Carbon dating accuracy christian
Radiocarbon Dating and the Bible Is carbon dating or radiocarbon dating always reliable and beyond question? Are all radioactive dating methods unreliable? Have carbon C14 dates millions of years old been proven wrong? Is carbon dating useless before 2, B. Or are the above statements all false, and the truth is something else?
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Since there are many misconceptions about carbon dating, this paper will explain the principle, the method, some early problems with it, and its current trustworthiness. While many probably have not thought about it before, carbon dating relates to Christianity and Judaism in interesting ways.
This method addresses questions on the Shroud of Turin, the archaeological reliability of the Bible, reliable preservation of the Bible, and the Young Earth Theory.
How accurate is carbon dating?, Christian Forums
The Principle All plants take in carbon from carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. All animals take in carbon by eating the plants. Now most carbon has a molecular weight of However, solar radiation creates a small percentage of carbon with two extra neutrons and a molecular carbon dating accuracy christian of A carbon atom is radioactive; it eventually loses an electron and a neutrino and changes to nitrogen When a plant or animal dies, it stops taking in carbon.
This is the principle behind radiocarbon dating. For any logical method, if the assumptions are right, and the reasoning is valid, then the conclusion is right. If not, then the conclusions are simply guesses.
Carbon dating assumptions used to be: 1.
Nothing but radioactive decay would alter the ratio in a dead plant or animal. We can measure the ratio accurately.
Carbon dating accuracy christian - is carbon dating reliable?
To sum up these assumptions, if you know the initial conditions, the final conditions, and everything in between, you will get the right answer. We will look at the method first, and then the assumptions. The Method There are three simple steps to getting a carbon date: sample preparation, getting the ratio, and using a calibration chart to get the age from the ratio.
Next a small piece, often taken from the interior of the sample, is burned. For example, while the Catholic Church was unwilling to let scientists burn a square inch piece of the Shroud of Turin, when mass spec technology advanced, it was willing to let them burn a thread, and that was all that was needed.
Finally, one reads the age from a calibration chart of age vs. In the Radiocarbon journal the ratio is reported, so readers can calibrate for themselves. So if one does these three steps: prepare a valid sample well, run the test correctly, and read the right calibration, the date should be good.
So while many date to dance, you might say scientists do the "three-step" to date. On the other hand, if you don't like puns, you might not. Early Problems So if you believe your assumptions, use good methods, what could go wrong?
Well, it turns out the problems with early carbon were so severe, that many historians were on the verge of abandoning it. Some clams were dated as having died 50, years ago, and they were still alive!
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Let's look critically at assumption 2, that nothing else affects the ratio in a dead organism. Now clams take in ocean carbonate, which contains almost no C14, so that it is no surprise today that a clam shell date appears ridiculously old.
This phenomenon, now well understood, only gives ages that are "all wet" for some samples that have been in water for some time. A more difficult to deal problem with radiocarbon dating came from Egyptian and Mesopotamian artifacts when the dates were already known.
In Egypt, Assyria, Babylonia, and Sumeria, there are "king lists" of who reigned and for how long. When you have records dated by the scribes, as well as actual mummies and the carbon dates are not off by hundreds of years but by thousands, you either have to throw away every historical record, or else there was a general failure with carbon dating.
Let's look at assumption 1 again. Libby, who won a Nobel Prize in for C14 dating, failed to question his uniformitarian assumption, that the ratio had reached static equilibrium.
This was the state of affairs with radiocarbon dating for many years. Current Trustworthiness To "face up" to the absolute age problem, scientists devised calibration scales based on tree rings, lake varves, and ice cores. Oak trees can live for years, and they grow a new tree ring every year.
The ring is thick when the winter is short, and thin when the winter is long. Different trees growing at the same time in the same forest have very similar tree ring patterns. So, by comparing many different trees in a forest in South Germany, and performing radiocarbon dating on a large number of samples, a calibration scale was developed.
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Other researchers did similar work in a forest in Northern Germany. Still carbons dating accuracy christian did this in Ireland, and others in England. Finally American researchers did this with bristlecone pine trees in Arizona.
Bristlecone pine is both worse and better to use than oak. It is better in that an individual bristlecone pine can live for 2, years. Of course, they could all be wrong, but if enough independent studies agree with each other, then being wrong becomes a more remote possibility.
Does Carbon 14 Dating go Beyond Biblical History?
In addition to tree rings, scientists have looked at what are called lake varves in Northern Sweden. Now trees shed their leaves in the fall, and the leaves that fall in a lake form a thin layer at the bottom. This happens annually, and thus very thin annual layers are deposited.
By counting lake varves, one has a cross-check for carbon dating similar to tree rings. A third cross-check is ice cores in Greenland. More snow is deposited in summer, when the air is wetter, than in winter. Thus there are annual rings in Greenland ice cores too. However, instead of dating organic matter, carbon dating is performed on the minute amounts of carbon dioxide and methane gas in each layer.
How accurate is carbon dating?
So, because of the triple testimony of tree rings, lake varves, and ice cores, carbon dating works assuming: 1. We can measure the ratio very accurately. We know the ways an organism's ratio is altered. C, and more than 15, B. Cave 7 of the Dead Sea ScrollsA. John Ryland's PapyriiA. On the Dead Sea scrolls, it should be mentioned that even without carbon dating, it is certain that all scrolls were written before the site was abandoned 70 A.
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More information on Dead Sea scroll dating can be found in the journal Radiocarbon vol. Carbon dating has verified hundreds of archaeological sites mentioned in the Bible. Over 57, readable clay tablets in Mesopotamia and many Egyptian Papyrii have shown that even many slaves could write in Abraham's time.
Thus the liberal JEPD Theory, which assumed a long period of oral history before the Bible was even to be written down, is "outdated" so to speak. Third, for years many wondered if the Shroud of Turin was actually Christ's burial covering. Scientists are so far been unable to find a process to duplicate the image on the Shroud of Turin.
Nevertheless, carbon dating gave a date from the Middle Ages.
Dating christian carbon accuracy
Finally, carbon dating relates to the Young Earth Theory. Greenland ice core gases show no major climac-tic changes since 11, years ago. Major weather changes occurred 11, years ago, however.
Thus if Noah's flood had to be 11, years ago or earlier, then the earth must have been created before 9, B. Summary Modern carbon dating is substantially accurate for the period over which there is a calibration scale. Our carbon dating accuracy christian should not be based merely on Radiocarbon dating, but it is a strong witness to the accuracy and reliability of the Bible.
It also shows the importance of using scientific and historical data as secondary authorities in interpreting the Bible. Box Austin, TX www.
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