Carbon dating debunked
Originally posted at RDF, Cali's demolition of AiG's Carbon dating . Radioactive means that 14C will decay (emit radiation) over time and become . about grams of carbon per cm2, this gives an expected specific activity. Carbon (14C), also referred to as radiocarbon, is claimed to be a . rate of C- 14, is a function not only of the solar activity but also of the. Read the principles of discussion about radioactive dating? Read the dating activity 5 on radioactive dating and its uses. More. Debunking the decay curves for.
Slusher and Rybka also propose that neutrinos can change decay rates, citing an hypothesis by Dudley 40 that decay is triggered by neutrinos in a "neutrino sea" and that changes in the neutrino flux might affect decay rates.
This argument has been refuted by Brush 20who points out that Dudley's hypothesis not only requires rejection of both relativity and quantum mechanics, two of the most spectacularly successful theories in modern science, but is disproved by recent experiments.
Dudley himself rejects the conclusions drawn from his hypothesis by Slusher and Rybkanoting that the observed changes in decay rates are insufficient to change the age of the Earth by more than a few percent Dudley, personal communication,quoted in 20, p. Thus, even if Slusher and Rybka were correct--which they are not--the measured age of the Earth would still exceed 4 billion years. Judging from the above, it is easy to see that creationists are indulging in wild fishing expeditions.
Compare their flighty arguments to the solid support provided by theoretical work, laboratory testing, and, for the shorter half-lives, actual observation, and add to that the statistical consistency of the dates obtained, including numerous cross-checks between different "clocks," and only one conclusion is left. The radiometric decay rates used in dating are totally reliable. They are one of the safest bets in all of science.
The initial C content cannot be known. Various living samples give very different ratios. With at least one notable exception on the books, plants and animals get their carbon from the atmosphere. Plants take it in directly, and animals eat the plants. Thus, it gets passed up the food chain. It is not surprising, therefore, to find that the carbon in living plants and animals is in reasonable equilibrium with the atmospheric carbon Some creationists, however, have claimed that certain plants can reject carbon in favor of carbon Because of the chemical similarity of carbon and carbon, it is unlikely that such plants could deviate much from the ratio of C to C found in the atmosphere.
Neither freak cases nor small deviations pose much of a problem for radiocarbon dating, which, after all, works well with a wide variety of plant and animal species. Hence, we only have to worry about the initial concentration of C in the atmosphere. Topic R1 shows that the level of C in the atmosphere has not varied appreciably over tens of thousands of years.
Therefore, the initial C content is known for any reasonable sample! The notable exception involves certain mollusks, which get much of their carbon from dissolved limestone.
Since limestone is very old it contains very little carbon Thus, in getting some of their carbon from limestone, these mollusks "inherit" some of the limestone's old age! That is, the limestone carbon skews the normal ratio between C and C found in living things. If one dates such mollusks, one must be extra careful in interpreting the data. Not every mollusk shell presents such problems, and the dating of other material might yield a cross-check.
Further study might even allow correction tables. The discovery has strengthened the carbon method, not weakened it! By the way, shouldn't the creationist be worried over the old, carbon age of the limestone? Why is it that limestone has so little C in it? Partial contamination, say of a block of wood, may affect its different parts to different degrees.
Radioactive dating problems worksheet | Axe Bat Blog
Insect burrows, cracks, and partial decay may allow contamination later on to affect those portions of the sample unequally. However, there are laboratory techniques, often ingenious, for dealing with such problems. If the sample shows evidence of being hopelessly contaminated it is pitched.
Some samples, such as a section of a tree trunk, may well contain material of considerably different ages. The interior portion of a tree trunk could easily be several hundred years older than the outer portions. In summing up this point, we do know within good limits what the initial C was for any reasonable sample. A sample will not have different ratios of carbon unless it has been contaminated or reflects a genuine range of ages.
How Good are those Young-Earth Arguments: Radiocarbon Dating
It is very difficult or impossible to prove that a given sample has not been contaminated. Parent or daughter products could have leached in or out of the sample. In the case of carbon dating, the daughter product is ordinary nitrogen and plays no role in the dating process. We are only interested in tallying the original C still present in the sample, the surviving "parent" isotope.
The C that is incorporated in the carbon structure of cellulose and the other structural materials of living plants and animals is not going to do much migrating after burial. If structural carbon migrated easily there soon wouldn't be any cellulose, lignin, chitin or other structural carbon compounds left in the soil! A piece of wood, for example, would soon turn into a formless cloud of graphite or soot in the soil, with perhaps a little ash marking the original shape! Clearly, that is not something which normally happens.
Residues or solutions which do migrate can usually be washed out of the structural matrix of the sample with various chemicals. To put it another way, we might imagine a piece of buried wood as being something like a sponge. Any carbon-containing liquid originally possessed by that sponge might well leak over time and be replaced by something else. However, unless the sponge itself disintegrates, the carbon which holds its fibers together must stay put.
