Still No Consensus on Shroud of Turin’s Age: Science & Religion Today

Stephan Mapes has a good posting at Science and Religion Today:

I was at the Ohio conference. There is little question about the fact that the samples tested by the Los Alamos team, 27 fibers in all, taken from the carbon dating sample region, are not part of the shroud. The formal paper will be published later this year.

As for the Jackson carbon monoxide contamination theory, none of the chemists or physicists at the conference took it very seriously. Of course, none of us have seen any details from Jackson. It would be nice if he would release something with technical substance.

The next big player will be Christopher Ramsey of Oxford. Yes, he will examine Jackson’s work. But he will also be examining the Los Alamos work, Rogers’ work and the sampling problems seriously.

Continue reading “Still No Consensus on Shroud of Turin’s Age: Science & Religion Today”

Amusing Mistake in a Shroud of Turin Story Headline

LANL: The Rest of the Story blog alerts us to the fact that Society and Religion had to change the headline of their posting of the press release that came out of the Ohio State University Shroud of Turin Conference

  • from: Los Alamos National Laboratory chemist brands Shroud of Turin as medieval fake
  • to: New findings reveal that the sample used to carbon-date the Shroud of Turin was not the original linen

Do you wonder if they read the press release before inventing a headline? To their credit they acknowledge the error.

Here is the first comment they received:

Your headline is 180 degrees from the truth — absolutely wrong! The Los Alamos scientist, Robert Villarreal, did not say the Turin Shroud is a medieval fake. On the contrary, he said the sample of cloth used in the l988 radiocarbon testing was cotton and could not have come from the Shroud, which is pure linen. Therefore, he said, the 1988 C-14 testing, which ostensibly showed the Shroud as of medieval origin, was in error and based on a fake sample. Please correct your headline.

Hat tip to LANL: The Rest of the Story

L.A. Marzulli’s Blog New Evidence on the Shroud of Turin

Well written posting. Up to date on the latest Los Alamos findings:

I have gone on the record defending the authenticity of the Shroud and will do so again with this post.

See New Evidence on the Shroud of Turin! « L.A. Marzulli’s Blog

The Shroud of Turin and those strips of linen in the Bible

Bill Cork, an associate pastor of the Houston International Seventh-day Adventist Church in Houston, Texas has a different take in his blog Oak Leaves:

History and science … say it’s a painting, a forgery created in the 14th century, when conniving clergy conspired to wrest coins from the hands of credulous commoners. Now, some “true believers” still try to tell us it’s a miracle.

Even apart from science and history, the purported shroud is not what Scripture describes: strips of linen and a separate face cloth.

Needless to say, I disagree with Bill’s take. Indeed history argues and science suggests that it may be the authentic burial cloth of Jesus. See the Fact Check tab at the top of this page. As for biblical interpretation, if the history and the science conforms, then great. If it does not, as is the case for evolution (which I believe in completely) then we need to see how it fits into our apologia. The strips argument and the second face cloth is not justified. Indeed, if our understanding of Jewish burial of the late-Second Temple period is correct, there is a shroud, a face cloth that is removed from the face before burial, and some linen strips used for binding wrists and jaw.

For more information on the science and history of the shroud see Shroud of Turin Story

Bill’s posting is at The Shroud of Turin « Oak Leaves

Dinesh D’Souza and Atheism

Interesting: From an interview by Bernard Chapin with Dinesh D’Souza in Intellectual Conservative:

Dinesh D’Souza: I think we’re seeing something very new right now. For the first time, atheism is being presented as a serious option for young people. A generation ago atheists were represented by the likes of Madeline Murray O’Hare who was not a very attractive poster child for the movement. Today atheism comes in a stylish disguise and is defended by witty debaters. They have mounted a strong attack on religion and claim that atheism is more moral than Christianity. Atheist works have dominated the best seller list for the last two years, and so I thought the time was right to mount a serious counter attack.

From Intellectual Conservative Politics and Philosophy

Dates for 2010 Exhibition of the Shroud of Turin

Shroud of Turin FaceSindone News is reporting that the dates for the 2010 Shroud exposition will be between April 10 and May 15 or 22 , 2010. This has not yet been officially confirmed.

