Prof. David Gilhousen
PHSC 210- Elements of Earth Science
July 24, 2015
Radiocarbon Dating: Faith of Fact
Archeologist and other scientists have used many different dating methods to establish the age of the earth and things on the earth. One of the dating methods that has been used is radiocarbon dating, also known as Carbon-14 dating. Radiocarbon dating is a prejudiced method that can be used to prove the desired outcome. Like many other methods, radiocarbon dating is inconsistent and constantly changing. The root of a scientist’s belief must come from a more stable foundation. Although, Old-earth and young-earth scientists agree on carbon-14 half-life, ...view middle of the document...
” Both young-earth and old-earth believers would agree that radiocarbon dating can only be used on organic organisms, but the agreement essentially ends there.
Old-Earth Secular View
In 1947, a man by the name of William F. Libby proposed this idea of radiocarbon dating. Libby was the first to discover that when plants absorb carbon dioxide they were also absorbing small amounts of carbon-14. However, when the plant died, it no longer absorbed the carbon and carbon-14 began to decay. He worked to perfect his discovery for 12 years, hopeful that it would defend his old-earth beliefs (William Libby, 2014, pp.1). In order for Libby’s discoveries to work, he had to base them on assumptions. One assumption Libby proposed was that the ration of C-12 to C-14 was constant. Without a constant ratio the beginning amount of C-14 would be unknown (Riddle, 2007, pp.18). A constant ratio would mean the earth was at equilibrium already. In order for the earth to reach a state of equilibrium, it would take at least 30,000 years. The assumption that the earth was at equilibrium has already been disproved. This put Libby in a difficult place as this gave the earth a younger date. He eventually just stated that there was an error. With errors arising and the old-earth theories not being supported, scientists began dismissing radiocarbon dating as an accurate dating method. Young-earth believers began more research, assuming that if radiocarbon dating did not support the old-earth ideas, perhaps it would support the young-earth methods.
For the young-earth believer, this foundation of belief is found in God’s Word. The Radiocarbon dating method can be used to support the beliefs held in God’s Word. As young-earth scientists began their research, they discovered radiocarbon dating to be an effective method. Believing the earth to only be about 6,000 years old, the radiocarbon dating method would be effective for their timeline (Hodge, 2009, pp.1). A Group called RATE group (Radioisotopes and the Age of The Earth) began doing research on data and methods that had been ignored by the old-earth scientists. As they began their research, they found carbon-14 in places no one thought they would find them (Riddle, 2007, pp. 28). Carbon-14 came up in tree-rings, coal, fossils, and diamonds. The coal that contained C-14 had previously been dated at 50-300 million years old (Morris, 2011, pg.66). If there were still traces of C-14 there is no way it was older than a few thousand years. Even with standing disagreements, the old-earth and young-earth scientists found similarities to some degree.
Comparison of the Viewpoints
Old-earth and young-earth scientists have both agreed that radiocarbon dating can only be used on organic substances or carbon based...