Definition of radioisotope dating

Only rarely does a creationist actually find an incorrect radiometric result (Austin 1996; Rugg and Austin 1998) that has not already been revealed and discussed in the scientific literature.The creationist approach of focusing on examples where radiometric dating yields incorrect results is a curious one for two reasons.Other dating techniques, like K-Ar (potassium-argon and its more recent variant 40Ar/39Ar), Rb-Sr (rubidium-strontium), Sm-Nd (samarium-neodynium), Lu-Hf (lutetium-hafnium), and U-Pb (uranium-lead and its variant Pb-Pb), have all stood the test of time.These methods provide valuable and valid age data in most instances, although there is a small percentage of cases in which even these generally reliable methods yield incorrect results.The half-life of this process is 1.25 billion years, meaning that it can date significantly older samples.

Some so-called creation scientists have attempted to show that radiometric dating does not work on theoretical grounds (for example, Arndts and Overn 1981; Gill 1996) but such attempts invariably have fatal flaws (see Dalrymple 1984; York and Dalrymple 2000).First, it provides no evidence whatsoever to support their claim that the earth is very young.If the earth were only 6000–10 000 years old, then surely there should be some scientific evidence to confirm that hypothesis; yet the creationists have produced not a shred of it so far.This is in part because uranium and lead are not retained in rocks as easily as some others, and in part because the parent isotopes and daughter products are not even directly related.For the isotopes uranium-235 and uranium-238 to respectively become lead-207 and lead-206, they must first undergo a serious of highly unstable transformations into isotopes with very short half-lives.

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