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Be cautious of accepting a carbon age One should not accept any age from a dating method, including carbon dating, without knowing exactly how the dating method works and its limitations.Many people also don’t realize that carbon dating (along with other radioactive dating methods) is based upon unverifiable assumptions.With this said, it would be worth while to check out this feedback session which does seem to suggest that there might have been an accelerated decay rate in the past, at least for the uranium-lead method.“It is important to realize that an accurate radiometric date can be obtained only if the mineral remained a closed system during the entire period since its formation.Most authorities agree that C-14 decays at such a rate that half of it will be gone in approximately 5,730 years.This means if a specimen contained, say, a pound of C-14 (to make things understandable), in 5,730 years, half of it will be gone, and in another 5,730 years, half of the remaining C-14 will disappear.The fact is, carbon dating can only be used to date things up to approximately 50,000 years old.
Because C-14 is radioactive, it is unstable, and is constantly decaying back into N-14.While this doesn’t render the dating method useless, it does bring its overall accuracy into question.How radioactive carbon is formed Normal carbon atoms weigh 12 atomic mass units, while a radioactive form of carbon weighs 14 atomic mass units, which is called carbon-14 (C-14). It is estimated that only one out of every trillion carbon atoms is C-14.Instead, it can only give up to approximately 50,000 years. Unfortunately, dating methods such as the carbon dating method have only been around for a short period of time.Assumptions While this dating method sounds pretty good and simple enough to understand, there are some assumptions that aren’t often pointed out. So far, no known environmental factors have been able to significantly cause the decay rates to vary.
For this reason, I will have to bite the bullet and accept that it is reasonable to assume the decay rate is constant (even though I give this assumption, this doesn’t mean the decay rate is constant.