Wednesday, March 27, 2013

New experiments on Shroud show it's not medieval

Thanks to commenter The Deuce for alerting me to this article. My comments are bold to distinguish them from the article.


VATICAN INSIDER

Tuesday 26 March 2013

New experiments on Shroud show it's not medieval

Professor Giulio Fanti and journalist Saverio Gaeta have published a

[Right: Fanti and Gaeta's new book, "Il Mistero della Sindone" ("The Mystery of the Shroud"). It is in Italian but hopefully there will be an English translation edition out soon]

book with the results of some chemical and mechanical tests which confirm that the Shroud dates back to the 1st century. This raises the question, why should carbon 14 dating be regarded as the only definitive test of the age of the Shroud? In 2005 the late Ray Rogers, employed another test of age, vanillin content, which showed that the linen of the Shroud is "between 1,300 and 3,000 years old:

"The Shroud of Turin is much older than suggested by radiocarbon dating carried out in the 1980s, according to a new study in a peer-reviewed journal. A research paper published in Thermochimica Acta suggests the shroud is between 1,300 and 3,000 years old. The author dismisses 1988 carbon-14 dating tests which concluded that the linen sheet was a medieval fake. ... `The radiocarbon sample has completely different chemical properties than the main part of the shroud relic,' said Mr Rogers, who is a retired chemist from Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico, US. ... In the study, he analysed and compared the sample used in the 1988 tests with other samples from the famous cloth. In addition to the discovery of dye, microchemical tests - which use tiny quantities of materials - provided a way to date the shroud. These tests revealed the presence of a chemical called vanillin in the radiocarbon sample and in the Holland cloth, but not the rest of the shroud. Vanillin is produced by the thermal decomposition of lignin, a chemical compound found in plant material such as flax. Levels of vanillin in material such as linen fall over time. ...The fact that vanillin cannot be detected in the lignin on shroud fibres, Dead Sea scrolls linen and other very old linens indicates that the shroud is quite old," Mr Rogers writes. `A determination of the kinetics of vanillin loss suggests the shroud is between 1,300 and 3,000 years old.'" ("Turin shroud 'older than thought," BBC, 31 January, 2005).

ANDREA TORNIELLI

New scientific experiments carried out at the University of Padua have apparently confirmed that the Shroud Turin can be dated back to the 1st century AD. So that's now two (actually four - see below) scientific tests of age which reveal the Shroud can date from the time of Christ (plus the mountain of other evidence) compared to only one test, the 1988 radiocarbon dating of the Shroud , to the contrary.

This makes its compatible with the tradition which claims that the cloth with the image of the crucified man imprinted on it is the very one Jesus' body was wrapped in when he was taken off the cross. The news will be published in a book by Giulio Fanti, professor of mechanical and thermal measurement at the University of Padua's Engineering Faculty, and journalist Saverio Gaeta, out tomorrow. "Il Mistero della Sindone" (The Mystery of the Shroud) is edited by Rizzoli (240 pp, 18 Euro). This could be a very important discovery. Presumably the book will be translated into English in the near future.

What's new about this book are Fanti's recent findings, which are also about to be published in a specialist magazine and assessed by a scientific committee. The research includes three new tests, two chemical ones and one mechanical one. The first two were carried out with an FT-IR system, so using infra-red light, and the other using Raman spectroscopy. The third was a multi-parametric mechanical test based on five different mechanical parameters linked to the voltage of the wire. The machine used to examine the Shroud's fibres and test traction, allowed researchers to examine tiny fibres alongside about twenty samples of cloth dated between 3000 BC and 2000 AD. This is the first I have heard of these three tests. I am in the dark (pun intended) how FT-IR (presumably Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy [FTIR]) and Raman spectroscopy can reveal a fibres' age. But I can understand how a fibre could change mechanically (e.g. tensile strength ) over time.

The new tests carried out in the University of Padua labs were carried out by a number of university professors from various Italian universities and agree that the Shroud dates back to the period when Jesus Christ was crucified in Jerusalem. Final results show that the Shroud fibres examined produced the following dates, all of which are 95% certain and centuries away from the medieval dating obtained with Carbon-14 testing in 1988: the dates given to the Shroud after FT-IR testing, is 300 BC ±400, 200 BC ±500 after Raman testing and 400 AD ±400 after multi-parametric mechanical testing. The average of all three dates is 33 BC ±250 years. I have just realised it is not one test but three. So, including Ray Rogers' vanillin test, that makes four scientific tests of age that say the Shroud dates from the time of Christ, versus only one (C-14 dating) which says it isn't.

The book's authors observed that the uncertainty of this date is less than the single uncertainties and the date is compatible with the historic date of Jesus' death on the cross, which historians claim occurred in 30 AD. No test of age would ever be spot-on. So it is very impressive that these three new tests span the year of Jesus' crucifixion, AD 30-33 .

The tests were carried out using tiny fibres of material extracted from the Shroud by micro-analyst Giovanni Riggi di Numana who passed away in 2008 but had participated in the 1988 research project and gave the material to Fanti through the cultural institute Fondazione 3M. It was Riggi who cut the samples from the Shroud for the 1988 radiocarbon dating. But later it was disovered that he kept back a "reserve sample" of 144 milligrams (see BSTS Newsletter #26, 1990) for himself (but probably with the knowledge of the Turin authorities). So presumably these fibres are from the same area of the Shroud as the C-14 dating was taken! Which only adds to the evidence that the C-14 laboratories' date of 1260-1390 was not only wrong but fraudulent.

