This is part #3, "My first use of the term `hacker'" of my "Steps in the development of my radiocarbon dating of the Turin Shroud hacker theory" series. For more information about this series see part #1, "Hacking an explanation & Index." References "[A]", etc., will be to that part of my previous post. Emphases are mine unless otherwise indicated.
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First use of term "hacker" In my post of 18 February 2014 I first used the term "hacker" but only in the title of the post, "Were the radiocarbon dating laboratories duped by a computer hacker? (1)," and only as a question.
[Right: Clifford Stoll's 1989 book, "The Cuckoo's Egg," which I had read in c. 1990, and remembered that it had documented how poorly secured university computers were in the 1980s, leaving them vulnerable to hacking and many had been hacked.]
■ But even the current Director of the Oxford radiocarbon dating laboratory, Prof. Christopher Bronk Ramsay, who as "C.R. Bronk" was a signatory to that 1989 Nature paper, has admitted: "There is a lot of other evidence that suggests to many that the Shroud is older than the radiocarbon dates allow ..."[C]
■ And Philip Ball, a former editor at Nature, wrote in 2005: "... the shroud is a remarkable artefact ... It is simply not known how the ghostly image of a serene, bearded man was made ..."[D]; and again in 2008: "... despite the seemingly definitive tests in 1988, the status of the Shroud of Turin is murkier than ever ... the nature of the image and how it was fixed on the cloth remain deeply puzzling"[E].
■ The midpoint of 1260-1390 is 1325±65 years, which `just happens' to be only ~30 years before the Shroud first appeared in the undisputed historical record at Lirey, France in c. 1355. Which date the laboratories were aware of, and even cited it in the Nature paper[F].
■ Before the 1988 dating, Prof. Harry Gove (1922-2009), the co-inventor of the Accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) method which was used to date the Shroud, when he found out that the number of laboratories had been cut from seven to three, and the methods from two to one, he was so sure that at least one of the three laboratories would produce a wrong date, that he drafted a letter to the Pope, calling on him "not to date the Shroud at all"[G]!
■ Then a year after the Shroud's dating, in 1989, an intercomparison test of 38 radiocarbon dating laboratories (with Oxford abstaining), found that only 7 of the 38 laboratories dated the artifacts of known date correctly, with the AMS laboratories being among the furthest out[I]!
■ After the 1988 tests, when the three AMS laboratories claimed to have reached agreement that the Shroud was dated 1260-1390, Gove admitted that before the tests he thought the "new [AMS] procedures seemed to me to be fraught with peril" but he was relieved that the "three laboratories performed their measurements flawlessly"[J].
■ But what is the likelihood that the three AMS laboratories "flawlessly" dated the Shroud, yet a year later, with the experience of dating the Shroud behind them, two of the three laboratories "far[ed] particularly badly" in an intercomparison test and the third laboratory, Oxford, declined to take part? Not likely at all![K].
Continued in part 4 of this series.
1. This post is copyright. Permission is granted to quote from any part of it (but not the whole post), provided it includes a reference citing my name, its subject heading, its date and a hyperlink back to this post. [return]
2. Stoll, C., 1989, "The Cuckoo's Egg: Tracking a Spy Through the Maze of Computer Espionage," Amazon.com. [return]
Posted: 7 March 2017. Updated: 11 March 2017.