Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Digging Deeper into the Time Clock

Because the process of dating the past ages has become such a process today, with more than a hundred and thirty laboratories specializing in the dating methods, and every archaeologist and anthropologist worth their salt want to date their discoveries and theories, the dating of past ages has become an extremely important part of these sciences. The problem arises, however, when those dates seem to conflict with other theories, ideas, and models.
This problem is the most apparent when Carbon-14 is used to date settlements, such as the remote citadel at Choquequirao in Peru (above), and movements of past cultures and civilizations in areas, such as the Americas, where there is no accepted written history in which dates and findings can be compared. This especially shows up in the differences between archaeological dates of the Americas and those dates as understood in the Book of Mormon, and the overall chronology of time as stated in the Bible.
    Thus we have two schools of thought with which we deal when trying to use Carbon-14 dates resulting from testing on the basis of Willard F. Libby’s time clock, referred to within the system of radiometric dating or radiocarbon dating.
    As an example, archaeology claims Andean Peru has several pre-ceramic periods, with the Early Archaic period, 8000 to 5200 B.C.; the Middle Archaic 5200-3000 B.C.; the Late Archaic period, 3000 to 1800 B.C. and the Ceramic Formative stage, 1800 B.C. to early A.D. time. Thus they talk about the settlement of Caballete in the Fortaleza river valley of Peru that dates to 3000 B.C., which would place it before the Flood and long before the Nephites, who were the people who settled there. Thus, an immediate conflict arises in trying to equate an archaeological date given that predates the Egyptian pyramids with a people who did not arrive in the Americas before 600 B.C.
    Part of the problem is the immediate rejection of each system by those who belong in the opposite camp; i.e., evolutionists reject any discussion toward a younger Earth than 4.55 billion years of age; Young Earthers reject any discussion toward an Old Earth dating into evolutionary time frames. It doesn’t matter what the truth is to these groups—they simply have their mind made up to what they accept, believe, and promote.
Neither the evolutionist nor the creationist can prove the age of the Earth using a particular scientific method. Each realizes that all science is tentative because we do not have all the data, especially when dealing with the past. This is true of both creationist and evolutionist scientific arguments—evolutionists have had to abandon many “proofs” for evolution just as creationists have also had to modify their arguments. All rely on the dating methods of the past, and go from there in their opposing arguments.
    Consequently, in this blog, we do not use Carbon-14 dates for a calendar year time frame. When a date is given of 3000 B.C., or 1200 B.C., etc., we do not use that to show when a settlement, people, or culture existed on a calendar, but within a flow of time, i.e., if the Olmec Culture (Mesoamerica) date to 1500 B.C. and the Las Vegas/Valdivia Culture (Ecuador) date to 3500 B.C., then in the flow of time, the Valdivia came on the scene much earlier than the Olmec. However, the calendar dates (1500 or 3500 B.C.) cannot obviously be correct since 1500 is far too late for the Jaredites, and 3500 is far too early, based on the Bible dating of the Flood at 2344 B.C.
    This obviously leads us to the time clock and the accuracy or inaccuracy of its workings. In trying to explain this over the past five years in this blog, it becomes a difficult stumbling block for anyone attempting to justify the Book of Mormon dates, since radiocarbon dating has become such a popular, and unfortunately, such a well-accepted belief.
    A few days ago, following the first of this six-part series, on “How Old is Old?” we received several comments and questions about this issue—probably the biggest area for controversy in the scripture-evolutionary debate of recent years. We have taken one of these that seems the most representative and listed it below, in which we will try to dig a little deeper into this problem to expose the truth of the matter behind it all.
    Comment: “The counter that I have seen most often is that equilibrium has been reached, but that because of fluctuation in cosmic rays, there are natural (though minor) fluctuations in the amount of Carbon 14. "If the Earth is not in equilibrium, then when the living thing dies, additional Carbon-14 will enter the dead animal or plant life." This does not make sense to me. The entire foundation of Carbon-14 date measurement is that once dead, no additional Carbon 14 enters the organism.  How does increasing atmospheric Carbon-14, cause an increase in Carbon-14 in non-living organic matter? If you are claiming there is some kind of diffusion because of a differential between the atmosphere and organic remains, then Carbon-14 in organic remains would always receive an increasing influx of new Carbon-14 as the original Carbon-14 decayed. This would totally invalidate any use of Carbon-14 as a dating method regardless of whether atmospheric Carbon-14 is in equilibrium.”
    Response: Two things are involved here: 1) The exchange of carbon-14 in living matter, and 2) the decay of carbon-14 once the living matter dies. As long as matter is living (bone, wood, peat, plant, leather, people, etc.), it absorbs carbon-14 into its system—non-living matter, rock, stone, or anything that does not contain organic carbon, cannot be dated by carbon-14, though some are dated through other means.
Thus, when any living matter dies, the intake of carbon-14 into its system ceases, and a slow, steady decay takes place (with half of the carbon-14 existing at death decaying over a 5730, plus or minus 40, year span.
    All of this is based on a few assumptions that are simply impossible to prove. As an example, while there is no proof that the rates were different in the past than they are today, there is also no proof that they were the same. Thus radioactive dating relies purely on assumptions, such as:
1. There is the same amount of carbon-14 entering the atmosphere as the amount that decays, or leaves the atmosphere (called equilibrium);
2. The amount of carbon-14 in the atmosphere has always been the same;
3. Both parent (Carbon-14) and daughter (nitrogen-14, etc.) were initially present in the same amounts as today, or that the daughter isotope at the beginning is known so that it can be subtracted;
4. There was no Flood that added amounts of carbon-14 into the atmosphere or the lack of plants and trees that subtracted the amount of Carbon-12 released into the atmosphere afterward that changed the balance;
5. The artifact or specimen being measured has always been in a closed system isolated from its environment (no additional Carbon-14 or other isotope entered) and that no additional Carbon-14 escaped.
    There are others, but these are major issues that cannot be known when the artifact died, or during the time before or after its death, that can heavily affect the amount of carbon-14 left in the system when it is finally tested.
(See the next post for the answer to the comment listed above and why Carbon-14 testing is not effective in the way it is presently used, evaluated, and dated.)

