Introduction. Continuing from part #10, Summary (1), this is part #10, Summary (2), of my theory that the radiocarbon dating laboratories were duped by a computer hacker. My next post in this series is part #10 Summary (3). 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 posts this part #10 will summarise. To keep this summary from becoming even longer, 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".
2. THE PROBABILITY THAT THE SHROUD BEING 1ST CENTURY HAS A RADIOCARBON DATE OF 1260-1390 IS "ASTRONOMICAL."[#1] At the press conference in the British Museum on 13 October 1988 in which the Museum's Dr Michael Tite, and Oxford's Prof. Edward Hall (1924–2001) and Dr Robert Hedges announced that the Shroud had been radiocarbon dated "1260-1390!" (part #10(1)), they collectively insisted that the odds against the Shroud being first century, yet having a radiocarbon date of 1325 ±65 (or 1260-1390), was "astronomical" (my emphasis). This was confirmed by Prof. Harry Gove (1922-2009), the unofficial leader of the Shroud radiocarbon dating project, who pointed out that the statistical probability of the Shroud having a radiocarbon date between 1260 and 1390, yet it's actual date being first century, is "about one in a thousand trillion" (my emphasis). That is the equivalent of finding by chance,
[Right: 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, 1 mm in diameter, on the surface of a strip of beach ~5.4 metres wide by 145 kilometres long, because that is the equivalent of the radiocarbon date of the Shroud being 1260-1390 = 1325 ±65, given that the Shroud is first century!]
at the first attempt, a particular grain of sand, 1 mm in diameter among a thousand trillion (1,000,000,000,000 = 1012) similar grains of sand, on the surface of 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 (above). Therefore the 1988 radiocarbon dating of the Shroud as, "mediaeval ... AD 1260-1390", has effectively no chance of being correct, given that the Shroud is authentic (part #10(1)), and therefore first century. Indeed, Prof. Hall stated it was "totally impossible" (his emphasis) that the Shroud could have a radiocarbon date of 1260-1390, yet its actual date was "AD 100" or less.
Conventional explanations of the discrepancy all fail. [#1] Attempts by Shroud pro-authenticists to explain by conventional means the discrepancy between the Shroud being 1st century, yet its radiocarbon date is 1260-1390, or 1325 ±65 years, all fail.
• Carbon contamination. All carbon contamination explanations for why the first century Shroud has a 1325 ±65 radiocarbon date fail because "79% of the shroud [sic] would have been composed of such carbon contamination," but this "is preposterous, as anyone viewing the shroud samples before they were cleaned can attest". In fact Arizona laboratory still has part of its Shroud sample as it came from Turin, uncleaned and undated, and it has "no evidence for either coatings or dyes, and only minor contaminants"(see below).
[Left (click to enlarge): Photomicrograph by pro-authenticist Barrie Schwortz in 2012 of Arizona laboratory's remaining undated part of its Shroud sample, as it came cut from the Shroud, with no pretreatment.
• Invisible reweaving repair with 16th century cotton. Similarly, Benford and Marino's invisible reweaving repair theory requires that the repair be "approximately 60 percent of the C-14 sample consisting of 16th Century threads while approximately 40 percent were 1st Century in origin" Oxford laboratory did find some old cotton threads in their sample, but they were only "two or three fibres". Prof. Hall estimated that it would require "65 per cent of the mass of the shroud ... to give a date of 1350 to a fabric originally dating from the time of Christ" but there was "less than 0.1 per cent" of such contamination in the Shroud (my emphasis). Benford and Marino claimed that the green colour of the Shroud sample area in the "Blue Quad Mosaic" photograph supported their theory that the sample area was 60% 16th century cotton. But as can be seen, the wrinkles
in the Shroud near the radiocarbon dating sample area are the same green colour. And as Benford and Marino admitted, "it is possible that the Quad Mosaic's chemical-color signature ... may represent carbon" (my emphasis). But "carbon" includes all contamination with younger carbon, not only cotton threads. And since the wrinkles in the Shroud in the sample area are the same green colour, it is likely that both are the result of ordinary contamination by carbon-containing grime, sweat, oils, etc. Particularly since this corner is one of the most contaminated parts of the Shroud, it being one of the corners from which the cloth was held by "hundreds of sweaty hands" at Shroud expositions down through the centuries (part #10(1)). Benford and Marino concluded with another frank admission that, "it is impossible to quantify the amount of surface carbon, other contaminates, and/or intruded newer material in the radiocarbon sampling area based upon the Quad Mosaic" (my emphasis). Moreover, textile expert Mechthild Flury-Lemberg inspected the Shroud as part of its 2002 restoration and she denies there is any evidence of reweaving.
