Just Published: What Went Wrong with the Radiocarbon Date?

not arguing in this paper that the Benford-Marino-Rogers theory is THE
sole answer to our question . . . it has an awful lot going for it. . . .

imageMUST READ:  It begins with this paragraph, even before we encounter the title and authors name:

Foreword: I had requested that this paper not be published with the 2008 Ohio Conference papers because there were some questions about the nature and history of cotton I wanted to explore before doing so. However, in the interim, my attempts to investigate some issues did not produce results because I was unable to get in contact with the specialists who might have been able to provide the additional information I sought. Joe Marino recently requested permission to publish on-line my Ohio presentation and the appendices of materials I had gathered. I have granted him that permission late this year (December, 2014). The material is largely unchanged from my 2008 Ohio presentation. Bits of more recent information are set off from the body of the original text by my use of brackets [ ].

The title is What Went Wrong With the Shroud’s Radiocarbon Date? Setting it all in Context. It is by the archaeologist and long time shroud scholar Paul C. Maloney (pictured).

imageHere are the first few paragraphs just to give you a good idea why this paper is so important.

We are only two years away from a fresh exhibition of the Turin Shroud [occurring in 2010]–and with that will there be another round of testing? In this light it seems a valuable exercise to recap previous hypotheses regarding the C14 results offered in the years following the 1988 testing. (2). Professionally, I am an archaeologist–some of you might call me an “antique historian.“ This is a paper about history. What I shall attempt to do here is to gather together in one place observations and explanations that have been published elsewhere. There are many things about the Shroud we would all like to know but in this paper I shall deal largely with only one question: What went wrong with the Shroud‘s radiocarbon date? I will provide here a brief synopsis of proposed answers with focused examination of one of those proposals.

A Strange Story

But first I want to share with you a “strange story”. Many of you have already heard it. I first heard it many years ago as it was circulated by Bill Meacham. A single thread of the Shroud was sent surreptitiously to a West Coast Laboratory back in 1982. One end of that thread came up with a date of 200 A.D. while the other end resulted in a date of ca. 1000! How could this be? I thought about it long and hard and finally dismissed it as a complete fluke. Anyway, that was quite a “yarn”! Bill Meacham preserves this story in his most recent book published a few years ago. (3)

Radiocarbon test results and reactions to it

Here’s another story, also old, so much so, you are probably all tired of hearing it. Briefly, on April 21, 1988 a single sample was removed from the so-called “Raes’ Corner” on the Shroud by the late Giovanni Riggi di Numana. This was divided up between three labs, Oxford, Zurich, and Tucson, Arizona and the results analyzed by the British Museum. The analysis from that testing was released on Oct. 13, 1988: the cellulose taken from the Shroud was to be dated with 95% confidence to between 1260 to 1390 A.D. (4)

Most of us reacted first with a mixture of shock and consternation! How could this be? The late Fr. Albert R. Dreisbach liked to say that “the preponderance of evidence” argued for the antiquity as well as the authenticity of the cloth. After all, how could the Shroud have been rendered in artistry 60 some years before the first bracket of the 1260-1390 released radiocarbon date? As we all began to recover it was generally agreed that something was radically wrong. The question was “What?” There have been six major approaches to this question. Evaluative remarks and commentary have been confined to the endnotes due to time constraints.

A dozen pages in, as we approach the conclusion, we read:

When everything is properly understood, the entire picture of the Shroud should come together as a beautifully constructed puzzle. If something is out of place, the whole will not look right. We are currently still in that mode. Not everyone agrees with Ray Rogers findings. Especially in Europe there are those who believe his findings do not represent the real nature of the Shroud. Thus, this issue of “homogeneity” vs. “heterogeneity” needs to be resolved so that we can move forward. If a “re-weave” is not the explanation for the characteristics found at the Raes’ Corner then we badly need an explanation for why cotton is woven into that corner but is not demonstrated in threads in the main body of the cloth.

What does the opposite side of the ledger look like? Do the x-rays of the Shroud show any evidence of the re-weave? Bryan Walsh suggests they do not. (Personal communication). Walsh also notes that in discussions “…with textile conservators in the U. S., they said that while reweaving might be made difficult to perceive on one side of a cloth, it would be painfully obvious on the other side of the cloth because of the various threads and knots involved in stitching it.”

I’m not arguing in this paper that the Benford-Marino-Rogers theory is THE sole answer to our question “What Went Wrong?” Nevertheless, the factors I’ve marshalled here suggest that it has an awful lot going for it. . . .

There is, in Appendix III, a gem, a Dialogue between Ray Rogers and Bryan Walsh in February 2005. And elsewhere throughout the paper there are photographs that you may never have seen. This paper is a must read.

Photomicrograph note:  The caption reads:

B. Second photomicrograph of W. C. McCrone’s rose madder. STURP tape 3-CB very near to STURP tape 3-AB but taken on the blood flow across the back. (Photomicrograph by W. C. McCrone. From the Paul C. Maloney collection of McCrone illustrative materials. No magnification listed by McCrone).


Publication Note:  I received this paper a few days ago. Would I install it on the 2008 Ohio conference website since I had the keys and supposedly the skills to do so? Sure, I said. Well, if you go to the conference site and look you will see some evidence of my trying. I’m still trying to work out went wrong with hosting company.  In the meantime I have temporarily installed this paper within this blog space so you can read it without further delay. Here you need the keys and no special skills. My apologies for taking so long.

So, open or download: What Went Wrong With the Shroud’s Radiocarbon Date? Setting it all in Context by Paul C. Maloney by clicking on the title.

Jerry Coyne: Pope Francis endorses the fake Shroud of Turin

The shroud is covered with gesso, which was used as a ground for painting.
If it was the miraculous imprint of Jesus on a burial shroud,
there would be no reason for the gesso.

imageRenowned evolutionary biologist, Jerry Coyne, is well known for his best selling book Why Evolution Is True and his famous New Republic book review of, Of Pandas and People. Every now and then, mostly in his blog, also called Why Evolution Is True, he jumps onto the skeptical Shroud of Turin bandwagon.  I’ve mentioned him at times:

Now he has climbed aboard with our friend Charles Freeman and posted Pope Francis endorses the fake Shroud of Turin in his blog. Get this:

The image has degenerated substantially over the centuries. We know this because there are a fair number of paintings from centuries ago showing what it looked like. The degradation is due to its repeated unfurling and exhibition, which would crack and flake the paint, in addition to the fact (revealed in the article I’ll cite in a second) that in past times it was customary for supplicants to hurl their rosaries at the shroud and then recover them.

But we know the Shroud is a fake for several reasons. Carbon dating of the linen cloth (in three separate labs) has placed its manufacture between 1260 and 1390, which (if you know dating) is the time at which the flax plants furnishing the cloth would have been harvested, no longer absorbing carbon from the atmosphere. Further, an Italian scientist managed to reproduce the Shroud by using materials that would have been available during the Middle Ages.

