To preserve these articles as they originally appeared, The Times does not alter, edit or update them. Occasionally the digitization process introduces transcription errors or other problems. Since , scientists have reckoned the ages of many old objects by measuring the amounts of radioactive carbon they contain. New research shows, however, that some estimates based on carbon may have erred by thousands of years.
Is Carbon Dating Reliable?
How Carbon Is Used To Date Artifacts
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ERRORS ARE FEARED IN CARBON DATING
By Griffon , December 29, in Physics. I've been poking about on the internet again as you do and found a whole load of stuff by creationists about the problems with carbon 14 radiometric dating. Specifically they report with some glee that coal has been found to contain measurable amounts of carbon14 which it should not of course because it is about million years old and dates from the carboniferous period. C14 has a half life of years and is only good to date objects to 50, years or so. Although I can find any number of references to this seemingly vital finding on the creationist sites, I can find almost no attempt to refute or explain this anomaly on serious science sites.
To know if carbon dating is accurate, we would have to know how much carbon was in the atmosphere in the beginning, and also how long it has been increasing, or decreasing. Since no one was there, no one knows for sure. It's like trying to figure out how long a candle has been burning, without knowing the rate at which it burns, or its original size.