Author Topic: dating fossils  (Read 1389 times)

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Offline wright

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dating fossils
« on: August 02, 2013, 03:30:25 AM »
This is in response to johnnyb1871's post on this thread:,

I have noticed that since I was a child that each year they say planet is much older than the thought it went from millions of years to 500 million years old.

Please provide sources (besides creationist websites) that show that the age of the Earth has been revised "each year". Or just admit you're making that up. The approximate age of our planet (around 4.5 billion years; has been established for decades.

I read a story a few months ago I woud like to share with a of you
a man bought some dinosaur bones and sent it to Arizona State University to be carbon dated.
He never told them what kind of bones he had sent them.
when he got the results back they were only 7000 years old.

ParkingPlaces tore that creationist lie to pieces quite easily in the other thread.

I think man is trig to outsmart itself we all have our opinions and each of us is entitled to have one,but I have learned don't trust what scientist say 99% of the time they are wrong.
Don't buy into the first thing you hear for fools will follow other fools.

It's too bad you don't trust what scientists say, and by extension the scientific method, because modern society is utterly dependent on the unceasing work of scientists, engineers, technicians and other specialists. Specialists who use the refined reasoning we call the scientific method to maintain and improve everything from power grids to fertilizers to vaccines to light-emitting diodes to toilet bowl cleaners. That "99% of the time they are wrong" is, frankly, bullshit.

Creationists attempting to refute fossils and dating methods goes back to before Darwin's time. Accurate dating of fossils is pretty well established at this point, though methods of course continue to improve.

Here are the basics as I understand them. A fossil can be first dated by its location in the geological column, or biostratigraphy ( There are widely separated locations worldwide that have the same fossils at the same location in the same strata. Even before the discovery of radioactive decay this provided accurate indications of the relative age of various geological layers, and is still useful today.

Radiometric dating( is more recent, but at least as well supported. There are several methods, each of which have different advantages and disadvantages in their application. These include:
  • uranium-lead; particularly useful in that a given sample provides two "clocks" (uranium 235 and 238 to their respective forms of lead) for cross-checking.
  • rubidium-strontium; with a half-life of 50 billion years, this is used on the oldest terrestrial metamorphic rocks, as well as lunar samples.
  • uranium-thorium; particularly useful for dating ocean-floor sediments.
  • carbon-14; used for relatively recent specimens (about 50-60 thousand years old).

All these depend on the consistency of radioactive decay in the specific isotope being measured and minimizing potential contamination of the specimen. The first is well-established; nuclear decay is an inherent property of matter and unaffected by external factors. The second is often a possibility, so care must be taken to avoid contamination and identify it when a particular method gives an inconsistent result.

Here's a good reference for refuting creationist claims against proven dating methods:

Really, to be a creationist (particularly a young-Earth creationist) in the modern era requires great dedication to maintaining a high level of ignorance. That and outright lies are the only way to perpetuate that worldview. The facts certainly aren't friendly to it.
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Offline Anfauglir

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Re: dating fossils
« Reply #1 on: August 02, 2013, 07:01:43 AM »
Quote from: johnnyb1871
I think man is trig to outsmart itself we all have our opinions and each of us is entitled to have one,but I have learned don't trust what scientist say 99% of the time they are wrong.

Heh.  I takes it he never goes to the doctor then - doesn't take medicine, at least.  Doesn't drive, doesn't fly, doesn't watch TV or listen to the radio or read books (hmm, that explains a lot), never does into a building made of concrete or steel, never uses a credit card......unless he is Amish (which seems unlikely given that he used a PC to get in touch with us) I don't understand how he functions.

Actually, given he posted once and that's it, I suspect he tenetaviely approached the "magic box" of his PC, typed with one finger (scared all the time it would explode or melt or stop working), and posted his thoughts without the slightest confidence that the internet protocols would transmit the data to use in packets of binary data via cables and sattellites.

Computers are a lie developed by scientists, guys!  They function by means of imps and magic!
Just because you've always done it that way doesn't mean it's not incredibly stupid.
Why is it so hard for believers to answer a direct question?

Offline Nick

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Re: dating fossils
« Reply #2 on: August 02, 2013, 08:07:59 AM »
So when you are dating fossils should you kiss on the 1st date?
Yo, put that in your pipe and smoke it.  Quit ragging on my Lord.

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Offline ParkingPlaces

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Re: dating fossils
« Reply #3 on: August 02, 2013, 09:12:11 AM »
Paleontologists have identified and named over a thousand species of dinosaur. And have put a date range on each. Some species lived only in the the Triassic period, others only in the Jurrasic, others in the Cretaceous. Each of these periods lasted many millions of years and are clearly defined in the literature. All a theist would have to do to prove this wrong is go out and find the bones of a dinosaur that is defined by paleontologists as one that lived only in the Cretaceous period underneath the bones of a dinosaur that paleontologists have clearly said lived only in the Triassic period. That would disprove evolution very quickly.

But that can't be done, so creationists resort to trickery, deceit, bad science and false interpretations. They continue with lies (Fossils are dated by which layer of rock they are found in, rocks are dated by the dinosaurs found in them, a lie I have had repeated to me by a variety of theists, as an example), and feed those lies to the uninformed believers whom creationists want to remain uninformed, for rather selfish reasons.

Of course creationist don't like science. Everything it teaches flies in the face of Genesis and other biblical writings. And for biblical literalists, that is intolerable. But rather than wanting to figure out what the real answers are to human questions, they continue to play churchgoer and pretend they know more than people who have actual information. The gather together in their holy enclaves and scoff at people who doubt that burning bushes can talk. Who doubt that snakes can talk. Who doubt that dirt was used to create the first man. They scoff at anything that disses their tiny little world.

And they have to do a lot of scoffing, because scientific findings keep flying in their faces and making it hard to do anything else. I have no idea where they get the time to ineffectively pray.
« Last Edit: August 02, 2013, 09:13:50 AM by ParkingPlaces »
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Offline Grogs

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Re: dating fossils
« Reply #4 on: August 03, 2013, 10:59:44 AM »
If you're of a technical bent, G. Brent Dalrymple's The Age of the Earth goes over the dating methods in great detail, including why why certain pairs of isotopes are chosen, the date ranges they're good for, and how they check them for consistency. He also has a chapter that discusses previous dating attempts. For example, in 1862 Lord Kelvin, who was a giant in his field, came up with a value of 98 million years by assuming that the Earth had started out as molten iron, and then calculating how long it would take to cool. The only problem is that he didn't know about radioactive decay since it wouldn't be discovered for another three decades. Since about 1950 when radioactivity was well understood all dating methods have produced values between 4-5 billion years. The last time anyone dated the Earth at < 1 billion years was around 1915, so unless the 1871 in johnnyb's name is the year he was born, his story is wrong. Maybe it was just a sign that creationists 40 years ago were as far behind the times as modern ones and they were railing about 50 year old data.

Offline Ambassador Pony

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Re: dating fossils
« Reply #5 on: August 03, 2013, 11:43:49 AM »
I posted this in the other thread. There is no need to re-invent the wheel. Potholer54 takes care of it in a very clear, understandable way here:

You believe evolution and there is no evidence for that. Where is the fossil record of a half man half ape. I've only ever heard about it in reading.