It is also called “radiocarbon” because it is unstable and radioactive relative to carbon-12 and carbon-13.
Radiocarbon is not used to date the age of rocks or to determine the age of the earth.
Radiocarbon dating, which is also known as carbon-14 dating, is one widely used radiometric dating scheme to determine dates of ancient artifacts.
In discussions of the age of the earth and the antiquity of the human race, creationists often assail perceived weaknesses in radiocarbon dating. Morris, for instance, wrote, "Despite its high popularity, [radiocarbon dating] involves a number of doubtful assumptions, some of which are sufficiently serious to make its results for all ages exceeding about 2000 or 3000 years, in serious need of revision." [Morris2000, pg. Radiocarbon dating is based on the fact that the interaction of cosmic rays from outer space with nitrogen atoms in the atmosphere produces an unstable isotope of carbon, namely radiocarbon.
BP stands for “Before Present” or “Before Physics” as some would refer to it.
It should be noted that a BP notation is also used in other dating techniques but is defined differently, as in the case of thermoluminescence dating wherein BP is defined as AD 1980.