Home > Books, News & Views, Science > A Critical Review of Giulio Fanti’s New Book: Unreliable Results Because of Inadequacy of Methods

A Critical Review of Giulio Fanti’s New Book: Unreliable Results Because of Inadequacy of Methods

April 4, 2013

clip_image001This posting is derived from the first two comments of a previous posting:

Gian Marco Rinaldi has written a critical review of the third chapter of Giulio Fanti’s book. This chapter deals with the new dating methods he employed. The review is in Italian.

Hugh Farey has provided a very useful translation of the above mentioned review into English (with software assistance and editing).

Hugh writes:

Gian Marco’s review is comprehensive and detailed, and I hope he will not mind my presenting a translation of some important passages below. I started with Google Translate, and carefully worked my way through re-interpreting anything that was literally non-sense. I notice that Dan often uses Bing. Does anybody have any reason why one is better than the other. Google has a tendency simply to ignore negatives, I find, which can completely alter the sense of a passage, which Bing comes up with weird and whimsical idiomatic translations of passages which don’t require it.

Anyway, here goes:

After a quick summary of what the book is and its reception, Gian Marco says..

* * * Review Begins Below the Line * * *


In fabric over time the cellulose in the fibers is altered and degrades. The more time that passes, the greater the alteration. By measuring, in a fabric of unknown age, some parameter that is related to the degree of alteration, and comparing it with the values of the same parameter in ancient fabrics of known ages, the age of the unknown tissue can, in principle, be estimated. This would work if it were not that alterations may proceed at different speeds depending on several factors. In short, the degradation of cellulose is not a clock that always ticks at the same rate (as it is does with the decay of radiocarbon). To take a trivial example, if I meet someone and observe her dress, I can try to figure out if the dress is new or old, looking more or less if it is worn, torn, faded or crumpled. But I can not correctly estimate the age if I do not take into account various other factors such as the quality of the fabric, the conditions in which it was stored and how and how much was used.

The new results.

Fanti has obtained some antique fabrics from different eras of approximately known date. He conducted three sets of measurements using three different methods. In the first and second series he measured certain alterations of cellulose using spectroscopic methods – Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy and Raman spectroscopy. For spectroscopic analyses Fanti turned to two more professors, Anna Tinti of Bologna and Pietro Baraldi of Modena. In the third series he measured a set of mechanical parameters, for example the behavior of fibers under tension and the breaking load (with the assistance of a doctoral student, Pierandrea Malfi).

In each series, from measurements on samples of known age, Fanti has constructed a calibration curve, which represents how the trend varies with age. Then he measured the same parameters on the Shroud and derived an estimate of its age by making a comparison with the calibration curve.

Fanti says that he has not found in the literature similar calibration curves for these three methods, and supposes that they have been introduced by him for the first time.

There were nine ancient fabrics used in compiling the calibration curves, with ages from 3000 BC to 1000 AD. Five were from Egypt, three from Israel and one from Peru. He also used two modern fabrics of recent manufacture.

The confidence intervals at 95% for the origin of the fabric of the shroud with the three methods were respectively: 300 BC ± 400 and 200 BC ± 500, 400 AD ± 400. Averaging these values, Fanti arrived at a final result to 33 BC ± 250 and is satisfied that this interval includes the time of Christ.

We see that the three results cover a very wide range, from 300 BC to 400 AD. Considering the bounds of the intervals of confidence, the dates extend further, from 700 BC to 800 AD.

The dispersion would be even greater if Fanti had used his original result for the first series, which was 752 BC ± 400. However here Fanti has made a correction, trying to take into account the effects of the fire of 1532 in which the Shroud was involved, and moved the date from 752 BC to 300 BC. This is based on measurements made on a recent piece of fabric which has been subjected to heating. This correction is somewhat arbitrary. On the one hand it is not known at what temperature and for how long the cloth of the Shroud has been heated by the fire. On the other hand the effects on a new fabric manufactured using modern technology may be different from the effects on the Shroud, also taking into account that the damage triggered by the fire may have worsened over the centuries.

It should be noted that, as he made a correction for the first method, Fanti should also have made a correction for the third method, as results from similar heating tests of modern materials produced an apparent aging “of a few centuries” using this method. However it seems that Fanti decided to rejuvenate the result of the first series, whose original results came out too old, but preferred not to do the same to the third series, whose original results came out too young.

