Radiocarbon DatingRadiocarbon dating can easily establish that humans have been on the earth for over twenty thousand years, at least twice as long as creationists are willing to allow. Therefore it should come as no surprise that creationists at the Institute for Creation Research ICR have been trying desperately to discredit this method for years. They have their work cut out for them, however, because radiocarbon C dating is one of the most reliable of all the radiometric dating methods. This article will answer several of the most common creationist attacks on carbon dating, using the question-answer format that has proved so useful to lecturers and debaters. Answer: Cosmic rays in the upper atmosphere are constantly converting the isotope nitrogen N into carbon C or radiocarbon. Living organisms are constantly incorporating this C into their bodies along with other carbon isotopes.
As a result, the corals there accumulated a lot of nuclear fallout into their structures. But the coral wasn't the only sea creature to take radioactive material onboard -- hawksbill sea turtles incorporated the material into their shells as well. Now, a researcher at Duke University has used the nuclear fallout accumulated in the shells of these deceased turtles to age them more accurately than ever before, shedding light on why the animals are rebounding more slowly than expected in the waters around Hawaii, despite environmental protections.
But hawksbills were afforded the same protections and have not rebounded. We think our study points to two reasons as to why: they are relatively late in maturing, and their food base may have dwindled.
Van Houtan, an adjunct associate professor at Duke's Nicholas School of the Environment, and his team measured the level of carbon in the shells of 36 deceased hawksbill turtles and pegged those levels to the known levels of the material in the surrounding corals to determine age. The levels of this material spiked during the nuclear tests during the Cold War and have declined ever since, so the the corals can be used as a kind of measuring rod.
While carbon dating organic matter is not new, Van Houtan's method used something known as bomb carbon dating. The new dating method led Van Houtan and his team to realize that female turtles reach sexual maturity much later than previously thought -- about 29 years versus That fact could be one of the reasons the turtle population is rebounding more slowly from poaching for the now-illegal global tortoiseshell trade.
As for the question of polarity reversals, plate tectonics can teach us much. It is a fact that new oceanic crust continually forms at the mid-oceanic ridges and spreads away from those ridges in opposite directions.
When lava at the ridges hardens, it keeps a trace of the magnetism of the earth's magnetic field. Therefore, every time the magnetic field reverses itself, bands of paleomagnetism of reversed polarity show up on the ocean floor alternated with bands of normal polarity. These bands are thousands of kilometers long, they vary in width, they lie parallel, and the bands on either side of any given ridge form mirror images of each other.
Thus it can be demonstrated that the magnetic field of the earth has reversed itself dozens of times throughout earth history. Barnes, writing inought to have known better than to quote the gropings and guesses of authors of the early sixties in an effort to debunk magnetic reversals.
Before plate tectonics and continental drift became established in the mid-sixties, the known evidence for magnetic reversals was rather scanty, and geophysicists often tried to invent ingenious mechanisms with which to account for this evidence rather than believe in magnetic reversals. However, bysea floor spreading and magnetic reversals had been documented to the satisfaction of almost the entire scientific community. Yet, instead of seriously attempting to rebut them with up-to-date evidence, Barnes merely quoted the old guesses of authors who wrote before the facts were known.
Radiocarbon dating turtle
But, in spite of Barnes, paleomagnetism on the sea floor conclusively proves that the magnetic field of the earth oscillates in waves and even reverses itself on occasion.
It has not been decaying exponentially as Barnes maintains. Answer: Yes. When we know the age of a sample through archaeology or historical sources, the C method as corrected by bristlecone pines agrees with the age within the known margin of error.
For instance, Egyptian artifacts can be dated both historically and by radiocarbon, and the results agree.
At first, archaeologists used to complain that the C method must be wrong, because it conflicted with well-established archaeological dates; but, as Renfrew has detailed, the archaeological dates were often based on false assumptions. One such assumption was that the megalith builders of western Europe learned the idea of megaliths from the Near-Eastern civilizations.
As a result, archaeologists believed that the Western megalith-building cultures had to be younger than the Near Eastern civilizations.
