When some Christians first consider the possibility that Earth might have a much longer history than a few thousand years, they face a daunting challenge. Conventional scientists claim that dating methods are robust and reliable, but young-earth advocates insist that all are based on untestable assumptions and circular reasoning. Without the tools or expertise to independently evaluate the competing claims, many Christians default to the young-earth view, assuming there must be scientific justification for the young-earth claims. For those of us who actually use these dating techniques, it is equally challenging to find ways to communicate the reliability of these methods in an understandable way. Fortunately, the availability of new experimental data is starting to make this task easier. We offer an example here of how independent dating methods can be combined to test assumptions and verify conclusions.
Low oxygen levels at the bottom of the lake prevent burrowing organisms from stirring up layers, so the varves are preserved. Scientists have found tens of thousands of these yearly layers in Lake Suigetsu and other lakes. Carbon is a radioactive version of carbon that is continuously produced in the atmosphere, where it combines with oxygen to form CO2. This CO2 is taken in by plants during photosynthesis, and by animals that eat those plants.
Dendrochronology (Tree Ring Dating)
When those organisms die, the amount of carbon in their bodies begins to diminish because of radioactive decay. If we know the amount of carbon in the atmosphere when the organism perished, and if we know the half-life decay ratewe can use the amount of carbon we find in a dead organism today to estimate how long ago it died. We can put these competing claims to the test by cross-checking the three methods. We can simply address what our expectations should be if the sampled trees put on one ring per year, the sampled lake formed one sediment couplet per year, carbon decay rates have been constant, and variation in atmospheric production of carbon in the past is correctly understood.
And we can compare with young-earth expectations. It is true that for carbon dating to be reliable, we need to know how much is produced in the atmosphere, and it is true that there is some variation in this. But we have independent ways of estimating atmospheric carbon production over the past 50, years e. That allows us to predict how much carbon should be left today in samples formed any time during the past 50, years. The purple lines in the accompanying figure represent the upper and lower boundaries of the expected carbon remaining today.
We can then go to the record we have from tree rings and varves, count back a certain number of years, and see if the carbon remaining there matches our prediction. You can see that the actual data from both the tree rings and the varves fits impressively into this expected range.
If any of the young-earth claims about these measurement methods were correct, the observed data would not fall within the expected range. These three different dating methods are like three different clocks. We might have a question about the accuracy of the clock on our stove, so we check it with the clock on the wall in the living room. Of course, it is possible that both are wrong in exactly the same way, but if we confirm these with the time on our cell phone which is set independentlywe can be highly confident we have the correct time.
That is the situation we are in with carbon, tree rings, and varves. It is awe inspiring to us that God created his natural world in a way that allows us to explore the unobserved past with such remarkable clarity.
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Nature reflects the orderliness and consistency of its Author. The young-earth view, in contrast, can explain such data only by calling on a God who manipulated multiple tree rings per year, multiple sediment layers per year, and varying carbon production and decay rates, to make it precisely - and falsely - mimic the expectations of conventional science. To us, that describes the capricious gods of ancient Mesopotamia, not the God of Genesis. Much more detail about these methods can be found in the full article: Davidson, G.
Wolgemuth Testing and verifying old age evidence: Lake Suigetsu varves, tree rings, and carbon Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith, 70 2 In these challenging times, people are feeling isolated more than ever.
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And misinformation in this crisis will cost lives. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Method of dating based on the analysis of patterns of tree rings. Further information: Wood. Main article: dendroclimatology. Main article: Dendroarchaeology.
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This section does not cite any sources. Please help improve this section by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. November Learn how and when to remove this template message. Trees portal. Douglass, A. Climatic Cycles and Tree Growth.
Cross-Dating Tree-Ring Cores. J. Dyer Department of Geography, Ohio University. Cross-dating involves assigning absolute dates to each tree ring, by matching ring-width patterns among cores. (Simple ring counting may give erroneous results if the core has missing, or multiple rings.) Cross-dating would be simple if all trees in an area evidenced the same ring pattern, but they do not. Crossdating is a technique that ensures each individual tree ring is assigned its exact year of formation. This is accomplished by matching patterns of wide and narrow rings between cores from the same tree, and between trees from different locations. It was claimed that this was verified by cross- datingLater, Tom Harlan dated the tree's innermost ring at BC Figure Photos of the tree called "General Sherman," a giant sequoia believed to be the largest tree in the world (by volume).
Washington, D. From p.
For this study the name "dendro-chronology" has been suggested, or "tree-time. Journal of Quarternary Science. Retrieved 5 June Studhalter, R. James H. Rome, Italy :p. Sarton, George "Queries and Answers: Query Sarton also cites a diary of the French writer Michel de Montaignewho in was touring Italy, where he encountered a carpenter who explained that trees form a new ring each year.
Studhalterp. Twining "On the growth of timber - Extract of a letter from Mr. Alexander C. London, England: John Murray,pp. Archived at the Wayback Machine From p. Speerp.
Shvedov, F. Canada or in autumn, as in some Mediterranean species.
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Crossdating - The Basic Principle of Dendrochronology. An example of dating a past event with crossdating: 4. Ring-Growth Anomalies: Ring counting is not adequate - crossdating is better: 5. Sensitivity-Complacency: Highly variable ring growth versus no variation: 6. Skeleton Plotting: Making marks on the skeleton plot: 7. Relative Scale: Standardizing the scale of ring growth with graph paper: 8.
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Cross dating tree rings
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