Young Earthers point to an infamous dating error as evidence that the Earth is only as old as the Bible says.by Brian Dunning Filed under General Science, Natural History, Religion Skeptoid Podcast #146 March 24, 2009 Podcast transcript | Download | Subscribe Listen: Today we're going to point our skeptical eye at one of the key players in the debate between geologists and Young Earthers over the age of the Earth. Steven Austin took a sample of dacite from the new lava dome inside Mount St. The dacite sample was known to have been formed from a 1986 magma flow, and so its actual age was an established fact. Austin submitted the sample for radiometric dating to an independent laboratory in Cambridge, Massachusetts.The results came back dating the rock to 350,000 years old, with certain compounds within it as old as 2.8 million years. Austin's conclusion is that radiometric dating is uselessly unreliable. Austin chose a dating technique that is inappropriate for the sample tested, and charged that he deliberately used the wrong experiment in order to promote the idea that science fails to show that the Earth is older than the Bible claims.Please feel free to contact our lab staff to discuss the specific details of your samples.Normal handling will not contaminate most sample types, however, samples should be protected from sources of extraneous carbon.Charcoal and wood samples should be wrapped in aluminum foil or heavy plastic and should not be wrapped in paper.
Radiocarbon dating is the principal method for determining the age of carbon-bearing materials from the present to about 50,000 years ago.
The method takes advantage of the natural occurrence of a radioactive isotope of carbon (C in samples of ancient carbon compounds and comparing this with the amount in modern materials, it is possible to determine the time of cessation of carbon exchange with the atmosphere.