Introduction. This is part #10 of my concluding summary of the evidence that the 1988 radiocarbon dating of the Shroud of Turin as "mediaeval ... AD 1260-1390" was the result of a computer hacking, allegedly by Arizona radiocarbon dating laboratory physicist Timothy W. Linick (1946-89), aided by German hacker Karl Koch (1965–89), on behalf of the former Soviet Union, through its agency the KGB. Previous posts in this series were parts: #1, #2, #3, #4, #5, #6, #7, #8 and #9. The next post in this series is part #11.
[Right: Book by a Jewish Rabbi defending Pope Pius XII (1876–1958) against the KGB's conspiracy to undermine the Roman Catholic Church's moral authority in Europe by smearing Pope Pius XII as a Nazi sympathiser during WWII, when the opposite was the case.]
• Circumstantial evidence. I am not aware that anyone has actually made this criticism of my theory (although I have mentioned it myself-see below), so this is my response to an anticipated criticism of it.
According to Wikipedia, circumstantial evidence is indirect evidence, relying on inference:
"Circumstantial evidence is evidence that relies on an inference to connect it to a conclusion of fact — like a fingerprint at the scene of a crime. By contrast, direct evidence supports the truth of an assertion directly — i.e., without need for any additional evidence or inference."Absent a confession or a statement by someone involved in the 1988 radiocarbon dating of the Shroud (e.g. a scientist in one of the three laboratories), or in its hacking (e.g. a KGB agent), that the dating was the result of a computer hacking; or the discovery of direct evidence of the hacking (e.g. Linick' program still on one of the three laboratories' old AMS computers or backup tapes), my theory will remain circumstantial.
"... Although I don't yet have a `smoking gun' clue that PROVES: 1) that the 3 labs were hacked; 2) that Linick was a hackers; and 3) that Koch was the other hacker involved in the C14 dating. I am in the position that a police detective would be in the early stage of a crime investigation. I have a lot of circumstantial evidence that points to a crime having been committed and I have two suspects. But unlike a detective I have no authority or ability to further investigate the crime by visiting the crime scenes and asking questions of those who would be in a position to know more information that would either confirm or refute my suspicions."[08May14].Wikipedia continues:
"Even though my theory at this early stage is entirely circumstantial, lacking as yet a `smoking gun' ..."[13Jun14]
"On its own, circumstantial evidence allows for more than one explanation. Different pieces of circumstantial evidence may be required, so that each corroborates the conclusions drawn from the others. Together, they may more strongly support one particular inference over another. An explanation involving circumstantial evidence becomes more likely once alternative explanations have been ruled out."In my posts in this series I have posted many different pieces of evidence which support my theory. And I have reviewed all other pro-authenticity explanations that I am aware of, and ruled them out (see "Conventional explanations of the discrepancy all fail." That the anti-authenticity explanations which I am aware of all fail is the subject of this series. That leaves my theory more likely to be true.
• Conspiracy theory. This was Dan Porter's favourite (indeed from memory the only) objection to my theory that Porter made (Google: "Shroud Jones conspiracy" without the quotes). But, as we shall see, this was just another "ad hominem personal attack" by Porter, who by his own admission, was not interested in the truth about the Shroud, whether it was authentic or not:
"... I am not a pro-authenticists or an anti-authenticists [sic]; never have been and I hope I never will be"but rather sought to maximise readers of his blog by avoiding closure of any issue:
"At first I didn't do blogging correctly and this blog didn't catch on. Eventually, I learned to say less and encouraged others to become the center of the discussion ... In doing so I created an opportunity to learn a lot from skeptics and non-skeptics alike ... This blog has exceeded all my expectations. Lately, I have been posting almost every day, sometimes two or three times a day. Comments pour in."• What is a "conspiracy theory"? Wikipedia defines "conspiracy theory" as:
"A conspiracy theory is a belief that a secret conspiracy has actually been decisive in producing a political event or evil outcome which the theorists strongly disapprove of. The conspiracy theory typically identifies the conspirators, provides evidence that supposedly links them together with an evil plan to harm the body politic, and may also point to a supposed cover up by authorities or media who should have stopped the conspiracy. The duty of the theorist is to pick from a myriad of facts and assumptions and reassemble them to form a picture of the conspiracy, as in a jigsaw puzzle. A theorist may publicly identify specific conspirators, and if they deny the allegations that is evidence they have been sworn to secrecy and are probably guilty. ... The term conspiracy theory has derogatory connotations, suggesting explanations that invoke conspiracies without warrant, often producing imaginary hypotheses that are not true." (footnotes omitted)• My theory is not a "conspiracy theory" according to Wikipedia's definition.
