magazine has been continuously published since 1978, we are publishing some of the articles from the archives for historical interest, such as this.For teaching and sharing purposes, readers are advised to supplement these historic articles with more up-to-date ones suggested in the Related Articles and Further Reading below.Carbon-14 is a radioactive isotope formed in the upper atmosphere.It is constantly being produced by a system in which cosmic rays from the sun hit atoms, releasing neutrons. Carbon-14 becomes a part of the mostly homogenous mixture of air in the atmosphere.
Carbon has unique properties that are essential for life on Earth.
Despite this, the momentum gained in the two decades prior to 1972 has made 4.5 b.y.
a popularly accepted “universal constant” even though the foundations on which it was based have been virtually removed.
Since then, the technique has been widely used and continually improved.
This paper will focus on how the radiocarbon dating method works, how it is used by scientists, and how creationists have interpreted the results.
Since 1955 the estimate for the age of the Earth has been based on the assumption that certain meteorite lead isotope ratios are equivalent to the primordial lead isotope ratios on Earth.
In 1972 this assumption was shown to be highly questionable.
Clearly, such huge time periods cannot be fitted into the Bible without compromising what the Bible says about the goodness of God and the origin of sin, death and suffering—the reason Jesus came into the world (See Six Days? He said, This only makes sense with a time-line beginning with the creation week thousands of years ago.
It makes no sense at all if man appeared at the end of billions of years.
Theoretically, radiocarbon techniques have the ability to date samples to around 75,000 years, but the working threshold of reliable dating is around 50,000 years.
Samples significantly older than this have very little or even no measurable C left.