(P.3) Fomenko’s Carbon Dating, Ch. 1.15.2, Vol. 1, History: Fiction or Science?

This article contains my analysis of Fomenko’s History: Fiction or Science?, Volume 1, Chapter 1, Part 15.2. Chapter 1.15 is titled “ARE RADIOCARBON DATINGS TO BE TRUSTED?”, and part 1.15.2 is titled “The dating of the Shroud of Turin”.

Total: 37
Supported: 19
Contradicted: 6
Undetermined: 12

Total Determined: 25/37 (67.56%)
Supported: 19/25 (76%)
Contradicted: 6/25 (24%)

As of right now, Fomenko’s grade on this part is 76% (19/25), which is a C+.[10]

Fomenko’s overall grade is shown on the overview article: Examining Fomenko’s New Chronology.

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Fomenko’s Citations

# [46] Balandin R.K. “Miracle or scientific mystery? Science and religion about the Turin shroud.” – Moscow, publishing house “Knowledge”, 1989. Series “Question mark”, 1’89. New in life, science, technology.

# [46] Баландин Р.К. “Чудо или научная загадка? Наука и религия о Туринской плащанице”. – Москва, изд-во “Знание”, 1989. Серия “Знак вопроса”, 1’89. Новое в жизни, науке, технике.

# [358] Kaleda Gleb. Archpriest, Professor Gleb Kaleda. “The Shroud of Our Lord Jesus Christ. To the 100th Anniversary of the Appearance of the Great Shrine to the World 1898-1998”. 4th edition. – Moscow, publishing house Zakatievsky Monastery, 1998.

# [717] “Radiocarbon”. Digest of articles. – Vilnius, 1971.

# [718] “Radiocarbon dating is imprecise.” – Journal “Nature”, 1990, No.3, p.117. (New Scientist. 1989. Vol. 123, No.1684. P.26.)

# [769] Sinelnikov Vyacheslav (priest V. Sinelnikov). “Shroud of Turin at the Dawn of a New Era”. – Moscow, publication of the male Sretensky monastery, 2000.

# [1038] Bloss Christian, Niemitz Hans-Ulrich. << C14-Crash. (Das Ende der Illusion mit Radiokarbonmethode und Dendrochronologie datieren zu ko” nnen) >>. – Mantis Verlag, Gra “felfing, 1997.

# [1055] Buck CE, Gavanagh WG, Litton CD ” Bayesian Approach to Interpreting Archaeological Data “. Series: Statistics in Practice. – John Wiley & Sons, 1996.

# [1491] << Zeitenspru “nge”. Interdisziplina “res Bulletin. Sonderdruck. September 1996. Thema “Absolutdatierung”. – Mantis Verlag, Germany.

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The Examination

Claim 1:

“The reports of the radiocarbon dating of one of the most famous Christian holy objects – the Shroud of Turin … had caused a great resonance in 1988.”

Claim 1 is supported.[3]

Claim 2:

“According to the traditional version, this piece of cloth bears the image of the body of crucified Christ and is dated to the I century a.d., allegedly being about two thousand years old.”

Claim 2 is supported.[3]

Claim 3:

“However, radiocarbon datings have given a different dating: roughly XI-XIII century a.d.”

Claim 3 is contradicted. The results given by the labs claimed 1260-1390, which is 13th-14th centuries, not 11th-13th. There were no results in the study that dated to the 11th-13th centuries. Sample 2 dated to the 11th-12th centuries but Sample 2 was not of the Shroud, it was a linen sample from an unrelated tomb that had been dated to the 11th-12th centuries prior to the carbon testing. Sample 4 dated to the late 13th century but that also was not from the Shroud, it was dated around 1290-1310 prior to the testing.[3]

Claim 4:

“The radiocarbon analysis has been conducted in three laboratories – in Oxford University, Arizona University, and the Swiss Technological Institute in Zurich ([769], page 80).”

