Carbon-14 Dating and Dinosaurs

On February 2, 2015, in Old Testament, by Jonathan Whitcomb

First, radiocarbon (14C) dating has traditionally been done with assumptions outside the Biblical framework, namely this: Interpretations have been without any consideration for the possibility that the Flood of Genesis was an actual event. When we consider the worldwide flood of the Old Testament as part of actual history, the raw data will be seen to be highly inflated for the ages of living things further back in time. In other words, if a tree or animal died only a few centuries after the Flood of Noah, the remains could be radiocarbon dated to be tens of thousands of years old rather than the correct date of thousands of years old. But that’s a long story, not where we’re going with carbon-14 dating in this post.

Radiocarbon Dating Reliability

Radiocarbon dating is the most accurate and most verifiable of the radiometric dating systems. Dates for carbon material can often be independently verified by testing something that is known historically, from records of human observations. Dating with 14C is possible for up to “50 to 80 thousand years” before the present, yet we need to remember that these older dates are under the assumption that there never was any worldwide flood. We generally refer to those numbers as “carbon-14 dates.”

Consider now how the 14C dating method has been used on dinosaur remains. (I would be delighted beyond words if scientists had already begun dating pterosaur fossils through radiocarbon methods, but it appears we need to wait for that.)

Shellac contamination?

A 1990 experiment that involved radiocarbon dating of pieces from two dinosaur bones—that test will not be covered, for it involved a controversy regarding a report of shellac that may have contaminated one of the two sample sources.

Today, I did a Google search with “radiocarbon dating dinosaurs” (not in quotes). The second place position on the first page was an article by an organization that is centered on two goals, one of them being to support traditional ideas about evolution. Unfortunately, that article is outdated, written in 1992, before critical 14C testing was done by members of the Paleochronology group, who presented their findings at a geophysics meeting in Singapore, in 2012.

I saw problems with the 1992 article, more than just its being outdated, but we need to move on. The proclamation that shellac had contaminated dinosaur remains from the Carnegie Museum of Natural History is irrelevant to the many tests on dinosaur bones since 1990. Let’s consider more promising testing that has taken place in more recent years.

dinosaur called Scutosaurus

 

From Site “Carbon-14-dated dinosaur bones are less than 40,000 years old”

Members of the Paleochronology group presented their findings at the 2012 Western Pacific Geophysics Meeting in Singapore, August 13-17, a conference of the American Geophysical Union (AGU) and the Asia Oceania Geosciences Society (AOGS).

Sad to report: Because so many paleontologists have so long assumed that all dinosaurs became extinct many million years old, the abstract of the report by the Paleochronology group was censured, deleted from the conference website because they did not like to consider such an apparently revolutionary discovery. The two chair persons did not challenge the data openly but removed it from public view without notifying the authors.

No investigation was done by those censure officials: no looking at the methods used; no asking any questions of the researchers. It was just crude censuring. Fortunately it was not as devastating as what happened to Galileo, for the members of the Paleochronology group were allowed to leave Singapore and travel home, rather than being put under house arrest in somebody’s house. But that approach to a new discovery is far from what I would call an act of science.

Comment on a Theologyweb Forum

Carbon-14 dating can only extend back to roughly 50,000 years. You will never get a date of millions of years old from it. It is similar to taking a bowling ball and weighing it on one of those old hand held postage scales and triumphantly declaring that the 16 lb. ball only weighs a few ounces. [Theologyweb.com, archive 2792]]

The above comparison is seriously flawed. Weigh an apparent bowling ball on a postage scale that has a maximum capacity of 16 ounces. If the ball weighs only 14 ounces, according to that scale, it is not really a bowling ball but it is probably hollow. In that case, we really can “triumphantly” declare that the ball weighs only a few ounces. The commenter on that Theologyweb discussion was completely wrong.

Does that appear strange? Not if the person weighing the ball already had some evidence that it was a fake bowling ball, one that weighed much less than a real one. In that case, weighing the ball would be a natural way of testing the idea.

Actually, a more realistic comparison would be with what looks like a family car. If you could find a way to put that car onto the postage scales, and it showed a weight of 14 ounces, it would obviously not be a real car. It could be a balloon shaped like a car, and probably filled with hot air, at that. What a critic would not proclaim is that it was a real car but the spring in the postage scale was stuck. No.

Even giving a scientific-sounding explanation for spring jamming, that idea is ludicrous. No family car, if it is a real car, would do anything less than squash a small postal scale. And using the word “science” for a ridiculous idea gives it no credence.