"The conspiracy theory typically identifies the conspirators..." First, as I have pointed out many times, at its most basic, my theory does not involve "conspirators" (plural), since "Linick could have acted alone":
"Koch is not essential to my theory [nor is the KGB] that the radiocarbon dating laboratories were duped by a computer hacker, as Linick could have acted alone."[03Jun15, 30Jun15]"... a belief that a secret conspiracy has actually been decisive in producing a political event or evil outcome which the theorists strongly disapprove of." This is the only part of Wikipedia definition of "conspiracy theory" which applies to my theory, at its most complex. My theory, at its most complex, does maintain that there was "a secret conspiracy" between Arizona physicist Timothy W. Linick and the KGB, and between the KGB and Karl Koch, and possibly, but not necessarily, between all three (I don't claim that Linick knew Koch, or about Koch, or vice-versa [21Jul14, 17May15, 30Jun15, 02Jun16], but they may have[03Sep14]). And my theory, at its most complex, does maintain that this conspiracy was "decisive in producing a political event or evil outcome," namely the radiocarbon dating as late 13th-early 14th century the authentic, first century Shroud of Turin. And as one who is "persuaded by the evidence that the Shroud of Turin is the burial sheet of Jesus Christ and bears His crucified and resurrected image" it is definitely something which I "strongly disapprove of"!
"...Karl Koch is not essential to my theory, [nor is the KGB] as Linick could have hacked Zurich and Oxford's AMS computer[s] some other way, e.g. by issuing them with a program `update' ..."[13Jun14, 31May15, 02Jun16]
"If it turned out that Koch could not possibly have been involved, either directly or indirectly, in installing Linick's program on Zurich and Oxford laboratories' AMS control console computers, then my theory would not be falsified. In that case I would have to maintain that Linick's program was installed on those laboratories' computers by some other way. For example, Linick himself could have flown over to Zurich and Oxford, installed his program clandestinely on their computers, and returned to Arizona, in a few days. This is why my theory always has been `that the radiocarbon dating laboratories were duped by a computer hacker, (singular)."[21Jul14, 17May15, 31May15]
"... and may also point to a supposed cover up by authorities or media who should have stopped the conspiracy." I do claim that there was a cover-up, although I don't use that term, by the KGB in murdering Linick and Koch to silence them[03Sep14, 26Oct14, 13Dec14, 17May15, 30Jun15, 22Feb16, 07Mar16, 02Jun16]. I do not claim that there originally was a cover-up by the three laboratories because they would have been unaware of Linick's alleged hacking. However, following Linick's suicide it may be that the laboratories became aware of, or suspected, Linick's alleged hacking[05Jul14, 27Apr15, 29Mar16], and if so then they would then have been involved in a cover-up by not publicly admitting it. The unusually prompt reply of Arizona's Prof. Jull and Oxford's Prof. Ramsey to my mere anonymous blogger's comments and/or posts sent to them by Hugh Farey[13Mar14, 05Jul14, 27Apr15, 29Mar16], coupled with their strange defensiveness and Ramsey's outright falsehoods, has made me suspect that they are hiding something[05Jul14, 27Apr15, 29Mar16], when I didn't originally.
