You are not eligible to vote on this debate. This debate has been configured to only allow voters who meet the requirements set by the debaters.
Radiocarbon dating is accurate since it measures the constant decay of the carbon isotope in things like rocks and fossils. Using this method, we can map the half life of the atom, and thereby accurately determine the age of the object being dated. There is no reason to believe why radiocarbon dating wont work, its been proven to work very well.
This debate either has an Elo score requirement or is to be voted on by a select panel of judges. Pro First round is for acceptance, no arguments posted here please. We will have one round to debate, so its pistols at 10 paces.
I will be arguing that Carbon dating is a completely reliable dating method.
Report this Argument Con I accept. I'll do definitions here to make sure we dont get into a fight over it during the single match debate. Carbon dating: The determination of the approximate age of an ancient object, such as an archaeological specimen, by measuring the amount of carbon 14 it contains accurate: precise, not flawed, free from error. Pro Radiocarbon dating is accurate since it measures the constant decay of the carbon isotope in things like rocks and fossils.
Using this method, we can map the half life of the atom, and thereby accurately determine the age of the object being dated. There is no reason to believe why radiocarbon dating wont work, its been proven to work very well Report this Argument Con In this round, I will point out why radiocarbon dating is an inaccurate method of dating. Radiocarbon dating was developed on the basis of two assumptions not established facts. In the first place, Libby the developer of the method assumed that the carbon 14 content is consistent in the carbon dioxide which is absorbed by the organism while it is living.
In the second place, Libby believed that cosmic rays which produce carbon 14 have remained constant in our atmosphere. David Hurst Thomas of the American Museum of Natural History addressed the problems of these assumptions when he wrote: Radiocarbon dating relies on a number of key assumptions, perhaps the most important being that the radiocarbon level - that is, the ratio between carbon 12 and carbon 14 - has remained constant in the earth's atmosphere.
Libby assumed this when developing the method, but we now know that this assumption is not valid. That is, levels of atmospheric carbon 14 have shifted somewhat over the past millennia.
Stuart Piggott, a British archaeologist, excavating near Durington Walls in England, received a radiocarbon date for his site. The radiocarbon test on a piece of charcoal suggested that Piggott's site was years older than it actually was. Conclusive data from the site proved that the radiocarbon test was grossly in error. Piggott said of radiocarbon dating that it was "archaeologically unacceptable.
From this conference a correction curve was developed for carbon 14 dates based upon the fairly exact dating method of dendrochronology tree ring dating. Unfortunately, there are a limited number of tree types that are suitable for providing an accurate correction curve for carbon 14 dates. The oldest of the Bristle Cone Pines found are only years old. Using living samples and ancient trunks, scientists were able to develop a correction curve for radiocarbon dates going back years.
Any samples that date further back than B. One might wonder why corrected carbon 14 dates only go back as far as B. One might also question the reason there are no Bristle Cone Pines older than years. These are both stable isotopes so there is no decay rate to be changed. This statement merely reveals Slusher's ignorance of nuclear physics.
A Close Look at Dr. Hovind's List of Young-Earth Arguments and Other Claims
Gamma decay of an excited state of iron 57 has been studied, but this has nothing to do with the kinds of decays used in radiometric dating.
DeYoung [ ] lists 20 isotopes whose decay rates have been changed by environmental conditions, alluding to the possible significance of these changes to geochronology, but the only significant changes are for isotopes that "decay" by internal conversion. These changes are irrelevant to radiometric dating methods. Keep an eye on those creationists!
The following material has been taken from a sheet entitled Several Faulty Assumptions Are Used in all Radiometric Dating fireemblemheroestips.com 14 is used for this example: which was put out by Dr. Hovind. Dr. Hovind (R1): The atmospheric C is presently only 1/3 of the way to an equilibrium value which will be reached in 30, years. This nullifies the carbon method as well as . How reliable is Carbon Dating? This seems off-topic here, unless you can somehow tie this question in with a debate position and supporting good evidence for a deity and/or related debate topics. Remember, if carbon dating were completely unreliable, this would do nothing whatsoever to show religious claims are true. Jul 02, A recent study into carbon dating may reset the archaeological timeline, adding fuel to an ongoing debate as to whether King David ruled over a large unified kingdom or whether he was a tribal chieftain, overly glorified in the Biblical narrative.
