A number of stories are commonly circulated about a shell, or a piece of coal, or some other sample which supposedly yielded a radiocarbon date which could not possibly be correct.Such stories misrepresent the truth and do a disservice to science and public knowlege.There is, in fact, no indication anywhere in the original reference that these samples were from the "Pennyslvanian"; nor is there any hint that they were expected to be "300 million years old"; these appear to be purely apocryphal embellishments to the original account.Surely, what the Russians intended to convey (and what nearly everybody would understand), is that these samples were charcoal from a not too ancient campfire.
A NOTED CARBON-14 RESULT De Young notes that this method can be used in support of biblical ideas. He notes that "In recent years, readily detectable amounts of carbon-14 have been the rule rather than the exception." Is this claim true?Incidentally, lab techs already have to correct for another historical contingency: The fraction of carbon-14 in the atmosphere decreased after the Industrial Revolution with the rise of fossil fuel combustion.But in the 1950s and 60s, nuclear weapons testing caused a sharp increase.According to young-earth creationists (YECs), if the coal samples and fossils are truly millions of years old (as the scientific community claims), then there shouldn’t be any trace of carbon-14 in these samples. It’s because the half-life of carbon-14 is about 5,700 years, meaning that all the detectable carbon-14 should have disappeared from the samples long before they reach even 100,000 years of age., I respond to this young-earth argument, suggesting three mechanisms that can account for carbon-14 in fossil remains (and by extension, in geological materials) from an old-earth perspective.When YECs detect carbon-14, they find it at low levels, corresponding to age dates older than 30,000 years (not 3,000 to 6,000 years old, as their model predicts, by the way).