Our understanding of the shape and pattern of the history of life depends on the accuracy of fossils and dating methods.
Some critics, particularly religious fundamentalists, argue that neither fossils nor dating can be trusted, and that their interpretations are better.
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Shortly after World War II, Willard Libby discovered that, with knowledge of carbon-14’s predictable decay rate, he could accurately date objects that contained carbon by measuring the ratio of carbon-14 to all carbon in the sample.
The less carbon-14 to total carbon, the older the artifact.
Other critics, perhaps more familiar with the data, question certain aspects of the quality of the fossil record and of its dating.
These skeptics do not provide scientific evidence for their views.
Since only living plants and animals can incorporate new carbon-14, the technique became a reliable measure for historical artifacts.