The Hacking of the Carbon Dating, Wikipedia and the Media

If you are not a regular reader of Stephen’s blog, Timothy Linick (pictured) of Arizona was one of the signatories of the Nature report on the dating of the Shroud of Turin. Stephen Jones blames Linick along with the KGB for hacking computers connected to AMS equipment in Oxford, Zurich and Arizona and thus faking a medieval date for the shroud.


imageThe problem is that it may only be a matter of time before we read in the media that people who think the shroud is authentic believe that the carbon dating of the shroud was hacked by computer hackers.

All too many people think that the members of the press pay attention to academic credentials, read peer reviewed journals and even check out citations in technical papers. They do not. They take the quickest approach when faced with constant deadlines.  They go to the web. They go to Wikipedia. They go to top listed websites and blogs.

Thankfully, Wikipedia has a strict policy against publishing original thinking; all material must be attributable to reliable, published sources. Wikipedia does not want original research (a matter of no small consternation to shroud researcher Colin Berry in his [m]essage to wikipedia: do stop taking yourself so seriously). They don’t want his theories in their encyclopedia. But, I digress.

Today, according to the Alexa’s web rating service, Stephen Jone’s Shroud of Turin blog is the most popular blog dedicated to the shroud (but Google ranks it second to this blog). If you ignore the distinction that it is only a blog, it is the third most popular website dedicated to information about the shroud. The top four in order, so says Alexa, are 1) sindone.org, 2) shroud.com, 3) Stephen’s blog, 4) this blog.  Google has different ideas. It includes John Jackson’s site and Charles Freeman’s it-is-a-painting article in History Today in the ranks of the top ten go-to sites about the shroud. And of course Stephen’s blog, with his really wild and wooly conspiracy theory about the carbon dating being hacked, is also being listed as a go-to site.  (Your mileage may vary; Google is like that).

It was an email, yesterday, from Stephen Jones that prompted me to write this posting. Apparently, when Stephen previously posted a Wikipedia definition of conspiracy theory he omitted the part of the definition that said that “belief in conspiracy theories can be rational and that the skepticism of conspiracy theorising (the generation of conspiracy theories) is akin to a modern day superstition.” He wanted me to know that.

Oh, well! So much for Wikipedia definitions. But then again this is not original thinking for I see that it is attributable to some really good sounding Oxford-ish and Cambridge-ish sources (I didn’t read the citations). The big deal is that maybe Stephen Jones is finally realizing that his speculation is really conspiracy theory.  Now if he would only issue a warning to that effect.

Here are some highlights of his latest well-read posting (the bold emphasis is not mine).

If you are not a regular reader of Stephen’s blog, Timothy Linick of Arizona was one of the signatories of the Nature report on the dating of the Shroud of Turin. Stephen Jones blames Linick along with the KGB for hacking computers connected to AMS equipment in Oxford, Zurich and Arizona and thus faking a medieval date for the shroud. Karl Koch as a computer hacker in the 1980s who may have been involved in espionage.

10. THE SOVIET UNION HAD A MOTIVE TO DISCREDIT THE SHROUD AND THROUGH THE KGB KILL KOCH AND LINICK

• The Soviet Union was on the verge of collapse in the 1980s.

• A first century radiocarbon date of the Shroud would have been a threat to the atheist USSR. The Soviet Union was an atheist State[11]. Yet, despite its attempts to eradicate religion since the 1917 revolution, the USSR continued to have a large Christian population[12]. In the 1980s, three Christian denominations alone, had a total of about 56.5 million adherents…. So a first-century radiocarbon date of the Shroud of Turin would have been perceived as a huge threat by the embattled Soviet leadership.

• If Timothy W. Linick had offered the Soviets a 14th century carbon-date of the Shroud they would have accepted it. So if Arizona radiocarbon dating laboratory physicist, Timothy W. Linick (see #10(7)) had approached the Soviet Union (through for example the Soviet consulate in San Francisco….

• Linick was found dead of suspected suicide on 4 June 1989 … in Tucson, Arizona….

• Koch had been murdered by the KGB (or East Germany’s Stasi on the KGB’s behalf) between 23 and 30 May 1989, ….

