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Later, after radioactivity had been proven to be a significant source of the Earth's internal heat, he did privately admit that he might have been in error.What is especially telling about this whole story is the conclusion of the absolute truth of the conclusion based on premises that are weak, or at least not adequately demonstrated.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.Both the physical geologists and paleontologists could point to evidence that much more time was needed to produce what they saw in the stratigraphic and fossil records.
It was based on the idea that no significant source of novel heat energy was affecting the Earth.
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.
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.
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.