Friday, October 10, 2008

Shroud of Turin News - August 2008

Here, belatedly is my Shroud of Turin News for August 2008. The previous issue was May 2008, since I am not aware of any significant news about the Shroud of Turin in June or July 2008. Articles are in chronological order (earliest first). My comments are in bold.

Oxford view on Shroud of Turin eagerly awaited, Irish Times, August 7, 2008, William Reville

[Right: Prof. William Reville, University College Cork, Ireland]

THE TURIN SHROUD (TS) poses a fascinating mystery. It is a linen cloth (4.42m x 1.13m) bearing the image of a man that many believe is the crucified Jesus Christ. The cloth has been investigated scientifically but the jury is still out as to the age of the TS and the identity of the man whose image it carries. That a Professor for the Public Awareness of Science, as Prof. Reville is, to concede 20 years after the 1988 radiocarbon dating report in Nature claimed that:

"The results provide conclusive evidence that the linen of the Shroud of Turin is mediaeval." (Damon, 1989, "Radiocarbon Dating of the Shroud of Turin," Nature, p.612).

that "the jury is still out as to the age of the T[urin] S[hroud]" is itself evidence, bordering on proof, that the Shroud is the very burial sheet of Jesus. Because if it was not, then the Shroud would be a forgery (see Schafersman below). But then, since:

"The Shroud of Turin is now the most intensively studied artifact in the history of the world. Somewhere between 100,000 and 150,000 scientific man-hours have been spent on it, with the best analytical tools available." (Heller, 1983, "Report on the Shroud of Turin," p.219).

science would by now demonstrated not only that the Shroud was a forgery, but what type of forgery it is, and how the forging was done. .... Byzantine tradition refers to a shroud bearing an image of Christ taken from Jerusalem to Turkey in the first century, then lost, rediscovered and brought to Constantinople in 944. .... A fragment of the TS was radiocarbon dated in 1988 by three different laboratories and their results are in agreement. The results claim a 95 per cent probability that the TS dates from between 1260 and 1390 ... The researchers interpreted the TS as a medieval fake .... But there are reasons to question the results of this radiocarbon dating. Contamination of samples can pose serious problems in radiocarbon dating and have caused several anomalous results A refreshingly candid admission. It is highly significant that the problems of radiocarbon-dating ancient linen have increased, while the evidence for the Shroud being in existence long before the 13th century earliest date that "between 1260 and 1390" radiocarbon-dating found it could be, is grounds for rejecting that radiocarbon-dating, even if it could not be shown how it went wrong.... What if the TS really is the burial cloth of Christ? .... The Gospel account of the resurrected Christ is that he was entirely different to a physically embodied Christ - able to pass through walls, and to appear and disappear suddenly. What if his resurrection involved nuclear events in his dematerialisation? Dr August Accetta, California, has carried out a fascinating experiment in which he injected himself with a radioactive compound used in medical imaging to show up internal organs.

[Above: Nuclear radiation image of Dr. August Accetta, in Wilson, I. & Schwortz, B., "The Turin Shroud: The Illustrated Evidence," 2000, p.131]

He then assumed the pose of the man imaged on the TS and a gamma camera imaged the radioactivity emanating from his body. The results astonishingly replicated most of the features of the image on the TS. So there you have it. The TS story is still running strongly. We await the results of the Oxford radio carbon dating. .... A surprisingly open-minded consideration by a scientist, that the image on the Shroud could be explained by a burst of radiation emanating from Jesus' body as it changed state at His resurrection:

"... the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body." (Php 3:20-21).

"...`How are the dead raised? With what kind of body will they come?' ... ... The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable; it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory." (1Cor 15:35,41-42).

"... flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. ... the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed." (1Cor 15:50-52).

