Radiometric dating controversy
Although the time at which any individual atom will decay cannot be forecast, the time in which any given percentage of a sample will decay can be calculated to varying degrees of accuracy.
The time that it takes for half of a sample to decay is known as the half life of the isotope.
One way Young Earth Creationists and other denialists try to discredit radiometric dating is to cite examples radiometric dating techniques providing inaccurate results. Helens, creationists attempted discredit the discipline through dishonest practices.
This is frequently because the selected technique is used outside of its appropriate range, for example on very recent lavas. The Institute for Creation Research's RATE project aimed to show scientifically that methods of radiometric dating produced wildly inconsistent and incorrect values.
Carbon dating works on organic matter, all of which contains carbon.
However it is less useful for dating metal or other inorganic objects.
The half-life of carbon-14 is approximately 5,730 years. Since the quantity represents 13% (or 13/100ths) of , it follows that This is based on the decay of rubidium isotopes to strontium isotopes, and can be used to date rocks or to relate organisms to the rocks on which they formed.
Another limitation is that carbon-14 can only tell you when something was last alive, not when it was used.
A limitation with all forms of radiometric dating is that they depend on the presence of certain elements in the substance to be dated.
This leaves out important information which would tell you how precise is the dating result.
Carbon-14 dating has an interesting limitation in that the ratio of regular carbon to carbon-14 in the air is not constant and therefore any date must be calibrated using dendrochronology.