Of course, there are many problems with such dating methods, such as parent or daughter substances entering or leaving the rock, as well as daughter product being present at the beginning.
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These long time periods are computed by measuring the ratio of daughter to parent substance in a rock and inferring an age based on this ratio.
This age is computed under the assumption that the parent substance (say, uranium) gradually decays to the daughter substance (say, lead), so the higher the ratio of lead to uranium, the older the rock must be.
There's a small amount of radioactive carbon-14 in all living organisms.
When they die no new carbon-14 is taken in by the dead organism.
For example, creationist writer Henry Morris [Morris2000, pg.
by Tas Walker A geologist works out the relative age of a rock by carefully studying where the rock is found in the field.
The field relationships, as they are called, are of primary importance and all radiometric dates are evaluated against them.
For example, a geologist may examine a cutting where the rocks appear as shown in Figure 1.
For example, in 1991, two hikers discovered a mummified man, preserved for centuries in the ice on an alpine mountain.
Later called Ötzi the Iceman, small samples from his body were carbon dated by scientists.
In a separate article (Radiometric dating), we sketched in some technical detail how these dates are calculated using radiometric dating techniques.