Radiometric dating techniques indicate that the Earth is thousands of times older than that--approximately four and a half billion years old.Many Christians accept this and interpret the Genesis account in less scientifically literal ways.This paper describes in relatively simple terms how a number of the dating techniques work, how accurately the half-lives of the radioactive elements and the rock dates themselves are known, and how dates are checked with one another.
This paper is available on the web via the American Scientific Affiliation and related sites to promote greater understanding and wisdom on this issue, particularly within the Christian community.
Introduction Overview The Radiometric Clocks Examples of Dating Methods for Igneous Rocks Potassium-Argon Argon-Argon Rubidium-Strontium Samarium-Neodymium, Lutetium-Hafnium, and Rhenium-Osmium Uranium-Lead The Age of the Earth Extinct Radionuclides: The Hourglasses that Ran Out Cosmogenic Radionuclides: Carbon-14, Beryllium-10, Chlorine-36 Radiometric Dating of Geologically Young Samples Non-Radiogenic Dating Methods for the Past 100,000 Years Ice Cores Varves Other Annual-Layering Methods Thermoluminescence Electron Spin Resonance Cosmic Ray Exposure Dating Can We Really Believe the Dating Systems? Rightly Handling the Word of Truth Arguments over the age of the Earth have sometimes been divisive for people who regard the Bible as God's word.
When the glass is turned over, sand runs from the top to the bottom.
Radioactive atoms are like individual grains of sand--radioactive decays are like the falling of grains from the top to the bottom of the glass.
Some of the atoms eventually change from one element to another by a process called radioactive decay.
If there are a lot of atoms of the original element, called the parent element, the atoms decay to another element, called the daughter element, at a predictable rate.
The next few pages cover a broad overview of radiometric dating techniques, show a few examples, and discuss the degree to which the various dating systems agree with each other.
The goal is to promote greater understanding on this issue, particularly for the Christian community.
Most of the elements in nature are stable and do not change.