Thursday, 10 January 2008

Where are the lions when you need them eh ?

I'm joking of course, but recently I seem to be attracting a lot of discussions about some fairly deep questions, the most recent was someone who got into a discussion with me about Darwin and various other lines of questioning obviously based around his beliefs, it wasn't anything I said to him that started him off, it was something he said to me and I gave the other side of the argument, he was basically saying that Carbon 14 radio dating wasn't accurate, I sort of disagreed stating that it was accurate but only to a point after which Carbon 14 is replaced by other isotopes and testing methods which have half lives of billions of years rather than 5730 +-40 years for Carbon 14

the thing is people tend to hear something and rather than research it and find out the truth they blindly state it as fact, some people don't even know that Scientists can check their accuracy by using different isotopes OTHER than Carbon 14....

The first radiometric dates, generated about 1920, showed that the Earth was hundreds of millions, or billions, of years old. Since then, geologists have made many tens of thousands of radiometric age determinations, and they have refined the earlier estimates. A key point is that it is no longer necessary simply to accept one chemical determination of a rock's age. Age estimates can be cross-tested by using different isotope pairs. Results from different techniques, often measured in rival labs, continually confirm each other.

There is only a 1% chance of error with current dating technology. Every few years, new geologic time scales are published, providing the latest dates for major time lines. Older dates may change by a few million years up and down, which is no big deal when we are counting in billions, think of it like a few minutes lost or gained in an hour :)..... younger dates are stable. For example, it has been known since the 1960s that the famous Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary, the line marking the end of the dinosaurs, was 65 million years old. Repeated recalibrations and retests, using ever more sophisticated techniques and equipment, cannot shift that date. It is accurate to within a few thousand years. With modern, extremely precise, methods, error bars are often only 1% or so.

after bombarding him with this information he then went on to state that fossils were nothing more than left overs from the biblical flood, I then asked him if that was the case then how does he explain all the marine life suddenly not surviving too well and laying down massive fossil records, and if indeed there was a flood of biblical proportions then why would the massive armoured fish and other marine life suddenly not be able to survive in their own (deeper) habitat post CT boundary ???? maybe they died out of boredom ? ;¬)

I also told him that Hippos are related to whales..... "how ridiculous" he guffawed..... hmmmmm how ridiculous indeed :)

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