Archive: Dating with Accelerators

I’ve pulled an undergraduate paper (written almost 30 years ago) about Dating with Accelerators, which is about using an Accelerator Mass Spectrometer to achieve very high accuracy radiocarbon dating with small samples. This was especially interesting to me at the time because at the time I had been partly convinced by so-called ‘Creation Scientists’ that 7-day literal Creation, and a literal world-wide flood as in ‘the Bible’ (at least the Protestant Christian translations) was supportable by science.

I chose this topic because I wanted to understand the actual science behind radiocarbon dating and not just going by second hand descriptions. The research I did on this paper is part of what convinced me that the accusations I later heard that ‘Creation Scientists’ cherry-picked data, used straw-men, and generally engaged in deceptive tactics was accurate, and before hearing that, and about the ways they repeated debunked arguments, was believing they were honestly mistaken. In other words, between this and taking a Zoology course in university, I came to realize that the so-called ‘Creation Scientists’ were wrong, and were not providing an accurate portrayal of the science of evolution against which they claimed they had evidence.

I do not like it when people claim to be ‘evidence-based’ and cherry-pick or misrepresent either the opposing evidence and data or the quality of the data supporting their position. Unfortunately it is all too common at a time when being perceived as having scientific backing for one’s decisions is often politically important.

In any event, I hope you enjoy this ‘blast from the past’.