Barrie Schwortz: Biggest issue so far seems to be the validity of Fanti’s samples

imageBarrie Schwortz has an excellent article on th new book by Giulio Fanti (pictured right). Picking up part ways in (it’s the first story for Late Breaking News for March 28):

So why all the controversy? The book apparently documents the recent Shroud testing done by Fanti and his research team at the University of Padua and reports the results of some chemical and mechanical tests they performed which they claim "confirms that the Shroud dates back to the 1st century." A pretty powerful statement for sure, but that is not the major problem. You can find a more detailed report about their research on the Vatican Insider website (in English). Here is an excerpt from their article:

"The research includes three new tests, two chemical ones and one mechanical one. The first two were carried out with an FT-IR system, one using infra-red light and the other using Raman spectroscopy. The third was a multi-parametric mechanical test based on five different mechanical parameters linked to the voltage of the wire. The machine used to examine the Shroud’s fibres and test traction, allowed researchers to examine tiny fibres alongside about twenty samples of cloth dated between 3000 BC and 2000 AD.
"Final results show that the Shroud fibres examined produced the following dates, all of which are 95% certain and centuries away from the medieval dating obtained with Carbon-14 testing in 1988: the dates given to the Shroud after FT-IR testing, is 300 BC ±400, 200 BC ±500 after Raman testing and 400 AD ±400 after multi-parametric mechanical testing. The average of all three dates is 33 BC ±250 years.
"The tests were carried out using tiny fibres of material extracted from the Shroud by micro-analyst Giovanni Riggi di Numana who passed away in 2008 but had participated in the1988 research project and gave the material to Fanti through the cultural institute Fondazione 3M."

That last paragraph goes to the core of the controversy. In a separate Vatican Insider article (in Italian – use Google or Bing to translate the page) was the following statement from Mgr. Cesare Nosiglia, the Archbishop of Turin (via auto translation with some additional corrections):

"Yesterday, a note from the Turin International Centre for Sindonology and the Archbishop of Turin, Mgr. Cesare Nosiglia, put stakes in the work of Fanti. No serious’ ‘value” of the results can be attributed to any of the research on the Shroud reported in the book, said the Papal Custodian of the Shroud of Turin, Archbishop Cesare Nosiglia. ”Since there is no degree of safety on the authenticity of the materials on which these experiments were carried out to the Shroud cloth – reads a note of Monsignor Nosiglia – the owners and custodians cannot recognize any serious value to the results of these alleged experiments.”"

The article goes on to include Fanti’s reply to the allegations that the samples he used were invalid. In part, he states (with some additional corrections):

"In short, there were samples taken of Shroud material in both 1978 and in 1988. In both cases, they were approved by the Custodian of the Shroud, Archbishop (later Cardinal) Anastasio Ballestrero, with the consent of the owner, Umberto II of Savoy in 1978, and Pope John Paul II in 1988. Involved with the Shroud for a long time, prof. Fanti received some fibers taken from the Shroud in 1978 by prof. Ray Rogers, one of the American scientists of the STURP team.
"But in 1988, Giovanni Riggi di Numana, the expert who cut the Shroud samples for examination by C14, and with the agreement of Cardinal Ballestrero, kept some of the fibers of the Shroud and collected fragments of aspirated blood and dust samples in between the linen and the Holland cloth. The conditional is a must, as no record was drawn up of the levy for the C14, let alone a semi-official collection like that. But it is very likely that after the death of Riggi, in 2008, a part of the material held by a dedicated foundation has come to Fanti. After the death of Ballestrero, card. Saldarini issued a statement, asking that any Shroud materials be returned. But it seems that no one has complied with the request.
"All of this to conclude: prof. Fanti’s research was carried out on the Shroud and of course the material was authentic, even if it was outside the control of the International Centre of Sindonology. And besides, 25 years after the C14 examination, whose own credibility Fanti’s work further crumbles, perhaps one might begin to assume that a continuation should be considered of the research program created by STURP, the Shroud of Turin Research Project, an international group of scientists who produced a wealth of incredible scientific results after testing the Shroud in 1978.

So the biggest issue so far seems to be the validity of Fanti’s samples

But will that remain the biggest issue?

33 thoughts on “Barrie Schwortz: Biggest issue so far seems to be the validity of Fanti’s samples”

  1. >So the biggest issue so far seems to be the validity of Fanti’s samples

    Ever since Mexican paediatrician and microbiologist Dr Leoncio Garza-Valdes was given fibres by Riggi in 1993 from his `reserve sample’ and claimed that he had found fragments of Jesus’ DNA on it, and published his results in a 1998 book with the sensationalised title, “The DNA of God?” it has been the Vatican’s `party line’ that any claimed samples of the Shroud that it doesn’t hold are invalid.

    But as Garza-Valdes pointed out at the time, he had been personally given the fibres by Riggi, from a container in Riggi’s house, which had the seal of the then Archbishop of Turin, Cardinal Ballestrero’s on it, and Garza-Valdes had a photograph of it to prove it. So Garza- Valdes is a witness (and there are others) to the fact that Riggi, with the tacit permission of the then Archbishop of Turin, kept back a `reserve sample’ of the Shroud that he cut for the three C-14 laboratories in 1988.

