Friday, November 9, 2012

The Theory and Problems of the Carbon-14 Time Clock – Part I

Since we have been claiming in several posts that the Earth is only about 13,000 years old, and much in these recent posts have to do with the age of the Earth to verify the explanations of the geography mentioned, especially in the rising of the Panamanian Isthmus land bridge connecting North and South America, and in the fact that eastern South America was once under water, this post is dedicated to an explanation of Carbon 14 and the Time Clock used by almost all scientists to determine the age of artifacts, flora and fauna, and settlement sites.
Dr. Willard F. Libby in front of his carbon-14 atomic time clock. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his method of dating the age of fossils, and honored on the cover of Time Magazine
This time clock, invented by Willard F. Libby, of the University of Chicago, is a method of measuring radiocarbon and of dating carbon-14, which is used to determine the age of most archaeological findings.
First of all, radiocarbon forms in the earth's atmosphere as a by-product of cosmic radiation which, upon striking the atmosphere causes transmutations or atom explosions called "stars," and yield neutrons.  The neutrons then disappear by several means, most prominent (64%) of which is by reaction with nitrogen-14 to yield radiocarbon (or carbon-14) and protons. Numerous studies have defined the rate of formation of radiocarbon in the earth as a whole by this process. 
Originally, Libby calculated that carbon-14 took 5,568 years for one-half the original radioactive material to decay—called a half-life. However, recent studies show this figure, though not definitive, to be 5,730 years.
According to this theory, every living thing maintains a stable level of C-14, drawing it from the atmosphere while alive.  Upon the organism's death, the radioactive carbon it contained is no longer replaced and decays at the fixed rate.  Using the newer figure for half-life, if something of antiquity has been tested by the C-14 method, and the radioactivity is found to be radiating at half the rate of a living specimen, then it is estimated that the object is 5,730 years old. To see if this idea worked, Libby decided to take organic material of known age and measure the C-14/C-12 ratio.
The theory is based on the fact that it would take only 30,000 years to build up an equilibrium of carbon-14 in the earth, therefore, Libby’s clock was based on an equilibrium state (if on the other hand, the Earth was less than 30,000 years old, the carbon-14 in the atmosphere would not be equal or in equilibrium). However, during the process of testing, Libby, who expected to find specimens 30,000 years old, found through his own experimentation, that the earth was younger than 30,000 years since his own experiments showed that C-14 was not in equilibrium. That is, the earth was not old enough for the buildup of carbon-14 to reach equilibrium—meaning the Earth was younger than 30,000 years!
That is, he was able to verify that the method worked for up to 3,000 years, but not beyond 5,000. However, denying his own findings, he said “In terms of physical principles of course, a method which works for 3,000 years might extend all the way to 50,000 years.” But then he warned, “However, this is mere conjecture.”
Libby’s entire concept of the clock is based upon many assumptions, one of which is that he assumed the ratio of carbon-14 to carbon-12 has been constant from the beginning. He discounted any changes from the industrial revolution, when it was upset forcibly by the burning of huge masses of coal that released massive quantities of carbon-12 into the air.
For his assumption to be correct, upon which hangs the entire validity of Libby’s time clock and the entire system of carbon-14 measurement in general, the ratio had to remain the same since the specimen being measured first came into being.  The question few ever ask, is why did Dr. Willard F. Libby of the University of Chicago, the brilliant discoverer of this method, assume this?
First of all, the concept of equilibrium regarding carbon-14 in the world is a most crucial point since the basis of the time clock uses this to determine age. Equilibrium means that there is an equality or that things are equal, or evenly balanced. In this sense, we are talking about the amount of carbon-14 forming in the earth as a whole from the bombardment of cosmic ray protons, producing neutrons which in turn bombard nitrogen, which produces the radioactive isotope carbon-14, which then decays by emission of an electron of energy, changing the carbon-14 to nitrogen-14.
At equilibrium with the atmosphere, a gram of carbon shows an activity of about 15 decays per minute. It has been estimated that it would take only about 30,000 years (from the “beginning”) to reach this equilibrium stage where the amount of formation is, and remains, equal to the amount of decay. In this sense, carbon-14 formation appears to be constant, which allows for the measurement of time elapse to be made. Therefore, this equilibrium, or “steady state,” is reached with the formation and decay amounts are equal.
Consequently, if the world’s carbon-14 is in equilibrium, then the earth is over 30,000 years old—if equilibrium has not yet been reached, then the earth is younger than 30,000 years old. To better understand this dilemma, we know that carbon-14 is continually entering the atmosphere (and hence the carbon cycle), and that carbon-14 is continually leaving the system by its decay back to nitrogen-14. The more you have of a radioactive substance, the more there is to decay—that is, as more enters a system, the rate of leaving the system increases, until the amount entering is the same as the amount exiting.
That is, from the moment of switching-on, the carbon-14 level will build up, rapidly at first, then gradually taper off until it reaches the steady state. Libby, along with almost all the scientists of his day, assumed that this steady state had been reached long before, based on their assumption the earth was more than a billion years old, and that carbon-14 would now be entering and leaving the system at the same rate, believing carbon-14 had been in a steady state for millions upon millions of years.
However, in all his measurements, Libby found that carbon-14 was entering the system some twelve per cent (12%) or more faster than it was leaving. This would indicate that the system was less than 30,000 years old, since a steady-state, or equilibrium, had not yet been reached. Yet, unbelievably for a scientist, he chose to call this within experimental error, and continued to maintain the Earth’s carbon-14 was in equilibrium. However, his own experiments still showed that carbon-14 was building up on the Earth, thus proving that the planet was less than 30,000 years old.  A fact he, and almost all other scientists of his day and since, have chosen to deliberately ignore.
How can a serious scientist ignore his own findings and press on with his belief against the reality of his findings? Put in the vernacular, the system is built on a lie!
(See the next post, “The Theory and Problems of the Carbon-14 Time Clock – Part II,” for a continuation of how Libby’s C-14 Time Clock, used by all archaeologists to date the age of their findings, is based upon numerous unprovable and often conflicting assumptions)

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