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Featured Evidence for an ancient earth

Discussion in 'Science and Religion' started by sayak83, Apr 6, 2017.

  1. sayak83

    sayak83 Well-Known Member
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    I will defend the proposition that the evidence for a very ancient earth (more than 4 billion years) is overwhelming in science and hence, based on the evidence, the only rational conclusion is that the earth is ancient.

    Are the Laws of Atomic Physics Constant over time?
    The truth that the laws of physics has been constant since the Big Bang, 13.8 billion years ago can be found in the fact of how successfully we can predict the various features of the universe from the processes that occurred just after the Big Bang using our current laws of physics. Specifically the laws of atomic physics tells us what the elemental composition of the universe will be and how that will change as stars make heavier elements in their hot core over the eons. And when we look at the elemental composition in the galaxies, those predictions are matched very well. Thus we have,
    1) Laws of atomic physics based on mathematics of quantum mechanics that successfully predict the outcome of experiments (like smashing of atoms) done on earth and by which nuclear power plants, CT scans and nuclear medicine technologies work (LINK)
    2) Is also found to predict the elemental and star composition of galaxies and nebulae through nuclear processes that occurred from the early hours of the Big Bang 13.8 billion years ago.

    The sequence of steps:-

    http://www.einstein-online.info/spotlights/BBN_phys

    1) the early universe was filled with a hot plasma consisting of radiation and elementary particles. The various ingredients of this mixture were in thermodynamic equilibrium.

    By definition, in thermodynamic equilibrium the energy is distributed evenly among all components of a system. For a simple gas, this would mean that, on average, all of the myriads of particles flying around have the same kinetic energy. For systems like the matter content of the early universe, there is an additional aspect: The particles are constantly involved in reactions in which one kind of particle is converted into another, or several other particles.

    For such a system, thermodynamic equilibrium at a certain temperature corresponds to definite values for the relative abundances of the different particle species - how many particles of species A there should be, on average, for each particle of another species B. The relative abundances depend on the temperature, and as the temperature changes, so does the particle mix in the early universe.

    2)Let's trace the development starting at about a hundredth of a second and ending at three minutes cosmic time. At the beginning of this time period, the universe was filled with a plasma consisting of matter well-known to physics: protons and neutrons in about equal proportions constituting what physicists call baryonicmatter, as well as electrons, their anti-particles (positrons), neutrinos, and photons.....In this particular epoch, the most influential mediating forces responsible for the particle reactions were electromagnetic interactions and interactions via the so-called weak nuclear force (which is responsible for certain forms of radioactive decay)...via the weak nuclear force, protons were continually being converted into neutrons, and vice versa...If we take all these reactions into account, the statistical formula that govern thermodynamic equilibrium give us a ready answer for the particle content of the very early universe, namely that there were about as many protons as neutrons.

    3)
    In the early universe, the external conditions were constantly changing as the universe expanded and cooled down. The particle mixture at a given point in time depended on the race between reactions establishing the temperature-dependent equilibrium and the change of this very temperature due to cosmic expansion....when the temperature had fallen below a hundred billion Kelvin (corresponding to an energy of 10 MeV per particle), things began to change: At this temperature, the reaction rates for weak interactions between neutrinos and the electromagnetic radiation field are so small that the two kinds of matter effectively "decouple" and cease to interact at all. In addition, most of the electrons and positrons annihilated, while the electromagnetic radiation had cooled down too far to produce new electron-positron pairs. The result was a heating-up of the radiation field (but not of the neutrinos, which had decoupled). A slight imbalance in the number of electrons and positrons led to a small surplus of electrons being left behind - those are the electrons we still find in the cosmos today.

    4)While, at the beginning of this new epoch, neutrons and protons were still present in ratios of 1 neutron for every 6 protons, which is close to the equilibrium value at this particular temperature, equilibrium could not be maintained. The expansion changed the cosmos much faster than these reactions could keep up equilibrium - just such a race between cosmic expansion and specific reaction rates as was mentioned above: the weak reactions "froze out". As a result, almost the only weak reaction that still took place at a significant rate was the decay of neutrons into the slightly lighter protons, which is in fact independent of temperature..... Fortunately, however, the universe expanded (and cooled) slowly enough to give another type of reaction time enough to occur: reactions in which neutron and protons combined to form light atomic nuclei. The universe entered the phase called Big Bang Nucleosynthesis (often abbreviated to BBN).

    5)At the beginning of Big Bang Nucleosynthesis, at a cosmic time of about 1 second, the situation was quite simple: The nuclear reactions occured fast enough to achieve equilibrium, which strongly favours the very light elements like hydrogen and helium and their isotopes deuterium (d), tritium (t), and helium-3. At this time, the temperature of the radiation-matter-plasma was around ten billion Kelvin, corresponding to an average 1 MeV of energy per particle. Nuclear physics and all the reaction rates necessary for the equilibrium calculations are very well known, as energies like this are easily achievable in laboratory experiments with nuclei.