    However, if one wants to be super-sceptical, then to be consistent he/she would have to grant that the conspiracy theorists have a point that no one can absolutely prove that the Shroud samples tested by the three C-14 laboratories in 1988 were not switched, for the sample from the 13th century cope of St. Louis d’Anjou, which was a last-minute inclusion as a control in the samples given to the three C-14 laboratories to test.

  2. “…no one can absolutely prove that the Shroud samples tested by the three C-14 laboratories in 1988 were not switched, for the sample from the 13th century cope of St. Louis d’Anjou, which was a last-minute inclusion as a control in the samples given to the three C-14 laboratories to test…”

    It was understanding that “tufts” were taken from the cope, not a neat 8.1cm x 1.6cm rectangle. It should be easy enough therefore to shoot down this latest unhelpful attempt to muddy the waters of science by going back to the cope to see if there’s a missing rectangle.

    1. >It was understanding that “tufts” were taken from the cope, not a neat 8.1cm x 1.6cm rectangle.

      I said nothing about a “rectangle” let alone “a neat 8.1cm x 1.6cm” one. That is Colin’s own straw man. They were just “threads” from “tufts” taken from the cope of St. Louis d’Anjou:

      “The Cluny Museum was contacted but refused to be involved. `…They got scared …’ as Evin remarked later. So he and one Gabriel Vial went along to the Basilica of Saint-Maximin at Var and pulled some tufts out of the cope known to have been worn by St. Louis d’Anjou (d. 1297). A postal strike intervened so Vial had to hurry to Turin himself and hand his “control sample” to Tite himself on the very day of the cutting of the sample from the Shroud: 21 April 1988. … Confronted with the importunities of an excited Vial, the imperturbable Tite divided his offering into three parts which he placed not in cylinders but in envelopes for the three laboratories as an apparently unexpected but later very useful “Sample 4″ – threads from the cope of St. Louis d’Anjou (d. 1297).” (D. J. McDonnell, “The Great Holy Shroud Dating Fraud of 1988,” 4 November 2003).

      But it had to be enough linen in those threads for the three C-14 laboratories to carry out a valid C-14 dating, otherwise they would not have been valid controls.

      And each of the three C-14 laboratories subdivided their postage size sample of the Shroud several times (one was 9 times from memory), and each subdivided sample had to have enough linen to do a valid C-14 dating. From memory the Shroud samples were reduced to threads anyway, so that they could be pre-treated more thoroughly. A self-styled `Sciencebod’ if he thought about it (even if he had not bothered to READ about it) should have realised that the C-14 labs did not do their tests on the `rectangle’ of Shroud linen that they were each given.

      So if the Shroud is authentic (as all the evidence, apart from the 1988 radiocarbon dating, points to), then an explanation is needed for how three C-14 laboratories `just happened’ to agree on a C-14 date range, 1260-1390, the mid-point of which, 1325, `just happened’ to be about 25 years before the Shroud appeared at Lirey in the 1350s.

      A not unreasonable explanation is that, faced with a public relations disaster, of three C-14 labs all using the then new AMS method, and with literally a million pounds then riding on Oxford’s AMS test being successful, and with the labs being unable to come up with a consistent, publishable, C-14 date, with some of the C-14 sub-samples yielding a C-14 date of 1st century, and other sub-samples yielding a C-14 date of 16th century (due to an invisible repair with cotton-which Oxford lab actually discovered after Arizona had done its test), the three labs all agreed to use a 13-14th century date range, the midpoint of which was just before the Shroud first appeared in the European historical record. And one way to do that was use some of the dates that the 13th century cope of St. Louis d’Anjou had yielded.

      It used to be a trump card argument in favour of the 1325 +/- 65 years C-14 date, that if the Shroud was 1st century, then how did it `just happen’ to yield a a mid-point date that was a mere 25 years before the Shroud appeared in the undisputed historical record? But that argument cuts both ways: if the Shroud IS 1st century (as the overwhelming preponderance of the evidence points to), then how did it `just happen’ to yield a mid-point date that was a mere 25 years before the Shroud appeared in the undisputed historical record?!

      Therefore, I stand by my point (without necessarily saying or believing that that is what happened): “…no one can absolutely prove that the Shroud samples tested by the three C-14 laboratories in 1988 were not switched, for the sample from the 13th century cope of St. Louis d’Anjou …”

      >It should be easy enough therefore to shoot down this latest unhelpful attempt to muddy the waters of science by going back to the cope to see if there’s a missing rectangle.

      See above on the “rectangle” being Colin’s own straw man. I repeat that I said nothing about a “rectangle” being taken from the cope of St. Louis d’Anjou, and nor does my argument require it: “tufts” and “threads” from that 13th century linen cloth sufficient for three C-14 labs to each perform a valid C-14 test, will do just fine.

  3. El Prof. Giulio Fanti sabe bien lo que hace……y es un RETO a Turín.

    Turín tiene suficiente “material” recogido de la Sábana para poder REPETIR los estudios de Fanti sin necesidad de “tocar” la Sábana.

