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The Hacking of the Carbon Dating, Wikipedia and the Media

July 7, 2015 7 comments

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.

I Tried to Ignore the Carbon Dating Computer Hacking Conspiracy Theory

May 18, 2015 5 comments

imageA reader from Hampton, Virginia writes:

I was reading Stephen Jones’s latest blogging on the carbon dating and have come up with a wacky theory.  Jones has it wrong. Computer hacker Karl Koch, thought by Jones to be a KGB stooge, didn’t die at all.  After all as Jones tells it, “German police were alerted of an abandoned car in a forest near Celle. When they went to investigate, they found an abandoned car, that looked like it had been there for years, as it was covered in dust. Near to the car they found a burned corpse (Koch). His shoes were missing and have never been found.”

His shoes have never been found. So how do we know it was Koch?  If you add a few years, a beard and a stocking cap you can plainly see that Koch is probably Chris Roberts who was arrested yesterday for hacking the inflight entertainment system of a flight he was on and supposedly issuing a command to one of the planes’ engines.

Have you read Jones’s latest posting?  It is more off the wall.

Yes.  I always read what Stephen writes.  Sometimes he posts some very useful or interesting information. When I think it warrants attention by others, I mention it.  I’ve pretty much given up discussing his conspiracy theory that the computers used during the carbon dating of the shroud were hacked.  Who knows; maybe someday his hypothesis will be shown to be right. But for now, I see it as wild conjecture without a shred of evidence. And now, for you have sucked me in to it, dear reader, I must quote a couple of paragraphs and a loose sentence to make my point:

If it turned out that Koch could not possibly have been involved, either directly or indirectly, in installing Linick’s program on Zurich and Oxford laboratories’ AMS control console computers, then my theory would not be falsified. In that case I would have to maintain that Linick’s program was installed on those laboratories’ computers by some other way. For example, Linick himself could have flown over to Zurich and Oxford, installed his program clandestinely on their computers, and returned to Arizona, in a few days. This is why my theory always has been "that the radiocarbon dating laboratories were duped by a computer hacker" (singular).

[…]

I have included Karl Koch in my theory, despite there being as yet no confirmed link between Koch and Linick, because of: 1) the striking coincidence that both Koch and Linick died of suspected suicide within days of each other … 2) Koch’s death was almost certainly the work of the KGB, or the East German Secret Police (Stasi) at the behest of the KGB; 3) the KGB had no reason to kill Koch unless he had been involved in an entirely different type of hacking for them which they did not want to become public knowledge; 4) Koch’s expertise would have been useful in hacking into Zurich and Oxford’s AMS computers; and 5) Koch’s living in Germany would have made it comparatively easy for him to travel to Zurich and Oxford to install Linick’s program on their computers (although that too is not necessary to my theory as Koch may have only provided expert advice on how to hack into those computers and a KGB operative may have entered the laboratories clandestinely and installed Linick’s program on their AMS computers, or Linick himself may have installed it).

So those who continue to dismiss my theory as merely a "conspiracy theory," in the full knowledge of my above disclaimers, do so dishonestly.

What else would you call it?  This is the epitome of conspiracy theory.

Categories: Conspiracy Theory Tags:

A Folding Method Charles Freeman Might Accept

May 8, 2015 17 comments

Click on the image to see how it is done in steps 1 through 5

clip_image001[4]Stephen Jones, back in September of 2012, wrote:

A commenter on Dan Porter’s Shroud of Turin blog pointed out what I had previously realised, but had forgotten, that Dan’s "Tetradiplon" graphic illustrating how the Shroud of Turin, when "four-doubled" (Greek tetradiplon), with Jesus’ face uppermost, results in Jesus’ face only within a rectangle, in landscape aspect (exactly as in the oldest copies of the Image of Edessa), has a flaw in that it only shows three doublings of the Shroud (see above).

Even Ian Wilson’s illustrations of this in his books (e.g. "The Evidence of the Shroud," 1986, p.113; "Holy Faces, Secret Places," 1991, p.142; "The Blood and the Shroud," 1998, p.153; "The Turin Shroud," 2000, p.111; and "The Shroud," 2010, p.141), show the Shroud doubled only three times.

