Young Earthers point to an infamous dating error as evidence that the Earth is only as old as the Bible says.by Brian Dunning Filed under General Science, Natural History, Religion Skeptoid Podcast #146 March 24, 2009 Podcast transcript | Download | Subscribe Listen: Today we're going to point our skeptical eye at one of the key players in the debate between geologists and Young Earthers over the age of the Earth. Steven Austin took a sample of dacite from the new lava dome inside Mount St. The dacite sample was known to have been formed from a 1986 magma flow, and so its actual age was an established fact. Austin submitted the sample for radiometric dating to an independent laboratory in Cambridge, Massachusetts.Austin's paper or at any scholarly criticism of it, your eyes will quickly glaze over from the extraordinary detail and intricacy.
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.This is despite the fact that it causes more problems for interpreting rock strata than it solves.And today we know through lab experiments and natural disasters (such as the eruption of Mt. Helens) that major layering of rock strata can happen catastrophically in a short period of time.Over the second half-life, of the atoms remaining decay, which leaves of the original quantity, and so on.In other words, the change in numbers of atoms follows a geometric scale as illustrated by the graph below.other carbon isotopes in the same ratio as exists in the atmosphere.