if a hacker wanted to break down the minority pro-authenticity resistance,
and reinforce the majority anti-authenticity prejudice . . .
Stephen Jones has restarted his conspiracy theory machinations to convince everyone who might read his blog that the results of the carbon dating of the Shroud of Turin were manipulated by a computer hacker in Arizona who hacked the computers in Arizona, Oxford, and Zurich. And possibly with help from the KGB.
A hacker with access to the AMS control console computer (as Timothy W. Linick did), could run a program which would intercept the output of the AMS radiocarbon dating program, en route to the computer’s screen and replace the Shroud’s first (or early due to contamination) century date with a date which, when calibrated, would be "1350 AD," for this very first run of carbon dating of the Shroud. Thereafter for Arizona and the other two laboratories the hacker’s program could replace the Shroud’s date with random dates within limits which, after calibration, displayed dates clustered around 1325 ±65. Finally the hacker’s program could automatically order its own deletion when the dating of the Shroud would have been completed (e.g. after 3 months), leaving no trace of its former existence.
Stephen at first thought the computers were networked. Then realizing they were not he supposed other methods like Linick sending out a code update before the tests. Now, wouldn’t it be an amazing discovery if someone could show that that happened? It was 1988, after all; things like computer security were more casual then. Even so, it seems implausible. Has Stephen chased this possibility down? If so, there is no mention of it. Instead, in another posting, he wrote:
Following Dr. Jull and Prof. Ramsey’s clarification that the AMS system computer was never online at the their two laboratories (and therefore presumably also not at Zurich), the hacker, or hackers, would have had to insert a program, or modify the existing program, manually and locally in each of the three laboratories. . . .That makes it more likely that the KGB was involved.
That is conspiracy theory 101.
Here is a taste of some convoluted logic that he just posted:
And because they were all nuclear physicists they did not realise how absurdly unlikely that date of 1350 was. Because since the Shroud is known to have existed from at least 1355, the flax would have had to have been harvested in 1350, retted under water for several months, spun into linen fibre, woven into a linen cloth, and then the image imprinted on the cloth, all within 5 years! Not to mention stitching and edging the cloth to match that which was found only at the first-century Jewish fortress of Masada (see "Linen sheet"].
"In 1532 the Shroud was being kept inside a silver casket stored in the Sainte Chapelle, Chambéry, when a fire nearly destroyed the building. The intense heat melted a corner of the casket, scorching the folded linen within, and producing the now familiar scorch marks on the Shroud. Since silver melts only at 960 degrees centigrade, the heat inside the casket must have been intense. In these circumstances moisture in the Shroud would turn to steam, probably at superheat, trapped in the folds and layers of the Shroud. Any contaminants on the cloth would be dissolved by the steam and forced not only into the weave and yarn, but also into the flax fibres’ very lumen and molecular structure. … contaminants would have become part of the chemistry of the flax fibres themselves and would be impossible to remove satisfactorily by surface actants and ultrasonic cleaning. More drastic treatments to destroy the contaminants would inevitably damage the flax fibres themselves".
And being all nuclear physicists, they would probably have been unaware that in 1350 the Shroud was was owned by the most honourable knight in France, Geoffrey I de Charny (c. 1300-1356), "who "wore on his epaulettes the motto `honour conquers all’ … wrote deeply religious poetry … was chosen by France’s king to carry into battle his country’s most sacred banner, the Oriflamme of St Denis, an honour accorded only to the very worthiest of individuals … died a hero, defending his king with his own body in the … battle of Poitiers" and "fourteen years after his death he was duly accorded a hero’s tomb, at royal expense …". So "It is extremely difficult to understand how such a man would have lent his name … to … fraud".
So the 1350 date must be wrong. But if a hacker wanted to break down the minority pro-authenticity resistance, and reinforce the majority anti-authenticity prejudice, and create a climate of expectation that subsequent datings would confirm that the Shroud was medieval, then 1350 was the date he would have used for that very first dating !
So the 1350 date must be wrong?
Picture is of Timothy W. Linick from a University of Arizona obituary.