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Origins Theology Forum for the discussion of Creation Science (Young/Old) vs Theistic Evolution. Discussion of Atheistic Evolution should be taken to the Discussion and Debate forums.

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  #41  
Old 10th April 2007, 07:25 PM
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Originally Posted by shernren View Post
There's always the possibility of contamination. From what I remember of the C-14 results, C-14 in diamonds was found pretty much at threshold concentrations, something like 40,000 years. That's about 7 half-lives, or about 0.8% of current concentrations.

In any case, creationists aren't allowed to pick and choose. If they think that radiocarbon dates prove that diamonds are young, what does that tell us about the radiodating of other rocks?
Well, I'm not shy: apparently we can have it both ways.

While it can be shown that Carbon-14 dating should not be used to determine minimum ages for items, it may still be used to determine maximum ages, because Carbon-14 must decay at some point, and objects which contain C-14 in them cannot be older than their C-14 content would allow.
Radiocarbon dating is reliant upon the assumption that C-14 production in the atmosphere has been constant during the history of life on earth. If the earth is billions of years old, then the rate of production and decay should have reached steady-state a long time ago. It is assumed that these rates should be at equilibrium, but today we know that the rate of C-14 production exceeds the rate of decay by as much as 25%. This increase is attributed to the recent industrial revolution, and believed to be primarily due to atmospheric nuclear testing. However, it is assumed that before the industrial revolution, the rates should have been at steady-state. Therefore to correct for the increased rate of C-14 production, a sample is used from early in the 19th century as a standardizing reference.
If the rate of C-14 production in the atmosphere was less in the past than it is today, then samples would seem excessively old. From Biblical references and modern data there is good evidence that our atmosphere has changed dramatically. It can be inferred from the Bible text that there was no rainbow before the flood, which must mean the atmosphere was altered significantly by the flood. We also know the atmosphere continues to change. Today we have evidence of global warming, and holes in the ozone layer; indicating a change in both composition and partial pressure of the atmosphere that could cause higher rates of C-14 production. Variations of the earth's magnetic field may also be a factor affecting the flux of cosmic rays by altering the degree of shielding. Belief in an old earth has led to assumptions that C-14 production and decay should be at steady-state. Radiocarbon is therefore being used for dating when we simply have no way to determine what the rates of C-14 production were in the past. One thing we do know for sure, is that C-14 is being produced at higher rate today, and it is assumed that this increase began only recently.
http://creationwiki.org/Carbon-14_dating
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  #42  
Old 10th April 2007, 07:43 PM
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Radiocarbon dating is reliant upon the assumption that C-14 production in the atmosphere has been constant during the history of life on earth

