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1. Shroud of Turin: Old as Jesus?, etc; 2. PE "Naturalism ... Refuted by superntural ... The Shroud of Turin"

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  • Stephen E. Jones
    Group Here are science news items, with my comments in square brackets, for members information and discussion. *** Moderator: I have decided to no longer
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 29, 2005

      Here are science news items, with my comments in square brackets, for
      members' information and discussion.

      *** Moderator: I have decided to no longer include the "fair use"
      copyright disclaimer, since it applies anyway. ***


      http://www.nytimes.com/2005/01/27/science/27shroud.html The New
      York Times January 27, 2005 Shroud of Turin: Old as Jesus? ... The
      Shroud of Turin is much older than the medieval date that modern science
      has affixed to it and could be old enough to have been the burial wrapping
      of Jesus, a new analysis concludes. Since 1988, most scientists have
      confidently concluded that it was the work of a medieval artist, because
      carbon dating had placed the production of the fabric between 1260 and
      1390. In an article this month in the journal Thermochimica Acta
      [http://makeashorterlink.com/?Y22D13B5A], Dr. Raymond N. Rogers, a
      chemist retired from Los Alamos National Laboratory, said the carbon
      dating test was valid but that the piece tested was about the size of a
      postage stamp and came from a portion that had been patched. "We're
      darned sure that part of the cloth was not original Shroud of Turin cloth,"
      he said, adding that threads from the main part of the shroud were pure
      linen, which is spun from flax. The threads in the patched portion
      contained cotton as well and had been dyed to match. From other tests, he
      estimated that the shroud was between 1,300 and 3,000 years old. ...
      Scientist Says Turin Shroud Not a Medieval Fake Fri Jan 28, 2005 ...
      PARIS (Reuters) - The Shroud of Turin, which some Christians believe is
      Jesus Christ's burial cloth, may not be the fake scientific tests have
      concluded because they analyzed a patch put on it, according to a U.S.
      scientist. Raymond N. Rogers ... published a paper this week arguing that
      new dating tests showed the 1988 tests were from a cloth patch probably
      sewn on after a fire damaged the Shroud in 1532. The linen Shroud
      measuring 4.4 by 1.2 meters (14.5 by 3.9 feet) bears the image, eerily
      reversed like a photographic negative, of a crucified man believers say was
      Christ. One of Christianity's most disputed relics, it is locked away at
      Turin Cathedral in Italy and rarely exhibited. It was last on display in 2000
      and may not be shown again until 2025. Radiocarbon dating tests by
      laboratories in Oxford, Zurich and Tucson, Arizona in 1988 caused a
      sensation by dating it from between 1260 and 1390. Sceptics said it was a
      hoax, possibly made to attract the profitable medieval pilgrimage business.
      But Rogers, writing in the scientific review Thermochimica Acta, wrote:
      "The dye found on the radiocarbon sample was not used in Europe before
      about 1291." "The radiocarbon sample was thus not part of the original
      cloth and is invalid for determining the age of the shroud," he wrote ...
      Rogers said one dating test, which measures the gradual disappearance of
      the compound vanillin in linen, found it was present in the patch analyzed
      in 1988 but not on the main body of the Shroud. He said linens found with
      the Dead Sea Scrolls, which date back to the time of Christ, also show no
      vanillin. He estimated the Shroud could be anywhere from 1,300 to 3,000
      years old. Scientists are at a loss to explain how the image was made and
      most agree it could not have been painted or printed. The Catholic Church
      does not claim the Shroud, which is believed to have been brought to
      Europe from the Middle East during the Crusades in the mid-14th century,
      is authentic. ... [As I indicated, I now *provisionally* accept, based on the
      evidence, and the lack of a plausible, consensus, naturalistic alternative
      explanation, that the Shroud of Turin is the very burial cloth of Jesus, and
      is scientific evidence of His crucifixion and resurrection, as described in
      the Gospels. Since if this is true, it is a refutation of the twin philosophical
      foundations of evolution, I have created a new section PE
      Naturalism ... Refuted by supernatural ... The Shroud of Turin"
      of my "Problems of Evolution" book outline. I have bought three books:
      Wilson I., "The Turin Shroud," 1978; Wilson I., "The Evidence of the
      Shroud," 1986; and Wilson I. & Schwortz B., "The Turin Shroud: The
      Illustrated Evidence," 2000, and am making inquiries about others. Also, I
      have borrowed from a library Wilson I., "The Blood and the Shroud,"
      1998, and Wilson I., "Holy Faces, Secret Places: The Quest for Jesus' True
      Likeness," Doubleday London, 1991, have placed orders for others. I am
      going to make a *thorough* study of the shroud, and if I think it is a fake
      (which I accept is possible), I will say so, and remove it from my book. I
      am reading Wilson first (after Stevenson & Habermas) because he covers
      all the main evidence and the main objections, and his books are the
      easiest to get. Wilson's last two post-1989 NATURE article
      (http://www.shroud.com/nature.htm) books deal with the radiocarbon date
      problems, and I have since read a *1986* article "Radiocarbon
      Measurement and the Age of the Turin Shroud: Possibilities and
      Uncertainties" (http://www.shroud.com/meacham.htm) by archaeologist
      William Meacham on the problems of radiocarbon dating the shroud (see
      long tagline quote). I am pleased to see that some of the problems I
      thought of that could cause the shroud to have a younger radiocarbon date
      are also mentioned by them.]

