Tuesday, April 7, 2015

How Far Back Can We Measure Dates? Part IV

Continuing from the previous three posts regarding radiocarbon dating techniques and how they have skewed our understanding of the past and its age, especially in the understanding of the ages of early civilization in the Americas.
After pretreatment, samples for radiocarbon dating are prepared for use in an accelerator mass spectrometer by converting them into a solid graphite form. This involves a complex multi-step process which removes a selected portion of the sample, extracts the carbon and converts it in a solid graphite target suitable to be used as cathode in the sputtering ion source of the AMS spectrometer
    Suppose that a specimen to be tested is judged to have lived and died with the atmosphere in an equilibrium state. This means that the testing lab would use a constant figure to analyze the findings of their tests. As an example, say a specimen is found through decay rate to still contain 59% of its original Carbon-14. This would mean that it would be carbon-dated to 4344 years ago, or 2344 B.C., plus or minus a few years, about the date of Noah’s Flood.
    On the other hand, let’s say that there was a worldwide Flood. This would have altered the amount of forests for hundreds of years afterward that would have existed over the entire earth. Now forests (plants) are part of the carbon cycle, and produce Carbon-12 and release it into the atmosphere, which in turn, combines with Carbon-14 and dilutes the amount of Carbon-14 to about one part per trillion in the atmosphere. However, let’s say that because of the elimination of trees around the world due to the Flood and the buildup of Carbon-14 after the Flood with much less Carbon-12 in the atmosphere (from the carbon cycle) existing to dilute the Carbon-14 as normal; and let’s say that buildup equated to 20% more Carbon-14 in the atmosphere than before the Flood, then the specimen being tested would contain more Carbon-14 that it otherwise would have.
    So instead of having a date of 2344 B.C. for the specimen, we see that it would be dated based on the wrong amount of Carbon-14. Without that extra 20% because of the Flood and deforestation around the planet, the specimen would really have 70.824%, which would carbon-date to 2850 years, or about 850 B.C. (59.02 reading plus 20%=70.824); or if it was only a 10% buildup, then the age of the specimen would actually be 3550 years, or about 1550 B.C.
    It is not difficult to see how easy it would be to get dates that were far apart simply by having the wrong key entered into the testing program. That is, how much Carbon-14 existed in the atmosphere at the time of death, how much before death, and how much after death. Carbon-14 testing labs use the same figure, though they do make adjustments for accepted causes, such as the Industrial Revolution where more carbon was put into the atmosphere, or the Atomic Bomb testing when a lot of carbon was put into the atmosphere, but they do not compensate for a nonequilibrium state in the atmosphere—they assume it is within equilibrium despite all tests showing that it is not.
    Take the graph below put together by Robert Whitelaw in 1970 meant to show this idea of a nonequilibrium state and the difference in testing years from that of an equilibrium state. As can be seen from the chart, the further back in time we go, the greater the differences become.
Difference in years since death of a specimen (red) in a Nonequilibrium Age, and (blue) Equilibrium Age
    As an example, when archaeologists claim a site has been radiocarbon dated to 12,000 years BP (Before the Present) the actual figure would be half that, and an actual calendar year date would be about 4000 B.C. (12,530 BP, 6000 actual years ago, 4000 B.C.) However, in all reality, since 1970, we have found far more factors involved to create discrepancies, making these dates even further apart at earlier datings. Thus when carbon-dating provides an age of 3000 B.C., it is going to be much closer to 1000 B.C. in actual calendar years.
    It is also interesting to note on Whitehall’s chart, that if something were actually 6,500 years old (4,500 B.C.), it would carbon-date to over 19,000 years old (17,000 B.C.) It should be understood from this that when scientists get back into periods they claim are 20,000 to 30,000 years old, they are really talking about 7,000 to 8,000 actual years before the present, or 5000 to 6000 B.C. in calendar years (based upon our scale, Adam would have left the Garden of Eden about 6000 years ago).
    So sites that date into the 3000 to 5000 years before the present, are likely going to fall very close to the Nephite nation period of time. As an example, Lehi set sail about 2600 years ago (before the present), the Jaredites about 4100 years ago.
    This is not to suggest that Whitelaw’s table is accurate (it relies on the assumption that cosmic radiation and atomic decay have remained constant since the Creation—something we have no way of knowing one way or the other), only that when we start making adjustments for factual knowledge, we start to realize that any dating system is going to be in error since it is based upon both wrong principles, and upon assumptions that disregard actual knowledge. Equilibrium is only one of the major problems facing man’s present attempts to use radiocarbon dating techniques.
After all, the only thing science can really do is measure the atmosphere and what it contains at the present time (within that time frame this has been going on, roughly since about 1950), measure the amount of Carbon-14 contained in the atmosphere, and measure its rate of decay. We cannot (though it is the nature of science to do so) pre-determine what the atmosphere was exactly like at any given time in the past except in general terms. Nor can we (as scientists are prone to do) disregard known factors, such as a worldwide Flood, and other cataclysmic events (creation, destructions during the meridian of time, etc.), since all these, along with man-made factors (industrial revolution, atomic bomb detonations, etc.) have a direct bearing on the amount and type of atoms found in the atmosphere.
    Nor can we (again, as scientists have done) pre-determine what man, animals, or plant life was like and what it contained in the ancient past, nor what was its extent at the time of death, nor what external factors interacted with it during the time between death and discovery.
    Radiocarbon dating assumes that the carbon-12/carbon-14 ratio has stayed the same for at least the last hundred thousand years or so. However, the difference between production and decay rates, and the systematic discrepancy between radiocarbon and tree-ring dates, refute this assumption. Instead, the evidence for change is entirely consistent with a recent Creation and catastrophic Flood.
An Accelerator Mass Spectrometry (AMS) at ANSTO in Australia is an ultra-sensitive method for analyzing isotopes
    Until the last few years, laboratories measured carbon-14 content indirectly by extracting all the carbon from a sample and then counting its radioactive emissions. Unfortunately, many of these systems required relatively large samples to obtain accurate results. Archaeologists faced the dilemma of either preserving or dating their precious finds. Then along came the application of accelerator mass spectrometry to carbon isotope analysis, which has changed this picture dramatically. An AMS system has the advantage of counting individual carbon-14 atoms.
    Laboratories using the decay-measuring method claim they can analyze several grams of carbon with a typical accuracy of ±40-150 years, and a maximum range of 30-40,000 years. AMS labs claim they can measure several milligrams of carbon with a typical accuracy of ±80-400 years, and a maximum range of 40,000 years. However, being able to measure tiny amounts of carbon-14 is not the same as proving that objects are thousands-of-years old as we have pointed out in these several posts. It is, after all, not the system of counting Carbon-14 that is at fault here--labs do an excellent job of this--but it is the evaluation of what that information means that is at fault, i.e., the pre-determined beliefs involved by the scientists themselves.

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