Today, September 27, as was the case last year on September 27, many newspapers and blogs around the world reminded us that “on this day in history in 1988” carbon dating results demonstrated that the Shroud of Turin was not the burial cloth of Christ. Only one source, among many that I looked at, elaborated at all or mentioned that those results have been widely rejected or questioned scientifically.
Besides that omission, the date is wrong. According to Barrie Schwortz’ shroud.com, a very reliable source, is was on August 26, 1988, that . . .
The London Evening Standard carries banner headlines declaring the Shroud to be a fake made in 1350. The source, Cambridge librarian Dr. Stephen Luckett, has no known previous connection with the Shroud, or with the carbon dating work, but in this article declares scientific laboratories ‘leaky institutions’. The story is picked up around the world.
If Barrie had it wrong, as it would have been for many years, it would have been corrected long ago. It is a most accurate site.
And then on September 18, 1988, we read:
Without quoting its source, The Sunday Times publishes a front-page story headlined: ‘Official: The Turin Shroud is a Fake’. Professor Hall and Dr. Tite firmly deny any responsibility for this story.
And it was on February 16, 1989, . . .
Publication, in the prestigious scientific journal Nature, of the official results of the Shroud radiocarbon dating. This has twenty-one signatories. It declares that the results ‘provide conclusive evidence that the linen of the Shroud of Turin is medieval’.
It just shows how one bad fact, no matter how trivial the error, will spread and live on. There was no intent to convince us that September 26 was important. The purpose was to remind us that the carbon dating proved the shroud was fake. Wrong on both counts, of course.
With respect to the erroneous C14 dating results of 1988, I, for one, was surprised to learn the cloth sample tested for Carbon 14 dating was not placed under the Electron microscope prior to Carbon 14 dating.
When a scientist has a small amount of sample to be tested, other non-destructive chemical physical or biological type tests should be done before using his or her precious sample. Had this small amount of cloth been placed under the Electron microscope initially, it would have been obvious that the particular linen sample was contaminated with the cotton fibers.
At that point, the sample should NOT have been C14 dated. Ultimately, the testing done in 1988 was nothing more than a waste of sample, time, money and a clear disappointment for many around the world, including the Vatican, who truly believe the Shroud is the actual burial cloth of Christ.
To my mind, it is amazing that six different labs had access to the cloth samples and all six labs destroyed what little they were given without so much as placing the small piece of cloth under a microscope first.
Tamara Beryl Latham
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