Wednesday, July 19, 2017

"Atomic resolution studies detect new biologic evidences on the Turin Shroud," Shroud of Turin News, June 2017

Shroud of Turin News - June 2017
© Stephen E. Jones

[Previous: June 2017, part #1] [Next: July 2017, part #1]

This is the third installment of part #2 of the June 2017 issue of my Shroud of Turin News. Footnotes have been omitted. Typos have been corrected. The article's words are bold to distinguish them from mine. Emphases are mine unless otherwise indicated.

Carlino, E, De Caro, L, Giannini, C, & Fanti, G., 2017, "Atomic resolution studies detect new biologic evidences on the Turin Shroud," PLoS ONE, 12(6), June 30.

Abstract. We performed reproducible atomic resolution Transmission Electron Microscopy and Wide Angle X-ray Scanning Microscopy experiments studying for the first time the nanoscale properties of a pristine fiber taken from the Turin Shroud. We found evidence of biologic nanoparticles of creatinine bounded with small nanoparticles of iron oxide. The kind, size and distribution of the iron oxide nanoparticles cannot be dye for painting but are ferrihydrate cores of ferritin. The consistent bound of ferritin iron to creatinine occurs in human organism in case of a severe polytrauma. Our results point out that at the nanoscale a scenario of violence is recorded in the funeral fabric and suggest an explanation for some contradictory results so far published.

[Above (original): Extract of Fig 1: Low-magnification, light microscopy image of a fibre from the Shroud, the arrows indicate some of the blood particles on the surface of the fibre.]

This discovery of particles of "creatinine ... an important indicator of renal health[2]," in the Shroud man's blood, has been reported in many news articles, including: "Shroud, new study: there is blood of a man tortured and killed," Vatican Insider, Andrea Tornielli, 11 July 2017; "New research: Shroud of Turin bears blood of a torture victim," Catholic News Agency, Turin, Italy, July 14, 2017; "Experts in HUGE Turin Shroud discovery – is this proof at last Jesus WAS wrapped in cloth?," Daily Express, Joey Millar, July 17, 2017; "Turin Shroud is stained with the blood of a torture victim, new research shows - supporting the belief that it DOES show the face of Jesus," Daily Mail, Jay Akbar, 18 July 2017; "The Shroud of Turin is stained with the blood of a torture victim, a new study claims," The Sun, July 18, 2017. I will comment on some of them in July's Shroud of Turin News. Not only is creatinine in the man on the Shroud's blood: 1) an indicator that he was a real man, not a painting; 2) his blood is real blood, not paint or pigment; 3) he had been subject to trauma, as a crucifixion victim, including Jesus, would have been; and 4) a medieval forger would have known nothing about creatinine, which was only discovered in 1832[2].

But if the image of the man on the Shroud is not "a product of human artifice" then leading Shroud sceptics Steven Schafersman and Joe Nickell (who quoted Schafersman approvingly) have admitted that "the image is that of Jesus" and there is no "possible third hypothesis":

"As the (red ochre) dust settles briefly over Sindondom, it becomes clear there are only two choices: Either the shroud is authentic (naturally or supernaturally produced by the body of Jesus) or it is a product of human artifice. Asks Steven Schafersman: `Is there a possible third hypothesis? No, and here's why. Both Wilson[3] and Stevenson and Habermas[4] go to great lengths to demonstrate that the man imaged on the shroud must be Jesus Christ and not someone else. After all, the man on this shroud was flogged, crucified, wore a crown of thorns, did not have his legs broken, was nailed to the cross, had his side pierced, and so on. Stevenson and Habermas even calculate the odds as 1 in 83 million that the man on the shroud is not Jesus Christ (and they consider this a very conservative estimate)[5]. I agree with them on all of this. If the shroud is authentic, the image is that of Jesus'[6]."

Introduction. The Turin Shroud (TS) is a handmade 3–1 twill linen cloth, 4.4 m long and 1.1 m wide, showing the double image of a dead body of a scourged, thorn-crowned man who was stabbed in the side and crucified. It is believed by many that it was the burial cloth in which Jesus of Nazareth was wrapped about 2000 years ago. Conversely, others think that it is a fake. However, the TS image has not been explained nor reproduced so far by science, although some hypotheses have been proposed. There are some indications that the TS was in Palestine in the first century A.D. and then taken to Edessa, now Sanliurfa (TR). The similarity of many details of the TS face with the Christ on Byzantine coins in use from the VII century A.D. is a clue that the TS were already known during the Byzantine Empire" is After the sack of Constantinople in 1204 the "Shroud of Christ" appeared in Europe in 1353 at Lirey (F) and in 1532 at Chambéry (F) where it was fire damaged. It was taken to Turin in 1578 where it is still now.

In the article, "The similarity of many details of the TS face with the Christ on Byzantine coins in use from the VII century A.D." (above) is referenced by footnote "[3]." That footnote refers to the book, Fanti G & Malfi P., "The Shroud of Turin: First Century after Christ!," Pan Stanford, Singapore, 2015. That book has an entire chapter, "3. Numismatic Investigation" (pages 81-140), with photographs of a great many Byzantine coins each with a Shroud-like face of Christ. One of these (see below) is a gold solidus coin minted in 692 during the reign of Byzantium Emperor Justinian II (685-695, 705-711).

