Skip to comments.Do Young C-14 (Carbon-14) Results Reflect Contamination? (article)
Posted on 07/01/2013 10:48:55 AM PDT by fishtank
Do Young C-14 Results Reflect Contamination? by Jake Hebert, Ph.D. *
The presence of carbon-14 (C-14) in specimens that are supposedly millions of years old is a serious problem for believers in an old earth. C-14 is a radioactive variety or isotope of carbon that eventually decays into nitrogen. Because this occurs relatively quickly, no C-14 should be detected in any specimen that is more than about 100,000 years old.1 The fact that C-14 has long been detected in coal, oil, fossilized wood, and natural gas samples is genuinely surprising to those who believe these samples to be millions of years old. By evolutionary reckoning, such samples should be radiocarbon dead.2
Evolutionists were initially able to dismiss these results because of a source of error in the earlier scintillation method of detecting C-14. However, a newer technique, acceleration mass spectrometry (AMS), is not subject to this error.
Yet when secular researchers tested supposedly very ancient organic specimens with the newer AMS method, C-14 was still present! The number of specimens tested with the AMS method is relatively small, as it is considerably more expensive to process samples than with the earlier technique. Nevertheless, scores of instances of anomalous AMS detection of C-14 have been reported in the secular literature, including around 70 within just a 14-year period.3
ICRs RATE4 creation research project confirmed these earlier results: 10 high-quality coal samples obtained from the U.S. Department of Energy were submitted for testing to one of the worlds most reliable radiocarbon laboratories. C-14 was detected in all 10 samples. The RATE researchers even found preliminary evidence of C-14 in diamond, which is supposedly 1 to 3 billion years old!
Naturally, skeptics have tried to dismissed these findings, generally claiming that they are the result of contamination that occurred either during the laboratory procedures used to measure the C-14 or in situ (in the soil or rock where the specimen was originally found).
However, C-14 lab technicians take great pains to reduce or eliminate sources of contamination. They know very well that any contamination may likely ruin the test results, and their frequent cross-checks virtually ensure that they only measure carbon integral to the sample. Also, any C-14 that could inadvertently be introduced to a sample during the measurement process will be negligible compared to the C-14 already present, provided that sufficiently large sample sizes (about 100 mg) are used, which is usually the case.
What about in situ contamination? While in situ contamination can sometimes occur, are we to believe that all the anomalous C-14 detected by the AMS method is the result of contamination? At some point, the contamination excuse begins to wear thin. Furthermore, contamination should not be assumed without good cause to suspect that it has occurredand a test result that simply contradicts long-age dogma does not provide enough scientific reason to make such an assumption!
Skeptics may object that the number of reported instances of anomalous AMS C-14 detection is too small to justify questioning the iconic long-age timescale. We disagree, but we encourage these skeptics to submit additional dinosaur bones, fossilized wood, coal, and diamond for further AMS testing. We are confident that additional testing will only strengthen the case for a biblically consistent age of the earth.
Hebert, J. 2013. Rethinking Carbon-14 Dating: What Does It Really Tell Us about the Age of the Earth? Acts & Facts. 42 (4): 12-14.
Baumgardner, J. 2005. Carbon-14 Evidence for a Recent Global Flood and a Young Earth. In Radioisotopes and the Age of the Earth: Results of a Young-Earth Creationist Research Initiative.
Vardiman, L., A. A. Snelling, and E. F. Chaffin, eds. San Diego, CA: Institute for Creation Research and Chino Valley, AZ: Creation Research Society, 587-630.
Giem, P. 2001. Carbon-14 Content of Fossil Carbon. Origins. 51: 6-30.
Radioisotopes and the Age of the Earth. See www.icr.org/rate.
* Dr. Hebert is Research Associate at the Institute for Creation Research and received his Ph.D. in Physics from the University of Texas at Dallas.
Image from ICR article.
The more science advances, the more secular scientists are forced into Faith.
Not true. It all depends on the original sample size.
What does the age of the earth and the universe have to do with faith? I’m a Christian and I don’t believe the universe is only 10,000 years old.
The real data is not matching the holy scriptures as revealed by the all-seeing, all-knowing prophet Charles in Darwin’s bible.
It turns out that he was a false prophet from the get-go.
Please read the article to start. Comprehension of my statement assumes you have done so. Comprehension of the age of the earth assumes you have studied the scientific discovery’s on same subject.
