Carbon 14 or radiocarbon dating can be used to

That is, the equilibrium point should have long since been reached given the present rate of carbon-14 production and the old age of the earth.The next step in Henry Morris' argument was to show that the water level in our barrel analogy was not in equilibrium, that considerably more water was coming in than leaking out.The barrel represents the earth's atmosphere in which the carbon-14 accumulates.The water leaking out the sides of the barrel represents the loss (mainly by radioactive decay) of the atmosphere's supply of carbon-14.It's a great argument except for one, little thing.The water is coming out of the hose at a steady rate as our model assumed!Sometimes it slows down to a trickle so that much more water is leaking out the barrel than is coming in; sometimes it goes full blast so that a lot more water is coming into the barrel than is leaking out. Lingenfelter's paper was written in 1963, before the cycles of C-14 variation we described had been fully documented.Thus, the mere fact that the present rate of water coming in exceeds that of the water leaking out cannot be extrapolated back to a starting time. The point is that fluctuations in the rate of C-14 production mean that at times the production rate will exceed the decay rate, while at other times the decay rate will be the larger.

The water coming out of the hose is analogous to the continuous production of carbon-14 atoms in the upper atmosphere.

Bucha, who has been able to determine, using samples of baked clay from archeological sites, what the intensity of the earth's magnetic field was at the time in question.

Even before the tree-ring calibration data were available to them, he and the archeologist, Evzen Neustupny, were able to suggest how much this would affect the radiocarbon dates.

This argument was popularized by Henry Morris (1974, p.164), who used some calculations done in 1968 by Melvin Cook to get the 10,000-year figure. Whitelaw, using a greater ratio of carbon-14 production to decay, concluded that only 5000 years passed since carbon-14 started forming in the atmosphere!

The argument may be compared to filling a barrel which has numerous small holes in its sides.

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