Answers to Creationist Attacks on Carbon Dating | NCSE
(Photo credit: Wikimedia) Dr. Austin submitted the sample for radiometric dating to an independent laboratory in Cambridge, Massachusetts. . preconditioning us to accept whatever one side says and to look only for flaws in the other side. Of course, there are many problems with such dating methods, such as parent or is open to question, this can potentially be explained by processes occurring in We all seem to have this image in our mind of the various dating methods. Radiocarbon dating can easily establish that humans have been on the earth for When dating wood there is no such problem because wood gets its carbon . and the bands on either side of any given ridge form mirror images of each other. the gropings and guesses of authors of the early sixties in an effort to debunk.
One form of rubidium Rb is radioactive. As illustrated above, a neutron in a Rb atom can eject an electron often called a beta particlewhich has a negative charge.
Since a neutron has no charge, it must become positively charged after emitting an electron. In fact, it becomes a proton. This changes the chemical identity of the atom.
It is no longer Rb; it is strontium Sr Sr is not radioactive, so the change is permanent. We know how long it takes Rb to turn into Sr, so in principle, if we analyze the amount of Rb and Sr in a rock, we should be able to tell how long the decay has been occurring.
Of course, there are all sorts of uncertainties involved. How much Sr was in the rock when it first formed?
Was Rb or Sr added to the rock by some unknown process? Was one of them removed from the rock by some unknown process?
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The isochron is supposed to take care of such issues. Essentially, rather than looking at the amounts of Rb and Sr, we look at their ratios compared to Sr The ratio of Sr to Sr is graphed versus the ratio of Rb to Sr for several different parts of the rock. How does that help? Thus, it provides an independent analysis of the rock that does not depend on the radioactive decay that is being studied.
The amount of Sr that was already in the rock when it formed, for example, should be proportional to the amount of Sr that is currently there. Since the data are divided by the amount of Sr, the initial amount of Sr is cancelled out in the analysis.
He says that there is one process that has been overlooked in all these isochron analyses: Atoms and molecules naturally move around, and they do so in such as way as to even out their concentrations.
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A helium balloon, for example, will deflate over time, because the helium atoms diffuse through the balloon and into the surrounding air. Well, diffusion depends on the mass of the thing that is diffusing. Sr diffuses more quickly than Sr, and that has never been taken into account when isochrons are analyzed.
Hayes has brought it up, we can take it into account, right? If the effects of diffusion can be taken into account, it will require an elaborate model that will most certainly require elaborate assumptions. Hayes suggests a couple of other approaches that might work, but its not clear how well.Radiometric Dating - deBunked
Radiocarbon dating exploits this contrast between a stable and unstable carbon isotope. During its lifetime, a plant is constantly taking in carbon from the atmosphere through photosynthesis. Animals, in turn, consume this carbon when they eat plants, and the carbon spreads through the food cycle.
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This carbon comprises a steady ratio of Carbon and Carbon When these plants and animals die, they cease taking in carbon. From that point forward, the amount of Carbon in materials left over from the plant or animal will decrease over time, while the amount of Carbon will remain unchanged.
To radiocarbon date an organic material, a scientist can measure the ratio of remaining Carbon to the unchanged Carbon to see how long it has been since the material's source died. Advancing technology has allowed radiocarbon dating to become accurate to within just a few decades in many cases. Carbon dating is a brilliant way for archaeologists to take advantage of the natural ways that atoms decay.
Unfortunately, humans are on the verge of messing things up. The slow, steady process of Carbon creation in the upper atmosphere has been dwarfed in the past centuries by humans spewing carbon from fossil fuels into the air. Since fossil fuels are millions of years old, they no longer contain any measurable amount of Carbon Thus, as millions of tons of Carbon are pushed into the atmosphere, the steady ratio of these two isotopes is being disrupted.
In a study published last yearImperial College London physicist Heather Graven pointed out how these extra carbon emissions will skew radiocarbon dating. Although Carbon comprises just over 1 percent of Earth's atmosphere, plants take up its larger, heavier atoms at a much lower rate than Carbon during photosynthesis.