Posted by Henry Sadovsky on July 03, 1999 at 18:12:41:
In Reply to: Interpretation of C14 results posted by Yon Bard on July 03, 1999 at 11:00:07:
Dear Mr. Bard,
Your thought experiment is nothing more than the "proof" of a tautology. That is, if a piece was created in 1800, it is not 17th c. Can't argue with that.
Of course if we know that a piece was created in 1800, the C14 data adds no useful info. Why in the world bother to have even obtained the study (other than to test the performance of a laboratory)?
You point out that "Taking, for example, the Salor chuval fragment from the bottom of page 82, we are told that with 95% confidence, the piece has a 74.6% probability of dating from 1485-1608, and an 18% probability of dating from 1742-1808." Using the C14 data alone, on the sample submitted and prepared and analyzed by the Zurich lab, that is exactly what we may conclude. If you had no further information on the age of the piece, would you bet $10,000, with even odds, that it was 17th or 18th c.?
Of course, if we have an independent assesment of age prior to performing C14 analysis, this will need to be taken into account when interpreting the data. Do you have any such independent information on when the Salor chuval fragment was created?
I am not endorsing the C14 method for the dating of this chuval but simply clarifying an analysis that seems to me to obfuscate the issue.
Good rugs to you,
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