Sunday, November 11, 2012

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

Continuing from the last post, there can be no doubt that these assumptions are what has placed the entire concept of the Radiocarbon time clock in question. 
As long as an organism is alive it will continue to take in C-14; however, when it dies, it will stop. Since C-14 is radioactive (decays into N-14), the amount of C-14 in a dead organism gets less and less over time
Carbon-14 is formed in the atmosphere and is then absorbed by all living things, including all flora and fauna. When the living thing dies, it stops absorbing carbon-14, and what carbon-14 exists in the thing at death begins to decay. This decay rate is precisely known and can be measured. Thus, unfortunately for Dr. Libby's theory, not only is the rate of formation of radiocarbon known (within an uncertainty estimated at 25 percent) but also is its rate of decay.  And this rate of decay is known with even greater precision than the rate of formation.  The "half life" of radiocarbon is 5,730 years. This means that, without further replenishment via cosmic rays, our present radiocarbon inventory would be reduced to half the present value in 5,730 years, to one fourth in 8,595 years, to one eighth in 10,027.5 years, and so forth. Without replenishment it would thus drop to less than one percent in about 40,000 years.  This is precisely what happens in the case of any part of the biosphere that becomes "locked out" of the carbon cycle by death; and it is this condition that permits radiocarbon to be used as a time clock.
As early as 1955, Libby’s own calculations showed that equilibrium had not been reached and, in fact, a buildup of carbon-14 was still taking place in the atmosphere. A prominent scientist in this field, Dr. Melvin Cook, pointed out to Libby that his own calculations actually showed the earth to be roughly 10,000 years old.
That is, since Libby’s calculations showed the earth not only to be under 30,000 years of age, the figures of carbon-14 buildup of 0.78 actually shows the earth to be about one-third of that age. But true to the scientist’s typical colors, Libby rejected the evidence of his own findings showing his hypothesis was wrong, and rejected the observation of that fact by a fellow scientist. In defense of his position, Libby stated in his own book Radio Carbon Dating “The agreement seems to be sufficiently within experimental errors involved, so we have reason for confidence in the theoretical picture set forth.”
There is presently no way to determine what the C14 level was before the flood. At the time of the flood we have the evidence recorded in the fossils that were buried in the flood. Before the flood, all we have is conjecture. The dotted line is an anemic endeavor to illustrate what could have happened before the flood since the production of Carbon 14 in the upper atmosphere could have been much lower before the flood than today
As a scientist, Libby broke from the scientific method ,which requires that when a hypothesis is put to the test, it can be confirmed.  His hypothesis that equilibrium had been reached was shown wrong by his own measurements, yet he rejected that and continued to support his own incorrect hypothesis.
Other scientists and experts in this field have made their own calculations and measurements and come up with ratios as low as 0.64, and the overall best value based on the average of these measurements if 0.71, plus or minus 0.07, which means by all measurements of all scientists involved, the Earth has not reached equilibrium of carbon buildup, thus cannot be as old as 30,000 years of age. In fact, at 0.64, or even 0.71 carbon buildup to loss, the age of the Earth has to be somewhere around 12,000 years old, give or take a thousand years or so.
Though Libby’s own experiments showed that equilibrium in the atmosphere had not yet been reached, he chose to ignore that and claim it had been achieved, thus his time clock is based on erroneous information
Knowledge of the presence of radiocarbon at the beginning of the cycle is essential to using the time clock effective.  To determine the age of any object through the Radiocarbon dating method, one must know how much radiocarbon was present in the biosphere at the time of the death of the specimen.  Since objects being measured are typically believed to be thousands of years old, it would be impossible for anyone to know what amount of radiocarbon existed in the biosphere when the specimen died and the decaying process began.  However, that has not stopped the scientists using the carbon-14 method from making assumptions.
Libby's Crucial Assumption.  As has been pointed out, Libby assumed that the initial radiocarbon content at the time of death of any specimen, regardless of supposed age, would be the same and that this amount would be the same as found in the living biosphere today.  Yet, this is not correct.  Instead, for a specimen that has been dead for any appreciable length of time, the initial radiocarbon content seems to have been less than in the living biosphere today because, at an observed rate of formation greater than the rate of decay, radiocarbon would still be building up in the earth as a whole.
