Archive for the ‘Other Blogs’ Category

From out of the strong came forth the sweet?

August 15, 2015 3 comments

imageColin Berry tells us in his posting with the unwieldy title Is the Shroud of Turin really just 18 years short of its 2000th birthday? SEE THIS BLOG FOR A DAILY ACERBIC OVERVIEW OF CURRENT WRANGLING (currently 2015, Week 33):

This posting rep0rts what this blogger/retired science bod considers to be significant progress in modelling the “Shroud” image, so as to reproduce more of its allegedly  ‘iconic’ and/or “unique” properties (negative image, superficiality,  3D properties, fuzzy border, possibly even some of those so-called microscopic properties.


Topic 3: Here’s Dr.Positive (science bod) calling a certain Dr.Persistently Negative, he who dishes out his “science” as if medicine to treat disease. This is an important posting, probably the most important from my years of “Shroud” research, and it’s dedicated to the man with the  prescribing tendency.  Why? Because his negative nitpicking, from countless sniping  and indeed hostile comments and, especially his snipingg- from-cover pdfs, were what spurred me to switch from imprinting with flour paste/slurry to imprinting with dry flour. Check out these results for (a) that “Shroud” like fuzzy image by which he sets so much store (rarely if ever considering the effect of age-related degradation) and to (b) 3D properties (which he flatly claimed lacked 3D properties, unsupported by data, and which I demonstrated yesterday to be false).

First, the new improved fuzzy-look image, obtained using flour dust as imprinting medium, colour development with a hot flat iron*  or in  a hot oven, and a new 3rd stage (image attenuation by washing with soap and water).

(*Late addition: it’s probably the hot iron – its pressing action being responsible for the coloration being confined mainly to the crowns of the weave. Microscopy is in progress, but needs careful evaluation).


Tone -reversed negative of dry-flour imprint, 3D-rendered in ImageJ. Note the relative lack of distortion, compared with the wet-flour imprint in Topic 2.  Dr.Negative please note.

Not bad eh?  One is put in mind of that biblical quotation based on the bees around the deceased lion (“from out of the strong came forth the sweet” or words to that effect, even if the biology is suspect) …  from out of the negative came forth the positive…

Eh! But what say you all?


In the Judges 14 we find Samson travelling to the land of the Philistines in search of a wife. During the journey he killed a lion, and on his return past the same spot he noticed that a swarm of bees had formed a comb of honey in the carcass. Samson later turned this into a riddle at a wedding: "Out of the eater came forth meat and out of the strong came forth sweetness".

12 Then Samson said to them, “Let me now propound a riddle to you; if you will indeed tell it to me within the seven days of the feast, and find it out, then I will give you thirty linen wraps and thirty changes of clothes. 13 “But if you are unable to tell me, then you shall give me thirty linen wraps and thirty changes of clothes.” And they said to him, “Propound your riddle, that we may hear it.” 14 So he said to them,  “Out of the eater came something to eat,  And out of the strong came something sweet.”  But they could not tell the riddle in three days.

15 Then it came about on the fourth day that they said to Samson’s wife, “Entice your husband, so that he will tell us the riddle, or we will burn you and your father’s house with fire. Have you invited us to impoverish us? Is this not so?16 Samson’s wife wept before him and said, “You only hate me, and you do not love me; you have propounded a riddle to the sons of my people, and have not toldit to me.” And he said to her, “Behold, I have not told it to my father or mother; so should I tell you?” 17 However she wept before him seven days while their feast lasted. And on the seventh day he told her because she pressed him so hard. She then told the riddle to the sons of her people. 18 So the men of the city said to him on the seventh day before the sun went down,  “What is sweeter than honey?  And what is stronger than a lion?”  And he said to them,  “If you had not plowed with my heifer,  You would not have found out my riddle.”

19 Then the Spirit of the LORD came upon him mightily, and he went down to Ashkelon and killed thirty of them and took their spoil and gave the changes of clothes to those who told the riddle. And his anger burned, and he went up to his father’s house. 20 But Samson’s wife was given to his companion who had been his friend.

Categories: Image Theory, Other Blogs

Does Pope Francis Believe the Shroud is Real?