[Above (enlarge): "Gold solidus of ... the first period of Emperor Justinian II, minted in 692, depicting a Shroud-like face of Christ ... we find ourselves in front of a Shroud-like face of Christ. Shroud resemblances of this face" include "the swelling on the cheeks caused by the suffered blows, the asymmetrical tear on the right side beard, and the asymmetrical hair shape."[7].]

In 1988 the linen fabric of the TS was radiocarbon dated to the Middle Ages. This result is considered wrong by some authors claiming the presence of systematic errors. Another work indicated an age for the TS "between 1300-and 3000-years old." A mechanical analysis coupled with opto-chemical measurements has recently dated the TS to 90 AD ±200 years.

There may well have been "systematic errors" in the 1988 Radiocarbon Dating of the Shroud of Turin, but that does not explain how the radiocarbon date of the authentic first century Shroud could be shifted 12-13 centuries into the future to not just any date, but to 1269-1390, the mid-point of which, 1325 ± `just happens' to be a mere ~30 years before the Shroud first appeared in undisputed history at Lirey, France, in c. 1355. But my theory that the 1260-1390 radiocarbon date of the Turin Shroud was the result of a computer hacking does explain it.

The "work [which] indicated an age for the TS "between 1300-and 3000-years old" with the footnote "[9]" was the 2005 paper by STURP chemist Ray Rogers (1927–2005), in the peer-reviewed journal Thermochimica Acta, in which Rogers reported that the vanillin content of the Shroud's linen was too low (i.e. undetectable) for it to have been harvested between 1260-1390:

"In 1988, radiocarbon laboratories at Arizona, Cambridge, and Zurich determined the age of a sample from the Shroud of Turin. They reported that the date of the cloth’s production lay between A.D. 1260 and 1390 with 95% confidence. This came as a surprise in view of the technology used to produce the cloth, its chemical composition, and the lack of vanillin in its lignin ... Preliminary estimates of the kinetics constants for the loss of vanillin from lignin indicate a much older age for the cloth than the radiocarbon analyses ... The lignin at growth nodes on the shroud’s flax fibers ... did not give the usual chemical spot test ... for vanillin ... The Holland cloth and other medieval linens gave a clear test. This suggested that the rate of loss of vanillin from lignin could offer a method for estimating the age of the shroud ... If the shroud had been produced between A.D. 1260 and 1390, as indicated by the radiocarbon analyses, lignin should be easy to detect. A linen produced in A.D. 1260 would have retained about 37% of its vanillin in 1978. The Raes threads, the Holland cloth, and all other medieval linens gave the test for vanillin wherever lignin could be observed on growth nodes. The disappearance of all traces of vanillin from the lignin in the shroud indicates a much older age than the radiocarbon laboratories reported ... Because the shroud and other very old linens do not give the vanillin test, the [Shroud] cloth must be quite old. It is thus very unlikely that the [Shroud] linen was produced during medieval times ... The fact that vanillin can not be detected in the lignin on shroud fibers, Dead Sea scrolls linen, and other very old linens indicates that the shroud is quite old. A determination of the kinetics of vanillin loss suggests that the shroud is between 1300- and 3000-years old[8]."
This was the subject of a 2005 BBC news article:
"The Shroud of Turin is much older than suggested by radiocarbon dating carried out in the 1980s, according to a new study in a peer-reviewed journal. A research paper published in Thermochimica Acta suggests the shroud is between 1,300 and 3,000 years old. The author dismisses 1988 carbon-14 dating tests which concluded that the linen sheet was a medieval fake ... Raymond Rogers ... is a retired chemist from Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico, US ... In the study, he analysed and compared the sample used in the 1988 tests with other samples from the famous cloth ... microchemical tests - which use tiny quantities of materials - provided a way to date the shroud. These tests revealed the presence of a chemical called vanillin in the radiocarbon sample and in the Holland cloth, but not the rest of the shroud. Vanillin is produced by the thermal decomposition of lignin, a chemical compound found in plant material such as flax. Levels of vanillin in material such as linen fall over time ... The fact that vanillin cannot be detected in the lignin on shroud fibres, Dead Sea scrolls linen and other very old linens indicates that the shroud is quite old," Mr Rogers writes. `A determination of the kinetics of vanillin loss suggests the shroud is between 1,300 and 3,000 years old.'[9]."

To be continued in the fourth installment of this part #2 of my June 2017 Shroud of Turin News.

1. This post is copyright. I grant permission to extract or quote from any part of it (but not the whole post), provided the extract or quote includes a reference citing my name, its title, its date, and a hyperlink back to this page. [return]
2. "Creatinine," Wikipedia, 10 July 2017. [return]
3. Wilson, I., 1979, "The Shroud of Turin: The Burial Cloth of Jesus Christ?," [1978], Image Books: New York NY, Revised edition, pp.51-53. [return]
4. Stevenson, K.E. & Habermas, G.R., 1981, "Verdict on the Shroud: Evidence for the Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ," Servant Books: Ann Arbor MI, pp.121-129. [return]
5. Stevenson. & Habermas, 1981, p.128. [return]
6. Schafersman, S.D., 1982, "Science, the public, and the Shroud of Turin," The Skeptical Inquirer, Vol. 6, No. 3, Spring, pp.37-56, p.42; in Nickell, J., 1987, "Inquest on the Shroud of Turin," [1983], Prometheus Books: Buffalo NY, Revised, Reprinted, 2000, p.141. [return]
7. Fanti, G. & Malfi, P., 2015, "The Shroud of Turin: First Century after Christ!," Pan Stanford: Singapore, pp.86. [return]
8. Rogers, R.N., 2005, "Studies on the radiocarbon sample from the Shroud of Turin," Thermochimica Acta, 425, pp.189–194. [return]
9. "Turin shroud 'older than thought," BBC, 31 January, 2005. [return]

Posted: 19 July 2017. Updated: 21 July 2017.

