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Carbon dating is accurate

We know that it is older than Christendom, but whether by a couple of years or a couple of centuries, or even by more than a millenium, we can do no more than guess." [Rasmus Nyerup, (Danish antiquarian), 1802 (in Trigger, 19)].The person who wrote these words lived in the 1800s, many years before archaeologists could accurately date materials from archaeological sites using scientific methods.

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"Everything which has come down to us from heathendom is wrapped in a thick fog; it belongs to a space of time we cannot measure.

You can work out that after about 50 000 years of time, all the radiocarbon will have gone.

Therefore, radiocarbon dating is not able to date anything older than 60 or 70 000 years old.

It is called 'radio'-carbon, because it is 'radioactive'.

This means that its atomic structure is not stable and there is an uneasy relationship between the particles in the nucleus of the atom itself.

903 comments

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  2. Is carbon dating a reliable method for determining the age of things? Are there any potential problems with using carbon dating to date the age of the earth?

  3. Radiometric dating is a technique used to date materials using known decay rates. Are radiometric dating methods accurate?

  4. Whenever the worldview of evolution is questioned, the topic of carbon dating always comes up. Here is how carbon dating works and the assumptions it is based upon.

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