What Lab Director is So Crazy?

imageBT writes from New London:

We say it and sometimes mean it. Redo the carbon dating. But what lab director is so crazy at to want to do it? Suppose the results turn out about the same; it would be 1989 all over, but this time on steroids. Consider the Hungarian Pray Manuscript. In the eyes of many people it proves that a 13th or 14th century provenance is wrong. The HPM is so convincing that people, forced to abandon the patch theory if the results are the same, will latch onto the notion that the resurrection added carbon 14 to the cloth. They will do so by the millions. And there are all the questions about Thymol, Vanillin, the Manchester Mummies, etc. etc. etc. A lab director knows that even if every i is dotted and every t crossed he or she will face years of harsh public criticism and condemnation. There is no percentage in that.

And what if the results turn out to be first century? Every skeptic alive will be crawling through the details looking for a bribe or evidence of swapped samples. Some will even be trying to prove that the shroud is a first century forgery made with a heated brass statue and some leeches employed as blood dispensers.

9 thoughts on “What Lab Director is So Crazy?”

  1. Scientists can only deliver the facts, dependent on their analytical methodology being reliable and being given representative samples to test. What other people do with the data – accept, reject, rubbish the methodology, or attempt to write off the sample as non-representative is entirely out of their control.

    If one fails to pursue and secure a verdict on the grounds that it will always be challenged, especially by those with a prior and entrenched presumption of guilt or innocence, then why bother with forensic testing? Indeed, why bother with courts of law?

    Repeat the testing. If nothing else, it will eliminate doubts as to statistical repeatability, based on the sampling from just the one corner, or those based on the suggestion that the existing data show a linear trend that, if repeated the entire length of the Shroud, could undermine the medieval provenance implied by 1260-1390.

    The neutron irradiation/C-14 thesis from Antonacci and others, while ingenious, is not a reason for not re-testing. Who would bother doing any science if all that was needed to block a needed test was someone popping up with “what if?” scenarios? Was Mark really sincere in wanting to scan the Shroud for Ca-41 and Cl-36? Or was it a mischievous attempt, exploited here, to induce others to say “Let’s not bother re-testing for C-14 on the assumption that the Antonacci hypothesis might just be right, even if it remains untested because the Vatican refuses him access to the Shroud.”

    I said a few days ago that if there was one more instance of an attempt on anyone’s part to claim that re-testing was a waste of time, I would be writing to the Vatican. That time has now come. BT, being anonymous, need not feel in the least bit embarrassed merely for being the last straw. It’s the heavy-weight baggage that preceded it that did most to break this camel’s back.

    Hope you can read this Dan. Here’s hoping things go well with the other eye too.

  2. When writing to the Vatican-attach a link to Google Scholar, and also to one of your own previous headings, for example, “Let’s pokum with hokum!” that should warrant particular clout & endearment. Writing to the Vatican, really? If the cloth were retested & dialed into the first century, would that be the end of it? You know it doesn’t work that way-a forger could have simply used an older cloth. Unlikely? Possible? Science is strongest at proving what the Shroud isn’t, not what it is. It doesn’t mean “consistent with” is worthless, not at all, quite the contrary, but that’s how science operates-ultimately it comes down to each individual weighing the evidence is his or her own mind, which can change-opinions are not always fixed. For those who strongly doubt the authenticity of the Shroud, what specific tests would be sufficient to “prove” it? Is C-14 or isotopic variants of other elements a deal breaker, or at least a game changer? As BT points out, even if (re)dated 1st century, the hamsters will be placed back into the wheel…Also, consider that it would be a tie, 1:1 in terms of dating results, wouldn’t there need to be a playoff?

    Best of luck with the eyes, Dan

    1. The C-14 labs (two of them anyway) are ‘alleged’ to still have pieces of their original samples. These samples could be reinvestigated, if not retested. Much to be learned from them. And as I said in another thread, the scientists linked to these labs have impeccable credentials. I would assume that when presented with new theories and observations about the samples (invisible weave theory, etc) these professional scientists would have jumped at the opportunity to confirm or deny these new theories — using the samples they had in their possession. Ray Rogers did, whatever critics may opine about his methodology and results.

      I’ll reiterate: sindonologists ‘diss’ the C-14 labs not because they came up with the ‘wrong’ answer but because when the answer was challenged (with new discoveries) the labs decided to remain pat. For whatever reason they stopped being scientists and started being apologists. Now if we’re not going to brook such behaviour from ‘Shroudies’ then the labs shouldn’t be given a free pass either.

      Those surviving samples (if they do exist) should be made available for new investigation. That is indeed how science works, regardless of how apologists on either side wish to then spin the results. The spin is bound to happen, but you don’t stop doing science because of it.

    2. Look what happened to the Vineland Map. Even after McCrone was proven wrong by the C14 date, they concluded it must’ve been forged on an old parchment. I guess the same will happen to the shroud.

  3. “If the cloth were retested & dialed into the first century, would that be the end of it? ”

    No, it would not, Dr. Kearse, as I was at pains to acknowledge.

    Why is it I have an image in my head of a certain at-threat top carnivore stranded on an ever-decreasing ice floe?

  4. colinsberry :
    “If the cloth were retested & dialed into the first century, would that be the end of it? ”
    No, it would not, Dr. Kearse, as I was at pains to acknowledge.
    Why is it I have an image in my head of a certain at-threat top carnivore stranded on an ever-decreasing ice floe?

    A hamster, I’m guessing…

  5. Kelly, if science has so far been unable to prove what the Shroud is, then it could be a supranormal phenomena, that is, a force from beyond acting in our world. That at least is what I learned in a course in Parapsychology, a subject recognised by the UN, one pioneer in the field being J.B.Rhine, at Duke University.

  6. Louis :
    Kelly, if science has so far been unable to prove what the Shroud is, then it could be a supranormal phenomena, that is, a force from beyond acting in our world. That at least is what I learned in a course in Parapsychology, a subject recognised by the UN, one pioneer in the field being J.B.Rhine, at Duke University.

    Yes, it certainly could be a supranormal phenomena, I would agree. I would also say that it could also be that more definitive scientific tests remain to be done that would argue the opposite. I don’t think one can assume that the scientific catalogue is completed, that everything has been done that could be done.

  7. That is the right approach, Kelly, simply because the scientific tests are by no means exhausted and, as you know, Pope John Paul II left the matter to science. Only if science fails to deliver a correct verdict can we appeal to supranormal phenomena.

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