Members Portal. Young Earthers point to an infamous dating error as evidence that the Earth is only as old as the Bible says. Skeptoid Podcast March 24, Podcast transcript Subscribe. Today we're going to point our skeptical eye at one of the key players in the debate between geologists and Young Earthers over the age of the Earth. In June of , Dr.
Radiometric Age Dating - Geology (U.S. National Park Service)
Radiometric dating, often called radioactive dating, is a technique used to determine the age of materials such as rocks. It is based on a comparison between the observed abundance of a naturally occurring radioactive isotope and its decay products, using known decay rates. It is the principal source of information about the absolute age of rocks and other geological features, including the age of the Earth itself, and it can be used to date a wide range of natural and man-made materials. The best-known radiometric dating techniques include radiocarbon dating, potassium-argon dating, and uranium-lead dating. By establishing geological timescales, radiometric dating provides a significant source of information about the ages of fossils and rates of evolutionary change, and it is also used to date archaeological materials, including ancient artifacts. The different methods of radiometric dating are accurate over different timescales, and they are useful for different materials. In many cases, the daughter nuclide is radioactive, resulting in a decay chain.
Is radiometric dating the same as radiocarbon dating?
Radiometric dating of rocks and minerals using naturally occurring, long-lived radioactive isotopes is troublesome for young-earth creationists because the techniques have provided overwhelming evidence of the antiquity of the earth and life. Some so-called creation scientists have attempted to show that radiometric dating does not work on theoretical grounds for example, Arndts and Overn ; Gill but such attempts invariably have fatal flaws see Dalrymple ; York and Dalrymple Other creationists have focused on instances in which radiometric dating seems to yield incorrect results. In most instances, these efforts are flawed because the authors have misunderstood or misrepresented the data they attempt to analyze for example, Woodmorappe ; Morris HM ; Morris JD Only rarely does a creationist actually find an incorrect radiometric result Austin ; Rugg and Austin that has not already been revealed and discussed in the scientific literature.
Radioactivity and nuclear technology are a common subject of myths, urban legends and misinformation. Many of them lead to an exaggerated sense of danger and irrational fear of anything nuclear, leading to faulty perceptions of risk and preventing societies from taking full advantage of these technologies. In a humble attempt to set the record straight, this article provides answers to some important questions on this subject. Radioactivity is the spontaneous disintegration of certain kinds of atomic nuclei.