The other reasons for fakery (not fraudulence, as it apparently wasn’t designed to deceive people) are given in a very nice article by the historian Charles Freeman that just appeared in History Today, “The origins of the shroud of Turin.” (It’s free online.) I recommend that you read it, as it’s a fascinating summary of what we know about the shroud.

The other reasons for fakery are these:

  • The shroud is covered with gesso (calcium carbonate; ground-up chalk), which was used as a ground for painting. If it was the miraculous imprint of Jesus on a burial shroud, there would be no reason for the gesso.
  • [ . . . ]
  • Finally, the image changed over the year. In 1355 to at least 1559, Jesus was naked, with his hands covering his genitals. But in 1578, as Freeman notes, reproductions show it with a loincloth over Jesus’s groin and butt. Clearly there were some prudes, possibly the Bishop of Milan, who were distressed at the exposure of the Saviour’s bum.  The loincloth later disappeared, though there’s still a white patch on the Shroud showing where it was.
      Coyne summarizes the criticism of the carbon dating based on a single article,

 a recent news article by Inés San Martin on the Catholic Crux website

    :

Other scientists, however, believe those results could be off by centuries, pointing to the possibility of bacterial contamination of the cloth. They note, for instance, that burial shrouds for Egyptian pharaohs sometimes test to centuries later than their known age for precisely that reason

Then Coyne lets loose:

In view of the multifarious evidence, the Church really should say that it was a medieval painting that could not have been Jesus’s burial shroud. But they won’t do that; it would turn off the supplicants who think it’s real . . . .

[ . . . ]

Now why would the Popes keep making pilgrimages to something that’s just a painting?

Catholics must have their miracles, even in the face of counterevidence. Just once I’d like to hear the Church declare unequivocally that the Shroud is simply a painting from the 14th century or so. And I’d also like to hear them say that Adam and Eve weren’t the historical ancestors of all humanity. (Genetic studies have disproven a two-person ancestry.) But it will be a cold day in July (in Chicago) when that happens!

I don’t have a problem with Coyne when it comes to evolutionary biology or his criticism of ID. Coyne and I don’t share the same beliefs about the existence of God, but that’s okay. He is one of the New Atheism crowd like Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris and I can accept that and disagree amicably. But, Coyle as a scientist – come on now, Jerry, are you sure that the shroud is a painting?  You know this how?

Gesso?  Are you sure?  Who said so?

The Raes samples that Rogers used had been switched?

Tomorrow, we are expecting Thibault Heimburger’s paper from the St. Louis conference
on the chain of custody of Rogers’ C14 samples
.

HOWEVER, on the Holy Shroud Guild website, today, we read, “Gonella then said
that he had reason to believe that some or all of Raes’ samples had been switched
with materials not originally from the Shroud.”

imageGoogle spotted this NEW item on the HSG website yesterday. It is a short statement linked to a short questionnaire that, as such, has the appearances of being one big loaded question. (Google Cached Copy of Same)

The HSG hosted statement begins with this paragraph following an innocuous title that reads, Ray Rogers, Thermochimica Acta:

All researchers have an ethical responsibility to be factual when writing an academic or research paper for publication.  Publication journals are responsible for reviewing the submitted work or manuscript before being published.  The interdependence between researchers and journals is imperative. Each body has control over public opinion, legislation, funding, and resources. Unethical work that is produced based on authors’ biases or journals’ agendas will have a negative impact for everyone.

“Unethical work . . .  based on authors’ biases or journals’ agendas. . .” What is being implied? Let’s see:

Rogers argued that ­the fibers collected in 1988 testing were not representative to the main part of the cloth (Rogers, 2005).  The most important evidence Rogers’ possessed were the threads he obtained. Rogers explained, 

I received 14 yarn segments from the Raes sample from Prof. Luigi Gonella (Department of Physics, Turin Polytechnic University) on 14 October 1979. I photographed the samples as received and archived them separately in numbered vials. Some of the samples were destroyed in chemical tests between 1979 and 1982, but most of the segments have been preserved” (p.188). Rogers continues and explains, “On 12 December 2003, I received samples of both warp and weft threads that Prof. Luigi Gonella had taken from the radiocarbon sample before it was distributed for dating. Gonella reported that he excised the threads from the center of the radiocarbon sample. (p. 189)

Rogers’ manuscript successfully established ownership for the threads; however, what Rogers failed to offer was the chronological documentation pertaining to the threads. It is possible, Roger’s familiarity with the threads made him sedentary procuring the proper protocol producing the chain of custody. . . .

“Sedentary?”

Dr. Nitowksi was an archeologist studying the Shroud’s image formation in Jerusalem during 1986. In her paper titled, Criteria for authentication: A procedure of the verification of the shroud samples, Nitowski writes,

On the evening of April 28, 1986, I and several of my companions returning from our Jerusalem testing relative to the Shroud of Turin, had supper with Dr. Luigi Gonella, and his family at their Turin apartment. Among other Shroud topics, Dr. Gonella and I spoke briefly about the Rogers Mylar tape samples on loan to Joseph Kohlbeck, my colleague, and currently in my possession. Included with those samples is a small glass vial labeled Raes Sample containing a 12mm long thread. I told Dr. Gonella that Kohlbeck had found it to be coated with starch by an iodine test. Gonella expressed amazement at this, since no one had reported such substance on the Shroud material previously. He then asked me if I knew for certain that the thread had a “Z” twist. I told him that I had not checked it. Gonella then said that he had reason to believe that some or all of Raes’ samples had been switched with materials not originally from the Shroud. (Personal archive collection of the Holy Shroud Guild, Nitowski, 1986) 

“Reason to believe?”

And there is this:

Rogers indeed received 14 yarn segments from the Raes sample from Gonella in 1979. However, Rogers never maintained them in his own custody prior to 1979, and some of the samples he received after 1979, he distributed to other scientist for further evaluations as documented in the letter by Dr. Nitowski. Notwithstanding, Rogers still may have found these threads suitable for his study. But in no way does that excuse the review process to do its due diligence and inquire detailed documentation concerning the threads. Even more questionable were the threads received by Rogers in 2003. In Rogers’ Thermochimica Acta manuscript, Rogers briefly mentions that is was Gonella who excised the threads before it was distributed for dating (p.189). What was never mentioned in Rogers’ Thermochimica Acta manuscript was by whom he received the threads from. . . .

Recently, Giorgio Bracaglia posted the following on The Holy Shroud Guild Facebook page:

By December I am planning to do a research survey with this audience. The topics will be about GMO (Monsanto) and Ray Rogers’ 2005 Thermochimica Acta manuscript. The articles are designed to represent faithfully only one perspective.Your task will be to read the two short essays (1/2 page each) and respond accordingly based on the readings. 5 questions in total for each topic.

