It is a different story when the same rubidium-strontium method is used to date lava from volcanoes on the north rim of the Grand Canyon.
We know these volcanoes are some of the youngest rocks in the canyon, because they spilled lava into the canyon after it had been eroded.
Is this dating failure from Mount St Helens an isolated case of radioisotope dating giving wrong results for rocks of known age? Dalrymple,1 one of the big names in radioactive dating [and a self-confessed intermediate between an atheist and agnostic], lists a number of cases of wrong potassium-argon ages for historic lava flows (Table A).
There are many other examples of obviously wrong dates.
Geologists generally think that these volcanoes erupted ‘only’ a million years or so ago. 1.34 billion years.3 If we were to believe the dating method, the top of the canyon would be older than the bottom!
Of course, geologists don’t believe the result in this case, because it does not agree with what they believe to be the right age. Such an obviously conflicting age speaks eloquently of the great problems inherent in radioisotope dating.
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).
It also speaks volumes about the way ‘dates’ are accepted or rejected by the geological community.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.