Monday, March 30, 2015

How Old is Old? – Part V

Continuing with and completing the understanding of radiocarbon dating (Carbon-14), and the time clock Willard F. Libby invented to read the ages of the past used constantly by archaeologists and anthropologists in determining the age of past civilizations and their accomplishments, both in the Americas and elsewhere.
   When I was young and an aspiring world conqueror, there was an unarguable and all inclusive tenet or canon in science that, simply stated, was “First you create a hypothesis, then you set about to prove it wrong—if you cannot prove it wrong, it therefore must be right, but only after you have exhausted all possible proofs that it is not wrong!
As stated by Sir Karl Raimund Popper (left), who promoted this belief and spoke out against empirical falsification, there were three steps in developing any new idea: 1) Formulate a hypothesis, 2) Try to prove it wrong, and, 3) Based upon your results, formulate a new hypothesis. It was an almost never-ending process of making certain that your hypothesis was, indeed accurate. Generally regarded as one of the greatest philosophers of science of the 20th century, Popper was once asked “Why not try to prove your hypothesis right?” His answer, “Because you can't; you never know if there isn't one more experiment that will prove it wrong.”
    As a trivial example, let's say your hypothesis is that all the balls in a can are white. You pull one out and it is white. Have you proved your hypothesis? No, you just have not disproved it. However, if you pull out a pink ball, you do know your hypothesis is wrong. Of course, you can take all the balls out of the can but you can't do all the possible experiments on a scientific topic. This is called the “method of falsification.” It is like saying: “Every swan I’ve seen is white, therefore, all swans are white.”
    Simply stated, a theory in the empirical sciences can never be proven, but it can be falsified, consequently, it can and should be scrutinized by decisive experiments. Popper’s well-accepted scientific canon was that If the outcome of an experiment contradicts the theory, one should refrain from ad hoc maneuvers that evade the contradiction merely by making it less falsifiable. This was a concept in science that bound all scientists and their ideas into the realm of honest endeavors and results. Constantly fighting against scientists who championed pet theories, despite the results, Popper stated in 1957: “If we are uncritical we shall always find what we want: we shall look for, and find, confirmations, and we shall look away from, and not see, whatever might be dangerous to our pet theories.”
Popper, considered the most important philosopher of science since Francis Bacon of the 16th century, is also known for his opposition to the classical justificationist account of knowledge, which he replaced with critical rationalism, "the first non-justificational philosophy of criticism in the history of philosophy.” In a nutshell, Critical rationalists hold that scientific theories and any other claims to knowledge can and should be rationally criticized, and (if they have empirical content) can and should be subjected to tests which may falsify them.
    His ideas, which he formulated as early as 1938, was considered the most generally accepted and practiced scientific method known. However, today, his method has long been scrapped in favor of proving yourself right since that is to whom lucrative contracts, funding, computer time, and grants are given.
It seems unquestionable that Popper, who said, “Whenever a theory appears to you as the only possible one, take this as a sign that you have neither understood the theory nor the problem which it was intended to solve,” would not have approved of Libby’s sweeping his experiments that proved his hypothesis wrong under the rug in favor of “everyone knows the earth is millions of years old.”
    It was also Popper who wrote a ground-breaking work entitled The Open Society and its Enemies, a remarkable insight into humanities many mistakes in the name of progress and science. As Popper states about his philosophy, “It springs from my conviction that, if our civilization is to survive, we must break with the habit of deference to great men. Great men may make great mistakes—some of the greatest leaders of the past supported the perennial attack on freedom and reason. Their influence, too rarely challenged, continues to mislead those on whose defense civilization depends, and to divide them. The responsibility of this tragic and possibly fatal division becomes ours if we hesitate to be outspoken in our criticism of what admittedly is a part of our intellectual heritage. By reluctance to criticize some of it, we may help to destroy it all.”
    Evidently, Libby had not heard of Popper’s philosophy and numerous statements in support of it that had been the standard principle for scientific evaluation of ideas throughout most of the 20th century, since he ignored his tests that disproved his theory, and reset his radiocarbon dating clock to read it the way he thought it should be read. Thus, we see a world today labeled 4.55 billion years old, rather than the 10,000-year-old earth that his experiments actually showed the world to be.
    Nor, evidently, did Popper see far enough into the future to realize how indifferent science would become toward “truth,” for he also wrote: “Those among us who are unwilling to expose their ideas to the hazard of refutation do not take part in the scientific game.” Libby not only was unwilling to expose his ideas to the hazard of refutation by publishing and standing beside his own tests results, but changed them to match a belief held by a small segment of science at the time (1950) that the Earth was millions of years old—thus, not only taking part in the scientific game, but steering it down a side road that at the time was not widely accepted to make it the standard of belief throughout almost all of society.
Thus, in my lifetime, I have seen a drastic swing from trying to prove a hypothesis wrong, to trying to prove it right, no matter what. For this latter act, Libby won the Nobel Prize for chemistry in 1960, and the world ever since has seen evolution as the means of the earth’s existence, and man as living upon it for millions of years.
    However, in so doing, Libby proved another of Popper’s sayings to be quite accurate: “If we are uncritical we shall always find what we want: we shall look for, and find, confirmations, and we shall look away from, and not see, whatever might be dangerous to our pet theories.”
    It is interesting that Libby’s own experiments and results would have opened the door to one of the greatest scientific discoveries of all time—that the Earth’s existence matches that listed in Moses’ writings and verified the age of the Earth as the ancients knew it and as God intended us to know. Instead, he violated the very public trust he hoped to have gained and fostered on mankind a lie about radiocarbon dating that has led to a misunderstanding of ancient ages in all archaeology and anthropology studies ever conducted, now going on and will ever be held.
   Thus, it should be obvious from all this, that the idea and results of radiocarbon dating of ancient sites can tell us only one thing—not the calendar date of their existence, but that one is older than the other. Stated differently, we can learn from Carbon-14 dating that Andean Peru was settled long before Mesoamerica, but other than that, we cannot tell exactly when, or even in what century. As long as science continues to use an atmosphere in equilibrium that is actually not equalized, we will never know from radiocarbon dating (or any other dating method) in what time period prehistoric events of the past took place.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

