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In either case, there will be a subjective tendency to accept the result, rather than performing additional checks that might reveal unsuspected problems.Anyone using these methods should be well aware of the conditions for validity, the known confounding factors, and the sources of error.We could measure (a) how much water the tank holds, (b) how much is still in the tank, and (c) the rate at which it is leaking out.We can calculate the age of the hole by subtracting (b) from (a) to find out how much water has left the tank, and then dividing this by (c), the rate at which it is leaking out.Given the complexity of radioactive dating, confirmation bias can also be a problem.This arises when the person performing the analysis has a strong expectation of what the result should be.This provides a calendar date with an error margin.This form of dating measures the decay of uranium within igneous zircon over a scale of tens of millions to billions of years.

As another example, a date that is obviously wrong would confirm a strong belief in the fundamental unreliability of radioactive dating.Carbon-14 for example is considered accurate by its supporters on ages from 2 to 50 thousand years.Modern methods can detect essentially any Carbon-14, and therefore produce dates up to about 100,000 years.Usually, different amounts of lead will have been lost, for example more from the surface of the crystal than from the interior, so there will be a range of isotope ratios.If the differences are due to one episode of loss of lead, then these points will lie on a straight line, as is often observed.

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