If You Will Be in Indianapolis on July 11

July 3, 2015 Leave a comment

imageThis appears in the Daily Journal (Indianapolis Area):

Franciscan St. Francis Health-Indianapolis will host a free presentation about the famed Shroud of Turin on July 11.

The shroud is an ancient linen showing a faint image of what appears to be a crucifixion victim whom many believe to be Jesus of Nazareth. Some say it’s a forgery and hoax, but scholars have spent many years studying the artifact to research its authenticity.

Barrie Schwortz, an Orthodox Jew, is considered one of the world’s leading experts and will share his expertise and experiences at a free public event starting at 9:15 a.m. in the hospital’s basement auditorium, 8111 S. Emerson Ave., Indianapolis.

Schwortz, a professional technical photographer, was invited to participate in the first in-depth scientific examination of the cloth, known as the Shroud of Turin Research Project, in 1978. He was a skeptic at first but later became convinced of the shroud’s authenticity based on scientific evidence.

In 2009, Schwortz founded the Shroud of Turin Education and Research Association, an organization that publishes fact-based information. In addition to this extensive online resource, the group maintains a vast collection of scientific and historical material crucial to the continuing study of the shroud.

Categories: Presentation

A Nice Story

July 2, 2015 2 comments

imageFrom Religion News Service (Press Release):

(Syracuse, NY) Bob Halligan Jr., the founder and lead singer for the International Catholic Celtic rock group, Ceili Rain, was invited to Turin Italy to perform his original music for a Papal gathering of over 100,000 attendees. Pope Francis was in Turin to view and venerate the Shroud of Turin, celebrate a Papal Mass and to meet with and address the gathered faithful. Mr. Halligan was the only American music artist invited to perform for the events surrounding the Pope’s visit.

Halligan, an award winning music veteran and Syracuse, New York resident considers himself to be “a radically serious Catholic and a huge fan of this Pope” and thus views this whole experience as “one of the greatest blessings of my life.”

As with all large Papal gatherings, there are many activities and events scheduled in advance of and during the Pope’s arrival. The singer received an invitation from the organizers to perform a Ceili Rain song for 10,000 people gathered in Turin’s Area Vitali for Eucharistic Adoration June 20, and for some 100,000 gathered in Piazza Vittorio the following day for the Pope’s arrival. The experience of performing at such notable events was enough on its own, but the blessings progressed to a whole new level when the singer was invited to a personal viewing of the Shroud of Turin, and following his performance for the Pope’s arrival was directed to Pope Francis’ receiving line and was able to greet and shake the Holy Father’s hand. “I told him that USA loves him so much. He said he was coming to the US, and then he said ‘Remember me, please’ which I took to mean ‘Pray for me.’ ”

Ceili Rain has been a professional touring and recording group since 1995 and is currently celebrating its 20th Anniversary. The band has released eight all-original recordings, and has been recognized with fourteen Unity Awards by the United Catholic Music and Video Association.

The name Ceili Rain means “a downpour of heavenly partiness.” The word Ceili is Gaelic for an all-ages, wedding reception-type party, and the Latin “Coeli” means “of heaven.”

Ceili Rain has been providing its own brand of all-original, energetic, uplifting and joyful Irish flavored music to Catholic dioceses, parishes, adult events, youth gatherings, celebrations, liturgies, adorations and fundraisers both nationally and internationally as well as secular venues and music festivals. “We have been blessed to have our “universal” brand of music and messages embraced by people of all faiths and even no faith,” says Halligan. “There is no doubt that our music speaks volumes to our Catholic Church following, but it is completely inclusive of anyone who has a yearning for God, love, joy, togetherness and/or peace.”

Ceili Rain is available for events of all types in and out of the US. CD’s and related merchandise can be purchased from their website. All songs and albums are also available on iTunes and all digital outlets worldwide.

For more information, press kits, bookings and interview opportunities contact Ceili Rain through their website, facebook or twitter account.

www.ceilirain.com

Categories: Press Coverage

The Shroud of Santa Cruz

July 2, 2015 1 comment

clip_image001For just a second when you saw the picture you asked yourself, “What are they doing to the shroud?” Right?  Maybe it was just me. Maybe it is because I haven’t had coffee yet.

This appears in The Santa Cruz Sentinel this morning:

To a dispassionate or incurious eye, they are merely two planks of gray weathered wood, something you might come across moldering in the brush behind a log pile at someone’s Santa Cruz Mountains cabin.

