Since I'm certain that Mike will just ignore this in order to continue to spread that BS claim "attacking" radiocarbon dating:
mike the wiz writes:
... A fact is for example the C14 we find in diamonds and coal. ...
... The C14 found in diamonds is only in trace amounts, ...
That the amount of C14, when any, in diamonds is so small is not why that creationist claim is bogus. Rather that claim in bogus because that C14 is unimportant since it has absolutely nothing to do with radiocarbon dating
, in intended target of the claim.
To produce C14 (6 protons, 8 neutrons), you hit a nitrogen atom (7 protons, 7 neutrons) with radiation which changes one of its protons into a neutron turning that nitrogen atom into a carbon atom (but with two too many neutrons).
There are many possible ways to get that radiation to that nitrogen atom. In the atmosphere, it's cosmic radiation. Inside the earth, it's any number of radiogenic sources, such as isotopes of uranium -- that would be a good candidate for the occasional C14 found in diamonds or in coal. But radiocarbon dating doesn't use that buried C14.
Radiocarbon dating only uses the C14 found in the atmosphere
. Radiocarbon dating relies on that C14 having been incorporated into organic material. Therefore, only atmospheric C14 matters for radiocarbon dating, not
C14 produced deep in the ground.
Since we need to explain it to mike, let's review how life and the food chain work. Most animals use respiration with takes oxygen from the air and releases carbon-dioxide. But through photosynthesis, plants take carbon-dioxide from the air and release oxygen. Therefore, it would be plants and not animals that would take in C14 from the air and incorporate it into their tissues. Animals would then take in C14 by eating the plants (or by eating animals that had eaten plants) -- that becomes important when addressing other bogus creationist claims about C14.
There have been a number of claims about living animals being given erroneous ages through radiocarbon dating; eg, seals, freshwater clams. That is due to the "reservoir effect" in which "old carbon" (ie, organic material that has been removed from the mechanism of incorporating "new C14" into the food chain, hence much of its original C14 has already decayed) is taken in by living organisms.
In the case of the freshwater molluscs, they were in a stream fed by water that had flowed through limestone and hence contained dissolved limestone -- limestone consists of shells, the same material needed for new shells. Hence the molluscs were incorporating "old carbon", which led to the anomalous dates.
In the case of the seals, they fed off of sea life, much of which itself fed off of other sea life, including what ended up on the bottom. All isolated from the atmosphere and its "new carbon". The only sea life that might incorporate C14 from the atmosphere would be phytoplankton (plant plankton) and I'm not even sure about that. To remind mike, even though seals breath air, that is not how animals incorporate C14, but rather they do so through what they eat. And what those seals eat is from an "old carbon" reservoir.
Now, the sad part of this story is that mike doesn't understand the science that he so fervently rejects. Because anyone with even a passing familiarity with radiocarbon dating and very basic biology should immediately realize that C14 in diamonds or coal have nothing whatsoever to do with radiocarbon dating.
Edited by dwise1, : Clean up in the last aisle (vestigial remains of something I had started writing earlier)