C14 on average emits 15.2 beta particles per minute, or 15.2 disintegrations per minute (dpm), for every gram of carbon (Warf, 213).After one half-life (5,730 years) activity will drop to 7.6 dpm, then 3.8 dpm (Warf, 213).Knowing that C14 degrades into nitrogen at a known rate and organisms do not take in C14 once they’re dead, then it logically follows that the presence of C14 in a dead organism will decrease over time.Therefore, by measuring the amount of C14 in an organism, it can be known how long ago it lived with high C14 remains representing a recent age and lower C14 remains representing an older age. There are in essence, two different forms of carbon dating: the original conventional methods and the more recent AMS (Accelerated Mass Spectrometry).
AMS, developed in the 1980s, which overcomes many of the shortfalls of conventional carbon dating, directly measures C14 atoms relative to C12 and C13 atoms (Bowman, 31). Assumptions As straightforward as radiocarbon seems to be there are actually a large number of underlying assumptions that the entire dating process relies on. Andrew Snelling of the Institute of Creation Research writes, “There can be no doubt that this constitutes a very ingenious dating tool, provided of course that the inherent assumptions are valid,” (Snelling, 856).Yet, as simple and straightforward as this seems, the process of dating objects via radiocarbon is far from simple and straightforward.Here I will present what radiocarbon is, the dating methods, the assumptions that govern them, and the known discrepancies that plague the method.AMS can look back as far as 75,000 years (Warf, 215 & Bowman, 38), though some labs claim it is possible to go as far back as 100,000 years.Conventional carbon dating involves measuring the beta particles that break free as C14 decays (Bowman, 34).