Jones: The Turin Shroud is authentic. Get over it!

imageStephen Jones clearly does not want more testing. First, he quotes a single sentence from an English language story in ANSA. Then he responds:


That has led to calls for more testing, which the Vatican has consistently refused.


I agree with the Vatican in this. The evidence already is overwhelming that the Shroud is authentic, so the sceptics should accept that it is authentic. And to radiocarbon date the Shroud again, this time properly, would require representative samples from every major area of the cloth, which would rightly be unacceptable to the Vatican. And because of the deeply contaminated state of the Shroud’s linen, it is unlikely that new tests would return a radiocarbon date of the first century (although it would be early). But if the new radiocarbon dates of the Shroud were anything but first century, Shroud sceptics would then claim that it showed the Shroud to be a fake!

So the Vatican’s answer to Shroud sceptics (and even Shroud pro-authenticists) who want another go at carbon dating the Shroud, should be: `The Turin Shroud is authentic. Get over it!’ (with apologies to Tom Chivers).

Of course, what Tom Chivers, an assistant comment editor at The Telegraph, said was:

The Turin Shroud is (almost certainly) fake. It makes no difference to anything. Get over it.

Sadly, in his latest blog posting, Stephen continues to push his ridiculous computer hacker hypothesis:

So it is a reasonable hypothesis that the University of Arizona’s radiocarbon dating laboratory (and those of the other two laboratories at Zurich and Oxford) were all interconnected and insecure, and were the unsuspecting victims of a computer hacker, who replaced the Shroud’s first (or early) century radiocarbon dates coming from each laboratories’ Accelerated Mass Spectrometer with 14th century dates, either as a practical joke by university students, or as a deliberate attempt to discredit the Shroud. That the very first date was the too good to be true date "1350 AD" and they all meekly accepted it, even those who thought the Shroud was authentic, adds weight to my `the laboratories were duped by a computer hacker’ hypothesis.

“And they all meekly accepted it.”?

Stephen, this hacker thing of yours, in my humble opinion, is pure conspiracy theory: imagination run wild. Get over it.

32 thoughts on “Jones: The Turin Shroud is authentic. Get over it!”

  1. Jones’s “overwhelming evidence” is significantly his personal interpretations of scripture or unsupported beliefs in images of coins and plants on the cloth. That is a big problem. To get at real truth more testing is essential.

  2. I think the Shroud is authentic, but I want more testing. I admit that I feel that it may be somewhat irreverent to keep testing what could be the Precious Blood of Jesus, but there are already enough blood samples floating around out there. Just take some small pieces from different parts of the cloth and carbon date them. If they come back 14th century, then it just confirms that the Shroud is not the actual burial cloth of Christ, but some kind of medieval oddity(a scorch, as theorized by colinsberry? Some kind of strange forgery? A miraculous image such as the tilma of Our Lady of Guadalupe?). If it dates to the 1st century, then we’re off to the races. And(as I suspect will happen) each piece has some anomalous date(2nd century, 6th century, etc), then each side can try to strengthen it’s argument for or against authenticity. I’m not as enamored of Pope Francis as some of my fellow Catholics, but I do believe God uses both the strengths and weaknesses of his servants, and maybe Francis will be the Pope who will say “what the hell!” and allow some more tests.

  3. What I fail to understand is: Why do people “fear” the authenticity of the Shroud so much. I know that the study of human behavior shows, with continuous denial, there is a sub-consciousness occurrence taking place. I surmise that the misinformation created by the media is strongly involved with creating this manifestation. As Barrie Schwortz stated in his presentation at St. John’s University, the media has misinformed all of us so that this story can continuously be sensationalized and produce profits. If the media reported the facts, this story would no longer be debated.

    1. Does anybody at all “fear” the authenticity of the shroud? Has anybody any evidence at all to support this common, but wholly unsubstantiated opinion? There are myth-busters, art historians, archaeologists and scientists who don’t think the shroud is authentic, but that is not evidence that they “fear” its authenticity. Are we sure this isn’t the paranoia of those who do believe in it?

