Carbon dating religion
The real problems of C-14 and its so-called erroneous readings, however, have more to do with the natural elements than the consistency of its decay.1.
Exponential Decay One of the more severe problems has to do with exponential decay: Because of its ability to decompose, most C-14 work can only be carried out on objects with a maximum age of 60,000 years, as counting decayed C-14 for older objects become more arduous due to the extreme lack of C-14 atoms.
When a cosmic ray collides with an atom in the atmosphere, a secondary cosmic ray is formed in the form of an energetic neutron.
When this neutron collides with a nitrogen atom (N-14), a chemical reaction takes place: The Nitrogen 14 (seven protons, seven neutrons) converts into a carbon-14 aom (six protons, eight neutrons) and a hydrogen atom.
"It consisted of different materials than were used in the shroud itself, so the age we produced was inaccurate." In the video, made shortly before he died of cancer in March 2005, he said: "I came very close to proving the shroud was used to bury the historic Jesus."This latest evidence, to be broadcast in The Turin Shroud: New Evidence at 8pm on Sunday on the Discovery Channel, is the latest chapter in the shroud's history.
For the last 21 years most have considered it to be a medieval fake, after the 1988 tests dated it as being made between 12.
The truth is, C-14 decomposition is highly consistent, with a margin error of plus or minus 40 years.
That, in scientific parlance, is a very good tolerance.
He came to his conclusion after re-examining a theory from two amateur scientists that he had earlier dismissed as being from "the lunatic fringe".
He said: "The cotton fibres were fairly heavily coated with dye, suggesting they were changed to match the linen during a repair.
"I concluded that area of the shroud was manipulated by someone with great skill. The worst possible sample for carbon dating was taken.
One of the most important properties of C-14 is its half-life: A half-life refers to the time whereby the number of a certain atom disintegrates or decays by half its original number.
Radiocarbon C-14 has a half-life of about 5,700 years.