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Bad Dating Techniques?

"The troubles of the radiocarbon dating method are undeniably deep and serious ... It should be no surprise, then, that fully half of the dates are rejected. The wonder is, surely, that the remaining half come to be accepted." (Lee, R. E., Radiocarbon, "Ages in Error", Anthropological Journal of Canada, 1981, vol. 19, No. 3, p. 9)

Carbon Dating May be Wrong by 10,000 Years;
Dating Study means Human History Rethink;
Radiometric Dating Flawed

By Roger Highfield, Science Editor; London Daily Telegraph (Filed: 30/06/2001)

SCIENTISTS say their key tool for dating ancient artefacts might be wrong by 10,000 years, which could push back the timing of key events in history and improve understanding of climate change.

Their study could force a reappraisal of when certain events occurred, notably in the period when modern humans lived alongside Neanderthals in Europe. It suggests that modern humans might have lived in Europe for longer than thought and that prehistoric paintings recently found in the Chauvet cave, in southern France, might be 38,000-years-old rather than the estimated 33,000 years.

An Anglo-American team found large variations in levels of the carbon-14 isotope, used as the basis of carbon dating, preserved in a 19in stalagmite recovered from a submerged cave in the Blue Holes of the Bahamas, limestone caverns created when sea levels were nearly 330 ft lower than today.

These findings suggested dramatic changes in the amount of radioactive carbon in Earth's atmosphere during the last Ice Age, much greater than previously thought, probably as a result of changes in the strength of the planet's magnetic field.

The field shields Earth from cosmic rays that create carbon-14 in the atmosphere, altering levels of the isotope during the past 45,000 years.

"Beyond about 20,000 years ago there are some dramatic swings in radiocarbon concentration, which means the age offset between the radiocarbon age and true calendar age can be up to 8,000 years," said Dr David Richards of the School of Geographical Sciences, University of Bristol, who made the study with colleagues in Arizona and Minnesota.

Radiocarbon dating, which depends on the steady decay of carbon-14, is less reliable if an artefact is older than 16,000 years. But the changes in radiocarbon, and dating, fluctuate greatly up to 45,000 years, the limit of the study.

Dating study 'Means Human History Rethink'
Sci/Tech Friday, 29 June, 2001, UK

Archaeological findings may have to be dated again.

A complete rewrite of the history of modern humans could be needed after a breakthrough in archaeological dating techniques. British and American scientists have found radio carbon dating, used to give a rough guide to the age of an object, can be wrong by thousands of years.

It means humans may have been on earth for a lot longer than previously thought and accepted versions of early history could need a radical rethink.

Experts have known for years that carbon dating is inexact but until researchers from Bristol and Harvard completed their study no one knew by how much.

Study method The scientists calculated the age of ancient limestone formations in caves using carbon dating. The results were checked using a newer, more accurate method known as uranium dating.

They found that the carbon dates were wrong by thousands of years and that the further back in time they went, the more out-of-date they were.

The reason is that carbon dating measures radioactive carbon and there may have been much more of it in the distant past than previously thought.

Radioactive Age Estimation Methods - FLAWED

How old is planet Earth? There are enormous differences of opinion. The most common view is that Earth is approximately 4.5 billion years old. Others say it is older or younger.

The lowest age defended on a scientific basis is in the 6 to 10 thousand year range. Evolutionism, of course, requires billions of years to support the plausibility of life's emergence and of subsequent Evolution from "amoeba" to man. Theoretically, Creationism remains workable within a wide range of age estimates.

Scientists have proposed numerous age estimation methods. Most systems promoted by Evolutionists involve radioactivity. Various radioactive elements are involved, including Carbon-14, Uranium-238, Thorium-232, and Potassium-40.

By the way, it is important to understand that most rock strata "dates" were actually assigned long before the first use of radioactive age estimating methods.

