Whenever the worldview of evolution is questioned, the topic of carbon dating always comes up. Here is how carbon dating works and the assumptions it is based upon. Radiation from the sun strikes the atmosphere of the earth all day long. This energy converts about 21 pounds of nitrogen into radioactive carbon This radioactive carbon 14 slowly decays back into normal, stable nitrogen. Extensive laboratory testing has shown that about half of the C molecules will decay in 5, years.
Thus, he concluded, if our Earth were older than 30, years the. That is, the equilibrium point should have long since been reached given the present rate of carbon production and the old age of the earth. The next step in Henry Morris' argument was to show that the water level in our barrel analogy was not in equilibrium, that considerably more water was coming in than leaking out.
To that end, he quoted some authorities, including Richard Lingenfelter. Having accomplished that, Morris concluded that the barrel was still in the process of being filled up and that, given the present rate of water coming in and leaking out, the filling process began only 10, years ago. It's a great argument except for one, little thing. The water is not coming out of the hose at a steady rate as our model assumed!
Sometimes it slows down to a trickle so that much more water is leaking out the barrel than is coming in; sometimes it goes full blast so that a lot more water is coming into the barrel than is leaking out. Thus, the mere fact that the present rate of water coming in exceeds that of the water leaking out cannot be extrapolated back to a starting time.
And, that destroys the entire argument. See Figure 1.
Apr 29, The problem with the carbon dating method is-scientists can not be sure of what the C14/C12 ratio was when the organism died. Carbon dating assumes that the ratio has remained constant; however, events, such as the industrial revolution, are known to have raised C12 levels. Many people believe that carbon dating has proven the Biblical timeline is not scientifically valid. It supposedly dates some material beyond 6, years. Because the theory of evolution requires millions of years to be viable, a young earth position is in direct opposition to that theory.
Lingenfelter's paper was written inbefore the cycles of C variation we described had been fully documented. The point is that fluctuations in the rate of C production mean that at times the production rate will exceed the decay rate, while at other times the decay rate will be the larger. Lingenfelter actually attributed the discrepancy between the production and decay rates to possible variations in the earth's magnetic field, a conclusion which would have ruined Morris's argument.
Henry Morris chose not to mention that portion of the paper! Creationists don't want their readers to be distracted with problems like that - unless the cat is already out of the bag and something has to be said. Tree-ring dating see Topic 27 gives us a wonderful check on the radiocarbon dating method for the last years. That is, we can use carbon dating on a given tree-ring the year sequence having been assembled from the overlapping tree-ring patterns of living and dead trees and compare the resulting age with the tree-ring date.
A study of the deviations from the accurate tree-ring dating sequence shows that the earth's magnetic field has an important effect on carbon production. When the dipole moment is strong, carbon production is suppressed below normal; when it is weak, carbon production is boosted above normal.
What the magnetic field does is to partially shield the earth from cosmic rays which produce carbon high in the atmosphere. Contrary to creationist Barnes' totally discredited claims, which I've covered in Topic 11the earth's magnetic field dipole moment has, indeed, increased and decreased over time. Strahler presents a graph of the earth's dipole moment going back years.
Figure The curve is roughly fitted to mean values determined about every to 1, years The curve is roughly degrees out of phase with the C curve. The idea [that the fluctuating magnetic field affects influx of cosmic rays, which in turn affects C formation rates] has been taken up by the Czech geophysicist, V.
Bucha, who has been able to determine, using samples of baked clay from archeological sites, what the intensity of the earth's magnetic field was at the time in question. Even before the tree-ring calibration data were available to them, he and the archeologist, Evzen Neustupny, were able to suggest how much this would affect the radiocarbon dates.
Renfrew, p. Thus, at least within the last years, the earth's magnetic field has fluctuated and those fluctuations have induced fluctuations in the production of carbon to a noticeable extent. Therefore, as already noted, Dr. Hovind's claim that carbon has been slowly building up towards a 30, year equilibrium is worthless. You now have the technical reason for the failure of Morris' model. It may interest the reader to know that within this year period, where the radiocarbon method can be checked by tree-ring data, objects older than BC receive a carbon date which makes them appear younger than they really are!
An uncorrected carbon date of years for an object would actually mean that the object was years old. Seven hundred years or so is about as far as the carbon method strays from tree-ring dating on the average.
