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Radiometric dating of rocks and minerals using naturally occurring, long-lived radioactive isotopes is troublesome for young-earth creationists because the techniques have provided overwhelming evidence of the antiquity of the earth and life.
Some so-called creation scientists have attempted to show that radiometric dating does not work on theoretical grounds (for example, Arndts and Overn 1981; Gill 1996) but such attempts invariably have fatal flaws (see Dalrymple 1984; York and Dalrymple 2000).
The Pierre Shale, which is divided into identifiable sedimentary beds called members, also contains abundant fossils of numerous species of ammonites, ancestors of the chambered nautilus.
The fossils, when combined with geologic mapping, allow the various exposed sections of the Pierre Shale to be pieced together in their proper relative positions to form a complete composite section (Figure 1).
Only rarely does a creationist actually find an incorrect radiometric result (Austin 1996; Rugg and Austin 1998) that has not already been revealed and discussed in the scientific literature.
The creationist approach of focusing on examples where radiometric dating yields incorrect results is a curious one for two reasons.
I have selected four examples from recent literature, mostly studies involving my work and that of a few close colleagues because it was easy to do so.Even things that work well do not work well all of the time and under all circumstances.Try, for example, wearing a watch that is not waterproof while swimming. A few verified examples of incorrect radiometric ages are simply insufficient to prove that radiometric dating is invalid.The results of the Manson Impact/Pierre Shale dating study (Izett and others 1998) are shown in Figure 1.There are three important things to note about these results.