    ¿Realizará Turín los estudios ? Nooooooooooo…….

    Carlos Otal

  4. The Vatican Insider article says categorically that the samples were from 1988, while Fanti’s own 4-point defence refers to 1978. That’s a puzzle to me.
    However, except in the case of deliberate fraud, it is intrinsically far more difficult to contaminate a mediaeval cloth with 1st century fibres than to contaminate a 1st century cloth with mediaeval ones. If (you’re quite right, Yannick; maybe I should put “IF!!!”) Fanti’s procedure is sound, then the security of his provenance is not so crucial. Even if his fibres came from the sweepings off Turin Cathedral’s floor they would still be very suggestive.

    On the subject of a wholly different book, I waited for so long to read a review of “Follow the Light” (a self-published rather cutesily written book by sculptor T.C. Newman) that in the end I was forced to buy one and read it. Although it contains little revelatory, it does have two interesting pictures showing the ventral image reflected about its vertical axis. The ‘spear-side’ reflection shows quite a burly chested figure with almost emaciated legs, while the ‘wristwound-side’ reflection shows a more evenly proportioned man, albeit rather thin. The difference is quite striking and I wonder if anyone else has commented on it.

    1. >The Vatican Insider article says categorically that the samples were from 1988, while Fanti’s own 4-point defence refers to 1978. That’s a puzzle to me.

      It was the same Giovanni Riggi who unstitched for STURP in 1978 part of the back of the Shroud:

      “Having acquired some considerable skills as a microscopist, in 1978 Riggi participated in the STURP scientific examination of the Shroud, a privilege that was arguably facilitated by his close friendship with the then Cardinal of Turin’s scientific advisor, Professor Luigi Gonella. Conspicuous in the Shroud test room for his spotless white coat and his meticulous methodology, Riggi quickly attracted the attention and admiration of the American scientific team, and despite his very limited command of English became formally enlisted him as one of STURP’s members. One of the procedures agreed for the 1978 testing work was the partial unstitching of one side of the Shroud from the backing cloth to which it had been sewn ever since 1534 …” (Ian Wilson, “Obituary – Giovanni Riggi,” BSTS Newsletter, No. 67, June 2008).

      It would seem easy, and indeed unavoidable, for threads of the Shroud to come loose in Riggi’s hand while was removing its backing cloth. If so, and Riggi is known to have personally souvenired for his own `reserve sample’ part of the 1988 sample cut for the three C-14 labs, then it would not be surprising if he similarly personally souvenired threads of the Shroud arising from STURP’s 1978 examination.

      If that did happen then Fanti might have been unaware of it until he gained access to Riggi’s samples after his death in 2008. And it might explain why Fanti avoids mentioning it, so as not to detract from the late Prof. Riggi’s memory.

      Because, while Riggi’s 1988 personal souveniring of part of the 1988 Shroud sample may be defendable because Turin’s Archbishop Ballestrero approved it, there seems to be no such excuse if Riggi did personally souvenir threads from the Shroud in 1978, if no one else knew about it, let alone someone with the requisite authority having approved it. Remember that in 1978 the Shroud was the property of ex-King Umberto II who lived in exile in Spain, so even Turin’s then Archbishop, the same Cardinal Ballestrero, could not have given Riggi permission to keep threads of the Shroud for himself.

      If Riggi did, without authorisation, and especially if it was without anyone else even knowing about it, keep for himself threads from the Shroud which he obtained during his 1978 removal of the Shroud’s backing cloth for STURP in 1978, then I would have thought that was STEALING, and stealing of a most serious nature.

  5. I have tried wading through the comments people have made on the articles appearing in all those newspapers Dan has quoted, but it’s pretty turgid stuff. However, I did come across a brilliant explanation of all those FTIR, Raman and XRF techniques we hear so much about and don’t understand (I speak for myself, but I bet I’m not alone). It’s at http://www.webexhibits.org/pigments/intro/spectroscopy.html, and ought to be better known.

  6. @ Hugh Farey “The Vatican Insider article says categorically that the samples were from 1988, while Fanti’s own 4-point defence refers to 1978.”

    According to the very last page of the appendix (written by Marco Conca) the samples were collected both in 1978 and 1988:
    “In sintesi, i campioni pervenuti a Fanti provengono da cinque filtri, depositati da Giovanni Riggi di Numana presso la Fondazione 3M, che contengono polveri aspirate dall’ intercapedine fra Sindone e ‘tela d’ Olanda’ nel 1978 (‘filtri e-f-g-h) e net 1988 (‘filtro i’)”.

    This appendix documents the source and history of the samples, and it does so in an entirely satisfying way. The comments by the ‘Centro internazionale di Sindonologia di Torino’ are unreasonable. There can be little doubt that they did not even read the juridical documentation presented by Marco Conca in the ‘appendice’ (p.207-221).

    I am still working my way through this book, but my first impression is that it is excellent, and bursting with new ideas.

  7. If it is just that then there is no real problem, however given what Professor Barberis has been claiming for a long time there is more in the box and clarification is needed.

