Creation theory dating carbon can she
Radio carbon dating, radio isotope dating, and isochron dating, are methods used by scientists to determine the age of the earth, the latter two of which measure the known half life of radioactive decay in elements, such as for example the decay of uranium into what is known as the daughter element of lead. These radiometric dating techniques all return a great apparent age for the earth. If Biblical apologists, in the form of their alter ego, Biblical creation scientists, are going to defend conservative literal interpretations of the genealogies and lists of histories in the Bible, then it is imperative that they find ways to discredit the various sciences that provide evidence that disproves the theory of the young earth. One way in which this is frequently done is to attempt to ridicule the results of the various dating techniques used by science.
The most ridiculed technique is that of radio carbon dating. The results of this technique can very often be erroneous due to contaminants. For example, the famous shroud of Turin was exposed to fire, and thus radio carbon dating of this relic would be quite useless due to the contaminating effects of exposure to the carbon soot released in a fire. Radio carbon dating also gives a range of results, and the fact that a range of results is produced is used as an object of ridicule. Ironically, radio carbon dating is accurate, stunningly accurate really, when it comes to dating fragments of Biblical manuscripts to the lifetime of apostles, or even better, if a fragment of the Bible could be dated with stunning precision to the time of Moses. Actually radio carbon dating of manuscript fragments gives a range of dates, plus or minus centuries in many cases, but in this case the range is not ridiculed, but rather a convenient result is chosen and then declared remarkably accurate for propaganda reasons. A smear will also be tossed out which suggests that conservative apologists know how to accurately date manuscripts, to the apologetically correct date, of course, while other scientists are guilty of sloppiness and incompetence (producing after all a range of values, which is what one would expect). Outside the field of dating manuscript fragments back to the time of Luke's chat with Mary, or Jericho to the time of Joshua, radio carbon dating is insulted and ridiculed for indicating that objects are tens and tens of thousands of years old, simply because this is not convenient as religious propaganda. Radio carbon dating is thus the most easily open to ridicule and scorn by Creationist apologists, since ridicule is their chosen method to attempt to undermine and subvert the results of almost every scientific dating technique, well, with the few exceptions noted above.
Radio dating of rocks is possible because the decay rate of radioactive elements is known and occurs at a fixed rate (known as the half life). For example uranium 235 has a half life of around 700 million years. It then degrades to what is known as a daughter element, so in 700 million years, a given quantity of U-235 will consist of half u-235 and half daughter element, and in another 700 million years we would find three quarters daughter element, and one quarter U-235, and so on. Given that this analysis reveals an age of the earth billions of years old, one apologetic response is to simply exist that the daughter elements were created in these proportions about 6,000 years ago. This would, of course, be very deceptive, because knowing the rate of decay and comparing this to the quantity of the daughter element, deceives me into believing that the earth is billions of years old.
Radio isotope dating is subject to error because uranium will deteriorate to form lead, and thus it necessary to perform a complex analysis to determine how much lead was originally present in a given rock sample at the beginning, and how much was produced by the decay of uranium isotopes. Certain isotopes of lead only result from the decay of uranium, and normally calculations involve cross checking the amounts of these lead isotopes with the amounts of other isotopes of lead, but even so, the dating technique can at best result in a range of values. The fact that a range of values is produced is then employed as an object of ridicule by creationists who love to wave around in public two different results and then use the differences to ridicule radio dating as a science. Now let us suppose that the results were one billion years plus or minus a few hundred million years. That is still a lot more than the 6000 year old result they want, but never mind.
Fortunately there are many other dating techniques available that are not subject to the same margin of error in calculation as the uranium to lead comparison described above. A more accurate dating method involves measuring the decay of potassium-40 into argon-40, a gaseous compound. Because the potassium is trapped within the rocks, and infusions of argon-40 are not possible, this technique, with a half life of around a billion years, provides another alternative method to date rocks. Isochron dating is much in favor, with a half life of five billion years, measuring the decay of rubidium to strontium. The advantage of this technique is that it allows scientists to precisely determine the amount of any daughter elements present in the original rock,. This is made possible because of the fact that strontium is found in rock together with three other isotopes, in known proportions, and by measuring the difference between the specific amounts of the isotope of strontium produced only by the decay of rubidium with the amounts of the other three strontium isotopes, it is possible to calculate how much of the daughter element, strontium in this case, was originally present in the rock at formation, and how much was actually produced by the decay of rubidium. As the ratio of this strontium isotope produced by iridium increases in proportion to the other coexistent isotopes of strontium, it is possible to plot the points on a curve, called an isochron curve, and the ratio indicates the age of the rock sample. As well, contamination of the sample at some point in geological time would produce a point off the curve, giving this dating technique an extra advantage.
All the radio dating techniques employed give the same results, within their own margins of error. The oldest rocks on earth are dated to around four billion years old. Even the less reliable methods, such as the uranium-lead dating method, do not have a margin of error great enough to result in an age for the planet of 6000 years as required by conservative apologetics.