Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Summary and embryonic statement of my hacker theory: Steps in the development of my radiocarbon dating of the Turin Shroud hacker theory #6

Copyright © Stephen E. Jones[1]

This is the eighth and final installment of part #6, "Summary and embryonic statement of my hacker theory," in 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 original post. Emphases are mine unless otherwise indicated.

[Index] [Previous: Another form of fraud - computer hacking #5] [Next: My replies to Dr. Timothy Jull and Prof. Christopher Ramsey #7]

Summary Continuing with tracing the steps in the development of my hacker theory in my early 2014 posts: "Were the radiocarbon dating laboratories duped by a computer hacker? (1)," "(2)," "(3)," and now "Summary."

The evidence is overwhelming that the Shroud of Turin is the burial sheet of Jesus Christ[2]. Yet in 1988 the Shroud was radiocarbon dated

[Right (enlarge): Prof. E. Hall (l), Dr M. Tite (c) and Dr. R. Hedges (r) announcing on 13 October 1988 that the Shroud had been radiocarbon dated to "1260- 1390!"[3].]

as "mediaeval ... AD 1260-1390[4] by three radiocarbon dating laboratories at universities in Arizona, Zurich and Oxford. The midpoint of 1260-1390 is 1325 ± 65 years[5], which `just happens' to be a mere ~30 years before the Shroud first appeared in undisputed history at Lirey, France in c. 1355[6].[A]

■ The three laboratories used the same Accelerated Mass Spectrometry (AMS) method of radiocarbon dating[7]. The results of the radiocarbon dating of the Shroud were displayed on Arizona's (and presumably Zurich and Oxford) laboratory's AMS system computer, as described in this eyewitness account by Prof. Harry Gove (1922-2009), the co-

[Left (enlarge)[8]: Arizona radiocarbon dating laboratory staff in front of the AMS computer terminal after it had displayed the radiocarbon date of the Shroud which was then calibrated to "1350 AD"[9]. I did not then know about the alleged hacker, Timothy W. Linick, who is in the black shirt standing (significantly) most prominently in the foreground.]

inventor of the AMS radiocarbon dating method, of the very first radiocarbon dating of the Shroud:

"At 9:50 am 6 May 1988, Arizona time, the first of the ten measurements appeared on the screen. We all waited breathlessly. The ratio was compared with the OX sample and the radiocarbon time scale calibration was applied by Doug Donahue ... At the end of that one minute we knew the age of the Turin Shroud! The next nine numbers confirmed the first ... Based on these 10 one minute runs, with the calibration correction applied, the year the flax had been harvested that formed its linen threads was 1350 AD-the shroud was only 640 years old! It was certainly not Christ's burial cloth but dated from the time its historic record began"[10].[B]
■ Note that after only one dating run, Prof. Gove and all those present, even Prof. Donahue, a Roman Catholic who had up till then believed that the Shroud was authentic[11], accepted as fact what the computer told them, that the Shroud's "flax had been harvested ... [in] 1350 AD." But that would mean that: a) the Shroud's linen would have had to be woven and its image imprinted on the newly

[Right (enlarge): A pilgrim's badge from the Shroud's first undisputed exposition at Lirey, France in c.1355[12].]

woven linen cloth no more than 5 years before the Shroud was exhibited at Lirey, France, in c.1355; and b) the Arizona laboratory's pre-treatment of their Shroud sample would have had to be perfect, removing all traces of non-original carbon.[C]

■ Yet in 1987, when Gove learned that the number of laboratories had been reduced from 7 to 3, and the number of methods from 2 to 1, he was so worried that at least one of those three laboratories would return a wrong date, that he drafted a letter to the Pope, requesting him "not to date the Shroud at all"[13]! And in 1989, a year after the dating of the Shroud, an intercomparison test of 38 radiocarbon dating laboratories (with Oxford abstaining), found that only 7 of the 38 laboratories achieved a satisfactory result with the AMS laboratories being among the worst[14]![D]