Friday, July 7, 2017

c.15 June 1987: On this day 30 years ago in the radiocarbon dating of the Turin Shroud

© Stephen E. Jones[1]

This is part #4, "c.15 June 1987," of my series, "On this day 30 years ago in the radiocarbon dating of the Turin Shroud." For more information about this series, see part #1, Index. As explained in part #1, the first few significant days 30 years ago have already passed but I will catch up and thereafter publish each day's post as near to its 30th anniversary as possible. Emphases are mine unless otherwise indicated.

[Index #1] [Previous: 06May87 #3] [Next: 29Jun87 #5]

Background Prof. Harry Gove (1922-2009), the unofficial leader of the radiocarbon dating laboratories, recorded in his 1996 book, "Relic, Icon or Hoax?: Carbon Dating the Turin Shroud," he had been told that in the Italian newspaper La Stampa of 27 April 1987, Prof. Luigi Gonella (1930-2007), the Archbishop of Turin's scientific adviser, had said that only two or three laboratories would be involved in the radiocarbon dating of the Shroud, not seven as had been agreed at a Turin workshop of October 1986. Gove, an anti-Christian agnostic, was also troubled that the predominantly (but not exclusively) Christian Shroud of Turin Project (STURP) would conduct its own scientific tests on the Shroud in conjunction with the radiocarbon dating [27Apr87]. Gove, realising that due to his clashes with Gonella, his Rochester laboratory would not be one of the two or three laboratories chosen to date the Shroud, sent a telegram on 6 May 1987, with a letter to follow, to the heads of the six other laboratories and Dr Tite of the British Museum. The joint letter would be delivered to the President of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, Prof. Carlos Chagas Filho (1910- 2000) [Right [2]]. In the telegram Gove stated, "If the Turin workshop agreement is not followed to the letter, I am no longer willing to be involved ..." and his following letter demanded that, "... all seven laboratories must be involved in the tests" and that "... two or three laboratories ... so directly contravenes the Turin workshop agreement that it could severely jeopardize the carbon dating enterprise." But two of the six other laboratories, the non-AMS Harwell and Brookhaven, declined to allow their names to be used in Gove's letter, which was sent to Prof. Chagas on 11 May 1987 [06May87].

c. 15 June 1987 On 19 May Gove had met with Prof. Chagas in Boston [3], and received from him a `these things take time' explanation to Gove's question as to why there had been a delay since the Turin Workshop of October 1986 in dating the Shroud[4]. Chagas also told Gove that the Pope had given the Archbishop of Turin, Cardinal Ballestrero (1913-1998), the "complete right to make decisions regarding the Shroud tests"[5]. Following Gove's meeting with Chagas almost another month passed and still there was no decision on dating the Shroud, which Gove in his anti-STURP paranoia, put down to:

"Clearly it was due to STURP's implacable desire to be part of the process"[5].
Gove's anti-Christian bias is evident in that it was not STURP's tests that Gove objected to but that they would be "part of the process"!

In his "frustration and annoyance"[6], Gove wrote:

"I decided to write a firm letter to Professor Chagas, which I sent to Canuto in mid-June. He had agreed to deliver it when he met Chagas in Rome in a couple of days"[7].
"Canuto" is Dr Vittorio Canuto, an astrophysicist at the NASA Institute

[Left: Astrophysicist Dr. Vittorio M. Canuto, NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies[8].]

for Space Studies in New York City, was a scientific aide of Prof. Chagas[9].

Gove continued:

"In the letter, I sharply criticized the way in which the Turin authorities had handled matters concerning the shroud in the past and the way they were continuing to mishandle them[10]."
The egotistical Gove[11] is blind to his own part in creating difficulties for the Turin authorities in arranging the Shroud's radiocarbon dating by (as we shall see) his campaign to exclude STURP from the testing altogether and his attempt to get Rome to override Turin. Gove's "mid-June" letter to Chagas continued:
"I noted that the shroud had been subjected to a number of scientific tests of dubious value carried out in ill conceived ways by scientists of unknown reputation[12]."
This is both "untrue and unsubstantiated"[13]. In fact "the STURP members came from some of the most prestigious U.S. institutions, including Los Alamos National Laboratory, Sandia Laboratory, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Air Force Academy and others, most of which were and are involved in the U.S.' nuclear and space programs"[14]. And what's more they knew vastly more about the Shroud than Gove and the other members of the radiocarbon dating laboratories.