      1. Who fears the authenticity of the Shroud will of course not make the feeling public. But it can be revealed unconsciously.

      2. How? Who? Is there any evidence for this unconscious fear of authenticity, or is this the kind of conspiracy theory that says: “There is no evidence for my theory, but that means it must be true, because only a really powerful conspiracy could keep itself that secret.”

      3. I find most people are indifferent to the Shroud. Even when you explain the highly improbable image, the response is like ‘so what?!’

  4. During some on-site research into Parapsychology it became evident to me at least that the sub-conscious houses strong emotions, generally related to experiences or tendencies that have been suppressed, traumas and also prejudice and hatred. Any fear of the authenticity of the Shroud could be a result of prejudice, anti-religious bias.
    Unfortunately some parts of the media work with insufficient data, being more interested in a scoop, or simply indulge in sensationalism, because it sells.

  5. Further to the above, a lot of unsubstantiated claims are made even in the field of biblical archaeology and in this case it can be scholars who cannot fill the dots and even then feed the media with wrong information and write books. Not only to make their own money and fill the coffers of some publishing houses, but also to feel satisfied because of the prejudices they harbour.

    Take the case of the James ossuary, where the Israeli authorities returned the artifact to the owner Oded Golan because it was bought from an antiquities dealer before 1978 (it therefore did not come from the Talpiot tomb) and no judgment was passed about the authenticity of the inscription because it was not a part of the trial.

    The judge did not have much choice because the Coptic Christian forger Marco Samah Shoukri Ghatas, living in Egypt, refused to go to the trial. He had admitted that he forged at least 20 inscriptions for Golan.

  6. I think whoever reads about what is going on in the world will not doubt what I have commented. I am not one given to spoon-feeding anyone, particularly when it comes to something that can be gauged when the correct sources of information, also available over the Internet, are consulted. I still feel that Turin will one day have to take out Shroudie and former FBI Special Agent Phil Dayvault’s proposal from the drawer. I trust that Phil will not be classified as a paranoid (#4).

  7. Sorry, Louis, but I read about what is going on in the world, and I doubt what you have commented. I don’t think there is any fear of the authenticity of the shroud, and you don’t seem to be able to demonstrate that there is. There may well be a suspicion, even a hope, that people who don’t think the shroud is genuine are afraid of the power of the supernatural, but without evidence, that’s all it is, a vague, and to my mind slightly paranoid, opinion.

  8. Hugh, I think you’ve not read enough, but let’s keep this aside for a while. For now I am more interested in your response as BSTS newsletter editor and science expert to what I posted on the “As long as these results are not refuted..” thread.

  9. Dan, your “no Shroud testing” graphic and your claim that “Jones clearly does not want more testing” is misleading. I have in the past stated on my blog I am not against further testing of the Shroud and that is still my position.

    In the context it is only radiocarbon dating that I was referring to. And it isn’t that I am against radiocarbon dating, but that given that: a) there is so much evidence for the Shroud’s authenticity, b) further radiocarbon dating be unlikely to be conclusive; and c) it would have to destroy more and from all areas of the Shroud to be representative. However, if the Vatican allowed a new round of radiocarbon dating, I would not be against it.

    If such a C-14 test was conducted properly this time I would confidently expect the C-14 date of the Shroud to be a lot closer to the 1st century, but because of centuries of contamination which has become part of the Shroud’s carbon, I would not be surprised if it was 4th century.

    As for your term “ridiculous computer hacker hypothesis” you are entitled to your opinion. But as (from memory) you are merely an ex-businessman on social security with no science qualifications, I see no reason why I should be swayed by it. Your running a blog and issuing editorials from `on high’ blasting the views if those you disagree with (like me) as “ridiculous,” while it may `poison the well’ against me in the minds of some of your readers, does not make you right.