All tests were conducted on individual fibers of flax. These are the ‘elementary’ fibers which make up the threads. The fibers are thin and have a diameter of about 10 or 20 micrometers (thousandths of a millimeter). Thread is manufactured by the twisting together of fibers in the spinning process. Any section of thread may contain a hundred or so fibres.

There is no guarantee that the methods are reliable

The factors that affect the apparent aging of a fabric are variable in nature. We can cite the light, the conditions of temperature and humidity, the presence of dust, exposure to various chemical agents, and mechanical stresses. Also factors that seem insignificant can accumulate a significant effect if continuing for centuries. For example, a linen fabric which is folded can produce damage to the fibers in the bends (which is why today the Shroud is kept fully extended to prevent further damage). In general, the processes of degradation can be very slow and are not easily simulated with laboratory experiments.

Hypothetically, you can imagine some differences in the conditions of preservation of the Shroud compared to other fabrics. The weather conditions, temperature and humidity, were different in Europe from in Egypt or Israel. In particular, moisture is harmful to fabrics and the Egyptian climate is probably drier than the French or Piedmontese. The methods of processing flax in Europe in the 14th century may have been different from those of ancient Egypt, such as the bleaching process. The comparison fabrics probably rested for centuries in a tomb and then remained in the warehouses of a museum, while the Shroud has had a much more lively history, especially in the early days. It was transported here and there, both before and after the transition to the Savoy. It was folded and unfolded, and later rolled up on a tight cylinder and unrolled. It was involved in a fire. It was mended. It was exposed to light outdoors, and to the fumes of incense or candles or torches. Perhaps it was brushed to clean it.

Also there may have been unknown episodes in the history of the Shroud, especially in the period before 1500, which have had a measurable effect today.

Fanti says he has conducted tests to assess the “systematic effects” of various factors, but in practice he has only made the correction that we saw for the first series.

These uncertainties mean that the methods used by Fanti are inherently unreliable because it can not be excluded that there were influences of factors known or unknown, with effects difficult to assess. So, if his methods result in a date that differs from that obtained in other ways, it is necessary to doubt the result. We have two reasons to think that the fabric of the Shroud was manufactured around 1300, the radiocarbon dating and the historical fact of its first appearance. On the other hand, we have no reason to suggest that the Shroud is from the first century. The only “evidence” of antiquity adduced by Shroudologists is in the (non-existent) fingerprints of two coins of Pontius Pilate!

However, there is a more concrete reason to think that the fibers of the Shroud used by Fanti were unsuitable for testing.

In two television interviews, Fanti was shown withdrawing a fiber from a piece of fabric. He separated out a thread and pulled out a fiber with tweezers. But this is not the way in which he got the fibers of the Shroud. He did not have a piece of fabric, or even pieces of intact thread. He used a dust collection made by Giovanni Riggi di Numana in 1978.

It should be noted that from 1534 to 2002 the cloth of the Shroud was continuously fastened with stitching to another linen cloth for support. In 1978 Riggi unstitched some sections on the edges and stuck in the cavity a vacuum cleaner with which he collected dust in cotton filters interposed along the tube outlet. Years later, some of these filters were made available to Fanti. From these filters, in particular the one designated as “h”, Fanti took the material for his analysis.

Together with dust of various kinds were also fragments of fibers of the shroud, in addition to flax fibers of the support fabric, cotton fibers from the filters and possibly other fibers of uncertain origin.

We can assume that any fibers of the Shroud collected from the vacuum extractor had deteriorated more than the fibers still enclosed in the threads. Fibers have, in the course of time, detached from the back of the Shroud and become trapped inside the cavity between the cloths, but those that have would be either weaker or more damaged than those which remained in the threads. For example they could be fibers that originally came from areas of stitching or burning or soaking in water or any other places that had suffered damage for some reason.

In addition to the fibers that had already become detached in the past, Riggi’s vacuum cleaner could have detached others while it was working, and those fibres, too, would be weaker or more damaged than those which remained. Fanti’s material is thus shown to be unrepresentative in being particularly deteriorated, so it is no wonder that the age he calculated is more apparent than real.