How Old is Old – Part IV

Continuing with the understanding of radiocarbon dating (Carbon-14), and the time clock Willard F. Libby invented to read the ages of the past used constantly by archaeologists and anthropologists in determining the age of past civilizations.
    Whenever we discuss dates and ages of past civilizations and compare them to the scriptural record in the Book of Mormon, there are always questions that come up about radiocarbon dating and how these dates are inconsistent with the scriptural record.
    First of all, we need to understand the significance of whether the atmosphere (the basis of Carbon-14 and Libby’s time clock) is in equilibrium or not in equilibrium. As every professional in any scientific discipline knows, even molecules have to evolve, so starting with a good dose of evolutionary Big Bang Hydrogen and evolving through Carbon 12 and eventually heavy elements, planet earth, life and radioactive Carbon-14 which took millions of years, there should have been plenty of time for C14/C12 to reach equilibrium, even if we started with no carbon 14 in earth’s atmosphere. So what then is to be done with an atmosphere in which C14/C12 is not yet in equilibrium? The obvious implication is the atmosphere is not as old as commonly believed—not by a long shot—and the importance of that one subject is as significant as any in the scientific world.
    Consequently, former Los Alamos Nuclear Physicist Dr. Tom Hayward was asked to calculate how long it would take to build Carbon-14 up to its current level starting from zero, and to graph the results. 
The time for formation rate of Carbon-14 in the atmosphere to be in equilibrium with decay rate of Carbon-14 is 30,000 years
Time needed to reach current position of disequilibrium is between 13 and 16,000 years, assuming rates of C14 formation/decay are the same today as they have always been, which the time clock adherents claim it is
    Hayward’s calculations showed that it would take some 30,000 years to reach equilibrium and that equilibrium has not yet been reached since the difference between these two numbers (or charts) shows that the buildup in the biosphere hasn’t had time to catch up with production in the stratosphere. In other words, the earth’s atmosphere must be less than some fifty thousand years old—less than 30,000 years old!
    As stated in an earlier post in this series, the clock was initially calibrated by dating objects of known age such as Egyptian mummies and bread from Pompeii—work that won Willard Libby the 1960 Nobel Prize in Chemistry.
    However, according to C. Bronk Ramsey, a geochronologist at the University of Oxford, UK,“Even Libby realized that there probably would be variation.” In the article (Science 338, pp 370374), he added, “Various geologic, atmospheric and solar processes can influence atmospheric carbon-14 levels.”
In addition, the Helmholtz Centre Potsdam (left) for GFZ German Research Center for Geosciences, “Since the formation of Carbon-14 is affected by Earth's magnetic field and solar activity and is therefore not constant, this relative time scale  has no absolute timestamp in calendar years; the timescale developed through the measured decay rates must thus be calibrated to indicate the age in calendar years.”
    While these statements and articles were meant to show that changes would correct the problems, that has still to be shown; however, what it does tell us is that the calibration that has been used for more than 50 years was always inaccurate since it did not take into consideration these problems—and many others that have been addressed in this blog several times in previous posts.
    So we are back to the problem of the radiocarbon time clock developed by Libby, since he was the one who set it to read that the earth was millions of years old. In an article by Ewen Callaway in Nature News (18 October 2012), the statement is made: “Carbon dating is used to work out the age of organic material through measuring carbon-14 which decays at a steady rate…But that assumes that the amount of carbon-14 in the atmosphere was constant—any variation would speed up or slow down the clock.”
    Again, the point is, that everywhere you turn, those professionals working with radiocarbon dating have found problems in the dating procedure and more importantly, in the results. Stated differently, radiocarbon dating has undergone a continual revisable history that has been made in attempts to overcome the incessant problems that keep cropping up showing errors in the method, system and/or results.
    The system is obviously in need of an overhaul! However, the problem lies in science’s insistence that it can be corrected by tweaking this problem or that without delving into the actual reason the problems keep occurring—its basis calculations are inaccurate and were set to the wrong concept of equilibrium.
As pointed out in the previous three articles in this series, the main problem is that the clock has been erroneously set to measure Carbon-14 dissolution based on the atmosphere being in equilibrium, i.e., that an equal amount of Carbon-14 is decaying from, or leaving, the atmosphere matching the new amounts that are entering. This is a huge fallacy, and the list of those scientists who have pointed this out is quite long, beginning with Melvin A. Cook, the noted American chemist, receiving his Ph.D in Physical Chemistry from Yale University in 1937, and later serving as President of IRECO Chemicals and Professor of Metallurgy and Mechanical Engineering at the University of Utah. Cook as early as 1963 noted through experimentation that Libby’s claim to an atmosphere in equilibrium was false (see Scientific Prehistory: A Sequel of Prehistory and Earth Models (1993).
    In fact, there are those professionals (Cook, Henry Morris, Robert L. Whtielaw, to name a few) who claim that the atmospheric Carbon-14 is presently only one-third of the way to an equilibrium value, which will be reached in about 30,000 years. If this is true, and test after test supports that it is, it nullifies the carbon-14 method as well as demonstrating that the earth is around 10,000 years old.
In a simplistic diagram, the water in the barrel represents the Carbon-14 in the atmosphere, and the water coming in represents the Carbon-14 being added to the atmosphere, and the leaking water represents the decay of the Carbon-14. Window A: Now, if the inflow is steady, and if equilibrium has not been reached, the water will continue to rise (note arrow). Window B: On the other hand, if equilibrium has been reached, then the water in the barrel will not rise, but remain steady (note arrow)
    Yet, if true, one might wonder why the scientific world would be using the Carbon-14 method if it were so obviously flawed. To understand this, we need to recognize that there are two completely opposed beliefs in the scientific world involving this discipline: 1) Those who believe in a God-created and God-directed world; and 2) Those who reject God. Thus, the rejectionists cannot accept a world that is less than 60,000 years old, especially as young as 10,000 years or so, since that would validate (at least to some degree) the Biblical world and God.
    Perhaps an even greater problem lies with the assumptions made regarding the tests shown above in the two graphs. Did anyone notice that the graphs above illustrate the biggest assumption used in Carbon-14 dating; that the amount of Carbon-14 in the atmosphere is the same today as it was when the object being studied died. How could anyone know that? If something died in, say, 2000 B.C., who today was around to have known what the Carbon-14 level was in the atmosphere at that time? Yet, Libby and his colleagues decided to assume that it was the same as today.
    Big assumption!
(See the next post in this series, “How Old is Old? – Part V,” to see how and why Libby’s clock was set to read the wrong time for radiocarbon dating and what impact that has on our understanding the past and the age of the Earth)

