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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.
However, some elements are not completely stable in their natural state.Many people have been led to be skeptical of dating without knowing much about it. In spite of this, differences still occur within the church.For example, most people don't realize that carbon dating is only rarely used on rocks. A disagreement over the age of the Earth is relatively minor in the whole scope of Christianity; it is more important to agree on the Rock of Ages than on the age of rocks. Wiens has a Ph D in Physics, with a minor in Geology.His Ph D thesis was on isotope ratios in meteorites, including surface exposure dating.You cannot predict exactly when any one particular grain will get to the bottom, but you can predict from one time to the next how long the whole pile of sand takes to fall.
Once all of the sand has fallen out of the top, the hourglass will no longer keep time unless it is turned over again.
The passage of time can be charted by the reduction in the number of parent atoms, and the increase in the number of daughter atoms.
Radiometric dating can be compared to an hourglass.
This paper describes in relatively simple terms how a number of the dating techniques work, how accurately the half-lives of the radioactive elements and the rock dates themselves are known, and how dates are checked with one another.
In the process the paper refutes a number of misconceptions prevalent among Christians today.
This paper is available on the web via the American Scientific Affiliation and related sites to promote greater understanding and wisdom on this issue, particularly within the Christian community.