SotF 2016 – Leonard Sym – It’s Never That Old! Science Denial and Radiocarbon Dating

Tuesday 9 August 2016, 7:50 pm - 8:50 pm
At: Banshee Labyrinth, 29-35 Niddry Street, EH1 1LG


09th Leonard Sym

We take radiocarbon dating so much for granted, but many of us may be unaware of how it revolutionised archaeology in the late 1950s and ‘60s. It offered a tool that gave objectivity where an item had been dated subjectively or where it was dated relative to another archaeological artefact or historical event.

Radiocarbon dating also happens to be the radiometric method that most obviously challenges Bishop Ussher’s biblical dating of the creation of the earth at 4004BC, October 22nd, at nightfall. We have, for example, a German wooden well where the trees were felled about 7,000 years ago, circa 5200BCE. That is a very tangible challenge the concept of a young earth. As such, radiocarbon dating attracts a considerable amount of religious attention, most of which involves inaccuracy, disingenuous creation of doubt, or plain falsehood.

In this talk, Leonard Sym will take this denial of science head on, and dispel it by looking at how the dating system works, how it is calibrated, and how its limits of measurement have been pushed back to 50,000 years BP.

Leonard teaches management, both commercially and in higher education. Current work includes management education at middle and senior management level within the oil industry, as well as the design and delivery of management training for a range of organisations throughout the world. He briefly studied Archaeology at Glasgow University as part of his first degree and has kept up an interest in the subject ever since. Over the last few years he has become increasingly aware of how our knowledge of the past has been increasingly attacked for religious reasons. This has inspired him to revisit the topic and defend the educated viewpoint.

Skeptics on the Fringe is proud to be part of PBH’s Free Fringe. Our talks are free and unticketed, so come early to the Free Fringe’s spoken word hub at the Banshee Labyrinth to be sure of a seat.

We have a different topic every day, bringing science, reason and critical thinking to the largest arts festival in the world.

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