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Carbon 14 (also called radiocarbon, or C-14 dating) is not reliable. Here are scientific facts explaining this. This is science vs. evolution—a Creation-Evolution Encyclopedia, brought to you by Creation Science Facts.

CONTENT: Dating of Time in Evolution: 2

Radiocarbon Dating: 17 reasons why radiodating is seriously flawed
Amino Acid Dating: Several reasons why it remarkably unreliable
Other Dating Methods: Problems with other dating techniques

Page numbers without book references refer to DATING OF TIME IN EVOLUTION, from which these facts are summarized. An asterisk ( * ) by a name indicates that person is not known to be a creationist. Of over 4,000 quotations in the set of books this Encyclopedia is based on
, only 164 statements are by creationists.


Carbon-14 cycle. Carbon-14 (C-14) dating was devised in 1948. Theoretically, it sounds like a good method; but, in practice, it does not turn out that way. Radiocarbon dating is only "consistent" because the large number of C-14 dates which do not agree—are thrown out.—pp. 26-27.

Thirteen assumptions. As with uranium and other radioactive dating, carbon-14 dating requires flawless uniformity, down through the centuries, in regard to 13 assumptions. If one or more are incorrect, then C-14 dating will be unreliable.—p. 27.

Seventeen radiodating problems. In addition, there are 17 reasons why radiocarbon dating is seriously flawed:

1: Type of carbon. There can never be certainty as to what type of carbon may be present. It might be from carbon-14, but it might be a different carbon.—p. 28.

2: Variations within samples. There can be biological alteration of materials within the soil which can radically affect the dating over a period of time.—p. 28.

3: Loss of C-14. Moisture intrusion of any kind will dramatically affect the dating outcome.—p. 28.

4: Lesson from Jarmo. Eleven C-14 tests, made at Jarmo (in modern Iraq), yielded dates with a 6,000 year spread!—p. 28.

5: Changes in atmospheric carbon. We do not know what were the carbonic and atmospheric conditions in ancient times. Yet we must have that information, in order to start the radiocarbon clock and keep it running right for the first part of its cycle.—pp. 28-29.

6: Sunspot cycles. Sunspot production greatly affects C-14 activity, yet all we know with certainty is that there have been changes in the past. However, radiocarbon dating is based on the assumption that there have been no such changes!—p. 29.

7: Radiocarbon date survey. A survey of 15,000 carbon-14 dates reveals a wide variation from other radiodating techniques. Yet they all ought to agree.—p. 29.

8: Change in neutrino radiation. A change in neutrino radiation into our atmosphere, in earlier times, would also dramatically affect radiocarbon dating. But nothing is known definitively.—p. 29.

9: Recent dates are most accurate. One landmark fact is that C-14 dates, from the present time back to 600 B.C., tend to be more accurate. Before that time, the results are highly speculative.—p. 29.

10: If warmer and more water vapor. It is highly significant that, if the earth were either warmer at an earlier time or had more water in the atmosphere, the C-14 clocks would slow down dramatically; that is, register longer periods of time than they should.—p. 31.

11: Cosmic rays. The amount of cosmic radiation entering the atmosphere and reaching the earth would also be crucial, since it is cosmic rays which make carbon 14 in the first place.—p. 31.

12: Magnetic field. The greater the strength of earth's magnetic field, the more cosmic rays would enter our atmosphere. And it is the cosmic rays which change C-12 into C-14 (which is then absorbed by body tissues).—p. 31.

13: Moisture conditions. Even small changes in atmospheric or ground moisture, would greatly affect the C-14 clock.—How about a worldwide Flood?—p. 31.

14: Dramatic changes after the Flood. Immense changes occurred worldwide (during and just after the Flood) in the atmosphere, vapor canopy, and temperature. Immense volcanic output for about a century thereafter would have had significant impact on the clocks.—pp. 31-32.

15: Even modern specimens are inaccurate. Not only are ancient specimens inaccurate, but recent ones also are. Freshly killed seals have been dated as having lived 1,300 years ago, etc.—p. 32.

16: Carbon inventory. Drastic changes during, and following, the Flood produced immense variations in the amount of carbon in the atmosphere.—p. 32.

17: Four radiocarbon samples. Four examples of ridiculous C-14 date results are cited.—pp. 32-33.

Throwing off the clock. *W.F. Libby, inventor of the C-14 dating technique, found that, prior to 1600 B.C., the radiocarbon dates go wild. But, since he assumed earth was millions of years old, he went ahead with his work and ignored the problem.—p. 33.

C-14 data points to the Flood. If the Genesis Flood actually occurred, there should be a lot of specimens which died at about that date. One research scholar found such evidence. A gigantic loss of life occurred at approximately 2500 B.C.—pp. 33-34.