■ Even Prof. Christopher Bronk Ramsey, the Director of the Oxford radiocarbon dating laboratory and a signatory (as "C.R. Bronk") to the 1989 Nature paper, has admitted: "There is a lot of other evidence that suggests ... the Shroud is older than the radiocarbon dates allow"[15]! Just one example of this "lot of other evidence" that "the Shroud is older than the radiocarbon dates allow," is the Pray Codex which is dated 1192-95, yet it depicts at least eight unusual features which are found

[Left (enlarge)[16]: Depiction on the Pray Codex of Jesus naked, with His hands crossed awkwardly at the wrists over His pelvic region exactly as they are on the Shroud[17], about to be laid on a shroud which is more than twice the length of His body[18] [see 27May12].]

on the Shroud, including a set of L-shaped burn holes, proving beyond reasonable doubt that the artist had seen the Shroud[19]. Yet the latest date for the Pray Codex is 1195, which is 65 years before the earliest 1260 radiocarbon date[20]. And the Shroud would have had to have existed long before the Pray Codex artist depicted it.[E]

■ But as Prof. Gove pointed out, the chance that the Shroud was 1st century, yet had a 1260-1390 radiocarbon date, is "about one in a thousand trillion"[21]. But since the Shroud is authentic, its actual age

[Right (enlarge)[22]: Only part of Victoria, Australia's Ninety Mile Beach. Ninety miles is ~145 kilometres. One in a thousand trillion (1012) is the probability of finding in only one try a particular grain of sand of 1 mm diameter, on this beach in a strip 145 kilometres x ~5.4 metres wide. And since the Shroud is authentic, that is also the improbability that the 1260-1390 radiocarbon date of the Shroud was correct!.]

is first century or earlier, so the odds are "one in a thousand trillion" against the radiocarbon date of 1260-1390 being correct! (See part #4).[F]

■ Agnostic but pro-authenticist art historian Thomas de Wesselow therefore regards fraud in the radiocarbon dating of the Shroud as a real possibility because of the `too good to be true' 1325 ± 65 years radiocarbon date:

"The third possibility is that a fraud was perpetrated ... One important consideration weighs in favour of the possibility of deception. If the carbon-dating error was accidental, then it is a it is a remarkable coincidence that the result tallies so well with ... the Shroud's historical debut ... Had anyone wished to discredit the Shroud, '1325 ± 65 years' is precisely the sort of date they would have looked to achieve"[23].
However, Ian Wilson, who knew the leaders of the 1988 radiocarbon dating, dismissed "as absurd and far-fetched as it is unworthy" that they "may have `rigged' the radiocarbon dating"[24]. But there is another type of fraud which seems not to have occurred to anyone: that the radiocarbon dating laboratories were duped by a computer hacker.[G]

■ As astronomer-turned Berkeley University computer systems administrator Clifford Stoll, revealed in his 1989 book, "The Cuckoo's Egg" [right], in the 1980s university computers were poorly secured[25]. A hacker could in the 1980s break into any university computer "without leaving any trace"[26] and some did. [H]

■ The hacker whom Stoll caught, Markus Hess, was working for the KGB in Germany and from there he hacked into university computers in the USA, and from them he gained unauthorised access to "400 U.S. military computers"[27].[I]

The KGB then had a section called "Seat 12" which conducted "a disinformation campaign of communist propaganda during the Cold War to discredit the moral authority of the Vatican"[28]. Clearly a 1st or early century radiocarbon date of the Shroud would increase the moral authority of the Vatican and Christianity in general, especially inside the Soviet Union.[J]

Embryonic statement of my hacker theory So it is not an unreasonable proposition that a KGB agent hacked into the AMS computer at

[Left (enlarge)[29]: Schematic of Arizona's AMS system in 2005, with its control console computer terminal at bottom left.]

each of the three radiocarbon dating laboratories and inserted a program which, when a Shroud test was run, replaced the Shroud's 1st (or early due to irremovable contamination[30]) century radiocarbon date, with dates which when calibrated, would yield years clustering around AD 1325, just before the Shroud's first appearance in undisputed history in c. 1355.[K]