This seems to be what he is talking about. It is almost December. There is a similar GMO paper, as well. It is interesting that the first paragraph of the GMO paper, which deals with the issue of ethical peer journalism, is identical, word for word with the article about Rogers’ paper.  So what is the GMO paper doing on the HSG website? 

Suggestion: Wait on, then read Thibault Heimburger’s paper from the St. Louis conference when it appears on shroud.com, hopefully tomorrow. Then and only then answer the questions from the short questionnaire, in which you choose to disagree or agree by degree):

  1. There are clear evidences that the threads excised for the radio carbon data was representative to the cloth
  2. The radio carbon data performed on the Shroud in 1988, is flawed
  3. The request by Arch. Bishop Saldarini to have the unauthorized threads return has no influence on Rogers findings
  4. Raes samples excised in 1973 are viable evidence
  5. Rogers demonstrates enough provenance of the threads used for his research

Or not.

A Guest Posting by Joe Marino: If another C-14 test is ever done . . .

At the recent St. Louis conference, there was an open discussion regarding future testing of the Shroud, with participation by Prof. Bruno Barberis.  Naturally, one of the topics discussed was another possible C-14 dating.

After hearing comments there and after rereading some material, especially Ian Wilson’s chapter "Carbon Dating:  Right or Wrong" in his 1998 book The Blood and the Shroud, I’m becoming more and more convinced that another C-14 test would be unwise and moreover, that the Shroud is simply not, and never has been, a suitable item to carbon date.

Wilson points out in his book (pp. 190-191) that in the 1960s, 2 Harwell lab scientists warned Vera Barclay, a British proponent of having the Shroud carbon dated, of pitfalls.

Dr. J.P. Clarke told Barclay,

There appears to be some doubt as to whether the carbon content of the material has remained constant over the years.  It would be an assumption of any dating that the addition of something at a date later than that of the fabrication of the Shroud.

P.J. Anderson told her: 

The history of the Shroud does not encourage one to put a great deal of reliance upon the validity of any C14 dating.  The whole principle of the method depends upon the specimen not undergoing any exchange of carbon between its molecules and atmospheric dioxide, etc.  The cellulose of the linen itself would be good from this point of view, but the effect of the fires and subsequent drenching with water . . . and the possibility of contamination during early times, would, I think, make the results doubtful.  Any microbiological action upon the Shroud (fungi, moulds, etc., which might arise from damp conditions) might have important effects upon the C14 content.  This possibility could not be ruled out

Wilson himself goes on to say: 

That such concerns have been far from eliminated by more modern methods is quite evident from a recent booklet by Dr Sheridan Bowman, Michael Tite’s successor as Keeper of the British Museum’s Research Laboratory, in which she lists the sorts of conservation and packing materials that archaeologists should avoid using when sending their samples for processing by a radiocarbon-dating laboratory: ‘Many materials used for preserving or conserving samples may be impossible to remove subsequently:  do not use glues, biocides . . . [etc.]  Many ordinary packing materials such as paper, cardboard, cotton, wool and string contain carbon and are potential contaminants.  Cigarette ash is also taboo.’  It is worth reminding ourselves here of the variety of already listed carbon-containing materials with which the Shroud maintains daily contact, e.g., a sixteenth-century holland cloth, a nineteenth-century silk cover – quite aside from the innumerable candles that have been burnt before it, the water that was thrown over it at the time of the 1532 fire, and so on.  And those are merely the events we know about.

One other excerpt worth noting here (pg 193):

Archaeologists, who routinely call upon radiocarbon-dating laboratories’ services, tend to shy from openly criticising the results they receive, even if they do not necessarily agree with some of them, but one who certainly has no qualms is Greece’s Spyros Iakovidis, speaking at an international conference in 1989:  ‘In relation to the reliability of radiocarbon dating I would like to mention something which happened to me during my excavation at Gla [in Boeotia, Greece].  I sent to two different laboratories in two different parts of the world a certain amount of the same burnt grain.  I got two readings differing by 2000 years, the archaeological dates being right in the middle. I feel that this method is not exactly to be trusted.’ [Italics in original]

Because of such opinions–and keep in mind the above ones are by people who actually used the C-14 technique, it was all the more unfortunate and detrimental that the C-14 test wasn’t at least done as one of many other tests at the same time.  Those other tests may have provided overwhelming evidence that the Shroud was from the 1st century, and since it’s not uncommon for C-14 dates to be disregarded in some instances***, there would not be as much ink being spilled on the Shroud C-14 results.

If another C-14 test is ever done, it will take a lot more background study, and hopefully it wouldn’t be done in isolation from other multi-disciplinary testing.

***Rogue dates are common in archaeology and geology . . . Such has been my experience as an archaeologist who has excavated, submitted and interpreted more than one hundred carbon 14 samples from Neolithic, Bronze Age and Early Historical sites.  Of these dates obtained, 78 were considered credible, 26 were rejected as unreliable and 11 were problematic.  I mention this merely to inform the non-specialist . . . —William Meacham, archaeologist, Centre of Asian Studies,University of Hong Kong, 2000

* * *

Joe

Paper Chase: The Shroud of Turin and its Radiodating

The proportion of the "youngest" threads is 32.23 % – almost a third of the total
– on the whole SAMPLE. In the case of the "cleaned", radio dated sample,
it increases to 41.65% – approaching the half.

imageIt was one of those things I had put in a stack of things to get around to. Don’t believe me if I say I didn’t have the time. I did. Maybe the best excuse I can invent is this: Those stacks, these days, are virtual, electronic reminders that buzz and beep at all the wrong times. I have developed many ways of ignoring electronic reminders. It was easier when papers piled up in stacks so high you could use them for footrests.

So I appreciated hearing from Joe Marino:

Barrie’s October 5 update had a paper from the 1993 Rome symposium by the late archaeologist Maria Grazia Siliato titled "The Shroud of Turin and its radiodating".

I think you mentioned Barrie’s update at the time but no special mention was made of this paper.  I just reread it again this morning and although I’m biased, I think it’s an excellent article that didn’t get the notice it deserved at the time and still doesn’t, but in light of all the other evidence that has come out about the reweave theory since then, I think it is a most significant paper.  Give it another read and see if you don’t agree.

I agree. The Shroud of Turin and its radiodating by Maria Grazia Siliato, translated by Dr. Augusto Monacelli, demands the attention of everyone interested in the 1988 carbon dating. Here is a sample (pun intended):

We have come to the core of the problem.

At that time, product analyses carried out by experts Timossi and Raes calculated, with good accuracy, the MEDIUM WEIGHT PER SQUARE CENTIMETER OF THE SHROUD’S CLOTH.

It was also calculated with radiographs by Morris, London and Mottern in 1978, and the result was consistent with the previous ones. The lowest average weight was the one proposed on another occasion by the operator in charge of the sample to be radio dated.