• Neutron flux at Jesus' resurrection created new carbon 14. The neutron flux argument was proposed by Harvard University physicist Thomas J Phillips in the same issue of Nature which carried the radiocarbon dating of the Shroud paper. Phillips pointed out that "If the shroud of Turin is in fact the burial cloth of Christ" then the resurrection of Jesus' dead body "may also have radiated neutrons" which could "have converted enough 13C to 14C to give an apparent carbon-dated age of 670 years". In his reply in the same issue, Oxford's Dr. Robert Hedges conceded that a neutron flux could also have generated even more carbon 14 from nitrogen (14N). But Hedges also made the
[Left (click to enlarge): How neutrons from cosmic ray collisions in the upper atmosphere are absorbed by nitrogen-14 (ordinary nitrogen) converting it into carbon-14 (a radioactive isotope of carbon-12).]point that it would be "an amazing coincidence that the neutron dose should be so exactly appropriate to give the most likely date on historical grounds" and that it "implies that the dose has been `fine-tuned' to better than one part in a hundred million" (my emphasis) . Gove echoed Hedges' points and added his own "most devastating argument against Phillips' idea [which] was the fact that the samples were taken at just the right spot on the shroud [sic] to produce its historic date. A sample taken closer to the image would have produced an even more modern date-even a date into the future!" (my emphasis) . This is the major flaw in the neutron flux argument: for it to convert the date of the first-century Shroud to not just any date, but to 1260-1390, or 1325 ±65, which `just happens' to be 25-30 years before the Shroud first appeared in undisputed history in Lirey, France, in the c. 1355 would be a miracle. And a deceptive miracle by God at that!
Fraud is the only plausible explanation [#2] Given that: 1) the evidence is overwhelming that the Shroud is authentic (part #10(1)); 2) the probability that the Shroud being first century, yet had a radiocarbon date of 1260-1390, or 1325 ±65, is "astronomical", "about one in a thousand trillion"; and 3) conventional explanations of the discrepancy of how the first century Shroud can have a 13th/14th century radiocarbon date all fail; some kind of fraud is the only plausible explanation. This is just the flip-side of the laboratories'29]. The photo is of (from left) Prof. Hall, Dr. Tite and Dr Hedges, in front of the British Museum, London, after their announcement that the Shroud's radiocarbon date was "1260-1390!"]
assumption that the Shroud must be a fake because the odds against the Shroud being both authentic and radiocarbon dating to 1325 ±65 are effectively impossible. As Oxford's Prof. Hall simply assumed without any evidence: "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". Great improbability alone is sufficient to establish in courts of law that scientific fraud involving plagiarism has occurred[#2]. But since the Shroud is authentic (as the evidence overwhelmingly indicates), then it must be the radiocarbon date of 1260-1390 which was a fake, the result of scientific fraud! The question then is: "what kind of scientific fraud was it?
