Dave’s 2nd Post

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


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 …

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).


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


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 …

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) …

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?


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!


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