Re: The Shroud of Turin
Tue, 16 Nov 1999 19:22:22 -0700

On Mon, 15 Nov 1999 12:00:17 -0500 writes:
> Dear list,
> I recall that there was some discussion on this list about results
> that
> came out this summer at a botonist conference regarding the
> authenticity of
> the Shroud of Turin. If any of you are aware of a reference for
> these new
> results, please let me know. I'm going to be lecturing on carbon-14
> dating
> in my chemistry for non-science major's course, and the textbook I'm
> using
> states that the Shroud is a fake. I'd like to offer a more balanced
> perspective.
> Thanks,
> Keenan
I can't give you any info on the conference results, but I would call
your attention to notes and letters in _Biblical Archeology Review_. See
Jul-Aug 1998, p. 13; Nov-Dec 1998, pp. 27-29; Jul-Aug 1999, pp. 10, 12;
Nov-Dec 1999, pp. 8, 10. I am convinced by the radio-carbon date because
the earliest record of the shroud proclaimed it a fake, McCrone's study
proclaims it a fake, the technique for producing it was well-known during
the 14th cent., the weave was not known until centuries after the
crucifixion of Christ, and the shroud bears no similarity to the burial
preparations in Judea at the time and the description in the gospels (see
esp. John 20:7). The editor of _BAR_ seems inclined to allow its
authenticity, but I have read many of the arguments "supporting"
authenticity and find them irrelevant and worse. Unfortunately, no amount
of evidence will persuade "true believers" (cf. YEC) that they believe a

If you want a "balanced" treatment, determine how bacteria nourished by
the carbon of the shroud could change the C-14 content by 1300 years.
Algae and cyanobacteria could produce a change, but they would need light
and moist conditions and leave a photosynthetic residue. When was the
shroud exposed to sufficient light and kept wet? Where are the residues?
It is easy to come up with a superficially plausible tale, but an
analysis of the concomitants shows the "explanation" to be bunk. I
believe you will find the same inconsistencies with all the other
(pseudo-) explanations.