With the 1988 carbon dating in shambles, the last convincing scientific argument that the shroud was a fake had gone up in smoke. This didn’t mean that the shroud was real. That is yet to be determined. But with the collapse of the last bit of what was thought to be a scientifically sustainable argument, a sense a palpable frustration seemed to be emerging among better informed shroud skeptics. This is perhaps no more evident than in Nickell’s 2007 book, Relics of the Christ:
Actually, their numerous criticisms of the carbon dating are little more than sour grapes . . . As we have seen, however, there is corroborative evidence that supports the radiocarbon date of 1260 to 1390. This includes the lack of any history before the 1350s. (2)
There we go again: lack of any history before the 1350s. But it gets more interesting.
Joe Nickell is the world’s single most unceasing critic of the shroud’s authenticity. He is an eloquent writer and during his long career as a book author and columnist for the Skeptical Inquirer he has done an admirable job of debunking all manner of dubious artifacts, hoaxes and outlandish beliefs in such things as the Loch Ness Monster. We get an interesting picture of Nickell, who describes himself as a paranormal investigator, from an article entitled, “An Interview with Joe Nickell.” It was written by Eric Krieg of the Philadelphia Association for Critical Thinking. “Joe impressed on me the difference between being a scientist and an investigator,” Krieg wrote. “Joe seems to have no significant credentials . . . Joe remarks that a scientist tends to approach an investigation from the narrow view of his own specialty – where as a ‘jack of all trades’ would come up with more avenues of investigation.”