Monday, December 16, 2019

Why is it so Difficult to Obtain Accurate Dates?” – Part II

Continued from the previous post regarding the fallacy of an ancient Earth and how artifacts found can be dated by archaeologists and paleontologists to be far older than they are, and why the historic dates claimed of development in the Americas is drastically inaccurate.
The age of the Earth and the age of different pre-historic civilizations seems not to be in question among scientists. These ages begin with the anthropologists’ claim that human beings arose in Africa about 200,000 years ago, and reached behavioral modernity (Homo Sapiens, or modern human beings) about 50,000 years ago or around 48,000 B.C. (“Human Ancestors Hall: Homo Sapiens,” Human Origins Initiative, Smithsonian Institution, 15 October 3007). It is also claimed that the peopling of the world began after the Last Glacial Maximum about 8,000 years ago ("The Origin of Modern Human Behavior: Critique of the Models and Their Test Implications," Current Anthropology, University of Chicago Press, Chicago, Vol.44, No.5, 2003, pp627–651), However, there are others who consider this to have been as early as 80,000 year as ago in order to incorporate the South African data (Robert Foley and Marta Lahr, "Mode 3 Technologies and the Evolution of Modern Humans," Cambridge Archaeological Journal, Cambridge University Press,  Vol.7, No.1, 1997, pp3–36).
    Against this background of a very ancient Earth, the Carbon-14 time clock was developed. As mentioned earlier, when the initial dates of the “time clock” against known dates of artifacts showed a very young Earth, Willard Libby and his team, which developed the “clock,” adjusted the settings to agree with the “knowledge” that
“everyone knew the Earth was tens of millions or billions of years old.”

    While we have discussed C-14 dating several times on these pages, it is one of those concepts that is hard for the layman to grasp, especially when it is used by all archaeologists, anthropologists, and almost all historians, writers, and Land of Promise theorists. After all, if something is dated 200 B.C., isn’t that during the Nephite era? And if something is dated 1000 B.C., isn’t that during the Jaredite era? And if something is dated 3000 B.C., isn’t that prior to both the Jaredites and Nephites?
    The answer most people will give you is “yes,” however, that may not necessarily be true, since Carbon-14 dating is based on a few principles that are very, very questionable, and in fact, on many cases, downright erroneous. But if that is the case, then why are these dates used if they are erroneous?
    The answer to that is simple. Because science is driven in today by the “age by evolution,” and evolution is not a proven science and, in fact, often just the opposite.
    But all of this is beside the point—at least for the moment. Let’s take a look at the issue at hand, and that is what exactly is Carbon-14 dating and what is its accuracy?
    First of all, C-14 dating is the measurement of once living and now no-longer living matter, including animals, plants, and trees. Like all living matter, these items absorb Carbon-14 while they are alive, and none when they are no longer living.
Cosmic rays bombard Earth’s atmosphere, creating the unstable isotope carbon-14. Because this isotope can be measured it allows scientists to date biological specimens through Willard Libby’s “time clock”

This occurs because co­smic rays enter the earth's atmosphere in large numbers every day, with each person hit by about half a million cosmic rays every hour. It is not uncommon for a cosmic ray to collide with an atom in the atmosphere, creating a secondary cosmic ray in the form of an energetic neutron, and for these energetic neutrons to collide with nitrogen atoms. When the neutron collides, a nitrogen-14 (seven protons, seven neutrons) atom turns into a carbon-14 atom (six protons, eight neutrons) and a hydrogen atom (one proton, zero neutrons).
    These created carbon-14 atoms when combined with oxygen form carbon dioxide, which plants absorb naturally and incorporate into plant fibers by photosynthesis. Animals and people eat plants and take in carbon-14 as well. The ratio of normal carbon (carbon-12) to carbon-14 in the air and in all living things at any given time is nearly constant.
    At this moment, all our bodies  contain a certain percentage of carbon-14 atoms, as well as all living plants and animals have the same percentage—this is because the Carbon-14 cycle is based on the belief that equilibrium in the atmosphere has been achieved (more about that later).
    In the Carbon-14 cycle, as soon as a living organism dies, it stops taking in new carbon to replace the carbon that evaporates from the system. According to this theory, the ratio of carbon-12 to carbon-14 at the moment of death is the same as every other living thing, but the carbon-14 decays and is not replaced. The carbon-14 decays with its half-life of 5,730 years, while the amount of carbon-12 remains constant in the no longer living system. Then, according to the theory, by looking at the ratio of carbon-12 to carbon-14 in the sample artifact and comparing it to the ratio in a living organism, it is possible to fairly determine the age of a formerly living thing.
A state-of-the-art radiocarbon accelerator mass spectrometer at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, which radiocarbon dating facility provides researchers a high-precision, high throughput Carbon-14 dating capability 

