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.

[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.

Notes
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: 25 September 2016.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

My theory that the radiocarbon dating laboratories were duped by a computer hacker #1

Copyright ©, Stephen E. Jones[1]

As previously advised, I had decided to terminate my, "Were the radiocarbon dating laboratories duped by a computer hacker?" series.

[Above: 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!"[2].]

See my last post in that series, "Revised #5," for the background to this new series. I will continue documenting the historical evidence for the Shroud's existence from the 13th to the 1st century in my "The Shroud of Turin" series when I get to "4. History of the Shroud" and "5. Art and the Shroud. I am now prepared to call my proposal a theory.

1. THE 1988 RADIOCARBON DATING OF THE SHROUD AS "AD 1260-1390." From 6 May-6 August 1988, the Shroud of Turin was radiocarbon dated by laboratories at Arizona, Zurich and Oxford[3]. Their results, published on 16 February 1989, in the scientific journal Nature, claimed that "the linen of the Shroud of Turin is mediaeval ... AD 1260-1390":

"Very small samples from the Shroud of Turin have been dated by accelerator mass spectrometry in laboratories at Arizona, Oxford and Zurich. ... The results provide conclusive evidence that the linen of the Shroud of Turin is mediaeval ... AD 1260-1390..."[4]
• The midpoint of 1260-1390 is 1325 ±65 years. The midpoint of 1260-1390 is 1325 plus or minus 65 years[5]. Which `just happens' to be 25-30 years before the Shroud first appeared in undisputed history at Lirey, France in the 1350s[6]. But according to Prof. Jacques Evin, then Director of the Radiocarbon Laboratory at the University of Lyon, who contributed a 13th century control sample for the dating[7], it is not possible for radiocarbon dating to be "closer than a span of 200 years":
"Many people expect the carbon 14 dating of the Shroud to be very precise. One must immediately undeceive them and make it clear that in the best of conditions and after averaging the three results given by the laboratories, there can be nothing closer than a span of 200 years. It will not be possible to pinpoint where the exact age of the Shroud can be situated within the span ..."[8].
• The evidence is overwhelming that the Shroud of Turin is authentic. For example, building on the work of others, I presented historical and artistic evidence in my posts, "Revised #1," "Revised #2 (Vignon markings)," "Revised #3" and "Revised #4 which proved beyond reasonable doubt that the Shroud existed in the early 13th century (c. 1225) to the mid-10th century (c. 950), well before its earliest 1260[9] radiocarbon date.

• Therefore the 1988 radiocarbon dating of the Shroud as AD 1260-1390 was wrong. The claim was therefore wrong that the results of the 1988 radiocarbon dating "provide conclusive evidence that the linen of the Shroud of Turin is mediaeval ... AD 1260-1390." Even Prof. Christopher Bronk Ramsey, Director of the Oxford Radiocarbon Dating Laboratory, who as "C.R. Bronk"[10] was a signatory to that 1989 Nature paper, has admitted that, there is a lot of other evidence that suggests that the Shroud is older than the radiocarbon dates allow:

"There is a lot of other evidence that suggests to many that the Shroud is older than the radiocarbon dates allow and so further research is certainly needed. It is important that we continue to test the accuracy of the original radiocarbon tests as we are already doing. It is equally important that experts assess and reinterpret some of the other evidence. Only by doing this will people be able to arrive at a coherent history of the Shroud which takes into account and explains all of the available scientific and historical information"[11].
Philip Ball, an editor for the journal Nature (the same journal which in 1989 claimed the Shroud was "mediaeval ... AD 1260-1389) admitted in 2005 that, "the shroud is a remarkable artefact ... It is simply not known how the ghostly image of a serene, bearded man was made" (my emphasis):
"And yet, the shroud is a remarkable artefact, one of the few religious relics to have a justifiably mythical status. It is simply not known how the ghostly image of a serene, bearded man was made. It does not seem to have been painted, at least with any known historical pigments"[12].
And again in 2008, Ball wrote, "despite the seemingly definitive tests in 1988, the status of the Shroud of Turin is murkier than ever" (my emphasis):
"It's fair to say that, despite the seemingly definitive tests in 1988, the status of the Shroud of Turin is murkier than ever. Not least, the nature of the image and how it was fixed on the cloth remain deeply puzzling"[13].
• But the improbability that the Shroud being 1st century has a radiocarbon date of 13th/14th century is "astronomical":
"... on Thursday, 13 October [1988] in the British Museum's Press Room ... were ... Dr Michael Tite, with the Oxford radiocarbon-dating laboratory's Professor Edward Hall and Hall's chief technician, Dr Robert Hedges. ... their only `prop' was a blackboard behind them on which someone had rather crudely scrawled: `1260-1390!' ... as Dr Tite explained, these numbers represented radiocarbon dating's calculation, to a ninety-five per cent degree of probability, of the upper and lower dates of when the Shroud's flax had been harvested. Representing an average of the laboratories' findings ... they indicated that the Shroud's raw flax had most likely been made into linen on or about the year AD 1325, give or take sixty-five years either way ... The Shroud simply could not possibly be any true shroud of the historical Jesus. For as those on the platform collectively insisted, the odds against this were now `astronomical'"[14].
This was confirmed by Prof. Harry Gove, leader of the Shroud's radiocarbon dating project, who pointed out that the probability that the Shroud's radiocarbon date is between 1260 and 1390, yet it's actual date is the first century, is "about one in a thousand trillion":
"The other question that has been asked is: if the statistical probability that the shroud dates between 1260 and 1390 is 95%, what is the probability that it could date to the first century? The answer is about one in a thousand trillion, i.e. vanishingly small"[15].
Indeed, Prof. Hall stated that it is "totally impossible" (his emphasis) that the Shroud has a radiocarbon date of "1260-1390" and yet its actual date is "AD 100" (or less):
"Professor Edward Hall, who was responsible for the Oxford laboratory's dating, says in a letter in answer to my enquiry about these earlier dates:
`It is all a matter of statistics! There is a five per cent chance of the date lying outside the 1260-1390 bracket. 1237 (for example) would indeed be possible but only a one in fifty chance. It is when you get to dates of AD 100 where it becomes totally impossible'"[16].
• Conventional explanations of the discrepancy don't work. Attempts by Shroud pro-authenticists to explain away the discrepancy between the Shroud being 1st century, yet its radiocarbon date is 1260-1390, don't work. For example, as Prof. Gove pointed out, all contamination theories fail because the amount of additional new carbon required to change the radiocarbon date of a 1st century Shroud to one that dates from 1325 ±65 years, would be about 79% of the Shroud's carbon, which is "preposterous":
"How much organic carbon contamination was required to change 0 AD to 1325 AD? The answer, mentioned previously in this chapter, was that if the contamination occurred as a result of the fire in 1532, then 79% of the shroud would have been composed of such carbon contamination and only 21% would have been actual carbon from the shroud linen. Such a possibility is preposterous, as anyone viewing the shroud samples before they were cleaned can attest"[17].
Similarly, Benford and Marino's invisible reweave repair theory requires that the repair be "60 percent of the C-14 sample" (my emphasis):
"The exact ratio of patch versus original threads is not determinable by photographic analysis alone; however, a well-supported estimate, based upon weave-pattern changes, has been posited reflecting approximately 60 percent of the C-14 sample consisting of 16th Century threads while approximately 40 percent were 1st Century in origin"[18]
The Oxford radiocarbon laboratory did find some old cotton threads in their sample, as reported in the December 1988 issue of the journal Textile Horizons, but they were only "two or three fibres"[19]. The then Director of the laboratory, Prof. Edward Hall, in a letter published in the January 1990 issue of Textile Horizons, 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 his estimate was there was "less than 0.1 per cent" of all such contamination in the Shroud (my emphasis):
"Calculations show that a modern contamination amounting to 65 per cent of the mass of the shroud would be necessary to give a date of 1350 to a fabric originally dating from the time of Christ ... We believe that any such contamination would have been less than 0.1 per cent"[20].
Benford and Marino claimed (or implied) that the different colour of the Shroud sample area in the "Blue Quad Mosaic" photograph supported their theory that the sample area was 60% 16th century cotton[21].