• Koch and Linick were allegedly killed by the KGB to prevent them confessing the Soviets Union’s hacking of the Shroud’s radiocarbon dating.

[…] With the publication of the Nature paper of 16 February 1989, which claimed that the Shroud was "mediaeval … 1260-1390"[16], Koch would (according to my theory) have realised what his hacking into the Oxford and Zurich university computers and running a program on them had done, as he had since "embrace[d] … conventional religion" [17].

That Koch had started to talk about his hacking for the USSR of the Shroud’s radiocarbon dating is supported by his fellow hacker Pengo (Hans Hübner), complaining that Koch was "talking of nothing but conspiracies and [was] having religious hallucinations"[18].

[…]

Oh, yes. Lot’s of citations.  Citations, whatever they are, look good at the bottom of webpages. Maybe Stephen’s conspiracy theory will get into Wikipedia. Maybe it will get into the press if there are any column inches left over after the journalists tell us that Charles Freeman’s thinks that the shroud was a painting.

But remember, the press won’t say the computer dating was hacked, only that that is what those whacky shroudies think.

Stephen Jones Wants BSTS to Remove Hugh Farey as Editor of the Newsletter

that is, the British Society for the Turin Shroud

imageClearly angry, Stephen Jones responds to comments by Hugh Farey, who is pictured here as the editor of BSTS Newsletter.

1) First read what Hugh wrote in Around the Internet in the newsletter.

2) Then read Stephen Jones’ blog posting, My reply to the anti-authenticist editor of the British Society for the Turin Shroud Newsletter, Hugh Farey 

Hugh’s comments are correct.  If you want to understand more about what Stephen is thinking, read all of his blog entries for April of this year although the above mentioned posting should be enough. If you want even more and want to see what I and others have been saying, read A String of “Jones” Postings in this blog.

As for the Vignon Markings discussion mentioned by Hugh. You might want to start with Were the radiocarbon dating laboratories duped by a computer hacker?: Revised #2 (Vignon markings) in Stephen’s blog. Then read the following postings in this blog:

Stephen wraps up with a call to have Hugh Farey removed:

In my opinion the British Society for the Turin Shroud should remove the anti-authenticist Hugh Farey from being Editor of its Newsletter, or else he will use it as a vehicle to promote his anti-authenticism, as he is doing in this attack on me. The BSTS has always been open to having non-Christians in its membership, and even its leadership, like the late Rodney Hoare, a BSTS past Chairman, who believed the Shroud was authentic but that it shows that Jesus was taken down alive from the cross. But the BSTS has in the past rejected anti-authenticists like David Sox from having a leadership role. It is a contradiction, which I predict will prove fatal if it continues, having an ANTI-authenticist Editor of the British Society FOR the Turin Shroud!

Stephen unfortunately sees the world in pro-authenticity and anti-authenticity terms; you are a good guy or a bad guy. you wear a white hat or a black hat. Whatever happened to being pro-truth whatever it may turn out to be?  If the BSTS should be so foolish as to listen to Stephen it would have no credibility at all.

From where does Stephen’s pro-authenticity thinking stem? Try this out from January 2 of this year:

So I for one do not believe that the Risen Lord Jesus, who sits at the Father’s right hand and controls everything (Mt 26:64; Mk 14:62; Lk 22:69; Acts 2:33, 5:31;7:55-56; Rom 8:34; Col 3:1; Heb 1:3; 10:12; 12:2; 1Pet 3:22) would allow such a convincing fake as the Shroud would then be, to exist. . . . I look forward to what the Lord has in store for us Shroud pro-authenticists in 2014?

Of Extreme and not so Extreme Anti-Authenticists

imageHow many times can you use allegedly in a single paragraph? Stephen Jones continues with his theory in this latest installment of allegation that Arizona’s Timothy Linick was the alleged hacker who rigged the computerized consoles of all three AMS systems.

