# Carbon dating: testing creationist arguments

3 Likes

Radiocarbon dating has been calibrated by at least a dozen independent dating proxies (tree rings, speleothems, ice core samples, ocean core samples, coral growth bands, etc.) back to over 50,000 YBP. Iâ€™ve never seen a YEC even try to explain the 14C calibration data published in reports like IntCal13.

1 Like

Unfortunately, YECs will continue to deny, deny, deny.

1 Like

Living in Hawaii, you become abundantly familiar with volcanism and tectonic motion. Iâ€™ve always enjoyed AiGâ€™s explanation as to how the Hawaiian Islands, Hawaiian Seamounts, and Emperor Seamount would have been created over a period of months, not over millions of years, and have the Pacific plate moving, not a few centimeters per year, but rather a few meters per second (about 4.5 mph.)

So I did a little analysis by measuring the distances for many of the islands (or atolls) from the hot spot and, assuming that the Pacific plate was moving at a consistent speed over time, compared the distance age (distance / (distance/year)) to come up with an estimated age based upon the distance from the hotspot. I then compared the distance age to the radiometric ages taken from samples from each of the islands and, finally, calculated a percentage of agreement between the distance age and the radiometric age. Using just distance as a metric, one can see that the distance/age is in incredibly close agreement with the radiometric age:

Of course the distances vary depending upon the location on the island, and the age of the lava will also depend upon the location. On the Big Island, for instance, the lava at one end is a month old, and at the other it is 400k years old.

Next, I did the same exercise for the YEC timeline. Even though AiGâ€™s page on the age of the Hawaiian Islands says that they were formed in only a few months, I set the age at 5,000 years, giving them the benefit of the doubt. Hereâ€™s the degree of agreement between the YEC age and the radiometric ages for the islands:

Clearly, thereâ€™s an incredible correlation between the radiometric ages and the expected ages based upon the distance between the islands. Further, one of the scientists mentioned to me that when you get out to the Hawaiian Seamounts, you have to drill down through 950â€™ of coral before you get to the rock itself, because the salt water erodes the lava over time. Of course, this coral doesnâ€™t grow at 950â€™ of depth, so it must have begun when the island was very close to the surface of the water, and continued its slow growth as the island also slowly eroded, both at a very similar rate, over millions of years.

6 Likes

Thatâ€™s one of my favorite examples. I ran across this figure a while back:

â€śHawaiian Island movements on the Pacific plate measured by radiometric dating. Figure modified from: Clague, D. A. and G. B. Dalrymple. 1987. The Hawaiian-Emperor volcanic chain Part I: Geologic evolution. U.S. Geological Survey Professional Paper 1350:5-54.â€ť

The estimated plate movement at 8.6 (+/-0.2) cm/yr is based on distance and radiometric age, and htis was back in 1987. The interesting part is that they can now directly measure plate movement. Better yet, the data is publicly available over at UNAVCO Velocity Viewer. If you choose Phillipine Sea from the pull down menu, click on the Station Labels option, and then have it redraw the map you can scroll over and click on the Hawaiian Island station. Sure enough, the GPS recorded speed is 8.8 cm/yr, within the measurement already made back in 1987 using distance and radiometric dating.

4 Likes

@T_aquaticus Thanks so much! This is really excellent! Youâ€™ll laugh at how crude my method was. I actually used Bing Maps and used the measure function. I also rounded the speed to 10 cm per year. Obviously the plate need not move at the same exact speed over time. It is really fun to see the degree of agreement between yours and mine, though.

3 Likes

Sometimes, the easiest solution is the best solution.

3 Likes

I continue to hope so!

2 Likes

Nice work @Michael_Callen!

Iâ€™m gonna eyeball that at figure at about r^2 = 98%, and Michaelâ€™s estimates at about 80%.

3 Likes

If you havenâ€™t already seen it, you might enjoy this blog post by @Joel_Duff

6 Likes

That Joel guy is alright for a propeller-head!

Funny, Joelâ€™s article has the same graph that @T_aquaticus postedâ€¦ Nice!!

1 Like

Interesting confluence of events this afternoon. I updated my Smoking Gun Evidence article this morning including the figure legend included above. Just a few hours later it is mentioned here. I knew that EvoGrad was going to link to it so it got me thinking I should re-read and see if I could make it a bit clear and I found that I was able to improve it quite a bit. BTW, the Hawaiian Island plate motion figure is one that I modified from the literature and I use in one of my classes to make this point.

6 Likes

Great article Joelâ€¦ let me know if youâ€™d like to augment it with mine made from Bing Maps â€śmeasureâ€ť toolâ€¦ Hahaha!!

2 Likes

@Michael_Callen you are to be congratulated for devising your own method to use to draw your conclusions. You had the YEC position, and you wanted to independently prove it true or false by your own independent measurements and tests. Your calculations were much closer to other scientific results than to the YEC position. Therefore you concluded the YEC position was false. You didnâ€™t proclaim that your answer was true and that the science position was the final answer but you were reasonably confident that you and science were on the right track and that the YEC position is wildly wrong on the data.

For this, on behalf of all the scientists at PS, I do hereby proclaim that @Michael_Callen is a Scientist with all the rights, privileges, and responsibilities that goes with it.

5 Likes

Hahaha! Thanks Patrickâ€¦ I told you that your tutoring would pay off! Very kind of you!!

3 Likes

Iâ€™ve taken to calling him Dr. Distance.

1 Like

Congratulations Dr. @Michael_Callen, hereâ€™s a stack of papers to grade, two more stacks coming every day for three months â€¦

3 Likes

Buh-ha-ha-ha-haâ€¦ Iâ€™ll grade them, but I use similar estimating methods as with my chartâ€¦ In other words, those papers are looking pretty good from here!
Thanks Captain Dan!

2 Likes

A bit of a late addition - just saw the thread. The article that kicked off this conversation will become open source in January:
Davidson, G. and K. Wolgemuth (2018) Testing and verifying old age evidence: Lake Suigetsu varves, tree rings, and carbon-14. PSCF, 70(2):75-89.

2 Likes

Thanks very much for the contribution, Gregg! If you think of it, and would like to do so, please circle back and post the link once it becomes public! MC

1 Like