In a 2008 article Fanti showed photographs of many fibers collected by filters of which he had already come into possession, including those from filter “h”. We saw that the fibers were very short, averaging about a millimeter. Usually linen fibers are somewhat longer. So those used by Fanti were small fragments derived from the breakage of fibers which were already integrally fragile. In his book Fanti does not say how long the fibers from his comparison tissues were, but he may provide more detail in a future publication.

After they were collected in 1978, the fibers remained on the filters for several years, together with the rest of the dust and dirt sucked in. The individual fibers were exposed to dust on all sides.

Earlier than 2008, fibers were collected from Fanti’s filters using adhesive tape. Photographs were obtained showing the fibers on the tape. Fanti does not say if these fibres were used for his present experiments, but if they were they had remained in contact with the glue for a time of perhaps several years and then a solvent may have been used to remove them from it. We hope to find more information on these procedures when Fanti’s next article appears.

However they were obtained, Fanti then observed them at length under a microscope. The aim was to separate the flax fibers from the Shroud from those coming from the cloth support or from those of cotton or other origin. Looking into the microscope, Fanti says, he was able to distinguish the fibers of the Shroud not only from those of other material, but also from the linen fibers of the fabric support. For observation under the microscope, the fiber must be illuminated and, if it is not on a tape, somehow manipulated.

In short, the Shroud material used for the experiments was not the most fortunate. In his book Fanti makes no secret that the fibers of the Shroud which he used come from Riggi’s filters but does not comment on the risks implicit in the fact that these fibers have had a more complicated history than those freshly extracted from other fabrics containing intact threads. We can only note Fanti’s own words concerning the third method, the mechanical one, with reference to his experiments on the comparison fibres. (p. 85):

“In some cases, in fact, fibers taken from particular parts of a thread which had been more exposed to the environment and mechanical actions such as rubbing, showed a structural weakening, due to probable microcracks, which sometimes lead the mechanical method to result in dates with amplitude shifts of up to a thousand years.” Such is the true accuracy of this method. Two fibers taken from the same thread can produce dating with a difference of a thousand years. Fanti continues:

“To avoid incurring similar problems of measurement, the fibers used to perform the mechanical tests – and thus the determination of the curves of dating – were taken from their fabric in a similar way to those used to pick up the fibers from the Shroud.”

I do not know if Fanti means that he extracted fibers from his comparison fabrics with a vacuum cleaner, at least for the third series, but in any case he could not select the fibers that had separated in time from the points of greatest wear and tear that had built up for centuries.…

For my part, I think that there is no reason to doubt that the material used by Fanti really comes from the filters of the vacuum cleaner used by Riggi in 1978. It is known that Riggi kept the filters and later on several occasions had bestowed portions of the material to others. Today Riggi is gone, but I do not think that Fanti has made false declarations about the origin of the fibers examined by him.

I would also add that I can not know if Fanti has correctly identified the fibers of the Shroud, distinguishing them from other fibers collected from the extractor, such as those of cloth or filter support, but that would be material of a more recent age than the Shroud itself and not could provide a dating at the time of Christ. In short, I believe that the results are unreliable, not for any doubts about the origin of the material, but for the inadequacy of the methods used.

Categories: Books, News & Views, Science
  1. Thibault HEIMBURGER
    April 4, 2013 at 12:31 pm

    Who has Fanti’s book ?

    Thibault.

    • Yannick Clément
      April 4, 2013 at 1:02 pm

      At least Gian Marco Rinaldi for sure! He he ! How do you think he could have made a critical review (excellent by the way) of Fanti’s claims regarding the age of the Shroud if he didn’t read Fanti’s book?

  2. Giorgio
    April 4, 2013 at 1:14 pm

    Thibault, Gian Marco Rinaldi did the review on Amazon.it. Dan translated it in english. Basically, I heard the same deduction from my Geography professor. Without reliable method to fingerprint the date and the known conditions of the shroud’s environment throughout the years, Guilio’s hypothesis will be subjected to criticism.

    • Yannick Clément
      April 4, 2013 at 1:23 pm

      In some of my recent comments on the blog, I was expressing exactly the same kind of critics expressed by Rinaldi and I’m not even a scientist! I think that speak pretty loud! I don’t think you need to have a Phd to understand how poor a scientist Fanti really is and how highly suspicious the claims he made in his commercial book really are.