■ I am hopeful that now it is out in the public domain, my proposal that the laboratories which dated the Shroud were duped by a computer hacker will elicit confirmation, whether from [one of the signatories to the 1989 Nature paper], an ex-KGB defector, a former university student, etc. However, in the final analysis it is not the Shroud pro-authenticists' problem to work out what went wrong with the 1988 radiocarbon dating of the Shroud. As de Wesselow points out, we can:

"... legitimately reject the carbon-dating result without determining exactly what went wrong ... Archaeologists routinely dismiss 'rogue' radiocarbon dates out of hand ... The 1988 test may therefore be declared null and void, even though, without further direct study of the Shroud, it is unlikely we will ever be able to say definitively what went wrong"[31][L]

■ PS: See further on "My replies to Dr. Timothy Jull and Prof. Christopher Ramsey." Following Dr. Jull and Prof. Ramsey's clarification that the AMS system computer was never online at the their two laboratories (and therefore presumably also not at Zurich), the hacker, or hackers, would have had to insert a program, or modify the existing program, manually and locally in each of the three laboratories.

That makes it more likely that the KGB was involved, either directly or more likely indirectly, through local hacker recruits, like the Chaos Computer Club, of which Markus Hess was a member. However, I do not claim that the hackers were members of the Chaos Computer Club. I will develop this further in my next post [i.e. after "My replies to Dr. Timothy Jull and Prof. Christopher Ramsey" post] in this series: "Were the radiocarbon dating laboratories duped by a computer hacker?: Revised."[M]

To be continued in part #7 of this series.

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 my post it came from. [return]
2. Barnes, A.S., 1934, "The Holy Shroud of Turin," Burns Oates & Washbourne: London, p.14; Morgan, R.H., 1980, "Perpetual Miracle: Secrets of the Holy Shroud of Turin by an Eye Witness," Runciman Press: Manly NSW, Australia, pp.116-117, 141; Adams, F.O., 1982, "Sindon: A Layman's Guide to the Shroud of Turin," Synergy Books: Tempe AZ, p.86; Stevenson, K.E. & Habermas, G.R., 1990, "The Shroud and the Controversy," Thomas Nelson: Nashville TN, p.60; Case, T.W., 1996, "The Shroud of Turin and the C-14 Dating Fiasco," White Horse Press: Cincinnati OH, p.27; Antonacci, M., 2000, "Resurrection of the Shroud: New Scientific, Medical, and Archeological Evidence," M. Evans & Co: New York NY, p.6. [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.142C. [return]
4. Damon, P.E., 1989, "Radiocarbon Dating of the Shroud of Turin," Nature, Vol. 337, 16th February, pp.611-615, 611. [return]
5. McCrone, W.C., 1999, "Judgment Day for the Shroud of Turin," Prometheus Books: Amherst NY, pp.1,141,178,246; Wilson, 1998, p.7. [return]
6. Wilson, 1998, p.111,278; Wilson, I., 2010, "The Shroud: The 2000-Year-Old Mystery Solved," Bantam Press: London, pp.222-223. [return]
7. Wilson, I., 1991, "Holy Faces, Secret Places: The Quest for Jesus' True Likeness," Doubleday: London, p.178; Wilson, 1998, p.192; Wilson, 2010, p.281. [return]
8. Gove, H.E., 1996, "Relic, Icon or Hoax?: Carbon Dating the Turin Shroud," Institute of Physics Publishing: Bristol UK, p.176H. [return]
9. Gove, 1996, p.264. [return]
10. Ibid. [return]
11. Wilson, 1991, p.8; Gove, 1996, p.264; Wilson, 1998, pp.10, 188. [return]
12. Latendresse, M., 2012, "A Souvenir from Lirey," Sindonology.org. [return]
13. Gove, 1996, pp.218-219. [return]
14. Wilson, 1991, p.175; Wilson, 1998, p.193. [return]
15. Ramsey, C.B., 2008, "Shroud of Turin," Oxford Radiocarbon Accelerator Unit, Modified 17 July 2009. [return]
16. Pray Codex," Wikipedia, 12 April 2017. [return]
17. Wilson, I., 1979, "The Shroud of Turin: The Burial Cloth of Jesus?," [1978], Image Books: New York NY, Revised edition, p.160; Wilson, 1991, pp.150-151; Wilson, 2010, p.183; de Wesselow, T., 2012, "The Sign: The Shroud of Turin and the Secret of the Resurrection," Viking: London, pp.178-179. [return]
18. Guerrera, V., 2001, "The Shroud of Turin: A Case for Authenticity," TAN: Rockford IL, pp.104-105. [return]
19. ; Wilson, 1998, p.147; Oxley, M., 2010, "The Challenge of the Shroud: History, Science and the Shroud of Turin," AuthorHouse: Milton Keynes UK, p.38; de Wesselow, 2012, p.181. [return]
20. Maloney, P.C., "Researching the Shroud of Turin: 1898 to the Present: A Brief Survey of Findings and Views," in Minor, M., Adler, A.D. & Piczek, I., eds., 2002, "The Shroud of Turin: Unraveling the Mystery: Proceedings of the 1998 Dallas Symposium," Alexander Books: Alexander NC, pp.16-47, 33; de Wesselow, 2012, p.183. [return]
21. Gove, 1996, p.302. [return]
22. "90-Mile Beach, Gippsland, Victoria," The Grey Nomads, Travel & Holiday Information Australia, 2017. [return]
23. de Wesselow, 2012, p.170. [return]
24. Wilson, 1998, p.11. [return]
25. Stoll, C., 1989, "The Cuckoo's Egg Tracking a Spy through the Maze of Computer Espionage," Pan: London, reprinted, 1991, p.8. [return]
26. Stoll, 1989, p.9. [return]
27. "Markus Hess," Wikipedia, 22 February 2017. [return]
28. "Seat 12," Wikipedia, 22 February 2017. [return]
29. "Basic Principles of AMS," NSF-Arizona AMS Facility, University of Arizona, 2005. [return]
30. Tyrer, J., in Wilson, I., 1988, "So How Could the Carbon Dating Be Wrong?," British Society for the Turin Shroud Newsletter, No. 20, October, pp.10-12. [return]
31. de Wesselow, 2012, pp.170-171. [return]

