Radio carbon dating bible
Thus, a freshly killed mussel has far less C-14 than a freshly killed something else, which is why the C-14 dating method makes freshwater mussels seem older than they really are.When dating wood there is no such problem because wood gets its carbon straight from the air, complete with a full dose of C-14.The creationists who quote Kieth and Anderson never tell you this, however.Question: A sample that is more than fifty thousand years old shouldn't have any measurable C-14. Radiocarbon dating doesn't work well on objects much older than twenty thousand years, because such objects have so little C-14 left that their beta radiation is swamped out by the background radiation of cosmic rays and potassium-40 (K-40) decay. this isotope [K-40] accounts for a large part of the normal background radiation that can be detected on the earth's surface" (p. This radiation cannot be totally eliminated from the laboratory, so one could probably get a "radiocarbon" date of fifty thousand years from a pure carbon-free piece of tin.Both phenomena are known to influence radiocarbon amounts by altering the level of cosmic radiation entering the atmosphere (ibid.).The uncertainties surrounding science’s most popular dating method underscores how cautious scientists must be before setting in stone any date for an artifact or fossil. Gillespie, “Although 26,000 [years ago, according to modern dating assumptions] is pretty well nailed down now, there’s a sort of best guess for what comes after that” (ibid.).
Living organisms are constantly incorporating this C-14 into their bodies along with other carbon isotopes.
Coal, oil, and natural gas are supposed to be millions of years old; yet creationists say that some of them contain measurable amounts of C-14, enough to give them C-14 ages in the tens of thousands of years. Younger objects can easily be dated, because they still emit plenty of beta radiation, enough to be measured after the background radiation has been subtracted out of the total beta radiation. However, you now know why this fact doesn't at all invalidate radiocarbon dates of objects younger than twenty thousand years and is certainly no evidence for the notion that coals and oils might be no older than fifty thousand years.
However, in either case, the background beta radiation has to be compensated for, and, in the older objects, the amount of C-14 they have left is less than the margin of error in measuring background radiation. Question: Creationists such as Cook (1966) claim that cosmic radiation is now forming C-14 in the atmosphere about one and one-third times faster than it is decaying.
One of the biggest factors in throwing off carbon dates is the fact that nuclear testing, which began around 1950, “blasted out radiation [into the atmosphere] that scientists see clearly as a spike in the radiocarbon record” (ibid.).
Most problematic in absorbing this spike in radiation has been charcoal, which scientists use frequently in their dating of ancient finds.