Two methods of absolute dating

Since the 1950s, geologists have used radioactive elements as natural "clocks" for determining numerical ages of certain types of rocks. "Forms" means the moment an igneous rock solidifies from magma, a sedimentary rock layer is deposited, or a rock heated by metamorphism cools off.

Radioactive decay occurs at a constant rate, specific to each radioactive isotope.

Science, since it concerns just one universe with one set of laws, constitutes a seamless whole; we cannot unpick the single thread of absolute dating without the whole thing beginning to unravel.

Still, it has happened in the past that scientists have thought they'd got hold of a law of nature and then found out it was false.

One argument in favor of the absolute dating methods presented in the preceding articles is that they should work in principle.

If they don't, then it's not just a question of geologists being wrong about geology, but of physicists being wrong about physics and chemists being wrong about chemistry; if the geologists are wrong, entire laws of nature will have to be rewritten.