Danusha Goska, in a comment posted on the Holy Shroud Guild Facebook page, weighs in on the possibility of sabotage or error in the 1988 carbon dating.
April 25 at 4:47pm
I have to ask … to what extent does anyone talk about falsification or simple error in the 1988 carbon dating? In other words, to what extent do people interested in the Shroud discuss whether or not it is possible that someone sabotaged that test, or that the labs tested the wrong cloth, accidentally or on purpose?
For myself, sabotage or error strike me as entirely plausible, but I wonder to what extent others mention it.
Ian Wilson treats this thought as if it were taboo, but Thomas de Wesselow acknowledges that it is possible.
As I was making a pot of coffee this morning, Jason Engwer was posting a fascinating and important article to Triablogue: The 1982 Carbon Dating Of The Shroud Of Turin.
Once I got to these two paragraphs I couldn’t stop to refill my cup:
There seems to be widespread agreement, among the accounts circulating, that this dating test on the Shroud took place in the early 1980s (my sense is that the large majority say 1982) in California, involving one thread from the Shroud near the area of the 1988 carbon dating, producing two dates differing by several centuries for each end of the thread, one date being close to the time of Jesus and one several centuries later. For example:
"[John] Heller took me back to the train station that evening [in 1984], and as we sat waiting for my train back to New York City, he told me in strictest confidence about a secret C-14 run that had already been made on a thread from the Shroud. He said . . .
Most people, in quoting others, use ellipsis to truncate a quote, feeling perhaps that what follows is not so significant to them. I mean something else. I’m advertising: go read the whole article. But, if you haven’t done so yet, this should inspire you to do so:
It seems to me that Adler’s behavior at the Turin workshop in 1986 supports his credibility on this issue. (The Turin workshop was a meeting, attended largely by scholars in relevant fields, that had the objective of formulating plans for the upcoming carbon dating of the Shroud.) During the course of the meeting, Adler argued for taking samples from multiple places on the cloth and advised that the cloth’s edges and water stain areas be avoided (Harry Gove, Relic, Icon Or Hoax? [Bristol and Philadelphia: Institute of Physics Publishing, 1996], 153; William Meacham, The Rape Of The Turin Shroud [Lulu, 2005], 74-5). Those recommendations would undermine the significance of the sample allegedly used in the 1982 test. Why would Adler lie about a test in 1982, yet try to persuade the Turin officials to conduct the later carbon dating in a way that would so much undermine the purpose of his lie?
Haven’t jumped over yet? “Here’s my tentative conclusion. . . “, writes Jerry. Not fair fast scrolling to the bottom. Read every word up to Jerry’s conclusion. Now read the conclusion..
So what do you think? Did it happen? Is it important?
It sounds, maybe, like a problem in psychophysics
Colin is doing some interesting experiments. You will want to read How infuriating. LIRA (The Linen Industry Research Association of Belfast) is no more:
. . . I’ve been eye-balling what happens when one applies sticky tape to scorched linen. The first pull takes off heavily scorched fibres (not whole threads, note, but individual, so-called ultimate fibres). With fresh tape on the same area, one gets progressively lighter harvests of detatched fibres. So far so good. One is basically seeing what Raymond N.Rogers did with his sticky tape sampling of the Turin Shroud.
It’s what happens next that is interesting. If one takes the sticky tape samples, one can lever up free or broken ends of fibres, and then pull them out with tweezers (tricky but feasible). When one looks at the extracted fibres, one’s first thought is that they are colourless, matching Rogers’ description, i.e. his claim that the image colour stays behind through being highly superficial and able to be easily stripped off. But here’s the caveat. If one sticks the collected "clean" fibres back on paper with the same sticky tape. one then finds they are in fact still yellow or brown, and indeed is able to compare them with those that were not removed, i.e. still in situ, to see there is really no colour difference when compared side-by-side under the same conditions, i.e. white background, viewed through a thickness of sticky tape. In other words, one has to beware of artifacts when looking at individual fibres, even with the naked eye (with still more artifacts possible when using a microscope). . . .
Is it a form of the checker shadow illusion? The square A is exactly the same shade of grey as square B.
The image above by Adelson, Edward H. (2005). Called the "Checkershadow Illusion", it is found at MIT.edu. It is Licensed by Wikimedia wherein it is stated: The copyright holder of this work allows anyone to use it for any purpose including unrestricted redistribution, commercial use, and modification.
You might want to read the whole thing. I wish I hadn’t encountered this in the morning. Coffee isn’t strong enough. A couple shots of 100 proof Virginia bourbon would help with the reading of this.
If Jesus caused His scourged, crowned with thorns, and crucified and speared in the side image to be imprinted on His burial sheet and then has preserved it against all the odds down to this day, then it is highly likely (to put it mildly) that He expects those who become aware of His image on the Shroud, to repent and believe in Him and His death on the cross to pay for their sins. So those who become aware of the evidence for the Shroud’s authenticity, yet refuse to believe in Jesus and His death for them, will, like Chorazin and Bethsaida receive a more severe judgment than if they had never heard of the Shroud.
