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It is easy to correlate the inner rings of a younger living tree with the outer rings of an older dead tree.The correlation is possible because, in the Southwest region of the United States, the widths of tree rings vary from year to year with the rainfall, and trees all over the Southwest have the same pattern of variations.ICR creationists claim that this discredits C-14 dating. Answer: It does discredit the C-14 dating of freshwater mussels, but that's about all.
This article will answer several of the most common creationist attacks on carbon-14 dating, using the question-answer format that has proved so useful to lecturers and debaters. Answer: Cosmic rays in the upper atmosphere are constantly converting the isotope nitrogen-14 (N-14) into carbon-14 (C-14 or radiocarbon).
The older an organism's remains are, the less beta radiation it emits because its C-14 is steadily dwindling at a predictable rate.
So, if we measure the rate of beta decay in an organic sample, we can calculate how old the sample is. Question: Kieth and Anderson radiocarbon-dated the shell of a living freshwater mussel and obtained an age of over two thousand years.
Since the tree ring counts have reliably dated some specimens of wood all the way back to 6200 BC, one can check out the C-14 dates against the tree-ring-count dates.
Admittedly, this old wood comes from trees that have been dead for hundreds of years, but you don't have to have an 8,200-year-old bristlecone pine tree alive today to validly determine that sort of date.
Of course, species of tree tend to produce two or more growth rings per year.