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Based on these assumptions he at first suggested an age of the Earth of between 100 Ma and 500 Ma.

This estimate was actually reduced over his lifetime to between 20 Ma and 40 Ma and eventually to less than 10 Ma. Perry, in particular, a noted physicists and former assistant to Kelvin, showed that cooling calculations using different but equally likely assumptions and data resulted in ages for the Earth of as much as 29 Ga.

Interweaving the relative time scale with the atomic time scale poses certain problems because only certain types of rocks, chiefly the igneous variety, can be dated directly by radiometric methods; but these rocks do not ordinarily contain fossils.

Some, like Robert Gentry, have even argued that Radio-halos from rapidly decaying radioactive isotopes in granite seem to indicate that the granites were formed almost instantly.

Of course, later scientists, like John Perry and T. After this came to light, Kelvin admitted that he might just as well have set his original upper limit on the age of the Earth at 4,000 Ma instead of 400 Ma.

Of course, this was a close as Kelvin ever came to publicly recanting his position.

Other factors and basic assumptions must also be considered.

Of course, Kelvin formed his estimates of the age of the Sun without the knowledge of fusion as the true energy source of the Sun.

If magnetic fluxuations or other influencing forces are strong enough, radiometric decay rates could be much more significantly effected.

But in general, this rate is felt by the vast majority of mainstream scientists to be a fundamental constant. al., published a paper suggesting that the decay rate of radioactive elements is related to the Earth's distance from the Sun.

In other words, the decay rates show annual changes that closely reflect the Earth's distance from the Sun (see illustration).

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.

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