Scientific definition of radiometric dating

Scientific definition of radiometric dating

Some [skeptics] make it sound like there is a lot of disagreement, but this is not the case.The disagreement in values needed to support the position of young-Earth proponents would require differences in age measured by orders of magnitude (e.g., factors of 10,000, 100,000, a million, or more).Here is one example of an isochron, based on measurements of basaltic meteorites (in this case the resulting date is 4.4 billion years) [Basaltic1981, pg. Skeptics of old-earth geology make great hay of these examples.For example, creationist writer Henry Morris [Morris2000, pg.Creationist Henry Morris, for example, criticizes this type of "uniformitarian" assumption [Morris2000, pg. But numerous experiments have been conducted to detect any change in radioactivity as a result of chemical activity, exceedingly high heat, pressure, or magnetic field. Scientists have also performed very exacting experiments to detect any change in the constants or laws of physics over time, but various lines of evidence indicate that these laws have been in force, essentially the same as we observe them today, over the multi-billion-year age of the universe.None of these experiments has detected any significant deviation for any isotope used in geologic dating [Dalrymple1991, pg. Note, for instance, that light coming to earth from distant stars (which in some cases emanated billions of years ago) reflects the same patterns of atomic spectra, based in the laws of quantum mechanics, that we see today.Also, as the authors of the 1968 article were careful to explain, xenoliths cannot be dated by the K-Ar method because of excess argon in bubbles trapped inside [Dalrymple2006].Thus in this case, as in many others that have been raised by skeptics of old-earth geology, the "anomaly" is more imaginary than real.

We scientists who measure isotope ages do not rely entirely on the error estimates and the self-checking features of age diagnostic diagrams to evaluate the accuracy of radiometric ages.Another method is to make age measurements on several samples from the same rock unit.This technique helps identify post-formation geologic disturbances because different minerals respond differently to heating and chemical changes.Other objections raised by creationists are addressed in [Dalrymple2006a].The overall reliability of radiometric dating was addressed in some detail in a recent book by Brent Dalrymple, a premier expert in the field. 80-81]: These methods provide valid age data in most instances, although there is a small percentage of instances in which even these generally reliable methods yield incorrect results.

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The slope of the line determines the date, and the closeness of fit is a measure of the statistical reliability of the resulting date.

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