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Thread: invalid dating techniques and evolution

  1. #1 invalid dating techniques and evolution 
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    come up from one of my discussion.
    One of the "evidence" that creationist used to disapprove evolution is the invalid dating techniques that we use today.

    I am looking for some information about it.
    and I really don't know much about it.
    Can someone help to give me a kick start?

    I guess the main issue is
    "what makes this dating techniques valid?"
    "what cause those phenomenon that creationist bring up to speak against these dating techniques?"


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  3. #2  
    Veracity Vigilante inow's Avatar
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    Spend some time here. Your brain will thank you.

    http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/dating.html


    :wink:


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  4. #3  
    Forum Ph.D. Leszek Luchowski's Avatar
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    Goodness, people, please use clear subject lines. When I saw yours I thought you were starting a thread about people who fall out of the gene pool because they are so hopeless at finding mates.
    Leszek. Pronounced [LEH-sheck]. The wondering Slav.
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  5. #4  
    Universal Mind John Galt's Avatar
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    Nice one Leszek. :-D

    flyingpig,
    what creationists take advantage of is the lack any understanding of the scientific method in the population at large. The validity of the concept lies in the observation that radioactive atoms decay at a constant rate. i.e. within a given time period the % of atoms in a sample that will decay is predictable. Since they decay to a different element an accurate measure of the proportions of both will tell us when mineral or rock they are in was formed.

    So the principle is simple. However there are both theoretical and practical difficulties. Scientists need to consider how much of parent and daughter isotopes may have been lost from the sample, for example, while on the practical side the techniques for extracting and measuring minute quantities of material took considerable time to develop.

    Science and technology have addressed these difficulties and we can now obtain accurate dates for many kind of rocks, of varied ages, often checking these thrugh the use of more than one method. Creationists point only to the difficulties that existed while science was moving through a learning curve of the techniques. This makes no sense to scientists, or someone with a robust science education, but it can sound plausible to anyone who doesn't.
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    Creationists tend to pick on carbon dating the most. Like Ophiolite said, they take advantage of people's general ignorance of the subject, build up a straw man, then use it to imply that every other dating method is invalid. Here's a pretty funny summary of the whole mess.
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  7. #6  
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    Thanks Guys.
    I have gotten some useful information.

    Leszek Luchowski
    Nice one.
    I didn't realize it when i put down that subject.
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    You all are partially correct on these points. It is true that credible sounding stories require plausibility extended to the breaking point, but it is also true that long lasting critiques like the ones against geologic dating require significant uncertainty in the basic technique as is still the case with rock dating.

    Not on the scale that some would believe, but even now the dates are not well correlated. I say this because for several years I managed the paleo database for my employer, a large oil and gas exploration and production company. Our database covers the entire world and you have no idea untill you observe for yourself how inconsistent radio isotope rock dating really is. We bet our company on accuracy of correlation of rock formation from place to place so we should know. It does not make billion year old rock less than a thousand years old but it makes you certain that it cannot be used to bet even a days salary on many of the estimates. You'll understand if I don't offer the details with you.

    You all covered the reasons for the uncertainty but it is not correct to say it is resolved.
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    Forum Cosmic Wizard SkinWalker's Avatar
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    At least we have your anecdotal evidence. Surely that's worth more than direct isotopic evidence.
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  10. #9  
    Universal Mind John Galt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cypress
    You all covered the reasons for the uncertainty but it is not correct to say it is resolved.
    You seem blithely unaware of the practical nature of the application of science. Staying with geology as an example the Law of Superposition (oldest sediments at the bottom; youngest at the top) dates back to the 17th century. It is a pretty simple concept, but its application can be difficult:
    • Outcrops are discontinuous.
      Beds may be inverted.
      Way up criteria may be absent or difficult to discern.
      Over thrusting, especially the complex kind found in imbricate zones, will repeat beds
    Does this mean we are unable to apply the principle? Of course it doesn't. It simply means we must be careful in our observations, rigorous in our checking and alert to possible inconsistencies. It is no different in the application of radio isotope dating.

