Carbon dating to 50,000 years

| 62 Comments

An article in Friday’s Science magazine details how a team of scientists provided a calibration for carbon dating accurately to 50,000 years, or about 10 times the age of the earth according to many creationists.

Until now, carbon dating was accurate only to about 13,000 years, or the ages of the oldest trees. The Science article is fairly dense, but Science has provided a helpful Perspective, and Popular Science has a nice article as well.

It turns out that the concentration of 14C in the atmosphere varies from year to year, so calculations of the age of a specimen need to be corrected for this yearly variation; uncorrected calculations are not wrong, but they may be in error by hundreds of years. Until now, we have had no detailed record of the 14C concentration beyond the age of the oldest trees. Now, however, a team led by Christopher Bronk Ramsey of the University of Oxford has examined sediments in a Japanese lake and extended carbon dating to approximately 50,000 years. The lake was chosen because the bed of the lake is anoxic and its sediments are thought to have been stable and untouched by ice-age glaciers. The new calibration will be significant to archeology and studies of climate change. Read the 2 articles I have cited for more detail.

Not an earthshaking discovery, to be sure, but it shows how science progresses, step-by-step, while creationism merely stagnates.

Acknowledgment. Thanks to Rolf Manne of the University of Bergen, Norway, for alerting me to the importance of Bronk Ramsey’s article.

62 Comments

Well its all atomic and unproven. cant be real so it isnt evidences, just bad interpretations of evidences. all of the experts not knowing what they are talking about cause everyone else is knowing better than they. i say the earth is being only a few thousands so the experts are all wrong in interpretations on origins. Bibbity bobbity boop.

Ain’t it amazin’ what a Flood and Fall can do? (Isn’t it amazing what creationists can MAKE them do?)

So prior to this discovery, could carbon dating be used to figure out the order of events back that far, even if it couldn’t establish absolute dates?

Matt notes the annual deposition of sediments pre-dates the Biblical creation myth by over 40,000 years. It should be noted that the sediments in this freshwater lake also show no massive disruption in annual deposition around 4,000+ years ago - i.e., Noah’s Flood didn’t happen either.

Science changes, so it’s wrong.

Unlike ID, which is curiously as unchanging (and as “flexible”) as religion is.

Standard IDiot/creationist response, although not expanded to try to pretend that it’s a thoughtful response.

Glen Davidson

I thought C14 dating had been calibrated to 30,000, not 13,000, years using ice cores and sediments.

You seem to be using “the oldest trees” as shorthand for something else, since of course there were trees for a few million years before that. What’s it shorthand for?

The relevant Wikipedia article says “The 2004 version of the calibration curve extends back quite accurately to 26,000 years BP.” Radiocarbon dating#Calibration methods

Even an error of a hundred years at 50,000 years is only .2%. That’s not bad. More accurate it better, but still.

As far as the Da Grate Flud, there’s just way too much evidence against it, especially that even one piece of evidence kills the flood myth. This is just another nail in the coffin.

This latest research appears to follow up on earlier research by Hiroyuki Kitagawa reported in 1998:

A 40,000-YEAR VARVE CHRONOLOGY FROM LAKE SUIGETSU, JAPAN: EXTENSION OF THE 14C CALIBRATION CURVE HIROYUKI KITAGAWA and JOHANNES VAN DER PLICHT ABSTRACT. A sequence of annually laminated sediments is a potential tool for calibrating the radiocarbon time scale beyond the range of the absolute tree-ring calibration (11 ka). We performed accelerator mass spectrometric (AMS) 14C measurements on [greater than] 250 terrestrial macrofossil samples from a 40,000-yr varve sequence from Lake Suigetsu, Japan. The results yield the first calibration curve for the total range of the 14C dating method.

Proceedings of the 16th International 14C Conference, edited by W. G. Mook and J. van der Plicht RADIOCARBON, Vol. 40, No. 1, 1998, P. 505-515

Try these links:

https://journals.uair.arizona.edu/i[…]le/view/2037

https://journals.uair.arizona.edu/i[…]ad/2037/2040

They conclude: The long sequence of annually laminated sediments from Lake Suigetsu provides a very exciting record of atmospheric 14C changes during the past 45 ka. In order to produce a more complete 14C calibration curve, we intend to completely reconstruct the continuous varve chronology for this period together with other paleoenvironmental signals recorded in these sediments.