Claim 4 is supported.[3]

Claim 5:

“A scientific work specially dedicated to the radiocarbon dating of the Shroud of Turin claims the linen
fabric that the shroud is made of to have been produced between 1050 and 1350 a.d.([1055], page 141).”

Claim 5 is undetermined. The citation does appear to be correct but I have only seen the table of contents, not the information on the page number cited.

Claim 6:

“The authors cite the results of the Shroud’s radiocarbon analysis performed in the laboratory of the
Oxford University ([1055], page 140).”

Claim 6 is undetermined.

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Claim 7:

“The laboratories of Arizona and Zurich have given more recent datings, 1304 and 1274 (with the error rates of 31 and 27 years) respectively ([769], page 82).”

Claim 7 is contradicted.[3] I haven’t reviewed Fomenko’s citation but if Fomenko reported their information accurately, their info is still contradicted. Those numbers don’t appear anywhere in the results from what I can tell.

Claim 8:

“These results have proved shocking for many.”

Claim 8 is supported.

Claim 9:

““In September 1988… a report appeared telling of the analysis and the fact that it gave a certain dating of the shroud’s fabric which was a thousand years more recent than the alleged date of Christ’s death… even if the Shroud is dated as a XI century artefact…” ([46], page 25). The author ceases the discussion of the dating after this, and begins to ponder the veracity of Christ’s image as seen on the Shroud.”

Claim 9 is supported.[7]

Claim 10:

“One arrives to the following conclusions:
1) Either the Shroud of Turin is a forgery;
2) the radiocarbon datings can contain errors of
several centuries or even millennia;
3) or the Shroud of Turin is original, but dated to
the XI-XIII century a.d. If this be the case, it is natural to ask about the century that Christ’s lifetime
falls on. Could it really have been the XI?”

Claim 10 is contradicted. There are many more options than the 3 above. For example, a newer carbon dating test placed the Shroud between 300 BCE and 400 CE.

Claim 11:

“The radiocarbon dating of the Shroud of Turin to the XI-XIII century a.d. made the historians rather worried, and provoked a series of attempts to refute the result.”

Claim 11 is supported.

Claim 12:

“A. Agureyev, the ITAR-TASS correspondent, had made a report from New York in 1998 that can be found printed in the Gudok newspaper dated 4 April 1998.”

Claim 12 is undetermined.

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Claim 13:

“This report stated that the radiocarbon dating of the shroud “contradicts the Biblical tradition. However, according to the scientists of the University of Texas, their Italian colleagues should not have used the radiocarbon analysis system”.”

Claim 13 is undetermined.

Claim 14:

“The Shroud could allegedly “fall prey to a fungus” in the XI-XIII century, that may have affected the radiocarbon dating.”

Claim 14 is supported.[6]

Claim 15:

“However, the scientists have no opportunity of conducting further research, since the Catholic church refused to provide any more specimens, and even insisted on the return of all of the ones that were at scientists’ disposal” (same source).”

Claim 15 is undetermined.

Claim 16:

“Since the results of the radiocarbon dating of the Shroud gave results that contradicted the Scaligerian dating of the life of Jesus Christ, the radiocarbon method had to be exposed to public attention.”

Claim 16 is supported.

Claim 17:

“The protection of the Scaligerian dating of Christ’s life had been provided by the publication of new facts important enough to considerably aggravate the dubiety of the radiocarbon method in what concerns its applicability to historical chronology, already great enough.”

Claim 17 is supported.

Claim 18:

“Let us quote some of the critical materials belonging to the proponents of the Scaligerian chronology ([358]). The publication belongs to Rev. Gleb Kaleda, a prominent geologist, Professor, and Doctor of Sciences.”

Claim 18 is supported. The citation is correct.

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Claim 19:

“Also see [717] for critical material.”

Claim 19 is supported. Radiocarbon is one of the main journals for information about carbon dating.