    Without divulging specifics I am sure you can provide an example to let us understand the scale of what you consider to be a problem.
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  11. #10  
    Moderator Moderator TheBiologista's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ophiolite
    Quote Originally Posted by cypress
    You all covered the reasons for the uncertainty but it is not correct to say it is resolved.
    You seem blithely unaware of the practical nature of the application of science. Staying with geology as an example the Law of Superposition (oldest sediments at the bottom; youngest at the top) dates back to the 17th century. It is a pretty simple concept, but its application can be difficult:
    • Outcrops are discontinuous.
      Beds may be inverted.
      Way up criteria may be absent or difficult to discern.
      Over thrusting, especially the complex kind found in imbricate zones, will repeat beds
    Does this mean we are unable to apply the principle? Of course it doesn't. It simply means we must be careful in our observations, rigorous in our checking and alert to possible inconsistencies. It is no different in the application of radio isotope dating.

    Without divulging specifics I am sure you can provide an example to let us understand the scale of what you consider to be a problem.
    Seconded. Cypress, nobody is suggesting you should break an NDA, but I'm quite sure you don't need to do that to be more specific than you have been.
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    Sure no problem. In several formations across roughly 2500 miles where fossil depositions are consistent by presumed age and large structures generally contiguous, radio isotope dating of both sedimentary strata and igneous overlaying and underlaying features vary by as much as +/-70% of the generally accepted age. This data is about 90% from drilling cores and 10% from outcroppings.

    I'm not making any argument here, Ophiolite, just want to make sure people understand the facts so they leave with a good grounding. Your additional clarifications are helpful I think.
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    Universal Mind John Galt's Avatar
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    Are we talking Miocene, Jurassic, Devonian - what age?
    Which dating techniques were employed?
    What was the spread of ages returned? Did the 70% represent one or two outliers, or are you saying the top quartile was 50% or more different from the bottom quartile?
    If you plotted all the ages was the skew positive or negative, what about the kurtosis?

    As you have presented it - and thank you for that - it is meaningless.
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    The techniques were varied, much of it potassium-argon (K-Ar), but rubidium-strontium (Rb-Sr), samarium-neodymium (Sm-Nd), lead-lead (Pb-Pb) and some uranium-lead (U-Pb) were recorded too. The structures were Permian. I am sorry but I can't provide specific dates, ranges or distributions, since that information is restricted. The spread in dates were generally uniformly distributed except some were unreasonably old dates. One interesting note is that when the lab was given an expected date, the results much more often matched closely or the comments entry simply says that the results failed to correlate.
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    Quote Originally Posted by cypress
    The techniques were varied, much of it potassium-argon (K-Ar), but rubidium-strontium (Rb-Sr), samarium-neodymium (Sm-Nd), lead-lead (Pb-Pb) and some uranium-lead (U-Pb) were recorded too. The structures were Permian. I am sorry but I can't provide specific dates, ranges or distributions, since that information is restricted. The spread in dates were generally uniformly distributed except some were unreasonably old dates. One interesting note is that when the lab was given an expected date, the results much more often matched closely or the comments entry simply says that the results failed to correlate.
    Sorry, but I call bullshit.
    Disclaimer: I do not declare myself to be an expert on ANY subject. If I state something as fact that is obviously wrong, please don't hesitate to correct me. I welcome such corrections in an attempt to be as truthful and accurate as possible.

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    Apology accepted Kalster.
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  17. #16  
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    Quote Originally Posted by cypress
    The techniques were varied, much of it potassium-argon (K-Ar), but rubidium-strontium (Rb-Sr), samarium-neodymium (Sm-Nd), lead-lead (Pb-Pb) and some uranium-lead (U-Pb) were recorded too. The structures were Permian. I am sorry but I can't provide specific dates, ranges or distributions, since that information is restricted.
    Why? I can't imagine a reason why that should be. How about you point us to some third party data that roughly resembles yours then? That'd circumvent this bizarre confidentiality issue.
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    Forum Cosmic Wizard SkinWalker's Avatar
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    Secret data is so much more easy to defend, guys. It's better than a straw man. Kalster is right: bullshit.
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    It's no skin off my back. I accept that the earth is very old. Just trying to point out the experience from my years managing our subsurface data systems. The MMS has an extensive database too. They require us to submit much of our US data to them. They then provide it to entities submitting bids on expired leases. Perhaps you can have a look at their data. Western Geophysical also has data for sale as do several other organizations.
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    I don't know much about dating techniques Cypress, but I understand that in sedimentary rocks zircons and apatites are typically used. Whole rock analysis would be pointless.

