Micheal Cranford Lou Montgomery says : +quot;[ . ] Could the Earth look old to we [sic] hu

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Micheal Cranford ---------------- Lou Montgomery says : "[ ... ] Could the Earth look old to we [sic] humans because our methods for determining age are flawed? I'm not sure. Let's take a scientific look and see what falls out. Carbon 14 dating. [ ... ]" Please list any scientific publications (and scientists) that support using C14 dating to determine the age of the earth. The half-life of C14 is about 5730 years. The upper theoretical limit for C14 dating is about 57,000 years. The upper practical limit however is about 40,000 years due to several factors. (1) The sample is not hermetically sealed after death (may get contaminated). (2) After 10 half-lives the amount of C14 is reduced by three orders of magnitude (and remember that you didn't have very much to start with). (3) Standard sample sizes for accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) C14 dating are one milligram (other methods use larger sample sizes). 10 micrograms of modern carbon contamination will reduce the age of a 60,000 year old sample to 37,000 years (10 micrograms worth of contamination can easily occur even with the best labs using the best procedures). Using C14 to date the age of the earth is every bit as silly as trying to use an electron microscope to measure the distance between the earth and the moon (i.e. using the wrong tools for the job at hand). "1) LIVING Mollusks have been dated by the carbon 14 procedure and assigned an age of 2300 years old. These results were recorded in Science, vol. 130, Dec. 11, 1959." Please check your references, since I am unable to find the article that you (strangely enough) did not name or provide page numbers for. It is well known that fresh-water clams produce low C14 dates. Carbon in the shells comes from the water in their environment. Since dissolved limestone is frequently found in water and limestone contains very small amounts of C14, shells contain much less C14 than Tasmanian devils, toads, or trees (the latter three get their C14 from the atmosphere). This fact is well known in the scientific community. In fact, if you had bothered to "research" more contemporary literature you would have discovered that laboratories routinely use ancient limestone, marble, and coal as infinitely old (relatively speaking) references for C14 dating. The ages that these circumstances produce (40,000 to 60,000 years) is a measure of how clean their equipment and procedures are (not the age of the reference). "2) Nature, vol. 225, March 7, 1970, reported a carbon 14 test done on organic material contained in the mortar of an English castle. Although the castle was known to be 787 years old, the carbon 14 test gave an age of 7370 years." Why haven't you read the article (actually - a letter to the editor) that you are citing? It clearly states that the dates are wrong due to contamination by ancient carbon. It really doesn't matter what the reliability of C14 dating is since that would not have the slightest influence on the age of the earth. "3) Anarctic Journal of The United States, vol. 6, 1971 reported that freshly killed seals were carbon 14 dated at 1300 years. In the same series of tests mummified seals that had been dead 30 years were dated by this method at 4600 years old." I will investigate this, but I suspect that the "Anarctic Journal of The United States" doesn't exist (maybe you meant "Antarctic"?). Since they were not trying to date the seals ("freshly killed") it sounds like they were trying to ascertain the uptake of C14 in certain Antarctic wildlife. It will be interesting to see if this report exists and especially if it supports your young-earth creationist position. "Why have the dating results been so inaccurate? Contrary to a very important assumption on which carbon 14 dating is based, not all plants absorb radioactive carbon equally. Recent research has revealed a previously unknown internal weight differentiating mechanism in some plants which rejects the heavy radioactive carbon atoms - while still allowing the absorption of normal carbon atoms. Thus, at death, these plants ( and the animals that eat them) have abnormally low levels of carbon 14. When these remains are dated they give the FALSE impression of being VERY OLD." Please cite a reference for the above claims (seems that you forgot to here). I wonder why you "forgot" (hint - I already know the answer). "As with other radiometric dating methods, the carbon 14 method depends on several assumptions. One of the most important assumptions, in order for this method of dating to work, is that the amount of radioactive carbon in the Earth's atmosphere in the past would have been constant. This would mean that the rate of formation of radioactive carbon would had have to equal the decay rate in the age in which the specimens lived." C14 dating has been verified through an independent means (tree-ring dating). It is a well known fact in the scientific community that the amount of C14 in the atmosphere has varied over geologic time and this variation is routinely taken into account when this particular dating method is used. Thus, the rest of your first argument falls flat upon its pseudoscientific face. Tree-ring dating, by the way, has been done to about 16,000 years ago by using multiple generations of bristle-cone pines. "Secondly, it must be assumed that the decay rate was the same in the past as it is today. Another important factor is that NO cotamination [sic] of radioactive