The neutrons eventually slow down and bond with the nucleus of the nitrogen changing the atomic weight to that of an unstable carbon atom, Carbon 14 (or C14) (Warf, 212 & Taylor, 6).
As the Carbon 14 slowly descends into our lower atmosphere it bonds with oxygen becoming the very unpopular CO2 greenhouse gas (Bowman, 10).
This, in fact, is the most significant factor contributing to loss of precision in radiocarbon dates today.
However, this contribution is usually only a few decades.
Though the vast majority of CO2 is comprised of the more common and stable isotope of carbon, carbon 12 (C12), a small fraction of CO2 (one in 765 million), contains C14.
As is common fact, plants photosynthesize and consume CO2, fixing its carbon.
A common misconception about radiocarbon dating is that it gives a precise date---3577 B. In actual practice radiocarbon dating can only give a range of dates for a given sample---3650 to 3410 B.
C., for example---the true date lying somewhere in that range.
With a thorough understanding of this dating method, it is my opinion that its ingenious fundamentals can be appreciated, yet greatly overshadowed by its limitations.Thus radiocarbon serves biblical chronology mainly by helping to eliminate large-scale biblical chronology errors arising out of misinterpretation of the biblical text or textual corruption.(For a good example of the role radiocarbon plays in biblical chronology see Is Bryant Wood's chronology of Jericho valid? Once such large-scale errors have been eliminated the precision of biblical chronology rivals that of dendrochronology. Radiocarbon is not generally useful for narrowing the range of such biblical chronology dates further because radiocarbon tends to have poorer precision than biblical chronology.Measurements can be made with a high degree of precision. Aardsma submitted a sample from a reed mat known to be over 5,000 years old.The measurement, before calibration, came back with an error bar of /- about 60 radiocarbon years. It should be noted that these measurement uncertainties do not increase linearly as one goes back in time.For example, modern biblical chronology dates Noah's Flood to 3520 /- 21 B.