    Now I do know that both minerals are pretty durable and can go through multiple cycles of erosion, deposition, diagenenesis and metamorphosis. During the latter they may grow through the addition of material by ionic migration via diffusion or solution.

    Consequently whole mineral analysis of such grains may show a wildly inaccurate number since some of the material may, for example, have originated in the Proterozoic. Current techniques allow for layers of these minerals to be analysed separately, affording not only more accurate data but a capsule history of the grain.

    However, I understand these precise techniques are recent. You appear to have spent some years managing these age data. Is it not the case that many, if not all of the analyses were conducted on whole minerals? That would then explain the anomalies.

    Further, if there is price differential between techniques the company would opt for the less expensive, knowing they can simply discard seriously anomalous data. After all they are pursuing these data for correlation purposes to enhance the exploitation of oil and natural gas for economic purposes, not as a means of advancing scientific knowledge.
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  21. #20  
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    You can test carbon dating technique with the technique of overlapping tree growth rings. They have.

    you can test other radioactive decay methods with other methods. they have done so.

    end discussion.
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    Quote Originally Posted by spuriousmonkey
    You can test carbon dating technique with the technique of overlapping tree growth rings. They have.

    you can test other radioactive decay methods with other methods. they have done so.

    end discussion.
    And many bizarre results turn up. The point is we generally know why the deviations are there. Your post implies there are no significant deviations. That is quite wrong.
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Galt
    I don't know much about dating techniques Cypress, but I understand that in sedimentary rocks zircons and apatites are typically used. Whole rock analysis would be pointless.

    Now I do know that both minerals are pretty durable and can go through multiple cycles of erosion, deposition, diagenenesis and metamorphosis. During the latter they may grow through the addition of material by ionic migration via diffusion or solution.

    Consequently whole mineral analysis of such grains may show a wildly inaccurate number since some of the material may, for example, have originated in the Proterozoic. Current techniques allow for layers of these minerals to be analysed separately, affording not only more accurate data but a capsule history of the grain.

    However, I understand these precise techniques are recent. You appear to have spent some years managing these age data. Is it not the case that many, if not all of the analyses were conducted on whole minerals? That would then explain the anomalies.

    Further, if there is price differential between techniques the company would opt for the less expensive, knowing they can simply discard seriously anomalous data. After all they are pursuing these data for correlation purposes to enhance the exploitation of oil and natural gas for economic purposes, not as a means of advancing scientific knowledge.
    Good points. I only managed that system for 4 years. The data included many samples of sedimentary deposits. Sample date range was over a 30 or so year period beginning in the 70's. Many of the descriptions did indicate that appropriate adjustments and proper sampling techniques were used but many did not have indication of the precise methods used. There was a modest improvement in date correlation over time but not fantastic. I don't recall exactly how much better. That was not one of the items we were asked to study and report on. I no longer have access to the system so I can't go back and look. The servers were updated last year and accounts have been deleted.

    Cost was not an issue given the purpose of the database.
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  24. #23  
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    Quote Originally Posted by SkinWalker
    At least we have your anecdotal evidence. Surely that's worth more than direct isotopic evidence.
    It probably is, actually. If the statistical correlation is strong enough, then you either have to reject the laws of probability or accept that you've won the lottery in order to refute it. Especially in a case like this where nobody is deliberately stacking the data in order to make it fall into any particular pattern. By very definition, any correlation that emerges must be accidental rather than deliberate. The same can't be said with certainty for the isotopic evidence, because correlations that emerge there have the potential to be deliberate, by people who want their data to fit expectation.

