I have only just realised that Hugh Farey, the Editor of the British Society for the Turin Shroud Newsletter, who by his own admission believes the Shroud had "an accidental 14th century origin":
"Unlike my predecessors, whom I think are more or less committed to a pro-authenticity point of view, I myself currently incline more towards an accidental 14th century origin for the cloth now preserved in Turin." ("Editorial - by Hugh Farey," Newsletter No. 78 - December 2013).
[Above: Hugh Farey's admission in the December 2013 issue of the BSTS Newsletter that he believes the Shroud had "an accidental 14th century origin."]
and therefore is a Shroud anti-authenticist, had in last June's issue of the BSTS Newsletter, launched a "poisoning the well":
"Poisoning the well (or attempting to poison the well) is a rhetorical device where adverse information about a target is pre-emptively presented to an audience, with the intention of discrediting or ridiculing everything that the target person is about to say. Poisoning the well can be a special case of argumentum ad hominem, and the term was first used with this sense by John Henry Newman in his work Apologia Pro Vita Sua (1864). The origin of the term lies in well poisoning, an ancient wartime practice of pouring poison into sources of fresh water before an invading army, to diminish the attacking army's strength." (Poisoning the well," Wikipedia, 10 December 2013).attack on me:
"Over at theshroudofturin.blogspot.co.uk, Stephen E. Jones, to whom we are all grateful for his indefatigable efforts at scanning the pages of Shroud Spectrum International for online publication, is nevertheless working on a theory that the radiocarbon dates are wrong because one of the University of Arizona team, Timothy Linick, was a Soviet spy who hacked into the AMS dating machine in order to discredit the Shroud, before being murdered by the KGB! Jones discourages comments, so his hypothesis has been an ongoing topic of discussion at Dan Porter’s shroudstory.com. His arguments are rooted in two fundamental beliefs - that the Shroud is incontrovertibly authentic, and that the chances of it radiocarbon dating to the 14th century in the absence of fraud are astronomically small. At least one of these is disputed by almost every contributor." ("Around the Internet," BSTS Newsletter, No. 79, June 2014).
Here is my reply to Farey (his words in bold):
"All publicity is good publicity" or "There is no such thing as bad publicity"!
"we are all grateful for his indefatigable efforts at scanning the pages of Shroud Spectrum International for online publication" Interestingly (if not significantly), Farey fails to inform his BSTS readers that I also scanned and word-processed Ian Wilson's BSTS Newsletter issues #1 to #42, so that they could be put online by Barrie Schwortz, as acknowledged by him:
"In 2011, Stephen Jones, another BSTS member who lives in Australia, began the very major task of scanning and optical character recognition of all so the earlier issues (working his way backwards from issues #42 through #1), which we completed in November 2012" ("British Society for the Turin Shroud BSTS Newsletter and Monograph Archive," Shroud.com)
"is nevertheless" What is the "nevertheless" for unless it is to poison the well against me? I am a committed Shroud pro-authenticist and I have proposed a pro-authenticist theory "that the radiocarbon dating laboratories were duped by a computer hacker" which explains: 1) how the first-century Shroud (which the overwhelming weight of the evidence points to it being); `just happened' to radiocarbon-date to 1325 ±65, about 25-30 years before the Shroud appeared in undisputed history at Lirey, France in about 1355.
"working on a theory that the radiocarbon dates are wrong" The last time I checked (I have not read Porter's blog since the 8th May, apart from once by accident about the 2015 Shroud exhibition and the first few lines of Google searches) even Dan Porter on his blog's front page states:
"The carbon dating, once seemingly proving it [the Shroud] was a medieval fake, is now widely thought of as suspect and meaningless" (my emphasis)
But what Porter, and others, including leading pro-authenticists have failed to grasp, is that the 1988 radiocarbon dating of the Shroud as "mediaeval ... AD 1260-1390" was not just any date, but its midpoint, 1325 ±65, `just happens' to be (as previously pointed out) only 25-30 years before the Shroud first appeared in undisputed history in ~1355. And as the late Harry Gove, the co-inventor of the AMS method used to radiocarbon date the Shroud stated, the improbability that the Shroud is first century but its radiocarbon date is "AD 1260-1390" is "about one in a thousand trillion":
"The other question that has been asked is: if the statistical probability that the shroud dates between 1260 and 1390 is 95%, what is the probability that it could date to the first century? The answer is about one in a thousand trillion, i.e. vanishingly small." (Gove, H.E., 1996, "Relic, Icon or Hoax?: Carbon Dating the Turin Shroud," p.303).
