He was employed at Caltech's Division of Geological & Planetary Sciences at the time of writing the first edition.He is presently employed in the Space & Atmospheric Sciences Group at the Los Alamos National Laboratory.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.When the glass is turned over, sand runs from the top to the bottom.Radioactive atoms are like individual grains of sand--radioactive decays are like the falling of grains from the top to the bottom of the glass.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.
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.
Radiometric dating techniques indicate that the Earth is thousands of times older than that--approximately four and a half billion years old.
Many Christians accept this and interpret the Genesis account in less scientifically literal ways.
Even though the Earth's age is never mentioned in the Bible, it is an issue because those who take a strictly literal view of the early chapters of Genesis can calculate an approximate date for the creation by adding up the life-spans of the people mentioned in the genealogies.
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.