Thus, by choosing a sample that is structurally intact, one may rule out any significant loss of C If the liquid impurities in our sponge can be washed and squeezed out, or estimated in some way, then we may be able to date the sponge structural component of our sample itself and get a good date even if non-structural carbon had been lost in a manner that would upset the isotope ratio.
A sample, of course, can be contaminated if organic material rich in fresh atmospheric C soaks or diffuses into it. Such contamination may occur in the ground or during the processing of the sample in the laboratory. However, such contamination will make the sample appear younger than its true age. Consequently, with regards to carbon dating, creationists are barking up the wrong tree on the contamination issue!
Laboratories, of course, do have techniques for identifying and correcting contamination. There are various methods of cleaning the material, and the activity of each rinse can be measured.
Lab contamination and technique can be checked by running blanks. A careful choice of samples will often minimize contamination. Dating various portions of a sample is another kind of check that may be performed. Often there are cross-checks. Samples from top to bottom of a peat bog gave reasonable time intervals Science, vol.
The calibrated C method confirmed Egyptian records, and most of the Aegean dates which were cross-dated with Egyptian dates were confirmed American Scientist, May-June The marvelous agreement with tree-ring data, after correction for variations in the earth's magnetic field, has already been mentioned. Carbon dating thus presents a deadly challenge to young-earth creationists.
If an old date is reasonably accurate, they're out of business; if an old date is bad due to contamination, then they are still out of business because the true date is most likely older still.
It hardly seems fair, but that's the way it is. With that in mind, let's look at a few carbon dates. Egyptian barley samples have been found which date to 17, years old Science, April 7, On page the author explains some of the professional care which stands behind his use of the carbon method. A wooden walkway buried in a peat bog in England has been dated to about BC by the carbon method Scientific American, Augustp.
Odd, that Noah's flood neither destroyed it nor deposited thick sediments on top of it! Jennifer Hillam of the University of Sheffield and Mike Baillie of Queen's University of Belfast and their colleagues were able to date the walkway by a second method, i.
They found out that the walkway, known as the Sweet Track, was built from trees felled in the winter of BC. Pretty close agreement, huh? Stonehenge, as dated by carbon, was built over a period from BC to BC -- long before the Druids came to England. Astronomer Gerald Hawkins found, after careful computer calculations, that the arrangement of the stones at Stonehenge are aligned with key positions of the sun and moon as they were almost years ago. Weber,p.
Thus, we have another remarkable confirmation of the C method. When did the volcano that destroyed Thera and probably the Minoan culture as well explode? Radiocarbon dating of seeds and wood buried in the ash, done by scientists at the University of Pennsylvania, pointed to no later than BC.
Being that this was one of the biggest volcanic eruptions in recorded history, it almost certainly caused worldwide cooling which would, in turn, affect tree growth. Sure enough, the growth rings among oaks buried in Ireland's bogs show the effect of unusual cooling from BC. Nor was that just an effect of local weather conditions. The bristlecone pines in the White Mountains of California show the same thing. A third estimate came from studies in Greenland. Thus, we have a remarkable agreement between three different methods, all within two or three percentage points of each other!
Trees buried by the last advance of glacial ice at Two Creeks, Wisconsin were dated at 11, years. Between those trees, which are buried in Valders red till, and an earlier, deeper layer of till, the Woodfordian gray till, lay the remains of a forest bed!
What is a forest, including developed soil and rooted stumps, doing between two advances of ice? That could be an interesting question for someone who believes in only one "ice age. By careful counting and cross-checking he was able to determine that the oldest glacial lakes, which would have formed at the start of the retreat of the ice, were 12, years old. Thus, we have a rough check between varves in glacial lakes and radiocarbon dating. Richard Foster Flint, a professor of geology at Yale University and an expert on the Pleistocene epoch, was among the first to apply radiocarbon dating to glacial events.
Collecting wood, bones and other organic material that had been covered over by the Laurentide Ice Sheet as it plowed across eastern and central North America, Flint collaborated with geophysicist Myer Rubin to demonstrate in that in most places the ice sheet achieved its greatest advance about 18, years ago, began to withdraw shortly thereafter and then hastened its retreat about 10, years ago.
Chorlton,p. On the wall of Gargas Cave in the French Pyrenees are the outlined hands of Ice Age artists which date to at least 12, years. Magnificent prehistoric cave art, comparable to that of the world-famous caves of Altamira, Spain and Lascaux, France, was recently discovered in southern France, in the Ardeche River canyon area Los Angeles Times; Pasadena Star-News January 19, Its paintings of such animals as bison, reindeer, rhinoceros, woolly rhinoceros, a panther, an owl, a hyena, bears, lions, horses, wild oxen, mammoths, wild goats and other animals is estimated to be between 19, years old.
