Carbon dating of fossils
If the radioactive element carbon-14 breaks down quickly—within a few thousand years—why do we still find it in fossils and diamonds?It’s a dilemma for evolutionists, who believe the rocks are millions of years old. Radiocarbon (carbon-14) is a very unstable element that quickly changes into nitrogen.This is not such a problem for creationist scientists, but it is a serious problem for evolutionists.Evolutionary radiocarbon scientists have still not conceded that fossils, coals, and diamonds are only thousands of years old.Pieces of fossilized wood in Jurassic rocks, supposedly millions of years old, yielded radiocarbon “ages” of only 20,700–28,820 years.For some years creation scientists have been doing their own investigation of radiocarbon in fossils.
(This 5,730-year period is called the half-life of radiocarbon, Figure 1).1 2 At this decay rate, hardly any carbon-14 atoms will remain after only 57,300 years (or ten half-lives).
These findings are reported in the secular scientific literature (but they are usually rejected as measurement errors).
This chart shows the percentage of radiocarbon that remains in 40 samples from various layers throughout the geologic column.
Most laboratories measure radiocarbon with a very sophisticated instrument called an accelerator mass spectrometer, or AMS.
It is literally able to count carbon-14 atoms one at a time.3 This machine can theoretically detect one radioactive carbon-14 atom in 100 quadrillion regular carbon-12 atoms! AMS instruments need to be checked occasionally, to make sure they aren’t also “reading” any laboratory contamination, called background.
Just as intriguing is the discovery of measurable radiocarbon in diamonds.