But last Sunday, her Bible teacher stated emphatically that God made Earth only six thousand years ago. The age assigned to the fossils in front of her seems to contradict the creation account, and Janet’s heartbeats accelerate at the implication. Credible answers to common misconceptions about radiometric dating and a proper understanding of Scripture can help people like Janet reconcile creation accounts regarding the age of Earth.
Scientists agree that radiometric-dating techniques offer the most concrete evidence of any dating system for answering questions about the age of Earth.
Radioactive dating is a method of dating rocks and minerals using radioactive isotopes.
This method is useful for igneous and metamorphic rocks, which cannot be dated by the stratigraphic correlation method used for sedimentary rocks. Some do not change with time and form stable isotopes (i.e.
Atoms of radioactive isotopes are unstable and decay over time by shooting off particles at a fixed rate, transmuting the material into a more stable substance.
For instance, half the mass of carbon-14, an unstable isotope of carbon, will decay into nitrogen-14 over a period of 5,730 years.
The rates of decay of various radioactive isotopes have been accurately measured in the laboratory and have been shown to be constant, even in extreme temperatures and pressures.
Some radioactive parent isotopes decay almost instantaneously into their stable daughter isotopes; others take billions of years.Recent puzzling observations of tiny variations in nuclear decay rates have led some to question the science behind carbon-14 dating and similar techniques.However scientists tested the hypothesis that solar radiation might affect the rate at which radioactive elements decay and found no detectable effect.This decay process leads to a more balanced nucleus and when the number of protons and neutrons balance, the atom becomes stable.This radioactivity can be used for dating, since a radioactive 'parent' element decays into a stable 'daughter' element at a constant rate.