Saturday, March 28, 2015

How Old is Old? – Part III

Continuing with the understanding of radiocarbon dating (Carbon-14), and the time clock Willard F. Libby invented to read the ages of the past used constantly by archaeologists and anthropologists in determining the age of past civilizations.
When Libby and his team (above) obtained the artifacts that archaeologists had obtained for him to measure, artifacts with known Egyptian dates, all of which were no more than 5000 years old, he was in for a shock when the test results came in.
    As Libby stated in his autobiography, he had no doubts that Carbon-14 was entering and leaving the atmosphere at the same rate—thus the system was in equilibrium. This would mean, of course, that his measurements would verify that fact that the Earth was older than 50,000 years.
    But they did not!
The first sample was wood from the deck of a boat in the tomb of Sesostris III of Egypt; another sample of wood, probably cedar, from the outer sarcophagus of Aha-nakht, at El Bersheh, a tomb buried in the earth. Another sample was the heartwood of one of the largest redwood trees ever cut and known as the "Centennial Stump," felled in 1874 with 2,905 rings between the innermost (and 2,802 rings between the outermost) portion of the sample and the outside of the tree, making a known mean age of 2,928, plus or minus 51 years, as of the time it was cut. The next sample was wood from the floor of a central room in a large Hilani ("Palace" of the "Syro-Hittite") period in the city of Tayinat in Northwest Persia, and known to be 2,625 years, plus or minus 50 years. Also the linen wrapping of the Dead Sea Scrolls was tested, and also a sample of carbonized bread from Pompeii, a city buried in 79 A.D., 1880 years earlier.
    The shock occurred when the results came back showing the atmosphere to be very young, under 20,000 years old. Libby was astonished! He knew that if these figures were correct, it would mean that the Earth was 10,000 to 15,000 years old. In fact, his figures showed that Carbon-14 was entering the system (the atmosphere) 12% to 20% faster than it was leaving it, which meant the atmosphere was not in equilibrium!
    So naturally he knew his figures were in error!
In fact, more than a decade later through satellite imagery and measurement, such atmospheric physicists as Hans Suess and Richard “Rich” Lingenfelter showed that Carbon-14 is now entering the system 30% to 32% faster than it is leaving.
    But in 1952, according to Libby, “Everyone knew the Earth was millions of years old,” therefore he dismissed the results as being due to experimental error and adjusted the figures to reflect a “uniform assumption” of the age of the Earth, and corrected his figures to fit what he considered to be the known facts of his day—that the Earth was, in fact, millions of years old. 
    Libby, like many scientist since, assumed that Carbon-14 had to be in balance (achieved equilibrium), and in his “unbiased” evolutionary opinion, he adjusted his figures to reflect that. It might be of interest to note, that William D. Stansfield, professor emeritus, Biological sciences Department, California Polytechnic State University, points out in a College-level textbook by an evolutionist for evolutionists (The Science of Evolution, Macmillan 1977), “that Carbon-14 is out of balance,” and adds that the Earth is less than 20,000 years old and then cites about a dozen points that could be used to show the scientific reality supporting a young earth.
    What this means, is a specimen that “died” a thousand years ago will show through Carbon-14 dating to be much older than true age because Carbon-14 is still building up in the atmosphere. Or a site said to be three thousands years old is really much younger, maybe two thousand years old. In addition, specimens two thousand years old would erroneously show a much older age because there was less Carbon-14 in the atmosphere, since it is continuing to build up.
    So, Libby’s own experiments showed just the opposite of what he believed and that the Earth was not in equilibrium. As a result of his own testing, Libby knew that if these figures were correct, it would mean that the atmosphere was young, so he dismissed the results as being due to experimental error! (This is not to suggest any dishonesty, only a very strong tendency toward what everyone believed, i.e., that the earth was millions of years old). In fact, we repeat that his own testing figures showed the earth to be less than 20,000 years old. And by his own admission, “Everyone knew the Earth was millions of years old,” and thus he figured his results were in error.
Sheep on the beach in North Ronaldsway, the northern most islands of Orkney above Scotland and south of the Shetland Islands
    Another interesting point that can skew carbondating results is when testing animals, it depends entirely upon their diet. When animals died hundreds to thousands of years earlier, there is no way of knowing what their diet had been. As an example, sheep on the North Ronaldsway island north of Orkney above Scotland, eat seaweed in the winter. Seaweed has a 13% higher Carbon-13 content than grass, which is much higher than for sheep that feed on grasses. Consequently, their Carbon-14 values will measure much higher (older) than sheep fed elsewhere. Yet, many labs when testing rely on published values of animals, etc., rather than conducting new sampling—a practice that results in error of Carbon-14 dating.
    Another factor is that The carbon exchange between atmospheric CO2 and carbonate at the ocean surface is also subject to fractionation, with Carbon-14 in the atmosphere more likely than Carbon-12 to dissolve in the ocean. The result is an overall increase in the Carbon-14 to Carbon-12 ratio in the ocean of 1.5%, relative to the Carbon-14 to Carbon-12 ratio normally found in the atmosphere. This increase in Carbon-14 concentration almost exactly cancels out the decrease caused by the upwelling of water (containing old, and hence Carbon-14 depleted, carbon) from the deep ocean, so that direct measurements of Carbon-14 radiation are similar to measurements for the rest of the biosphere; however, according to Martin J. Aitken (Science-based Dating in Archaeology, London, 1990), correcting for isotopic fractionation, as is done for all radiocarbon dates to allow comparison between results from different parts of the biosphere, gives an apparent age of only about 400 years for ocean surface water.
    You can read more of the problems and assumptions that Libby’s radiocarbon clock created in other posts on this blog. For now, though, we need to understand how important this is. Because of this misunderstanding, we have moved further and further away from God and his creation of man and the Earth to a scientific world where there is no God and no room for God. We have accepted ages of artifacts to be far older than they really are, giving us a erroneous knowledge of the age of man and his condition over the centuries. It, has in effect, provided us with false data that leads to very inaccurate understanding and the development of knowledge far from accurate.
    How did we get to this point? How did Libby’s clock show the wrong time sequences? The answer is simple: he set it that way!
The model of radiocarbon dating which Libby developed, using his incorrect ‘uniform’ assumption, must therefore be corrected to fit the facts about Carbon-14—let us call the new, corrected model the ‘non-uniform’ model. What does this mean? It implies that if the Carbon-14 is still ‘building up’, we can calculate how old the whole system is—this puts an upper limit on the age of the atmosphere of some 7 to 10,000 years. Also, it means that a thousand years ago, the Carbon-14/Carbon-12 ratio in the atmosphere was less than today (because the Carbon-14 was still building up). In other words, the further you go back, the more you have to shrink the radiocarbon dates to make them fit the facts. Remember that this correction is based on measurable scientific data, not on any creationist preconceptions.
    Despite this glaring error, today there are over 130 radiocarbon dating laboratories around the world producing radiocarbon assays for the scientific community at the rate from a simple $250 per measurement upwards, on machines that cost over a million dollars to purchase. It is not likely that any change will be forthcoming to correct this glaring error in man’s judgment and understanding of the past—it is too lucrative to change, and in changing would take away the simplistic way in which science is able to justify their false criteria of such things as “The Big Bang,” “The Red Shift,” “The Age of the Earth,” and humanism of evolution, i.e., the “Evolutionary Column.”
(See the next post, “How Old is Old? – Part IV,” to see how and why Libby’s clock was set to read the wrong time for radiocarbon dating and what impact that has on our understanding the past ages of the Earth)