    Our natural optimism about human nature is not proof that such things don't occur, and shouldn't be taken as such. The "presumption of innocence", is a great social ideal, but I don't think it's always appropriate to apply it to science. People can and do make mistakes, especially ones that are unlikely to harm their careers.
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    It probably is, actually.
    No it isn't. We have virtually no information on the particulars of the testing that was done, how rigorous the testing was or anything. All we have is Cypress saying that he worked for a company and the dates did not line up well. Sure, people and even scientists are prone to exaggeration and the fitting of data, but they have the benefit of peer review and the potentially career destroying embarrassment of being shown as a fraud in public.
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    Quote Originally Posted by cypress
    Our database covers the entire world
    No it doesn't.

    Sedimentary basins, the kind oil companies would be interested in, only form a fraction of the Earth's surface. And even 1/3 of those basins still have yet to be explored.

    Exaggerate much?

    and you have no idea untill you observe for yourself how inconsistent radio isotope rock dating really is. We bet our company on accuracy of correlation of rock formation from place to place so we should know.
    Are you even aware of what kind of rocks are dateable?
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    Quote Originally Posted by cypress
    Sure no problem. In several formations across roughly 2500 miles where fossil depositions are consistent by presumed age and large structures generally contiguous, radio isotope dating of both sedimentary strata and igneous overlaying and underlaying features vary by as much as +/-70% of the generally accepted age. This data is about 90% from drilling cores and 10% from outcroppings.
    Sounds to me like your geologists don't understand that above certain temperatures the mica clocks can be reset. Whoops.

    At least, I assume you're talking about bentonite layers when you speak of 'igneous overlaying' (?).

    ...Are you an engineer, by any chance?
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    Quote Originally Posted by tenderheart bear
    Quote Originally Posted by cypress
    Our database covers the entire world
    No it doesn't.

    Sedimentary basins, the kind oil companies would be interested in, only form a fraction of the Earth's surface. And even 1/3 of those basins still have yet to be explored.

    Exaggerate much?
    I was speaking metaphorically. I forget that I must be ever so precise here...

    Our database covers all the areas of interest to us woldwide.

    and you have no idea untill you observe for yourself how inconsistent radio isotope rock dating really is. We bet our company on accuracy of correlation of rock formation from place to place so we should know.
    Are you even aware of what kind of rocks are dateable?
    Very much so. I am completely aware of the concept of radio isostope dating and the assumptions required to produce a date. I realize that dating of sedimatary rock can only produce an estimate of the rocks original age and not the date the sedimentary layer was formed.
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    Quote Originally Posted by tenderheart bear
    Quote Originally Posted by cypress
    Sure no problem. In several formations across roughly 2500 miles where fossil depositions are consistent by presumed age and large structures generally contiguous, radio isotope dating of both sedimentary strata and igneous overlaying and underlaying features vary by as much as +/-70% of the generally accepted age. This data is about 90% from drilling cores and 10% from outcroppings.
    Sounds to me like your geologists don't understand that above certain temperatures the mica clocks can be reset. Whoops.
    I am not speaking for our geologists. I don't think I have made any attempt to explain the data. My purpose was simply to say that the results are imprecise without describing my opinion of why that is.

    The data is what it is. Perhaps someone will have a look at other sources and either cooroborate this or not. I'm not interested enough to bother to validate it to you all.

    At least, I assume you're talking about bentonite layers when you speak of 'igneous overlaying' (?).

    ...Are you an engineer, by any chance?
    No not shale. Vocanic ashes mostly. feldspars, biotite, zircons if I remember correctly.