As part of my evidence that Arizona radiocarbon laboratory physicist Timothy W. Linick(1946-4 June 1989)[7] was allegedly the primary hacker, who: 1) allegedly wrote and installed on Arizona radiocarbon dating laboratory’s AMS control console computer a program which ensured that the Shroud of Turin samples’ actual radiocarbon dates would be replaced by dates which, when calibrated, clustered around 1325; and 2) allegedly passed that program on to the KGB, for which he was allegedly working, to be installed by confessed KGB hacker Karl Koch (1965–3 June 1989)[8] on the AMS control console computers at Zurich and Oxford’s radiocarbon dating laboratories; here is my evidence that Linick allegedly leaked Arizona’s 1350 radiocarbon date of the Shroud to the Rev. H. David Sox, an American Episcopalian (sic) priest, teaching at the American school in London[10]. And that Sox in turn leaked that date to the media through Luckett and others, well before the official announcement on 13 October 1988.

Not that it matters all that much, that I can see.

Anyway, Hugh Farey recently and significantly commented about Stephen’s previous posting:

Stop Press: A little while ago Stephen either read this blog, or someone told him of the post above, and he inserted a comment into his latest posting to the effect that he realised his dates and chart with its non-overlapping bands were based on BP dates and needed calibrating. This he has now done, and amended his blog to show a new set of dates and a new chart which, curiously, still shows that the Oxford dates do not overlap either of the others. By using the tiny calibration diagram published in the Nature paper rather than an established calibration program, he has enabled himself to reinforce his convictions. This cannot be allowed to go uncriticised.

It is not clear that Stephen really understands the calibrating process, particularly when it comes to how to deal with quoted errors. Actually anybody can do it by using OxCal, which is online, easy to access, easy to use, and free. Stephen tried to do it using the tiny published calibration chart in the Nature paper, deriving his dates simply by adding and subtracting the error from the mean as published in the Nature paper, and attempting to read off the calendar date.

His results, and those from OxCal (to 95.4% probability) are as follows:

Arizona BP dates: 646 ± 31
Stephen’s calibration: 1290 – 1317
OxCal’s calibration: 1281 – 1396

Oxford BP dates: 750 ± 30
Stephen’s calibration: 1214 – 1266
OxCal’s calibration: 1222 – 1287

Zurich BP dates: 676 ± 24
Stephen’s calibration: 1286 – 1293
OxCal’s calibration: 1275 – 1388

Well, it’s only a few years here and there, what does it matter? But Stephen is a great pains to point out that by his calculation the Oxford dates still do not overlap either of the other two – which of course is untrue, and that the Arizona and Zurich dates only overlap by 25 years, which is also untrue. His finding of a minimum Oxford date of 1214 is grotesquely inaccurate and must surely be a typo, but his even more inaccurate maximum misreading has a serious effect on his later argument – I wonder if it could be deliberate fraud?

Stephen blazes on.  It doesn’t matter. A target date will do nicely. It seems, if I’ve understood Stephen correctly, Linick was not a mere anti-authenticist, he was an extreme anti-authenticist unlike Gove and Hall who were non-extreme anti-authenticists. In other words, Linick was like McCrone who had written (extremely, I guess),  "A date significantly later than the first century would be conclusive evidence the `Shroud’ is not genuine. A date placing the linen cloth in the first century, though not conclusive in proving the cloth to be the Shroud of Christ…":

Linick, you see, said something similar. He said: “If we show the material to be medieval that would definitely mean that it is not authentic. If we date it back 2000 years, of course, that still leaves room for argument. It would be the right age – but is it the real thing?’"

This is evidence, Stephen says. Linick agreed with what McCrone stated eight years earlier. So, because McCrone had theorized that the cloth was painted about 1355, Linick can use that as a target date. Almost. To be more plausible, the date had to be “well before” 1355 to account for harvesting of the flax. 1350 will do nicely.

After this there is a lot of who knew who or talked to who. I’m reminded of the Monte Carlo simulations in the 1960s and 70s trying to prove that every individual in the world was connected to another by no more than six degrees of separation. At one point, Stephen tells us that he has been told privately of a possible connection between three anti-something-or-others, Sox, Luckett and Rose. But he is not free to tell us that. He just did, of course. He just won’t tell you who told him.

In the end he tells us it is an irresistible inference, Linick leaked the 1350 date to Sox. Okay. And the point is?

Stay tuned. There is another installment coming next week.

The Beat Goes On

imageYou can read the latest, [Stephen Jones’] theory that the radiocarbon dating laboratories were duped by a computer hacker #5. I don’t know what to say.

