Monthly Archives: August 2015

Moderator’s Introduction

Author: RichardPrins [ Thu May 24, 2007 10:58 am ]
Post subject: Formal Debate: Dendrochronology and C14?

Dendrochronology and C14: Circularity or Valid Science?

BWE_the real_one wrote:
AFDave1 agreed to debate me on the topic of whether dendrochronology is a valid calibration of C14 dating.

Quote:
Someone … Anyone … Explain to me this wonderful calibration system known as dendrochronology if you can.

– My claim is that no one here really understands the details of dendrochronology, yet they think it validates C14 dating.

-I see that BWE says he can meet my challenge on dendro. Ok. You’re on.

Quote:
argystokes wrote:
I’m in a betting mood. But not with real beers, cuz I’m poor. I willing to bet anyone here that Dave cannot explain the concept behind calibration curves, and why we believe they are reliable, even if one doesn’t understand how each individual one works.

-Dave: I’m not going to be explaining them. BWE is.

-Eric … dendrochronology is apparently one method of providing one calibration curve for C14 dating. If that’s not what it is, then I’m not sure I care to hear more about it.

And no … I cannot explain it to you.

The only rules I care about are that we each get ten posts and that the closing post can’t contain any new info. We each get the opportunity to ask 3 questions of the other in a post. In a post, we must answer to the best of our abilities the questions asked of us in the previous post.

Comments on this debate can be found here.

BWE’s 1st Post

Author: BWE_the real_one. [ Sat May 26, 2007 10:42 pm ]
Post subject: Dendrochronology and C14: Circularity or Valid Science?

So, I can explain dendrochronology and I will as it becomes necessary. For now, I humbly submit my opening post:

My proposal in this debate, here used with the meaning of “debatish” rather than the normal use of the term, consists of three parts.

1. The first part is that this title is a retarded way to look at an established science.

2. The second part is that dendrochronology is a valid method of C14 dating calibration and is not circular.

3. The third part is that Creation “Science”, the word “science” here used with the meaning of “sciency” rather than the usual meaning of the word, relies on rhetorical games, logical fallacies, quote-mines, sweeping statements that aren’t followed through on and plain old ordinary stupidity. This creation “science” is responsible for many of the retarded ideas about science that bounce around the internet including the idea that C14 dating can’t be accurate despite multiple, independent dating techniques all cross-referencing each other. No challenge to dendro or C14 dating exists that doesn’t rely on fallacies and obfuscations for the argument.

————————————————————-

1. The title: Any science is valid science if it uses valid data and the scientific method including the peer-review process to increase understanding about phenomena. The fact that someone thinks data is in error because the experiment is designed wrong means that person better go get cracking and publish some results that show just how that happens. That’s how it works. If you have that info go publish it. Believe me, the Tree Ring Society ( http://www.treeringsociety.org/ ), the Association for Environmental Archaeology ( http://www.envarch.net/ ), the makers of mass spectrometers and lots and lots of institutions will want to know. It’s pretty important to them.

Since I couldn’t find any peer-reviewed publications with such a challenge, I have to conclude that none have been made. Feel free to correct me on this. But! even if there were, the idea wouldn’t be either/ or, it would be a fabulous scientific problem to occupy the time of countless labs, graduate students and researchers around the world. So, if some data or lab work gave credence to the idea that dendrochronology as a calibration for C14 dating is indeed circular, the title would be more apt as “Dendrochronology inadequate as lone calibration technique for C14 dating”. Which, actually, er.. As it turns out, fortunately for all of us science-types, c14 levels are calibrated using a whole host of techniques, all of which actually reinforce the fitness of dendrochronology as a calibration technique.

Nuff said on that little bit.

2. Dendrochronology:

Quote:
Simply put, dendrochronology is the dating of past events (climatic changes) through study of tree ring growth. Botanists, foresters and archaeologists began using this technique during the early part of the 20th century. Discovered by A.E. Douglass from the University of Arizona, who noted that the wide rings of certain species of trees were produced during wet years and, inversely, narrow rings during dry seasons.
Each year a tree adds a layer of wood to its trunk and branches thus creating the annual rings we see when viewing a cross section. New wood grows from the cambium layer between the old wood and the bark. In the spring, when moisture is plentiful, the tree devotes its energy to producing new growth cells. These first new cells are large, but as the summer progresses their size decreases until, in the fall, growth stops and cells die, with no new growth appearing until the next spring. The contrast between these smaller old cells and next year’s larger new cells is enough to establish a ring, thus making counting possible.

http://sonic.net/bristlecone/dendro.html

I once worked next to a team who used dendro to determine the ages of ancient Native American fishing platforms. In “Collapse” by Jared Diamond he talks about using dendro to figure out when certain Anasazi sites were built and when they effectively deforested the surrounding area. Its importance in archaeology can hardly be overstated. The science is mature and at this point, validity has been established.

Using tree rings to establish ages provides an accurate calibration for C14 dating. While the science is, er,… well, science, meaning that constant refinement is expected, the validity of the premise is not in question. Of this, experts in the field have provided reams of real empirical evidence.

Lets just start here for now:
Stuiver, Minze, Bernard Kromer, Bernard Becker and C. W. Ferguson (1986). Radiocarbon Age Calibration back to 13,300 Years BP and the 14C Age Matching of the German Oak and US Bristlecone Pine Chronologies Radiocarbon (1986) Volume 28, Number 2B: 939-943.
link

3. Some creationists, in what looks like an effort to shore up their financial base [sup]1[/sup] by assuring their followers that science couldn’t possibly be right since it contradicts the Bible, spend a fair amount of effort writing sciency sounding articles and editorials that draw heavily on rhetorical games, logical fallacies, lies, quote-mines, making bold statements and wagers without following through and lots and lots of sheer stupidity. Fortunately for them, the base is primed to believe. And, also fortunately for them, their believers aren’t typically scientists (although this is sometimes a chore to figure out).
(1. Speculation)

The circularity argument occurs frequently in the writing of a Dr. Don Batten, who points out that:

Quote:
Outside the range of recorded history, calibration of the 14C clock is not possible.4

where the endnote (not the reference, the endnote) polishes his pearl by expanding on the statement:

Quote:
4. Tree ring dating (dendrochronology) has been used in an attempt to extend the calibration of carbon-14 dating earlier than historical records allow, but this depends on temporal placement of fragments of wood (from long dead trees) using carbon-14 dating, assuming straight-line extrapolation backwards. Then cross-matching of ring patterns is used to calibrate the carbon “clock” a somewhat circular process which does not give an independent calibration of the carbon dating system.

http://www.answersingenesis.org/docs200 … dating.asp

So, he claims that 14C is the way we tell how old the tree is so that we can use the tree to calibrate 14C. In a nutshell, that’s his circularity argument as I see it. From the real science paper listed above we discover that in fact, all kinds of tests were used to check the data. The dates were cross-referenced between different dendro sequences, ice core stratagraphy, varve counting and a mixture of C14 matching and varve counting. In other words, not an example of circular reasoning.