Stephen writes mostly about me:
[Because] Mt 7:22-23. "22 On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ 23 And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’"
I hasten to add that it is OK to be a non-Christian in the Shroud discussion. Barry Schwortz and Thomas de Wesselow are two non-Christians who think the Shroud is authentic. But according to Jesus’ words above (which Dan will probably dismiss as a mere "metaphor," it is not OK to be a non-Christian and especially a non-Christian who THINKS he is a Christian when he isn’t.
Whether it is metaphor or poetic hyperbole or a prophetic vision understood literally, the interpretation is nutty.
Stephen is also closing in on evidence that the carbon dating results were fraudulently changed by computer hackers. (I continue to leave out the names of people he blames but you can read them on his blog):
I have since found documentary evidence of how Zurich and Oxford’s AMS control console computers could have been accessed remotely by [so and so] (with the help of [another so and so] who confessed he had hacked for the KGB) and their programs changed, yet them never having been connected to Arpanet or the Internet. And that would explain why [the so and so and the other so and so] unexpectedly `committed suicide’ within days of each other.
I have asked Stephen for examples of how he was defamed on my blog – that is one of his complaints about me. He explains that since he no longer reads the comments about him he cannot do so.
Danusha Goska has posted a discussion about how Protestants view the shroud in Catholics, Protestants, and the Shroud of Turin:
I wrote to Barrie Schwortz, one of my personal heroes, and the Shroud spokesperson par excellence.
In spite of his pressing schedule, Barrie took the time to write back and gave me permission to quote him. Barrie wrote,
"I actually have a special introduction to my presentations for non-Catholic Christian venues which I call: ‘The Top 5 Reasons Why Some Christians Are Shroud Skeptics.’ It addresses the primary reasons why some Christians deny or ignore the Shroud (and I’ve probably heard them all over the past 20 years). Here are the issues I discuss in the form of a 20 slide PowerPoint presentation:
1.The Shroud is a "graven image.“
2.The Shroud is just another Catholic relic.
3.The Gospels state that Jesus was tied with linen strips, yet the Shroud is a single large cloth. It further states there were 2 cloths in the tomb.
4.The Man of the Shroud has long hair, which is forbidden in the Gospels.
5.The Prophecies say the Man’s beard was plucked, yet the Man of the Shroud has a full beard.
We’ve heard all of these many times; they are discussed on this blog every now and then. But I caution, these are not characteristic of “Protestant” beliefs about the shroud. Whereas, many Protestants have hang ups about relics (it goes back to the Reformation era) I don’t think the other four items are characteristic of what most Protestants think except those who embrace biblical literalism. Those who embrace biblical literalism are generally more likely to be Evangelical Christians even to the point of eschewing the term Protestant. And even then there are many exceptions; witness Stephen Jones.
To put it another way, I don’t think most mainline Protestants think differently than Catholics on these items. Some of the best scholars of the shroud and proponents of its authenticity are not Catholic. I’m not.
BTW: The picture is from Danusha’s blog. She writes: “If anyone can identify this picture, please write to me. I found it unattributed on the web and I’d love to know more about it.”
I do hope everyone will carefully read your latest blog posting (April 18th), My response to Dan Porter. Certainly, that is what you want. You posted it.
I just want to make a couple of points.
My personal observation is that Porter has, over the years, drifted from a pro-authenticity to an anti-authenticity position, perhaps without realising it. On his blog Porter bent over backwards to be favourable towards anti-authenticists but was unfavourable towards unequivocal pro-authenticists like me.
I think of myself as open-minded. And I think the majority of people who participate on the Shroud Story blog are open-minded, as well. Some of us, like me, think the shroud is authentic; others do not. We may even be biased. But most of us, I think, are open to solid evidence. Can you offer any specifics to show how I favor certain people because they think the shroud may not be real?
You call yourself an “unequivocal pro-authenticist.” That almost sounds like the chap who goes about saying, “My mind is made up. Don’t confuse me with the facts.” Surely you don’t mean for us to think that.
“I have figured Porter out,” you write:
. . . He is not against the 1988 radiocarbon dating of the Shroud as "mediaeval … AD 1260-1390" per se. He is against any closure of any issue, pro- or anti-authenticity. That way he can have endless debate, maximising the views and comments to his blog, which he regularly boasts about.
Good statistical results are good news for all of us who want to see open-minded discussion about the shroud. This month, alone, in just the first 20 days , 49,419 people viewed 98,798 pages. There have been over a thousand comments. Frequent new content and quality back and forth comments makes for readership.
When I wrote, “Why absent fraud? Why not other possibilities?,” you responded:
Proving my point. Porter is not interested in converging on the truth, only in debating endless "possibilities".
But then you admitted that your hypothesis is “tentative.”
