Friday, May 30, 2014

My theory that the radiocarbon dating laboratories were duped by a computer hacker #2

Copyright ©, Stephen E. Jones[1]

Continuing from part #1 of my new series, "My theory that the radiocarbon dating laboratories were duped by a computer hacker," with this part #2.

[Index #1] [#3] [#4][#5][#6][#7][#8][#9][#10(1)][#10(2)][#10(3)][#10(4)][#10(5)][#10(6)][#10(7)][#10(8)][#10(9)][#10(10)].]

[Above: Creased newspaper photo with headline, "Turin Shroud shown to be a fake" in The Independent, 14 October 1988[2]. The photo is of Prof. Edward Hall (Oxford), Prof. Michael Tite (British Museum) and Dr Robert Hedges (Oxford) outside the entrance of the British Museum the day before, after their announcement that the Shroud's radiocarbon date was "1260-1390!" But the flip side of the "fake" claim is that if the Shroud is authentic (as the evidence overwhelmingly points to), then it must be the radiocarbon date of 1260-1390 which is a fake, the result of fraud! (see below).]

2. FRAUD IS THE ONLY PLAUSIBLE EXPLANATION As we saw in my part #1: 1) the evidence is overwhelming that the Shroud is authentic; 2) but the improbability that the Shroud being first century, yet it had a radiocarbon date of 1260-1390 (1325 ±65)[3] was "astronomical"[4], "about one in a thousand trillion"[5], "totally impossible"[5a]; 3) and conventional explanations for the discrepancy, such as contamination with younger carbon[6], invisible rewoven repairs with cotton[7], and a neutron flux caused by the Resurrection[8], etc, don't work. 4) Therefore, absent fraud, even if only "making results appear just a little ... more definitive than they really are, or selecting just the `best' data for publication and ignoring those that don't fit"[9], it would be a miracle if the Shroud being first century `just happened', by a combination of chance factors, like contamination and medieval repairs, etc, to have a radiocarbon date of 1325 +/- 65, which `just happened' to be only 25-30 years before the Shroud's first appearance in undisputed history at Lirey, France in the 1350s[10].

• Great improbability alone is sufficient to establish fraud In courts of law, called upon to rule on cases of alleged plagiarism, a type of fraud[11], it is sufficient to establish that fraud has occurred when there is a "striking similarity" between two works where there was a "great improbability" of "striking coincidences":

"W.H. Anderson Co. v. Baldwin Law Pub. Co., 27 F.2d 82, 87 (6thCir. 1928) (`In view of the great improbability of two workers finding the same needle in a wordy haystack, as well as other equally striking coincidences and some unmistakable improprieties, we conclude that defendant's annotator at the very least derived considerable assistance from the mental labors of his rival.')"[12].
which passes the bounds of mere accident":
"Wilkie v. Santly Bros., 91 F.2d 978, 979 (2dCir. 1937) ('Internal proof of access may rest in an identity of words or in the parallel character of incidents or in a striking similarity which passes the bounds of mere accident.'), cert. den., 302 U.S. 735 (1937)"[13].
Even if "evidence of access [to the original work] is absent" courts can still find that fraud has occurred based only on "the similarities" being "so striking as to preclude the possibility that" the alleged plagiarist "independently arrived at the same result":
"Arnstein v. Porter, 154 F.2d 464, 468 (2dCir. 1946) (`If evidence of access is absent, the similarities must be so striking as to preclude the possibility that plaintiff and defendant independently arrived at the same result.')"[14].
Again, even if there is no "direct evidence of access [to the original work]" a court may still find that there was fraud "circumstantially by proof of similarity which is so striking that the possibilities of independent creation...coincidence and prior common source are, as a practical matter, precluded":
"Selle v. Gibb, 741 F.2d 896, 901 (7th Cir. 1984) ("If, however, the plaintiff does not have direct evidence of access, then an inference of access may still be established circumstantially by proof of similarity which is so striking that the possibilities of independent creation, coincidence and prior common source are, as a practical matter, precluded.")[15].
• The flip-side of the laboratories' conclusion that the Shroud must be a fake It is the flip side of the radiocarbon dating laboratories' conclusion that the Shroud must be a fake because the odds against the Shroud being both authentic and radiocarbon dating to 1325 ± 65 are "astronomical" and a "thousand trillion to one" (see above). 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"[16].
But again, if the Shroud is authentic (as the evidence overwhelmingly indicates), then it is the radiocarbon date of 1260-1390 which must be a fake, the result of fraud!

