Carbon dating doesn work

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  1. Q: How can carbon dating work on things that were never alive?
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  4. Carbon Dating Gets a Reset - Scientific American

Without rather special developmental work, it is not generally practicable to measure ages in excess of about twenty thousand years, because the radioactivity of the carbon becomes so slight that it is difficult to get an accurate measurement above background radiation. Cosmic rays form beta radiation all the time; this is the radiation that turns N to C in the first place.

K decay also forms plenty of beta radiation. Stearns, Carroll, and Clark point out that ". 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.

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Q: How can carbon dating work on things that were never alive?

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. Creationists such as Cook claim that cosmic radiation is now forming C in the atmosphere about one and one-third times faster than it is decaying. If we extrapolate backwards in time with the proper equations, we find that the earlier the historical period, the less C the atmosphere had.

If they are right, this means all C ages greater than two or three thousand years need to be lowered drastically and that the earth can be no older than ten thousand years. Yes, Cook is right that C is forming today faster than it's decaying. However, the amount of C has not been rising steadily as Cook maintains; instead, it has fluctuated up and down over the past ten thousand years. How do we know this? From radiocarbon dates taken from bristlecone pines.

There are two ways of dating wood from bristlecone pines: Since the tree ring counts have reliably dated some specimens of wood all the way back to BC, one can check out the C dates against the tree-ring-count dates.

Admittedly, this old wood comes from trees that have been dead for hundreds of years, but you don't have to have an 8,year-old bristlecone pine tree alive today to validly determine that sort of date. It is easy to correlate the inner rings of a younger living tree with the outer rings of an older dead tree. The correlation is possible because, in the Southwest region of the United States, the widths of tree rings vary from year to year with the rainfall, and trees all over the Southwest have the same pattern of variations.

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When experts compare the tree-ring dates with the C dates, they find that radiocarbon ages before BC are really too young—not too old as Cook maintains. For example, pieces of wood that date at about BC by tree-ring counts date at only BC by regular C dating and BC by Cook's creationist revision of C dating as we see in the article, "Dating, Relative and Absolute," in the Encyclopaedia Britannica.

So, despite creationist claims, C before three thousand years ago was decaying faster than it was being formed and C dating errs on the side of making objects from before BC look too young , not too old. But don't trees sometimes produce more than one growth ring per year? Wouldn't that spoil the tree-ring count? If anything, the tree-ring sequence suffers far more from missing rings than from double rings. This means that the tree-ring dates would be slightly too young, not too old. Of course, some species of tree tend to produce two or more growth rings per year.

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But other species produce scarcely any extra rings. Most of the tree-ring sequence is based on the bristlecone pine. This tree rarely produces even a trace of an extra ring; on the contrary, a typical bristlecone pine has up to 5 percent of its rings missing. Concerning the sequence of rings derived from the bristlecone pine, Ferguson says:. In certain species of conifers, especially those at lower elevations or in southern latitudes, one season's growth increment may be composed of two or more flushes of growth, each of which may strongly resemble an annual ring.

In the growth-ring analyses of approximately one thousand trees in the White Mountains, we have, in fact, found no more than three or four occurrences of even incipient multiple growth layers. In years of severe drought, a bristlecone pine may fail to grow a complete ring all the way around its perimeter; we may find the ring if we bore into the tree from one angle, but not from another. Hence at least some of the missing rings can be found.


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Even so, the missing rings are a far more serious problem than any double rings. Other species of trees corroborate the work that Ferguson did with bristlecone pines. Before his work, the tree-ring sequence of the sequoias had been worked out back to BC.

Carbon dating doesn't work -- debunked

The archaeological ring sequence had been worked out back to 59 BC. The limber pine sequence had been worked out back to 25 BC. The radiocarbon dates and tree-ring dates of these other trees agree with those Ferguson got from the bristlecone pine. But even if he had had no other trees with which to work except the bristlecone pines, that evidence alone would have allowed him to determine the tree-ring chronology back to BC. See Renfrew for more details. So, creationists who complain about double rings in their attempts to disprove C dating are actually grasping at straws.

