A Radiometric Dating Resource List
updated & links checked, 23 August 2005

The real heart of the age-of-the-earth debate (if "debate" is the right word) is always radiometric dating. There are lots of ways to guesstimate ages, and geologists knew the earth was old a long time ago (and I might add that they were mostly Christian creationist geologists). But they didn't know how old. Radiometric dating actually allows the measurement of absolute ages, and so it is deadly to the argument that the earth cannot be more than 10,000 years old.

Radiometric methods measure the time elapsed since the particular radiometric clock was reset. Radiocarbon dating, which is probably best known in the general public, works only on things that were once alive and are now dead. It measures the time elapsed since death, but is limited in scale to no more than about 50,000 years ago. Other methods, such as Uranium/Lead, Potassium/Argon, Argon/Argon and others, are able to measure much longer time periods, and are not restricted to things that were once alive. Generally applied to igneous rocks (those of volcanic origin), they measure the time since the molten rock solidified. If that happens to be longer than 10,000 years, then the idea of a young-Earth is called into question. If that happens to be billions of years, then the young-Earth is in big trouble.

As of January, 1999, The oldest rocks found on earth are 4.031 ± 0.003 billion years old (meaning it has been that long since the molten rocks solidified and thus reset their internal clocks). This is reported in the paper Priscoan (4.00-4.03 Ga) orthogneisses from northwestern Canada by Samuel A. Bowring & Ian S. Williams; Contributions to Mineralogy and Petrology 134(1): 3-16, January 1999. The previous record was 3.96 billion years, set in 1989.

The putative age of the Earth, about 4,500,000,000 years is based on the radiometrically measured age of meteorites, and is also about 500,000,000 years older than the oldest rocks. But regardless of the accuracy of this age for the earth, the existence of rocks circa 4,000,000,000 years old puts the squeeze on a 10,000 year old Earth.

So the natural response from a young-Earth perspective is to claim that radiometric dating is inaccurate or untrustworthy. Unfortunately, while the young-Earthers are long on criticism, they are short on support. It's easy to assert that radiometric methods don't work, but it's quite another thing to prove it. This the young-Earth creationist regularly fails to do.

I am not going to try to write a web-treatise on radiometric dating myself, simply because much better qualified writers have already done a much better job than I could. This is a list of resources, some on the web, some not, which can be consulted by anyone interested in learning more about how radiometric dating is done, or in responding to arguments criticising radiometric dating. My purpose is to show, through these resources that young-Earth creationist criticisms of radiometric dating are inadequate at best. So long as radiometric dating stands as scientifically valid, then the assertion of a young-Earth is falsified by direct observation. The argument from radiometriic dating is the strongest scientific argument that can be brought to bear on this issue, in my opinion.

There may be some sense of repetition, as there are a number of one-page, introductory type entries. But I put them all in anyway, figuring some readers would understand one more easily than the other.

Direct responses to specific creationist sources
Responses to general creationist arguments
Reliability of radiometric dating
Introductory articles
Advanced articles
Radiocarbon dating
Other resources

Responding to Creationists - Part 1
Direct responses to specific creationist sources

Responding to Creationists - Part 2
Responses to general creationst arguments

Reliability of Radiometric Dating

Introductory General Articles on Radiometric Dating

Advanced General Articles on Radiometric Dating
These items presume some advanced understanding of physics & mathematics

Radiocarbon Dating

Other Resources
Indirectly related to radiometric dating

You remember - what we used to read before computers

I have included here only such books as I know of, or are recommended. Some I am aware of I have left off because they are out of print and I don't know much about them. There are no "young-Earth" books here, because of course there are no young-Earth radiometric dating methods established (no big surprise there). Books included are both advanced and general, but all bear either directly or indirectly on the radiometric dating problem. For each book, the title is linked to an Amazon.Com entry if there is one (so far we are batting 100%). Authors are linked to their own homepages, or the functional equivalent, wherever I could find one.

Tim Thompson's Home Page
Tim Thompson's Collected Writings