August 12, 2015 48 comments

imageYesterday, Stephen Jones touched on the question:

As I pointed out … :

An `icon,’ in Roman Catholic theology is merely a humanly created representation of the real thing:

"ICON … from the Greek eikon meaning image, is a word now generally applied to paintings of sacred subjects or scenes from sacred histories" ("Icon," New Catholic Encyclopedia 2003. My emphasis)

as opposed to `relic’ which is the real thing:

"RELICS The material remains of a saint or holy person after his death, as well as objects sanctified by contact with his body." ("Relics," New Catholic Encyclopedia, 2003)"

So by continuing to refuse to confirm or deny that the Shroud is authentic, and in fact calling the Shroud an `icon,’ Pope Francis, and the Vatican, is sending a mixed message that the Shroud could be a fake. Pope Francis himself might well believe that the Shroud is a fake, but the Vatican, by its actions: 1) spending the equivalent of many millions of dollars protecting the Shroud; and 2) displaying it to many millions of people, clearly believes the Shroud is authentic.

"The shroud draws [people] to the tormented face and body of Jesus and, at the same time, directs [people] toward the face of every suffering and unjustly persecuted person." This is damming the Shroud with faint praise and reinforces that Pope Francis really does think (wrongly) that the Shroud is just another fake icon. But the evidence is overwhelming that the Shroud is authentic, and therefore the image on the Shroud IS "the tormented face and body of Jesus"! Again, I am not being anti-Catholic in this but pro-truth and pro-Shroud (which is the same thing)! ..

Then, in responding to a comment by a reader, we added:

But I assume that the Vatican is trapped inside its policy not to confirm or deny that any of its relics are authentic, because then it would be under pressure to confirm or deny which of its many other relics are authentic, and the vast majority of them would be fakes.

The quotation that begins, “The shroud draws,” is from an article, Pope Francis Pope Francis praises Turin shroud as an ‘icon of love’ that appeared in The Guardian June 22, this year.

Categories: Other Blogs

Tantalizingly Close Enough?

August 11, 2015 21 comments

In The Imaginative Conservative, Fr. Dwight Longenecker summarizes the scientific work of Paolo Di Lazzaro (pictured) and his colleagues. The article is entitled The Shroud of Turin: Evidence for Everything? :

So what formed the image? The best description is that it is an extremely delicate singe marking. Italian physicist Paolo Di Lazzaro concedes in an article for National Geographic that every scientific attempt to replicate it in a lab has failed. “Its precise hue is highly unusual, and the color’s penetration into the fabric is extremely thin, less than 0.7 micrometers (0.000028 inches), one-thirtieth the diameter of an individual fiber in a single 200-fiber linen thread.”


They came tantalizingly close to replicating the image’s distinctive color on a few square centimeters of fabric. However, they were unable to match all the physical and chemical characteristics of the shroud image, and reproducing a whole human figure was far beyond them. De Lazzaro explained that the ultraviolet light necessary to reproduce the image of the crucified man “exceeds the maximum power released by all ultraviolet light sources available today.” The time for such a burst would be shorter than one forty-billionth of a second, and the intensity of the ultra violet light would have to be around several billion watts.”

As good a summary of De Lazzaro’s work as I have seen. But is tantalizingly close close enough?

imageWe’ve featured Fr. Dwight Longenecker many times in this blog. He is a graduate of Oxford University. He was an Evangelical Christian, later an Anglican priest and is now a Catholic priest.  He is the author of sixteen books and contributes to many magazines, papers and journals including Crisis, Integrated Catholic Life, National Catholic Register and Intercollegiate Review.

And We Are All Mathematician Even if We Don’t Know It

July 27, 2015 76 comments

imageJohn Klotz has a new posting on his Quantum Christ blog. The title sort of says it all but you need to read The God of Probability: The Shroud and Divine Providence to know why.

To the extent that I depend on intuition – and I do, probably more than I want to admit – I have a gut sense that the shroud is probably (probability-wise) authentic. So right after reading John’s posting I went awandering through the internet for something on intuition. (By-the-way, I intuitively know that awandering is a word even though Google doesn’t support the idea.  In retribution, I have created a new word: agoogling.)