But some months ago I cut out a photo of the Shroud and proved to myself that the Shroud can be doubled four times in such a way that it results in Jesus’ face in a rectangular segment of the cloth, in landscape aspect,exactly as it is in early copies of the Image of Edessa. Here I will show how it can be done, in what is a reasonable way to fold a long cloth, minimising strain at its fold edges.

Stephen goes on to say:

This is consistent with major foldlines at one-eighth intervals, found on the Shroud by Dr John Jackson from raking light photographs of the Shroud taken in 1978 by the Shroud of Turin Research Project (STURP).

clip_image001

History Explained?

January 13, 2015 1 comment

imageStephen Jones, having abandoned for a while his unfinished conspiracy theory that the carbon dating was wrong in 1988 because of computer hackers, is now sermonizing shroud history. He writes:

. . . Geoffroy then mounted a surprise night raid upon the castle of his betrayer, Aimery of Pavia, and took him back to his base at St Omer[36] where Geoffroy had all the military powers of the king[37]. There Geoffroy tortured and then decapitated his betrayer, cut his body into quarters, and hung them on the town gates[38]. Medieval military justice no doubt, but flagrant disobedience of the New Testament command for a Christian to love his enemies (Mt 5:43-44; Lk 6:27, 35) and not to take revenge but leaving that to God (Rom 12:19). For that disobedience, did Geoffroy later pay a heavy price? . . .

Then later on the page he answers his own question with just enough of a question mark ending to maintain a fragile shred of objectivity:

. . . Just as Moses was not allowed by God to live to enter the Promised land, because of his disobedience (Dt 32:48-52; Num 20:11-13; 27:14), did God not allow Geoffroy I to live to see the Shroud exhibited beyond 1356, because of his disobedience in taking brutal personal revenge on Aimery of Pavia (see above)? . . .

It’s too bad because Stephen does excellent research.

Categories: History Tags:

St. John of the Shroud: Priest, Servant of the Priest, Cousin to Jesus

November 25, 2014 8 comments

imageIn his serialized attempt to convince us that Jesus took his burial shroud with him following his resurrection and gave it to John the Apostle who was the servant of the priest mentioned in a fragment of text from St. Jerome that quotes the Gospel of the Hebrews, Stephen Jones explains that Jesus and John were first cousins and that the Apostle John was also a priest.

I know that, didn’t I? Did I?  If so, I didn’t know why. Very ingenious analysis by Stephen:

Mark and Mathew evidently record the three prominent women disciples standing by the Cross after Mary, the mother of Jesus, had been taken by the Apostle John (Jn 19:26-27), her nephew (see below), to his home[11]. That the remaining three women mentioned are the same group in each account is shown by Mark listing "Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome" as the women who went to the tomb in the early morning after the sabbath to anoint Jesus’ body (Mk 16:1).

That means that Jesus and Apostle John were first cousins:

[ . . . ]

Mary was also a "kinswoman" of Elisabeth, the mother of John the Baptist (Lk 1:36 YLT)[13]. The Greek word for "kinswoman," sungenis, is simply the female of sungenes "a kinsman" (Mk 6:4; Lk 1:58; 2:44; 14:12; 21:16; Jn 18:26; Ac 10:24) including "of tribal kinship" (Rom 9:3; 16:7,11,21)[14]. Elizabeth was one of the "daughters of Aaron" (Lk 1:5), that is, she was of priestly descent and the daughter of a priest[15]. Therefore Mary, and Salome her sister, were descended from David (Lk 1:32) and so were of the tribe of Judah (Mt 1:1-6; Lk 3:30-31) and also they were descended from Aaron, and so were of the tribe of Levi (Ex 6:16-20). There is no contradiction in this, as while a priest had to be a descendent of Aaron, he was not required to take a wife from the descendants of Aaron but the only requirement was that she was an Israelite virgin (Lev 21:1,7,14)[16]. The conditions of Jesus’ descent from David (Mt 1:1; Rom 1:3; 2Tim 2:8; Rev 22:16) are satisfied if at least one of Mary’s parents were of Davidic decent[17].