© 2013 La Stampa


Stephen E. Jones

Posted: 27 March 2013. Updated: 23 May 2016.

4 comments:

Bippy123 said...

Hey Stephen thanks for the link and article my friend.
I had a hunch that there was a reason for this TV showing of the shroud but I had no idea it would potentially be this big.

I wonder how the skeptics are going to spin their way out if this. It's great also that its being submitted for peer review.
The news just keeps better and better for us and worse for shroud skeptics. :)

Stephen E. Jones said...

Bippy123

>Hey Stephen thanks for the link and article my friend.

Thanks. But it was commenter The Deuce who deserves the thanks for alerting me to it.

>I had a hunch that there was a reason for this TV showing of the shroud but I had no idea it would potentially be this big.

I'm not sure that Fanti's book and Pope Benedict XVI's last act to have a TV exhibition of the Shroud are connected.

But the latter has added significance because as Cardinal Ratzinger he was Chairman of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences during the era of the 1988 radiocarbon dating of the Shroud, and so he would be VERY well informed about the authenticity of the Shroud and the flaws in the radiocarbon dating process that came up with the "1260-1390 ... medieval" date.

>I wonder how the skeptics are going to spin their way out if this.

Probably just ignore it. It's funny that Colin Berry is trying to get the Royal Society to investigate the Shroud when all that the atheist/agnostics who dominate such peak scientific bodies want to do is ignore it, because it threatens their core naturalistic philosophy.

>It's great also that its being submitted for peer review.

Agreed. But since the time of STURP (1978) most Shroud pro-authenticity scientific studies have been submitted to peer-reviewed scientific journals.

Unlike Shroud anti-authenticity scientific studies which have rarely (if ever) been submitted to peer-reviewed scientific journals.

The 1988 radiocarbon dating of the Shroud study which appeared in NATURE Vol. 337, 16th February, 1989, pp.611-615 was probably not peer-reviewed.

If it had been it would have been rejected, so variable were the three C-14 laboratories' dates and so fallacious the paper's reasoning!

>The news just keeps better and better for us and worse for shroud skeptics. :)

Indeed! Truth has a habit of getting better and untruth a habit of getting worse.

Stephen E. Jones
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The Deuce said...

This really is fantastic news. With this, the single solitary piece of evidence against the Shroud's authenticity, the one thing the skeptics had to cling to, has been shattered. And just in time for Easter!

I doubt many skeptics will be persuaded by this, or any possible evidence no matter how strong. If they won't believe Moses and the Prophets, after all, they will not believe even if one is raised from the dead.

However, I expect we're going to see a lot of even loopier theories about the Shroud from them, as these findings paint them into an even smaller and more untenable corner than they were already in. In particular, I think we're going to see a lot more Wesselow-style "real but fake" nonsense, where the skeptic admits the Shroud was the real burial cloth of Jesus, but tries to explain away the image as somehow an accident rather than a miracle.

Stephen E. Jones said...

The Deuce

>This really is fantastic news.

Agreed. But it's not surprising. Since the Shroud IS authentic, it is always possible that some new evidence is found which further supports the Shroud being 1st century and futher undermines the 1260-1390 C-14 dating.

>With this, the single solitary piece of evidence against the Shroud's authenticity, the one thing the skeptics had to cling to, has been shattered.

Not "shattered" but now there are FOUR different age tests (counting Ray Rogers' vanillin test) which contradict the ONE C-14 age test.

Not to mention all the other evidence that the Shroud is authentic.

>And just in time for Easter!

That's actually a problem because the sceptics (see my latest post) like Joe Nickell are claiming it's just a money-making stunt by Fanti. But as I pointed out, it is the PUBLISHER of a book who decides when it is published, not the AUTHOR.

Besides, truth is not determined by when it is published.

But the sceptics are drowning and need to cling to whatever straw they can find!

>I doubt many skeptics will be persuaded by this, or any possible evidence no matter how strong.

The really commmitted ones like Joe Nickell won't be, but there may be some less committed anti-authenticists who switch sides.

>If they won't believe Moses and the Prophets, after all, they will not believe even if one is raised from the dead.

As the One whose image is on the Shroud pointed out (Luke 16:31).

>However, I expect we're going to see a lot of even loopier theories about the Shroud from them, as these findings paint them into an even smaller and more untenable corner than they were already in.

Agreed. I think I have mentioned before there is one anti-authenticity theory the sceptics could always retreat to, that of historian Robert Drews, that the Shroud was created very early, in the second or third cenury (from memory) by a now unknown process.

>In particular, I think we're going to see a lot more Wesselow-style "real but fake" nonsense, where the skeptic admits the Shroud was the real burial cloth of Jesus, but tries to explain away the image as somehow an accident rather than a miracle.

Agreed. Even some Christians champion a naturalistic image formation process on the Shroud.

So pervasive is the influence of Naturalistic philosophy, even on Christians, in our post-Christian age.

Stephen E. Jones