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We can assume that the Precambrian rocks already existed when life began, and so the ages of the Precambrian rocks are not necessarily related to the question of how long life has existed on earth.
The Cambrian period is conventionally assumed to have begun about 550 million years ago.
How radiometric dating works in general Why methods in general are inaccurate Why K-Ar dating is inaccurate The branching ratio problem How Errors Can Account for the Observed Dates Why older dates would be found lower in the geologic column especially for K-Ar dating Do different methods agree with each other on the geologic column?
Possible other sources of correlation Anomalies of radiometric dating Why a low anomaly percentage is meaningless The biostrategraphic limits issue Preponderance of K-Ar dating Excuses for anomalies Need for a double-blind test Possible changes in the decay rate Isochrons Atlantic sea floor dating Dating Meteorites Conclusion Gentry's radiohaloes in coalified wood Carbon 14 dating Tree ring chronologies Coral dating Varves Growth of coral reefs Evidence for catastrophe in the geologic column Rates of erosion Reliability of creationist sources Radiometric dating methods estimate the age of rocks using calculations based on the decay rates of radioactive elements such as uranium, strontium, and potassium.
Thus radiometric dating methods appear to give evidence that the earth and meteorites are old, if one accepts the fact that decay rates have been constant.
However, there may be other explanations for this apparent age. I also believe that the evidence indicates that the earth has recently undergone a violent catastrophe.
On the surface, radiometric dating methods appear to give powerful support to the statement that life has existed on the earth for hundreds of millions, even billions, of years.
By measuring the ratio of daughter to parent, we can measure how old the sample is. Each radioactive element has a half-life, which tells how long it takes for half of the element to decay.For isochrons, which we will discuss later, the conditions are different.If these conditions are not satisfied, the error can be arbitrarily large.In order to use these methods, we have to start out with a system in which no daughter element is present, or else know how much daugher element was present initially so that it can be subtracted out.
We also need to know that no parent or daughter has entered or left the system in the meantime.
Back to top Radioactive elements decay gradually into other elements.