I love visual aids to learning! And from everything I’ve seen around the web, so do most of us. So, when someone alerted me to a new online program to make graphics without having to buy fancy software, I jumped at the opportunity. Well, at least to sign up. But what to use this technique for?
Carbon-14 dating was the first thing to come to mind since understanding what goes on to make it accurate or inaccurate is so important.
Let me know what you think and watch for the link on your favorite social network!
Some time ago I wrote about a temple complex near the mountains of Ararat which everyone agrees is really old. In fact, archaeologists date it to 8,000 BC (or earlier) even though the style is quite ‘advanced.’
Why would they claim this site is so old when they want us to believe people back then were simple, wandering nomads? I discovered it was because of Carbon-14 dating of the charcoal buried among the stones.
Now, the question is, why did the C-14 give a date so old when we know the world hadn’t even been created 10,000 years ago? That question has been niggling at the back of my brain ever since. This past week I ran into enough information to start searching for the answers and you should have seen me shout when I ran into them!
Everyone knows Carbon-14 levels are NOT constant through time
Atmospheric nuclear weapon tests almost doubled the concentration of radioactive 14 C in the Northern Hemisphere, before levels slowly declined following the Partial Test Ban Treaty.
The other day I found out scientists are sure there was some kind of cosmic ray burst back in the late AD 700s. They know because trees living at that time have an “observed excess of carbon-14”. That means, they dated to much younger than we know they really are.
If things can have “too much” C-14, isn’t it possible for differences in the past to cause other things to have “too little” C-14?
Amazingly, I heard to the answer less than an hour after asking the question. I was listening to an interview with the author Dr. John F. Ashton who wrote the book Evolution Impossible. Towards the end of the program, Dr. Ashton mentioned how earth’s magnetic field keeps cosmic rays out which prevents extra C-14 from being produced in the first place.
Of course, I already knew earth’s magnetic field is keeping those rays out, I just didn’t realize these rays made C-14!
Everyone knows Earth’s Magnetic Field is weakening
Diagram of Earth’s magnetic field lines including magnet (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
It was a little hard to find a website willing to admit this without being Creationist, but National Geographic has an article on it. Do they figure out the world can’t have lasted as long as Evolution requires because of this fact? Oh, no, they just say it’s going to slow down and then start up again in the opposite direction (as they claim it’s been doing for billions of years). We’ll see how that one works out.
To find out how fast the magnetic field is fading, I checked out the Institute for Creation Research which specializes in this area. Turns out scientists have observed a drop in the magnetic field of 7% since we started studying it in 1835. ICR’s scientists figure at current rates it loses half its power in just 1,400 years. Even in Jesus’ time it would have been more than twice as strong than it is now. Wow!
Everyone knows Cosmic Radiation forms Carbon-14
I found a simple explanation of this process at an .edu website, but the web page background is really hard to read. Here’s what they say:
Carbon-14 is created from nitrogen-14 in the upper atmosphere of the earth. Radiation from the sun collides with atoms in the atmosphere. These collisions create secondary cosmic rays in the form of energentic neutrons. When these neutrons collide with nitrogen-14 in the atmosphere carbon-14 can be created.
First Solar Radiation Storm of Solar Cycle 24 [HD Video] (Photo credit: NASA Goddard Photo and Video)
The reason C-14 works so nicely to date things is that plants absorb it all the time they’re growing and everything eating plants gets the plants’ C-14 into their tissues.
I just “happened” to run across another Creation Science radio show to listen to while I’m waiting for a new episode of the Creation Today Show. Guess what the first program I listened to talked about: Carbon-14 and those trees with higher levels than normal! Dr. Don Clark explained the C-14 in our bodies today has only been there for about a year or so since we keep cycling it out somehow. Cool!
It isn’t very scientific to assume the level of Carbon-14 in the atmosphere has always been exactly the same as it is today. But, if you make adjustments for a much stronger Magnetic Field, you might just get dates matching the Bible’s. Horrors!
Carbon-14 isn’t the only particle produced by cosmic rays, Beryllium-10 and Chlorine-36 are made in a similar way. The paper I found is horribly long, but you can find out more on pages 33-39 of A Christian Response to Radiometric Dating by Dr Tasman B. Walker PDF
“The rate of creation of carbon-14 appears to be roughly constant, as cross-checks of carbon-14 dating with other dating methods show it gives consistent results. However, local eruptions of volcanoes or other events that give off large amounts of carbon dioxide can reduce local concentrations of carbon-14 and give inaccurate dates.” Academic Kids
To get an idea of how common it is for volcanos to mess with carbon-14, have a look at the map. If you look up what the colors mean, you will find that purple means exposed volcanic rock, orange means volcanic rock, pink means sedimentary over volcanic rock, and the other colors you can’t tell from the picture. That’s a lot of volcanically formed rock!
As for the “other events that give off large amounts of carbon dioxide” have a look at what happened to form Limestone. Awesome, and I would have never connected these things until now!
“To date a sedimentary rock, it is necessary to isolate a few unusual minerals (if present) which formed on the seafloor as the rock was cemented.” Emphasis original. Pamela J. W. Gore Georgia Perimeter College. Well, one thing she mentions in her Radiometric Dating page is accurate!
If you want to study a lot more about Radiometric Dating, have a look at these pages:
David A. Plaisted, professor at U. of North Carolina has two long pages covering why Radiometric Dating isn’t reliable:
The pride of thine heart hath deceived thee, thou that dwellest in the clefts of the rock, whose habitation is high; that saith in his heart, Who shall bring me down to the ground? Obadiah 1:3 (I know, it’s out of context, but doesn’t it fit?)