Carbon Dating And The Bible

Most all of the people I have ‘talked’ to on this blog are Christian evangelical fundamentalist creationists.  They almost to the man think that sciences dating of archaeological artifacts is flawed and cannot be trusted, especially if the dates disagree with their dogma.  The Catholics and some mainline Protestants groups have seen the error in their ways and have accepted that science is right on these matters.

Below is the introductory paragraphs from a paper on dating of ancient materials by one of their own brethren who just happens to be a scientist involved in dating.  I have provided a link to the whole article and the author, I should warn you the article is fairly technical.

Radiometric dating–the process of determining the age of rocks from the decay of their radioactive elements–has been in widespread use for over half a century. There are over forty such techniques, each using a different radioactive element or a different way of measuring them. It has become increasingly clear that these radiometric dating techniques agree with each other and as a whole, present a coherent picture in which the Earth was created a very long time ago. Further evidence comes from the complete agreement between radiometric dates and other dating methods such as counting tree rings or glacier ice core layers. Many Christians have been led to distrust radiometric dating and are completely unaware of the great number of laboratory measurements that have shown these methods to be consistent. Many are also unaware that Bible-believing Christians are among those actively involved in radiometric dating

This paper describes in relatively simple terms how a number of the dating techniques work, how accurately the half-lives of the radioactive elements and the rock dates themselves are known, and how dates are checked with one another. In the process the paper refutes a number of misconceptions prevalent among Christians today. This paper is available on the web via the American Scientific Affiliation and related sites to promote greater understanding and wisdom on this issue, particularly within the Christian community.

Dr. Roger C. Wiens RCWiens@MSN.Com
Whole article can be found at: http://www.asa3.org/ASA/resources/Wiens.html

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About the word of me
Interested in family and friends,grandchildren, photography, darkrooms, history, archaeology, scuba diving, computers, software, fast cars, journalism, writing, travel, ecology, news, science, and probably most other subjects you could think of. Did I mention family and friends?? I require iced tea or cold brewed coffee and a internet connection to be fully functional. Sometimes there are just so many words in my head they spill out.

12 Responses to Carbon Dating And The Bible

  1. “The Catholics and some mainline Protestants groups have seen the error in their ways and have accepted that science is right on these matters.”

    As I assume I’m your only Catholic, I’ll clairify that statement.

    A Catholic has the freedom to accept either the creation story literally or symbolically.

    There is no a priori incompatibility between evolution and the message of the Bible. However it does reject folks like Richard Dawkins who think that evolution disproves that God exists.

    Since evolution was proposed in the 19th century it was “accepted” by the Catholic church as a hypothesis in the strict sense. It was never banned. The past pope John Paul II stated that evolution has enough evidence to be considered “more than a hypothesis”.
    “It is indeed remarkable that this theory has been progressively accepted by researchers, following a series of discoveries in various fields of knowledge. The convergence, neither sought nor fabricated, of the results of work that was conducted independently is in itself a significant argument in favor of this theory. ”

    Note however that he continues

    “And, to tell the truth, rather than the theory of evolution, we should speak of several theories of evolution. On the one hand, this plurality has to do with the different explanations advanced for the mechanism of evolution, and on the other, with the various philosophies on which it is based. Hence the existence of materialist, reductionist and spiritualist interpretations. What is to be decided here is the true role of philosophy and, beyond it, of theology. ”

    The heart burn Catholics have with many in the scientific community is claiming that their science becomes imperical fact in the fields of philosophy and theology.

    And I’d add that many scientists embarrass themselves by moving into those two fields (a quality they loath when Doctors of Divinty attempt to do in their fields). I do believe there is a double standard in this area.

    It’s a theory at this point nothing more, but the bottom line is that God did in fact step in an breath a soul into the material body of Adam and he became a human being.

  2. thewordofme says:

    Hi qboa, thanks for your comment.

    For most of what you write here I can find no objection as you are reporting fact, however I will disagree mostly with your last paragraph; as I sure you suspected I would.

    But first:
    Qboa: “And I’d add that many scientists embarrass themselves by moving into those two fields (a quality they loath when Doctors of Divinty attempt to do in their fields). I do believe there is a double standard in this area.”

    I’m sure they do. Something I want to throw out is that I mostly trust scientists when they are reporting on something related to their field; that why I side with them in my debating people here. Yes, there are the occasionally the frauds and charlatans, but for the most part they are honest in their work and have no hidden agenda to what they do. The Doctor of Divinity when he or she gets into explaining scientific matters (like those people in the AiG organization) they tend to outright lie…or lie by omission, mislead, and obfuscate. It works out that I distrust people of God (supposedly), more than I mistrust science.

    Qboa: “It’s a theory at this point nothing more, but the bottom line is that God did in fact step in an breath a soul into the material body of Adam and he became a human being.” You are referring to evolution here.

