Tree ring dating problems
For older dates the most satisfactory calibration base is the C-14/C-12 ratio of wood that has been dated by dendrochronology.
In temperate climates wood cells that are produced in the beginning of the growing season are larger and have thinner walls than the cells produced in the latter part of the growing season.
Debater Bill Nye recently used these tree studies to challenge the biblical timeline. Let’s do our homework and look at secularists’ technical reports about tree rings.
One states that “in a tree with no missing or false rings, a simple ring count can establish the date of a particular ring in a particular sample, provided the date of the outer ring is known.” Thus, trees might skip a ring or grow extra “false rings” in a given year.
Radiocarbon corrections beyond that are often based on attempts to match the thickness variations of tree rings in old wood samples.
This is necessary because of the uncertainty about the original concentration of carbon-14, which must be assumed to calculate a radiocarbon age.
In order to determine what real-time age should be associated with a radiocarbon age, the radiocarbon data are often compared to historical and tree-ring data that are considered to be more reliable indicators of time.
Tree-ring data are especially important in the correction process for dates older than 1000 BC.
Statistical tests show that it is easy to get significant matches of tree-ring patterns at various juxtapositions between samples of wood.
More sophisticated statistical tests are being developed to correct for this problem.
Using radioactive carbon (carbon-14 C-14) to determine age is a complex process.