What is relative and absolute dating

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.

So if our methods of radiometric dating are correct, then we would predict that rocks dated to the same age would have the same polarity, which they do.It is hard to think that this is a coincidence; it is also hard to think of any mechanism that could produce this agreement other than that the rocks are as old as radiometric methods tell us.We began our discussion of absolute dating by saying that sedimentation rates could not be relied on for absolute dating.If there is one possible exception to this, it would be the deposition of marine sediment, since it is not subject to erosion, and since we would expect the rates of deposition of the various sediments to be, if not actually constant, then not subject to such a degree of variation as (for example) glacial till.Based on the known rates of deposition, we may therefore at least say that the depths of marine sediment found on the sea floor are consistent with the ages of the igneous rocks beneath them as produced by radiometric dating.

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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.

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