If the half-lives are billions of years, it is impossible to determine them from measuring over just a few years or decades. At that point it's just a routine exercise in math. Different dating techniques usually give conflicting results. What is important is that they be able to compute the amount of the daughter element originally present. This is also true of anomalies noted in carbon dates. Of course, when we reach the upper limit of the method, around 40, years for the standard techniques, we should allow for much greater uncertainty as the small amounts of C remaining are much harder to measure. There are various methods of cleaning the material, and the activity of each rinse can be measured. The differences actually found in the scientific literature are usually close to the margin of error, usually a few percent, not orders of magnitude! Certain crystals called zircons, obtained from drilling into very deep granites, contain uranium which has partly decayed into lead. Also, as the authors of the article were careful to explain, xenoliths cannot be dated by the K-Ar method because of excess argon in bubbles trapped inside [ Dalrymple ]. However, argon is an inert gas, which does not become chemically bound to potassium minerals. No attempt is made to criticize the techniques that geologists carefully employ to determine the value of D0 or to test whether the system has been contaminated. Pretty close agreement, huh? The curve is roughly fitted to mean values determined about every to 1, years Samples significantly older than this have very little or even no measurable 14C left.
Hovind adds the bizarre claim that something can't be measured accurately to seven decimal places. Thus, the available evidence is sufficient to validate the radiocarbon method of age determination with an error of about 10 percent for twice as long a period as the creation scenario calls for. Another attempt by Morris invokes neutrinos. Basically, the claim made by the RATE team is that the maximum date of 50, years given by radiocarbon dating actually equals 6, years. A detailed response to other claims of scientific evidence for a young earth is given by Matthew Tiscareno [ Tiscareno ]. Strahler, , p. Consider first the ways of computing D0. Carbon dating cannot be used to date anything older than about 50, years, since the carbon half life is only years. Here it is possible to use two decay processes, the decay of uranium into lead and the decay of uranium into lead What is a forest, including developed soil and rooted stumps, doing between two advances of ice? The barrel represents the earth's atmosphere in which the carbon accumulates. All of the dating schemes work from knowing the present abundances of the parent and daughter isotopes. The reasons are discussed in the Potassium-Argon Dating section [of Wiens' article]. This is also true of anomalies noted in carbon dates. The disagreement in values needed to support the position of young-Earth proponents would require differences in age measured by orders of magnitude e. Bucha, who has been able to determine, using samples of baked clay from archeological sites, what the intensity of the earth's magnetic field was at the time in question. Be assured that multiple dating methods used together on igneous rocks are almost always correct unless the sample is too difficult to date due to factors such as metamorphism or a large fraction of xenoliths. But there is no way to measure how much parent element was originally there. Strahler presents a graph of the earth's dipole moment going back years. In addition, the Creationist arguments most commonly trotted out share a simple flaw. A study of the deviations from the accurate tree-ring dating sequence shows that the earth's magnetic field has an important effect on carbon production. Although changes in alpha and beta decay rates are theoretically possible, theory also predicts that such changes would be very small [ Emery, ] and thus would not affect dating methods. Even before the tree-ring calibration data were available to them, he and the archeologist, Evzen Neustupny, were able to suggest how much this would affect the radiocarbon dates. It is governed by the following equation: The water coming out of the hose is analogous to the continuous production of carbon atoms in the upper atmosphere.
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