Hard Questions About the Bible

What About Carbon Dating?

What about all the fossils that are dated as millions of years old?  And rocks and other features of the earth that are billions of years old?  How do they determine the ages of those things?  They use Carbon or Radiometric Dating methods.

Carbon or Radiometric Dating is more of a technical subject, so I’m relying on information from Creationist speaker Bill Morgan, fishdontwalk.com.  For more detailed information, see answersingenesis.org

Carbon dating is used when something is assumed to be younger than 30,000 years.  Radiometric dating, such as Uranium-Lead Dating, is used for rocks and older specimens.

Living organisms have carbon in them. When a plant or animal dies, the radioactive Carbon 14 in it starts to decay.  Scientists attempt to determine the specimen’s age by measuring the Carbon 14 to Carbon 12 ratio.  The less C14, the older the specimen.

There are some problems with this method of dating.

Scientists assume that the specimen had the same amount of C14 as the environment at the time that it died, but they don’t really know the amount of C14 in the environment at that time, and they also don’t know exactly if the specimen had the same amount of C14 as its environment.

They also don’t know the original composition of the specimen when it died, or whether the specimen may have been contaminated.

There is a lot of possibility for error in carbon and radiometric dating.  In past tests, living snails were dated to be 27,000 years old because they lived in water that had low C14.  Pottery was dated in the future because it was contaminated by radiation.  A specimen is very sensitive to contamination, even touching with your hand can contaminate it.

Also, to start with, scientists set an approximate age for a specimen based on how old they believe the specimen should be.  If the test doesn’t agree with their pre-conceived assumption, the result is often discarded.

Next:  Does Science Prove the Bible?

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