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Of course, this was a close as Kelvin ever came to publicly recanting his position.There is perhaps no beguilement more insidious and dangerous than an elaborate and elegant mathematical process built upon unfortified premises." - Chamberlain 1899b:224Following the discovery of radioactivity by Becquerel (1896), the possibility of using this phenomenon as a means for determining the age of uranium-bearing minerals was demonstrated by Rutherford (1906).One year later Boltwood (1907) developed the chemical U-Pb method. By combining Von Weizsacker’s argon abundance arguments with Kohlhorster’s observation that potassium emitted gamma-radiation, Bramley (1937) presented strong evidence that potassium underwent dual decay.His result was in close agreement with his estimate of the age of the earth.The solar estimate was based on the idea that the energy supply for the solar radioactive flux is gravitational contraction.

In short, the assumption that decay rates are immune to outside influences isn't as solid as it once appeared to be.