RSF: On How to Date a Dinosaur
This is the show from Friday, September 14th, 2012.
* Carbon 14 in Dinosaurs at the American Geophysical Conference in Singapore
: Today Real Science Friday interviews Hugh Miller, a member of the international scientific team that presented at this summer's AGU geophysical conference
in Singapore, the carbon dating results from five respected laboratories around the world of bones from ten dinosaurs (from the Gobi Desert in China, from Europe, Alaska, Texas, and Montana). 14C lasts only thousands of years, not millions. Yet each of these dinosaurs (as RSF listeners would expect) had plenty of radiocarbon. With the scientific breakthroughs and discoveries coming in daily, this is a great time to be alive!
* Since 14C is EVERYWHERE It Can't Be an Anomaly
: Carbon 14 doesn't lie. Unless from a secondary source, like contamination or neutron capture (described below), anything millions of years old should have NO Carbon-14. However, scientists are consistently finding C-14 in coal
, oil, limestone, fossil wood
, graphite, natural gas
, dinosaur fossils
, and even in supposedly billion-year-old diamonds
! A secondary assumption by old-earth scientists proposes that the C-14 in diamonds (coal, etc.) must have come from C-13 and neutron capture
. Theoretical physicist Lawrence Krauss (emphasis on the theoretical) told RSF that 14C in allegedly million-year-old specimens is an "anomaly." However, an anomaly is something that deviates from what is standard, normal, or expected. Because modern carbon exists in significant quantities, far above the reliability threshold of the AMS labs doing the tests, these results can no longer be called anomalies
! It is now expected that organic specimens supposedly millions of years old will yield maximum C-14 ages of only thousands of years!
* Problems with the Neutron Capture Explanation
First: radio activity is concentrated in continental rock (see RSF Prediction below).
Second: relatively speaking, radioactivity is relatively scare even in the continental crust, at least as documented by this U.S.G.S.
report for enormous swaths of land.
Third: Presented at the 2012 AGU Singapore conference, there was less than 20 parts per million of uranium and thorium in the dinosaur bones that contained large quanties of modern carbon, so much that it registered mid-range in the AMS (accelerator mass spectrometry) capabilities. (Uranium mines
where the uranimum content is 18% yield carbon speciems which have only 1% 14C, indicating that virtually none of the 14C in typical dinosaur bones is a result of neutron capture.)
Fourth: a geologist with a degree from Colorado's School of Mines who has a background in nuclear physics (who also spent years bombarding various elements with neutrons to make isotopes for industry) told RSF that Carbon does not easily absorb neutrons because it is the heavier elements beginning with Sodium that readily capture neutrons
. Further, while it is relatively unlikely that a Carbon atom will capture a free neutron, industrial processes use Carbon to slow down
neutrons, whereas they use heavier elements, typically starting with Silicon, which is almost double the atomic weight of Carbon, for neutron capture.
Fifth: Dr. Paul Giem writes
that, "since nitrogen-14 captures neutrons 110,000 times more easily than does carbon-13," samples with even tiny amounts of nitrogen would dramatically increase carbon dates, such that, "If neutron capture is a significant source of carbon-14 in a given sample, radiocarbon dates should vary wildly with the nitrogen content of the sample." Giem adds, "I know of no such data."
Sixth: Recognizing that U.S.G.S
report of scarce crustal radioactivity for coal, basalt, shales, granite, fly ash, etc., Dr. Jonathan Sarfati builds upon Dr. Giem's research arguing that neutron capture could account for less than one 10,000th of the C-14 in diamonds (see these peer-reviewed calculations
). Therefore, there would have to be thousands of times more uranium, thorium, etc. throughout the earth's crust everywhere that these globally dispersed materials are found.
* RSF Proposed Neutron Capture Falsification Study
: Published on Aug. 25, 2012. Because 90% of Earth's radioactivity is concentrated in 1/3rd of 1%
of it's mass (within the continental crust), if neutron capture were responsible for much of the unexpected 14C, then generally, such specimens collected from the ocean should have virtually no 14C (i.e., 90-plus percent less than what is already very small quantities of Carbon 14). Further, more work should be done with carbon specimens excavated from uranium mines, with specific attention paid to specimens similar (in type and estimated date) to those gathered far from uranimum mines, to further refine this type of, so to speak, control group. And finally, while diamonds, the hardest naturally occuring substance in the world are naturally resistant to contamination (making their radiocarbon content all the more compelling), RSF calls for Carbon 14 dating also of allegedly 100 million-year-old amber, the condition of which might make it apparent whether it has been contaminated.
* Continental vs. Marine 13C Neutron Capture Prediction
: RSF predicts that a comparison of marine specimens and continental specimens will not show significantly different percentages of 14C for materials of similar age. Note: RSF plans to post this prediction in the show summary for our RSF interview with theoretical physicist (emphasis on the theoretical) Lawrence Krauss
* Amber 14C Dating Prediction
: RSF predicts that even allegedly 300-million-year-old amber will show significant quantities of modern carbon.
* 14C in Other Dinosaur Bones
: RSF offered famed paleontologists Jack Horner and Dr. Mary Schweitzer a grant of $23,000
to carbon date their biological dinosaur tissue, which money RSF saved thanks to the peer-reviewed papers that are now carbon dating
and finding plenty of modern carbon is soft-tissue dinosaur fossils
! For example, a Mosasaur
shown by researchers to have original
biological material and not contamination, also contained five percent modern carbon! See more at Round Four
of our RSF debate with atheist AronRa
. We have a young earth
: Get the Spike Psarris DVD What You Aren't Being Told About Astronomy
and Vol. II, Our Created Stars and Galaxies
! Have you browsed through our Science Department
in the KGOV Store? Check out especially Walt Brown’s In the Beginning
and Bob’s interviews with this great scientist in Walt Brown Week
! You’ll also love Dr. Guillermo Gonzalez’ Privileged Planet
), and Illustra Media’s Unlocking the Mystery of Life
)! You can consider our BEL Science Pack
; Bob Enyart’s Age of the Earth Debate
; Bob's debate about Junk DNA
with famous evolutionist Dr. Eugenie Scott; and the superb kids' radio programming, Jonathan Park: The Adventure Begins
! And Bob strongly recommends that you subscribe to CMI’s tremendous Creation
: Bob has just posted the final round conclusion to our RSF debate with anti-creationist AronRa on the British atheist website, League of Reason. For links to the on-air and written debates, round by round, see realsciencefriday.com/AronRa
. And click here for Bob's final round post