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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.
Question: But don't trees sometimes produce more than one growth ring per year? Answer: If anything, the tree-ring sequence suffers far more from missing rings than from double rings.
Admittedly, this old wood comes from trees that have been dead for hundreds of years, but you don't have to have an 8,200-year-old bristlecone pine tree alive today to validly determine that sort of date.
It is easy to correlate the inner rings of a younger living tree with the outer rings of an older dead tree.
As Hurley points out: Without rather special developmental work, it is not generally practicable to measure ages in excess of about twenty thousand years, because the radioactivity of the carbon becomes so slight that it is difficult to get an accurate measurement above background radiation. 108) Cosmic rays form beta radiation all the time; this is the radiation that turns N-14 to C-14 in the first place. If we extrapolate backwards in time with the proper equations, we find that the earlier the historical period, the less C-14 the atmosphere had.
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.
Thus, a freshly killed mussel has far less C-14 than a freshly killed something else, which is why the C-14 dating method makes freshwater mussels seem older than they really are.
Radiocarbon dating can easily establish that humans have been on the earth for over twenty thousand years, at least twice as long as creationists are willing to allow.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.The older an organism's remains are, the less beta radiation it emits because its C-14 is steadily dwindling at a predictable rate.But other species produce scarcely any extra rings.Most of the tree-ring sequence is based on the bristlecone pine.
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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).