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Old 11-19-2012, 21:17   #282
Geko45
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ArtificialGrape View Post
So that we're clear, what is the assertion regarding a carbon-14 saturation point that you would like to advance?

Or you can return to providing scientific evidence that stars cannot form.

-ArtificialGrape
He is suggesting that the atmosphere can only hold so much carbon-14 and that since carbon-14 is generated by the collison of cosmic rays with our atmosphere (so far true) and that we are not currently at full saturation (irrelevant) that the samples may not be as old as carbon-14 testing suggests they might be as the carbon-14 levels didn't start out as high as we have assumed they did.

Or to say it differently, a sample from six thousand years ago would have allegedly been created when the carbon-14 in the atmosphere was allegedly extremely low and that due to this allegedly low starting point and the allegedly false assumption that there has always been a relatively constant level in the atmosphere (as measured by the ratio of carbon-14 to regular carbon), this measurement would yield an age of tens of thousands of years old instead of simply thousands of years old. Put forth in support of this nonsense is carbon-14 tests of relatively young samples with errors in the approximately 1-5 thousand year range (which is well within the expected margin of error for such tests).

The major problem with this criticism comes from a failure to understand the nature of exponential decay (radioactive half life) and variations in the magnetic field of the earth. The creation of carbon-14 in the atmosphere via cosmic rays is relatively constant except for changes in intensity in the earth's magnetic field (which mostly shields us from cosmic rays). We can estimate the historical fluctuations in the magnetic field from other sources and thereby apply correction curves to account for this effect in carbon-14 testing.

Once applied, we see that the levels of carbon-14 in the atmosphere haven't changed all that much and that even uncorrected carbon-14 dates are pretty close to accurate. Furthermore, nothing suggests that carbon-14 build up in the atmosphere has been cumulative the way this criticism suggests.
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Last edited by Geko45; 11-20-2012 at 06:00..
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