Today, with permission, The Imaginative Conservative blog republished a 1982 essay by Russell Kirk entitled Virtue: Can It Be Taught?
The concept of virtue, like most other concepts that have endured and remain worthy of praise, has come down to us from the Greeks and the Hebrews. In its classical signification, “virtue” means the power of anything to accomplish its specific function; a property capable of producing certain effects; strength, force, potency. Thus one refers to the “deadly virtue” of the hemlock. Thus also the word “virtue” implies a mysterious energetic power, as in the Gospel According to Saint Mark: “Jesus, immediately knowing that virtue had gone out of him, turned him about in the press, and said, Who touched my clothes?” Was it, we may ask, that virtue of Jesus which scorched the Shroud of Turin?
and there was this tidbit of a definition of virtue:
For virtue, we should remember, is energy of soul employed for the general good.
[I]t is altogether possible that a general widespread renewal of faith in the supernatural and transcendent character of Christian belief may come to pass within the next few years a phenomenon more tremendous than the Great Awakening ushered in by Wesley and others two centuries ago. But to pursue that possibility here would lead me to the mysteries of the Shroud of Turin . . . .
I think that Kirk, who converted from Atheism to Christianity (Roman Catholicism specifically), believed this at a level that was less mysterious and more scientific. He understood the philosophy of science better than most and he seemed to find accommodation for miracles within it and not beyond its limits.
The Shroud of Turin is among the most analyzed artifacts in the world. Is it a fabulous fraud? Or is it the burial cloth of Jesus of Nazareth? Is it forensic evidence that documents what happened to Jesus’ crucified body?
Shroud expert Russ Breault (pictured), seen on the History Channel and the Discovery Channel among others, will give a presentation on the shroud on Thursday, March 1. He will explore the mystery, facts and analysis surrounding the Shroud of Turin. The event will be held at noon in Woulfe Alumni Hall in the Anderson Student Center. Lunch will be provided.
Breault’s talk is sponsored by St. John Vianney Seminary and Campus Ministry.
MUST READ: Philip Ball, consultant editor for Nature, back in January of 2005, To know a veil : Nature News
Will scientists ever accept that trying to establish the true status of the Turin shroud is a vain quest? The object itself is too inaccessible, and its history is too poorly documented and understood, to permit irrefutable conclusions.
Perhaps this is timely for some of the discussions going on in the comments.
There were questions about why we should be good to each other if the laws of nature don’t differentiate between good and evil; about how I could excuse all the evil done in the world by atheists; and all the other standard evangelist tropes. One questioner demanded to know how I could account for the existence of the Shroud of Turin, asserting that 95% of the scientists who studied it had converted. I explained that the cloth was carbon-dated to the 14th century, the same time when the shroud was first mentioned in historical records, and that a medieval bishop wrote a letter to the pope saying that the shroud was a forgery and that the forger had confessed.
Douglas Todd in this morning’s Vancouver Sun writes that the Shroud of Turin a source of spiritual strength for academic:
That’s when the 66-year-old old Anglican academic had an epiphany upon first viewing the shroud in Turin Cathedral in northern Italy. Many Christians consider the shroud the bona fide burial cloth of a crucified Jesus.
Even though Wiebe teaches at an evangelical university where faculty are expected to adhere to traditional Christian doctrine, the member of the Church of the Ascension in Langley City admits being blown away by his first-hand experience of the Turin shroud.
In that ecstatic moment, Wiebe was finally convinced that the resurrection of Jesus Christ was an actual physical event. "I was shocked at the confidence I felt. It made me realize I had doubts about the resurrection."
Since then, Wiebe, a philosophy professor who has written scholarly books on reported religious miracles and visions, such as God and Other Spirits, has been giving scores of presentations about the four-metre-long shroud.
A blogger who calls himself phyzics who writes A Rather Silly Blog has posted Shroud of Turin Lecture.
