Evolutionists have long used the carbon-14, or radiocarbon, dating technique as a “hammer” to bludgeon Bible-believing Christians.
A straightforward reading of the Bible describes a 6,000-year-old universe, and because some carbon-14 (C) age estimates are multiple tens of thousands of years, many think that the radiocarbon method has soundly refuted the Bible’s historical accuracy.
When today’s rates are used to calculate ages from certain radioisotope ratios, the results indicate that billions of years’ worth of nuclear decay of the heavier radioisotopes has occurred.
Yet this assumption leads to a contradiction: If these organic samples really are many millions of years old, then they should be radiocarbon “dead.” But they aren’t! Evolutionists have attempted to blame these surprising results on a number of mechanisms. Furthermore, laboratories take great pains to keep contamination to a minimum, and researchers have found that, provided a sufficiently large testing sample is used (in the ballpark of 100 milligrams or so), the amount of such possible lab contamination is negligible compared to the C already present within the specimen.
Finally, although contamination can sometimes occur, it should not be assumed in a particular instance unless there are good reasons to believe that it has.
Could this be a clue that radioisotope “clocks” might have “ticked” at different rates in the past, and that this variation in “ticking” is different for different radioisotopes?
If so, this would explain the discrepancy between the radiocarbon method and other radioisotope techniques.
Are these high radiocarbon “ages” a problem for the biblical worldview? First, remember that no detectable should be present within these samples if they really are millions of years old.
Despite this apparent difficulty for the recent-creation view, this is, in fact, a much more serious problem for the old-earth view!
Virtually all fossils found within sedimentary rocks are the remains of creatures that perished during the Genesis Flood about 4,500 years ago.
Yet a skeptic might point out that the amounts of C found in these organic samples are smaller than what one might expect if they are only about 4,500 years old.
In principle, this decay rate may be used to “date” the time since an organism’s death.