Claim 20:

““There are several other factors, either local or planetary, that affect the concentration of C-14 in the atmosphere, hydrosphere, and organic matter, thus complicating and limiting the use of the radiocarbon method in chronology.
a) Natural or artificial radiation. Neutrons released in nuclear and thermonuclear reactions, as well as cosmic rays, turn N-14 into C-14. The atmosphere content of C-14 had doubled in the period between 1956 and August 1963. A drastic increase in C-14 content began after the thermonuclear explosions in 1962.

d) The local effect of volcanic gases on C-14 content had been described by L. D. Sulerzhitsky and V. V. Cherdantsev ([717]).
In a number of cases radiochronological age calculations give results that are clearly absurd and contradict the entirety of accumulated geological and palaeontogical data. In such cases “absolute chronological figures” are to be ignored as blatantly erroneous. The discrepancies between geochronological definitions using different isotope methods may reach a factor of 10x. In 1989 the British Science and Technology Council had analyzed the precision of the radiocarbon method (see the 8th issue of the New Scientists magazine for 1989). 38 laboratories from all across the world were involved in the research. All of them received specimens of wood, turf, and carbonate salts whose age had only been known to the organizers of the experiment, and not to actual analysts. Only seven laboratories (of thirty-eight! – A. F.) reported satisfactory results; others proved wrong by factors of 2x, 3x and higher. The comparison of the data received by different researchers that used various analysis methods had shown that the causes of the dating errors were not limited to the imprecision of a specimen’s radioactivity estimation as it had been assumed; apparently, the technology of preparing specimens for analysis had also served as an entropy agent. The diagnostic errata are caused by the calefaction of specimens as well as some methods of preliminary chemical processing. Everything points at the necessity of using the radiocarbon dating method with the utmost caution” ([358], pages 14-16).”

Claim 20 is undetermined.

Claim 21:

“In 1997 the German authors Christian Blöss and Hans-Ulrich Niemitz have published a book titled suggestively enough C-14 Crash ([1038]).”

Claim 21 is supported. Here’s a link to the book: http://www.paf.li/c14crash.pdf

Claim 22:

“They have collected a great body of modern material demonstrating rather convincingly the fact that the radiocarbon method in its current form cannot serve as a valid reason for absolute datings of historical artefacts.”

Claim 22 is supported. I agree with this but I’m open to discussion as to why it’s wrong.

Claim 23:

“More on this can be seen in the bulletin [1491] that contains the following critical publications dated 1991-1995 that are of interest to us:
1) Christian Blöss und Hans-Ulrich Niemitz (1996), Der Selbstbetrug von C14-Methode und Dendrochronologie;
2) Hans-Ulrich Niemitz (1995), Die “magic dates” und “secret procedures” der Dendrochronologie;
3) Herbert Illig (1991), Dendrochronologische Zirkelschüsse.

Claim 23 is undetermined.

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Claim 24:

“As we can see, radiocarbon dating might prove more or less effective in analyzing objects whose age is measured by tens and hundreds of millennia.”

Claim 24 is contradicted. Carbon dating is only applicable to items under about 50-70,000 years old and so I don’t see how it could prove more or less effective for anything beyond that range.

Claim 25:

“The errors of tens and thousands of years naturally inherent to the methods are of minor importance here, although this is far from being obvious.”

Claim 25 is contradicted. Fomenko has spent the last few pages of this book emphasizing how important it is that the errors in carbon dating can amount to thousands of years and here he says that they are of minor importance. This appears to me to be a complete 180.

Claim 26:

“However, the mechanical use of the method for the dating of objects no older than two thousand years, which is the historical epoch that interests us most in what concerns the reconstruction of the true history of documented civilization, appears perfectly impossible without being preceded by extensive and detailed statistical research and calibrations employing specimens of known ages.”

Claim 26 is supported.

Claim 27:

“As far as we know, no such research ever took place, so there are no referential statistics to be had.”

Claim 27 is undetermined. I’m leaning towards contradicted because I think they know that some of this research has taken place. For example, the 3 other samples dated in the study on the Shroud.[3]

Claim 28:

“There is also no knowledge of whether improving the method’s precision is a possibility at all.”

Claim 28 is undetermined.