So roughly a week ago I compiled all the posts I’ve done on here together into a lecture format for a hopeful upcoming presentation I’ll be giving on the Shroud of Turin and its acting as evidence for the Resurrection. This contains not only all the material I’ve done with revisions and some additions, but two new sections on the work of Walter McCrone vs Adler and Heller, but a brief reconstruction of the Shroud’s journey throughout history. While it is still only in a draft form, it takes about an hour and a half for me to read out loud, which may be a little long. I’m really looking for feedback so that this can be as best as it can be. Thank you, and please look at it via the link!
That link leads to 25 pages of well written, well researched material: the reason I got up early this morning. Read it. Please do. It’s good. This caught my attention, in particular.
At this point in the argument I am going to assume that the Shroud of Turin is indeed the burial shroud of Jesus Christ. The sections up to this point have largely been a justification for this assumption. The real excitement about the Shroud is when we start to examine it in the light of the first Easter.
There already exists voluminous studies on the Resurrection and what the apostles saw, largely in the camps of criticism and apologetics. My contention all along is that the Shroud adds unprecedented weight to the claims of the apologists, not only confirming the written record of the Gospels but giving us a primary document which supplies us with tar more information than we had previously.
Why then, a Resurrection? Couldn’t we just say that the image of Christ was made via a naturalistic process and that as eerily and unique it may be (eerily perhaps because of it’s uniqueness) it docs not prove the Resurrection? Yes and no.
Read on at The Argument From the Shroud [Lecture]
The picture is from scribd and I am assuming the uploader is the writer. I’ll hear.
This caught my attention in a write up in Catholic Spirit about Russ Breault’s upcoming Minneapolis visit:
What are audiences most fascinated with during your presentations?
A subtitle of “Shroud Encounter” is “CSI Jerusalem: The case of the missing body.” The audience is intrigued as the mystery is peeled back layer by layer. There are many “ah ha” moments throughout. It is a roller coaster ride of mystery and intrigue, of science and history, of insight and inspiration. Using nearly 200 images, it is a high-speed journey they will not soon forget.
Russ’ schedule in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis.
- Two presentations are open to families: 7-9 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 29, at Providence Academy, 15100 Schmidt Lake Road, Plymouth; and 9-10 a.m. Thursday, March 1, at Holy Family Catholic Church, 5900 W. Lake St., St. Louis Park, after morning Mass.
- Two presentations are for fathers and sons, only: 7-9 p.m. Thursday, March 1, at Ss. Peter and Paul in Loretto; and 7-9 p.m. Friday, March 2, at St. Michael in St. Michael.
Colin Berry writes, The Turin Shroud Man IS a scorchograph – and I challenge anyone to prove otherwise…:
I challenge anyone out there – in the world of science and/or the blogosphere – Dr.Di Lazzaro and his ENSA colleagues (with their busted flush radiation model), Dan Porter, Barrie Schwortz etc. etc.- to prove me wrong. But please read the preceding post before rattling off those same old checklists …
. . .
PS: at the risk of appearing immodest (a pointless attribute with which I have rarely been afflicted) I believe this to be the first time that a piece of start-to-finish scientific research has been reported in real-time on the internet, encompassing the postings on my new site here, and the 20 or so previous ones on my science buzz site (see side bar).
We have so many hypotheses from Corona Discharge to photographs directly on linen to reverse bleaching to acid etched fibrils by people who are convinced they are right. It helps if one can ignore checklists, or facts and observations as scientists tend to call such things. He seems to be mostly guessing.
Bertrand Russell comes to mind:
If I were to suggest that between the Earth and Mars there is a china teapot revolving about the sun in an elliptical orbit, nobody would be able to disprove my assertion provided I were careful to add that the teapot is too small to be revealed even by our most powerful telescopes. But if I were to go on to say that, since my assertion cannot be disproved, it is intolerable presumption on the part of human reason to doubt it, I should rightly be thought to be talking nonsense.
No, I don’t need to prove Colin wrong. Why should I not instead declare the image a miracle and challenge Colin to prove me wrong.
