Here are the basic formulas for calculating ages, from radioactive isotopes*:
|Pt = P0e-dt
P0 = number of parent atoms at some starting time
Pt = number of parent atoms at some later time t
d = the decay constant (above)
This poses the question how we know P0 - even apart from the doubts about decay constant for very long halflives that I sketched out in "Qurterlife is a bad term".
However, the Evolutionists do have a proposed solution to this problem:
|P0 = Pt + Dt IF Dt means daughter atoms formed.|
What Phil Provaznik missed is that this has its doubt as well. What if Dt comes both from decay AND from initial amount D0?
However, this ignoring of this problem means he lands up with a less well-assured formula than the initial one, namely:
|Pt = (Pt + Dt)e-dt|
From there on he solves for t to get:
|t = (1/d) loge ( Dt/Pt + 1 )|
He claims this contains ONLY quantities that can be measured in the laboratory. Now, we have of course the decay constant d which can be very difficult to assess accurately in the laboratory for so long halflives. But apart from that he makes this admission which nullifies the "only" about quantities measurable:
If the rock incorporated some of the daughter isotope when it formed, then this initial amount of the daughter must be subtracted from the total amount measured.
Ah, and how do we know the initial amount of daughter element?
Dalrymple answers him:
However, for the principal methods, the value of the initial daughter is either zero, negligible or not required (Dalrymple, page 84-86).
OK, but how does he KNOW they are zero or negligible for some of the principal methods? And what does he mean by NOT REQUIRED for others of them?
Brings me to a certain point about Carbon-14. Is the daughter element nitrogen-14 or carbon-12? If it is carbon-12, this affects the measuring of carbon-14, since the carbon-14 is given as the amount per amount of carbon-12. On the other hand, if it is nitrogen, and since the carbon-14 was usually involved originally in certain chemical compounds, what happens to these compounds when carbon becomes nitrogen? I mean, for one thing they are different elements, for another thing they have different valencies. 4 for carbon, 3 for nitrogen.
But back to Phil Provaznik's text. He claims to refute a Catholic Creationist.
"In the first place, radiometric dating is based upon pure assumption and speculation. The scientist must assume he knows the ratio between potassium and argon that existed in the beginning. But, how can he know this?"
This is a convenient dismissmal of the science of radiometric dating (no doubt picked up from some young-earth creationist literature). Radiometric dating is not "based upon pure assumption and speculation."
Sorry, Phil, but you just quoted Dalrymple as assuming the initial amounts of daughter element were zero or negligible. In potassium-argon method that is very much NOT something which is not required.
There are some assumptions involved, but they are eminently reasonable and scientifically justifiable.
The "some assumptions" being precisely what the Catholic Creationist enumerated, alone or among others: an assumption of knowing initial amounts of argon to potassium be zero or negligible.
but they are eminently reasonable and scientifically justifiable.
The creationist critique of them is also eminently reasonable and scientifically justifiable. Or maybe just even more so.
In my response to young-earther and geocentrist Robert Sungenis, I summarize Dalrymple's explanations of the scientific justifications for the assumptions involved, in particular (1) the constancy of decay rates,
Which is even known to be untrue in certain circumstances, like when exposed to radiation. Fission track dating involves counting fission tracks before and after speeding the decay rate of uranium up by exposing it to mica under heat.
(2) the initial daughter product (the "original ratio") is not required in any of the isochron or concordia-discordia calculations,
But it is required in ordinary Potassium-Argon dating without that isochron. Ah, Phil posted a denial of this?
This method is based on the decay of 40K to 40Ar and is probably the most commonly used radiometric dating technique available to geologists. It is the only decay scheme that can be used with little or no concern for the initial presence of the daughter isotope. This is because 40Ar is an inert gas that does not combine chemically with any other element and so escapes easily from rocks when they are heated.
Any Creationist Scientist criticising the method knows that argument. And anyone will give the refutation that argon gaz need not combine with other elements in order to get caught in the stone even while it is hot and molten. And he would add that we cannot know that all of the lava was really molten during the volcanic eruption.