Gove continues with his "untrue and unsubstantiated" dismissal of past Shroud pro-authenticity research:

"First was the investigation by Professor Gilbert Raes of shroud samples removed in 1973. Not only were his discoveries of minimal significance, but his care of the samples and their subsequent control by Turin was so careless that the samples were judged not to be suitable for carbon dating[15]."
This is both false and unfair. It is false beause Raes was a textile expert and his discoveries about the Shroud as a textile were significant. Indeed Gove himself mentions one:
"His examination of the samples under an electron microscope convinced Raes that there were trace amounts of Egyptian cotton present in the predominant linen of the shroud. This could constitute evidence that the shroud was woven on a loom in the Near East previously used to weave cotton[16]."
And it is unfair because as the Foreword to Gove's book states, before the invention in 1977 by Gove and others of Accelerator Mass Spectrometry (AMS) radiocarbon dating, it was not feasible to radiocarbon date the Shroud because the amount of cloth required to be destroyed was unacceptably high[17]. To expect a textile expert in 1973 to make provision for the future radiocarbon dating of his Shroud samples by a method that hadn't yet been invented, is just one example in his book of Gove's extreme and unscientific prejudice against the authenticity of the Shroud!

Besides, as Gove's own book states, Raes "stored the samples in a stamp box in his desk"[18]. So if that made them "not ... suitable for carbon dating," then how much more was the eventual radiocarbon dating sample "not ... suitable for carbon dating," when "hundreds of depictions of the Shroud being held up before the crowds during past centuries" shows the Shroud being held at that very same corner (see below) from which the radiocarbon dating sample was cut, resulting in

[Above (enlarge): "Ostension of the Holy Shroud" (1579) engraving by Carlo Malliano of the 1578 Exposition of the Shroud in Turin[19]. The radiocarbon dating sample came from the top left hand corner being held by a cleric's "sweaty hands".]

a cumulative "contamination from hundreds of sweaty hands at this corner"[20] of the Shroud!

Gove in his letter to Chagas next vented his "frustration and annoyance" at STURP:

"This was followed in 1978 by the STURP tests carried out by people who were already convinced they were dealing with Christ's shroud"[21]
This is simply false. Members of STURP included not only Christians but also Jews and agnostics:
"FOR THE PAST three years, this case of identity has absorbed the spare time of the thirty men and women associated with the Shroud of Turin Research Project, Inc. (STURP). With respect to the hereafter the group is an ecumenical one — among its members are Baptists, Lutherans, Mormons, Episcopalians, Jews, Roman Catholics, and agnostics ..." (emphasis original)[22].
And even most of the Christians were not initially convinced that the Shroud was Christ's. In fact the initial attitude of many (if not most) members of STURP, including the Christians, was skepticism as expressed by the late Ray Rogers (1927–2005):
"The attitude of many of these scientists toward the central question posed by the Shroud of Turin-is it real or isn't it?-was well expressed by Ray Rogers when he joined the team: `Give me twenty minutes and I'll have this thing shot full of holes'"[23].
That initial scepticism included Ken Stevenson who became STURP's most outspokenly Christian member[24]:
"Like many who have studied the Shroud, the authors were initially skeptical of it. Stevenson first heard about it while a cadet at the U.S. Air Force Academy. He later returned to the Academy to teach on its faculty. Studies of the Shroud by his friends at the Academy persuaded him to examine the facts carefully and eventually drew him into the Shroud of Turin Research Project."[25].
Besides, since the evidence is overwhelming that the Shroud is authentic, it is Gove's naturalistic (nature is all there is, there is no supernatural) starting point, and its corollary, that they were not dealing with Christ's Shroud, which requires justification!

Gove's "untrue and unsubstantiated" attack on STURP continued:

"Not only did these measurements yield negligibly significant results, but they subjected the shroud to a number of intrusive stresses."
These are both false. Among STURP's highly "significant results," were: 1) the Shroud is not a painting; 2) the image is a physical change of the linen fibrils (i.e. dehydration, oxidation and conjugation); 3) the Shroud had covered a real human body; 4) the blood is real human blood; 5) the image is three-dimensional; and 6) no known naturalistic process or combination of processes can account for the totality of the image:
"A Summary of STURP's Conclusions ... No pigments, paints, dyes or stains have been found on the fibrils [that constitutes the image]. X-ray, fluorescence and microchemistry on the fibrils preclude the possibility of paint being used as a method for creating the image. Ultra Violet and infrared evaluation confirm these studies. Computer image enhancement and analysis by a device known as a VP-8 image analyzer show that the image has unique, three-dimensional information encoded in it. Microchemical evaluation has indicated no evidence of any spices, oils, or any biochemicals known to be produced by the body in life or in death. It is clear that there has been a direct contact of the Shroud with a body, which explains certain features such as scourge marks, as well as the blood. However, while this type of contact might explain some of the features of the torso, it is totally incapable of explaining the image of the face with the high resolution that has been amply demonstrated by photography... The scientific concensus [sic] is that the image was produced by something which resulted in oxidation, dehydration and conjugation of the polysaccharide structure of the microfibrils of the linen itself. Such changes can be duplicated in the laboratory by certain chemical and physical processes. A similar type of change in linen can be obtained by sulfuric acid or heat. However, there are no chemical or physical methods known which can account for the totality of the image, nor can any combination of physical, chemical, biological or medical circumstances explain the image adequately[26]."
Since Gove must have known this, his anti-Christian prejudice directed at STURP had evidently overridden his scientific objectivity in this matter. And as for Gove's unsubstantiated claim that STURP had "subjected the shroud to a number of intrusive stresses," to give one example of the lengths to which STURP went to minimise stress to the Shroud, instead of using metal tacks to secure the Shroud as past expositions had done, STURP in their 1978 examination of the Shroud used magnets to position the cloth on their own stainless steel examination table[27].