Considering the irregularities of an ancient, handcrafted cloth, and in order to move within safer margins, we have applied a prudential, surplus tolerance to the measures indicated.

Let us therefore assume an average weight of 25.00 MILLIGRAMS PER SQUARE CENTIMETER of the SHROUD’S CLOTH.

Now, the following is what happened upon TAKING THE SAMPLE FOR RADIO DATING:

1) According to the official operator in charge of taking the sample, the sample measures cm 8.1 x 1.6, namely, cm² 12.96

2) In the video showing the taking of the sample, the weight measured on the scales is mg 478.1

3) Dividing the sample’s weight by its surface (mg 478.1: cm² 12.96), we obtain a WEIGHT of approx. mg 36.89 per cm².

Therefore, the sample weighs mg 11.89 per cm² MORE than the original cloth should – at most.

4) However, the operator in charge of taking the sample says that he removed some irregularities and some "free" threads from the sample. (Let us skip the singular procedure of "rethreading" and squaring such a precious, ancient sample, wasting further irreplaceable material). The operator reduced the sample’s measures to cm 7.00 x 1.00, namely cm² 7.00)

.

WEIGHTS OF THE SHROUD AND WEIGHTS OF THE RESTORATION WORKS

SHROUD → AVERAGE WEIGHT → 1 cm² (pict. of scales) mg 25.00 cm² 12%

WEIGHT mg 478.1

SAMPLE TAKEN → AVERAGE WEIGHT → 1 cm² (pict. of scales) mg 36.89 cm² 7.00

WEIGHT mg 300

RADIODATED PART OF SAMPLE → AVERAGE WEIGHT → 1 cm² (pict. of scales) mg 42.85

The sample bears recent restoration works of mg 17.85 per cm² – accounting for 41.65 % of the total

.

5) Then the operator reports the WEIGHT of the sample, "cleaned" and distributed to laboratories: mg 300

6) Dividing the weight of the "cleaned" sample by its surface of mg 300: cm² 7.00, we obtain a WEIGHT of mg 42.85 per cm².

The sample weighs mg 17.85 per cm² MORE than the original cloth should, at most.

This element is even more surprising and irregular than that of the "non cleaned" sample.

A few millimeters away, we find differences of nearly 6 milligrams per square centimeter. (Difference between 36.89 and 42.85 = 5.96).

7) AS A RESULT, WHAT EMERGES IS THE PROOF THAT THE SAMPLE WAS IRREGULARLY LOADED WITH FOREIGN, UNDETERMINED TEXTILE MATERIAL – in other words, MANY THREADS WERE ADDED FOR ITS MENDING with various techniques IN DIFFERENT, MUCH LATER AGES.

8) The proportion of the "youngest" threads is 32.23 % – almost a third of the total – on the whole SAMPLE. In the case of the "cleaned", radio dated sample, it increases to 41.65% – approaching the half.

An Abstract for Today

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The chronology of long Upper Pleistocene loess sequences in Eurasia is based on combined pedostratigraphy and radiocarbon dating of high-quality charcoal. The accuracy of such a chronology depends on the reproducibility and precision of the 14C dates. However, certain dates may show discrepancies with regard to their chronostratigraphic context based on series of coherent dates. In order to evaluate the consistency and variation in the 14C dates obtained from small charcoal pieces, this question was tested on a set of spruce wood remains with well-preserved tree rings found in the Middle Pleniglacial loess-loam sequence of Kurtak (central Siberia). Tree-ring analysis of five fairly large wood pieces from three successive layers, dated to about 30.0, 30.8, and 32.2–32.5 ka BP previously, was done by continuous sampling of 90–150 rings on each wood piece. This enabled direct comparison of the succession of tree rings with the 14C dates. A total of 133 dates was obtained for the five wood pieces. The results show fluctuations in the 14C dates within a time range between 1000 and 2000 yr. Four possible causes for such variation will be discussed herein: (1) internal variability of the AMS dating method; (2) outliers; (3) variations in the 14C background; and (4) external factors such as past atmospheric 14C variations.

The paper is Variability in Radiocarbon Dates in Middle Pleniglacial Wood from Kurtak (Central Siberia) by P Haesaerts, F Damblon, N Drozdov, V Checha, J van der Plicht appearing in Radiocarbon, Vol 56, No 3 (2014).

Tell me again about how reliable carbon dating always is.

Hat tip to Joe Marino

Superparamagnetism

imageAs Barack Obama put it in his book, The Audacity of Hope:

There’s a wonderful, perhaps apocryphal story that people tell about Daniel Patrick Moynihan, the brilliant, prickly, and iconoclastic late senator from New York. Apparently, Moynihan was in a heated argument with one of his colleagues over an issue, and the other senator, sensing he was on the losing side of the argument, blurted out: “Well, you may disagree with me, Pat, but I’m entitled to my own opinion.” To which Moynihan frostily replied, “You are entitled to your own opinion, but you are not entitled to your own facts.”

The use of the word apocryphal was refreshing because the story may not be factually true. The quotation, with variations in wording, can be traced back to many people.

When it comes to the shroud, it seems, we should label every fact “perhaps apocryphal”. We can blame some of this on the media. We can also blame some of this on a tendency to mix religious opinions with facts.

Here is a story that appeared in the Niagara Falls Reporter, yesterday, September 23. It is about Jeffrey Skurka, pictured, who will be speaking . . .

. . . at the International Shroud of Turin Conference in St Louis, Oct. 9 – 12th.

He calls his presentation, "The Shroud of Turin and Nuclear Physics: Why the Radiocarbon Dating Results is Proof of the Resurrection!"

The newspaper’s reporter tells us about the 1988 radiocarbon dating of the shroud and then writes:

Soon, a dissenting view was heard from scientist R.N. Rogers of the Los Alamos Laboratories and the University of California. In a 2004 paper published by Thermochimia Acta, a leading platform for high quality, peer reviewed scientific papers, Rogers postulated that exposure to radiation at some time during its history could have skewed the radiocarbon date, and made the Shroud appear to be of much more recent vintage that (sic) it actually is.

Skurka’s own theory takes Rogers’ scientific paper one step beyond, theorizing that the act of Christ’s "resurrection to a glorified body," physically involved some sort of what we would call today a nuclear event. And that the effect of this on the cloth would result in a skewed radiocarbon reading.

Leading, a few paragraphs later, to this direct quote from Skurka:

But if my hypothesis is correct, I do know why the superficial body image is on the surface of the cloth. It was ‘Superparamagnetism’ just before the resurrection event that left a residual alignment of the unpaired electron spin in the hydrogen and possibly even the nitrogen atoms in the cloth. It’s also this Superparamagnetism which is responsible for the shrunken skulls of George Mott and Mary Reeser and is what gives my hypothesis credibility.*

This alignment of the electron spin is also what is giving the body image the properties of being like a hologram, which is normally created with constructive/destructive interference from the monochromatic light of a LASER, and the other optical anomalies known about the image.