The creationists will somehow spin this story. I’m sure we’ll get “Scientists admit they were wrong about dating!” or some such drivel.

One does not simply push an orange juice can into the bottom of Lake Suigetsu and pull up 52,800 years worth of sediment core. Does anyone know how the researchers managed to extract an intact stratified column of waterlogged sediment without ending up with a tube full of mixed-up muddy glop instead?

Carl Drews said:

One does not simply push an orange juice can into the bottom of Lake Suigetsu and pull up 52,800 years worth of sediment core. Does anyone know how the researchers managed to extract an intact stratified column of waterlogged sediment without ending up with a tube full of mixed-up muddy glop instead?

One uses a sediment corer.

This comment has been moved to The Bathroom Wall.

Robert Byers said:

If it’s 50000 years now HOW is this verified enquiring minds want to know?

The references are in the posted article. Go read read them.

People here have spent a lot of time explaining things to you and you never get it from the explanations (since you keep coming back and making the same false claims). This time, how about you go *read* the material pointed to and *then* come back and give a cogent description of the data and how the results were derived *befoe* you start denying it. If the report contains things you don’t understand, then go learn about those points. The knowledge is out there. How about you pick some of it up.

In short… Until you can demonstrate that you actually *understand* the report, don’t try blathering about what you think is wrong with it.

You still haven’t answered my question, Robert. Don’t you think you should address things directed towards you before wandering off to find some new tangent to remark upon?

A creationist can always say modern rates of anything can’t presume to have been past rates for any number of reasons imagined or not yet imagined.

And this hypothetical happenstance just happened to change all the lake sediment layers too, in the exactly the way needed to have them agree with radiocarbon dating, and tree ring chronologies, and written histories, and amino acid racemizations, and ice cores, and… Sounds like a “just so” story! Has your hypothetical problem with carbon dating been tested for verification? Has it been demonstrated to be true? Was it predicted? How does it work? Perhaps it was the invisible dragons in our garages. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jJRy[…]z5E&hd=1

Robert Byers said: A creationist can always say modern rates of anything can’t presume to have been past rates for any number of reasons imagined or not yet imagined.

Ahhh… true enough.

The difference is that creationists wave their hands, say “the speed of light changed” and go wander off to thump bibles.

Scientists say “I wonder how these C14 levels varied”, then they go out and dig up hundreds, thousands, tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands of samples over the course of many decades and make phenomenally accurate measurements and build detailed databases which they constantly cross-correlate in an open, public, process, then they go off and thump spreadsheets.

But yeah, other than the investigation, the measurement, the data, the cross-checking, and the constant quest for asymptotic improvement, it’s exactly the same.

I watch carefully for biological evidence and satisfy myself it doesn’t show up. Tree rings and fossils ain’t biology.

Fortunately for the canon of human knowlege, biology doesn’t give a rats ass about what you can or cannot bring yourself to understand.

Nonetheless, the tree rings move.

stevaroni said:

Nonetheless, the tree rings move.

Yes, indeed. I find them very moving myself. Sometimes, I sit all by myself in my troll’s lair mourning: “Tree rings for the Elven kings…”

Robert Byers said:

If it’s 50000 years now HOW is this verified enquiring minds want to know? Is the “test” for the verification been demomstrated to be true? How did they do that?

If it “turned out” that yearly concentration levels of carbon vary then why not this varying concept have been more so for reasons in the past? It’s an option! Was this varying predicted?

Yo’all still grasping for un proven dating methodology to make your case for the unlikely case of bubbles to buffaloes . A creationist can always say modern rates of anything can’t presume to have been past rates for any number of reasons imagined or not yet imagined. Evolution must make its case on biological evidence and not geological or chimical claims of backing evidence. If evolution has been a false hypothesis then I predict it can’t make a biological case based on biological evidence. I have never seen on pandas Thumb EVidence as needed. Just flirtations on minor points of biology or other fields of research. I watch carefully for biological evidence and satisfy myself it doesn’t show up. Tree rings and fossils ain’t biology.

