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Christianity &Islam &Science Thomas on 14 Oct 2009 12:43 am

if you believe in science, you’re doing it wrong

Explains science:

if you believe in science, you’re doing it wrong

When we step down from their mental ivory towers and really think about it, the assertion that science is just a belief or another way of creating dogmas is monstrously stupid. Simply put, if you believe in science, you have no idea what science is. You don’t believe that that there’s a couch in a coffee shop. You see it there. You can touch it, move it, smell it and it won’t suddenly vanish into thin air when you look away. You don’t believe in the sky being blue on a sunny day, you just look up and see it. And when was the last time that you believed in the existence of cars and planes? Looking at what’s out there, taking note of it, studying its properties based on what you can see, touch and smell is science. I never say that I believe in evolution because it’s a ridiculous thing to say. Instead, I looked at the available evidence on the subject and agreed that yes, this is the best way to explain how life came to be the way it is on this planet based on the available data.

4 Responses to “if you believe in science, you’re doing it wrong”

  1. on 14 Oct 2009 at 2:32 pm 1.Joseph Dunnam said …

    Do you believe and take for granted that Carbon 14 experiments are flawless?

  2. on 14 Oct 2009 at 2:53 pm 2.LyokoFreaks said …

    Joseph, I have a feeling that you’re trying to say that we “believe” that it’s accurate every time. Sure, we probably take it for granted because most of us haven’t studied radiometric dating beyond basic science class, but that doesn’t mean we take it on faith. We let other people, scientists, do the leg work for us. If you really want to debunk radiometric dating, study it and disprove it scientifically with evidence that contradicts the evidence that it does provide accurate results. It always amazes me that any given church-goer thinks they can tell thousands of scientists with Ph.D’s that they’re wrong without providing any counter-evidence. Give me a break, buddy.

  3. on 14 Oct 2009 at 7:58 pm 3.Isotope said …

    Is carbon dating accurate? Only to a certain extent. In order for carbon dating to be accurate, we must know what the ratio of carbon-12 to carbon-14 was in the environment in which our specimen lived during its lifetime. Unfortunately the ratio of carbon-12 to carbon-14 has yet to reach a state of equilibrium in our atmosphere; there is more carbon-14 in the air today than there was thousands of years ago. Furthermore, the ratio is known to fluctuate significantly over relatively short periods of time (e.g. during the industrial revolution more carbon-12 was being produced offsetting the ratio a bit).

    Carbon dating is somewhat accurate because we are able to determine what the ratio was in the unobservable past to a certain extent. By taking a carboniferous specimen of known age (that is, a specimen which we are able to date with reasonable certainty through some archaeological means), scientists are able to determine what the ratio was during a specimen’s lifetime. They are then able to calibrate the carbon dating method to produce fairly accurate results. Carbon dating is thus accurate within the timeframe set by other archaeological dating techniques. Unfortunately, we aren’t able to reliably date artifacts beyond several thousand years. Scientists have tried to extend confidence in the carbon dating method further back in time by calibrating the method using tree ring dating. Unfortunately, tree ring dating is itself not entirely reliable, especially the “long chronology” employed to calibrate the carbon dating method. The result is that carbon dating is accurate for only a few thousand years. Anything beyond that is questionable. This fact is born out in how carbon dating results are used by scientists in the scientific literature. Many scientists will use carbon dating test results to back up their position if the results agree with their preconceived theories. But if the carbon dating results actually conflict with their ideas, they aren’t too concerned. “This attitude is clearly reflected in a regrettably common practice: when a radiocarbon date agrees with the expectations of the excavator it appears in the main text of the site report; if it is slightly discrepant it is relegated to a footnote; if it seriously conflicts it is left out altogether.” (Peter James, et al. (I. J. Thorpe, Nikos Kokkinos, Robert Morkot and John Frankish), Preface to Centuries of Darkness, 1991)

    So, is carbon dating accurate? It is for specimens which only date back a few thousand years. Anything beyond that is problematic and highly doubtful.

  4. on 14 Oct 2009 at 8:57 pm 4.LyokoFreaks said …

    Thank you for the thorough explanation, Isotope. If I have my facts straight, carbon-14 dating can date items accurately that are no older than about 50,000 years. For really old things, using geology as a dating method is very accurate. When I watched the Discovery special on Ardi the other night, they talked about how they dated two deposits of sediment from volcanic ash that sandwiched the layer containing the fossils. By dating these two layers of volcanic ash, they were able to determine the age of the fossils that were in the sandwiched layer. It had something to do with melting down the crystals in the sediment and measuring the argon gas; I’m sure there’s a page about the process on Talk.Origins.

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