Everything Worth Knowing About … Scientific Dating Methods

Primary source references As a preface to this document, I want to point out that it is a shame that we have to continue to refute the same arguments that evolutionists keep bringing up over and over again in their attempts to argue against the fact of creation, which fact has been well established since the day the earth was created ex nihilo several thousand years ago. It is also a shame that the masses have bought all this based on some circular reasoning about fossils, where fossils tend to be found buried, similarities between various life forms, the presence of certain decay products in rocks, and other inherently speculative arguments about the past, based on phenomena that exist in the present. If I hope to accomplish anything, it will be to simply encourage critical thinking. One must get past the arguments ad populum that its popularity counts for something , ad hominem that if you attack the person making the argument, this counts for something , and especially ad baculum that there are people who have the clout to decree it as true , to ask the key questions and challenge the unsubstantiated assumptions and thinking of those who would hold to the evolution position. Today there are an increasing number of anti-creationist authors who are producing books and periodicals that make this relatively brief presentation insufficient to deal with all the points in dispute. Those defending creation today who don’t have the time to devote their life’s study to gaining expertise in all fields of inquiry must principally be prepared to think critically, logically, and challenge unsubstantiated assumptions made by these people. They must also keep a level head in the face of some vicious attacks and diatribes that will be directed against them, as is advised in the scriptures 1 Peter 3: By way of definitions, I want to point out that when I speak of “evolution,” I am referring to the popular contemporary use of the word, which in a nutshell is the belief that all life forms are related by ancestry, and that the first life form occurred spontaneously, all due to completely natural processes. When I speak of “creation,” I am referring to the inherently obvious fact that the origin of all life forms can be attributed to a creator who purposefully created them with planning and intent, and the documented fact that this occurred over the course of a week’s time several thousand years ago.

Radiometric Dating and the Geological Time Scale

I go to great pains to measure every specimen to accurately describe the size. Use a ruler to visualize the size. Do not look at your own thumbnail and think that is the size of the specimen.

Radiometric Dating. How radiometric dating works in general. Why methods in general are inaccurate. Why K-Ar dating is inaccurate. The branching ratio problem.

Acknowledgements Introduction his document discusses the way radiometric dating and stratigraphic principles are used to establish the conventional geological time scale. It is not about the theory behind radiometric dating methods, it is about their application, and it therefore assumes the reader has some familiarity with the technique already refer to “Other Sources” for more information. As an example of how they are used, radiometric dates from geologically simple, fossiliferous Cretaceous rocks in western North America are compared to the geological time scale.

To get to that point, there is also a historical discussion and description of non-radiometric dating methods. A common form of criticism is to cite geologically complicated situations where the application of radiometric dating is very challenging. These are often characterised as the norm, rather than the exception. I thought it would be useful to present an example where the geology is simple, and unsurprisingly, the method does work well, to show the quality of data that would have to be invalidated before a major revision of the geologic time scale could be accepted by conventional scientists.

Geochronologists do not claim that radiometric dating is foolproof no scientific method is , but it does work reliably for most samples. It is these highly consistent and reliable samples, rather than the tricky ones, that have to be falsified for “young Earth” theories to have any scientific plausibility, not to mention the need to falsify huge amounts of evidence from other techniques.

This document is partly based on a prior posting composed in reply to Ted Holden. My thanks to both him and other critics for motivating me.

Radiometric dating

The way it really is: Even the way dates are reported e. However, although we can measure many things about a rock, we cannot directly measure its age. For example, we can measure its mass, its volume, its colour, the minerals in it, their size and the way they are arranged. We can crush the rock and measure its chemical composition and the radioactive elements it contains. But we do not have an instrument that directly measures age.

Radiometric dating, or radioactive dating as it is sometimes called, is a method used to date rocks and other objects based on the known decay rate of radioactive isotopes.

This age is obtained from radiometric dating and is assumed by evolutionists to provide a sufficiently long time-frame for Darwinian evolution. And OE Christians theistic evolutionists see no problem with this dating whilst still accepting biblical creation, see Radiometric Dating – A Christian Perspective. This is the crucial point: Some claim Genesis in particular, and the Bible in general looks mythical from this standpoint.

A full discussion of the topic must therefore include the current scientific challenge to the OE concept. This challenge is mainly headed by Creationism which teaches a young-earth YE theory. A young earth is considered to be typically just 6, years old since this fits the creation account and some dating deductions from Genesis. The crucial point here is: Accepted Dating Methods Here we outline some dating methods , both absolute and relative, that are widely accepted and used by the scientific community.

Absolute dating supplies a numerical date whilst relative dating places events in time-sequence; both are scientifically useful. Radiometric Dating This is based upon the spontaneous breakdown or decay of atomic nuclei.

Methods of Geological Dating: Numerical and Relative Dating

As water expands it puts great pressure on the walls of anything containing it, including any rocks which happen to be surrounding it. When water falls into the cracks of rocks and freezes, the force of the pressure exerted on the rock surrounding it is enough to wedge the walls of the crack farther apart, thus expanding and deepening the crack. Ice wedging is what causes pot holes in city streets. Water freezes in the cracks under the pavement.