  8. Along with the fact that Fanti’s old dust samples are highly questionable regarding their representativity versus the Shroud (as point out by Barrie in his text), I hope people will not forgot also the HIGHLY QUESTIONABLE QUALITY AND INTEGRITY of the science of a guy like Fanti, especially concerning the C14 dating he performed and his claim that it’s a proven fact that the image on the cloth is the direct product of a burst of energy, which came at the time of the Resurrection…

    As I said the other day (see: https://shroudstory.com/2013/03/28/common-sense-for-today/#comment-28642), the first thing any credible scientist would have done if he had been in the position of Fanti would have been to publish his results in a credible peer-reviewed scientific journal and only after this was done, he could have written a book about the whole thing. Obviously, Fanti did exactly the contrary and that’s speak very loud to me. THAT’S NOT THE WAY IT’S SUPPOSE TO BE IN SCIENCE.

    I remember that when Garlaschelli made a press conference to claim he had reproduced the Shroud, people in the pro-Shroud world were completely offended by this kind of acting. Why would it be different for our friend Fanti???

    As I also said the other day (https://shroudstory.com/2013/03/28/an-inevitable-dispute-fanti-and-the-archbishop/#comment-28612), until Fanti’s conclusion can be scientifically confirmed by a new series of direct testing on the Shroud, all his claims will remain anecdotal at best. It’s just totally impossible and unscientific to use these results, which were made with highly questionable samples that were taken long ago (and that are still waiting for proper confirmation), in order to proclaim that the Shroud is the authentic burial cloth of Jesus or anything of that nature. Nevertheless, this is EXACTLY what Fanti has done with his book and press release and that’s truly not worthy of a credible and professional scientist.

    1. Excuse me: I said “the C14 dating Fanti performed” while I was meaning “the alternative dating he performed”. Sorry.

  9. >I remember that when Garlaschelli made a press conference to claim he had reproduced the Shroud, people in the pro-Shroud world were completely offended by this kind of acting. Why would it be different for our friend Fanti???

    Fanti HAS submitted his findings for peer-review and publication in a scientific journal.

    Garlaschelli HAS NOT submitted his findings for peer-review and publication in a scientific journal.

    1. Bullshit dude. Fanti has released a book to make money BEFORE being published in a peer-reviewed journal!!!

      That’s the reality and that’s not how a credible and honest scientist should work.

  10. Talking about the alternative method of dating used by Fanti and his gang, I really wonder how credible and serious can really be these methods in order to date accurately very ancient fabrics like the Shroud.

    Concerning this crucial question, I think everyone should take good note of this very good comment made by Stephen on that subject : https://shroudstory.com/2013/03/27/giulio-fanti-the-image-of-a-man-who-lived-between-280-bc-and-220-ad/#comment-28707

    I would had one more question to Stephen’s questioning : Are these dating methods that have been accepted by most of the experts in the field of ancient dating as valid methods or is it just some new methods developed by Fanti and his gang to make believe they could date the Shroud accurately??? For example, I would like to read some credible scientific papers that can prove us the validity of these alternative methods of dating.

    While I wait for this, I remain highly skeptical about the validity of the mechanical method that has been used, especially regarding a cloth like the Shroud that has been so much manipulated over the centuries, which could certainly had an effect on the mechanical parameters of the linen fibers that were analyzed by Fanti, because if these fibers were really originating from the original cloth, that mean they are all tiny broken fibers collected in the dust vaccuumed by Riggi that were submitted to a very high stress over the years. I really doubt such broken fibrils can truly be representative of the main body of the Shroud…

    I am also skeptical regarding the two chemical methods used, mainly because of the high risks of contamination related to these tiny broken fibrils found in the dust samples by Fanti et al.

  11. Media reports have pointed out that monkey business and money is sometimes involved in getting papers published in peer-reviewed journals and, in any case, it only means that the papers can be taken into consideration, not that what they say is gospel truth. Despite these factors, it is always better to get papers published in peer-reviewed publications and professional journals before publishing books.

    When this is not done and a book is published first, the result is confusion. Take the case of the so-called Jesus Family Tomb, where claims were made contesting papers published in professional journals by professional archaeologists. Many of the claims were based on wild imagination and were agenda-driven and were therefore easily dismissed as sensationalism, meant to fill the coffers of publishing houses and TV channels. The uproar led Ted Koppel to lose no time in face-saving and to hit hard to demonstrate that the company he worked for was serious.

    The Shroud book preceded peer-review and the findings have been dismissed by Archbishop Cesare Nosiglia. This is not a good start and is bound to confuse the public at large.

  12. Yannick now changes the subject, rather than admit he was wrong, from his original point that: “Garlaschelli made a press conference to claim he had reproduced the Shroud, people in the pro-Shroud world were completely offended by this kind of acting. Why would it be different for our friend Fanti???” After I pointed out one MAJOR difference: “Fanti HAS submitted his findings for peer-review and publication in a scientific journal” but “Garlaschelli HAS NOT submitted his findings for peer-review and publication in a scientific journal.”

    >[Expletive deleted] Fanti has released a book to make money BEFORE being published in a peer-reviewed journal!!!

