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Dating methods, Radio metric dating

general52
Posts: 5
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3/9/2011 10:41:27 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
Is it not true and I want to buffer out my understanding of dating methods for knowing how old things (tree's, rock, fossils, ect) are. From what I understand in order to accurately date something we rely on decay of minerals, or carbon. Or that something is decaying (forgive me I am terrible with scientific terms). I can understand how we could measure the rate of decay.
However, is it not true that to measure the age of something we need more than rate of decay, we need to know how much an object started out with to decay from. How could one possibly know that unless they were there to measure that?

I do hold a christian world view however as I have done with my faith I do not ask questions to only patronize I am honestly curious, I will not however believe in a statement as simple as "it is true just because a whole bunch of people use it or believe to be true." Or something along those lines I want to be certain there is credible evidence to back up the authenticity of any claim, statement or system.
tvellalott
Posts: 10,864
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3/9/2011 10:44:14 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
I too am no expert; I'm sure someone here can explain it to you. Until then: http://archaeology.about.com...
"Caitlyn Jenner is an incredibly brave and stunningly beautiful woman."

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Greyparrot
Posts: 14,291
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3/9/2011 11:43:36 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 3/9/2011 10:44:14 PM, tvellalott wrote:
I too am no expert; I'm sure someone here can explain it to you. Until then: http://archaeology.about.com...

I thought this was about hooking up with the opposite sex.
belle
Posts: 4,113
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3/10/2011 12:19:43 AM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 3/9/2011 10:41:27 PM, general52 wrote:
Is it not true and I want to buffer out my understanding of dating methods for knowing how old things (tree's, rock, fossils, ect) are. From what I understand in order to accurately date something we rely on decay of minerals, or carbon. Or that something is decaying (forgive me I am terrible with scientific terms). I can understand how we could measure the rate of decay.
However, is it not true that to measure the age of something we need more than rate of decay, we need to know how much an object started out with to decay from. How could one possibly know that unless they were there to measure that?

this is basically right. the idea is that a certain type of carbon (carbon-14) is radioactive and decays at a known rate. most carbon is carbon 12, and the ratio between carbon 12 and carbon 14 is fixed at a certain value in living organisms. in other words, living things tend to use carbon 14 instead of carbon 12 some percentage of the time. when they have a sample, they can figure out the actual ratio of carbon 12 to carbon 14 and compare it to the standard ratio. this is how they know how much carbon 14 was there originally, and they can use that info to calculate how many years its been.
evidently i only come to ddo to avoid doing homework...
Floid
Posts: 751
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3/10/2011 6:23:08 AM
Posted: 5 years ago
From what I understand in order to accurately date something we rely on decay of minerals, or carbon. Or that something is decaying (forgive me I am terrible with scientific terms). I can understand how we could measure the rate of decay.
However, is it not true that to measure the age of something we need more than rate of decay, we need to know how much an object started out with to decay from. How could one possibly know that unless they were there to measure that?

Yes, you must know the rate of decay (which can be established fairly accurately) and how much of the material whose decay you are measuring the object contained to begin with (not as accurate).

We establish the amount of material the object started with by making assumptions that basically equate to what we observe now happened in the past. For example: If we see a certain amount of gas in the atmosphere now and that amount appears steady of the time period we have been measuring it (for most stuff that is a hundred years or so) then we assume it has always been the same.

Now to verify these assumptions what scientist do is cross correlate it with other measurements. They come up with two or three independent decays that rely on independent assumptions about the original amount. We then test all the methods against each other over a range of items. Results are also tested against other methods of dating such as stratification. If all these test results agree, then we know each assumption was probably right and we have a valid test for dating materials.

The starting amount assumption is also why radiometric dating isn't all that accurate. This is why when stating the results you will often here "object x is 160-140 million years old". The radiometric testing only gave results accurate to within 20 million years! That is a pretty big gap when you think about it.
Floid
Posts: 751
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3/10/2011 6:24:45 AM
Posted: 5 years ago
I do hold a christian world view

I will not however believe in a statement as simple as "it is true just because a whole bunch of people use it or believe to be true."

