Other critics, perhaps more familiar with the data, question certain aspects of the quality of the fossil record and of its dating.
These skeptics do not provide scientific evidence for their views.
This is an important topic, for evolutionists want the history of earth to span long ages in the hopes that this will make the origin and evolution of life more likely.
Yes, an understanding of dating methods is important, but we should keep in mind that whether or not these dating methods are accurate, really has no direct relation to whether evolution has ever occurred or could occur. Evolution can only occur by a sequence of, first, production of matter from nothing, or origin of matter.
As we pointed out in these two articles, radiometric dates are based on known rates of radioactivity, a phenomenon that is rooted in fundamental laws of physics and follows simple mathematical formulas.
Dating schemes based on rates of radioactivity have been refined and scrutinized for several decades.
Current understanding of the history of life is probably close to the truth because it is based on repeated and careful testing and consideration of data.
The rejection of the validity of fossils and of dating by religious fundamentalists creates a problem for them: Fossil sequences were recognized and established in their broad outlines long before Charles Darwin had even thought of evolution.
Technical details on how these dates are calculated are given in Radiometric dating. As with any experimental procedure in any field of science, these measurements are subject to certain "glitches" and "anomalies," as noted in the literature.
Early geologists, in the 1700s and 1800s, noticed how fossils seemed to occur in sequences: certain assemblages of fossils were always found below other assemblages. Since 1859, paleontologists, or fossil experts, have searched the world for fossils.
In the past 150 years they have not found any fossils that Darwin would not have expected.
This was dealt with in the chapter by that name (chapter 1).
Second, generation of living organisms from non-living matter, or origin of life.