    6)
    Considering the relevant time scales for the expansion of our universe and for nuclear reactions, it turns out that hardly any protons will have had time to join existing nuclei and transform into neutrons. On the other hand, reactions in which existing protons and neutrons join to form nuclei were fast enough to ensure that all helium-4 nuclei that can form in this way would indeed have formed. Finally, as mentioned above, we know that, at the beginning of nucleosynthesis, the ratio of neutrons to protons was one to seven - seven protons for each neutron.

    With this information, the estimate is straightforward: Consider 16 nucleons, of which 2 are neutrons and 14 are protons (this is precisely the near-equilibrium ratio of 1:7). Out of these one can build only one helium-4 nucleus (as each such nucleus consists of two neutrons and two protons). It has an atomic mass of 4. What remains are 12 protons or, put differently, 12 nuclei of hydrogen atoms, each of which has an atomic mass of 1. The mass ratio of helium-4 to hydrogen is therefore 4/12, in other words: by mass, 75% of matter in our universe is hydrogen and 25% is helium-4. This is a rather simple and solid prediction based on no more than equilibrium physics in a well-known temperature regime. There were a few other elements formed in lower concentrations


    Testing the predictions
    1) The direct observation of the early abundance can be had from the cosmic microwave background radiation, which comes from the hot plasma itself. As shown the predictions match EXACTLY with observations of element abundance in the microwave radiation. The lines are the theory and the circles are the data points. They match beautifully.
    WMAP Big Bang Elements Test

    [​IMG]

    Thus it is seen that the laws governing the atomic decay and fusion of nucleus have remained constant from Big Bang onwards and is seen to work successfully even in the extreme conditions of the early universe demonstrating that we have an excellent grasp of how the law behaves in almost any conceivable environment the universe (or earth) can have since the Big Bang.


    Thus the first step is done, I have shown that the laws of physics relevant to radioactivity worked for the last 13.8 billion years and have not changed at all with time.
     
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  2. lostwanderingsoul

    lostwanderingsoul Well-Known Member

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    Yes the earth is very old.
     
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  3. metis

    metis aged ecumenical anthropologist

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    Even older than I am, and I'm old!!! er, I mean mature!!!
     
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  4. sayak83

    sayak83 Well-Known Member
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    The Radioactive Decay Process:-
    Every atomic nucleus is bound by atomic forces between neutrons and protons. When the ratio of protons and neutrons is too unbalanced, or the total number of protons become too large, the nucleus becomes unstable. In one case (called beta decay), a neutron converts into a proton and emits a negatively charged particle (the beta particle). This does not change the mass much, but decreases the number of neutrons in the nucleus, making it more stable. In another case (called alpha decay) the nucleus ejects two protons and two neutrons joined together (called the alpha particle) to become lighter and gain stability that way.

    For a population of N radioactive particles the rate of decrease of parent element atoms is given by
    No of parent atoms left = Initial No at the start * exp(-Kt)

    Where K is the decay constant for each element and each pathway of decay and comes directly from quantum mechanics of weak force.
    Then half-life is the time it takes to 50% of the parent atoms to decay and is given by T=0.693/K.
    The formula for the decay constant is exactly know and was given by Fermi:-
    K = (2*pi)/h * (Potential Energy Difference between parent and daughter nuclei)^2 * (Quantum Density State of the Daughter Nuclei)

    And the expression can be evaluated for each parent-daughter pair and each decay process. The Uranium to Lead decay series is shown
    [​IMG]

    Once again these processes are very well understood and shown to be valid from the Big Bang itself. Thus one sees that the radioactive decay and half life data themselves are perfectly trustworthy.
     
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  5. Evie

    Evie Active Member

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    Big Bang a theory not an absolute fact.
     
  6. Bob the Unbeliever

    Bob the Unbeliever Well-Known Member

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    Same can be said for gravity. But I don't see anyone leaping out of windows to disprove gravity, and instead, substitute "Intelligent Falling"...
     
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  7. Nowhere Man

    Nowhere Man Bompu Zen Man with a little bit of Bushido.

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    We don't fully understand the big bang. While not absolute there are absolutes upon which the theory rests. The evidence comes in the form of cosmic background radiation and has already been mapped in the visible universe.

    Some of the static from your television captures a small part of this radiation enabling one to actually see for themselves. Probably why I was so fascinated after sign off on the old days.
     
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  8. sayak83

    sayak83 Well-Known Member
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    We have seen last time that the number of parent atoms (say Uranium 235 above) at any time t is given by,
    N (t) = N(0)*exp(-Kt) where K is the decay constant and N(0) is the original number of atoms at the beginning of calculation.
    If the number of original daughter atoms (say lead) at time t=0 was D(0) then the total daughter atoms formed at time t by this decay process is
    D(t) = D(0) + N(t)*[exp(Kt) - 1].

    These two equations, suitably combined over the various decay branches gives all one needs to evaluate the concentrations of parents and daughter atoms in a decay chain.


    The reason such radio-active decay is very useful for dating rests on two main factors:-
    1) The decay rates and half lives are spread along a large time scale. So one can measure times over billions of years with one element, millions of years with another element and thousands of years with a third element.

    For example half life of Strontium 87 is 49.4 Billion years. Uranium 238 is 4.47 billion years, that of Uranium 235 is 703 million years, that of Potassium 40 to Calcium 40 is 1.4 billion years, that of Palladium 231 is 32,700 years.