    First, Fanti’s findings ARE going to be published in a peer-reviewed journal.That is an OVERRIDING point which should not be lost sight of.

    Second, again according to the Vatican Insider article: “Fanti’s recent findings, which are also ABOUT to be published in a specialist magazine and assessed by a scientific committee” (my emphasis). That is, Fanti had ALREADY submitted his findings to “a specialist magazine” (presumably a peer-reviewed scientific journal).

    Third, the decision to publish Fanti’s book at Easter, before Fanti’s paper appeared in the journal, is the book’s PUBLISHER, not Fanti’s.

    >That’s the reality and that’s not how a credible and honest scientist should work.

    Ad hominem fallacy. And again, as I pointed out, it is the NORM today that scientists publish their findings in the popular media before they are published in scientific journals, and publications like Science Daily and LiveScience exist for that very purpose.

    And that is not just today. Twenty five years ago, the results of the three C-14 laboratories’ tests, that the Shroud was dated 1260-1390, were announced in a PRESS CONFERENCE on 13 October 1988, FOUR MONTHS before they appeared in the scientific journal that they were submitted to, Nature, 16 February 1989. Does that thereby make the C-14 scientists not “credible and honest”?

  13. Quote: “First, Fanti’s findings ARE going to be published in a peer-reviewed journal.That is an OVERRIDING point which should not be lost sight of.”

    Answer: Maybe, but in which journal? Will it be the same journal which always publish anything from him? If that’s the one, then sorry but that will not elevate the credibility of his claim that much to me…

    Quote: “Third, the decision to publish Fanti’s book at Easter, before Fanti’s paper appeared in the journal, is the book’s PUBLISHER, not Fanti’s.”

    Answer: How do you know this? So, you think Fanti has not a word to say about the date of release of his own book? Come on!!!

    Quote: “Ad hominem fallacy. And again, as I pointed out, it is the NORM today that scientists publish their findings in the popular media before they are published in scientific journals, and publications like Science Daily and LiveScience exist for that very purpose.

    And that is not just today. Twenty five years ago, the results of the three C-14 laboratories’ tests, that the Shroud was dated 1260-1390, were announced in a PRESS CONFERENCE on 13 October 1988, FOUR MONTHS before they appeared in the scientific journal that they were submitted to, Nature, 16 February 1989. Does that thereby make the C-14 scientists not “credible and honest”?”

    Announcing some results at a press conference while you’re sure to be publish in a highly respected peer-reviewed journal is one thing and selling a book for popular crowds before being published in a scientific journal that accept almost everything you submit for publication is another thing in my mind…

    But in the end, I don’t care too much. That’s not the most important thing to note about this whole affair… No, the most important thing to remember is this: Fanti can claim anything he wants on the basis of his analysis of his very old and questionable dust samples, but he will never be able to get largely accepted these as proven facts regarding the Shroud by the scientific community. Again, that’s the reality, because of the highly questionable aspect of the samples he used and also because of the highly suspicion that exist versus the honesty, integrity and profesionnalism of the man. So, before some of Fanti’s claims can be accepted as true facts by the scientific community, be sure that it will take more than a peer-reviewed journal publication, especially if this publication happen in the same journal in which Fanti always publish his works about the Shroud. In fact, it will take another round of direct researches on the Shroud that could scientifically confirm them. This surely won’t happen very soon.

  14. >>Quote: “First, Fanti’s findings ARE going to be published in a peer-reviewed journal.That is an OVERRIDING point which should not be lost sight of.”

    >Answer: Maybe, but in which journal? Will it be the same journal which always publish anything from him? If that’s the one, then sorry but that will not elevate the credibility of his claim that much to me…

    This is IRRELEVANT nit-picking by Yannick. It shows that he is HOPELESSLY BIASED against Fanti and it is USELESS debating at length with him. So this is my last comment answering Yannick’s comments under this post.

    >>Quote: “Third, the decision to publish Fanti’s book at Easter, before Fanti’s paper appeared in the journal, is the book’s PUBLISHER, not Fanti’s.”

    >Answer: How do you know this? So, you think Fanti has not a word to say about the date of release of his own book? Come on!!!

    That is, as far as I am aware, the case with most (if not all) books. Once a manuscript has been submitted to a publisher, the latter decides when the book is to be published. It is a purely commercial decision and the author usually has no say in the matter.

    >>Quote: “Ad hominem fallacy. And again, as I pointed out, it is the NORM today that scientists publish their findings in the popular media before they are published in scientific journals, and publications like Science Daily and LiveScience exist for that very purpose.
    >>
    >>And that is not just today. Twenty five years ago, the results of the three C-14 laboratories’ tests, that the Shroud was dated 1260-1390, were announced in a PRESS CONFERENCE on 13 October 1988, FOUR MONTHS before they appeared in the scientific journal that they were submitted to, Nature, 16 February 1989. Does that thereby make the C-14 scientists not “credible and honest”?”