What that means is that these sciences aren’t operating in isolation. The main reason creationists might make that accusation is because the data that real scientists acquire directly refutes the biblical account of creation as a certain group of fundies want to interpret it. Picking only the parts of a science that support your conclusion and ignoring the parts that don’t isn’t a totally honest tactic.

—————————————————————-
Conclusion:The title of this debate asks the question whether there is circularity in the calibration of C14 dating regarding dendrochronology and whether dendro is valid science. The answers are no and yes respectively. No because it is not the sole source of calibration and yes because the research on the subject is conducted within a scientific framework.

Since this is all a bit of a lark and my opponent is unarmed in a battle of wits, I will let him post any objections and ask me my first three questions before I ask any of him. I will post pretty pictures in the next post.

Over to you Dave.

Dave’s 1st Post

Author: afdave1 [ Mon Jun 04, 2007 6:28 am ]
Post subject:

WRITTEN RECORDS ARE THE MOST ACCURATE FOR DETERMINING EVENTS OF THE PAST

This may seem like an obvious statement, and indeed it would have been for most people prior to the “Great Darwinian Subversion” of academia which began in the late 19th century.

THE HISTORICAL RECORD OF GENESIS
Actually, beginning as far back as the middle of the 18th century, skeptics began questioning everything that had been established and accepted up to that time, including historical accounts like the book of Genesis. A great myth (though mixed with a little truth) was invented by Jean Astruc, Julius Wellhausen and others which later became known as the “Documentary Hypothesis.” Bottom line with this theory was that the Pentateuch was not of Mosaic authorship after all. It was a compilation (partly true it turns out) which was written down many hundreds of years after the actual events described from oral traditions (disproved). This theory was based upon the notion (later discredited by archaeological finds) that writing was unknown by Moses and his countrymen at the time of the Exodus and for several hundreds of years following, which in turn, was inferred from speculations about human cultural evolution, which of course was influenced by evolutionary thinking.

But this theory has been discredited. Thanks to the massive efforts of 20th century archaeology, we now know …

1) that Moses and his countrymen DID know how to write and kept meticulous records … the skeptics were wrong
2) that writing was known in all nations long before Moses, i.e. all the way back to the Flood and Tower of Babel eras, c. 2750BC and 2500BC, and extending back all the way to Adam
3) that Genesis was probably a compilation, but not of oral tradition. Rather, it was a compilation of written records, passed down through generations and received by Moses, who compiled and edited them, then added his own accounts to form what became the Pentateuch.

Elsewhere I have pointed out clear statements by leading archaeologists such as Nelson Glueck and William F. Albright who spent their lives personally investigating the historicity of the Old Testament. Both of these investigators are quite clear in their contentions that the Old Testament including the Book of Genesis is highly accurate in its historical accounts.

OTHER HISTORICAL RECORDS
Anyone who has studied the history of Ancient Egypt is familiar with the names of Herodotus and Manetho. Encyclopedia Britannica, in their article on Ancient Egypt, in the section subtitled “Sources, Calendars and Chronology” notes that …

Quote:
For all but the last century of Egyptian prehistory, whose neolithic and later phases are normally termed “predynastic,” evidence is exclusively archaeological; later native sources have only mythical allusions to such remote times. The dynastic period of native Egyptian rulers is generally divided into 30 dynasties, following the Aegyptiaca of the Greco-Egyptian writer Manetho of Sebennytos (early 3rd century BC), excerpts of which are preserved in later writers.

“Egypt, ancient.” Encyclopedia Britannica. 2007. Encyclopedia Britannica Online. 4 June 2007 http://www.britannica.com/eb/article-22286

The important item to notice relevant to our Dendrochronology discussion is that …

Most of our knowledge of Ancient Egypt comes from the WRITTEN RECORD of Manetho and his king lists.

We also have inscriptions on monuments and other written records.

But I hope you will not miss the fact–seemingly lost on some modern historians such as “Fronkey” at this forum–

that WRITTEN RECORDS have always been and will always be the most reliable means of determining events of the past.

*********************************************

CARBON 14 DATING OF ARTIFACTS
That said, we now have a background for understanding the relatively new (1950’s) field of Carbon 14 dating and the attempts to use it to increase our accuracy in dating events of the past.

Carbon 14 dating is sound in principle, but only if proper ASSUMPTIONS are made, namely, the assumptions about …

the C14 ratio in the atmosphere throughout the history of the planet

If the world C14 inventory were in equilibrium (say for the last 100,000 years or so) and there had been no major global events of the past to alter C14 ratios significantly, then C14 dating could be assumed to be relatively accurate. Relatively minor variations in C14 ratios during the historical period of the world (up to ~6000 bp) should be able to be calibrated by various methods, of which Dendrochronology is one such proposed method. However, if one overlooks a major historical event such as the Great Flood of Noah, then Carbon 14 dating is called into question because of the massive alterations in Carbon 14 which would be expected to occur in such a cataclysm.

Carbon 14 chronologists today are operating under the following assumptions …
1) World C14 inventory is in equilibrium and has been so for > 100k years
2) There have no major perturbations in atmospheric C14 ratios during this period (i.e. they deny the Global Flood at c. 4750 BP)
3) There have been minor variations in C14 throughout the last 50,000 years (max range of C14 dating), but these can be accounted for by calibration methods such as Dendrochronology, Ice Cores, Varves, etc.

which of course, brings us to the subject of this debate.

