Inaccurate radiometric dating

Inaccurate radiometric dating

Radiometric dating is a much misunderstood phenomenon. Evolutionists often misunderstand the method, assuming it gives a definite age for tested samples. Creationists also often misunderstand it, claiming that the process is inaccurate. Perhaps a good place to start this article would be to affirm that radiometric dating is not inaccurate.

Scientist Realizes Important Flaw in Radioactive Dating

Radiometric Dating. Photo Gallery of Dating errors. Scientific Essay by David A. Plaisted "Proof of the pudding There are circumstances that provide opportunities for testing. Dinosaurs which are supposed have lived at least 60 million years ago, should not yield dates of thousands of years. Rocks known to have formed in historical times should not yield dates of millions of years. Dinosaur Bone Illium bone of an Acrocanthosarus Radio carbon dated at 19, years old!

Wood embedded in " million year old limestone" Radio carbon dated at years old! Carbonized stick embedded in " million year old limestone" Radio carbon dated at 12, years old! Helens The new lava dome dacite from the at Mount St. Helens was formed in In five specimens were taken from this dome at five different locations and subjected to conventional Potassium-Argon dating. The results indicated ages of less than one half to almost three million years old, all from eleven year old rock.

Click on photo for high resolution We know when this dome formed. When we date rock of known age we test the claims and we see obvious failures. But, when we date rock of unknown age, we are assured that the results are accurate. Plaisted Radiometric Dating. How radiometric dating works in general. Why methods in general are inaccurate.

Why K-Ar dating is inaccurate. The branching ratio problem. Why older dates would be found lower in the geologic column especially for K-Ar dating. Do different methods agree with each other on the geologic column? Possible other sources of correlation. Anomalies of radiometric dating. Why a low anomaly percentage is meaningless. The biostrategraphic limits issue. Preponderance of K-Ar dating. Excuses for anomalies. Need for a double-blind test.

Possible changes in the decay rate. Atlantic sea floor dating. Dating Meteorites. Gentry's radiohaloes in coalified wood. Carbon 14 dating. Tree ring chronologies. Coral dating. Evidence for catastrophe in the geologic column. Rates of erosion. Reliability of creationist sources. Radiometric dating methods estimate the age of rocks using calculations based on the decay rates of radioactive elements such as uranium, strontium, and potassium.

On the surface, radiometric dating methods appear to give powerful support to the statement that life has existed on the earth for hundreds of millions, even billions, of years. We are told that these methods are accurate to a few percent, and that there are many different methods. We are told that of all the radiometric dates that are measured, only a few percent are anomalous. This gives us the impression that all but a small percentage of the dates computed by radiometric methods agree with the assumed ages of the rocks in which they are found, and that all of these various methods almost always give ages that agree with each other to within a few percentage points.

Since there doesn't seem to be any systematic error that could cause so many methods to agree with each other so often, it seems that there is no other rational conclusion than to accept these dates as accurate. However, this causes a problem for those who believe based on the Bible that life has only existed on the earth for a few thousand years, since fossils are found in rocks that are dated to be over million years old by radiometric methods, and some fossils are found in rocks that are dated to be billions of years old.

If these dates are correct, this calls the Biblical account of a recent creation of life into question. After study and discussion of this question, I now believe that the claimed accuracy of radiometric dating methods is a result of a great misunderstanding of the data, and that the various methods hardly ever agree with each other, and often do not agree with the assumed ages of the rocks in which they are found.

I believe that there is a great need for this information to be made known, so I am making this article available in the hopes that it will enlighten others who are considering these questions. Even the creationist accounts that I have read do not adequately treat these issues. At the start, let me clarify that my main concern is not the age of the earth, the moon, or the solar system, but rather the age of life, that is, how long has life existed on earth.

Many dating methods seem to give about the same ages on meteorites. Thus radiometric dating methods appear to give evidence that the earth and meteorites are old, if one accepts the fact that decay rates have been constant. However, there may be other explanations for this apparent age. Perhaps the earth was made from older pre-existing matter, or perhaps decay rates were briefly faster for some reason.

When one considers the power of God, one sees that any such conclusions are to some extent tentative. I believe that life was recently created. I also believe that the evidence indicates that the earth has recently undergone a violent catastrophe. Geologic time is divided up into periods, beginning with the Precambrian, followed by the Cambrian and a number of others, leading up to the present.

Some fossils are found in Precambrian rocks, but most of them are found in Cambrian and later periods. We can assume that the Precambrian rocks already existed when life began, and so the ages of the Precambrian rocks are not necessarily related to the question of how long life has existed on earth. The Cambrian period is conventionally assumed to have begun about million years ago. Since Cambrian and later rocks are largely sedimentary and igneous volcanic rocks are found in Cambrian and later strata, if these rocks are really million years old, then life must also be at least million years old.