Individual dates given on a correlation chart Bailey,p. As it turns out, we have a check on the carbon production which goes back even further than years:. Evidence of past history of C concentration in the atmosphere is now available through the past 22, years, using ages of lake sediments in which organic carbon compounds are preserved. Reporting before a conference on past climates, Professor Minze Stuiver of the University of Washington found that magnetic ages of the lake sediments remained within years of the radiocarbon ages throughout the entire period.
He reported that the concentration of C in the atmosphere during that long interval did not vary by more than 10 percent Stuiver,p. Thus, the available evidence is sufficient to validate the radiocarbon method of age determination with an error of about 10 percent for twice as long a period as the creation scenario calls for.
Yes, the atmospheric content of carbon can vary somewhat. The dipole moment of the earth's magnetic field, sunspot activity, the Suess effect, possible nearby supernova explosions, and even ocean absorption can have some effect on the carbon concentration.
However, these factors don't affect the radiocarbon dates by more than about percent, judging from the above studies. Of course, when we reach the upper limit of the method, around 40, years for the standard techniques, we should allow for much greater uncertainty as the small amounts of C remaining are much harder to measure.
Tree-ring data gives us a precise correction table for carbon dates as far back as 8, years. The above study by Stuiver shows that the C fluctuations in the atmosphere were quite reasonable as far back as 22, years ago. The earth's magnetic field seems to have the greatest effect on C production, and there is no reason to believe that its strength was greatly different even 40, years ago. For a refutation of Barnes' argument see Topic Therefore, atmospheric variation in C production is not a serious problem for the carbon method.
The evidence refutes Dr. Hovind's claim that the C content of our atmosphere is in the middle of a 30,year buildup. Thus, we can dismiss this young-earth argument. It is painfully obvious that Dr. Hovind knows next to nothing about carbon dating! Changes in the sunspot cycle do have a noticeable, short-term effect on the rate of C production inasmuch as sunspots are associated with solar flares, which produce magnetic storms on Earth, and the condition of the earth's magnetic field does affect the number of cosmic rays reaching the earth's upper atmosphere.
Carbon Dating Undercuts Evolution's Long Ages Evolutionists generally feel secure even in the face of compelling creationist arguments today because of their utter confidence in the geological time scale. Willard Libby invented the carbon dating technique in the early s. The amount of carbon 14 in the atmosphere today is about%. It is assumed there would be the same amount found in living plants or animals since the plants breath CO? and animals eat the plants. Carbon dating thus presents a deadly challenge to young-earth creationists. If an old date is reasonably accurate, they're out of business; if an old date is bad due to contamination, then they are still out of business because the true date is most likely older still. It hardly seems fair, but that's the way it is.
Carbon is produced by energetic collisions between cosmic rays and molecules of nitrogen in the upper atmosphere. Sunspots have absolutely nothing to do with the rate of C decaywhich defines the half-life of that radioactive element. Hovind has confused two completely different concepts.
Quantum mechanics, that stout pillar of modern physics, which has been verified in so many different ways that I couldn't begin to list them all even if I had them at hand, gives us no theoretical reason for believing that the C rate of decay has changed or can be significantly affected by any reasonable process. We also have direct observation:.
That radiocarbon ages agree so closely with tree-ring counts over at least years, when the observed magnetic effect upon the production rate of C is taken into account, suggests that the decay constant itself can be assumed to be reliable.
Since years is almost two half-lives for carbon, it's half-life being years plus or minus 40 yearswe have excellent observational evidence that the decay rate is constant. We also have laboratory studies which support the constancy of all the decay rates used in radiometric dating.
A great many experiments have been done in attempts to change radioactive decay rates, but these experiments have invariably failed to produce any significant changes. It has been found, for example, that decay constants are the same at a temperature of degrees C or at a temperature of degrees C and are the same in a vacuum or under a pressure of several thousand atmospheres. Measurements of decay rates under differing gravitational and magnetic fields also have yielded negative results.
Although changes in alpha and beta decay rates are theoretically possible, theory also predicts that such changes would be very small [ Emery, ] and thus would not affect dating methods. There is a fourth type of decay that can be affected by physical and chemical conditions, though only very slightly.
This type of decay is electron capture e. Because this type of decay involves a particle outside the nucleus, the decay rate may be affected by variations in the electron density near the nucleus of the atom.
For example, the decay constant of Be-7 in different beryllium chemical compounds varies by as much as 0. The only isotope of geologic interest that undergoes e. Measurements of the decay rate of K in different substances under various conditions indicate that variations in the chemical and physical environment have no detectable effect on its e. Believe it or not, a number of creationist attacks against radiometric decay rates are aimed at a kind of "decay" called internal conversion ICwhich has absolutely nothing to do with the radiometric dating methods Dalrymple,p.
