Radiocarbon dating and creationists

Posted by / 15-Jul-2017 04:33

Less astute creationists often conflate carbon dating with other forms of radiometric dating, attempting to "disprove" the true age of dinosaur fossils by "refuting" carbon dating.

This is meaningless - paleontologists do not use carbon dating to assess dinosaur fossils; dinosaurs became extinct 66 million years ago, more than a thousand times farther back than carbon dating can be used.

The topic of radiometric dating has received some of the most vicious attacks by young earth creation science theorists.

Carbon dating has a certain margin of error, usually depending on the age and material of the sample used.

A favorite tactic of Young-Earthers involves citing studies which show trace amounts of Indeed, this results from a unique decay mode known as "cluster decay" where a given isotope emits a particle heavier than an alpha particle (radium-226 is an example.) This fact is extremely inconvenient to young-earthers, and creationist literature, accordingly, usually does not mention it.

Carbon-dating Carbon dating, like other radiometric dating methods, requires certain assumptions that cannot be scientifically proved.

Carbon-14 has a half-life of about 5730 years, so researchers use the process to date biological samples up to about 60,000 years in the past.

Beyond that timespan, the amount of the original C formed by irradiation of nitrogen by neutrons from the spontaneous fission of uranium, present in trace quantities almost everywhere.

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