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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.This paper describes in relatively simple terms how a number of the dating techniques work, how accurately the half-lives of the radioactive elements and the rock dates themselves are known, and how dates are checked with one another.

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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.

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.

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. Wiens has a Ph D in Physics, with a minor in Geology.His Ph D thesis was on isotope ratios in meteorites, including surface exposure dating.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.The next few pages cover a broad overview of radiometric dating techniques, show a few examples, and discuss the degree to which the various dating systems agree with each other.

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