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By radiocarbon dating a piece of wood which has been dated by counting the annual growth rings of trees back to when that piece of wood grew, a calibration table can be constructed to convert radiocarbon years to true calendar years.
Of course, the table, so constructed, will only give the correct calibration if the tree-ring chronology which was used to construct it had placed each ring in the true calendar year in which it grew.
Since no reliable historically dated artifacts exist which are older than 5,000 years, it has not been possible to determine the relationship of radiocarbon years to calendar years for objects which yield dates of tens of thousands of radiocarbon years.
Thus, it is possible (and, given the Flood, probable) that materials which give radiocarbon dates of tens of thousands of radiocarbon years could have true ages of many fewer calendar years. The shells of live freshwater clams have been radiocarbon dated in excess of 1600 years old, clearly showing that the radiocarbon dating technique is not valid.
MYTH #2 Radiocarbon dating has established the date of some organic materials (e.g., some peat deposits) to be well in excess of 50,000 years, thus rendering a recent creation (6 to 10 thousand years ago) impossible.
Some organic materials do give radiocarbon ages in excess of 50,000 "radiocarbon years." However, it is important to distinguish between "radiocarbon years" and calendar years.
Long tree-ring chronologies are rare (there are only two that I am aware of which are of sufficient length to be of interest to radiocarbon) and difficult to construct.
Reports of young radiocarbon ages for coal probably all stem from a misunderstanding of one or both of these two factors.For example, a sample with a true radiocarbon age of 100,000 radiocarbon years will yield a measured radiocarbon age of about 20,000 radiocarbon years if the sample is contaminated with a weight of modern carbon of just 5% of the weight of the sample's carbon.It is not too difficult to supply contaminating radiocarbon since it is present in relatively high concentrations in the air and in the tissues of all living things including any individuals handling the sample.Measurements made using specially designed, more elaborate apparatus and more astute sampling-handling techniques have yielded radiocarbon ages for anthracite greater than 70,000 radiocarbon years, the sensitivity limit of this equipment. Continuous series of tree-ring dated wood samples have been obtained for roughly the past 10,000 years which give the approximate correct radiocarbon age, demonstrating the general validity of the conventional radiocarbon dating technique.Several long tree-ring chronologies have been constructed specifically for use in calibrating the radiocarbon time scale.
Other radiometric dating methods such as potassium-argon or rubidium-strontium are used for such purposes by those who believe that the earth is billions of years old.