What is relative and absolute dating


21-Mar-2018 08:08

Or is it more likely that they are synchronized because nothing that's happened to them has affected their working?Relative dating by definition does not produce actual dates, but it does allow us to put an order on the rocks, and so if absolute dating is to be trusted, it should agree with this order, telling us, for example, that Ordovician rocks are older than Triassic rocks; and it does.One argument in favor of the absolute dating methods presented in the preceding articles is that they should work in principle.

Now if we estimate the age of the sea floor like that, then we get a good agreement with the dates produced by radiometric methods.

We can hardly suppose that there is some single mechanism which would interfere with all three of these very different processes in such a way as to leave the dates derived from them still concordant.

But it is equally far-fetched to imagine that three different mechanisms interfered with the three processes in such a way as to leave the dates concordant; that would require either a preposterous coincidence, or for natural processes to be actually conspiring to deceive us: an idea which is, if anything, even more preposterous. But in this case there is a perfectly reasonable and straightforward explanation for why the dates are concordant, namely that they are correct.

Consider the following analogy: a clockmaker sells us an electric clock, a pendulum clock, and a spring-driven clock, and guarantees that they are shockproof.

Skeptical of the clockmaker's claim, we subject the clocks to shock: we shake them, drop them, hit them with hammers and shoot them out of a cannon.Throughout this process, they all go on showing exactly the same time.