* Read the whole article.

Link to an abstract of Jeffrey Skurka’s presentation for October 10.

A Bold Conclusion: the Blood, the Image, the Man

imageThat conclusion begins:

The present analysis of available scientific data obtained from the Shroud of Turin and the results of a few experiments allow the conclusion that the best explanation, and a consistent one, for the peculiar pinkish redness of the bloodstains on the Shroud is that authentic acid blood of a dead crucified person stained an authentic Jewish madder-dyed temple mantle during and after an authentic Jewish burial procession of a person whose dead body formed an image on and disappeared from the Shroud in an extremely delicate way before putrefaction. This delicate and timely disappearance of the dead body and the presence of a bloodstained image of what seems to be a first-century Jewish ornament of a Sanhedrin member indicate that this person most probably was Jesus Christ.

This is no small paper; call it a book. That one paragraph, above, is on page 230. The paper is rich with footnotes. Many (it seems like most) of the footnotes and the ten pages of the bibliography have hyperlinks. There are numerous images, graphs and diagrams.

imageThe title is: Authentic acid blood mordanted the madder-dyed Shroud of Turin pinkish red before image formation – Jesus was dead

The author is A.A.M. van der Hoeven. The PDF was installed on Academia.org just yesterday, September 22, 2014. Adrie’s page on the site is HERE.

I’m one of those people who always reads the acknowledgments before I begin. How many names do you know?

The author wishes to express her gratitude to all people and institutions who kindly granted permission to use their published material. These are, in random order, the Commissione Diocesana per la Sindone, the Optical Society of America, Elsevier, Inc., Springer Science+Business Media, Russ Breault, Shroud of Turin Education Project Inc., the Infrared and Raman Users Group, the NIST Chemical Sciences Division, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, the Biocommunications Association, the American Chemical Society, the Shroud of Turin Education and Research Association, Inc., Petrus Soons, John Wiley and Sons, Ltd., Russ Selzer, Thibault Heimburger, the Institute of Chemistry of the University of Tartu in Estland, Antonino Cosentino, the Royal Society of Chemistry, Paul Weyth, Mario Latendresse, Colin Berry, Louis L. Bispo.

She is also grateful to T.J. Egan, F.E.G. Guimarães, M.J. Melo, A. Boffi, and Varaprasad Bobbarala for answering her questions on the aqueous heme dimer, lignin fluorescence, alizarin and purpurin spectra, acid methemoglobin, and madder root extracts, respectively.

Now to read the paper.  Because it will take half a ream of paper to print it, I have put it onto my iPad and a Kindle reader so I can take it to Starbucks or wherever I am during the next few days.

If you do nothing else before you walk away from this posting, read the Table of Contents, below.

BTW: HERE IS AN ALTERNATE LINK to the paper on another site that seems a bit faster.

Image Note:  The caption reads, “Fig. 2.29. A part of the small of the back area of the Shroud in visible light (left) and UV light, showing fluorescence “slightly enhanced” (right).” A footnote tells us it is from T. Heimburger’s A detailed critical review of the chemical studies on the Turin Shroud: Facts and Interpretations, 2008, over at shroud.com.

Here is a peak at the Table of Contents:

    • 1. INTRODUCTION. 4
    • 1.1. Normal blood features. 4
    • 1.2. Special features of the bloodstains. 5
    • 1.3. Analysis in this paper 6
    • 2. COHERENCE OF SPECIAL BLOOD FEATURES. 6
    • 2.1. Red color but no Soret band. 6
    • 2.1.1. Acid heme dimers. 7
    • 2.1.2. Heme-madder lake. 24
    • 2.1.3. Blood before image. 67
    • 2.2. Separate serum – UV-fluorescence halo on wrist 69
    • 2.2.1. Identification of separate plasma/serum.. 69
    • 2.2.2. No fluorescent “serum” scratches but dark images of stripes. 77
    • 2.2.3. Some “serum” margins possibly a tenting effect around … bloodmarks. 78
    • 2.3. No potassium signal in three X-ray fluorescence spectra of bloodstains. 80
    • 2.3.1. Postmortem blood is hyperkalemic. 80
    • 2.3.2. Vertical serum draining. 82
    • 2.3.3. Horizontally and vertically imprinted serum halos. 84
    • 2.3.4. Filter effect 89
    • 2.4. Few cells – hemolysate stains. 90
    • 2.4.1. Separate serum not red. 92
    • 2.4.2. Hemolysis mechanisms. 92
    • 2.5. Hydroxyproline in red particles on Zina-thread. 98
    • 2.6. High Na and Cl levels on reverse side. 99
    • 3. SURVIVAL OF CLOTH, BLOOD AND SERUM – PRESERVATIVE COATING.. 101
    • 3.1. Myrrh and aloes – antibacterial and antifungal 101
    • 3.2. Saponaria – antibacterial and antioxidant 102
    • 3.3. Madder – antimicrobic, antifungal, insecticidal, antioxidant 103
    • 3.4. Leech saliva antibiotics. 104
    • 3.5. Mordant protects madder lake from degradation. 104
    • 4. MADDER ON STARCH COATING.. 105
    • 4.1. Starch. 107
    • 4.1.1. Strippable sealing film.. 107
    • 4.1.2. Hot water washed out starch – blue fluorescence. 110
    • 4.1.3. FTIR spectra of Raes samples are similar to FTIR spectra…. 112
    • 4.2. Madder dye. 149
    • 4.2.1. Visible color and wet acid-base chemistry. 149
    • 4.2.2. Reflectance curves of clear areas – raw and absolute. 158
    • 4.2.3. Raw fluorescence scan background. 162
    • 4.2.4. Fluorescence photography. 166
    • 4.2.5. Image fluorescence. 174
    • 4.2.6. SEM-EDS analysis – smooth organic coating embedding particles. 178
    • 4.2.7. Microscopy – Red aluminum lake particles. 179
    • 4.2.8. Pyrolysis/Mass Spectrometry. 184
    • 4.3. Not pectin or microbial bioplastic coating. 186
    • 4.4. Not Saponaria. 186
    • 4.4.1. Acidichromism – not Saponaria. 188
    • 4.4.2. Fluorescence – not quite Saponaria. 188
    • 4.4.3. UV-vis absorbance – not Saponaria. 190
    • 4.4.4. Sugars – no Saponaria evidence. 191
    • 4.4.5. Solubility – not Saponaria. 192
    • 4.4.6. Color with iodine – not Saponaria. 193
    • 4.4.7. Effect on chelated iron – not Saponaria. 193
    • 4.4.8. Effect on image formation – not Saponaria. 194
    • 4.4.9. Lake colour with Al3+ and Ca2+ – not Saponaria. 194
    • 4.4.10. Heme-complex colour – not Saponaria. 195
    • 4.4.11. Relative reflectance of bloodstains – not Saponaria. 197
    • 5. FORMATION MECHANISMS. 198
    • 5.1. Post-mortem heme dimer formation – …  199
    • 5.2. Blood drying on the body. 205
    • 5.3. Rivulets running across the Shroud. 207
    • 5.4. Pools of wet blood – brown bloodstains. 209
    • 5.5. Scourge marks. 210
    • 5.5.1. Very faint – not dense – not chemically tested – no spectra. 210
    • 5.5.2. No fluorescent serum scratches or serum borders. 214
    • 5.5.3. Only dorsal scourge marks on reverse side. 214
    • 5.5.4. Hyperfibrinolysis caused pink imprints but no smears before image formation. 214
    • 5.5.5. Other ways of scourge mark transfer 221
    • 5.6. Blood smears from hands of buriers. 223
    • 6. OTHER RED COLOR HYPOTHESES. 224
    • 6.1. Authentic blood. 224
    • 6.1.1. Blood of a living, crucified person. 224
    • 6.1.2. Bilirubin. 224
    • 6.1.3. Prior UV-irradiation. 231
    • 6.1.4. CO-ligand from carbon monoxide gas. 232
    • 6.1.5. Saponaria-treated cloth. 232
    • 6.2. Painted-on bloodstains. 233
    • 6.2.1. ‘Cured’ blood paint – NO or CO.. 233
    • 6.2.2. Iron oxide particles in protein binder 237
    • 6.2.3. Iron-madder lake. 238
    • 6.2.4. Acid blood. 238
    • 6.3. Survey red color hypotheses. 239
    • 7. BLOOD ON THE PETALON – NOT ON THE BEARD.. 241
    • 8. CONCLUSION.. 247
    • 9. ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS. 249
    • Bibliography. 250

