I posted this before on physics stack exchange, but it was deemed off topic, which is understandable, so I hope it won't be here.

Recently, I stumbled upon an article by an individual named A.M. Tyurin, which challenges carbondating:


It is in Russian, so here are some of the conclusions in English, on which I'd like to get a comment on:

  1. In the method of radiocarbon dating there is a clearly undefined assumption - the absolute content of 13C and 12C in the atmosphere is stable over the entire interval of using radiocarbon dating. This is the main secret of the radiocarbon community.
  1. The Delta 14C plot and its derivative - the calibration curve of radiocarbon dating, reflect the variations in 14C not in the atmosphere, but in the CO2 atmosphere. This is the main lie of the radiocarbon community
  1. The system errors are "inscribed" into the calibration curve: dating by the Libby method (they were included in the calibration curve through dendrochronological scales built taking into account the dating by the Libby method); incorrect manipulations with the values ​​of the Delta 14C graph (manipulations were performed in order to "take into account" the influence of anthropogenic factors on the change in the CO2 content in the atmosphere); associated with variations of 13C in the CO2 atmosphere. There are also systemic errors in the estimates of the contribution of the shape of the calibration curve to the dating accuracy. This is the great mystery of the calibration curve.

I am interested in seeing a comment on these claims and maybe on the wider context of the article as well, if possible.

I hope my question is clear enough, thanks.

  • $\begingroup$ easy tip, Joe Blows unpublished blog articles ranting about corporate conspiracies and cover ups run through google translate, probably not a good source of information. especially from one that was redacted. $\endgroup$
    – John
    Commented Oct 12, 2021 at 21:08

1 Answer 1


I will preface this by saying that I am not particularly familiar with radiocarbon dating techniques, and therefore the minutiae are somewhat lost on me. However, as someone who works with several other radiometric dating systems, nothing this guy says is outright untrue, but it would seem like he is exaggerating their consequences to paint all carbon dating as some sort of nefarious conspiracy.

Assumptions are inherent to all radiometric dating techniques. This includes things as fundamental as the idea that radioactive isotope decay rates are constant throughout time, all the way to things that vary depending on the specific geochronometer, like closure criteria for the isotope pair in question for a particular mineral. In the case of carbon dating, we assume that the isotopic ratios are 'locked in' as soon as the material being dated stops actively exchanging carbon with the atmosphere (i.e., in some applications, dies), and accordingly that this is the time reflected by the carbon date.

Where this guy has lost the plot a bit is in his presumption of malice - nobody is claiming that carbon dating is infallible. Media reports may paint carbon dates as absolute - as they do with all scientific conclusions from nutrition to medicine and so on - but that is the media's doing, and any good scientist will readily concede that there are caveats to the ages they assign to a dated material. We are constantly iterating on and improving the techniques we use - carbon dating even generally reports results based on two half-lives, just to keep consistent with studies that pre-date the recalibration of the 14C decay constant: https://chem.libretexts.org/Bookshelves/Physical_and_Theoretical_Chemistry_Textbook_Maps/Supplemental_Modules_(Physical_and_Theoretical_Chemistry)/Nuclear_Chemistry/Applications_of_Nuclear_Chemistry/Radiocarbon_Dating

Not really the kind of limitation you would expect the architects of a conspiracy to cop to so easily.

What's more, the effects of the 'secret' problems he claims render carbon dating pointless would not be big enough to validate whatever scheme he thinks is being pulled. At most, carbon dates in the future may change by several hundred years as our assumptions become more precise. Obviously this is quite a lot, especially if you are trying to attribute an artifact to a specific civilization - but probably not enough to demonstrate whatever 'big lie' he claims is being perpetrated by the evil carbon dating community.


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