Other uses of radiocarbon dating
They have their work cut out for them, however, because radiocarbon (C-14) dating is one of the most reliable of all the radiometric dating methods.
This article will answer several of the most common creationist attacks on carbon-14 dating, using the question-answer format that has proved so useful to lecturers and debaters. Answer: Cosmic rays in the upper atmosphere are constantly converting the isotope nitrogen-14 (N-14) into carbon-14 (C-14 or radiocarbon).
When experts compare the tree-ring dates with the C-14 dates, they find that radiocarbon ages before 1000 BC are really too young—not too old as Cook maintains.
For example, pieces of wood that date at about 6200 BC by tree-ring counts date at only 5400 BC by regular C-14 dating and 3900 BC by Cook's creationist revision of C-14 dating (as we see in the article, "Dating, Relative and Absolute," in the , not too old.
When the organisms die, they stop incorporating new C-14, and the old C-14 starts to decay back into N-14 by emitting beta particles.
If we extrapolate as far back as ten thousand years ago, we find the atmosphere would not have had any C-14 in it at all.
If they are right, this means all C-14 ages greater than two or three thousand years need to be lowered drastically and that the earth can be no older than ten thousand years. Answer: Yes, Cook is right that C-14 is forming today faster than it's decaying.
When dating wood there is no such problem because wood gets its carbon straight from the air, complete with a full dose of C-14.
The creationists who quote Kieth and Anderson never tell you this, however.