I hate to point out that those two statements are incompatible.
Meatros
Posts: 1,075
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3/10/2011 6:33:46 AM
Posted: 5 years ago
There are many dating methods - many radio metric methods as well. Some over lap, which would mean that it would be statistically unlikely that to converge on the same date. If they do, then it indicates it's pretty reliable - especially if they match ice cores, tree rings, etc.
Ore_Ele
Posts: 25,980
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3/11/2011 10:41:52 AM
Posted: 5 years ago
We know how much Carbon 14 there is in the environment (at least the concentration of carbon 14) because it is made in our upper atmosphere by the waves of nuetrons from the sun (part of the solar wind which is not deflected by our magnetic field).

This keeps the C-14 in the environment at a given concentration. Since living things are always using carbon, they keep replenishing their C-14 in their bodies (whether it is plants getting carbon from the air, or animals getting carbon from plants).

Once something dies, it stops getting new carbon, and so stops getting new carbon 14 (since it is no longer eating carbon based food to get more). So that carbon that is currently inside of it starts to break down at a known rate.
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general52
Posts: 5
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3/15/2011 4:59:03 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 3/10/2011 6:24:45 AM, Floid wrote:
I do hold a christian world view

I will not however believe in a statement as simple as "it is true just because a whole bunch of people use it or believe to be true."


I hate to point out that those two statements are incompatible.

Well believe or not, there was a man named Dr. Greenleaf who was the Royal Professor of Law at Harvard University, he was one of the greatest legal minds that ever lived. He wrote the famous legal volume entitled, A Treatise on the Law of Evidence, considered by many the greatest legal volume ever written.

As you can imagine his book was built on examining legal evidence and Dr.Greenleaf orginally believed the resurrection of Jesus Christ was a hoax. So he went to examine it to prove that was a hoax. However he ended up becoming a christian and he concluded that according to the jurisdiction of legal evidence the resurrection of Jesus Christ was the best supported event in all of history.

You should check out the evidence.

I do not believe just because people tell me to I believe because I have found spiritual, and historical evidences for the exisentence of God and of Jesus Christ. You were the one bothered by what I said so don't get angry because I responded having done my homework.
general52
Posts: 5
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3/15/2011 5:06:11 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
Thanks for the posts about radio metric dating but it sounds like, there is a lot of assuming going on for radio metric dating, Not to mention a lot of faith that there wasn't any fluctuations is gases at the time.

Is there a recorded event where the same methods are accurate on something when we know how old it is?
Ore_Ele
Posts: 25,980
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3/15/2011 5:45:58 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 3/15/2011 5:06:11 PM, general52 wrote:
Thanks for the posts about radio metric dating but it sounds like, there is a lot of assuming going on for radio metric dating, Not to mention a lot of faith that there wasn't any fluctuations is gases at the time.

Is there a recorded event where the same methods are accurate on something when we know how old it is?

We know that there weren't flucuations because it is created at a constant rate (nearly constant) by the neutron radiation from the sun. Since the sun works via a thermal fussion nuclear reaction, we can know how many nuetrons are being emitted. While sun spots and the actual heat on the surface plasma may vary and change a lot, the neutrons release will not, not until it enters the next stage of life (there will be a sudden change at that time, probably over several decades)
"Wanting Red Rhino Pill to have gender"
Dan4reason
Posts: 1,168
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3/17/2011 2:04:34 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 3/15/2011 5:06:11 PM, general52 wrote:
Thanks for the posts about radio metric dating but it sounds like, there is a lot of assuming going on for radio metric dating, Not to mention a lot of faith that there wasn't any fluctuations is gases at the time.

Is there a recorded event where the same methods are accurate on something when we know how old it is?

We have tested carbon dating for example by comparing it to tree-ring data (which is the most accurate dating technique we have) and it is very very accurate in many circumstances even though it does not work for all circumstances. That is what a geochronologist is for. A geochronologist decides what dating method is most appropriate for a given sample, dates the sample, and then specifies the error bounds on the date.

