Jones: “none of the three laboratories dated its sample to between 1260 and 1390”

BT writes from New London:

Is Jones right? . . . On his blog he reported this:

clip_image001By the way Prof. Hedge’s claim that: "Hall’s [Oxford] laboratory dated its sample to between 1260 and 1390" is false and as a nuclear physicist involved in Oxford’s radiocarbon dating of the Shroud, he must know it is false. As Table 1 of the 1989 Nature paper shows, none of the three laboratories dated its sample to between 1260 and 1390 (the dates are years before 1950). That makes Oxford’s C-14 dates: "795±65" = 1090-1220; 730±45" = 1175-1265; and "745±55" = 1150-1260," an average of 1138-1248. So the highest of Oxford’s average C-14 date of the Shroud is over 100 years before the Shroud first appeared in the undisputed historical record at Lirey, France in about 1355! So Prof. Hall’s own laboratory’s 12-13th century C-14 dates don’t support his claim that the Shroud was forged "during the 14th century"! The "1260 and 1390" date was a statistically manipulated average of the three laboratories’ C-14 dates.

[Right: C-14 dates of "Sample 1" (the Shroud) from Table 1 of the Damon, et al., 1989, "Radiocarbon Dating of the Shroud of Turin," Nature, Vol. 337, pp.611-615, 16th February.]

BT continues:

Could Jones be right? What don’t I understand? I don’t know the math of C14 dating.

What does Jones mean by manipulated? What makes it a manipulated average? I’d like to see the calculations.

36 thoughts on “Jones: “none of the three laboratories dated its sample to between 1260 and 1390””

  1. The reader needs to look beyond Table1 (ages only displayed,i n years before “present” (BP) unconverted to dates AD, and go instead to Table 3 (in which ages BP are displayed in left hand column and corresponding dates AD in the right hand column).

    So 1260-1390 is the estimated date range AD.

    1. Sorry. I misunderstood the prefacing remarks re Table 1, so cancel that previous comment, written in haste.

      What seems clear is that the Nature paper itself, in referring to an average date range 1260-1390 AD merely as “medieval” did not go beyond the data. Maybe others since (Hedge etc.) have made misleading statements in which the 3-lab average is ascribed to just the Oxford’s result. Maybe, maybe not, but it’s the Nature paper itself and its individual and averaged data that should remain above the nitpicking, given the latter is based on subsequent soundbites.

      The Lirey connection is interesting, but Lirey was not mentioned in the Nature paper. I know that Jones spits blood re the average of 1260-1390 being 1325, just 30 years or before the Lirey showing, and that he smells a proverbial rat, but that is Jones and his conspiratorial mind. If he thinks the dating is too good to be true, re Lirey, then so be it. Alternatively, the data is just too good to be untrue!

      1. Oops. It’s just not my day. The Nature paper DOES mention Lirey – second sentence in fact:

        “It was first displayed at Lirey in France in the 1350s”.

        But that’s all, I think (though I could be mistaken, just give me a minute or two to check one more time…)

  2. That reminds me of something I read a few years ago. It was written by a B17 bombardier during WWII. I’ll need to paraphrase:

    Those planes had the best bombsights science could devise. According to the manual they would let us hit the target ninety percent of the time. But, in reality, we could only draw circles around the target. The average of all the craters was where the target was some ninety percent of the time, maybe. But we hit the actual target zero percent of the time. So we modified them.

    1. Scientists thought C14 dating would hit the target. Then they drew the circle around. Problem is, there was no target.

  3. The calendar (calibrated) ages are within the interval also for Oxford: see the graphic of Fig. 2 in the Nature report.
    It is to be expected that the single results of repeated measurements are scattered over an interval. For the Shroud the single results span an interval of 204 years BP. For the three control samples they span 207, 299 and 223 years BP.
    I have published a very detailed analysis of the statistics of the Nature report. Sorry it is in Italian. The PDF file (44 pages) is linked here:
    http://sindone.weebly.com/statistica-nature.html