    I am an engineer. It is for this reason that I don't comment on the reasons for the range of dates. It's not an area I have studied much.
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  30. #29  
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    Quote Originally Posted by tenderheart bear
    At least, I assume you're talking about bentonite layers when you speak of 'igneous overlaying' (?).
    This is a bizarre question. Bentonite may well be the end result of weathering of igneous rocks rich on plagioclase, but it would not- ever - be described as igneous overlaying. This question seems quite out of character for you. What is going on?
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  31. #30  
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    Quote Originally Posted by cypress
    Quote Originally Posted by tenderheart bear
    Quote Originally Posted by cypress
    Sure no problem. In several formations across roughly 2500 miles where fossil depositions are consistent by presumed age and large structures generally contiguous, radio isotope dating of both sedimentary strata and igneous overlaying and underlaying features vary by as much as +/-70% of the generally accepted age. This data is about 90% from drilling cores and 10% from outcroppings.
    Sounds to me like your geologists don't understand that above certain temperatures the mica clocks can be reset. Whoops.
    I am not speaking for our geologists. I don't think I have made any attempt to explain the data. My purpose was simply to say that the results are imprecise without describing my opinion of why that is.

    The data is what it is. Perhaps someone will have a look at other sources and either cooroborate this or not. I'm not interested enough to bother to validate it to you all.

    At least, I assume you're talking about bentonite layers when you speak of 'igneous overlaying' (?).

    ...Are you an engineer, by any chance?
    No not shale. Vocanic ashes mostly. feldspars, biotite, zircons if I remember correctly.

    I am an engineer. It is for this reason that I don't comment on the reasons for the range of dates. It's not an area I have studied much.
    You've alluded to other sources being similar to yours- could you maybe give us a link so we can see something similar to what it is you're talking about? I'll confess I probably won't be able to make much use of it myself, but it looks like we've got some good rock people on this thread now.
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    rock people
    Sorry, off topic.
    Disclaimer: I do not declare myself to be an expert on ANY subject. If I state something as fact that is obviously wrong, please don't hesitate to correct me. I welcome such corrections in an attempt to be as truthful and accurate as possible.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TheBiologista

    You've alluded to other sources being similar to yours- could you maybe give us a link so we can see something similar to what it is you're talking about? I'll confess I probably won't be able to make much use of it myself, but it looks like we've got some good rock people on this thread now.
    Core data is provided to the Minerals Management service, the MMS provides it to bidders of expired leases. We sometimes trade data to Riley's, Q-Data, and Western Geophysical Services. They then sell it to others. I am fairly sure it can be purchased, I doubt it is in the public domain.
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  34. #33  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard SkinWalker's Avatar
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    If the data aren't academically available for scrutiny, then they are academically irrelevant and, thus, excluded from discourse.
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    Even if it were available, you would have the same problem.

    One could claim I simply made up the numbers. But even the results were corroborated by a third party, you could still question the source since the data is not independent, or you could question the methods since the samples and the lab reports are private and not accessible.

    Your best bet if you doubt the variance I reported is to go find a similar run of data over a broad area that is in the public domain with double blind sampling, no samples rejected after being randomly selected for analysis with several independent laboratory providing results of the same samples and samples freely available for inspection and validation. If this data showed consistent dating then you could demonstrate that radioisotope dating is in fact consistent.

    I browsed around the web for data like this and didn't find any. Though there was an abundance of defenders of the dating method, none of them provided data that fit these criteria. Most often I noticed that the samples were cherry picked after analysis was completed to eliminate numbers that were not expected.
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  36. #35  
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    Quote Originally Posted by KALSTER
    It probably is, actually.
    No it isn't. We have virtually no information on the particulars of the testing that was done, how rigorous the testing was or anything. All we have is Cypress saying that he worked for a company and the dates did not line up well.
    My father runs a medical database, and when they started having him run data analysis on the correlations between certain treatments for conditions and the average time/effort required for the patient to make a recovery, his department started arriving at and making recommendations for the company to start changing the way it treats those conditions, recommendations which have been largely validated by experience, or so I'm told. He has absolutely no medical training whatsoever.

    A data-base eye view is a rare thing. At least, I mean a data base that has been compiled for a different purpose than that to which you are directing it. It represents the perfect absence of bias, something you cannot possibly reproduce deliberately.