"Gove's incredible letter continued..."[28]:

"I stated that almost every aspect of the STURP organization was distasteful to many other scientists. This included their clear religious zeal, their questionable sources of support, their military mind set and, last but not least, their assumption that the Turin Shroud was their property as self-appointed investigators of its origins and properties."
Gove the agnostic[29] anti-Christian (see above) forgets that he is writing to a representative of a Christian church, criticising STURP for allegedly having "religious zeal"! Since many (if not most) scientists are atheist/agnostics[30], it would not be surprising if those who knew about STURP would find their taking the Shroud seriously as the very burial sheet of Jesus (rather than rejecting it out of hand), as "distasteful." But so what? Since when has personal "distaste" been a scientific criterion to exclude qualified scientists from carrying out a scientific investigation?

It is not clear what Gove meant by STURP's, "questionable sources of support." But whatever Gove meant, there was nothing "questionable" about STURP. Everything STURP did was at the highest scientific and ethical plane. All STURP's scientific findings were published in peer-reviewed scientific journals[31]. And as for ethics, Gove's `snake in the grass,' undermining of STURP, without STURP's knowledge so it could respond was highly unethical:
"Until Gove's book was published in 1996, STURP scientists were at a complete loss to explain their elimination from the testing and dating of the Shroud or to explain fully the controversy surrounding the removal and dating of the Shroud sample. Gove's book supplied many answers. From the beginning of STURP's carbon dating efforts in 1979 until the publication of Gove's book in 1996, STURP scientists were unaware of Gove's deep-seated animosity toward them and of his efforts behind the scenes to eliminate them[32]"
Gove personal distaste of STURP having a "military mind set" is actually a backhanded compliment! STURP's founding members John Jackson and Eric Jumper were US Air Force officers as well as scientists[33]. And if it were not for their military-trained planning and and organisation, the transporting of STURP's eight tons of equipment[35] [Right (enlarge)[36].] and over 30 team members[37] to Turin in October 1978, to carry out 120 hours of round-the-clock examination of the Shroud[38], would not have happened.

As for Gove's "their [STURP'S] assumption that the Turin Shroud was their property as self-appointed investigators of its origins and properties," it is self-evidently false that STURP assumed that the Shroud was its property. And the fact is that STURP was appointed by the Archbishop of Turin in 1978 to investigate the Shroud, and STURP had submitted a proposal to the Archbishop of Turin to carry out further tests in conjunction with the radiocarbon dating, and that proposal was under active consideration. Indeed if anyone was self-appointed and considered the Shroud to be his property, it was Gove! Who appointed him? On what authority did Gove write his letter to Chagas, threatening that, "if STURP participates in the carbon dating enterprise in any way" he would "guarantee" the withdrawal of all the laboratories from the Shroud's radiocarbon dating?

Gove in his letter to Chagas then made "comments and suggestions" that even he realised were "presumptuous":

"Now, however, the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, under Chagas, had a chance to change all this. I went on to make some comments and suggestions noting that, in so doing, Chagas might consider me presumptuous. Among these were the following: 1. Without the continued leadership of Chagas as president of the Pontifical Academy, the present carbon dating consortium would probably become disenchanted and withdraw their participation[39]."
This is tantamount to blackmail by Gove, but there is no evidence that the other laboratories cared whether or not Chagas and the Pontifical Academy of Sciences were in control of the dating. And in fact when it was announced by Turin Archbishop Cardinal Ballestrero on 10 October 1987, "that only the Oxford, Arizona and Zurich laboratories would take part in the testing" and "that the Pontifical Academy of Sciences (and thereby Professor Chagas), should have no further part in the project"[40], the three chosen laboratories had no problem with that.

Continuing with Gove's point "1." above:

"This action would be guaranteed if STURP participates in the carbon dating enterprise in any way[41]."
So such was Gove's anti-Christian animosity (if not hatred) towards STURP that if it participated in the carbon dating "in any way," Gove would try to get the laboratories to "withdraw their participation" in the carbon dating! Again, it is unlikely that the laboratories would have agreed with Gove's ultimatum. Turin's eventual cancellation of STURP's proposed tests was presumably nothing to do with Gove's threats but, consistent with the reduction from seven laboratories to three, a need to assert control over the entire testing which had grown too large and complex.

Gove's remaining points "2" to "4" are a rag-bag of his personal complaints about STURP that, even if they were true, were comparatively trivial:

"2. If the delays in carrying out the carbon dating were sudden concerns for conservation, then conservation experts should be contacted by the Pontifical Academy and not by STURP. 3. At the American Chemical Society meeting in Denver, it was stated that shroud samples would be removed from behind the patches for stable isotope ratio measurements by STURP. Such measurements would tell whether the flax from which the shroud linen was made was grown in a climate that was warm or cold, wet or dry! I described this, quite charitably, as outrageous nonsense and asked whether there was nothing that could be done to hold STURP in check. 4. I also reminded Chagas of the pressure STURP representatives had subjected Madame Flury-Lemberg to at the time of the Turin workshop and, exaggeratedly, compared it to the Spanish Inquisition. I noted that Madame Flury-Lemberg was a gentle person quite unschooled in dealing with people like Mr Lukasik and his colleagues like the Reverend Dr Dinegar. I observed that the STURP members had been extremely discourteous to Madame Flury-Lemberg and had pressured her unduly. I had hoped the involvement of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences under Chagas' leadership would bring a proper degree of international scientific dispassion and integrity to the scientific endeavours to solve the mystery of the Turin Shroud. So far it had not because, clearly, he was unable to control the antics of STURP."
It is further evidence of Gove's blindness to his own attitude towards STURP that he sees no contradiction in comparing STURP with "the Spanish Inquisition" and his claim to, unlike STURP, possess "scientific dispassion"!