That is the equivalent of finding by chance, at the first attempt, a particular grain of sand, 1mm in diameter, among a thousand trillion (1,000,000,000,000 = 1012) similar grains of sand, on a strip of beach 1 metre wide and 785.4 kilometers long! Or on a strip of beach ~5.4 metres wide by 145 kilometres long, which is about the length of the Ninety Mile (145 kms) Beach in Victoria, Australia, below!
[Above: Part of Victoria, Australia's Ninety Mile Beach: Holidayz.com.au. Ninety miles is 145 kms. Best of luck finding at the first try a particular grain of sand, of 1 mm diameter, on this beach in a strip 145 kms x ~5.4 metres wide. Because that is about the probability of the Shroud being first century yet its radiocarbon date is 1260-1390! So if the Shroud is authentic (as the preponderance of the evidence overwhelmingly points to), then there HAD to have been fraud of some kind in the 1988 radiocarbon dating of it to 1260-1390 = 1325 ±65 years.]
The agnostic art historian, but Shroud pro-authenticist, Thomas de Wesselow, is one who has grasped the problem, that the radiocarbon date of the Shroud being "1325 +/- 65 years" is such "a remarkable coincidence" because it "tallies so well with the date [of] ...the Shroud's historical debut" that it suggests the "possibility ...that a fraud was perpetrated":
"The third possibility is that a fraud was perpetrated ... Most sindonologists regard these fraud theories as plainly incredible ... One important consideration weighs in favour of the possibility of deception. If the carbon-dating error was accidental, then it is a remarkable coincidence that the result tallies so well with the date always claimed by sceptics as the Shroud's historical debut. But if fraud was involved, then it wouldn't be a coincidence at all. Had anyone wished to discredit the Shroud, '1325 ± 65 years' is precisely the sort of date they would have looked to achieve." (de Wesselow, T., 2012, "The Sign: The Shroud of Turin and the Secret of the Resurrection," p.170).
It is Farey's "accidental 14th century origin for the cloth now preserved in Turin" explanation which is decidedly in the minority. It is not only against all the evidence for the Shroud having existed well before the 14th century, and indeed all the way back to the first century; even leading anti-authenticists like Joe Nickell and Steven Schafersman would reject it. Because as Schafersman, quoted approvingly by Nickell pointed out, "Either the shroud is authentic ... or it is a product of human artifice":
"As the (red ochre) dust settles briefly over Sindondom, it becomes clear there are only two choices: Either the shroud is authentic ... 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., 1979, "The Shroud of Turin," pp.51-53.] and Stevenson and Habermas [Stevenson, K.E. & Habermas, G.R., 1981, "Verdict on the Shroud," 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., 1982, "Science, the public, and the Shroud of Turin," The Skeptical Inquirer, Vol. 6, No. 3, Spring, pp.37-56, p.42]" (Nickell, J., 1987, "Inquest on the Shroud of Turin," p.141. My emphasis).
"because one of the University of Arizona team, Timothy Linick, was a Soviet spy who hacked into the AMS dating machine in order to discredit the Shroud, before being murdered by the KGB!" I agree that this sounds hard to believe.
[Above: Arizona radiocarbon dating laboratory staff and Rochester radiocarbon dating laboratory's Prof. Harry Gove (second from right) around the AMS control console computer terminal after it had, on 6 May 1988 displayed the alleged hacker's bogus radiocarbon age of the Shroud, which was then calibrated to "1350 AD" (Gove, 1996, p.176H, 264. The alleged hacker, Timothy W. Linick, is the one in a black shirt standing the most prominently in the foreground.]And from the first few lines of Google searches I am aware that Porter is fond of trying to discredit my theory, and me, by the pejorative term, "conspiracy theory." But as Sherlock Holmes pointed out to Watson, "when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth":
"`How came he, then?' I reiterated. `The door is locked, the window is inaccessible. Was it through the chimney?' The grate is much too small,' he answered. `I had already considered that possibility.' `How then?' I persisted. `You will not apply my precept,' he said, shaking his head. `How often have I said to you that when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth? We know that he did not come through the door, the window, or the chimney. We also know that he could not have been concealed in the room, as there is no concealment possible. Whence, then, did he come?' `He came through the hole in the roof,' I cried. `Of course he did. He must have done so. If you will have the kindness to hold the lamp for me, we shall now extend our researches to the room above, - the secret room in which the treasure was found.'" (Doyle, A.C., 2001, "The Sign of Four," Penguin: London, pp.42-43. My emphasis).And, as I document in my series, "My theory that the radiocarbon dating laboratories were duped by a computer hacker," there is evidence that the 1988 radiocarbon dates of the Shroud, as presented in the 1988 Nature paper's "Table 2 Summary of mean radiocarbon dates and assessment of interlaboratory scatter" (see below) are not real dates, but computer-generated. The Nature paper itself admits that:
"An initial inspection of Table 2 shows that the agreement among the three laboratories for samples 2, 3 and 4 [the non-Shroud control samples] is exceptionally good. The spread of the measurements for sample 1 [the Shroud] is somewhat greater than would be expected from the errors quoted" (my emphasis).