New findings reveal that the sample used to carbon-date the Shroud of Turin was not the original linen, Society and Religion, India, August 15, 2008... In his presentation yesterday at The Ohio State University's Blackwell Center, Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) chemist, Robert Villarreal,

[Left: Program cover: Ohio Shroud of Turin Conference, August 14 - 17, 2008]

disclosed startling new findings proving that the sample of material used in 1988 to Carbon-14 (C-14) date the Shroud of Turin, which categorized the cloth as a medieval fake, could not have been from the original linen cloth because it was cotton. This closely follows the Ohio Shroud Conference press release. Hear Villarreal's presentation (mp3), "Analytical Results on Threads Taken from the Raes Sampling Area (Corner) of the Shroud." The abstract of his paper states:

"The results of the FTIR analysis on all three threads taken from the Raes sampling area (adjacent to the C-14 sampling corner) led to identification of the fibers as cotton and definitely not linen (flax). ... all age dating analyses were conducted on samples taken from this same area. ... the age-dating process failed to recognize one of the first rules of analytical chemistry that any sample taken for characterization of an area or population must necessarily be representative of the whole. .... Our analyses of the three thread samples taken from the Raes and C-14 sampling corner showed that this was not the case." (Villarreal, R., 2008, "Analytical Results on Thread Samples Taken from the Raes Sampling Area (Corner) of the Shroud Cloth," Shroud Science Group International Conference, Ohio State University, August 14-17).

That is, the area of the Shroud adjoining the samples that were radiocarbon-dated in 1988 has now been found to contain cotton, probably from a medieval patch, indicating the samples carbon-dated did not represent the Shroud itself.

According to Villarreal, who lead the LANL team working on the

[Right: Raes' cornerat the bottom left-hand corner of the Shroud (see below). The three threads were from the "Raes fragment" and "Retained" areas near the C-14 samples. The large pale area is missing.]

project, thread samples they examined from directly adjacent to the C-14 sampling area were "definitely not linen" and, instead, matched cotton.

[Right: Raes' corner in relation to the Shroud (click to enlarge). Based on "Examine The Shroud of Turin," Shroud.com]

Villarreal pointed out that "the [1988] age-dating process failed to recognize one of the first rules of analytical chemistry that any sample taken for characterization of an area or population must necessarily be representative of the whole. The part must be representative of the whole. Our analyses of the three thread samples taken from the Raes and C-14 sampling corner showed that this was not the case." It is amazing how unscientifically dogmatic the leaders of the 1988 radiocarbon-dating were, with Oxford's Prof. Hall declaring that anyone who considered the Shroud to be authentic was equivalent to being a member of the "Flat Earth Society":

"... the tests had established a 95 per cent likelihood that the 14-foot linen was made between 1260 and 1390 AD. ... based on counting the number of radioactive carbon 14 atoms in a fragment of the shroud about the size of a postage stamp. .... Professor Edward Hall, the director of the Oxford research laboratory ... said ... believers in the shroud's authenticity ... would probably continue to regard it as genuine, `Just as there is a Flat Earth Society'." (Wilson, & Schwortz, 2000, "The Turin Shroud: The Illustrated Evidence," p.94).

even though the sample of this "14-foot linen" sheet was "about the size of a postage stamp" (i.e. 1.2cm x 8cm, or 0.012m x 0.08m sample of the ~4.3 x 1.1m = 4.732 Shroud, or a mere 0.012 x 0.08m = 0.00096*100/4.73 = 0.02% of the whole)!

Villarreal also revealed that, during testing, one of the threads came apart in the middle forming two separate pieces. A surface resin, that may have been holding the two pieces together, fell off and was analyzed. Surprisingly, the two ends of the thread had different chemical compositions, lending credence to the theory that the threads were spliced together during a repair. Ends of pure linen would not have "different chemical compositions," let alone a "resin ... holding the two pieces together." LANL's work confirms the research published in Thermochimica Acta (Jan. 2005) by the late Raymond Rogers, a chemist who had studied actual C-14 samples and concluded the sample was not part of the original cloth possibly due to the area having been repaired. This hypothesis was presented by M. Sue Benford and Joseph G. Marino in Orvieto, Italy in 2000. Benford and Marino proposed that a 16th Century patch of cotton/linen material was skilfully spliced into the 1st Century original Shroud cloth in the region ultimately used for dating. The intermixed threads combined to give the dates found by the labs ranging between 1260 and 1390 AD. Since the three labs further subdivided each of their one-third of the "postage stamp"sized sample:

"The laboratory in Zurich divided each sample in half, each of which was further subdivided into three. .... The laboratory in Arizona divided each sample into four sub-samples. ... The laboratory in Oxford divided the samples into three." (Guerrera, 2000, "The Shroud of Turin: A Case for Authenticity," pp.130-131).

in order "to do further testing ... If anything went wrong":

"Wolfli [Zurich laboratory] decided to halve each of his samples. This was in case he needed to do further testing. ...If anything went wrong ... Wolfli wanted another try." (Sox, 1988, "The Shroud Unmasked," pp.137-138).

it is not unreasonable to assume they discarded "wrong" dates (e.g. 1st century) and kept testing, until at least one of their subsamples returned a medieval date, being that of the cotton.