    Scientists mostly consider it the fact of evolution. It’s been around for 150 years and although some minor modifications have been made as new evidence comes in, it is thoroughly accepted by most all scientists.

    As for Adam and Eve…the story as described in the Bible is not true…it is myth. I have circumstantial evidence; you have someone (not Moses) who wrote Genesis about 2500+- years ago.

    I really enjoy sparring with you qboa, I hope I don’t irritate too much.

    twom

  3. No Adam and Eve aren’t myth. The only thing science has demonstrated is that its unlikely that they live 6,000 years ago. Again the principle point is not when they were created but for what purpose and what moral challenge they were presented with.

    And on Moses clearly Oral tradition were passed on through centuries and authorship wasn’t used in the same may as it is today. The ability of the ancients to memorize massive amounts of information via eidetic methods prior to the greeks has been demostrated as well. A lost art in todays world.

    So I don’t really care if Adam existed 6,000; 60,000 or 600,000 years ago. God did in fact create him and all the human race is descened from him.

    My point on science is that there is a philosophies underlying that field but scientists don’t seem willing to accept that there are pre-suppositions to their positions. I think this was caused by the Transcendental Aesthetic of Immanuel Kant, which limits the term “science” to phenomena bounded by space and time along the lines of empiricist philosophy. These phenomena become “objective,” while the other objects of historical science as well as of traditional philosophy and theology are relegated to the subjective and ultimately non-real.

    The sooner science recognizes this assumption of flawed logical the better off we’ll all be. IMO of course;>)

  4. thewordofme says:

    Hello qboa,

    Qboa: “No Adam and Eve aren’t myth. The only thing science has demonstrated is that its unlikely that they live 6,000 years ago. Again the principle point is not when they were created but for what purpose and what moral challenge they were presented with.”

    Why should they have to face a moral challenge? You would think a real God would have enough sense to fence the darn tree. Silly story.

    Of course we have not found the final link yet, but I imagine we will at some point. Although fossilized human remains are rare we do keep finding them. So we find partially human relics…not modern humans, but well on the way there. Homo-habilis, Homo-ergaster, Neanderthals, etc. Some of the Homo models were making or using fire, all were walking upright unlike their ancestors. Earliest remains we have found go back 3 million years or so, and them around 200,000 years ago we have fully modern humans, and their tool making ability is the same as their earlier non modern cousins…poor

    You know of course that archaeologists keep finding the missing links. We have the links for horses, whales and birds.

    We can trace the Neanderthal line from roughly 250,000 BC to about 25-30,000 years ago. I imagine the Neanderthals were the first try, or model if you will, on the road to Homo-sapiens. The Neanderthals had a much improved tool kit, but still not as good as the later fully modern sapiens. Around 50,000 years ago modern man became smarter and his tool kit expanded tremendously as did his ability to control his environment.

    This might be a good place to throw in Adam and Eve, except for the Bible story that they were the beginning, so we would have to go back either 200,000 years or a few million years.

    It’s been theorized that this was when (50,000 years ago) man developed language and suddenly his ability to transfer knowledge and skills improves dramatically. Now there’s no more grunting at others trying to tell them something, now there are words for those images in your head and you can tell others, “Maybe we should move the camp upwind of the latrine” easily and you can explain how you came to that conclusion. :-)

    Regarding Moses and his books that he didn’t write, you might want to check your library for the book “The Bible Unearthed” by Finkelstein and Silberman. It covers the most recent archaeological findings in Israel and thereabouts. At this point it looks like we can kiss the Exodus goodbye and most of Genesis. They can explain what is leading archaeology to these conclusions much better than I ever could. At this point I am going to provisionally accept what they are saying because it meshes so well with other findings.

    Qboa: “My point on science is that there is philosophies underlying that field but scientists don’t seem willing to accept that there are pre-suppositions to their positions. I think this was caused by the Transcendental Aesthetic of Immanuel Kant, which limits the term “science” to phenomena bounded by space and time along the lines of empiricist philosophy. These phenomena become “objective,” while the other objects of historical science as well as of traditional philosophy and theology are relegated to the subjective and ultimately non-real.

    Okay, that kind of thinking is way above my pay grade. Even the scientists I know don’t think that hard. :-)

    Could you please explain that to me in Portuguese…eerr…I mean English.

  5. Sorry,

    Science rests on the philosophy that all knowledge is derived from experience only. Closely related is that of evidence and the scientific method.

    Now its certainly fine to accept that we derive knowledge from this method, but it isn’t to exclude that man can acquire knowledge outside of experience.

    There’s a whole branch in philosophy called Epistemology -the theory of knowledge.

    The claim that man can not acquire knowledge in any other way is nothing more then a religious belief. One is entitled to hold that view, but to dismiss or scoff at other religious groups for their believe system is ignorant at best.

