Reliability of radioactive dating
One crucial area the RATE project did not touch on was the issue of how reliable are the determinations of the radioisotope decay rates, which are so crucial for calibrating these dating “clocks.” However, in a recent series of papers, Snelling (2014a, b, 2015a, b, 2016, 2017) reviewed how the half-lives of the parent radioisotopes used in long-age geological dating have been determined and collated all the determinations of them reported in the literature to discuss the accuracy of their currently accepted values.He documented the methodology behind and history of determining the decay constants and half-lives of the parent radioisotopes U which are used as the basis for the Rb-Sr, Lu-Hf, Re-Os, Sm-Nd, K-Ar, Ar-Ar, U-Pb, and Pb-Pb long-age dating methods respectively.Once radioactive decay of U and Th started after creation, daughter Pb isotopes were added inside the earth.Then catastrophic plate tectonics during the Flood stirred the mantle and via partial melting added new rocks to the crust.All the unprovable assumptions ultimately depend on an assumed deep time history.Its rejection is recognized as fatal to the earth’s claimed age of billions of years.From a creationist perspective, the 1997–2005 RATE (Radioisotopes and the Age of The Earth) project successfully made progress in documenting some of the pitfalls in the radioisotope dating methods, and especially in demonstrating that radioisotope decay rates may not have always been constant at today’s measured rates (Vardiman, Snelling, and Chaffin 2000, 2005).Yet much research effort remains to be done to make further inroads into not only uncovering the flaws intrinsic to these long-age dating methods, but towards a thorough understanding of radioisotopes and their decay during the earth’s history within a biblical creationist framework.
So the Pb isotope ratios measured in these rocks today must be interpreted before their U-Pb ages can be calculated.
The absolute ages provided by the radioisotope dating methods provide an apparent aura of certainty to the claimed millions and billions of years for formation of the earth’s rocks.
Many in both the scientific community and the general public around the world thus remain convinced of the earth’s claimed great antiquity.
Zircon (Zr Si O) in particular has been the focus of thousands of geochronological studies, because of its ubiquity in felsic igneous rocks and its claimed extreme resistance to isotopic resetting (Begemann et al. However, accurate radioisotopic age determinations require that the decay constants or half-lives of the respective parent radionuclides be accurately known and constant in time.
Ideally, the uncertainty of the decay constants should be negligible compared to, or at least be commensurate with, the analytical uncertainties of the mass spectrometer measurements entering the radioisotope age calculations (Begemann et al. Clearly, based on the ongoing discussion in the conventional literature this is still not the case at present.
Search for reliability of radioactive dating:
There is thus no impediment to accepting and using the Bible’s account of Creation and the Flood as a reliable framework for unravelling the history of the earth and the Pb isotopes found in its minerals and rocks.