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Carbon-14 has a half-life of 5730 years (±40 years), meaning that (in accordance with the law of radioactive decay) it will take that length of time for half of the carbon present in an organism to decay into stable carbon isotopes.
The levels of 14C present in a specimen can be measured in a variety of ways; however the invention of accelerator-based mass spectrometric techniques have drastically increased measurement accuracy, as it provides a count of the number of 14C atoms present in a sample.
The site also provides fact sheets on the age of the Earth and isochron dating.
Radiocarbon dating Organic matter contains a certain amount of carbon-14, a radioactive isotope of carbon (under normal conditions carbon has an atomic weight of 12).
A variety of factors have caused the amount of 14C present in the atmosphere to vary over time, resulting in deviations between the age predicted by radiocarbon dating and the absolute date of a specimen. Sample contamination must be carefully avoided to ensure measurement accuracy. Cornell University Press, Itha “Dating In Exposed and Surface Contexts”, ed.: Beck, Charlotte. Seminar Press, New York: NY, 1973 “Radiocarbon Dating”.
At their request, physicist Dr Jim Mason, of CMI Canada, reviewed the material from the meeting and his response was published on 2 April 2015 (see Response to Geochronology: Understanding the Uncertainties, a presentation by Dr Justin Payne).
From this science, we are able to approximate the date at which the organism were living on Earth.
Last year we held a number of meetings on the young/old earth issue and gave YECs numerous opportunities to speak.
Andrew Kulikovsky spoke on one occasion and John Hartnett spoke on 2 occasions. About half those who are on the committee are YECs and the others doubt the YEC position to various degrees.
It uses the naturally occurring radioisotope carbon-14 (14C) to estimate the age of carbon-bearing materials up to about 58,000 to 62,000 years old. Carbon-14 has a relatively short half-life of 5,730 years, meaning that the fraction of carbon-14 in a sample is halved over the course of 5,730 years due to radioactive decay to nitrogen-14.
The carbon-14 isotope would vanish from Earth's atmosphere in less than a million years were it not for the constant influx of cosmic rays interacting with molecules of nitrogen (NFigure 1: Diagram of the formation of carbon-14 (forward), the decay of carbon-14 (reverse).