"... pick from a myriad of facts and assumptions and reassemble them to form a picture of the conspiracy, as in a jigsaw puzzle." This is not true of my theory. I did not "pick from a myriad of facts and assumptions" and "reassemble them ... as in a jigsaw puzzle." I simply reasoned straightforwardly that: 1) Since the evidence is overwhelming that the Shroud is authentic [18Feb14, 07Mar14, 24May14, 02Dec14, 23Jul15]. 2) Therefore the 1988 radiocarbon dating of the Shroud as "mediaeval ... AD 1260-1390" was wrong[24May14, 03Jun14]. 3) But the improbability that the Shroud being 1st century has a radiocarbon date of 13th-14th century is "astronomical"[24May14, 08Dec14, 23Jul15]. 4) The midpoint of 1260-1390 is 1325 ±65 years, which is only ~30 years before the Shroud first appeared in undisputed history at Lirey, France in c.1355[18Feb14, 07Mar14, 24May14, 02Dec14, 23Jul15]. 5) The very first radiocarbon date of the Shroud at Arizona was the `perfect' "1350"[22Feb14, 07Mar14, 08Jun14, 30Jan15, 22Sep15]. 6) Fraud of some kind is the only plausible explanation[20Feb14, 30May14, 08Dec14, 23Jul15]. 7) Accusations of conventional fraud (e.g. sample-switching) fail [30May14, 08Dec14, 23Jul15]. 8) Computer hacking was a type of fraud prevalent in the 1980s and to which the fully computerised AMS radiocarbon dating process was especially vulnerable. [22Feb14, 11May14, 30May14, 08Dec14, 23Jul15]. 9) Timothy W. Linick was allegedly the leaker of Arizona's "1350" date of the Shroud to David Sox, who leaked it to the media[24Jun14, 05Jul14, 05Mar15, 31Mar15, 30Dec15, 22Feb16]. 10) Linick was allegedly the hacker whose program substituted the Shroud's radiocarbon dates on Arizona, Zurich and Oxford's AMS computers, with bogus dates which averaged 1260-1390 = 1325 ± 65[24May14, 03Jun14, 05Jul14, 31Mar15, 22Feb16, 29Mar16]. Note that up to this point 10 there is no conspiracy, i.e. "by two or more persons":
"conspiracy .... 1. the act of conspiring. 2. an evil, unlawful, treacherous, or surreptitious plan formulated in secret by two or more persons; plot. 3. a combination of persons for a secret, unlawful, or evil purpose: ... 4. Law. an agreement by two or more persons to commit a crime, fraud, or other wrongful act. 5. any concurrence in action; combination in bringing about a given result"11) Karl Koch, a German hacker who had confessed to hacking for the KGB, allegedly installed Linick's program on Zurich's and Oxford's AMS computers[03Jun14, 21Jul14, 13Dec14, 17May15, 02Jun16]. 12) German police on 3 June 1989 publicly identified as Koch's a burnt body, which had been murdered but made to look like suicide, presumably by the KGB[05Jul14, 31Mar15, 17May15, 22Feb16, 02Jun16]. 13) One day later, on 4 June 1989[17May15, 30Jun15, 02Jun16], Timothy Linick's body was found dead from gunshot[22Feb16, 07Mar16], in Tucson, Arizona[05Jul14, 03Sep14, 31Mar15, 22Feb16]. As with Koch, Linick's death was presumed to be suicide[30Dec15, 19Jan16, 22Feb16, 07Mar16], and as with Koch[21Jul14, 17May15] there was no suicide note[22Feb16, 07Mar16].