  4. The table of dates above refers to raw data calculated mathematically from the proportion of C14 to C12 in each of the 12 samples (each of which was tested at least twice). Dates like this are given in years Before the Present day (BP), which, for uniformity, is the year 1950.
    To determine calendar years from these dates, they must be referred to a calibration graph. The 1988 radiocarbon calibration graph was that of Stuiver & Pearson, published in 1986.
    Thanks to the genius and generosity of Christopher Ramsey and his team, calibration can be carried out by anyone at all now, using the OxCal Project, available online, using the latest calibration graph (Reimer 2013). As the BP dates are expressed as a distribution curve (a mean and an error), the calendar dates are also expressed similarly. Of the 12 mean calendar dates derived from the 12 BP dates given by the three laboratories, only one lies outside the 1260-1390 range chalked on the board behind Hall, Tite and Hedges, and even so the range of its dates (1044-1298) overlaps the range 1260-1390. Stephen E. Jones is thus wholly incorrect in his statement that “none of the three laboratories dated its sample to between 1260 and 1390” and consequently wholly incorrect in his impugning of Prof. Hedges.
    I think it may be an honest mistake, due to thinking that BP dates are calculable calendar dates, which is not so, but now I have made it clear, an apology might be appropriate.

    1. Why? This table is neither the one used by the 1988 radiocarbon dating, nor is it is the latest, nor is it easy to correlate BP dates to calendar ones. Insofar as it is helpful, it correlates the earliest BP date (795 BP) with 1225 AD, which is the single example outside the 1260-1390 range that I mentioned above.

    1. Schafersman is nothing but &^%*%$.

      This guy cannot argue in other ways than insulting everyone around, and boasting how smart he is, while others are nothing but “pseudosciensce”.And his obssesion about polarizing microscope -is it a kind of fetish for him?

  5. Jones tiene razón en parte.

    El “truco” a efectos populares consistió en ESTIRAR el rango (“confidence levels”), en utilizar el rango del 95% en vez del mucho más probable del 68%, y el propio trabajo de “Nature” así lo reconoce:

    “However, both methods agree that the major probability peak lies in the earlier of the two ranges, in the 68% range at the end of the thirteenth century.”

    Ver la Tabla 3 de Nature.

    Hedges trabajaba en el laboratorio de Oxford, por ello lo señala Jones, y el laboratorio de Oxford estiró un siglo la edad del lienzo pasando del año 1288 (68%) al año 1384 (95%).

    Utilizar el rango del 95% dice muy poco de la verdadera edad, es como el cruzarse con un hombre paseando por la calle y estimar que su edad está comprendida entre los 15 años y los 95 años……

    Carlos Otal

  6. Has anyone noticed that in case of all 4 samples (Shroud and controls) Arizona has the greatest scatter of the results, while the two others have much smaller?

    Look for example:

    http://www.shroud.com/nature.htm

    Table 1:

    Sample 1 (Shroud)

    Arizona max: 591 BP Arizona min 701 BP, Difference 110 BP
    Oxford max: 795 BP Oxford min 730 BP, Difference 65 BP
    Zurich max: 733 BP Zurich min 635 BP, Difference 98 BP

    Sample 2 (Control)

    Arizona max: 996 BP Arizona min 829 BP, Difference 165 BP
    Oxford max: 980 BP Oxford min 915 BP, Difference 65 BP
    Zurich max: 1036 BP Zurich min 890 BP, Difference 146 BP

    Sample 3 (Control)

    Arizona max: 2137 BP Arizona min 1838 BP, Difference 299 BP
    Oxford max: 1990 BP Oxford min 1955 BP, Difference 35 BP
    Zurich max: 1984 BP Zurich min 1886 BP, Difference 98 BP

    Sample 4 (Control)

    Arizona max: 825 BP Arizona min 602 BP, Difference 123 BP
    Oxford max: 790 BP Oxford min 710 BP, Difference 80 BP
    Zurich max: 760 BP Zurich min 646 BP, Difference 114 BP

    IN ALL CASES SCATTER OF ARIZONA > ZURICH >OXFORD !

    In what order the datings were performed?

    1. Arizona
    2. Zurich
    3. Oxford.

    THIS IS VERY SUSPICIOUS!!! Dan please, post it on the blog.

    1. Don’t forget that Arizona did not get its fair share initially, so a second piece had to be cut from the opposite end (encroaching onto the “retained” portion). That might explain at least some of the greater range, if not scatter in its results.

      1. Scatter of all samples including controls? I said: IN ALL CASES SCATTER OF ARIZONA > ZURICH >OXFORD !

        And the chronological order of datings was 1. Arizona 2. Zurich 3. Oxford. Do you think this is accidental. According to the protocoles all laboratories had to work independently and at the same time! But it is very likely that ALL raw data were secretly manipulated to look crispier, or some info between laboratories was shared how about sample properties so the results look better. Everyone who had laboratory courses during his studies knows how strong the temptation is to “improve” results, so they are closer to expected!

