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  • Is the Shroud real? Probably.

    The Shroud of Turin may be the real burial cloth of Jesus. The carbon dating, once seemingly proving it was a medieval fake, is now widely thought of as suspect and meaningless. Even the famous Atheist Richard Dawkins admits it is controversial. Christopher Ramsey, the director of the Oxford Radiocarbon Laboratory, thinks more testing is needed. So do many other scientists and archeologists. This is because there are significant scientific and non-religious reasons to doubt the validity of the tests. Chemical analysis, all nicely peer-reviewed in scientific journals and subsequently confirmed by numerous chemists, shows that samples tested are chemically unlike the whole cloth. It was probably a mixture of older threads and newer threads woven into the cloth as part of a medieval repair. Recent robust statistical studies add weight to this theory. Philip Ball, the former physical science editor for Nature when the carbon dating results were published, recently wrote: “It’s fair to say that, despite the seemingly definitive tests in 1988, the status of the Shroud of Turin is murkier than ever.” If we wish to be scientific we must admit we do not know how old the cloth is. But if the newer thread is about half of what was tested – and some evidence suggests that – it is possible that the cloth is from the time of Christ.

    No one has a good idea how front and back images of a crucified man came to be on the cloth. Yes, it is possible to create images that look similar. But no one has created images that match the chemistry, peculiar superficiality and profoundly mysterious three-dimensional information content of the images on the Shroud. Again, this is all published in peer-reviewed scientific journals.

    We simply do not have enough reliable information to arrive at a scientifically rigorous conclusion. Years ago, as a skeptic of the Shroud, I came to realize that while I might believe it was a fake, I could not know so from the facts. Now, as someone who believes it is the real burial shroud of Jesus of Nazareth, I similarly realize that a leap of faith over unanswered questions is essential.

Taking Ockham’s Razor to Ockham’s Razor

Posted by Dan on 2014

Originally posted on Shroud of Turin Blog:

imageThere is a whole lot of wisdom in a brief paper by Massimo Pigliucci over at Rationally Speaking:

. . . Philosophers often refer to this as the principle of economy, while scientists tend to call it parsimony. Skeptics invoke it every time they wish to dismiss out of hand claims of unusual phenomena (after all, to invoke the “unusual” is by definition unparsimonious, so there).

. . . The obvious question to ask about Ockham’s razor is: why? On what basis are we justified to think that, as a matter of general practice, the simplest hypothesis is the most likely one to be true? Setting aside the surprisingly difficult task of operationally defining “simpler” in the context of scientific hypotheses (it can be done, but only in certain domains, and it ain’t straightforward), there doesn’t seem to be any particular logical or metaphysical reason to believe that…

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Scientific truth is a pathway to God

Posted by Dan on 2014

Originally posted on Shroud of Turin Blog:

As the Huffington Post describes him:

imageBr. Guy Consolmagno SJ is an astronomer at the Vatican Observatory and president of the Vatican Observatory Foundation. A native of Detroit, Michigan, he has two degrees in planetary sciences from MIT and a doctorate from the University of Arizona. He is a past president of the IAU Commission 16 (Moons and Planets) and past chair of the American Astronomical Society Division for Planetary Sciences (AAS/DPS). Along with more than 200 scientific works, he is the author of six popular astronomy books (most notably Turn Left at Orion, with Dan Davis, and Would You Baptize an Extraterrestrial? with Paul Mueller) and the winner of the 2014 Carl Sagan Medal for Public Outreach from the AAS/DPS.

He has put together an interesting posting for the HuffPo blog:Science, Religion and the Assumptions We Make. He concludes (but do read it from the top)

I…

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Barrie Schwortz Dismisses Freeman’s Claims: It was the Science

Posted by Dan on 2014

Originally posted on Shroud of Turin Blog:

It took nearly 17 years after our direct examination of the cloth before the
scientific evidence actually convinced me of the shroud’s authenticity.

– Barrie Schwortz

imageAs David V. Barrett reports today in the Catholic Herald, an Expert dismisses historian’s claim that Turin Shroud was made for medieval ritual:

. . . Schwortz, an expert in imaging and the official documenting photographer of STURP, dismisses Mr Freeman’s claims.

He told the Catholic Herald: “I have seen copies of the shroud (commissioned by the Savoy and other royal families) made by artists allowed to view the actual cloth that look very little like the shroud. It is not an easy image to reproduce. I have examined, studied and lectured on the shroud for nearly 38 years yet would have great difficulty in describing the image on the cloth in writing. So variations in early written descriptions or artistic copies…

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Those Dark Specks in the Mark Evan’s Photographs

Posted by Dan on 2014

Originally posted on Shroud of Turin Blog:

that unforgivable hoovering

Colin Berry, with his non-stop observant and inquisitive mind:

Am I not correct in thinking that there are dark specks associated with the tan-coloured areas, which are unlikely to be artefactual (chance deposits of dust etc) given they are absent for all intents and purposes in the less-strongly coloured non-image areas?
Flour particles, toasted?