Gove concluded his account of his letter to Chagas with, "I never received any reply from Professor Chagas nor any indication of how he reacted to it":

"One would be amused by the whole farce if one did not feel so saddened by the consequences STURP's activities would have in elucidating the mystery of the most important relic or icon — whichever it turned out to be — in the Christian world. "In conclusion, although I am sure all of us who will be directly involved in the carbon dating hope the shroud will be subjected only to sensible and prudent scientific examination and testing, there is nothing we can do about whatever activities are being planned by STURP. What is in our power, however, is to ensure that STURP plays no role in carbon dating. STURP is nowhere mentioned in the Turin Workshop Protocol. We count on you to ensure that at least this one measurement will be carried out in a credible way without being tainted by STURP. After a sample is removed for carbon dating STURP can carry out any measurement they wish, however frivolous, as far as I am concerned." It was a tough letter — not couched in diplomatic niceties — but it reflected the frustration and annoyance I felt at the way things were going. I never received any reply from Professor Chagas nor any indication of how he reacted to it. By then he may have realized, as I did not at the time, that his boss, the pope, had cut him out of the action."
Presumably Prof. Chagas, who "was deeply religious and sought to reconcile science and religion as best as possible"[42] would have been deeply disappointed with Gove's extremely (if not fanatically) antagonistic attitude towards STURP, as revealed in his letter. Indeed, if the decision had not already been made (see next 29Jun87) it may well have led to Chagas recommending to the Pope that, to minimise further conflict, neither Gove, nor STURP, nor even the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, be involved in the Shroud's radiocarbon dating!

To be continued in the next part #5 of this series.

1. This post is copyright. I grant permission 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 page. [return].
2. "Carlos Chagas Filho," Academia Brasileira de Ciências, n.d. [return]
3. Gove, H.E., 1996, "Relic, Icon or Hoax?: Carbon Dating the Turin Shroud," Institute of Physics Publishing: Bristol UK, p.190. [return]
4. Gove, 1996, p.191. [return]
5. Ibid. [return]
6. Gove, 1996, p.193. [return]
7. Gove, 1996, p.191. [return]
8. "Speech by Vittorio Canuto, Session III," YouTube, October 11, 2011. [return]
9. Gove, 1996, p.84. [return]
10. Gove, 1996, p.191. [return]
11. Wilson, I., 1997, "Recent Publications," BSTS Newsletter, No. 45, June/July; de Wesselow, T., 2012, "The Sign: The Shroud of Turin and the Secret of the Resurrection," Viking: London, p.164. [return]
12. Gove, 1996, pp.191-192. [return]
13. Antonacci, M., 2000, "Resurrection of the Shroud: New Scientific, Medical, and Archeological Evidence," M. Evans & Co: New York NY, p.199. [return]
14. Marino, J.G., 2016, "The Politics of the Radiocarbon Dating of the Turin Shroud," Part I: Pre-April 21st, 1988, p.8. [return]
15. Gove, 1996, p.192. [return]
16. Gove, 1996, p.6. [return]
17. Gove, 1996, pp.ix, 7. [return]
18. Gove, 1996, p.6. [return]
19. "Books," Geocities, October, 2009. [return]
20. 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.192, 227. [return]
21. Gove, 1996, p.192. [return]
22. Murphy, C., 1981, "Shreds of evidence: Science confronts the miraculous-the Shroud of Turin," Harper's, Vol. 263, November, pp.42-65, 43. [return]
23. Murphy, 1981, p.44. [return]
24. Morgan, R.H., 1982, "Legal Action in USA," Shroud News, No 11, p.5. [return]
25. Stevenson, K.E. & Habermas, G.R., 1981, "Verdict on the Shroud: Evidence for the Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ," Servant Books: Ann Arbor MI, p.9. [return]
26. "A Summary of STURP's Conclusions," October 1981, [return]
27. Wilson, I. & Schwortz, B., 2000, "The Turin Shroud: The Illustrated Evidence," Michael O'Mara Books: London, p.33; Tribbe, F.C., 2006, "Portrait of Jesus: The Illustrated Story of the Shroud of Turin," [1983], Paragon House Publishers: St. Paul MN, Second edition, p.132. [return]
28. Antonacci, 2000, p.200. [return]
29. Gove, 1996, p.101; Wilson & Schwortz, 2000, p.9. [return]
30. Masci, D., 2009, "Scientists and Belief," Pew Research Center, November 5. [return]
31. Heller, J.H., 1983, "Report on the Shroud of Turin," Houghton Mifflin Co: Boston MA, pp.184-185; Antonacci, 2000, p.234. [return]
32. Antonacci, 2000, p.196. [return]
33. Murphy, 1981, p.43; Adams, F.O., 1982, "Sindon: A Layman's Guide to the Shroud of Turin," Synergy Books: Tempe AZ, p.93; Borkan, M., 1995, "Ecce Homo?: Science and the Authenticity of the Turin Shroud," Vertices, Duke University, Vol. X, No. 2, Winter, pp.18-51, 22; Iannone, J.C., 1998, "The Mystery of the Shroud of Turin: New Scientific Evidence," St Pauls: Staten Island NY, pp.8, 33; Wilson, 1998, pp.26-27; Guerrera, V., 2001, "The Shroud of Turin: A Case for Authenticity," TAN: Rockford IL, p.60; Oxley, M., 2010, "The Challenge of the Shroud: History, Science and the Shroud of Turin," AuthorHouse: Milton Keynes UK, p.202. [return]
35. Antonacci, 2000, p.47; Wilson & Schwortz, 2000, pp.67-68.; Tribbe, 2006, p.132; Oxley, 2010, pp.209, 212. [return]
36. Wilson & Schwortz, 2000, p.67. [return]
37. Guerrera, 2001, p.60. [return]
38. Heller, 1983, pp.117, 201; Antonacci, 2000, p.234; Borkan, 1995, p.21; Antonacci, 2000, p.194; Guerrera, 2001, p.60; Wilson, I., 2010, "The Shroud: The 2000-Year-Old Mystery Solved," Bantam Press: London, p.23. [return]
39. Gove, 1996, p.192. [return]
40. Wilson, 1998, p.183. [return]
41. Gove, 1996, p.192. [return]
42. "Carlos Chagas Filho: Scientific leadership and honours," Wikipedia, 30 June 2017. [return]

