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SCIENTISTS SPEAK ABOUT RADIOCARBON DATING
Carbon 14 (C-14) dating was considered to be a tremendous breakthrough in science when Willard Libby devised it in 1946. But subsequent investigations have revealed it to be wholly inadequate for accurate dating of ancient materials. This is science vs. evolutionвЂ”a Creation-Evolution Encyclopedia, brought to you by Creation Science Facts.
CONTENTS: Scientists Speak about Radiocarbon Dating
This material is excerpted from the book, DATING OF TIME IN EVOLUTION.
An asterisk ( * ) by a name indicates that person is not known to be a creationist. Of over 4,000 quotations in the books this Encyclopedia is based on, only 164 statements are by creationists.
You will have a better understanding of the following statements by scientists if you will also read the web page, Dating of Time in Evolution and
an article written by Dr. Jonathon Sarfati entitled “How Old is the Earth?” .
HISTORICAL DATES ONLY GO BACK A FEW THOUSAND YEARS
The earliest are 3000 B.C., the authenticated ones go back to 1600 B.C.
“Well authenticated dates are known only back as far as about 1600 B.C. in Egyptian history, according to John G. Read [*J.G. Read, Journal of Near Eastern Studies, Vol, 29, No. 1, 1970]. Thus, the meaning of dates by C-14 prior to 1600 B.C. is still as yet controversial.”вЂ”H.M. Morris, W.W. Boardman, and R.F. Koontz, Science and Creation (1971), p. 85.
“The first shock Dr. Arnold and I had was that our advisors informed us that history extended back only 5,000 years . . You read books and find statements that such and such a society or archaeological site is [said to be] 20,000 years old. We learned rather abruptly that these numbers, these ancient ages, are not known; in fact, it is about the time of the first dynasty in Egypt that the last [earliest] historical date of any real certainty has been established.”вЂ”*W.F. Libby, “Radiocarbon Dating,” in American Scientist, January 1956, p. 107. [Libby was the one who pioneered the discovery of Carbon !4 dating.]
So the evolutionists throw them away.
“It may come as a shock to some, but fewer than 50 percent of the radiocarbon dates from geological and archaeological samples in northeastern North America have been adopted as `acceptable’ by investigators.”вЂ”*J. Ogden III, “The Use and Abuse of Radiocarbon,” in Annals of the New York Academy of Science, Vol. 288, 1977, pp. 167-173.
In the Proceedings of the Symposium on Radiocarbon Variations and Absolute Chronology held at Uppsala in 1969, T. SГ¤ve-SГ¶derbergh and I. U. Olsson introduce their report with these words:
“C-14 dating was being discussed at a symposium on the prehistory of the Nile Valley. A famous American colleague, Professor Brew, briefly summarized a common attitude among archaeologists towards it, as follows: If a C-14 date supports our theories, we put it in the main text. If it does not entirely contradict them, we put it in a footnote. 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. . .”
INNACURATE AS IT IS, C-14 DATING RARELY PRODUCES VERY OLD DATES
In spite of its flaws, it is far more accurate than radiodating.
“At 600 B.C., the C-14 activity level is about:10%. Before this, the atmospheric activity is observed to decrease in such a way that, by about 2000 B.C., it is of the order of +50%. Clearly, the trend for older samples to have progressively lower delta % levels is observed. In other words, the whole picture is now consistent with the non-equilibrium model. Before 2160 B.C., there are no suitable [historically dateable] materials for calibration purposes, and so it is not possible to trace the curve back further in time . .
“Conventional C-14 calibration has the effect of `stretching out’ radiocarbon time and slowing down, for example, the rate of man’s cultural development. By contrast, this revised approach has the effect of `compressing’ radiocarbon time,’ and speeding up the rate of man’s cultural development.”вЂ”Erich A. von Fange, “Time Upside Down,” in Creation Research Society Quarterly, June 1974, p. 22.
“Although it was hailed as the answer to the prehistorian’s prayer when it was first announced, there has been increasing disillusion with the [radiocarbon] method because of the chronological uncertaintiesвЂ”in some cases absurditiesвЂ”that would follow a strict adherence to published C-14 dates . . What bids to become a classic example of `C-14 irresponsibility’ is the 6,000 year spread of 11 determinations for Jarmo, a prehistoric village in northeastern Iraq which, on the basis of all archeological evidence, was not occupied for more than 500 consecutive years.”вЂ”*C.A. Reed, “Animal Domestication in the Prehistoric Near East,” in Science, 130 (1959), p. 1630.
“A survey of the 15,000 radiocarbon dates published through the year 1969 in the publication, Radiocarbon, revealed the following significant facts:
“[a] Of the dates of 9,671 specimens of trees, animals, and man, only 1,146 or about 12 percent have radiocarbon ages greater than 12,530 years.