carbon could have occurred since the death of the specimen. There are a number of enviornmental [sic] factors to consider which indicate that the RATE OF RADIOACTIVE CARBON FORMATION HAS NOT BEEN CONSTANT throughout the history of the Earth." It is well known that radioactive decay rates vary as much as a few percent under conditions of EXTREME temperature and pressure. A few percent, however, cannot account for the several orders of magnitude of difference that we see between what science measures and what dogmatic young-earth creationists keep asserting (with no supporting evidence). Have you noticed that you keep going back and forth between C14 formation and C14 decay in your arguments - this only muddles what you are claiming (or is that part of your goal?). I already addressed C14 formation rates in the previous paragraph. Although you have chosen to emphasize the non-constant C14 formation rates as though it were a newly discovered astounding blunder made by the scientific community, this variation was, in fact, discovered by members of the scientific community and not by creationists. Furthermore, that variation is routinely accounted for in C14 dating and finally, IT DOES NOT PROVIDE ANY SUPPORT FOR YOUR CLAIMS. "My intent here was not to enter the fray between the creation and evolution advocates, merely to try and demonstrate the flaws in this discussion of an Earth created with the APPEARANCE of age." No, your goal was merely to promote a different set of standard creationist arguments (creationists have spent a lot of time dismissing C14 dating). The only flaws that you have shown are those in your own thinking and the tracts that you are using. Did you really expect me to believe that YOUR "research" uncovered an alleged 1959 reference and yet somehow missed the small mountain of published data clearly showing that your fundamental thinking is grossly wrong? I have already seen most of "your" arguments in creationist literature (some, several years ago). "If you students [sic] of this discussion are interested in discussing other methods of dating such as, uranium-lead, potassium-argon, radioactive half-life, halo method, radiohalos, isochron or any that may be of interest to either side, simply post into this newsgroup and I will respond in a scientific, non-offensive manner. What is the "halo method" of dating? Please cite scientific references. If by "radiohalos" you mean "radioactive polonium halos" then we need not be very concerned since they have never been established as a reliable method to date anything. The only "scientist" claiming that "radioactive polonium halos" are a reliable indicator of age is creationist Robert Gentry (he insists that halos prove that our galaxy cannot be older than 6,000 years). Gentry also claims to have discovered the center of the universe(!) and falsified both the theory of relativity and the big bang hypothesis(!!) He also endorses a universal flood and a universe with the appearance of age (I note that you claim to reject the latter). He is considered to be a very earnest but hopelessly terminal crank. Not all creationists are liars - some are merely very DENSE (and of course some are just plain ignorant). You started out with "Let's take a scientific look and see what falls out" and finished with "post into this newsgroup and I will respond in a scientific non-offensive manner". Unfortunately, everything in your letter between these two statements was standard creationist drivel (selective evidence, evidence out of context, ignoring articles you yourself cited, illogical conclusion, and general scientific illiteracy). You have also made the common creationist assumption that any references (real or imagined) that you cite will never be checked. Also, it should be noted, virtually every real point that you brought up is well known in the scientific literature. In other words, your arguments are not trying to convince anyone who is scientifically literate, but rather to convince scientific illiterates. Why do you target that particular audience? I recommend that you try to measure the temperature of liquid nitrogen using a standard household thermometer (the kind used to "take your temperature"). Check your answer against a reference (CRC) and then, if you can figure out what went wrong, find a good set of encyclopedias and start reading. Or you can keep posting here and someone will use your posting to explain how science works (and how pathetic creation "science" is). Anyone seeking a clear and concise but not too technical description of the limits of C14 dating should consult [3b]. The author (T. W. Stafford Jr.) is a recognized authority on Quaternary paleontology and AMS C14 dating. That issue also discusses a recent creationist absurdity (C14 dating of dinosaur fossils). And, as if that technique isn't already silly enough, these particular fossils have been completely mineralized (i.e. they do not contain any of the original organic material). REFERENCES [1] Reviews of Thirty-One Creationist Books, National Center for Science Education, 1984. [2] Evolutionists Confront Creationists Proceedings of the 63rd Annual Meeting of the Pacific Division, American Association for the Advancement of Science, April, 1984, volume 1, part 3. [3a] Creation / Evolution Issue #30, Summer 1992. Radiocarbon Dates for Dinosaur Bones? A Critical Look at Recent Creationist Claims, pp. 1-9. [3b] Creation / Evolution Issue #30, Summer 1992. Radiocarbon Dating Dinosaur Bones: More Pseudoscience from Creationist, pp. 10-17.


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