Thursday, November 15, 2012

One Last Time—Radiocarbon Dating is Inaccurate – Part III

It was mentioned in the last post about the additional Carbon-14 that was dumped into the atmosphere during the Industrial Revolution as well as during nuclear weapons testing. It should be pointed out that Libby was a smart guy and accounted for this discrepancy. He measured the amount of Carbon in the inner layers of trees that were older than the Industrial revolution. He was able to calculate the amount of Carbon-14 in the atmosphere, before the industrial revolution, and adjust his equation accordingly. Later Scientists have done the same with the nuclear weapons. 
Wood found in the ground is usually considered a certain age based on what strata it is found in, however, sometimes (more often than believed), specimens are found far below the strata where they are first supposed to have evolved into existence. Experts answer this in three ways: 1) the fossils "downwashed" through solid rock to lower levels, 2) say they "reworked" themselves to lower strata; that is, they slipped, slid, or fell through the solid rock, 3) or just ignore the fact. The point is, specimens are often found buried in areas where they cannot be dated by surrounding strata
However, two things need to be considered: 1) When digging up a tree branch, taking a specimen from an ancient ruin, or uncovering some object, how does one determine how old it is before measuring to determine whether it is older than the Industrial Revolution? 2) Since carbon was not measured in the atmosphere during the Industrial Revolution as it has been since, and that it was not constant any more than measured changes of nuclear testing, which peaked in 1965, meaning it was less before and after, how do we know how much compensation in the measurement that needs to be given from Industrial Revolution carbon change? With nuclear testing, we know that the 1990 atmosphere carbon was only 20% higher than the theoretical 1950 level (dropping some 80% over that time), yet the Industrial Revolution lasted not only some 100 years, we do not know how much additional atmospheric carbon existed at any point during that time, and at what point it reached its peak, or to what degree it decomposed over time. It is fine and dandy to say Libby made the adjustment, but what figures did he use and how accurate could they possibly have been when the basis could not have been known—it was simply another guess.
However, consider this all important key question, “Has the ratio of C-14 to C-12 ever changed from what it is today, and if so, when and by how much?" If a change or changes took place a carbon year may not necessarily equal a calendar year. The bigger the change, the greater the age difference in the measurement. Yet, despite this very obvious problem, Libby simply decided to claim that C-14 in the atmosphere had not changed over the centuries before the Industrial Revolution.
Regarding this, Libby stated on pages 4-9 in his `Radiocarbon Dating', (1952): “If the cosmic radiation has remained at its present intensity for 20,000 or 30,000 years, and if the carbon reservoir has not changed appreciably in this time, then there exists at the present time a complete balance between the rate of disintegration of radiocarbon atoms and the rate of assimilation of new radiocarbon atoms for all material in the life-cycle.” Now consider that Libby claimed there had been no change in the “present intensity for 20,000 or 30,000 years.” How could he know this? He could not—he simply decided that was the case.
But that is not the biggest problem. After compensating for the Industrial Revolution change of atmospheric carbon, Libby then assumed that the amount of carbon in the atmosphere was relatively constant for a very long time before the Industrial Revolution. How can we assume this to be correct? In the atmosphere the amount of Carbon-14 decaying over time increases with the greater concentration of Carbon-14 in the atmosphere. Eventually the reaction would reach some equilibrium and the amount of Carbon-14 in the atmosphere would remain constant.
However, since a Carbon-14 year must equate to a calendar year which depends on the uniformity of C-14 in the atmosphere for many thousands of years into the past, measurements conducted on organic sedimentary layers worldwide have shown that radiocarbon ages do not increase at a steady rate as one goes down layer by layer. Instead, they increase at an accelerated rate, which means that the concentration of C-14 decreased rapidly with depth, proving that the atmospheric concentration of Carbon-14 was not stable in the past and such dating methods based on that fact are in error.
In addition, while Libby found a 12% variance in the carbon in the atmosphere, more recently others have tried to duplicate his measurements with more modern equipment and much greater accuracy. They concluded that the out-of-balance condition (not in equilibrium) is not only very real, buy even worse than Libby believed. They have found that radiocarbon is forming 28% - 37% faster than it is decaying—showing conclusively that atmospheric carbon has not reached equilibrium! That is, the Earth is not yet 30,000 years old!
The obvious problem lies in the fact that neither Libby, his colleagues, nor anyone else knows what effects various events during prehistory took place that would have changed atmospheric carbon like the two already mentioned. Again, that is not known, and not possible to know; however, Libby made the decision that before the Industrial Revolution, carbon was stable in the atmosphere, and adjusted his measurements accordingly.
Obvious, to Libby, this meant that Noah’s Flood did not happen, the earth did not divide in Peleg’s time, and the area of the Land of Promise was not impacted with enormous change, including three days of volcanic action.
Eruption of Chaitén volcano in Chile in 2008. What impact did the Laki fissure system, Krakatoa, Mt. Vesuvius, and millions of other volanco eruptions over the centuries have in the atmospohere? More than a hundred million tons of carbon dioxide (volcanic outgassing) is poured into the atmosphere each year which effects amounts of atmospheric Carbon-14 and Carbon-12
Yet, despite these and numerous other problems with carbon dating, it has become the measurement device to determine the age for almost everything old that people want to date. It is taken as fact and used as evidence to gather information on the world and past civilizations. However, Carbon dating is at best a good theory, and that is all it is—a theory. Too many people forget the definition of a theory. Theory is not fact; it is a hypothesis that is supported by some experimental evidence. There have been many theories in the past that have been later disproved.
This series of posts has not been intended to say that Carbon dating is a bad idea. Dr. Willard F. Libby was a very brilliant scientist and had some remarkable ideas. In fact, had he kept to his own experimental findings and not rejected them, his time clock not only showed the Earth to be somewhere around 12,000 years old, but would have been consistent with the only validator of Earth’s history, the scriptural record.
However, in Libby’s defense, it would have been extremely difficult for a scientist of his caliber, and that of his colleagues in Chicago at the time, to come out and say the Earth was less than 30,000 years old. He would have been ridiculed by the scientific community and drummed out of his life’s work—after all, he had worked on the Manhattan Project, was a professor of chemistry, and at age 36, the youngest full professor at Chicago. Had he told the truth of his experiments and gone with that knowledge, it would have likely ended his career.
On the other hand, a young boy was once faced with the same challenge—tell people what he actually learned and be labeled a fraud, a charlatan, a swindler, etc., or keep it to himself. Joseph Smith said what he knew to be true, and his name became known for good and evil throughout most of the world. Evidently, Libby preferred the adoration of his kind as opposed to the truth—his deception won him a Nobel Prize and a prominent place in the scientific history, but at what a cost. Today, his time clock is used to show the world is millions (billions) of years old, not under 30,000 as his experiments actually showed by his own admission—and has given fodder to all the anti-God scientists who want to eliminate the Creator of all things from the public conscience.
(See the next post, “One Last Time—Radiocarbon Dating is Inaccurate – Part IV,” for more on the subject of problems with radiocarbon dating)

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