An Interview with Lind and Antonacci

It was supposed to be an interview about the St. Louis conference.

imageInterviewer: . . . What have you been able to prove?

Dr. Arthur Lind: “Well, I could definitely prove that if … neutrons radiated the shroud, and many people believe that neutrons were emanated during the resurrection, the radiocarbon date would be altered and changed to a younger date . . .”

And then Mark Antonacci discussed his proposal for testing the shroud; you know that petition of his.

Remember when Mark said (Many of World’s Religious Problems Could be Resolved by Molecular and Atomic Testing on the Shroud of Turin):

If, on the other hand, it did not provide such proof, it would not mean that the Shroud is a fake – it would simply mean that this particular hypothesis is incorrect. If unfakable and independent evidence was obtained to confirm this hypothesis however, it could actually be used to analyze the central premises of various religions throughout history and in our world today.

Objective and independent evidence does not exist to prove the central premises of any other religion, agnosticism or atheism. In contrast, the Shroud of Turin could provide thousands of unfakable items of scientific and medical evidence to prove the central premises of Christianity. This new, incomparable evidence could lessen or remove the underlying bases for many of the world’s ongoing wars and conflicts. The world has everything to gain and nothing to lose by the proposed molecular and atomic testing of the Shroud of Turin. (emphasis mine)

[ . . . ]

Unfakable? Time to repeat a posting from last November:


Blowing the Antonacci Proposal to bits

or is it particles?

imageColin Berry writes by way of a comment:

. . . All someone has to do is sneak a mixture of ordinary beryllium and americium-241 (present in domestic smoke alarms) into the cabinet housing the Shroud. That mixture then emits neutrons (half life approx.10 days) and before you know what the Shroud will then be impregnated with radioisotopes such as chlorine-36 and calcium- 41 that Antonacci and his pressure group (if invited in with their scanners) could later proclaim to the world as proof that the Christian story based on Resurrection is proven – and a lot more besides (he reckons, see below ) as to the mechanism of resurrection.

You think I’m exaggerating?

See Antonacci comment from this site in September: (my bolding)

https://shroudstory.com/2013/09/16/speaking-of-more-scientific-testing-of-the-shroud/#comment-44624

Please study the keynote address, which can be found on TesttheShroud.com. I’m not trying to be self-congratulatory or subjective, but these procedures could test every explanation for the Shroud’s radiocarbon dating and answer all the mysteries surrounding the Shroud. If the Shroud linen cloth, blood and other particles on it were examined at the molecular and atomic level, you could also collect enough new information that scientists could analyze this data for many years to come. I will be further updating this proposal, as well.

And on the Petition site:(my bolding)

A leading hypothesis published in Scientific Research and Essays in 2012 asserts that particle radiation was emitted from the length and width of Jesus’ dead body while he was wrapped in the Shroud, and it was this “event” which caused the unique images on the cloth. Molecular and atomic testing could prove that hypothesis to be true. ……

…..If unfakable and independent evidence was obtained to confirm this hypothesis however, it could actually be used to analyze the central premises of various religions throughout history and in our world today.

Objective and independent evidence does not exist to prove the central premises of any other religion, agnosticism or atheism. In contrast, the Shroud of Turin could provide thousands of unfakable items of scientific and medical evidence to prove the central premises of Christianity. This new, incomparable evidence could lessen or remove the underlying bases for many of the world’s ongoing wars and conflicts. The world has everything to gain and nothing to lose by the proposed molecular and atomic testing of the Shroud of Turin. . . .

David Goulet responds:

Would the sabotage you are mentioning lead to ‘unfakable’ evidence? If there is a way to skew the evidence then doesn’t this demonstrate the evidence is indeed fakable? And now that skeptics like yourself are aware of the possibility of sabotage, this would undermine authenticity claims based on said testing.

For myself, I share your fear. There is a segment of Christianity that pushes a Christian triumphalism and the Shroud could be be exploited by them. The thought that Christians would use the Shroud to proselytize turns my stomach. It has been called the Silent Witness…that is exactly how it should be seen. If God wanted it to preach he would have added audio to it.

Hmmm, that makes me wonder… could there be audio properties encoded in it? Who needs flowers and coins when you could have music and soundbites. :)

The Antonacci proposal is probably dead.


Well, I was certainly wrong about that last sentence.

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?

Photo Rich, Wonderful Presentation by Emanuela Marinelli

imageYou must see, read and appreciate Emanuela Marinelli’s Valencia 2012 PowerPoint presentation, The setting for the radiocarbon dating of the Shroud, now easily found on the Valencia page at shroud.com. Writes, Joe Marino:

Another item Barrie added to the Valencia page that I think warrants a separate posting (instead of me just commenting on the previous post) is Emanuela’s Power Point slides to her excellent C-14 paper. . . .

Let’s be clear:

Skunks at the Garden Party

whole sections on the Shroud of Turin and the Vinland Map

imageJoe Marino sent along some details about a book he discovered, "The Forensic Historian: Using Science to Reexamine the Past" by Robert C. Williams (Armonk, NY:  M.E. Sharpe, 2013). It is interesting that this book was published in February of last year and has not surfaced, that I know of, in online shroud discussions.

