Geologists know that radioactive dating methods are valid
Back to top Radioactive elements decay gradually into other elements.
The original element is called the parent, and the result of the decay process is called the daughter element.
On the surface, radiometric dating methods appear to give powerful support to the statement that life has existed on the earth for hundreds of millions, even billions, of years.
We are told that these methods are accurate to a few percent, and that there are many different methods.
When it is stated that these methods are accurate to one or two percent, it does not mean that the computed age is within one or two percent of the correct age.
It just means that there is enough accuracy in the measurements to compute t to one or two percentage points of accuracy, where t is the time required to obtain the observed ratio of daughter to parent, assuming no initial daughter product was present at the beginning, and no daughter or parent entered or left the system.
I believe that there is a great need for this information to be made known, so I am making this article available in the hopes that it will enlighten others who are considering these questions.
After study and discussion of this question, I now believe that the claimed accuracy of radiometric dating methods is a result of a great misunderstanding of the data, and that the various methods hardly ever agree with each other, and often do not agree with the assumed ages of the rocks in which they are found.For isochrons, which we will discuss later, the conditions are different.If these conditions are not satisfied, the error can be arbitrarily large.Potassium 40 (K40) decays to argon 40, which is an inert gas, and to calcium.Potassium is present in most geological materials, making potassium-argon dating highly useful if it really works.