Validity of carbon dating
The slope of the line determines the date, and the closeness of fit is a measure of the statistical reliability of the resulting date.Technical details on how these dates are calculated are given in Radiometric dating. As with any experimental procedure in any field of science, these measurements are subject to certain "glitches" and "anomalies," as noted in the literature.In a related article on geologic ages (Ages), we presented a chart with the various geologic eras and their ages.In a separate article (Radiometric dating), we sketched in some technical detail how these dates are calculated using radiometric dating techniques.Unfortunately, a lot of misinformation about radiocarbon dating has been circulated by individuals who have neither training nor hands-on experience in this area.We feel a responsibility to make sure readers of this site go away with factual, truthful information, and this requires a frank correcting of some prevalent misinformation.
Darwin and his contemporaries could never have imagined the improvements in resolution of stratigraphy that have come since 1859, nor guessed what fossils were to be found in the southern continents, nor predicted the huge increase in the number of amateur and professional paleontologists worldwide.
This idea is advanced, for example, in The Young Earth: C ratio was like before the industrial revolution, and all radiocarbon dating is made with this in mind.
How do we know what the ratio was before then, though--say, thousands of years ago?
Our understanding of the shape and pattern of the history of life depends on the accuracy of fossils and dating methods.
Some critics, particularly religious fundamentalists, argue that neither fossils nor dating can be trusted, and that their interpretations are better.