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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.But because God has also called us to wisdom, this issue is worthy of study.Rocks are made up of many individual crystals, and each crystal is usually made up of at least several different chemical elements such as iron, magnesium, silicon, etc.
There are a lot of isotopic dating methods - but some of them are useful for much more than simply figuring out how old something is.
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.
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.
C-14 dating, as the others have noted, is only good for about 50,000 years or so.