Everyone assumes that dates that follow the word “radiocarbon” are accurate, precise and sure. The basic principle of radiocarbon dating is that plants and animals absorb trace amounts of radioactive carbon-14 from carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere while they are alive but stop doing so when they die.The carbon-14 in a sample decays at a steady rate after it dies, and thus works like a clock.Thus creationists and others who invoke perceived weaknesses in radiocarbon dating as justification to cast doubt on the great age of the earth are either uniformed on very basic scientific facts, or else are highly being disingenuous to their audience.Radiocarbon dating has been studied at great length over the past few decades, and its strengths and weaknesses are very well understood at this point in time.It is assumed that the amount of radioactive carbon left in the sample indicates how old it is. It is based on several assumptions, one of which is false.For this method to work, the rate of production of carbon-14 in the atmosphere has to remain constant through time.Because of this relatively short half-life, radiocarbon is useful for dating items of a relatively recent vintage, as far back as roughly 50,000 years before the present epoch.
Also, different radiometric dating techniques independently converges with each other and with other dating techniques such as dendrochronology, layers in sediment, growth rings on corals, rhythmic layering of ice in glaciers, magnetostratigraphy, fission tracks and many other methods. There exists different versions, or isotopes of many elements.In truth, however, the amount of carbon-14 in the atmosphere varies with fluctuations in solar activity and Earth’s magnetic field, changes in atmospheric conditions and even the exploding of atomic bombs!As a result, radiocarbon dating isn’t so accurate: “Provided they are adjusted, radiocarbon dates are now considered reliable as far back as 5000 640, and only generally well back to the time of Christ.Levels of carbon-14 become difficult to measure and compare after about 50,000 years (between 8 and 9 half lives; where 1% of the original carbon-14 would remain undecayed).The question should be whether or not carbon-14 can be used to date any artifacts at all? There are a few categories of artifacts that can be dated using carbon-14; however, they cannot be more 50,000 years old.