Putting it another way, suppose you were in an isolated area where no one else was located and you ran across a very large candle burning brightly. Taking precise measurements, you could determine its rate of burn and loss of mass. But how could you determine how long it had been burning since you have no way of knowing what size the candle was when it was first lit—nor do you know that it has always burned at this same brightness, thus exhausting the same level of wax as at present. While this analogy is flawed, it suggests a similar problem with trying to determine the amount of carbon that existed at some previous point in time, hundreds or thousands of years earlier. Nor what atmospheric problems might have occurred during those millennia. To further complicate the problem, two enormous events occurred in the past 12,000 years or so—the first was the creation, and the second was the cataclysmic Flood of Noah’s time. In addition, there was the industrial revolution which poured burned coal into the atmosphere in unprecedented amounts, and for future measurements, the nuclear testing and blasts of the mid-Twentieth Century will have an enormous impact on the amount of radiocarbon in the atmosphere for those decades, especially in the northern hemisphere.
Then, too, immediately after formation in the atmosphere radiocarbon oxidizes to carbon dioxide and then distributes itself throughout the atmosphere, "hydrosphere" (oceans) and "biosphere" (plants and animals) in the form of carbon dioxide and products of reaction of carbon dioxide with water, magnesium oxide (to form dolomite), calcium oxide (to form limestone), and other chemicals.  The distribution throughout the various phases of the "carbon cycle" is well known. The ratio of carbon-14/carbon-12, for example, is nearly 5% lower in the biosphere than in the atmosphere owing to the influence of membrane diffusion because carbon enters the biosphere from the atmosphere through assimilation by plants.  This ratio averages still lower in the hydrosphere because there is a finite circulation lag in the oceans permitting the average carbon-14/carbon-12 ratio in the oceans to drop appreciably below that in the atmosphere.
Measuring Decay.  The rate of formation is 47 (+25) percent greater than the rate of decay based on the most accurate and recent analysis. The work of Hess, Canfield, and Lingenfelter, together with the effective carbon inventory, permit one to determine the true equilibrium value which turns out to be 21.3 radiocarbon decay counts per gram of ordinary carbon per minute.  On the other hand, extensive measurements of the actual concentration by many investigators have shown that it is less than 14.5 counts per gram per minute—Dr. Libby used a value of 15.3 counts per gram per minute, which has since had to be reduced to the lower value by the more extensive and accurate studies.  The latest determination is that of Suess which is only 13.5 counts per gram.
Radiocarbon Balance.  If Dr. Libby's equilibrium theory was correct, the ratio would provide unity—that is, the rate of formation would be the same as the rate of decay; however, the ratio of the rate of decay to the rate of formation is only about 0.68 or (14.5 instead of 21.3).  This difference is so great, it cannot be attributed to experimental error.  Therefore, it can be seen that radiocarbon is out of balance in the earth. Yet, Dr. Libby himself claimed it would take only 30,000 years for radiocarbon to come effectively into balance even all the way from the state of a perfectly clean or radiocarbon-free earth. This interesting and pertinent fact carries the powerful implication that the whole atmosphere of the earth is younger than 30,000 years.  And when taking the observed value of 0.68, the age of the Earth is as young as 12,500 years!
One would think, since this information is easily obtained by scientists, that someone, somewhere, would raise a hand and challenge this carbon-14 dating method since it is used so much to determine so many important dates of antiquity. The fact that no one has or does is a sad commentary on the field of science as a whole.
One thing, however, is inescapable! The Earth is somewhere around 13,000 years old—not 4.55 billion, and matches, even through an accurate use of Carbon-14 testing, to agree with the age of the Earth according to the scriptural record.


  1. Those who know little about science should not profess to. The evidence for evolution is so overwhelming that only the ignorant can deny it. I agree that God created the earth, the solar system, and the entire universe. He made it. A baker makes a cake. But does that mean that he placed each and every particle of the cake exactly as they are found in the finished product? Of course not! The baker understands how to put the right ingredients together in the right proportions and under the right circumstances to get what he wants. Likewise, God know what ingredients (elements) to mix together in what proportions, at what place and time and under what conditions (laws of physics and chemistry) in order to create the universe and the world in which we live. The evidence is as vast as the evidence cited by Alma to Korihor (Alma 30:44).

  2. Might I suggest you read my book, "Scientific Fallacies & Other Myths," or the numerous writings of very serious scientists who disagree with evolution, of which there are many.