“In the last two years an absolute date has been obtained for the Ngandong beds, (above the Trinil beds), and it has the very interesting value of 300,000 years plus or minus 300,000 years.” Birdsell, J.B., Human Evolution (Chicago: Rand McNally, 1975), p. 295
Trust and reliability in dating is as critical in a courtship as it is in the laboratory. Whenever the worldview of evolution is questioned, the topic of carbon dating always comes up. However, as we will determine, all radiometric dating methods are based on assumptions about events that happened in the past. This is called Uniformity of Nature or Induction. Assumptions based on the belief that the future will be like the past. They help to give evolution an appearance of legitimacy and are widely accepted as scientific fact.
But are radiometric dating methods such as Carbon-14 reliable?
Do they prove Evolution Theory and that the earth is billions of years old?
Let’s take a closer look at Carbon-14.
Carbon-14 is a method of radiometric dating that was invented in 1947 by Dr. W. F. Libby. Its intention is to accurately date samples of unknown origin based on the ratio of Carbon-14 in the atmosphere compared to the levels in the plant or animal. Here’s a quick primer on the basics:
Atoms are made up of much smaller particles called protons, neutrons, and electrons. Protons and neutrons make up the center (nucleus) of the atom, and electrons form shells around the nucleus.
The number of protons in the nucleus of an atom determines the element. For example, all carbon atoms have 6 protons, all atoms of nitrogen have 7 protons, and all oxygen atoms have 8 protons. The number of neutrons in the nucleus can vary in any given type of atom. So, a carbon atom might have six neutrons, or seven, or possibly eight, but it would always have six protons. An “isotope” is any of several different forms of an element, each having different numbers of neutrons. The illustration below shows the three isotopes of carbon.
The earth’s atmosphere has six gas layers and is about 100 miles thick. We’re also protected by a magnetic field.
Radiation from the sun and from stars goes right through that magnetic field and hits the atmosphere producing Carbon-14.
- Carbon is radioactive. Normally, Carbon has an atomic number of 6, atomic weight of 12. But Nitrogen which is right next to carbon gets struck by radiation and turns it into Carbon-14.
They have found that Carbon-14 will decay at a consistent rate. About half of it will decay every 5,730 years. Which means if I gave you a pile of Carbon-14, 5,730 years from now, half of it would turn back to Nitrogen, while the rest would still be Carbon-14.
2. During photosynthesis plants breathe in carbon dioxide and make it part of their tissue 6CO2 + 6H2O -> C6H12O6 + 6O2
3. Animals eat the plants and make it part of their body.
Probably during your lifetime, you have eaten plants or you have eaten animals that have eaten plants. Therefore, you probably have radioactive Carbon-14 in you. Theoretically, the amount in you should match the percentage amount in the atmosphere. The plants are always breathing this stuff in, and we’re always eating plants and or animals who have eaten plants, so it should stay in balance.
4. It is assumed that the ratio of radio-active C-14 to normal C-12 in the atmosphere would be the same ratio found in living plants and animals.
For example, if the atmosphere today is .0000756% C-14 it is assumed the plants have the same %. Once an animal dies he stops eating and breathing and begins to decay. Since it is no longer taking in C-14, they check how much C-14 is in the animal and measure against the amount in the atmosphere. If it only has half as much it’s only been dead 5,730 years.
Sounds great–but it doesn’t work.
In theory, the percentage of C-14 never reaches 0. It goes from a 1/2 to a 1/4 to an 1/8 to a 1/16 to a 1/32 to not much else. After 4 or 5 half lives, we can no longer measure it. If it was a reliable dating method, it would only work for dating samples LESS THAN 40,000 years, maximum–not millions or billions of years.
Therefore, since Carbon-14 dating CANNOT date samples older than 40K years old, anyone who tells you that C-14 is used to date the earth is either lying to you or are misinformed.
If an animal is still alive, it should register about 16 clicks per minute on your Geiger counter per gram if the sample is 0 years dead. 8 clicks a minute should mean 5,730 years, 4 clicks should mean 11,460, 2 clicks 17,190, etc.
However, Carbon-14 is built on some very unknown assumptions:
The amount of C-14 in the atmosphere has always been the same–has reached equilibrium.
