Some Comments on Radiometric dating.

From: allenroy (
Date: Wed Jan 08 2003 - 12:47:01 EST

  • Next message: "my apologies for the bad formatting in some of my posts"

    Its been a little slow on the ASAnet so I thought I'd throw this out. :)

    I have 3 points to make.

    1: There is a distinction to be understood between computing apparent
    ages according to certain assumptions from scientific quantification of
    an assortment of isotopes in rock, and the acceptance of those dates as
    valid for the rock involved. (Actually, the process of measuring
    isotopes has evolved to the level of technology rather than scientific
    experiment. Very few today conduct scientific experiments to measure
    isotopes, rather, rock samples are submitted to labs who have the
    technology to process the rock to measure contained isotopes.) I don't
    know of any Creationary scientist who quarrels over the methodology,
    accuracy and precision with which isotopes are measured and ages
    computed. Most have, however, focused on the validity of assumptions of
    radiometric dating. I would like to make another point.

    I live not far from Grand Canyon, and in fact, I conduct Creationary
    Cataclysmic tours there for those interested in hearing the latest
    models concerning Noah's Flood. (see ) As most every one knows,
    radiometric dating is done primarily on igneous rock. Within Grand
    Canyon are several outcrops of volcanic rock, two of which I'd like to
    talk about -- familiar to many who know of Grand Canyon. They are the
    Cardenas Basalts of the Grand Canyon Supergroup at the bottom of Grand
    Canyon and the Uinkaret plateau lava flows. These outcrops are of
    interest because the Cardenas Basalts represent some of the oldest rocks
    in Grand Canyon, existing below all the horizontal layers which make
    Grand Canyon so famous. On the other hand, the Uinkaret Plateau lava
    flows extruded on top of the plateaus above the canyon, some of which
    also flowed down inside Grand Canyon. Everyone agrees that the Uinkaret
    lava flows must be younger than the formation of Grand Canyon (less than
    1 million years) and that Grand Canyon must be younger than the Cardenas
    basalts. Ergo, the Uinkaret lava must be younger than the Cardenas basalts.

    I think that most everyone also knows that when Rb/Sr radioisotope
    measurements were made of these rocks, contrary to what was expected,
    the Uinkaret lava flows actually measure and compute to be OLDER (~1.3
    Billion years old) than the Cardenas Basalts (~1.0 Billion years old).
    This is a conundrum to any geologist -- Creationist or Evolutionist. All
    arguments about assumptions and justifications aside, it still remains a
    fact that EVERYONE discards and rejects the Rb/Sr data for the Uinkaret
    lava flows. Although the methodology and technological processes were
    faithfully and precisely followed on rock samples from both sources, the
    dating for the Uinkaret is rejected while dates for the Cardenas are

    This comes to my point. Just because the process of radiometric dating
    is done with great precision and great care, that does not automatically
    mean that the results are going to be accepted as valid. In the many
    geological papers that I've read where radiometric samples have been
    processed, there is usually a "discussion" about whether to accept or
    reject the ages so acquired. That choice comes about through factors
    other than the accuracy of the radiometric process. In the case of the
    Uinkaret/Cardenas igneous rock, non-scientifically acquired data
    actually takes precedence over the scientifically (technologically?)
    acquired radiometric data. It is strictly observation and logic (not
    scientific experiment) that shows that the Uinkaret must be younger than
    the Cardenas. This fact outweighs the scientific data acquired through
    the radiometric dating process.

    So, Point 1 is: The acceptance or rejection of radiometrically acquired
    ages for rock depends upon factors other than the science/technology of
    radiometric dating. (The Uinkaret/Cardenas system is symptomatic of the
    entire radiometric dating scheme).

    2: The second point concerns scientific objectivity. We are given the
    impression that: 1. radiometric dating is science; 2. science is
    objective; therefore 3. dating of rock units using radiometric
    methodology is objective science. However, as we have just seen, the
    objectivity of radiometric dating is only applicable through the
    methodology of sampling, processing and computing a radiometric age.
    After that point, a radiometric age may be countermanded by other
    important information and data. The point I want to make now is that at
    the very moment that a radiometric age is rejected (or even accepted)
    based on other data, the radiometric dating method immediately becomes
    subject to that other information. Thus, no matter how precise the
    radiometric process has been, the results are still handled
    subjectively. In the case of the Uinkaret, the computed ages are
    rejected because it is impossible for them to be correct. In the case of
    the Cardenas, the computed ages are accepted because they agree with
    what is expected.

    So, Point 2 is: The dating process of rock units is subjective even when
    radiometric dates are available. The radiometric dates may be accepted
    or rejected depending upon other information.