Friday, March 27, 2015

How Old is Old? – Part II

Continuing with the understanding of radiocarbon dating (Carbon-14), and the time clock Willard F. Libby (left) invented to read the ages of the past used constantly by archaeologists and anthropologists in determining the age of past civilizations.
    Once again, to understand how the radiocarbon dating time clock works, and its affect on our undertanding of the age of various ruins found throughout the Americas, cosmic rays enter the earth's atmosphere in large numbers every day and when one collides with an atom in the atmosphere, it can create a secondary cosmic ray in the form of an energetic neutron. When these energetic neutrons collide with a nitrogen-14 (seven protons, seven neutrons) atom it turns into a carbon-14 atom (six protons, eight neutrons) and a hydrogen atom (one proton, zero neutrons). Since Nitrogen gas makes up about 78 percent of the Earth's air, by volume, a considerable amount of Carbon-14 is produced. The carbon-14 atoms combine with oxygen to form carbon dioxide, which plants absorb naturally and incorporate into plant fibers by photosynthesis. Animals and people take in carbon-14 by eating the plants and/or the animals.
Red Arrow: When cosmic rays bombard the earth’s atmosphere, they produce neutrons. Green Arrow: These excited neutrons then collide with nitrogen atoms in the atmosphere, changing them into radioactive carbon-14 atoms; Blue Arrows: Plants absorb this carbon-14 during photosynthesis. When animals eat the plants, the carbon-14 enters their bodies. The carbon-14 in their bodies breaks down to nitrogen-14 and escapes at the same rate as new carbon-14 is added. So the level of carbon-14 remains stable; Yellow Arrow: When an animal dies the carbon-14 continues to break down to nitrogen-14 and escapes, while no new carbon-14 is added. By comparing the surviving amount of carbon-14 to the original amount, scientists can calculate how long ago the animal died
    It is also interesting to note that between 1945 and 1947, Libby decided to pursue the radiocarbon dating project in secret, though he broadcast the subject of his ultimate goal during a Christmas party in 1946, which astounded one of his colleagues, James Arnold, who had been working under Libby’s direction isolating the first millicurie of reactor-produced Carbon-14.
    It should also be noted that at this time Carbon-14 had not yet been isolated in nature, yet Libby’s now announced plan was to date archaeological history with an isotope of carbon. However, when his pre-mature announcement was given, it upset the archaeological world who wanted to know why the physicist was getting involved in archaeology and trying to tell them how to date their finds. By his own admission, Libby stated: “I have no competence in the field of archaeology.” This led to a two-year series of diverse encounters between the physicists and the humanists (the latter being the American archaeologist’s  intellectual orientation). That is, it described the problems in cross-discipline communication, i.e., communicating to archaeologists the concepts of chemistry and physics involved with Carbon-14.
    So, for the next two years, from 1947 to 1949, Libby, Anderson and Arnold worked more closely with archaeologists to help them better understand the dating process Libby wanted to create and how that would benefit archaeology. This involved the creation of the “Supper Conferences,” a dinner held every two weeks by the Viking Fund, a supplier of funds for risk-involvement research. These dinners drew anthropologists on the Eastern Seaboard to attend cocktails and dinner for informal discussions—an innovative way for conveying novel ideas across disciplines in an informal mode of conversation.
    It was explained that once equilibrium in the atmosphere reached equilibrium (about 40,000 to 60,000 years after creation (however, after 50,000 years, there is so little Carbon-14 left in any specimen that it is very hard, almost impossible, to calculate its age beyond that point, so a figure of 50,000 years is usually given as the end date), then no more carbon would enter the system after death. That, then, would allow the scientist to determine how old it was at death by measuring the half-life cycle (the standard way of expressing the decay rate was called “the half-life”), so in knowing how much Carbon-14 element was left in the artifact, it could be determined how many “half-life” cycles had passed and date the artifact within a reasonable time frame—say, to 500 B.C., plus or minus 150 years (meaning the artifact died between 650 B.C. and 350 B.C.
Looking at the blue line only, we can see how many of the 100 Carbon-14 atoms remain during 10 half-life cycles ending at 57,300 years. As an example, 75% of Carbon-14 is gone after two half-life cycles, or 11,460 years
    It was also explained that this dating was possible since after plants and animals perish, they no longer replace molecules damaged by radiocarbon decay. Instead, the radiocarbon atoms in their bodies slowly decay away, so the ratio of carbon-14 atoms to regular carbon atoms will steadily decrease over time. This is based, of course, on the Earth having achieved equilibrium, i.e., being at least 50,000 years old.
    But what if it was not that old? What if during its life, a plant or animal was not yet exchanging carbon with its surroundings and its carbon did not have the same proportion of Carbobn-14 as the bioshphere and the carbon exchange reservoir? What if there was still Carbon-14 entering the atmosphere and building up? How then could the clock be set to equilibrium?
The Carbon Exchange Reservoir. It is based on the belief that the Earth is older than 50,000 years and that equilibrium of Carbon-14 had already built up in the atmosphere 
    But if Carbon-14 had not reached Equilibrium in the atmosphere, that would mean that the Earth was less than 50,000 years old!
    To test his theory and the “clock” he had developed, Libby took several Egyptian artifacts that were already datable by other techniques and tested them. A committee of advisers consisting of Donald Collier, Richard Foster Flint, Frederick Johnson, and Froelich Rainey was appointed to select the samples for use and to help collect them. These distinguished gentlemen worked hard for several years, assisting and collecting the samples and advising Libby and his team. The research in the development of the dating technique consisted of two stages—the historical and the prehistorical epochs. As Libby said in his 1960 Nobel Lecture: “The first shock Dr. Arnold and I had was when our advisers informed us that history extended back only to 5,000 years. We had thought initially that we would be able to get samples all along the curve back to 30,000 years, put the points in, and then our work would be finished.”
    Libby knew that in reading statements in books that such and such a society or archeological site was 20,000 years old, he was surprised to learn that these ancient dates were not really known dates, but numbers the archeologists came up with. “In fact,” Libby added , “it is at about the time of the First Dynasty in Egypt [3200 B.C.] that the first historical date of any real certainty has been established. So we had, in the initial stages, the opportunity to check against knowns, principally Egyptian artifacts, and in the second stage we had to go into the great wilderness of prehistory to see whether there were elements of internal consistency which would lead one to believe that the method was sound or not.”
    What he found was even more of a shock!
(See the next post, “How Old is Old? – Part III,” to see how and why Libby’s clock was set to read the wrong time for radiocarbon dating and what impact that has on our understanding the past and the age of the Earth)