Benford and Marino contend that this expert repair was necessary to disguise an unauthorized relic taken from the corner of the cloth. A paper presented yesterday at the conference by Benford and Marino, and to be published in the July/August issue of the international journal Chemistry Today, provided additional corroborating evidence for the repair theory.

Shrouded in mystery, Columbus Dispatch, August 15, 2008, Meredith Heagney .... A conference at Ohio State this weekend will present new research on the authenticity of the Shroud of Turin. Most participants are believers, but a few skeptics will take part. This is a false antithesis. Those of the so-called "skeptics" who hold the philosophy of metaphysical naturalism (i.e. nature is all there is-there is no supernatural) are the real true "believers." All Christians can accept the Shroud is not the very burial sheet of Jesus, bearing the image of His resurrected body, but no metaphysical naturalist "skeptic" can accept that it is! ... There's a new wrinkle in the mystery of a linen cloth that some say held Jesus' body. .... Local researchers say they have new information that discredits the assumption that the shroud is a hoax. It will be presented at a conference this weekend at Ohio State University. ... Robert Villarreal ... further confirms the theory of ... Joe Marino and Sue Benford. ...

[Left: Husband and wife team Joe Marino and Sue Benford]

In the 1500s, the shroud went on a tour of Europe, and security wasn't tight, Benford said. It's possible somebody removed a small piece of the shroud and patched it using "invisible weaving," a common technique at the time that would've left the alteration unnoticeable to the naked eye. .... Despite ample evidence that the relic is a fake, many Christians will insist it's real, said Joe Nickell, a senior research fellow at the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry in Amherst, N.Y. Nickell, who is not a scientist, has written a book about the shroud and said he assembled his own scientific team to examine the data. "Science and scholarship have absolutely proven the Shroud of Turin as a 14th-century forgery," he said. "They're trying to sell you on a mystery." Nickel's "absolutely proven" is typical of the dogmatic "skeptics" (so-called), who, as previously mentioned are really true believers in naturalistic philosophy, which forces them to deny the Shroud is the very burial sheet of Jesus, irrespective of the evidence. True scientists like Prof. Reville (above) admit that:

"... the jury is still out as to the age of the TS and the identity of the man whose image it carries ..."

and Prof. Christopher Ramsey, Director of the Oxford Radiocarbon Accelerator Unit, one of the three labs which carbon-dated the Shroud as "medieval" in 1988, has agreed that:

"... carbon monoxide is naturally enriched in radiocarbon when found in the environment and ... could affect the radiocarbon age of the Shroud enough to allow it to be 2000 years old ... There is a lot of other evidence that suggests to many that the Shroud is older than the radiocarbon dates allow"." (Ramsey, 2008, "Shroud of Turin," Oxford Radiocarbon Accelerator Unit).

meaning that the Shroud could be 2,000 years old and the image be that of Jesus!

Turin shroud controversy envelops pair, Seattle Times, 24 Aug 2008, DeeDee Correll. ... Is the Shroud of Turin - which purportedly bears the image of a crucifixion victim - the burial cloth of Jesus?

[Right: John and Rebecca Jackson with a model, based on the Shroud, that approximates Jesus' body in His tomb: Seattle Times]

