Following up on some of Allen Harvey's questions,
Just looking around the web a bit I am finding this whole topic very
interesting. There are many parallels to the age of the earth debate.
Both sides seem to claim science on their side and claim the other side is
missinterpreting the data based on there presuppositions about the truth.
Maybe I am very skeptical on this particular issue but I also wonder who
these "botanists" are? It seems that coming from Jerusalem they may have
some very strong preconceived notions about the proper age of the shroud.
As to the 1988 radiocarbon dates one web site by a true believer has these
"Almost all skeptics of the Shroud point to this as indisputable proof that
the Shroud of Turin is in fact, a fake. (Meacham par 8) It was not until
just recently, that those claims have come under
serious question and many now believe that those tests have been
skewed radically. The reason? Microbiologists ran tests on fibers from the
Shroud in 1996 and found more than enough coating
from bacteria to shift the tests to a younger date found ("In Pursuit
of the Shroud").
Harry Gove, the inventor of the Accelerated Mass Spectrometer, which
was used to date the Shroud of Turin, confirms this claim. He stated that
the up until the point were these new findings
were released, those who ran the test did not know of the bacteria and
even if they had, the cleaning technique used was not sufficient to remove
the bacterial coating found ("In Pursuit of the
Shroud"). Currently they are working on a way to clean the fibers and
remove the coating so that an accurate test may be run and have also
offered to run another set of tests once the technique is
perfected (Barret 3)
Bacteria however, are not the only things that have, or potentially
could have, skewed results. As the image was formed by some sort of
radiation phenomena, the radiation waves could have
thrown off any attempt to date the Shroud by using radiocarbon dating.
As it is often put, it looks as if the image is an x-ray since one can
easily identify the metacarpals, even being able to name all
of the individual wrist bones. Secondly, looking closely at the head,
one can see a faint image of the skull with all of its major parts
visible-even the teeth with their roots can be seen found ("In
Pursuit of the Shroud"). ""