But through the eyes of Kim Stoner or Geoffrey Dunn or Bob Pearson or Barney Langner or any number of surfers and/or spectators at a special ceremony at the Museum of Art & History last Thursday, these two planks of wood carry a staggering cultural meaning. In the world of surfing, they are the Rosetta Stone, the Shroud of Turin, the Hammer of Thor. They are the paintings on the cave walls at Lascaux, Shakespeare’s first folio, Babe Ruth’s first bat.

They are the First Surfboards.

Categories: Press Coverage

Is Colin Berry Onto Something?

July 2, 2015 16 comments

a chemo-graphic (à la photo-graphic) explanation for the shroud image

imageA reader from Palo Alto writes:

You and your blog mates are being unfair to Dr. Colin Berry. As I see it he is the real successor to Raymond Rogers. With imagination and exploratory experimentation Berry is developing new hypotheses for how the image on the Shroud might have formed. That is what Rogers did. Berry thinks out loud and shows us his trials along the way. That is also what Rogers did.

At this stage of development Berry is suggesting the image may have formed from a wet or moist organic coating on a body or statue. When a cloth is applied and removed some coating comes away on the cloth forming a latent image. That latent image is then developed into a visible image by a browning reaction, possibly a Maillard reaction.

Berry may be onto something, a chemo-graphic (à la photo-graphic) explanation for the shroud image. His latest method may help to explain an intentional fake image or an accidental natural one. An accidental image may have been from the tomb of Christ or a later reenactment. Mankind is forever reenacting important events.

There are many questions that need to be answered. Will a suitable chemical and physical process be found by Berry or a successor? I’m thinking about soaps, oils and spices. Can Berry’s process produce an image with many of the Shroud’s image characteristics? Can unmet characteristics be explained by age or circumstance?  I’m thinking about a damp cloth which might blur or soften away an outline and produce more plausible 3D like characteristics? A damp cloth may also produce a more superficial image.

Berry is certainly right to suggest that the image evolved over time because of handling, temperature, humidity and exposure to light.

I part company with Dr. Berry on the radiocarbon dating. There is too much historical evidence to believe it is correct. If the Shroud’s image was faked it was faked many centuries earlier.

Yes, but, Rogers was always respectful to others. That is a big difference. And, no, we have not been unfair to Colin.  I’d like to hear more.  I’d like to see his work continue. Maybe he is onto something. But there is some bad chemistry in this blog and his blog that is making this difficult.

Click on the image to see a larger version of this ImageJ 3D rendering by Colin. CLICK HERE to read Colin’s latest posting about his work.

Categories: Image Theory Tags: ,

Quoting John Jackson Chapter 21 Verses 24 and 25

July 1, 2015 2 comments

The brown box below is a picture of part of the back cover of Fanti’s new book. If you look closely you will see that someone inserted [Jackson]  into a quotation from an editorial review by Robert W. Siefker of the Turin Shroud Center of Colorado.

image

This bracketed insertion is repeated at Amazon, in my blog at Update on New Book by Giulio Fanti and Pierandrea Malfi and a couple of other places on the web.

The insertion is a small mistake. Bob Siefker of the Turin Shroud Center of Colorado kindly forwarded a copy of his actual book review comments on Fanti’s new book.

A Nice Review


The Shroud of Turin: First Century after Christ

“But there are also many other things that Jesus did; if every one of them were written down, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written” (John 21:24-25).

This passage from the Gospel of John comes to mind in endeavoring to provide a brief review of the new, large, technical and detailed work on the Shroud of Turin by Professor Giulio Fanti, from the University of Padua, written with the assistance of Pierandrea Malfi. This is one of the books John may have had in mind for publication after hundreds of man-years of collective research even two thousand years after the death of Jesus. This book is unique and timely. It is being published at the time of the 2015 public exhibition of the Shroud in Turin Italy, and it is unique in the depth of material covered that supports dating the Shroud progressively back to the first century. The book includes an intriguing chapter on a numismatic investigation that strongly supports the conclusion that the Shroud existed as an archetype for coins minted in the seventh century AD, well before the 1988 carbon dating that declared the Shroud linen cloth dated from 1260 to 1390. Even more important are chapters that cover alternative dating methods for ancient linen that appear to strongly support a first century provenance for the Shroud linen. A detailed critique of the 1988 carbon dating effort is also included that gives the authors’ analysis of why and how the effort failed to correctly ascertain the true age of the Shroud. Other topics touched on in the book include Shroud history, medical forensics related to the suffering of the man of the Shroud, detailed image characteristics and image formation hypotheses.