    >Announcing some results at a press conference while you’re sure to be publish in a highly respected peer-reviewed journal is one thing and selling a book for popular crowds before being published in a scientific journal that accept almost everything you submit for publication is another thing in my mind…

    There is no evidence that the “Radiocarbon Dating of the Shroud of Turin,” paper in Nature, Vol. 337, 16th February, 1989, pp.611-615, was peer-reviewed.

    And again, the article says that Fanti had ALREADY submitted his paper to the journal.

    >But in the end, I don’t care too much. That’s not the most important thing to note about this whole affair… No, the most important thing to remember is this: Fanti can claim anything he wants on the basis of his analysis of his very old and questionable dust samples,

    Yannick keeps mentioning “dust samples”. But the Vatican Insider article says nothing about “dust”. It says “FIBRES” (my emphasis):

    “The machine used to examine the Shroud’s FIBRES and test traction, allowed researchers to examine tiny FIBRES alongside about twenty samples of cloth dated between 3000 BC and 2000 AD…. Final results show that the Shroud FIBRES examined produced the following dates, all of which are 95% certain and centuries away from the medieval dating obtained with Carbon-14 testing in 1988: the dates given to the Shroud after FT-IR testing, is 300 BC ±400, 200 BC ±500 after Raman testing and 400 AD ±400 after multi-parametric mechanical testing. The average of all three dates is 33 BC ±250 years. …The tests were carried out using tiny FIBRES of material extracted from the Shroud by micro-analyst Giovanni Riggi di Numana who passed away in 2008 but had participated in the1988 research project and gave the material to Fanti through the cultural institute Fondazione 3M.”

    >but he will never be able to get largely accepted these as proven facts regarding the Shroud by the scientific community.

    Since “the scientific community” is dominated by atheist/agnostics whose religious philosophy is Naturalism (“nature is all there is-there is no supernatural”) and therefore are IMPLACABLY OPPOSED to Christianity, that is one thing that Yannick and I agree on.

    >Again, that’s the reality, because of the highly questionable aspect of the samples he used and also because of the highly suspicion that exist versus the honesty, integrity and profesionnalism of the man.

    Ad hominem fallacy again.

    >So, before some of Fanti’s claims can be accepted as true facts by the scientific community, be sure that it will take more than a peer-reviewed journal publication, especially if this publication happen in the same journal in which Fanti always publish his works about the Shroud.

    Personally I am more interested in the TRUTH of Fanti’s claims than whether “the scientific community” accepts them.

    And again the bottom line is that there are ONLY TWO viable alternatives: 1) either the Shroud of Turin is a forgery; or 2) the Shroud of Turin is authentic.

    The problems of the Shroud pro-authenticity position 2) PALE INTO INSIGNIFICANCE compared to those of 1) the forgery position.

    It is highly significant that no one advocating 2) the forgery position has ever published a comprehensive and coherent explanation for the origin of the Shroud, which plausibly explains all the major facts about the Shroud.

    In my series “The Shroud of Turin” I am collecting all the problems of the forgery theory as a I go along and I will present them all together in section “9. Problems of the forgery theory.”

    But if 2) is correct and the Shroud is authentic then the Shroud’s fibres MUST date no later than the first century AD. Then problems of the dating of the Shroud and its fibres must be merely APPARENT problems, not REAL problems, due to our ignorance and misunderstandings.

    >In fact, it will take another round of direct researches on the Shroud that could scientifically confirm them. This surely won’t happen very soon.

    We can agreed on that at least!

    1. There would be many things to answer here Stephen, but I will only underline this statement of yours “And again the bottom line is that there are ONLY TWO viable alternatives: 1) either the Shroud of Turin is a forgery; or 2) the Shroud of Turin is authentic.”, which shows how much you don’t understand the Shroud correctly…

      The authentic burial cloth of Jesus or a forgery or it is a forgery? Really? And what about the possibility that this cloth could be the authentic burial cloth of another criminal who would have been tortured like the Jesus of the Gospel? Even though this is evidently a pretty weak hypothesis if we place it on a probabilistic scale, no one here has the right to discard it completely… And what about the possibility that this cloth could be the authentic burial cloth of an imitator of Christ’s Passion who lived during the 3rd or 4th century AD, like an anchorite for example? Remember that those persons were well-known for their desire to imitate the suffering of Christ… Again, even though this is another pretty weak hypothesis if we place it on a probabilistic scale, no one can completely discard it so far.

      Note that in both cases, the image on the cloth would have been formed by a natural interaction between the cloth and the dead body it covered, which is, in the present state of our knowledge, the very best hypothesis that exist to explain it, even though the exact process still wait to be completely described.

      I think you should start to explore other possible avenues other than the idea that the Shroud can only be the authentic burial cloth of Jesus or a simple forgery (and remember that if it is a forgery, it can only be a forgery made with a real tortured and crucified corpse, since the STURP team has been able to prove that the image on the cloth cannot be the product of any known form of artistic technique).

  15. That should be:

    “The problems of 2) the Shroud pro-authenticity position PALE INTO INSIGNIFICANCE compared to those of 1) the forgery position.

    It is highly significant that no one advocating 1) the forgery position has ever published a comprehensive and coherent explanation for the origin of the Shroud, which plausibly explains all the major facts about it.”

