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Living organisms are constantly incorporating this C-14 into their bodies along with other carbon isotopes.When the organisms die, they stop incorporating new C-14, and the old C-14 starts to decay back into N-14 by emitting beta particles.When dating wood there is no such problem because wood gets its carbon straight from the air, complete with a full dose of C-14.The creationists who quote Kieth and Anderson never tell you this, however.However, in either case, the background beta radiation has to be compensated for, and, in the older objects, the amount of C-14 they have left is less than the margin of error in measuring background radiation. Question: Creationists such as Cook (1966) claim that cosmic radiation is now forming C-14 in the atmosphere about one and one-third times faster than it is decaying.As Hurley points out: Without rather special developmental work, it is not generally practicable to measure ages in excess of about twenty thousand years, because the radioactivity of the carbon becomes so slight that it is difficult to get an accurate measurement above background radiation. 108) Cosmic rays form beta radiation all the time; this is the radiation that turns N-14 to C-14 in the first place. If we extrapolate backwards in time with the proper equations, we find that the earlier the historical period, the less C-14 the atmosphere had.
Kieth and Anderson show considerable evidence that the mussels acquired much of their carbon from the limestone of the waters they lived in and from some very old humus as well.They have their work cut out for them, however, because radiocarbon (C-14) dating is one of the most reliable of all the radiometric dating methods.This article will answer several of the most common creationist attacks on carbon-14 dating, using the question-answer format that has proved so useful to lecturers and debaters. Answer: Cosmic rays in the upper atmosphere are constantly converting the isotope nitrogen-14 (N-14) into carbon-14 (C-14 or radiocarbon).It is easy to correlate the inner rings of a younger living tree with the outer rings of an older dead tree.The correlation is possible because, in the Southwest region of the United States, the widths of tree rings vary from year to year with the rainfall, and trees all over the Southwest have the same pattern of variations.
If we extrapolate as far back as ten thousand years ago, we find the atmosphere would not have had any C-14 in it at all.