Many archaeologists were skeptical when Ferguson's calibration with bristlecone pines was first published, because, according to his method, radiocarbon dates of the Western megaliths showed them to be much older than their Near-Eastern counterparts. However, as Renfrew demonstrated, the similarities between these Eastern and Western cultures are so superficial that. So, in the end, external evidence reconciles with and often confirms even controversial C dates.
One of the most striking examples of different dating methods confirming each other is Stonehenge. C dates show that Stonehenge was gradually built over the period from BC to BC, long before the Druids, who claimed Stonehenge as their creation, came to England.
Astronomer Gerald S. Hawkins calculated with a computer what the heavens were like back in the second millennium BC, accounting for the precession of the equinoxes, and found that Stonehenge had many significant alignments with various extreme positions of the sun and moon for example, the hellstone marked the point where the sun rose on the first day of summer.
Biological 'clock' discovered in sea turtle shells
Stonehenge fits the heavens as they were almost four thousand years ago, not as they are today, thereby cross-verifying the C dates. Question: What specifically does C dating show that creates problems for the creation model? Answer: C dates show that the last glaciation started to subside around twenty thousand years ago. But the young-earth creationists at ICR and elsewhere insist that, if an ice age occurred, it must have come and gone far less than ten thousand years ago, sometime after Noah's flood.
New York Times: Above-ground nuclear tests from the s through the s greatly increased the amount of carbon in the atmosphere. Hawksbill sea turtles in Hawaii, recently radiocarbon-dated, are now better- known in terms of age, reproductive maturity and growth rates. Hunted for their beautiful shells, hawksbill turtles are now critically "Bomb radiocarbon dating tracks the dramatic spike in carbon that.
Therefore, the only way creationists can hang on to their chronology is to poke all the holes they can into radiocarbon dating. However, as we have seen, it has survived their most ardent attacks.
Barnes, Thomas G. Origin and Destiny of the Earth's Magnetic Field. San Diego: Creation-Life Publishers. Cook, Melvin A.
In this study, we investigated the use of bomb radiocarbon dating on core material extracted from ossicles of leatherback turtles. Based on. Answers concerning the life-history traits of sea turtles sometimes come from the most unlikely sources. Most recently, the nuclear tests during. The harvest of hawksbill sea turtles for the global tortoiseshell trade was Bomb radiocarbon dating is widely used for age-validation in marine.
Prehistory and Earth Models. London: Max Parrish and Co. Fergusson, C. Kieth, M.
Radiocarbon dating can easily establish that humans have been on the earth for over twenty thousand years, at least twice as long as creationists are willing to. Radiocarbon dating of atomic bomb fallout found in the shells of sea turtles is a reliable way to estimate the age, growth rate, and reproductive maturity of sea turtles in the wild, a new study shows. This is the first time carbon dating of shell tissue has been used to. To carbon turtle carbon dating is accurate, we would have to know how much carbon was in the their in the beginning, and also how long it has been increasing.
August 16, Morris, Henry M. Scientific Creationism. Slusher, Harold S. Critique of Radiometric Dating. Stearns, Colin W. Geological Evolution of North America, 3rd Edition. He has followed the creation-evolution controversy for over a decade.How Carbon Dating Works
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Turtles' age determined by atomic-bomb fallout in their shells
Search form. Answers to Creationist Attacks on Carbon Dating. Creation Evolution Journal Title:. Author s :. Page s :. Above is a reconstruction of a leatherback turtle skull by Larisa Avens NOAA Fisheries with the ossicles positioned as they would be in the eye of this individual. The ossicles have been sections and age estimated to exceed 40 years based on growth zone counting See Avens et al.
Otoliths from known collection year juvenile fishes haddock, redfish, and yellowtail flounderreferred to as the Northwest Atlantic Reference NWA by Campana et al. Juvenile Arcto-Norwegian cod provided an intermediate signal that is representative of the Arctic Ocean end of the spectrum Kalish et al.
Also plotted is a series of ocean water carbon data points from the western edge of the Sargasso Sea Druffel et al.