How accurate are carbon-dating methods? All methods of radioactive dating rely on three assumptions that may not necessarily be true: Rate of Decay It is assumed that the rate of decay has remained constant over time.
This assumption is backed by numerous scientific studies and is relatively sound. However, conditions may have been different in the past and could have influenced the rate of decay or formation of radioactive elements. Evolutionists assume that the rate of cosmic bombardment of the atmosphere has always remained constant and that the rate of decay has remained constant. Thus radioactive dating relies purely on assumptions.
We could put forward the following counter arguments to the constancy of these assumptions: The current high rate of entry might be a consequence of a disturbed post-Flood environment that altered the carbon to carbon ratio. Pre-Flood dates would thus have to be discarded.
Some scientists argue that the magnetic field of the earth has declined over time. Carbon comes from nitrogen and is independent of the carbon reservoir.
If even a small percentage of the limestone deposits were still in the form of living marine organisms at the time of the Flood, then the small amount of carbon would have mixed with a much larger carbon reservoir, thus resulting in a drastically reduced ratio.
Specimens would then look much older than they actually are. Clock Reset It's assumed that the clock was set to zero when the study material was formed. This requires that only the parent isotope be initially present or that the amount of daughter isotope present at the beginning is known so that it can be subtracted.
Many examples from literature show that the zero-reset assumption is not always valid. Volcanic ejecta of Mount Rangitoto Auckland, New Zealand was found to have a potassium age of , years, yet trees buried within the volcanic material were dated with the carbon method to be less than years old. If dated with the carbon method, the flow appears to be less than 17, years old, but dating with the potassium argon method gives dates of , to 43 million years. A rock sample from Nigeria was dated at 95 million years by the potassium-argon method, million years by the uranium-helium method, and less than 30 million years by the fission-track method.
Closed System It is assumed that we are dealing with a closed system—no loss of either parent or daughter elements has occurred since the study material formed. No scientist can guarantee that any sample can be considered a closed system unless it was isolated from its environment when it was formed. Elements can be transported into a sample or leach out of a sample.
Scientists will reject theories about the age of the earth that do not conform to the norm. They will argue that the clock was not reset if the age is too old, or that isotopes were selectively removed if the age turns out to be too young.
In the study on the Hawaii lava flow cited above, it was argued that entrapment of excessive amounts of argon gas had made the samples appear older than they were. Radiometric dating techniques are thus based on sound scientific principles, but rely on so many basic assumptions that Bible believers need not have their faith shattered by data derived from these techniques.
What do rock layers on the Earth's crust tell us about our origins and the age of the earth? For more on this subject, see the video Bones in Stones. McDougall Polach and J.