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Can radiometric dating be wrong

can radiometric dating be wrong-21

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.Such failures may be due to laboratory errors (mistakes happen), unrecognized geologic factors (nature sometimes fools us), or misapplication of the techniques (no one is perfect).

The differences actually found in the scientific literature are usually close to the margin of error, usually a few percent, not orders of magnitude!The simplest means is to repeat the analytical measurements in order to check for laboratory errors.Another method is to make age measurements on several samples from the same rock unit.In the particular case that Morris highlighted, the lava flow was unusual because it included numerous xenoliths (typically consisting of olivine, an iron-magnesium silicate material) that are foreign to the lava, having been carried from deep within the earth but not completely melted in the lava.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].Radiometric dating is self-checking, because the data (after certain preliminary calculations are made) are fitted to a straight line (an "isochron") by means of standard linear regression methods of statistics.

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

Their results consistently agree with an old Earth.

Over a thousand papers on radiometric dating were published in scientifically recognized journals in the last year, and hundreds of thousands of dates have been published in the last 50 years.

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.

Other objections raised by creationists are addressed in [Dalrymple2006a].

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