It is my belief that Dendrochronology, while it can possibly be used in a limited way to calibrate Carbon 14 dating back to ~3000 YBP (maybe as much as 4000 YBP), it cannot be used to determine accurate dates beyond this period because of the huge perturbation in C14 ratios caused by the Global Flood.

Now I am quite happy to be proven wrong if BWE can do so, but I think it will be a significant challenge for him.

Dr. Don Batten, a plant physiologist with much commercial success in his field to his credit, has written …

Quote:
Claimed older tree ring chronologies depend on the cross-matching of tree ring patterns of pieces of dead wood found near living trees. This procedure depends on temporal placement of fragments of wood using carbon-14 (14C) dating, assuming straight-line extrapolation backwards of the carbon dating. Having placed the fragment of wood approximately using the 14C data, a matching tree-ring pattern is sought with wood that has a part with overlapping 14C age and that also extends to a younger age. A tree ring pattern that matches is found close to where the carbon ‘dates’ are the same. And so the tree-ring sequence is extended from the living trees backwards.

Now superficially this sounds fairly reasonable. However, it is a circular process.

http://www.creationontheweb.com/content/view/2441

and he goes on to explain why he thinks it is a circular process.

***************************************

I THINK IT’S A CIRCULAR PROCESS, BUT FEEL FREE TO PROVE ME WRONG

And so, my good friend BWE, I challenge you to convince me that it is NOT a circular process. To do this, I will ask the same questions I have asked elsewhere …

My starting point with this subject is SAWells’ (a physicist) post found HERE

I follow Wells just fine on his first two points, but then he makes an incredible LEAP here …

Quote:
iii) now you take an even older specimen and match its later rings to the early rings of specimen (ii) and carry on for as long as you can find overlapping specimens. This turns out to be a VERY long time- using building beams from Bronze-age dwellings etc we can go back about 15,000 years by this method.

Let’s just stop right there for a while. Please explain to me in detail how this process was done. Where can I go and see these original tree samples which were used to create the master sequence? I have in my mind’s eye, a picture something like this …

tree_ring_overlap
(taken from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dendrochronology)

that would extend off to the right far off the page. How am I doing? Is that how this works?

So I would like to see this entire master sequence and examine it closely. Can I do this? Where can I go to do this? What trees were used to build this Master Sequence? From where? What species? How long did they live?

In short, please give me the details of how we get all the way back to 15000 YBP, considering the fact that the oldest livingtree is only ~4700 years old (Methuselah).

Now I did read the article you linked which supposedly extends dendro back to 13000 YBP, but I was tripping over so many assumptions and unexplained items that it left me very confused about how this is really done. Maybe I’m just ignorant, I don’t know, but to me, this debate is all about EXPLAINING the basis for all these various assumptions and determining if they are valid or not. For example, from the Intro …

Quote:
With the recent establishment of an unbroken West European tree ring sequence spanning the past 7272 years Pilcher et al 1984 the calibration of the 14C time scale was advanced considerably.

Well how about we just start right there and ask how we got an “unbroken West European tree ring sequence spanning the past 7272 years” ??

NOTE: We’ve each taken our shots now … you at Creationism and me at Darwinism, so I suggest we leave more of that aside for other places and other times and make our focus razor sharp on the present questions. 🙂

Over to you.

BWE’s 2nd Post

Author: BWE_the real_one. [ Tue Jun 05, 2007 8:56 am ]
Post subject:

Dave, if I didn’t know you better, I’d think this was just the rantings of a lunatic.

Quote:
WRITTEN RECORDS ARE THE MOST ACCURATE FOR DETERMINING EVENTS OF THE PAST

Your substantiation for that statement must be in the next part but I can’t find it. What I see is one unsubstantiated claim followed by:

Quote:
This may seem like an obvious statement, and indeed it would have been for most people prior to the “Great Darwinian Subversion” of academia which began in the late 19th century. [sup]1[/sup]
Quote:
Actually, beginning as far back as the middle of the 18th century, skeptics began questioning everything that had been established and accepted up to that time, including historical accounts like the book of Genesis.[sup]2[/sup] A great myth (though mixed with a little truth) was invented by Jean Astruc, Julius Wellhausen and others which later became known as the “Documentary Hypothesis.” [sup]3[/sup] Bottom line with this theory was that the Pentateuch was not of Mosaic authorship after all. It was a compilation (partly true it turns out) which was written down many hundreds of years after the actual events described from oral traditions (disproved). [sup]5[/sup] This theory was based upon the notion (later discredited by archaeological finds)[sup]6[/sup] that writing was unknown by Moses and his countrymen at the time of the Exodus and for several hundreds of years following, which in turn, was inferred from speculations about human cultural evolution,[sup]7[/sup] which of course was influenced by evolutionary thinking.[sup]8[/sup]

But this theory has been discredited.[sup]9[/sup] Thanks to the massive efforts of 20th century archaeology, we now know …

1) that Moses and his countrymen DID know how to write and kept meticulous records … the skeptics were wrong[sup]10[/sup]
2) that writing was known in all nations long before Moses, i.e. all the way back to the Flood and Tower of Babel eras, c. 2750BC and 2500BC, and extending back all the way to Adam[sup]11[/sup]
3) that Genesis was probably a compilation, but not of oral tradition. Rather, it was a compilation of written records, passed down through generations and received by Moses, who compiled and edited them, then added his own accounts to form what became the Pentateuch.[sup]12[/sup]

Elsewhere I have pointed out clear statements by leading archaeologists such as Nelson Glueck and William F. Albright who spent their lives personally investigating the historicity of the Old Testament. Both of these investigators are quite clear in their contentions that the Old Testament including the Book of Genesis is highly accurate in its historical accounts.[sup]13[/sup]

I only see 13 unsupported assertions. To be fair, 12 is, though self-canceling, asserted with a link to some other things that look like unsupported assertions and 13 refers to a straw man of some historical accuracy in genesis equating to all of genesis being accurate which I actually did remember being used as unsupported assumptions elsewhere by you. So, as far as I can tell, there is nothing of any substance yet. Therefore, unless you decide to demonstrate:

A. that genesis has anything to do with dendrochronology
and
B. that you haven’t just made up those assumptions without actually having any real supporting evidence,I get to state that you have scored no debate points and offered no information thus far. In fact, you have demonstrated a remarkable lack of cognition in understanding what the hell you are talking about. That being the case, You are starting to look kind of silly, don’t you think?