Posted: 7 July 2017. Updated: 20 July 2017.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

"Editorial and Contents," Shroud of Turin News, June 2017

Shroud of Turin News - June 2017
© Stephen E. Jones

[Previous: May 2017, part #1] [Next: June 2017, part #2]

This is the "Editorial and Contents," part #1 of the June 2017 issue of my Shroud of Turin News. Following this editorial, I may comment on Shroud-related June 2017 news articles in separate posts, linked back to this post, with the articles' words in bold to distinguish them from mine. I have listed some linked articles about the Shroud in June as a service to readers, without necessarily commenting on them. If I do comment on an article in a separate Shroud of Turin News post, I will add after it "- see Month year, part #n".

Longenecker, D., 2017, "The Shroud of Turin and the Facts," National Catholic Register, June 23, 2017.
Carlino, E, De Caro, L, Giannini, C, & Fanti, G., 2017, "Atomic resolution studies detect new biologic evidences on the Turin Shroud," PLoS ONE, 12(6), June 30. [see 19Jul17]


Rex Morgan's Shroud News: My scanning and word-processing of the 118 issues of Rex Morgan's Shroud News, provided by Ian Wilson, and emailing them to Barrie Schwortz, for him to convert to PDFs and add to his online Shroud News archive, continued in June up to issue #79, October 1993 [Right (enlarge)], i.e 67% completed. Issues in that archive are now up to #76, April 1993.

Tenth anniversary On 30 June 2017 it was this blog's tenth anniversary. On 30 June 2007 I published my first post here, "Introduction to my The Shroud of Turin (TSoT) blog!" [Left: "MN Community Measurement"] My thanks to Jesus, the Man on the Shroud!

Posts: In June I blogged 4 new posts (latest uppermost): "Shroud's 1260-1390 radiocarbon date is against the preponderance of the evidence: Steps in the development of my radiocarbon dating of the Turin Shroud hacker theory #8" - 21st; "6 May 1987: On this day 30 years ago in the radiocarbon dating of the Turin Shroud" - 19th; "Real human blood #23: The man on the Shroud: The evidence is overwhelming that the Turin Shroud is authentic!" - 3rd; "Editorial and Contents," Shroud of Turin News, May 2017 - 2nd. I am going to post several each month of the "On this day 30 years ago in the radiocarbon dating of the Turin Shroud" series until I catch up with the actual 30th anniversary of each post.

Updates in the background. In my "Chronology of the Turin Shroud: AD 30 to the present: 1st century and Index," I originally wrote, "To save space I won't normally have references but rely mostly on links." But in later centuries I started footnoting references. So to be consistent I have started footnoting the 1st century page and will do the same for later centuries until I reach the century where I started footnoting.

Comments: In June I published a comment from a Kyle Wright:

"I recently reading about the Sudarium of Oviedo and noticed that it is almost universally accepted that the radiocarbon dating tests performed on it were inaccurate. I have been able to find very little information on it besides that. Do you have an opinion on the accuracy of this test and do you think its inaccuracy has any bearing on your theories regarding the carbon dating of the Shroud?"
I responded:
"It wasn't that it was `inaccurate' but according to the then Director of the Arizona radiocarbon dating laboratory, Paul Damon, "the dating was never carried out." See my post 28Jul12 (words in bold are the Shroud sceptic Charles Freeman's):
Freeman continues to mislead his readers by selectively concealing from them relevant information in his claim that the Sudarium has had "a radiocarbon-14 dating apparently of c. 700 AD":"

Those trying to assess the authenticity of the Sudarium of Oviedo have to contend with a radiocarbon-14 dating apparently of c. 700 AD."

