# How accurate are radiometric dating methods

One way this is done in many radioactive dating techniques is to use an isochron. To understand the problem, let’s start with an example of how radioactive dating works. Sr-87 is not radioactive, so the change is permanent.

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.

The amount of Sr-87 that was already in the rock when it formed, for example, should be proportional to the amount of Sr-86 that is currently there.

Since the data are divided by the amount of Sr-86, the initial amount of Sr-87 is cancelled out in the analysis.

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.

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.

This false notion is often promoted when radioactive dates are listed with utterly unrealistic error bars.

Their age was measured to be 6.0 /- 0.3 billion years old. Those who are committed to an ancient age for the earth currently believe that it is 4.6 billion years old.

Obviously, then, the error in that measurement is 1.4 billion years, not 0.3 billion years!

Was Rb-87 or Sr-87 added to the rock by some unknown process?

Was one of them removed from the rock by some unknown process?

This newly-pointed-out flaw in the isochron method is a stark reminder of that.

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