    My apologies.

  16. Now we’ve done cautious initial response, are we now allowed to say what we really think?

    The logarithmic decay of carbon-14 and other radionuclides can be predicted with 100% confidence, since events in the atomic nucleus are totally unaffected by the outside world. The same cannot be said for physical and chemical decay processes that take place in the real macroscopic world. Inserting an assortment of fabrics of known ages for calibration purposes does not make up for knowing NOTHING about the precise decay history of the Shroud. In short, Professor Fanti, a mechanical engineer, is yet again attempting to blind the gullible with his pseudoscience.

    It’s high time that the meeja assembled a small panel of respected scientists, each member of whom could be invited at short notice to give his or her provisional and candid opinion aka first impression, as and when claims such as Fanti’s appear suddenly on editor’s desks as publishers’ releases. Without it, science gets plucked like a chicken for roasting…

  17. From comment # 18, “There is no evidence that the “Radiocarbon Dating of the Shroud of Turin,” paper in Nature, Vol. 337, 16th February, 1989, pp.611-615, was peer-reviewed.”

    Science and Nature are considered by many researchers to be the top two science publications in the world. I am not certain what is meant by “no evidence”, but when any article is submitted for consideration to be published (in any peer-reviewed journal, for that matter) it is typically reviewed by (at least) three referees. In the scientific peer-review system, most manuscripts are submitted to reviewers anonymously (authors’ names omitted) to remove as much personal bias as possible. Authors may also respectfully request that certain individuals not be considered as potential reviewers due to a conflict of interest, a competitor who might intentionally sabotage a manuscript, for instance.

    Of course, in high profile studies, such as these, anonymity becomes rather transparent, as may be the case for those who work in very specialized areas, but the system exists to ensure as best as possible, that review and analysis remains objective and unbiased, that the focus is on the scientific merit of the data, irrespective of the author’s identity. In a similar manner, comments from the reviewers are returned to the author(s) in an anonymous fashion.

    Certainly, many may not be exactly familiar with the specifics of submission and publication in a scientific journal, but to say that “there is no evidence that the manuscript in Nature is peer-reviewed” is unwarranted, without substantial documentation to show otherwise.

    Even for those not familiar with the particular scientific discipline, it is easy to view an author’s credentials/previous publication record, go to PubMed and type in the last name and first initial. Any reviewer will know this-the intent of anonymity is remove as much influence of bias as possible-similar to the principles of a “blind study”.

    Approximately 80% of the NIH budget is devoted to funding of extramural (outside) grants. A major issue that comes up regularly on grant review panels is do they have the support/facilities necessary to carry this out? Thus, the location and identity becomes important, which is often supplemented with letters from collaborators. NIH is currently considering switching to an anonymous grant submission format to more effectively ensure unbiased evaluation of scientific proposals.

    Relatedly, regarding the objective evaluation of scientific data and opinions on “how real science is done”, I would add that the often-heard cries of religious bias tainting various scientific aspects of the Shroud, appear in their own right, substantially biased. It is certainly possible to for a professional scientist to separate personal beliefs from the evaluation of data/results, to recognize where and when the line should be drawn.

    Pierre Barbet, who is often quoted as one of the main contributors to Shroud science said, “It is certain that this Body, in its glorious Resurrection, could leave the shroud with the same ease as when it entered the cenacle januis clausis-“when the doors were shut”. This final difficulty brings us to what is, humanly speaking, more or less a physical impossibility. Science at this point can do no more than keep silence, for it is outside its domain.”

    He would add though, in the next sentence “But the man of learning at least has a glimpse that here is a palpable proof of the Resurrection.” “Barbet was a man of science and medicine-he was also, obviously, a believer in the Resurrection. He could accept and recognize the domains of each. That’s where I think the heart of the issue lies. Many scientists have personal religious beliefs, favorite books, certain types of movies they like to watch, music they like to listen to-the most intelligent favor the Beatles-favorite foods, etc. It’s part of what makes them human-at the lab bench, data sheets spread across the desk, it is possible to focus on being objective; many of the scientists I have known will often pull in an unsuspecting grad student or colleague, show them a result and ask them “so, tell me what do you see/think?” I’m not foolish enough to believe it’s always the case, but it is certainly possible to remain objective when it comes to matters of science that involve artifacts of a religious nature. It makes sense that the interest of the Shroud for many, including physicians or scientists, is because of their belief/faith in the first place.

    Okay, well that about does it. Nothing like waiting on a live feed in front of a keyboard to get the ol’ circulation flowing…

    Happy and Holy Easter to Everyone-the sign of Peace to all of you: Y

  18. >From comment # 18, “There is no evidence that the “Radiocarbon Dating of the Shroud of Turin,” paper in Nature, Vol. 337, 16th February, 1989, pp.611-615, was peer-reviewed.”

    I stand by my claim that “There is no evidence that the “Radiocarbon Dating of the Shroud of Turin,” paper in Nature, Vol. 337, 16th February, 1989, pp.611-615, was peer-reviewed.”

    For one thing, as I had previously pointed out, if the paper had been peer-reviewed, it would have been rejected, so variable were its C14-dates and so fallacious was its reasoning.

