Carbon dating debate

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Carbon-14 decays (loses its radioactivity, converting back to nitrogen-14) at a known rate; its half-life, or the time it takes for half a given number of carbon-14 atoms to decay, is about 5,730 years.

When an organism dies, it stops acquiring new carbon-14 atoms.

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According to some people, a literal reading of the Bible (taking into account all the genealogies and so forth) yields a creation date of around 7,000 years ago.I think it’s fair to say that any educated person over the age of 10 or so has probably heard of carbon dating.But I realized the other day that even as an adult with a fair amount of scientific knowledge, I could not articulate exactly how or why carbon dating works.And at other points in history, climatic changes and other large-scale global events have altered the picture in other ways.So scientists performing carbon dating routinely calibrate their findings to adjust for these known issues, using other dating techniques (such as counting the rings on old trees) to corroborate their findings and help them fine-tune the scale.

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