[Right (click to enlarge): "Blue quad mosaic and Shroud Shroud C14 sample area photos[22].]

But as can be seen, the wrinkles in the Shroud and the radiocarbon dating sample area are the same green colour. And as Benford and Marino candidly admitted, "it is possible that the Quad Mosaic's chemical-color signature ... may represent carbon" (my emphasis):

"As such, it is possible that the Quad Mosaic's chemical-color signature reflecting the medium to very dark green on the charred portions of the linen Shroud may represent carbon"[23].
But "carbon" includes all contamination with younger carbon, not only cotton threads. And since the wrinkles in the Shroud fabric are the same green colour as the Shroud sample area, it is likely both are the result of ordinary contamination by carbon-containing grime, sweat, oils, etc. Particularly since this corner is among 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 the centuries[24]. 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):

"In conclusion, 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 or other data presented in this paper. Similarly, it is impossible to determine if either the surface carbon, or the manipulation it represents, had any impact on the 1988 radiocarbon dating"[25].
So absent fraud, which includes "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":
"The term `scientific fraud' is often assumed to mean the wholesale invention of data. But this is almost certainly the rarest kind of fabrication. Those who falsify scientific data probably start and succeed with the much lesser crime of improving upon existing results. Minor and seemingly trivial instances of data manipulation-such as making results appear just a little crisper or more definitive than they really are, or selecting just the `best' data for publication and ignoring those that don't fit the case-are probably far from unusual in science. But there is only a difference in degree between `cooking' the data and inventing a whole experiment out of thin air"[26].
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, only 25-30 years before the Shroud's first appearance in undisputed history.

But as we shall see, there is evidence (albeit not yet proof) that:

  1. Each of the three laboratories' AMS control console computer was hacked, so as to replace the Shroud's first (or early because of contamination) century date, with bogus dates which, when calibrated, clustered around 1325.

  2. The hacker was allegedly Arizona laboratory physicist Timothy W. Linick (1946-89), who with self-confessed KGB hacker Karl Koch (1965–1989), were both allegedly working for the KGB to hack the laboratories' AMS control console computers, and the KGB allegedly executed them both to prevent them talking, within days of each other, if not on the same day.

Being a theory, not a fact, I may need to modify my theory (including abandoning it altogether as false) as new information comes to light. I am still using the term "hacker" (singular) instead of "hackers" (plural) because Linick was allegedly the primary hacker and Koch's role was only secondary, to allegedly physically access the Zurich and Oxford radiocarbon dating laboratories' AMS control console computers and run a program supplied by Linick. And also, Koch's role is not essential to my theory. If it turned out that Koch could not possibly have personally travelled to Zurich and Oxford to access their radiocarbon laboratories computers, it would not falsify my theory. My theory includes Koch because of the striking coincidence that they were both allegedly hackers working for the KGB and both allegedly committed suicide within days of each other, if not on the same day.

Continued in part #2

Notes
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, p.7 & pl.3b. [return]
3. Guerrera, V., 2000, "The Shroud of Turin: A Case for Authenticity," TAN: Rockford IL, p.131. [return]
4. Damon, P.E., et al., 1989, "Radiocarbon Dating of the Shroud of Turin," Nature, Vol. 337, 16th February, pp.611-615, p.611. [return]
5. Wilson, 1998, p.7. [return]
6. Wilson, 1998, p.7. [return]
7. Wilson, I., 1991, "Holy Faces, Secret Places: The Quest for Jesus' True Likeness," Doubleday: London, p.3. [return]
8. Evin, J., 1988, "In anticipation of carbon 14 dating of the Shroud of Turin," Shroud Spectrum International, No. 27, June. [return]
9. Wilson, 1991, p.3. [return]
10. "Contacts," Oxford Radiocarbon Accelerator Unit, 2 May 2014. [return]
11. Ramsey, C.B., 2008, "Shroud of Turin," Oxford Radiocarbon Accelerator Unit, 23 March. [return]
12. Ball, P., 2005, "To know a veil," Nature news, 28 January. [return]
13. Ball, P., 2008, "Material witness: Shrouded in mystery," Nature Materials, Vol. 7, No. 5, May, p.349. [return]
14. Wilson, 1998, pp.6-7. [return]
15. Gove, H.E., 1996, "Relic, Icon or Hoax?: Carbon Dating the Turin Shroud," Institute of Physics Publishing: Bristol UK, p.303. [return]
16. Currer-Briggs, N., 1995, "Shroud Mafia: The Creation of a Relic?," Book Guild: Sussex UK, pp.114-115. Emphasis original. [return]
17. Gove, 1996, p.303. [return]
18. 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]
19. "Rogue fibres found in the Shroud," Textile Horizons, December 1988, p.13. [return]
20. Hall, E.T., 1990, "Letter to Textile Horizons, January, in Wilson, 1991, p.177. [return]
21. Benford & Marino, 2008. [return]
22. Benford & Marino, 2008, pp.1 & 4. [return]
23. Benford & Marino, 2008, p.7. [return]
24. Wilson, 1998, pp.191-192. [return]
25. Benford & Marino, 2008, p.22. [return]
26. 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]

