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Libby subsequently won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1960 “for his method to use Carbon-14 for age determinations in archaeology, geology, geophysics, and other branches of science.”Among the unique, singular features of the Book of Mormon, in addition to its account about the Jaredites, is the pervasive use of dates by Mormon and other Nephite writers as they recorded events associated with the Nephites’ thousand-year history.
Though Book of Mormon readers cannot have complete faith in radiocarbon dating outcomes, they should keep that point in mind as they attempt to correlate Mesoamerican historical events with the events of the Book of Mormon.
Frankly, when radiocarbon dating was first introduced and for several years thereafter, I was a hard-core skeptic about the science.
God is the Creator of heaven and earth and all things. The word ‘Creator’ means that God made all things out of nothing.”When I finally washed those two beliefs out of my belief system, I was ready to accept the dating outcomes from radiocarbon dating—at least to a point.
I soon understood that the range of accuracy of radiocarbon dating decreases as the dates get larger.
For example, if a scientist reported that an organism had lived thirty thousand years ago, I both consciously and subconsciously refused to accept the validity of the report because I felt that thirty thousand years was not in the realm of possibility for something associated with Earth.
Looking back, I now realize that my skepticism came from two sources: (1) what I had been taught about the creation stages as given in Genesis and (2) the fact that I unwittingly accepted the Christian doctrine of creation ex nihilo—the world was created out of nothing.
In the first instance, I believed that each “day” of the creation sequence lasted a thousand years, or a total of seven thousand years for the creation scenario.
When I added that figure to the six thousand or so years since Adam lived, I then concluded that no radiocarbon dates older than thirteen thousand years or so could be valid.
As an example of that fact, one source reports the following: of 30 radiocarbon years.
Traditionally this included only the statistical counting uncertainty. Some facilities will not report an age greater than 60,000 years for any sample.A further word of caution seems appropriate here.
Following World War II, a team of scientists led by Professor Willard F.