In 1988, science seemed to put that question to rest. Radiocarbon dating by three separate laboratories showed the shroud originated in the Middle Ages ... John Jackson, one of the shroud's most prominent researchers, was among those who insisted the results made no sense. Too much else about the shroud, they said, including characteristics of the cloth and details in the image, suggested it was much older. Twenty years later, Jackson, 62, is getting his chance to challenge the radiocarbon dating. Oxford University, which participated in the original radiocarbon testing, has agreed to work with him in reconsidering the age of the shroud. If the challenge is successful, Jackson hopes to be allowed to re-examine the shroud .... Jackson, a physicist who teaches at the University of Colorado, hypothesizes that contamination of the cloth by elevated levels of carbon monoxide skewed the 1988 carbon-14 dating by 1,300 years. See Shroud News May 2008 for my comments on Jackson's 1532 fire carbon monoxide enrichment theory. See also similar articles at Catholic News Agency, Los Angeles Times, NewsMax.com & UPI. Of course if the sample carbon-dated in 1988 was a patch and not representative of the Shroud, then Jackson's theory may be unnecessary to account for the Shroud's anomalous 14th century date. . .... Steven Schafersman, a geologist who maintains a skeptical Web site about the shroud, dismissed the effort as one that's bound to fail. "He's had other ideas, but they've all been shot down, and this one will be shot down too," he said of Jackson. Schafersman is another dogmatic "skeptic" (so-called) who rules out in advance the Shroud being authentic, irrespective of the evidence. He states on his website that he believes in "naturalism ... that nature or the universe is all that exists." Yet Schafersman admits that "If the shroud is authentic, the image is that of Jesus":

"...it becomes clear there are only two choices: Either the shroud is authentic ... or it is a product of human artifice. ... After all, the man on this shroud was flogged, crucified, wore a crown of thorns, did not have his legs broken, was nailed to the cross, had his side pierced, and so on. Stevenson and Habermas .... calculate the odds as 1 in 83 million that the man on the shroud is not Jesus Christ ... I agree with them on all of this. If the shroud is authentic, the image is that of Jesus." (Schafersman, in Nickell, 1987, "Inquest on the Shroud of Turin," p.141).

He therefore is unable, while he holds his metaphysical naturalism position, to accept that the Shroud is authentic, that it really is the burial sheet of Jesus, bearing the imprint of His resurrected body.

Age of shroud of Turin disputed again, The Sunday Times, August 24, 2008, John Follain. ... Carbon dating tests carried out in 1988 indicated that the shroud, long revered as the winding-sheet in which the body of Jesus was wrapped for burial and bearing his imprint, had been made between 1260 and 1390. The Catholic church admitted at the time that the shroud could not be authentic. This is false. The Roman Catholic Church has never admitted the Shroud "could not be authentic." What the then Archbishop of Turin, the late Cardinal Ballestrero stated was that:

"... he accepted the laboratories' findings even though ... `the problems about the origin of the image and its preservation still remain to a large extent unresolved'" (Wilson, 1998, "The Blood and the Shroud," pp.7-8).

John Jackson, a physicist at Colorado University and a prominent expert on the relic, has argued that the tests were skewed by 1,300 years because of high levels of carbon monoxide. He said many other elements of the shroud, including details of the image, indicate that it is much more ancient. "It's the radiocarbon date that, to our minds, is like a square peg in a round hole. It's not fitting properly and the question is `Why?'," Jackson told an interviewer. The non-radiocarbon evidence is overwhelming that the Shroud is the very burial sheet of Jesus. And as archaeologist the late Dr. Eugenia Nitowski pointed out:

"In any form of enquiry or scientific discipline, it is the weight of evidence which must be considered conclusive: In archaeology, if there are ten lines of evidence, carbon dating being one of them, and it conflicts with the other nine, there is little hesitation to throw out the carbon date as inaccurate" (Wilson, 1991, "Holy Faces, Secret Places," pp.178-179).

Oxford has agreed to work with Jackson to reassess the age of the shroud. He will now try to demonstrate through experiments in his laboratory that the results were flawed, in the hope that this could prompt new tests on the relic itself. Christopher Ramsey, head of the Oxford Radiocarbon Accelerator Unit that tested the shroud in 1988, said: "There is a lot of other evidence that suggests to many that the shroud is older than the radiocarbon dates allow and so further research is certainly needed." Scepticism about the 1988 tests is widespread.

A conference at Ohio State University earlier this month heard findings from the Los Alamos National Laboratory that they were unsound because the samples tested came from a portion of cloth that may have been added during medieval repairs. The area of the Shroud adjoining the C-14 samples has now been found to contain cotton, indicating the samples carbon-dated were of a medieval patch and thus did not represent the Shroud itself:

"The results of the FTIR analysis on all three threads taken from the Raes sampling area (adjacent to the C-14 sampling corner) led to identification of the fibers as cotton and definitely not linen (flax). ... all age dating analyses were conducted on samples taken from this same area. ... the age-dating process failed to recognize one of the first rules of analytical chemistry that any sample taken for characterization of an area or population must necessarily be representative of the whole. .... Our analyses of the three thread samples taken from the Raes and C-14 sampling corner showed that this was not the case." (Villarreal, R., 2008, "Analytical Results on Thread Samples Taken from the Raes Sampling Area (Corner) of the Shroud Cloth," Shroud Science Group International Conference, Ohio State University, August 14-17).

