posted on Dec, 22 2012 @ 11:45 PM
reply to post by Ophiuchus 13
Radiometric dating is assumed to be accurate because we can measure the decay rates of isotopes and from that extrapolate the time that the remains of
an organism has taken from the moment it stopped taking in the radioactive isotope.
In the case of Carbon dating, what is measured is the ratio of the Carbon 14 isotope to other Carbon isotopes. As time goes by, Carbon 14 decays into
Nitrogen 14 through beta decay and the half-life (the time it takes for half of it to decay) is around 5,740 years.
Radioactive decay is a very constant and ordered process and it is assumed that, once an organism has stopped breathing in Carbon 14 from the
atmosphere, that there is little that can affect decay rate, and so a time after death (with an approximate error size of plus or minus 40 years per
5,740 years) is easily established from looking at the C14 ratio.
There are, however, some recent findings that call into question the regularity and orderliness of C14 decay. There was an indication that radioactive
decay rates vary with Solar Neutrino output and also there has been some question in regard to the constancy of the speed of light. A faster speed of
light in the past would indicate a hotter and more radiative universe and this would skew readings significantly, although it would cause other issues
with physics which have not been noted.
edit on 22/12/2012 by chr0naut because: (no reason given)