A very small percentage of carbon, however, consists of the isotope carbon 14, or radiocarbon, which is unstable.
Radiocarbon is not stable; over time radiocarbon atoms decay into nitrogen atoms.
Nyerup's words illustrate poignantly the critical power and importance of dating; to order time.
Radiocarbon dating has been one of the most significant discoveries in 20th century science.
Libby thus reasoned that by measuring carbon 14 levels in the remains of an organism that died long ago, one could estimate the time of its death.
This procedure of radiocarbon dating has been widely adopted and is considered accurate enough for practical use to study remains up to 50,000 years old.
There are three main assumptions that must be made to accept radiometric dating methods.
These must be accepted on faith in uniformitarian and naturalistic frameworks.
Most scientists and many Christians believe that the radiometric dating methods prove that the earth is 4.5 billion years old.
The textbooks speak of the radiometric dating techniques, and the dates themselves, as factual information.
(This, in turn, is caused by variations in the magnetic fields of the earth and sun, for example.) Although the ratio of radiocarbon to stable carbon in the atmosphere has varied over time, it is quite uniform around the globe at any given time because the atmosphere mixes very quickly and constantly.
Plants obtain all their carbon atoms from the atmosphere.