imageTo trust or distruct, that is the question.

A reader writes:

You can not question the provenance, chain of custody, proper care and suitability of the samples used by Fanti without also, again, asking the same questions about the C14 samples.

And Stephen E. Jones wrote in a comment to another posting:

In reply to [a comment by Colin Berry who wrote, “]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 …”

[Colin Berry had written] “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.