Claim 29:

“Also see [718].”

Claim 29 is undetermined.

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Claim 30:

“Other physical dating methods do exist; unfortunately, the spectrum of their applicability is considerably more limited than that of the radiocarbon method, and their precision is also insufficient for the historical epochs relevant to our ends.”

Claim 30 is undetermined. What other dating methods is he mentioning?

Claim 31:

“For instance, in the early XX century some scientists proposed to define the ages of buildings by the shrinkage of their foundations or the deformation of columns; however, no steps have been made in this direction due to the impossibility of calibrating this method and estimating the real shrinkage and deformation speed.”

Claim 31 is undetermined.

Claim 32:

“Two more methods have been suggested for dating ceramics: the archaeomagnetic method and the thermoluminescent method.”

Claim 32 is supported.

Claim 33:

“However, they have calibration issues of their own.”

Claim 33 is supported.

Claim 34:

“The archaeological datings offered by these methods for the Eastern Europe, for instance, are limited to the Middle Ages.”

Claim 34 is contradicted. Lian (2013) communicated that the age range for TL is about 500 to 500,000 years old. This includes all of the middle ages and antiquity.[4, p.643] Some say it can even be used to date items from present to 500,000 year ago.[5]

Claim 35:

“One shouldn’t exclude the possibility that an embalmed body had really been wrapped in this linen at some point.”

Claim 35 is supported.

Claim 36:

“Let us remind that the “ancient” Egyptians had the practice of wrapping a body up in several tight layers of cloth saturated with various elixirs.”

Claim 36 is supported.

Claim 37:

“This may have resulted in a “carbon copy” of a body on the fabric of the cloth which was later removed for some reason, and stored with great care.”

Claim 37 is supported.

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References:

[1] – http://chronologia.org/en/seven/1N01-EN-071-092.pdf

[2] – http://chronologia.org/lit_nx.html

[3] – Damon, P. E.; Donahue, D. J.; Gore, B. H.; Hatheway, A. L.; Jull, A. J. T.; Linick, T. W.; Sercel, P. J.; Toolin, L. J.; Bronk, C. R.; Hall, E. T.; Hedges, R. E. M.; Housley, R.; Law, I. A.; Perry, C.; Bonani, G.; Trumbore, S.; Woelfli, W.; Ambers, J. C.; Bowman, S. G. E.; Leese, M. N.; Tite, M. S. (1989). “Radiocarbon dating of the Shroud of Turin”. Nature337 (6208): 611–5. https://escholarship.org/uc/item/6x77r7m1. Accessed 29 Mar. 2021.

[4] – Lian, O. B. (2013). LUMINESCENCE DATING | Thermoluminescence. Encyclopedia of Quaternary Science, 643–652. doi:10.1016/b978-0-444-53643-3.00043-1. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/B9780444536433000431. Accessed 29 Mar. 2021.

[5] – LUMINESCENCE RESEARCH LABORATORY. https://www.gla.ac.uk/research/az/suerc/researchthemes/radiometricsenvironmentalchemistry/luminescence/dating/. Accessed 29 Mar. 2021.

[6] – BBC NEWS, “How did the Turin Shroud get its image?” https://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-33164668. Accessed 29 Mar. 2021.

[7] – https://www.litmir.me/br/?b=162471&p=6. Accessed 29 Mar. 2021.

[8] – Doug Stanglin. “New test dates Shroud of Turin to era of Christ” (30 Mar. 2013). https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2013/03/30/shroud-turin-display/2038295/. Accessed 29 Mar. 2021.

[9] – C.M. Batt, “Where to draw the line? The calibration of archaeomagnetic dates, Physics and Chemistry of the Earth”, Volume 23, Issues 9–10, 1998, Pages 991-995, ISSN 0079-1946, https://doi.org/10.1016/S0079-1946(98)00132-3. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0079194698001323. Accessed 29. Mar. 2021.

[10] – https://achs.edu/grading-scale/. Accessed 29 Mar. 2021.

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