Age of Dinosaurs

Why did I use an example of a car, when it’s over 2,000 times too heavy for a small postal scale? Dinosaur bones that have been carbon-14 dated have been found to be over 2,000 times younger than paleontologists have assumed.

How to Weigh a Giant Dinosaur

Ask politely, “Do you mind using the commercial truck scales?”

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Flood of Genesis (quoting Genesis)

And the Lord said unto Noah, Come thou and all thy house into the ark; for thee have I seen righteous before me in this generation.

Of every clean beast thou shalt take to thee by sevens, the male and his female: and of beasts that are not clean by two, the male and his female.

Of fowls also of the air by sevens, the male and the female; to keep seed alive upon the face of all the earth.

Dinosaur Bones Less Than 40,000 Years Old

Researchers have found a reason for the puzzling survival of soft tissue and collagen in dinosaur bones – the bones are younger than anyone ever guessed.  Carbon-14 (C-14) dating of multiple samples of bone from 8 dinosaurs found in Texas, Alaska, Colorado, and Montana revealed that they are only 22,000 to 39,000 years old.

Dinosaurs Living With Humans

Dr. Dennis Swift has spoken much and written much about the concept that people, in earlier centuries, have lived with dinosaurs. The following is just a brief summary of what he has revealed about evidences that ancient people have lived with extant dinosaurs.

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Is Religion “Poisoning” Science?

On January 27, 2011, in philosophy, by Jonathan Whitcomb

When I tried Google with “religion poisoning science” (quotes used) Google said “no results found,” even though I thought that was a topic of discussion on an Amazon.com forum. Let’s dig to the foundation. Do origin philosophies influence how we interpret scientific ideas? How much they do!

After many years investigating eyewitness accounts of living pterosaurs, and many years of reading what critics say about me and my associates (mostly criticisms related to differences in religious beliefs), the phrase “religion poisons science” may not have come up in those exact words, but the meaning is clear: At least a few vocal critics, who believe “science” supports their own philosophies, strongly object to Biblical foundations of thinking, when it influences ideas about science. I suspect that many of those critics have been unaware of the religious or pseudo-religious nature of their own basic assumptions: They fail to realize that they also form opinions based upon philosophical foundations.

Let’s briefly consider the two extremes of one conflict of belief: billions of years of the evolution of life on this planet versus six thousand years of the existence of the universe. What do those two points of view have in common? Both opinions are based upon layers of assumptions; both come from deep-seated beliefs that are not subject to scientific proof or disproof, for those are basic world views, philosophical foundations of belief. (Neither is at the base of philosophical foundations, but that is too deep a subject for this post.)

While critics blast my suggestions about Marfa Lights of Texas (bioluminescent flying predators, possibly related to the ropen of Papua New Guinea) and my literal acceptance of reports of living pterosaurs flying in modern times (in many areas of the world), I continue to promote literal interpretation of particular Bible scriptures, including the worldwide Flood of Genesis and the hand of God in the divine introduction of basic life forms to the divinely molded earth environment that allows life to thrive. And I continue to accept the label of “creationist,” although I do not think of myself as a Young Earth Creationist in the usual sense: I do not believe that the universe is six thousand years old.

I believe that God placed a variety of life onto this planet, according to Genesis, but I do not insist that those first few chapters in that book must make the universe six thousand years old, as if God would never place any life on any other world, at any time, for any purpose.

“Poisoning science” is a phrase available to both YEC Bible believers and “Darwinists.” But all normal adult humans (regardless of the philosophies chosen) make assumptions, layering assumptions over the basic philosophical foundations; that leaves much room for human error, even when we think we are defending a basic truth and even when we are indeed defending a basic truth. How much more productive to avoid judging persons, judging specific parts of ideas instead! How much we need more clear thinking and less accusations!

Why not consider the obvious: extreme conflicts of opinion may involve assumptions on both sides, and both sides may have been holding dogmatically to ideas containing both truth and error? Let’s avoid accusing a person or group of person of poisoning science, instead looking for the truth and error in ideas. Let’s consider the counsel of C. S. Lewis: “Well, let’s go on disagreeing but don’t let us judge.”

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Live Pterosaurs, Cryptozoology, and the Bible

On December 14, 2010, in philosophy, by Jonathan Whitcomb

Reasoning is essential in science and in cryptozoology. But how do live pterosaurs relate to the Bible or to reasonable application of Biblical scriptures? Each individual has special spiritual needs, notwithstanding the critical similarities in need that each of us possesses. Some individuals spiritually need what reports of live pterosaurs provide.

