Introduction. This is part #10(1) Summary of my theory that the radiocarbon dating laboratories were duped by a computer hacker. My next post in this part #10 Summary was part #10(2). Previous posts in this series were part #1, part #2, part #3, part #4, part #5, part #6, part #7, part #8 and part #9, which previous posts this part #10 will summarise. To keep this summary from becoming even longer than it is, I will not usually post full quotes supporting my points but will provide a reference and link back to the original post in this series where that particular quote appears. See the update of this post in my "The 1260-1390 radiocarbon date of the Turin Shroud was the result of a computer hacking #1".
[Above: Arizona radiocarbon dating laboratory staff and Rochester radiocarbon dating laboratory's Prof. Harry Gove (second from right) around the AMS (Accelerator Mass Spectrometry) computer's control console terminal, on 6 May 1988, after it had, or was about to, display the alleged hacker's first bogus radiocarbon age of the Shroud, "640 years", which was then calibrated to the `too good to be true' and, as we shall see, effectively impossible "1350 AD" date that the Shroud's flax was supposedly harvested. The alleged primary hacker, Timothy W. Linick (1946-1989), is the one in the black shirt standing most prominently in the foreground.]
1. IN 1988 THE SHROUD OF TURIN WAS RADIOCARBON DATED TO 1260-1390 [part #1] On 16 February 1989, a paper in
[Right: From left to right, Prof. E. Hall (Oxford), Dr. M. Tite (British Museum) and Dr. R. Hedges (Oxford) announcing on 13 October 1988 that the Shroud of Turin had been radiocarbon dated to "1260-1390!".
the scientific journal Nature reported that three AMS radiocarbon dating laboratories at universities in Tucson Arizona, Oxford England and Zurich Switzerland, had in 1988 dated the Shroud of Turin as "mediaeval ... AD 1260-1390".
years before the Shroud first appeared in undisputed history at Lirey, France, in the 1350s. Because this midpoint 1325 was so close to the Shroud's undisputed historic age, Shroud sceptics [13, 14, 15] and even Prof. Gove[16, , claimed that the year 1325 was the date of the Shroud. But as pointed out by Prof. Jacques Evin, then Director of the radiocarbon dating Laboratory at Lyon, France, who contributed a control sample to the dating, in the then future "carbon 14 dating of the Shroud ... there can be nothing closer than a span of 200 years" and so it "will not be possible to pinpoint where the exact age of the Shroud can be situated within the span".
Yet the evidence is overwhelming that the Shroud is authentic[part #1]. Yet the evidence as a whole is overwhelming that the the Shroud is authentic. For example, there is abundant historical and artistic
[Right (click to enlarge): The Hungarian Pray Codex which has at least "eight telling correspondences" with the Shroud, but is dated 1192-95 and so is least 65 years before 1260 and 160 years before 1355! Moreover, musical notation elsewhere in the codex indicates that it originated even earlier: "no later than the middle of the twelfth century" (i.e. pre-1150). And of course the Shroud original must be even older than this copy.]evidence that the Shroud existed well before the earliest possible radiocarbon date of 1260 and indeed all the way back to the first century[26, 27]. So strong is this evidence that agnostic art historian Thomas de Wesselow is convinced by it that the Shroud is authentic. And even Professor Christopher Bronk Ramsey, Director of the Oxford radiocarbon dating laboratory, who as "C.R. Bronk" was a signatory to the 1989 Nature paper, has admitted, "There is a lot of other evidence that suggests ... that the Shroud is older than the radiocarbon dates allow" (my emphasis).
There were major problems with the radiocarbon dating of the Shroud. The original protocol which was agreed to at a workshop in Turin in 1986, specified that seven laboratories were to radiocarbon date the Shroud. Five were to use the newer AMS technique and two were to use the completely different and older small gas counter method. But in 1987 this was unilaterally reduced by the Turin church authorities to only three AMS laboratories: Arizona, Oxford and Zurich, with Prof. Gove's more experienced Rochester AMS laboratory excluded. Gove, who was a co-inventor of the AMS radiocarbon dating technique, was concerned that three AMS laboratories were too few to statistically identify any outlier date [#4]. Indeed, so concerned was Prof. Gove that at least one of the three AMS laboratories would return an outlier date that he drafted a letter to the Pope, to be signed by the seven laboratories, recommending that if only three AMS laboratories were to date the Shroud, then "it would be better not to date the Shroud at all". But "the prize" of dating the Shroud "was too great" for the chosen three AMS laboratories and they refused to sign Gove's draft letter to the Pope. The protocol workshop rejected a proposal that the dating be blind, so that the laboratories would not know which sample was from the Shroud. The workshop also rejected a proposal that samples be taken from different areas of the Shroud. As we shall see, the reduction from seven to three AMS laboratories and the lack of blind testing made Linick's alleged hacking feasible.