Posted: 24 May 2014. Updated: 20 September 2016.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Were the radiocarbon dating laboratories duped by a computer hacker?: Revised #5

Copyright ©, Stephen E. Jones[1]

This is Revised #5 of my series, "Were the radiocarbon dating laboratories duped by a computer hacker?" My previous post in this series was, "Were the radiocarbon dating laboratories duped by a computer hacker?: Revised #4. Earlier posts in this series were: part 1, part 2, part 3, "Summary," "My replies to Dr. Timothy Jull and Prof. Christopher Ramsey," "Further to my replies to Dr. Timothy Jull and Prof. Christopher Ramsey," Revised #1, Revised #2 (Vignon markings) and Revised #3. See those last three previous posts for my purpose in documenting this historical evidence of the Shroud of Turin's existence from the 13th century to the 1st century, and its connection with the title of this series, "Were the radiocarbon dating laboratories duped by a computer hacker?"

I have decided to terminate this "Were the radiocarbon dating laboratories duped by a computer hacker?" series and start a new series: "My theory that the radiocarbon dating laboratories were duped by a computer hacker." I could have continued on posting historical and artistic evidence for the Shroud's existence from the early 13th century to the 1st century, proving beyond reasonable doubt, over and over, that the 1988 radiocarbon dating of the Shroud to 1260-1390 was wrong. But I have already posted enough such evidence and I want to get on with posting the actual evidence that the radiocarbon dating laboratories were hacked, and that the hacker was Timothy W. Linick (1946-89) aided by Karl Koch (1965–1989).

I deleted the sections about Jesus' face in the 10th century St Catherine's icon of Abgar holding the Edessa cloth, having a depiction of both the reversed 3 bloodstain and most if not all of the Vignon markings, because in the higher resolution photograph of the icon, it could not be determined whether the reversed 3 bloodstain was not the result of reddish wax leaking through.

c. 1000 The tenth-century "Christ Enthroned" fresco on the apse of the church of Sant'Angelo in Formis, near Capua, Italy[2] has 14 out

[Above (click to enlarge): Christ's face part of a larger 10th century fresco in the church of St. Angelo in Formis, Capua, Italy[3].]

of the 15 Vignon markings found on the Shroud (see Revised #2)[4], many of which are just incidental blemishes on the Shroud[5]. These include:

"... a transverse line across the forehead, a raised right eyebrow, an upside-down triangle at the bridge of the nose, heavily delineated lower eyelids, a strongly accentuated left cheek, a strongly accentuated right cheek, and a hairless gap between the lower lip and beard ..."[6].

One of these, the upside-down triangle at the bridge of the nose (VM #3)[7] is particularly important because it has no

[Above: Upside-down triangle at the bridge of the nose on the Shroud, just below the base of the `topless square'[8].]

logic as a natural feature of the face, yet it recurs on several other works, for example, the eleventh-century mosaic Pantocrator in the dome of the church at Daphni, near Athens (see Revised #3), where, being a mosaic, pieces of black material have been specially selected and arranged into the shape of a triangle in convey it[9].

Significantly the upside-down triangle is on several early copies of the Image of Edessa/Mandylion, notably on the twelfth-century fresco at Spas Nereditsa[10], but that was destroyed[11] in World War II[12]. However, other icons from the same place and time still exist, for example the twelfth century Christos Acheiropoietos ("not made with hands") that was in the Assumption Cathedral, Moscow but is now in the Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow (see below). That icon has, by

[Above: Christ Acheiropoietos (not made with hands), ~1100 from the Assumption Cathedral in the Moscow Kremlin, now in the Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow[13].]

my count, 12 out a possible 14 Vignon markings (since there is no throat for the transverse line across it, VM#13, to be depicted), including, as can be seen above VM#3, the upside-down triangle.

This is one of a few Image of Edessa/Mandylion icons which contain most of the 15 Vignon markings, and are, together with all the other evidence for it, prove that the Image of Edessa/Mandylion was the face panel of the tetradiplon ("four-doubled") Shroud (as we shall see below). This is more evidence that 10th century artists saw the Shroud[14], centuries before the earliest 1260 radiocarbon date of the Shroud[15].] And, as we have seen and will see, this is but one in a family of Byzantine likenesses of Christ, from the thirteenth century to as far back as the sixth century[16].

c. 950 The Edessa cloth/Mandylion depicted being held by Edessa's King Abgar V (4BC–AD50) after he had been handed it by the disciple

[Right: Icon of Abgar V holding the Mandylion bearing an image of Christ, 10th century, St. Catherine's Monastery, Mount Sinai[17].]

Thaddeus (Addai), in this tenth-century encaustic (hot wax painting) icon at St. Catherine's monastery, Sinai[18]. Abgar's face is that of Emperor Constantine VII's Porphyrogenitus (905-959) from other art works depicting him[19].

And the face of Jesus is in landscape aspect, confirming Ian Wilson's theory that the Edessa Cloth/Mandylion was the Shroud tetradiplon ("four-doubled")[20].

