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Radiocarbon dating and conspiracy theories

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A range of conspiracy theories involving radiocarbon dating have become popular on the Internet over the past years. Examples include the radiocarbon dating of dinosaur fossils that supposedly reveal problems with a geologically old Earth, claims that entire centuries of European history have been made up, and archaeological sites that supposedly provide evidence for a long-lost Younger Dryas civilization that is being hidden or denied by “Big Archaeology”. We will look at what these conspiracy theories claim, followed by more down-to-Earth explanations. We then discuss the dangers of such conspiracy theories, and provide some pointers for dealing with them.

This talk is part of the Quaternary Discussion Group (QDG) series.

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