Tuesday, August 18, 2015

"... why the radiocarbon date is exactly what one would expect it to be if the Turin Shroud were actually a fraud"? (Tipler, 2007)

Here is a quote by physicist Frank J. Tipler (1947-) in his, "The Physics of Christianity" (2007) [right], in which he states that, "...there are quite a few reasons for accepting the Shroud as genuine" so "It would be an extra- ordinary and very improbable coincidence [indeed "a miracle"] if the amount of carbon added to the Shroud [by "bacterial or other contamination"] were exactly the amount needed to give the date [in "the middle of the fourteenth century"] that indicated a fraud":

"If the radiocarbon date is ignored, there are quite a few reasons for accepting the Shroud as genuine ... But ... what must be answered before the Shroud can be accepted as genuine - is why the radiocarbon date is exactly what one would expect it to be if the Turin Shroud were actually a fraud. A very plausible history of the Shroud from A.D. 30 to the present has been constructed ... However, the first time the Shroud is agreed by all scholars to have existed is 1355, when a French squire, Geoffrey de Charny of Lirey, in the bishopric of Troyes, petitioned the Pope to display it as the unique burial cloth of Jesus. ... A few decades after de Charny's death, the bishop of Troyes denounced the Shroud as a fake and said that he knew the name of the forger, who had confessed. So if the bishop and later skeptics were correct, we would expect the linen of which the Shroud is made to date from the time of the forgery. That is, the middle of the fourteenth century. When the radiocarbon date was discovered to be between 1260 and 1390 (95 percent confidence interval), most scientists (including myself until a few years ago) were convinced that the Shroud had been proven a fraud. If bacterial or other contamination had distorted the date, we would expect the measured radiocarbon date to be some random date between A.D. 30 and the present. It would be an extraordinary and very improbable coincidence if the amount of carbon added to the Shroud were exactly the amount needed to give the date that indicated a fraud. That is, unless the radiocarbon date were itself a miracle ..." (Tipler, F.J., 2007, "The Physics of Christianity," Doubleday: New York NY, pp.178-179. My emphasis bold. Italics emphasis original).
Further in the book, Tipler wrote:
"... in 1988 on the radiocarbon dating of the Shroud. What originally convinced me that the Shroud was a fake was the fact that the date obtained was precisely that expected if the Shroud were a medieval forgery. The Shroud first appeared in France in 1355, and the Arizona laboratory obtained a radiocarbon date of 1350. It seems incredible that later contamination came in exactly the right amount to give an exactly incorrect date. Unless the contamination ... were a miracle." (Tipler, 2007, pp.216-217. My emphasis bold. Italics emphasis original)

I certainly don't agree with much of what Tipler writes (including that he really does think that God would work a deceptive miracle), but he at least does recognise the problem that, if the Shroud is authentic, as the overwhelming weight of the evidence indicates, then it would either be "a miracle" (or a fraud of some kind which Tipler doesn't even consider), for it to have a radiocarbon date of "AD 1260-1390," the mid-point of which is 1325 ±65, a mere ~25 years before the Shroud first appeared in undisputed history in Lirey, France in c. 1355.

Another pro-authenticist who also does recognise the problem of the first century Shroud having a radiocarbon date of "1325 ± 65 years" is the agnostic art historian, Thomas de Wesselow, who considers fraud in the radiocarbon dating of the Shroud to be a real possibility, because of that 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." (de Wesselow, T., 2012, "The Sign: The Shroud of Turin and the Secret of the Resurrection," p.170. My emphasis).

But I don't agree with de Wesselow and others that the fraud was by conventional sample-switching (see my "Accusations of conventional fraud (e.g. sample-switching) fail").

Those pro-authenticists who do not accept my proposal that, "The 1260-1390 radiocarbon date of the Turin Shroud was the result of a computer hacking," but instead propose that carbon contamination, a bioplastic coating, a medieval repair, a neutron flux, etc, `just happened' to be "in exactly the right amount" to shift the Shroud's 1st century radiocarbon date ~14 centuries into the future, so as to "give [the Shroud] an exactly incorrect date," respectfully need to take a reality check:

"a corrective confronting of reality, in order to counteract one's expectations, prejudices, or the like." ("reality check," Dictionary.com)
Because what they are proposing, whether they realise it or not, is a miracle, and a deceptive miracle, directly or indirectly by God at that.

2 comments:

Steve Calovich said...

I think one of the more important reasons the Shroud exists, was to give the church builders a facsimile of Christ. These pictures of Jesus were used to decorate church buildings from the early centuries of Christianity. That is another reason why I would disregard the radiocarbon dating of the Shroud, as well as Ray Downing's work on the so called, "Real Face of Jesus".

Stephen E. Jones said...

Steve

>I think one of the more important reasons the Shroud exists, was to give the church builders a facsimile of Christ.

Agreed with "facsimile" in the sense that the Shroud is a `Fifth Gospel':

"If it is authentic, the Shroud can rightfully take its place as `The Fifth Gospel,' for what it reveals of Jesus and his suffering far exceeds the scant Gospel words of the evangelists. If it is authentic, and if no completely satisfactory natural explanation can account for its unusual physical properties, then the Shroud is indeed the most miraculous of Holy Miracles - an enduring, self-made portrait of the man who would be called Savior by millions of Christians throughout the world." (Humber, T., 1974, "The Fifth Gospel: The Miracle of the Holy Shroud," Pocket Books: New York NY, p.12)

>These pictures of Jesus were used to decorate church buildings from the early centuries of Christianity.

Again, agreed. In the first ~1500 years of the Christian Church's existence, before there were Bibles in peoples' own languages, icons based on the Shroud would have been very important in the spread of Christianity.

>That is another reason why I would disregard the radiocarbon dating of the Shroud,

It's not enough to just "disregard" the radiocarbon dating of the Shroud. If the Shroud is 1st century (as the overwhelming weight of the evidence points to) then having a radiocarbon date of 1260-1390 MUST be a fraud (or a deceptive miracle by God).

If a fraud, then it is important to show what TYPE of fraud it was. Since conventional fraud (e.g. sample-swapping) is highly implausible, that leaves as the ONLY viable explanation that the 1260-1390 radiocarbon date of the first century Shroud was the result of a computer hacking.

>as well as Ray Downing's work on the so called, "Real Face of Jesus".

I don't know much about that, so I can't comment on it.

Stephen E. Jones
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