Radiocarbon dating can be used to date materials that
After all, we should be able to estimate how long ago a creature lived based on how much radiocarbon is left in its body. Radiocarbon (carbon-14) is a very unstable element that quickly changes into nitrogen.
Half the original quantity of carbon-14 will decay back to the stable element nitrogen-14 after only 5,730 years.
To measure the rate of decay, a suitable detector records the number of beta particles ejected from a measured quantity of carbon over a period of time, say a month (for illustration purposes).
Since each beta particle represents one decayed carbon-14 atom, we know how many carbon-14 atoms decayed during that month.
Let’s suppose we find a mammoth’s skull, and we want to date it to determine how long ago it lived.
We can measure in the laboratory how many carbon-14 atoms are still in the skull.
Chemists have already determined how many atoms are in a given mass of each element, such as carbon.4 So if we weigh a lump of carbon, we can calculate how many carbon atoms are in it.
The reason is that, as long as the organism is alive, it replaces any carbon molecules that have decayed into nitrogen.But there is no way of independently calibrating the radioactive clocks in rocks because no observers were present when the rocks formed and the clocks started. And because the half-life of carbon-14 is just 5,730 years, radiocarbon dating of materials containing carbon yields dates of only thousands of years, not the dates over millions of years that conflict with the framework of earth history provided by the Bible, God’s eyewitness account of history.So one would think that since the radiocarbon dating method works on organic (once-living) materials, then radiocarbon could be used to date fossils.The difference in the number of sand grains represents the number of carbon-14 atoms that have decayed back to nitrogen-14 since the mammoth died. The sand grains in the top bowl fall to the bottom bowl to measure the passage of time.Because we have measured the rate at which the sand grains fall (the radiocarbon decay rate), we can then calculate how long it took those carbon-14 atoms to decay, which is how long ago the mammoth died. If all the sand grains are in the top bowl, then it takes exactly an hour for them all to fall.