So, as Porter KNOWS, my claim has ALWAYS been TENTATIVE that . . . was the computer hacker, or one of the computer hackers, who according to my proposal duped the three radiocarbon dating laboratories at Arizona, Zurich and Oxford by modifying the program in each of the three AMS control console computers, so as to substitute the Shroud’s first or early century radiocarbon date, with bogus dates which, when calibrated, clustered around 1325, only ~25 years before the Shroud first appeared in undisputed history in the 1350s. And absent a "smoking gun," such as an admission or confession by someone in a position to know, my claims that: 1) there was a hacker (or hackers); and 2) that . . . was that hacker (or one of the hackers), might always have to remain tentative.
In the spirit of debating endless possibilities, I must ask (somewhat tongue in cheek, I must admit and apologize for): Did hackers also change the results of the Tuscon, Toronto and recent Madrid carbon dating of the Sudarium?
Stephen, I am not a pro-authenticists or an anti-authenticists; never have been and I hope I never will be. I was once skeptical of the shroud and changed my mind based on evidence. I may change my mind again but that seems unlikely. No one benefits more than me from this blog. That is why I do it. I mean think about it, why would I go to all this trouble if not to learn and give back in the process.
This is an account of a lecture given by John C. Iannone. Gosh, I hope this is a problem in reporting:
. . . The Shroud’s authenticity was attacked in the late 1980s by the New York Times which was doing what it does best– mocking the beliefs of Christians.
. . . Invited by Shroud Custodian Cardinal Saldarini to analyze the Cloth, Mr. Iannone told a Fort Pierce Florida audience at St. Anastasia’s Catholic Church that the four soil samples he and fellow scientists examined from the cloth match precisely the four soil types at the locations where the Shroud was known to have traveled!
[ . . . ]
The “epsilon,” which is a small positive quantity that provides mathematical analysis, could be seen as a lightened area flowing out of the lips of our Lord as HIS very death was taking place! . . .
But clearly the most transcendental part of the evening’s lecture came when the Catholic scholar explained the very exact analysis points to the location on the cloth when Jesus rose from death.
[ . . . ]
. . . “As Jesus Christ entered Eternity, the atoms of His Body at the Resurrection accelerated dramatically. . . . And the light of Jesus’ Resurrection even shows up in NSA analysis!
This is why we must blog!
John Klotz has posted The Shroud of Turin and the Resurrection in his blog, Quantum Christ:
It is often stated that the Shroud of Turin doesn’t prove the Resurrection. That’s correct. But on Easter it is proper to discuss what the Shroud does prove in connection with the Resurrection. It certainly supports the possibility of the Resurrection and is consistent with it.
“Carbon dating alone, whether in its 1988 form or
some improvement upon it, isn’t enough.”
Jason Engwer has delivered a significant and thought-provoking analysis in Triablogue, Weighing The Shroud’s 1988 Carbon Dating
Meacham to Farey upon a whirlwind:
[William] Meacham wrote nearly a decade ago. There have been some significant developments since then. In his book, Meacham discussed Ray Rogers’ 2005 article that undermines the 1988 carbon dating results. Further research since then has corroborated Rogers’ findings. For some examples, see here. A study published in 2010 by Marco Riani, et al., for instance, found significant heterogeneity in the section of the Shroud tested in 1988. In 2013,Giulio Fanti and some other researchers published the results of some dating tests they ran on alleged fragments of the Shroud. All of their dating methods showed a pre-medieval date.
On the other hand, Timothy Jull, a member of the University of Arizona lab that tested the Shroud in 1988,published an article in 2010 that cast doubt on Rogers’ findings. In 2013, Hugh Farey wrote an article that discusses problems with the reweave hypothesis (the view that the section of the Shroud tested in 1988 contains some more recent threads woven into the original cloth during a repair, so that the more recent threads would distort the carbon dating).
Mark Oxley has written an article criticizing Jull’s piece. For some initial reactions to Farey’s article, see the thread here. In that thread, Thibault Heimburger says that he’s noticed some problems with Farey’s article and suggests that he’ll be writing a response to it.
I think Jull and Farey make some good points that significantly weaken the reweave hypothesis. The reweave hypothesis still seems to be the best explanation of the evidence, but now by a smaller margin. We have to leave the door wide open to other possibilities.
Wringing answers from the unknown:
How would the artist or forger know how to portray a Roman crucifixion victim so accurately? Why would he repeatedly and accurately depart from how Jesus was portrayed in the large majority of medieval depictions (a nail wound closer to the wrist than the palm; wounds from a thick cap of thorns rather than a thin wreath of thorns; etc.)? Why are so many characteristics of the Shroud inconsistent with the interests of an artist or forger? Why would an artist or forger brilliant enough to produce such a masterpiece go about introducing his work to the world in such an ineffective manner? Geoffrey de Charny was a relatively low-level figure in the society of his day. The modest status of the Shroud around the medieval timeframe suggested by the 1988 carbon dating is incongruous with what an artist or forger brilliant enough to produce the Shroud would be likely to do with it. And why would an artist or forger include a close-up depiction of Jesus completely nude and uncovered on his back side, something that the vast majority of people seem to find objectionable even in the more sexually libertine cultures of our day (how much more so in a medieval context)? Why and how would an artist or forger include so many details that can’t be seen by the naked eye (in an age without microscopes and other such devices)? Why would an artist or forger display his genius in the Shroud, but nowhere else? Why don’t we see comparable displays of genius from the same source around the same time? Why is the Shroud such an isolated object that stands out so starkly from the medieval context?