  3. Gabriel
    April 4, 2013 at 1:26 pm

    I think that Fanti -as anyone else- deserves a fair evaluation of his work. I will hold my opinion until I read the book or better, until his breaking edge methods are positively evaluated in a peer-review journal.

    • Yannick Clément
      April 4, 2013 at 1:33 pm

      First and foremost, it is is own work that would have to be published in a CREDIBLE peer-reviewed journal! The simple fact that he choose to publish his claims in a commercial book should right a bell to you…

  4. Yannick Clément
    April 4, 2013 at 1:46 pm

    Here’s what I really have to say versus Mister Rinaldi’s critical review of the 3 alternative methods used by Fanti for his dating procedure of the Shroud:

    This critical review fits very well with my own critical comments of the last few days in which I said that these methods were highly suspicious concerning their level of accuracy for various reasons and especially for the fact that the Shroud, unlike many ancient fabrics, was manipulated a lot during the course of his long history, which certainly had an important impact on the degree of alteration of its fibers, especially the loose ones used by Fanti, which came from the dust samples of Riggi. Since these fibers were not part of the Shroud anymore when Riggi collect them (or if they did, they were the most fragile and altered fibers at the surface of the cloth), it is evident that such a questionable material cannot be taken as representative of the main body of the Shroud! We’re dealing here with the same kind of important problem related to the C14 dating of 1988, never mind the fact that Fanti’s alternative methods are much more questionable concerning their level of accuracy than the C14 dating method, which is still considered today as THE dating method for this kind of task. In the end, I think it’s safe to say that Fanti’s claims regarding the dating of the Shroud will forever stay in the roam of anecdotal evidences regarding this relic (these kind of evidences surely need a proper scientific confirmation in order to be taken as authentic “facts” and right now, that kind of confirmation is still waiting). So, until a real solid confirmation can come to back-up these claims, I’m afraid Fanti’s conclusions will never be taken very seriously by the International scientific community…

    Finally, I was glad to learn the manipulation made by Fanti for the first series of dating he made, which first came out much too old for the Shroud to be the authentic burial cloth of Jesus Christ. The simple fact that he corrected this result on the questionable base that the fire of 1532 had a deep impact on the fibers, while leaving the other two results obtained by his 2 other methods says a lot about the poor quality of Fanti’s science, the evident religious bias that drive his work (he wanted the Shroud to date from the first century A.D. even before he begin his analyses of Riggi’s samples) and, consequently, the highly questionable aspect of his professional integrity regarding this relic.

    Truly, Shroud science don’t need guys like Fanti, who only contribute, as the years goes by, to discredit even more its integrity and validity in the eyes of the International scientific community, who generally look at it as a sick joke. There’s no doubt my friends, we’re very far from the good old days of the STURP team who was composed of true experts in the right fields of researches regarding this cloth!!!

    • Yannick Clément
      April 4, 2013 at 1:56 pm

      I made a little mistake in my comment. Here’s the corrected line: “In the end, I think it’s safe to say that Fanti’s claims regarding the dating of the Shroud will forever stay in the REALM of anecdotal evidences regarding this relic…” Now, it’s more understandable for all.

  5. Thibault HEIMBURGER
    April 4, 2013 at 2:02 pm

    There were several reasons for me to ask you : “who has Fanti’s book ?”
    Of course, Rinaldi has the book.

    The main reason is as follows: reading Hugh’s translation of Rinaldi’s critical review, I understand (but I am wrong ?) that Fanti did perform his experiments ONLY on “TS” fibers coming from the DUST taken by Riggi.

    On the other side, I read on Barrie’s site this sentence from Fanti (?):
    “”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 “and” is important: did Fanti perform his experiments on fibers only coming from the dust or also from fibers coming from a small piece of the TS taken in 1988 by Riggi ?

    Incidentally, we now know (see the “breaking news on shroud.com at the end) that a paper written by Fanti will be published in a scientific journal (I do not know the journal).

    • Giorgio
      April 4, 2013 at 2:07 pm

      Thibault, I’m on the assumption that Guilio used also the 1988 TS taken by Riggi which you do have documented. The ambiguity of the 1988 TS maybe because how it was procured. Your thoughts?