Monsignor Giuseppe Ghiberti, spokesman for the commission that manages the shroud at the Cathedral of St John the Baptist in Turin, said any new tests would have to wait until after it is put on public display in 2010. "The decision is a matter for its owners, that is the Holy See, and the Vatican has said nothing must be touched," he said. This "any new tests" is an encouraging shift in position, indicating that the linen of the Shroud may eventually be properly radiocarbon-dated.

The quotes below (emphasis italics original, emphasis bold mine) are hyperlinked to references above.

Stephen E. Jones.
My other blogs: CreationEvolutionDesign & Jesus is Jehovah!


"Very small samples from the Shroud of Turin have been dated by accelerator mass spectrometry in laboratories at Arizona, Oxford and Zurich. As controls, three samples whose ages had been determined independently were also dated. The results provide conclusive evidence that the linen of the Shroud of Turin is mediaeval. ... The results of radiocarbon measurements at Arizona, Oxford and Zurich yield a calibrated calendar age range with at least 95% confidence for the linen of the Shroud of Turin of AD 1260 - 1390 (rounded down/up to nearest 10 yr). These results therefore provide conclusive evidence that the linen of the Shroud of Turin is mediaeval." (Damon, P.E., et al. , 1989, "Radiocarbon Dating of the Shroud of Turin," Nature, Vol. 337, 16 February, pp.611-615, pp.612,614).

"The laboratory in Zurich divided each sample in half, each of which was further subdivided into three. One third received no additional treatment, one third was treated with a weak solution of .05 % hydrochloric acid, followed by 0.25% sodium hydroxide, followed again by 0.5% hydrochloric acid at room temperature with intermittent washings. The last third was treated with a strong solution of 5% hydrochloric acid, then by 2.5% sodium hydroxide, which was followed again with 5% hydrochloric acid at temperatures of 80°C and intermittent washings. The laboratory in Arizona divided each sample into four sub-samples. One pair was treated with diluted hydrochloric acid, diluted sodium hydroxide, and again with hydrochloric acid with intermittent washings. The other pair was cleaned with commercial detergents, hydrochloric acid, ethanol, and distilled water. The laboratory in Oxford divided the samples into three. Each was treated with hydrochloric acid, sodium hydroxide, and again with hydrochloric acid at a temperature of 80°C with intermittent washings. Two of the three pieces were also bleached in sodium hypochlorite. [Nature, February 16, 1989, p.613]" (Guerrera, V., 2000, "The Shroud of Turin: A Case for Authenticity," TAN: Rockford IL, pp.130-131).

"So where does all this huge amount of science leave us? The Shroud of Turin is now the most intensively studied artifact in the history of the world. Somewhere between 100,000 and 150,000 scientific man-hours have been spent on it, with the best analytical tools available. The physical and chemical data fit hand in glove. It is certainly true that if a similar number of data had been found in the funerary linen attributed to Alexander the Great, Genghis Khan, or Socrates, there would be no doubt in anyone's mind that it was, indeed, the shroud of that historical person. But because of the unique position that Jesus holds, such evidence is not enough." (Heller, J.H., 1983, "Report on the Shroud of Turin," Houghton Mifflin Co: Boston MA, p.219).

"As the (red ochre) dust settles briefly over Sindondom, it becomes clear there are only two choices: Either the shroud is authentic (naturally or supernaturally produced by the body of Jesus) or it is a product of human artifice. Asks Steven Schafersman: `Is there a possible third hypothesis? No, and here's why. Both Wilson [Wilson, I., "The Shroud of Turin," 1979, pp.51-53.] and Stevenson and Habermas [Stevenson, K.E. & Habermas, G.R., "Verdict on the Shroud," 1981, pp.121-129] go to great lengths to demonstrate that the man imaged on the shroud must be Jesus Christ and not someone else. After all, the man on this shroud was flogged, crucified, wore a crown of thorns, did not have his legs broken, was nailed to the cross, had his side pierced, and so on. Stevenson and Habermas [Ibid., p.128] even calculate the odds as 1 in 83 million that the man on the shroud is not Jesus Christ (and they consider this a very conservative estimate). I agree with them on all of this. If the shroud is authentic, the image is that of Jesus.' [Schafersman, S.D., "Science, the public, and the Shroud of Turin," The Skeptical Inquirer, Vol. 6, No. 3, Spring 1982, pp.37-56, p.42]" (Nickell, J., 1987, "Inquest on the Shroud of Turin," [1983], Prometheus Books: Buffalo NY, Revised, Reprinted, 2000, p.141).

