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Now, the fuller that barrel gets the more water is going to leak out the thoroughly perforated sides, just as more carbon-14 will decay if you have more of it around.Finally, when the water reaches a certain level in the barrel, the amount of water going into the barrel is equal to the amount leaking out the perforated sides.This argument was popularized by Henry Morris (1974, p.164), who used some calculations done in 1968 by Melvin Cook to get the 10,000-year figure. Whitelaw, using a greater ratio of carbon-14 production to decay, concluded that only 5000 years passed since carbon-14 started forming in the atmosphere!The argument may be compared to filling a barrel which has numerous small holes in its sides.Creationists don't want their readers to be distracted with problems like that -- unless the cat is already out of the bag and something has to be said.Tree-ring dating (see Topic 27) gives us a wonderful check on the radiocarbon dating method for the last 8000 years.That is, we can use carbon-14 dating on a given tree-ring (the 8000-year sequence having been assembled from the overlapping tree-ring patterns of living and dead trees) and compare the resulting age with the tree-ring date.
Thus, he concluded, if our Earth were older than 30,000 years the incoming water should just equal the water leaking out.When the dipole moment is strong, carbon-14 production is suppressed below normal; when it is weak, carbon-14 production is boosted above normal.What the magnetic field does is to partially shield the earth from cosmic rays which produce carbon-14 high in the atmosphere.Sometimes it slows down to a trickle so that much more water is leaking out the barrel than is coming in; sometimes it goes full blast so that a lot more water is coming into the barrel than is leaking out. Lingenfelter's paper was written in 1963, before the cycles of C-14 variation we described had been fully documented.Thus, the mere fact that the present rate of water coming in exceeds that of the water leaking out cannot be extrapolated back to a starting time. The point is that fluctuations in the rate of C-14 production mean that at times the production rate will exceed the decay rate, while at other times the decay rate will be the larger.