We have tested other dating methods by comparing them to each other and they give the same result. All dating methods have their down sides and that usually consists of whether the expected "zero" has been shiften.

The potassium-argon dating allows us to date rocks that were formed from volcanoe blasts. Potassium-40 decays into 88.8% Ca-40, and 11.2% Ar-40, and the half-life is 1.26 billion years, and we know the decay rate which is constant. When lava is liquid, it lets the Argon escape so there is no argon when the rock hardens. The clock has been set to zero. Knowing the natural factors that may slightly influence the decay rate, the decay rate itself, and how much argon there is in the rock today, we can extrapolate backward using proven mathematics and find how long ago the rock hardened. This stuff is accurate and works. Here is the video I got this from.

Name: Why Young Earth Creationists are WRONG, Part II
Floid
Posts: 751
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3/17/2011 2:54:37 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
Well believe or not, there was a man named Dr. Greenleaf who was the Royal Professor of Law at Harvard University, he was one of the greatest legal minds that ever lived. He wrote the famous legal volume entitled, A Treatise on the Law of Evidence, considered by many the greatest legal volume ever written.

By who to be the greatest legal volume ever written? From what I could find it ceased printing in the earlier 1900s and hasn't been used in law schools since that period.

As you can imagine his book was built on examining legal evidence and Dr.Greenleaf orginally believed the resurrection of Jesus Christ was a hoax. So he went to examine it to prove that was a hoax. However he ended up becoming a christian and he concluded that according to the jurisdiction of legal evidence the resurrection of Jesus Christ was the best supported event in all of history.
You should check out the evidence.

That is the problem, there is no evidence. As Greenwell concluded "Our religion, then, rests on the credit due to these witnesses." Which is fine for a "great legal mind". Science deals with evidence though and not on the testimony of witnesses.

I do not believe just because people tell me to I believe because I have found spiritual, and historical evidences

That is great. The problem is the only historical evidence you have is limited to a small collection of writings of people promoting the religion. If that is evidence enough for you, that is great... but as I said originally you are believing something just because "a bunch" of other people said it was true (I use "a bunch" because if you get down to it you are going on what a handful of authors who never met Jesus wrote). Even Greenleaf appeared to admitted that...
Ramshutu
Posts: 4,063
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3/18/2011 9:45:23 AM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 3/15/2011 5:06:11 PM, general52 wrote:
Thanks for the posts about radio metric dating but it sounds like, there is a lot of assuming going on for radio metric dating, Not to mention a lot of faith that there wasn't any fluctuations is gases at the time.

Is there a recorded event where the same methods are accurate on something when we know how old it is?

This really shows how little you know about dating; Radiocarbon dating in no way assumes anything.

For example, Radiocarbon dating measures the level of C14 in a substance. Dating methods do not assume that this level of C14 is constant; Quite the opposite.

We know the historical levels of C14 change, because we can measure it very well using tree rings. The yearly rings in tree's are unique, and can be easily matched against other tree's; so much so that if you have thousands of years worth of dead tree's, you can put them all in a chronological order using the overlapping ring patterns.

What scientists then do, is measure the C14 in these tree's, with a REAL date because we know the rings. Using this method, you can correctly calculate how much C14 was in the atmosphere at a particular time, to make your date more accurate.

To further remove any assumption, the C14 measurements are done with different geographical locations and can be cross referenced against other methods, such as looking at Ice cores in the arctic.

It shows we never use one method and assume it's right, but several in order to prove that the method gives the right answer.

This is only RC dating though; other radiometric dating works differently; the assumption is that "the halflife of a substance does not change over time", which required for accurate dating. Essentially, if you consider the halflife as a ticking clock, it is assumed that it this clock always ticks at a constant rate.

To prove this, when taking a date, scientists rarely use one substance, or one "clock", they use several. It actually becomes very easy to validate you have the right date, because all the different clocks should match up very closely; which is what you generally see when seeing recorded dates.

Scientists don't just use one method and "assume" it is correct.