Carbon dating of the shroud of
- Benford made some misleading claims about the 1988 tape of Adler, and she claimed to have had an unlikely telephone conversation with Rossman.Has Rossman similarly been misleading or made unlikely claims in a relevant context? I see no way to deny that Rossman has more credibility.For example: "[John] Heller took me back to the train station that evening [in 1984], and as we sat waiting for my train back to New York City, he told me in strictest confidence about a secret C-14 run that had already been made on a thread from the Shroud. Given the unofficial nature of the test, there would have been a lot of potential for ambiguities, changes in plans, and the gradual learning of details over time, for example. figure originate as a rough approximation, a good rounded figure to cite? Evans and Company, 2005], approximate Kindle location 5093; Robert Wilcox, The Truth About The Shroud Of Turin [Washington, DC: Regnery, 2010], approximate Kindle location 1744; Mark Oxley, The Challenge Of The Shroud [England: Author House, 2010], approximate Kindle location 4274). Here are some of the reasons why: - I made a couple of attempts to get a copy of the tape in which Adler allegedly identifies Rossman.He said it had been done by the Livermore Laboratory in California, and the thread was cut into two segments. There may have been some back-and-forth over the years among the parties involved, with misconceptions persisting in one person's mind while they were corrected in another person's thinking. Did Case see Adler commenting on the issue in some other context? I also tried to get somebody who has the tape to play it for me over the phone. However, I did discuss the tape with two people who had heard it.- Secondly, it's unlikely that he'd say that he didn't want to discuss the matter any further just after confessing.
There seems to be widespread agreement, among the accounts circulating, that this dating test on the Shroud took place in the early 1980s (my sense is that the large majority say 1982) in California, involving one thread from the Shroud near the area of the 1988 carbon dating, producing two dates differing by several centuries for each end of the thread, one date being close to the time of Jesus and one several centuries later. As William Meacham mentioned in an email to me, it's "Not unusual for someone to send a sample to a colleague at another university or facility to analyze, if the person with the sample doesn't have the equipment for the desired test." There's also the issue of how much the people who did the testing told the people who submitted the sample, as well as when they provided the information. I've seen the Rossman allegation repeated in a few books (Frederick Zugibe, The Crucifixion Of Jesus [New York, New York: M.For an illustration of how ambiguous the differences in the accounts can be, see Thomas Case's 1994 interview with Heller and Adler (The Shroud Of Turin And The C-14 Dating Fiasco [Cincinnati, Ohio: White Horse Press, 1998], 32-3, 74-5). It seems, then, that Adler identified the individual as Jerry Wasserman.Two times, Case asks questions based on the assumption that the two ends of the thread dated to 200 A. As we'll see below, there's somebody who comes much closer to meeting Adler's description than Rossman does, so there's no need to speculate that Rossman was being called Jerry, that Adler mispronounced Rossman's last name, etc.Many people could cover these topics better than I can. One account will associate the test with the University of California, whereas another will associate it with Caltech. There are some significant similarities among the accounts, but accompanied by some significant differences. There probably are some eyewitnesses and/or other individuals who could come forward with significant information on these matters. In an email to me, William Meacham said, "Heller told me the test was done by the Livermore lab, but he didn't mention any person's name.Other people are more knowledgeable of the background issues, are in a better position to get more information, and so forth. He also said that starch had been identified on the thread. We need to be careful in judging whether a difference is a contradiction and, if it is one, how significant that contradiction is. He did say however that there was nothing written down and it would be denied by the people who did the test." I've come across three names of scientists allegedly involved in carrying out the test, and I want to address each.
For these and other reasons, I think it's very likely that what Benford reported about Rossman is incorrect, and I think it's likely that Rossman wasn't involved in the 1982 test.