      2. PS: Better methinks to look first for technical factors that might account for greater scatter in data than to go leaping to conclusions re jiggery-pokery.

        For example: I see that Arizona was the only one of the three labs to have used detergents in their clean-up procedures (SDS and Triton X-100). That’s a bit brave, given the risk of adsorption and carbon-contamination (detergents being amphipaths that tend to stick to everything in sight). They say they used a final 60 minute Soxhlet extraction that hopefully would remove all traces of the detergents, but there should maybe have been some tritium-labelled detergent slipped in as an internal marker to check on efficiency of removal.

    2. No. Apart from getting your first max and min muddled, you have ignored the error bars and the calibrations.
      For the Shroud:
      The earliest Arizona date works out at 1259 AD, and the latest 1412 AD, a difference of 153 years.
      The earliest Oxford date works out at 1044 AD, and the latest 1388 AD, a difference of 344 years.
      The earliest Zurich date works out at 1167 AD, and the latest 1412 AD, a difference of 245 years.
      I won’t bother to check the control samples, but the range may not be as suspicious as you think!

      1. Hugh: Forget error bars, and callibrations for a moment. Just look at Table 1, BP dates only, max and min. I checked it half a dozen times, I cannot see error of mine.

        The regularity is quite obvious.

      2. Apart from getting your first max and min muddled, you’re quite correct about the raw data, but it translates into almost the opposite of what you claim when calibrated. Your suspicions cannot be said to be supported by your observations.

  7. O.K. :
    Scatter of all samples including controls? I said: IN ALL CASES SCATTER OF ARIZONA > ZURICH >OXFORD !
    And the chronological order of datings was 1. Arizona 2. Zurich 3. Oxford. Do you think this is accidental. According to the protocoles all laboratories had to work independently and at the same time! But it is very likely that ALL raw data were secretly manipulated to look crispier, or some info between laboratories was shared how about sample properties so the results look better. Everyone who had laboratory courses during his studies knows how strong the temptation is to “improve” results, so they are closer to expected!

    If you are unhappy with the look of the data, and suspect they are cooked, then why not call for a re-dating, using the retained sample, instead of turning your private misgivings into scurrilous allegations?

  8. I think everyone here would love to see a re-dating, except the labs. Ever notice how the labs are so quiet. You would think that they would be clamoring for a chance to show how right they were. I mean how can OK call for a re-dating without explaining why he thinks it is necessary. It is not a private misgiving. It is a reasonable possibility. We’ve already seen how foolish they were to accept bits of a single sample.

    1. This could run and run… :-(

      Cut the Gordian knot now. Repeat the radiocarbon dating, using the retained sample first. What was it for – if not as back-up in the event of dispute (correction: disputatious internet sniping)?

  9. A lot of subsequent posts popped in while I was researching my last. The thin Arizona piece was not dated at all, and is stored somewhere. The four Arizona dates come from little squares cut from half of their bigger piece, the other half being retained by Jull.

  10. Hugh Farey :
    Apart from getting your first max and min muddled, you’re quite correct about the raw data, but it translates into almost the opposite of what you claim when calibrated. Your suspicions cannot be said to be supported by your observations.

    Forget callibration, just scatter of BP data. Calibration (which depends on absolute values of BP dates not difference between max and min) can only distort the dating intervals due to the shape of calibration curve. The BP dates are what is actually measured. And the results of Oxford are less scattered for Zurich, which are less scattered than Arizona. For both the Shroud and all the samples. This matches the chronological order in which all the laboratories performed their datings.

    Can be this an accident?

  11. Can anyone give a list of Scientists who view the 1988 carbon dating as invalid or highly questionable, and call for another carbon dating test using different sample areas of the Shroud?

    1. yeah, it would be nice to see an independent review from an expert in this field. The review would question whether there is sufficient evidence to suggest the tests MAY be flawed. If the review answers ‘yes’ to this question, then it could recommend to undertake further tests. Or if it answers ‘no’, let’s just accept that and think of ways in which the shroud may have been ingeniously created.
      At the moment there seem to be a lot of theories floating about around the flaws in the tests, yet those theories seem to be being promoted by non-experts, noting that the ‘non-experts’ may have valid concerns (which need to be proeprly tested by experts).

      1. Let me rephrase the question slightly:

        It would be interesting to know:
        a) a list of experts in scientific archaeology and/or radiocarbon dating which question dating results 1988;
        b) a list of radiocarbon datings performed under similar control.

        I don’t know of one.