Sort of Strange Shroud of Turin News Coverage

If you read the stories rolling out in the papers in the last two or three day you get the idea that two people, John and Rebecca Jackson, are, all by themselves challenging the carbon 14 dating of the Shroud of Turin. You might even get the idea that they are onto something significant. Why even Christopher Ramsey of the Oxford Radiocarbon dating lab is quoted about problems in the carbon dating. And you might get the idea that he is thinking seriously about John and Rebecca’s carbon monoxide hypothesis.

Now, this past weekend, at Ohio State University, a conference of about 85 researchers were meeting. Most were scientists. And carbon 14 dating of the shroud was the big topic. Not one person there considered the John and Rebecca proposal viable. But, and this is a big but, we heard some exciting news. Using some of the most advanced analytical equipment available, a team of nine scientists lead by Robert Villarreal at the famed Los Alamos National Laboratory confirmed that the material used for radiocarbon dating of the shroud in 1988 was not part of the shroud’s fabric. Previously, micro-chemical tests had demonstrated that the cloth is at least twice as old as the medieval date determined by the now discredited carbon 14 tests. This gives new life to historical and forensic arguments that suggest that the shroud might be the burial cloth of Jesus.

And yesterday, Chemistry Today, carried a peer-reviewed scientific paper that is in support of Los Alamos study. And that article explains that the John and Rebecca idea won’t cut it.

PRESS RELEASE

COLUMBUS, Ohio, August 15 — In his presentation today at The Ohio State University’s Blackwell Center, Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) chemist, Robert Villarreal, disclosed startling new findings proving that the sample of material used in 1988 to Carbon-14 (C-14) date the Shroud of Turin, which categorized the cloth as a medieval fake, could not have been from the original linen cloth because it was cotton. According to Villarreal, who lead the LANL team working on the project, thread samples they examined from directly adjacent to the C-14 sampling area were “definitely not linen” and, instead, matched cotton. Villarreal pointed out that “the [1988] age-dating process failed to recognize one of the first rules of analytical chemistry that any sample taken for characterization of an area or population must necessarily be representative of the whole. The part must be representative of the whole. Our analyses of the three thread samples taken from the Raes and C-14 sampling corner showed that this was not the case.” Villarreal also revealed that, during testing, one of the threads came apart in the middle forming two separate pieces. A surface resin, that may have been holding the two pieces together, fell off and was analyzed. Surprisingly, the two ends of the thread had different chemical compositions, lending credence to the theory that the threads were spliced together during a repair.

LANL’s work confirms the research published in Thermochimica Acta (Jan. 2005) by the late Raymond Rogers, a chemist who had studied actual C-14 samples and concluded the sample was not part of the original cloth possibly due to the area having been repaired. This hypothesis was presented by M. Sue Benford and Joseph G. Marino in Orvieto, Italy in 2000. Benford and Marino proposed that a 16th Century patch of cotton/linen material was skillfully spliced into the 1st Century original Shroud cloth in the region ultimately used for dating. The intermixed threads combined to give the dates found by the labs ranging between 1260 and 1390 AD. Benford and Marino contend that this expert repair was necessary to disguise an unauthorized relic taken from the corner of the cloth. A paper presented today at the conference by Benford and Marino, and to be published in the July/August issue of the international journal Chemistry Today, provided additional corroborating evidence for the repair theory.

Off Topic Quote for Today

A true moralist, after years of study and thought, works out a rule of life and sticks to it. A false moralist expects everybody else to stick to it.

Source: Of course, I could be wrong…: madpriest’s thought for the day

Swedish pedestrians receive secret message from God

Yes, this story is true. Now maybe they can use the face from the Shroud of Turin as a signal light.

Anyone living in Sweden or the Nordic countries will almost certainly have seen the image of a hand pointing upwards to encourage pedestrians to press the button before crossing the road.
Prisma Teknik AB, the Swedish company behind the pedestrian signals, has now admitted that the hand is meant as a hidden symbol for God. In fact, the company says it has never made any secret of the fact.

“We want to show that there is only one way to reach God and that is up and through Jesus”, CEO Jan Lund told The Local.
Though Sweden is not particularly religious, with church attendances consistently low, the country still contains some pockets of religious fervour. One of these appears to be located at Prisma Teknik, a company that supplies pedestrian signals and other technical devices to 60 markets around the world.