Posted: 11 April 2017. Updated: 17 April 2017.


W. Pinson said...

A review of Radiocarbon Dating (Wikipedia article), there are considerations and error potential when an item is contaminated with newer material. Since the Shroud of Turin had been in immediate contact with its backing and patches for 450 years prior to the dating in 1988, that should have been considered in the dating, but it doesn't seem to have been. It is very possible, and very likely, that the Shroud is much, much older than the carbon dating, because of the affects of the much higher C14 content of the backing and patches.

Stephen E. Jones said...

W. Pinson

>A review of Radiocarbon Dating (Wikipedia article), ...

I am preparing my reply to your comment and I will post it by this weekend.

Stephen E. Jones
MY POLICIES. Comments are moderated. Those I consider off-topic, offensive or sub-standard will not appear. Except that comments under my latest post can be on any one Shroud-related topic. To avoid time-wasting debate I normally allow only one comment per individual under each one of my posts.

Stephen E. Jones said...

W. Pinson

>I am preparing my reply to your comment and I will post it by this weekend.

My reply comment has grown long, so I have decided make it a separate post, immediately after I finish my current post.

Stephen E. Jones
"By way of guidance as to what I mean by `offensive' and `sub-standard,' I regard comments to my blog as analogous to letters to the Editor of a newspaper. If the Editor of a newspaper would not publish a comment because it is `offensive' and/or `sub-standard' then neither will I. It does not mean that if I disagree with a comment I won't publish it. I have published anti-authenticist comments and other comments that I disagreed with, and I have deleted `offensive' and/or `sub-standard' comments that are pro-authenticist. `Sub-standard' includes attempting to use my blog as a platform to publish a block of text of the commenter's own views, and also bare links to other sites with little or no actual comments. By `off-topic' I mean if a comment has little or nothing to do with the topic(s) in the post it is under (except for the latest post-see above)." [05Jan16]