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Can radiometric dates be independently verified?

Post of the Month: June 2007


Subject:    | Bible, Evolution, TEism: Ray v. the Mob
Date:       | 20 Jun 2007
Message-ID: | Xns99554A7AC3579jimwillemingmailcom@

Ray Martinez wrote:
>>>>>>> This is what I am going to attack and disprove. Species are not
>>>>>>> mutable productions.

Stew Dean wrote:
>>>>>> Reality already is against you here. Population splitting into
>>>>>> species has been observed directly and indirectly so you'll have
>>>>>> to be very convincing and have amazing evidence to make an
>>>>>> argument here.

Ray Martinez wrote:
>>>>> Evolution at real time is too slow to observe. Do you know why
>>>>> the Earth is claimed to be 4.5 billion years in age?

>>>>> But, of course, here comes some silly punctuated ad hoc reply.

Stile4aly wrote:
>>>> No ad-hoc reply needed. A dozen different isochron dating methods
>>>> show that the earth is between about 4.2 and 4.6 billion years old
>>>> with the greatest sample cluster around 4.5 billion years.

Ray Martinez wrote:
>>> What external method exists to check accuracy of said dating?
>>> The key word is external.

Jim Willemin wrote:
>> What would you consider a valid external check?

Ray Martinez wrote:
> External: Known age of a material via interlocking historical and
> archaeological agreement. Radio dating fails these rare glimpses when
> they arise from time to time. Sometimes it succeeds sometimes it
> fails. The latter falsifies any notion or assertion that radio dating
> IS accurate. I assure you that it is extremely rare for these external
> events to occur since both disciplines rarely agree on anything, but
> they do occur.

Jim Willemin wrote:
>> Given that the different isochron dating systems use different
>> elements, and that each system is therefore independent of the
>> others, each isochcron dating method serves as an external check on
>> the others.

Ray Martinez wrote:
> Negative. External, in this context, means "nothing to do with radio
> dating." How do you establish a beginning bench mark date, that is,
> the date from which all others are built upon? The Bible uses
> historical and archaeological corroboration from other Near East
> nations and star alignments to establish its chronology. The
> alignments can only occur once every twenty-six thousand years; the
> "procession of the exquinoxes" is a full proof and external method to
> establish a benchmark date, which is 2141 BC. In this year Thuban, (or
> the Dragon Star) was the North Star and only in 2141 BC did its align
> perfectly with the entrance passage way of the Great Pyramid and shine
> its light all the way to the bottom. It will take about twenty-six
> thousand more years for this to happen again. Since continental drift
> has occurred it will be somewhat off at that. Other than that nothing
> at all happened in 2141 BC. The important thing is that we have a
> objective starting benchmark date to establish Biblical chronology.

> Now, how does evolutionary dating schemes establish its beginning
> benchmark date, the date all other dates are built upon?

Well, first, not that you will ever recognize the distinction, the age of the earth falls under the purview of geology, not biological evolution, and your refusal to make that distinction shows your careless, imprecise thinking. Be that as it may, the benchmark for geological dating is the present - note that all geological dates are given as BP, or before the present. Note also that for the magnitude of most geological dates the difference between today and the building of the Great Pyramid is so much smaller than the age of the geological event under consideration that the difference is less than negligible.

Note also that the present provides a much more reliable 'benchmark date' than architectural alignments: in order to get the precision you describe (a specific year) using the precession of the nodes you would need a shaft with a diameter-to-length ratio on the order of 1/5000, or a shaft one inch in diameter would need to be about a hundred meters long to give the kind of angular accuracy to distinguish between 2141 BC and 2142 BC. Besides, that 'entrance passageway' stuff is hogwash - just a little googling yields the information that the descending passage in the Great Pyramid dips at an angle of 26 degrees, 31 minutes from horizontal.

The latitude of said Great Pyramid is 29 degrees, 59 minutes North, which means that the line of sight to the north celestial pole dips 29 degrees 59 minutes to the horizontal, which means that the descending passage is 'aimed' at a spot three and a half degrees below the north celestial pole, which means that whatever star 'illuminated the entire bottom of the shaft' was

  1. not the Pole Star,
  2. so illuminated the shaft only once a day, as the star made its apparent daily circle about the true pole, and, importantly,
  3. would occupy the same spatial relationship to the true celestial pole (i.e. have the same declination) twice, roughly 550 years apart (if my back-of-the-envelope calculations are correct) [1]. This last means that you have two dates, 550 years apart, on which a particluar star would shine straight down the descending shaft of the Great Pyramid at least once during the year, which sort of brings into question the uniqueness of your 'benchmark' date.

Jim Willemin wrote:
>> The key word here is independent.

>> The agreement between independent isochron dates for the age of the
>> earth makes it highly unlikely that the results are wildly
>> inaccurate. What would make you think otherwise?

Ray Martinez wrote:
> Circular reasoning.

> Outside of all radio dating techniques, how does evolution check the
> accuracy of its dating techniques?

As I mentioned before, 'evolution' per se doesn't use radiometric dating - geology does. Well, it is not real easy to use historical or archaeologocal evidence to corroborate radiometric dates of 4.5 billion years before present, there being neither history or archaeology then, or indeed for quite some time thereafter. In fact, I am not going to attempt to offer corroboration of those dates, but I will offer independent corroborating evidence for dates in the 300 to 400 million year range, and suggest where further such corroborating independent evidence might be found for much older dates. Here goes.

It is well known that the rotation of the Earth is slowing down, due primarily to tidal friction in the Earth-Moon system. This means that the days are getting slowly longer, and there are fewer of them in a year, since slowing of the Earth's rotation does not affect its orbital period about the Sun (the length of a year remains constant, but the length of a day changes). Current estimates of the long-term rate of change of the length of day, based on several kinds of astronomical evidence ranging from ancient observations of eclipses to modern observations using Very Long Baseline Interferometry, are on the order of 2 milliseconds per day per century - that is, the day is 2 milliseconds longer than it was a century ago.

Certain coral polyps record daily growth rings in their (the correct word escapes me at the moment, so in desperation I use the word: ) shells, as well as recording annual variation. Among these corals are some that were quite common and widespread during the Devonian period, and analysis of the growth patterns in these fossil corals shows that during the middle Devonian period there were about 400 days in a year, or each day was around 21.8 hours long. If you do the math, you discover that it would take about 370 million years for the length of day to increase from 21.8 to 24 hours changing at an average rate of 2 milliseconds per century. This independent age estimate corroborates the radiometric age estimates for the middle Devonian.

Alas, there are no fossil corals that are 4.6 billion years old; indeed, as far as I know the oldest rocks found so far on the surface of the earth are about 3.98 billion years old. However, there *are* old tidal deposits - tidal rhythmites, which record both diurnal and annual cycles. I don't know much about the analysis of such rocks, how old the oldest is, what results are out there, who is doing the work, but the important thing is that in principle at least there is an 'external' test.

What I have done here, Ray, is two things: I have shown that published data for the Great Pyramid shows that the descending passage cannot be used to establish a single point in time using astronomical alignments, and that radiometric ages for the Middle Devonian are supported by fossil records of shorter days and modern estimates of the rate of tidal braking of the rotation of the earth. Further, I have suggested that length-of-day data may be availble from much older rocks than Middle Devonian.

[1] See correction in message: Xns9A4E972118C58jimwillemingmailcom@

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