Therefore, for the Apostle John, the son of Salome, to be a priest, it was only necessary that his father, Zebedee (Mt 4:21; 10:2; Mk 1:19; 3:17; 10:35; Lk 5:10), was of Aaronic descent and therefore was a priest[18]. And that would have been so if Mary (and Salome’s) father, Heli (Lk 3:23)[19], i.e. "Eli" – a priestly name (1Sam 1:9; 2:11; 14:3), was a descendant of Aaron and therefore a priest[20]. And that would have been the case, if the father of Elisabeth, who was Mary’s and Salome’s kinswoman, was a brother of Zebedee, John’s father. Further Biblical confirmation that John was a priest is found in Jn 20:4-8, where John reached the empty tomb first but did not enter it until after Peter went in and confirmed that Jesus’ body was not there. It was forbidden for a priest to enter a tomb[21] where he might make contact with a dead body and so become "unclean" (Lev 21:1-3)[22].

Categories: Other Blogs Tags:

John of . . . , John the . . . , Servant of the Priest? That Also?

November 15, 2014 12 comments

In conclusion, the identity of the Beloved Disciple remains a debatable
(and perhaps irresolvable) issue.

imageStephen Jones is up with an interesting introduction to the second installment of his Servant of the Priest entry into the Shroud of Turin encyclopedia he is writing:

Several early Christian writings record that the resurrected Jesus gave His shroud to different individuals. . . . A third possibility, which seems not to have been previously considered, is that "the servant of the priest" was the Apostle John, of whom there is historical and Biblical evidence that he was a priest and that he may have even been a servant in the High Priest’s household. This latter possibility, that Jesus took His Shroud with Him out of the empty tomb and later gave it to the Apostle John, seems the most likely.

St. John the Evangelist? John of Patmos? John the Beloved Disciple?

Fascinating. But John the who? All of the above? And more?

Last month,  Cornelis Bennema uploaded a paper to Academia.edu on The Historical Reliability of the Gospel of John. Around page 14 we encounter a discussion of the authorship:

If we can accept that the Beloved Disciple is the author of this Gospel, the next issue is to decide on his identity. The variety of candidates that scholars have proposed for his identity (e.g., John of Zebedee, John the Elder, Lazarus, Thomas, Nathanael) should warn us to tread carefully and modestly. It seems that “the disciple whom Jesus loved” is deliberately kept anonymous in the Gospel, which implies that he cannot be one of the named disciples in the Gospel and hence we can rule out the identification with Lazarus, Thomas or Nathanael. Nonetheless, Bauckham argues that while the Gospel uses the literary device of anonymity, it does not want to conceal the identity of the Beloved Disciple and it is highly likely that the original readers knew who the Beloved Disciple was. Besides, the title “according to John” was probably included in the Gospel from the outset, thus strengthening the argument that some of the first audience knew this John. We must therefore probe further by looking at the internal and external evidence.

[ . . . ]

In conclusion, the identity of the Beloved Disciple remains a debatable (and perhaps irresolvable) issue. Yet, even if we cannot ascertain beyond doubt the identity of the Beloved Disciple, what is relevant is that he was an eyewitness from the earliest days of Jesus’ ministry to the end and present at key moments. John’s Gospel emphasises the function of the Beloved Disciple within the Johannine narrative (as the reliable eyewitness to Jesus) rather than his identity. The most important contribution of the Beloved Disciple has been the writing of this Gospel where his testimony has been carefully preserved.  Although the Beloved Disciple was not necessarily one of the Twelve, if we consider his privileged and intimate relationship with Jesus (13:23) and his “rivalry” with Peter, it seems likely that he was. . . . All things considered, I propose that John of Zebedee is the most likely candidate, but John the Elder is a serious contender. Yet, we should not exaggerate the issue of authorship with regard to the historical reliability of the Gospel of John because an account from John of Zebedee is not necessarily more reliable than one from John the Elder. Nor is an account written by an eyewitness (e.g., John’s Gospel) necessarily more reliable than one written by someone else but based on an eyewitness account (e.g., Luke’s Gospel).

St. John, Servant of the Priest?  Let’s see where Stephen takes us as he continues his posting.

Weaving Fan a.k.a. Colin Berry?

November 13, 2014 31 comments

While reading what follows, please be aware that Colin Berry denies
that he is Weaving Fan. I believe him. I trust him. We all should.

I knew this sounded really familiar. This month two years ago we were talking about the 3 over 1 herringbone cloth in the Victoria and Albert Museum in London (see previous posting).