The Carbon-14 age estimating method is, at best, only useful for estimating the age of things that are thousands of years old, not millions or billions. And it does not work on rocks or thoroughly mineralized fossils; it is only useful for relatively well-preserved organic materials such as cloth, wood, and other non-fossilized materials.

Other methods must be used to estimate the age of rocks and minerals. Two of the most widely-known systems are the potassium-argon method and the uranium-lead method.

A radioactive form of potassium is found in minute quantities in some rocks. It disintegrates at a measured rate into calcium and argon. Similarly, the radioactive element uranium decomposes into lead and some other elements.

How are these processes used to estimate the age of rocks? The principle is similar to that used with Carbon-14. The speed of the disintegration process is measured. A portion of the material is ground up and a measurement is made of the ratio of radioactive "parent" atoms to the decomposition products.

Age estimates which are obviously wrong or contradictory are sometimes produced. For example, new rock in the form of hardened lava flows produced estimated ages as great as 3 billion to 10.5 billion years, when they were actually less than 200 years old.

A popular and supposedly foolproof method was used on two lava flows in the Grand Canyon that should be ideal for radioactive age estimation. The results were similarly bad.

Young basalt rock at the Canyon's top produced an age estimate 270 million years older than ancient basalt rock at the Canyon's bottom. The problem seems to arise from basic wrong assumptions in the method (rubidium-strontium isochron).

If such a sophisticated method is so flawed, geologist Dr. Steven Austin rightly wonders, "Has anyone successfully dated a Grand Canyon rock?"

Assumptions and More Assumptions Arriving at a "date" depends upon a chain of assumptions, each link in the chain being an assumption. The validity of the calculated date can be no stronger than the weakest link (weakest assumption) used in the calculation. What are some of the assumptions made by most Evolutionists in using these systems?

ASSUMPTION: Evolutionists generally assume the material being measured had no original "daughter" element(s) in it, or they assume the amount can be accurately estimated. For example, they may assume that all of the lead in a rock was produced by the decay of its uranium.

PROBLEM: One can almost never know with absolute certainty how much radioactive or daughter substance was present at the start.

ASSUMPTION: Evolutionists have also tended to assume that the material being measured has been in a closed system. It has often been wrongly assumed that no outside factors altered the normal ratios in the material, adding or subtracting any of the elements involved.

PROBLEM: The age estimate can be thrown off considerably, if the radioactive element or the daughter element is leached in or leached out of the sample.

There are evidences that this could be a significant problem. Simple things such as groundwater movement can carry radioactive material or the daughter element into or out of rock. Rocks must be carefully tested to determine what outside factors might have changed their content.

ASSUMPTION: They assume that the rate of decomposition has always remained constant - absolutely constant.

PROBLEM: How can one be certain that decay rates have been constant over billions of years? Scientific measurements of decay rates have only been conducted since the time of the Curies in the early 1900s.

Yet Evolutionists are boldly making huge extrapolations back over 4.5 billion years and more. There is some evidence that the rate of radioactive decay can change. If the decay rates have ever been higher in the past, then relatively young rocks would wrongly "date" as being old rocks.

Evolutionist William Stansfield, Ph.D., California Polytech State, has stated:

"It is obvious that radiometric techniques may not be the absolute dating methods that they are claimed to be. Age estimates on a given geological stratum by different radiometric methods are often quite different (sometimes by hundreds of millions of years). There is no absolutely reliable long-term radiological 'clock'."

Evolutionist Frederick B. Jueneman candidly summarizes the situation:

"The age of our globe is presently thought to be some 4.5 billion years, based on radio-decay rates of uranium and thorium. Such 'confirmation' may be shortlived, as nature is not to be discovered quite so easily.

There has been in recent years the horrible realization that radio-decay rates are not as constant as previously thought, nor are they immune to environmental influences.

And this could mean that the atomic clocks are reset during some global disaster, and events which brought the Mesozoic to a close may not be 65 million years ago, but rather, within the age and memory of man."

See Also: Radiocarbon Dating and Questions


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