    3: I'll just state this point right off the bat;
    Point 3 is:

         1. If any rock unit is believed to be young, then any old
         radiometric age is rejected, not as inaccurate, but as irrelevant.
         2. A rock unit must first be thought to be of a certain age before
         such an age will be applied to it.
         3. A rock unit must first be thought to be old before an old age is
         applied to it.

    The truth of the first statement is borne out by the lava flows of the
    Uinkaret. Everybody, but everybody, but EVERYBODY believes that the
    Uinkaret basalts must be young, therefore the 1.3 Billion year
    radiometric computed age is not inaccurate, but completely irrelevant.

    The truth of the second statement is borne out by the K-Ar computed age
    of the Uinkaret basalts ranging from 10,000 years to 117 million years.
    Everyone knows that the Uinkaret basalts must be younger than the age of
    Grand Canyon (less than 5 million years) so the age of the Uinkaret
    appears relatively confirmed by the K-Ar radiometric computed ages.

    The truth of the third statement is borne out by the acceptance of the
    computed old ages from Rb-Sr (~1 Billion years) and K-Ar (~800 Million
    years) for the Cardenas basalts which had to be in place long before the
    phanerozoic rocks were deposited through which, even later, Grand Canyon
    was carved. Very few have ever doubted the computed ages applied to the
    Cardenas, nor even considered looking for younger dates.


         1. The acceptance or rejection of radiometrically acquired ages for
         rock depends upon factors other than the science/technology of
         radiometric dating.
         2. The dating process of rock units is subjective even when
         radiometric dates are available.
         3. If any rock unit is believed to be young, then any old
         radiometric age is rejected, not as inaccurate, but as irrelevant.

    So where does this bring us?

    I, as a Creationary Cataclysmist, consider that all igneous rock units
    found within the phanerozoic (the geologic record of sedimentary rock
    units containing fossil and thus must be post sin) are probably mostly
    emplaced during or after the flood cataclysm. Therefore, based on
    chronological evidence in the Bible, the Phanerozoic and included
    igneous formations are approximately 4000 years old. Since I believe
    that these igneous rocks must be very young, then all radiometrically
    acquired and computed old ages are not inaccurate, but completely

    Within the Biblically based paradigm of Creationary Cataclysmism, old
    radiometrically computed ages for igneous rock contained within the
    phanerozoic record have no meaning or reality. (please note, I am not
    here discussing the age of the Universe nor of a pre-creation week
    planetoid that likely existed in a void state.) All such computed old
    ages can be safely ignored as totally irrelevant and they have no
    bearing at all in preparing flood models.


    Uinkaret Lava age

    K/Ar date sources

    0.01 million years
    S. J. Reynolds, et. al. "Compilation of Radiometric Age Determinations
    in Arizona," Arizona Bureau of Geology and Mineral Technology Bulletin,
    197 (1986):1-258

    117 million years
    P.E. Damon and others, "Correlation and Chronology of the Ore Deposits
    and Volcanic Rocks," U.W. Atomic Energy Commission Annual Report, No.
    C00-689-76, (1967), 82 pg.

    1.2 million years
    E.D. McKee, Hamblin and Damon, "K-Ar Age of Lava Dam in Grand Canyon,"
    GSA Bulletin, 79 (Jan. 1968):133-136.

    3.67, 2.63, 3.60 million years
    Renolds, et. al., op-cit. p 14, 16

    Rb/Sr date sources

    1.27-1.36 billion years
    Austin, S. A. "Are Grand Canyon Rocks One Billion Years Old?" Grand
    Canyon: Monument to Catastrophe. 1994, p. 125

    Pb/Pb date sources

    2.6 billion years
    Renolds, et. al., op-cit.

    Cardenas Basalt ages.

    K/Ar date sources

    853 my
    Ford, Breed and Mitchell, "Name and Age of the Upp-er Precambrian
    Basalts in Eastern Grand Canyon." GSA Bulletin, 83 (Jan. 1972), 223-226

    820, 800, 791, 843 my
    McKee and Noble, "Age of the Cardenas Lavas, Grand Canyon, AZ" GSA
    bulletin, 83 (Jan, 1976):1180-1190
    Elson and McKee, "Age and Correlation of the Late Proterozoic Grand
    Canyon Disturbance, Northern Arizona" GSA Bulletin, 93 (Aug. 1982)m 681-699

    Rb/Sr date sources

    0.98 to 1.09 billion years
    McKee and Noble, "Age of the Cardenas Lavas, Grand Canyon, AZ" GSA
    bulletin, 83 (Jan, 1976):1180-1190

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