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Rasmus Nyerup's quote reminds us of the tremendous scientific advances which have taken place in the 20th century.
In Nyerup's time, archaeologists could date the past only by using recorded histories, which in Europe were based mainly on the Egyptian calendar.
The age they came back with was only a few thousand years old. And kept their theory that dinosaurs lived "millions of years ago" instead. They then use potassium argon, or other methods, and date the fossils again.
Some organic materials do give radiocarbon ages in excess of 50,000 "radiocarbon years." However, it is important to distinguish between "radiocarbon years" and calendar years.
In the following article, some of the most common misunderstandings regarding radiocarbon dating are addressed, and corrective, up-to-date scientific creationist thought is provided where appropriate. Radiocarbon is used to date the age of rocks, which enables scientists to date the age of the earth.
Radiocarbon is not used to date the age of rocks or to determine the age of the earth.
Love-hungry teenagers and archaeologists agree: dating is hard.
But while the difficulties of single life may be intractable, the challenge of determining the age of prehistoric artifacts and fossils is greatly aided by measuring certain radioactive isotopes.