I found this wonderful, a-thousandfold quotation by Einstein:

The rational mind is a faithful servant and the intuitive mind is a sacred gift. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift.

Intuition kicked in; I just knew in my gut that Einstein never said that. You can spend a whole day lost in Wikiquotes but it just takes minutes to discover that Einstein never said any such thing. That is okay. I like the message. Henceforth you should attribute the quotation to me.

If you want to have some early morning fun before the coffee is ready go to the Wikiquotes entry for intuition. Two-step (or go awandering) on down to Einstein and the Poet: In Search of the Cosmic Man. I like this:

Knowledge is necessary, too. An intuitive child couldn’t accomplish anything without some knowledge. There will come a point in everyone’s life, however, where only intuition can make the leap ahead, without ever knowing precisely how. One can never know why, but one must accept intuition as fact.

Here is what John Klotz said:

Intuition is a process which is pure thought and there is no need to access the conscious brain. Information is considered and utilized at blinding speed and appears to be instantaneous. Two recent works that discuss this phenomenon are Blink. The Power of Thinking Without Thinking by Malcolm Gladwell and Gut Feelings: The Intelligence of the Unconscious   by Gerd Gigerenzer

There is one item that all of us factor into our intuition: the law of probability. That doesn’t mean we are always right because our sense of the probabilities may be askew. Yet, it is possible to analyze the probabilities of a particular situation and arrive at a mathematical solution. Our subconscious does that intuitively.

You need to read The God of Probability: The Shroud and Divine Providence

John, I agree. Nice posting.

So Long As There Are Questions

July 24, 2015 2 comments

imageYesterday from Fr. Paul’s Blog, The Shroud of Turin and Why Physicality Matters:

Recently a member of our congregation went to visit the Shroud of Turin at its ‘ten year showing’. Everyone knows now that it is a production of mediaeval times, but still, lots of people have gone to see it. There are of course many views about the shroud. Those who want to support its religious significance will talk about the questions that are still unanswered, like ‘How was it done?’ and ‘How old is it really? Can we trust the carbon dating?’ So long as there are questions to be raised, the mystery of the shroud can be kept alive. Then of course others of a more pragmatic mindset say ‘Well, it’s just a piece of cloth, so what? Even if it is Jesus’ shroud. So what?’

Pope Francis says that the image on the shroud ‘speaks to the heart’. And of course this is one legitimate way to approach the image. It is like the Grünewald Isenheim Altarpiece, where a very disfigured Jesus on the Cross reflects the suffering of those looking at the image.’ It says to them ‘God shares in what is most shameful and painful for you, and can transform it.’  Both images say something to our condition.


The age of the shroud of Turin and the image on it does not prove the resurrection, neither does an empty tomb. What proves the resurrection is the continual physical presence of Christ in the Church. This happens, as St. Paul tells us ‘according to the Spirit’, but it happens in our bodies. It happens as the sovereignly free God promises to localise himself ‘for-us’ and to be present ‘for-us’ that we might have union with God. That’s why I can rejoice in icons, rejoice in the shroud rejoice in relics and rejoice in the sacraments. Let Charles Wesley have the last word.

Unsearchable the love
That hath the Saviour brought;
The grace is far above
Or man or angels thought;
Suffice for us that God, we know,
Our God, is manifest below.

Categories: Other Blogs

Maybe a Not So Startling Coincidence of Something that is Approximate and Presumably Averaged

July 16, 2015 3 comments

So even the dimensions of the Shroud are evidence beyond
reasonable doubt of it’s authenticity!

— Stephen Jones

imageStephen is revisiting evidence that he believes affirms the shroud’s authenticity. His latest completed posting revisits the subject of cubits.

But despite this being claimed by non-/anti-authenticists as evidence against my statement in my post, "Dimensions of the Shroud: Turin Shroud Encyclopedia," that, "The Shroud measures 8 by 2 Assyrian cubits," Dietz & Zaccone’s 2002 measurement does not materially (pun unintended) change the fact that, when right and left, top and bottom, sides of the Shroud are averaged, which is presumably what Flury-Lemberg did, to the nearest centimetre, the Shroud still measures the equivalent of 8 x 2 Assyrian cubits!


