The Quantum World

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

The State of Entropy and Carbon Dating

Just recently, we were discussing the condition of the universe which is in a state of entropy beginning since the Big Bang. That means everything in the universe is going to collapse as it expands. How will that  happen?  The expansion of the universe means an ever extending a plane; thinner and thinner. That is exactly the point. The universe will expand to a thin plane, a line and then into a point - a singularity. 

How can any experiments be done to test the age of the universe let alone anything we dig up on this planet? Good question. Everything being in a state of entropy 'expansion' causes everything to be in a state of decay. Whatever we use to determine the age of something is too in a state of decay. The most common used form of measuring the age of something is called carbon dating. What is that? 

Carbon dating itself as a means to measure or date is actually a combination of a variety of radioactive dating which is applicable only to matter which was once living and presumed to be in equilibrium with the atmosphere, taking in carbon dioxide from the air for photosynthesis. Before we delve into the process let's take a look at the first problem we incur. Everything which was once living is in an even faster state of entropy. We have a lot of that going on, matter (information) that becomes 'no longer alive'. However, some argue that we have just as much new matter (information) coming in - being born. All hosts of information and including mothers are subjected to the state of entropy so their own bodies do not contain any 'real' new information. What about cells themselves? Good Question.  All cells too exist in this state and that state is sped up as soon as they start to divide.

So, what to do. Retreat... well, let's look at how carbon dating actually works or is supposed to work. Carbon dating is a variety of radioactive dating. The application is thus... dead as in decaying matter is supposed to continue in its path by coming into a state of equilibrium with the atmosphere where it takes in carbon dioxide from the air for photosynthesis. There cosmic ray protons blast nuclei in the upper atmosphere, producing neutrons which in turn bombard nitrogen, the major constituent of the atmosphere. This neutron bombardment produces the radioactive isotope carbon-14. The radioactive carbon-14 combines with oxygen to form carbon dioxide and is incorporated into the cycle of living things.

The carbon-14 forms at a rate which appears to be constant, so that by measuring the radioactive emissions from once-living matter and comparing its activity with the equilibrium level of living things, a measurement of the time elapsed can be made. Ahh, sounds plausible but we have to acknowledge that so called 'living things' are in a state of entropy = decay. So, what is thought to be 'living' is an earlier form of 'death'. Yes. 

We can agree such is the case. Does this mean we cannot detect the age of that decay and determine a date? We can. But, this kind of data is only telling us about the state of entropy and not about when things actually appeared for the first time ever.... because even carbon 14 is in a state of decay. 

*But, I am only a sociologist...

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