Prisma Teknik AB is a family-run business based in the southern Swedish county of Småland, an area with a reputation as Sweden’s bible belt. 

CEO Jan Lund told The Local that the company’s signals point the way to God in 17 countries including Ireland, Austria, Denmark, Norway, Iceland, Finland, Belgium, Israel, and the US among others.

Prisma Teknik’s hand points upwards, much in the way that many religious icons or pictures of Jesus have done through the ages. Lund told The Local that this was entirely intentional.

However, Prisma Teknik’s hand of God does not go down quite so well with its Muslim clients in the Arab world, who are much more aware of the hidden Christian message than your average Swede.
Even so, the Swedish Christian company still supplies pedestrian signal signs to customers in Saudi Arabia, who promptly cover up the hand when it arrives in the Arab state.

The Local asked Jan Lund why his company does not simply manufacture a special pedestrian signal without the iconic index finger for the Arab market.

“We want to be a servant of God and we have been blessed as a company for 21 years, so we won’t change for anyone”, he said.

Swedish pedestrians receive secret message from God – The Local

Off Topic Quote for Today

A true moralist, after years of study and thought, works out a rule of life and sticks to it. A false moralist expects everybody else to stick to it.

Source: Of course, I could be wrong…: madpriest’s thought for the day

Los Alamos National Laboratory team of nine scientists prove carbon 14 dating of the Shroud of Turin wrong

carbon14 Using some of the most advanced analytical equipment available, a team of nine scientists at the famed Los Alamos National Laboratory confirmed that the material used for radiocarbon dating of the shroud in 1988 was not part of the shroud’s fabric. Previously, micro-chemical tests had demonstrated that the cloth is at least twice as old as the medieval date determined by the now discredited carbon 14 tests. This gives new life to historical and forensic arguments that suggest that the shroud might be the burial cloth of Jesus.

PRESS RELEASE

COLUMBUS, Ohio, August 15 — In his presentation today at The Ohio State University’s Blackwell Center, Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) chemist, Robert Villarreal, disclosed startling new findings proving that the sample of material used in 1988 to Carbon-14 (C-14) date the Shroud of Turin, which categorized the cloth as a medieval fake, could not have been from the original linen cloth because it was cotton. According to Villarreal, who lead the LANL team working on the project, thread samples they examined from directly adjacent to the C-14 sampling area were “definitely not linen” and, instead, matched cotton. Villarreal pointed out that “the [1988] age-dating process failed to recognize one of the first rules of analytical chemistry that any sample taken for characterization of an area or population must necessarily be representative of the whole. The part must be representative of the whole. Our analyses of the three thread samples taken from the Raes and C-14 sampling corner showed that this was not the case.” Villarreal also revealed that, during testing, one of the threads came apart in the middle forming two separate pieces. A surface resin, that may have been holding the two pieces together, fell off and was analyzed. Surprisingly, the two ends of the thread had different chemical compositions, lending credence to the theory that the threads were spliced together during a repair.

LANL’s work confirms the research published in Thermochimica Acta (Jan. 2005) by the late Raymond Rogers, a chemist who had studied actual C-14 samples and concluded the sample was not part of the original cloth possibly due to the area having been repaired. This hypothesis was presented by M. Sue Benford and Joseph G. Marino in Orvieto, Italy in 2000. Benford and Marino proposed that a 16th Century patch of cotton/linen material was skillfully spliced into the 1st Century original Shroud cloth in the region ultimately used for dating. The intermixed threads combined to give the dates found by the labs ranging between 1260 and 1390 AD. Benford and Marino contend that this expert repair was necessary to disguise an unauthorized relic taken from the corner of the cloth. A paper presented today at the conference by Benford and Marino, and to be published in the July/August issue of the international journal Chemistry Today, provided additional corroborating evidence for the repair theory.

Source: GOD, CHRIST: QUESTIONS & FAITH: Team of scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory prove the carbon 14 dating of the Shroud of Turin was invalid.

Oh, Really: Debating the Shroud of Turin Incorrectly

Messing with Sasquatch — and the Shroud of Turin Asbury Park Press. Fred Simmonds writes:

The Shroud of Turin and Bigfoot are in the news, and the debates about them are similar.

