Does radiometric dating tell us past disappearing act dating
Young-Earth creationists -- that is, creationists who believe that Earth is no more than 10,000 years old -- are fond of attacking radiometric dating methods as being full of inaccuracies and riddled with sources of error.When I first became interested in the creation-evolution debate, in late 1994, I looked around for sources that clearly and simply explained what radiometric dating is and why young-Earth creationists are driven to discredit it.Since all atoms of the same element have the same number of protons, different nuclides of an element differ in the number of neutrons they contain.For example, hydrogen-1 and hydrogen-2 are both nuclides of the element hydrogen, but hydrogen-1's nucleus contains only a proton, while hydrogen-2's nucleus contains a proton and a neutron.The half-life of a radioactive nuclide is defined as the time it takes half of a sample of the element to decay.A mathematical formula can be used to calculate the half-life from the number of breakdowns per second in a sample of the nuclide.Radiometric dating methods are the strongest direct evidence that geologists have for the age of the Earth.All these methods point to Earth being very, very old -- several billions of years old.
(Note that this doesnt mean the half-life of an element is a constant.
Thus, an atom of carbon-14 (C14), atomic number 6, emits a beta particle and becomes an atom of nitrogen-14 (N14), atomic number 7.
A third, very rare type of radioactive decay is called electron absorption.
Protons and neutrons together are called nucleons, meaning particles that can appear in the atomic nucleus.
A nuclide of an element, also called an isotope of an element, is an atom of that element that has a specific number of nucleons.
Some, however, are unstable -- given time, they will spontaneously undergo one of the several kinds of radioactive decay, changing in the process into another element.