Recent puzzling observations of tiny variations in nuclear decay rates have led some to question the science of using decay rates to determine the relative ages of rocks and organic materials.Scientists from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), working with researchers from Purdue University, the University of Tennessee, Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Wabash College, tested the hypothesis that solar radiation might affect the rate at which radioactive elements decay and found no detectable effect.
Radiometric dating can be compared to an hourglass.
When the timepiece is turned over, sand grains fall from the top of the hourglass to the bottom.
The unswerving regularity of this decay allows scientists to determine the age of extremely old organic materials -- such as remains of Paleolithic campfires -- with a fair degree of precision.
The decay of uranium-238, which has a half-life of nearly 4.5 billion years, enabled geologists to determine the age of the Earth.
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.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.These rates are usually expressed as the isotope's half-life--that is, the time it takes for one-half of the parent isotopes to decay.Radioactive decay is a natural process and comes from the atomic nucleus becoming unstable and releasing bits and pieces.These are released as radioactive particles (there are many types).The discovery gave scientists a tool for dating rocks that contain radioactive elements.