Protons and neutrons make up the center (nucleus) of the atom, and electrons form shells around the nucleus.
The number of protons in the nucleus of an atom determines the element.
The procedures used are not necessarily in question. The secular (evolutionary) worldview interprets the universe and world to be billions of years old. The use of carbon-14 dating is often misunderstood.
Carbon-14 is mostly used to date once-living things (organic material). Carbon-14 is constantly being added to the atmosphere.
It cannot be used directly to date rocks; however, it can potentially be used to put time constraints on some inorganic material such as diamonds (diamonds could contain carbon-14). Cosmic rays from outer space, which contain high levels of energy, bombard the earth’s upper atmosphere.
These cosmic rays collide with atoms in the atmosphere and can cause them to come apart.
Assumptions in the scientific community are extremely important.
If the starting assumption is false, all the calculations based on that assumption might be correct but still give a wrong conclusion. Libby’s original work, he noted that the atmosphere did not appear to be in equilibrium. Libby since he believed the world was billions of years old and enough time had passed to achieve equilibrium. Libby’s calculations showed that if the earth started with no If the cosmic radiation has remained at its present intensity for 20,000 or 30,000 years, and if the carbon reservoir has not changed appreciably in this time, then there exists at the present time a complete balance between the rate of disintegration of radiocarbon atoms and the rate of assimilation of new radiocarbon atoms for all material in the life-cycle.2C in the atmosphere.
The illustration below shows the three isotopes of carbon.
Some isotopes of certain elements are unstable; they can spontaneously change into another kind of atom in a process called “radioactive decay.” Since this process presently happens at a known measured rate, scientists attempt to use it like a “clock” to tell how long ago a rock or fossil formed.
Note that, contrary to a popular misconception, carbon dating is not used to date rocks at millions of years old.
Before we get into the details of how radiometric dating methods are used, we need to review some preliminary concepts from chemistry.
There are two main applications for radiometric dating.