And Linick is surprisingly quoted in anti-authenticist David Sox's August 1988 book, as being anti-authenticist and presumably in direct contact with Sox (breaching his signed undertaking "not to communicate the results to anyone ... until that time when results are generally available to the public" - Gove, 1996, p.262):
"Timothy Linick, a University of Arizona research scientist, said: `If we show the material to be medieval that would definitely mean that it is not authentic. If we date it back 2000 years, of course, that still leaves room for argument. It would be the right age - but is it the real thing?'" (Sox, H.D., 1988, "The Shroud Unmasked: Uncovering the Greatest Forgery of All Time," p.147).And Sox in turn leaked Arizona's "1350" first dating of the Shroud to the media, as publicly stated by Ian Wilson in a 23 September 1988 special letter to all BSTS members:
"As members can scarcely fail to have been aware, ever since early July there have been a spate of press rumours that the Shroud has been carbon-dated to sometime in the mediaeval period. The rumours have chiefly come from this country ... Towards the end of July the rumours were rekindled as a result of pre-publicity surrounding the BBC Timewatch television programme `Shreds of Evidence'. ... transmitted 27 July ... The programme had just one 'expert' consultant, the Revd. David Sox. ...on 26 August the London Evening Standard ran as its front-page lead story `Shroud of Turin Really is a Fake'. Accompanying this was a seemingly authoritative article by librarian Dr. Richard Luckett of Magdalene College, Cambridge, cryptically remarking that `laboratories are rather leaky institutions' and `a probable date of about 1350 looks likely' ... yet both the Oxford laboratory and Dr. Michael Tite of the British Museum insisted that they knew nothing of how Dr. Luckett had come by his information, and had had no dealings with him. When in a telephone enquiry to Dr. Luckett I asked whether the Revd. David Sox had been his source, he hastily changed the subject. ... On 18 September the Sunday Times carried the front page headline `Official: Turin Shroud is a Fake' ... the Science Correspondent ... admitted that his source had been the Revd. David Sox. ... It seems clear that ... the true source of possibly all the leaks is the single non-English clerical gentleman whose identity will now be self-evident. This individual's means of obtaining his `inside' information (which can only have come from Arizona or Zurich) ... can only be guessed at" (Wilson, I., 1988, "On the Recent `Leaks'," British Society for the Turin Shroud, 23 September.
Linick died on 4 June 1989. His obituary in the Arizona journal "Radiocarbon" described his death as "untimely":
"Timothy Weiler Linick died on June 4th, 1989. He was a dedicated researcher, and an important part of the NSF Accelerator Facility for Radioisotope Analysis at the University of Arizona. He will be remembered for his care and attention to details, especially in the calculation and reporting of radiocarbon dates. ... Tim is survived by his wife, Constance and his eight-year old son Gregor. His untimely death is a great loss to them and to his co-workers, both in Tucson and around the world. AJT Jull. Timothy was my graduate student and later was a co-worker in my laboratory, mainly involved in data reduction and the interpretation of the results. He was an extremely mathematically gifted and careful worker. His death is a loss, not only to my personal research interests, but also to the whole radiocarbon research community. Hans E Suess" (Jull, A.J.T. & Suess, H.E. , 1989, "Timothy W. Linick," Radiocarbon, Vol 31, No 2).
It was reported in the Italian press at the time that Linick had committed "suicide in mysterious circumstances" (Galeazzi, G., 2013. "Never solved: The enigma that still divides the Church: The Shroud," Vatican Insider).
[Right: Photograph of Linick and report that "He died at the age of forty-two on 4 June 1989, in very unclear circumstances, shortly after the campaign of the Italian press reporting our accusations (my emphasis)" (Bonnet-Eymard, B., 2000, "The Holy Shroud is as Old as the Risen Jesus," The Catholic Counter-Reformation in the XXth Century.]".
Shortly before Linick's suicide, between 23 and 30 May 1989, Karl Koch, a hacker who had confessed that he had worked for the KGB, was also found dead, probably murdered by the KGB:
"Koch was found burned to death with gasoline in a forest near Celle, Germany. The death was officially claimed to be a suicide. However, some believe there is little evidence supporting suicide and many believe that Koch was killed in order to keep him from confessing more to the authorities. Why Koch would be targeted, and not Pengo [Hans Hübner] and Urmel [Markus Hess], is unknown. Koch left his workplace in his car to go for lunch; he had not returned by late afternoon and so his employer reported him as a missing person. Meanwhile, 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. There was a patch of burned ground around him, which although it had not rained in some time and the grass was perfectly dry, was controlled in a small circle around the corpse. It is thought to be highly unlikely that this type of controlled burning could have been achieved by Koch himself which leads many to believe that his death was not suicide." ("Karl Koch (hacker)," Wikipedia, 30 May 2014. My emphasis. Notes omitted).
