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In the light of what is known about the radiocarbon method and the way it is used, it is truly astonishing that many authors will cite agreeable determinations as "proof" for their beliefs...

Radiocarbon dating has somehow avoided collapse onto its own battered foundation, and now lurches onward with feigned consistency. The implications of pervasive contamination and ancient variations in carbon-14 levels are steadfastly ignored by those who base their argument upon the dates.

...[Some authors have said] they were "not aware of a single significant disagreement" on any sample that had been dated at different labs. Such enthusiasts continue to claim, incredible though it may seem, that "no gross discrepancies are apparent". Surely 15,000 years of difference on a single block of soil is indeed a gross discrepancy! And how could the excessive disagreement between the labs be called insignificant, when it has been the basis for the reappraisal of the standard error associated with each and every date in existence?

Why do geologists and archaeologists still spend their scarce money on costly radiocarbon determinations? They do so because occasional dates appear to be useful. While the method cannot be counted on to give good, unequivocal results, the numbers do impress people, and save them the trouble of thinking excessively. Expressed in what look like precise calendar years, figures seem somehow better--both to the layman and professional not versed in statistics--than complex stratigraphic or cultural correlations, and are more easily retained in one's memory. "Absolute" dates determined by a laboratory carry a lot of weight, and are extremely useful in bolstering weak arguments...

No matter how "useful" it is though, the radiocarbon method is still not capable of yielding accurate and reliable results. There are gross discrepancies, the chronology is uneven and relative, and the accepted dates are actually selected dates. This whole blessed thing is nothing but 13th century alchemy, and it all depends upon which funny paper you read.

Robert E. Lee, Radiocarbon: Ages in Error. Anthropological Journal of Canada, vol. 19 (3), 1981, pp. 9-29


A major force altering the formation rate of C14 is the earth's magnetic field.

This field has a dramatic effect on cosmic radiation heading towards the earth. The magnetic field works like a huge bumper-bar. When the radiation strikes the field, it is bent towards the earth's polar regions. Some radiation is deflected so much that it totally misses the earth. Much of the remaining radiation is channelled into the relatively unoccupied polar regions. As the magnetic field extends far beyond the earth's atmosphere, some cosmic radiation never gets a chance to produce C14. Increasing the strength of the magnetic field will increase the shielding effect, reducing the amount of C14 produced.

It is an accepted fact that the measurements of the Earth's magnetic field strength show that the field is rapidly growing weaker. Professor Thomas G. Barnes, who has studied the earth's magnetic field, says that the magnetic field is declining in strength exponentially. Prof. Barnes, who has developed the earlier work of Horace Lamb, demonstrates mathematically that the observed exponential decline in the strength of the earth's magnetic field is exactly what one would expect if the earth's magnetic field is generated by an enormous electric current flowing in the earth's iron core. The decline is due to a continuous loss of electrical energy caused by electrical resistance in the core.

If this type of decline has been occurring in the past, the field loses half of its strength every 1400 years. Scientific research suggests that an increase in the earth's magnetic field to 100 times its present strength would result in complete shielding from cosmic radiation. As a crude approximation, I have accordingly allowed a 1% decrease in C14 formation for each doubling of the current field strength in the calculations of radiocarbon dates. As Table 1 shows, the effect of the magnetic field increase does not become large until times earlier than Noah's Flood.

However, as we go even further back in time, the effect of the magnetic field becomes staggering. The field strengths for dates as recent as 20,000 BCE are so intense that the electric current required to produce such a field would destroy the earth's core. Barnes estimates that the heating effect of the current required would be about 250 million times what it is today. Unless one is prepared to believe that the magnetic field in the past was stable - an idea that conflicts with all the direct observational evidence - one must accept that the earth is young, very young. The rapid decline of the earth's magnetic field makes a recent beginning point for the field (and thus the earth) a necessity.

The increased magnetic shielding of the earth's surface would also make life easier than it is today. This would result from the reduction in incoming radiation, which would make radiation-induced cancers and mutations rarer than they are today.