Thursday, March 26, 2015

How Old is Old? – Part I

Will Rogers, the American cowboy of the late 1800s and  humorist once said, “Laws are like sausages; you don’t want to see them being made.” This saying was first attributed to Otto von Bismarck, the celebrated German statesman of the 19th century, who said, “There are two things you don’t want to see being made—sausages and legislation.” In a spinoff of this saying, actor Leo McGarry of “The West Wing” TV series stated: “There are two things in the world you never want to let people see how you make 'em - laws and sausages.” Even the food industry itself has copied the phrase:  “There are two things you don’t want to watch being made: sausages and laws.” In fact, the early science-fiction author and associate editor of Fortune Magazine, put it this way in the early 1900s: “Profits, like sausages, are esteemed most by those who know least about what goes into them.”
Left to Right: Will Rogers, Otto von Bismark, and Les McGarry
    Obviously, the saying has been around for some time, but I think a more accurate saying today is “There are three things people know little about—how sausages, laws, and radiocarbon dates are made.”
    It is interesting that in the scientific world, the dating of Carbon-14 is considered, without a doubt, the end all of knowing the dates of once living and now dead things. It is based on the carbon cycle and how much Carbon-14 remains in the item being dated, be it once living vegetation, charcoal, wood, bone, soil, pottery, blood residue, textiles and fabrics or animal remains. Even water can be radiocarbon dated—that is, age can also be determinated by obtaining carbonate deposits such as calcite, dissolved carbon dioxide, and carbonates in ocean, lake, and groundwater sources.
    This radiocarbon dating method was first developed by a team of scientists led by the late Professor Willard F. Libby of the University of Chicago in immediate post-World War II years, for which he received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1960. It is based  upon a simple and accurate concept of Carbon-14 oxidization.
To better understand this, there are three principal isotopes of carbon, which occur naturally in the atmosphere: C12, C13 (both stable) and C14 (unstable or radioactive). These isotopes are present in the following amounts C12 - 98.89%, C13 - 1.11% and C14 - 0.00000000010%.
Thus, one Carbon-14 atom exists in nature for every 1,000,000,000,000 Carbon-12 atoms in living material. The radiocarbon method is based on the rate of decay of the radioactive or unstable carbon isotope 14 (C14), which is formed in the upper atmosphere through the effect of cosmic ray neutrons upon nitrogen 14.
    It has been said that "Seldom has a single discovery in chemistry had such an impact on the thinking of so many fields of human endeavor. Seldom has a single discovery generated such wide public interest." Unfortunately, it might also be said, “Seldom, if ever, has a single discovery created so much misinformation in so many fields of human endeavor.”
Rasmus Nyerup (left), the Danish antiquarian, once said, “Everything which has come down to us from heathendom is wrapped in a thick fog; it belongs to a space of time we cannot measure. We know that it is older than Christendom, but whether by a couple of years or a couple of centuries, or even by more than a millennium, we can do no more than guess." Unfortunately, while we are no longer guessing, we are coming up with the wrong answers! The reason for this is simple—we have set the dating clock wrong! And not just anyone, but the inventor himself set it wrong!
    The problem arises not from the concept, or even the understanding of it, since both are based on correct principles; however, the error exists because of the simple interpretation of the data provided. To understand this, it is important to know that Carbon-14 once formed rapidly oxidizes to Carbo-14CO2, and enters the earth’s plant and animal life through photosynthesis and the food chain.
    The rapidity of the dispersal (elimination) of Carbob-14 into the atmosphere has been demonstrated by measurements of radioactive carbon produced from thermonuclear bomb testing. Carbon-14 also enters the Earth's oceans in an atmospheric exchange and as dissolved carbonate (the entire Carbon-14 inventory is termed the carbon exchange reservoir). Plants and animals which utilize carbon in biological food chains take up Carbon-14 during their lifetimes.
    The important thing is that this carbon-14 exists, both within the living thing and the atmosphere in what is called equilibrium—the equal balance of Carbon-14 in both entities (the living thing and the atmosphere), that is, the numbers of Carbon-14 atoms and non-radioactive carbon atoms stays approximately the same in both over time as long as the living thing is alive.