The Shroud’s images are superficial and fully contained within a thin layer of starch fractions and saccharides that coats the outermost fibers of the Shroud. The coloration is a caramel-like product or the product of an amino/carbonyl reaction. Where there is no image, the carbohydrate coating is clear. There is also a very faint image of the face on the reverse side of the Shroud which lines up with the image on the front of the cloth. There is no image content between the two superficial image layers indicating that nothing soaked through to form the image on the other side.
Pretty much what I think. Actually those are my exact words. That is the world of blogging. And it is fine with me. A link would have been nice, something like
Centro Português de Sindonologia is very proud to announce the release of a new book about the Shroud of Turin written by Shroud researcher the medical doctor Dr. Antero de Frias Moreira who is also membership of the Portuguese Catholic Medical Association.
This book entitled «Sudário de Turim mortalha de Cristo ou fraude medieval?» ( in english Shroud of Turin, shroud of Christ or medieval hoax ?) comes from publisher «Editora Edium» and intends to be an unbiased and updated scientific approach of the main controversies namely the 1988 radiocarbon dating of the Shroud till most updated investigation works from Professor Raymond Rogers and Dr. Robert Villareal.
Skeptic image production theories namely the da Vinci theory and the recent Garlaschelli’s shroud are explained discussed and debunked so the reader understands why they are preposterous.
McCrone’s painting theory deserves a thorough analysis in a specific chapter so it can be dismissed once and for all.
The image and red stains on the Shroud are approached from a microscopic, chemical and physical point of view, and pollens, flower and coin images are discussed in a balanced way.
The basis for rational image formation theories are also presented and discussed.
The scientific trail is described from the stunning negative photographic findings of Secondo Pia in 1898 to the last image developments by Dr Soons and the Hologram of the Man of the Shroud and the amazing Dr. Ray Downing’s work.
Ancient crucifixion practices and forensic analysis of the image of the Man of the Shroud are not neglected.
On the historical trail the reader will be able to understand the basis for a connection of the «Edessa Cloth» with the Constantinople’s «shroud of Christ» and this one with the actual Shroud of Turin, and main historical episodes relative to the relic including a realistic telling of King Abgar legend.
Ancient jewish burial practices, ancient liturgical eastern rites, byzantine art and even the Holy Grail and their possible relationship to the Shroud of Turin are described in specific chapters.
The author provides the readers an impressive medical and scientific depiction of the «Way to the Cross of the Man of the Shroud» describing all the horrible sufferings endured by the man whose body was wrapped in that Shroud.
Al last readers are able to draw their own conclusions why and to whom belongs the image depicted on the Shroud of Turin and if it is the Shroud of Christ or a medieval hoax.
The information conveyed is backed by a huge amount of literary sources, websites, scientific and historic articles including skeptic ones references are included in the text.
The book will be released in Portugal next Easter. Would it be worth thinking of an English translation?
* * *
Would it be worth thinking about an English translation? I think so.
Stephen Jones continues his four proofs:
The faces of Jesus on these coins are of two types: an earlier "Syrian Christ" and a later more Shroud-like Jesus. [ibid] Features on the coins which are very similar to the face of the Man of the Shroud include: long wavy shoulder-length hair, a long forked beard, moustache, and a small tuft of hair on the forehead, and no ears visible.  As can be seen above, there are at least twelve out of fifteen Vignon markings on the Christ face of this coin that are also found on the Shroud of Turin: "… (2) three-sided `square’ between brows, (3) V shape at bridge of nose, … (6) accentuated left cheek, (7) accentuated right cheek, (8) enlarged left nostril, (9) accentuated line between nose and upper lip, (10) heavy line under lower lip, (11) hairless area between lower lip and beard, (12) forked beard, (13) transverse line across throat, (14) heavily accentuated owlish eyes, (15) two strands of hair."  See part #2 (1) .
. . .
