- AD Blog
- Contact Us
Is Carbon-Dating Accurate?
Publish date: Feb 19, 2009
Summary: Radiometric dating is a technique used to date materials using known decay rates. Are radiometric dating methods accurate?
|Share with others:||
How accurate are carbon-dating methods? All methods of radioactive dating rely on three assumptions that may not necessarily be true:
1. Rate of Decay
It is assumed that the rate of decay has remained constant over time. This assumption is backed by numerous scientific studies and is relatively sound. However, conditions may have been different in the past and could have influenced the rate of decay or formation of radioactive elements.
Evolutionists assume that the rate of cosmic bombardment of the atmosphere has always remained constant and that the rate of decay has remained constant. Scientists place great faith in this dating method, and yet more than 50% of radiocarbon dates from geological and archaeological samples of northeastern North America have been deemed unacceptable after investigation.i
While there is no proof that the rates were different in the past than they are today, there is also no proof that they were the same. Thus radioactive dating relies purely on assumptions. We could put forward the following counter arguments to the constancy of these assumptions:
a) The constancy of cosmic ray bombardment might be questioned. The current high rate of entry might be a consequence of a disturbed post-Flood environment that altered the carbon-14 to carbon-12 ratio. Pre-Flood dates would thus have to be discarded.
b) An increase in the magnetic field of the earth would have shielded the earth from cosmic rays. Some scientists argue that the magnetic field of the earth has declined over time.
c) Atmospheric carbon forms just 0.0005% of the current carbon reservoir—99.66% of the earth's carbon exists in limestone, 0.31% in oil and gas, and 0.02% in coal. Carbon-14 comes from nitrogen and is independent of the carbon-12 reservoir. If even a small percentage of the limestone deposits were still in the form of living marine organisms at the time of the Flood, then the small amount of carbon-14 would have mixed with a much larger carbon-12 reservoir, thus resulting in a drastically reduced ratio. Specimens would then look much older than they actually are.
d) Even if the rate of decay is constant, without knowledge of the exact ratio of carbon-12 to carbon-14in the initial sample, the dating technique is subject to question.
2. Clock Reset
It's assumed that the clock was set to zero when the study material was formed. This requires that only the parent isotope be initially present or that the amount of daughter isotope present at the beginning is known so that it can be subtracted.
Many examples from literature show that the zero-reset assumption is not always valid. Volcanic ejecta of Mount Rangitoto (Auckland, New Zealand) was found to have a potassium-40 age of 485,000 years, yet trees buried within the volcanic material were dated with the carbon-14 method to be less than 300 years old.ii
A further example from a lava flow off the coast of Hawaii shows similar discrepancies. If dated with the carbon-14 method, the flow appears to be less than 17,000 years old, but dating with the potassium argon method gives dates of 160,000 to 43 million years. A rock sample from Nigeria was dated at 95 million years by the potassium-argon method, 750 million years by the uranium-helium method, and less than 30 million years by the fission-track method.iii
If the clock is not set to zero when a deposit forms, then there can be no starting point from which to calculate the age of a deposit.
3. Closed System
It is assumed that we are dealing with a closed system—no loss of either parent or daughter elements has occurred since the study material formed.
No scientist can guarantee that any sample can be considered a closed system unless it was isolated from its environment when it was formed. Elements can be transported into a sample or leach out of a sample.
Scientists will reject theories about the age of the earth that do not conform to the norm. They will argue that the clock was not reset if the age is too old, or that isotopes were selectively removed if the age turns out to be too young. In the study on the Hawaii lava flow cited above, it was argued that entrapment of excessive amounts of argon gas had made the samples appear older than they were.
Radiometric dating techniques are thus based on sound scientific principles, but rely on so many basic assumptions that Bible believers need not have their faith shattered by data derived from these techniques. What do rock layers on the Earth's crust tell us about our origins and the age of the earth?
For more on this subject, see the video Bones in Stones. Updated January 2009.
i. J. Ogden III, "Annals of the New York Academy of Science," 288 (1977): 167-173.
ii. A. McDougall Polach and J.J. Stipp, "Excess Radiogenic Argon in Young Subaerial Basalts From Auckland Volcanic Field, New Zealand," Geochemica et Cosmochemica Acta 33 (1969): 1485-1520.
iii. E. Fisher, "Excess Rare Gases in a Subaerial Basalt from Nigeria," Nature 232 (1971): 60-61.
