Chemically and Electrically Assisted Nuclear Reactions and YEC

Regarding one form of “contamination”, I developed the following with some pointers from YEC Nuclear Chemist J. Wile, PhD. Corrections welcome.

There are various reaction mechanisms to create C14. The main one involves Nitrogen in the atmosphere.

An alternative involves C13 acquiring a neutron from some source to become C14.

Some claim all we need is a little Uranium, or some other radio active substance. This thread attempts to critically refute some, but not all, of those claim.

But first from this secular peer-reviewed paper (that was referenced in TalkOrigins):

Problems associated with the use of coal as a source of (super 14) C-free background material. | Lowe | Radiocarbon

Many (super 14) C dating laboratories have established that coal samples exhibit a finite (super 14) C age, apparently caused by contamination of the specimens before any laboratory preparation is undertaken.

The bacterial or microbe contamination issue that the paper proposes has it’s flaws too! But more on that perhaps another time…

An estimate of the outer limit of the amount of C14 created by Uranium converting C13 to C14 in the geological record can be made on generous assumptions.

The spontaneous fission rate and neutron release rate is reported here:

For Uranium (mostly U238 where U235 rate negligible),

0.0136 Neutrons per gram per second

If we make the absurdly generous assumption that all neutrons released are thermal (aka, slow enough to be captured by C13), and the absurdly generous assumption that all neutrons find a C13 target (rather than just going through the whole carbon sample altogether), we can frame the reaction generation rate.

Approximately 1 gram of carbon has this many atoms. Using Avogadro’s number and the approximate atomic mass of Carbon.

6.021023/ 12 = 5 x 1022

number C14 atoms in typical 1 gram sample:

1.5x10^-12 * 5 x 10^22 = 7.5 * 10^10 atoms / gram

Converting only C13 to C14 at a rate of .0136 atoms per second creates over 5730 years (the half-life of C14):

at best

5730 * 365 days/year * 24 hours/day * 3600 seconds/hour *.0136 neutrons/gram/second = 2.4 x 10^9 C14 atoms /gram

AT best

(2.4 x 109) / ( 7.5 * 10^10 ) ~= 3% of modern carbon

But that assumes 1 gram Uranium per 1 gram carbon! Even a generous assumption of 0.1% Uranium and 99.9% carbon would be about 0.003% typical modern carbon. And this doesn’t even factor in the probability of neutrons hitting C13, or the probability the neutrons are thermal (capturable speed).

This figure parallels a claim in the paper in the link above with an alternate radiation source:

One suggestion is that radium, which is present in some coals at the sub pm level, as a decay product of the uranium/thorium series, may produce 4C during an extremely rare decay event (Rose & Jones, 1984). Jull,Barker and Donahue (1987) have detected 14C from this process in uranium/ thorium ores. Blendowski, Fliessbach and Walliser (1987) however, have shown that the 14( decay mode of 226Ra is only of the order of 10-11 of the preferred a decay channel to 222Rn. Thus, the amount of 14C produced by such events derived from radium in coal must be considered as insignificant.

Sal, you have been ignoring the thousands of consilient isochrones for days now. When will you deign them worth a reply?


Here is the rest of the paper’s abstract which Sal “accidentally” cut off: highlighting mine.

Many (super 14) C dating laboratories have established that coal samples exhibit a finite (super 14) C age, apparently caused by contamination of the specimens before any laboratory preparation is undertaken. In this work, the possibility that the contamination is due to microbial and fungal activity in the coal substrate is considered and some suggestions are made for alternative sources of background test materials for (super 14) C dating laboratories. Initial results indicate that geologically formed graphites contain little (super 14) C and are likely to be good background test materials, especially in (super 14) C AMS laboratories

Amazing that Sal’s computer always manages to erase the passages which directly contradict his YEC claims. :slightly_smiling_face:

1 Like

First correction: J Wile is not a Nuclear Chemist. He is a homeschooling textbook writer with a PhD in nuclear chemistry.

Second correction: that ratio is a figment of your imagination. You have no business teaching anyone about anything.


Sal? Sal? I wonder why the sudden cold feet.

He also ignores in situ 14N, 17O, and 11B, all of which can capture either neutrons or alpha particles(in the case of 11B) and produce 14C.

As well as radioactive elements other than uranium.

Indeed. I’ve read some of Wile’s materials. Sobering.

Yes. What has amazed me about the Wile homeschooling materials I’ve read is that you only need a little high school physics background to notice the many problems.

