# Falicies of radioactive dating

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.

A swimming race is a familiar situation that illustrates the simple principles involved in measuring time.

We note that at the instant the swimmer touches the end of the pool our wristwatch reads and 53 seconds.

How long has the competitor taken to swim the race?

The educational page hosted by the US Geological Society provides one recent example of the way radioactive dating is explained to the public.

” They realize that you cannot know how long the swimmer took unless you knew the time on the wristwatch when the race started.

but don’t even mention the fact that we can’t measure the concentrations of isotopes in the past.

So, the fatal problem with all radioactive dates is that they are all based on assumptions about the past.

distance = rate x time With radiometric dating we're instead looking to find the time (or age.) The formula would look like this: time = distance / rate So far they've been able to prove that the rate of decay is a constant so we've got one variable.

Next they're able to observe how decayed it is so they know the "distance" and have the final variable. And sure people will shout about the inaccuracies of radiometric dating but in every case I've found it's been the fault of the geologist/scientist/whoever and not with the process Hi Mason, Sure, if you knew all that information about your rock sample you could calculate the time.