Radiocarbon dating of fossils taken from
Half the original quantity of carbon-14 will decay back to the stable element nitrogen-14 after only 5,730 years.
(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).
Just as intriguing is the discovery of measurable radiocarbon in diamonds.
Creationist and evolutionary geologists agree that diamonds are formed more than 100 miles (161 km) down, deep within the earth’s upper mantle, and do not consist of organic carbon from living things.
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.
But samples of organic materials taken from every rock layer, such as fossils, coal, limestone, natural gas, and graphite, all have measurable radiocarbon.
However, when the technician meticulously cleans the rocks with hot strong acids and other pre-treatments to remove any possible contamination, these “ancient” organic (once-living) materials still contain measurable radiocarbon.
Since a blank sample holder in the AMS instrument predictably yields zero radiocarbon, these scientists should naturally conclude that the radiocarbon is “intrinsic” to the rocks.
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.