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[Way OT] Carbon-14 dating still, since I'm bored. was (for some reason)[pct-l] Jack Fair's house

> Let's see, I've got to tie this in to the PCT somehow --- Uh, anyone out
> there know if a fox tail pine is the same as a bristle cone pine? I remember
> seeing these stalwart trees in the Golden Trout wilderness and marveled at
> how each tree was an individual, sculpted in a unique, bizarre way.
>   Anyway, Ron, I got to thinking about a much more conclusive method to
> refute my questioning of a 5700 year half life than ridicule. Resort to
> reason instead. For example, these foxtails live to great ages. In fact, I
> saw a cross section of one that had lived for 4900 years in a ranger station
> at Great Basin National Park. Now if one were to take, say, a gram of the
> innermost tree ring and a gram from the outermost tree ring and then place
> the samples, say, 3 inches away from a Geiger counter and measure the amount
> of radiation given off by each, one should be able to tell just how lineal
> the decay is. Using material from all 4900 rings should enable one to get it
> down to a gnat's ass Sound reasonable?? Now I don't have the time or
> inclination to try this experiment, but consider the conception free this time

        Sorry, that's not how it works. Any sample from your tree should
the same percentage of carbon-14. If it didn't, then that would be a
major blow to the reasoning behind the process. 

        You could still make your point using trees, if the data
supports your
premise - in some areas the tree ring record is complete and detailed
enough that an artifact made of wood can be dated by comparing the grain
in it with the ring record for the area (dendrochronology). Now, use
carbon-14 dating on the same piece. If the dates given by it are
divergent, outside the margin of error of the tests, you would be
showing that there is a flaw in the system.

        Indeed, this has been done, and a correction scale exists,
adjustment for the small difference between the real age of items, and
the apparent age given by carbon-14 dating.

        For more information, a couple of semi-randomly chosen websites


        carbon-14 dating

        When visiting the latter, I especially direct you to the
sections on
Corrections, Calibration, and K-12 (pages for kids usually have very
useful and easy to follow explanations). 

        I haven't found a simple site explaining the problems with your
hypothesis that half-life might vary over time. The best I can point you
to is 


        and suggest you check out their reference, given at the bottom
of the
article. Incidentally, I'll note that the concept of radioactive decay
is considered a law of physics, so it's rather well accepted as
accurately describing the actual behavior of radioactive particles.

        Finally, no ridicule was intended, but we're in the realm of
not some courtroom in California where you can introduce any hypothesis
you want, and expect the Prosecution to waste their time trying to
disprove it rather than make their own case. You want to argue that a
natural law isn't valid, that's fine, but don't expect others to jump
through a lot of hoops trying to debate with you.


It is our attitude toward free thought and free expression that will
determine our fate. There must be no limit on the range of temperate
discussion, no limits on thought. No subject must be taboo. No censor
must preside at our assemblies. 
	William O. Douglas