Carbon-14 Dating Problems

Updated: Mar 11

If you are not familiar with carbon 14 dating, it is the process that mainstream scientists use to date ancient organic materials such as extinct trees and fossils by measuring its remaining amount of carbon 14 (C14). This procedure, also known as radiocarbon dating, is actually a very well thought out scientific process that should work very well. And I stress the word "should". However, a great many people are unaware of the assumptions in the radiocarbon dating process that cause serious concerns regarding the results it produces. I'm no accredited scientist, but when I was exposed to the assumptions being made when using this dating method, even I was convinced there is a severe problem with it. But first, I want to break down this process and how it works as simply as possible, then we will look at the flaws it faces.

This can get really complex really fast, so for the sake of simplicity I will be skipping a lot of the finer details, since most of us do not have an advanced Chemistry degree. The first thing you need to understand is what C14 is. Carbon is simply an element; easy enough. Each element has variations called isotopes. For instance, carbon is the base element. Within carbon you have carbon 12, 13, and 14. C12 and C13 are what we call stable isotopes of carbon, which only means they are not radioactive. C14 is an unstable, or radioactive, isotope of carbon and over time will naturally break down.

Cosmic rays from our sun hit earth, elements from those rays get trapped in the atmosphere, collide together, and produce C12 and C14. Plants then absorb both the C12 and C14 through the process of photosynthesis, which is how they create their food from the sunlight. These plants are then eaten by animals. Other animals are also eaten by the animals that ate the plants. This carbon exchange also applies to humans, eating the plants and animals. So we all have an amount of C12 and C14 in our bodies. Ingestion is really the only way we accumulate carbon in our bodies.

It's important to remember that C12 does not decay over time like C14 does, as it is a stable isotope. The amount of C12 in an organism will continue to accumulate over time as it's alive. On the other hand, C14 maintains a balance between the amount ingested and the amount that is decaying.

When the organism dies, it no longer takes in additional carbon. Age is then calculated by measuring how much decaying C14 is left in comparison to C12.

As C14 decays, it naturally turns into nitrogen, having a half life of 5730 years. This very simply means that if I have a pile of C14, half of it would be gone in 5730 years. Then in another 5730 years the remaining half would also be half gone, and so forth. Because of the short life of C14, it has been deemed to be unreliable past about 50,000 to 80,000 years by the scientists who use it.

"The practical upper limit is about 50,000 years, because so little C-14 remains after almost 9 half-lives that it may be hard to detect and obtain an accurate reading, regardless of the size of the sample."

- University of North Carolina Wilmington, Archaeology, Fall 2012

This all sounds very scientific, even seems like very reasonable science, and it actually is... to a point. Except that you need to make some hefty assumptions about our planet's history. The method itself may be sound, but are all the variables being properly considered?

For instance, you have to assume that the amount of carbon in the atmosphere has never changed over time. If in the past the amount of carbon in the atmosphere was different than it is today, plants would have absorbed more, or less, carbon. This would obviously result in more, or less, carbon in the organisms that ate the plants. If you tried to age an organism that had less C14, it would be deemed much older that it actually is, and vise versa if there was more C14.

Also, you have to assume there has always been the same ratio of C12 to C14 in the atmosphere (which is 1 trillion to 1 today). If more or less C14 was in the earth's atmosphere in the past, in comparison to C12, this would severely skew the results as well.

Don't forget, carbon comes from cosmic rays getting trapped in our atmosphere from our sun. Has the sun always output the same amount of cosmic rays, or has it changed over our earth's history? This is yet another assumption you have to make.

"When the Sun's activity is low, its weakened magnetic field lets more cosmic rays into the solar system, so carbon-14 abundances go up... The intensity of the Sun varies along with the 11-year sunspot cycle. When sunspots are numerous the solar constant is high (about 1367 W/m2); when sunspots are scarce the value is low (about 1365 W/m2)."

- The Inconstant Sun, NASA Science, Jan 17, 2003

You could also add to that fact that the sun is shrinking. My personal guess is this would also change the amount of carbon in the atmosphere as the sun depletes itself through nuclear fusion.

"The sun's average diameter loss of mass is roughly 5 feet of per hour, or 5 to 6 million tons of mass per second!"

- Sun Mass and Moon Travel, Joshua Berry

Another factor you have to take into consideration is earth's magnetic field. Our magnetic field deflects a lot of the cosmic rays from the sun, allowing for much less carbon to accumulate in our atmosphere. It has been proven that our magnetic field has been diminishing over time, which is an obvious sign that it used to be stronger in the past and deflected more cosmic rays.

"The earth has a magnetic field around it which helps protect us from harmful radiation from outer space. This magnetic field is decaying (getting weaker). The stronger the field is round the earth, the fewer the number of cosmic rays that are able to reach the atmosphere. This would result in a smaller production of 14C in the atmosphere in earth's past."

- Ken Ham, The New Answers Book 1, pg. 83

Remember, the less C14 in any given organism, the OLDER it is deemed to be. But if there was less carbon in the atmosphere in earth's past, that would make everything date much older than it actually is. Truth be told, the weakening of the magnetic field actually points to a YOUNG earth!

"Though complex, this history of the earth's magnetic field agrees with Barnes' basic hypothesis, that the field has always freely decayed... . The field has always been losing energy despite it's variations, so it cannot be more than 10,000 years old."

