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This course is designed to examine the principles and methods of the most widely used numerical dating methodologies for the Quaternary period (roughly the last two million years of Earth history), and how they constrain the timing, duration and rates of geologic and archaeological events and processes.Our discussions will focus on the resolving power, strengths and weaknesses of various geochronological techniques, and strategies for their successful application to a range of geological and geoarchaeological problems.
Austin's paper or at any scholarly criticism of it, your eyes will quickly glaze over from the extraordinary detail and intricacy.
by Brian Dunning Filed under General Science, Natural History, Religion Skeptoid Podcast #146 March 24, 2009 Podcast transcript | Download | Subscribe Listen: Today we're going to point our skeptical eye at one of the key players in the debate between geologists and Young Earthers over the age of the Earth. Steven Austin took a sample of dacite from the new lava dome inside Mount St. The dacite sample was known to have been formed from a 1986 magma flow, and so its actual age was an established fact. Austin submitted the sample for radiometric dating to an independent laboratory in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
The results came back dating the rock to 350,000 years old, with certain compounds within it as old as 2.8 million years. Austin's conclusion is that radiometric dating is uselessly unreliable. Austin chose a dating technique that is inappropriate for the sample tested, and charged that he deliberately used the wrong experiment in order to promote the idea that science fails to show that the Earth is older than the Bible claims.
If the sample being tested is old enough to have significant argon, this leftover contamination would be statistically insignificant; so this was OK for Geocron's normal purposes. The second possibility is that so-called "excess argon" could have become trapped in the Mount St. This is where we find the bulk of the confusing complexity in Austin's paper and in those of his critics.
But for a sample with little or no argon, it would produce a falsely old result. The papers all go into great detail describing the various ways that argon-containing compounds can be incorporated into magma.