But Freeman's claim is misleading (and what's more, since he surely must have read Guscin's book, he knows it is misleading) that "the Sudarium of Oviedo "had ... a radiocarbon-14 dating ... of c. 700 AD." What Freeman does not tell his readers is that Guscin went into this very thoroughly in his book, detailing his correspondence with the Tucson Arizona radiocarbon dating laboratory, and he concluded:

"The only conclusion that can be drawn from this, and the Tucson laboratory would seem to agree, is that the whole affair was something of a shambles. Mr Jull ends his fax to me offering to carry out a serious radiocarbon dating on a sample of interest. The samples were not taken with permission for radiocarbon dating, and had presumably been taken by Monsignor Ricci about 15 years before being sent to Tucson. When sent, insufficient provenance information accompanied them; one of the samples was even stated to be 11th century. Paul Damon says the dating was never carried out, and in the results sent to Italy the sample numbers do not coincide. The laboratory suggests a serious experiment. Taking all this into account, the supposed results of the carbon dating of the sudarium can safely be ignored." ([Guscin, M., 1998, "The Oviedo Cloth," Lutterworth Press: Cambridge UK,] pp.83-84).

>Do you have an opinion on the accuracy of this test ...

See above that there was no test, or if there was one, it was so flawed that the Arizona radiocarbon dating laboratory has disowned it.

But in general, if a radiocarbon date disagreed with other historical information (e.g. the Sudarium of Oviedo left Jerusalem in AD 614 - see my 24Jan17) then it is the radiocarbon date that is wrong, presumably due to contamination with younger carbon.

>and do you think its inaccuracy has any bearing on your theories regarding the carbon dating of the Shroud?

This is particularly so with the Shroud. The evidence is overwhelming that the Turin Shroud is authentic and the laboratories and Nature should have taken that into account. It is a form of scientific fraud to state the result of a scientific test without acknowledging the evidence against your result.

The standard of scientific honesty that all scientists, including those involved in the radiocarbon dating of the Shroud, should adhere to is that set by the late Professor of Physics at Caltech, Richard P. Feynman (1918–1988) (my emphasis):

"It's a kind of scientific integrity, a principle of scientific thought that corresponds to a kind of utter honesty - a kind of leaning over backwards. For example, if you're doing an experiment, you should report everything that you think might make it invalid-not only what you think is right about it: other causes that could possibly explain your results; and things you thought of that you've eliminated by some other experiment, And how they worked-to make sure the other fellow can tell they have been eliminated. Details that could throw doubt on your interpretation must be given, if you know them. You must do the best you can-if you know anything at all wrong, or possibly wrong-to explain it. If you make a theory, for example, and advertise it, or put it out, then you must also put down all the facts that disagree with it, as well as those that agree with it ... the idea is to try to give all of the information to help others to judge the value of your contribution; not just the information that leads to judgment in one particular direction or another ... I'm talking about a specific, extra type of integrity that is not lying, but bending over backwards to show how you're maybe wrong, that you ought to have when acting as a scientist." (Feynman, R.P., 1985, "Surely You're Joking, Mr Feynman!," Unwin Paperbacks: London, Reprinted, 1990, pp.340-343)

My radiocarbon dating hacker theory: As can be seen above, in June I blogged only one post about my hacker theory: "Shroud's 1260-1390 radiocarbon date is against the preponderance of the evidence: Steps in the development of my radiocarbon dating of the Turin Shroud hacker theory #8."

My book: I have decided to first write a dot-point outline of my book, The Shroud of Turin: The Burial Sheet of Jesus! (see 09May17). I am writing this outline mostly `off the top of my head' on my smartphone in Gmail and then emailing it to my computer. This may seem strange but I spend a lot of time away from home taking my wife, who has MS, to doctor and physiotherapy appointments, etc, so in this way I am "making the best use of the time" (Eph 5:1). I have made good progress since 9 June when I started the outline. I have resolved to only start writing the book proper (which at this stage will be a free PDF first edition), when I have fully completed this outline and can think of no other topic to be in this first edition of the book.

Pageviews: At midnight on 30 June, Google Analytics [Below (enlarge)]gave this blog's "Pageviews all time history" as 764,259. This compares with 544,771 (up 219,488 or 40.3%) from the same time in June 2016. It also gave the most viewed posts for the month (highest uppermost) as: "`Radiocarbon Dating ... error potential when an item is contaminated with newer material'," Apr 19, 2017 - 209; "X-rays #22: The man on the Shroud: The evidence is overwhelming that the Turin Shroud is authentic!," Apr 20, 2017 - 142; "Chronology of the Turin Shroud: Ninth century" Mar 25, 2017 - 141; "Dr Jull's and Prof. Ramsey's prompt, misleading and false replies: Steps in the development of my radiocarbon dating of the Turin Shroud hacker theory #7" - May 10, 2017 - 115; "The Shroud of Turin: 3.6. The man on the Shroud and Jesus were crucified.," Dec 2, 2013 - 113. As can be seen from the graph, pageviews peaked in the middle of the month and then settled down again.

1. This post is copyright. I grant permission to extract or quote from any part of it (but not the whole post), provided the extract or quote includes a reference citing my name, its title, its date, and a hyperlink back to this page. [return]

Posted: 6 July 2017. Updated: 19 July 2017.