How do you verify that the Earth is a planet in a heliocentric Solar System? How do you reconcile the heliocentric model with what the Bible has to say? Why did people change their opinion of the Bible on geocentrism to fit modern science?

And I’m waiting for responses from any heliocentric evolution-denier. This is not a matter of the personality of any individual. There are lots of people who accept the findings of modern science over the plain reading of the Bible when it comes to heliocentrism, but claim that the Bible determines their stand on issues like evolution.

Bobby, how do you verify that all the people on the internet are actually people? How do you know that the internet and everyone posting things to PT, AtBC, etc aren’t just your fevered imagination as energy is sucked from your imprisoned body to power a global super-computer?

You are just repeating the last Thursdayism thing… which, as has been pointed out, isn’t true in science. We have this thing, you might have heard of it, called “evidence”.

Much like the Road Runner, you never studied it, so it has no meaning for you.

“Tree rings for the Elven kings…”

This I love!

Bobby,

How do you know you are awake and PT isn’t something in your dreams? How do you know you haven’t been drugged by evil demons and are just imagining all this?

I called it yesterday folks. The cretin don’t believe it so it can’t be true. It won’t bother to read the article. It won’t bother to learn anything. All it can do is impotently claim that it, in all its ignorance, knows better than all of the experts and that they must somehow be completely mistaken. It won’t believe it until they prove it to him, which is if course impossible since it refuses to look at any evidence or learn anything.

I fail to understand how it is productive to allow an imbecile to use this forum to proudly display his indomitable ignorance. It don’t know nothin and don;t wanna know nothin. We gets it. At the very most it should only be allowed on the bathroom wall. And even that’s too good for it.

DS said:

I called it yesterday folks. The cretin don’t believe it so it can’t be true. It won’t bother to read the article. It won’t bother to learn anything. All it can do is impotently claim that it, in all its ignorance, knows better than all of the experts and that they must somehow be completely mistaken. It won’t believe it until they prove it to him, which is if course impossible since it refuses to look at any evidence or learn anything.

I fail to understand how it is productive to allow an imbecile to use this forum to proudly display his indomitable ignorance. It don’t know nothin and don;t wanna know nothin. We gets it. At the very most it should only be allowed on the bathroom wall. And even that’s too good for it.

What about all those others who agree with him? Why isn’t there a creationist who tries to step in to rescue creationism from the inept presentation?

Robert Byers said: A creationist can always say modern rates of anything can’t presume to have been past rates for any number of reasons imagined or not yet imagined.

They can and they do. What you fail to grasp is that most of the world considers this to be a major flaw of creationism, not a feature. It is not a positive to say that your hypothesis could be right, if only all emprical induction is wrong.

Tree rings and fossils ain’t biology.

Wait, tree rings ain’t biology?

TomS said:

DS said:

I called it yesterday folks. The cretin don’t believe it so it can’t be true. It won’t bother to read the article. It won’t bother to learn anything. All it can do is impotently claim that it, in all its ignorance, knows better than all of the experts and that they must somehow be completely mistaken. It won’t believe it until they prove it to him, which is if course impossible since it refuses to look at any evidence or learn anything.

I fail to understand how it is productive to allow an imbecile to use this forum to proudly display his indomitable ignorance. It don’t know nothin and don;t wanna know nothin. We gets it. At the very most it should only be allowed on the bathroom wall. And even that’s too good for it.

What about all those others who agree with him? Why isn’t there a creationist who tries to step in to rescue creationism from the inept presentation?

Because the creationists think he’s making sense.

But DS is totally correct. Creationists (including Bobby) demand an unreasonable level of evidence from science, but they refuse to even consider the evidence… except to look for quotes to extract and data to cherry-pick.

Further, the hypocritical little wankers absolutely refuse to require the same level of evidence for their own pet notions.

