New data widens the margin of error in carbon dating

The uncertainty of science: New data suggests that the accuracy of carbon-14 dating, used mostly in archaeology and research covering the last few thousand years, has a wider margin of error than previously thought.

By measuring the amount of carbon-14 in the annual growth rings of trees grown in southern Jordan, researchers have found some dating calculations on events in the Middle East – or, more accurately, the Levant – could be out by nearly 20 years.

That may not seem like a huge deal, but in situations where a decade or two of discrepancy counts, radiocarbon dating could be misrepresenting important details.

To me, it seems somewhat arrogant for any scientist to assume this dating could be more accurate than this, especially going back several thousand years and especially considering the number of factors described in the article that they have account for and make assumptions about.

Nonetheless, documenting this margin of error means that the arrogant scientists of the future will have to include it in their research, rather than making believe it doesn’t exist.