Point. is radiometric dating reliable opinion
Federal government websites often end in. The site is secure. Radioactive elements transmute into more stable materials by shooting off particles at a steady rate. For instance, half the mass of carbon, an unstable isotope of carbon, will decay into nitrogen over a period of 5, years. Archaeologists routinely use radiometric dating to determine the age of materials such as ancient campfires and mammoth teeth. Recent puzzling observations of tiny variations in nuclear decay rates have led some to question the science of using decay rates to determine the relative ages of rocks and organic materials. Scientists from the National Institute of Standards and Technology NIST , working with researchers from Purdue University, the University of Tennessee, Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Wabash College, tested the hypothesis that solar radiation might affect the rate at which radioactive elements decay and found no detectable effect.
If these dating methods were inaccurate, you would expect to see wildly divergent results, with some techniques yielding one date, other techniques yielding another-it would just be total chaos. Yet what we actually see is perfect consistency. Given these facts, why do creationists distrust radiometric dating? One reason is that the half-lives of some elements vary under certain circumstances.
Important to understand, however, is that in almost all cases, to my knowledge, this variance is very minor and doesn't even apply to the elements used in radiometric dating -certainly not to a degree that calls into question its accuracy. As Wikipedia writes. In 7Be, a difference of 0. And as we read on TalkOrigins. This is despite experiments that attempt to change decay rates.
It's funny to watch creationists point out the variance of certain decay rates-as if they're the first ones to figure this out or something, as if the experts in the field who use these dating methods have never considered the possibility of variance or other sources of inaccuracy, and when the creationist points out this possibility, the scientists are just dumbstruck by the brilliance of this point.
No, nobody knows more about potential sources of error in radiometric dating than the people who regularly use these dating methods. I always find it amusing when ignorant laymen try to lecture scientists about their own field of expertise. I'm reminded of a recent episode of Star Talk where they had a climatologist on as a guest.
She noted that climate-change deniers will argue against global warming by pointing out that climate has varied in the past, and she was like: "Yeah, we know: We're the ones that told you this. Something similar is going on here with radiometric dating: The experts who study this topic extensively point out that sometimes, slight variability is observed in the decay rates of certain elements; creationists seize upon this and they're like: "Aha!
What do ya think about this? In fact, that's actually my research that you're citing. Creationists will also argue that several scientific findings prove that radiometric dating is unreliable.
One such finding is that the age of rocks known through observation doesn't actually match up with the radiometrically dated age of rocks. We're told the following in a YouTube video posted by Genesis Apologetics:. Let us explain.
Consider Mount St Helens: This volcano erupted in the s, giving scientists the opportunity to date the rocks that were formed from the eruption. The results? Five different ages, all betweenand 2. It sounds like pretty powerful evidence when you first hear about it, but the obvious question that needs to be asked is: How trustworthy is the science behind these findings?
It turns out that this research is deeply flawed. Kevin R. Henke published a devastating critique of this research on the aptly-named NoAnswersInGenesis. One crucial mistake that these creationists made was using the wrong equipment to date their sample. As Henke writes.
With less advanced equipment, 'memory effects' can be a problem with very young samples. That is, very tiny amounts of argon contaminants from previous analyses may remain within the equipment, which precludes accurate dates for very young samples. For older samples, which contain more 40Ar, the contamination is diluted and has insignificant effects.
Because all but one of the dates [measured by Austin et al].
How accurate is radiocarbon dating?
Henke points out that:. Austin's descriptions in the following statements clearly indicate that he FAILED to adequately separate the phenocrysts and possible xenocrysts from the volcanic glass.
Austin admits:. So as we can see, there's no good reason to believe that this Mount St Helens rock-age data proves anything more than the incompetency of creationist researchers. I think I actually have an idea of what went wrong here: these creationists, at the outset of their study, had a very good plan in place for how to conduct rigorous analysis on this question; in the course of their research, however, they ended up dropping this plan into the volcanoso they just said "Fuck it" and decided to wing it from that point on.
More examples of similar such discrepancies are cited in a lecture given by creationist Andrew Snelling. During his lecture, he shows this slide which features five examples of the known ages of rocks not matching up with the dated ages of rocks.
Notice that four of the examples show a radiometric age of less than half a million years with the fifth example showing an age of about 1.
Is radiometric dating reliable
These dates are perfectly in line with the dates we saw in the Mount St Helens study; so perhaps the explanation is, yet again, residual equipment contamination, or foreign rock intrusion? Rather than the dating techniques being flawed, perhaps it's this research that's flawed?