    For example it is simply fallacious to claim that because a postage stamp sized (approx. 45 x 12 mm) sample of a ~4400 mm x 1110 mm cloth (i.e. 1/0.00011 th or 0.011% of the whole) returned a 1260-1390 C-14 date, therefore the whole cloth must have the same date.

    Any peer-review committee worthy of the name would have pointed out that elementary error of scientific logic and asked that the paper’s conclusion, “The results provide conclusive evidence that the linen of the Shroud of Turin is mediaeval” be qualified by something like, “If the very small sample of the Shroud which was radiocarbon-dated, amounting to only 0.011% of the whole cloth, is representative of the whole cloth, then ….”

    Apart from the fact that, as I have previously pointed out, if the Shroud IS first century (as ALL the other evidence points to), how did the three labs `just happen’ to come up with a date range, 1260-1390, the midpoint of which 1325 +/- 65 years, `just happens’ to be a mere 25 years before the Shroud appeared in the historical record?

    Or to put it another way, if the odds of the Shroud being 1st century, yet yielding a 13th-14th century radiocarbon date, is “about one in a thousand trillion”:

    “According to Professor Harry Gove, prime inventor of the state-of-the-art accelerator mass spectrometry method that was used to carbon date the Shroud, the very same scientific criteria that provide a ninety-five per cent degree of probability in favour of the Shroud’s manufacture between 1260 and 1390 also provide odds of ‘about one in a thousand trillion’ [Gove, H.E., “Relic, Icon or Hoax?: Carbon Dating the Turin Shroud,” 1996, p.303] against it dating back to the time of Jesus.” (Wilson, I., “The Blood and the Shroud, 1998, p.179. Emphasis original)

    then if the Shroud IS 1st century (as ALL the evidence except the 1988 C-14 date points to), then the odds that the 1260-1390 radiocarbon date of the Shroud is correct, is “about one in a thousand trillion”!

    But in that case, it is far more likely that the 1260-1390 radiocarbon date of the Shroud was the result of SCIENTIFIC FRAUD, than that a coincidence, the odds against which were “about one in a thousand trillion”, `just happened’.

  19. >The man’s a complete buffoon. And he’s allowed to teach?

    That’s why Berry is permanently banned from my blog. He is unable to conduct a rational discussion with those who disagree with him, without descending into personal insult.

  20. Dan

    >The man’s a complete buffoon.

    >Demented ravings

    Due to Colin Berry’s defamatory comments, which you do nothing to control, after this comment I will again usubscribe from reading comments on your blog.

    Stephen E. Jones

  21. Colin, you have made some good points in this thread and they are appreciated. I agree with much, but not all, of what you have to say in comment #20. You obviously think clearly and explain yourself well. We all benefit from that. So why resort to name calling and insults as you have done in #23 and #25? I warned others after complaints from you and now I am asking you to dial it down a bit.

  22. PS to Dan (having only just seen his latest comment, before posting the last). Thank you for the appreciative comments – but I cannot tolerate Jones’s brand of pseudoscientistry in any shape or form – especially seeing him flaunt those letters after his name, and knowing he’s allowed inside classrooms. For as long as he’s here, then I’m somewhere else… Happy Easter Sunday…

  23. Dan Porter also needs to erase all those defamatory accusations that Jones has been allowed to post here against the radiocarbon scientists in the three laboratories and their support teams, and to state as a matter of policy that such character assassination and conspiracy theories will not be permitted on his site. Then, and only then, would I be ready to post further comments.

  24. I think we have a question of semantics here. What are the chances of an object which really dates from the 1st century being carbon dated to the 13th? And what are the chances of a 13th century object being dated to the 1st? Intrinsically, the more recent an object, the smaller the error. The bones of Richard III, for example, are dated between 1475 and 1530 (a margin of plus or minus 30 years or so) with a 70% confidence rating. The two laboratories which carried out the dating came up with dates which were about 15 years apart. If a third laboratory were to be asked to carry out the task, and came up with an ancient date, there would be a strong suspicion that a major error had occurred. If the body asking this third laboratory had previously suggested a specific date, say between 100BC and 100AD, and that was the date it came up with, then a suspicion of fraud would surely not be illogical.

    For the reverse (an object dating from the first century producing a mediaeval date) the situation is more complicated. In the absence of any provenance, I think a confidence rating of 70% would perhaps extend to a couple of hundred years either way (Yes I’m guessing). However, if two laboratories came up with a “1st century plus or minus 200 years” and a third came up with a 13th century date, that would surely be a major error. If, as in the previous example, the body asking the third laboratory had previously suggested the possibility of 13th century date, then at least some suspicion of fraud (although significantly less than in the previous example) might be entertained.

    At present it cannot be said that the Turin Shroud has been definitively dated, and to my mind commenters to this blog have produced sensible objections to every single “proof” that has been adduced for any date. However, if the shroud is from the first century, then a suspicion of fraud may validly fall upon the carbon date. On the other hand, if no such suspicion of dishonesty can be entertained, then that in itself is strong evidence against a 1st century date.

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