      • Thibault HEIMBURGER
        April 4, 2013 at 2:46 pm

        Giorgio,

        Rinaldi wrote exactly: (see his text):

        “He [Fanti] did not have a piece of fabric, or even pieces of intact thread. He used a dust collection made by Giovanni Riggi di Numana in 1978.”

        Before discussing anything, I/we need the answer to my question.

        Rinaldi, are you here ? Do you confirm that Fanti did not use “even pieces of intact thread” ?

      • Giorgio
        April 4, 2013 at 2:55 pm
      • Giorgio
        April 4, 2013 at 3:08 pm

        I may have talked to soon.

        Reading without the english translation, ( con l’accordo del cardinale Ballestrero avrebbe conservato alcune fibre della Sindone, raccolto qualche frammento di sangue e aspirato campioni di polvere presenti fra il lino e la tela d’Olanda). it may in fact appear it was only blood and dust samples collection between the holland cloth and the linen.

      • April 4, 2013 at 4:41 pm

        1978 or 1988? Gonella and Riggi kept and distributed some material from 1988, and perhaps Fanti himself owns part of it. But as concerns this particular research of Fanti about the dating, it was done with the fibers in the dust collected by Riggi in 1978. This is what I understand from reading the book.

      • Yannick Clément
        April 4, 2013 at 5:01 pm

        And this is a fact that makes a previous comment of mine truly relevant : “Since these fibers were not part of the Shroud anymore when Riggi collect them (or if they did, they were the most fragile and altered fibers at the surface of the cloth), it is evident that such a questionable material cannot be taken as representative of the main body of the Shroud! We’re dealing here with the same kind of important problem related to the C14 dating of 1988, never mind the fact that Fanti’s alternative methods are much more questionable concerning their level of accuracy than the C14 dating method, which is still considered today as THE dating method for this kind of ancient cloth.”

      • Hugh Farey
        April 4, 2013 at 5:50 pm

        Hi Thibault. These are Gian Marco Rinaldi’s exact words:

        “Fanti per questi esperimenti non disponeva di un lembo del tessuto della Sindone né di segmenti di filo integro. Ha usato solo una polvere raccolta da Giovanni Riggi di Numana nel 1978.”

        I think (I hope) that my translation is accurate.

      • Giorgio
        April 5, 2013 at 7:05 am

        Thank you Prof. Rinaldi

    • Yannick Clément
      April 4, 2013 at 2:20 pm

      In the end Thibault, even if Fanti also analysed a small piece of the Shroud collected by Riggi, along with the fibers he took from the dust, that wouln’t change a thing regarding the highly suspicion we must have regarding the alternative methods he used. Rinaldi explain it very well : it is impossible to get an accurate age for a fiber or for a thread only by analysing their level of alteration and degradation and then, by comparing them to other ancient samples of known age (but of different origin and types of conservation and manipulation than the Shroud). That’s the main reason why Fanti’s alternative methods cannot be taken as reliable and as being able to give any kind of accurate dating for the Shroud. And that’s the main reason why his claims will never be taken seriously by the International scientific community, along with the fact that he first publish his work in a commercial book (no one forced him to do so) well before he was able to get his work published in a CREDIBLE (this word is important) peer-reviewed journal…

    • Yannick Clément
      April 4, 2013 at 2:23 pm

      Also, I’m not even talking about the highly questionable correction of dating Fanti made concerning the first method he used (while not making the same correction for the two other methods!!!), most certainly because his result was much older than first centuty A.D. (which is the result he had in mind even before starting his work)!!!

  6. escipion
    April 4, 2013 at 3:05 pm

    [Yannick en su “fijacion paranoica” hacia Fanti no advierte que Gian Marco Rinaldi para descalificar el trabajo de Fanti utiliza exactamente la misma ESTRATEGIA que utilizó para descalificar el trabajo de Rogers (“Medievale era il rattoppo?”)…..]

    Yannick:

    Lo que es “SI VÁLIDO” para Rogers, ¿es “NO VÁLIDO” para Fanti?

