Re: [asa] RATE fraud (Was RATE's Radioactive Thourium Plot)

From: Steven M Smith <smsmith@usgs.gov>
Date: Thu May 24 2007 - 11:36:29 EDT
Randy Isaac writes:
> Accelerated decay, Snelling claims, is not primarily
> dependent on nuclear weight but on the decay
> constant. from page 158: "Austin and Snelling have
> argued that the discordances between the isochron
> ages obtained on the same rocks by the different
> radioisotope systems can only be resolved if the
> acceleration factor was a function of the decay
> half-life (and perhaps the atomic weight), such that
> the longer the half-life of a radioisotope, the more
> its decay was accelerated." Therefore U-238 is
> highly accelerated and Po isn't.
 
Whew!  I'm glad to hear that RATE is NOT proposing accelerated nuclear decay rates for polonium (Po) in the ranges I calculated for my last post (along with the implied supersonic subterranean hydraulic transportation rates).  With this information, you can safely ignore the high school math calculations in my list of RATE problems as being irrelevant to the RATE claims.
 
But this proposal of "acceleration factor [as] a function of the decay half-life" raises several other problems.  The biggest problem is that this proposal would predict that we should almost never find concordant dates by different radioisotopic methods on the same rock.  That prediction fails since the norm is concordance.  The "discordances between the isochron ages obtained on the same rocks by the different radioisotope systems" is actually the more rare case.  This fact is even obliquely acknowledged by the RATE team in "Thousands ... not Billions" (p. 110).
 
  "Although some bias in reported dates is unavoidable,
   there is often close agreement reported from several
   independent dating methods which all give an ancient
   age for a particular rock formation.  This consistency
   or concordance of radioisotope dating results has
   been perceived as a significant challenge to the
   young-earth model.  If the ages determined by these
   multiple methods are in error, then why do they agree
   with one another?  To address this question, the
   RATE team conducted its own study of radioisotope
   dating by applying multiple radioisotope methods to
   fresh rock samples."
 
*Every single one* of those RATE radioisotope studies found examples of discordant dates -- falsely implying that discordance and not concordance was the normal result.  It was my little background literature research on this particular set of RATE discordant radioisotope studies that I was referring to when I replied to George Murphy ...
 
> All silliness aside, my cursory reading and checking
> of the statements in "Thousand... not Billions",
> suggests that there are at least a couple of the
> RATE studies that have a distinct odor.  Even
> though this book is an executive summary with only
> 16 references in total, checking the original cited
> literature suggests that some of the expensive and
> "new" radioisotope dating projects appears to be
> nothing more than duplicated studies of research
> already published many years before in professional
> journals.  They get the same expected results, do
> not acknowledge that their results were previously
> found by others, ignore the conclusions of the initial
> studies, use the results to cast doubt on the
> scientific methodology, and present the research as
> their own original ideas.  At a professional level in an
> academic setting this behavior, if substantiated,
> would probably warrant a serious review by an
> ethics board.

 
So would it be fair to summarize the RATE argument like this?
1) RATE acknowledges that rocks and minerals show several million or even billion years worth of radioactive daughter products using today's decay constants.
2) RATE acknowledges that "there is often close agreement reported from several independent dating methods which all give an ancient age for a particular rock formation."
3) The implied conclusion is that radioisotopic dating methods are valid and actually measuring consistent isotope ratios that, using an assumption of constant decay rates, generally give concordant ages of several million to billion years.
3) RATE proposes at least 2 episodes of extremely accelerated nuclear decay in order to compress all of this acknowledged decay into their view of a Biblically-required 6,000 years.
4) RATE studies imply that the majority of rock samples have discordant dates thus casting doubt on the validity of radioisotopic dating methods.
 
I think I am feeling vertigo from the gravitational affects of an intellectual black hole.
 
Steve
[Disclaimer: Do not blame or credit my employer for these personal statements and opinions.]
 
*Private note to Randy Isaac: Did you receive the offlist reply and attachment I sent?*
_____________
 Steven M. Smith, Geologist, U.S. Geological Survey
 Box 25046, M.S. 973, DFC, Denver, CO  80225
 Office: (303)236-1192, Fax: (303)236-3200
 Email: smsmith@usgs.gov
 -USGS Nat'l Geochem. Database NURE HSSR Web Site-
  http://pubs.usgs.gov/of/1997/ofr-97-0492/
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