Is there evidence for Creation science? How does it compare to evolution? The following articles give insight in to these questions and more.
Can we understand the age of the earth by the rocks? What theory does the evidence support?
What does the fossil record show us? Is it all random or a defined science that we can understand? Where does evolution fit? Uncover mysteries in the history of the Earth.
As we study the genome, the molecule, and the atom, we see a vast network of intricate systems beyond our understanding. Were these systems really formed by chance?
How did this world change from the perfection depicted in Genesis to a world full of thorns, thistles, parasites, and death? If God made everything perfect, how could it have all been so changed?
Archaeology and prophecy have proven the Bible to be true. But what's so special about the Bible that makes it a point of so much controversy?
Music is a powerful emotional motivator that crosses cultural and language barriers. Its message can be understood by every culture and people across the planet.
What is the system of worship found most often in our society? Does it glorify God?
Research has shown that our sensitivity to stimuli reduces itself yearly by about 1%. Is your brain hibernating?
Beware of the television's abilities to hypnotize, alter moods, and even cause depression.
Like music and movies, video games are addictive and can cause behavioral problems.
What is the origin behind this popular festival celebrated every October 31?
Read proof that throughout the Roman Church's history, the Papacy has often claimed that the Pope is divine.
This book "Cross and Crown" is a powerful and thrilling recital of the most romantic and dramatic incidents in history to be found on record, told in the simplest, most graphic, and entertaining form.
The historian Ranke says this about Protestant-Catholic relations: "In the year 1617, everything betokened a decisive conflict between them. The Catholic party appears to have felt itself the superior. At all events it was the first to take up arms."
This article highlights quotes from historical and Catholic sources proving the Papacy's aggressive nature.
This article highlights quotes from historical and Catholic sources proving the Papacy's aggressive nature.
Dive into history to uncover the remarkable stories of faith and passion in early Protestantism.
Language can be used to communicate both truth and lies. Learn about the religious doublespeak being used to pull the wool over the eyes of the world.
Hegelian dialectic thinking is applied in many situations in world politics. Often the ordinary people are used as pawns in the game of Hegelian psychology played by those who pull the strings of world control.
Read this classic work by Ellen G. White.
Most people can understand the reasoning behind nine of the Ten Commandments—don't kill, don't lie, don't steal. But what about the Sabbath Commandment? Why would God give such a law? Why should we follow it?
The United Nations has been shaping history since its inception in 1945. What are the foundational dogmas guiding this global organization?
What does the Bible have to say about New Age doctrines?
Understanding the context of Paul's letter to the Corinthians will help us get a better grasp on its content.
What is the Papacy really saying in its encyclicals?
False unity, based on experiences and sacraments, is being promoted among Christians and across religions
Does Pope Francis want a one world religion? And what does he believe?
Since Creation, the Sabbath has been set apart as a day to reflect on God's power and love.
Some say that believing in Jesus as the only way to salvation is narrow-minded. But is pluralism really the answer?
If archaeology and prophecy have proven the Bible to be true, then why is it a point of so much controversy?
Sun worship, an ancient practice across the globe, has been maintained in the traditions of Roman Catholicism.
God spoke several times in the book of Daniel about the identity of the Antichrist. Uncover God's words spoken in the dreams of King Nebuchadnezzar and the prophet Daniel.
Can the Bible be trusted to provide answers to our questions? Does it contain truth? Learn about the archeological evidence that proves the Bible's authenticity.
The Bible mentions many signs given to tell us when Christ's Second Coming is near. What are those signs in history and around us today?
Doctrine, authorship, and the ability to transform lives were all factors for the Church in choosing which books should be included in the Bible.
Revelation 17 describes Babylon using common symbolism found throughout the Bible. Who is this "woman arrayed in purple and scarlet" and what will she be like?
New Age doctrine is anything but new. In fact, Satan has been tricking humanity with the same basic lies since history began.
Modern theological trends place great emphasis on the millennium of peace. Three major viewpoints on the millennium are amillennialism, postmillennialism, and premillennialism.
Is there more to the United Nations strategy than global peace and political unity?