      SPACE.com Titan's Methane Not Produced by Life, Scientists Say By
      Melissa Eddy Associated Press ... 27 January 2005 .... FRANKFURT,
      Germany (AP) -- Saturn's largest moon contains all the ingredients for life,
      but senior scientists studying data from a European probe ruled out the
      possibility Titan's abundant methane stems from living organisms..... Titan
      has the ingredients for living organisms, including nitrogen, methane and
      water, but not in the right combinations. Far more information is needed to
      glean any insights into activity on young Earth, Atreya said. ... [Note that
      not only must there be "the ingredients for living organisms" but they must
      also be "in the right combinations"!.]

      SPACE.com Pluto Hit By Twin to Create Moon, Study Suggests By
      Robert Roy Britt ... 27 January 2005 ... Pluto might have been hit long ago
      by a virtual twin in a collision that created the ninth planet's moon Charon,
      according to a new computer simulation. The scenario is similar to the
      leading theory for the creation of Earth's Moon, another cosmic crack-up
      that involved a Mars-sized object slamming into our own planet. .... That
      similarity doesn't mean our Moon and Charon formed in the same way ...
      The new simulation ... was generated by Robin Canup .... In 2001, Canup
      produced a computer model that helped solidify the impact theory for the
      creation of Earth's Moon, an idea that dates back to the 1970s and is now
      widely accepted as the most probable. ... [It will be interesting if Charon
      was formed by a collision, but its larger relative size may mean this is

      http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/4207351.stm BBC ... 26 January, 2005
      ... Chimps have 'sense of fair play' A sense of fairness may have deep
      evolutionary roots Chimpanzees display a similar sense of fairness to
      humans, one which is shaped by social relationships, experts claim. They
      found that, like humans, chimps react to unfairness in various ways
      depending on their social situation. ... [Is this any different that other social
      mammals, e.g. dogs?]

      Livescience Evidence May Back Human Sacrifice Claims By Mark
      Stevenson Associated Press ... 23 January 2005 ... MEXICO CITY (AP) --
      It has long been a matter of contention: Was the Aztec and Mayan practice
      of human sacrifice as widespread and horrifying as the history books say?
      Or did the Spanish conquerors overstate it to make the Indians look
      primitive? In recent years archaeologists have been uncovering mounting
      physical evidence that corroborates the Spanish accounts in substance, if
      not number. Using high-tech forensic tools, archaeologists are proving that
      pre-Hispanic sacrifices often involved children and a broad array of
      intentionally brutal killing methods.... [This might be borne in mind, when
      considering the tendency of paganism.]

      Los Angeles Times January 21, 2005 ... By Thomas H. Maugh II, ...
      Global warming caused by widespread volcanic eruptions was most likely
      the cause of the largest extinction event in history, an epic disaster 250
      million years ago in which 90% of marine life and 70% of species living
      on land died off, two teams of researchers reported Thursday. Sulfur
      spewed out by volcanoes in the so-called Siberian Traps depleted oxygen
      in the air while creating powerful greenhouse gases that trapped sunlight
      and raised the Earth's temperature sharply, producing the event known as
      the "Great Dying." ... [This was the Permian-Triassic mass extinction.]


