Reliability of radioactive dating

This serves as strong evidence for the reliability of radiometric dating methods. Those that did the decaying are called parent nuclei.

If you have a rock that contains radioactive isotopes, these will decay over time.

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Surely, if some daughter nuclei left the rock or parent nuclei entered the rock, the dates would come out all wrong! That is, you can see if the sample comes from rocks that have been disturbed (or contaminated) or not just by looking at the results.While this is technically true, there are several mini-industries dedicated developing methods and techniques to make sure that there is no contamination and check to see if the rocks where disturbed between forming and being tested by scientists. Now, creationists will claim that scientists are just somehow assuming that if samples show an age that does not fit their preconceptions, the sample must be contaminated or leaky. To see why, we need to look deeper into radiometric dating methods.A very important tool in radiometric dating is the so called isochron diagram and it holds the key to refuting the central creationist claims about radiometric dating.A very common claim of young earth creationists in trying to reject the evidence for an old earth is to loudly proclaim that radiometric dating methods “makes assumptions” and that these “assumptions” are somehow fatally flawed or not supported by evidence.These claims generally land in three different categories: (1) radiometric dating assumes that initial conditions (concentrations of mother and daughter nuclei) are known, (2) radiometric dating assumes that rocks are closed systems and (3) radiometric dating assumes that decay rates are constant.

Most young earth creationists reject all of these points.As a scientific skeptics, we ask ourselves: is this really the case?Let us critically examine each of these claims and see if they hold up against the science.While doing so, we will have to learn about how radiometric dating works. There exists different versions, or isotopes of many elements.There are many different kinds of radiometric dating and not all conclusions we will reach can be extrapolated to all methods used. These isotopes differ in the number of neutrons they have in their nuclei.Also, different radiometric dating techniques independently converges with each other and with other dating techniques such as dendrochronology, layers in sediment, growth rings on corals, rhythmic layering of ice in glaciers, magnetostratigraphy, fission tracks and many other methods. Those isotopes that are not stable decay into daughter nuclei.