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The young-earth creationist belief that the Earth is 6, years old massively contradicts the scientific conclusion that it's actually 4. In order to maintain this belief of theirs, creationists obviously need to call into question the trustworthiness of the dating methods used by scientists to establish the age of the Earth. As you will learn here, none of the arguments or evidence used by creationists to support their position seriously calls into question the reliability of radiometric dating. In fact, there is a very sound basis for believing that these dating methods provide accurate results. And I have to say, I'm excited about this project, because I finally have an opportunity to speak about dating and actually know what I'm talking about! Before we jump into the specific arguments made by creationists, let's begin by first establishing the veracity of radiometric dating. The most important point to make and understand is that there isn't just one dating method used in isolation; instead, there are a variety of dating techniques that are used-all of which serve as checks on one another and all of which yield the same results.

Normal concentrations of radioactive material on earth are well below the levels where forced decay occurs so we can use the relatively simple mathematics of exponential decay to describe the process.

A major assumption is that the rock or mineral being dated has been a closed system so that no parent isotope or daughter product has escaped or been added.

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This assumption can be tested for. What event sets the clock, or more succinctly, when is the system closed?

Lecture radiometric dating

Diagram focusing on some short-lived radioactive isotopes, including carbon Some of these other isotope systems are also used for dating purposes. What geologic materials can be dated? This depends on what system is being used, which determines what type of event is being dated.

GY Lecture Notes D. Haywick 1 GY Lecture Notes Radiometric dating Lecture Goals: A) Radioactivity B) Types of Radiometric dating C) Mass spectometers Textbook reference: Levin 7 th edition , Chapter 1; Levin 8 edition , Chapter 2 and .

Accuracy, error and testing the technique. The earth is about 4. H armon D. 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.

Lecture 3 Radiometric Dating and Sedimentary Processes. Focus Questions: How can we measure the numerical age of rock layers? and How are past environments recorded in sedimentary rocks? Read Chapters 4 and 6. I. A word about atoms A. The nucleus of an atom contains the protons (+ charge) and neutrons (0 charge). Radiometric dating and applications to sediment transport - William Wilcock OCEAN/ESS Lecture/Lab Learning Goals Understand the basic equations of radioactive decay Understand how Potassium-Argon dating is used to estimate the age of lavas Understand how lead dating of sediments works. Radioactive dating game (visual demonstration of parent-daughter decay) 3) Directly address the question of the reliability of radiometric dates. Principles and methods of the radiometric dating process: Do the same test on the same rock multiple times. Do the .

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.

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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.

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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.

Radiometric Dating

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].

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.

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?

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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.

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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.

Radiometric dating

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.

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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.

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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. 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.

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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?

zircons (type of mineral common in granites) and U-Pb dating. easier for volcanic rocks at surface sinice cool quickly (have a simpler thermal history). time of cooling through closure temperature: muscovite, K-Ar dating, and time of end of metamorphism. more complicated because metamorphic rocks can have more complicated thermal histories. Radiometric Dating Elaborates on radioactive decay as a tool for determining the age of certain minerals and other materials, including the limits of the technique. Estimated 4 mins to complete. Radiometric dating methods are very accurate and very trustworthy. Creationist arguments to the contrary are riddled with flaws, as is the scientific research used by them to support their position. 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.

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.

Introduction to the principles and processes of radiometric dating

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! Why the second-guessing of himself? Why even bother with changing the decay rate-and why change it in such a way that creates the perfect misimpression that the earth and universe is much older than it actually is?

What could this be if not a massive campaign of deliberate, divine misinformation? And let's be clear about something: The only reason they're positing accelerated rates of decay is to try to square their holy book with the world around them.

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  1. Mern

    In my opinion, it is actual, I will take part in discussion.


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