RE: [Fwd: Age of universe]

Vandergraaf, Chuck (
Wed, 19 Nov 1997 20:38:43 -0500


I will limit my comments to C-14 dating. Note that most of the
references that are listed date back to the 1960's. Sloppy chemical
techniques may introduce present-day C-14, either by atmospheric CO2
dissolving in the solutions, by CO2 sorbing into the sample to be
analyzed. Sloppy analytical procedures favour YEC people because it will
give young ages. One can also end up with older than actual ages by
introducing "old" carbon compounds such as Na2CO3, depending on the
source (Sorry, but the software I'm using won't let me use subscripts or
superscripts or else I haven't figured out how to select them). Any
analyst worth his/her salt will run blanks and be scrupulously careful.

Determining ages from C-14 analyses is not as straightforward as one
might think. Exchange of carbon in the material to be dated with carbon
in the environment may take place.

Improved precision and lower detection limits are now possible by
counting the number of C-14 atoms in a sample rather than measuring the
disintegrations of C-14.

The controversy surrounding recent attempts at dating the Shroud of
Turin is indicative of the problems that can arise. If you get an age
of, say, 800 years and firmly believe that the image really is Jesus of
Nazareth, you can any excuse why the measurement is off by 1200 years
(the cloth was repaired at that location, the cloth has sorbed modern
CO2, the analysis introduced modern day carbon, etc.

There is no question that we, scientists are biased and want to hold
onto our pet theory. I would guess that most of us would tend to repeat
an experiment that gives results that are at odd with what we want to

Personally, I hope that the Shroud of Turin is a fraud. Imagine the
consequences if it is not!

Chuck Vandergraaf

>From: Adrian Teo[]
>Sent: Wednesday, November 19, 1997 12:42 PM
>To: American Scientific Affliation
>Subject: [Fwd: Age of universe]
><<Message: Re: [LABRI-L] dating methods>>
>Here are some interesting arguments from a young-earth creationist
>(Well, alright - some are old and much less interesting than others). I
>would appreciate if those who are more knowledgeable in these areas to
>comment on them. Thanks!