Harold Slusher, a prominent member of the Institute for Creation Research, claimed that "Experiments have shown that the decay rates of cesium and iron 57 vary, hence there may be similar variations in other radioactive decay rates.
These are both stable isotopes so there is no decay rate to be changed.
Nov 19, Answers to Creationist Attacks on Carbon Dating Radiocarbon dating can easily establish that humans have been on the earth for over twenty thousand years, at least twice as long as creationists are willing to allow. Creationist arguments to the contrary are riddled with flaws, as is the scientific research used by them to support their position. Radiometric dating methods are very accurate and very trustworthy. Creationist arguments to the contrary are riddled with flaws, as is the scientific research used by them to support their position. Creationist Argument: Carbon Dating is unreliable? Personally, I do not believe in god. However, like many "atheists" I am always up for listening to the different arguments and .
This statement merely reveals Slusher's ignorance of nuclear physics. Gamma decay of an excited state of iron 57 has been studied, but this has nothing to do with the kinds of decays used in radiometric dating.
DeYoung [ ] lists 20 isotopes whose decay rates have been changed by environmental conditions, alluding to the possible significance of these changes to geochronology, but the only significant changes are for isotopes that "decay" by internal conversion. These changes are irrelevant to radiometric dating methods. Keep an eye on those creationists! They will switch tracks faster than you can say "tiddlywinks.
C decays with a half-life of 5, years. Question: Kieth and Anderson radiocarbon-dated the shell of a living freshwater mussel and obtained an age of over two thousand years. ICR creationists claim that this discredits C dating. How do you reply? Answer: It does discredit the C dating of freshwater mussels, but that's about all.
Kieth and Anderson show considerable evidence that the mussels acquired much of their carbon from the limestone of the waters they lived in and from some very old humus as well. Carbon from these sources is very low in C because these sources are so old and have not been mixed with fresh carbon from.
Thus, a freshly killed mussel has far less C than a freshly killed something else, which is why the C 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 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 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, enough to give them C ages in the tens of thousands of years.
How do you explain this? Answer: Very simply. Radiocarbon dating doesn't work well on objects much older than twenty thousand years, because such objects have so little C left that their beta radiation is swamped out by the background radiation of cosmic rays and potassium K decay. 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, in either case, the background beta radiation has to be compensated for, and, in the older objects, the amount of C they have left is less than the margin of error in measuring background radiation. As Hurley points out:. 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.
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.
Question: 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.
Does carbon dating prove the earth is millions of years old?
If we extrapolate. 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. Answer: 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: one can count rings or one can radiocarbon-date the wood.
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. 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 youngnot too old.
Question: But don't trees sometimes produce more than one growth ring per year? Wouldn't that spoil the tree-ring count? Answer: 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. 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.
Carbon dating creationism argument
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. 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. And incidentally, just because you're a Christian, it doesn't mean you're a young earth creationist.
I myself, a Christian, am a Old Earth creationist I believe the universe is billions of years old, etc.
Creationism and evolution tackled head-on in science lessons - Guardian Investigations
Implying that all Christians are YEC is like saying all atheists study the bible some do, some don't. Scientists examined samples to substantiate what carbon supplies are valid for courting. Carbon sorts usually interior the ambience and can want to be sequestered and rot in the previous being integrated into an organism, transforming into an visual charm of age. Scientists observed difficulty supplies and do not use them. Creationists cite the problem, yet cover the actual undeniable actuality that the problem supplies at the instantaneous are not used.
The paper factors out the problem with mollusk shells and different sequestered supplies were observed consequently. Carbon can date whom ever he wants. It's really no one else's business.
And what ever Christians are arguing this issue, really need to find other items for their agenda. If they believe that G-d invented everything, that would include carbon dating, right?
So maybe he invented it so that people would have some way to answer some of the infinite questions before "the end of the world". Maybe, I'm just saying maybe the bible and it's stories shouldn't be taken literally, after all, its contents have been modified quite a few time to make accommodations for various events in history. Really, there are more important things to tend to. I don't know why they argue it, there's really no point. As a test, pieces from the same source were sent to four different C dating services.
Numbers came back from a few thousand years to a few million years. The earth can be a few million years old. Creative days were not the same length of time as earth days. Plus we have no idea how long it was between those days!