Re: virus: Discoveries and Inventions
Thu, 13 Feb 1997 10:08:06 -0600 (CST)

On Fri, 7 Feb 1997, Reed Konsler wrote:

> >From:
> >Date: Thu, 6 Feb 1997 10:57:54 -0600 (CST)
> >Subject: Re: virus: Discoveries and Inventions
> >
> >1) Observe that these fields are interrelated. For instance, the decline
> >of Catastrophism in Geology has much more to do with NeoDarwinism in
> >Biology, and the doctrine of uniformitarianism, than any physical
> >evidence that I have read summaries of. [It *is* compatible with
> >plate tectonics. Another of the annoyances I have with current Geology
> >writeups is the systematic misreporting of date estimates computed with
> >most radioactive dating methods [C-14 is exempt]. It takes only College
> >Algebra, or a decent philosophy background, applied to the procedure in
> >question, to see that the dates are "maximum possible ages", rather than
> >"ages" as reported in the literature I have read. [Or has the reporting
> >convention been reformed since ~1992?]]
> Oh, totally. Now the trick is not to fall off in the other direction.
> Just becuase geological dating techniques are convtrived (as are all
> definitions) that doesn't mean that they aren't useful. I agree that a lot
> of assumptions go into dating things by radioactive decay, but at the same
> time there is an entire planet of evidence to check those assumptions.

My point is that one assumption is EXPLICITLY WRONG. On this
particular point, there is NO evidence backing up this assumptions, and
MUCH evidence contradicting it.

I.e.: We have a planet of evidence that contradicts that assumption.

The assumption I balk at is this: the starting level of a mother-daughter
based dating method is ALWAYS 100% mother, 0% daughter. [C-14 is exempt
because the starting level has a reasonable extrapolation. Most of the
systematic error can be countered via tree rings, and seems to be the
result of the atmosphere coming to equilibrium from below in the
short-term--which is reasonable, considering the latest ice age.]

Note that the above assumption is suitable for computing maximum ages,
and that I wouldn't mind if the dates were reported honestly, as maximum
ages. But they are neither reported nor used that way.

The comments about confounding factors are irrelevant, compared to the
drastic errors I mentioned above. You could say that the confounding
factor is how the date is computed.