By measuring the ratio of the radio isotope to non-radioactive carbon, the amount of carbon-14 decay can be worked out, thereby giving an age for the specimen in question.
But that assumes that the amount of carbon-14 in the atmosphere was constant — any variation would speed up or slow down the clock.
Since 1947, scientists have reckoned the ages of many old objects by measuring the amounts of radioactive carbon they contain.
New research shows, however, that some estimates based on carbon may have erred by thousands of years.
They have their work cut out for them, however, because radiocarbon (C-14) dating is one of the most reliable of all the radiometric dating methods.
This article will answer several of the most common creationist attacks on carbon-14 dating, using the question-answer format that has proved so useful to lecturers and debaters. Answer: Cosmic rays in the upper atmosphere are constantly converting the isotope nitrogen-14 (N-14) into carbon-14 (C-14 or radiocarbon).
The technique hinges on carbon-14, a radioactive isotope of the element that, unlike other more stable forms of carbon, decays away at a steady rate.
Because it is radioactive, carbon 14 steadily decays into other substances.
Many people are under the false impression that carbon dating proves that dinosaurs and other extinct animals lived millions of years ago.
What many do not realize is that carbon dating is not used to date dinosaurs. Carbon dating is only accurate back a few thousand years.
The results can be as much as 150 million years different from each other! They then pick the date they like best, based upon their preconceived notion of how old their theory says the fossil should be .
So they start with the assumption that dinosaurs lived millions of years ago, then manipulate the results until they agree with their conclusion. So why is it that if the date doesn't fit the theory, they change the facts?