    I have stated the evidence for my `the laboratories were duped by a computer hacker’ theory:

    1. As Clifford Stoll revealed in his 1989 book, “The Cockoo’s Egg”, in the 1980s university computers were all interconnected; and they were poorly secured. I mentioned in passing that not long after that era, in the early 1990s, I was a UNIX Systems Administrator of a widely distributed hospital computer network, I have some expertise in that area.

    2. In the very era the Shroud was being C-14 dated, 1980s, there were numerous successful unauthorised hacks of university and even military computers. The hacker, Markus Hess, who hacked into Stoll’s Berkeley University computer network, was dialing in from Germany and hacked into 400 different university and military computers.

    3. The very first AMS date of the Shroud at Arizona University’s C-14 lab was the `bull’s eye’ date AD1350.

    4. Gove and those present, including those who thought the Shroud was authentic uncritically accepted that date as the date the Shroud’s flax was harvested. Even though before the test Gove thought the Shroud would date from 1000 +/- 100 years.

    5. So if a hacker by that `perfect date’ was using shrewd psychology to overcome resistance, it worked!

    6. But for that AD 1350 date to be true: a) the flax would have to have been harvested only 5 years before the Shroud was displayed at Lirey, France, in 1355; and 2) Arizona laboratory’s pre-treatment would have had to be perfect-removing all traces of non-original carbon.

    7. Agnostic Thomas de Wesselow considers fraud to be a real possibility in the 1988 C-14 dating of the Shroud, because the 1325 +/- 65 years C-14 date of the Shroud is just what a fraudster who wished to discredit the Shroud would use.

    8. Ian Wilson, who knew many of the labs’ leadership, believes they were basically honest. But fraud did not have to be by the laboratories. Computer hacking is a type of fraud which could have duped the laboratories because most of those dating the Shroud thought the Shroud was a fake.

    My theory that a hacker accessed the online control console computer at the three C-14 labs and overrode the Shroud’s dates coming from their same AMS dating systems, and replaced them with 14th century dates, which together produced a date of the Shroud, the midpoint of which is only 25-30 years before the Shroud appeared at Lirey in the 1350s, fits all the above facts. It is not impossible, given the interconnected and insecure university computers of the 1980s, and given the inexplicability of the 1988 AD 1260-1390 C-14 dating of the Shroud, it is a real possibility, if not a probability,

    Stephen E. Jones

  10. Stephen 8 points of evidence are indeed quite clear, which makes it easy to explain clearly why they are, in fact, not evidence at all.

    1) Hacking had started before 1988. So it had. So what? That’s not evidence that the Tucson Radiocarbon laboratory was hacked, or any of the others.

    2) Hacking had started before 1988. This is the same piece of evidence as No 1, expressed differently.

    3) The date of the shroud’s manufacture matches the date of the shroud’s manufacture. That’s not evidence of hacking; it’s evidence of accuracy. 1350 is not a “bulls eye date” and the date found by the C-14 labs was 1260-1390, whose midpoint is not 1350 anyway.

    4) Gove accepted the C-14 date. That’s not evidence of hacking.

    5) If the shroud was hacked, it was well done. That’s not evidence of hacking.

    6) If the shroud dated from between 1260-1390, the C-14 dating had to be perfectly accurate. This is nonsense; a 130 year range is not perfectly accurate.

    7) Thomas de Wesselow thinks fraud a possibility. That’s not evidence of hacking.

    8) Ian Wilson does not think fraud a possibility. That’s not evidence of hacking.
    8a) The fraud could have been carried out without anybody knowing. I dare say it could, but that’s not evidence that it was.

    “Ridiculous computer hacker hypothesis.” Steady on, Dan, that’s a bit steep…. er……..