Then you assert:

Quote:

Most of our knowledge of Ancient Egypt comes from the WRITTEN RECORD of Manetho and his king lists.

which you support with this statement:

Quote:
For all but the last century of Egyptian prehistory, whose neolithic and later phases are normally termed “predynastic,” evidence is exclusively archaeological; later native sources have only mythical allusions to such remote times.

Dave, think about this for just a minute. Anything? No? Oh well. One point for me. After you make an assertion you just refuted with your supporting evidence you do throw yourself a bone with this next unsupported assertion:

Quote:
We also have inscriptions on monuments and other written records.

But then you bury it and forget where when you use the unsupported assertion which you refuted in the paragraph before you made it to support the original unsupported assumption restated with a remarkably dull-witted poke at a real historian:

Quote:
But I hope you will not miss the fact–seemingly lost on some modern historians such as “Fronkey” at this forum–that WRITTEN RECORDS have always been and will always be the most reliable means of determining events of the past.

Assertions do not support assertions. Just like a turtle doesn’t support Earth (may we dance naked and drunken in her honor). What you have is an assertion free-fall.

Conclusion:

Dave not only failed so support a single one of his assertions, the one he did try to support he supported with evidence that refuted the assertion. Dave loses 3 points, I win a beer and a stripper for the afternoon.

So far you have offered nothing.

Moving right along.

Quote:
CARBON 14 DATING OF ARTIFACTS
That said, we now have a background for understanding the relatively new (1950’s) field of Carbon 14 dating and the attempts to use it to increase our accuracy in dating events of the past.

OK…. Are you pretending? BWE wins another beer.

Quote:
Carbon 14 dating is sound in principle, but only if proper ASSUMPTIONS are made, namely, the assumptions about …the C14 ratio in the atmosphere throughout the history of the planet If the world C14 inventory were in equilibrium (say for the last 100,000 years or so) and there had been no major global events of the past to alter C14 ratios significantly, then C14 dating could be assumed to be relatively accurate. Relatively minor variations in C14 ratios during the historical period of the world (up to ~6000 bp) should be able to be calibrated by various methods, of which Dendrochronology is one such proposed method. However, if one overlooks a major historical event such as the Great Flood of Noah, then Carbon 14 dating is called into question because of the massive alterations in Carbon 14 which would be expected to occur in such a cataclysm.

Right. But since there was no flood of Noah (as I conclusively demonstrated in the flood debate comment thread and elsewhere) we don’t need to worry about it.

Quote:
Carbon 14 chronologists today are operating under the following assumptions …
1) World C14 inventory is in equilibrium and has been so for > 100k years
2) There have no major perturbations in atmospheric C14 ratios during this period (i.e. they deny the Global Flood at c. 4750 BP)
3) There have been minor variations in C14 throughout the last 50,000 years (max range of C14 dating), but these can be accounted for by calibration methods such as Dendrochronology, Ice Cores, Varves, etc.

which of course, brings us to the subject of this debate. It is my belief that Dendrochronology, while it can possibly be used in a limited way to calibrate Carbon 14 dating back to ~3000 YBP (maybe as much as 4000 YBP), it cannot be used to determine accurate dates beyond this period because of the huge perturbation in C14 ratios caused by the Global Flood.

Now I am quite happy to be proven wrong if BWE can do so, but I think it will be a significant challenge for him.

Jesus Dave, you’ve already lost 18 points and I’ve won 2 beers and a stripper before you even made your opening sentence. Do you have something up your sleeve? Are you laying a trap for me?

Quote:
Dr. Don Batten, [snip for appeal to authority], has written …

Quote:
Claimed older tree ring chronologies depend on the cross-matching of tree ring patterns of pieces of dead wood found near living trees. This procedure depends on temporal placement of fragments of wood using carbon-14 (14C) dating, assuming straight-line extrapolation backwards of the carbon dating. Having placed the fragment of wood approximately using the 14C data, a matching tree-ring pattern is sought with wood that has a part with overlapping 14C age and that also extends to a younger age. A tree ring pattern that matches is found close to where the carbon “dates”are the same. And so the tree-ring sequence is extended from the living trees backwards.

Now superficially this sounds fairly reasonable. However, it is a circular process.

http://www.creationontheweb.com/content/view/2441

and he goes on to explain why he thinks it is a circular process.

Why is that Dave? Do you agree with what he says? Specifically equivocating pinus radiata with pinus longaeva because tiger and lions can produce offspring? Dang I’m just going to get a beer ready for when you bring that one up. Just so you know, the reason Bristlecones are good for 14C calibration is the environment they live in:
dendro1
Ferguson, C.W. 1969. A 7104-year annual tree-ring chronology for bristlecone pine, Pinus aristata, from the White Mountains, California. Tree-Ring Bulletin 29(3-4):3-29.
Link here
You might want to read a little more on that one because I will probably be referring to it later.

Quote:
I THINK IT’S A CIRCULAR PROCESS, BUT FEEL FREE TO PROVE ME WRONG

And so, my good friend BWE, I challenge you to convince me that it is NOT a circular process. To do this, I will ask the same questions I have asked elsewhere …My starting point with this subject is SAWells’ (a physicist) post found HERE

I follow Wells just fine on his first two points, but then he makes an incredible LEAP here …

Quote:
iii) now you take an even older specimen and match its later rings to the early rings of specimen (ii) and carry on for as long as you can find overlapping specimens. This turns out to be a VERY long time- using building beams from Bronze-age dwellings etc we can go back about 15,000 years by this method.

Let’s just stop right there for a while. Please explain to me in detail how this process was done. Where can I go and see these original tree samples which were used to create the master sequence? I have in my mind’s eye, a picture something like this …
tree_ring_overlap
(taken from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dendrochronology)

that would extend off to the right far off the page. How am I doing? Is that how this works?

