The problem with carbon dating
But in the catastrophe of the Deluge, which I ascribe to Saturn exploding as a nova, the cosmic rays must have been very abundant to cause massive mutations among all species of life, and correspondingly, these cosmic rays must have also changed the radiocarbon clock and certainly made ensuing life, subjected today to radiocarbon tests, appear much more recent than historically true.
I am not in a position to point to the century or even millennium when the Universal Deluge took place, but it must have happened between five and ten thousand years ago, probably closer to the second figure. The Deluge also increased the water basin or hydrosphere on earth, and if we can believe some indications, the Atlantic Ocean called the Sea of Cronus by the ancients originated in part during the Deluge.
It is quite possible that the volume of water was more than doubled on earth in this one cataclysm. Thus both conditions stipulated by Libby that is, constant rate of influx of cosmic rays, and constant quantity of water in the hydrosphere have been violated, but following the uniformitarian doctrine these violations have been discarded from consideration. We are left with a method in which the researchers have failed to take heed of the warnings expressed by its inventor.
The sustained effort of radiocarbon researchers to find support in Egyptian chronology, and their reliance on that chronology, is fundamentally a mistake. As I tried to show in Ages in Chaos, the Egyptian chronology is basically wrong. I drew the attention of Libby to this fact in my letter of October 7,and I sent him a copy of Ages in Chaos; his answer was that he is not at all learned in ancient history; thus he continued to rely on what is unreliable.
Here I shall give a few figures to visualize the extent of the errors in the Egyptian chronology: The end of the Middle Kingdom of Egypt, in accepted chronology, actually took place ca. The following Hyksos period endured, not years, but over years in close agreement with the old Egyptian Manetho and Hebrew Ages in Chaos, I, Ch.
The beginning of the 18th Dynasty New Kingdom falls not in but in ca. Thutmose III belongs to the second part of the tenth century, not to the first part of the fifteenth. Akhnaton belongs not in the first half of the fourteenth but in the middle of the ninth century. Thus, as I showed in detail in vol. I of Ages in Chaos, there exists an error of ca.
Even more important is that the dynasty of Seti the Great and Ramses II, termed the Nineteenth Dynasty, did not follow the Eighteenth; the Libyan Dynasties 22nd to ,23rd and the Ethiopian Dynasties 24th to 25th periods intervened. The Libyan Dynasty of Sosenks and Osorkons reigned for years only, instead of over ; the Ethiopian Dynasty, however, is the only one that in the conventionally written history of Egypt, maintains its proper place.
During the Nineteenth Dynasty the error of the accepted Egyptian chronology reached the high figure of over years; and together with it the time of the contemporaneous rulers of the so-called Hittite Empire is equally misplaced by over years.
I take this opportunity to give these figures because, instead of a second volume of Ages in Chaos that should have followed closely the first that appeared inthe entire work will consist of five presently planned volumes.
Now if the historical basis of radiocarbon studies fails so completely, many conclusions drawn and much data left unpublished require reconsideration. From some correspondence that originated at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, I have concluded that when Libby first asked for specimens, he received not only those dating from the Old and Middle Kingdoms, but also from the New Kingdom-but nothing ever was published of those early tries on New Kingdom specimens.
The Pitfalls of Radiocarbon Dating. Offering in his new radiocarbon method for calculating the age of organic material (the time interval since the plant or the animal died), W. F. Libby clearly saw the limitations of the method and the conditions under which his theoretical figures would be valid: A. Although three radiocarbon dating tests performed in provided conclusive evidence of a date of to for the shroud, some researchers have challenged the dating based on various theories, including the provenance of the samples used for testing, biological or chemical contamination, incorrect assessment of carbon dating data, as. We will deal with carbon dating first and then with the other dating methods. How the carbon clock works. Carbon has unique properties that are essential for life on Earth. Familiar to us as the black substance in charred wood, as diamonds, and the graphite in "lead" pencils, carbon comes in several forms, or .
A similar situation concerns more recently tested short-living organic material from the tomb of Tutankhamen. After many efforts from to to have the New Kingdom of Egypt tested in a systematic way I succeeded in having three little pieces of wood from the tomb of Tutankhamen handed over by the Laboratory Director of the Cairo Museum to Mrs.
