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Our solar system was created from that dust and other material that arrived from far away stars. Carbon 14 is created in the Earth's atmosphere above 30,000 feet. Some come from beyond our own galaxy, from the farthest reaches of the universe.
Our world is constantly bombarded by tiny subatomic particles from outer space. These particles may have travelled for billions of years before entering our atmosphere where they collide with oxygen or nitrogen atoms.
(You can read up on radioactivity and isotopes here).
Carbon-14, the radioactive version of carbon, is rare — it only makes up one trillionth of all the carbon in the world.
In earlier essays we have shown that the process of evolution can really not be demonstrated in the fossil record, nor can it be demonstrated in the world of living things today.
But in the popular mind, C-14 dating is associated with an evolutionary history of life.
Chemically, carbon-14 is no different from non-radioactive carbon atoms, so it ends up in all the usual carbon places — one trillionth of the carbon atoms in air, plants, animals and us are radioactive.
All radioactive atoms eventually decay into something more stable, and carbon-14 decays into nitrogen.
And plants top up their radioactive carbon every time they turn carbon dioxide to food during photosynthesis.
Radiocarbon dating is used to work out the age of things that died up to 50,000 years ago. As far as working out the age of long-dead things goes, carbon has got a few things going for it. The proteins, carbohydrates and fats that make up much of our tissues are all based on carbon.
Everything from the fibres in the Shroud of Turin to Otzi the Iceman has had their birthday determined the carbon-14 way. There's plenty of hydrogen, oxygen and nitrogen in living things too, but carbon's got something none of them do — a radioactive isotope that can take thousands of years to decay.
Just how reliable, then, is this radiometric method for estimating the ages of fossils? High-energy cosmic rays (actually sub-atomic particles) from space continually crash into atoms in the earth’s upper atmosphere.
The result of such a collision is a shower of sub-atomic debris, including many neutrons.Radiocarbon dating—also known as carbon-14 dating—is a technique used by archaeologists and historians to determine the age of organic material.