    2) Secondly, in earth when molten rock from volcanoes cools either on the surface or on the depths of the ocean, the cooling process causes crystallization and seperation of minerals. This crystallization and separation of elements is the reason why some places are so rich on gold, platinum etc. when these elements are actually quite rare. This cooling makes it the case that rocks form whose crystals, by the laws of solidification physics (the same one engineers use in industry to purify raw ores into precious ingots of metal etc.) determines that some rocks, at the point of cooling will only have the parent element (say uranium) and not the daughter element (say lead). And once solidified, the elements are trapped inside and slowly decays to create lead where uranium originally was.

    3) Thus, if one measures the Uranium/Lead ratio or Uranium-Palladium ratio of good quality crystals of these volcanic rocks, one can get the time when the rock first solidified.


    Now, of course its always possible that some samples give bad results due to contamination in lab or bad crystal choice. But continents like North America are rife with volcanic rocks (basalt etc.) and they are all very very old. To find so many rock samples from US (and from everywhere else, all measured in different labs using different techniques) give such old date estimates and still maintain that the earth is young seems perversely irrational to me. These are the estimated ages of the various areas of North American rocks based on hundreds and thousands of samples. Ga implies billions of years. Orogens are ancient mountain chains made of volcanic rocks.
    [​IMG]

    Before I add anything more (examples of methods by which measurements are done), what objections are there so far to what I said?

    People ask why these things matter. For several reasons. Notice where the oldest (Archaen age 4-2.5 billion year old) continental rocks are,
    [​IMG]

    Now look at where diamonds (and other gems) are primarily found:-
    [​IMG]

    Interesting isn't it? Why is this the case that ancient volcanic rocks have all the diamonds. Superficially there are two:-
    1) In ancient earth, life was not yet prominent. So inorganic carbon cycle was more active. Diamond is carbon that, trapped within the heat of the underground slowly cools into gigantic crystals. Less life, implies more inorganic carbon that gets recycled by the mantle and hence greater diamond production.
    2) Ancient earth was hotter and more hotter conditions, higher pressures near the surface means diamond can form more easily near the surface rocks.

    The case is exactly the reverse when you are looking for organic forms of carbon:- coal, oil etc. They will be found in the younger rocks where life's birth and death caused organic hydrocarbons to concentrate.

    Now, I wonder if anybody is of the opinion that not correctly knowing which age of rocks yield which type of useful resource, and hence less easily identifying new reserves is something to aim at. If not, here is a crucial way when knowing the age and the manner of composition of rocks and knowing the conditions of ancient earth does matter..a lot.
     
    #8 sayak83, Apr 6, 2017
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2017
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  9. Evie

    Evie Active Member

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    the only forms of 'answers' we have in answer to our origins are beliefs ( religious and otherwise). Theories, conjecture, suppositions , speculation and educated guesses. NO ABSOLUTE ANSWERS: Even though great minds have applied their genius to finding the sought after ABSOLUTE unquestionable answers.
     
  10. shunyadragon

    shunyadragon Veteran Member
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    Actually, very true, but so what?!?!?!? The age of the known universe remains as falsified.

    Science does not consider anything absolute fact,nor ABSOLUTE ANSWERS.
     
  11. Evie

    Evie Active Member

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    at least in that one respect science is right. It cannot even begin to know even though science believes it has the capability to do so.
     
  12. psychoslice

    psychoslice Veteran Member

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    A great theory though, better then any creationist could ever come up with.
     
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  13. Evie

    Evie Active Member

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    ut even Hawkins admits he cannot examine the 'something' tha
     
  14. Evie

    Evie Active Member

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  15. shunyadragon

    shunyadragon Veteran Member
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    That is not what science, nor the results of scientific research and methods determines.

    Science can falsify theories and hypothesis based on real objective evidence, which ancient religion based ancient mythology cannot do.

    You need to present a coherent argument based on objective evidence.
     
  16. Evie

    Evie Active Member

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    The fact will always remain: Nothingness cannot bring forth something. Whatever is in existence began to exist at some point in time. When before that point in time it did NOT exist. And to go back to infinity there has to be a 'parent' something to which ALL owe there existence. Even the laws of nature and all other laws of life.
     
  17. Evie

    Evie Active Member

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    There is no answer to that line of thought, is there?
     
  18. shunyadragon

    shunyadragon Veteran Member
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    Science does not propose notingness can bring forth something.

    An assertion not based on a coherent argument and objective evidence based on religious presuppositions. It is unknown whether our physical existence is finite and temporal, nor infinite and eternal.

    Again . . .

    You need to present a coherent argument based on objective evidence.
     
  19. shunyadragon

    shunyadragon Veteran Member
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    This was not a coherent line of argument worthy of a significant response except . . .

    Again . . .

    You need to present a coherent argument based on objective evidence.
     
  20. sayak83

    sayak83 Well-Known Member
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    Furthermore the thread is regarding the age of the earth and not what was there before the Big Bang . Nothing so far seems to be addressing the thread topic.
     
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