[Above: As can be seen in the table above, when Dietz and Zaccone’s separate right and left, top and bottom, dimensions of the Shroud are averaged, to the nearest centimetre, the Shroud’s dimensions are still the equivalent of 8 x 2 (8.06 x 2.07) Assyrian cubits!]

We’ve been there:

Authoritatively? I would have liked to have seen some discussion about other measurements. See , for instance, Length Measurements on the Shroud of Turin by Mario Latendresse. There are some significant differences:

Measurements taken by Bruno Barberis and Gian Maria Zaccone give (frontal image at the bottom left, dorsal image at the top) 441.5 cm for the right height, and 442.5 cm for the left height. The bottom width is 113.0 cm and the top width is 113.7 cm.

If Stephen doesn’t address these differences he is likely to be challenged. He needs to address the differences in the  length for the left and right sides (see the top edge in the partial image above) if he is going to quote Ian Wilson speaking of “conformity to an exact 8 by 2 Jewish cubits” in his 1991 book, "Holy Faces, Secret Places: The Quest for Jesus’ True Likeness.”


For an encyclopedia entry there is too much topic drift and too much opining in the following:

Medieval forger? It is highly unlikely that a medieval forger would even know about the Assyrian standard cubit , and even if he did, it is even more unlikely that he would botherobtaining a first century fine linen shroud, especially given that fine linen then ranked with gold in value. And that is assuming that he could obtain one, especially one with the Shroud’s three-to-one herringbone twill linen, of which the Shroud is the only one remaining in existence!

[ . . . ]

Proof the Shroud is authentic. So even the dimensions of the Shroud of Turin are among the many proofs beyond reasonable doubt that the Shroud of Turin is authentic . . . .

It may be that or maybe, just maybe, a not so startling coincidence of something that is approximately so!

Categories: Other Blogs

The Meaning of Solid

July 12, 2015 17 comments

imageDavid Mo starts out by quoting me:  “I have always wanted to see good solid skeptical thinking about the shroud.”

Then he writes in a comment to my posting, Ignorance with Wings

imageThere is not a wide sceptical bibliography about the shroud, but there is some “solid sceptical thinking”. Joe Nickell’s book is a little “vintage” but I think it is “solid”. And the Italian “sceptics” as Andrea Nicolotti, Gian Marco Rinaldi, Antonio Lombatti and others are very “solid thinkers”.

In Spanish there are some “solid sceptic” blogs. Jose Luis Calvo’s “Escrito desde el páramo” especially.

The problem is what is “solid” for you. In many cases “solid” means “this is what I think”. But you, the shroudies, scarcely never go to a sceptical forum to test the “solidness” of your thinking. You live in a closed loop. So your thinking seems very solid… within the circle.

Fair enough. But at least we try on this blog. Try this out in Google’s search box: Andrea Nicolotti

Google reports 432 results.  Now try other names. 

I guess it is all about what solid means, isn’t it?  That thought sent me over to David Mo’s website (the one he links to from his nickname in this blog). Then I employed Google translation. I commend the result to your reading.

If you type in an Internet search engine the word shroud, you are going out ten articles on the Shroud of Turin with one that addresses the issue in general. Of those ten, at least nine will be written by sindonistas or will have the sindonismo news as a source. If you type shroud of Christ, things will be even more spectacular. The monopoly in the Network of non-believers of this relic (The Catholic Church has never officially accepted as such) contrasts with the indifference of historians, including Catholics, when not shipped in two words (John D. Crossan) . They do not consider it a serious matter.

I am not naive enough to trust the scientific assumptions of this detachment that can be found among theologians and exegetes. I guess the theme of the relics should cause some discomfort among scholars believers. We would say that is a hindrance when hobnobbing with no religious historians at conferences or journals pedigree. It can also happen that they are convinced of the strict separation between science and beliefs and are uncomfortable with the trappings of pseudo sindonistas.

Good reading!

Categories: Other Blogs

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