Thus the 14/12C ratio found in anything other than primary producers is inherited from the constituents of its diet.
Secondly, although photosynthetic organisms (trees, grass, algae, etc.) take in all isotopes of carbon, it is not at the same rate.
Getting lost in the technical jargon — a minor detour I would like to make it clear that my purpose here is not to cloud the issue by introducing meaningless complexities to the discussion.
I fully understand that the author is writing to a general audience, and bound to make simplifications.
Scientists can use this ratio to help determine the starting amount of 14C." A couple of factual errors are found in this quote (it is apparent from this point on that much of this article is taken from second-hand knowledge of the issue).
First, carbon is taken in from the atmosphere primarily through photosynthesis (not breathing), which is passed down through the food chain (eating).
His reasoning was based on a belief in evolution, which assumes the earth must be billions of years old...
In [his] original work, he noted that the atmosphere did not appear to be in equilibrium. Libby since he believed the world was billions of years old and enough time had passed to achieve equilibrium. Libby’s calculations showed that if the earth started with no 14C in the atmosphere, it would take up to 30,000 years to build up to a steady state (equilibrium)... If it takes about 30,000 years to reach equilibrium and 14C is still out of equilibrium, then maybe the earth is not very old." Fortunately, Dr.
This attack is called a strawman argument, and abounds anytime a complex issue is debated by those only vaguely familiar (one need only watch 5 minutes of any politically driven show — liberal or conservative — to see my point. One can start to see the basis of the young Earth argument — it lies with that "critical assumption" that we can know the original ratio of 14/12-Carbon in the atmosphere when the organic material was still alive.
The third point is most relevant to our discussion, since it results in 'both sides' affirming the accuracy of radiocarbon dating for any 'recent' samples (as opposed to nearly any other method, which must be discounted in all cases by anyone that believes in a young Earth).
Thus even from a 'young-Earth' standpoint, all radiocarbon dates (assuming that care is taken to eliminate contamination) are taken to be meaningful indicators of a given sample's age. Anyone familiar with typical studies employing the radiocarbon method knows that model ages obtained often exceed 10,000 years (e.g. So doesn't the method already affirm that the Earth (or at least it's now deceased inhabitants) must be at least this old?
it depends on the ever-changing strength of the geomagnetic field).
He did make the point that one might expect this ratio to be constant when averaged over the last 10-20,000 years, but it is a far stretch to accuse him of making a blind assumption based on a "belief in evolution", which actually has nothing to do with his work (such a reference is an ad hominem argument buried within a Red Herring, as it calls on the audience to reject Dr. Since the strength of the geomagnetic field, atmospheric composition, etc.