Answers to Creationist Attacks on Carbon-14 Dating
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. To the best of our knowledge, answers are correct at the time they are posted. 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. Join or Renew Members Only. It creates a date range of - years before present that the sample can fall under.
The numbers refer to the atomic weight, so Carbon has 6 protons and 6 neutrons, Carbon has 6 protons and 7 neutrons, and Carbon has 6 protons and 8 neutrons. Second, it has been validated at least back to B. If we extrapolate backwards in time with the proper equations, we find that the earlier the historical period, the less C the atmosphere had. Specific facts and circumstances may affect the applicability of concepts, materials, and information described herein. The proximity is necessary because of the short half-life of 11 C. The second number is the standard deviation or error for the date.
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. 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.
Now if the magnetic field several thousand years ago was indeed many times stronger than it is today, there would have been less cosmic radiation entering the atmosphere back then and less C would have been produced.
Therefore, any C dates taken from objects of that time period would be too high. How do you answer him? Like Cook, Barnes looks at only part of the evidence. What he ignores is the great body of archaeological and geological data showing that the strength of the magnetic field has been fluctuating up and down for thousands of years and that it has reversed polarity many times in the geological past.
So, when Barnes extrapolates ten thousand years into the past, he concludes that the magnetic field was nineteen times stronger in BC than it is today, when, actually, it was only half as intense then as now. This means that radiocarbon ages of objects from that time period will be too young, just as we saw from the bristlecone pine evidence.
But how does one know that the magnetic field has fluctuated and reversed polarity? Aren't these just excuses scientists give in order to neutralize Barnes's claims? The evidence for fluctuations and reversals of the magnetic field is quite solid. Bucha, a Czech geophysicist, has used archaeological artifacts made of baked clay to determine the strength of the earth's magnetic field when they were manufactured.
He found that the earth's magnetic field was 1. See Bailey, Renfrew, and Encyclopedia Britannica for details. In other words, it rose in intensity from 0. Even before the bristlecone pine calibration of C dating was worked out by Ferguson, Bucha predicted that this change in the magnetic field would make radiocarbon dates too young.
This 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.
There is a good correlation between the strength of the earth's magnetic field as determined by Bucha and the deviation of the atmospheric radiocarbon concentration from its normal value as indicated by the tree-ring radiocarbon work. As for the question of polarity reversals, plate tectonics can teach us much.
It is a fact that new oceanic crust continually forms at the mid-oceanic ridges and spreads away from those ridges in opposite directions. When lava at the ridges hardens, it keeps a trace of the magnetism of the earth's magnetic field. Therefore, every time the magnetic field reverses itself, bands of paleomagnetism of reversed polarity show up on the ocean floor alternated with bands of normal polarity.
These bands are thousands of kilometers long, they vary in width, they lie parallel, and the bands on either side of any given ridge form mirror images of each other. Thus it can be demonstrated that the magnetic field of the earth has reversed itself dozens of times throughout earth history. Barnes, writing in , ought to have known better than to quote the gropings and guesses of authors of the early sixties in an effort to debunk magnetic reversals.
Before plate tectonics and continental drift became established in the mid-sixties, the known evidence for magnetic reversals was rather scanty, and geophysicists often tried to invent ingenious mechanisms with which to account for this evidence rather than believe in magnetic reversals. However, by , sea floor spreading and magnetic reversals had been documented to the satisfaction of almost the entire scientific community.
Yet, instead of seriously attempting to rebut them with up-to-date evidence, Barnes merely quoted the old guesses of authors who wrote before the facts were known. But, in spite of Barnes, paleomagnetism on the sea floor conclusively proves that the magnetic field of the earth oscillates in waves and even reverses itself on occasion.
It has not been decaying exponentially as Barnes maintains. When we know the age of a sample through archaeology or historical sources, the C method as corrected by bristlecone pines agrees with the age within the known margin of error. For instance, Egyptian artifacts can be dated both historically and by radiocarbon, and the results agree. At first, archaeologists used to complain that the C method must be wrong, because it conflicted with well-established archaeological dates; but, as Renfrew has detailed, the archaeological dates were often based on false assumptions.
Relative dating stems from the idea that something is younger or older relative to something else. In a stratigraphical context objects closer to the surface are more recent in time relative to items deeper in the ground. Although relative dating can work well in certain areas, several problems arise. Rodents, for example, can create havoc in a site by moving items from one context to another.
Natural disasters like floods can sweep away top layers of sites to other locations. Absolute dating represents the absolute age of the sample before the present.
Historical documents and calendars can be used to find such absolute dates; however, when working in a site without such documents, it is hard for absolute dates to be determined. As long as there is organic material present, radiocarbon dating is a universal dating technique that can be applied anywhere in the world.
It is good for dating for the last 50, years to about years ago and can create chronologies for areas that previously lacked calendars. In , American chemist Willard Libby, who worked on the development of the atomic bomb, published the first set of radiocarbon dates.
His radiocarbon dating technique is the most important development in absolute dating in archaeology and remains the main tool for dating the past 50, years. Carbon has 3 isotopic forms: Carbon, Carbon, and Carbon The numbers refer to the atomic weight, so Carbon has 6 protons and 6 neutrons, Carbon has 6 protons and 7 neutrons, and Carbon has 6 protons and 8 neutrons. The carbon atoms produced are then incorporated into carbon dioxide CO 2 molecules to produce 14 CO 2 molecules which mix with the most common 12 CO 2 molecules in the atmosphere.
The 14 CO 2 enters plant tissue as a result of photosynthesis or absorption through the roots. The amount of 14 C produced in the atmosphere is balanced by the continual nuclear decay radioactive decay of 14 C to produce 14 N and a beta-particle:.
Play the game now! When a plant or animal dies it stops taking in carbon and radioactive decay begins to decrease the amount of carbon in the tissues. The age of the plant or animal specimen containing carbon, such as wood, bones, plant remains, is determined by measuring the ratio of carbon to carbon The half-life of carbon is only years.
Because of this relatively short half-life, carbon can only be used to date specimens up to about 45, years old. After this the amount of carbon present in the sample is too small to be measured precisely. Carbon can not be used to measure the age of very young specimens as the difference between the amount of carbon and carbon will not be sufficient to be detected.
It is known that the radiocarbon content of the atmosphere has varied in the past, so the initial activity of carbon has NOT been a constant. The following variations in carbon activity have been noted:.
In de Vries showed that the carbon activity around and A.
Iamges: safety issues of carbon dating
Second, it has been validated at least back to B. About the Author s:
In de Vries showed that the carbon activity around and A. This article will answer several of the most common creationist attacks on carbon dating, using the question-answer format that has proved so useful to lecturers and debaters. Because of the very short half-life, such incidents are extremely unlikely because in most cases the activity would decay away before sufficient dose accrued to cause a problem.
The final row places the Flood at a point usually between 10, to 30, years ago, and require major gaps in the genealogy of Genesis Carbon - Wikipedia Feb However, as we have seen, it has survived their most ardent attacks. Bristlecone pine calibration disagrees with the Irish oak calibration from B. In certain species of conifers, especially korean celebrity dating news at lower elevations ot in southern latitudes, one season's growth increment may be composed of two or more flushes of growth, each of safey may strongly resemble an annual ring.
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