Could there be other influences that would affect the rate of decay of carbon 14?If it has generally been established as a constant, at what point does the "constant" break down?

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Carbon-14 has a half-life of 5,730 years so decays fairly quickly to unusable proportions.

We also need to calibrate how much carbon-14 it had to begin with.

If we surmise that the Strong Nuclear Force can change, then we have to explain why the Sun is still there.

A bit in one way, the rate of fusion goes through the roof and the Sun blows itself apart.

Scientific statements need to be backed up by actual data.

Well, I think you are putting the cart before the horse.Even if there was some sort of Watcher race that stood in front of me and said that he was alive 10 billion years ago and bore witness to the birth of my planet, I would still insist on evidence.As a scientist, word of mouth means absolute nothing to me.The next step, using the scientific method, would be to come up with an experiment that would elicit a recordable change.In this specific case, try to manipulate the environment around a radioactive element to effect a change in the half-life constant.Now take that to the next step, to effect such a change you would need to effect the Weak Force directly within an atom or group of atoms.