But I'll have to disagree with you on the second part. It would change a lot of what we know about radiometric dating, but not necessarily all of physics. We know how nuclear decay works, but up until now we always consider it to be constant in the past, because, up until now, the only data that would suggest that this may not be the case had being brought up by creationist.
Yes, only creationists have brought up "data" that nuclear decay may have been different in the past. But not for lack of looking. Real scientists have looked long and hard in all sorts of ways for evidence that nuclear decay (and the linked phenomena) could have been different. Al of them have concluded either that decay rates have been constant or that they might have varied a tiny bit billions of years before the Earth existed.
The rate of nuclear decay is not independent of other phenomena. It is deeply intertwined with all sorts of other aspects of our universe. If nuclear decay had been significantly different in the past, it would have left traces. We have looked diligently for those traces. They aren't there. Case closed.
Look, you don't realize it all fits together. The processes that govern radioactive decay are fundamental to how the universe operates, and if those processes were ever noticeably different our universe would be very different.
In particular, if the bones from the Hell Creek formation were young enough to be datable by 14C dating, then the rate of radioactive decay would have to have been high enough to kill all life by radiation and to melt the a good portion (if not all) of the Earth. We would have noticed, except for the fact we wouldn't be here to notice.
Some other problems with the YEC "hypothesis" are:
"Radioactive decay" is an umbrella term that covers several very different processes (three major ones, with each having sub-versions). To change radioactive decay rates and fit the observed data you need some mechanism that changes thse very different processes in some manner that maintains the lock-step agreement between radiometric dating methods that rely on the different processes.
The killer that no YEC addresses is the curves agree. Radiometric and non-radiometric methods agree with each other, radiometric methods agree with each other, non-radiometric methods agree with each other. No YEC has ever attempted to address this overacrching show-stopping fact based on hundreds of thousands of studies conducted over the last 200 or so years.
Accelerated nuclear decay (AND) is a non-starter.
(And AND is the only hope for overturnign radiometric dating).
This is also why it could be interesting to carbon date those fossils. If it turns out that it would give a carbon-14 amount within the error margin and so a date to the very limit of the dating technique, then it would be evidence that would favor the existence of a mechanism that can preserve collagen for vast amounts of time.
Well, those particular foissils are hopelessly contaminated by now. But 14C dating isn't all that expensive, a few hundred dollars per sample. The expense is in colelcting the samples and preventing contamination. E.g smoking near a sample is verboten. You need to maintain a chain of control, just like evidence in criminal cases. But you could probably get a prefessional volunteer to do it. Coyote?
Over at the old IIDB we even got up a collection to do it, except the YEC who claimed to be interested disappeared when it seemed that it might actually happen. I'll put up US$500; how much will you put up? Collection season's coming up.
BTW, some YECs did once date some dinosaru bones, except they (apaprently purposefully) selected samples that were coated with recent contamination; Radiocarbon Dates for Dinosaur Bones:
quote:The papers by Dahmer et al. (1990) and Fields et al. (1990) work very hard at mimicking scientific reports, but they are pseudoscientific misapplications of technical expertise and equipment. The radiocarbon dates which they report are meaningless. The dinosaur fossils which CRSEF obtained (under false pretenses) are not bone and, even if they were, the specimens were thoroughly contaminated by chemical preservatives. CRSEF researchers were informed of this fact by Carnegie Museum curators. The extensive contamination was independently confirmed by University of Arizona geochemists. CRSEF had the samples dated anyway.
(Irrelevant snippet: the Dahmer mentioned is the father of Jeffrey Dahmer).
Going from memory, this is a cave somewhere in the former USSR where evidence was found of a sufficiently rich natural deposit of uranium to sustain a continuous nuclear reaction. The rock melted. If radioactive decay were instead a million times faster then it would have exploded. But obviously it didn't explode because all we found were melted rocks containing uranium.
A uranium mine in Gabon, Africa. It was actually a nuclear reactor that went critical many, many, many times. There was plenty of water (moderator) about, and it slowed the neutrons to the point where there was a chain reaction. The heat of the chain reaction boiled the water, the steam escaped, the neutrons weren't slowed, and the chain reaction stopped until the water seeped back in. The cycle seems to have been about three hours!
But this only worked because the ratio of 235U to 238U was higher in the past. Since 235U decays faster than 238U, the ratio is constantly decreasing. It couldn't happen on Earth today (0.7%). If we extrapolate backward, it would have worked with the 235U/238U ratio that there was 1.8 billion years ago (3%). And the rocks date to ... wanna guess?