RE: Some Comments on Radiometric dating

From: Glenn Morton (
Date: Thu Jan 23 2003 - 15:58:28 EST

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    Allen wrote:
    >Sent: Thursday, January 23, 2003 12:12 AM

    >**[allen]Yes, Precisely; that is the heart of my thesis. Point 2 is
    >"The dating process of rock units is subjective even when radiometric
    >dates are available."

    No, Allen, it is not subjective, when seeing undisturbed strata, to know
    that the lower layer is the older. This is because you can't deposit
    sediment underneath the ocean bottom or land surface. You are using
    'subjective' in a funny way.

     Meaning subject to the laws of stratigraphy.
    > And, being "subject to" means that isotopic dates are rejected or
    >accepted depending upon other factors than the accuracy of the isotopic
    >dating methods. (Point 1)

    So? Big deal. If you see something wrong are you going to continue to
    believe the wrong thing so that you won't have to reject something? How
    stupid do you want the chronologist to be?

    Also, why do you expect radiometric dating to have god-like perfection or
    else it must be totally rejected as useless? That is like saying if your
    car doesn't start 100% of the time, it isn't of value to you. Everything in
    this world is fallible, yet the YECs always seem to expect science and
    scientific methods to live up to absolute perfection in order for them to
    then claim, "nanny-nanny-boo-boo it doesn't work at all'. Which of course is
    absolutely laughable. Or would be if people didn't believe this ridiculous

      And the fact that isotopic dates for the
    >Uinkaret are rejected because they do not stratigraphically fit shows
    >Point 3, "If any rock unit is believed to be young, then any old
    >radiometric age is rejected, not as inaccurate, but as irrelevant to the
    >age of the rock."

    You are not answering the objection to Austin's 'dates' (and I put that in
    quotes on purpose) because Austin used isochron values from different rocks
    which violates the method. Here is something I wrote back in 1995. It shows
    how erroneous Austins methods are. Austin wrote:

         "Here is how the isochron method works: If we select a number of rock
    samples from a single geologic unit, we should be able to claim that each
    rock formed at the same time, yet it is likely that each rock will differ in
    amoung of both daughter and parent isotope. We can construct a graph of the
    amount of daughter plotted against the amount of parent. Each rock sample
    would be represented as a distinct point on the graph. Figure 6.3a is such
    hypothetical plot. Often these plots of daughter against parent form a
    linear array with strong linear correlation and positive slope as indicated
    in this
    figure. We notice from this plot that those samples of the geologic unit
    with larger amounts of parent, have corresponding larger amounts of
    Those samples with smaller amounts of parent, have correspondingly smaller
    of daughter."Steven A. Austin, "Are Grand CAnyon Rocks One Billion Years
    Old?!, in Steven A. Austin, editor, Grand Canyon: A Monument to
    (Santee: ICR, 1994), p.117.

    Here is what George D. Garland saysof the discovery of the Isochron method,
    "This difficulty of correcting for common strontium was solved by Compstons
    Jeffrey and Riley (1960), who pointed out that isotope ratios could be
    determined for several constituent minerals of the same rock."-George D.
    Garland, _Introduction to Geophysics_ W. B. Saunders Publish., 1971, p. 313

    [note that this is not several rocks as Austin did--grm 2003]

    On page 314-315 Garland shows two isochron plots for two rocks-one rock per
    The isochron method depends on using many minerals from the same rock, not
    many rocks from the same geologic unit. I hesitate to state this
    after your advice last night, but Austin is wrong! That record, I
    of zero confirmed geologic facts from Christians remains in tact. :-(
    ***end of my 1995 note***

    >I might make a note that the reason you know of bad dates is because the
    >scientists do publish bad dates, contrary to many claims by the YECs.
    >**red herring Whether scientists do or do not publish "bad" dates is
    >irrelevant to my thesis. Whether YECs claim that or not is also
    >irrelevant to my thesis.

    >If they accept the validity of the measurements, then I would like to see a
    >YEC explanation for why the ratios of various isotopes vary systematically
    >with the stratigraphic position of the rock. Even when a young-earther goes
    >through the literature looking for bad dates, one can still see this
    >relationship. Isotope percentages vary according to the stratigraphic
    >relations of the rocks.
    >**I can do no better than Woodmorappe, 1999, "C. Stratigraphic Trends in
    >Isotopic Dates," in Chapter 3 "Bogus Arguments for the Overall Validity
    >of Isotopic Dating methods." in 'The Mythology of Modern Dating
    >Methods," pages 18-23

    I don't have easy access to YEC books over here. What does he say? Or is
    this request going to be classed a red herring or irrelevancy also?

