Could he be talking about Bryan Osborne?
Incidentally, IMO Wiens’s paper is badly in need of an update. It was written in 2002—some three years before the publication of the RATE report, and Tas Walker of creation.com has written a response to it. If it is indeed Osborne who he’s talking about, I would think it highly likely that he’s read—and is perhaps even referring to—Walker’s response.
For what it’s worth, I don’t find Walker’s response at all satisfactory. His tone is thoroughly inflammatory, his arguments contain a lot of ad hominem attacks, and he spends a lot of ink on dogmatically insisting that Literal Six Day Young Earth Creation is the only valid approach to the Genesis narrative and that anyone who doesn’t accept it is a compromiser if not a closet atheist. This is distracting, and it makes it difficult to get to the technical parts of his arguments without getting annoyed one way or another.
However, setting tone aside there are several remarks we can make about the technical merits of his arguments. These are also general observations that can be made about any YEC attack on radiometric dating.
First, he repeatedly claims that we can not know anything about the past because nobody was there to see it happen. This is the standard YEC “were you there?” argument, and it is completely untrue. Historical assumptions can be tested by cross-checking different methods whose assumptions are independent of each other. They can also be tested by making predictions about what kind of evidence we would expect to see if they were true or false. (See also my points below.)
Second, he grossly exaggerates the extent and significance of discordances and disagreements. As far as I have been able to establish, the number of radiometric results which had no significant disagreement runs into the hundreds of thousands, while the number of discordant dates runs into the hundreds at most. This does not establish that radiometric dating never works; on the contrary, it establishes that radiometric dating mostly works with the exception of a few corner cases.
In any case, disagreements of a few percent, or even disagreements by a factor of two or three, fall far, far short of proving that radiometric dating is so unreliable that it can not tell the difference between thousands and billions. That would be like standing at the foot of Mount Everest and saying that it could plausibly be only four inches tall.
Third, he repeatedly hand-waves away explanations for disagreements between different dating methods as if they were no more than “just-so” stories or rescuing devices. He makes no attempt whatsoever to consider and refute the reasoning behind them, nor does he address the fact that in some cases, different dating methods are expected to give different ages because they represent different events in the complex thermal history of the rocks.
Fourth, he claims that different dating methods only give the same results because they are calibrated against each other. This claim is at best highly misleading, at worst completely untrue, and in any case not backed up by any evidence or citations. For starters, he gives little or no detail as to how this cross-calibration is supposedly done. On page 10 he says this:
One estimate was even obtained by measuring iron meteorites and accepting their age was 4.5 billion years based on radioactive dating by a different method. Likewise, the half-life of lutetium-176 was determined from measurements on meteorites of supposedly known age. These cases clearly involve circular reasoning.
He does not cite a source for either of these claims. Furthermore, even if they were true, this would only be circular reasoning if this were the only way in which the half-life of lutetium-176 is determined. It is not.
The forty or so different types of radiometric dating are not only cross-checked against each other, but also against multiple non-radiometric methods, including lake varves, ice cores, tree rings, coral growth, and just about everything else imaginable. One particularly spectacular example is the way in which GPS data confirms the rates of continental drift established through radiometric dating.
It may be possible to establish that one or two dating methods have been calibrated against others, or that cross-calibrations are used in some cases in conjunction with other methods to refine accuracy, but to claim that all methods rely entirely on cross-calibrations with each other simply doesn’t stand up to scrutiny.
Fifth, he repeatedly asserts that we need to know the original quantities of parent and daughter isotopes in the samples, and whether any contamination or leakage has occurred. This completely ignores the fact that isochron dating avoids both these assumptions. Even if isochron dating can be shown to be flawed for other reasons, repeating this statement without qualification is flat-out lying.
Sixth, he claims that isochron dating also makes assumptions that are not testable when in fact they are. He claims that it is impossible to tell the difference between an isochron line and a mixing line. Wiens does not address this point, but this article on Talk Origins does—and it makes it clear that there are ways of telling the difference between an isochron line and a mixing line. Furthermore, if mixing lines really were as much of a problem that they couldn’t tell the difference between thousands and billions of years, isochron plots with negative gradients would be as common as ones with positive gradients, while discordances would be the rule rather than the exception. But they aren’t.
Seventh, his claims of radiocarbon in ancient samples were almost certainly contamination. This refers to the RATE project’s studies. However, they did not follow the correct procedures for taking contamination into account: they merely subtracted a “standard background” whereas the professionals go to great lengths to characterise individual contamination vectors even on a laboratory-specific basis. Certainly, the amounts of radiocarbon found in the samples were too small to rule out contamination, and they showed clear patterns indicating that this was indeed the case. See this article by Kirk Bertsche for a discussion.
Eighth, accelerated nuclear decay is science fiction. In most of the twenty or so studies that they have come up with in which nuclear decay rates were shown to vary, the effect was small—a few percent at most, and certainly not enough to squeeze the evidence into six thousand years. The only significant increases in nuclear decay rates observed in the laboratory occurred either by stripping 187Re it of all its electrons, or by heating 176Lu to temperatures above 200 million K. Neither of these are realistic conditions that could have occurred during either Creation Week or the Flood, and even if they had, they would have reset the radiometric “clocks” which don’t start ticking until the rock crystallises and cools below its closure temperature.
The RATE team acknowledged that accelerated nuclear decay would have released enough heat to raise the temperature of the earth’s surface to 22,000˚C—that’s four times hotter than the surface of the sun. They themselves acknowledged that neither conduction, nor convection, nor radiation would have been sufficient to remove the heat fast enough, and that any cooling mechanism would also have had to cool some materials (e.g. rocks) faster than others (e.g. water). (Source: RATE technical report, chapter 10, pages 761-765.)
I think that they ended up claiming that God must have supernaturally intervened to remove all the heat in the end, but all they’ve managed to do there is propose a miracle whose only effect was to make the earth look older than it really is. Basically, it’s an overly complex and convoluted version of the Omphalos hypothesis that is so absurd that it looks more like a parody than anything else.