"... and if they deny the allegations that is evidence they have been sworn to secrecy and are probably guilty." This also does not fit my theory. At its most complex I have publicly identified specific alleged conspirators (although I have not used that word), namely Timothy Linick, the KGB and Karl Koch (see the Introduction which has prefaced every post of this series). Linick and Koch are both dead so they cannot deny the allegations but my theory is that if they had not been silenced by the KGB they would have admitted that they had conspired with the KGB to hack the Shroud's radiocarbon dating. And I don't expect the KGB to confirm my allegations that it conspired with Linick and Koch to install Linick's program on Zurich and Oxford's AMS computers. Also my theory does not claim that the KGB is "sworn to secrecy" (although its individual operatives presumably are) but rather it is in the self-interest of the KGB and its individual operatives to keep secret the KGB's conspiracies (e.g. the above conspiracy to smear Pope Pius XII and discredit the Roman Catholic Church). Nor do I claim that the KGB's silence on whether it conspired with Linick and Koch to hack the Shroud's radiocarbon date proves that it is probably guilty. See above and future installment(s) of this post why I claim that the KGB is probably guilty of conspiring with Linick and Koch to hack the Shroud's radiocarbon dating.
"The term conspiracy theory has derogatory connotations ..." This is the reason that Dan Porter continually used it of my theory (again Google: "Shroud Jones conspiracy" without the quotes), to "poison the well" against me, so as to discredit my theory in advance of the evidence for it being considered:
"Poisoning 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 ...".But as I had pointed out[30Jun15, 06Jul15], a 2015 Wikipedia definition of "Conspiracy theory" stated that a conspiracy theory is "an explanatory hypothesis" which "has acquired a derogatory meaning over time" and "is often used to dismiss or ridicule" but it can "refer to actual, proven conspiracies":
"A conspiracy theory is an explanatory hypothesis that accuses two or more persons, a group, or an organization of having caused or covered up, through secret planning and deliberate action, an event or situation which is typically taken to be illegal or harmful. Although the term `conspiracy theory' has acquired a derogatory meaning over time and is often used to dismiss or ridicule beliefs in conspiracies, it has also continued to be used by some to refer to actual, proven conspiracies, such as U.S. President Richard Nixon and his aides conspiring to cover up Watergate. ... [and] some thinkers, particularly philosophers, have argued that belief in conspiracy theories can be rational and that the skepticism of conspiracy theorising (the generation of conspiracy theories) is akin to a modern day superstition."Moreover, as can be seen above, that 2015 Wikipedia definition, stated that "belief in conspiracy theories can be rational" and that "the skepticism of ... conspiracy theories ... is akin to a modern day superstition"! By the latter I presume Wikipedia meant that the modern assumption that the mere labelling a theory, "conspiracy theory," automatically renders it false, irrespective of the evidence for that theory (as Porter and his ilk did of my hacker theory), is a modern form of superstition.
"...suggesting explanations that invoke conspiracies without warrant..." This also is not true of my theory. No one has shown that my hacking theory is without warrant. The only attempt to show that my theory was without warrant, that I am aware of, was by Hugh Farey (the ANTI-authenticist Editor of the British Society FOR the Turin Shroud Newsletter), on Dan Porter's blog under his post, "Stephen Jones Continues his Computer Hacking Conspiracy Theory," July 5, 2014, which I only became aware of after Porter's blog closed on 15 December 2015. Farey evidently did not have the courage of his convictions to post his claimed `refutation' of my theory as a comment on my blog. Here is Farey's `refutation' of my hacking theory and my responses:
"One of the claims conspiracy theorists often make in support of their ideas is that since no one has refuted them, they are more than likely to be true. It’s a bore, but someone has to do it."First, as I have shown above, my hacking theory is not a conspiracy theory and therefore I am not a conspiracy theorist. And it is the position of any theory that if it can be refuted (i.e. it is falsifiable), but it has not been refuted, then it is indeed more likely to be true!
