Whenever possible we design an age study to take advantage of other ways of checking the reliability of the age measurements.The simplest means is to repeat the analytical measurements in order to check for laboratory errors.Over a thousand papers on radiometric dating were published in scientifically recognized journals in the last year, and hundreds of thousands of dates have been published in the last 50 years.Essentially all of these strongly favor an old Earth.A recent survey of the rubidium-strontium method found only about 30 cases, out of tens of thousands of published results, where a date determined using the proper procedures was subsequently found to be in error.One question that sometimes arises here is how can scientists assume that rates of radioactivity have been constant over the great time spans involved.Such failures may be due to laboratory errors (mistakes happen), unrecognized geologic factors (nature sometimes fools us), or misapplication of the techniques (no one is perfect).
None of these experiments has detected any significant deviation for any isotope used in geologic dating [Dalrymple1991, pg. Note, for instance, that light coming to earth from distant stars (which in some cases emanated billions of years ago) reflects the same patterns of atomic spectra, based in the laws of quantum mechanics, that we see today.
Radioactive decay rates have been measured for over sixty years now for many of the decay clocks without any observed changes.
And it has been close to a hundred years since the uranium-238 decay rate was first determined.
The latest high-tech equipment permits reliable results to be obtained even with microscopic samples.
Radiometric dating is self-checking, because the data (after certain preliminary calculations are made) are fitted to a straight line (an "isochron") by means of standard linear regression methods of statistics.