    Scientists don’t seem to grasp that their field is founded on philosophy and those scientists who accept only empirical knowledge to the exclusion of all other knowledge are religious fundamentalists. Shocking as that may seem that’s how I view it. Dawkins likely being the high priest of this religion.

  6. thewordofme says:

    Hi Qboa,

    Qboa: “Science rests on the philosophy that all knowledge is derived from experience only. Closely related is that of evidence and the scientific method.”

    Qboa: “Now it’s certainly fine to accept that we derive knowledge from this method, but it isn’t to exclude that man can acquire knowledge outside of experience.”

    “Man can acquire knowledge outside of experience.” Hmm. Enlighten me ol’ wise one. :-)

    Qboa: “The claim that man cannot acquire knowledge in any other way is nothing more than a religious belief.”

    Well, I guess I just may be religious after all.

    Characterizations: observations, definitions, and measurements of the subject of inquiry.
    Hypotheses: theoretical, hypothetical explanations of observations, measurements of the subject.
    Predictions: reasoning including logical deduction from the hypothesis or theory.
    Experiments: tests of all of the above.
    Results: write it up and submit to appropriate Journals.
    Peer Review
    Publish

    Now I thought that the actions above were what it took to extract knowledge from the natural world. We are talking about knowledge of the natural world here aren’t we?

    twom

  7. Yes absolutely, I don’t have a problem with the scientific method at all. I’m also not saying that scientific knowledge is false.

    What I am saying is that science can not claim that scientific evidence is the only method of accquiring knowledge. That claim rests in the field of philosophy. Dawkins as far as i know doesn’t have a Doctorate in Epistemology. If he does he should get a refund.

  8. thewordofme says:

    Hi Qboa,

    Qboa: “Dawkins as far as i know doesn’t have a Doctorate in Epistemology. If he does he should get a refund.”

    That’s the funniest line I’ve heard in a few weeks. :-)

    Qboa: “…science can not claim that scientific evidence is the only method of accquiring knowledge.”

    That and reading about it…textbooks, etc. or from teacher…no books.

    For quite a bit of science the written/spoken word probably occupies*at least* 50% of their gaining of knowledge and field/lab work the rest.

  9. Thank you sir, I try on occasions.

    Still missing my point however. Cody I believe tried to mention it in one of his posts. Acquiring knowledge like innate the moral code in every human. An 14 month old that takes his playmates toy knows that its wrong and the other boy knows he was wronged and will either cry (appeal to the higher authority-caregiver) or (hit the other kid and take it back). Divine revelation is another form of acquired knowledge. The law of non-contradiction these are types of knowledge that are acquired independent of or even prior to experience.

    If you would like a headache you can read the link on Epistemology :>)
    http://www.iep.utm.edu/e/epistemo.htm

  10. thewordofme says:

    Where might one find this Divine Revelation?

  11. It’s based on reason and is classified as Non-empirical or a priori knowledge.

    As an empiricists you would rely on experience and that’s likely why you object to faith and/or belief systems, because they accept a priori knowledge gain from external sources that can’t be proved or disproved via experience.

    Now Christianity does claim experience as well as reason (revelation), but you don’t accept their testimony so i guess its moot.

    All I’m asking is for you to recognize that you have limited your knowledge too sense experience and this reasoning is not based on science but rather on philosophy and when reduced to its common denominator is itself a belief.

    • Drewdudewhodrew says:

      Priori knowledge is the most unstable form of knowledge known to man. I don’t believe u fully comprehend what Priori Knowledge is, if you did, you would understand that there is only one statement and that warrant itself, and no other statement can warrant another. A Priori loosely means “from before” Simply stated, is a form of statements that are warranted by another warrant statement. A absolute truth validating another statement so to speak. But in order to warrant statements you need to first have the original absolute truth. Which if your religious would be somewhere along the lines of God creating the earth and humans, therefore we exist. The fallacy remains that since there is no logical evidence supporting this statement, the arguement of religion will continue to swirl with this rationale. The ONLY self warranting statement ever cited that relates to A priori knowledge, is Cogito ergo sum. “I think, therefore I am” You see first you must find a way to prove the existence of yourself before you can prove the existance of anything else before that, since you are the one doing the thinking. But this condition of I think, Therefore I am is the only self warranting statement available in the realm of A Priori Knowledge. Cogito Ergo sum also only warrants the human state of mind. In order to find the Truth in A Priori knowledge you must first answer the Absolute truth of Human Existance. Everything else is pure nonsense. Which is why we have developed the Empirical system of knowledge in the first place. Epistemology is merely a step “back” in the human realm of aquiring knowledge, for it argues knowledge itself and how it’s aquired. Theworldofme, don’t even waste your time with Epistemology, it is a bastard child of A Priori knowledge and hardly a viable philosophical view of the aquisition of knowledge, and it is no where near A Priori Knowledge in it’s pure form.

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