  11. It had been asserted that the world wide web was not operational in 1988, and that therefore the computer hacking hypothesis was “ridiculous”. Stephen has demonstrated that university and military computers were inter-connected at this time, and that well-known hacking events occurred. So this makes the hypothesis possible and even plausible. But I think it unlikely. The Marino / Benford / Rogers assertions of an “invisible patch” possibly even 19th century, are a much more likely reason for the mis-dating, aided by the non-representative sampling regime and the ditching of the protocols, and the refusal to carry out any other tests on the samples. Gilbert Raes had already determined in 1973 that the area had cotton contamination, whereas his sample from the main cloth did not. This fact was obviously carelessly overlooked when the choice of the C14 sample area was made.

    Scientific methods continue to advance, and doubtless there will come a time when more conclusive and non-intrusive methods will allow more conclusive results to be obtained. We should wait and see what may transpire in the future.

    1. Wise words, as ever, daveb. Although I don’t think Raes ever had a chance to examine the rest of the cloth closely. In the pre-STURP days it was widely assumed the whole shroud was a mixture of linen and cotton, based solely on Raes’s findings about his sample.

    2. And C14 (1988) post-dates STURP (1978) who studied the question and found no other cotton elsewhere, except for minor surface contamination. It does seem careless to have ignored the Raes discovery in this area!

  12. Fantastic points and comments. With religion being weaved into society and the artifact, it would be nearly impossible not to have subconscious biased theories even if they were suppressed. I’ve been thoroughly impressed with Barry Schwortz and his media presentations, even more so with this consideration.

  13. The Shroud is authentic!

    Thus far, the most important scientific evidence for the erroneous C-14 date is the absence of vanillin.

    Since the Shroud has lost ALL its vanillin, then obviously it is over 1,300 years of age.

    With that in mind, the reported C-14 dating of the Shroud (13-14th century) cannot possibly be correct, leading one to conclude the testing samples acquired by the three labs were contaminated in some manner or form.

    The only way to obtain a correct C-14 date is with a pure sample of the linen.


      1. Mike, I agree, especially since the first picture of the Hungarian Pray Codex depicts the body image of Jesus with the right hand over the left with both thumbs missing, exactly as that displayed on the Turin Shroud.

        The second drawing of the manuscript details the unusual weave that is representative of the 3:1 herringbone linen twill on the Shroud.

        Thomas De Wesselow, who has written a wonderful book titled “The Sign,” stated the Pray Manuscript was produced 1192-1195 AD and this certainly predates the C-14 result obtained from the three labs (1260 – 1390 AD).


    1. “Since the Shroud has lost ALL its vanillin, then obviously it is over 1,300 years of age.”

      Hi Angel. Thanks for your commment. I was not aware that the absence of vanillin from a sample of linen necessarily demonstrates that it must be over 1300 years old. I rather thought vanillin loss depended on a number of factors, heat probably being the most important. Can you provide a reference for your “statement of the obvious”?

      1. Hi Hugh,

        Thomas De Wesselow’s book, “The Sign,” (P. 111-112) gives a detailed description of the scientific tests for lignin (lignin produces vanillin) that were performed by Ray Rogers and Stanley Kosiewicz of Los Alamos National Laboratory.

        What was stated (quoting from De Wesselow’s book) is the Shroud contains no vanillin and was calculated by Rogers that in order to lose 95% of its vanillin, a piece of linen would have to be 1,319 years old, if stored at 25 degrees C and the same piece of linen would be 3,095 years of age, if it was stored at 20 degrees C.

        The conclusion was the Shroud is unlikely to date from after 700 AD, since it is vanillin-free and that the Shroud is more than 1,300 years of age and may very well have been produced in 1st century Judaea, like cloth found with the Dead Sea Scrolls.

        “The Sign,” by Thomas De Wesselow is extremely informative and a great read; similar to Ian Wilson’s, “The Shroud of Turin.”



  14. ‘STURP physicist Dr. John Jackson and chemist Dr. Keith Propp write that if the temperature incurred by the Shroud [in the fire of 1532] was just 200o C that it would lose 95% of its vanillin in a mere 6.4 seconds.’ That comes from Mark Antonacci’s paper on Roger’s vanillin thesis ( et alia) on, January 21st, 2006. I have no idea whether this is true or not but if it is it completely destroys any chance of using vanillin, or the lack of it, as a means of dating the Shroud.

