Archive for the ‘Science’ Category

Did Jesus Survive the Crucifixion?

May 28, 2015 87 comments

The Sudarium provides strong, independent evidence for the authenticity of the Shroud of Turin. If the Shroud is a fake, then the Sudarium must also be so. This makes the job of any potential forger close to impossible. The two cloths authenticate and validate each other and together they provide a strong case for being the original burial cloths of Jesus.

— Arif Khan

imageThe current issue of The Review of Religions, an international magazine published by the Ahmadiyya Muslim community, carries an article by Arif Khan, The Sudarium of Oviedo and the Shroud of Turin. The Review is an international magazine published by the Ahmadiyya Muslim community. It has been in print since 1902. The current cover of the print edition is pictured.

Here is what the article says about the carbon dating of the shroud:

Section 3 – Dating the Shroud & the Sudarium

The fact that the Shroud and the Sudarium were together at one time not only authenticates the Sudarium but also crucially proves the authenticity of the Shroud itself.

Ever since the carbon dating results hit the world’s media on October 13, 1988, stating the Shroud dated from 1260 – 1390 CE, there has been a major debate concerning the Shroud’s age.

Several scholars have written about why the carbon dating result for the Shroud is incorrect, the most convincing being by Raymond Rogers.[18] He argues that it is possible that it dated from the 1st Century.

The link between the Sudarium and the Shroud however, casts major doubt over the accuracy of the carbon dating result. The Sudarium is known to have existed hundreds of years prior to the 1260 – 1390 dating result attributed to the Shroud. There is documented evidence, surviving to this day in the Capitular Archives of the cathedral in Oviedo, of the Sudarium being seen by King Alfonso VI and several others on March 14, 1075.[19] The ark containing the cloth was officially opened on this day, and the event recorded. Even in 1075, it is stated that the ark had been in the church for a long time.[20]

References to a Sudarium exist from as early as the Gospels themselves, but proving the Sudarium of Oviedo was the same Sudarium is difficult. The existence of the cloth in 1075, however, is something attested to and officially recorded.

Given the proof that the Sudarium and the Shroud covered the same body, and the proof that the Sudarium was definitely in existence in 1075, the carbon dating results of the Shroud of Turin have again been thrown in to doubt.

Despite this strong evidence, it is not possible to definitively prove that both the Sudarium and the Shroud of Turin dated from the 1st Century. However, it is possible to conclude that given the proven connection between the cloths, the carbon dating result for the Shroud of Turin is incorrect.

Once the carbon dating result for the Shroud is discarded, the case for the authenticity of the Shroud of Turin outweighs claims that it is some form of fake. The strong similarities between the Sudarium and the Shroud, mean the Sudarium now has a high probability of also being authentic.

BUT, BUT, BUT:  Here is a part of the article many of this blog’s readership will find uncomfortable:

A key reason for this magazine taking an interest in the Shroud of Turin is that several scholars have argued it proves Jesusas survived the crucifixion, thus validating the belief and teaching of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmadas. There are Shroud researchers who have reached this exact same conclusion based upon their study of the Shroud of Turin.[21] Those that have argued this viewpoint draw attention to the large amounts of blood on the Shroud, and highlight that it would take an active heart to produce this. Others have stated that for an even formation of the image, the body would need to have been at a constant temperature, again requiring a living body. However, the scholars that hold this view concerning the Shroud are in a minority, and this is un-surprising given that it is a Catholic relic and the vast majority of those who have taken an interest in researching it come from a Christian background. Does the Sudarium shed any light on the question of Jesusas surviving the crucifixion?

The endnote 21, above, is a link address to another article by Arif Khan published in 2010 in the same magazine. Therein we find him writing about Holger Kersten and Elmar Gruber’s, “The Jesus Conspiracy” and Christopher Knight and Robert Lomas’, “The Second Messiah.”

Just yesterday, while unaware of this article, I invited Helmut Felzmann from the Shroud Science Group to write a guest posting. Dr. Felzmann, whose religious perspective is very different, believes that the shroud demonstrates that Jesus survived the crucifixion. I warned him that this is a tough crowd.  (Did I say I think the idea is very difficult to accept?  Anyway, I want my friend Helmut to have a chance to make his case. Call me biased and balanced, I guess.)

So what do you think? Any chance that Jesus survived the cross?

Colin Berry is not Seeing Red

May 27, 2015 54 comments

Berry: Where did the story of the too-red blood originate?  Answer: from Adler and Heller

imageYou may have noted a comment by Charles Freeman. 

Well, we just have to disagree on the reality of the human blood. I am an independent scholar, formerly a Senior Examiner of the International Baccalaureate;s critical thinking programme, Theory of Knowledge, and thus used to looking at evidence or asking those who know.

I had the Heller/Adler papers read by a professor emeritus of physiology who said that their claims that this was blood were totally unconvincing. I show the bloodstains to any forensic expert i can find and they all say they have never seen dried blood that red.

So I am not working on the understanding that this is blood.