Yes.

Quote:
So I would like to see this entire master sequence and examine it closely. Can I do this? Where can I go to do this? What trees were used to build this Master Sequence? From where? What species? How long did they live?

I’m not allowed to show you the real master sequence because it contains official secrets but I can answer your questions regarding them.

Quote:
In short, please give me the details of how we get all the way back to 15000 YBP, considering the fact that the oldest livingtree is only ~4700 years old (Methuselah).

Now I did read the article you linked which supposedly extends dendro back to 13000 YBP, but I was tripping over so many assumptions and unexplained items that it left me very confused about how this is really done. Maybe I’m just ignorant, I don’t know, but to me, this debate is all about EXPLAINING the basis for all these various assumptions and determining if they are valid or not. For example, from the Intro …

Quote:
With the recent establishment of an unbroken West European tree ring sequence spanning the past 7272 years Pilcher et al 1984 the calibration of the 14C time scale was advanced considerably.

Well how about we just start right there and ask how we got an “unbroken West European tree ring sequence spanning the past 7272 years” ??

Well, if you think about it*, especially since you have a subscription to Nature, starting right there would be looking at the Pilcher paper. I’m a lazy citer so I’ll just c&p from the abstract:

Quote:
Nature 312, 150 – 152 (08 November 1984); doi:10.1038/312150a0
A 7,272-year tree-ring chronology for western Europe
J. R. Pilcher*, M. G. L. Baillie*, B. Schmidt  & B. Becker

*Palaeoecology Centre, Queen’s University, Belfast, BT7 1NN, UK
†University of Köln, 5000 Köln 41, Weyertal 125, FRG
‡University of Hohenheim, 7000 Stuttgart 70, Garbenstrasse 30, FRG

Long tree-ring chronologies provide a unique calendrical record that is of value for archaeological dating, climatic and post-glacial studies. They also form a standard for the calibration of the radiocarbon time scale. The world’s longest continuous tree-ring chronology is based on the bristlecone pine (Pinus aristata and Pinus longaeva) growing in the White Mountains of California1−3. The great age of living and sub-fossil trees of this species enabled a continuous tree-ring sequence of 8,681 years to be established, providing absolutely dated wood samples for the first radiocarbon calibration4,5. We have now established an unbroken west European tree-ring sequence spanning the past 7,272 years.

link here

But maybe you missed my first post where I pointed out that Batten was wrong about circularity because of the cross checking with other periodic stratification phenomena like ice-cores and varves etc. I’m getting a weird sense of Deja vue. Deja vue.

This link here has a bunch of individual dating curves linked. You could check those and discover that for circularity to be a problem each would need to be the actual reference for each other. But that’s not the case now, is it? They are each independently drawn and then cross-checked against each other. Do you want to know why they are cross-checked against each other? Well, I’ll tell you. To determine the accuracy of each other. The cool thing about dendro is that the rings, once calibrated against ice-core data, and varve data, can be 14C dated and then that date can be referenced not only to the dendrologically derived age (guess what, they have some discrepancies) but the dendro ages can be cross-referenced against other techniques to check for it’s own accuracy. Since some climactic factors are recorded in periodic stratified phenomena like ice-cores, corals, marine sediments, varves, tree-rings, certain cave formations and others, those climactic events actually provide another cross-reference for dendro age determination too. Once the dendro age is determined through cross calibration, it works as a great way to calibrate 14C since the rings can be analyzed with 14C techniques.

Lets review my 3 points.
1. The title of this debate is retarded because when investigations into phenomena are conducted via the scientific method, they are valid science. When they deliver results that turn out to be incorrect, either they get thrown out or revised to be more correct. So yes, dendro is valid science.

So, unless you have a specific objection, that point stands. Beer for me.

2. Dendro isn’t circular because it isn’t isolated and calibrated using itself as the only reference.

So, unless you have a specific objection, that point stands. Beer for me.

3. Creationists are using fallacies, untruths and rhetorical games to confuse the issue and convince vulnerable people not to investigate the matter.
The artist sometimes known as Woodmorrappe in this editorial points out that

Quote:
Trees absorb whatever carbon dioxide gas is within their vicinity. In the absence of other sources, the only source of CO2 is the atmosphere. But what other source could there possibly be? One source is volcanogenic gases. And, since deep subterranean carbon usually had no prior contact with the atmosphere, it has zero 14C and therefore an infinite carbon-14 age. Now, consider a tree that imbibes half of its CO2 from the air and the remaining half from local volcanogenic gases. Its concentration of 14C at time of death is only half that of the ambient atmosphere, and hence it dies having a “built-in” carbon-14 age of 5,700 years (one half-life).

Tuscany, Italy, is probably the first place where “inherited” carbon-14 dates on wood were described.6 These dates, much too old to be attributed to any past civilization in Italy, were determined from timbers located several kilometers from a volcano. Since that report, other examples of this phenomenon have surfaced from all over the world.7 A recent, detailed study8 has shed further light on the dynamics of this process. Particularly interesting is the fact that these “bad” carbon-14 dates do not occur haphazardly, but to the contrary:

“The pattern of 14C depletion in the annual rings is remarkably consistent between all three of the trees cored, suggesting that either changes in CO2 flux are occurring homogeneously across the entire area of the tree kill, or that trees integrate CO2 flux very well over relatively large areas.”

Under the right conditions, inherited carbon-14 dates can therefore mimic “real” ones.

but fails to note how frickin easy it is to determine if this has happened. I’m gonna just post this image:
tree-kill
from

This paper and you can just figure out why that might be.

For a more detailed critique of the artist sometimes known as Woodmorappe click here

I don’t have enough room to go through more than one creationist per post but the story will remain the same.

So, unless you have a specific objection, that point stands. Beer for me. Are you trying to get me drunk so you can take advantage of me?

Quote:
NOTE: We’ve each taken our shots now … you at Creationism and me at Darwinism, so I suggest we leave more of that aside for other places and other times and make our focus razor sharp on the present questions. 🙂

Wow. Well, that’s mighty gentlemanly of you there Dave. I think you forgot the bullets.