Even though my theory at this early stage is entirely circumstantial, lacking as yet a `smoking gun’, by a process of elimination of "the impossible," my theory that the radiocarbon dating laboratories were duped by a computer hacker, "however improbable" it may seem to be, "must be the truth" . . .

Stephen then goes on to explain that the Arizona physicist Timothy W. Linick (1946-1989) may not have necessarily worked with a former KGB agent named Karl Koch by explaining he could have issued a software update to the other labs in Oxford and Zurich or (presumably for he doesn’t really say) another KGB agent could have entered the laboratories clandestinely to install the code in the control console computers. He then promises more in installment number 6 (which because some confusing reorganizing of his original posting is probably by now installment 14 or 15).

There is some interesting material about the carbon dating tests.

Conspiracy Theory Part 4

imageStephen Jones has posted another article attempting to advance his conspiracy theory that the carbon dating results were manipulated at all three labs by computer hackers. Over and over he has charged one of the Arizona physicist with being part of a KGB led conspiracy to fake the results and make the shroud appear medieval.

Today is as close as he has gotten to providing evidence: He tells us that a skeptic, Dennis Dutton, in 1986 “predicted that if the cloth ever were to be dated using radiocarbon dating it would be shown to have been from about 1335, give or take 30 years.”  Moreover, Walter McCrone in 1981 suggested that the cloth wasd from about 1355.

And so Stephen writes in a very long rambling posting:

So a hacker would know what date to `give’ the Shroud for maximum effect: shortly before 1335-1355! And, as we shall see, there is evidence that Linick was at least familiar with McCrone’s prediction.

Linick was at least familiar with McCrone’s prediction. No, there is no more yet. Anyway, you might want to read it.

To be continued in part 5, he tells us. I can hardly wait.

It just occurred to me . . .

imageI don’t think Stephen Jones understands the the repair theory at all when he writes today in another installment:

Pro-authenticist explanations of the discrepancy (e.g. contamination with newer carbon, invisible repairs with 16th century cotton) don’t work.

Why don’t the explanations work? Stephen doesn’t explain why. So far he has relied mainly on statements by Hall and Gove that have no bearing on the subject of reweaving. And he has questioned the quad mosaic, which is questionable anyway. The fact of the matter is that if there is reweaving in the quantities that are being proposed, the “[p]ro-authenticist explanations” will work. They cannot fail to work. He doesn’t realize this. This is the danger of working alone, refusing to read anything that goes against one’s own presuppositions, and refusing to allow dialogue.

Beyond that, this hacking stuff: Read Stephen’s posting. So, what is the difference between evidence and conspiracy theory?

Stephen Jones: The KGB allegedly executed both Shroud of Turin Hackers

It is not even good conspiracy theory

imageHe tells us in a new blog posting today that each AMS control console – that would be at Oxford, Zurich and Tucson – was hacked. This was done so that an elicit software routine could replace first century or earlier date measurements with dates that ‘cluster’ around 1325.

He specifically tells us:

The hacker was allegedly Arizona laboratory physicist Timothy W. Linick (1946-89), who with self-confessed KGB hacker Karl Koch (1965–1989), were both allegedly working for the KGB to hack the laboratories’ AMS control console computers, and the KGB allegedly executed them both to prevent them talking, within days of each other, if not on the same day.

Stephen then waffles a bit. It’s not a fact, he tells us, but a theory. And he might need to abandon his theory should new information arise.

How does he arrive at this? Well so far it is this:

  1. He claims to have proven the shroud is authentic by historical means. It doesn’t matter that others might disagree; I certainly do. He has used flimsy arguments such as The Letter from Alexius Comnenus and The Slanted Footrest of the Orthodox Cross. He is convinced and that’s good enough for him.
  2. He disagrees with any and all possible explanations as to why the 1988 carbon dating of the shroud could be wrong. He can’t think of anything else. He assumes, therefore, that it must be fraud. Moreover, he assumes it must be hacking.

For many weeks now he has been saying that Timothy W. Linick and Karl Koch are the hackers. I assume that he will present us with some evidence someday. It is not up to anyone else to provide new information that might lead him to abandon his theory. It is up to him to provide supporting information. Until then this is amateurish rumor-mongering. It is nutty.

