Viking Bones Contradict Carbon-14 Assumptions | The Institute for Creation Research
Viking Bones Contradict Carbon-14 Assumptions

Radiocarbon dating is considered one of science’s tried-and-true methodologies. But could there be a forensic flaw in measuring carbon-14 dates using conventional methodology? Could dates assigned by that method be vulnerable to faulty assumptions that render them invalid?

Indeed they can. The age assignment for certain Viking bones caused a decades-long controversy until the carbon-14 methodology used to date them was recently exposed for its flawed assumptions.1 This case demonstrates that one-size-fits-all radiocarbon dating doesn’t work.

This case demonstrates that one-size-fits-all radiocarbon dating doesn’t work. Tweet: This case demonstrates that one-size-fits-all radiocarbon dating doesn’t work.

Viking Bones Contradict Carbon-14 Assumptions: http://www.icr.org/article/viking-bones-contradict-c14-assumptions

@icrscience

A mass burial of 250 to 300 skeletons was discovered in the Derbyshire village of Repton, England, in the 1980s. It seemed likely they were the remains of the Scandinavian Vikings of the Great Heathen Army who wintered in Repton over a millennium ago during 873–874. Eyewitness accounts indisputably reported the army’s historical presence during the latter 800s, so many modern historians concluded that these mass-grave skeletons were those very Vikings.2 However, a team of empirical science investigators, using routine carbon-14 radiometric dating methodology, rejected that historical timeframe, arguing instead for dating the skeletons a century or so older based upon residual carbon-14 found inside the bones.1

Why would radiocarbon calculations indicate the buried warriors died during the 600s or 700s, a century or more before Derbyshire was overwhelmed by hordes of Vikings? Likewise, if radiocarbon determinations are so reliable, why is no Viking army reported as occupying Derbyshire during the 600s or 700s? This loud silence is what forensic experts call the “evidence of nothing” problem.3

Carbon-14 dating methods use assumptions.1,4 Could it be that one of the usual assumptions is invalid for measuring the time-of-death data for the Repton skeletons?

The normal radiometric dating scenario presumes that human skeletons contain organic material with steadily decaying radiocarbon that is traceable to plant photosynthesis, which incorporates atmospheric CO2 into plant carbohydrates. As herbivores eat plants, radiocarbon within photosynthesis-fixed carbohydrates metabolically incorporates into the animal’s flesh.4 By eating plants, humans acquire carbon-14 directly. By consuming plant-eating animals (cattle, sheep, goats, swine, etc.), humans ingest carbon-14 indirectly. A major assumption affecting the mathematics of radiocarbon dating is that human skeletons contain residual carbon-14 acquired predominantly from terrestrial (i.e., land-food-based) diets.1,4,5

However, a diet incorporating lots of finfish (cod, salmon, trout, herring, etc.) and/or shellfish (shrimp or crab) would nix that vital assumption.1,5 The Vikings were known for a seafood diet—specifically fish. And fish contain much less carbon-14 than land-based foods like grains, vegetables, fruits, dairy products, or livestock meats.1,2,5

Therefore, unless dietary differences are adjusted for, carbon-dated skeletons of fish-eating Vikings appear to be about a hundred years or more older than they really are. They seem to be “missing” so much of the expected carbon-14 that they are interpreted as having died centuries earlier than they actually did.1,4,5

Unique historical events such as battles, deaths, traffic accidents, or the Genesis Flood require reliable eyewitness reporting, not just empirical observations in the present. Tweet: Unique historical events such as battles, deaths, traffic accidents, or the Genesis Flood require reliable eyewitness reporting, not just empirical observations in the present.

Read more: http://www.icr.org/article/viking-bones-contradict-c14-assumptions

@icrscience

The take-away lesson is that unique historical events such as battles, deaths, traffic accidents, or the Genesis Flood require reliable eyewitness reporting, not just empirical observations in the present such as fingerprints, rubber skid marks, or blood spatters.3,6 That’s why we need God’s eyewitness Genesis report to understand our origins.

References

  1. Jarman, C. L. et al. 2018. The Viking Great Army in England: New dates from the Repton charnel. Antiquity. 92 (361): 183-199.
  2. Haywood, J. 1995. The Penguin Historical Atlas of the Vikings. London: Penguin Books, 12-13, 62-63.
  3. Job 38:4. Johnson, J. J. S. 2008. The Evidence of Nothing. Acts & Facts. 37 (4): 4-5. See also Johnson, J. J. S. 2012. Genesis Critics Flunk Forensic Science 101. Acts & Facts. 41 (3): 8-9.
  4. Morris, J. D. 2007. The Geology Book. Green Forest, AR: Master Books, 50.
  5. Arneborg, J. et al. 1999. Change of Diet of the Greenland Vikings Determined from Stable Carbon Isotope Analysis and 14C Dating of Their Bones. Radiocarbon. 41 (2): 157-168.
  6. Johnson, J. J. S. and J. Tomkins. Blood Crying from the Ground, a Forensic Science Perspective, Illustrated by the Gruesome Killing of America’s Most Hated Woman. Presented at the Creation Research Society Conference, Dallas, Texas, July 31, 2015. See also Johnson, J. J. S. 2016. There’s Nothing Like an Eyewitness. Acts & Facts. 45 (12): 20.

* Dr. Johnson is Associate Professor of Apologetics and Chief Academic Officer at the Institute for Creation Research.

Cite this article: James J. S. Johnson, J.D., Th.D. 2018. Viking Bones Contradict Carbon-14 Assumptions. Acts & Facts. 47 (5).

The Latest
NEWS
Inside June 2021 Acts & Facts
How do the Everglades illustrate Bible-affirming biology? Why do marine sponges inspire engineers? What can we learn about God’s providence from...

NEWS
Two Excuses for Human Evolution Confusion
Public school textbooks assert that apes and humans emerged from an ape-like animal, whereas Genesis 1 says that God created humans and the different animal...

DAYS OF PRAISE DEVOTIONALS
Summer 2021
...

ACTS & FACTS
Creation Kids: Coral Reef
Christy Hardy and Susan Windsor* You’re never too young to be a creation scientist! Kids, discover fun facts about God’s creation with...

ACTS & FACTS
The Legacy and Faith of a Godly Father
Good fathers serve an essential role in the family, and it’s surely fitting that we express our love and gratitude on Father’s Day. After...

APOLOGETICS
Even Seaweed Is Proof of God's Providence
Tidewater-tossed seaweeds display God’s providence.1,2 Hidden in plain view, tidewater seaweeds are spectacular exhibits of Christ’s...

ACTS & FACTS
What It Takes to Make a Cell: A Review of The Stairway to Life
Rare is the science book that can hold even an average reader’s attention. But The Stairway to Life does just that. Coauthored by biochemist Laura...

ACTS & FACTS
Does Radioisotope Dating Prove an Old Earth?
Tim Clarey, Ph.D., and Vernon R. Cupps, Ph.D.* When most people think about radioisotope dating, they think of carbon-14 (C-14), or radiocarbon...

ACTS & FACTS
The Everglades: Two Biology Basics the Bible Got Right
Brian Thomas, Ph.D., and Gary Parker, Ed.D.* Imagine a river 50 miles wide and 100 miles long but only inches deep. Its slow flow is hidden...

ACTS & FACTS
Marine Sponges Inspire
The oceans are alive with God’s diverse and amazing creatures. Scripture tells us “God created great whales, and every living creature that...