Radiometric age dating flaws
Many people assume that the dates scientists quote of millions of years are as reliable as our knowledge of the structure of the atom or nuclear power.
And radioactive dating is so shrouded with mystery that many don’t even try to understand how the method works; they just believe it must be right.
Dating secrets explains how this works in practice.
Some real-life examples of how geologists change their assumptions after the event include the dating of Skull KNM-ER 1470 (see The pigs took it all) and of the Mungo skeletal remains, Australia (see The dating game).
ne of the main objections to radiometric dating (on the part of young earth creationists) is that radiometric ages do not agree with each other or that contamination renders ages meaningless. Early mass spectrometers were not as sensitive as machines today and the methods for separating, cleaning and analysis were less sophisticated.
Although ye-creationists like Snelling talk about contamination of isotopic systems as if it were a foreign concept to modern geology, most geochronologists routinely check for possible contamination using a variety of methods.
In addition to variable half-lives, each mineral will 'close' at different temperatures (closure, is simply defined as the point where no daughter/parent is lost or gained*).
There are a number of different methods that geologists use to check for loss/gain and these are incorporated into most analyses (isochron methods, stepwise degassing etc).
And that is what geologists do—they make up an assumed geological history for rock depending on the numbers that come from the geochronology lab that measures the isotopes in the rocks now.If radiometric decay rates are not constant and rocks behave as open systems, it would be the exception, rather than the rule, for ages to agree with one another.Here are a few examples in the recent literature of radiometric age determinations on the same rocks (using different isotopic methods The ages of the Fen Complex (A, B) are on two separate dikes within the Fen Complex.Once we understand what we actually need to do we can apply the same principles to radioactive dating, and see if the methods do what they are claimed to do.Picture a swimmer competing in a 1,500 metre race and an observer with an accurate wristwatch.
Those who promote the reliability of the method spend a lot of time impressing you with the technical details of radioactive decay, half-lives, mass-spectroscopes, etc.