“[b] Only three of the 15,000 reported ages are listed as `infinite.’
“[c] Some samples of coal, oil, and natural gas, all supposedly many millions of years old have radiocarbon ages of less than 50,000 years.
“[d] Deep ocean deposits supposed to contain remains of most primitive life forms are dated within 40,000 years.
“If the earth and life on earth are really as ancient as the theory of evolution requires, a great proportion of radiocarbon ages should be infinite. This is because, with a half-life of only 5,730 years, initial radiocarbon in a fossil decreases in about ten half-lives to a level too low to be measured.”вЂ”Robert E. Lee, “Radiocarbon: Ages in Error,” in Creation Research Society Quarterly, September 1982, pp. 116-117.
UNFORTUNATELY, RADIOCARBON DATING LENGTHENS DATES TOO FAR INTO THE PAST
But only the scientific community is told that fact.
“There are two basic assumptions in the radiocarbon method. One is that the carbon 14 concentration in the carbon dioxide cycle is constant. The other is that the cosmic ray flux has been essentially constantвЂ”at least on a scale of centuries.”вЂ”*J.L. Kulp, “The Carbon 14 Method of Age Determination,” in Scientific Monthly, November 1952, p. 261.
“Hair from the Chekurovka mammoth that was found in the Lena River delta region of Russia has a radiocarbon age of 26,000 [years] while the radiocarbon age of peat only eighteen inches above the carcass is 5,610. At normal [present] growth rates, between 500-2,000 solar years would be required for the development of an eighteen-inch peat layer.
“Muscle tissue from beneath the scalp of a mummified musk ox found in frozen muck at Fairbanks Creek, Alaska, has a radiocarbon age of 24,000, while the radiocarbon age of hair from a hind limb of the carcass is 17,200. A life span exceeding 7,000 years for a specimen of this species is doubtful.
“In a gravel deposit at the Union Pacific Mammoth Site near Rawlins, Wyoming, a mammoth skeleton was found together with artifacts that indicate the animal was killed by man. Radiocarbon dating of ivory from the center of the tusks establishes the kill date at approximately 11,300 radiocarbon years ago. Wood fragments from the gravel in which the remains were buried have a radiocarbon age of approximately 5,000 years. The bones would not have survived 6,000 solar years of exposure, nor could they be expected to remain in an articulate relationship during erosion and reburial by natural processes.
“A mastodon skeleton, found at Ferguson Farm near Tupperville, Ontario, provided a radiocarbon age of 8,900 for the collagen fraction of bones and a radiocarbon age of 6,200 for high organic-content mud from within the skull cavities. It is unlikely that this skeleton could have survived exposure for 2,700 solar years before emplacement in peat.”вЂ”Robert H. Brown, “Radiocarbon Age Measurements Re-examined,” in Review and Herald, October 28, 1971, pp. 7-8.
ONE PROBLEM IS THAT ATMOSPHERIC CONDITIONS HAVE CHANGED
Radiocarbon in the atmosphere was markedly different prior to 1600 B.C.
“It was found that the activity of radiocarbon in the atmosphere was going up and down even before the Industrial Revolution [when additional smoke began polluting the air].”вЂ”*H. deVries and *H.T. Waterbolk, “Groningen Radiocarbon Dates III,” in Science, December 19, 1958, p. 1551.
“Local variation, especially in [marine] shells, can be highly significant . . The most significant problem is that of biological alteration of materials in the soil. This effect grows more serious with age. To produce an error of 50 percent in the age of a 10,000 year old specimen would require the replacement of more than 25 percent of the carbon atoms. For a 40,000 year old sample, the figure is only 5 percent, while an error of 50,000 years can be produced by about 1 percent of modern material. Much more must be done on chemical purification of samples.”вЂ”*F. Johnson, *J.R. Arnold, and *R.F. Flint, “Radiocarbon Dating,” in Science, February 8, 1957, p. 240.
Only if all the factors producing C-14 in living tissue are unchanged, can past radiodating results be reliable
“An earlier increase in neutrino levels] must have had the peculiar characteristic of resetting all our atomic clocks. This would knock our C-14, potassium-argon, and uranium-lead dating measurements into a cocked hat! The age of prehistoric artifacts, the age of the earth, and that of the universe would be thrown into doubt.”вЂ”*F.B. Jueneman, article in Industrial Research, 14 (1972), p. 15.
“Some geologists question the use of the C-14 method for samples stored under moist conditions. This is a most serious limitation, for who can be sure that a given sample has not been moistened?”вЂ”E.A. von Fange, “Time Upside Down,” in Creation Research Society Quarterly, June 1974, p. 17.
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Forward to the next topic in this series: RADIODATING CONFUSION which briefly summarizes 16 basic reasons why non-historical dating methods are not reliable.
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