My 3 questions:
1. Why do you suppose the bristlecone data was cross-corellated with varves, ice cores and a combination of 14C in Stuiver et. al.? ?
2. Do you have any actual problems with the science so I know what kind of things I should be trying to explain?
3. Since I already supported my position in my first post, and since it still stands unchallenged by you, I wonder, do you know what it is you think you might accomplish by doing this?

Might I suggest an approach that would at least attempt to form an objection to my OP? I mean, pretty pictures ought to refer to something anyway.

Quote:
Over to you.

*Ha ha.

Dave’s 2nd Post

Author: afdave1 [ Mon Jun 11, 2007 5:50 am ]
Post subject:

WE’RE GETTING CLOSER TO UNDERSTANDING DENDRO – SURE LOOKS LIKE CIRCULARITY TO ME

BWE’s last post was around 3000 words (!) and I felt a little like gold prospector who got to San Francisco late. I had to search long and hard for the gold nuggets.

But I did find one.

BWE supplied the following paper …

Quote:
Ferguson, C.W. 1969. A 7104-year annual tree-ring chronology for bristlecone pine, Pinus aristata, from the White Mountains, California. Tree-Ring Bulletin 29(3-4):3-29.
Link here

but his link was broken and I almost missed it.

Nevertheless, I read it completely and you should too. What you will find is that the 7104 yr Master Sequence is composed of 17 samples represented in the graph below (from the paper).

Dendro_7104yr_seq

More details about the samples can be found in Table 2 from this paper, shown below.

Dendro_7104yr_samples

From the paper, note the following year conversion rules …

* A.D. 1 = 8001 (set arbitrarily)
* Computer values (CV) convert to BC/AD years by simple subtraction
* AD = CV – 8000 (CV > 8000)
* BC = 8001 – CV (CV <= 8000) “<=” means “less than or equal to”
* Example: Sample 63-92 would convert to 4462BC – 4023BC
* Example: Sample 63-48 would convert to 200AD – 800AD

Let me now quote some key statements from Ferguson. First, he explains that the oldest know LIVING tree is around 4900 years old. While there is some question if a few hundred years should be subtracted from this or not to account for multiple growth rings in some years, we won’t quibble over this now. We have much larger quibbles to focus on. A 4900 year old living tree is very close to what Creationists would expect, given the fact of the Global Flood of Noah ~5000 years ago.

Starting with Ferguson’s abstract, I note that he says …

Quote:
The [7104-year] chronology was extended backward in time by incorporating tree-ring series from living trees up to 4600 years old, as well as from standing snags, fallen trees, large remnants, and eroded fragments.

OK. The obvious question is “How did you know that particular samples should fall in the 4600 – 7104 year old range?”

Well after careful reading, I don’t get a clear answer. But there are some clues. There is one clue in the following quote (also from the abstract) …

Quote:
The availability of datable wood in the 9000-year range has been indicated by radiocarbon analysis.

9000-year range? I thought we were going back to 7104 years ago. I’m not sure why he mentions this. BWE? Can you explain? Is he simply referring to later studies which extend the present 7104 year series back another 2000 years? Or is he saying that THESE samples, which are used as the basis for the 7104 year chronology are placed there because of radiocarbon analysis??

In any case, Dr. Batten’s point is well taken, whether this statement refers to THIS chronology, or to a 2000 year extension of this chronology, this is a big deal. Let me highlight this again …

The availability of datable wood in the 9000-year range has been indicated by radiocarbon analysis.

Wow. There it is. Right there in the abstract.

Exactly what Dr. Batten wrote.

How do we determine the age range to assign these wood fragments?

RADIOCARBON DATING

Wait a minute! I thought that Dendro was an INDEPENDENT calibration technique for calibrating Radiocarbon Dating. Now you are telling me that we FIRST determine what date range to assign to the wood by RC dating, then we turn around and use this “independent” tree sequence to calibrate RC dates??

Wow. Just wow. So it seems that Dr. Batten is right.

Now, to be fair, maybe Ferguson was not referring to the PRESENT study with this statement. As I explained, it’s hard to tell. Even so, it’s a major problem. Although I couldn’t find an explicit statement from Ferguson, it DOES appear to me that radiocarbon assignment of fragments to age ranges IS the procedure for THIS study as well. Note the following …

1) (p. 6) Ferguson attempts to extend the chronology with material of two types
a) cores from snags or eroded remnants
b) entire smaller remnants “having the appearance of age and without specific known origin in relation to any tree, living or dead.” What is meant by the “appearance of age”?

2) (p. 7) Ferguson mentions “age classes.” What is an “age class”? How is a sample assigned to a “class”?

3) (p. 8) Ferguson says that he searched for trees with “less critical qualities, “but still with the desired age and usable ring series.” “Desired age?”

4) (p. 8) Then the bombshell one sentence later. “This search, prompted to a large degree by those involved with radiocarbon analysis who were eager for dated wood of the earliest possible age, soon was centered in Methuselah Walk.”

Let’s repeat that in large font for emphasis …

“This search, prompted to a large degree by those involved with radiocarbon analysis who were eager for dated wood of the earliest possible age, soon was centered in Methuselah Walk.”

*************************************************************

WOW again.

Now, BWE … I am happy for you to try to show me why this is not really what it looks like it is. But what it LOOKS like is …

1) The Radiocarbon folks were eager to come up with “calibration” for their work
2) They latched on to Ferguson and his new Dendrochronology.
3) They “helped” Ferguson pick samples of the earliest possible age
4) These “early age” samples were determined to be “early age” by radiocarbon dating
5) Ferguson took those samples and matched them up as best he could
6) But as Yamaguchi (1986) showed later, auto-correlation of rings is a major problem, so it appears quite possible that the selected samples could fit MANY date ranges
7) The Radiocarbon people were happy because now they had their “calibration”
8) It seems the radiocarbon people don’t care about Yamaguchi

OK, BWE. Please focus on my specific questions and spare me the 2800 words on why creationists are bozos in general, how many beers you are winning, talk about strippers, etc. <1000 words which are laser-beam focused on this Ferguson paper (and possibly the Schulman papers referenced in this paper), would be just dandy.

