Carbon dating problem

Their age was measured to be 6.0 /- 0.3 billion years old. Those who are committed to an ancient age for the earth currently believe that it is 4.6 billion years old.Obviously, then, the error in that measurement is 1.4 billion years, not 0.3 billion years!As someone who has studied radioactivity in detail, I have always been a bit amused by the assertion that radioactive dating is a precise way to determine the age of an object.This false notion is often promoted when radioactive dates are listed with utterly unrealistic error bars.However, it’s important to note that some radioactive dates (like those that come from carbon-14) don’t use the isochron method, so they aren’t affected by this particular flaw.

Most likely, that is the least important source of error.Such uncertainties are usually glossed over, especially when radioactive dates are communicated to the public and, more importantly, to students.Generally, we are told that scientists have ways to analyze the object they are dating so as to eliminate the uncertainties due to unknown processes that occurred in the past. Hayes has pointed out a problem with isochrons that has, until now, not been considered.That’s just over half a percent error in something that is supposedly multiple billions of years old.Of course, that error estimate is complete nonsense.

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As I have stated previously, we just don’t know a lot about radioactive decay.

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