I’ll try to keep an open mind for now.

imageStephen Jones is inching forward with the second part of Were the radiocarbon laboratories duped by a computer hacker?  (Here is part 1).

After stoking the fires of his incredulity a bit more, Stephen tells us  that Denis Dutton, a shroud skeptic, publicly predicted that if the Shroud was radiocarbon dated it would date to "A.D. 1335, plus or minus 30 years"

“So,” Stephen tells us, “a fraudster would know what date to aim for!” Then . . .

Agnostic art historian Thomas de Wesselow, who believes the Shroud is authentic but Jesus did not rise from the dead, on the basis of the art history evidence considers that the fourteenth-century radiocarbon date of the Shroud to be the equivalent of claiming that "the Shroud was deposited in medieval France by aliens":

"Given credence, the carbon-dating result effectively raises the Shroud to the status of a miracle, an object that defies, if not a law of nature, a law of culture. All artefacts are linked to the art and technology of the society in which they originate. Something that cannot be explained in terms of its (presumed) cultural context invites a supernatural explanation. As far as I am aware, no one has yet argued that the Shroud was deposited in medieval France by aliensThere is no better explanation, though, for a fourteenth-century Shroud." (de Wesselow, T., 2012, "The Sign: The Shroud of Turin and the Secret of the Resurrection," pp.167-168. My emphasis).

Therefore de Wesselow considers fraud to be a real possibility for the Shroud’s "1325 ± 65 years" radiocarbon date, and indeedbecause of it:

"The third possibility is that a fraud was perpetrated … Most sindonologists regard these fraud theories as plainly incredible. Some, like Ian Wilson, refuse to contemplate such `unworthy’ accusations. However, scientific fraud is by no means unknown, as the editors of science journals are well aware. … One important consideration weighs in favour of the possibility of deception. If the carbon-dating error was accidental, then it is a remarkable coincidence that the result tallies so well with the date always claimed by sceptics as the Shroud’s historical debut. But if fraud was involved, then it wouldn’t be a coincidence at all. Had anyone wished to discredit the Shroud, ‘1325 ± 65 years’ is precisely the sort of date they would have looked to achieve." (de Wesselow, 2012, p.170. My emphasis).

To be continued (and hopefully concluded) in. "Were the radiocarbon laboratories duped by a computer hacker? (3)".

In fairness to Stephen, check out Timeline of computer security hacker history on Wikipedia. Scroll down to 1988 and thereabouts.

I’ll try to keep an open mind for now. I believe Stephen will address the hacking at some point soon; for unless Stephen is right – he could be –  I’d hate to see this speculation become another well established rumor, e. g., Shroudies believe that the labs were hacked.


Unrelated tidbit: in 1989, the year the carbon dating was announced, Tim Berners-Lee, a scientist at CERN, created the world’s public first web page and the World Wide Web was born.