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The ratio of carbon-14 to carbon-12 in the body is equal to the ratio of the two isotopes of carbon in the atmosphere.
For simpicity’s sake, I’m going to follow Riddle’s lead and say that the ratio is one carbon-14 atom for every 1,000,000,000 (trillion) carbon-12 atoms.
The C-12 atoms are all intact, so we could count all of those and we would find that the ratio of C-14 to C-12 is about 1 to 1 trillion.
The problem is that trying to get a good signal on the C-14 atoms is impossible.(Mathy nerd bit 2: The “Number of Half-Lives” axis is also asymptoic.
It will never hit zero because cosmic rays and radiation from nearby atoms can cause a small number of N-14 atoms to change into C-14.)The red line is slightly over 7,000 years. 2) For YEC to be true, the C-14 dates must be off by a magnitude of 16,384 times.
In the majority of chemistry, we’d spend more time talking about the electrons because they are the basis of most chemistry.
Since YEC has decided to take on nuclear chemistry, all we need to remember is that electrons are very small compared to protons and neutrons and electrons are negatively charged. In terms of mass, one proton or one neutron has the same mass as over 2,000 electrons.
Half of the C-14 atoms have decayed into N-14 and don’t show up in our count. The ratio of C-14 to C-12 atoms is now 1 for every 2 trillion atoms which is half as small as the original. Since the C-12 is still unchanged, the ratio of C-14 to C-12 is now 1 C-14 atom for every 4 trillion C-12 atoms.
If you are more of a visual person, here’s a graph of the percentage remaining C-14 per half-life.Moving into the nucleus, we see two different particles in the nucleus. Each element is determined by the number of protons. Each (with a few exceptions) element can have differing number of neutrons.Carbon can have six neutrons, seven neutrons or eight neutrons. You can tell it’s carbon because there are six protons.Long story short: Carbon-14 has a neutron split into a proton and an electron.The electron is lost, a massive amount of energy is released, and the atom becomes nitrogen-14 because it now has 7 protons and 7 neutrons.Because of that, you can’t get a pure 100% sample of C-14.