First we go to Stephen Jones’ blog where Stephen has written:

Weave. The cloth’s weave is known as "3 to 1 twill" because each transversal weft thread passes alternatively over three and under one of the longitudinal warp threads[16]. This gives the weave the appearance of diagonal lines which reverse direction at regular intervals to create a herringbone pattern[17]. Such complex herringbone three to one twill weaves are known from antiquity, for example, from Egypt and Syria, but they are not known from the Middle Ages.[18]

The footnote (18) points to Ian Wilson, ("The Shroud: The 2000-Year-Old Mystery Solved," Bantam Press: London, 2010, pp.74-75).

Someone calling himself Weaving Fan disputed Stephen in his blog:

S’uch complex three to one twill weaves are known from ‘antiquity, for example, from Egypt and Syria, but they are not known from the Middle Ages.’

This is surely not true- your source was certainly not someone who knew about textiles- 3/1 was used extensively especially in ecclesiastical vestments . As one commentator says `’Tablet-woven 3/1 was used to create some of the most elaborately patterned bands of the Middle Ages. Collingwood’s Techniques of Tablet Weaving (TTW) illustrates some amazing examples, including the maniple from Arlon, which is my favorite piece of tablet weaving."

The choice of twills is not difficult to make – 3/1 is fairly standard. Gilbert Raes said that the weave in itself could not be used to date the Shroud as examples go back to 800 Bc and certainly throughout the Roman period ( it was common for damask) and Middle Ages.

Stephen shot back. First he quotes Ian Wilson:

A further highly unusual feature of the Shroud’s linen is the weave itself. … an altogether more complex three-to-one herringbone twill … To make it, the weaver would have had to pass each weft (or transverse) thread alternately under three warp (or vertical) threads, then over on; creating diagonal lines. At regular intervals he or she would then have had to reverse direction to create the distinctive zigzags. …Even among textile experts, therefore, the search for parallels to the Shroud, whether from the Middle Ages or from further back in antiquity, has not been easy. This difficulty was made very evident when the British Museum’s Dr Michael Tite, the official invigilator for the 1988 carbon dating work, was looking for some historical samples of linen resembling the Shroud’s weave to use for controls. His plan was that the carbon dating laboratories should not know which of the samples had come from the actual Shroud. He even sought my help on this. But the plan failed. In order to provide controls that were at least all of linen he had to abandon the requirement that their weave should be herringbone. French specialist Gabriel Vial found much the same difficulty following his hands-on examination of the Shroud in 1988. There was literally no parallel that he could cite from the Middle Ages. … Vial found the era of antiquity itself – that is, around the time of Christ – significantly more productive …

But Stephen has more to say:

The fact is that Tite of the British Museum could NOT FIND a medieval piece of linen AT ALL which was 3:1 herringbone twill and therefore visually identical to the Shroud, so that the C14 dating labs could not tell which was the Shroud. But if medieval European 3:1 herringbone twill linen was so common as you claim it was, it would have been NO PROBLEM for Tite to obtain a POSTAGE STAMP sized sample of at least ONE of them.

Weaving Fan had said:

Wilson seems to imply that there were no similar herringbone cloths around in the Middle Ages. This is not true- it is simply that most are in museums (e.g the Victorian and Albert Museum in London) and can not be cut up to provide a control sample.

Stephen now has his hackles up:

This is FALSE. See above.

As I pointed out above, several aspects of your comment I found to be substandard and even offensive, and so according to my policies it should not have appeared (see below). I only allowed it to appear so that I could further refute your argument.

[ . . . ]

I suspected this "Weaving fan" above may have been Colin Berry, who has been permanently banned from commenting on this blog because of his continual substandard and offensive comments.

Now according to this post on Dan Porter’s blog it seems it was. Evidently Colin is not troubled by the ethics of posting comments to a blog where he has been banned, by the subterfuge of adopting a new pseudonym for the sole purpose of deceiving its Moderator.

But just as the leopard cannot change his spots, so it seems that Colin Berry cannot change his style, by not posting offensive and substandard comments! So whatever pseudonym Colin uses he won’t last long on my blog.

And now, of course, if we are not going bonkers by all this, we go to my blog. The link is two paragraphs up, but by now it is boring.

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