Since these coins are datable to about AD 692, and the Shroud is the original because what are physical flaws in its cloth have been meaninglessly represented  – see part #2 (1) – in Byzantine art works between the sixth and twelfth centuries, this means that the Shroud must have been in existence at least five centuries before the earliest AD 1260 date ascribed to it by the 1988 radiocarbon dating.  Therefore that "medieval … AD 1260-1390" radiocarbon date of the Shroud  simply has to be wrong!
This is great stuff.
It comes to mind that we need a single sheet pictorial inventory of the most significant Byzantine coins so we can stare at them all together.
Take a chirpy approach to Lent. Pope Benedict XVI has begun tweeting daily for the season of repentance leading up to Easter, according to Vatican Radio.
Here’s an RT:
@Pope2YouVatican: BXVI: The Lenten season offers us once again an opportunity to reflect upon the very heart of Christian life: charity. #Lent
Benedict, the first pope to tweet, started on Twitter last June with a 140-character shout out to Jesus.
Russ Breault and his SHROUD ENCOUNTER comes to J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College, East Parham Road Campus, in Richmond, VA on Thursday, March 8th at 6:00 PM in the LTC Auditorium. Send this video to all who may interested in seeing this fascinating presentation.
Notice the exciting video announcing his presentation. Russ tells me that such videos will now be a part of the publicity plan for his talks. Wow, does this look great.
An exhibition of the Shroud of Turin has opened at the Cathedral of Malaga. It will run through May. This was previously reported in the posting, Upcoming, exciting exhibition on the Shroud of Turin in Málaga, Spain
It is now open and according to BLOG DE INGLÉS (I put in a couple of tweeks to the English in ):
This [exhibit] has an audio guide to accompany the visitor on a tour of each of the rooms. Also, the exhibition features dozens of pieces of art, coins and manuscripts, illustrating the course of the famous relic tour to reach Turin (Italy), where it is today.
[Click for YouTube Video] Of the twelve rooms are perhaps the most attractive room and forensic science room where visitors can see the studies conducted so far by the leading experts in the field, contributing data on the Shroud and the image that contains .
In the forensic room, the viewer will attend a 3D analysis will reveal aspects of torture and death of the man who was wrapped in a sheet from a perspective never seen before. Also, visitors can compare information from different forensic elements of the Shroud.
In this room also shows the forensics of another key, [the Sudarium of Oviedo] which, according to tradition, [is] preserved in the Cathedral of Oviedo. Both objects are compared and analyzed together in a forensic scientific study, providing data on the wearer.
In the science room sets, on the other hand, studies that have attempted to explain how the image may have originated, some scientists have said was formed by the energy transmitted by a body (that Christians linked with the Resurrection of Jesus ).
-Scale recreation of the tomb where Jesus could be buried, according to research conducted in the Holy Land by archaeologist Florentino Díez, an expert in this field.
-The facsimile of the Shroud, made for this exhibition by a laboratory in Turin under the authority of Pope Benedict XVI. Your image and structure is accurate in every one of the original itemize.
-The body of the Man of the Shroud, a key made by the renowned sculptor Juan Manuel Miñarro, scholar and member of EDICE Sindone.
Today New Zealand observed a national memorial service on the first anniversary of the devastating 6.3 earthquake that hit the city of Christchurch at 12:51 pm on February 22, 2011, with the loss of 185 lives, many of them from overseas, and the destruction of many buildings and thousands of homes. About 30,000 people attended the service and it was televised nationwide. We appreciate the condolences expressed by Hilary Clinton US Secretary of State and by His Royal Highness, Charles Prince of Wales. Children released 185 monarch butterflies, a beautiful sight, in memory of those who were lost. The service had a strong religious component, the final blessing being given by the American lady bishop of Christchurch, [Victoria Matthews]. It is remarkable how in a nominally secular country, how religion comes to the fore in observing moments of national grief.
In New Zealand, “Lest we forget” is the refrain in "Recessional," sung as a hymn to the tune "Melita" ("Eternal Father, Strong to Save").