The notion that the 1988 carbon dating alone equals or outweighs all of the evidence cited above for an earlier date is absurd. The 1988 dating of one small piece of the cloth, from such a poor area for that sort of testing, can’t bear the weight that’s so often placed upon it. I would argue that even if further carbon dating would produce the same or similar results, the evidence for an earlier date would still weigh more. Carbon dating alone, whether in its 1988 form or some improvement upon it, isn’t enough. There has to be more. That’s how good the evidence is for an earlier date.
Do read the entire posting Weighing The Shroud’s 1988 Carbon Dating at Triablogue.
* Whirlwind? In this sense, yes, borrowing some words from the conflicted Anne Rice:
Very few beings really seek knowledge in this world. Mortal or immortal, few really ask. On the contrary, they try to wring from the unknown the answers they have already shaped in their own minds — justifications, confirmations, forms of consolation without which they can’t go on. To really ask is to open the door to the whirlwind. The answer may annihilate the question and the questioner.
Two years ago, Stephen Wagner, in his role as“Paranormal Phenomenon Guide” for the web publication About.com, wrote an article titled, Why the Shroud of Turin is Fake. I mentioned it in this blog on April 2, 2012. I thought it was silly. I still do.
Just yesterday, Stephen tells us that one of his readers named Robert has responded with his own ideas about why the shroud is probably not authentic.
Instead, what we see on the shroud is an image that projects from a complex shape all in one direction – that is, toward the perspective of an observer. There is focus, definition, proportion, all codified through the perspective of an observer. It’s how we’re used to seeing things, so people don’t pick up on it as an anomaly or error, but it’s not at all how the image must appear if it’s what it purports to be.
The shroud image requires that the shroud rose up above Jesus, stretched itself smooth and taut, and then a signal rose up from his body and headed toward a focus. No energy was scattered, it all just went one way and one way only – toward the eye of the viewer. And as it passed through the hovering, smooth sheet, it imprinted information only on the superficial fibers, somehow carrying along with it some understanding of its own distance traveled, so that it could render an artistic coding of the depth dimension, in terms of shadowing, etc.
ALL SORTS OF LOGICAL PROBLEMS
The idea is fairly absurd, on its face, but let’s imagine that that happened. The sheet rises up in a ghostly manner, and smooths itself out. Oh wait – it’s attached at the top, where it doubles back around under the body. So it can’t rise up to get some distance for the photo. Also, the goo and the gore which is in nice registry with the image, wouldn’t correspond in that way if the image was formed out of contact with the body.
There are all sorts of problems with the shroud. Jesus is lying on his back, having been through a very rough day, and yet his hair is not only fluffy and nicely styled, and not only projects its own image directly upward to the sheet, but it is indifferent to the effects of gravity. His hair is the hair of someone standing up. It floomfs out and falls to his shoulders. The hair of someone who’s been bleeding and sweating all day and is lying on his back, doesn’t look like that, even if we imagine that he was carefully shampooed, rinsed, and blow-dried.
And how does Robert address the fact that nobody can explain how the image was formed?
"How was it made?" is a pretty tough question to answer about nearly anything – we don’t even know exactly how cigarettes are made because the manufacturers don’t want us to know.
[ . . . ]
My own feeling is that the image was meant to be ghostly and suggestive (though records show that it was much brighter and clearer at the time of its creation than it is now), and that it was really the now-mostly-vanished gore that was painted on that was the "image" seen centuries ago.
[ . . . ]
Someone figured out how to reverse color scale, liked the strangeness of images made that way, and realized how perfect that technique would be for a magical "picture".
Anything new? Is Robert the new L’enfant Terrible of skeptical explanations?
thank you, Stephen
Stephen writes in a posting titled, The Shroud of Turin: A gift to our proof-demanding era?
Today I came across a reference to this 1973 article by Ian Wilson in the Catholic Herald. I could not find it webbed as text anywhere, even by the Catholic Herald. So I decided to laboriously convert it from images to text for my own use. But then I thought I might as well post it on my blog!
If we wanted to read Ian Wilson’s article in the Catholic Herald, “A gift to our proof-demanding era?”, before Stephen converted it for us, and we still can by clicking here, we would soon come to the first new paragraph of the second column in linotype:
In the Royal Collection at Buckingham Palace is an unusual icon, itself not more than three centuries old, but expressing in pictorial form a legendary story of considerable antiquity. The centre-piece, a likeness of Christ’s face seen imprinted on a cloth, at first sight bears a remarkable resemblance to our familiar Veronica.