    Carlos Otal

    • Yannick Clément
      April 4, 2013 at 3:49 pm

      Are you talking about Rogers’ alternative method of dating the Shroud with vanillin? I never claim this alternative method was sure but, because I know from Barrie Schwortz that Rogers, unlike Fanti, was a credible and truly profesionnal scientist well-respected by his peers (i.e. the real experts in chemistry) and because it’s evident that Rogers had no religious or anti-religious bias, I tend to listen carefully to what he said about the Shroud. Note that Rogers dating result was very large and must be consider only as a very good clue to believe the Shroud is much older than its first apparition in Lirey, France. Rogers never claim, like Fanti, that he proved that the Shroud was the authentic burial cloth of Jesus. In fact, he only said that all the known data and observation cannot allow anyone to completely reject that possibility. This is very different than publishing a commercial book that claim the other has PROVEN the Shroud to be the genuine shroud of Jesus Christ! Don’t you see the evident religious bias under Fanti’s work and writings?

      • Yannick Clément
        April 4, 2013 at 3:52 pm

        I must add this to the last part of my comment : And because of that evident religious bias, how can anybody intelligent and who only seek the truth (whatever this might be) could consider seriously anything this person is saying about the Shroud?

  7. jesterof
    April 4, 2013 at 3:23 pm

    Giorgio :
    Thibault, Gian Marco Rinaldi did the review on Amazon.it. Dan translated it in english. Basically, I heard the same deduction from my Geography professor. Without reliable
    method to fingerprint the date and the known conditions of the shroud’s environment throughout the years, Guilio’s hypothesis will be subjected to criticism.

    the same is applicable to C-14 essays.

    • Giorgio
      April 4, 2013 at 3:35 pm

      The same is applicable with any study relating to the Shroud.

  8. jesterof
    April 4, 2013 at 3:53 pm

    Giorgio :
    The same is applicable with any study relating to the Shroud.

    the same is applicable to any study of anything.

    • Giorgio
      April 4, 2013 at 4:31 pm

      I hope you’re not taking this personal. All I’m trying to convey is, skeptics will always have the upper hand. This won’t change until someone can prove the mechanism of the Shroud’s image formation is truly a miracle. Until then, all Shroud’s hypothesis will be scrutinized.

      • Yannick Clément
        April 4, 2013 at 4:34 pm

        I really wonder how a true scientist could ever PROVE that the Shroud image is the product of the Resurrection… Look, science will probably never be able to even just prove that the Shroud man is really Jesus of Nazareth!

  9. jesterof
    April 4, 2013 at 4:45 pm

    Giorgio :
    I hope you’re not taking this personal. All I’m trying to convey is, skeptics will always have the upper hand. This won’t change until someone can prove the mechanism of the Shroud’s image formation is truly a miracle. Until then, all Shroud’s hypothesis will be
    scrutinized.

    Giorgio :
    I hope you’re not taking this personal. All I’m trying to convey is, skeptics will always have the upper hand. This won’t change until someone can prove the mechanism of the Shroud’s image formation is truly a miracle. Until then, all Shroud’s hypothesis will be scrutinized.

    There is nothing personal. Sampling is essential for the reliable study. As far as I know the initial sampling for C-14 was flawed beyond any standard scientific parameters. If the latest were as well – we are still at the starting point – we do not know.

    • Ron
      April 4, 2013 at 5:35 pm

      Not only were the sampling pieces suspect but the testing itself was also. Don’t forget the ‘suspect’ sample [weights] being below the minimal threshold limit for ‘proper’ testing and a point made by Harry Gove for the testing used in 1988. The testing performed was also in it’s infancy and (known to have serious issues), and let’s not forget the Chi factor issue. There are several blatant reasons to disregard the C14 dating done in 1988. However skeptics tend to ignore these blatant facts and continue to ‘believe’ the test results.

      R

      • Giorgio
        April 5, 2013 at 7:16 am

        Ron, Dr. Gove maintained the C-14 data even with outlying factors some have proclaimed, is convinced the Shroud was not from the 1st century but closer to the stated dates the three labs announced.

      • Yannick Clément
        April 5, 2013 at 10:43 am

        Quote from Ron concerning the C14 dating of 88 : “Not only were the sampling pieces suspect but the testing itself was also.”

        My reply: Yes, but I hope you realize this is exactly the same situation we have here with Fanti’s analyses… If someone deny the validity of the C14 test done in 88, I don’t see why this same person (I’m not talking about you Ron) should give any credits to the validity of Fanti’s analyses. In fact, since he used alternative methods of dating instead of the well-accepted C14 method, it’s fair to say that his results are even more suspicious than the C14 test of 88 in regard of their potential accuracy.