[Above (click to enlarge): Extract showing the Shroud only from a depiction of the 1684 Shroud exhibition at the wedding of Duke Vittorio Amedeus II (1666–1732) of Savoy and Anne Marie d'Orléans (1669–1728). It is an etching on silk (23 x 31 cm), c. 1690, by Pietro Antonio Boglietto. The top left hand corner of the Shroud which the cleric is holding (and countless others down through the centuries) is the same corner that the sample for the 1988 radiocarbon dating was cut from. Note the two triangular patches sown over a burn area from the fire of 1532 in that same corner.]
Moreover, the ~1.2cm x 8cm sample which was cut from the Shroud's bottom left hand corner with the frontal image upright on 21 April 1988  was among the worst possible locations due to it being very contaminated. Not only was it one of the corners from which the Shroud was held by hundreds of sweaty clerics' hands at Shroud exhibitions down through the centuries (see above), it was only a few centimetres from an area that had been burnt in a 1532 fire and close to an edge stained by water used to extinguish that fire, where products of the fire had been deposited and where dirt down through the ages had accumulated. Any carbon contaminants, including those forced into the flax fibres' hollow lumen by the superheated steam from the water used to dowse the 960ºC (1760ºF) molten silver fire, which had became part of the flax fibres' molecular structure, would be impossible to remove by pretreatment and so would return an apparently younger radiocarbon age. So even if the flax of the Shroud had been harvested in 1325 or 1350, its radiocarbon date would have been more recent than that, unless: 1) there had been no contamination of the Shroud's flax with younger carbon; or 2) the pretreatment to remove carbon contamination had been perfect, both of which are unlikely. And as we shall see next, both before and after the Shroud dating, those three AMS laboratories were still unable to accurately date samples of known age.
The three AMS laboratories were unable to accurately date samples of known age before and after the Shroud's dating.[#4] As we saw above, Prof. Gove was so worried that at least one of the three chosen AMS laboratories would return an outlier date that he had drafted a letter to the Pope recommending that "it would be better not to date the Shroud at all." Gove had good reason to be worried. Two years years before the Shroud tests, in 1986, three British radiocarbon laboratories, including Oxford, dated Lindow man a range of 800 years apart and the discrepancy has never been resolved, with each laboratory claiming its date was the correct one. Then a year after the Shroud's dating, in 1989, an intercomparison test of 38 radiocarbon dating laboratories (with Oxford abstaining!), only 7 of the 38 laboratories dated the artifacts of known date correctly, with the AMS laboratories being among the furthest out. After the 1988 dating, when the three AMS laboratories claimed to have reached agreement that the Shroud was dated 1260-1390 (although as we shall see they didn't actually agree), Gove admitted that before the tests he thought the "new [AMS] procedures seemed to me to be fraught with peril" but he was relieved that the "three laboratories performed their measurements flawlessly" (my emphasis). However, as we shall see, the Nature paper itself revealed that while the three laboratories appeared to have dated the control samples of known age accurately, their dating of the Shroud samples had wide variations between each laboratory, which is inexplicable if they were based on real Shroud samples, but is explicable if they were computer-generated by a hacker's program.
Continued in part #10(2).