      "IN 1986, two years before the Shroud radiocarbon dating, the Hong
      Kong-based archaeologist Bill Meacham wrote that among both scientists
      and laymen `there appears to be an unhealthy consensus approaching the
      level of dogma ... that C14 will settle the issue once and for all time.' He
      went on: `This attitude sharply contradicts the general perspective of field
      archaeologists and geologists, who view possible contamination as a very
      serious problem in interpreting the results of radiocarbon measurement.
      [Meacham W., "On Carbon Dating the Turin shroud," Shroud Spectrum.
      International, June 1986, pp. 15-25. http://www.shroud.com/meacham.htm%5d
      Yet when on 13 October 1988 the scientists who radiocarbon dated the
      Shroud announced their 1260-1390 result, to the world at large it was as
      all previous research on the subject, however scientific and well founded,
      had immediately to be swept aside as of no consequence. ...And I freely
      admit that on that gloomy October day it certainly felt like clutching at
      straws. For the Shroud's radiocarbon date to have been even four or five
      centuries astray from the decade of Jesus' crucifixion might not :have been
      too disturbing. Discrepancies of this proportion are not uncommon in the
      general run of archaeological work, and such a date would at least have
      supported the view of the Shroud as significantly older than the 1350s. But
      1260-1390 was unthinkable. As a Shroud researcher for nearly a quarter of
      a century, it violated everything that I thought I knew about the cloth. As
      an historian, it was also totally at variance with my understanding of the
      Middle Ages and of what people of that time and later were capable of
      technically and artistically. The result simply did not make sense. ... That
      high personal respect for the science upon which the dating result had been
      based was very much my difficulty also. Invented in the 1940s by Chicago
      physicist Willard F Libby, radiocarbon dating is founded on the principle
      that all living things, while they are alive, take in the very mildly
      radioactive isotope carbon 14 which `decays' at a steady rate on death,
      relative to the stable carbon 12. Libby's achievement was to develop a
      form of Geiger counter to measure this `decay' in samples of ancient
      organic material, whether the skin and bones of a body or the flax of linen
      fabric, and thereby read when the original living organism had died, rather
      in the manner of reading an atomic clock. Although the need for certain
      adjustments of this clock became evident when datings of ancient wood
      samples were checked against tree-ring dating, these re-calibrations have
      long been routine for every test conducted. Further, the last two decades
      have seen the invention and development of the accelerator mass
      spectrometry (AMS) version of radiocarbon dating, which can date
      samples hundredths of the size originally needed by the Libby method; in
      the case of linen cloth the size was reduced from pocket handkerchief to
      fingernail. This, therefore, made it the ideal choice for the Shroud. As a
      result of its minimally destructive properties AMS has steadily been taking
      over from its older counterpart, and radiocarbon dating in general has
      become a thoroughly well-established technology called upon whenever
      archaeologists around the world seek hard dates for ancient materials that
      they have unearthed. Indeed, such was my personal confidence in the
      technique that as long ago as the late 1970s, in my first book on the
      Shroud, I unequivocally advocated the AMS version of radiocarbon
      dating, which was then just emerging, for the Shroud. At around this same
      time I also struck up an amicable acquaintance with some of the leading
      scientists in the field. ... So, when I learnt of their findings, blithely to
      reject them out of hand because they conflicted with my long-held
      understanding of the Shroud's date was simply not an option. ... Mindful,
      though, of Bill Meacham's words describing contamination as : `a very
      serious problem in interpreting the results of radiocarbon measurement', I
      did begin to look out for examples of radiocarbon-dating anomalies in the
      case of other objects. And to my genuine surprise, these proved rather
      more frequent than I had expected, and often very difficult for the
      radiocarbon-dating scientists to explain away. For instance, a classic
      example, which arose even before the Shroud dating, concerned Lindow
      Man, an ancient British human sacrifice victim whose remarkably
      preserved body was found in 1984 ...From samples taken from Lindow
      Man's tissues, and also from the peat immediately surrounding him, Dr
      Bob Otlet's highly experienced Harwell laboratory consistently dated him
      to c. AD 500. Professor Hall's Oxford laboratory, on the other hand,
      consistently dated his tissues to c. AD 100, and Dr Michael Tite's British
      Museum laboratory dated him to c. 300 BC. Despite each laboratory
      claiming that its findings were accurate to within a hundred years or so,
      even after they swapped samples with each other and cross-checked, each
      stuck to its own guns, insisting that it was right and the others wrong. As
      the journal Current Archaeology commented at the time: `The
      archaeological world waits with bated breath to see how this problem is
      resolved.' [Current Archaeology, August, 1986] Yet the plain fact is that in
      all the years since, the problem never has been resolved. A similar case,
      this time particularly pertinent to the suitability of linen for radiocarbon
      dating, concerns the Manchester Museum's Egyptian mummy number
      1770, that of a girl in her early teens. Because 1770's provenance and
      dating were largely unknown to the Museum's curators, and her condition
      was relatively poor, she was chosen in the late 1970s as an ideal candidate
      for a scientific examination that was intended to be the most exhaustive