Overall this book will be a valuable source book for the general public as well as for Shroud scholars for many years to come. The book is an outstanding contribution to Shroud studies.

The Turin Shroud Center of Colorado

Robert W. Siefker

Categories: Books

Picture for Today

June 30, 2015 1 comment
Categories: 2015

Off Topic Warning: About the Eucharist and Then Some

June 29, 2015 40 comments

imageI will certainly be accused of going off-topic. Okay. Yes. But. And then again, I can do it anyway. It is interesting. Many times when I read or hear something profound about the Eucharist, I am reminded of Frank Tipler’s book, The Physics of Christianity. This is one of those times. So, if you can humor me for a bit I’ll try to redeem myself.

On Saturday, the Episcopal Church in the United States elected a new Presiding Bishop (In most other places in the Anglican Communion we would call him an Archbishop).  The Right Rev. Michael Curry, the 62-year-old Bishop of North Carolina, was overwhelmingly elected by the Church’s General Convention in a single ballot in the House of Bishops.  Curry, who is African American, received 121 votes out of 174 cast.  The House of Deputies consisting of priests and laypersons approved the election 800-12. Read Episcopal News Service account of the election.

Scanning for material about him I found this video. It touched me.

On to Frank Tipler’s book, The Physics of Christianity. Tipler wanted to test a consecrated host to see if two molecules, once separated, say by the breaking of the bread, maintained quantum coherence –  the spin of electrons. Why this would happen with consecrated bread was something Tipler maintained was characteristic of the Second Hypostasis of the Triune Singularity that was God. Tipler wanted to scientifically determine who was right, Anglicans (Episcopalians) or Catholics. Yes, he actually wrote that in his book.

Back in November of 2008, A. S. Haley, who calls himself an Anglican Curmudgeon and writes a blog by that name, recommended reading Frank Tipler’s The Physics of Christianity. He wrote:

. . . I regard that book as one of the most remarkable books about Christianity that I have ever read. In fact, the book is so remarkable that I have decided, at the risk of my reputation as a reliable curmudgeon, who can always be counted on to tell you what is wrong . . . to tell you instead about some of the things which this amazing book shows are inescapably correct about traditional Christian belief. . . .

I read the book – there is a lot about the shroud in it. I certainly didn’t share Haley’s enthusiasm. Tipler’s book is not so remarkable. It may be, as Haley tells us, that Tipler obtained his doctorate under John Archibald Wheeler, the man who named the black hole and whose most famous student was Richard Feynman. It is only too bad Tipler didn’t pick up Feynman’s warning: “I believe that a scientist looking at nonscientific problems is just as dumb as the next guy.”

Frank Tipler, a Tulane University professor of mathematical physics does propose an interesting idea. He argues Christian doctrine is an expression of all cosmological reality as it can be described by modern physics: God is a triune singularity. The second hypostasis of this singularity entered history in our universe, and indeed in other universes of the multiverse, as God incarnate in Jesus for the sake of mankind. The miracles attributed to Jesus and other most other historical miracles are not violations of nature and are scientifically possible, even plausible. Two miracles in particular, the incarnation and resurrection, are indeed scientifically possible and, as Tipler sees it, essential for immortality.

Indeed, the cosmological picture Tipler paints with the laws of nature is consistent with orthodox Christianity as expressed in the Nicene Creed. At the same time, however, his hypothesis seems amazingly discordant with a Christianity grounded in history and faith.

Tipler, as you might have imagined, is not some self-acclaimed, navel-gazing, self-published guru. His previous book, The Physics of Immortality, received considerable attention. “A thrilling ride to the far edges of modern physics,” wrote the New York Time Book Review. “A dazzling exercise in scientific speculation, as rigorously argued as it is boldly conceived,” said the Wall Street Journal. Science, the prestigious, peer-reviewed academic journal of the American Association for the Advancement of Science wrote, “Tipler has written a masterpiece conferring much-craved scientific respectability on what we have always wanted to believe.” It remains to be seen if this sequel will get the same attention.

