If the fossils, or the dating of the fossils, could be shown to be inaccurate, all such information would have to be rejected as unsafe.
Fossils document the order of appearance of groups and they tell us about some of the amazing plants and animals that died out long ago.
Fossils can also show us how major crises, such as mass extinctions, happened, and how life recovered after them.
Results from different techniques, often measured in rival labs, continually confirm each other.
Every few years, new geologic time scales are published, providing the latest dates for major time lines.
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.
Our understanding of the shape and pattern of the history of life depends on the accuracy of fossils and dating methods.
Some critics, particularly religious fundamentalists, argue that neither fossils nor dating can be trusted, and that their interpretations are better.
A key point is that it is no longer necessary simply to accept one chemical determination of a rock’s age.
Age estimates can be cross-tested by using different isotope pairs.
These demonstrate that, of course, we do not know everything (and clearly never will), but we know enough.