Carbon dating is a flawed process

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.

Radiocarbon dating is one of the most widely used scientific dating methods in archaeology and environmental science.

It can be applied to most organic materials and spans dates from a few hundred years ago right back to about 50,000 years ago - about when modern humans were first entering Europe.

The dating process is always designed to try to extract the carbon from a sample which is most representative of the original organism.

By measuring the ratio, R, in a sample we can then calculate the age of the sample: T = -8033 ln(R/A) Both of these complications are dealt with by calibration of the radiocarbon dates against material of known age.

As explained below, the radiocarbon date tells us when the organism was alive (not when the material was used).

This fact should always be remembered when using radiocarbon dates.

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 6200 BC, one can check out the C-14 dates against the tree-ring-count dates.

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Common materials for radiocarbon dating are: The radiocarbon formed in the upper atmosphere is mostly in the form of carbon dioxide. Because the carbon present in a plant comes from the atmosphere in this way, the radio of radiocarbon to stable carbon in the plant is virtually the same as that in the atmosphere.

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