I feel the criticisms of my position are pretty good here in this discussion. I will present this thread to my YEC/YLC creation study group.

Thanks to all who participated so far.

But will you think about it and abandon and stop teaching all your claims that have been shown to be wrong? That would be the truly proper course of action.

1 Like

Got my threads confused. Ignore this post. Will delete later.

You have not shown my claims to be unequivocally wrong any more than I’ve shown your claims to be unequivocally wrong. We’re making evaluations based on incomplete knowledge. You have your faith in what’s the right answer is, and I have my faith in what the right answer is. We could be totally agnostic in the face of incomplete knowledge, but that’s rare.

I wouldn’t bet my soul on you being right, John. What’s there for Christians in my study to lose if I’m wrong. I’ll at least have leveled with them and exposed them to the other side of the argument, some of which I think are pretty good criticism.

I can’t say the same, however for abiogenesis theory or many facets of evolutionary theory nor the Big Bang or evolution of the solar system. For me to represent those as good theories would bother my conscience, especially abiogenesis theory.


And good luck to you too since it’s nice to see another YEC/ID guy here for a change. Shalome.

No I didn’t leave ID and Sewell didn’t prevail in his exchange in the view of many ID proponents. Sewell couldn’t even calculate the delta-S of live warm rat to a frozen dead one. He admitted as much. That just won’t cut it.

What your saying is off topic, and your tone is pretty hostile. I putting you on my ignore list. Feel free to direct comments at me that I won’t waste time reading. Goodbye.

I am disappointed that you have not engaged at all with the radiometric dating examples I have presented.

It would be helpful if you would at some point consider the likelihood of statistically valid isochrone alignment, as observed in many thousands of analyses of numerous different rock types and minerals, done in dozens of labs worldwide over many decades, by any other process than radioactive decay over time spans of (hundreds of) millions of years.

I have no answer at this time, that is why. I can’t in good conscience say your criticisms are unequivocally wrong. Hence I will pass them on as important criticisms to the YEC/YFR (young fossil record) to my study group.

On the otherhand, I don’t think you’ve overturned my concerns either, and I think you’re dismissal of them is ill advised. So, conversely I can’t say in good conscience to my study group that you’ve proven the fossil record is unequivocally old either!

Thank you very much nonetheless.

TRANSLATION: “Your evidence unequivocally nailed my YEC claims to the wall. I’ll therefore ignore it like I do all scientific evidence which refutes my YEC claims and keep preaching as if I never saw it.”

Who here expected anything different? :slightly_smiling_face:


Sal, there is a significant difference between your claimed problems and my claimed solutions.

Several possible solutions have been offered to your issues, plus a couple of important consequences if you are correct that you ignore (e.g. why does the YEC community not routinely radiocarbon date all the coal in the world to show that it is 6000 years old?).

On the other hand, you have offered nothing but silence on the observations of the radiometric dating. Keep in mind that those are just a couple of examples of one particular technique. There are many more independent methods in use, all with their own specific and independent pathways. I could literally post one here every day and never run out. Moreover, the consilience between them is extraordinary. To dismiss all that you will need a plausible hypothesis that explains all those measurements just as well as radioactive decay over millions of years does. Your choice, I think, will be between the mother of all conspiracy theories (scientific fraud at a cosmic scale), or the conclusion that God created the world with all the isotope ratios just so to (falsely) indicate old rocks and an old earth.

Your idea of Old Earth-Young Fossils is a total pipe dream. Please learn some basic geology and go on a couple of field trips before you embarras yourself further. Most fossil bearing sedimentary rocks, especially the marine ones, which are the vast majority, have the fossils hard-baked into them - the fossils have become part of the rocks themselves. Indeed some rocks consist of little else but fossils. Yet, many of them can be dated by association with dateable crystalline rocks, and most others can be dated biostratigraphically.

Look at this beautiful limestome thin section:

This website shows many more. Rocks full of microfossils like these are very common throughout the Phanerozoic. The Phanerozoic time scale is very well established now, and such rocks form an integral part of it. The idea that somehow these are young fossils in old rocks is for the birds. The fossils are the rocks!


The fallacy of false equivalence.

I don’t know the name for that one, but it’s commonly characterized as “we don’t know everything, therefore we know nothing”. The incomplete knowledge is sufficient for the purpose at hand. Your ideas are just wrong, and all the data say so.

False equivalence again. And misuse of the word “faith”.

That’s Pascal’s Wager, another fallacious notion.

Did you mean to say that?