As the inscription tells us, however, this is the Holy Mandylion, a reputedly miraculous piece of linen first brought to the Syro-Turkish city of Edessa (now Urfa) during the very first century of the Christian era. It was instrumental in the conversion of many of Edessa’s chief citizens, including the petty king or toparch, Abgar V, an authentic contemporary of Christ. reigning from AD 13-50. But persecution broke out and shortly after the cloth disappeared. its whereabouts remaining unknown until the sixth century AD when it was discovered sealed inside a niche in the city’s walls.
Without hesitation it was hailed as the miraculously created true likeness of Christ and so coveted by the emperors of Byzantium that in 944 a bargain was sealed with Edessa’s Arab masters for the relic’s transfer.
It is easy, however to read the full article on Stephen’s blog by reading his posting, The Shroud of Turin: A gift to our proof-demanding era?
Note: Click the icon above for a larger version.
thank you, Stephen. I know how laborious this can be.
Funny that when it comes to the Shroud of Turin the carbon testing must be considered watertight scientific proof.
My favorite Episcopal priests turned Catholic priest, Fr. Dwight Longenecker, pictured here with his wife and four children, weighs in on the GJW (The Gospel of Jesus’ Wife):
However, clever folks on both sides could piece together any sort of saying of Jesus from the scrap we have here. The headline grabbing text seems to read, “Jesus said to them, “My wife…” Is Jesus referring to his wife? Theoretically it could be, but in the absence of any other evidence that Jesus was married, and going against the early text and 2000 years of tradition that he was not married this is unlikely. What might the rest of the text say? Perhaps Jesus was quoting another text about marriage thus, “My wife is flesh of my flesh and bone of my bones said Adam…” or “My wife is also my sister and my mother in the Lord.” Who knows?
While it is interesting to follow the scholarship and the debate about this ancient manuscript, what also interests me is the way the secular press have handled it. First of all they have called it “the Jesus Wife Manuscript”. No doubt the headlines will blaze about how Jesus was married and we now have ancient proof for it. This will then become the popular scream. “Of course priests should marry. Jesus was married!!!” Another detail was in the Boston Globe story. The papyrus was carbon tested by one laboratory at 700 BC. So carbon testing can come up with a result that is clearly about a thousand years off? Funny that when it comes to the Shroud of Turin suddenly the carbon testing must be considered watertight scientific proof.
“Of course priests should marry. Jesus was married!!!”
Actually, I think so but not because of the GJW
Fr. Longenecker wants your help:
My blog is part of my ministry and I have a wife and kids to support as well as run a busy parish. If you would like to help out financially you can make a donation through PayPal by hitting the "Donate" button below.
I knew there would be a way to work in a picture of the $2.2 million mansion that is the residence of Atlanta Archbishop Wilton Gregory in the upscale Buckhead neighborhood of Atlanta. (Fr. Longenecker is not part of the Archdiocese of Atlanta.)
Christian Askeland has posted a very good analysis, Jesus’s Wife Resurrected from Dead, in the blog Evangelical Textual Criticism.
Using two labs, the GJW fragment and a Sahidic John fragment associated with the same papyri lot were carbon dated. The rounded 2-sigma ranges for the manuscripts are as follows:
Only the Harvard report indicates the date of the test (14 March 2014); one might surmise that the second test was ordered after the extremely early date arrived from Arizona. Whatever the case, if one of the two GJW 14C dates were to be accurate, it would probably be the Harvard range (650–870 CE), which is corroborated by the related GJohn manuscript (chart above). Having said this, the result remains somewhat inconclusive. (δ13C levels were also higher than expected, suggesting contamination in all samples.)
So does this confirm the authenticity of the GJW? Such a late dating bulldozes King’s first appraisal of the manuscript as a fourth century witness. The GJW fragment under question is broken on all sides except the top, where apparently the modern forger cut the empty section off of a larger fragment which was in fact ancient. Carbon dating has no value for authenticating such a manuscript, although if the Ptolemaic date (410–200 BCE) offered by the Arizona AMS lab were accurate (of which I am not convinced), fraud would be certain.
If a husband were to genetically test his children to determine whether his wife had been faithful, and the tests returned indicating that that the children could not conclusively be proven to not be his, would this assure him of his wife’s fidelity? Could he then, based upon these tests, be confident that he had indeed fathered the children? Karen King has produced no new evidence to authenticate this fragment. On the contrary, her prior contentions that the GJW fragment was (1) part of a literary codex and (2) was fourth century are now indefensible. Her method of argumentation was not self-critical or objective, but will doubtlessly be sufficient for those who already want to believe.
Ray Schneider: Why is the carbon dating wrong? I don’t know. That it is wrong I am quite certain . . .
Ray is up with a recommendation on his blog, Political Brambles:
With Easter soon to come it’s appropriate to think about the Shroud of Turin and this video is hard to beat since it touches upon so many of the issues. . . .
. . . This video demonstrates the correspondence between the sudarium of Oviedo and the shroud which, in my mind at least, proves that the 1988 carbon date is wrong. Why is it wrong? I don’t know. That it is wrong I am quite certain for the shroud duplicates blood stains that are on the sudarium of Oviedo which is much older than the shroud and so both cloths were in contact with the same body.
