And radioactive dating is so shrouded with mystery that many don’t even try to understand how the method works; they just believe it must be right.
But the basic concept of radioactive dating, sometimes called radiometric dating, is not difficult, especially since all of us regularly calculate how much time has passed: for example, since our birth, or since we started on a walk.
Plants take in carbon-14 through the process of photosynthesis.
Many people assume that the dates scientists quote of millions of years are as reliable as our knowledge of the structure of the atom or nuclear power.
Clearly, such huge time periods cannot be fitted into the Bible without compromising what the Bible says about the goodness of God and the origin of sin, death and suffering—the reason Jesus came into the world (See Six Days? He said, This only makes sense with a time-line beginning with the creation week thousands of years ago.
Picture a swimmer competing in a 1,500 metre race and an observer with an accurate wristwatch.
We note that at the instant the swimmer touches the end of the pool our wristwatch reads and 53 seconds.
A swimming race is a familiar situation that illustrates the simple principles involved in measuring time.
Once we understand what we actually need to do we can apply the same principles to radioactive dating, and see if the methods do what they are claimed to do.
The ratio of "N/N Carbon-14 is a radioisotope formed in our atmosphere by the bombardment of nitrogen-14 by cosmic rays.