Ilse Fuhr of Munich, who was directed by me to send them to Dr. Elizabeth Ralph of the University of Pennsylvania Laboratory. Two of the pieces were from the comparatively short-lived thorn plant, Spina Christi, and one from the long-living Cedar of Lebanon.
The three small pieces were processed together, since a test requires ca. Now the accepted chronology has Tutankhamen dying in ; my reconstruction has him entombed in ca. According to Dr. Iskander Hanna of the Cairo Museum, the wood was from 30 to 50 years dried before being used for funerary equipment. The Lebanon Cedar would not have been cut as sapling-the tree reaches thousands of years of age. The sample could have been from inner rings of a trunk. The question was resolved by the study of tree rings :    comparison of overlapping series of tree rings allowed the construction of a continuous sequence of tree-ring data that spanned 8, years.
Coal and oil began to be burned in large quantities during the 19th century. Dating an object from the early 20th century hence gives an apparent date older than the true date.
For the same reason, 14 C concentrations in the neighbourhood of large cities are lower than the atmospheric average. This fossil fuel effect also known as the Suess effect, after Hans Suess, who first reported it in would only amount to a reduction of 0.Creation v. Evolution: How Carbon Dating Works
A much larger effect comes from above-ground nuclear testing, which released large numbers of neutrons and created 14 C. From about untilwhen atmospheric nuclear testing was banned, it is estimated that several tonnes of 14 C were created. The level has since dropped, as this bomb pulse or "bomb carbon" as it is sometimes called percolates into the rest of the reservoir.
Photosynthesis is the primary process by which carbon moves from the atmosphere into living things. In photosynthetic pathways 12 C is absorbed slightly more easily than 13 Cwhich in turn is more easily absorbed than 14 C.
This effect is known as isotopic fractionation. At higher temperatures, CO 2 has poor solubility in water, which means there is less CO 2 available for the photosynthetic reactions.
Jun 05, Radiocarbon dating is a key tool archaeologists use to determine the age of plants and objects made with organic material. But new research shows . Radiocarbon dating, which is also known as carbon dating, is one widely used radiometric dating scheme to determine dates of ancient artifacts. In discussions of the age of the Earth and the antiquity of the human race, creationists often assail perceived weaknesses in radiocarbon dating. How Creationists Misrepresent the Carbon Dating Method By Dr. Robert Holloway home. In the continuing disagreement between religious fundamentalists and mainstream science, the subject of various dating methods is often discussed.
The enrichment of bone 13 C also implies that excreted material is depleted in 13 C relative to the diet. The carbon exchange between atmospheric CO 2 and carbonate at the ocean surface is also subject to fractionation, with 14 C in the atmosphere more likely than 12 C to dissolve in the ocean.
This increase in 14 C concentration almost exactly cancels out the decrease caused by the upwelling of water containing old, and hence 14 C depleted, carbon from the deep ocean, so that direct measurements of 14 C radiation are similar to measurements for the rest of the biosphere.
Correcting for isotopic fractionation, as is done for all radiocarbon dates to allow comparison between results from different parts of the biosphere, gives an apparent age of about years for ocean surface water. The CO 2 in the atmosphere transfers to the ocean by dissolving in the surface water as carbonate and bicarbonate ions; at the same time the carbonate ions in the water are returning to the air as CO 2.
The deepest parts of the ocean mix very slowly with the surface waters, and the mixing is uneven. The main mechanism that brings deep water to the surface is upwelling, which is more common in regions closer to the equator.
Critique of Kenyon's research Kenyon died in without living to see the final publication of her excavation of the tell. Her conclusions were reported only in a popular book published the year before she completed her fieldwork, in a series of preliminary reports and in scattered articles. Carbon dating of the end of Jericho City IV. Radiocarbon Dating: Its Limitations and Usefulness "Combining the effects of these two trees, we see a site that was actually occupied for years (from to BCE) appearing - using conventional radiocarbon dating - to have been occupied for 30, years (from 40, to 9, BCE).". Apr 12, THEY KEPT THIS HIDDEN | This Is What Archaeologists Don't Want You To Know | Graham Hancock - Duration: Inspire Discipline , views.
Upwelling is also influenced by factors such as the topography of the local ocean bottom and coastlines, the climate, and wind patterns. Overall, the mixing of deep and surface waters takes far longer than the mixing of atmospheric CO 2 with the surface waters, and as a result water from some deep ocean areas has an apparent radiocarbon age of several thousand years.