If I fill a barrel with water that I drilled holes into, I can reach equilibrium since I am filling and leaking at the same time.
If you placed a brand new earth in the atmosphere, it would take 30,000 years to reach equilibrium.
A. There is more C-14 now than there was 10 years ago.
B. The earth’s atmosphere has still not reached equilibrium.
This proves the earth is less than 30,000 years old–which I could have told them from reading my Bible.
That the rate of decay is a constant–has always been the same.
If you find a fossil in the dirt, the amount of C-14 can be measured and the rate of decay can be determined, but that is all. How much C-14 was in the sample at death and whether or not the decay rate has been constant are not provable.
Let’s say that we walked into a room and saw a candle burning and wanted to determine how long has it been burning. How would we begin?
Question: When was it lit?
1. Measure height
We could begin by measuring the height of the candle, but that only tells us how tall the candle is now, not how tall it was when it was initially lit.
2. Measure rate of burn. (ex. 1″ an hour.)
While we can track the current rate of burn, we cannot prove it has always burned at the same rate.
1. How tall was it?
2. Has it always burned at the same rate?
Similarly, we share the same difficult assumptions with Carbon-14 radio-metrics.
The evidence does not support the theory.
- A freshly killed seal was carbon dated as having died 1300 years ago! Antarctic Journal vol. 6 Sept-Oct. 1971 p.211
- Living mollusk shells were dated at 2300 years! Science vol. 141, 1963 p. 634-637
- “One part of the Vollosovitch mammoth carbon dated at 29,500 years old and another part at 44,000.” Troy L. Pewe, Quaternary Stratigraphic Nomenclature in Unglaciated Central Alaska, Geological Survey Professional Paper 862
- “One part of Dima [a baby frozen mammoth] was 40,000, another part was 26,000 and the ‘wood immediately around the carcass’ was 9-10,000.” Troy L. Pewe, Quaternary Stratigraphic Nomenclature in Unglaciated Central Alaska, Geological Survey Professional Paper 862 (U.S. Gov. printing ofice, 1975) p. 30
- “The lower leg of the Fairbanks Creek mammoth had a radiocarbon age of 15,380 RCY (radio carbon years), while its skin and flesh were 21,300 RCY.” Harold E. Anthony, “Natures Deep Freeze,” Natural History, Sept. 1949, p. 300
- “The two Colorado Creek, AK mammoths had radiocarbon ages of 22,850 plus or minus 670 and 16,150 plus or minus 230 years respectively.” Robert M. thorson and R. Dale Guthrie, “Stratigraphy of the Colorado Creek Mammoth Locality, Alaska.” Quaternary Research, Vol. 37, No. 2, March 1992, pp. 214-228
- Living Penguins have been dated as being 8,000 years old!
- Eleven human skeletons, the earliest known human remains in the western hemisphere, have been dated by the accelerator mass spectrometer. All eleven were dated at about 5,000 radiocarbon years or less! Taylor, “major Revisions In The Pleistocene Age Assignments for North American Human Skeletons by C-14 Accelerator Mass Spectrometry”. American Antiquity, Vol. 50, No. 1, 1985, pp. 136-140
- Lava from the 1801 Hawaiian volcano eruption gave a K-Ar date of 1.6 Millions years old. Dalyrmple, G.B., 1969 40Ar/36Ar analysis of historic lava flows. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 6-47, 55.
- Basalt from Mt. Kilauea Iki, Hawaii (AD 1959) gave K-Ar age of 8,500,000 years old. Impact #307, Jan. 1999
- Basalt from Mt. Etna, Siciliy (AD 1972) gave K-Ar age of 350,000 years old. Impact #307, Jan., 1999
- Mt. St. Helen’s New Lava dome growing inside the crater since the 1980 eruption
Ergo, ipso facto:
If you Carbon Date samples of a KNOWN Age, it DOES NOT work.
If you Carbon Date samples of UNKNOWN Age, it is ASSUMED to WORK.
“It is possible (and, given the Flood, probable) that materials which give radiocarbon dates of tens of thousands of radiocarbon years could have true ages of many fewer calendar years.” (Gerald Aardsman, Ph.D., physicist and C-14 dating specialist)