    It is also important to know that as soon as a plant or animal dies, they cease the metabolic function of carbon uptake (intake); there is no replenishment of radioactive carbon, only decay within the once living thing. And this rate of decay can be measured! Libby and his associates Ernest Anderson and James Arnold, were the first to measure this rate. At first they got it wrong, using the figure 5,568 years, which became known as the Libby half-life. Today, we now know this to be 5,730 years.
    This means, that no matter how much Carbon-14 a living thing had at death, exactly one-half of it would be gone in 5,730 years after its death.
In this diagram we can see that each 5,730 year cycle, one-half of the existing Carbonb-14 oxidizes (is converted to Carbon-12. All that is needed is to know is how much Carbon-14 existed in a living thing at the time of death, then measure it against what is left at the time of measurement, and the time elapsed can be determined
    There are a few assumptions that have to be made in order for this concept to be accurate, however, the idea is based on a correct understanding of the decay rate of Carbon-14.
    The major obstacle to this so-called “clock” to work is that the state of Carbon-14 in the atmosphere must be understood, i.e., is that state in equilibrium (has the build-up of Carbon-14 in the atmosphere reached an equal amount or balance with its decay) or non-equilibrium (is Carbon-14 still building up in the atmosphere at a greater rate than its decay). And to know that, it must be determined how old the Earth is to begin with—at least in a plus or minus state of about 40,000 years. Stated differently, if the Earth is over 40,000 years old, then the build up of carbon in the atmosphere has reached a state of equilibrium, i.e., for every amount of build-up, there is an equal amount of decay (dissipation): the Earth is in equilibrium. And since it takes around 40,000 years for that equilibrium to be achieved, the “clock” is set either to an equilibrium state or a non-equilibrium state. That is, if the Earth is less than 40,000 years old, there is still build-up taking place in the atmosphere.
    Considerate like a glass of water. It takes so much to fill the glass and once that is achieved, you have equilibrium—any more water poured into the glass simple spills out because the glass can hold no more. And once equilibrium is achieved, you know that no more room is within the glass (or the living thing) to acquire or absorb more or additional water (Carbon-14). In this way, then, a correct determination can be made as to the age of the item being tested since no more Carbon-14 can be absorbed into it.
    The problem lies, once again, with the point of equilibrium. Or stated different, how old is the Earth to begin with?
Carbon-14 enters the atmosphere when cosmic rays bombard the earth’s atmosphere, producing neutrons. These excited neutrons then collide with nitrogen atoms in the atmosphere, changing them into radioactive carbon-14 atoms, which in turn are absorbed by all living matter. Once the living thing dies, the Carbon-14 dissolves at the rate of 5,730 years per half life (half of the Carbon-14 decays in 5,730 years)
    To point out the importance of this, take a state where equilibrium exists. Once the living thing dies, no more Carbon-14 is entering the atmosphere (it is in a state of equilibrium) so no more can enter the animal or plant life that has died, so the markers or decay rate of Carbon-14 can be accurate measured. However, and this is a big “however,” if the Earth is not in equilibrium, then when the living thing dies, additional Carbon-14 will enter the dead animal or plant life as it continues to build up in the atmosphere, thus, any measurement will show an incorrect figure or age.
    It is like not setting your clock ahead for Daylight Savings Time. Your clock will be one hour behind. It will always give you the correct time—one hour behind—no matter when you check the time. And it will always be wrong—one hour behind. It is not that the clock does not work—it is that it is set to the wrong time and will always be wrong!
    So how did Libby’s time clock get set to the wrong time?
(See the next post, “How Old is Old? – Part II,” to see how and why Libby’s clock was set to read the wrong time for radiocarbon dating and what impact that has on our understanding the past and the age of the Earth, and more importantly, the effect this has on the dating of artifacts and ruins found in the Americas in determining at what calendar date they existed--the importance of which cannot be overstated since it is these dates that we come to understand when the Americas were first occupied and how and by whom)

