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Obviously just the opposite holds when the ratio of lead-206 to lead-207 is too small.
Hence someone who supposes that concordant ages are inflated must believe that the contaminating lead contained just the right proportion of the two isotopes.
As Dalrymple (1994) points out, available techniques give us more than the accuracy we need. How can we figure out the amount of the daughter element originally present?
The answer is that in many cases (if we choose the right element for the right rock) we have excellent reasons for believing that D and they have to rule out the possibility that additional quantities of the daughter element have been added since the time the rock was formed.
(Actually, the computation of the age would be affected if some of the daughter element originally present had been lost.
However, since we are primarily concerned with the Creationist challenge, the main worry will concern subsequent additions.
If a radioactive isotope (the parent element) was originally present in a rock at the time of its formation, then that isotope would give rise, by radioactive decay, to decay products (daughter elements). Then, by the assumption that parent and daughter atoms neither entered nor exited, we know that the extra daughter atoms that are now present must come from decay of the parent.
The many independent computations of the age of the earth during the last three decades almost invariably yield a figure between 4.2 and 4.8 billion years. As will become clear shortly, the status of the third is a little different.
Here it is possible to use two decay processes, the decay of uranium-238 into lead-206 and the decay of uranium-235 into lead-207.
Furthermore, the amount of lead originally present can be computed by considering another isotope of lead.
However, I hope that it will help to quell anxieties when I point out that a large number of independent methods have been applied to a vast array of different rocks.
The result of this enormous array of tests is a consensus. The process rate must always have been the same" (Morris 1974a, 138).
A second, independent, astronomical method is to use standard techniques to measure some parameters of stars (mass, luminosity, compositor, and surface temperature), from which a well-confirmed theory of the life histories of stars enables physicists to compute their. Finally, considerations of radioactive decay make it possible to calculate the time at which certain heavy elements were formed.