Chronology: Tools And Methods For Dating Historical And Ancient Deposits, Inclusions, And Remains

People require no protection or rule; their every desire can be satisfied without technics or the need to bring other human beings into personal or institutional subjugation. In the sheer splendor of this plenty and the givingness of nature, the “pleasure principle” and “reality principle” are in perfect congruence. Pleasure is the rule, abundance enables desire to replace mere need, because every wish can be fulfilled without exertion or technical strategies. Christian historicism,with its promise of an early utopistic future, taken together with the Church’s appeals for direct popular support against anticlerical abuses by lay authority, had a strong influence on radical social movements of medieval and early modern times. Until Marxian socialism acquired the status of official dogma in nearly half the world, Christianity was to play a predominant role in the spiritual and intellectual life of western society.

Why is radiometric dating a reliable method for determining numerical dates?

In my view, reason exists in nature as the self-organizing attributes of substance; it is the latent subjectivity in the inorganic and organic levels of reality that reveal an inherent striving toward consciousness. I do not claim that my approach is unique; an extensive literature that supports the existence of a seemingly intrinsic logos in nature derives mainly from the scientific community itself. What I have tried to do here is to cast my speculations about reason in distinctly historical and ecological terms, free of the theological and mystical proclivities that have so often marred the formulations of a rational nature philosophy. In the closing chapters, I try to explore the interface between nature philosophy and libertarian social theory. During these years I also concentrated on how a truly free society, based on ecological principles, could mediate humanity’s relationship with nature.

The order of occurrence of the sedimentary layer is related to a local igneous body that has been radiometrically dated, thus yielding an age range for the sedimentary layer. The absolute age of a rock is the number of years that have passed since the rock formed. However, as specimens age, all of the “traps” in the crystal structures become occupied, and no more electrons can enter and accumulate. The Earth acts like a massive magnet; it has a magnetic North and South Pole and a giant magnetic field that extends around it. Well, earth scientists, or more specifically, “geochronologists,” have devised their own clock using various dating techniques to achieve this goal.

Radiometric dating is determining the exact order of past events via determining the absolute age of geological features. We can use this method to determine how long a rock was formed and the ages of fossils that are trapped in these rocks. There we use trace radioactive impurities incorporated in these rocks when they were formed. These calculations are based on geological assumptions of uniform process, the lack of erosion of either the parent or daughter elements.

Yet it is precisely in this utopistic quest for pleasure, I believe, that humanity begins to gain its most sparkling glimpse of emancipation. With this quest carried to the social realm, rather than confined to a privatized hedonism, humanity begins to transcend the realm of justice, even of a classless society, and enters into the realm of freedom — a realm conceived as the full realization of humanity’s potentialities in their most creative form. In organic societies the differences between individuals, age groups, sexes — and between humanity and the natural manifold of living and nonliving phenomena — were seen (to use Hegel’s superb phrase) as a “unity of differences” or “unity of diversity,” not as hierarchies. Their outlook was distinctly ecological, and from this outlook they almost unconsciously derived a body of values that influenced their behavior toward individuals in their own communities and the world of life.

– Tectonic events

The whole camp wishes to hear of his hunt, and he can expect the same ridicule at failure, or the same praise if he managed to kill a little bird, which would come upon a full grown man. So he plays, and learns, under no shadow of parental disapproval, and under no restraint of fear. Many arms gave him comfort, many faces smiled at him, and from a very early age he was given bits of food which were chewed by various members of the family and placed in his mouth. So for a Hopi, the outside world in which he needed to find satisfaction was never far away. Who wants to be like the unaggressive, vegetarian, food-sharing gibbons, where father is as much involved in child-rearing as mother is, and where everyone lives in small family groups, with little aggregation beyond that?

Advantages and Problems of Relative Dating Methods

The photo of the Grand Canyon here show strata that were originally deposited in a flat layer on top of older igneous and metamorphic “basement” rocks, per the original horizontality principle. Because the formation of the basement rocks and the deposition of the overlying strata is not continuous but broken by events of metamorphism, intrusion, and erosion, the contact between the strata and the older basement is termed an unconformity. An unconformity represents a period during which deposition did not occur or erosion removed rock that had been deposited, so there are no rocks that represent events of Earth history during that span of time at that place. Unconformities appear in cross-sections and stratigraphic columns as wavy lines between formations. The principle of superposition is simple, intuitive, and is the basis for relative age dating.

Recent improvements in geochronology methods and in the statistical treatment of dates have reduced uncertainties in previously published ages (e.g., Sieh et al., 1989; Biasi and Weldon, 1994; Biasi et al., 2002). The half-life of uranium-238 is 4.47 billion years, while that of uranium-235 is 704 million years. Because these differ by a factor of almost seven (recall that a billion is 1,000 times a million), it proves a “check” to make sure you’re calculating the age of the rock or fossil properly, making this among the most precise radiometric dating methods. Radiocarbon dating (using 14C) can be applied to many geological materials, including sediments and sedimentary rocks, but the materials in question must be younger than 60 ka. Fragments of wood incorporated into young sediments are good candidates for carbon dating, and this technique has been used widely in studies involving late Pleistocene glaciers and glacial sediments.

The machine has not only run away without the driver, but the driver has become a mere part of the machine. Relative time allows scientists to tell the story of Earth events, but does not provide specific numeric ages, and thus, the rate at which geologic processes operate. Based on Hutton’s principle of uniformitarianism (see Chapter 1), early geologists j4l surmised geological processes work slowly and the Earth is very old. Relative dating principles was how scientists interpreted Earth history until the end of the 19th Century. Because science advances as technology advances, the discovery of radioactivity in the late 1800s provided scientists with a new scientific tool called radioisotopic dating.

Let us not deceive ourselves that Bentham’s methodology or, for that matter, his ethics have dropped below the current ideological horizon. It still rises at dawn and sets at dusk, resplendent with the multitude of colors produced by its polluted atmosphere. Terms like “pleasure” and “pain” have not disappeared as moral homilies; they merely compete with terms like “benefits” and “risks,” “gains” and “losses,” the “tragedy of the commons,” “triage,” and the “lifeboat ethic.” The inequality of equals still prevails over the equality of unequals. What is so stunning to the careful observer is that if justice never came to compensate but merely to reward, its spirit has finally become mean and its coinage small. But the future of justice threatens to betray even its claims to have upheld the “rights” of the individual and humanity.

This book opens with a Norse myth that depicts how the gods must pay a penalty for seeking the conquest of nature. It ends with a social project for removing that penalty, whose Latin root poenalis has given us the word pain. Humanity will become the deities it created in its imagination, albeit as deities within nature, not above nature — as “supernatural” entities.