When objects of the Old Kingdom and Middle Kingdom of Egypt yielded carbon dates that appeared roughly comparable with the historical dates, Libby made his method known.
With initial large margin of error and anything that did not square with expectation, judged as contaminated, the method appeared to work and was hailed as completely reliablejust as the atomic clock is reliableand this nobody doubted.
And certainly the building of tree ladders, or carrying on the count from one tree to another may cause erroneous conclusions.
One and the same year may be dry in South California and wet in the northern part of the state.
Now let us review in the light of research in cosmic catastrophism the correctives that, in our view, need to be introduced into the method.
We must also evaluate the basic reliance on Egyptian chronology that, as we shall see, needs to be discontinued.
Speaking of my research as far as it affects the radiocarbon dating method, I would like to separate the finds concerning natural events (Worlds in Collision, Earth in Upheaval) from finds concerning the true chronology of Egypt and of the ancient World in general (Ages in Chaos).
Libbys discoveries, published in 1952, gave immediate support and even vindication to three independent conclusions of my research into natural events of the past.
In centuries to come a body of a man or animal who lived and died in the 20th century would appear paradoxically of greater age since death than the body of a man or animal of the 19th century, and if the process of industrial use of fossil, therefore dead, carbon continues to increase, as it is expected will be the case, the paradox will continue into the forthcoming centuries.
Since the 1940s, scientists have used carbon dating to determine the age of fossils, identify vintages of wine and whiskey, and explore other organic artifacts like wood and ivory.
The technique involves comparing the level of one kind of carbon atom—one that decays over time—with the level of another, more stable kind of carbon atom.
“Seldom has a single discovery in chemistry had such an impact on the thinking in so many fields of human endeavour,” one of Libby's colleagues wrote at the time, according to the Nobel Foundation.
Today, carbon dating is used so widely as to be taken for granted.