The book is available at Amazon.com in Kindle format and as an ebook from the publisher, in each case for $12.95.  A hardcover will set you back about $50.00 and a paperback $18.95; Barnes and Noble seems to have the best prices.

Here is a brief description from the publisher:

This engaging book examines 20 significant cases where investigators have applied new forensic techniques to confirm, dispute, or revise accepted historical accounts. Examples include the murder of King Tut, the validity of the Vinland Map, the authenticity of the Hitler diaries, Joan of Arc’s ashes, the bones of Anastasia, arsenic and the death of Napoleon, and the dating of the Shroud of Turin.

Chapter 2, according to the publisher’s 2013 catalog, consists of the following:

2. Faking It: Chemistry and Forgery
2.1 Paul Coremans: The Girl with the Bakelite Earring
2.2 Walter McCrone: Ink Testing the Vinland Map
2.3 Julius Grant: Ultraviolet Light on the Hitler Diaries
2.4 Walter McCrone Again: Carbon-14 Dating the Shroud of Turin
2.5 Philippe Charlier: The Bogus Remains of Joan of Arc
References

I must buy the book if for nothing else than the piece about Paul Coreman. In fact, I just punched in an order. I’ll look at it in the context of the shroud, next week, time permitting.

Here is a brief quotation about shroud studies from the shroud from the book:

The case of the Shroud of Turin showed how modern forensics techniques, again using analytical chemistry and mass spectrometry, could date fairly precisely any material object of which there was a sample available.  For centuries, the shroud had been a venerated relic of the church.  Critics had their suspicions, but no hard science to back them up.  In the end, Walter McCrone was able to show that the reddish stains on the linen were red ochre paint, not blood, and that the linen itself dated from the fourteenth century.  Case closed.

Except that in December 2011, Italian scientists claimed that the shroud could not have been a medieval forgery and that the marks on it were made by electromagnetic energy.  Lasers were not around in the first century, so something miraculous must have happened.  Forensic history had produced convincing evidence regarding the Shroud of Turin.  And yet the debate goes on.  Forensic history, like history, remains an argument without end.

imageThere is an even more interesting quotation about the Vinland Map (knowing that McCrone had already declared it a fake):

In 1985 scientist Thomas Cahill of the Crocker Nuclear Laboratory at the University of California, Davis, used PIXE Particle-Induced X-Ray Emission) to examine the Vinland Map.  He found that titanium oxide was not a major part of the ink, but only trace amounts.  (Cahill’s samples were much larger than McCrone’s.)  Since Cahill’s results appeared to contradict McCrone, Yale promptly sought Cahill’s second opinion.  McCrone responded in 1988 with a complete, published account of his 1974 results, arguing that the Cahill tests did not invalidate them.  In fact, PIXE could identify titanium but not titanium dioxide.

In 1995 Kirsten Seaver–a historian of medieval Norse culture and fellow of the Royal Geographical Society–argued that the Vinland Map was indeed a modern forgery and that she had identified the probable forger, an Austrian Jesuit priest name Father Josef Fischer, who had died in 1944.  Neither Seaver nor McCrone were invited to contribute to a lavish second edition of The Vinland Map and the Tatar Relation published that year by Yale University Press.  (The more favorably inclined Thomas Cahill was invited instead.)  Nor were McCrone and Seaver invited to attend the February 10, 1996, conference in New Haven where the map was displayed under armed guard and insured for an inflated value of $25 million.  McCrone showed up uninvited anyway and handed out to participants his own unpublished paper titled "The Yale contingent was not amused to have a skunk at its garden party.

[ . . . ]

In 1999 McCrone returned to the fray by publishing in his own journal Microscope the results of his more recent study of the map.  He had examined samples of the yellow ink liner from the map using a polarized light microscope to confirm the presence of synthetic anatase.  He also found that the reddish fringe was not rust but a collagen tempera.  Three years later, another scientist complicated the situation with radiocarbon dating:  D.J. Donahue found that the parchment of the Vinland Map indeed could be dated from the years 1423-1445, but that it had been coated with some substance in the 1950s.  In 2004 the analytic chemist Robin Clark supported McCrone’s 1974 results using Raman microscopy:  the particle size and distribution of the ink was characteristic of synthetic anatase, not iron-gall ink.

[ . . . ]

Forensics thus played a crucial role in demolishing historical and cartographic claims that the Vinland map was authentic.  In particular, analytical chemistry showed that the ink used on the map was a twentieth-century product, even if the parchment and wormholes might have dated from the fifteenth century.

New Photographs of the Samples from Oxford

imagePam has sent some new pictures.  You may recall that she applied to Oxford University (under the UK Freedom of Information Act 2007) to supply the photographs and data surrounding the 1988 tests. This exchange took place:

“Professor Ramsey has put most of it online. (one of the samples is missing but the Shroud data is there).

I wrote to her and asked her to explain what she meant when she said a sample was missing. Her next email to me stated:

“If you look at the whole sample of three of the tested cloths p2574_5; p2576_5 and p2575_8 you can see the first three samples. But the last one (I suspect it is Louis’ cloak) is missing.

“I’m fairly sure the Shroud is p2575 – the only herringbone weave and it looks like other related images we’ve seen of nearby samples. But on Monday I will go back to the compliance officer and question it.”

She has followed up. Yesterday she wrote to me:

Just to say that Professor Ramsey has posted some fascinating photos of the sample online. 

They are not the official University photos but they add substantially to Shroud knowledge. In particular the Shroud of Turin sample shows the underside/ reverse of the cloth.  Has that ever been photographed before?  I don’t remember seeing it.

The official set from early June

The latest showing the underside as a PDF file (or click on the image above)

It’s a total feeling sort of thing.

imageBT writes from New London:

I truly appreciate every one of the 300 comments in the recent thread about the Hungarian Pray Manuscript, particularly the skeptical ones. I read them carefully. I also considered the evidence from the Stavronikita Epitaphios. I had always thought the illustration in the codex was possible evidence for the shroud’s existence well before the date determined by radiocarbon testing. But I was cautious. I sometimes wondered if it was really true that features found in the drawing requiring knowledge of the shroud were indeed there because of such knowledge. I was 75% convinced they were. Now, I am 99% convinced.

Yeah, me too.

And you could almost see a small smile in Hugh Farey’s face as he responded to daveb:

You did help. The Byzantine herringbone pattern is another chip on the pile on the authentic side of the balance. It’s still not enough for me, as you predicted, but it’s more evidence. I like evidence!

Hugh is, of course, referring to the pattern on the Stavronikita Epitaphios.

We are talking about two threads: 1)Discussion about the Pray Codex and it’s relation to the Shroud is over? and 2) Comment Promoted: The Stavronikita Epitaphios. O.K. got the first one going. I count 297 comments. That has to be a record. DaveB got the second one going.

