Even then, a large proportion of radiocarbon dating tests return inconsistent, or even incoherent, results, even for tests done on the same sample.The explanation given for these outliers is usually “contamination.” Inconsistent results are another reason why multiple samples, multiples tests, and various parallel methods are used to date objects.The other major factor affecting the results of carbon dating is gauging the original proportion of carbon-14 itself.
Question: "Is carbon dating a reliable method for determining the age of things?
" Answer: Carbon dating, or radiocarbon dating, like any other laboratory testing technique, can be extremely reliable, so long as all of the variables involved are controlled and understood.
Likewise, different living things absorb or reject carbon-14 at different rates.
Two plants that died at the same moment, but which naturally contained different levels of radiocarbon, could be dated to drastically different times.
Scientists must assume how much carbon-14 was in the organism when it died.