If they are right, this means all C-14 ages greater than two or three thousand years need to be lowered drastically and that the earth can be no older than ten thousand years. Answer: Yes, Cook is right that C-14 is forming today faster than it's decaying.
However, the amount of C-14 has not been rising steadily as Cook maintains; instead, it has fluctuated up and down over the past ten thousand years. From radiocarbon dates taken from bristlecone pines.
Also, the larger the sample the better, although new techniques mean smaller samples can sometimes be tested more effectively.
The data can be a little off particularly in younger artifacts, and anything older than about 50,000 years is pretty much too old to be tested because at that point the majority of the C-14 has decayed to practically undetectable levels.
Prior to the development of radiocarbon dating, it was difficult to tell when an archaeological artifact came from.
Unless something was obviously attributable to a specific year -- say a dated coin or known piece of artwork -- then whoever discovered it had to do quite a bit of guesstimating to get a proper age for the item.
Therefore it should come as no surprise that creationists at the Institute for Creation Research (ICR) have been trying desperately to discredit this method for years.
They have their work cut out for them, however, because radiocarbon (C-14) dating is one of the most reliable of all the radiometric dating methods.
The excavator might employ relative dating, using objects located stratigraphically (read: buried at the same depth) close to each other, or he or she might compare historical styles to see if there were similarities to a previous find.
But by using these imprecise methods, archeologists were often way off.
Fortunately, Willard Libby, a scientist who would later win the 1960 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, developed the process known as radiocarbon dating in the late 1940s. In a nutshell, it works like this: After an organism dies, it stops absorbing carbon-14, so the radioactive isotope starts to decay and is not replenished.