Fairy tales for adults (long)

Rob Park rbpark-NOSPAM at ualberta.ca
Thu Feb 13 21:37:40 PST 2003


Alas! Steve Bougerolle spake thus:
> You are missing the point again, possibly deliberately.  Regardless of
> how much you study the problem and how honestly you try to estimate the
> answer, all useful forms of radioactive dating must ASSUME that the rate
> of decay of atoms has not changed in some gross way, because we have no
> measurements of radioactive decay more than about a hundred years old.

Yes, and in those 100 years, we have never once measured a value for the
rate of radioactive decay to be different than what it is.

There is no proof that it *does* change, so we have nothing left but to
assume that it *doesn't*. That's what science is all about, man!

Our current theories say that the rate radioactive decay is constant and
fixed, and all of the experiments we've done agree with that. Nothing
has yet disproved it. This means that, to the best of our knowledge, the
fixedness of the rate of radioactive decay is "true".

In other words, it is a "sound" assumption to make when estimating the
age of the universe. Far more sound than assuming the relative dates in
bible are true and accurate, leading to a creation date of 6k years ago.

I think that's the point others are trying to make.

-- 
Rob Park
http://www.ualberta.ca/~rbpark
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