[Above: Tetradiplon and the Shroud of Turin illustrated: The full-length Shroud of Turin (1), is doubled four times (2 through 5), resulting in Jesus' face within a rectangle, in landscape aspect (5), exactly as depicted in the earliest copies of the Image of Edessa, the 11th century Sakli church, Turkey (6) and the 10th century icon of King Abgar V of Edessa holding the Image of Edessa, St. Catherine's monastery, Sinai (7).[21].

c. 950 A tenth century fresco of the Edessa cloth is in the church of St. John at Sakli, ancient Cappadocia[23], now the Goreme region of

[Above:Image of Edessa from wall-painting in the Sakli or 'Hidden' Church, Goreme[24].]

central Turkey, about halfway between ancient Edessa and Constantinople[25]. The church and its frescoes have escaped the Islamic destruction and neglect which has befallen almost everything Christian in Turkey[26], by it having only been discovered in 1957 after a landslide had blocked its entrance for about 500 years[27]. This Edessa cloth fresco is painted above an arch in the Sakli or `Hidden' church[28] and despite damage to the face, its resemblance to the face of the Shroud is remarkable[29]. It has the same sepia-coloured, disembodied, rigidly frontal face as the Shroud[30], in landscape aspect cloth, strikingly resembling the equivalent area on the Turin Shroud[31]. Its shape may be evidence of the frame which held the Mandylion[32]. This mural dates no later than the mid-eleventh century, two centuries earlier than the earliest radiocarbon date of the Shroud[33]. Yet one more item in the "lot of other evidence" which "suggests [to put it mildly] ... that the Shroud is older than the radiocarbon dates allow" as admitted even by Oxford Radiocarbon Dating Laboratory's Prof. Christopher Ramsey :

"There is a lot of other evidence that suggests to many that the Shroud is older than the radiocarbon dates allow and so further research is certainly needed. It is important that we continue to test the accuracy of the original radiocarbon tests as we are already doing. It is equally important that experts assess and reinterpret some of the other evidence. Only by doing this will people be able to arrive at a coherent history of the Shroud which takes into account and explains all of the available scientific and historical information" (my emphasis)[34].

Continued in a new series: "My theory that the radiocarbon dating laboratories were duped by a hacker #1."

Notes
1. No one may copy from any of my posts on this my The Shroud of Turin blog without them 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 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., 1991, "Holy Faces, Secret Places: The Quest for Jesus' True Likeness," Doubleday: London, p.47. [return]
3. Wilson, I., 1986, "The Evidence of the Shroud," Guild Publishing: London, p.110A. [return]
4. Wilson, I., 1979, "The Shroud of Turin: The Burial Cloth of Jesus Christ?," [1978], Image Books: New York NY, Revised, p.102. [return]
5. Wilson, 1991, p.47. [return]
6. Wilson, 1991, p.165. [return]
7. Wilson, I., 1978, "The Turin Shroud," Book Club Associates: London, p.82e. [return]
8. "Shroud Scope: Durante 2002 Face Only Vertical". [return]
9. Wilson, 1991, p.165. [return]
10. Ibid. [return]
11. Wilson, 1979, p.192f. [return]
12. "Saviour Church on Nereditsa," Wikipedia, 9 May 2014. [return]
13. "File:Christos Acheiropoietos.jpg," Wikipedia, 24 August 2005. [return]
14. Wilson, 1986, p.110A. [return]
15. Wilson, 1998, p.141. [return]
16. Wilson, 1979, p.102. [return]
17. "Abgar V," Wikipedia,. [return]
18. Wilson, 1986, p.110E. [return]
19. Wilson, 1979, p.155. [return]
20. Wilson, 1998, p.152. [return]
21. Jones, S.E., 2012, "Tetradiplon and the Shroud of Turin," Blog post, September 15. [return]
22. Wilson, 1986, p.110E. [return]
23. Scavone, D.C., 1989, "The Shroud of Turin: Opposing Viewpoints," Greenhaven Press: San Diego CA, p.75. [return]
24. Wilson, I., 2010, "The Shroud: The 2000-Year-Old Mystery Solved," Bantam Press: London, p.210F. [return]
25. Wilson, 1998, p.151. [return]
26. Wilson, 1998, p.112. [return]
27. Wilson, 2010, p.172. [return]
28. Wilson, 1998, p.151. [return]
29. Ibid. [return]
30. Ibid. [return]
31. Wilson, I. & Schwortz, B., 2000, "The Turin Shroud: The Illustrated Evidence," Michael O'Mara Books: London, p.109. [return]
32. Scavone, 1989, p.75. [return]
33. Wilson, 2010, p.112. [return]
34. Ramsey, C.B., 2008, "Shroud of Turin," Oxford Radiocarbon Accelerator Unit, 23 March. [return]


Updated: 24 May, 2014.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Were the radiocarbon dating laboratories duped by a computer hacker?: Revised #4

Copyright ©, Stephen E. Jones

This is Revised #4 of my series, "Were the radiocarbon dating laboratories duped by a computer hacker?" My previous post in this series was, "Were the radiocarbon dating laboratories duped by a computer hacker?: Revised #3." Earlier posts in this series were: part 1, part 2, part 3, "Summary," "My replies to Dr. Timothy Jull and Prof. Christopher Ramsey," "Further to my replies to Dr. Timothy Jull and Prof. Christopher Ramsey," Revised #1 and Revised #2 (Vignon markings).

As previously explained (see Revised #3), the reason I am documenting all this historical evidence of the Shroud of Turin's existence from the 13th century to the 1st century is to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the Shroud is authentic and therefore the 1988 radiocarbon date of the Shroud as "mediaeval ... AD 1260-1390"[1] was wrong. But then the improbability that the Shroud, being 1st century, had a radiocarbon date of 13th/14th century would be, "astronomical"[2] and "one in a thousand trillion"[3]. Moreover, the midpoint of 1206-1390 is 1325 ±65 years[4]. Which is only 5 years before the predicted date of "1335, plus or minus 30 years" by Shroud sceptic Denis Dutton[5], and only 25 years before the then assumed 1350[6] date of the Shroud's first appearance in undisputed history at Lirey, France[7]. But then, as the agnostic Shroud pro-authenticist Thomas de Wesselow pointed out, it would be a "remarkable coincidence" (to put it mildly) that the Shroud is first century yet its wrong 1325 ± 65 years radiocarbon date result was so close to the date of the Shroud's historical debut[8]. But if anyone wished to discredit the Shroud by fraud, then 1325 ± 65 years is around the date that they would have sought to achieve[9].

