Absolute dating tells you

New discoveries have filled in the gaps, and shown us in unimaginable detail the shape of the great ‘tree of life’.

Darwin and his contemporaries could never have imagined the improvements in resolution of stratigraphy that have come since 1859, nor guessed what fossils were to be found in the southern continents, nor predicted the huge increase in the number of amateur and professional paleontologists worldwide.

As radioactive isotopes of elements decay, they lose their radioactivity and become a brand new element known as a daughter isotope.

By measuring the ratio of the amount of the original radioactive element to the daughter isotope, scientists can determine how many half-lives the element has undergone and from there can figure out the absolute age of the sample.

Current understanding of the history of life is probably close to the truth because it is based on repeated and careful testing and consideration of data.

The rejection of the validity of fossils and of dating by religious fundamentalists creates a problem for them: Fossil sequences were recognized and established in their broad outlines long before Charles Darwin had even thought of evolution.

The half-lives of several radioactive isotopes are known and are used often to figure out the age of newly found fossils.

Different isotopes have different half-lives and sometimes more than one present isotope can be used to get an even more specific age of a fossil.

These skeptics do not provide scientific evidence for their views.Early geologists, in the 1700s and 1800s, noticed how fossils seemed to occur in sequences: certain assemblages of fossils were always found below other assemblages. Since 1859, paleontologists, or fossil experts, have searched the world for fossils.In the past 150 years they have not found any fossils that Darwin would not have expected.One way that helps scientists place fossils into the correct era on the geologic time scale is by using radiometric dating.Also called absolute dating, scientists use the decay of radioactive elements within the fossils or the rocks around the fossils to determine the age of the organism that was preserved.

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In other words, half (50%) of the Carbon-14 you started with has decayed into the daughter isotope Nitrogen-14.

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