Symbolically, the process of radioactive decay can be expressed by the following differential equation, where N is the quantity of decaying nuclei and k is a positive number called the exponential decay constant.The meaning of this equation is that the rate of change of the number of nuclei over time is proportional only to the number of nuclei.Many accept radiometric dating methods as proof that the earth is millions of years old, in contrast to the biblical timeline.
Radioisotope dating (also referred to as radiometric dating) is the process of estimating the age of rocks from the decay of their radioactive elements.
There are certain kinds of atoms in nature that are unstable and spontaneously change (decay) into other kinds of atoms.
Note that, contrary to a popular misconception, carbon dating is not used to date rocks at millions of years old.
Before we get into the details of how radiometric dating methods are used, we need to review some preliminary concepts from chemistry.
The key is to measure an isotope that has had time to decay a measurable amount, but not so much as to only leave a trace remaining.
Given isotopes are useful for dating over a range from a fraction of their half life to about four or five times their half life.
Proponents of evolution publicize radioisotope dating as a reliable and consistent method for obtaining absolute ages of rocks and the age of the earth.
This apparent consistency in textbooks and the media has convinced many Christians to accept an old earth (4.6 billion years old).
They have their work cut out for them, however, because radiocarbon (C-14) dating is one of the most reliable of all the radiometric dating methods.
This article will answer several of the most common creationist attacks on carbon-14 dating, using the question-answer format that has proved so useful to lecturers and debaters. Answer: Cosmic rays in the upper atmosphere are constantly converting the isotope nitrogen-14 (N-14) into carbon-14 (C-14 or radiocarbon).
Scientists use a technique called radiometric dating to estimate the ages of rocks, fossils, and the earth.