Mass spectrometer. This new and expensive technique shows all ancient dates should be very low.—p. 34.


Amino acid decomposition. This dating method, devised in 1955, analyzes ancient amino acid remains and tries to date them. Each type of plant and animal has its own special amino acid ratios. Researchers have reported that this dating method can only yield broad ranges of possible dates.—p. 34.

No ancient fossils. Traces of amino acids are today found on all ancient fossil remains! This means that none of the fossils are very old.—p. 34.

Racemic dating. This is a second amino acid dating method, based on the fact that all animals only have L (left-handed) amino acids. (In Primitive Environment, we will learn that this fact is a powerful evidence that God made them; since, in a laboratory, amino acid synthesis results in a 50 / 50 mixture of left and right.)—pp. 34-35.

Seeking a racemic mixture. At death, some of the L amino acids begin converting over to D (right-handed ones). Eventually, a 50 / 50 pattern emerges, which is called "racemic." Scientists prefer racemic amino acid dating, since it is easier to do.—p. 35.

Ten racemic problems. Ten different factors affect the results of racemic dating, yet no one knows which ones are off or to what degree. So racemic dating is practically worthless.—p. 35.

Most easily contaminated. Water-contaminated materials have their racemic clocks thrown off. Bone from a given period will yield 20,000 years, while comparable seashell meat will be 150,000 years.—p. 35.

Temperature changes. Racemic dating also requires that the temperature not change for thousands of years! Just a one degree increase in temperature at 73.4oF [23oC] will produce a nearly 16 percent increase in the rate at which racemization occurs.—pp. 35-36.

Cold storage problem. But cold is as much a problem as is heat. As the cold increases, racemization slows down. Example: It is known that, because of the overcast caused by heavy volcanism, the world became much colder for about a century after the Flood. Yet this cold factor would cause creatures buried in the sedimentary strata to appear to be over 100,000 years older than they really were!—p. 36.

Moisture: A double problem. The experts tell us that moisture must be present for racemization to occur. Yet that continual inflow of moisture would bring with it various kinds of contamination. One such contaminant would be the pH of that moisture. For example, a higher pH (as would occur if the penetrating water had some dissolved limestone in it, not an uncommon occurrence), would cause very rapid racemization—and impart an apparently great age to the sample.—p. 36.

Another radiodating problem. As would be expected, racemization results do not agree with radiocarbon test results. Yet they ought to agree.—p. 36.


Astronomical dating. We discussed this in great detail in Origin of Matter. The methods used to date the stars and galaxies are wildly incoherent, because they are based on a theory which is incorrect (the speed theory of the redshift).—pp. 36-37.

Paleomagnetic dating. Paleomagnetic dating is also based on incorrect theories. This is discussed in greater detail in Laws of Nature vs. Evolution.—p. 37.

Varve dating. Certain sedimentary deposits are composed of extremely thin layers. Evolutionists theorize that each band must be exactly one year. But any limnologist will tell you that a brief flooding into a lake will cause a varve, which is a settling out of finer particles. In addition, only a rapid laying down of sediments could produce the plant and animal fossils we find in varves.—p. 37.

Tree ring dating. Bristlecone pine rings indicate an apparent age somewhat older than that of the giant sequoias. But evidence reveals that more than one bristlecone ring can be laid down in a single year. Sequoias are the oldest living thing, and their age closely correlates with the end of the Flood. See Age of the Earth for more on this.—p. 37.

Buried forest strata dating. Sometimes vertical trees are buried in sedimentary strata. Because they are found at various levels, it is said that this proves long ages. But how did vertical trees remain in place for long ages, while they were gradually covered over? Vertical trees in strata prove the Flood, not long ages of evolution.—pp. 37-38.

Peat dating. Evolutionists theorize that peat moss forms at the rate of one-fifth inch per century. But there is evidence indicating that this assumption is not true.—p. 38.

Reef dating. *Darwin theorized that coral reefs grew as the oceans, over long ages, gradually filled with water. Yet the truth is that the Flood occurred rapidly—and coral is only found fairly close to the surface. Thus, they began forming after the oceans were rather quickly filled.—p. 38.

Thermoluminescence dating. This little-known dating theory has also failed to find scientific support.—pp. 38-39.

Stalactite formation. Stalactites (the long conical formations which hang from cave ceilings) are said to require long ages to develop. But there is abundant evidence that they can form much more quickly.—p. 39.

The truth is that God made our world only a few thousand years ago.


To the next topic in this series: SCIENTISTS SPEAK ABOUT RADIODATING: Researchers reveal facts you did not know.