1. This post is copyright. No one may copy from this post or any of my posts on this my The Shroud of Turin blog without them first asking and receiving my written permission. Except that I grant permission, without having to ask me, for anyone to copy the title and one paragraph only (including one associated graphic) of any of my posts, provided that if they repost it on the Internet a link to my post from which it came is included. See my post of May 8, 2014. [return]
2. Gove, H.E., 1996, "Relic, Icon or Hoax?: Carbon Dating the Turin Shroud," Institute of Physics Publishing: Bristol UK, p.176H. [return]
3. Gove, 1996, p.264. [return]
4. Ibid. [return]
5. Jull, A.J.T. & Suess, H.E. , 1989, "Timothy W. Linick," Radiocarbon, Vol 31, No 2. [return]
6. Wilson, I., 1998, "The Blood and the Shroud: New Evidence that the World's Most Sacred Relic is Real," Simon & Schuster: New York NY, p.7 & pl.3b. [return]
7. Damon, P.E., et al., 1989, "Radiocarbon Dating of the Shroud of Turin," Nature, Vol. 337, 16th February, pp. 611-615, p. 611. [return]
8. Wilson, 1998, p.7 [return]
9. Latendresse, M., 2012, "A Souvenir from Lirey," Sindonology.org. [return]
10. Wilson, I., 2010, "The Shroud: The 2000-Year-Old Mystery Solved," Bantam Press: London, p.222. [return]
11. McCrone, W.C., 1999, "Judgment Day for the Shroud of Turin," Prometheus Books: Amherst NY, pp.xxii-xxiii, 1, 178. [return]
12. Gove, 1996, p.300. [return]
13. Dutton, D., 1984, "Requiem for the Shroud of Turin," Michigan Quarterly Review 23, pp.243-255. [return]
14. McCrone, 1999, pp.xxii-xxiii. [return]
15. Schafersman, S.D., 1998, "Unraveling the Shroud of Turin," Approfondimento Sindone, Vol. 2. Reprinted 3 October 2002. [return]
16. Bradt, S., 1997, "New Book Reveals Scientific Controversy Surrounding Turin Shroud," University of Rochester News, January 31. [return]
17. Gove, 1996, p.293. [return]
18. Wilson, I., 1991, "Holy Faces, Secret Places: The Quest for Jesus' True Likeness," Doubleday: London, p.3. [return]
19. Evin, J., 1988, "In anticipation of carbon 14 dating of the Shroud of Turin," Shroud Spectrum International, No. 27, June. [return]
20. Stevenson, K.E. & Habermas, G.R., 1990, "The Shroud and the Controversy," Thomas Nelson: Nashville TN, p.60. [return]
21. Berkovits, I., 1969, "Illuminated Manuscripts in Hungary, XI-XVI Centuries," plate III. [return]
22. de Wesselow, T., 2012, "The Sign: The Shroud of Turin and the Secret of the Resurrection," Viking: London, pp.178-180. [return]
23. Wilson, I., 1986, "The Evidence of the Shroud," Guild Publishing: London, pp.114-115. [return]
24. Wilson, I., 1995, "News From Around The World: From Paris: Record attendance at CIELT's January Meeting," British Society for the Turin Shroud Newsletter, No. 39, January, p.6. [return]
25. Wilson, 1998, p.141. [return]
26. Moroni, M., "Pontius Pilate's Coin on the Right Eye of the Man in the Holy Shroud, in the Light of the New Archaeological Findings," in Berard, A., ed., 1991, "History, Science, Theology and the Shroud," Symposium Proceedings, St. Louis Missouri, June 22-23, 1991, The Man in the Shroud Committee of Amarillo, Texas: Amarillo TX, pp.275-301. [return]
27. Wilson, 2010, pp.73-74. [return]
28. de Wesselow, 2012, pp.191-192 [return]
29. Ramsey, C.B., 2008, "Shroud of Turin," Version 77, Oxford Radiocarbon Accelerator Unit, 23 March. [return]
30. Gove, 1996, p.9. [return]
32. Gove, 1996, pp.213-215. [return]
33. Gove, 1996, p.9. [return]
34. Wilson, 1998, pp.179, 230. [return]
35. Gove, 1996, p.213. [return]
36. Gove, 1996, p.219. [return]
37. Wilson, 1998, p.184. [return]
38. Gove, 1996, p.154. [return]
39. Ibid. [return]
40. Scott, J.B., 2003, "Architecture for the Shroud: Relic and Ritual in Turin," University of Chicago Press: Chicago & London, p.239. [return]
41. Wilson, I., 1988, "Two Recent B.B.C. Television Programmes," British Society for the Turin Shroud Newsletter, No. 20, October, p.23. [return]
42. Wilson, 1998, p.189. [return]
43. Petrosillo, O. & Marinelli, E. 1996, "The Enigma of the Shroud: A Challenge to Science," Scerri, L.J., transl., Publishers Enterprises Group: Malta, p.61. [return]
44. Wilson, 1998, pp.191-192. [return]
45. Petrosillo & Marinelli, 1996, pp.61-62. [return]
46. Tyrer, J., 1988, "So How Could the Carbon Dating Be Wrong?," British Society for the Turin Shroud Newsletter, No. 20, October, pp.11-12. [return]
47. Wilson, 1991, pp.176-177. [return]
48. Gove, 1996, p.264. [return]
49. Wilson, 1998, p.192. [return]
50. Wilson, 1998, p.193. [return]
51. Gove, H.E., 1989, "Letter To The Editor: The Turin Shroud," Archaeometry, Vol. 31, No. 2, August, pp.235-237, p.237. [return]
Posted: 2 December 2014. Updated: 22 February 2016.