Sharon Hill reports on a bizarre new “theory” from some Italian researchers that the Shroud of Turin may be real because there might have been an earthquake and that earthquake might have released neutrons and those neutrons might have been capable of creating such imprints. The Telegraph has the details:
The Turin Shroud may not be a medieval forgery after all, after scientists discovered it could date from the time of Christ…
However a new study claims than an earthquake in Jerusalem in 33AD may have not only created the image but may also have skewed the dating results.
The Italian team believes the powerful magnitude 8.2 earthquake would have been strong enough to release neutron particles from crushed rock.
This flood of neutrons may have imprinted an X-ray-like image onto the linen burial cloth, say the researches.
In addition, the radiation emissions would have increased the level of carbon-14 isotopes in the Shroud, which would make it appear younger.
“We believe it is possible that neutron emissions by earthquakes could have induced the image formation on the Shroud’s linen fibres, through thermal neutron capture on nitrogen nuclei, and could also have caused a wrong radiocarbon dating,” said Professor Alberto Carpinteri, from the Politecnico di Torino.
Other scientists have previously suggested that neutron radiation may have been responsible for the ghostly image of a crucified man with his arms crossed.
However, no plausible explanation has been offered for the source of the radiation.
Now Carpinteri’s team have hypothesized that high-frequency pressure waves generated in the Earth’s crust during earthquakes are the source of such neutron emissions.
The scientists base the idea on research into piezonuclear fission reactions which occur when brittle rock is crushed under enormous pressure.
Neutron radiation is usually generated by nuclear fusion or fission, and may be produced by nuclear reactors or particle accelerators.
During the process, neutron particles are released from atoms.
A powerful earthquake could achieve the same effect, generating neutron radiation from stresses in the Earth, it is claimed.
Hill’s response is spot on:
That explanation is way too incredible and convenient. Yes, it may be that an earthquake actually happened. But the relation to Jesus is tenuous, since Jesus’ history is tenuous. The study claims a big earthquake could have happened which could have released neutron emissions that could have been at play in the image and dating. Sorry, too many “coulds”, with no evidence. We’ve had plenty of big earthquakes. Where is the precedence for neutron emissions or imprints on cloth? There isn’t any. They are piling “miracles” upon “miracles”.
Richard Carrier is literally laughing out loud at the whole thing. In fact, the article is so absurd that he thinks it’s a joke being pulled off by the authors. He points out that not one of the many historians working in the area whose works we have today ever bothered to mention this massive earthquake that the authors claim did such extraordinary damage and notes a few other howlers as well:
They pause to tell us, in this peer reviewed, science journal article (I swear I’m not making this up), that this earthquake that in fact no one documented and Matthew made up “also would have involved to a total cost for the reconstruction that, if the current dollar amount of damages were listed, it would be between 1.0 and 5.0 million dollars.” WTF? Okay, pause to laugh before continuing.
It gets worse. They say their sources (in fact the earthquake catalogs, per above) report “the Old Jerusalem earthquake is classified as an average devastating seismic event that…also destroyed the City of Nisaea [they mean Nicea], the port of Megara, located at west of the Isthmus of Corinth.” Holy mother puss buckets. Can that line really have ever been written by someone not kidding? Where do I begin. Nicea is in Turkey. Hundreds of miles east of Corinth (in fact entirely on the opposite side of Greece from Corinth, and across an entire sea, which the humans call the Aegean), and Megara (which, needless to add, is not Nicea nor even on the same continent as Nicea) is not west of Corinth (or the Isthmus thereof), but east of it. And being in Greece, this is still nowhere near Jerusalem. And they claim this earthquake that wreaked havoc in Jerusalem also destroyed Nicea and (?) Megara in 33 AD.
So, what they are claiming is an earthquake, which toppled cities across basically the entirety of the Eastern Roman Empire (simultaneously devastating the entire regions of Palestine, Turkey, and Greece), that no one in antiquity ever noticed or was in any way affected by. I am nearly persuaded these authors cannot have meant to have said this in anything but grand jest.
This thing pass peer review? Really?