        And I think it’s time for a short summary of the situation regarding his claims that he was able to prove that the Shroud really dates back to the time of Christ and, consequently, that it is truly the authentic burial cloth of Jesus of Nazareth:

        1- The tiny fragments of broken fibers he used as samples for his dating tests are highly questionable regarding the possibility that they can really be representative of the main body of the cloth (and so, no matter if they really came from the Shroud itself or from another linen fabric).
        2- The 3 alternative method of dating he used are highly questionable regarding their potential of given a very accurate result for the age of the Shroud.
        3- The fact that he “adjust” the result concerning the first method he used while not doing the same adjustment for the other 2 methods he also used is highly questionable and show some evidence of bias in favor of the authenticity of the Shroud.
        4- On a more general point of view, Fanti’s own credibility as an unbiased scientist free of any preconceived notions regarding Shroud research is highly questionable since the day he enter into the Shroud world (and the highly questionable aspect of his integrity as just grown and grown bigger along the years).

        Now folks, it’s up to you to freely decide if you want to trust the claims he made in his book or not. Personally, I didn’t even had to read Mr. Rinaldi’s critical review before I took my decision… It was like a “no contest” for me because I know the guy’s ideological views about the Shroud since a very long time. In fact, I just had to take good note of the kind of “science” contained in one of his first papers about the Shroud (entitled “Does the Shroud body image show any physical evidence of Resurrection” that he wrote with Kevin Moran) to know all about him! From that day until now, I knew I couldn’t trust any conclusion that was coming from that guy.

        Look, after a long personal reflection, I became convinced of the authenticity of the Shroud (for various reasons put together as a whole), but I will never back-up my belief on any claim coming from someone like Fanti. I know some of you around here do it and you’re free to do so, but me? NEVER! I just have too much respect for a true scientific quest done with INTEGRITY and NO RELIGIOUS (OR ANY OTHER KIND OF) BIAS while it try to ONLY find truth, whatever it might be.

      • The Deuce
        April 9, 2013 at 11:31 am

        On a more general point of view, Fanti’s own credibility as an unbiased scientist free of any preconceived notions regarding Shroud research

        That’s an absurd standard. Your grandstanding notwithstanding, *nobody* is “free of any preconceived notions” regarding Shroud research, and that’s especially going to be true of anyone who is interested enough in the subject to actually perform Shroud research.

        Personally, I didn’t even had to read Mr. Rinaldi’s critical review before I took my decision… It was like a “no contest” for me because I know the guy’s ideological views about the Shroud since a very long time.

        Honestly, that causes me to doubt you more than anything. Everyone has biases, and we need to take them into account when weighing claims, but to reject someone’s claims out of hand because you “know their ideological views” is a far more extreme version of what you’re accusing Fanti of.

      • Yannick Clément
        April 9, 2013 at 12:02 pm

        I don’t consider that the whole work done by the STURP team was religiously biased. I don’t consider that all the researches done personally by Barbet, Adler and Rogers (just to name a few) were religiously biased. Thinking that everyone is doing biased science regarding the Shroud is not fair.

  10. Cody Wendt
    April 5, 2013 at 12:27 pm

    Some thoughts on the various perspectives and arguments being presented here:

    1. Rinaldi’s critique of Fanti’s selective dating-corrections looks powerful; it suggests that Fanti allowed his desire for a first-century-centered date range to compromise his objectivity. I will be interested to see if and how Fanti responds to this.

    2. However, let it be said that Rinaldi himself is clearly biased *against* arguments for the Shroud’s authenticity, as he shows when he derisively asserts that “the only ‘evidence’ of antiquity adduced by Shroudologists is in the (non-existent) fingerprints of two coins of Pontius Pilate!”– an irksome, false, and utterly ignorant statement. As such, I do not feel confident that Rinaldi provides a genuinely fair assessment of Fanti’s research; further reviews by knowledgeable readers, as well as an English translation, will be very helpful.

