Only rarely does a creationist actually find an incorrect radiometric result (Austin 1996; Rugg and Austin 1998) that has not already been revealed and discussed in the scientific literature.The creationist approach of focusing on examples where radiometric dating yields incorrect results is a curious one for two reasons.The universe is full of naturally occurring radioactive elements.Radioactive atoms are inherently unstable; over time, radioactive "parent atoms" decay into stable "daughter atoms." When molten rock cools, forming what are called igneous rocks, radioactive atoms are trapped inside. By measuring the quantity of unstable atoms left in a rock and comparing it to the quantity of stable daughter atoms in the rock, scientists can estimate the amount of time that has passed since that rock formed.The mass spectrometer is able to give information about the type and amount of isotopes found in the rock.Scientists find the ratio of parent isotope to daughter isotope.Radiometric dating is self-checking, because the data (after certain preliminary calculations are made) are fitted to a straight line (an "isochron") by means of standard linear regression methods of statistics.
This process continues over time, with the organism losing half of the remaining C-14 isotopes each 5,730 years.Find additional lessons, activities, videos, and articles that focus on relative and absolute dating.In a related article on geologic ages (Ages), we presented a chart with the various geologic eras and their ages.Technical details on how these dates are calculated are given in Radiometric dating. As with any experimental procedure in any field of science, these measurements are subject to certain "glitches" and "anomalies," as noted in the literature.Here is one example of an isochron, based on measurements of basaltic meteorites (in this case the resulting date is 4.4 billion years) [Basaltic1981, pg. Skeptics of old-earth geology make great hay of these examples.