Carbon dating paper
—Charles Ginenthal, 1997 Many of the most obvious conflicts between science and religion involve timing issues—the dating of events in Earth’s history. Scott wrote: “It has long been acknowledged, though not always fully acted upon, that radiocarbon dating measurements are not definitive, i.e. “If a C14 date supports our theories, we put it in the main text.Bible chronologies typically list Adam and Eve at about 4,000 BC. they do not produce precise age estimates.” Failing to acknowledge this lack of precision, a Nova program that aired in 2009 showed a paleontologist who had found a skeleton of an extinct animal deep in a cave. If it does not entirely contradict them, we put it in a foot-note.
Alasdair Beal noted a frailty in estimating the half-life: “It is worth remembering that the half-life of C14 used in the calculations (5,730 years or thereabouts) has been calculated from measurements taken over only a few decades. it would take only slight contamination to affect the result.” Although there is still some uncertainty regarding the precise decay rate of C14, perhaps a more important question is whether the decay rate is consistent over time.If its current level is only one quarter of the original estimate, 11,460 years old, and so on. Since scientists aren’t able to take sophisticated equipment back in time to actually measure the C14 concentration when a plant or animal died, it is necessary to estimate.It was natural for Willard Libby, the inventor of the method, to assume No doubt, he had been taught it from his youth, and he reasoned that living things in the past must have had the same C14 levels as seen in living things in modern times.This component of the formula is the most difficult to estimate due to the incalculable number of variables and unknowns.Contamination of some samples has been identified, leading scientists to take extra precautions in order to protect specimens.The bold line at the 100% level represents the generally accepted assumption that for thousands of years the original content has been at the same level as what is observed in the atmosphere in modern times.
The small box on the decay curve represents the current level of a particular once-living specimen, in this instance measured at 50% of its assumed original content.
In contrast, science textbooks can hardly be found that do not refer to human or “pre-human” remains 10,000 to millions of years old. C” or “C-14” appear within a quote, they are shown as they were published.) Contrary to popular perception, carbon dating is not a precise answer-all to chronology questions. The narrator indicated that they have samples dated “because they want to know exactly how old the skeleton is.” A famous American colleague, Professor Brew, briefly summarized a common attitude among archaeologists. And if it is completely ‘out of date,’ we just drop it.” Few archaeologists who have concerned themselves with absolute chronology are innocent of having sometimes applied this method.” Although the symposium was held in 1970, the point is still relevant.
This fact is openly recognized by scientists involved in the field. It would seem that practices should have improved as technology advanced—but more recent accounts suggest that the accuracy of the results hasn’t changed much.
It is also worth remembering that in a sample from 3000 BC the C14 content is now only diminishing at a rate of 0.0066% per year, . Experiments have been performed to try to determine if radioactive decay rates can be affected when the materials involved are subjected to unusual conditions.
As early as 1954 Kalervo Rankama reported: “the decay constant may be slightly altered by putting the nuclide in a different chemical combination or physical state.” The constancy of rate of radioactive decay in all physical and chemical conditions is the mainstay of radiometric dating. found that with a mixture of titanium and radioactive tritium “its radioactivity declined sharply” as it was heated from 115 to 160 degrees C.
Radioactive decay causes once-living specimens to lose half of their C14 atoms in about each 5,730-year half-life.