Some of you have heard this story before but it bears repeating in this context.
In late 2001, Sue and [I] [pictured together] submitted to Radiocarbon our Orvieto paper. In a letter dated January 1, 2002, Dr. Timothy Jull, editor of the journal Radiocarbon, and one of the scientists from the University of Arizona laboratory that dated the Shroud in 1988, sent Sue and me a reply regarding the submission of our C-14 paper. For those not familiar with the process by which papers are published in scientific journals, the editor chooses various reviewers, usually anonymous to the author and supposedly objective, who then make suggestions to the author(s) on how to make the paper better. After changes are made, the reviewers read the paper again, and make their recommendations to the editor as to whether the paper should be published or not. However, the final decision is in the hands of the editor. The review of our paper was out of the ordinary insofar as the reviewers were revealed to us, something that normally doesn’t occur. They were all originally directly involved in the specific topic of our paper, the 1988 Shroud C-14 dating. It was our contention that the C-14 dating was skewed due to the presence of a sixteenth century repair. Here is a list of the reviewers of our paper:
- Paul Damon, head of the Arizona laboratory that participated in the 1988 Shroud dating
- Jacques Evin, French C-14 expert present at the 1988 sample-taking
- The late Gabriel Vial, French textile expert present at the 1988 sample taking
- Franco Testore, Italian French textile expert present at the 1988 sample taking
- Harry Gove, inventor of the AMS radiocarbon dating method, who had literally bet a companion that the Shroud was medieval and was heavily involved in various aspects of the dating
What were the chances that any of these men, each of whom would publicly look bad if our theory were correct, would want to see our paper published? The answer was obvious. Needless to say, our paper was not accepted. Most interesting was a comment by Evin, who wrote in the review sent by the editor to Sue and me:
The authors, who, for several reasons, are convinced that the shroud is authentic, want to publish an article in Radiocarbon only to introduce a doubt about the dating. All people involved in the sampling and in laboratory analyses, will be very angry with these suspicions turning on so an important mistake or a misconduct…
Enigmatic comment by Evin, is it not?
How fair or ethical was of it of Radiocarbon to use reviewers who were directly or closely involved with the Shroud C-14 dating?