Dating accuracy

PROBLEMS WITH RADIOCARBON DATING During the last 30 years, a new method of determining C14/C12 ratios has been developed.It uses accelerator mass spectrometry to determine the amounts of C14 and C12 in a small sample which is vaporised in the test.Usually a proton is knocked out of the nitrogen atom's nucleus and is replaced with the neutron.

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The nitrogen atom, which began with seven protons and seven neutrons, is left with only six protons and eight neutrons.

As the number of protons decides the chemical nature of an atom, the atom now behaves like a carbon atom.

Their results were 'two to three times less accurate than implied by the range of error they stated.' They thought the variations might have been caused by poor laboratory standards allowing contamination of the samples.

Some scientists believe the problem runs far deeper than this, as the following quote shows: In the light of what is known about the radiocarbon method and the way it is used, it is truly astonishing that many authors will cite agreeable determinations as "proof" for their beliefs...

Radiocarbon dating has somehow avoided collapse onto its own battered foundation, and now lurches onward with feigned consistency.

The implications of pervasive contamination and ancient variations in carbon-14 levels are steadfastly ignored by those who base their argument upon the dates.

When they strike ordinary atoms in the upper atmosphere, the cosmic rays smash them apart. Some of these neutrons then collide with nitrogen atoms.

This collision is less destructive than the initial collision that produced them.

...[Some authors have said] they were "not aware of a single significant disagreement" on any sample that had been dated at different labs.

Such enthusiasts continue to claim, incredible though it may seem, that "no gross discrepancies are apparent".

The ions produced are forced into a magnetic field where the different mass of the carbon isotopes causes a different deflection, allowing the quantity of each isotope to be measured.

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