- Dr. Humphreys, The Mystery of Earth's Magnetic Field

Scripture also says there was a water canopy surrounding earth before the flood of Noah (Gen 1:6-7). Water is known to be one of the best ways to protect yourself from cosmic radiation, and would have not allowed for the build up of carbon in the atmosphere.

So as you can see so far, there are some serious problems with C14 dating. The assumptions that the atmosphere, sun, and magnetic field being constantly static and never changing throughout all earth's existence is completely ludicrous. Here are a few examples of bad results from C14 dating methods that show how it can't be trusted.

"Mortar from Oxford Castle in England was dated by radiocarbon as 7370 years old, yet the castle itself was only built 785 years ago."

- E.A. von Fange, Time Upside Down, Creation Research Society Quarterly, Nov 1974, pg. 18

"Freshly killed seals have been dated at 1300 years. This means they are supposed to have died over a millennium ago. Other seals which have been dead no longer than 30 years were dated at 4600 years."

- W. Dort, Mummified Seals of Southern Victoria Land, Antarctic Journal of the US, June 1971, pg. 210

"Wood was cut out of living, growing trees. Although only a few days dead, it was dated as having existed 10,000 years ago."

- B. Huber, Recording Gaseous Exchange Under Field Conditions, Physiology of Forest Trees, 1958

"Various living mollusks (such as snails) had their shells dated, and were found to have "died" as much as 2300 years ago."

- M. Keith, Radiocarbon Dating: Fictitious Results with Mollusk Shells, Science Vol 141, 1963, pg. 634

These statements are extremely revealing, especially when we are being told by mainstream scientist consistently that we can blindly trust all the data they put before us when using C14 dating. The trouble I find is they are not even being honest with the results to themselves! In fact, I've found they actively ignore the dates that do not fit their world paradigm!

"It may come as a shock to some, but fewer than 50 percent of the radiocarbon dates from geological and archaeological samples in northeastern North America have been adopted as 'acceptable' by investigators."

- J. Ogden III, The Use and Abuse of Radiocarbon, New York Academy of Science Vol. 288, 1977, pg. 167-173

"Flint and Rubin declared that radiocarbon dating is consistent within itself. What they do not mention is that the published C-14 dates are only 'consistent' because the very large number of radiocarbon dates which are not consistent are discarded!"

- Vance Ferrell, Science vs. Evolution, pg. 185

"C-14 dating was being discussed at a symposium on the prehistory of the Nile Valley. A famous American colleague, Professor Brew, briefly summarized a common attitude among archaeologists toward it [C-14 dating], as follows: 'If a C-14 result supports our theories, we put it in the main text. If it does not entirely contradict them, we put it in a footnote. And if it is completely 'out-of-date,' we just drop it."

- T. Save-Soderbergh, C-14 Dating and Chronology, Ingrid U. Olsson, 1970, pg. 35

It seems as though there might even be a crafted cover-up of the truth! The reality is much of the observations, including those honest results from C14 dating, point more and more toward a very YOUNG earth. However, if you are determined to maintain your naturalist beliefs, you will eventually at some point have to lie and hide crucial findings that prove you wrong. There are many more assumptions and misuses of C14 dating that I could delve into, but what I have given here are a couple of the top main concerns.

On a final note, I have read that scientists do not like to radiocarbon date rocks because they tend to date too young. If the world is 4.5 billion years old, theoretically there should be little carbon in many of earth's rocks since rocks do not accumulate C14 as time passes. The amount of C14 in any given rock would have been present from its creation. The C14 would then simply decay until it is non-existent. Diamonds, which are said to be one of the oldest stones in the world, formed in deep in the earth, have been found to still have C14 in them! Why is this important? Because it shows that since the creation of diamonds, they have not had enough time to allow all the C14 to decay! This would prove that our earth is only thousands of years old, and NOT billions!

"As the hardest known natural substance, these diamonds are extremely resistant to chemical corrosion and external contamination. Also, the tight bonding in their crystals would have prevented any carbon-14 in the atmosphere from replacing any regular carbon atoms in the diamond. Yet diamonds have been tested and shown to contain radiocarbon equivalent to an “age” of 55,000 years. These results have been confirmed by other investigators. So even though these diamonds are conventionally regarded by evolutionary geologists as up to billions of years old, this radiocarbon has to be intrinsic to them. This carbon-14 would have been implanted in them when they were formed deep inside the earth, and it could not have come from the earth’s atmosphere. This is not such a problem for creationist scientists, but it is a serious problem for evolutionists."

- Carbon-14 in Fossils and Diamonds, Dr. Andrew A. Snelling

Written by: Joshua Berry


Video: "How Accurate is Radiocarbon Dating?" - Dr. Kent Hovind -

Article: "The Inconstant Sun" - NASA Science -

Article: "The Mystery of Earth's Magnetic Field" - D. Russell Humphreys, PH.D. -

Article: "Carbon-14 in Fossils and Diamonds" - Dr. Andrew A. Snelling, -

Field Research: "Some Limitations on Absolute Dating Techniques in Archaeology" - University of North Carolina, Wilmington - Fall 2012

Book: "The New Answers Book 1" - Ken Ham -

Book: "Science vs. Evolution" - Vance Ferrell -

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