"John Jackson ... has developed a new hypothesis, which he believes may explain why the mediaeval date for the Shroud is incorrect. The hypothesis ... is that the linen of the Shroud might have been contaminated by carbon monoxide. Unlike most contaminants, carbon monoxide is naturally enriched in radiocarbon when found in the environment and would therefore in principle be able to alter the radiocarbon age significantly. .... This is the only contamination hypothesis which could affect the radiocarbon age of the Shroud enough to allow it to be 2000 years old. .... The Oxford Radiocarbon Accelerator Unit has been collaborating with John Jackson's team to test the reaction rates. .... The research continues because the effect of the specific storage conditions of the Turin Shroud .... It remains possible ... that in these specific conditions there are reactions which provide significant contamination. There are also other possible types of contaminant, and it could be that one, or some combination of these, might mean that the Shroud is somewhat older than the radiocarbon date suggests. .... There is a lot of other evidence that suggests to many that the Shroud is older than the radiocarbon dates allow and so further research is certainly needed. It is important that we continue to test the accuracy of the original radiocarbon tests as we are already doing. It is equally important that experts assess and reinterpret some of the other evidence. Only by doing this will people be able to arrive at a coherent history of the Shroud which takes into account and explains all of the available scientific and historical information." (Ramsey, C., 2008, "Shroud of Turin," Oxford Radiocarbon Accelerator Unit, April)

"Wolfli [Zurich laboratory] decided to halve each of his samples. This was in case he needed to do further testing. He said the condition he gave for being involved in the first place was having enough sample material with which to work. If anything went wrong - as it had in the inter-lab comparison of 1982 - Wolfli wanted another try." (Sox, H.D., 1988, "The Shroud Unmasked: Uncovering the Greatest Forgery of All Time," The Lamp Press: Basingstoke UK, pp.137-138).

"I became involved with the analytical aspect of the Shroud when Ray Rogers asked me for help in conducting certain Shroud image formation studies. He needed an alpha-particle source to complete investigation of possible image formation processes and some radiochemical calculations on the depth of penetration of an emitted alpha-particle into flax fibers. I provided him with both and he asked further for X-ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy (XPS) measurements on a special sample he termed a `spliced thread' or R1 sample. The XPS measurements were made and he was quite excited at the results because they indicated the two ends of the thread were not the same and he additionally asked if there were other specialized non-destructive equipment that might be available. ... Based on evidence he had accumulated, Ray was convinced that the material from the Raes (1973) and C-14 (1988) sampling corner (lower left corner of frontal image area) was significantly different from the original Shroud cloth. ... After conducting analysis at high vacuum with the ToF-SIMS [Time-of-Flight Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry], the `spliced thread' broke into three distinct pieces; a fuzzy end (Region 1), a tight woven end (Region 2), and a micro-sized circular cocoon-shaped brown crust that seemed to be connecting the two end pieces. The ToF-SIMS results were the first to show that the spectra from the two ends were similar to cotton rather than linen (flax) and the Spectroscopist recommended that the next analysis should be with the FTIR [Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy] instrument. After several scans of individual fibers or strands, the FTIR data showed that the two ends (Region 1 and 2) were definitely cotton and not linen (flax). The crust appeared to be an organic-based resin, perhaps a terpene species, with cotton as a main sub-component. After showing the FTIR data to Barrie Schwortz and Sue Benford, they were quite surprised at the results and decided to send me two other pieces of thread (No. 7 and 14) that were from the same sampling area ... The results of the FTIR analysis on all three threads taken from the Raes sampling area (adjacent to the C-14 sampling corner) led to identification of the fibers as cotton and definitely not linen (flax). Note, that all age dating analyses were conducted on samples taken from this same area. Apparently, the age-dating process failed to recognize one of the first rules of analytical chemistry that any sample taken for characterization of an area or population must necessarily be representative of the whole. The part must be representative of the whole. Our analyses of the three thread samples taken from the Raes and C-14 sampling corner showed that this was not the case. What was true for the part was most certainly not true for the whole. This finding is supported by the spectroscopic data provided in this presentation. The recommendations that stem from the above analytical study is that a new age dating should be conducted but assuring that the sample analyzed represents the original main shroud image area, i.e. the fibers must be linen (flax) and not cotton or some other material. It is only then that the age dating will be scientifically correct." (Villarreal, R., 2008, "Analytical Results on Thread Samples Taken from the Raes Sampling Area (Corner) of the Shroud Cloth," in "The Shroud of Turin: Perspectives on a Multifaceted Enigma," Shroud Science Group International Conference, Ohio State University, August 14-17).