More Tomfoolery: The carbon dating results are worthless

imageJoe Marino has expanded the passage he sent a couple of days ago from The Untold Story of the Holy Shroud by Carlos Evaristo (See Documented Pieces Removed from the Shroud). The additional material precedes the material Joe sent previously, which now begins with the sixth paragraph below that I marked with a yellow swath.

I’m reluctant to post this. The previous posting has over 130 comments (half of them by Max who has agreed to post in a way that is easier for the rest of us. These four sentences, for instance, were sent as four comments in nine minutes. I was ready to toss my iPhone away: “Not to mention weight pressure per cm2 at both edges.” “Rings with a faceted gem.” “ Accidents happen.” “The shroud could be held for an hour or even more.” Fortunately there were no typos. Note to Max, most typos don’t need to be corrected. And if it will help, I’ll buy your word-a-minute fingernail FACT – no reply needed.)

Back to the topic at hand. Hugh, let me address this to you. I’m not a scientist like you. But I am a smart fellow. I was a business executive. Had this been a business problem and had this information been known in 1988 it would have been reason enough to stop the carbon dating tests. “Hard stop,” I used to say. The information wasn’t known, unfortunately.

Hugh, you know well what I was thinking when I tongue in cheek quoted the words ‘another proof’ in the last posting. But I do think this is added weight to the “reweave idea” that you “currently reject.” Can I say ‘more reasonable doubt’  instead?That is what I think. Okay, it is no longer 1988 and we can only look back. There is enough reasonable evidence to be very suspicious about the results of the carbon dating like cotton fibers, gum, dye, splices, vanillin and statistics. Now there is all this quoted described tomfoolery. We can still declare a hard stop, in a sense. It is not proof as a scientist must perhaps see it. But it is enough to say that the carbon dating results are worthless. We don’t have a date for the cloth.

We will still have carbon dating fundamentalists on the left and by-miracle-by-golly isotope rejuvenators on the right. And we are about to be treated to a new theory that the KGB and one of the Arizona scientists (whose face, BTW, has 13 of the 15 Vignon markings) hacked the computer control panels of the accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) systems in three countries.

Back to the topic at hand:

According to the testimony of King Umberto II of Savoy (later recalled by friends, the exiled Monarch entertained in the 1950s, at Villa Italia, in Cascais, Portugal), oral tradition in the Savoy Royal Family confirmed that the Custodians of the Holy Shroud, from the earliest medieval period, had sporadically made copies of the Shroud,but also removed fragments from all around the outermost edges of the Burial Cloth, even as far inward as 10 centimeters and distributed these to close relatives, devotees and allies.

That a mysterious seam or pronounced crease mark is visible all along one length of the Shroud is a fact that has baffled Scientists, some of whom have gone as far as to ridiculously (?) propose that a removed section was used to bind the Shroud to the Body at the chin, hands and feet and then sewn back onto the sheet, at a later date.

What could also be probable is that this thick, long strip of the original cloth was removed at one point [and] cut up into sections for distribution in reliquaries.

Another possible scenario is that this strip was used in a transfer boiling ritual or else separated, thread by thread, so as to have been incorporated into Ex Extractumcopies of the Holy Shroud.

Any one of these processes could have been carried out by the Canons guarding the Shroud at Lirey or Chambery without the consent or knowledge of whoever owned the Sacred Relic.  Once carried out or the abuse discovered, the section could have ordered or rewoven, back onto the original whole or else the section in question was substituted with another piece of similar cloth.”

According to King Umberto II, the pious practice of sharing Major Relics of the Holy Shroud was, according to tradition, continued by the first three Savoy Lords who possessed it, although they, unlike some of their predecessor Guardians, never purposely removed fragments from their areas with the image of the Corpus Sancti (Holy Body.)

Another fact confirmed by His Majesty was that it was traditionally affirmed, that at one point in the past, he edges of the Lenzuoli (Sheet) had become so tattered as to cause embarrassment or criticism of the Custodians, and those areas were repaired and rewoven using identical techniques, but obviously with similar, yet newer, materials containing dyes and other medieval manufacturing ingredients, in an attempt to better blend the new sections in, as best possible, with the original fabric.

