Radioactive dating flawed
Many people assume that the dates scientists quote of millions of years are as reliable as our knowledge of the structure of the atom or nuclear power. But the basic concept of radioactive dating, sometimes called radiometric dating, is not difficult, especially since all of us regularly calculate how much time has passed: A swimming race is a familiar situation that illustrates the simple principles involved in measuring time. Once we understand what we actually need to do we can apply the same principles to radioactive dating, and see if the methods do what they are claimed to do. Picture a swimmer competing in a 1, metre race and an observer with an accurate wristwatch. We note that at the instant the swimmer touches the end of the pool our wristwatch reads 7:
Radiometric dating involves dating rocks or other objects by measuring the extent to which different radioactive isotopes or nuclei have decayed. Although the time at which any individual atom will decay cannot be forecast, the time in which any given percentage of a sample will decay can be calculated to varying degrees of accuracy. The time that it takes for half of a sample to decay is known as the half life of the isotope. Some isotopes have half lives longer than the present age of the universe , but they are still subject to the same laws of quantum physics and will eventually decay, even if doing so at a time when all remaining atoms in the universe are separated by astronomical distances.
Various elements are used for dating different time periods; ones with relatively short half-lives like carbon or 14 C are useful for dating once-living objects since they include atmospheric carbon from when they were alive from about ten to fifty thousand years old. See Carbon dating. Longer-lived isotopes provide dating information for much older times.
The key is to measure an isotope that has had time to decay a measurable amount, but not so much as to only leave a trace remaining. Given isotopes are useful for dating over a range from a fraction of their half life to about four or five times their half life. Symbolically, the process of radioactive decay can be expressed by the following differential equation, where N is the quantity of decaying nuclei and k is a positive number called the exponential decay constant.
The meaning of this equation is that the rate of change of the number of nuclei over time is proportional only to the number of nuclei. This is consistent with the assumption that each decay event is independent and its chance does not vary over time. We can measure directly, for example by using a radiation detector, and obtain a good estimate of by analyzing the chemical composition of the sample. The half-life , specific to each nuclide, can be accurately measured on a pure sample, and is known to be independent of the chemical composition of the sample, temperature and pressure.
The half-life of carbon is approximately 5, years. Approximately how old is the bone? Thus the bone is approximately 17, years old. Our input data had two significant figures, so reporting a more accurate result would be meaningless. This is based on the decay of rubidium isotopes to strontium isotopes, and can be used to date rocks or to relate organisms to the rocks on which they formed.
It suffers from the problem that rubidium and strontium are very mobile and may easily enter rocks at a much later date to that of formation. This method for rock dating is based on the decay of potassium into argon: One problem is that potassium is also highly mobile and may move into older rocks. This depends on the decay of uranium and uranium to isotopes of lead.
Due to the long half-life of uranium it is not suitable for short time periods, such as most archaeological purposes, but it can date the oldest rocks on earth. A important limitation of radiometric dating often overlooked by layman and not always made clear in scholarly works as well is that any date is actually a range, following the 68—95— This leaves out important information which would tell you how precise is the dating result.
Carbon dating has an interesting limitation in that the ratio of regular carbon to carbon in the air is not constant and therefore any date must be calibrated using dendrochronology. Another limitation is that carbon can only tell you when something was last alive, not when it was used. A limitation with all forms of radiometric dating is that they depend on the presence of certain elements in the substance to be dated. Carbon dating works on organic matter, all of which contains carbon.
However it is less useful for dating metal or other inorganic objects. Most rocks contain uranium, allowing uranium-lead and similar methods to date them. Other elements used for dating, such as rubidium, occur in some minerals but not others, restricting usefulness. Note that although carbon dating receives a lot of attention, since it can give information about the relatively recent past, it is rarely used in geology and almost never used to date fossils.
Carbon decays almost completely within , years of the organism dying, and many fossils and rock strata are hundreds of times older than that. To date older fossils, other methods are used, such as potassium-argon or argon-argon dating. Other forms of dating based on reactive minerals like rubidium or potassium can date older finds including fossils, but have the limitation that it is easy for ions to move into rocks post-formation so that care must be taken to consider geology and other factors.
Radiometric dating — through processes similar to those outlined in the example problem above — frequently reveals that rocks, fossils , etc. The oldest rock so far dated is a zircon crystal that formed 4. They tie themselves in logical knots trying to reconcile the results of radiometric dating with the unwavering belief that the Earth was created ex nihilo about 6, to 10, years ago.
Creationists often blame contamination. Indeed, special creationists have for many years held that where science and their religion conflict, it is a matter of science having to catch up with scripture, not the other way around. One way Young Earth Creationists and other denialists try to discredit radiometric dating is to cite examples radiometric dating techniques providing inaccurate results.