Snelling says the following in his lecture :. The answer is we can't. Or maybe we can if we simply use the correct equipment and remove foreign particles from the sample to minimize contamination? And recall that, as Henke pointed out, this problem of equipment contamination is unique to younger rocks; if we're dealing with rocks that are hundreds of millions of years old, the trace amounts of leftover argon adding a million years or so to the sample is going to have only the tiniest effect on the dated age of the rock.
Let's say the rock is million years old and the trace argon makes it appear million years old; relatively speaking, on a geological timescale, this difference is so minor as to be virtually inconsequential.
By the way, I love the potted plants that Snelling has on stage in front of him. I don't know why, but I kinda like it. It really livens the place up. And why just stop at plants, while we're at it? Why not have a tortoise or a cockatoo just sort of hanging out on stage with you when you give your lecture? This is the future of public speaking, ladies and gentlemen.
The model K-Ar ages for each of the samples ranged from Furthermore, the seven samples from the small amphibolite unit near Clear Creek, which should all be the same age because they belong to the same metamorphosed basalt lava flow, yielded K-Ar model ages ranging from So basically, samples from one section of rock yielded wildly divergent results. Greg Neyman of Old Earth Ministries-a Christian organization, I might add-points out the very simple problem underlying this study:.
So, what do the [creationist researchers do? So what the creationist is doing here is misapplying these dating techniques and then saying: "See! I told you we couldn't trust these dating techniques. I told you this stuff doesn't get you high. Try tearing out a page from your Bible and rolling a joint with that shit, and then come and talk to me.
Creationists will also point to examples where freshly killed animals are carbon-dated as being thousands of years old-thus, we're told, these dating methods cannot be trusted. For example, we read on CreationToday. A freshly killed seal was carbon dated as having died 1, years ago. Kieth and Anderson show considerable evidence that the mussels acquired much of their carbon from the limestone of the waters they lived in and from some very old humus as well.
Carbon from these sources is very low in C because these sources are so old and have not been mixed with fresh carbon from the air. Thus, a freshly killed mussel has far less C than a freshly killed something else, which is why the C dating method makes freshwater mussels seem older than they really are.
When dating wood there is no such problem because wood gets its carbon straight from the air, complete with a full dose of C What about the freshly killed seal? As Talk Origins writes. The seals feed off of animals that live in a nutrient-rich upwelling zone. The water that is upwelling has been traveling along the [ocean] bottom for a few thousand years before surfacing.
The carbon dioxide in it came from the atmosphere before the water sank. Thus, the carbon in the sea water is a couple of thousand years 'old' from when it was in the atmosphere, and its radiocarbon content reflects this time. Once again, there is a perfectly reasonable explanation for this discrepancy, and this doesn't justify a wholesale dismissal of radiometric dating. Notice a pattern here?
Now you might be saying at this point: If we can't use these dating methods on certain types of rock or animal, it seems to me that they're just not trustworthy.
Sep 18, National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). (, September 18). Radiometric dating still reliable (again), research shows. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 22, from rhodeshotel.netedaily. 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. Radiometric Dating Is Not Inaccurate Perhaps a good place to start this article would be to affirm that radiometric dating is not . Sep 14, For instance, half the mass of carbon, an unstable isotope of carbon, will decay into nitrogen over a period of 5, years. Archaeologists routinely use radiometric dating to determine the age of materials such as ancient campfires and mammoth teeth.
Understand that nobody is saying radiometric dating works perfectly in every conceivable set of circumstances; as with almost every tool in science, there are certain limitations to radiometric dating-and nobody understands these limitations better than the scientists who use these dating techniques. As they write on Talk Origins. By analogy, diagnostic tools in medicine will sometimes generate false positives, where the test results inaccurately indicate that a person has a disease that they don't actually have.
This doesn't therefore make these tools completely worthless; it just means that sometimes, they get it wrong-but when properly applied, the techniques will give us the correct answer the vast majority of the time. The next example is much more tantalizing because it purportedly shows two wildly divergent dates taken from the exact same animal.
What could possibly explain this? Eric Hovind, writing for CreationToday. One problem with this quote: It doesn't appear to actually exist-much like God, I might add!
Nowhere does the cited study appear to contain this particular sentence.
Radiometric dating is a reliable means of dating rocks when used properly. Radiometric Dating Does Work! rhodeshotel.net Many people think that radiometric dating has proved the Earth is millions of years old. That's understandable, given the image that surrounds the method. Even the way dates are reported (e.g. ± million years) gives the impression .
