Sunday, April 12, 2015

How Far Back Can We Measure Dates? Part IX

Continuing from the previous posts regarding radiocarbon dating techniques and how they have skewed our understanding of the past and its ages, and more specifically continuing with the last several posts on the gaps found in tree-ring overlap dating and its effect on using dendrochronology to extend radiocarbon dating back to B.C. times. 
    In all of this, an obvious question always arises, not just by critics of the system, but by common sense questioning as well—just how is an “absolute calendar age of rings” obtained from different trees with all the difficulties involved in cross matching tree rings, when dendrochronologists tell us that “The rings in a non-living specimen can be counted to determine the number of years the specimen spans, but that the specimen to be useful in extending the tree-ring chronology, the absolute calendar age of its rings must be determined.”
In fact, recent research on seasonal effects on tree rings in other trees in the same genus, the plantation pine Pinus radiata, has revealed that up to five rings per year can be produced and extra rings are often indistinguishable, even under the microscope, from annual rings. As one tree physiologist put it, “I would say that evidence of false rings in any woody tree species would cast doubt on claims that any particular species has never in the past produced false rings. Evidence from within the same genus surely counts much more strongly against such a notion.”
    An interesting fact on this matter is that considering that the immediate post-Flood world would have been wetter with less contrasting seasons until the Ice Age waned, many extra growth rings would have been produced in the Bristlecone pines (even though extra rings are not produced today because of the seasonal extremes). Taking this into account would bring the age of the oldest living Bristlecone Pine into the post-Flood era.
    Let’s say a tree was found to have sufficient rings to take its date back to 2750 B.C., about 406 years before the Flood. At the same time, let’s say that during that post-Flood era (2343 B.C. to about 2000 B.C.), the tree produced four rings per year rather a than just one, making the tree to have an additional 1029 annual rings. Subtracting that 1029 extra rings from the overall count, the tree would actually be dated to 1720 B.C., about 263 years after the Flood. However, such calculation would never be made since the extra rings would never be known, nor even considered by most to have occured.
    Yet, despite such real problems, dendrochronologists pay little or no attention to such possibilities. According to Pilcher, Baillie, Schmidt and Becker, the great age of living and sub-fossil trees of this species enabled a continuous tree-ring sequence of 8,681 years to be established, providing so-called absolutely dated wood samples for the first radiocarbon calibration. “We have now established an unbroken west European tree-ring sequence spanning the past 7,272 years,” they claim—making one list to 6666 B.C., and the other to 5257 B.C. (4322 and 2913 years respectively before the Flood).
    This entire concept of extending back chronologies has become a freight train running out of control at high speed.
Among other things, the beginning of the chronology (in modern times) represents a major theoretical problem for Radiocarbon Dating because the living outer layers of the Bristlecone Pines appear to be hugely deficient in Carbon-14 (thus, carbon-14 dating indicates these outer layers are a lot older than suggested by the tree-ring chronology).
    This presents another major problem for Radiocarbon Dating because they then have to explain how the older heartwood (which is functionally dead) acquired additional Carbon-14 so that Radiocarbon Dating could conclude it is younger than the outermost layers.
    It should also be kept in mind that the older tree ring chronologies depend on the cross-matching of tree ring patterns of pieces of dead wood found near living trees. This procedure depends on temporal placement of fragments of wood using Carbon-14 dating, assuming straight-line extrapolation backwards of the carbon dating. Having placed the fragment of wood approximately using the Carbon-14 data, a matching tree-ring pattern is sought with wood that has a part with overlapping Carbon-14 age and that also extends to a younger age. A tree ring pattern that matches is found close to where the carbon ‘dates’ are the same. And so the tree-ring sequence is extended from the living trees backwards.
    Now superficially this sounds fairly reasonable. However, it is a circular process, and assumes that it is approximately correct to linearly extrapolate (infer through reason) the carbon ‘clock’ backwards. There are good reasons for doubting this, because the closer one gets back to the Flood the more inaccurate the linear extrapolation of the carbon ‘clock’ would become, perhaps radically so. Conventional carbon-14 dating assumes that the system has been in equilibrium for hundreds of thousands of years, and that Carbon-14 is thoroughly mixed in the atmosphere. However, the Flood buried large quantities of organic matter containing the common carbon isotope, Carbon-12, so the Carbon-14/Carbon-12 ratio would rise (increase) after the Flood, because Carbon-14 is produced from nitrogen, not carbon. These factors mean that early post-Flood wood would look older than it really is and the ‘carbon clock’ is not linear in this period.
In “A” two 1985 sampled Tree Ring Curves that could be considered candidates for inclusion in a Site Master from two living oak trees at Quendon, Essex, England. The vertical scale is logarithmic and shows the curves in their matching position; the narrow ring at drought year 1976 is dated; however, “B” shows the result of shifting one of the curves by just one year: Note: arrows point to where there is no longer a match
    The biggest problem with the process is that ring patterns are not unique. There are many points in a given sequence where a sequence from a new piece of wood matches well (note that even two trees growing next to each other will not have identical growth ring patterns).
Yamaguchi recognized that ring pattern matches are not unique. The best match (using statistical tests) is often rejected in favor of a less exact match because the best match is deemed to be ‘incorrect’ (particularly if it is too far away from the carbon-14 ‘age’). So the carbon ‘date’ is used to constrain just which match is acceptable. Consequently, the calibration is a circular process and the tree ring chronology extension is also a circular process that is dependent on assumptions about the carbon dating system.
    That brings us back to the original problem. That of preconceived notions about human evolution that cannot cope with young dates that do not conform to the billions of years of planetary development. It is not necessarily that dendrochronologists or those working with radiocarbon dating are conspiring to massage their data to get the answers they want—it is simply that all observations must fit the prevailing paradigm. The paradigm, of course, is a firm, fixed belief of molecules-to-man evolution over eons of time, which is so strongly entrenched it is never questioned in scientific circles—it is a ‘fact’. So every observation must fit this paradigm.
    Unconsciously, the researchers, who are supposedly ‘objective scientists’ in the eyes of the public, select the observations to fit the basic belief system. Those that do not fit in, are rejected under one premise or another. Because of this, tree-ring dating can be extended back far beyond the time of existence of trees beyond the Flood, or even beyond Adam. They are simply matching the knowledge “everyone knows,” that the Earth is billions of years old.
To the dendrochronologist, who “knows” the Earth is 4.55 billion years old, it is only a question of where are the trees and tree ring curves that will match my chronology and extend the dates backward—it is never a question of “Are there actually older trees and tree ring curves that date beyond the time of the Flood?” After all, when “everyone knows” the Earth is billions of years old, and you have only discovered trees that grow 4500 years old, that is just a drop in the bucket of the time frame to be covered. So the race is on!
    So what does all this have to do with the dating of archaeological sites in the Western Hemisphere, specifically in Central and South America? And what does it have to do with the dates of Andean South America sites covered recently showing they date far beyond the Nephite and even the Jaredite time?
(See the next post, “How Far Back Can We Measure Dates? Part X,” to see how dendrochronology and radiocarbon dating effects the dating of archaeological sites in Andean South America)

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