[Above: Arizona radiocarbon dating laboratory staff and Rochester's Prof. Harry Gove (second from right) around the AMS control console computer after it had, on 6 May 1988 displayed the alleged hacker's bogus radiocarbon age of the Shroud, "640 years"[10], which was then calibrated to "1350 AD"[11]. The alleged hacker, Timothy W. Linick (see below), is the one in black standing the most prominently in the foreground of the photograph.]

However, Ian Wilson who knows personally the carbon dating project leaders, considers it "absurd and far-fetched as it is unworthy" that they would have committed fraud, by switching samples[12]. But there is a type of fraud which seems not to have occurred to anyone previously, and which was rife in the 1980s, namely computer hacking[13]. When I have completed laying out this historical evidence for the Shroud's existence from the 13th to the 1st centuries, I will then post the evidence that:

  1. the AMS control console computer at each of three radiocarbon dating laboratories, Arizona, Zurich and Oxford, were hacked, to replace the Shroud's 1st or early century dates, with bogus dates which clustered around 1325, after calibration; and

  2. the hackers were Arizona laboratory physicist Timothy W. Linick (1946-89) assisted by German self-confessed hacker for the KGB, Karl Koch (1965–1989). They both died from suspected suicide within days of each other (details of Koch's death indicate he was executed by the KGB), and they both may even have died on the same day.

c. 1000 The Russian Orthodox cross uniquely has a footrest, or suppedaneum[14], angled with the left side higher than the right[15].

[Right: Russian cross, late 12th century[16].

This matches the Shroud, in that the man on the Shroud's left leg, (which when facing the Shroud appears to be his right leg because of mirror reversal[17]), appears to be shorter than the other[18].

This is due to his left foot having been super- imposed over his right[19], and both feet fixed by a single nail[20]. The man's left leg was therefore bent more and remained fixed in that position after death by rigor mortis[21].

[Left (click to enlarge): The man on the Shroud's apparent right leg (left leg because of mirror reversal) appears to be shorter than his right[22].]

This presumably is the source of the 11th century Byzantine legend that Jesus actually had one leg shorter than the other and therefore was lame[23].

As this form of the cross is universal among the Russians[24] it must date from at least the beginning of the national conversion to Christianity, when missionaries in 988 came from Constantinople[25].

One of the oldest churches in Russia, the 10th-century Byzantine style Shoana Church[26], near Karachayevsk, Russia, has a Russian cross

[Right (click to enlarge): Russian cross atop the 10th-century Byzantine style Shoana Church, Russia.]

with an inclined footrest. For different views of the church and its cross see here and here.

This is probably not the original 10th century cross, but it is reasonable to assume that there was originally a Russian cross where the current cross is. And because its inclined footrest would have matched the apparently shorter right (but actually left) leg of the Shroud(see above), this would be further evidence that the 1260-1390 radiocarbon date of the Shroud[27] is wrong!

c. 1000 Closely related to the Russian cross is the "Byzantine curve"

[Above: "Byzantine Crucifix of Pisa," ca. 1230[28]. Note that Christ's right leg (corresponding to the Shroud's left leg) is shorter than the other leg and His body is curved (the "Byzantine curve") to compensate.]

in Byzantine Christian iconography[29]. After the year 1000, a striking change occurred in Byzantine depictions of Christ on the Cross[30]. Christ's two feet were nailed separately at the same level but his left leg is bent (based presumably on the Byzantines realising that the Shroud's image is laterally inverted) which meant that Jesus' body needed to curve to His right to compensate[31]. This "Byzantine curve" became the established form of Eastern depictions of Christ at the beginning of the eleventh century and made its way also into the West and became the recognized form in Italy in the early mediaeval period[32]. As with the strange design of the Russian cross, so this strange belief that Jesus had to have a curved body on the Shroud because one foot was shorter than the other and the Romans would have crucified Jesus' feet at the same level[33], has its most likely common origin in the Shroud[34]. But then again that means the Shroud was known in the Byzantine world (the centre of which was Constantinople), in the year 1000, nearly three centuries before 1260, the earliest possible radiocarbon date of the Shroud[35]!

c. 990 Byzantine historian Leo Diaconus[36], or Leo the Deacon (c. 950-)[37], was a deacon in the imperial palace at Constantinople[38]. After 992 he began writing a ten-volume history of the Byzantine empire, in Constantinople, but he died

[Right: "The History of Leo the Deacon" [39].]

before he could finish it[40]. In his history [41], Leo wrote that the image of Jesus in the Abgar V (c. 4 BC - AD 50) story was imprinted on a peplos, a full-length robe[42]. This can only be the Shroud, in Constantinople, in the tenth century (see also below), nearly three centuries before 1260, the earliest radiocarbon date of the Shroud[43]!

958 In 958, a year before he died, Byzantine Emperor Constantine VII Porphyrogennitus (905-959)[44], sent a letter of encouragement to his troops who were campaigning around Tarsus[45], telling them that he was sending them holy water that had been

[Left (click to enlarge): "Christ Crowning Constantine VII (945)": A piece of carved ivory dated 945, in the Pushkin Museum, Moscow, depicting Christ having just crowned Emperor Constantine VII[46].]

consecrated by various relics of the Passion, including "the sindon which God wore"[47]. The actual Greek words are, theophoron sindonos, the "God-worn linen sheet"[48]. This is clear evidence that the sindon seen by Robert de Clari in 1203 (see Revised #1) was in the imperial relic collection by the mid-tenth century, a full 300 years before the earliest date indicated by the carbon dating of the Shroud[49]. Also, Constantine VII, who as we shall see, viewed up close the Image of Edessa on its arrival in Constantinople in 944, did not mention it in his 958 letter, which is inexplicable unless it and the full-length burial shroud were one and the same[50].

c. 950 A tenth-century manuscript, Codex Vossianus Latinus Q 69,

[Above: "Vossianus Latinus Q69 is a tract dating to the 10th century that translates a probable 8th century Syriac text describing the Edessa cloth as containing a whole-body Christ image"[51].]

preserved at the University of Leiden in the Netherlands[52], mentions an eighth-century Syrian report that Jesus had left an imprint of his whole body on a cloth which was preserved in the big Church of Edessa, Turkey[53]. Adding to Jesus' legendary reply to Abgar V, the codex reads:

"...If you really want to see what my face looks like, I am sending you this linen cloth, on which you will be able to see not only the form of my face but the divinely transformed state of my whole body" (my emphasis)[ 54].
This is an unmistakable reference to the Shroud[ 55] and reflects a changed understanding that the image was of the full body, not just the face[ 56]. And because of its Carolingian handwriting, the manuscript cannot date much later than the tenth century[ 57]. This supports Ordericus Vitalis 1130 variation of the Abgar story that, "...the Lord Jesus sent him [Abgar V] ... a beautiful linen cloth ... The image of the Saviour was miraculously imprinted on to it and shines out, displaying the form and size of the Lord's body..." (emphasis original)[ 58].