(click on picture to see enlarged version)

A working hypothesis:

Working hypothesis. There are (or were, before the 2002 conservation measures, including that unforgivable hoovering) a scattering of dark-coloured particles on the TS concentrated mainly in the image-bearing regions, with far fewer in non-image regions.

An analysis of those particles would show them to be a substance that has been rendered yellow or brown by thermal energy (“heat” in common parlance). A possible candidate might be white flour particles – an intentional additive – one that acquired colour via a…

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An Exquisite Response as an Exquisite Response

Posted by Dan on 2014

Originally posted on Shroud of Turin Blog:

The notion that the TS image was painted is frankly a non-starter,
on a whole number of grounds.

Please direct comments to History vs. Science: The Freeman Beat Goes On

Charles Freeman having written:

imageHaving read manuals such as the fifteenth century Cennino Cennini’s on preparing linen for painting and learning that you seal the cloth on the outer fibrils only with a knife, a highly skilled operation and then reading the STURP report that the images on the Shroud were on the outer fibrils only, I knew I had my evidence for painting. STURP did not have any expert on medieval painting on their team nor did they consult any so one can hardly take their report seriously. However, my main evidence for painting comes from the early descriptions an depictions of the Shroud- it may be that the endless handling and exposing of the Shroud ended up with…

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A Significant Article by Charles Freeman in History Today

Posted by Dan on 2014

Originally posted on Shroud of Turin Blog:

Charles is a regular and frequent participant in this blog. He has written, The Origins of the Shroud of Turin being published in History Today (Volume: 64 Issue: 11 2014)

imageCharles Freeman, surprised by the lack of research into one of the great unsolved mysteries, reveals for the first time his groundbreaking examination into the creation of the venerated object.

Midpoint:

When one sees the variety of depictions of the Shroud in the 16th and 17th centuries it is hard to see any other explanation for their vividness than that they were painted on the linen. . . . A study of the depictions of expositions in 1842 and 1868 suggests that serious deterioration of the images set in during the 19th century: it is symbolised by the replacement of the enormous crowds originally able to see the images from afar by the single-file observers of today’s framed Shroud within…

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Inspired by Colin Berry’s Experiments with Lemons . . .

Posted by Dan on 2014

Originally posted on Shroud of Turin Blog:

I decided to try some other fruits and vegetables. But seriously, I remember how pleased Ray Rogers would get when other scientists didn’t just speculate but did actual experiments which might eventually lead to an understanding of how the image was produced. Ray did so himself, as we know. I’m glad, once again, to see Colin doing likewise.

The following image is best seen at about five feet or more unless you want to see the fruits and vegetables up close. (Sorry, I couldn’t resist).

image

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Mario Latendresse’s take on the 3D data

Posted by Dan on 2014

Originally posted on Shroud of Turin Blog:

red/cyan 3D glasses are available at Amazon.com for $1.65 or
you can make your own with some acetate and red and blue markers – here is how.

imageMario (website = Sindonology) writes in a comment:

I think that the presence of 3D data in the Shroud image is simple and can be mathematically explained in a simple way. I also think that the anaglyph is a very simple transformation of that data into a 3D encoding that can be visually perceived. That very simple process leaves no doubt that 3D data exist in the Shroud image. And there is no subjectivity involved as far as this process is completely independent of the Shroud and has been used to generate millions of other anaglyphs. Sorry to repeat this reference, but for a short presentation of how such 3D data is encoded and an anaglyph version of the…

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Well, no. You can’t call him a Catholic Wingnut. Wingnut? Yes!

Posted by Dan on 2014

Originally posted on Shroud of Turin Blog:

imageFrom Ed Brayton’s (pictured)Dispatches from the Culture Wars, we have this (Ed’s okay. A professional comedian who while mocking religion of any kind is just self-deprecating enough to not talk down as he does so):

My favorite Catholic wingnut, Matt Wykoff, is once again sending me unsolicited emails that are stuff to the brim with the bizarre and the deranged. This may be my favorite claim of all: That the Shroud of Turin is authentic and that “there was no entropy during the formation of the image.” I have no idea what that could possibly mean. He doesn’t either, of course. Here’s the first screed:

1. Just as Geocentrism is scientifically irrefutable : Science demonstrates the Resurrection and Crucifixion of the Almighty God and Lord Jesus Christ and that is the One and Only True God. Easter really is the most scientific thing there is. There is Absolutely…

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Mystery as Proof

Posted by Dan on 2014

Originally posted on Shroud of Turin Blog:

imageBT writes from the Thames River waterfront in New London, Connecticut, “coffee in hand, listening to the rhythmic slapping of waves against the dock of our boathouse, watching varnish dry on an old lapstrake planked Bermuda sloop and thinking.”