Oh really? How do you compare two self-defined Sasquatch hunters with a hundred scientists, historians and researchers meeting at Ohio State University to discuss and present peer-reviewed findings and papers and find that similar? How do you compare self promoting, self published Sasquatch book writers with dozens of peer-reviewed articles in ethical scientific journals, thousands upon thousands of hours of hard science?

The faithful question the validity of tests on the Shroud and the purported remains of a Sasquatch. Detractors say the Shroud and Bigfoot legends were invented for marketing purposes.

That is true. Detractors will say that. I’ll give Fred that.

Researchers who dispute the results of radiocarbon dating of the Shroud will challenge those findings in the hope of conducting new tests to determine the age — and thus the authenticity — of what many believe is the burial cloth of Jesus Christ.

Actually, there is significant debate about the merits of conducting new tests without an international, secular oriented group of scientists first developing new protocols. This could take years. And caution is important in science.

Tests by three laboratories in 1988 showed that the shroud originated in the Middle Ages and not Biblical times, leaving what the Los Angeles Times called the “shroud crowd” reeling.

However, John Jackson, a University of Colorado physicist, hypothesizes that contamination of the cloth by elevated levels of carbon monoxide skewed the 1988 carbon-14 dating by 1,300 years.

Actually, if this reporter had bothered to do some research he might have discovered that this carbon monoxide hypothesis is pretty much ignored by scientists. In fact, at the conference in Ohio, it wasn’t discussed except for perhaps with an “oh brother” exasperation.  The fact of the matter is, as this reporter might have learned, using some of the most advanced analytical equipment available, a team of nine scientists at the famed Los Alamos National Laboratory confirmed that the material used for radiocarbon dating of the shroud in 1988 was not part of the shroud’s fabric. Previously, micro-chemical tests had demonstrated that the cloth is at least twice as old as the medieval date determined by the now discredited carbon 14 tests. This gives new life to historical and forensic arguments that suggest that the shroud might be the burial cloth of Jesus. That is what they are really saying, and they are being very scientific and very careful in what they say. How does that compare?

That’s crucial, because the historical record of the shroud dates to 1349, when a French knight wrote to the pope about a cloth he described as the burial shroud of Christ.

Actually, that isn’t true either. An historian knows that there are gaps in the historical record of just about anything. Historians bridge gaps. Easy skeptics laud them as evidence, which is a classic case of proving something by absence of evidence. There is actually good evidence from 1207 that Othon de la Roche, the French “Lord of Athens” had the cloth, taken from Constantinople in 1204. That this same cloth was moved from Edessa in the 10th Century, where it had been since about 544 CE. Oh, and by the way there is other documentation of the cloth that is the Shroud from 1192. But there is a gap in written material from about 1207 to 1349 due to the destruction of the library at the cathedral in Besancon, France.

Shroud skeptics maintain that the cloth is a forgery created by a medieval artist seeking to display it to relic-hungry pilgrims, the Los Angeles Times said in its story.

Yes, they do. Claims that are unsubstantiated are hardly evidence.

The Bigfoot claims will not stand up to the light of modern day science, and for good reason. The mystery of the Shroud, though, will be enduring.

Why does Fred think so? That would be nice to know. Read Fred’s Weather: Messing with Sasquatch — and the Shroud of Turin | APP.com | Asbury Park Press

Significant Article in Chemistry Today Discrepancies in the radiocarbon dating area of the Turin shroud

cover-CO4-08 There is a twelve page peer-reviewed article in a scientific journal that explains and confirms the findings presented at the Ohio State University Shroud of Turin Conference: The carbon dating of the Shroud was wrong. In scientific terms this means simply that the cloth remains undated, however, it is at least twice as old as the C14 date and quite possibly 1st Century.

As with many peer-reviewed scientific journals, this article is available without charge for a limited period of time. After that, it is only available to subscribers and through academic library article retrieval systems.

You must access the article from the Contents page and obtain a temporary password: Discrepancies in the radiocarbon dating area of the Turin shroud

Significant Article in Chemistry Today Discrepancies in the radiocarbon dating area of the Turin shroud « A Blogspotting Anglican Episcopalian