Carbon dating of mt st helens
Some [skeptics] make it sound like there is a lot of disagreement, but this is not the case.
The disagreement in values needed to support the position of young-earth proponents would require differences in age measured by orders of magnitude (e.g., factors of 10,000, 100,000, a million, or more).
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).
We scientists who measure isotope ages do not rely entirely on the error estimates and the self-checking features of age diagnostic diagrams to evaluate the accuracy of radiometric ages.
In a related article on geologic ages (Ages), we presented a chart with the various geologic eras and their ages.
In a separate article (Radiometric dating), we sketched in some technical detail how these dates are calculated using radiometric dating techniques.
Whenever possible we design an age study to take advantage of other ways of checking the reliability of the age measurements.
In the particular case that Morris highlighted, the lava flow was unusual because it included numerous xenoliths (typically consisting of olivine, an iron-magnesium silicate material) that are foreign to the lava, having been carried from deep within the Earth but not completely melted in the lava.The differences actually found in the scientific literature are usually close to the margin of error, usually a few percent, not orders of magnitude!