The Old Testament mentions several strange animals, creatures not easily reconciled with modern knowledge of standard classified organisms of zoology. Two of those are named “fiery flying serpent” and “dragon.” Could some of those references relate to the same animal, namely Rhamphorhynchoid pterosaurs? I believe so. But much about this has been covered elsewhere; I will not be redundant here.

Modern living pterosaurs give credence to Biblical scriptures referring to the fiery flying serpent, and possibly to some references to dragons. They make sense of those Bible scriptures, making it more-easily understandable to hold onto those ancient principles that actually do apply to our modern lives.

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Science and Clear Thinking

On June 15, 2010, in philosophy, Sighting in Papua New Guinea, by Jonathan Whitcomb

“The scientists of today think deeply instead of clearly. One must be sane to think clearly, but one can think deeply and be quite insane.” I believe Nikola Tesla was thinking clearly when he said that. I also believe that we need clear thinking in the scientists of today, at least as much as in the time of Tesla. It appears to me difficult to define, although its opposite appears easy to expose. Perhaps we should be grateful for extremes that help us to distinguish between foggy and clear thinking. I suggest a couple of examples.

A few years ago, a critic of living-pterosaurs investigations appeared offended that I had, on one of my own web pages, included a link to a creationist site; he demanded that I remove that link, insinuating that I should not be taken seriously because of that link. I now suggest that those who can be offended by such a thing should consider this: Bias is not necessarily confined to those who disagree with you.

I later found a site produced by another critic; he used the words “lies” and “stupid” in his URL, with the content of his site ridiculing me and my associates. Not to repeat much of the content, I simply refer to part of it: He declared that “John Whitcomb” had been sponsored by Carl Baugh and led a group of creationists in an expedition in Africa; I have never gone by the name of “John,” have never been sponsored by Carl Baugh for anything, have never led any group of creationists on any expedition anywhere, and have never set foot in Africa.

Regarding his URL, I have told the truth, not lies; I hope that he was simply ignorant of my intentions. I make no comment about “stupid,” although I sometimes admit that my general intelligence may be inferior to that of some of my readers and my education may seem less impressive than that of some of my critics (not, it seems, this one), but let’s return to “clear thinking,” for that is the subject.

I admit this subject cries for me to dig more deeply and learn more about human thinking, but one thing is obvious: We need to listen to each other, regardless of previous disagreements and regardless of differing labels. Truth can be found in the thoughts of those appearing to be most ignorant and foolish. Even my own most vehement critic did reveal some truth about me: My last name is “Whitcomb” and I am active in promoting the concept of modern living pterosaurs; this critic may have actually helped promote awareness of the case for living pterosaurs.

By the way, I did explore a remote island in Papua New Guinea (north of Australia) in 2004. I traveled to P.N.G. alone and found an interpreter on the mainland, before taking a small ship to Umboi Island. I interviewed many eyewitnesses of the ropen. My associates and I are convinced that this nocturnal flying creature is a modern Rhamphorhynchoid pterosaur.

My critic may have confused Papua New Guinea with a small country in Western Africa. He may also have confused me with John C. Whitcomb who wrote The Genesis Flood many years ago. He may also have been confused by my assistance from Paul Nation, who was once a close associate of Carl Baugh. He may also have been confused about the two expeditions of 2004, for the second one was led by two American creationists and they followed my expedition by only a few weeks.

After I had replied to this web site, stating the inaccuracies, changes were made, including the correct spelling of my name: “Jonathan Whitcomb.” The newer page mentions nothing about my being in Africa. I appreciate that correction.

But many other inaccuracies were added, related to sightings and the living-pterosaur investigations. For example, the two indava lights videotaped by Paul Nation in 2006 were compared with high-speed UFO’s (the two lights were actually sitting motionless on the top of a nearby ridge). The critic mentioned those videotaped lights “flying in the sky above the peaks of volcanoes located on Umboi Island created by creationists possessing fake credentials.” (I suspect he was trying too hard to cram too many criticisms into one sentence.) At any rate, the videotaped lights were on the mainland of Papua New Guinea, nowhere near Umboi Island. I’m afraid that the critic has a problem with clear thinking, for he still tends to become confused.

I don’t know why this critic uses the words “lies” and “stupid” for me and my associates; I assume that it is also from some kind of confusion.

More: objective evaluation of eyewitness reports and the nonfiction book Live Pterosaurs in America (published by Createspace; written by Jonathan David Whitcomb) This is a cryptozoology book.

Objective interview methods of Guessman & Woetzel (2nd Umboi Island expedition of 2004)

Objective Ministries” is a parody or hoax. The university is nonexistent. There’s no “objectiveministries.”

