Over the years, archaeology has uncovered information about past cultures that would have been left unknown had it not been with the help of such technologies as radiocarbon dating, dendrochronology, archaeomagnetic dating, fluoride dating, luminescence dating, and obsidian hydration analysis, among others.As we have mentioned before each radioactive isotope has its own decay pattern.(Aside, my dad doesn’t know how old I am, he usually misses by about two years, giving him an error of almost 5%.) Not only, is this not a ‘false assumption’. Oh and here’s a link to the Table of Contents for this set of creationist misconceptions.
Scientists, using rigorous methods have established a process to eliminate this problem by calibrating radiocarbon dating results to items of a known age.
In this way, items of unknown age can be tested and an age determined to a reasonable degree of accuracy. More tomorrow where we explore the concept of isochron dating and how it neatly destroys most of the rest of these ‘issues’.
The first is that atoms have always decayed at the same rate.
And this isn’t really an assumption as the decay rates have been tested in the laboratory for a hundred years or so, we have an example of a natural nuclear reactor where we can measure the various products and determine the decay rates (and the fine structure constant), and we can observe the past by looking deep into the past of the universe. The sigh isn’t for the effort of writing, it’s for the effort of finding all the references.
Radiometric dating relies on the properties of isotopes.
These are chemical elements, like carbon or uranium, that are identical except for one key feature — the number of neutrons in their nucleus.
The unswerving regularity of this decay allows scientists to determine the age of extremely old organic materials -- such as remains of Paleolithic campfires -- with a fair degree of precision.
The decay of uranium-238, which has a half-life of nearly 4.5 billion years, enabled geologists to determine the age of the Earth.
Atoms of radioactive isotopes are unstable and decay over time by shooting off particles at a fixed rate, transmuting the material into a more stable substance.
For instance, half the mass of carbon-14, an unstable isotope of carbon, will decay into nitrogen-14 over a period of 5,730 years.
But archaeology’s aim to understand mankind is a noble endeavor that goes beyond uncovering buried treasures, gathering information, and dating events.