Radiometric Dating for Beginners
Version 1.0
 Copyright © 1999 by Ken Harding
[last update: March 24, 1999]


here is one important factor on which the theory of evolution depends: for evolution to take place, hundreds of millions of years must pass, and so the earth has to be very ancient.

This is one idea that creationists must attack, both for the need to undermine evolutionary biology, and for the need to support the literalist interpretation of the biblical age of around 6000 years. Therefore, not only does biology come under creationist attack, but so does the science of geology.

One of the most frequent criticisms from creationists is the criticism of Radiometric Dating methods- the means by which we know that the earth is incredibly old.  The fact that radiometric dating is so far beyond the average person's level of scientific education is leverage for the creationists.  Most people simply don't have the training to understand the topic.  The casual dropping of unsubstantiated statements like “Radiometric dating is full of errors and is unreliable” is an all-too-frequent tactic of creationists that their followers instantly buy into. Check into what creationists say before accepting their statements at face value!

Radiometric dating is accurate. But don't take my word for it.  Christians who are not biblical literalists are actively engaged in science which promotes radiometric dating.  Listen to the Affiliation of Christian Geologists in Radiometric Dating: A Christian Perspective:

“Radiometric dating--the process of determining the age of rocks from the decay of their radioactive elements--has been in widespread use for over half a century. There are over forty such techniques, each using a different radioactive element or a different way of measuring them. It has become increasingly clear that these radiometric dating techniques agree with each other and as a whole, present a coherent picture in which the earth was created a very long time ago. Many Christians are completely unaware of the great number of laboratory measurements that have shown these methods to be consistent, and they are also unaware that Bible-believing Christians are among those actively involved in radiometric dating. This paper describes in relatively simple terms how some 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 some misconceptions prevalent among Christians today.”
emphasis added
For more detailed, scientific explanations of Radiometric Dating, click here.

Also, check out the Age of the Earth FAQ, and learn why we know the earth to be very ancient.

Other topics for beginners:

So, What's With this Second Law of Thermodynamics Thing?

In the Beginning...

Evolution for Beginners

What's Wrong with Creationism Anyway?  (coming soon)