In short, the assumption that decay rates are immune to outside influences isn't as solid as it once appeared to be.However, if one does assume a constant decay rate, and if one starts with an originally pure sample of “parent element,” then the proportion of parent to daughter tells us the number of half-lives, which has been used to find the supposed age of igneous rocks. The conclusions of Renne and his team read as follows: Ar can be identified in volcanic sanidine, and while perhaps negligible in pre-Holocene rocks, it has important consequences for sample at the limit of the method’s applicability.
Of course there seem to me to be fairly reasonable explanations for this observation which may allow for more slowly forming granitic rocks.
For instance, polonium radiohalos are sometimes associated with polonium bands generated by the polonium being transported by hydrothermal fluids along fractures.
Both the physical geologists and paleontologists could point to evidence that much more time was needed to produce what they saw in the stratigraphic and fossil records.
As one answer to his critics, Kelvin produced a completely independent estimate -- this time for the age of the Sun.
Chamberlain (1899) pointed out that Kelvin's calculations were only as good as the assumptions on which they were based.
"The fascinating impressiveness of rigorous mathematical analyses, with its atmosphere of precision and elegance, should not blind us to the defects of the premises that condition the whole process.
Later, after radioactivity had been proven to be a significant source of the Earth's internal heat, he did privately admit that he might have been in error.
What is especially telling about this whole story is the conclusion of the absolute truth of the conclusion based on premises that are weak, or at least not adequately demonstrated.
These two independent and agreeing dating methods for of the age of two primary members of the solar system formed a strong case for the correctness of his answer within the scientific community.
This just goes to show that just because independent estimates of age seem to agree with each other doesn't mean that they're correct - despite the fact that this particular argument is the very same one used to support the validity of radiometric dating today.
Many granites that contain polonium radiohalos appear from their geologic contexts to have been formed during the Flood, and therefore cannot have been primordial (that is, created) granites as Gentry has suggested ( Link ).