It is a good video, produced and directed by Reuben Aaronson for The Learning Channel. It runs for about 52 minutes.
START HERE with a Boston Globe article, No evidence of modern forgery in ancient text mentioning ‘Jesus’s wife’ along with a video to get up to speed (if you’re not).
A reader writes:
Note that there is a new "Jesus’ Wife" publication. [See “Jesus’ Wife” Articles in HTR: Initial Thoughts in Larry Hurtado’s Blog.] The observation which may interest you is the huge discrepancy in C14 dating by experts with the possibility of contamination effects.
These cannot be statistically consistent. (And recent statistical analysis of the SOT results indicate that they also were inconsistent among samples.)
(I believe there was also a problem with a control sample.)
People make a big deal of C14 testing, when it probably is not very reliable for certain materials. It might be noted that just because someone is a specialist in some field of science does _not_ at all mean they are statistical or even methodological experts. 95% aren’t.
The carbon dating discussion in Larry’s blog runs less than a paragraph and reads:
. . . The two radio-carbon tests, however, are both a bit puzzling and interesting. The proposed dates of the two tests are out from each other by several hundred years. The one report (by Hodgins) notes the curious date-result (405-350 BCE and/or 307-209 BCE), about a thousand years earlier than the date from the other carbon-dating test (659-969 CE), and Hodgins suggests some kind of contamination of the sample. But I’d assume that a contamination would come from something later than the ancient setting, and so skew the date later, not earlier. I’ll need some help with this!
Over on his science buzz blog, Colin Berry reacts to the statement, “There is no possibility whatsoever that the image on the Shroud is a scorch" that appeared in Larry Schauf’s article in Catholic Answers.
First there is a snide unwarranted ad hom from Colin:
Yes, how many times have we seen those words . . . quoted by shroud-authenticity promoters, the latest being from a gent with a leading role in the post-STURP, cat-that-got-the-cream $TERA. That’s the "$hroud of Turin Education and Research Association" ho ho ho in case you didn’t know. Sounds of cash registers ringing…
According to Charity Navigator, the Shroud of Turin Education & Research Association Incorporated, EIN 263322158 is a 501(c)(3) organization. The latest IRS 909 filing on record, December of 2012, reports total assets of $13,457 and total revenues of $71,754, all from “contributions, gifts, grants and similar amounts received.” The only compensation to any of the eight “Officers, Directors, Trustees, and Key Employees” was $46,000 to Barrie Schwortz for Expert Contract Services as reported on a 1099-MISC. Hardly worth the dollar sign insult that Colin dishes out every now and then. STERA seems to be a most admirable organization when you consider the website it maintains (shroud.com) and the valuable education role it plays through lectures and other presentations. This is all public information and Colin could have checked it out before acting in such an arrogant, insulting manner. We all get our money’s worth from STERA, even Colin who quotes from its archives frequently.
I’ve lost count of the number of big cheeses in the Shroudie Land who have solemnly incanted those words. Yet the vast majority have never bothered to produce a single contact scorch. I have – hundreds of them. While I sadly lack the technology to prove it, I invite others to disprove my contention that a contact scorch on linen can be as superficial as one likes, right down to the molecular scale at surface (primary cell wall) level. I see no theoretical or practical objections whatsoever.
And “While I sadly lack the technology to prove it, I invite others to disprove my contention” that a teapot is in orbit around the earth. “I see no theoretical or practical objections whatsoever.”
I, too, can be a practitioner of pseudoscience.
Then Colin unloads:
Oh, and let’s not forget the occasion when the $TERA top man no less deployed the nuclear option : … there is no possibility whatsoever that the image on the Shroud is a scorch because … drum roll .. it fails to show obligatory fluorescence under ultraviolet light. Yeah, right…Thanks for the chemistry lesson. Sadly I missed out on the photography module at University, having to do tedious and irrelevant stuff like 2 years of subsidiary organic chemistry. Uv fluorescence is a property of certain specific molecules. Those molecules are not necessarily permanent fixtures. They can oxidise, polymerise, volatilize etc. Lack of fluoresence, centuries after formation, proves nothing, ABSOLUTELY NOTHING., except maybe to photographers-turned-organic chemists and/or other $hroudie-circus showmen.
The jury may be out on the question of whether or not all scorches in linen fluorescence under ultraviolet light. What is not in question is Colin’s strutting arrogance.
The study is flawed. Ever worked as an EMS? On sweaty, grimy, warm skin someone’s blood will run every which way, even in nearly horizontally rivulets. It flows. It gushes. It spurts. It mixes with sweat. I’ve been sprayed with blood from flailing limbs. Put a few drops of blood on your arm and jerk it hard to mimic a spasm. You can never reproduce violent outdoor traumatic blood flow on a body in pain with plastic tubing, air conditioning, calm and shower fresh skin.
