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Similarly, when all the atoms of the radioactive element are gone, the rock will no longer keep time (unless it receives a new batch of radioactive atoms).
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.Some of the atoms eventually change from one element to another by a process called radioactive decay.If there are a lot of atoms of the original element, called the parent element, the atoms decay to another element, called the daughter element, at a predictable rate.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 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.
Introduction Overview The Radiometric Clocks Examples of Dating Methods for Igneous Rocks Potassium-Argon Argon-Argon Rubidium-Strontium Samarium-Neodymium, Lutetium-Hafnium, and Rhenium-Osmium Uranium-Lead The Age of the Earth Extinct Radionuclides: The Hourglasses that Ran Out Cosmogenic Radionuclides: Carbon-14, Beryllium-10, Chlorine-36 Radiometric Dating of Geologically Young Samples Non-Radiogenic Dating Methods for the Past 100,000 Years Ice Cores Varves Other Annual-Layering Methods Thermoluminescence Electron Spin Resonance Cosmic Ray Exposure Dating Can We Really Believe the Dating Systems? Rightly Handling the Word of Truth Arguments over the age of the Earth have sometimes been divisive for people who regard the Bible as God's word.
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.
Further evidence comes from the complete agreement between radiometric dates and other dating methods such as counting tree rings or glacier ice core layers.
Most processes that we are familiar with are like sand in an hourglass.