Just how many times does this false statement have to be addressed for it to sink in?
  #43  
Old 10th April 2007, 08:18 PM
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In what way is this a false statement? If the C14/C12 ratio was different in the past because more or less C14 was being created, the ages calculated using this technique would be wrong. There are attempts to correct the ages for known variations -- but they make a lot of uniformitarian assumptions -- other explanations are just as plausible.
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  #44  
Old 10th April 2007, 10:17 PM
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Here is what someone wrote of the Great wall of BB's
When we talk about “billions”, “trillions”, and "parts per million", it is sometimes hard to really comprehend them. When thinking about the composition of the atmosphere, it might help to imagine a great wall all the way across the United States, 3,000 miles long, 8 feet high and 75 feet thick, built entirely of BB shot.
You have probably seen a BB gun, and know how little a BB is. A BB is 0.177 inches in diameter. That’s less than a fifth of an inch, (or 4.5 millimeters for our non-US readers). Let’s pretend a molecule of gas is the size of a BB.
A typical residential street in the western United States is about 75 feet (about 23 meters) from curb to curb, which makes it wide enough for two lanes of traffic even if there are cars parked on both sides of the street. Streets in the eastern United States are sometimes narrower in cities that were built before automobiles were prevalent, so you may have to adjust your imagination if you live where streets are narrower.
If a street is 75 feet wide, it would take a row of 5085 BBs to stretch from curb to curb. So, one thousand BBs would only stretch 1/5 of the way across the street.
Homes in the United States typically have 8 foot ceilings. It would take 542 BBs stacked on top of each other to make a column 8 feet high.
So, if one wanted to build a section of a wall of BBs, 8 feet high across a 75 foot wide street, it would take 2,756,070 BBs. That is, it takes almost 3 million BBs to build that wall just one BB long.
If one had one billion BBs (in the United States, one billion is a thousand times a million) one could build a wall 8 feet high, 75 feet thick, 5.3 feet long.
A trillion BBs (that is, one thousand times a U.S. billion) would allow one to build that wall 5300 feet long. That’s just over a U.S. statute mile (5280 feet). If you prefer to think in metric units, one could build a wall roughly 20 meters wide, about 3 meters tall, and about 1.6 kilometers long out of one trillion BBs.
Let’s suppose one BB represents one carbon 14 atom in the atmosphere. Then the number of carbon 12 BBs in the atmosphere would be the number of BBs in a wall as high as your ceiling, as thick as a residential street, one mile long.
If carbon dioxide represents 0.033% of all the gas in the atmosphere, and argon makes up 1%, then a wall of BBs 30 miles long would represent the number of argon atoms in the atmosphere. Since the atmosphere is about 20% oxygen, a wall of BBs representing oxygen molecules would be 600 miles long. The 80% of the atmosphere containing nitrogen would be represented by a wall 2400 miles long.
So, try to imagine a wall of BBs as high as your ceiling (8 feet high), as thick as a residential street (75 feet thick), stretching from the east coast of the US to the west coast (3,000 miles). 2,400 miles of that wall represents the amount of nitrogen, 600 miles represents the amount of oxygen, 30 miles represents the amount of argon, 1 mile represents the amount of carbon 12, and a single BB represents the amount of carbon 14 in the atmosphere.
It wouldn't take much to give a false reading.
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  #45  
Old 11th April 2007, 03:12 AM
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Originally Posted by KerrMetric View Post
Just how many times does this false statement have to be addressed for it to sink in?
Apparently a few more times anyway.

For approximate analysis it is assumed that the cosmic ray flux is constant over long periods of time; thus carbon-14 is produced at a constant rate and the proportion of radioactive to non-radioactive carbon is constant: ca. 1 part per trillion (600 billion atoms/mole). In 1958 Hessel de Vries showed that the concentration of carbon-14 in the atmosphere varies slightly over time. For the most accurate work, the temporal variations are compensated by means of calibration curves. When these curves are used, their accuracy and shape are the factors that determine the accuracy and age obtained for a given sample.
A raw BP date cannot be used directly as a calendar date, because the level of atmospheric 14C has not been strictly constant during the span of time that can be radiocarbon dated. The level is affected by variations in the cosmic ray intensity which is affected by variations in the earth's magnetosphere caused by solar storms. In addition there are substantial reservoirs of carbon in organic matter, the ocean, ocean sediments (see methane hydrate), and sedimentary rocks. Changing climate can sometimes disrupt the carbon flow between these reservoirs and the atmosphere. The level has also been affected by human activities—it was almost doubled for a short period due to atomic bomb tests in the 1950s and 1960s and has been reduced by the release of large amounts of CO2 from ancient organic sources where 14C is not present—the fossil fuels used in industry and transportation, known as the Suess effect.
The atmospheric 14C concentration may be differing substantially from local water reservoirs concentration. Eroded from CaC03 or organic deposits, old carbon may be easily assimilated and provide diluted 14C carbon into trophic chains.
[edit]Calibration methods
The raw radiocarbon dates, in BP years, are therefore calibrated to give calendar dates. Standard calibration curves are available, based on comparison of radiocarbon dates of samples that can be independently dated by other methods such as examination of tree growth rings (dendrochronology), ice cores, deep ocean sediment cores, lake sediment varves, coral samples, and speleothems (cave deposits).
The calibration curves can vary significantly from a straight line, so comparison of uncalibrated radiocarbon dates (e.g., plotting them on a graph or subtracting dates to give elapsed time) is likely to give misleading results. There are also significant plateaus in the curves, such as the one from 11,000 to 10,000 radiocarbon years BP, which is believed to be associated with changing ocean circulation during the Younger Dryas period. The accuracy of radiocarbon dating is lower for samples originating from such plateau periods. It has been noted that the plateau itself can be used as a time marker when it appears in a time series.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carbon_14_dating