In truth, the presence of medieval dyes was detected in these areas and this fact has been already pointed out by Scientists as additional proof of the inaccuracy of the 1988 Carbon 14 dating test results that placed the samples taken from these areas, as having been fabricated sometime in the middle ages.

In truth, any one of the aforementioned practices alone would also account, for not only the contamination of the fabric resulting in inaccurate Carbon 14 dating results, but also, the different types of linen, dyes, resins and fabric patches, discovered to have been present on the outermost edges of the sheet that usually held by Bishops during the exposition of the Sacred Relic to the public for veneration.

And while I was writing the above, this floated in. It is from later pages (pp. 265 & 267 (picture on pg. 266) of the Evaristo book.  Italics are in the original:

The removal of all patches and of the reinforcement Holland Cloth backing of the Holy Shroud, in the year 2002, confirmed what King Umberto had stated, namely that small sections of the repaired and rewoven edges, had continually been removed from the Sacred Relic and probably as late as the second half of the 17th century.  That thepractice of removing small fragments and even full length or width threads from the outer edges [of] the Holy Shroud, was a family tradition only finally suppressed by Duke Vittorio Amedeo II of Savoy, was another fact Umberto II of Savoy confirmed to Blue Army Founder and Shroud Devotee John Mathias Haffert, in the mid 1960’s.

It was the same Vittorio Amedeo II, who along with his wife, the Infanta Anna d’Orleans, personally assisted Blessed Sebastiano Valfre on June 6th, 1694, in repairing the Sacred Burial Cloth of the The Christ, shortly before transferring the Sacred Relic to the new Chapel of the Guarini.  Later, it became a tradition on June 6th of each year for the Savoy Royal Family to distribute relics of the backing cloth.

It was in 1694, that in accordance to the Savoy Family tradition, some of the removed sections of thread were then woven into full size replicas of the Sindone (Shroud) for private or public veneration in Convents and Cathedrals during popular Holy Week celebrations.  Unlike the meticulous repair work that had been carried out in previous centuries by religious expert weavers following the damage caused to the Shroud by fires and which left little trace of the removed sections, the intervention of the Savoy and the Blessed was aimed primarily at replacing the cloth backing of the Relic giving it added thickness and strength and also a better contrast to the image.

The last intervention by religious sisters had been considered poor by the various members of the House of Savoy since, rather than reweaving the areas nearest the outermost edges that were either missing or had frayed from manipulation and wear, they had camouflaged them with cloth coverings and patches.

The backing of black cloth added by Blessed Sebastiano Valfre was later removed by Princess Maria Clotilde di Savoia, (1843-1911) Consort of Prince Napoleon, who substituted it for a pink silk on April 28th, 1868, on account of the backing having also become deteriorated from manipulation and removal of pieces for relics.

Hard stop! The carbon dating results are worthless. We don’t have a date for the cloth.

Okay, we will need to wait several weeks

imageStephen Jones is now mapping out his revised strategy: Were the radiocarbon dating laboratories duped by a computer hacker?: Revised #2:

I have decided to create a list of every item of historical evidence of the Shroud’s existence from the 13th to the 1st century on my system, before I complete this Revised #2 post. That however, could take several weeks.

The purpose of documenting all this historical evidence of the Shroud’s existence from the 13th to the 1st century is to prove, beyond the shadow of any reasonable doubt, that the 1988 radiocarbon date of the Shroud as "mediaeval … AD 1260-1390" must be wrong. . . .

I don’t have any issue with this. The historical list will be useful. In my mind, it challenges the carbon dating better than anything. It will be interesting to crawl through each item and get everyone’s opinions. How solid is this event, how good is that occurrence?

Stephen continues.

. . . And then the questions are, "how could a 1st century cloth (absent fraud) carbon- date to the 13th-14th century?"

Why absent fraud? Why not other possibilities?

. . .  I will document how courts decide, on the basis of improbability, that a scientific fraud must have occurred.

That will be interesting. Just fraud? Might courts find something else isn’t right? By courts is he thinking of a proxy for informed public opinion?