They will switch tracks faster than you can say "tiddlywinks. Morris claimed that free neutrons might change the decay rates. However, Henry Morris, that icon of creationism, only demonstrated that he knew no more about radiometric dating than does Dr. Hovind today. Free neutrons might change one element into another, but the decay rates all remain true to their elements.
Morris [ ] also suggests that neutrinos might change decay rates, citing a column by Jueneman 72 in Industrial Research. The subtitle of Jueneman's columns, which appear regularly, is, appropriately, "Scientific Speculation. Jueneman describes a highly speculative hypothesis that would account for radioactive decay by interaction with neutrinos rather than by spontaneous decay, and he notes that an event that temporarily increased the neutrino flux might "reset" the clocks.
Check This Out: Radiometric Dating
Jueneman, however, does not propose that decay rates would be changed, nor does he state how the clocks would be reset; in addition, there is no evidence to support his speculation. There was also an attempt by Slusher and Rybka to invoke neutrinos.
Debate carbon dating
Those mysterious neutrinos seem to be a hot topic! Slusher and Rybka also propose that neutrinos can change decay rates, citing an hypothesis by Dudley 40 that decay is triggered by neutrinos in a "neutrino sea" and that changes in the neutrino flux might affect decay rates. This argument has been refuted by Brush 20who points out that Dudley's hypothesis not only requires rejection of both relativity and quantum mechanics, two of the most spectacularly successful theories in modern science, but is disproved by recent experiments.
Dudley himself rejects the conclusions drawn from his hypothesis by Slusher and Rybkanoting that the observed changes in decay rates are insufficient to change the age of the Earth by more than a few percent Dudley, personal communication,quoted in 20, p.
Thus, even if Slusher and Rybka were correct-which they are not-the measured age of the Earth would still exceed 4 billion years. Dalrymple goes on to debunk several other creationists attacks on the reliability of the radiometric decay rates used in geochronology.
Judging from the above, it is easy to see that creationists are indulging in wild fishing expeditions.
Compare their flighty arguments to the solid support provided by theoretical work, laboratory testing, and, for the shorter half-lives, actual observation, and add to that the statistical consistency of the dates obtained, including numerous cross-checks between different "clocks," and only one conclusion is left. The radiometric decay rates used in dating are totally reliable.
They are one of the safest bets in all of science.
With at least one notable exception on the books, plants and animals get their carbon from the atmosphere. Plants take it in directly, and animals eat the plants. Thus, it gets passed up the food chain.
It is not surprising, therefore, to find that the carbon in living plants and animals is in reasonable equilibrium with the atmospheric carbon Some creationists, however, have claimed that certain plants can reject carbon in favor of carbon Because of the chemical similarity of carbon and carbon, it is unlikely that such plants could deviate much from the ratio of C to C found in the atmosphere.
Neither freak cases nor small deviations pose much of a problem for radiocarbon dating, which, after all, works well with a wide variety of plant and animal species. Hence, we only have to worry about the initial concentration of C in the atmosphere.
Topic R1 shows that the level of C in the atmosphere has not varied appreciably over tens of thousands of years.
Therefore, the initial C content is known for any reasonable sample! The notable exception involves certain mollusks, which get much of their carbon from dissolved limestone. Since limestone is very old it contains very little carbon Thus, in getting some of their carbon from limestone, these mollusks "inherit" some of the limestone's old age!
That is, the limestone carbon skews the normal ratio between C and C found in living things.
Because carbon-dated camel bones the crazy arguments that radio carbon dating and bill nye debate concerning radiometric dating more than. Dino' and dinosaur bone, the radiometric dating faces technical problems and lower anchors. Many fallacious assumptions used form of evolution is the true origin of u. One of radioactive, radiocarbon dating. Jun 06, When news is announced on the discovery of an archaeological find, we often hear about how the age of the sample was determined using radiocarbon dating, otherwise simply known as carbon dating. Jun 15, Even still if we let the radon disturb the carbon 14, and let the bacteria absorb carbon 14 from a dead organism before it was fossilized, we have other organisms and geological strata from the same environment that we can radiometrically date-not just carbon dating-to comparatively verify. If carbon dating is inaccurate, then it would not.
