Genesis 7:20-21

“Fifteen cubits upward did the waters prevail; and the mountains were covered. And all flesh died that moved upon the earth, both of fowl, and of cattle, and of beast, and of every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth, and every man:”

We have mentioned carbon dating quite a few times in Creation Moments because there is such a lot of misunderstanding about the technique. Carbon dating is often mistakenly thought to date the ages of rocks and fossils. In fact, it is only used for organic matter that has previously been alive. It is quite a good technique for dating cloth, wood, paper or skin, so long as the dates concerned are small.

Like all radiometric dating methods, carbon dating relies on assumptions. Radioactive carbon-14 is produced in the atmosphere when nitrogen atoms are bombarded by thermal neutrons, caused by cosmic rays. The experiment does not actually measure the date. It measures the amount of carbon-14 compared with stable carbon-12 in a material. The date is then calculated, using a number of assumptions. One assumption is that the ratio of carbon-14 to carbon-12 in the atmosphere must have been constant, during the timescale for which dates are calculated.

We have often commented that the biblical history of the worldwide Flood affects such uniformitarian calculations. The Flood would have buried a great deal of biomass, as witnessed by worldwide coal deposits. This would have considerably diluted the C14:C12 ratio in the atmosphere by hundreds of times. Therefore, a carbon-date calculation from the post-Flood period, assuming a uniformitarian C14 concentration, would be very much older than the true age of the material. The reality of the biblical Flood must be factored into our thinking.

Prayer: Your word, Lord, is a light to our path and a lamp to our feet. Amen.

Author: Paul F. Taylor

Ref: Riddle, M., Doesn’t Carbon-14 Dating Disprove the Bible?, in Ham, K. (ed. 2006), The New Answers Book 1 (Green Forest, AR: Master Books), p. 84. Image: Anthracite coal, photographed by eduserver; license: CC BY-SA 3.0 Unported.

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