This means that the direct quote given. Secondly, none of the radiocarbon dates for mammoths given in that table are 44, or 29, So not only is the quote a fabrication but the information contained in it is too. How wrong can a single sentence be? As we can see here in the table from the studythe two references to mammoths provide one date of 32, years for the first one, and 21, years for the other.
There is no indication whatsoever that these two dates are referring to the same mammoth; in fact, quite the opposite is the case. One is referred to as a baby mammoth, while the other is simply referred to as a mammoth; one is described as being potentially contaminated by glycerine, while the other is not.
On top of that, the two samples were collected years apart! And note that these dates are presented in this table on page 30 of the study-the specific page referenced by Eric Hovind as the source of this quote-so what is going on here? Did somebody along the line misread this study, misrepresent its findings, and has this inaccuracy just been passed along from creationist to creationist like a game of telephone? Why is a person as prominent as Eric Hovind not making sure that his references actually support what he claims they do?
Perhaps he's just too busy polluting the internet with his mental diarrhea to do a bit of research and reading? Arguably the magnum opus of creationist efforts to refute radiometric dating is what's known as the RATE project, short for Radioisotopes and the Age of The Earth.
Among their many vaunted "findings" are the following, described on AnswersInGenesis. Creation scientists suggest that there are two possible times that God supernaturally intervened on a global scale-during Creation Week and the Flood.
It is not unreasonable to assume that God used the energy of accelerated radioactive decay to initiate and drive the major geologic changes in the earth that accompanied the Flood. This is some of the most unreasonable shit I've ever heard! Even from a religious standpoint this makes no sense: What does this say about the idea of a perfect God with a perfect creation plan?
What was wrong with his original decay rate? Why did he not create it right the first time around? Did he just screw up and suddenly realize, 2, years in: "Ahh, fuck! I knew I was forgetting something! This is similar to our dice analogy.
We cannot tell what number we will roll in any one shake, but if we rolled 6, dice, the chances are very high that 1, of them would have landed on a six.
One dice is urhodeshotel.netedictable. Many dice follow a statistically predictable pattern.
In the same way, one U atom is urhodeshotel.netedictable, but a sample containing many millions of U atoms will be very predictable. What happens statistically is that half of the available atoms will have decayed in a given period, specific to each radioactive species, called the half-life.
For many people, radiometric dating might be the one scientific technique that most blatantly seems to challenge the Bible's record of recent creation. For this reason, ICR research has long focused on the science behind these dating techniques. Contrary to what creationists argue, radiometric dating methods are very reliable. This becomes crystal clear when multiple different dating techniques provide the exact same answer. Yes, there are specific circumstances where the tools give us the wrong answer-but the experts in the field are well aware of these limitations. This makes radiometric dating quite reliable. However, there are some factors that must be accounted for. For example, sometimes it is possible for a small amount of new "parent" isotopes to be incorporated into the object, skewing the ratio. This is understood and can be corrected for. Also, techniques such as taking samples from multiple.
For example, if element Aa had a half-life of 1 day and we had 1, lbs. By observing how fast U decays into lead, we can calculate the half-life of U This is a theoretical calculation, and we can therefore determine that the half-life of U is 4. Remember that the half-life is a statistical measure. Granting that U has a half-life of 4. A very common rock that contains U is granite. If we look at some of the very small zircon crystals in granite, we can accurately measure how much U and Pb the crystal contains.
In order to calculate the age of the rock, we need three other pieces of information:. Using the above assumptions, it is calculated that the zircon crystals have an age of about 1.
Radiometric Dating - Is It Accurate?
The radioactive decay process above can be seen to produce 8 alpha-particles for each one atom of U The rate of diffusion of helium from a zircon crustal can be measured. It turns out that this rate of diffusion of helium is compatible with the crystals being about 5, years old, not 1. Although assumptions 2 and 3 are not provable, they actually seem very likely in this particular example. Therefore, it seems that the first assumption must be wrong 1.
Remember that we have already said that these experimenters are highly skilled. It is therefore unlikely that the laboratory technicians have made a mistake in their measurements of U or Pb The only possible conclusion, therefore, is that the half-life of U has not been constant throughout the lifetime of the granite and its zircon crystals. Other radiometric dating methods are based on similar assumptions.
If the assumptions cannot be trusted, then the calculations based on them are unsound. It is for this reason that creationists question radiometric dating methods and do not accept their results. Radiometric Dating - Is It Accurate? Radiometric Dating Is Not Inaccurate Perhaps a good place to start this article would be to affirm that radiometric dating is not inaccurate.
Therefore the process is: Uranium Decay Equation. About the Author: Eric Hovind.