Review by Greg Neyman
© Answers In Creation
This was an article by Carl Wieland, and considering that it is almost 30 years old, is obviously out of date with the current understanding of Carbon-14 dating. It begins with a general summary of what the carbon dating method is, which is generally accurate.
The main criticism of the method is in the ration of Carbon-14 to Carbon-12. In order to accurately date an item, one must know the ratio at the time of the organism's death. Wieland is correct in this argument. However, scientists have accounted for this.
Libby initially assumed that the ratio was in equilibrium...an equal amount of C-14 was entering the earth's system as were being eliminated. When Libby looked for evidence of this, he discovered that C-14 was being added at a rate that was 12-20 percent faster than it was being eliminated. Others put the value at over 30 percent. Wieland uses this as a criticism, but is it valid? Wieland himself gives the answer. The industrial revolution, which continues today, is pumping much more C-12 into the atmosphere. Since C-12 is converted to C-14 by cosmic radiation, and there is a lot more C-12 in the atmosphere, then there is a lot more C-12 to be hit by cosmic radiation, and thus, converted to C-14. Prior to the industrial revolution, we have every reason to believe that the ratio was at a state of equilibrium.
He briefly touches on the fact that scientists must correct for this problem. Over the past 50 years, much work has been done in this area. This "calibration" of the carbon clock is taken into account with every carbon dating that is performed. In fact, if you want to see a calibration yourself, go to http://www.calpal-online.de/ . The calibrations were initially started by the founder of the carbon dating procedure, Willard Frank Libby. He obtained samples of wood with known dates (for instance, a sample of acacia wood from the tomb of the pharoah Zoser, who lived from 2700 to 2600 B.C. Other samples from ancient Egypt were also obtained and tested. By knowing the ratios in items of known age, a calibration curve was started, which today has many more data points.
Finally, Wieland mentions two other factors that must be considered. Creation science in the 1970s believed in the canopy theory, which he says must be considered. However, this has been discarded by most young earth creation scientists today, thus no discussion is needed here.
The other factor is the decay of the earth's magnetic field. This topic has been thoroughly refuted by science, and it does not need discussion either. If you are interested, here is a link to this material.
For Further Reading:
This article is on the web at answersingenesis.org/creation/v2/i2/carbon14.asp
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