Continued in "Were the radiocarbon dating laboratories duped by a computer hacker?: Revised #5."

Notes
1. Damon, P.E., et al., 1989, "Radiocarbon Dating of the Shroud of Turin," Nature, Vol. 337, 16 February, pp.611-615, p.611. [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. Gove, H.E., 1996, "Relic, Icon or Hoax?: Carbon Dating the Turin Shroud," Institute of Physics Publishing: Bristol UK, p.303. [return]
4. McCrone, W.C., 1999, "Judgment Day for the Shroud of Turin," Prometheus Books: Amherst NY, p.1. [return]
5. Dutton, D., 2005, "Postscript," "Requiem for the Shroud of Turin," Michigan Quarterly Review 23 (1984): 243-55. [return]
6. Gove, 1996, p.264. [return]
7. Damon, 1989, p.611. [return]
8. de Wesselow, T., 2012, "The Sign: The Shroud of Turin and the Secret of the Resurrection," Viking: London, p.170. [return]
9. Ibid. [return]
10. Gove, 1996, p.264. [return]
11. Gove, 1996, p.176H. [return]
12. Wilson, 1998, p.11. [return]
13. "Timeline of computer security hacker history: 1980s," Wikipedia, 30 April 2014. [return]
14. Bulst, W., 1957, "The Shroud of Turin," McKenna, S. & Galvin, J.J., transl., Bruce Publishing Co: Milwaukee WI, p.47. [return]
15. Barnes, A.S., 1934, "The Holy Shroud of Turin," Burns Oates & Washbourne: London, p.65. [return]
16. The Adoration of the Cross," Second half of the 12th century, "Christian Art: Icons, Murals, Mosaics," The Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow, Russia, 2 April 2014. [return]
17. Barnes, 1934, p.64. [return]
18. Petrosillo & Marinelli, 1996, p.196. [return]
19. Ibid. [return]
20. Barnes, 1934, p.64. [return]
21. Petrosillo & Marinelli, 1996, p.196. [return]
22. Latendresse, M., nd., "Shroud Scope: Durante 2002 Vertical". [return]
23. Ruffin, C.B., 1999, "The Shroud of Turin: The Most Up-To-Date Analysis of All the Facts Regarding the Church's Controversial Relic," Our Sunday Visitor: Huntington IN, p.111. [return]
24. Barnes, 1934, p.65. [return]
25. Barnes, 1934, pp.65-66. [return]
26. "Shoana Church," Wikipedia, 3 May 2013. [return]
27. Damon, 1989, p.611. [return]
28. "Byzantine Master of the Crucifix of Pisa," Wikipedia, 3 April 2014 . [return]
29. Barnes, 1934, p.66. [return]
30. Barnes, 1934, pp.66-67. [return]
31. Barnes, 1934, p.67. [return]
32. Barnes, 1934, pp.67-68. [return]
33. Barnes, 1934, p.68. [return]
34. Petrosillo & Marinelli, 1996, p.195. [return]
35. Wilson, 1998, p.141. [return]
36. "Leo Diaconus," 2013, New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia, 17 July. [return]
37. "Leo the Deacon," 2013, Wikipedia, 15 September. [return]
38. New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia. [return]
39. Sullivan, D.F. & Talbot, A-M., eds, 2005, "The History of Leo the Deacon," Amazon.com. [return]
40. Ibid. [return]
41. Guscin, M., 2009, "The Image of Edessa," Brill: Leiden, Netherlands & Boston MA, p.161. [return]
42. Wilson, 1998, p.152. [return]
43. Wilson, I., 1991, "Holy Faces, Secret Places: The Quest for Jesus' True Likeness," Doubleday: London, p.3. [return]
44. "Constantine VII," Wikipedia, 30 April 2014. [return]
45. Wilson, I., 2010, "The Shroud: The 2000-Year-Old Mystery Solved," Bantam Press: London, pp.168-169. [return]
46. Constantine VII, Wikipedia. [return]
47. Wilson, 1991, p.153. [return]
48. de Wesselow, 2012, pp.177-178. [return]
49. de Wesselow, 2012, p.178. [return]
50. Wilson, 1991, pp.153-154. [return]
51. Long, J., 2013, "The Shroud of Turin's Earlier History: Part Two: To the Great City," Associates for Biblical Research, March 20. [return]
52. Wilson, 2010, p.177. [return]
53. Petrosillo & Marinelli, 1996, pp.250-251. [return]
54. Guscin, 2009, p.207. [return]
55. Petrosillo & Marinelli, 1996, p.251. [return]
56. Wilson, 2010, p.177. [return]
57. Ibid. [return]
58. Ibid. [return]


Updated: 12 May, 2015.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

"The Letter from Alexius Comnenus": My response to Dan Porter

Copyright ©, Stephen E. Jones

This is my response to Dan Porter's latest post about me. I repeat that I have NEVER posted anything against Porter, except as my response to a post on Porter's blog about my blog or me. If Porter ceases posting about my blog and me, I will never again post anything on my blog about Porter' blog or him. However, I reserve my right to respond to comments by a reader under one of my posts about Porter and/or his blog. Porter's words and his quoted words of mine are in bold.

