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...[Some authors have said] they were "not aware of a single significant disagreement" on any sample that had been dated at different labs.Such enthusiasts continue to claim, incredible though it may seem, that "no gross discrepancies are apparent".The carbon dioxide is absorbed by plants, and the plants are eaten by animals, thus contaminating every living thing on earth with radioactive carbon. As time passes, the C14 in its tissues is converted back into nitrogen.If we know what the original ratios of C14 to C12 were in the organism when it died, and if we know that the sample has not been contaminated by contact with other carbon since its death, we should be able to calculate when it died by its C14 to C12 ratio.Usually a proton is knocked out of the nitrogen atom's nucleus and is replaced with the neutron.The proton takes an electron with it and becomes an atom of hydrogen.

As the number of protons decides the chemical nature of an atom, the atom now behaves like a carbon atom.

The ions produced are forced into a magnetic field where the different mass of the carbon isotopes causes a different deflection, allowing the quantity of each isotope to be measured.

This method is claimed to be more accurate than the older and slower method of counting the number of radioactive decay emissions from a quite large sample.

They found large variations in the radiocarbon 'dates' of objects of known age sent to 38 radiocarbon 'dating' laboratories around the world.

Thirty-one of the labs gave results that the British group called unsatisfactory.

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