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August 20, 2004

Contradictions in Radiometric Dating

Dr. Walt Brown is well known for his work on creationism. One of the interesting sections of his book, In the Beginning, addresses assumptions that are held by those who apply radiometric dating to support the evolutionary origin of man. He writes,

The public has been greatly misled concerning the consistency and trustworthiness of radiometric dating techniques (the potassium-argon method, the rubidium-strontium method, and the uranium-thorium-lead method). For example, geologists hardly ever subject their radiometric age measurements to "blind tests." a In science, such tests are a standard procedure for overcoming experimenter bias. Many published radiometric dates can be checked by comparisons with the evolution-based ages for fossils that sometimes lie above or below radiometrically dated rock. In more than 400 of these published checks (about half of those sampled), the radiometrically determined ages were at least one geologic age in error—indicating major errors in methodology. One wonders how many other dating checks were not even published because they, too, were in error.
More generally, scientists are often very reluctant to examine the philosophical basis and the epistemological foundation of their belief system. As Dr. Brown implies, this will certainly yield a different hypothesis, experimental design, and conclusion.

Posted by Blogorithm at August 20, 2004 11:21 PM

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