At the start, let me clarify that my main concern is not the age of the earth, the moon, or the solar system, but rather the age of life, that is, how long has life existed on earth.
If these dates are correct, this calls the Biblical account of a recent creation of life into question.
After study and discussion of this question, I now believe that the claimed accuracy of radiometric dating methods is a result of a great misunderstanding of the data, and that the various methods hardly ever agree with each other, and often do not agree with the assumed ages of the rocks in which they are found.
When it is stated that these methods are accurate to one or two percent, it does not mean that the computed age is within one or two percent of the correct age.
It just means that there is enough accuracy in the measurements to compute t to one or two percentage points of accuracy, where t is the time required to obtain the observed ratio of daughter to parent, assuming no initial daughter product was present at the beginning, and no daughter or parent entered or left the system.
Potassium 40 (K40) decays to argon 40, which is an inert gas, and to calcium.
Potassium is present in most geological materials, making potassium-argon dating highly useful if it really works.
In two half-lives, half of the remainder will decay, meaning 3/4 in all will have decayed.
In general, in n half-lives, only 1/(2^n) of the original parent material will be left.
For potassium 40, the half-life is about 1.3 billion years.
In general, in one half-life, half of the parent will have decayed.
Back to top Radioactive elements decay gradually into other elements.