This article will explain how carbon dating is supposed to work and then show you the serious flaws with this process. It is derived from a transcript of Dr. Hovind’s video, which you can see above. (His videos and materials are not copyrighted.)
Carbon dating was not invented until 1949. When the schools started to teach that the earth is billions of years old, back in 1830, the reasoning was not because of carbon dating. Carbon dating had not even been thought of yet. So why were they teaching that the earth was billions of years old back in the 1800’s? Billions of years are needed to make the evolution theory look good. Without billions of years to hide in, the theory looks absolutely ridiculous.
The geologic column is where it all started. The earth was divided up into layers. Each layer was assigned a name, an age, and an index fossil. The ages were chosen without any scientific reasoning: they were picked out of the clear blue sky! Now any dating technique that comes along, like carbon dating, has to match the geologic column: or it is rejected. This is only because the geologic column has been taught for so long now and is assumed to be true. Just because something has been taught for a long time does not make it true. However, this is the logic most scientists have. They might have to test a sample 5 or 6 times until they get the age that they want. How would you know any of the dates given are right if you are getting a different one every time?
“Radiometric dating would not have been feasible if the geologic column had not been erected first. [i]” They do not date fossils by carbon dating. Fossils are dated by their geological position. And as we mentioned earlier the dates on the geologic column were chosen out of the clear blue sky with no scientific basis. So their entire dating method for dating rocks and fossils is based off of circular reasoning.
The earth’s atmosphere is about 100 miles thick. The atmosphere has very distinctive layers to it. The earth’s atmosphere contains: 78% nitrogen, 21% oxygen, .06% carbon dioxide, and .0000765% radioactive carbon. This radioactive carbon 14 is different from regular carbon. It is produced by radiation striking the atmosphere. In essence, sunlight strikes the atmosphere, slaps the nitrogen around, and turns it into carbon 14. So it all starts by the sunlight striking the atmosphere. About 21 pounds of carbon 14 is produced every year; and that is spread out all over the world.
If you look at a periodic table you will notice that Carbon and Nitrogen are right next to each other. Nitrogen has an atomic weight of 14 and Carbon has an atomic weight of 12. If the sunlight slaps the nitrogen around, like talked about earlier, it will knock a few things off of it and it becomes Carbon 14. It still weighs as much as nitrogen, but it is now considered carbon. It is called radioactive because it is unstable and will eventually break apart. On average half of it will break down every 5,730 years.
While it is Carbon 14 it is floating around in the atmosphere and latches onto oxygen becoming carbon dioxide. During photosynthesis plants breathe in carbon dioxide and make it part of their tissue. Animals eat plants and make it part of their bodies as well. This is how Carbon 14 gets into the living world. It gets produced in the atmosphere from the sun, the plants breathe it in, and the animals eat the plants. We have all either eaten plants or eaten animals that have eaten plants. The plants are breathing in this carbon dioxide and some of the carbon is radioactive. If the atmosphere contains .0000765% radioactive carbon, it is assumed that the plants also have .0000765% radioactive carbon as well. So, you probably have .0000765% carbon 14 in you because you have been eating these plants or eating the animals that have eaten the plants.
When a plant or animal dies it stops taking in carbon 14 and whatever it had starts to decay. It was decaying while it was alive, but now there is nothing coming in to replace it. So what they do is compare the amount of carbon 14 in the fossil to the amount of carbon 14 in the atmosphere. If the fossil only contains half as much carbon 14 as the atmosphere, it is assumed to have been dead for one half-life, or 5,730 years. While it was alive it should have had .0000765% carbon 14. If a fossil only has .00003825% of carbon 14 it has been dead for one half-life. In theory the amount of carbon 14 never goes to zero. However, for practical purposes we cannot measure passed a certain amount. There should be no measurable carbon 14 after about 40,000 – 50,000 years.