Seems obvious. This speaks for itself. You either have faith in it or you don't. Now I understand a little more of the fuss about the flood. You concede that and one rationale for radio carbon dating is gone.
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  #46  
Old 11th April 2007, 04:22 AM
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Originally Posted by Smidlee View Post
Here is what someone wrote of the Great wall of BB's It wouldn't take much to give a false reading.
That is very true, only not in the way you intended.

If you took a trillion carbon atoms it would be very easy to get a false reading for 1 part per trillion carbon 14. However, as you do realise, a trillion carbon atoms doesn't really form a wall a mile long and 75 feet high.
A gram of carbon contains 50,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 carbon atoms. So there are fifty thousand trillion of your 'trillion carbon atom walls' in a single gram. That means a trillion carbon atoms weighs 1/50,000,000,000,000g or 0.00000000000002g
that is 0.00002 nanograms
or 20 femtograms

It wouldn't take much to give a false reading, about 20 femtograms, but it is really hard to get that small an amount.
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  #47  
Old 11th April 2007, 09:12 AM
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The wall of BBs argument argues against radiometric dating in general -- somehow I don't think modern science would want to go there.

Anyway - back to the topic - there is too much C-14 in the diamond samples to support an old earth. Thousands, not billions of years max age.
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Old 11th April 2007, 11:27 AM
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Originally Posted by laptoppop View Post
The wall of BBs argument argues against radiometric dating in general -- somehow I don't think modern science would want to go there.

Anyway - back to the topic - there is too much C-14 in the diamond samples to support an old earth. Thousands, not billions of years max age.
I don't understand the fuss. Radio-carbon dating would not support a very old earth anyway, since it can only be used to date things up to (at maximum) about 70,000 years. Still too long for a young earth scenario.

So even if radio-carbon dating turns out not to be useful in dating at all, we still have an old earth from other dating measures.

So far, I have seen nothing but a hermeneutic of suspicion around carbon dating and radiometric dating in general. I haven't yet seen any sound scientific evidence that it is as inaccurate or potentially inaccurate as alleged.
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Old 11th April 2007, 11:30 AM
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Originally Posted by laptoppop View Post
The wall of BBs argument argues against radiometric dating in general -- somehow I don't think modern science would want to go there.
Unless it came from natural radioactivity in rock. There is plenty of that underground and there is plenty of nitrogen in diamonds that can be converted to C14. RATE claim to have calculated how much C14 would be produced this way (too little according to your account). I look forward to seeing how they worked that one out.

The wall of BBs argument argues against radiometric dating in general -- somehow I don't think modern science would want to go there.
It is a really silly argument that builds up this grand picture to suggest scientists deal with single C14 atoms. This is why radiometric dating set limits on measuring C14. When the quantity of C14 get too low, measurement is too inaccurate. I don't know why they chose atmospheric carbon either. It is usually substances like wood that they measure and that is about 25% carbon and a solid rather than a gas. It adds to the picture I suppose.

Here is a rough back of the wordpad calculation:
A gram of carbon contains 50,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 atoms
a gram of wood contains 12,500,000,000,000,000,000,000 carbon atoms,
but that is a large lump to take from a precious artifact.
milligram of wood contains 12,500,000,000,000,000,000 carbon atoms
of which 12,500,000,000 atoms are C14
with a half life of 5730 years in 57,300 years this would have decreased to 12,500,000 atoms of C14
in 114,600 years this would have decreased to 12,500 atoms of C14
after 171,900 years this would have decreased to about 12 atoms of C14
It is only after 189,090 years that we are down to 1 or 2 atoms in a milligram of wood, a splinter.
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Old 11th April 2007, 11:30 AM
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The fuss is that if the earth was as old as is claimed by conventional geology, there should be virtually no C-14 in these diamonds. Since there is 10,000 - 100,000 times more C-14 than "expected" there is a problem with the dates.
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