"It doesn't make sense according to conventional ideas." The Stanford Report of August 23, 2010 was quoting physicist Ephraim Fischbach of Purdue University whose team in collaboration with another team from Stanford University, had found easily measurable changes in the radioactive decay rate of a number of radioactive isotopes. Despite a number of previously established evidences that radioactive decay rates could change, the official scientific establishment had continued to restrict such findings into highly specialized journals, claiming that the situations producing such changes don’t exist outside special laboratory conditions which are practically unrealizable in real life.
The Stanford University News gave a brief history of the new developments: “It's a mystery that presented itself unexpectedly….. As the researchers pored through published data on specific isotopes, they found disagreement in the measured decay rates – odd for supposed physical constants.” According to co-author Peter Sturrock, emeritus professor of applied physics at Stanford, "Everyone thought it must be due to experimental mistakes, because we're all brought up to believe that decay rates are constant,"
However, in a series of papers published in Astroparticle Physics, Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research and Space Science Reviews, Jenkins, Fischbach and their colleagues showed that the observed variations in decay rates were highly unlikely to have come from environmental influences on the detection systems. All of the evidence points toward a conclusion that the sun is "communicating" with radioactive isotopes on Earth, said Fischbach.
Even with this admission, efforts are being made to downplay the significance, with emphases being laid on practical implications in radiotherapy and prediction of solar flares. The big deal however would have to be with respect to radioactive dating techniques. Though the Purdue University News Service reports that the team has not yet examined isotopes used for dating of ancient artifacts, it nevertheless quickly dismissed outright, the possibility of any major impact: "The fluctuations we're seeing are fractions of a percent and are not likely to radically alter any major anthropological findings," Fischbach was quoted.
The key issue however is that the central assumption in radioactive dating - the constancy of radioactive decay rates – is now shown as not inviolate, as previously held. This, at least, demands that what credible organizations like the Institute for Creation Research (ICR) have been saying over the years must now be taken more seriously by mainstream science.
Brian Thomas of ICR commented on this development: “If the assumption of a constant rate is incorrect, then conclusions built upon that assumption are suspect, including certain dates assigned to artifacts and earth materials. This actually does not surprise those scientists willing to investigate the possibility that radioactive decay rates are, in fact, not stable. For example, it has been reported that dates for the same rock from different nuclear decay systems are usually discordant. Also, whenever rocks that were witnessed forming--as when lava hardens--were later dated with methods that depend on these supposedly constant rates, they were always "dated" orders of magnitude older than the known, actual age.” (http://www.icr.org/article/sun-alters-radioactive-decay-rates/).
An example of the latter situation Brian was referring to, was a series of volcanic eruptions observed to have occurred in 1941, 1954 ad 1975. Dating igneous rocks formed from the ash however, reputable laboratories using the conventional assumption of constant radioactive decay rates, concluded that the eruptions occurred as early as 3.5 million years ago!
In conclusion, Brian wrote: “The implications of inconsistent decay rates in radioactive elements are vast. And those inconsistencies are real, calling into question evolutionists' adamant assertions of an ancient age for the earth.” Please see our tract, Radiometry Dating and the Age of the Earth at http://www.churcharise.org/articles/Tract - Radiometry Dating and the Age of the Earth.docx for related information.