    Sure, people and even scientists are prone to exaggeration and the fitting of data, but they have the benefit of peer review and the potentially career destroying embarrassment of being shown as a fraud in public.
    True, but if all the scientists are wrong together in a group, then it's a major scandal, but nobody gets fired. The group is right until proven wrong, but the lone individual is wrong until proven right. If you accuse the group and you're wrong, then you look like a charlatan and may never find work again. If they accuse you and you're right, then they get egg on their face, but still keep their jobs.

    It's kind of like the Roman Senate agreeing to Murder Caesar together as a joint effort. If all 30 senators stab him, then Rome isn't going to decapitate itself by having all of them killed.
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    Quote Originally Posted by cypress
    Quote Originally Posted by TheBiologista

    You've alluded to other sources being similar to yours- could you maybe give us a link so we can see something similar to what it is you're talking about? I'll confess I probably won't be able to make much use of it myself, but it looks like we've got some good rock people on this thread now.
    Core data is provided to the Minerals Management service, the MMS provides it to bidders of expired leases. We sometimes trade data to Riley's, Q-Data, and Western Geophysical Services. They then sell it to others. I am fairly sure it can be purchased, I doubt it is in the public domain.
    Well then how are we supposed to validate what you're saying?
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheBiologista
    Quote Originally Posted by cypress
    Quote Originally Posted by TheBiologista

    You've alluded to other sources being similar to yours- could you maybe give us a link so we can see something similar to what it is you're talking about? I'll confess I probably won't be able to make much use of it myself, but it looks like we've got some good rock people on this thread now.
    Core data is provided to the Minerals Management service, the MMS provides it to bidders of expired leases. We sometimes trade data to Riley's, Q-Data, and Western Geophysical Services. They then sell it to others. I am fairly sure it can be purchased, I doubt it is in the public domain.
    Well then how are we supposed to validate what you're saying?
    If you believe rock dating consistently returns precise and accurate results and your belief is scientifically based, then you would not have to ask that question because you are not merely repeating what you have been told. Instead you would have the data. You would have double blind studies that ensure objective results with no filtering. You would be able to show that the information I provided is in error.
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  39. #38  
    Time Lord Paleoichneum's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cypress
    Quote Originally Posted by TheBiologista
    Quote Originally Posted by cypress
    Quote Originally Posted by TheBiologista

    You've alluded to other sources being similar to yours- could you maybe give us a link so we can see something similar to what it is you're talking about? I'll confess I probably won't be able to make much use of it myself, but it looks like we've got some good rock people on this thread now.
    Core data is provided to the Minerals Management service, the MMS provides it to bidders of expired leases. We sometimes trade data to Riley's, Q-Data, and Western Geophysical Services. They then sell it to others. I am fairly sure it can be purchased, I doubt it is in the public domain.
    Well then how are we supposed to validate what you're saying?
    If you believe rock dating consistently returns precise and accurate results and your belief is scientifically based, then you would not have to ask that question because you are not merely repeating what you have been told. Instead you would have the data. You would have double blind studies that ensure objective results with no filtering. You would be able to show that the information I provided is in error.
    But without your data there is no way to test what you are claiming, as there is now way of knowing the types of dating, the types of specimens used in the dating, the quality of the samples used etc...
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  40. #39  
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    the only claim I am making is that a large Oil and Gas exploration company owns a database of drilling core data that shows large variation in strata dating. Let's stipulate that the reason the results are the way they are is because we spoiled the samples, used poor processes, and didn't manage the system well. We are still left with the reality that the results vary widely.

    The best way to address this is to show that when proper controls are used and processes are in place to ensure validation, reduce error and prevent cherry picking the data, the results actually are consistent. I have never seen this demonstration and after looking for it on the web I couldn't find an example of it.
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  41. #40  
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    It seems like everyone wants to be treated as though they are the magical impartial observer. Objectivity is so highly valued in science that I guess nobody wants to have the humility to admit they are not objective.

    That's why it's important to automate the process whenever possible. Machines have no passions.
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