Salvation can only be found through faith in Christ. This belief is foundational to true Christianity. Religious practices and sacraments cannot contribute to salvation.
Learn the Hebrew words for some of the concepts surrounding death in the Bible.
The first plague of Revelation 16 falls on those who have the mark of Beast. God's people are present, but protected.
Sin broke the perfect bond of communication between God and humanity. But God continues to speak to us through His prophets.
What do we know about the mark of the Beast? What passages of Scripture can we apply to our understanding?
Learn about the history and doctrines of Freemasonry.
The Vatican has recommended that churches undertake celebratory, emotional church services. Spiritual experiences are being evoked as grounds for unity, and doctrine is falling to the wayside.
What is fascism and how does it fit into Rome's political paradigm?
Is Jesus really who He says He is?
Catholicism has declared Mary the sinless queen of heaven. This is not Biblical doctrine, but instead reflects pagan goddess worship.
The Bible is an ancient book. What is the value of studying Scripture today, and how would we even begin?
The Bible is the key ingredient to true unity.
Satan has been using the lies of human divinity and immortality for thousands of years, as the Bible and history books can attest.
What sets the Bible apart from other books? What does the Bible itself say about its inspiration?
Does the Gospel of Thomas prove itself worthy of being considered canonical?
Daniel's dream in Daniel 2 describes a little horn that arises from among the ten horns of the fourth terrible beast. The little horn represents the Antichrist. Daniel 2 gives a good description of this power, allowing us to clearly identify who this end-time enemy will be.
What is the difference between Biblical meditation and New Age meditation? Who are the key supporters of contemplative prayer?
God's judgment is not a snap decision at the end of time or a verdict based on how He feels on the day you die. God set up the Israelite sanctuary service under Moses to show us the process of salvation.
Revelation 13:15-16 says that the image of the Beast will enforce the mark of the Beast. Who, then, is this image of the Beast?
Paul writes about the nature and use of spiritual gifts in 1 Corinthians 12.
Learn about the history of the charismatic movement in the Catholic Church.
What does the term "spiritual gifts" actually mean? And what is God's purpose for giving His people spiritual gifts?
Not everyone agrees on the definition of death—or what happens in the afterlife.
Throughout history, how has God spoken to those who would listen to Him?
Thomas Becket's murder in 1170 sparked a chain of events that led to papal control of Britain.
Taking from the rich to give to the poor is the prerogative of both those in power and the poor themselves, according to the Papacy.
Ancient Gnosticism can be found in the doctrines of secret societies.
What's so special about the seventh day, and what does that mean for the rest of the week?
When Christ has finished His judgment, the final decision will have been made as to who will be saved and who will not. Then, probation will end.
Unity is the new catchphrase in religious circles. Through the charismatic movement and the efforts of the Vatican, Protestant denominations are putting aside their differences and focusing on conformity rather than strong doctrine.
The validity of Gospel of Judas is scrutinized. Do its teaching fall in line with Scripture?
Several doctrines in the apocryphal writings contradict the Bible. Compare and contrast several verses from both sources and see for yourself where the truth can be found.
Mass, one of the key traditions in Roman Catholicism, has components of sun worship rather than Christ-worship.
Royal decisions made 800 years ago still have a profound effect on today's political landscape.
New Age spiritism can be found in the doctrines of many popular religions.
The Church needs leaders, and Scripture is clear about the nature of godly leadership. Unfortunately, Catholicism has chosen pagan practices over Biblical truth when it comes to the priesthood.
When Jesus said, "That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church," He was referring to Peter's confession about Christ - not Peter himself.
Just as God took care of Elijah, so God will take care of His people during the third plague of Revelation 16.
What do Scriptures say about the prophecy?
The identifying factor of the Roman Church is the practicing of Sunday Sabbath.
The Reformation was a time of breaking away from the norm in order to return to Biblical truth. If we hold to the reformers' teachings, we will again have to separate from the majority, rather than join in experiential unity.
The spread of Pentecostalism is due in large part to the corresponding ecumenical movement and increasing influence of the Pope in Catholic and Protestant circles.
Jesus resurrected Lazarus after he had been dead four days. What does this mean for our understanding of what happens after we die?
Consider the crucial points of the Christian life with author Wendy Goubej.
Have we turned caring for the planet into a religion?