He writes:

STURP’s single most scientific achievement was not in finding out what caused or did not cause the image of a man but by declaring it a mystery. That they did as a team of scientists. [I reformatted the link and embedded three paragraphs here]:

The basic problem from a scientific point of view is that some explanations which might be tenable from a chemical point of view, are precluded by physics. Contrariwise, certain physical explanations which may be attractive are completely precluded by the chemistry. For an adequate explanation for the image of the Shroud, one must have an explanation which is scientifically sound, from a physical, chemical…

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Di Lazzaro’s Gambit

Posted by Dan on 2014

Originally posted on Shroud of Turin Blog:

A reader from San Francisco writes:

imageHenceforth the Enea Report should be known as Di Lazzaro’s Gambit. For when Tom Chivers of The Telegraph claimed that Professor Ramsey of Oxford said “the radiocarbon dating results putting it at 1260 – 1390AD were reliable, and that the suggestions of contamination or medieval repair were unlikely,” Dr. Di Lazzaro’s responded brilliantly:

I have no experience of radiocarbon dating. As a consequence, I have to accept the opinion of Prof Ramsey. However, I note we have a problem: there is an object dated 1260AD that has a microscopic complexity such that it cannot be made by a forger in 1260AD. Does Prof Ramsey have any idea how to solve this contradiction? Can we collaborate to find a solution? Is it possible to organise a team of experts that reconsider both dating and microscopic characteristics of this extraordinary image?

Does Professor Ramsey say yes…

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Matching Faces. Is it Possible?

Posted by Dan on 2014

Originally posted on Shroud of Turin Blog:

Addressing himself to Charles Freeman, Dave Hines writes in a comment, “You inspired to make a video. I wanted you to see it. This happened because of our conversation on this blog site. thanks.”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=meyneXlWcLo&google_comment

You might want to check out, More on the ISA Tile and the “Prince of Peace”, a posting in this blog last April, and an article in Wikipedia,Facial recognition system. I keep hearing about points of congruence but have not seen any documentation or explanation as to why it is valid method. Anyone? And is it valid for different media?

Video is nicely done.

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Taking a Second Look…: MIRACLES ARE SO MEDIEVAL. OR ARE THEY…?

Posted by Dan on 2014

Originally posted on Shroud of Turin Blog:

Interesting. Worth reading.

We move in a world bursting with conflicts. Between rich & poor…black & white…West & Islam. However, perhaps the most persistent conflict is the ancient one between belief & doubt!

We of today’s technological age of wonders, wonder how the medieval peasant could wonder about perfectly explainable phenomenon, then call them “miracles.” After all, once the magician’s trick has been duplicated by the audience, the audience should now know better.

And so, once again, the so-called miraculous Shroud of Turin has come center stage in this belief vs doubt debate. Italian chemist Luigi Garlaschelli reports he has been able to “duplicate the trick by simply using the materials available at the time the Shroud was discovered in 1360.” For him, and other scientists, this finally nails it. Anything man can make is no miracle!

But of course this nails nothing. . .

Read the entire post. Taking…

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Scorching Theory: Pseudoscience or Miracle?

Posted by Dan on 2014

Originally posted on Shroud of Turin Blog:

BT writes:

clip_image001I want to pick up on a comment by John Klotz about scorching not disproving authenticity. I’ve been thinking about the scorch theory and how it might relate to the resurrection.

Forget about sand, charcoal dust or baby powder for buffering the process in ways that Colin Berry wants. The solution is so obvious. In the first instant of the resurrection the TSM turns to gold except for the bloodstains. The chemical reaction of this bit of miraculous alchemy produces extraordinary heat thus kicking off scorching of the cloth through conduction with what is in effect a metal statue. In the next instant the gold rapidly dematerializes. It happens so fast that the TSM space is now a near perfect vacuum. The cloth snaps shut. To speak of a collapsing cloth in this context is understatement. The near absolute zero temperature of the vacuum quickly chills the shroud…

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Colin Berry’s idea is untenable, and heat cannot produce a superficial coloration

Posted by Dan on 2014

Originally posted on Shroud of Turin Blog:

imageAfter Colin Berry posted his statement about image formation, referenced here, I personally requested comments from members of the Shroud Science Group. This is Paolo Di Lazzaro’s answer to me and other SSG members who might not be expert enough in physics to understand why Colin Berry’s model (without experiments) is untenable. Now with Paolo’s kind permission those notes to SSG members are being published here:

Dear Dan and All:

I checked the idea of Colin Berry in the website you quoted. In short, from a physics point of view, his model is untenable, especially concerning the depth of coloration. Let me explain why.