      ever carried out on an Egyptian mummy. As part of this exercise, in the
      early 1980s Manchester's head of Egyptology, Dr Rosalie David, took
      samples from 1770's body tissues and linen bandages and submitted them
      to Dr Michael Tite's British Museum radiocarbon-dating laboratory. When
      the result came back, to everyone's astonishment it showed that her linen
      wrappings were apparently eight hundred to a thousand years younger than
      her body' This gave rise essentially to two alternative explanations. Either
      mummy 1770 (so far as anyone is aware, a girl of no special status), was
      specially rewrapped in fresh bandages some time up to a thousand years
      after she was first mummified, or there was something about her linen
      bandages that skewed the radiocarbon-dating reading. And even the
      scientifically cautious Dr David has never been particularly inclined
      towards the former view. Yet, despite a number of such examples, and
      also an inter-comparison trial of thirty-eight radiocarbon laboratories that
      was conducted by Britain's Science and Engineering Council and showed
      the laboratories to be considerably less accurate than they claimed, any
      serious, well-founded explanation of how such errors might occur, in the
      case either of the Shroud, or of any other artefact, has taken a long time to
      emerge. ... A potentially much more viable explanation has been pioneered
      by Mexican-born Dr Leoncio Garza-Valdes of San Antonio, Texas .... At a
      Shroud conference in Rome in 1993 he presented a paper suggesting that a
      natural, plastic-like biofilm, comprising millions of micro-organisms, had
      accumulated on the Shroud's surface, much in the manner of the build-up
      of a coral reef' Although little studied except by professional
      microbiologists, such biofilms unquestionably exist very ` widely on
      innumerable surfaces in nature, including our skins, our intestines and
      even inanimate rock in the form of the so-called `desert varnish' that
      covers weathered boulders. Garza-Valdes' startling suggestion was : that,
      because many of the micro-organisms comprising the Shroud's biofilm
      remain alive, their mass could easily have skewed the radiocarbon dating,
      thereby giving a much too recent reading. Unlikely though such a
      hypothesis might sound, Garza-Valdes had good reason for advocating it.
      As a collector of ancient Mayan jades, he had discovered a very similar
      biofilm on one specimen in his collection, the Itzamna Tun, which had
      been used in Mayan blood-letting rituals. When scrapings of the blood
      were sent for radiocarbon dating, the laboratories' pre-treatment or
      cleaning procedures should have removed any contamination, but, as
      Garza-Valdes discovered, the living bacteria coating these and the rest of
      the jade successfully resisted the solvents, as a result of which they caused
      the Itzamna Tun to be radiocarbon dated as some seven centuries younger
      than its true age as reliably known from its : artistic style. Inevitably, such
      a finding led him to consider its possible relevance to the Shroud carbon
      dating. Accordingly in April 1993 he visited Turin, where he met up with
      Professor Giovanni Riggi, the microanalyst who had been responsible for
      cutting off the sliver of the Shroud for carbon dating in 1988. As Garza-
      Valdes discovered, Riggi had personally retained some excess fragments
      which he had trimmed off from the sample of the Shroud that was divided
      between the radiocarbon-dating laboratories. And, when he viewed these
      fragments under the microscope, he immediately found himself staring at
      much the same biofilm as he had observed on the Itzamna Tun blood,
      except in this instance significantly thicker. As he was keenly aware, if
      such a film had not been removed prior to the radiocarbon dating process,
      then it might easily have skewed the Shroud's dating, exactly as had
      happened with his Mayan jade. Riggi gave him some Shroud fragments to
      take back to the United States, and he accordingly tried on them the very
      same chemical cleaning procedures that the official Nature scientific report
      on the Shroud dating described the radiocarbon-dating laboratories as
      having used on their Shroud samples. As he discovered, even when the
      cleaning solvents were used at extra strength, they hardly affected the
      contaminating `plastic' biofilm, instead doing rather more damage to the
      linen itself. And, although the radiocarbon-dating laboratories have
      calculated that for the Shroud's date to have been skewed by thirteen
      centuries a contamination layer amounting to an astonishing 60 per cent of
      the entire sample is needed, Garza-Valdes regards this sort of proportion
      as perfectly feasible. For it is a matter of firm record that the sliver of
      Shroud that was taken for the 1988 radiocarbon dating was snipped from
      its top left-hand corner, one of the two corners by which it was
      traditionally held up for exposition over the centuries. In countless
      engravings of Shroud expositions back through history, bishop after
      bishop can be seen clutching the Shroud at this very point. Now, as
      microbiologists are fond of demonstrating, microbes from even the
      cleanest hand will grow impressive colonies in an agar dish in a matter of
      days. So, if there is any point on the Shroud on which the maximum
      amount of microbiological contamination could be expected to have
      accumulated, it would have to have to have been these corners." (Wilson I.
      & Schwortz B., "The Turin Shroud: The Illustrated Evidence," Michael
      O'Mara Books Limited: London, 2000, pp.95-100)
      Stephen E. Jones, BSc (Biol) http://members.iinet.net.au/~sejones
      Moderator: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/CreationEvolutionDesign
      & http://groups.yahoo.com/group/ProblemsOfEvolution/ Book: "Problems
      of Evolution" http://members.iinet.net.au/~sejones/PoE/PoE00ToC.html
      & http://members.iinet.net.au/~sejones/pe00cont.html
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