    1. John Jackson also hypothesized that the CO produced during the fire would skew the C14 date. We can’t possibly know how much heat penetrated from the outside of the box to the inside during the fire, did someone experiment under similar conditions? This is mere speculations.

  15. If jackson is correct in asserting that the 1532 fire would result in the Shroud losing 95% of its vanillin, (and presumably if the temp was higher than 200o C it would be more than 95%), then clearly the presumed patch post-dated 1532.

    Thus in his Thermochemica paper, Rogers writes:
    “…[Claims 37% of vanillin if 1260 correct]… The Raes threads,
    the Holland cloth, and all other medieval linens gave the test
    for vanillin wherever lignin could be observed on growth
    nodes. The disappearance of all traces of vanillin from the
    lignin in the shroud indicates a much older age than the radiocarbon laboratories reported.”

    Click to access ROGERS-3.PDF

    I have just spent most of a sunny afternoon attempting to search on vanillin. Perhaps the best resource concerning the anomalous nature of the C14 sample is the 2008 paper by Marino and Prior: “Chronological History of the Evidence for the Anomalous Nature of the C-14 Sample Area of the Shroud of Turin” which lists over 46 items of scientific evidence, plus an Appendix. It’s heavy going but well worth reading.

    1. Sunny afternoon…. Lucky you, we’ve had a blizzard here in Canada all day. We received 25 cms of snow. Enjoy the sun !

  16. Yes and no. Rogers’s calculations about the loss of vanillin from linen over time were wholly mathematical and depended on a number of constants which were assumed rather than measured. I do not know if any actual measurements have been made on old linen to check whether his equations really apply or not. He himself was well aware of the limitations of his exercise, and did not commit himself to any specific dates, being content to demonstrate that his C-14 sample was observed to contain some vanillin, while his shroud sample did not. That in itself is an important finding, and ought to be confirmed. Jackson’s hypothesis that CO could skew the C14 content of cloth was experimented on in Oxford with negative results.

    1. Hugh, I tend to the view that the rate of disappearance of vanillin from linen is so temperature dependent that it is almost worthless as an age determinant, unless it is reasonably certain that the object has been stored at a fairly constant temperature, which would be rare for many artifacts, possibly even extending to mummy wrappings in Egyptian tombs. However in the case of the Shroud, the presence of vanillin in the Raes area would almost certainly indicate that repairs were carried out there post-1532, especially if the fire had eliminated vanillin in the original cloth. This would seem to be a most important conclusion. I think we can forget the Jackson hypothesis on CO contamination skewing the C-14 results. I recently read that C14 proved unreliable in dating snail shells because of the absorption of older carbon in CaCO3, and that it was also unreliable in peat samples in which more recent vegetable growth had occurred. So there are caveats.

      1. I agree with that.
        And you’re quite right about the anomalous dating of snails and virtually all marine organisms. A lot of their carbon is obtained from dissolved CO2, which in turn can derive from old carbonates as well as atmospheric CO2. This was given as the explanation for Richard III’s bones dating from before their ‘correct’ date, as he was assumed to have eaten a lot of seafood. It is probably also the explanation for the famous ibis anomaly, if the bird’s diet was largely aquatic, while its wrappings came from atmospheric photosynthesis.

  17. Hugh Farey :
    I agree with that.
    And you’re quite right about the anomalous dating of snails and virtually all marine organisms. A lot of their carbon is obtained from dissolved CO2, which in turn can derive from old carbonates as well as atmospheric CO2. This was given as the explanation for Richard III’s bones dating from before their ‘correct’ date, as he was assumed to have eaten a lot of seafood. It is probably also the explanation for the famous ibis anomaly, if the bird’s diet was largely aquatic, while its wrappings came from atmospheric photosynthesis.

    Well Jesus did hang around with a lot of fishermen…;)

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