Thus, this radiocarbon dating determines the age of carbonaceous materials up to about 60,000 years old. As mentioned earlier, the technique was developed by Willard Libby and his colleagues in 1949 during his tenure as a professor at the University of Chicago. Libby estimated that the radioactivity of exchangeable carbon-14 would be about 14 disintegrations per minute (dpm) per gram of pure carbon—a gram of carbon containing 1 atom of C-14 per ten C-12 atoms will emit 0.40 beta particles per second (measured by Geiger–Müller tube)—and is still used as the activity of the modern radiocarbon standard. In 1960, Libby was awarded the Nobel Prize in chemistry for this work.
    One of the frequent uses of the technique is to date organic remains from archaeological sites. Plants fix atmospheric carbon during photosynthesis, so the level of C-14 in plants and animals when they die approximately equals the level of C-14 in the atmosphere at that time. However, it decreases thereafter from radioactive decay, allowing the date of death or fixation to be estimated.
    The initial C-14 level for the calculation can either be estimated, or else directly compared with known year-by-year data from tree-ring data up to 10,000 years ago (using overlapping data from live and dead trees in a given area), or else from cave deposits (speleothems—mineral deposit formed in a cave), back to about 45,000 years before the present. A calculation or more accurately a direct comparison of carbon-14 levels in a sample, with tree ring or cave-deposit carbon-14 levels of a known age, gives the plant sample, such as wood, or animal sample, such as bones, and age-since-formation date.
    While the system of measurement can sound quite complex, it is really based upon a simple matter of knowing its half-life and comparing existing criteria to that. As an example, say a dozen candles are purchased, each 12” long and 1” around. In a test of three, you find that the candles all burn at the rate of ¼” per hour, or 1” per four hours. This means the candle will burn continually for 48 hours (4 hours per inch times 12 inches), thus the half-life is 24 hours, meaning if you burn the candle continuously for 24 hours, you will have burned up 6 inches of the candle, leaving 6 inches, or half of the candle remaining).
    Now, suppose one who knows that information encounter out on the trail a candle in a large, empty cave one night that is just like your candles, that has 4” of unburned length left. You can deduce two things. Someone already burned 8” of that candle over a 32-hour period in this cave, and that you have 16 hours left of candle to be burned (16 hours left of light).
    This is loosely how the Carbon-14 dating works. That is, a bone, tree limb, fossil, leaf, etc., are found and the Carbon-14 left in the item is measured. Since the half-life is 5,730 years (plus or minus 30 years), the Carbon-14 can be measured against the Carbon-12 left in the object, and determining that there is 50% carbon remaining, you deduce that the object died 5,730 years ago, plus or minus 30 years (5,700 to 5,760 years ago, or roughly 3700 to 3760 B.C.)
    As an example, if 6.25% C-14 remains, then the object died 22,800 years ago; if 0.24414 remains, the object died 68,400 years ago, etc.
    Now, to show the problem with this simple concept, let’s go back to the candle in the cave. One enter the cave, sees the candle, and likens it to the ones bought in. However, and this is a big however, you have no way of verifying:
1. Whether the candle was twelve inches long when it was first lit;
2. There is no way of knowing if the candle burned continuously;
3.  There is no way of knowing if the candle burned only during certain hours;
4. There is no way to knowing whether or not there were drafts involved which caused it to burn irregularly;
5. There is no way of knowing whether or not there were defects in that particular candle, which made it burn an inch in 3 hours 22 minutes.
    These points are all unanswerable and cannot be known, for there was no one else in the cave to ask, no written record to indicate usage, or whether or not the candle was burned continually until it burned down. Nor can the person who lit and used it be found to ask, inside or outside the cave, and the person who first lit the candle might have died, moved away, or gone on a trip and be unavailable.
    Thus, since the conditions cannot be verified the conditions of the candle, the circumstances in which it burned, nor the conditions or environment of its burning location, whether it burned hotter than normal, or burned consistently throughout, one is left to—guess!
(See the next post, ”Why is it so Difficult to Obtain Accurate Dates?” – Part III,” for more information on the Carbon-14 time clock so widely used, often without a single question in anyone’s mind, yet full of errors that are inherent in the system of dating through Carbo-14 disintegration)


  1. The creation of C14 by cosmic rays is one of the main downfalls of assumed equilibrium. Assuming that cosmic rays have always entered our atmosphere at the same rate doesn't even coincide with the measurements that have been taken over the short period that scientists have been measuring cosmic ray levels. Our shielding is in flux, so cosmic ray entry into the atmosphere is in flux. Our shielding is provided by solar winds (in flux) and Earth's magnetic field (in flux). If either of those were different in the past, like a stronger magnetic field, or a lower or higher level of solar winds, then carbon 14 creation was different in the past, and C14 dating is off. Especially if you go back far enough to cross paths with a catastrophic event. And who is to say that cosmic rays are being produced in the cosmos at a steady rate?

    The best way I heard it explained is that C14 equilibrium assumes that there is exactly as much water being put into the tub as there is going down the drain. But going back even a hundred years, nobody was checking the water levels in the tub, or the inward and outward flows. Equilibrium and C14 dating is based entirely on the assumption of uniformity.

  2. Example of modern cosmic ray measurements, updated this month:

  3. Thanks for your insightful addition Todd. I always appreciate your comments. You are clearly very intelligent. What is your background if you don’t mind me asking?

    1. I study Book of Mormon geography and related fields as a hobby. I love studying catastrophism as related to scripture and as observed in the world around us. I find geology and cosmology fascinating, but mostly as it ties into scriptural accounts and ancient history.

      I feel strongly that there are puzzle pieces laying all around us that come together to reveal a wonderful picture which reveals God's hand in our shared history and our individual lives. I feel like much is hidden in plain sight, only unseen because we are convinced that the world knows more than it really does. We're understandably confused by the philosophies of men, but able to take God at His word.

      But the paycheck I earn has nothing to do with any of those interests. I'm not a physicist or anything like that. Just a regular guy. Haha 😁