No problem! If one dates such mollusks, one must be extra careful in interpreting the data. Not every mollusk shell presents such problems, and the dating of other material might yield a cross-check.
Further study might even allow correction tables. The discovery has strengthened the carbon method, not weakened it! By the way, shouldn't the creationist be worried over the old, carbon age of the limestone? Why is it that limestone has so little C in it? Partial contamination, say of a block of wood, may affect its different parts to different degrees. Insect burrows, cracks, and partial decay may allow contamination later on to affect those portions of the sample unequally.
However, there are laboratory techniques, often ingenious, for dealing with such problems. If the sample shows evidence of being hopelessly contaminated it is pitched. Some samples, such as a section of a tree trunk, may well contain material of considerably different ages.
The interior portion of a tree trunk could easily be several hundred years older than the outer portions.
In summing up this point, we do know within good limits what the initial C was for any reasonable sample. A sample will not have different ratios of carbon unless it has been contaminated or reflects a genuine range of ages. In the case of carbon dating, the daughter product is ordinary nitrogen and plays no role in the dating process. We are only interested in tallying the original C still present in the sample, the surviving "parent" isotope.
The C that is incorporated in the carbon structure of cellulose and the other structural materials of living plants and animals is not going to do much migrating after burial. If structural carbon migrated easily there soon wouldn't be any cellulose, lignin, chitin or other structural carbon compounds left in the soil! A piece of wood, for example, would soon turn into a formless cloud of graphite or soot in the soil, with perhaps a little ash marking the original shape!
Clearly, that is not something which normally happens. Residues or solutions which do migrate can usually be washed out of the structural matrix of the sample with various chemicals.
To put it another way, we might imagine a piece of buried wood as being something like a sponge. Any carbon-containing liquid originally possessed by that sponge might well leak over time and be replaced by something else. However, unless the sponge itself disintegrates, the carbon which holds its fibers together must stay put. Thus, by choosing a sample that is structurally intact, one may rule out any significant loss of C If the liquid impurities in our sponge can be washed and squeezed out, or estimated in some way, then we may be able to date the sponge structural component of our sample itself and get a good date even if non-structural carbon had been lost in a manner that would upset the isotope ratio.
A sample, of course, can be contaminated if organic material rich in fresh atmospheric C soaks or diffuses into it. Such contamination may occur in the ground or during the processing of the sample in the laboratory. However, such contamination will make the sample appear younger than its true age.
Consequently, with regards to carbon dating, creationists are barking up the wrong tree on the contamination issue! Laboratories, of course, do have techniques for identifying and correcting contamination. There are various methods of cleaning the material, and the activity of each rinse can be measured.
Lab contamination and technique can be checked by running blanks. A careful choice of samples will often minimize contamination. Dating various portions of a sample is another kind of check that may be performed. Often there are cross-checks.
Samples from top to bottom of a peat bog gave reasonable time intervals Sciencevol.
How Good Are Those Young-Earth Arguments?
The calibrated C method confirmed Egyptian records, and most of the Aegean dates which were cross-dated with Egyptian dates were confirmed American ScientistMay-June The marvelous agreement with tree-ring data, after correction for variations in the earth's magnetic field, has already been mentioned.
Carbon dating thus presents a deadly challenge to young-earth creationists. If an old date is reasonably accurate, they're out of business; if an old date is bad due to contamination, then they are still out of business because the true date is most likely older still. It hardly seems fair, but that's the way it is.
With that in mind, let's look at a few carbon dates.
Egyptian barley samples have been found which date to 17, years old ScienceApril 7, On page the author explains some of the professional care which stands behind his use of the carbon method. A wooden walkway buried in a peat bog in England has been dated to about BC by the carbon method Scientific AmericanAugustp. Odd, that Noah's flood neither destroyed it nor deposited thick sediments on top of it!