Catholic secret societies have been controlled by the Pope for centuries. But why do Protestants keep showing up on their rosters?
The Bible uses Babylon to symbolize the enemy power that will war against God in the end times. Learn about ancient, modern, and end-time Babylon, and the battle for our hearts and minds that has been taking place throughout history.
Did God create sin? If not, where did it come from?
The symbols and rituals of secret societies and New Age groups are essentially the same.
Spiritual direction, a form of mystical mentorship, is becoming increasingly common in Western Catholicism and Protestantism.
Some pagan feasts and rituals have been kept alive in the form of Catholic holidays.
Can the Pseudepigrapha, Apocrypha, and Didache actually be considered lost books, or was there another reason they weren't included in the Bible?
Learn the background behind global education advocate and former Assistant Secretary-General of the United Nations Robert Muller.
The current holes in the ozone layer, allowing the sun to blaze through, seem to warn the people on Earth that the fourth plague of Revelation 16 is coming.
The Bible gives us clear criteria for determining who is a true prophet.
Ecumenism is taking place around the world, and with it comes an increased allegiance to the Pope.
Islam, Judaism, and other world religions are participating in the ecumenical movement, with the Pope as the global leader.
The work of the Counter Reformation changed how the world perceived Catholicism. No Roman doctrine had to be altered, but instead Protestants were led away from doctrinal issues and introduced to experiential religion.
Read more about the issue of Pentecostalism and modern spirituality.
Read more about the issue of Pentecostalism and modern spirituality.
The Holy Spirit gives gifts and abilities to His people. Do the signs and wonders we see in the charismatic movement bear the mark of the Holy Spirit, or do they originate somewhere else?
Learn the definitions and purposes of the spiritual gifts listed by Paul in his letters.
Communication with the dead has been a common topic in fiction, and also within the New Age movement. What does Scripture teach about the spirits of the dead?
Biblical prophecies show us that the spiritual gift of prophecy was to have a resurgence in our recent history.
Many Roman Catholic practices are not based on Scripture or even on the life of Christ, but rather on ancient pagan doctrines.
Are occurrences such as weeping statues, apparitions of Mary, and the "laughing in the Lord" phenomenon really manifestations of the Holy Spirit?
What is the New Age movement and how does it relate to our lives?
The fifth plague of Revelation 16 brings darkness against the Beast.
Author Roger Oakland says, "What was once described as New Age and occult is acceptable now in some Christian circles." Is he right? And if so, should we be concerned?
The title Pontifex Maximus began as a name for ancient pagan rulers, but has since been adopted by the Papacy.
God Himself will fight the battle of Armageddon on behalf of His people. God's enemies will be destroyed.
What will Christ's return look like?
The mark of the Beast will soon be enforced through legislation. What side will you take in the conflict?
The ecumenical movement may seem harmless on the surface, but Biblical prophecy shows us the dangers involved.
The whole reason the Holy Spirit gives gifts is for them to be used in love to bless Him and others.
The global education system is being used as a conduit for one-world-government philosophies.
What happens in the afterlife? Many people are confused about what the Scriptures mean on this topic.
Those who reject God will be destroyed, and those who love God will be removed from the earth for a millennium, leaving Satan and his demons alone on the earth.
Spiritual formation is being encouraged in influential American evangelical churches.
Controlling the world's resources is crucial for any global government.
Sports, card games, and even the way we organize our calendar all stem from ancient pagan rites.
Revelation 16's sixth plague has a connection to literal history, but means much more for us today than a simple ancient story.
Christ promised that He will return to gather His living and dead followers. What will that look like?
What does Revelation mean when it discusses the mark of the Beast? What kind of mark? And what is the Beast?
Sunday-keeping is widespread, as is the political and religious power of the Roman Catholic Church. Those who wish to fully follow God will have to stand against the tide and bear persecution for their obedience.
Learn what the Bible has to say about the Holy Spirit, and how the gifts of the Spirit should be used.
In chapter 14 of 1 Corinthians, Paul goes into depth about the gift of tongues.
The story of the thief on the cross has made many believe that heaven is immediate. But what was really said on Golgotha that day?
Many spiritual movements sprung up in the 19th century. But only one is true.
A world government is in the works. Learn the history—and future—of the global strategy.