The Letter from Alexius Comnenus

May 7, 2014

In, Were the radiocarbon dating laboratories duped by a computer hacker?: Revised #3, Stephen Jones lists this item

[Right: Portrait of Byzantine Emperor Alexios I (r. 1081-1118), from a Greek manuscript: Wikipedia.]

as part of his evolving historical proof which is part of his proof that computer hackers altered the carbon dating results back in 1988. Again Porter has scavenged my work, rather than do original work of his own. As I have said before, I agree with Colin Berry on this at least, that Porter is a pirate who steals the hard work and intellectual property of others, so that (in my and Berry's cases) he can expose them to "ridicule":

"My response to a typical ‘Ron-putdown’ arising from Dan Porter’s latest pirating of my content Posted on September 8, 2012 by colinsberry. Once again, Dan Porter has pirated my copy, graphic included (one showing MY research, MY own photograph) ... to ridicule."

But Porter is evidently untroubled by the ethics of parasiting off the work of others, despite it being against their expressed wishes, to feed his `gossip column' blog.

I remind Porter of WordPress's Terms of Service:

Responsibility of Contributors. If you operate a blog, comment on a blog ... You are entirely responsible for ... that Content. That is the case regardless of whether the Content in question constitutes text, graphics ... By making Content available, you represent and warrant that
the downloading, copying and use of the Content will not infringe the ... the copyright ... rights, of any third party

Therefore, as the copyright holder of my blog's contents (which I have now expressly protected, and will in future protect, by a "Copyright ©, Stephen E. Jones" notice), I hereby formally request that Dan Porter comply with WordPress's Terms of Service that he has agreed to, and seek and receive my written permission to do so, before he copies and pastes any more content (including my comments under my posts) from my blog to his. Except that I do grant Porter (and anyone else) permission without having to ask me, to copy the title and one paragraph only of any of my posts and comments, provided he includes a link to each post or comment. Failure by Porter to heed this formal request to stop stealing my intellectual property, I will leave in the hands of the Lord (Rom 12:19; 1Cor 6:10).

The above includes any reply by Porter to this my response to him. He can copy and paste only the title of this post and one only paragraph from it, providing he includes a link to it. Then Porter and his readers can comment on to his (their) hearts' content. I will then try to ignore Porter's continual sniping.

1092 A letter dated 1092 purporting to be from the Byzantine Emperor Alexius Comnenus (1056-1118) to Robert II of Flanders(c.1065-1111)[9], appealed for help to prevent Constantinople falling into the hands of the pagans[10]. The letter listed the relics in Constantinople including, "the linen cloths [linteamina] found in the sepulchre after his Resurrection"[11]. Although the letter is probably a forgery, concocted at the time for propaganda purposes, this need not invalidate its description of the relics then in the imperial collection[12].

Forgery need not invalidate its description of the relics? As Porter would know if he had bothered to check my footnoted reference, "12. Wilson, [I], 1979, ["The Shroud of Turin: The Burial Cloth of Jesus Christ?," [1978], Image Books: New York NY, Revised edition] p.314n31," that the words are substantially Wilson's:
"The document is actually a forgery, purporting to be a letter from the Byzantine Emperor Alexius Comnenus to Robert of Flanders, and concocted at the time for propaganda purposes. This need not invalidate its description of relics in the imperial collection." (Wilson, I., 1979, "The Shroud of Turin: The Burial Cloth of Jesus Christ?," p.314).

That's true but . . . Porter here concedes the main point. It is indeed "true" that although the purported letter from Emperor Alexius Comnenus to Robert of Flanders was probably a forgery, it is a valid statement of what was in the relic collection of Constantinople at that time. And as Porter himself listed, among those relics was:

"the linen cloths found in the sepulcher after his resurrection"!

This is further historical evidence (to add to the mountain of such evidence) that the cloth we know today as the Shroud of Turin, was in Constantinople's relic collection in the late 11th century. Taking the date of 1089 as the latest year assumed by scholars that the letter was forged:

"Chalandon argues that Alexius met Robert in 1087 on his return from a visit to the Holy Sepulcher, and it seems the emperor may also have sent him a letter looking for troops. He shows, however, that while the information in the letter does match the circumstances of 1087-89, the form of the letter does not resemble any other from Alexius. Instead he divided the text we have into three parts - 1: the rhetorical listing of the sufferings of Christians in Asia, 2: the information on the state of the Empire, 3: The appeal for help to Robert and the listing of relics. He considered the first part -- aimed at exciting potential crusaders -- to be too vulgar to have been written in Byzantium, and the third part -- in which Alexius offers his wealth and relics -- to have been similarly impossible. But the second part may indeed have been based on a letter sent by Alexius. Chalandon concludes that "the letter was probably fabricated around 1098-99 in order to serve as a excitorium, with the help of a real letter from Alexius to the Count of Flanders, complaints from Syrian Christians, and a catalog of relics. The author wanted to make it appear that the letter dated to 1091." (Halsall, P., 2001, "Did Alexius ask for Crusaders help? - A Letter," Anistoriton, Issue S011 of 24 March).
that is 171 years before the earliest date, 1260, of the 1988 radiocarbon date of the Shroud as "mediaeval ... AD 1260-1390", and therefore is further evidence that that date was wrong, and being not just any date, but the `too good to be true' 1325 +/- 65, was the result of fraud, including that the radiocarbon dating laboratories had been duped by a computer hacker (or hackers).

well anyway, we should look at this list. Does incredulity matter? What is in the list?

For it is better that you should have Constantinople than the pagans because in that [city] precious relics of the Lord, to wit:
  1. the pillar to which he was bound
  2. the lash with which he was scourged
  3. the scarlet robe in which he was arrayed
  4. the crown of thorns with which he was crowned
  5. the reed he held in his hands, in place of a scepter
  6. the garments of which he was despoiled before the cross
  7. the larger part of the wood of the cross on which he was crucified
  8. the nails with which he was affixed
  9. the linen cloths found in the sepulcher after his resurrection
Yes. Among the worthless dross, this nugget of precious gold:
"the linen cloths found in the sepulcher after his resurrection"
  1. the twelve baskets of remnants from the five loaves and the two fishes
  2. the entire head of St. John the Baptist with the hair and the beard
  3. the relics or bodies of many of the Innocents, of certain prophets and apostles, of martyrs and, especially, of the protomartyr St. Stephen, and of confessors and virgins, these latter being of such great number that we have omitted writing about each of them individually.
How do I convince a skeptic? The "skeptic" being Porter, or his alter ego. His:
"Is the Shroud real? Probably. The Shroud of Turin may be the real burial cloth of Jesus."
reveals Porter as, at least as far as the Shroud is concerned, and probably in his Christianity, "a double-minded man":
James 1:6-8. 6 But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. 7 For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; 8 he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.
who won't receive anything from the Lord (including the inner assurance that the Shroud is authentic), while he persists in his doubting mindset, which in Porter's case has become "invincible ignorance":
"There does remain, nonetheless, a cast of mind which seems peculiarly closed to evidence. When confronted with such a mind, one feels helpless, for no amount of evidence seems to be clinching. Frequently the facts are simply ignored or brushed aside as somehow deceptive, and the principles are reaffirmed in unshakable conviction. One seems confronted with what has been called `invincible ignorance.'" (Fearnside, W.W. & Holther, W.B., 1959, "Fallacy: The Counterfeit of Argument," p.113. My emphasis).
That is, if Porter, after all these years, is not convinced that the Shroud is authentic, then it seems that "no amount of evidence" would suffice for him.

