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Posted by / 02-Oct-2019 06:11

Arguments against radioactive dating

Such uncertainties are usually glossed over, especially when radioactive dates are communicated to the public and, more importantly, to students.

Generally, we are told that scientists have ways to analyze the object they are dating so as to eliminate the uncertainties due to unknown processes that occurred in the past. Hayes has pointed out a problem with isochrons that has, until now, not been considered.

That’s just over half a percent error in something that is supposedly multiple billions of years old.

Of course, that error estimate is complete nonsense.

However, it’s important to note that some radioactive dates (like those that come from carbon-14) don’t use the isochron method, so they aren’t affected by this particular flaw.

As a young-earth creationist, I look at this issue in a different way.

Sr-86 diffuses more quickly than Sr-87, and that has never been taken into account when isochrons are analyzed. Perhaps, but it’s rather tricky, because the rate of diffusion depends on the specific chemical and physical environment of each individual rock.

If the effects of diffusion can be taken into account, it will require an elaborate model that will most certainly require elaborate assumptions. Hayes suggests a couple of other approaches that might work, but its not clear how well. If you believe the earth is very old, then most likely, all of the radioactive dates based on isochrons are probably overestimates. I have no idea, and I don’t think anyone else does, either. Hayes’s model indicates it could add as much as 29 billion years to ages determined with rubidium and strontium, although his model is rather simplistic.

The elements rubidium and strontium are found in many rocks. As illustrated above, a neutron in a Rb-87 atom can eject an electron (often called a beta particle), which has a negative charge. We know how long it takes Rb-87 to turn into Sr-87, so in principle, if we analyze the amount of Rb-87 and Sr-87 in a rock, we should be able to tell how long the decay has been occurring.

As I have stated previously, we just don’t know a lot about radioactive decay.

Certainly not enough to justify the incredibly unscientific extrapolation necessary in an old-earth framework.

In this report, for example, we are told that using one radioactive dating technique, a lunar rock sample is 4,283 million years old, plus or minus 23 million years old.

In other words, there is a 95% certainty that the age is somewhere between 4,283 23 million years and 4,283 – 23 million years.

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As someone who has studied radioactivity in detail, I have always been a bit amused by the assertion that radioactive dating is a precise way to determine the age of an object.

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