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It is not correct to state or imply from this evidence that the radiocarbon dating technique is thus shown to be generally invalid.
The problem with freshwater clams arises because these organisms derive the carbon atoms which they use to build their shells from the water in their environment.
Some may have mistaken this to mean that the sample had been dated to 20,000 radiocarbon years.
However, the reason for this is understood and the problem is restricted to only a few special cases, of which freshwater clams are the best-known example.It is not difficult to see how such a claim could arise, however.There are two characteristics of the instrumental measurement of radiocarbon which, if the lay observer is unaware, could easily lead to such an idea.For example, a sample with a true radiocarbon age of 100,000 radiocarbon years will yield a measured radiocarbon age of about 20,000 radiocarbon years if the sample is contaminated with a weight of modern carbon of just 5% of the weight of the sample's carbon.It is not too difficult to supply contaminating radiocarbon since it is present in relatively high concentrations in the air and in the tissues of all living things including any individuals handling the sample.In the following article, some of the most common misunderstandings regarding radiocarbon dating are addressed, and corrective, up-to-date scientific creationist thought is provided where appropriate. Radiocarbon is used to date the age of rocks, which enables scientists to date the age of the earth.Radiocarbon is not used to date the age of rocks or to determine the age of the earth.Measurements made using specially designed, more elaborate apparatus and more astute sampling-handling techniques have yielded radiocarbon ages for anthracite greater than 70,000 radiocarbon years, the sensitivity limit of this equipment. Continuous series of tree-ring dated wood samples have been obtained for roughly the past 10,000 years which give the approximate correct radiocarbon age, demonstrating the general validity of the conventional radiocarbon dating technique.Several long tree-ring chronologies have been constructed specifically for use in calibrating the radiocarbon time scale.Other radiometric dating methods such as potassium-argon or rubidium-strontium are used for such purposes by those who believe that the earth is billions of years old.Radiocarbon is not suitable for this purpose because it is only applicable: a) on a time scale of thousands of years and b) to remains of once-living organisms (with minor exceptions, from which rocks are excluded).