Upwelling mixes this "old" water with the surface water, giving the surface water an apparent age of about several hundred years after correcting for fractionation.
The northern and southern hemispheres have atmospheric circulation systems that are sufficiently independent of each other that there is a noticeable time lag in mixing between the two. Since the surface ocean is depleted in 14 C because of the marine effect, 14 C is removed from the southern atmosphere more quickly than in the north. For example, rivers that pass over limestonewhich is mostly composed of calcium carbonatewill acquire carbonate ions.
Critique of carbon dating
Similarly, groundwater can contain carbon derived from the rocks through which it has passed. Volcanic eruptions eject large amounts of carbon into the air.
Dormant volcanoes can also emit aged carbon. Any addition of carbon to a sample of a different age will cause the measured date to be inaccurate. Contamination with modern carbon causes a sample to appear to be younger than it really is: the effect is greater for older samples. Samples for dating need to be converted into a form suitable for measuring the 14 C content; this can mean conversion to gaseous, liquid, or solid form, depending on the measurement technique to be used.
Before this can be done, the sample must be treated to remove any contamination and any unwanted constituents. Particularly for older samples, it may be useful to enrich the amount of 14 C in the sample before testing. This can be done with a thermal diffusion column. Once contamination has been removed, samples must be converted to a form suitable for the measuring technology to be used. For accelerator mass spectrometrysolid graphite targets are the most common, although gaseous CO 2 can also be used.
The quantity of material needed for testing depends on the sample type and the technology being used. There are two types of testing technology: detectors that record radioactivity, known as beta counters, and accelerator mass spectrometers.
Other factors affecting carbon dating
For beta counters, a sample weighing at least 10 grams 0. For decades after Libby performed the first radiocarbon dating experiments, the only way to measure the 14 C in a sample was to detect the radioactive decay of individual carbon atoms. Libby's first detector was a Geiger counter of his own design. He converted the carbon in his sample to lamp black soot and coated the inner surface of a cylinder with it.
This cylinder was inserted into the counter in such a way that the counting wire was inside the sample cylinder, in order that there should be no material between the sample and the wire. Libby's method was soon superseded by gas proportional counterswhich were less affected by bomb carbon the additional 14 C created by nuclear weapons testing. These counters record bursts of ionization caused by the beta particles emitted by the decaying 14 C atoms; the bursts are proportional to the energy of the particle, so other sources of ionization, such as background radiation, can be identified and ignored.
The counters are surrounded by lead or steel shielding, to eliminate background radiation and to reduce the incidence of cosmic rays. In addition, anticoincidence detectors are used; these record events outside the counter, and any event recorded simultaneously both inside and outside the counter is regarded as an extraneous event and ignored.
The other common technology used for measuring 14 C activity is liquid scintillation counting, which was invented inbut which had to wait until the early s, when efficient methods of benzene synthesis were developed, to become competitive with gas counting; after liquid counters became the more common technology choice for newly constructed dating laboratories. The counters work by detecting flashes of light caused by the beta particles emitted by 14 C as they interact with a fluorescing agent added to the benzene.
Like gas counters, liquid scintillation counters require shielding and anticoincidence counters. For both the gas proportional counter and liquid scintillation counter, what is measured is the number of beta particles detected in a given time period. This provides a value for the background radiation, which must be subtracted from the measured activity of the sample being dated to get the activity attributable solely to that sample's 14 C.
In addition, a sample with a standard activity is measured, to provide a baseline for comparison.
The ions are accelerated and passed through a stripper, which removes several electrons so that the ions emerge with a positive charge. A particle detector then records the number of ions detected in the 14 C stream, but since the volume of 12 C and 13 Cneeded for calibration is too great for individual ion detection, counts are determined by measuring the electric current created in a Faraday cup.
Any 14 C signal from the machine background blank is likely to be caused either by beams of ions that have not followed the expected path inside the detector, or by carbon hydrides such as 12 CH 2 or 13 CH.