"– Linick was an extreme anti-authenticist. Jones puts forward no evidence for this. He is looking for a refusal to accept authenticity, even if the shroud were proved 1st century. His quote from Linick does not support this. Linick says that proving the shroud to be first century `leaves room for argument' and `it would be the right age, but is it the real thing?' This is not a refusal to accept authenticity – it could very well be a rhetorical question posed by an authenticist, who might then go on to demonstrate that the answer is yes.'"I stated what I meant by "an extreme Shroud anti-authenticist" in my posts of 24Jun14 and 30Dec15, as someone who "would not accept that the Shroud was authentic, even if its radiocarbon age was `2000 years'" (e.g. Walter McCrone). And I contrasted that with "non-extreme anti-authenticists" (e.g. the late Profs Edward Hall and Harry Gove of Oxford and Rochester laboratories respectively) who evidently would have accepted the Shroud was authentic if its carbon-date was first century. And I did provide evidence for this in that I quoted each of the above stating, or implying that they would, or would not, accept that the Shroud is authentic if its radiocarbon date was first century. Farey's claim that Sox's quote of Linick "could very well be a rhetorical question posed by an authenticist" is ridiculous in its context!
"– Linick was probably aware of McCrone’s prediction that the Shroud’s carbon date would be `about 1355.' Jones puts forward no evidence for this. His comparison of Jones’s rhetorical question with McCrone’s assumption that a 1st century shroud would be accepted as genuine by nearly everyone is specious. But so what? Dozens of people could have read McCrone’s predictions, as they were published years previously. Even if he hadn’t read McCrone’s work, the range of likely dates, either 1st century or 13th-14th century, was obvious to everybody."I did provide evidence that Linick was aware of McCrone's "about 1355" prediction, in the similarity of Linick and McCrone's words. That Farey, himself an extreme anti-authenticist, who would not accept any evidence for the Shroud's authenticity, does not accept my evidence, does not mean that it is "no evidence."
"– Linick was the leaker of Arizona’s `1350' first date of the Shroud. Jones puts forward no evidence for this. He claims that for Sox simply to quote’s Linick’s rhetorical question above is `proof beyond reasonable doubt that Linick was the leaker.' Well, it isn’t, is it?"See above on Farey's "rhetorical question" being ridiculous. And I did provide evidence that Linick was the leaker of Arizona's first run "1350" date: 1) Sox was the leaker of Arizona's "1350" date to the media; 2) Sox's quoting of Linick immediately before Arizona's dating of the Shroud, shows that Sox was in contact with Linick at that time; and 3) Gove had, by a process of elimination, concluded that the leaker had to have been someone who was present at Arizona's first dating, which Linick was. If the leaker wasn't Linick, then there would have to be two or more persons at the Arizona dating who were in contact with Sox. The simplest explanation which accounts for the evidence (Occam's razor) is that the leaker was Linick. That Farey does not accept even that, again shows that no evidence for the Shroud's authenticity would convince him.
"– Linick was found dead of suspected suicide on 4 June 1989. Jones puts forward no evidence for this. His death, according to the obituary by Timothy Jull, was `untimely,' and according to Bruno Bonnet Eymard, was `in unclear circumstances.' This is not evidence of suicide, nor of murder. A Vatican insider article in 2013 claims suicide, but gives no reference. This is an unwarranted escalation of suggestion; it is not evidence. Jones is unable to find published information on Linick’s death in Arizona (a ‘closed record’ state). Had he tried a common genealogy program he would have found trhat Linick’s death was registered in California, not Arizona."Farey contradicts himself, in claiming that I provided "no evidence" for Linick's suicide, yet he admits I provided a Vatican Insider article which stated that Linick had committed suicide. I did not claim that my inability to find information on Linick’s death in Arizona public records, because it is a "closed records" State, was evidence that Linick death was suicide. And I did in fact try "a common genealogy program" (Ancestry.com) and "found that Linick’s death was registered in California" but that is irrelevant. That same genealogy program states that Linick was born in Los Angeles and that he died in "Jun 1989," but it does not say where Linick died. Besides, I had many times posted a reference to a scientific journal which recorded that "Dr Timothy W. Linick died in Tucson, Arizona, on 4 June 1989." And finally, I posted in early January 2016 (after Farey's comment and Porter's blog had closed) a quote from Linick's half-brother Anthony's book in which he confirmed that "... my half-brother, Timothy took his own life at age 42 in 1989."
