Carbon-dating questions??

by DATA-DOG 16 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • Oubliette

    Finkelstein, thanks for posting those resources!

    I do however, have to disagree with this one statement of yours:

    It should be accepted that since most JWs are not well educated on certain matters

    The reality is, most JWs are not well educated on anything!

  • Coded Logic
    Coded Logic

    This story is bogus. Those who submitted the sample were specifically warned that they were dating the organic material on the pottery and NOT the pottery itself.

    "We dated the organic material on the stone but warned the submitter that the date had no meaning until this material had been identified. This was never done, and yet they still publicized the date which of course provides no information of the actual date at which the stone was painted."

    - Professor Michael Tite, Director of the Oxford Laboratory

    This reminds me of the time Ken Ham sent in a dinosaur fossil to be carbon dated. He then went around telling everyone how it came back as only being a few thousand years old. Of course, the one part of the story he didn't reveal was that the company that dated the fossil told him that fossils contained no carbon and that what they dated was the varnish that had been put on it later to protect it.

    Anytime you hear someone make quotes about carbon dating fossils, diamonds, pottery, metal, etc. it should set off your BS meter. Carbon dating is ONLY used to date organic material. For other materials there are other dating methods. Furthermore, scientists generally use two different dating methods or more when identifying the ages of things. Because when you have two or more dating methods converging on the same date you can have an extremely high degree of confidence that date is correct.

    Carbon dating is a specific tool for a specific kind of material. Carbon dating a fossil or a piece of pottery and then concluding "c14 dating is inaccurate" would be like trying to use a hammer to mow your lawn and then concluding "hammers aren't very good tools."

  • Vidiot

    CodedLogic - "This reminds me of the time Ken Ham sent in a dinosaur fossil to be carbon dated. He then went around telling everyone how it came back as only being a few thousand years old. Of course, the one part of the story he didn't reveal was that the company that dated the fossil told him that fossils contained no carbon and that what they dated was the varnish that had been put on it later to protect it."

    Realizing that the WTS uses this kind of dirty-lawyer tactic to discredit evolution - and, in fact, mostly just cribbing other "worldy" creationists whilst doing it - was a big part of helping me wake up.

  • Crazyguy

    For me when I learned about dating rocks using the patina that forms on them and crystal type materials that also form on rocks and other things really opened the doors for a better Understanding of how they date things and how a build up of a material like crystal or calcium or whatever over let's say a rock carving can be measured and show that this carving must be older the 6000 years. Also the depth of soil over an object is another good way to show that something must be older the just a few thousand years.

    As JW's we really were some stupid people.

  • Half banana
    Half banana

    It’s funny how scientists have better things to do than broadcast the naive claims of stupid JWs... we only hear it the other way round from the Watchtower org.

    @DD, Probably beds are a poor archaeological example but there can hardly be one bed apart from the most crudely made which would not yield a date based on style, joints, nails, tool marks or type of wood, finish, provenance etc.

    Archaeological dating is a big subject and its complexity is one of the reasons why it is virtually hidden to those whose certain belief is that the Bible is the final authority on everything. The small, fuzzy and wet brain of a JW thinks: “They say it’s old but it can’t be ’cos the Watchtower says that carbon dating is inaccurate.” End of thinking process.

    After I escaped the Borg I took a university course on early man. Then with another university I spent most of my free time and weekends digging on pre-historic excavations. This meant working with scientists and experts of many kinds; geologists, palaeontologists, entomologists, etc, since that is the way of modern archaeology. It was for me an affirmation of the real world of determining truth by evidence. Also it was an attempt to catch up to where I should have been educationally had I not wasted my youth on the WTBTS.

    My office is cluttered with archaeological bits and here in England is a great place to come across finds because of the long period of occupation. Southern England has artefacts (humanly made objects) which go back continuously to the Upper Palaeolithic and discontinuously before that to the Lower Palaeolithic of about 800,000 years BCE on the East Anglian coast. My garden and the field adjoining contain stone tools from the Mesolithic, Neolithic and Bronze Age with very early Roman occupation pottery just recently found here and with ceramics from all periods subsequent to that.

    I have Neanderthal tools (Mousterian culture) behind my computer (probably 120,000 years old) When a JW, I found a simple piece of pottery near where I lived at the time in North West London. On exiting the Borg I took it to the British Museum for dating. To my surprise they not only were they able to identify what this shard was (the rim of a large Romano British storage jar) but were able to pin-point the pottery kiln from which it most probably came two thousand years earlier...(from Lambeth on the south bank of the Thames).

    As my example shows there exist vast scientific data bases for information of typology (i.e. style and period and materials used) and this goes into the remote past. For different periods different criteria are used. In pre-history, which is the contentious period for fundamentalist argument, artefacts are dated by being able to position them with reference to a specific “climate stage” from the past 2.7 million years of very well recorded ice age climate-change history. (It just happens that we have been in a temperature maximum for the last ten thousand years)

    If you haven’t gone to sleep yet, the first enquiry at the find's site is done by the geologist since pre-history took place in geological time. So with an approximate determination made from the stratigraphy (chronological sequence of layers) the next thing is to evaluate the matrix (what the finds were embedded in). In pre-history matrix material makes for a determination because there are usually many indicators present, often microscopic, such as bug remains, pollen, rodent jaws, teeth, bones, seeds etc. Each climate stage represents a place in the slow tidal drift of climate changing from temperate or thermal maximum (today) down to full blown glacial episodes.

    The average time between these temperature peaks is around 100,000 years. The key to it all is knowledge of the plant, bug, snail and animal communities in which the finds were made. For example when you find reindeer and mammoth remains in soil in Spain with seeds of arctic plants it must be evident even to a JW (perhaps not!) that the climate was arctic at the time of the animal’s life.

    I could go on but you get the picture. Dating in archaeology is done primarily by context and typology after that with reference to dendrochronology and/or radiometric dating etc, if the site suggests it to be old enough to warrant that method. Pre-history is done by discovering which flora and fauna community you are dealing with in a particular stratigraphy, indicating the place in the specific climate sequence which is then corroborated by the appropriate methods which Finklestein has listed already. So you do not need always to test the artefact, just the context in which it was found.

    What I have described is of course an over simplification but a picture from the work-face of archaeology. It is often pains-takingly slow, careful, technical and analytical, only to be dismissed in the mind of the JW who believes that the GB must know so much more than any worthless scientist...

  • suavojr

    Half banana

    Thanks for that lecture, as JW's we sure are/were clueless to the realities around us.

  • Vidiot

    Don't date carbon.

    He's just a playa.

Share this