“With their short 5,700 year half-life, no carbon 14 atoms should exist in any carbon older than 250,000 years. Yet it has proven impossible to find any natural source of carbon below Pleistocene (Ice Age) strata that does not contain significant amounts of carbon 14, even though such strata are supposed to be millions or billions of years old. Conventional carbon 14 laboratories have been aware of this anomaly since the early 1980’s, have striven to eliminate it, and are unable to account for it. Lately the world’s best such laboratory which has learned during two decades of low-C14 measurements how not to contaminate specimens externally, under contract to creationists, confirmed such observations for coal samples and even for a dozen diamonds, which cannot be contaminated in situ with recent carbon. These constitute very strong evidence that the earth is only thousands, not billions, of years old. [ii]”
Now think for a minute of what this means. The textbooks say that coal formed 250 million years ago. However, when coal is tested it still has carbon 14. How is that possible? If all of the carbon 14 atoms would have disappeared at a maximum of 250,000 years, why would there still be carbon 14 atoms in coal? Obviously it is not 250 million years old. Also diamonds, which they say formed millions and millions of years ago, still have carbon 14 in them. So how do you get carbon 14 in diamonds? Again it is obvious that they are not millions of years old.
The carbon dating assumptions need to be pointed out. The earth’s atmosphere is gaining 21 pounds of carbon 14 every year. It is also losing carbon 14 through decay. The question is how long would it take the atmosphere to reach a stage called equilibrium? The people who invented carbon 14 dating in the 1940’s did a lot of studies on this matter. They wanted to figure out how long it would take the atmosphere to reach a point where the construction rate and the destruction rate of carbon 14 was the same. They determined that it would take about 30,000 years to reach this equilibrium state. They made two bad assumptions after they came up with this calculation. They assumed that the earth was millions of years old and then assumed that they could ignore the equilibrium problem. It has been discovered that the earth has still not reached equilibrium. “Radiocarbon is forming 28-37% faster than it is decaying. [iii]”
Now think about that for a minute. If radiocarbon is still forming faster than it is decaying, that means the earth is less than 30,000 years old. It also means that you cannot carbon date anything! The reason is because you would have to know when the fossil was alive to know how much carbon 14 was in the atmosphere at that time. It simply does not work.
If you find a fossil in the dirt, the amount of carbon 14 can be measured and the rate of decay can be determined. However, that is all that can be determined. It is impossible to know how much carbon 14 was in it at death and it is impossible to know if carbon 14 has always decayed at the same rate.
If the earth had a canopy of water above the atmosphere, or a canopy of ice, that would have blocked out a lot of the radiation from the sun. This would have prevented most of the carbon 14 from even forming. Animals that lived before the flood would have lived in a world with much less carbon 14 to begin with. There may have been none at all, but the amount would certainly be less than what we have today.
“If a C-14 date supports our theories, we put it in the main text. If it does not entirely contradict them, we put it in a footnote. And if it is completely ‘out of date’, we just drop it. [iv]” So does this mean that they simply choose any numbers that they want? That is exactly correct. If the number doesn’t fit what they expected, they throw the number out.
Here are some things to consider about carbon dating. When something of known age is dated: it doesn’t work. When something of unknown age is dated: carbon dating is assumed to work. That is not science!
[i] O’Rourke, J. E., “Pragmatism versus Materialism in Stratigraphy,” American Journal of Science, vol. 276 (January 1976), p. 54
[iii] R.E. Taylor et al., “Major Revisions in the Pleistocene Age Assignments for North American Human Skeletons by C-14 Accelerator Mass Spectrometry,” American Antiquity, Vol. 50, No. 1 1985 pp. 136-140
[iv] T. Save-Soderbergh and I.U. Olsson (Institute of Egyptology and Institute of Physics respectively, Univ. of Uppsala, Sweden), C-14 dating and Egyptian chronology in Radiocarbon Variations and Absolute Chronology”, Proceedings of the twelfth Nobel Symposium, New York 1970, p. 35
(From the Questions and Answers DVD by Dr. Kent Hovind. His materials are not copyrighted)
Immerse yourself in learning about creation science with this 7-DVD Creation seminar from creation authority Dr. Kent Hovind. Uncover the Big Bang theory; trace the biblical and historic references to the co-existence of dinosaurs and people; learn about the dangers of evolution and even sit in on a question-and-answer seminar! You'll find your eyes wide open after 17 hours of listening to Kent Hovind's blend of science and Scripture. Seven DVDs in plastic case.