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The same applies to marine organisms, although with some well-understood subtleties.
After the organism dies, the carbon-14 decays in a predictable way.
Though radiocarbon dating clearly enjoys “wide public interest,” it also generates much confusion and discord among Christians, which leads to an obvious question: is Libby’s celebrated work a reliable technique for dating ancient objects?
The short answer is a resounding YES and here’s why.
Ongoing work in the field of radiocarbon dating actually addresses all these objections via the process used to calibrate a radiocarbon age.
The calibration relies on finding independent ways to date other objects that contain carbon-14.
Radiometric dating utilizes the decay rates of certain radioactive atoms to date rocks or artifacts.
Uniformitarian geologists consider this form of dating strong evidence that the Earth is billions of years old.
Years of calibrations have yielded straightforward tools for measuring that would be noncontroversial in other fields.
But new research by creationists has revealed a large number of problems with radiometric dating.
In some cases such as Carbon-14 dating, radioactive dating actually gives strong evidence for a young Earth.
For example, K-Ar dating assumes that there was no argon in the original rock.
But if there was argon in the rock when it originally formed, then the age calculated will be millions of years too high. The greater the amount of daughter isotope, the greater the apparent age.
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Thus, if you are a scientist, based on the extensive work calibrating radiocarbon dating, the process largely amounts to determining what kind of sample you have and measuring the carbon-14 to carbon-12 ratio.