    3. Yannick Clement makes some valid points, but seems to have an intense emotional vendetta against Fanti, as evidenced by the fact that he seems intent on dominating every Fanti-related comment thread with posts heavy in highly-personalized attacks on Fanti’s character. His claim that nothing Fanti says should ever be used as evidence is, to my mind, significantly over-the-top. As noted above, I do think that Fanti’s scientific objectivity is questionable, but let it be said that absolutely no scientist, not even the very best of them, is entirely free of bias; it is only a matter of how much and what kind each individual has. As such, we are left in the position of having no choice but to use material generated by individuals who have biases. Even a biased individual, assuming he is not an out-an-out fraud (and I do not believe Fanti is one), can still generate useful data, though it may require more sifting and interpretation to make use of than that which was compiled by a more objective researcher. Fanti may be more biased than the ideal scientist (and more biased than, say, a Raymond Rogers), but it would amount to an ad hominem fallacy to argue on those grounds that no data he generates can ever provide viable evidence relating to the Shroud’s authenticity.

    All told, from what I’ve seen, it looks as though Fanti’s tests might not offer the ironclad evidence of the Shroud’s dating from the time of Christ that has been claimed (since the precision of the techniques is uncertain and the figures seem to have been “massaged” in a way that may have generated a range more closely centered around the first century than was justified), but that they may nonetheless strongly indicate (as, contrary to Rinaldi, a great deal of other evidence already does) that the Shroud is substantially older than the 1988 radiocarbon dating result, which is still a very significant finding.

  11. Louis
    April 5, 2013 at 1:07 pm

    Well said, Cody.

  12. Ron
    April 5, 2013 at 3:19 pm

    Giorgio :Ron, Dr. Gove maintained the C-14 data even with outlying factors some have proclaimed, is convinced the Shroud was not from the 1st century but closer to the stated dates the three labs announced.

    The point was not about Gove’s thoughts on the dating of the Shroud. It is well known he had a definite bias on the matter, and a strong hatred towards STURP-(One just needs to read his book to understand this), but of the fact that he specifically mentioned the importance of the ‘minimal threshold weight’ of the samples being tested and it’s importance to proper results. All labs samples btw were apparently ‘UNDER’ this threshold weight. This FACT raises some serious technical issues on the whole matter. Gove’s specific point and he being one of the inventors of the AMS method (so he knew what he was talking about), should have raised eyebrows and raised some serious questions on the procedures that were taken. It dumbfounds me how anyone with even a slight knowledge on c14 procedures could still accept the tests done in 1988….They are null and void as far as this novice is concerned and people should stop defending the labs, has they definitely had an agenda/bias or atleast certain people involved did.

    R

  13. Louis
    April 5, 2013 at 4:00 pm

    The fact that Prof. Christopher Ramsey has demonstrated his willingness to review the 1988 CD results (see the third last paragraph in the article “The Quest for Jesus in Shroud research” on the HSG website), published in “Nature”, which he also signed, is a good sign. This does not mean to say that he is pro-authenticity, only that he is open to suggestions. There is, however, no consensus when it comes to how the CD results were skewed and therefore demanding that another piece of the relic be subjected to another CD test does not seem correct.

  14. April 5, 2013 at 6:53 pm

    Fanti’s study looks like it’s full of holes, but Rinaldi is just as biased against the authenticity of the Shroud as Fanti is in favor of it. Rinaldi appears to be ignorant of the study of the history of the Shroud. He ignores the Image of Edessa, the Sermon at Constantinople in 944 AD about the arrival of the Shroud there, and the Pray Manuscript which shows a drawing of the Shroud from approx. 1192 AD.

  15. tabletto
    April 7, 2013 at 1:53 am

    There are various opinions and researches of the shroud of Turin. Some people say that it is the genuine and some that it is the fake and the hoax. The fact is that the shroud of Turin doesn’t present Jesus of the Bible. If we can find even one evidence, which disprove the shroud of Turin theory, so the whole story shall be invalidated. We can find a large number of evidence from the Bible, which show that the shroud of Turin cannot be the shroud of the Lord Jesus.

    http://koti.phnet.fi/petripaavola/shroudofturin.html

  16. August 4, 2013 at 10:14 pm

    thats ballony the shroud validates the bible it is Jesus

  1. April 5, 2013 at 5:35 am
  2. April 6, 2013 at 2:42 am
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