I pity Porter and his Shroud "skeptic" ilk. They lack the joy "which surpasses all understanding" (= Php 4:7) that Christian unequivocal Shroud pro-authenticists like I have, which we have received direct to our hearts from the One whose image is on the Shroud! I have a photo

[Above: "Shroud of Turin Face Detail," AllPosters.com.au]

of the Man on the Shroud on the wall facing me as I type and it never ceases to blow my mind that Jesus truly is "him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think":

Eph 3:20. Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us,"
in not only being God, indeed Yahweh Himself come in the flesh (Jn 8:24,28,58; 13:19; 18:5-6; Mt 14:23-27; Mk 6:47-50; Jn 6:16-20), who submitted to the horrific death by scourging and crucifixion by nails, that I might be saved to live in eternity with Him, but also to have graciously imprinted His image on His burial shroud, and preserved it down through the ages, that those who see Him lifted up:
Jn 12:32. And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.”
might believe on Him and be saved:
Jn 3:16-17. 16 `For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.'
I already had been a committed Christian for nearly 40 years when I, an evangelical Protestant discovered the Shroud was authentic in 2005. So I myself don't need the Shroud to be authentic for me to be saved. So to me it is `the cream on the cake'. Pure grace, getting from Jesus what I don't deserve:
"Justice is getting what I deserve,
mercy is not getting what I deserve, and
grace is getting what I don't deserve."

Let's see: I have a document that tells us that twelve baskets of remnants from the five loaves and two fishes were in Constantinople's imperial collection sometime in the last half of the 11th century.

Porter here commits the atheist's fallacy: That because `all religions contradict each other, therefore all are false.' But one (Christianity) could be true, and all the others be false. Which in fact is what Christianity claims (Acts 4:12, 10:43; Lk 24:47, Jn 20:31; 1Tim 2:5). That all the other relics in Constantinople were fakes, has no bearing at all, on whether only one among them, the Shroud, was authentic.

Porter might ask his "skeptic" (i.e. himself), which of those other relics did a Byzantine emperor send "a whole army" to get, paid an enormous ransom including "twelve thousand silver pieces" for, and gave it its "own special feast day" which is "still celebrated in the Eastern Orthodox Church" today:

"After having been Byzantine in the sixth century, Edessa and its Christ-imprinted cloth fell into Moslem hands in the seventh century, as a result of which it was only in 943 that the Moslems became sufficiently weak, and the Byzantines proportionately strong, for the latter to make a determined attempt to win the cloth rightfully back for Christendom. Accordingly, Constantinople's Emperor Romanus sent a whole army eastwards for it, headed by his best general, John Curcuas who, on camping before Edessa's gates, astonished the Moslem emir by promising the town immunity from attack, the release of two hundred Moslem prisoners and the payment of twelve thousand silver pieces, all for just one thing - the cloth with Jesus's imprint. Despite such an offer seeming too good to refuse (particularly for a Moslem), the perplexed emir actually sent to his superiors in Baghdad for advice, with Curcuas and his army cooling their heels in the meantime. But then at last word came back that the Byzantine terms should be accepted, as a result of which the high-ranking Orthodox clergy whom Curcuas had brought with him, after making checks that they had been handed over the true cloth ... duly transported this the breadth of Antolia, the troops of Curcuas escorting them all the way. On 15 August 944 ... the cloth was carried by boat across the Bosphorus to St Mary at Blachernae, where it was viewed and venerated by Byzantine's royals. The next day, which would become the cloth's own special feast day (still celebrated in the Eastern Orthodox Church) it was carried around Constantinople's walls, thereby specifically establishing; it as the city's new Palladian ... Then both at Hagia Sophia and in the throne-room of the Sacred Palace it was accorded a special coronation and enthroning, symbolically establishing (or reaffirming) it as Constantinople's very special `King of Kings'. Finally after all this and other ceremonial it was laid to rest in its own special place in the Sacred Palace's Chapel of the Pharos, there joining the emperor's matchless [sic] collection of relics of the Passion. What, then, was this cloth, that it held such enormous importance to the Byzantine people? " (Wilson, I., 1998, "The Blood and the Shroud: New Evidence that the World's Most Sacred Relic is Real," pp.148-149. Emphasis original).

The document is probably a forgery, developed for propaganda purposes, but that doesn't matter. Porter might remind his "skeptic" (i.e. himself), that he had previously said that it is "true" that "Forgery need not invalidate its [the letter's] description of the relics?"

And the head of John the Baptist, that was there too. See above. Clearly even to the Byzantines (as to Roman Catholics today), there were relics and there was (and is) THE RELIC! Even the credulous Byzantines, and those in medieval times, were able to distinguish between relics and their degrees of authenticity. As with Roman Catholics today, the Byzantines might have claimed they had "the head of John the Baptist" but their actions show they didn't really believe that.

I once debated an atheist who claimed that God was imaginary like the Tooth Fairy. I asked him, "how many Internet discussion groups are you on devoted to the existence or non-existence of the Tooth Fairy?" Porter could ask his "skeptic" (i.e. himself) what blogs is he on (indeed owns) that are devoted to "the head of John the Baptist"?

And the shroud. Yes indeed. And the shroud! See above.