"Jones’s next three points are less controversial: Linick was a measurement scientist, the AMS apparatus required a program to assess its results, and there were six weeks between the cutting of the sampels [sic] and the radiocarbon dating in Arizona. None of it, of course, is evidence for any Soviet plot."Farey does not even cite the evidence that I gave for a "Soviet plot" (as he put it) in the hacking of the Shroud's radiocarbon dating.
So Farey has failed in his above attempt (the only one that I am aware of), to show that my hacking theory was without warrant. Indeed, if the above is Farey's strongest critique of my hacking theory, then I can only assume that it is indeed more likely to be true!
"...often producing imaginary hypotheses that are not true." This also does not apply to my hacking theory. My theory is not "imaginary" but is based on multiple, independent, referenced, items of factual evidence which are true.
• It is dishonest and/or self-deceived, to dismiss my theory as merely a "conspiracy theory." As I have pointed out many times, it is dishonest and/or self-deluded to dismiss my hacking theory as merely a "conspiracy theory": 1) in the full knowledge of my disclaimers that neither Koch nor the KGB are essential to my theory, as Linick could have acted alone; and 2) without fairly considering all the evidence for my theory:
"It is therefore incorrect (and indeed dishonest and/or self-deceived), to dismiss my theory as merely a `KGB conspiracy theory,' without dealing with its ESSENTIAL elements."[13Dec14]
"So those who continue to dismiss my theory as merely a `conspiracy theory,' in the full knowledge of my above disclaimers, do so dishonestly."[17May15]
"So those who continue to dismiss my theory as merely a `conspiracy theory,' knowing my above disclaimers, do so dishonestly"[30Jun15]
"So those who continue to dismiss my theory as merely a "conspiracy theory," ignoring all my evidence, and in the full knowledge of my above disclaimers that Koch is not essential to my theory and Linick could have acted alone, do so dishonestly and/or self-deludedly![02Jun16]"
Continued in part #11 of this series.
1. This post is copyright. Permission is granted to quote from any part of this post (but not the whole post), provided it includes a reference citing my name, its subject heading, its date, and a hyperlink back to this post. [return]
2. Damon, P.E., et al., 1989, "Radiocarbon Dating of the Shroud of Turin," Nature, Vol. 337, 16th February, pp.611-615, p.611. [return]
3. Jull, A.J.T. & Suess, H.E., 1989, "Timothy W. Linick," Radiocarbon, Vol 31, No 2. [return]
4. "Karl Koch (hacker)," Wikipedia, 30 August 2016. [return]
5. Dalin, D.G., 2005, "The Myth of Hitler's Pope: Pope Pius XII And His Secret War Against Nazi Germany," Regnery History: Washington, DC. [return]
6. "KGB intent on linking Pius XII with Nazis, says former spy," Catholic News Agency, January 26, 2007. [return]
7. "Circumstantial evidence," Wikipedia, 21 August 2016. [return]
8. Ibid. [return]
9. Jones, S.E., 2014, "Of Pro-Authenticists and Anti-Authenticists: My response to Dan Porter," The Shroud of Turin blog, April 25. [return]
10. Porter, D., 2015, "Thank You, Everyone," Shroud of Turin Blog, December 15. [return]
11. "Conspiracy theory," Wikipedia, 8 September 2016. [return]
12. "conspiracy," Dictionary.com Unabridged, Based on the Random House Dictionary, Random House, Inc. 2016. [return]
13. "Poisoning the well," Wikipedia, 21 July 2016. [return]
14."Conspiracy theory," Wikipedia, 6 July 2015. No longer online. [return]
Posted: 15 September 2016. Updated: 22 November 2016.