Could carbon dating wrong

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This gives the clam shell an artificially old radiocarbon age.

This problem, known as the "," is not of very great practical importance for radiocarbon dating since most of the artifacts which are useful for radiocarbon dating purposes and are of interest to archaeology derive from terrestrial organisms which ultimately obtain their carbon atoms from air, not the water. Samples of coal have been found with radiocarbon ages of only 20,000 radiocarbon years or less, thus proving the recent origin of fossil fuels, probably in the Flood.

Some may have mistaken this to mean that the sample had been dated to 20,000 radiocarbon years.

The second characteristic of the measurement of radiocarbon is that it is easy to contaminate a sample which contains very little radiocarbon with enough radiocarbon from the research environment to give it an apparent radiocarbon age which is much less than its actual radiocarbon age.

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Radiocarbon is not suitable for this purpose because it is only applicable: a) on a time scale of thousands of years and b) to remains of once-living organisms (with minor exceptions, from which rocks are excluded).

It is not difficult to see how such a claim could arise, however.

There are two characteristics of the instrumental measurement of radiocarbon which, if the lay observer is unaware, could easily lead to such an idea.

The field of radiocarbon dating has become a technical one far removed from the naive simplicity which characterized its initial introduction by Libby in the late 1940's.

It is, therefore, not surprising that many misconceptions about what radiocarbon can or cannot do and what it has or has not shown are prevalent among creationists and evolutionists - lay people as well as scientists not directly involved in this field.

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