However, in either case, the background beta radiation has to be compensated for, and, in the older objects, the amount of C-14 they have left is less than the margin of error in measuring background radiation. Question: Creationists such as Cook (1966) claim that cosmic radiation is now forming C-14 in the atmosphere about one and one-third times faster than it is decaying.

Most of the tree-ring sequence is based on the bristlecone pine.

This tree rarely produces even a trace of an extra ring; on the contrary, a typical bristlecone pine has up to 5 percent of its rings missing.

When experts compare the tree-ring dates with the C-14 dates, they find that radiocarbon ages before 1000 BC are really too young—not too old as Cook maintains.

For example, pieces of wood that date at about 6200 BC by tree-ring counts date at only 5400 BC by regular C-14 dating and 3900 BC by Cook's creationist revision of C-14 dating (as we see in the article, "Dating, Relative and Absolute," in the , not too old.

Of course, species of tree tend to produce two or more growth rings per year.

But other species produce scarcely any extra rings.

In the growth-ring analyses of approximately one thousand trees in the White Mountains, we have, in fact, found no more than three or four occurrences of even incipient multiple growth layers. 840) In years of severe drought, a bristlecone pine may fail to grow a complete ring all the way around its perimeter; we may find the ring if we bore into the tree from one angle, but not from another.

Hence at least some of the missing rings can be found.

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.