Over to you!

BWE’s 3rd Post

Author: BWE_the real_one. [ Mon Jun 11, 2007 12:35 pm ]
Post subject:

Excellent post Dave. You might have me on the ropes for the moment but I’m not down and out quite yet.

Just kidding. I think this speaks for itself:

afdave1 wrote:
WE’RE GETTING CLOSER TO UNDERSTANDING DENDRO – SURE LOOKS LIKE CIRCULARITY TO ME
Quote:
BWE’s last post was around 3000 words (!) and I felt a little like gold prospector who got to San Francisco late. I had to search long and hard for the gold nuggets.

Jeez. 3000 words and you couldn’t find quotes to mine?

Quote:
But I did find one.

I knew you could do it.

Quote:
BWE supplied the following paper …

Quote:
Ferguson, C.W. 1969. …
Link here

… I read it completely and you should too.

Do you suppose Dave, that people who read debate posts don’t read the attached papers? In fact, in the comment thread, ck1 asked for the link again because it didn’t work in the post. I supplied it there too. Just to let you in on a little secret… (people who follow arguments do read the citations. Have you ever noticed how many responses your links generate?)

Quote:
Let me now quote some key statements from Ferguson. … Let me highlight this again …
The availability of datable wood in the 9000-year range has been indicated by radiocarbon analysis.

Wow. There it is. Right there in the abstract.

Exactly what Dr. Batten wrote…

Wow. Just wow. So it seems that Dr. Batten is right…. [list of stuff]

Trying to answer these questions in this order presents an interesting problem. But, let’s see if I can deal with them all together.

Answer: This paper is from 1969. The reason I supplied it was to show that Batten, in standard creationist fashion, is dishonest in:

Quote:
Specifically equivocating pinus radiata with pinus longaeva because tiger and lions can produce offspring? Dang I’m just going to get a beer ready for when you bring that one up. Just so you know, the reason Bristlecones are good for 14C calibration is the environment they live in:

And then I posted the bit about why bristlecones are ideal for dendro. In fact, I used it as evidence to support my point that bristlecones are not the same thing as pinus radiata regardles off whether a horny whale can make a wholphin. So, go back and see if you disagree with that statement. Look at the article again and see if your disagreement casts any doubt on the conclusion that “the reason Bristlecones are good for 14C calibration is the environment they live in”, specifically that you think that you can equivocate pinus radiata with pinus longaeva because tiger and lions can produce offspring. Or perhaps for some other reason.

Whatever. I’m easy. Anyway, does that help?

The links I have supplied that speak to the issues you raised are:

Quote:
Stuiver, Minze, Bernard Kromer, Bernard Becker and C. W. Ferguson (1986). Radiocarbon Age Calibration back to 13,300 Years BP and the 14C Age Matching of the German Oak and US Bristlecone Pine Chronologies Radiocarbon (1986) Volume 28, Number 2B: 939-943.
link
Quote:
This link here has a bunch of individual dating curves linked. You could check those and discover that for circularity to be a problem each would need to be the actual reference for each other. But that’s not the case now, is it? They are each independently drawn and then cross-checked against each other. Do you want to know why they are cross-checked against each other? Well, I’ll tell you. To determine the accuracy of each other. The cool thing about dendro is that the rings, once calibrated against ice-core data, and varve data, can be 14C dated and then that date can be referenced not only to the dendrologically derived age (guess what, they have some discrepancies) but the dendro ages can be cross-referenced against other techniques to check for it’s own accuracy. Since some climactic factors are recorded in periodic stratified phenomena like ice-cores, corals, marine sediments, varves, tree-rings, certian cave formations and others, those climactic events actually provide another cross-reference for dendro age determination too. Once the dendro age is determined through cross calibration, it works as a great way to calibrate 14C since the rings can be analyzed with 14C techniques.

So, does that help?

Just to give you a little more help, Stuiver et.al. do use 14C to check the calibration on their various periodic phenomena but, er, that’s the point, isn’t it?

Or this one which also demonstrates the remarkable power of consilience. These guys cross checked all their data between various curves too.

Quote:
A new Greenland Ice Core Chronology (GICC05) based on multi-parameter counting of annual layers has been obtained for the last 42 ka. Here we compare the glacial part of the new time scale, which is based entirely on records from the NorthGRIP ice core, to existing time scales and reference horizons covering the same period. These include the GRIP and NorthGRIP modelled time scales, the Meese-Sowers GISP2 counted time scale, the Shackleton–Fairbanks GRIP time scale (SFCP04) based on 14C calibration of a marine core, the Hulu Cave record, three volcanic reference horizons, and the Laschamp geomagnetic excursion event occurring around Greenland Interstadial 10. GICC05 is generally in good long-term agreement with the existing Greenland ice core chronologies and with the Hulu Cave record, but on shorter time scales there are significant discrepancies. Around the Last Glacial Maximum there is a more than 1 ka age difference between GICC05 and SFCP04 and a more than 0.5 ka discrepancy in the same direction between GICC05 and the age of a recently identified tephra layer in the NorthGRIP ice core. Both SFCP04 and the tephra age are based on 14C-dated marine cores and fixed marine reservoir ages. For the Laschamp event, GICC05 agrees with a recent independent dating within the uncertainties.

link here

Quote:
Quaternary Science Reviews
The Greenland Ice Core Chronology 2005, 15–42 ka.
Part 2: comparison to other records
Anders Svensson, Katrine K. Andersen, Matthias Bigler, Henrik B. Clausen, Dorthe Dahl-Jensen, Siwan M. Davies, Sigfus J. Johnsen, Raimund Muscheler,Sune O. Rasmussen, Regine Rothlisbergerd, Jørgen Peder Steffensen, Bo.M. Vinther
Received 20 February 2006; accepted 6 August 2006

(sorry for my lax effort in citing correctly. It’s easier to cut and paste as you well know.)