A 14 C signal from the process blank measures the amount of contamination introduced during the preparation of the sample. These measurements are used in the subsequent calculation of the age of the sample. The calculations to be performed on the measurements taken depend on the technology used, since beta counters measure the sample's radioactivity whereas AMS determines the ratio of the three different carbon isotopes in the sample. To determine the age of a sample whose activity has been measured by beta counting, the ratio of its activity to the activity of the standard must be found.
To determine this, a blank sample of old, or dead, carbon is measured, and a sample of known activity is measured. The additional samples allow errors such as background radiation and systematic errors in the laboratory setup to be detected and corrected for.
The results from AMS testing are in the form of ratios of 12 C13 Cand 14 Cwhich are used to calculate Fm, the "fraction modern". Both beta counting and AMS results have to be corrected for fractionation. The calculation uses 8, the mean-life derived from Libby's half-life of 5, years, not 8, the mean-life derived from the more accurate modern value of 5, years.
Libby's value for the half-life is used to maintain consistency with early radiocarbon testing results; calibration curves include a correction for this, so the accuracy of final reported calendar ages is assured. The reliability of the results can be improved by lengthening the testing time. Radiocarbon dating is generally limited to dating samples no more than 50, years old, as samples older than that have insufficient 14 C to be measurable.
Older dates have been obtained by using special sample preparation techniques, large samples, and very long measurement times. These techniques can allow measurement of dates up to 60, and in some cases up to 75, years before the present.
This was demonstrated in by an experiment run by the British Museum radiocarbon laboratory, in which weekly measurements were taken on the same sample for six months. The measurements included one with a range from about to about years ago, and another with a range from about to about Errors in procedure can also lead to errors in the results.
The calculations given above produce dates in radiocarbon years: i. To produce a curve that can be used to relate calendar years to radiocarbon years, a sequence of securely dated samples is needed which can be tested to determine their radiocarbon age. The study of tree rings led to the first such sequence: individual pieces of wood show characteristic sequences of rings that vary in thickness because of environmental factors such as the amount of rainfall in a given year.
These factors affect all trees in an area, so examining tree-ring sequences from old wood allows the identification of overlapping sequences. In this way, an uninterrupted sequence of tree rings can be extended far into the past. The first such published sequence, based on bristlecone pine tree rings, was created by Wesley Ferguson.
Suess said he drew the line showing the wiggles by "cosmic schwung ", by which he meant that the variations were caused by extraterrestrial forces. It was unclear for some time whether the wiggles were real or not, but they are now well-established. A calibration curve is used by taking the radiocarbon date reported by a laboratory, and reading across from that date on the vertical axis of the graph.
The Pitfalls of Radiocarbon Dating
The point where this horizontal line intersects the curve will give the calendar age of the sample on the horizontal axis. This is the reverse of the way the curve is constructed: a point on the graph is derived from a sample of known age, such as a tree ring; when it is tested, the resulting radiocarbon age gives a data point for the graph.
Over the next thirty years many calibration curves were published using a variety of methods and statistical approaches. The improvements to these curves are based on new data gathered from tree rings, varvescoralplant macrofossilsspeleothemsand foraminifera.
The INTCAL13 data includes separate curves for the northern and southern hemispheres, as they differ systematically because of the hemisphere effect. The southern curve SHCAL13 is based on independent data where possible, and derived from the northern curve by adding the average offset for the southern hemisphere where no direct data was available.
He is obviously an intelligent man and according to his writing, he has a masters degree in science. Why is his writing on this subject so substandard? Although my opinion is only a guess, let me suggest some reasons. The first reason may be that because of his religious beliefs, he relied too heavily on previous creationist authors who, in many cases, are not competent scientists. I have previously noted that 6 out of 11 of his references are creationist references. Another reason is the natural tendency of anyone to avoid looking at information that conflicts with strongly held beliefs.
Creationists are not the only ones who have this characteristic, but they seem more prone to this failure than most people. They assume, often without good evidence, that authors who agree with them are more likely to be accurate than those of mainstream science. In my experience, this is a risky assumption, since creationist writers are often mistaken in their claims. Creationists often incorrectly claim that thermodynamics is a problem for evolution.
For a discussion of that topic, see our web page on thermodynamics. The following link discusses the way in which Bert Thompson and Apologetics Press discuss Carboniferous Footprints For a demonstration of how "quote-mining" works in creationist circles, see the following link on evolution of a creationist quote. If you wish to write to the author of this page, send your email to: holloway3 aol.