This is frequently because the selected technique is used outside of its appropriate range, for example on very recent lavas. In attempting to date Mt. Helens, creationists attempted discredit the discipline through dishonest practices. Ultimately these "creation scientists" were forced to admit that even for methods they accepted as sound, the age of the Earth would be vastly greater than the 6, they set out to prove.
Creationists commonly object to carbon dating results on the basis that they can be contaminated in the laboratory by atmospheric carbon; however such contamination would result in increased carbon levels and hence the object appearing younger than it is; hence samples can only be older than they appear, not younger, which does not help young earth creationists at all. Another creationist argument is to claim that rates of atomic decay are not constant through time. An enormous amount of research shows that in the lab decay rates are constant over time and wherever you are.
Faced with this, creationists say that you can't extrapolate from this to deduce they are correct over billions of years. A few experiments have found small variations in decay rates, at least for some forms of decay and some isotopes. While it may require further investigation to see if this is a real phenomenon, even the biggest positive results do not offer anything like a variation that would allow the truth of young earth creationism.
Jump to: Not to be confused with single's night for devilish ham radio enthusiasts. See the main article on this topic: Carbon dating. Young Earth creationism. We are to teach what the Bible says and let scientific research and discovery catch up to the truth of Scripture. Science is not a priority tool of biblical interpretation. Its truth does not wait for verification from us. Structural Geologist and a well-known creationist crank long engaged in unsuccessfully attempting to debunk methods of radiometric dating.
Henke exposes John Woodmorappe's fraudulent attacks on radiometric dating and reveals other creationist misrepresentations. Helens Dacite: No Answers in Genesis. Indications of a Solar Influence , P. Sturrock, G. Steinitz, E. Fischbach, D. Javorsek, II, J. Retrieved from " https: Creationism Science Geology Evidence against a recent creation.
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One way this is done in many radioactive dating techniques is to use .. to see the flaws in evolutionary theory than those in the old age model. Radiometric dating is largely done on rock that has formed from solidified lava. the formula D(p) = c1*P(p) + c2*N(p) works out (if I didn't make any errors).
An oversight in a radioisotope dating technique used to date everything from meteorites to geologic samples means that scientists have likely overestimated the age of many samples, according to new research from North Carolina State University. To conduct radioisotope dating, scientists evaluate the concentration of isotopes in a material. The number of protons in an atom determines which element it is, while the number of neutrons determines which isotope it is.
Radiometric dating of rocks and minerals using naturally occurring, long-lived radioactive isotopes is troublesome for young-earth creationists because the techniques have provided overwhelming evidence of the antiquity of the earth and life. Some so-called creation scientists have attempted to show that radiometric dating does not work on theoretical grounds for example, Arndts and Overn ; Gill but such attempts invariably have fatal flaws see Dalrymple ; York and Dalrymple
Here I want to concentrate on another source of error, namely, processes that take place within magma chambers. To me it has been a real eye opener to see all the processes that are taking place and their potential influence on radiometric dating. Radiometric dating is largely done on rock that has formed from solidified lava.
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. It is certainly incorrect, and it is certainly based on wrong assumptions, but it is not inaccurate.
Radiometric Dating — Is It Accurate?
Radiometric dating involves dating rocks or other objects by measuring the extent to which different radioactive isotopes or nuclei have decayed. Although the time at which any individual atom will decay cannot be forecast, the time in which any given percentage of a sample will decay can be calculated to varying degrees of accuracy. The time that it takes for half of a sample to decay is known as the half life of the isotope. Some isotopes have half lives longer than the present age of the universe , but they are still subject to the same laws of quantum physics and will eventually decay, even if doing so at a time when all remaining atoms in the universe are separated by astronomical distances. Various elements are used for dating different time periods; ones with relatively short half-lives like carbon or 14 C are useful for dating once-living objects since they include atmospheric carbon from when they were alive from about ten to fifty thousand years old. See Carbon dating. Longer-lived isotopes provide dating information for much older times. The key is to measure an isotope that has had time to decay a measurable amount, but not so much as to only leave a trace remaining. Given isotopes are useful for dating over a range from a fraction of their half life to about four or five times their half life. Symbolically, the process of radioactive decay can be expressed by the following differential equation, where N is the quantity of decaying nuclei and k is a positive number called the exponential decay constant.
In beta decay, a neutron turns into a proton by emitting a beta particle, which is an electron click for credit.
These claims generally land in three different categories: Most young earth creationists reject all of these points. As a scientific skeptics, we ask ourselves:
Refuting “Radiometric Dating Methods Makes Untenable Assumptions!”
Paper Spotlights Key Flaw in Widely Used Radioisotope Dating Technique
Radiometric Dating Does Work!
.Why Dating Methods Can Date Nothing