Hail, the seventh plague of Revelation 16, will end the rebellion against God.
Revelation 13 discusses two beasts: the beast from the sea and the beast from the earth. These beasts will have great authority at the end of time and use their power to enforce the Beast's mark.
Several books were written around the time of Christ but are not included in the Bible. What separates these books from the 66 chosen to comprise Scripture?
A list of the nearly 40 apocryphal and pseudepigraphical books that some say belong in the Bible.
New Age philosophy can be found not only in religious and mystical activities, but also in the media.
Luke 16 contains a controversial story that many have misunderstood.
God will give His people an opportunity to judge for themselves whether His judgments are righteous.
The Bible is clear about what the fate of those who reject God will be when Christ returns.
Since the beginning of time, God has communicated timely messages to the inhabitants of planet Earth. It all started in Eden, with the first Gospel announcement.
Was Ellen White a true prophet of God, or just another deceiver?
The secrets of secret societies go deeper than you think.
The New Age teaching that humans are gods is infiltrating through the spread of popular psychology.
The United Methodist Church and Presbyterian Church exemplify the widespread infiltration of spiritual formation doctrine into the Church in the United States and beyond.
The dispensational view of the rapture is unBiblical, and gives those who reject God the false belief that they will have another chance to turn to God after God's people are raptured.
After the millennium, Jesus will come to Earth and bring the final judgment.
At times, the phrase "power of God" is used, when "power of us" is really meant.
Are miraculous signs the best way to be sure that God exists?
When the millennium ends, those who rebelled against God will be resurrected, and the final battle takes place between Satan and God.
Dive into prophecy and history in this chapter-by-chapter commentary of the book of Daniel.
Christ is crowned and the final judgment takes place. Everyone will have a chance to learn why they receive their judgment.
In the book of Revelation John describes seven plagues to come at the end of time—seven plagues typified by the plagues of Egypt in Moses' time.
Join us on a journey through the pages of this letter from Christ to His people.
The prophet Malachi wrote about what would happen to those who reject God at the end of time.
The Papacy is considered the world's oldest royalty. How far does its kingdom reach?
God shares His truth and love with us through His prophets. Learn about prophecy throughout history.
The earth will be cleansed with fire, and it will become the eternal home of God's people.
Catholicism can be compared to the paganism in other religions, and similarities are noticeable.
Although it may not seem to matter on the surface, the Catholic change of the Sabbath from the seventh to first day of the week is in fact a blow against God's authority.
Learn from Paul as he teaches the Corinthian Church about spiritual gifts.
Is there more to death than the fact that it is the opposite of life?
Spiritual formation is a popular new way to draw near to God. But beneath the good intentions lie dangerous practices that can in fact pull people towards occultism rather than God.
God promised Abraham that his descendants would become a great nation—God's chosen people.
Today's definition of tolerance is really brutal intolerance against those who obey God's commands.
Excitotoxins cause physical and spiritual destruction. Learn about the main types of exitotoxins and what can be done to avoid them.
Reports show that red wine may be beneficial to heart health. Is that a good enough reason to start drinking alcohol?
Get the truth about lactose, calcium, and the need for caution around dairy products.
Today's meat and dairy industries are focused on profit rather than health.
The agriculture industry is fast becoming reliant on genetically modified foods. Learn the facts about GMOs and the effects this trend is having on health worldwide.
Most of the bread products consumed today are made of refined grains. Are our breakfast cereals and "fortified" loaves as healthy as we like to think?
Do the stimulating benefits of coffee really outweigh the costs?
Refined sugar is addictive, destructive, and devoid of any nutritional value. Why does it continue to be a staple food across the world?
Smoking leads to massive amounts of sickness and death every year. Can you beat the nicotine?
From mammograms to prescription drugs, the modern medical industry is always presenting a new way to diagnose and solve health issues. But are these new treatments really healing anything?
There isn't one person I have ever met who knew anything about cosmetics, and that is because the chemistry of cosmetics has always been cloaked in secrecy.
Find practical ideas for dealing with depression in these articles about symptoms and treatments.
We are surrounded by unhealthy foods, unwise practices, and even harmful medical advice. Learn how to overcome these obstacles and choose a healthy lifestyle.
These graphs and tables can help you jumpstart your health routine.