"Whether, therefore, there has or has not been some error in respect of the shroud carbon dating, what is undeniable is that the process of carbon dating, despite all the ultra-scientific precision with which it is associated, can and does err in its results. It should be regarded as tool, not arbiter, and should never be mistaken for the latter. As has been very cogently remarked by the former Biblical archaeologist Dr Eugenia Nitowski: `In any form of enquiry or scientific discipline, it is the weight of evidence which must be considered conclusive: In archaeology, if there are ten lines of evidence, carbon dating being one of them, and it conflicts with the other nine, there is little hesitation to throw out the carbon date as inaccurate ...' [Nitowski, E., Private communication]" (Wilson, I., 1991, "Holy Faces, Secret Places: The Quest for Jesus' True Likeness," Doubleday: London, pp.178-179).

"Thus it was that on the morning of 14 October 1988 most of the world woke up to newspaper headlines - by no means always front-page news - that the Shroud had been `proven' to be a mediaeval fake. At his Turin press conference Cardinal Ballestrero, true to his earlier expressed insistence that the Church has nothing to fear from the truth, declared that he accepted the laboratories' findings even though, as he carefully added, `the problems about the origin of the image and its preservation still remain to a large extent unresolved'. England's Daily Telegraph newspaper duly translated this into the headline `Turin shroud is a forgery, says Catholic Church'." (Wilson, I., 1998, "The Blood and the Shroud: New Evidence that the World's Most Sacred Relic is Real," Simon & Schuster: New York NY, pp.7-8).

"CARDINAL Anastasio Ballestrero of Turin yesterday confirmed what newspaper readers around the world have known for weeks: that tests on the Turin Shroud have shown it to be of medieval origin. The shroud, believed by many to carry the imprint of Christ's face and body when laid in the tomb, has attracted devout pilgrims to Turin for centuries. Leaks of the results of modern carbon-dating tests had infuriated the archdiocese of Turin and the shroud's Italian custodians who spoke darkly of foreign plots against Italy, anti-Catholic prejudice and the like. Yesterday it was at last official: the tests had established a 95 per cent likelihood that the 14-foot linen was made between 1260 and 1390 AD. There is no chance that it dates back to the time of Christ. Cardinal Ballestrero pointed out that the church had never claimed that the shroud represented Jesus but had honoured a tradition of piety rooted in centuries past. `Considering the results of the scientific tests, the church reiterates her respect and her veneration for the shroud,' he said. The tests were carried out in laboratories at Oxford University and in Arizona and Zurich. They were based on counting the number of radioactive carbon 14 atoms in a fragment of the shroud about the size of a postage stamp. However, they did not resolve the icon's origin, or the mystery which surrounds the blood-stained image on the shroud, resembling a photographic negative, of an apparently crucified man. Professor Edward Hall, the director of the Oxford research laboratory involved, gave his theory: `There was a multi-million pound business in making forgeries during the fourteenth century. Someone just got a bit of linen, faked it up, and flogged it.' Professor Hall, 64, who said he had a file full of mostly `cranky' letters from believers in the shroud's authenticity, added that same people would probably continue to regard it as genuine, `Just as there is a Flat Earth Society'. But he was utterly convinced his findings were right." (Sheridan, M. & Reeves, P., "Turin Shroud shown to be a fake," Independent, 14 October 1988, in Wilson, I. & Schwortz, B., 2000, "The Turin Shroud: The Illustrated Evidence," Michael O'Mara Books: London, p.94).

Updated: 13 July 2015.

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