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The starting isotope is called the parent and the end-product is called the daughter.
Carbon-14 dating is another common technique, but it can only be used on carbon-containing things that were once alive.
Most scientists and many Christians believe that the radiometric dating methods prove that the earth is 4.5 billion years old.
The textbooks speak of the radiometric dating techniques, and the dates themselves, as factual information.
It is possible to measure the ratio of the different radioactive parent isotopes and their daughter isotopes in a rock, but the ratios are not dates or ages.
The dates must be inferred based on assumptions about the ratios.
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Relative ages are assigned to rocks based on the idea that rock layers lower in the strata were deposited before rock layers that are higher.