As it expands it forces the pavement up, and when the water thaws the pavement falls back down and creates a pot hole. Plant and Animal Action Some plants like mosses and lichens are capable of growing without soil on bare rock.

They use absolute dating methods, sometimes called numerical dating, to give rocks an actual date, or date range, in number of years. This is different to relative dating, which only .

General considerations Distinctions between relative-age and absolute-age measurements Local relationships on a single outcrop or archaeological site can often be interpreted to deduce the sequence in which the materials were assembled. This then can be used to deduce the sequence of events and processes that took place or the history of that brief period of time as recorded in the rocks or soil.

For example, the presence of recycled bricks at an archaeological site indicates the sequence in which the structures were built. Similarly, in geology, if distinctive granitic pebbles can be found in the sediment beside a similar granitic body, it can be inferred that the granite, after cooling, had been uplifted and eroded and therefore was not injected into the adjacent rock sequence.

Although with clever detective work many complex time sequences or relative ages can be deduced, the ability to show that objects at two separated sites were formed at the same time requires additional information. A coin, vessel, or other common artifact could link two archaeological sites, but the possibility of recycling would have to be considered. It should be emphasized that linking sites together is essential if the nature of an ancient society is to be understood, as the information at a single location may be relatively insignificant by itself.

The Age of the Earth

The Paleogeographic Method The study of paleogeography has two principle goals. The first goal is to map the past positions of the continents. The second goal is to illustrate the changing distribution of mountains, lowlands, shallow seas, and deep ocean basins through time. Mapping the Past Positions of the Continents The past positions of the continents can be determined using the following five lines of evidence: By measuring the remanent magnetic field often preserved in iron-bearing rock formations, paleomagnetic analysis can determine whether a rock was magnetized near the Pole or near the Equator.

Paleomagnetism provides direct evidence of a continent’s N-S latitudinal position, but does not constrain its E-W longitudinal position.

Radiometric dating or radioactive dating is a technique used to date materials such as rocks or carbon, in which trace radioactive impurities were selectively incorporated when they were formed. The method compares the abundance of a naturally occurring radioactive isotope within the material to the abundance of its decay products, which form.

Rubidium—strontium method The radioactive decay of rubidium 87Rb to strontium 87Sr was the first widely used dating system that utilized the isochron method. Because rubidium is concentrated in crustal rocks, the continents have a much higher abundance of the daughter isotope strontium compared with the stable isotopes. A ratio for average continental crust of about 0. This difference may appear small, but, considering that modern instruments can make the determination to a few parts in 70, , it is quite significant.

Dissolved strontium in the oceans today has a value of 0. Thus, if well-dated, unaltered fossil shells containing strontium from ancient seawater are analyzed, changes in this ratio with time can be observed and applied in reverse to estimate the time when fossils of unknown age were deposited. Dating simple igneous rocks The rubidium—strontium pair is ideally suited for the isochron dating of igneous rocks. As a liquid rock cools, first one mineral and then another achieves saturation and precipitates, each extracting specific elements in the process.

Strontium is extracted in many minerals that are formed early, whereas rubidium is gradually concentrated in the final liquid phase. In practice, rock samples weighing several kilograms each are collected from a suite of rocks that are believed to have been part of a single homogeneous liquid prior to solidification. The samples are crushed and homogenized to produce a fine representative rock powder from which a fraction of a gram is withdrawn and dissolved in the presence of appropriate isotopic traces, or spikes.

Dating methods in Archaeology. Are they accurate?

So, how do we know how old a fossil is? There are two main methods determining a fossils age, relative dating and absolute dating. Relative dating is used to determine a fossils approximate age by comparing it to similar rocks and fossils of known ages. Absolute dating is used to determine a precise age of a fossil by using radiometric dating to measure the decay of isotopes, either within the fossil or more often the rocks associated with it.

Relative Dating The majority of the time fossils are dated using relative dating techniques. Using relative dating the fossil is compared to something for which an age is already known.

There are two main methods determining a fossils age, relative dating and absolute dating. Relative dating is used to determine a fossils approximate age by comparing it .

Important We believe any unbiased reader will realize that we were fair with our treatment of the two models in the table above. Yet, although the theory of evolution matches the facts in some cases, evolution is still an unproven theory. By now, you may believe it should be your first choice also. Unlike many others that preceded us, we attempted to find a clear defense of evolution for two reasons: To keep from being accused of bias.

To keep from making claims that someone could refute later. Even though there are a great number of claims in books and on the Internet, we could find no scientific, testable facts that support the theory of evolution. The best site we could find was at The University of California at Berkeley. If you are interested, click here to examine the scientific evidence recorded at UC Berkeley yourself.

It includes lots of pictures, links to other pages, and scientific names. The site is very interesting and informative.

FOSSILS: how fossils are dated