Stephen Jones has posted a very good analysis on his blog: Shroud of Turin depicts a Y-shaped cross? This is the hypothesis being advanced by Matteo Borrini and Luigi Garlaschelli that has been seen considerable press attention lately. Stephen has done some careful research. He usually does and I’m glad to see it.
This I agree with:
First, it would not affect the authenticity of the Shroud, or indeed the truth of Biblical Christianity, if Jesus was crucified on a Y-shaped cross. The Gospels do not describe the shape of Jesus’ cross. But having said that, the evidence is against Jesus’ cross having been Y-shaped.
And this I certainly agree with:
But a medieval forger would have depicted the traditional Roman cross (†) not a non-traditional Y-shaped cross, amongst other things:
"The forger working in France or thereabouts around or before 1350 would have to have been either an overzealous monk whose piety got the better of him or an arrogant swindler who wanted to make a bundle in the underground relic market. Both of these possibilities strike me as unlikely, since the portrayal of Jesus on the shroud is nontraditional, non-European; details like the cap or miter of thorns, the nails through the wrists instead of through the palms, and the nakedness of the loins would not inspire the devotional or artistic sensibilities of fourteenth-century Europe; rather they would have gotten the forger burned at the stake. Moreover, the accuracy of details like these would not be common knowledge to a potential forger for centuries to come." (Wilcox, R.K., 1977, "Shroud," pp.170-171).
He seems to have been particularly upset when I edited one of the comments he made in this blog. I removed the name of an individual he was inferring was a computer hacker who thus, deliberately, in an academic and scientific environment, cheated and faked carbon dating results. Because he had no evidence, I found it despicable and removed the name.
That will not do. He states early in his three part long expanded comment:
If a hacker had modified the program to convert the Shroud samples’ dates to dates which clustered around 1325, then all but the hacker would be none the wiser.
In my next post I will provide evidence that [ . . . name omitted by me . . .] was the hacker.
And, then he warns me (and I guess several of us):
I told Dan and his commenters that the Holy Spirit had been prompting me to warn both them and Dan that they who personally attack me, a Christian who is only seeking to serve his Lord, that Jesus will, if they don’t repent, avenge their attacks on me[.]
Stephen tells us he is basing this on Romans 12:19, ye olde Vengeance is mine admonition.
But that is not enough. He says of me:
Dan is himself close to being a secularist. In the past he has said he has `no problem with evolution’. But the "evolution" which rules the secular scientific world is that "…God had NO PART in this process."
Secularist? Being an Episcopalian, let me quote from Wikipedia on how Anglicans view this:
Anglicans (including the Episcopal Church in the United States of America, the Church of England and others) believe that the Bible "contains all things necessary to salvation," while believing that "science and Christian theology can complement one another in the quest for truth and understanding." Specifically on the subject of creation/evolution, some Anglicans view "Big Bang cosmology" as being "in tune with both the concepts of creation out of nothing and continuous creation." Their position is clearly set out in the Catechism of Creation Part II: Creation and Science. In an interview, the [former] Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams expressed his thought that "creationism is, in a sense, a kind of category mistake, as if the Bible were a theory like other theories. Whatever the biblical account of creation is, it’s not a theory alongside theories… My worry is creationism can end up reducing the doctrine of creation rather than enhancing it."
The Catholic position is not very different (IMHO). It should be noted that (still quoting from Wikipedia):
Under Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, the International Theological Commission published a paper accepting the big bang of 15 billion years ago and the evolution of all life including humans from the microorganisms that formed approximately 4 billion years ago.
It should also be noted (Wikipedia still) that
the National Council of Churches USA [representing most mainline Protestant denominations] has issued a teaching resource . . . . This resource cites the Episcopal Church, according to whom the stories of creation in Genesis "should not be understood as historical and scientific accounts of origins but as proclamations of basic theological truths about creation."
If I’m close to being a secularist, I’m in good company. But then again, so what?
Dan also has said he has no problem with there being multiple universes, but the Multiple Universe Theory is the Atheistic attempt to explain away the fantastic level of design evident in the laws and constants of the one and only Universe that science can detect.
Does God not exist if there are multiple universes?
The best quote on the subject of the multiverse to appear in this blog was by MouseIntheHouse who wrote:
Just for fun read in this blog from 2011:
Now we get to the good stuff. Stephen writes:
Dan . . . even seems to think the resurrection was not physical: one instant Jesus body was in the tomb, and the next instant it is resurrected, with nothing in between.
What is not physical about this? What is supposed to be in between? Granted, if this may not be very scientific, for what change of state occurs in this world without a process? None that I can think of. But what I said in my next instant explanation is completely biblical.
John 19:41 Now there was a garden in the place where he was crucified, and in the garden there was a new tomb in which no one had ever been laid. 42And so, because it was the Jewish day of Preparation, and the tomb was nearby, they laid Jesus there.
John 20:1 Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the tomb.
What happened between the last verse of John 19 and the first verse of John 20? Now, it is true that the accounts in the four gospels vary significantly (Here is a good chart on that) but where is there something in between?