Accusations of conventional fraud (sample-switching) fail. Following the 16 February 1989 publication of the radiocarbon-dating laboratories' report in the scientific journal Nature which claimed to be "conclusive evidence that the linen of the shroud of Turin is mediaeval", some Shroud pro-authenticists saw clearly that since the Shroud is authentic, then "it was the radiocarbon dating, not the Shroud, that must be the fraud". The foremost spokesman of this viewpoint was the French priest Brother Bruno Bonnet-Eymard, of the ultra-conservative "Catholic Counter-Reformation in the Twentieth [now 21st] Century". The target of Bonnet-Eymard's attack was the seemingly strange fact that although the taking
of samples from the Shroud on the 21st April 1988 was videotaped, the placing of the samples into their coded canisters was not. To preserve the pretense of blind testing (the Shroud's distinctive weave was easily recognisable by the laboratories), Dr. Tite and the Archbishop of Turin, Cardinal Ballestrero, took the samples into a private area, out of view of the witnesses and the camera, and put the samples into numbered cannisters which were then brought out and presented to the representatives of the three laboratories. Bonnet-Eymard seized on this as evidence that Dr Tite had switched the samples, so that those which the laboratories thought were from the Shroud were actually from a medieval control sample, while those from a control sample of first-century date was in fact from the Shroud. Even some leading Shroud scholars, including Prof. Werner Bulst, argued for a variant of this sample-switching fraud explanation. But Ian Wilson personally knew Tite and most of the other the radiocarbon dating project leaders and he dismissed as "absurd and far-fetched as it is unworthy" accusations that "one or more of these men may have `rigged' the radiocarbon dating" by switching samples. It is also highly unlikely that leaders of the radiocarbon dating project like Dr. Tite would commit major scientific fraud by switching control and Shroud samples, since they would have too much to lose if the fraud was discovered, as it would have been because of the Shroud's distinctive weave. Besides, if they thought the Shroud was a medieval fake why would they switch samples to ensure the Shroud's radiocarbon date was medieval?
Nevertheless, agnostic pro-authenticist art historian Thomas de Wesselow considers fraud in the Shroud's radiocarbon dating to be a real possibility (albeit by conventional sample-swapping), because of the "1325 ± 65 years" date:
"The third possibility is that a fraud was perpetrated, that genuine Shroud samples were deliberately swapped with cloth of a later date ... Most sindonologists regard these fraud theories as plainly incredible. Some, like Ian Wilson, refuse to contemplate such `unworthy' accusations. However, scientific fraud is by no means unknown, as the editors of science journals are well aware. ... 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" (my emphasis).Those like Bonnet-Eymard who claimed that there had been fraud in the radiocarbon dating had correctly reasoned that that since the Shroud is authentic, there had to have been fraud for the first century Shroud to `just happen' to date to shortly before 1355, when Bishop Pierre d'Arcis had claimed in 1389 that the Shroud had been painted 34 years before and it was later confirmed that the first appearance of the Shroud in undisputed history was at Lirey, France in 1355 (see above). But as we shall see, they were all incorrect in their assumption that the fraud had to be by conventional sample-switching.
No one seems to have considered that there is another type of fraud that the fully computerised AMS radiocarbon dating process was vulnerable to, and which was rife in the 1980s, namely computer hacking!
Continued in part #10(3).
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. 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.6-7. [return]
3. Antonacci, M., 2000, "Resurrection of the Shroud: New Scientific, Medical, and Archeological Evidence," M. Evans & Co: New York NY, p.192. [return]
4. Gove, H.E., 1996, "Relic, Icon or Hoax?: Carbon Dating the Turin Shroud," Institute of Physics Publishing: Bristol UK, p.303. [return]