Jennifer Hillam of the University of Sheffield and Mike Baillie of Queen's University of Belfast and their colleagues were able to date the walkway by a second method, i. They found out that the walkway, known as the Sweet Track, was built from trees felled in the winter of BC. Pretty close agreement, huh? Stonehenge, as dated by carbon, was built over a period from BC to BC - long before the Druids came to England.
Astronomer Gerald Hawkins found, after careful computer calculations, that the arrangement of the stones at Stonehenge are aligned with key positions of the sun and moon as they were almost years ago. Weber,p. Thus, we have another remarkable confirmation of the C method.
When did the volcano that destroyed Thera and probably the Minoan culture as well explode? Radiocarbon dating of seeds and wood buried in the ash, done by scientists at the University of Pennsylvania, pointed to no later than BC. Being that this was one of the biggest volcanic eruptions in recorded history, it almost certainly caused worldwide cooling which would, in turn, affect tree growth. Sure enough, the growth rings among oaks buried in Ireland's bogs show the effect of unusual cooling from BC.
Nor was that just an effect of local weather conditions. The bristlecone pines in the White Mountains of California show the same thing. A third estimate came from studies in Greenland. Thus, we have a remarkable agreement between three different methods, all within two or three percentage points of each other! Trees buried by the last advance of glacial ice at Two Creeks, Wisconsin were dated at 11, years.
Between those trees, which are buried in Valders red till, and an earlier, deeper layer of till, the Woodfordian gray till, lay the remains of a forest bed! What is a forest, including developed soil and rooted stumps, doing between two advances of ice? That could be an interesting question for someone who believes in only one "ice age.
By careful counting and cross-checking he was able to determine that the oldest glacial lakes, which would have formed at the start of the retreat of the ice, were 12, years old.
Thus, we have a rough check between varves in glacial lakes and radiocarbon dating. Richard Foster Flint, a professor of geology at Yale University and an expert on the Pleistocene epoch, was among the first to apply radiocarbon dating to glacial events.
Collecting wood, bones and other organic material that had been covered over by the Laurentide Ice Sheet as it plowed across eastern and central North America, Flint collaborated with geophysicist Myer Rubin to demonstrate in that in most places the ice sheet achieved its greatest advance about 18, years ago, began to withdraw shortly thereafter and then hastened its retreat about 10, years ago.
On the wall of Gargas Cave in the French Pyrenees are the outlined hands of Ice Age artists which date to at least 12, years. Magnificent prehistoric cave art, comparable to that of the world-famous caves of Altamira, Spain and Lascaux, France, was recently discovered in southern France, in the Ardeche River canyon area Los Angeles Times ; Pasadena Star-News January 19, Its paintings of such animals as bison, reindeer, rhinoceros, woolly rhinoceros, a panther, an owl, a hyena, bears, lions, horses, wild oxen, mammoths, wild goats and other animals is estimated to be between 19, years old.
Sorry, no dinosaur drawings were reported! In Europe, cave art was at its height around 20, years ago. Some examples probably go back 30, years!
This is similar to an argument put out by Harold Slusherp. Hovind adds the bizarre claim that something can't be measured accurately to seven decimal places. Such nonsense is answered by Dr. Dalrymple, an expert in radiometric dating, who noted that: "Modern counting instruments, available for more than two decades, are capable of counting the C activity in a sample as old as 35, years in an ordinary laboratory, and as old as 50, years in laboratories constructed with special shielding against cosmic radiation.
New techniques using accelerators and highly sensitive mass spectrometers, now in the experimental stage, have pushed these limits back to 70, or 80, years Given that the half-life of carbon is years, one can calculate that 4 billion C atoms will produce 1 decay per minute on the average.
Converting the 4 billion atoms to grams a nickel weighs 5 gramswe get 0. Consequently, by tallying one click per minute on the Geiger counter, we can measure a whole lot further than 7 decimal places!
A 1-gram, fresh sample of carbon, containing the atmospheric concentration of one ten-billionth percent of carbon, will yield about 12 decays per minute.