After 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 to the outermost fibres of the thread, because the scorch will tend remain trapped within the first-encountered fibres, rather than being able to “jump across” to adjacent fibres. Why is that? It is because the resistant cellulose cores that are unaffected are able to conduct away heat rapidly, bringing the temperature of the hot template down to below that which will induce scorching Is it realistic to suppose that cellulose fibres could conduct away heat without themselves becoming degraded? Yes. I believe it is.”
It is quite easy showing the above assumption is wrong, and it is one of the few cases where it is faster doing the experiment than to explain the theory. According with a paper quoted by Berry, the onset of pyrolysis in hemicelluloses is at about 220°C. We have heated a 5-cents euro coin at about 230 °C in contact with a linen cloth. Just 5 seconds after the coin reached the max temperature the whole cross section of threads in contact with the coin was colored. After15 seconds all the thickness of the cloth was colored and the round shaped image of the coin appeared on the opposite side. After checking in our Lab, we repeated this easy and small-size experiments in the RAI3 TV studios (GeoScienza) to demonstrate that heating linen cannot give a superficial coloration. See
starting from the minute 16:30.
After the experimental demonstration, let’s approach the basic elementary physics that explain why the idea of Berry is untenable, and heat cannot produce a superficial coloration.
The hot metal transfers energy(heat) to the primary cell wall (pcw) of the linen fibrils by contact. From a microscopic view, transferring energy by contact means the hot (i.e. fastly moving)atoms of metal hit hemicelluloses molecules transferring momentum, thus increasing both amplitude and velocity of the motion of hemicellulose molecules around the equilibrium position (centroid). As a consequence, hemicellulose increases its temperature.
In the regions of contact between pcw and cellulosic medulla, we still have a transfer of heat by contact, like in the previous metal-pcw case. The temperature of the medulla will increase. In the region where there is no contact (e.g.,a small air gap between pcw and medulla) we have heat transfer by irradiation.In fact, every material emits radiation having a spectrum peaked at a wavelength which depends on its temperature: the higher the temperature, the shorter the wavelength. This is the well known phenomenon of the black body emission, governed by Planck’s law, Wien’s law and so on (first year exam for students of Physics, Mathematics, Chemistry, Engineer).
As an example, at 20 °C the walls of a room emit radiation with a broad spectrum, peaked in the far infrared at about 10-micrometers wavelength. In the case of hemicelluloses at 200 °C the pcw emits infrared radiation peaked at 6,1 micrometers. In the case we are considering, the 6-micrometer wavelength will interact with the cellulose of the core of the linen fibril (medulla), exciting vibrational levels of cellulose that decay in heat thus increasing the temperature of the medulla.
In addition, a well known optics law tells us the penetration depth of the interaction between radiation and medulla cannot be smaller than the wavelength, that is, not smaller than 6 micrometers in this case. This fact alone explain why infrared radiation cannot produce a superficial coloration of fibers.
By the way, it is not possible that “the resistant cellulose cores that are unaffected are able to conduct away heat rapidly” (see above Berry’s statement) because of elementary fluid dynamic equations (a classical engineering problem), of a not convenient area/volume ratio of cylinders (elementary geometry) and because Berry assumes a exothermic pyrolysis of cellulose, that is,by definition, a runaway process, extended in time.
In summary, when heating a linen cloth by a hot metal in contact, well known physics models foresee the pyrolysis of the whole fibers and threads, and this is exactly what we observe in the experiments.
Useless to say, it is all the approach of Colin Berry to find a middle age technology able to create the Shroud image that is hopeless: just consider the half tone effect. It could not have been made by medieval forgers because they would need a modern microscope to observe and then control their micrometric-scale coloration.
All the best
Daveb of Wellington writes by way of a comment:
Colin’s observation that coloration is concentrated on the crowns of the topmost fibres must I think be significant, and has to be the signature of some kind of contact process, if indeed it was a process. I suspect he might well be correct in saying that it couldn’t be radiation, as radiation would give a more pervasive result extending to other fibres, and beyond the crowns.
There may be another possibility that explains imaging at the crowns of the fibers.
