The main piece of evidence against its authenticity—and in the end, the only piece—is the carbon-14 test performed some years ago that placed the cloth’s age around 1300 AD. All deniers and skeptics hang their hat on this. But as you probably know, there have been many legitimate disputes concerning these findings, not the least of which is the considerable amount of contamination this artifact has suffered over the centuries. An article so contaminated would never be accepted without question as a reliable source of carbon-14 dating under normal circumstances. In fact, the standard procedure in archaeology is that, given an archaeological site where the dating of the artifacts can be firmly established by depth of the find, style of pottery, etc., but a carbon-14 test shows a significant difference to that dating, then the carbon-14 results are thrown out as flawed in favor of the more reliable physical evidence of the artifacts themselves. This is precisely the case we find in the archaeological ‘site’ known as the Shroud of Turin, where all the physical artifacts point to an early firstmillennium dating. Unfortunately, the stakes are so high for those seeking to discredit this venerated relic that such standard criteria and procedures in the field of archaeology are ignored for the sake of agenda. And so the debate continues.
It’s important to keep in mind that one has to be skeptical of the skeptics and deniers too. Say we have an occurrence where a truck veered off a mountain road and crashed, killing its driver. We don’t really know what happened—the driver could have tried to avoid an animal, fell asleep or suffered a heart attack. Now let’s say a skeptic argues that the driver committed suicide. The skeptic can perfectly duplicate the accident in every detail by purposely steering the truck off the edge of the road. Since the accident can be precisely ‘faked’ in this way, then the conclusion must be that it was a suicide. Just because an observation can be intentionally reproduced does not in itself discredit the observation. But the denier will certainly try to convince you that it’s so.