It’s a total feeling sort of thing. I can’t prove it. I won’t try. I think the Hungarian Pray Manuscript does represent the shroud. So does the burial sheet in the Stavronikita Epitaphios. I’m convinced.

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.

1988 Pictures and Details from Oxford

clip_image001According to three emails from people today, one being from Pam Moon:

. . . following a request under the 2007 UK Freedom of Information Act Professor Christopher Ramsey has published all the data and photographs for the Shroud of Turin on their website.  You can find the photos at: https://archdams.arch.ox.ac.uk/?c=1203&k=1bcdc90a8b.  The data and papers are at http://c14.arch.ox.ac.uk/embed.php?File=preprints.php

You can download large TIFF image files. For instance, this image is available in a 2925 x 4300 pixels (12.6 MP) size which translates into 9.8 in x 14.3 in @ 300 PPI.

The paper comprising Supplementary Information for: Nature 337, 611– 615 and Details of chemical cleaning of the Turin samples is interesting.

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?

Were both ventral and dorsal corners of the Shroud rewoven?

imageA guest posting in PDF form by O.K.  It begins:

In one of the recent posts on shroudstory.com1 Joe Marino published several interesting excerpts from Carlos Evaristo book The Untold Story of the Holy Shroud. The book claims to contain unpublished information from the Savoy family archives. The most interesting quote goes as follow:

“Another fact confirmed by His Majesty [King Umberto II] 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.”

What’s fascinating is that in the alleged quote, king Umberto speaks of the plural edges, suggesting there were more than just a single repair. If genuine, this could be extremely intriguing, because it may be related to what I considered as one of the weaker points in Benford & Marino argumentation –the spectral quad mosaic.

Read  the PFD file. CLICK HERE or click the page image above. A PDF file affords larger images and the ability to print this with logical pagination.  Return here to comment if you wish.

image

The Collapse of the Fraud Theory

imageI think we now have Stephen Jones’ whole theory of fraud wrapped up in one single neat paragraph:

2. FRAUD THE ONLY PLAUSIBLE EXPLANATION As we saw in my part #1: 1) the evidence is overwhelming that the Shroud is authentic; 2) but the improbability that the Shroud being first century, yet it had a radiocarbon date of 1260-1390 (1325 ±65)[3] was "astronomical"[4], "about one in a thousand trillion"[5]; 3) and conventional explanations for the discrepancy, such as contamination with younger carbon[6], and invisible rewoven repairs with cotton[7], don’t work. 4) Therefore, absent fraud, even if only "making results appear just a little … more definitive than they really are, or selecting just the `best’ data for publication and ignoring those that don’t fit"[8], it would be a miracle if the Shroud being first century `just happened’, by a combination of chance factors, like contamination and medieval repairs, etc, to have a radiocarbon date of 1325 +/- 65, which `just happened’ to be only 25-30 years before the Shroud’s first appearance in undisputed history at Lirey, France in the 1350s[9].

The only problem is it isn’t true.

1.  When Stephen says that invisible rewoven repairs don’t work he cites a letter written by Teddy Hall in 1990 that really has no real bearing on the subject of repairs as proposed by Benford, Marino and later Rogers more than a decade later. Hall was talking about small amounts of contamination; Benford, Marino and Rogers were talking about massive new material intrusion from repairs.

2.  Beginning with the phrase containing the word miracle, Stephen is restating an absurdity he has stated before. He cannot logically or statistically establish that the statement is true. It has no basis in fact. It is, in fact, certainly false. As I see it, his entire fraud argument collapses if this isn’t true. And it is not.

The Challenge for Stephen Now

imageHugh Farey shows why Stephen Jones and a reader of this blog who agrees with Stephen are wrong:

Let’s define terms then, shall we? The Shroud was made in AD25, and some random quantity of patching was added in 1535. What are the chances that the resultant date would be between 1260 and 1390? Is that the question? The answer (easily calculable using Christopher Ramsey’s OxCal and an online carbon dating calculator) is about 1/10. I’m happy to agree that a probability of 0.1 means that an event is unusual certainly, but a miracle? Astronomical? No, it’s not obvious. People should try some calculations before they jump to conclusions.

However another reader – let’s call him reader #2 – writes:

Mr Jones argues that it would be a miracle if a combination of 1st Century linen threads and contamination including medieval repair threads could produce a date of 1325 plus or minus 65 years. Why is it not like mixing black paint into white paint to make a certain shade of gray? It is only a question of how much black paint. The odds are 100% that the right amount exists.

But Stephen qualifies himself by saying what are the chances given a combination of chance factors. So it is not 100%. It is probably, as Hugh states, about 10%. Ignoring Hughes advice about doing the math, I decided to trust his statistical efforts. What Hugh calculates is about like rolling 5 (or 9) with a pair of dice, hardly the stuff of miracles. Without his improbability claim, Stephen just doesn’t have much left by which to refute the repair hypothesis first put forth by Benford and Marino.

Stephen for years has done an outstanding job of examining, quoting and citing historical evidence of all sorts. So I must ask, now that we have been focusing on The Untold Story of the Holy Shroud by Carlos Evaristo, doesn’t the repair theory suddenly seem much more probable? The challenge for Stephen will be to convince us that computer hackers employed by the KGB seems more probable.

Pictures of Ostentations

There has been a lot of discussions in the comments about clergy holding the shroud during exhibitions, or ostentations.  David Rolfe has a nice montage on his website, The Enigma of the Shroud of Turin. To view the montage, CLICK HERE and then scroll down the page. David writes:

Countless times over the centuries (even millennia if the C14 is wrong) the Shroud has been held up for display and, until only a few decades ago, this was always by grasping the corners. The potential for contamination here is infinitely greater than anywhere else on the cloth. The associated wear and tear may also have made it necessary to carry out repairs.

There is another picture on David’s website. He tell me it his favorite and I just might agree. Click on the picture to be linked to the larger version on his site.

image

FYI: From Dictionary.com

os·ten·ta·tion [os-ten-tey-shuhn, -tuhn-]

noun

1. pretentious or conspicuous show, as of wealth or importance; display intended to impress others.

2. Archaic. the act of showing or exhibiting; display.

Dissent of the day: I’ll say one thing for Jones

imageA reader from New Hampshire writes:

I’ll say one thing for Jones, no one has done a better job of debunking the Marino and Benford reweave theory than him. He damned the quad mosaics with Marino’s own words.

As you pointed out, Jones did make two mistakes with historical evidence, the fake emperor’s letter and the Russian-style crucifix footrest. The rest of the evidence he presented is formidable. I am convinced by it.

Jones wrote, “it would be a miracle if the Shroud being first century `just happened’, by a combination of chance factors, like contamination and medieval repairs, etc, to have a radiocarbon date of 1325 +/- 65, only 25-30 years before the Shroud’s first appearance in undisputed history.”

Is that no obvious to everyone?