If the Flood of Noah occurred around BC, as some creationists claim, then all the bristlecone pines would have to be less than five thousand years old. This would mean that eighty-two hundred years worth of tree rings had to form in five thousand years, which would mean that one-third of all the bristlecone pine rings would have to be extra rings. Creationists are forced into accepting such outlandish conclusions as these in order to jam the facts of nature into the time frame upon which their "scientific" creation model is based.

Barnes has claimed that the earth's magnetic field is decaying exponentially with a half-life of fourteen hundred years. Not only does he consider this proof that the earth can be no older than ten thousand years but he also points out that a greater magnetic strength in the past would reduce C dates.

This is how Carbon 14 gets into the living world. It gets produced in the atmosphere from the sun, the plants breathe it in, and the animals eat the plants. We have all either eaten plants or eaten animals that have eaten plants. The plants are breathing in this carbon dioxide and some of the carbon is radioactive. If the atmosphere contains. So, you probably have. When a plant or animal dies it stops taking in carbon 14 and whatever it had starts to decay.

It was decaying while it was alive, but now there is nothing coming in to replace it. So what they do is compare the amount of carbon 14 in the fossil to the amount of carbon 14 in the atmosphere. If the fossil only contains half as much carbon 14 as the atmosphere, it is assumed to have been dead for one half-life, or 5, years. While it was alive it should have had. If a fossil only has.

In theory the amount of carbon 14 never goes to zero. However, for practical purposes we cannot measure passed a certain amount. There should be no measurable carbon 14 after about 40, — 50, years. Yet it has proven impossible to find any natural source of carbon below Pleistocene Ice Age strata that does not contain significant amounts of carbon 14, even though such strata are supposed to be millions or billions of years old.

These constitute very strong evidence that the earth is only thousands, not billions, of years old. Now think for a minute of what this means. The textbooks say that coal formed million years ago. However, when coal is tested it still has carbon How is that possible? If all of the carbon 14 atoms would have disappeared at a maximum of , years, why would there still be carbon 14 atoms in coal? Obviously it is not million years old. Also diamonds, which they say formed millions and millions of years ago, still have carbon 14 in them.

So how do you get carbon 14 in diamonds? Again it is obvious that they are not millions of years old. The carbon dating assumptions need to be pointed out. It is also losing carbon 14 through decay. The question is how long would it take the atmosphere to reach a stage called equilibrium? They wanted to figure out how long it would take the atmosphere to reach a point where the construction rate and the destruction rate of carbon 14 was the same.


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They determined that it would take about 30, years to reach this equilibrium state. They made two bad assumptions after they came up with this calculation. They assumed that the earth was millions of years old and then assumed that they could ignore the equilibrium problem. Generally speaking, archaeologists make the assumption that if the grains in and around of a clay pot are, say, 8, years old, then the pot itself is roughly the same age. If you had an ancient amphora sitting around, would you use it for fresh strawberry preserves?

And before you answer: A life spent potentially confusing future archaeologists is a life well spent. There are many different kinds of radiometric dating that are used to date things that are non-organic which is part of how we determine the age of the Earth. They each rely on a couple of different thoroughly verified principles. First, that radioactive isotopes have a fixed half-life totally independent of their environment. And second, that the elements they were before and after the radioactive decay have different chemical properties.

Impurities, such as dissolved air, are either forced out or concentrated in the last region to freeze.

Carbon Dating Gets a Reset - Scientific American

The same is true for any kind of crystal. Crystals are regular lattices of atoms. For example, zircon a crystal is perfectly happy to incorporate uranium, but excludes lead. It so happens that uranium decays into lead with a half-life of 4. So if you grind up a zircon and measure the tiny amounts of lead vs. At that time there would have been zero lead in it.