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Inaccuracies of carbon dating

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“Seldom has a single discovery in chemistry had such an impact on the thinking in so many fields of human endeavour,” one of Libby's colleagues wrote at the time, according to the Nobel Foundation.

Today, carbon dating is used so widely as to be taken for granted.

Our understanding of the shape and pattern of the history of life depends on the accuracy of fossils and dating methods.

Some critics, particularly religious fundamentalists, argue that neither fossils nor dating can be trusted, and that their interpretations are better.

Early geologists, in the 1700s and 1800s, noticed how fossils seemed to occur in sequences: certain assemblages of fossils were always found below other assemblages. Since 1859, paleontologists, or fossil experts, have searched the world for fossils.

In the past 150 years they have not found any fossils that Darwin would not have expected.

There are about two dozen decay pairs used for dating.

Yes, you read that right: the tree-ring calendar goes back well before 4004 BC.(Nowadays you can count the C14 atoms directly.)None of this is of the slightest solace to young-earth creationists, or at least wouldn't be if they weren't uniformly ignorant and/or outright dishonest.All the gotchas are well-known, and routinely allowed for.Measuring the ratio of C14 to C12 and C13 therefore dates the organic matter for periods back to about eight half-lives of the isotope, 45,000 years.After a long enough time the minority isotope is in an amount too small to be measured.C14 is continually being created and decaying, leading to an equilibrium state in the atmosphere.