Find additional lessons, activities, videos, and articles that focus on relative and absolute dating.
Radiometric dating measures the decay of radioactive atoms to determine the age of a rock sample.
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.
Unfortunately, much of the literature available to Christians has been either inaccurate or difficult to understand, so that confusion over dating techniques continues.
The next few pages cover a broad overview of radiometric dating techniques, show a few examples, and discuss the degree to which the various dating systems agree with each other.
By dating rocks of known ages which give highly inflated ages, geologists have shown this method can’t give reliable absolute ages.
Assuming a strictly literal interpretation of the week of creation, even if some of the generations were left out of the genealogies, the Earth would be less than ten thousand years old.
Radiometric dating techniques indicate that the Earth is thousands of times older than that--approximately four and a half billion years old.
They point to a catastrophic origin for granites, consistent with the biblical timeframe for earth history and God’s judgment during the Flood.
Wiens has a Ph D in Physics, with a minor in Geology.