Carbon dating and reliability
However, the amount of C-14 has not been rising steadily as Cook maintains; instead, it has fluctuated up and down over the past ten thousand years. From radiocarbon dates taken from bristlecone pines.
There are two ways of dating wood from bristlecone pines: one can count rings or one can radiocarbon-date the wood.
Radiocarbon dating can easily establish that humans have been on the earth for over twenty thousand years, at least twice as long as creationists are willing to allow.
Therefore it should come as no surprise that creationists at the Institute for Creation Research (ICR) have been trying desperately to discredit this method for years.
Living organisms are constantly incorporating this C-14 into their bodies along with other carbon isotopes.
When the organisms die, they stop incorporating new C-14, and the old C-14 starts to decay back into N-14 by emitting beta particles.
It is easy to correlate the inner rings of a younger living tree with the outer rings of an older dead tree.
This article will answer several of the most common creationist attacks on carbon-14 dating, using the question-answer format that has proved so useful to lecturers and debaters. Answer: Cosmic rays in the upper atmosphere are constantly converting the isotope nitrogen-14 (N-14) into carbon-14 (C-14 or radiocarbon).
When experts compare the tree-ring dates with the C-14 dates, they find that radiocarbon ages before 1000 BC are really too young—not too old as Cook maintains.
For example, pieces of wood that date at about 6200 BC by tree-ring counts date at only 5400 BC by regular C-14 dating and 3900 BC by Cook's creationist revision of C-14 dating (as we see in the article, "Dating, Relative and Absolute," in the , not too old.
When dating wood there is no such problem because wood gets its carbon straight from the air, complete with a full dose of C-14.
The creationists who quote Kieth and Anderson never tell you this, however.