Oh yeah. This one:
fairbanks1

Which uses this graph:
fairbanks2

Quote:
Quaternary Science Reviews 24 (2005) 1781–1796
Radiocarbon calibration curve spanning 0 to 50,000 years BP based
on paired 230Th/ 234U/ 238U and 14C dates on pristine corals
Richard G. Fairbanks, Richard A. Mortlock, Tzu-Chien Chiu, Li Cao,Alexey Kaplan, Thomas P. Guilderson, Todd W. Fairbanks, Arthur L. Bloom, Pieter M. Grootes, Marie-Jose´ Nadeau
Received 24 January 2005; accepted 15 April 2005

link here

Also points to the same problem. Namely, that for dendrochronology to be circular, it has to be the sole source for 14C callibration and 14C calibration needs to be the sole source for establishing sample ages in dead trees. Unfortunately, that doesn’t appear to be what’s happening.

Can you imagine what that conference would have looked like where the guy stands up and presents his paper and some silly grad student in the audience raises her hand and asks, “Sir? Isn’t that circular? Did you try to calibrate your dates with any other kinds of sequences?”

And the guy says, “Well, no, actually.”

Awkward silence.

Anyway, that seems to put the circularity argument to rest for the time being. Let’s move on.

Quote:
WOW again.

Now, BWE … I am happy for you to try to show me why this is not really what it looks like it is. But what it LOOKS like is ……
8) It seems the radiocarbon people don’t care about Yamaguchi

OK, BWE. Please focus on my specific questions and spare me the 2800 words on why creationists are bozos in general, how many beers you are winning, talk about strippers, etc. <1000 words which are laser-beam focused on this Ferguson paper (and possibly the Schulman papers referenced in this paper), would be just dandy.

Well, I’ve just put the stripper on retainer and billed her to your account. I also billed a keg of Bridgeport IPA to your account and I’m pounding one every time I laugh at your attempt to obfuscate in the creationist fashion what is actually fairy simple logic.

The Yamaguchi paper you cited concludes:
Yama2

So I’m not sure you are reading the same thing as I am. Is this a problem with Dendro? Is he claiming Ferguson reached inaccurate conclusions?

I think you should say “What it looks like to me”. Rather than “what it looks like.”

At any rate, this is immaterial to the circularity argument. However it seems material to the third point in my proposition:

Quote:
3. Some creationists, in what looks like an effort to shore up their financial base 1 by assuring their followers that science couldn’t possibly be right since it contradicts the Bible, spend a fair amount of effort writing sciency sounding articles and editorials that draw heavily on rhetorical games, logical fallacies, lies, quote-mines, making bold statements and wagers without following through and lots and lots of sheer stupidity. Fortunately for them, the base is primed to believe. And, also fortunately for them, their believers aren’t typically scientists (although this is sometimes a chore to figure out).
(1. Speculation)

where you are the creationist in this case.

Quote:
Over to you!

Dave’s 3rd post

Author: afdave1 [ Mon Jun 18, 2007 7:35 am ]
Post subject:

MORE DETAILS ON WHY CREATIONISTS THINK DENDROCHRONOLOGY INVOLVES CIRCULARITY

David Rohl has pointed out some serious problems with dendrochronology in A Test of Time (Pharoahs and Kings: A Biblical Quest), 1995, Appendix C, and an excerpt is provided below.

Rohl_AppC_p388

Rohl_AppC_p389

Note the highlighted portion above …

Quote:
Thus one would be justified in asking if the crucial cross-links which connect up the floating sequences of the Belfast and German chronologies [and by inference, all the other sequences] are based on incorrect wiggle-matches which have resulted from the phenomenon of auto-correlation.

And further questions would be …

Why does Mazar reject the dendro curve? How about the wiggle-match problems? How about auto-correlation? How about inflated t-values? How about the Sweet Track Chronology being withdrawn? The South German sequence abandoned? Why did Kuniholm reject the date with the highest t-value? And so on?

FERGUSON’S STUDY IS FUNDAMENTAL AND VERY REVEALING
Ferguson’s study analyzed in my last post cannot be dismissed as “an old study.” It seems foundational and is referred to often by later investigators and seems to exemplify the methodology used by all other dendrochronologists, namely …

CHRONOLOGY BUILDING PROCEDURE
1) Make an arbitrary assumption that C14 concentration has been more or less constant for at least the past 100,000 years, which requires denial of the Global Flood and its effects on C14 ~4750 years ago
2) Select “good” trees which “date” by C14 to the approximate time frame for which you want to build your chronology.
3) Look for matching patterns which supposedly indicate that the corresponding rings occurred during the same year.

Once this is done, I suppose that various wooden items such a roof beams from ancient sites can be placed in the approximate time frame by C14, then placed more accurately by matching rings in the master sequence.

As far as I can tell, this is the supposed value of dendrochronology “calibraton” of C14.

Note that physicist SAWells (PhD in earth sciences from Cambridge) confirmed point (2) above in this Forum in the Dendro Comment thread …

Quote:
SAWells Posted: Thu Jun 14, 2007 5:43 pm
a) Samples are often roughly ordered using C14, simply so that you don’t waste time trying to ring-match a ~10000YO sample with a modern one. This rough ordering is not the final date assigned to the sample.

OBVIOUS (TO ME) PROBLEMS
1) the HUGE assumption that there was no Global Flood calls into question ALL C14 dates >~3000 yo. So the “rough ordering” of samples >3000 yo is highly suspect.
2) Even if (1) were not a glaring problem, Rohl’s discussion above is very telling and raises numerous questions which cannot be hand waved away.

Do you get the picture?

It seems that if we strip away all the pre-conceptions of uniform C14 and >10,000 year history of civilization, what we have left is some extremely questionable assumptions applied to some not-very-robust data sets to come up with some very shaky conclusions.

Not the way I like doing science.

*****************************************

Now, BWE … please …

I am not interested in later papers at the moment. I am INITIALLY interested understanding MASTER SEQUENCE BUILDING.

Ferguson seems to be a key player in this as basically the “foundation layer” for all that followed.

I should certainly like to see hi-res photos of the 17 samples he used to build that chronology pictured in my last post. Have you seen these samples? Any way to get hi-resolution photos of them? Are the hi-res photos published in some paper somewhere that I can obtain? And how about my questions on the Comment Thread? Can you explain Mean Sensitivity=0.33 and Serial Correlation=0.46? What does this mean?

Thanks. Over to you.