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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.God knows just what He meant to say, and His understanding of science is infallible, whereas ours is fallible.

One is for potentially dating fossils (once-living things) using carbon-14 dating, and the other is for dating rocks and the age of the earth using uranium, potassium and other radioactive atoms.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 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.So, a carbon atom might have six neutrons, or seven, or possibly eight—but it would always have six protons.