Actually, Potassium-Argon has been tested and - as the Creationist critique would predict - found wanting. Citing Robert Doolan whom I already linked to earlier on the Creationist blog:**
The scientists who did the Rangitoto tests dated 16 volcanoes in all. Eleven of these were able to be compared with carbon-14 dates. In every case the potassium-argon dates were clearly wrong to a huge extent. Similar conflict was found by researchers in Hawaii. A lava flow which is known to have taken place in 1800-1801—less than 200 years ago—was dated by potassium-argon as being 2,960 million years old. If the real dates were not fairly well established by other means, who could have proved that the potassium-argon dates were so wrong? So how do you date a volcano? The lesson seems to be that how ever you date it, don’t count on the potassium-argon method.
The reference given is "J. G. Punkhouser and J.J. Naughton, ‘He and Ar in ultramafic inclusions’, Journal of Geophysical Research, Vol.73,1968, pp. 4601-4607."
Now to the answer of Phil to Bob argument three:
and especially (3) the thousands of radiometric dates published in the scientific literature year after year, using different radiometric dating methods, testing and confirming over and over again the data which all consistently converge on the same date: the earth was created 4.5 billion years ago.
Not true. If Leakey finds an age of 1 or 2 million years with fission track dating, this does not per se converge the age of earth into 4,500 times older than the one million or 2,250 times older than the 2 million years. VERY few of the rocks are supposed to be among the very "oldest" ones and only those are dated as 4.5 billion years old.
It seems Phil Provaznik has been as prejudiced against the Catholic Creationist (and Bob Sungenis) as he has been prejudiced for Dalrymple. The latter basically gets to wave a magic wand and Phil Provaznik stands in awe ...
As to the rocks in question, CMI claims these were meteorites which back then were presumed to be formed from earth itself.***
Now that is of course on the own admissions of Evolution believing scientists. If we get to Creationist accusations, the fine congruence of all dates in supposed to be due to discarding dates that do not fit. Kent Hovind cited Säve-Söderbergh and I. U. Olsson, two Swedes, as having openly admitted as much. Have not yet found reference, but the two persons do exist. He did not make them up. And actually, I think Gieam and Walker have very sound reasons for their complaints.
When we get to fission crack dating, which I mentioned twice earlier, see my comment on the following video (and do watch the video, if you like, it is from ufo-tv, but this does not mean everything said there is a lie):
- my comment:
- How high up the conspiracy to shut up a dig must come from ... there was a guy who would not believe Mexicans did it ...
Now, Latin Countries have often a freemasonry that is revolutionary and atheist and left wing. Mexico is no exception. To ALL lodges (or all I have heard of) backing Galileo against the Catholic Church is sacred, but to Grand Orient backing Darwin is sacred as well.
One direction noone looked at in this video. If a dating technique that gives 1 mill in Olduvai gives 500.000 in Hueyatlaco, BOTH dates may be too old, not only the very pre-Clovis date but also the Olduvai date. This, a kind of if not Young Earth Creationist strict implication at least Young Earth Creationism regaining possibility in face of Leakey implication may be exactly what the Mexican Masons would want to avoid. Precisely as the French ...
As anyone on the show knows, if the fission track dating was possibly usable in Olduvai, C14 was at least presumed not to be so. "Too old for carbon dating" ... how much HAS really been dated with fission track dating? Anything at all with strictly historical confirmation for dates and calibration possibilities?
Apart from that question, watch what they say about the method as such. Uranium divides into two atoms of lead which form a crack in obsidian. The cracks are counted. To find out how much uranium that could have formed cracks but has not done so yet, you expose the sample to mica and to heat. That provokes a fission of remaining uranium. Then you count how much uranium there was by counting how many cracks there are in total. Then you make the deduction of what proportion of uranium had undergone fission or decayed before the exposure hastened the process.
Wait one minute ... that means decay rate is regularly speeded up each time you use the method. And speeded up to very quick. Which is one reason I am interested in theories there might have been atomic wars before the flood.
And what about Isochrons?
