(Aside, my dad doesn’t know how old I am, he usually misses by about two years, giving him an error of almost 5%.) Not only, is this not a ‘false assumption’. Oh and here’s a link to the Table of Contents for this set of creationist misconceptions.
This lesson is the third in a three-part series about the nucleus, isotopes, and radioactive decay.
The first lesson, Isotopes of Pennies, deals with isotopes and atomic mass.
By the end of the 8th grade, students should know that all matter is made up of atoms, which are far too small to see directly through a microscope.
They should also understand that the atoms of any element are alike but are different from atoms of other elements.
Atoms may stick together in well-defined molecules or they could be packed together in large arrays.
The first is that atoms have always decayed at the same rate.
And this isn’t really an assumption as the decay rates have been tested in the laboratory for a hundred years or so, we have an example of a natural nuclear reactor where we can measure the various products and determine the decay rates (and the fine structure constant), and we can observe the past by looking deep into the past of the universe. The sigh isn’t for the effort of writing, it’s for the effort of finding all the references.
The other is that the decay products of various atoms are always the same. Just looking at this list, I can see that none of these are actually assumptions used by radioactive dating methods and/or they are known issues and compensated for. Something that this particular website has none of. Basically, just like all creationists, they are making stuff up and then hoping you won’t check them on it. 1) atmosphere has always had the same amount of C-14 This is obviously in reference to carbon-14 dating of formerly living tissue.This is also actually kind of trivial and easily determined in the lab. Let’s see what the Missing Universe Museum thinks are the assumptions of radioactive dating methods. I guess we have to start at the top and work our way down… During an organisms life, it takes in CO have the common 6 protons and 6 neutrons. However, due to some interesting nuclear chemistry (which I’ll go into if requested), there’s another version of carbon (called an isotope) that has 6 protons and 8 neutrons. Note that if the number of protons change, then the atom is no longer carbon. Amazingly (and unlike what is claimed by the creationists), scientists have known about a variety of methods that create carbon-14 and how those methods have varied over time. Well, we take a carbon sample from a material of a known age and date that. Basically, the calibration curves are off by no more than 16 years over the historical range (6,000 years or so) and no more than 163 years over the last 20,000 years.Indeed, by doing almost 20 seconds of research on google (type in “variations in C14”, click on Google Scholar) the second link is this article from 1954: Carbon 13 in plants and the relationships between carbon 13 and carbon 14 variations in nature So, this issue has been known about for a long time. Then we compare the two and adjust the radiocarbon date to the known date. That’s less than 1% if you’re interested in that sort of thing. But this is already almost a thousand words and I’ve only done ONE! Long story short, scientists have always known that variations in C-14 concentration happen.Do you honestly think that no one has done anything about it? By making thousands (if not millions) of these adjustments we get a very good idea of how old a piece of unknown material can be. The 2009 calibration set extends the ‘well calibrated range’ to 50,000 years using the varves in a Japanese lake. This is unlike the creationists which think it happened, but can’t be bothered to check.Scientists, using rigorous methods have established a process to eliminate this problem by calibrating radiocarbon dating results to items of a known age.In this way, items of unknown age can be tested and an age determined to a reasonable degree of accuracy. More tomorrow where we explore the concept of isochron dating and how it neatly destroys most of the rest of these ‘issues’.