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Now let us review in the light of research in cosmic catastrophism the correctives that, in our view, need to be introduced into the method.We must also evaluate the basic reliance on Egyptian chronology that, as we shall see, needs to be discontinued.Speaking of my research as far as it affects the radiocarbon dating method, I would like to separate the finds concerning natural events (Worlds in Collision, Earth in Upheaval) from finds concerning the true chronology of Egypt and of the ancient World in general (Ages in Chaos).Libbys discoveries, published in 1952, gave immediate support and even vindication to three independent conclusions of my research into natural events of the past.
Of the three reservoirs of radiocarbon on earththe atmosphere, the biosphere, and the hydrosphere, the richest is the lastthe oceans with the seas.
But I could not and should not satisfy myself with this support without repaying by demonstrating where the difficulties and pitfalls of the method are hidden.
In the cataclysmic events reconstructed in Worlds in Collision and also those that preceded the fall of the Middle Kingdom in Egypt, various effects could not but vitiate the radiocarbon performance, some of these effects tending to make organic life appear older than its actual age, and others making it appear more recent.
When objects of the Old Kingdom and Middle Kingdom of Egypt yielded carbon dates that appeared roughly comparable with the historical dates, Libby made his method known.
With initial large margin of error and anything that did not square with expectation, judged as contaminated, the method appeared to work and was hailed as completely reliablejust as the atomic clock is reliableand this nobody doubted.Bursts of cosmic rays and of electrical discharges on an interplanetary scale would make organic-life surviving the catastrophes much richer in radiocarbon and therefore, when carbon dated, that organic matter would appear much closer to our time than actually true.