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Carbon dating, dinosaurs and the shroud of Turin

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  • Carbon dating, dinosaurs and the shroud of Turin

    Hi All,

    I have been meaning to post this for a while now. It all started as I was reacting to a comment on Twitter and somehow someway got involved into a “discussion” with PZ Myers and… his fans J.
    At some point I asked him what he was making of the presence of soft tissue in dinosaur bones and his response was “it’s partially mineralized tissue in a 70 million + year old bone. It does not help the creationist claim”. Then, I asked why cannot we do carbon dating on that soft tissue his answer was “Why would you do that? It’s 70+ million years old”. Whilst I fully appreciate that if you come from that angle, ie using the strata to date the fossil, this shouldn’t get in the way of dating the tissue. At the end of the day, tissue is something organic and so it can be dated. I understand that tissue doesn’t decay at a set rate but it is something that should be gone after 100k years; there should not be any trace of it and yet there is.
    I left the conversation on that topic with somebody linking to an article regarding the latest development of that topic. Coincidence or not, Mary Schweitzer and her team had recently published in article in which they explained that Iron may be the reason why the tissue has been preserved for so long ( My curiosity remained intact and I started to do a bit more research and tried to understand why nobody had “pushed” scientists to do carbon dating on dinosaur tissues.
    So that had me looking up carbon dating method and how that works since my knowledge about it needed to be strengthened; I found out that the presence of Iron shouldn’t falsify the results. Then I wanted to learn more about the strata dating because it was the argument I got thrown out by Myers’ ilk. And I have to say that until now I am still very much puzzled. The logic is that the lower strata are older than the younger strata, that I have no problem accepting; it makes sense. What I don’t understand, despite looking it up, is that fossils are used to determine the age of a strata and then when a fossil is found we looked in which strata it is found to determine its age (circular reasoning much?). Some guy posted the same question on yahoo and got a response saying “it’s not quite how it works” but ended up saying the same.
    After that I decided to probe the issue further and look up if no carbon dating had been done. This is where I stumbled upon a rock. My quick investigation led me to various creationist websites which is something that I want avoid when researching a science problem. I still went ahead and checked what the findings were. It turns out that lots of dinosaur tissues have been found. Mary Schweitzer’s case is not an isolated one. But the shocker was more that the results of the dating done on those flew against what is taught in a science classroom. Apparently the tissues date back to between 29,000-40,000 before or era.
    Now, if this is true this is a big blow to the theory of evolution since it is asserted that birds have evolved from dinosaurs.
    I have linked some videos at the bottom of the post so you can look for yourself.

    My take away is not so much the age of the dinosaur tissue. Be thousands or millions years old I don’t care as it is not going to change my philosophical stance. My take away is rather how scientism/dogma/assumptions get in the way of science. What scientists have to lose to look further into this? If this is something anomalous let’s look for an explanation. Science is the way to figure out how stuff works and so it will; it might take 10 years, 100+ years, 1,000 years but who cares really?
    In this case Myers and his ilk very much resemble the catholic fanatics who didn’t want to have the shroud of Turin carbon dated because it might return back results that could shake their faith. I would add that in this case it is far more dangerous because people are supposedly using “scientific” arguments.

    Video Links

  • #2
    It could be a policy issue, and rather than a scientist or palentologist backing your argument, going against policy and years of rigorous adherance to rules, they may have an easier time reconciling their sense of independence and intellectual worth, by asking you, what the point is in doing so?

    I watched the first few minutes of that video. OMFG.