Here is a clue to what Stephen is thinking:
So Dan is against John Jackson’s theory that the Shroud’s image was caused by the cloth’s collapse into the field of radiation where Jesus’ body had been.
That is close to, if not actually Gnosticism, the super-spiritual position that was already a problem in the New Testament letters and became a major problem in 2nd century.
Gnosticism? What super-spiritual position did I advocate? I happen to believe in a physical resurrection. I just see it differently. And even then, I’m just wondering if it might be so. But when and why, anyway, is what I consider or believe all that important when it comes to studying the shroud?
Here is what!!!
They (and Dan) fit the description of the Apostle Paul: Tim 3:5: "having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people."
But was Paul thinking about blogs?
Stephen wraps up:
. . . I am preparing a post, "Were the radiocarbon dating laboratories duped by a computer hacker?: The evidence for [so and so] being the hacker." . . .
I strongly believe that Jesus is going before me in this and that He will progressively reveal what REALLY happened in the C-14 dating of His Shroud.
If Jesus is for me, who CAN be against me! (Rom 8:31).
Stephen E. Jones
I just learned that Danusha V. Goska is scheduled to speak about the Shroud on Wednesday, April 30th, at 6:00 pm at the Catholic Campus Ministry Club on the William Paterson University Campus in Wayne, New Jersey.
Danusha V. Goska, PhD, is a writer and teacher living in New Jersey. She has lived and worked in Africa, Asia, Europe, on both coasts, and in the heartland, of the United States. She holds an MA from UC Berkeley and a PhD from Indiana University Bloomington. She currently works at WPUNJ. Her writing has been praised by a variety of scholars, including John Mearsheimer, Father John Pawlikowski, Robert Ellsberg and Paul Loeb. She has won the New Jersey State Council on the Arts Grant, the Halecki Award, and the Eva Kagan Kans award.
At the risk of repeating myself, again and perhaps again and yet again as I said before, I first encountered the writings of Danusha Goska more than a decade ago when I read a comment about the shroud published by Barrie Schwortz (it is about 1/3 of the way down the page). I’ve discussed her in ‘If the shroud is a forgery, where are its precedents?’ two and a half years ago. There was Bieganski the Blog: The Shroud of Turin and Catholics, Atheists, Censorship and the Shroud of Turin: Who Censored Whom? by Danusha in Send Save Delete.
One year ago this month, Danusha published an excellent book review of Thomas de Wesselow’s “The Sign.” If you haven’t read Understanding Art; Misunderstanding Premodern Man, do so.
So, if you will be near Wayne on April 30th, don’t miss her talk. Wayne, by-the-way, is a mere 25 miles from Manhattan on Interstate 80.
Colin Berry’s latest posting on his Science Buzz blog is called. Shhh. Don’t mention slow-roasted St.Lawrence to shroudie authenticists – or the peculiar imagery on the Lirey pilgrims’ badge. Now, that is some attention grabbing headline.
I don’t think he likes this blog:
I see someone has made reference to the martyred St.Lawrence of Rome on ‘shredstory.com’ aka Troll Central.
He wonders and opines:
Am I the only one to have spotted a connection in the imagery of St.Lawrence’s manner of death, and that of the Man on the Turin Shroud, one that is reinforced by the Lirey Pilgrim’s badge, released it is said to coincide with the first recorded appearance of the Shroud in western Europe (Lirey being a small village near Troyes in the Champagne region of France).
Points of comparison to note are the restraining rope around the waist, the upturned head of a still live man enduring agony, and, on the reverse side of the Lirey badge, a diamond-shaped trellis that might well represent a roasting grid.
OK, I’ve previously suggested that the Shroud was created as a memorial to the last of the Knights Templar. But their leaders – Jacques de Molay, Geoffroi de Charney etc.- were also slow-roasted on the banks of the Seine in Paris in 1314 in a manner similar to that of St.Lawrence of Rome in AD 258.
Colin wonders, Am I the only one? I think so. I can’t imagine otherwise.
Here’s a link to Part 2 of my appearance on Roy Schoeman’s radio program, Salvation is from the Jews:http://radiomaria.us/
Apparently, my comment in Part 1 when I referred to certainevidence as "anecdotal at best" upset some people, which is never my intent. However, I always feel obligated to answer as honestly as I can and recognize and accept that some people may strongly disagree with my personal conclusions. I came to accept the Shroud as authentic because of the scientific evidence alone. Some of it is published in credible journals and carries more weight than others. That is not to say that anecdotal evidence is any less important in the overall study of the Shroud. It just doesn’t meet the same scientific standards. It is nothing personal. That is just how it is.
When I am speaking publicly I am simply voicing my own personal opinions, based on 38 years of involvement and study of the Shroud. As a witness and direct participant in the events themselves, my perspective is undoubtedly different from most. Still, disagreement is normal in science and can often lead to great advancements in knowledge. So let’s just agree to disagree from time to time. After all, we ARE talking about the Shroud of Turin!
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