      2. Interestingly there is just a case involving the dating of the eruption on the island of Thera. Initially, radiocarbon dates from Egypt that seemed to reflect the layer of destruction came up with c. 1500 BC. Then a number of other tests, evidence from tree rings, etc., came up with the 1620s BC and corelated well with each other. Now some of the Egyptian tests are being redone and, as I understand it, the material is also being redated to the late seventeenth century. So it seems that the initial radiocarbon dates were out by a hundred or so years over 3,600 years.
        A recent study by the Belgian Royal Institute for Cultural heritage ( IRPA/KIK) analysed the radiocarbon dates of some four hundred Coptic textiles from before AD 1000 and considered that about one per cent of the dates were untrustworthy.

    2. One does not need to be a “Patchie” to feel that science and its reputation would be best served by having the radiocarbon dating repeated on a wider range of locations. In particular, one does not need to be a disciple of Raymond Rogers (RIP) to feel that any anomalous findings on the sampled corner, whether a valid re-analysis or not of covertly pulled threads from the Riggi archive, calls for a re-run to address misgivings.

      But don’t you find it strange that those who are most voluble in their contempt for the 1988 dating are so silent when it comes to re-testing? Ask them why. Expect to be told that it’s not just the patching, that there are innumerable other reasons why radiocarbon dating can never hope to give the right answer for ancient linen.You see, so many clever people have conjured up scenarios that attempt to invalidate even the best radiocarbon protocol (bioplastics, modern “hot” C-14 monoxide that has hot-footed its way down to Earth from the modern troposphere and attached to ancient linen, exotic features of one-off resurrection physics that would alter isotopic ratios). They have ways of dossier-drubbing us into submission, and when that does not work, they then tell us more in sadness than anger that it is our “world view” that is basically at fault, or that our formal education missed out on “critical thinking”, or proper appreciation of courtroom procedure and the rules of evidence.

      The Shroud, with or without its alleged C-14 invalidating patch, is fascinating not only as a unique artefact of mysterious provenance. It’s a microcosm of the human propensity to argue the hind leg off a donkey – to use my grandmother’s stock expression whenever meeting resistance to her down-to-earth common sense. She was a regular church-going Baptist, and her views on the Shroud would probably have had “they” in the answer, given a little extra emphasis… ;-)

  12. “But don’t you find it strange that those who are most voluble in their contempt for the 1988 dating are so silent when it comes to re-testing? Ask them why.”

    Ans: ‘Fool me once, shame on you! Fool me twice, shame on me!’

    Where is the Daniel, that could arbitrate the process, and so avoid the litany of errors of human failures, personal agendas and ambitions, and arrogance that permeated the 1988 farcical fiasco? And in your second breath, there’s no need to mention the Royal Society. Agreements broken, protocols set aside, ignorance and false assumptions about homogeneity, questionable sampling methods, all done in secrecy, Shall I go on …? And it’s not an attack on the labs. Nobody but nobody came out of it clean and pristine!

    1. Royal Society? I assume you meant to say British Museum …

      “Shall I go on …?” Please do. Get it right out of your system. Then we can hopefully make a start on seeking remedial solutions, like, you know, that proposal for re-testing.

  13. Charles Freeman :
    Interestingly there is just a case involving the dating of the eruption on the island of Thera. Initially, radiocarbon dates from Egypt that seemed to reflect the layer of destruction came up with c. 1500 BC. Then a number of other tests, evidence from tree rings, etc., came up with the 1620s BC and corelated well with each other. Now some of the Egyptian tests are being redone and, as I understand it, the material is also being redated to the late seventeenth century. So it seems that the initial radiocarbon dates were out by a hundred or so years over 3,600 years.
    A recent study by the Belgian Royal Institute for Cultural heritage ( IRPA/KIK) analysed the radiocarbon dates of some four hundred Coptic textiles from before AD 1000 and considered that about one per cent of the dates were untrustworthy.

    Ah yes, Charles. Thera, aka Santorini. Fascinating place. My wife and I were there earlier this year, in a boutique hotel perched right on the edge of the caldera.

    http://charioteers.org/2013/06/17/a-caldera-for-christina/

    One factor that might have caused some variability in radiocarbon dating was whether there was appreciable volcanic activity immediately prior to the big bang. That would have put extra ancient C14-depleted CO2 into the surrounding air, making trees and preserved timber seem a little older than they really are. There’s some support for that view in this link:

    http://www.c14dating.com/corr.html

  14. So let me get this straight: Bla bla, woof woof, “we’re not sure how old it is.” Got it. Thought everybody did, actually.

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