They are then able to calibrate the carbon dating method to produce fairly accurate results.
Carbon dating is thus accurate within the timeframe set by other archaeological dating techniques.
This is partly due to the legacy of the doctrine of uniformitarianism passed down from one generation of geologists to the next since the time of Charles Lyell in the early nineteenth century.
Uniformitarianism assumes that the vast amount of geological change recorded in the rocks is the product of slow and uniform processes operating over an immense span of time, as opposed to a global cataclysm of the type described in the Bible and other ancient texts.
The only consistent way to interpret the geological record in light of this event is to understand that fossil-bearing rocks are the result of a massive global Flood that occurred only a few thousand years ago and lasted but a year.
This Biblical interpretation of the rock record implies that the animals and plants preserved as fossils were all contemporaries.
Writing of the European Upper Palaeolithic, Movius (1960) concluded that "time alone is the lens that can throw it into focus".
"Everything which has come down to us from heathendom is wrapped in a thick fog; it belongs to a space of time we cannot measure.
We know that it is older than Christendom, but whether by a couple of years or a couple of centuries, or even by more than a millenium, we can do no more than guess." [Rasmus Nyerup, (Danish antiquarian), 1802 (in Trigger, 19)].
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Furthermore, the ratio is known to fluctuate significantly over relatively short periods of time (e.g.