Berry wrote: “The scorching will initially be confined to those parts of the fabric that are in immediate contact with the hot metal; no air gap is permissible, since radiated heat will not scorch white linen. What is more, the scorch will be confined…

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Mark Andersen Disputed Walter McCrone. Substantiated?

Posted by Dan on 2014

Originally posted on Shroud of Turin Blog:

rogersbookIt is widely reported that Mark Andersen, who worked for Walter McCrone, examined the fibers using laser microprobe Raman spectrometry and found that what McCrone thought was (inorganic) paint was in fact an organic substance. But there does seem to be a lack of substantive citations that accompany this reporting. This has led a reader, Andres, to ask, “where can i find Mark Anderson report???”

There was no “report,” as far as I know. Ray Rogers is often quoted from a letter to the editor of Skeptical Inquirer, published in Volume 29.3, May / June 2005; there is no reason to distrust this. This offers us an admittedly inadequate explanation for why there may be no report. The letter reads, in part:

So, Joe, should I suppress the information, as Walter McCrone did the results from Mark Anderson, his own MOLE expert?

In his book, “A Chemist’s Perspective…

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Do Unto Others as St. Columba Would Do Unto You

Posted by Dan on 2014

Originally posted on Shroud of Turin Blog:

imageWe’ve discussed copyright here on occasion. And Colin Berry has accused me of piracy and Barrie Schwortz of unseemly something or other. Well, read on for some perspective. Matt Rubinstein has an interesting article in The Australian Book Review called Body and Soul: the age of the electronic book: Copyright law and enforcement in the age of the electronic book:

The most precious manuscript held by the Royal Irish Academy is RIA MS 12 R 33, a sixth-century book of psalms known as an Cathach (The Battler’), or the Psalter of St Columba. It is believed to be the oldest extant Irish psalter, the earliest example of Irish writing – and the world’s oldest pirate copy. According to tradition, St Columba secretly transcribed the manuscript from a psalter belonging to his teacher, St Finian. Finian discovered the subterfuge, demanded the copy, and brought the dispute before Diarmait…

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Calvinists and the Shroud of Turin

Posted by Dan on 2014

Originally posted on Shroud of Turin Blog:

imageSkeptics have long maintained that if there was an image on Jesus’ burial cloth, at least one of the Gospel writers would have mentioned it. Calvin was an early skeptic in this regard. He wrote:

How is it possible that those sacred historians, who carefully related all the miracles that took place at Christ’s death, should have omitted to mention one so remarkable as the likeness of the body of our Lord remaining on its wrapping sheet? This fact undoubtedly deserved to be recorded. St John, in his Gospel, relates even how St Peter, having entered the sepulchre, saw the linen clothes lying on one side, and the napkin that was about his head on the other; but he does not say that there was a miraculous impression of our Lord’s figure upon these clothes, and it is not to be imagined that he would have omitted to mention such…

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Paper Chase: Thomas & The Hymn of the Pearl

Posted by Dan on 2014

Originally posted on Shroud of Turin Blog:

From the abstract of Thomas & The Hymn of the Pearlby The Rev. Albert R. Dreisbach:

The Acts of Thomas, which contains the Hymn of the Soul/Pearl and may well be an
adaptation of an older work redesigned to provide “spy clues” pointing to the Shroud and its image(s). The Hymn of the Pearl is one of the earliest documents we have on Edessan Christianity Possibly dating from as early as the first century A.D., this hymn is described by Ewa Kuryluk as a work which:

…assimilates into an ancient tradition the new theology of Jesus’ incarnation, resurrection and transfiguration by transforming Christ into a soul. His dual nature rendered by his splitting into a humanlike anima – a son clothed in skin – and into a divine soul, an iconic dress of paradise. In the Syrian poem the essence of divinity resides in God’s clothing – a heavenly…

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Downright Stupid Analysis in The Empty Tomb: Jesus Beyond the Grave

Posted by Dan on 2014

Originally posted on Shroud of Turin Blog:

imageJoe Marino writes:

I recently bought The Empty Tomb: Jesus Beyond the Grave, edited by Robert M. Price and Jeffery Jay Lowder (Amherst: Prometheus Books, 2005). In a chapter called “The Plausibility of Theft” by Richard Carrier, the author is talking about what Luke and John says were found in the tomb. (“Linen strips” or “wrappings” for the former and “linen cloths” and “napkin” for the latter.) The author says:

“Since Mark and Matthew do not mention such cloths, and their presence is clearly a dramatic element in Luke and John, it is not likely a genuine detail.”

First of all, Matthew and Mark do mention a sindon. Secondly, since Jews were traditionally interred with burial clothes, is he trying to convince us that Jesus was buried without any burial cloths in order that his interpretation carries weight? Apparently so, which is just downright stupid.

This review from…

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