The Carbon 14 Dating Method

Creation Evidence

If you have paid any attention to earth dating methods, you have surely heard of carbon 14 dating, also called radiocarbon dating. It is a method of dating any object that was once alive for, if alive, it ingested carbon 14 during its life. Let me explain.

What Is Carbon 14?

Normally carbon has an atomic weight of 12. If more than this, it is radioactive and tends to decay, losing particles until it becomes stable carbon 12. Carbon 14 is formed largely in the atmosphere when radiation from space strikes nitrogen 14 atoms in the atmosphere, making them into radioactive carbon 14. This carbon 14 then combines with oxygen to make radioactive carbon dioxide. About 21 pounds of carbon 14 is formed in the atmosphere each year.

You and I and all plants and animals alive are constantly taking in this carbon 14 while we are alive. But once something dies, it stops taking in radioactive carbon 14 and the present supply deteriorates. We know that the rate at which carbon 14 decays to become carbon 12 is half every 5,730 years. So, for example, if something that was once alive now contains half as much carbon 14 as living things do today, we can assume that it is 5,730 years old, right?

Why Is Carbon 14 Dating Difficult to Predict Age?

It’s not that simple. First, this assumes that when this thing was alive, the amount of radioactive carbon was the same as it is today. In fact, we don’t know what was the quantity of carbon 14 in the specimen when it died. We can only conjecture. Second, a catastrophe like the flood would have buried all vegetation, leaving a small quantity of carbon 12 compared with carbon 14. This would give the appearance of age as well. Third, this method assumes that the rate at which carbon 14 has formed in the atmosphere has always been constant. In fact, we know that the percent of carbon 14 to carbon 12 in the atmosphere is actually increasing at a steady rate. This would give an ancient specimen the appearance of age it didn’t have. Other problems also exist. To be truthful, only specimens younger than 3,500 years can be dated accurately with this method.

But, for the sake of argument, let’s assume as many scientists do, that carbon 14 dating is accurate as stated. Since the half-life is only 5,730 years, then by the 7th half-life or 45,840 years, only 0.8% of the original carbon 14 would be left. Beyond this, it is immeasurably small. Therefore, this would mean to evolutionists that most of the samples of once-living material tested would not have any evidence of carbon 14 present because most would be too old to measure, right?

The Problem for Evolutionists

The fact is, every substance once living still shows the presence of carbon 14 in it. This includes cave writing paint, bones, coal, you name it. This is a major problem for evolutionists! Why? Because for random accidents to account for the complexity of life we see today, huge amounts of time are required. In truth, carbon 14 dating supports the young earth hypothesis taught by Creationists.

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