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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.In the early days of radiocarbon analysis this limit was often around 20,000 radiocarbon years.Thus, all the researcher was able to say about samples with low levels of radiocarbon was that their age was greater than or equal to 20,000 radiocarbon years (or whatever the sensitivity limit of his apparatus was).It is not correct to state or imply from this evidence that the radiocarbon dating technique is thus shown to be generally invalid.

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).

MYTH #2 Radiocarbon dating has established the date of some organic materials (e.g., some peat deposits) to be well in excess of 50,000 years, thus rendering a recent creation (6 to 10 thousand years ago) impossible.

Some organic materials do give radiocarbon ages in excess of 50,000 "radiocarbon years." However, it is important to distinguish between "radiocarbon years" and calendar years.

First, any instrument which is built to measure radiocarbon has a limit beyond which it cannot separate the signal due to radiocarbon in the sample from the signal due to background processes within the measuring apparatus.

Even a hypothetical sample containing absolutely no radiocarbon will register counts in a radiocarbon counter because of background signals within the counter.

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