Sorry, no dinosaur drawings were reported! In Europe, cave art was at its height around 20, years ago. Some examples probably go back 30, years! The C cannot be accurately measured. It makes up less than one part per million in the atmosphere, and claiming to be able to measure accurately to 7 decimal places is not reasonable.
This is similar to an argument put out by Harold Slusherp. Hovind adds the bizarre claim that something can't be measured accurately to seven decimal places. Such nonsense is answered by Dr. Dalrymple, an expert in radiometric dating, who noted that: New techniques using accelerators and highly sensitive mass spectrometers, now in the experimental stage, have pushed these limits back to 70, or 80, years We can also explore this issue from first principles.
Given that the half-life of carbon is years, one can calculate that 4 billion C atoms will produce 1 decay per minute on the average. Converting the 4 billion atoms to grams a nickel weighs 5 gramswe get 0. Consequently, by tallying one click per minute on the Geiger counter, we can measure a whole lot further than 7 decimal places!
A 1-gram, fresh sample of carbon, containing the atmospheric concentration of one ten-billionth percent of carbon, will yield about 12 decays per minute. That figure follows directly from the mathematics and, as the atmospheric portion of carbon given above is an approximation, is close enough to Dr.
Hovind's present-day figure of 16 counts per minute per gram. Because of atomic bomb tests, the rate is slightly higher today, but the present rate would not apply to animals and plants which died before such tests. One book used a figure of about Consequently, a gram sample of fresh carbon will still give about 7 clicks per minute after 40, years.
Because of background radiation, that's about as far as one can normally go with this counting method. As noted above, Dr. Dalrymple would extend that to 50, years in special laboratories.
Hovind has relied on bad data. If you get your information from a creationist source, you'd better triple-check it!
Radioactive dating problems worksheet
An archaeologist must also make sure that only the useful series of samples are collected and processed for carbon dating and not every organic material found in the excavation site.
Radiocarbon Scientists—Archaeologists Liaison It is important that the radiocarbon scientists and archaeologists agree on the sampling strategy before starting the excavation so time, effort, and resources will not be wasted and meaningful result will be produced after the carbon dating process. It must be stressed that archaeologists need to interact with radiocarbon laboratories first before excavation due to several factors.
Sample type, size and packing Laboratories have limitations in terms of the samples they can process for radiocarbon dating. Some labs, for example, do not date carbonates.
Laboratories must also be consulted as to the required amount of sample that they ideally like to process as well as their preference with certain samples for carbon dating. Other labs accept waterlogged wood while others prefer them dry at submission. Sample collection Contaminants must not be introduced to the samples during collection and storing. Hydrocarbons, glue, biocides, polyethylene glycol or polyvinyl acetate PVA must not come in contact with samples for radiocarbon dating.
Other potential contaminants include paper, cardboard, cotton wool, string and cigarette ash. Sample storage Samples must be stored in packaging materials that will protect them during transport and even during prolonged storage.
Labels attached to the packaging materials must not fade or rub off easily. Glass containers can be used when storing radiocarbon dating samples, but they are susceptible to breakage and can be impractical when dealing with large samples. Aluminum containers with screw caps are safe, but it is still best to consult the radiocarbon laboratory for the best containers of carbon dating samples.
Errors and calibration It is recommended that archaeologists, or any client in general, ask the laboratory if results have systematic or random errors.
They should also ask details about the calibration used for conversion of BP years to calendar years. Cost Clarify the costs involved in radiocarbon dating of samples.
Some labs charge more for samples that they do not regularly process.
Timescale Radiocarbon dating takes time, and laboratories often have waiting lists so this factor must be considered. Sample identification The carbon dating process is destructive, and labs usually advise their clients with regard to sample identification or labelling. Types of contaminant Communication with clients also gives labs an idea of the possible types of contaminants in the excavation site.
Knowing the type of contaminants also give radiocarbon scientists an idea on the pretreatment methods needed to be done before starting carbon dating. Expected sample age Labs ask clients on the expected age of the radiocarbon dating samples submitted to make sure that cross-contamination is avoided during sample processing and that no sample of substantial age more than 10, years must follow modern ones.
Labs also want to avoid processing carbon dating samples that will yield large calendar ranges. Radiocarbon dating results have insignificant value as in the case when the calibration curve is effectively flat and all calendar events in the period will produce about the same radiocarbon age.
In either of the cases, it is still worthwhile to carefully consider why the radiocarbon dating results were deemed unacceptable. Rescue Archaeology Rescue archaeology involves the survey and potential excavation of sites that are to undergo some form of construction or development in order to recover any valuable finds that are uncovered and prevent their destruction. The impending developments leave little time for archaeologists to undertake their work and creates a time-pressured environment with stakeholders eager for them to finish as soon as possible.