My theory that Linick was the primary hacker, aided by Koch, explains much that previously was inexplicable, which is the mark of a good theory. I am quietly confident that I am on the right track and that further information will eventually come to light which will support, if not confirm it.
I will in the near future post part #9 of my series which will support the KGB's role in Linick's and Koch's hacking of the three laboratories' AMS computers and their `suicides'. I will then conclude my series with a part #10, in which I will summarise my theory.
"Jones discourages comments," This is misleading. I don't discourage comments, per se. Anyone can comment on my blog, as long as their comments are not "off-topic, offensive or sub-standard" and Farey himself has commented on it. But what I do not allow is the interminable, time-wasting, getting nowhere, debating which is a feature of Porter's, and most Internet forums in my experience. Anyone can comment, normally once, under any one of my posts and I will normally reply only once to that comment. As I have stated previously, I regard comments on my blog as analogous to letters to the editor of a newspaper, where a reader can comment only once per newspaper issue, but can comment in future issues.
"so his hypothesis has been an ongoing topic of discussion at Dan Porter’s shroudstory.com." I am pleased to hear that! But I left Porter's blog in April because of his allowing commenters (including Farey) to continually make defamatory comments about me, without Porter doing anything to protect me, as stated in my post of 18 April 18, "Okay, we will need to wait several weeks": My response to Dan Porter":
"Following numerous instances of Dan Porter on his blog allowing defamatory comments to be made about me by some of his members, without him lifting a finger to protect me or moderate the defamers, I left Porter's blog with the final comment that I would no longer post comments under his posts, or even read those comments."and as already stated, apart from one accident, I have not read any of Porter's posts or comments for over 3 months. In a recent church service the video "Luggage" by Rob Bell was played. And one of Bell's points about "toxic" persons who will continually hurt you and it is best to cut them out of your life completely, made me think of Porter and his blog and that I had done the right thing in cutting Porter and his fellow character assassins like Farey out of my life.
"His arguments are rooted in two fundamental beliefs - that the Shroud is incontrovertibly authentic," This is FALSE and just more "poisoning the well" by Farey. I don't regard the Shroud as "incontrovertibly authentic." As I state on the masthead of my blog, "I am persuaded by the evidence that the Shroud of Turin is the burial sheet of Jesus Christ and bears His crucified and resurrected image." I am open to the evidence that the Shroud is not authentic, which is more than I can say for anti-authenticists like Farey and Porter being open to the evidence that the Shroud is authentic.
"and that the chances of it radiocarbon dating to the 14th century in the absence of fraud are astronomically small." Well that's what Prof. Harry Gove said (see above). Moreover, "astronomical" is the very word that Oxford's Prof. Edward Hall used to dismiss the Shroud being first century yet carbon-dating to "1260-1390":
"... on Thursday, 13 October  in the British Museum's Press Room ... were ... Dr Michael Tite, with the Oxford radiocarbon-dating laboratory's Professor Edward Hall and Hall's chief technician, Dr Robert Hedges. ... their only `prop' was a blackboard behind them on which someone had rather crudely scrawled: `1260-1390!' ... as Dr Tite explained, these numbers represented radiocarbon dating's calculation, to a ninety-five per cent degree of probability, of the upper and lower dates of when the Shroud's flax had been harvested. Representing an average of the laboratories' findings ... they indicated that the Shroud's raw flax had most likely been made into linen on or about the year AD 1325, give or take sixty-five years either way ... The Shroud simply could not possibly be any true shroud of the historical Jesus. For as those on the platform collectively insisted, the odds against this were now `astronomical'" (Wilson, I., 1998, "The Blood and the Shroud," pp.6-7. My emphasis)."At least one of these is disputed by almost every contributor." So what? Farey claims to be a science teacher yet by that comment he seems to think that scientific truth is decided by majority opinion-and that of commenters to a blog! In my experience, most of the active commenters on Porter's blog are just "empty vessels which make the most noise"!
In my opinion the British Society for the Turin Shroud should remove the anti-authenticist Hugh Farey from being the 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 to the BSTS if it continues having an ANTI-authenticist Editor of the British Society FOR the Turin Shroud!
Posted: 13 August 2014. Updated: 23 May 2016.