Rogers was confident that residues of starch and saccharides were there on the cloths in what he called an impurity layer that he believed was only 200 to 600 nm thick. It is thought, perhaps, that after hand spinning the fibers of the flax plant into yarn, individual hanks of yarn were bleached and dried. When it was time to weave the yarn (thread) into cloth, warp threads were strung vertically on a loom so that weft threads could be passed over and under them. On the loom, the warp threads were lubricated with crude starch to make weaving easier. This reduced friction and lessened the chance of fraying. When a length of linen cloth was finished it was removed from the loom and washed in the suds of the Soapwort plant (Saponaria officinalis). After washing out most of the starch, the linen was laid out across bushes or hung to dry.
Washing, even with repeated rinsing, is not perfect. Soapy residues and small amounts of starch remain in a water soaked cloth. As the cloth dries, moisture wicks its way to the surface to evaporate into the air. As the water makes its way to the surface it carries with it dissolved starch fractions and saccharides: glucose, fucose, galactose, arabinose, xylose, rhamnose, and glucuronic acid. As the water evaporates into the air these chemicals are deposited as a super-thin coating on the crown of the fibers, the very outermost fibers of the thread. Chemists say this superficial residue of reactive saccharides is at the evaporation surface of the cloth.
Thus linen cloth made in this ancient way, with the yarn bleached before weaving, lubricated with crude starch and washed in Saponaria officinalis is ready for image formation. All that is needed are the right reactive chemicals and a mechanism to get the right quantity of the chemicals to the cloth’s surface in the right places at the right time. The amines that come from a dead body before it decomposes, cadaverine and putrescine, are just what is needed, according to Rogers.
Many things would affect how the images would form as the amines met the saccharides: ambient temperatures and humidity in the tomb; the body chemistry of the corpse influenced by diet, disease and possible trauma; the application of different burial spices; and the quantity of residue and evenness of its coating on the cloth. Even the tightness of the weave that affects porosity is a factor. Nonetheless some imaging would take place. The process would continue until the reactants were exhausted or until fluidic bodily decomposition products formed and ravaged the images and the cloth. Soon the cloth would rot away along with the body. However, if at the right moment, the cloth and the body it enshrouded become separated, and if the tomb had been opened so that cloth might be preserved, we might very well have something of a picture of the once enshrouded body on the shroud.
Rogers did some experimenting. He produced the color and some very course images that showed some fuzzy resolution. As he noted: “You can argue all you want about resolution. The Maillard colors are somewhere on that cloth. Where do you think?”
It is important to note that linen cloth, as typically produced after the twelfth century and into our era, will not produce amine/saccharides images. In the first century each hank of yarn or thread for the cloth was bleached before weaving. Such bleaching did not result in uniformly white yarn and because many hanks of yarn were required to make linen cloth, the cloth was not uniformly white. We see this, for instance, in the Turin Shroud. It has a broad variegated appearance where yarn from one hank was joined with yarn from another batch during weaving. The yarn ends were laid side by side pressed together. The overlapping ends are often visible to the unaided eye and correspond to streaks of different off-white color in the weave.
Bleaching after weaving, as was done in the medieval bleaching fields of Europe and as it is done in modern mills, prevents a reactive coating. Bleaching after weaving makes for better quality linen but it does not allow an image to form.
It is also especially important to note that there will be two such chemical coatings on the cloth. The side of the cloth that faced the sun and dried the fastest will have a dominant coating of starch fractions and saccharides from the soap. The other side will have a lesser coating. Both sides will react to the amines since some of the vapors will diffuse through the cloth. Indeed, we should have a more distinct image on one side of the cloth and a less distinct image on the other side. That is the significance of the discovery of a second facial image on the Shroud as recently reported in the peer-reviewed scientific Journal of Optics of the Institute of Physics in London (April 14, 2004).
From spectral analysis, microscopy and image analysis, we see that this is how the cloth of the Shroud of Turin was manufactured. From this, and from a modern knowledge of pathology and chemistry, we can hypothesize that this was how the images were formed on it. Are there many open questions? Of course.