I decided to investigate radiometric dating. A summary of my results may be found in Scientific Theology. Very briefly, for potassium-argon dates, the assumption that argon is driven off is demonstrably not valid, and one cannot be sure that the clock is reset. This point is underlined by multiple dates that are too old, even for the evolutionary timescale. There are also problems with "too young" dates, which are not adequately explained as the result of argon loss. These dates suggest that the evolutionary timescale is too long. There is a gradient of argon in the geologic column, with more argon in the older rocks and less in the younger rocks, regardless of their potassium content, including in minerals with no potassium content. This creates a sort of instant timescale—just add potassium.
There was also a problem with selectivity, which could be documented from the literature. Other dating methods had similar problems. Rubidium-strontium dating isochrons could be mimicked by mixing lines, which require essentially no time to form. There were multiple examples of inaccurate dates by anyone’s timescale, including ones that matched potassium-argon dates. Uranium-lead dating was also done by isochrons, and when incorrect dates were explained by discordia lines, these lines could also be reproduced by mixing lines. There were multiple examples of lower concordia ages which were not accurate by anyone’s timescale. There was the data set on uranium dates on pleiochroic haloes in coal, which seemed to indicate an age for the coal (conventional age around 100 million years) of less than 300,000 years. Uranium disequilibrium dating, fission-track dating and amino acid dating (which is not radiometric) all had their problems, as did other, less-established methods. Often the data were more easily explained on the basis of a short timescale rather than a long one.
Carbon-14 dating was the most fascinating method of all. Fossil carbon, with a conventional age of up to 350 million years, repeatedly dated to less than 55,000 radiocarbon years. This is compatible with a date of as low as 4,000 years in real time (the date of the Flood would have to be determined on other grounds). It is incompatible with an age of millions of years, or even realistically with an age of over 100,000 years or so. It basically forces one into accepting a short chronology for life on earth.
Paul Giem°, medical research, published, Scientific Theology, La Sierra University Press, Riverside, CA, 1996. Here is a bit about his credentials:
Dr. Giem is assistant professor of emergency medicine at Loma Linda University. He holds a B.A. in chemistry from Union College, Nebraska, an M.A. in religion from Loma Linda University and an M.D. from Loma Linda University. Dr. Giem has published research articles in the areas of religion and medicine. His current research includes work on carbon-14 dating methods. He is author of the book Scientific Theology, which deals with a number of science–Bible areas, including dating methodology and biblical chronology.
But apart from his credentials, can isochron lines really be mimicked by mixing lines? Tas Walker (Geologist, previously old-earth) cites Faure:°°
In his well-known textbook on isotope geology, Gunter Faure explains the various radioactive dating methods, including the so-called isochron method. When the results for a number of rock samples are plotted on a graph and form a straight line, the researcher can calculate an age for the samples. But Faure warns his readers not to accept the calculated age without question.
He gives an example of volcanic lava along the border of Uganda, Zaire and Rwanda, East Africa. That lava is known to be relatively young, possibly erupted within historical times,4 yet a rubidium-strontium straight-line isochron gave an age of 773 million years. Does this worry these scientists? No. They have total faith in the method. In their minds, the key is the way the results are interpreted. Faure says that in this case we should interpret the line, not as an isochron, but a “mixing line”. So how can we tell the difference? We can’t. The only way we can know it is a mixing line is if the calculated age is wrong—and the only way one can ‘know’ if an age is right or wrong is to have a pre-existing belief about what the age should be.
Faure, G., Principles of Isotope Geology, 2nd ed., John Wiley & Sons, New York, pp. 145–147, 1986.
In short, I think Creationists are more generous about giving references to accepted scientific material on the Evolutionists side than Phil Provaznik about giving references to them.
Bpi, Georges Pompidou
Pope St Marcellus, Martyr
* Phil Provaznik : Evidence for Evolution and an Old Earth
** CMI : How do you date a New Zealand volcano?
by Robert Doolan
*** CMIcreationstation : Dating the Earth - How old is it?
° CMI : In Six Days
Why 50 Scientists Choose
to Believe in Creation
Edited by Dr. John Ashton
First published in In Six Days
Paul Giem, medical research
°° CMI : Radioactive dating methods
Ways they make conflicting results tell the same story
by Tas Walker