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The slope of the line determines the date, and the closeness of fit is a measure of the statistical reliability of the resulting date.
Along this line, Roger Wiens, a scientist at the Los Alamos National Laboratory, asks those who are skeptical of radiometric dating to consider the following (quoted in several cases from [Wiens2002]): All of the different dating methods agree--they agree a great majority of the time over millions of years of time.Another method is to make age measurements on several samples from the same rock unit.This technique helps identify post-formation geologic disturbances because different minerals respond differently to heating and chemical changes.Several hundred laboratories around the world are active in radiometric dating.Their results consistently agree with an old Earth.
Creationist Henry Morris, for example, criticizes this type of "uniformitarian" assumption [Morris2000, pg. But numerous experiments have been conducted to detect any change in radioactivity as a result of chemical activity, exceedingly high heat, pressure, or magnetic field. Scientists have also performed very exacting experiments to detect any change in the constants or laws of physics over time, but various lines of evidence indicate that these laws have been in force, essentially the same as we observe them today, over the multi-billion-year age of the universe.