And then:

And then, having proved beyond any reasonable doubt that there must have been fraud in carbon-dating the 1st century (or earlier) linen of the Shroud to 1325 ±65, I will re-present the evidence for the fraud having been perpetrated by a computer hacker, whom I will tentatively identify.

Will this be the same person he has already not-so-tentatively named? Evidence, this time?

Developing a Hacking Theory

clip_image001Stephen Jones in a posting on his blog, Were the radiocarbon dating laboratories duped by a computer hacker?: Further to my replies to Dr. Timothy Jull and Prof. Christopher Ramsey has investigated the console computers used in Oxford and Arizona. For each he writes, it “CERTAINLY was programmable and therefore HACKABLE!”

Though I am so far utterly skeptical of his hacking theory, I am glad he is doing some necessary research.

The Computer Hacker Hypothesis is Short on Factual Material

imageHad the responses from Timothy Jull and Christopher Ramsey put the computer hacker hypothesis to bed? No. Stephen Jones tells us:

I am now going to post a revised version of my proposal, "Were the radiocarbon dating laboratories duped by a computer hacker?" based on the information contained in Dr. Jull’s and Prof. Ramsey’s emails.

Is Stephen ready to? He should consider this letter from a Chicago reader, as well. Stephen should answer these questions:

How did the allegedly hacked software in the AMS control computers distinguish between  calibration runs and production runs? How did the software know to change the results only if the sample being tested was from the Turin Shroud and not from control material or from material being tested for other clients?

Were the control computers special purpose machines,? Could all three of them be reprogrammed? Even the VP8 was called a computer by some people. But it couldn’t be networked and you couldn’t hack it without parts and a soldering iron.

Without answers to these questions, Jones has nothing. It is only after doing some REAL basic research that he can start looking for motive, means and opportunity. He is doing everything backswords.

Note: Stephen’s fifth article in what is now a long series, Were the radiocarbon dating laboratories duped by a computer hacker?: My replies to Dr. Timothy Jull and Prof. Christopher Ramsey should be read carefully. Therein he writes:

On Dan Porter’s blog he recently posted, under "Comment Promoted: On the Hacking Hypothesis" an email that the Shroud anti-authenticist and Editor of the British Society for the Turin Shroud’s Newsletter, Hugh Farey received from Dr. Timothy Jull, Director of the University of Arizona’s radiocarbon dating laboratory and a signatory to the the 1988 Nature paper, "Radiocarbon Dating of the Shroud of Turin," which claimed that the linen on the Shroud was "mediaeval … AD 1260-1390. Porter, who himself believes:

"The carbon dating, once seemingly proving it was a medieval fake, is now widely thought of as suspect and meaningless."

nevertheless is against my proposal that the radiocarbon dating laboratories may have been duped by a computer hacker, and promoted Farey’s copy of Jull’s email with the comment: "Does this put an end to it, once and for all?" evidently hoping that it did

Against? No! I say unimpressed, unconvinced certainly, but not against. I’m not taking sides. This one sentence is astounding:

My bottom line is that, since the Shroud IS authentic, there HAD to be some form of fraud to convert a 1st century actual date of the Shroud into the `too good to be true’ 1325 ± 65 years date.

Okay, maybe astonished, dumbfounded, aghast, but not against.

Moreover: ARPANET was restricted to U.S. establishments in 1988. So what WAN or LAN communications capabilities did Oxford or Zurich have? Were the AMS machines connected? What sort of computers did they have? These are basic questions that need to be explored. Maybe communicating computers should be discounted completely. Facts would be helpful.

Personally, I doubt the AMS “computers” were networked, at all. It doesn’t matter if ARPANET was installed at the University of Arizona. The claim that computers at laboratories were connected to ARPANET doesn’t mean that a special purpose measurement and control system unit was on the network. Did the unit have the hardware interface and was it even capable of running telecommunications software?  Maybe so? Maybe it was a PDP 11, a System 7 or a Series/1. The point is do we know.

Maybe software changes had to be loaded from a floppy disk or by swapping EPROMs and circuit cards?

Supposedly, if you think Stephen is right, three separate “computers” were hacked. What are the real facts surrounding this hypothesis that even makes that possible?