of a 300 year old abalone. They are usually dense, so you don't have much rootlet or ground water penetration. And they represent a single event--a person collecting a shellfish from the ocean and bringing it back to the site.
But its still too old, you say? The laboratories correct for that. They have established a worldwide correction for marine shellfish. To that you add your local correction, called the Delta-R. In my area the Delta-R is 225 years. This was established by dating 1) marine shells collected at a known time prior to the beginning of nuclear testing, and 2) comparison of charcoal/shellfish pairs from identical proveniences. The last such test I ran produced a difference, following calibrations, of 15 years between the shellfish and the charcoal. That's well within the limit of error.
there is also the assumption that the level of carbon 14 in the atmosphere has always been the same as it is now. But we know that the carbon level has increased a lot since the explosion of neuclar bombs into the atmosphere and since the use of burning fossil fuels. So how do we really know what the levels were thousands of years ago?
This is probably the biggest creationist mistake. We don't just assume the levels of C14 in the atmosphere have been the same! De Vries published on this back in 1958, and by comparison to tree rings and other annualar materials a calibration curve has been worked out which corrects for atmospheric variation. There are examples of these charts upthread, if you had bothered to read those long posts.
The nuclear testing only effects organisms that are taking up carbon after that testing began. It does not effect older samples.
volcanic eruptions also add to the stable carbon-dioxide reservoir, thus diluting the radiocarbon....so how do they account for all these possible variences in c14 in the atmosphere??? How can they honestly know how much to make allowance for???
By tree rings! If you date a tree ring that is 11,000 years old (and you know its age by direct counting) then you can tell how far off the measured or conventional radiocarbon age is and correct for it, resulting in an accurately calibrated date.
Peg, your objections are all standard creationist fodder, and have been answered thousands of times.
Admit it--you just want radiocarbon dating to be worthless so it fits with your a priori beliefs, and no amount of evidence that we present will make any difference to those beliefs. That's the usual pattern that we see.
If you are willing to read some basic information try this article (which I already linked to you above) I suggest you begin with:
Radiometric Dating: A Christian Perspective by Dr. Roger C. Wiens
If your response shows that you have not seriously considered any of this, and that you are still relying only on creationist websites, you can expect a somewhat less polite response.

Religious belief does not constitute scientific evidence, nor does it convey scientific knowledge.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 31 by Peg, posted 01-02-2009 2:47 AM Peg has not replied

Replies to this message:
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