5. By my calculations, the 1 mm diameter cross-section of a spherical grain of sand, i.e. 0.001 m. diameter, has a radius of 0.0005 m. Area of a circle = πr2, therefore the area of 1 grain of sand of 1 mm diameter is π x 0.00052 = ~ 7.854 x 10-7 m2. A thousand trillion of them has an area of ~ 7.854 x 10-7 + 12 m2. That is ~ 7.854 x 105 m2 = ~785400 m2. Now 145 km = 145,000 m. Area of a rectangle = length x width, therefore width = area/length. So the width of an area of 785,400 m2 = 785,400 m2/145,000 m = ~5.42 m. I have assumed for simplicity of calculation that the grains of sand are perfectly spherical and I have ignored the tiny gaps between the curves of each grain. [return]
6. "In terms of particle size as used by geologists, sand particles range in diameter from 0.0625 mm (or 1⁄16 mm) to 2 mm. An individual particle in this range size is termed a sand grain." ("Sand," Wikipedia, 3 December 2014). [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. Currer-Briggs, N., 1995, "Shroud Mafia: The Creation of a Relic?," Book Guild: Sussex UK, pp.114-115. [return]
9. Gove, 1996, p.303. [return]
10. Freer-Waters, R.A. & Jull, A.J.T., 2010, "Investigating a Dated Piece of the Shroud of Turin," Radiocarbon, Vol 52, No 4. Note that the "dated" in the title is misleading, because to be "dated" by radiocarbon dating entails that the sample be reduced to pure carbon. What the authors presumably meant was that this undated sample is identical to a sample which was split from it and that sample was dated. [return]
11. Schwortz, B., 2012, "New Photographs of Arizona Radiocarbon Dating Laboratory Samples," Shroud.com, November 21. [return]
12. Benford, M.S. & Marino, J.G., 2008, "Discrepancies in the radiocarbon dating area of the Turin Shroud," Chemistry Today, Vol. 26, No. 4, July-August. [return]
13. "Rogue fibres found in the Shroud," Textile Horizons, December 1988, p.13. [return]
14. Hall, E.T., 1990, "Letter to Textile Horizons, January, in Wilson, 1991, p.177. [return]
15. Benford & Marino, 2008, pp.2-7. [return]
16. Benford & Marino, 2008, pp.1 & 4. Photos superimposed. [return]
17. Benford & Marino, 2008, p.7. [return]
18. Wilson, 1998, pp.191-192. [return]
19. Benford & Marino, 2008, p.22. [return]
20. Wilson, I., 2002, "The New, Restored Turin Shroud," British Society for the Turin Shroud Newsletter, No. 56, December. [return]
21. de Wesselow, T., 2012, "The Sign: The Shroud of Turin and the Secret of the Resurrection," Viking: London, pp.169-170. [return]
22. Phillips, T.J., 1989, "Shroud irradiated with neutrons?," Nature, Vol. 337, 16 February, p.594. [return]
23. Ibid. [return]
24. Hedges, R.E.M., 1989, "Hedges replies," Nature, Vol. 337, 16 February, p.594. [return]
25. "Production of 14C," NSF-Arizona AMS Laboratory, University of Arizona, Tucson AZ, 28 June 2005. [return]
26. Ibid. [return]
27. Gove, 1996, pp.301-302. [return]
28. Wilson, I., 2010, "The Shroud: The 2000-Year-Old Mystery Solved," Bantam Press: London, p.222. [return]
29. Wilson, I. & Schwortz, B., 2000, "The Turin Shroud: The Illustrated Evidence," Michael O'Mara Books: London, p.94. [return]
30. Sheridan, M. & Reeves, P., "Turin Shroud shown to be a fake," The Independent, London, 14 October 1988, in Wilson, 1998, p.7. [return]
31. Damon, 1989, p.611. [return]
32. Wilson, 1998, p.8. [return]
33. Ibid. [return]
32. Pagès, Abbé Guy, 2012, "Aux Sources du Coran par le frère Bruno Bonnet-Eymard," YouTube, November 29. [return]
35. Wilson, 1998, p.8. [return]
36. Meacham, W., 2005, "The Rape of the Turin Shroud: How Christianity's Most Precious Relic was Wrongly Condemned and Violated," Lulu Press: Morrisville NC, p.91. [return]
37. Wilson, 1998, pp.8-9. [return]
38. Wilson, 1998, p.9. [return]
39. Wilson, 1998, p.11. [return]
40. Picknett, L. & Prince, C., 2006, "The Turin Shroud: How Da Vinci Fooled History," , Touchstone: New York NY, Second edition, Reprinted, 2007, p.13. [return]
41. Wilson, 1998, p.1. [return]
42. Dupont, C., 1990, "An interview with Dr. Mike Tite," Radio Courtoisie, Paris, British Society for the Turin Shroud Newsletter, No. 25, April/May, pp.2-5. [return]
43. de Wesselow, 2012, p.170. [return]
44. Wilson, 1998, p.7. [return]
45. McDonnell, D.J., 2003, "The Great Holy Shroud Dating Fraud of 1988," 4 November. [return]
46. Gove, 1996, p.264. [return]
Posted: 8 December 2014. Updated: 23 September 2016.