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Thursday, August 21, 2008

Still No Consensus on Shroud of Turin's Age

It has been three months since University of Colorado physicist John Jackson and his wife Rebecca began their effort to discredit the radiocarbon dating of the Shroud of Turin, believed by some to be Christ's burial cloth, and so far they have met with little success. The two hope to show that the previously accepted dating of the shroud, which placed its origins in the 13th or 14th centuries (making it a fogery), was skewed by carbon monoxide contamination.
As it turns out, the Jacksons are not the only ones questioning the dating of the shroud. At a conference held by the Shroud Science Group last weekend at Ohio State University, scientists from the Los Alamos National Laboratory presented evidence that the dating may have been done on a piece used to repair the cloth and not the original fabric itself. Their assertion may not be completely off base; some historical evidence seems to indicate the shroud is older than the dating has determined. Meanwhile, the Jacksons remain hopeful that further tests will verify their contamination theory. Others, however, like geologist Steven Schafersman, hope to convince people to accept the empirical evidence. To him, "past efforts by some individuals, with scientific or technical training and access to scientific equipment, to promote the Shroud's authenticity by presenting irrelevant, misinterpreted, fudged, and even fraudulent data and interpretations—while at the same time ignoring, misunderstanding, misrepresenting, and clumsily explaining-away reliable evidence against authenticity—are nothing short of astonishing." —Stephen Mapes


Dan Porter said...

Good posting. I was at the Ohio conference. There is little question about the fact that the samples tested by the Los Alamos team, 27 fibers in all taken from the carbon dating sample region, are not part of the shroud.

As for the Jackson carbon monoxide contamination theory, none of the chemists or physicists there took it very seriously.

The next big player will be Christopher Ramsey of Oxford. Yes, he will examine Jackson's work. But he is also taking the Los Alamos work, Rogers' work and the sampling problems seriously.