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Nephite City Structure

A few different Andean sites dating to prehistoric B.C. times (above). When comparing the various Andean culture sites as we have done over the past many posts, we get an idea of how archaeologists and anthropologists try to determine these different and various prehistoric cultures. At the same time, we should take a look at how Mormon (the scriptural record) describes the ancient Nephite cities.
    First of all, cities occupy area in one of three ways: 1) sprawling for miles where one city runs into another city with no obvious boundaries other than a sign; 2) covering a small area within a valley where boundaries are obvious, or 3) settlements so small you could miss them if you do not look closely.
Top: The Los Angeles area of Southern California, where the city itself is divided into more than 80 separate districts and neighborhoods, covering an area of 502 square miles, extending for 44 miles longitudinally and for 29 miles latitudinally, holding 3,884,307 people; Middle: Cedar City, Utah, with a population of 29,162 and covering 20 square miles, with very obvious boundaries as the city is surrounded by open areas; Bottom: Nestled at the foot of a hillside, the town of Cannonville, in Garfield County, Utah, covering 1.2 square miles with a population of 163
    The problem is that when we start deciding upon where Nephite cities were located, we also start thinking of what they looked like, their size, and how large or small they must have been. Depending upon where we grew up and where we live, often depends on how we see towns or cities. As an example, I grew up in Los Angeles, California, where there are few noticeable boundaries between cities. You could drive for a couple of hours in just about any direction and never seem to leave the city, though you might have crossed half a dozen city boundaries.
    On the other hand, I spent most of the past fifteen years in Cedar City, Utah, where you can drive for about fifteen minutes in any direction and be out of the city limit and into the open lands where there is little or no housing or buildings. Then there is the mountainous areas of inland Peru, where you go from valley to valley, crossing over hills or mountains that separate populations, and it might take thirty minutes or an hour to cross open land before entering another populated area.
In Peru, the central highlands are filled with one valley after another because of the cross-hatching, or step ladder effect, of the north-south Cordilleras and east-west cross mountains. In travel, you are continually going “over” hills and mountains and “toward” another valley as Mormon describes
    In fact, the word “borders” is used 52 times in Alma alone, describing the differences between areas within the regions of the Land of Nephi or the Land of Zarahemla, etc. These borders were distinct enough and separated sufficiently that in Alma, the usage of the term “crossing over” from one land to another is used 25 times; taking a “journey over” into the land, city or a location is mentioned 23 times; and a “journey toward” the land, city or a location is mentioned 76 times--all describing the type of land we find in Andean Peru.
    This should suggest that the type of land that exists in Andean Peru, where three or more distinct cordilleras run the length of the land and numerous hills and mountains cross those cordilleras, creating separate and distinct valleys throughout Andean Peru would lead to such language, gives us a picture of the wordage and purpose of Mormon’s descriptions.

    In addition, these separate cities and towns were often distinct from one another. As an example, when Alma left Zarahemla with Ammon, Aaron and Omner, along with two of his sons and Amulek and Zeezrom, they traveled to the city of the Zoramites, who “were dissenters from the Nephites” (Alma 31:8) and “had fallen into great errors,” because of the way they worshipped.
These Zoramites had built synagogues in which they worshipped on top of a tall, narrow stand they called Rameumptom after a manner which Alma and his brethren had never beheld and found astonishing beyond all measure.
    Then, too, there were distinct classes in some of these cities and towns, such as with those Zoramites who were “poor in heart because of their poverty” (Alma 32:4), and had been cast out of their synagogues by the priests and had no place to worship (Alma 32:5); or in the case of the Zoramites who had been welcomed by the Ammonites who were moved with compassion and the Nephites gave the Land of Jershon to the repentant and converted Lamanites (Alma 17:22-23).
    Obviously, an extremely poor people living in poverty would not have the nicest ceramics with the newest designs, and it should not be expected to find such handiwork among such cities and locations. Nor might we expect to find normal crafts and records within the middens when a people had been at war for nine straight years or more. And what about the apostate Amulonites and Amalekites, who defected to the Lamanites and brought with them their art, ceramics, etc., and spread them among classes of people who probably did not have those objects. In addition, warring peoples are less likely to be concerned about modern designs and artwork other than to show their triumphs, but the losers do not even do that.
The point is, when archaeologists and anthropologists use ceramics as the basis for their judging and interpreting a people, they need to understand the different classes of the people being discussed and the problems of those people among themselves and with others. After all, Nephite warfare was not singular to the Lamanites—the people in Morianton claimed part of the land of Lehi and a “warm contention between them” sprung up, requiring those of the city of Lehi to flee from their lands and into the camp of Moroni (Alma 50:26); the king-men were desirous in overthrowing the free Nephite government, and refused to stand against the attacking Lamanite army (Alma 51:13); and what about when Amulon taught the Lamanites the Nephite language and how to write and keep records (Mosiah 24:7); or what about when the Lamanites overran the Nephite lands after Mosiah fled from the City of Nephi?
    In all these and many other cases, the normal development of the Nephites, their buying and selling, trading and making of products, ceramics, textiles, metalworking, etc., would have been hampered to some degree—perhaps considerably. Any and all of this would have had some effect on what they left behind for archaeologists to find and then interpret in their normal, simple, progressive, diffusion of development manner. 
    And what about the 200 years history of when there were no “ites,” that is, when everyone was the same, there were no poor among them, and the Nephites experienced what has been loosely called their “golden period.” As the disciple Nephi described it, “in the thirty and sixth year, the people were all converted unto the Lord, upon all the face of the land, both Nephites and Lamanites, and there were no contentions and disputations among them, and every man did deal justly one with another. And they had all things common among them; therefore there were not rich and poor, bond and free, but they were all made free, and partakers of the heavenly gift” (4 Nephi 1:2-3).
Certainly such a period would have left a very different mark upon the land in terms of their art, textiles, ceramics, metalworks, etc., no doubt with considerable overlapping in far distant areas, and among what were different groups of people. It should also be understood that during the period preceding this of the destruction of the land, where many cities were sunk in the seas or covered by earth, hills and mountains, that there would have been a period of these occupational areas where suddenly, without warning, the populations disappeared without apparent reason, and there would have been a void of no ceramics found, either displaced elsewhere from flood waters, encroaching seas, or developing hillsides and mountains, or buried so deep they have not yet been found.
    Two hundred years after the appearance of the Savior to the Nephites, “there began to be among them those who were lifted up in pride, such as the wearing of costly apparel, and all manner of fine pearls, and of the fine things of the world” (4 Nephi 1:24). No doubt there were those whose pride drove them to create new, different and costly ceramics, textiles and metallurgy that were unlike what had been designed and made earlier, or by other classes as these distinctions became more and more apparent.
    Once again, the point is that archaeology and anthropology have no way of judging such sudden changes or bringing them into their cannon of accepted and “normal” development tenets. The interesting thing about Andean Peru, such differences, changes, sudden disappearance and appearance of new and different techniques, in the making of ceramics, textiles, and metalworks, tends to be the norm rather than the exception—which has caused quite a stir in the work found along the coastal areas and highlands of Peru, Bolivia and Ecuador. However, without the Book of Mormon, there simply is no way to accurately evaluate and interpret such findings and data as that, which has been uncovered.