Booby Byers has no interest in reading the paper in question, even if he had the ability to comprehend what it says, a most doubtful proposition to say the least. His mind is mad up, the facts are irrelevant.

W. H. Heydt said:

Robert Byers said:

If it’s 50000 years now HOW is this verified enquiring minds want to know?

The references are in the posted article. Go read read them.

People here have spent a lot of time explaining things to you and you never get it from the explanations (since you keep coming back and making the same false claims). This time, how about you go *read* the material pointed to and *then* come back and give a cogent description of the data and how the results were derived *befoe* you start denying it. If the report contains things you don’t understand, then go learn about those points. The knowledge is out there. How about you pick some of it up.

In short… Until you can demonstrate that you actually *understand* the report, don’t try blathering about what you think is wrong with it.

You also never answered this previous question (click here) about this particular Christian link concerning radiometric dating, Byers.

In addition, you run away with your tail between your legs from the fact that a few Christians were pioneers in radiometric dating - including radiocarbon dating. For instance, Dr Laurence Kulp opened one of the very first radiocarbon dating labs over half a century ago.

If it’s 50000 years now HOW is this verified enquiring minds want to know?

Which is why your “mind” has never ever bothered to learn anything (including coherent writing, let alone proper spelling and composition). It is by no means an inquiring “mind,” just a dull little authoritarian organ that resists any and all independent learning and thought.

Just one of many composing ID/creationism’s appalling record of unthinking denial.

Glen Davidson

DS said:

I called it yesterday folks. The cretin don’t believe it so it can’t be true. It won’t bother to read the article. It won’t bother to learn anything. All it can do is impotently claim that it, in all its ignorance, knows better than all of the experts and that they must somehow be completely mistaken. It won’t believe it until they prove it to him, which is if course impossible since it refuses to look at any evidence or learn anything.

I fail to understand how it is productive to allow an imbecile to use this forum to proudly display his indomitable ignorance. It don’t know nothin and don;t wanna know nothin. We gets it. At the very most it should only be allowed on the bathroom wall. And even that’s too good for it.

Agreed. Booby should be relegated to the Wall with his fellow travellers FL and IBIG. I love to have creationists post on topics if they are going to make a good faith effort to stay on topic and to understand why they are wrong, but this moron is incapable of such complex tasks.

Eric -

To clarify.

IF there are no other universes, then this is not just the lottery fallacy. The physics situation ‘IF there are no other universes’ is analogous to a winner having strong, credible evidence that theirs was the only ticket ever purchased

Right, but that isn’t the fine tuning argument. As I noted above, that’s roughly a statement of the traditional “first cause” argument.

The “fine tuning” argument is very much a restatement of the lottery fallacy. If other conditions were never possible than the deity would obviously not have had occasion to “fine tune”. If you can fine tune something, you can change the tuning. If you can’t change the tuning, you can’t fine tune.

It’s exactly the same as the lottery fallacy. “I have it today, but yesterday it was ‘a priori’ unlikely that I would get it, therefore God must have intervened”.

No. Given that you have it today, the probability that you got it is “1”, and that’s all you can say.

Actually, the whole idea that a deity intervenes in things like lotteries or close football games is contrary to the idea of miracles. A miracle is supposed to be something that was impossible - probability of zero. If something has a probability of greater than zero, it doesn’t need a miracle to happen, and that’s true for any probability greater than zero.

The engineering convention of considering events with probabilities below an arbitrary threshold to be impossible is a perfectly good approximation for some types of work, but it’s just a convention based on an arbitrary cut-off.

Harold, Altair, maybe ‘the lottery fallacy’ is a name used to describe multiple different, but closely related fallacies. The version I’m familiar with is this one, which does very much depend on the person not understanding that it is likely for some ticket/universe/event to win if a lot of tickets/universes/events occur.

So, if this is the only universe, then creationists are not making the lottery fallacy…as I understand the fallacy to work. But I could be wrong. If there are multiple lottery fallacies, maybe I made a lottery fallacy fallacy in thinking mine is the only one. :)

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This page contains a single entry by Matt Young published on October 21, 2012 6:41 PM.

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