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The illustration below shows the three isotopes of carbon.Some isotopes of certain elements are unstable; they can spontaneously change into another kind of atom in a process called “radioactive decay.” Since this process presently happens at a known measured rate, scientists attempt to use it like a “clock” to tell how long ago a rock or fossil formed.(The electrons are so much lighter that they do not contribute significantly to the mass of an atom.) C), also referred to as radiocarbon, is claimed to be a reliable dating method for determining the age of fossils up to 50,000 to 60,000 years.If this claim is true, the biblical account of a young earth (about 6,000 years) is in question, since C dates of tens of thousands of years are common.1 When a scientist’s interpretation of data does not match the clear meaning of the text in the Bible, we should never reinterpret the Bible.Note that, contrary to a popular misconception, carbon dating is not used to date rocks at millions of years old.

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An “isotope” is any of several different forms of an element, each having different numbers of neutrons.If this assumption is not true, then the method will give incorrect dates. If the production rate of C in a specimen difficult or impossible to accurately determine. Willard Libby, the founder of the carbon-14 dating method, assumed this ratio to be constant.His reasoning was based on a belief in evolution, which assumes the earth must be billions of years old.For example, all carbon atoms have 6 protons, all atoms of nitrogen have 7 protons, and all oxygen atoms have 8 protons.The number of neutrons in the nucleus can vary in any given type of atom.

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