Carbon dating fact or ficyion

29-Jul-2016 05:14

Carbon dating is used to work out the age of organic material — in effect, any living thing.The technique hinges on carbon-14, a radioactive isotope of the element that, unlike other more stable forms of carbon, decays away at a steady rate.Carbon-14 has a half-life of 5,730 ± 40 years— during the succeeding 5,730 years.Because carbon-14 decays at this constant rate, an estimate of the date at which an organism died can be made by measuring the amount of its residual radiocarbon.

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Radiocarbon dating can easily establish that humans have been on the earth for over twenty thousand years, at least twice as long as creationists are willing to allow.But that assumes that the amount of carbon-14 in the atmosphere was constant — any variation would speed up or slow down the clock.The clock was initially calibrated by dating objects of known age such as Egyptian mummies and bread from Pompeii; work that won Willard Libby the 1960 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. Radiocarbon decays slowly in a living organism, and the amount lost is continually replenished as long as the organism takes in air or food.Once the organism dies, however, it ceases to absorb carbon-14, so that the amount of the radiocarbon in its tissues steadily decreases.

Radiocarbon dating can easily establish that humans have been on the earth for over twenty thousand years, at least twice as long as creationists are willing to allow.

But that assumes that the amount of carbon-14 in the atmosphere was constant — any variation would speed up or slow down the clock.

The clock was initially calibrated by dating objects of known age such as Egyptian mummies and bread from Pompeii; work that won Willard Libby the 1960 Nobel Prize in Chemistry.

Radiocarbon decays slowly in a living organism, and the amount lost is continually replenished as long as the organism takes in air or food.

Once the organism dies, however, it ceases to absorb carbon-14, so that the amount of the radiocarbon in its tissues steadily decreases.

In the course of constructing his now-crumbling creationist empire, Ham has created an alternate reality in which humans hunted dinosaurs to extinction a few thousand years ago after peacefully using them for transport and companionship.