> The defence, 'sample contamination', is routinely levelled at the kind of
> results reported by John Baumgardner et al. That is why he decided to look
> at diamonds - for they can't be contaminated internally. Currently, tests on
> 12 diamonds reveal these to contain enough C14 to give an average age of
> 58,000 years (by the standard method); in contrast, Kr/Ar and other long
> half-life methods yield an estimated age of between one and two billion
> years. The RATE project reported earlier results involving just 5 diamonds
> to the American Geophysical Union in December 2003.
58,000 years is essentially a background level. It's not as if there was a blob of gunk on the diamond that they failed to remove. Rather, any contact with the atmosphere, living organisms (e.g., researchers or airborne bacteria), or other modern material is enough to create a low level of contamination. This is especially a problem since atmospheric nuclear bomb tests raised the 14C levels.
Thus, 58,000 years is just the sort of result 14C dating is expected to give for any sample older than about 50,000 years. It's like trying to tell time with an hourglass by counting grains of sand sticking to the sides after all the rest has fallen through. Representing this as a problem for radiometric dating is dishonest.
It might be of interest to note that 14C dating supports the historicity of the Biblical accounts of the united and divided monarchy, against the claims of some skeptics such as Finklestein.
Dr. David Campbell
University of Alabama
Biodiversity & Systematics
Dept. Biological Sciences
Tuscaloosa, AL 35487-0345 USA
That is Uncle Joe, taken in the masonic regalia of a Grand Exalted Periwinkle of the Mystic Order of Whelks-P.G. Wodehouse, Romance at Droitgate Spa
Received on Mon Apr 4 19:37:18 2005
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