Is it Really “Science Versus Religion?”

On June 1, 2010, in philosophy, by Jonathan Whitcomb

How common this misconception! The philosophy of Charles Darwin has now been labeled “science,” and any contradiction has been portrayed as religious interference with objective reasoning. The idea that all organisms now living on earth have one common ancestory—that philosophy cannot be proven, for it is against the nature of philosophies to be open to scientific proof or disproof.

What some people call “science versus religion” is actually a conflict involving two or more philosophical systems, and one of those systems is usually strict Naturalism philosophy. For example, when two persons have polar-opposite concepts of the Bible (in particular, 100% human-document versus God-inspired scripture), many conflicts of opinion should be expected, when there is a discussion regarding concepts taught in the Bible. I recommend avoiding disputations, for they normally produce a negative outcome. I do recommend that everyone try to better understand the foundations of human controversay, for this can help us all to come to more agreement in supporting truths we know in common.

Regarding reports of modern living pterosuars, why summarily dismiss them all? The official discovery of extant pterosaurs does not, in itself, force any person to abandon religious or philosophical beliefs, so personal agency is not really threatened. For those who are open minded to comparing contradictory philosophies, however, it will become apparent that literal interpretations of some verses in Genesis harmonize better with modern pterosaurs than the philosophy of Charles Darwin does.

More: “Science and Clear Thinking

Do live pterosaurs “disprove evolution?”

On March 29, 2010, in philosophy, by Jonathan Whitcomb

I sometimes encounter a criticism such as this: “A living pterosaur would not disprove evolution. It would just be another example of an ancient species that survived.” That appears simple and airtight, appearently proving me and my associates to be fools to think that an extant pterosaur would relate to the conflict between “religion and science.” One problem with that reasoning is with the word “evolution.” That word some people assume to precisely refer to gradual shifting of biological forms; few people know that the word itself is a shape-shifter. Another problem relates to “disprove,” a word appropriate to mathematics or to science (not to the popularity of a philosophy). In addition, the “conflict between religion and science” is a phrase referring to a conflict between two extremely conflicting philosophies (1); but a conflict between a general belief in God and a belief in the efficacy of sound scientific principles for making discoveries—that is nonexistent: There is no conflict.

In a conversation about biology, “evolution” may refer to different concepts. Unfortunately, those engaged in conversation often fail to realize or distinguish the differences, or fail to appreciate the significance. The limited changes in sizes, shapes, and colors for the same basic kind of organism, commonly observed changes—that kind of evolution has been observed by Darwin and many others. But that is not the kind of change needed to cause one organism to have a future descendant that will be a completely different kind of organism, for example, a mammal with a liver having an ancestor that did not have a liver.

For those who insist that a general definition of “evolution,” a definition like “gradual change over time,” is sufficient in a conversation about biology, consider Professor Peter Beach (2). Over a period of time, the opinion held by this biologist, about Darwin’s ideas about Common Descent, changed dramatically, for his original confidence in Darwin’s philosophy of unlimited common ancestry decreased until it had evaporated. His opinion gradually changed over time, and that process of thinking involved biological brain functions. But how far removed is that kind of evolution from the usual concepts! The real problem is with the vagueness of “evolution.” I suggest, to those who would communicate about the conflict between life-origin philosophies, that we be precise: Use “unlimited common ancestry” when appropriate and other phrases for other concepts. Never converse with the word “evolution” without prior agreement on what is meant by that word.

What is the problem with the word “disprove?” When this word comes up regarding extant pterosaurs (3), their relationship to unlimited common ancestry, the true subject is not scientific but philosophical. Darwin’s idea that there is no limit to common ancestors (as we trace back family trees into the past)–that is a philosophy, and a philosophy cannot be proven or disproven. How serious here is the problem in reasoning! What a problem! Those who think that they are talking about something scientific are blind to the nature of what they are trying to protect: their philosophy.

I will not dwell upon the “conflict between religion and science.” There is no such thing. What some people sometimes refer to is a conflict between strict Naturalism philosophy and the Genesis-account of Creation and the Flood of Noah, especially the philosophy of the “Young Earth Creationist” (YEC). Contrary to the declarations of some of my critics, extant pterosaurs do relate to such conficts, for those who have not already settled their hearts into a philosophy will find that modern pterosaurs fit better with literal concepts in Genesis than with universal common ancestry.

1 Opposing philosophies

2 Brave biologist: Peter Beach

3 Extant Pterosaurs in an issue of Creation Research Society Quarterly

See also Marfa Lights, New Enlightenment

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