• Accusations of conventional fraud, e.g. sample-switching, fail Some Shroud pro-authenticists saw clearly that if the Shroud is authentic, then "it was the radiocarbon dating, not the Shroud, that must be the fraud":

"Scientifically the coup de grace came on 16 February 1989 with the scientific journal Nature's publication of the radiocarbon-dating laboratories' formal technical report ... this claimed `conclusive evidence that the linen of the shroud of Turin is mediaeval'[17] ... For some Shroud supporters ... the chief defence offered was that it was the radiocarbon dating, not the Shroud, that must be the fraud. As foremost spokesperson for this particular viewpoint there surfaced the French priest Brother Bruno Bonnet-Eymard, of the very right-wing Catholic group the `Catholic Counter-Reformation in the Twentieth Century'. As he noted, although the main proceedings of the taking of samples had been videotaped, this was not the case with the putting of the samples into their coded canisters. During this the British Museum's Dr Michael Tite had been accompanied in the side room only by the elderly Cardinal. Bonnet-Eymard therefore outrightly accused Dr Tite of having `switched' the control samples so that the pieces which the laboratories thought to be the Shroud were in actuality control samples of mediaeval date, while the pieces that they thought to be control samples of first-century date were in fact the genuine Shroud ... even distinguished European Shroud scholars such as the Jesuit Professor Werner Bulst and others became persuaded to follow some variant or other of this ..."[18].
However, they assumed that it had to be by conventional sample-switching[19]. But Ian Wilson personally knew some of the radiocarbon dating project leaders and 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:
"... so let me rule out straight away any challenge to the integrity of Dr Michael Tite and the radiocarbon-dating scientists of the kind that has been indulged in by Bonnet-Eymard ... and others. For during both the preliminaries to and the immediate aftermath of the Shroud radiocarbon dating I struck up a moderate acquaintance with the British Museum's Dr Tite, the Oxford laboratory's Professor Hall and the Arizona laboratory's Professor Damon, from which experience I can say with some confidence that any scenario suggesting that one or more of these men may have `rigged' the radiocarbon dating ... may be judged as absurd and far-fetched as it is unworthy"[20].
I agree with Wilson. It would be highly unlikely that leaders of the radiocarbon dating project like Prof. Tite would commit major scientific fraud by switching a 13th century control sample for the Shroud sample. They would have too much to lose if the fraud was discovered, as it would have been because of the Shroud's distinctive weave[21]. Besides, they thought the Shroud was a medieval fake, so why would they switch samples, or do anything else, 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. Arguments to this effect have come from quarters as diverse as members of an ultra-conservative Catholic Counter-Reformation group ... and the 'heretical' German writers Holger Kersten and Elmar Gruber ... 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"[22].
• Computer hacking: A type of fraud not previously considered But there is a type of fraud which does not seem to have been previously considered by anyone: computer hacking. And as we shall see computer hacking was rife in the 1980s, when universities, in particular, had poor computer and physical security. Moreover, as we shall see, there is evidence that points to Arizona laboratory physicist Timothy W. Linick (1946-4 June 1989)[23], aided by self-confessed KGB hacker Karl Koch (1965–3 June 1989 [but see 17May15][24], being the alleged hackers.

Continued in part #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. & Schwortz, B., 2000, "The Turin Shroud: The Illustrated Evidence," Michael O'Mara Books: London, p.94. [return]
3. 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. [return]
4. Wilson, 1998, pp.6-7 [return]
5. Gove, H.E., 1996, "Relic, Icon or Hoax?: Carbon Dating the Turin Shroud," Institute of Physics Publishing: Bristol UK, p.303. [return]
5a. Currer-Briggs, N., 1995, "Shroud Mafia: The Creation of a Relic?," Book Guild: Sussex UK, pp.114-115. Emphasis original. [return]
6. Gove, 1996, p.303. [return]
7. Hall, E.T., 1990, "Letter to Textile Horizons, January, in Wilson, 1991, p.177. [return]
8. Gove, 1996, pp.301-302. [return]
9. Broad, W.A. & Wade, N.J., 1982, "Betrayers of the Truth: Fraud and Deceit in the Halls of Science," Simon and Schuster: New York NY, p.20. [return]
10. Wilson, 1998, p.7. [return]
11. Standler, R.B., 2012, "Plagiarism in Colleges in USA," 16 April, pp.1-89, p.5. [return]
12. Standler, 2012, p.18. [return]
13. Ibid. [return]
14. Ibid. [return]
15. Standler, 2012, p.19. [return]
16. Sheridan, M. & Reeves, P., "Turin Shroud shown to be a fake," The Independent, 14 October 1988, in Wilson, 1998, p.7. [return]
17. Damon, P.E., et al., 1989, "Radiocarbon dating of the shroud of Turin," Nature, Vol. 337, 16 February, pp. 611-615. [return]
18. Wilson, 1998, pp.8-9. [return]
19. McDonnell, D.J., 2003, "The Great Holy Shroud Dating Fraud of 1988," 4 November. [return]
20. Wilson, 1998, p.11. [return]
21. Wilson, 1998, p.1. [return]
22. de Wesselow, T., 2012, "The Sign: The Shroud of Turin and the Secret of the Resurrection," Viking: London, p.170. [return]
23. Jull, A.J.T. & Suess, H.E. , 1989, "Timothy W. Linick," Radiocarbon, Vol 31, No 2. [return]
24. "WikiFreaks, Pt. 4 `The Nerds Who Played With Fire'," The Psychedelic Dungeon, 15 September 2010. [return]

Posted 30 May 2014. Updated 6 September 2023.

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