    >John Woodmorappe (1979) went through the scientific literature looking
    >for radioactive dates which are 20% too old or too young. He specifically
    >excluded from his search any date which matched the expected age. This
    >type of selective editing is exactly what Young earth Creationists charge
    >the Evolutionists with.
    >**red herring What Woodmorappe did or didn't do and why is irrelevant
    >to my thesis.

    Is anything relevant to your thesis?

    >[the] Above the 350 dates [from woodmorappe] are plotted . A perfect
    >dating result should appear
    >on the line. Note that there are more dates under the line than above the
    >line. If radioactivity is producing dates which are too old, you would
    >expect that there would be more dates above the line than below the line.
    >What this proves is that if a radioactive date is wrong it is far more
    >likely to be too young than too old! Young earth creationists need the
    >dates to be too old if their viewpoint is correct.
    >What is your explanation? Chemically, why is this?
    >**First, your plot of computed verses expected ages illustrates Point 3
    >-- if an isotopic date fits the expected date it is accepted, if not, it
    >is rejected.
    >**Second, Creationists completely reject all isotopic dates, so it is
    >just as irrelevant for there to be too young of ages as too old of ages.
    > We don't need for isotopic dates to be young, we don't need them at
    >all--they are irrelevant.

    You didn't answer the question. You claimed in your original post that
    creationists didn't have a problem with the measurement of isotopes in a
    rock. The dates are straightforward mathematical manipulation of variations
    in percentages of various isotopes. Even if the dates are all wrong, they
    represent variations of chemical composition. So explain why the isotopes
    vary systematically? That you didn't answer.

    BTW These dates come from Woodmorappes paper of 1979 or so.


    >**I am fully aware of Stassen's article and as I noted in another reply
    >to this thread, Stassen's criticisms are bogus. I remember when Stassen
    >first wrote this article in part due to arguments we had been having on
    >T.O. I wasn't impressed then and I'm not impressed now. He created a
    >useless strawman [i.e. the rigged results] and appears to not have
    >carefully read Austin's Grand Canyon book.
    >Isochron methods apply to a single rock, or mineral in which
    >several isotopic ratios are determined for that SINGLE mineral. Austin, it
    >seems, used 4 different rocks from 4 different lava flows. This is not the
    >correct way to do isochron dating.
    >**As I noted elsewhere, the claim of the lava flows being non-cogentic
    >is not based on the isotopic data. But simply because they are separate
    >Stassen says:
    >"Before the Grand Canyon Dating Project began, in his 1988 Impact article,
    >Austin admitted in print that the selected lava flows fell into two
    >different stratigraphic stages. That is, the very information which he used
    >to select the flows, also clearly indicates that they did not all occur at
    >the same time. In his subsequent book (Grand Canyon: Monument to
    >Catastrophe), Austin indicated that his five data points came from four
    >different lava flows plus an extracted "phenocryst" (large mineral which
    >likely formed in the magma chamber and was not molten in the lava flow). We
    >had known from the Impact articles that Austin's samples were not all
    >cogenetic; years later we find out by his own admission that no two of them
    >are so. "
    >**As I pointed out elsewhere, Austin's five data points were not taken
    >from Leeman, but were collected by Austin himself. Stassen is either
    >ill informed or deliberately misleading.
    > >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).
    >Point 1 through 3 should be the fact that YECs misrepresent things.
    >**You have given no evidence that I have misrepresented the evidence.
    > Lets see you take my arguments and expose them as illogical.
    >"I have been shown that, without Bible history, geology can prove
    >nothing. Relics found in the earth do give evidence of a state of
    >things differing in many respects from the present. But the time
    >of their existence, and how long a period these things have been
    >in the earth, are only to be understood by Bible history. It may
    >be innocent to conjecture beyond Bible history, if our
    >suppositions do not contradict the facts found in the sacred
    >Scriptures. But when men leave the word of God in regard to the
    >history of creation, and seek to account for God's creative works
    >upon natural principles, they are upon a boundless ocean of
    >uncertainty. Just how God accomplished the work of creation in six
    >literal days, he has never revealed to mortals. His creative works
    >are just as incomprehensible as his existence." Ellen Gould
    >Harmon White, 1864


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