Allowing yourself to be spoon-fed what you understand makes you a ward of the State in public schools. The state religion is Atheism, I highly doubt that any discoveries along non atheistic lines would have been included in your training to be a subject of the state.
In a nut shell, science as it advances is discovering that the earth is young. This information is as popular as Copernicus proving the earth was not flat, and we as a society are handling it about the same way, with shunning ridicule and hiding facts.
In the end, it will not be suppressed, because Science cannot advance if facts are omitted to protect the faith of the faithless.
In order to hang on to the theories of evolution and all the spurious scientific ideas to prop up that dead horse, men are required to ignore demonstrative fact out of faith.
Exactly the thing they accuse Creationists of.
I repeat, Ironic.
Does the ICR notice any significant difference between 6,000 and 100,000?
Hold that thought, your faith depends on it.
Read the article.
I really like the part about ten year old lava showing an age of 350,000 years by accepted testing methods.
Just a small error rate for such a perfectly identifiable rock. Perhaps if you take a bigger sample? There is a whole mountain top of it after all. NO, Wait, a much smaller sample... Which way do we shift the decimal point to obscure comprehension of the root issue this time?
Anyway, don’t wish to be rude, just using your comment as a soap box. Its a good article, worth the read.
I thik it proves dating methods aren’t 100% reliable. To build any “certainties” around it , to consider anything “irrefutable fact” is not scientific, it is a faith statement.
It gets real old listening to secular experts say something IS unarguable fact, until later they find data that refutes that, and now THAT IS unarguable fact, unitl the next thing that destroys that unarguable fact, is now the latest unarguable fact.
I think what they are stating is that the amounts should be much less than what they are measuring for what they believe the age of the sample really is. Say it is a 100% carbon 14 sample of 100 units at time 0, then there will be 2.91E-9 units of carbon left at time 200550, assuming a half life of 5730 years for C-14.
Doubling the time takes it to 8.47E-20. At a million years it should be 2.09E-51.
At some point it becomes unmeasureable or less than the margin of error itself. Now we can add a couple of 0’s to the number at the beginning and thereby scale the result at the end, but the quantities left aren’t going to be growing significantly greater by any orders of magnitude of significance at the million year point.
Note I’m not stating that 6000+ is the correct number of years. But if any number in a sample is greater than the corresponding ratio above for the size of the sample being looked at then Millions of years doesn’t make sense either.
There are issues with Carbon dating related to the fact that we don’t know the starting point (as you noted) and therefore are making inherent assumptions in what the results mean without knowing the starting point, but few in the establishment want to deal with the math as it goes against their preconceived notions and desired message.
Of course given that C14 comes from N14 as a result of cosmic ray interactions and that these cosmic rays fluctuate over time. We are also adding to the stock of C14 as we go and not just depreciating from the stock of C14 that the earth started with, so now there is another variable to contend with.
In the end we don’t know what C14 amounts should actually look like at any given time in history and it becomes a relativistic measuring tool between samples only. Even then it’s a questionable result should say a supernova have occurred at some point that caused a sudden rise in cosmic ray incidence. Or perhaps the sun cooled resulting in less particle emissions against the heliosheath and thereby more cosmic rays entering the solar system, etc...
....................I really like the part about ten year old lava showing an age of 350,000 years by accepted testing methods...............
As you have exerted from the companion article, stating:
“Second, rocks observed to form on a particular date often show radioisotope age estimates far exceeding their actual ages. For example, when the fresh lava dome at Mount St. Helens was only ten years old, it showed a radioisotope age estimate of 340,000 years!2 Many such examples cast doubt on the entire dating method.3”
Could it be that the lava was spewed onto earth ten years ago, yet had been boiling in a cauldron under the earth for 339,990 years within a mix of molten rock and carbon before the pressure under Mt. St. Helens erupted???
Next look to helium, there is some and there should not be any!
You’re joking, right?
10 high-quality coal samples obtained from the U.S. Department of Energy were submitted for testing to one of the worlds most reliable radiocarbon laboratories. C-14 was detected in all 10 samples.
At what point do you take into account the old dating method is flawed? What if the presence of Carbon-14 is not a standard. Does that mean all samples are skewed to show a massively older date than actually reported? Like somehow the presence of Carbon-14 is not *gasp* always the same in the formation of rocks for dating as has been the stated foundation of Carbon dating since the beginning?
Your example, if correct, destroys carbon dating and disproves the old earth's primary evidence.
Ah, at least the laws of unintended consequences are observable... -grin-
Carbon dating is hardly the primary evidence that Earth is billions of years old.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.