Therefore, my main concern is with rocks of the Cambrian periods and later. How radiometric dating works in general Radioactive elements decay gradually into other elements. The original element is called the parent, and the result of the decay process is called the daughter element. Assuming we start out with pure parent, as time passes, more and more daughter will be produced. By measuring the ratio of daughter to parent, we can measure how old the sample is.

A ratio of zero means an age of zero. A higher ratio means an older age. A ratio of infinity that is, all daughter and no parent means an age of essentially infinity. Each radioactive element has a half-life, which tells how long it takes for half of the element to decay. For potassium 40, the half-life is about 1. In general, in one half-life, half of the parent will have decayed.

Potassium 40 K40 decays to argon 40, which is an inert gas, and to calcium. Potassium is present in most geological materials, making potassium-argon dating highly useful if it really works. Uranium decays to lead by a complex series of steps. Rubidium decays to strontium. When it is stated that these methods are accurate to one or two percent, it does not mean that the computed age is within one or two percent of the correct age.

It just means that there is enough accuracy in the measurements to compute t to one or two percentage points of accuracy, where t is the time required to obtain the observed ratio of daughter to parent, assuming no initial daughter product was present at the beginning, and no daughter or parent entered or left the system. For isochrons, which we will discuss later, the conditions are different. If these conditions are not satisfied, the error can be arbitrarily large.

In order to use these methods, we have to start out with a system in which no daughter element is present, or else know how much daugher element was present initially so that it can be subtracted out. We also need to know that no parent or daughter has entered or left the system in the meantime. Radiometric dating is commonly used on igneous rocks lava , and on some sedimentary minerals. But fossils can generally not be dated directly.

When lava is hot, argon escapes, so it is generally assumed that no argon is present when lava cools. Thus we can date lava by K-Ar dating to determine its age. As for the other methods, some minerals when they form exclude daughter products. Zircons exclude lead, for example, so U-Pb dating can be applied to zircon to determine the time since lava cooled. Micas exclude strontium, so Rb-Sr dating can be used on micas to determine the length of time since the mica formed.

In rubidium-strontium dating, micas exclude strontium when they form, but accept much rubidium. In uranium-lead U-Pb dating of zircon, the zircon is found to exclude initial lead almost completely. The Interpretation and Dating of the Geologic Record. Thus one would know that any strontium that is present had to come from the parent rubidium, so by computing the ratio and knowing the half life, one can compute the age.

In general, when lava cools, various minerals crystallize out at different temperatures, and these minerals preferentially include and exclude various elements in their crystal structures. So one obtains a series of minerals crystallizing out of the lava.

Would he have concluded that the fossil date for the sediments was wrong? Not likely. Would he have thought that the radiometric dating method was flawed?. How can something be accurate and yet wrong? To understand this point, we need to understand what exactly is being measured during a radiometric dating.

Radiometric Dating. Photo Gallery of Dating errors. Scientific Essay by David A.

Radiometric dating , radioactive dating or radioisotope dating is a technique used to date materials such as rocks or carbon , in which trace radioactive impurities were selectively incorporated when they were formed.

In beta decay, a neutron turns into a proton by emitting a beta particle, which is an electron click for credit. As someone who has studied radioactivity in detail, I have always been a bit amused by the assertion that radioactive dating is a precise way to determine the age of an object.

Radiometric dating

Many people think that radiometric dating has proved the Earth is millions of years old. Even the way dates are reported e. However, although we can measure many things about a rock, we cannot directly measure its age. For example, we can measure its mass, its volume, its colour, the minerals in it, their size and the way they are arranged. We can crush the rock and measure its chemical composition and the radioactive elements it contains.

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Radiocarbon dating is a key tool archaeologists use to determine the age of plants and objects made with organic material. But new research shows that commonly accepted radiocarbon dating standards can miss the mark—calling into question historical timelines. Archaeologist Sturt Manning and colleagues have revealed variations in the radiocarbon cycle at certain periods of time, affecting frequently cited standards used in archaeological and historical research relevant to the southern Levant region, which includes Israel, southern Jordan and Egypt. These variations, or offsets, of up to 20 years in the calibration of precise radiocarbon dating could be related to climatic conditions. Pre-modern radiocarbon chronologies rely on standardized Northern and Southern Hemisphere calibration curves to obtain calendar dates from organic material. These standard calibration curves assume that at any given time radiocarbon levels are similar and stable everywhere across each hemisphere. So we wondered whether the radiocarbon levels relevant to dating organic material might also vary for different areas and whether this might affect archaeological dating. The authors measured a series of carbon ages in southern Jordan tree rings, with established calendar dates between and A. They found that contemporary plant material growing in the southern Levant shows an average offset in radiocarbon age of about 19 years compared the current Northern Hemisphere standard calibration curve. Manning noted that "scholars working on the early Iron Age and Biblical chronology in Jordan and Israel are doing sophisticated projects with radiocarbon age analysis, which argue for very precise findings.

Here I want to concentrate on another source of error, namely, processes that take place within magma chambers.

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Radiometric Dating — Is It Accurate?

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Why Dating Methods Can Date Nothing
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