Of this sequel, Bryan Appleyard, a columnist for the Sunday Times (of London), in a review that appeared in the Philadelphia Inquirer (June 10, 2007) wrote: “I doubt this book will make many converts. Believers will continue to believe, perhaps with a little more confidence, and skeptics will continue to doubt, perhaps a little less. But Tipler should not be ignored by anybody.”

Yes, but. As an orthodox Christian, who like Tipler, has no issues with the theory of evolution or a universe that is thirteen-some billion years old or is but one of a seemingly endless number of universes, I found myself scoffing at Tipler’s assertions. It is important to remember that physical cosmology, like biblical exegesis and theology is controversial and unfinished. Even from certain facts and generally accepted theories, cosmologists, astronomers and theoretical physicists arrive at many different conclusions about the nature of reality. Tipler’s thesis is but one of many, something he does recognize. He simply dismisses all others out of hand by declaring everyone else wrongheaded.

The theological perspectives Tipler offers on miracles, the virgin birth, the incarnation and the resurrection are worth reading. The scientific explanations offered along with the theology are interesting so long as it is well understood that they are only possibilities. He speculates far too much.

Some topics are weak. His characterization of the difference of opinion on the real presence of Christ in the consecrated bread and wine of communion between the Roman Catholic Church and the Anglican Church is naïve. It is based on a smattering of mostly old documents, long since revised and amended. He quotes from the Thirty-nine Articles of Religion of the Church of England, circa 1571, that states that transubstantiation is a “blasphemous fable” and a “dangerous deceit” and ignores the wide spectrum of contemporary opinion held be Catholics and Anglicans. Many Anglicans do in fact believe in transubstantiation. I do. Most of his defense of transubstantiation is biblical. His interpretation from physics is just as easily an argument for a more Protestant view: consubstantiation.

Tipler’s discussion of the Shroud of Turin is worth the price of the book. Tipler clearly thinks the Shroud is genuine. So do I. But, I am far from being convinced that the so far unexplained images are the product of sphaleron quantum tunneling. Some details, particularly the proposed history of the cloth between 1204 and 1356 CE is fiercely debated among shroud researchers. Some of the scientific claims he makes lack sufficient rigorous confirmation; they should not be used to support authenticity at this time. Overall, however, Tipler presents a well-reasoned argument for authenticity.

Tipler’s scenario for the Resurrection is interesting. Jesus, he argues, may have dematerialized through a physical process known as baryon annihilation via electroweak sphaleron tunneling. By baryongenesis (what happened after the Big Bang) Jesus then rematerialized so that his followers would know he had been resurrected.

Is there in this a purpose to the incarnation? Yes. Jesus, Tipler contends, entered history inside of our space-time to show us how to achieve immortality. It is with mankind’s technology that immortality will be achieved. Not only will all people, past and present, gain immortality, according to Tipler, but that mankind will save the universe. To do so, mankind must populate the universe to its very edge. And he must construct computers and software powerful enough to emulate the mind, consciousness and soul of everyone.

Mankind can only accomplish this task by figuring out how to annihilate baryon particles (protons and neutrons are two examples of baryon particles formed by quarks). This process would provide the unlimited source of energy required for conquering the outer limits of space. By annihilating the right quantity of baryon from everywhere throughout the universe, the expansion of the universe will be halted, something which is necessary if the universe is to survive and necessary for the futurist computers of immortality to exist in space-time.

But in figuring out how to annihilate baryon particles, mankind will also then know how to build the bombs (much more powerful than conventional nuclear weapons) that will inevitably lead to the destruction of the world. So what role does Jesus have in all this? Tipler speculates that Jesus left his image on the Shroud of Turin as a clue to enable us to figure out the process of baryon annihilation.

Tipler’s technological doomsday scenario is to happen soon. Though it is unlikely to happen in my lifetime, it will happen, by his estimate, in the lifetime of most of his students at Tulane. This cataclysm, he suggests, may be the Great Tribulation foretold in Matthew’s Gospel: “For at that time there will be great suffering, such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, and never will be.” (24:21 NRSV)

This idea for immortality is in essence no different than what Tipler proposed in his previous book, which the prestigious scientific journal science praised by saying, “Tipler has written a masterpiece conferring much-craved scientific respectability on what we have always wanted to believe.”

Now. Did I justify showing that video? Did I redeem myself?  Of course not. It was a good try, though.

Your thoughts on the Eucharist or Tipler are welcome.

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