Why can’t the STURP tests be replicated 37 years on? Have they lost the tapes???

Caption:  Robert Downey Jr. telling Charles Freeman that everything looks too red.

Will we ever learn the name of any of Charles’ many experts du jour. But that isn’t the point.  The point is that Charles is playing the blood-is-too-red card, perhaps too carelessly, something that Colin Berry in one of his overly long, topic-drift postings picked up on. In fact, Colin, is challenging the very notion that the blood is too red.

Let’s see some of what he has to say by clicking in and scrolling down until you spot Charles Freeman’s name for the fourth time:

Er, which photograph(s) of the TS show the blood as "too red"? How come after 3 years of looking at TS photographs, I have yet to see them?

It can’t be the 1931 Enrie photographs, since they are B/W. It can’t be the 2002 Durante pictures, at least those that appear on Mario Latendresse’s Shroud Scope, since the colour of the blood in those  pictures is scarcely distinguishable from the body image, the entire look being a dull plum.

Durante 2002 (from Shroud Scope): blood too red?

(The first thing I do with Shroud Scope pictures is put then into MS Office Picture Manager and adjust brightness/contrast/midtone from 0,0,0 to -7/100/15 in order to get the blood looking redder). So which photos are Charles Freeman showing to his buttonholed experts? Maybe those Halta pictures on the iPad app, recently described (aptly methinks) as mere toys?

Blood too red? …

Or maybe the BBC’s earlier release in 2008 of Halta pictures that do show a rosy hue in places where it’s not expected, but in prominent areas of body image, not blood especially.

Halta image from BBC site (2008). Some pink coloration – but it’s mainly in the beard and other body-image locations.

Finally, let’s not forget the Turin custodians’ own site with a selection of TS views, essentially the same it would appear as those on Shroud Scope.No, the bloodstains do not look too red. Indeed, they do not look red at all.

Where did the story of the too-red blood originate?  Answer: from Adler and Heller, who said in writing the blood was too red, the porphyrin spectrum was atypical, and thus was born the "trauma bilirubin/acid methemoglobin" claim, …

Barrie M.Schwortz has been responsible over the years for proselytising the "blood abnormally red" description, and his admiration for Alan Adler’s pro-authenticity narrative-friendly bilirubin explanation. …

Misleading impression of ‘redness’ created by high magnification/strong illumination? RGB reference standards for comparison? Might the colours also have been digitally adjusted in a manner that accentuated redness?

That still leaves unanswered the question as to which photograph Charles Freeman showed to his forensic experts or emeritus professor of physiology. I shan’t bother asking him directly. I’ve wasted too much time already – putting innumerable points and questions to someone who persistently displays a blissful indifference to the hard facts – and getting back nothing useful in return.

Remember the fun days?  Anyone remember Let’s Talk Red Blood: Bilirubin, Saponaria officinalis and UV?  All those other people believing the blood is too red.  Colin wasn’t questioning it then, was he?

Fascinating Video from Dave Hines

May 26, 2015 35 comments

Link =

He writes in YouTube:

This part 1 series of 3 videos goes into how Jesus was buried 1st. Blood stains 1st. We cannot talk about the image formation until we 1st address the blood stains and other aspects of the image that are result of body to cloth contact.

Shroud image is the result of both body to cloth contact and another aspect of the Shroud image is a non contact image.

I want to make it clear I am not proposing that the Shroud image is a contact image only.
We will get into the discussion of what aspect of the Shroud is a non contact image in Part 2 of this series.

In the 2nd video will show how the myrrh resin applied to the cloth will convert the linen into a holographic film plate.

We will demonstrate live on film a laser beam bounced off the figure and then diffracted and the interference pattern recorded on the linen.

Part of the Shroud Image is in fact a hologram.

We will prove that beyond any reasonable doubt.

This is not just a theory I am proposing but you are going to see a up close and personal genuine demonstrated reality in front of your own eyes. "seeing is believing" and you are going to see.

Maybe for the 1st time in your entire life.

One of our goals in this video is to silence the voice of the skeptic once and for all. When we are done there will not be a single witness left to testify against Jesus of Nazareth.

The Man in the Shroud/Jesus is going to get the fair trail he did not get back in 1st Century. This time he is going to be set free along with the viewer. Permanent freedom from the spirit of fear. Spirit of joy will replace it. No one should have to live with a sick spirit of fear. We are setting out to free people of it, so they can have a chance of having a genuine, successful and happy life.

Shroud of Turin is a witnessing tool only so that one may "come to believe in a power greater then themselves that can restore the normal function of the mind and body.

One of the greatest sensations in the world that people spend millions of dollars to experience is freedom. It is positively exhilarating and spirit uplifting. You can have that sensation for free.

The truth revealed in this series of videos, will set you permanently free and it will not cost you one penny to do so, in accordance with the will of the Spirit of God. Spirit of God is not a paper and coin chaser and does not need to know your credit card number or access to your bank account.

He simply does not care how much money you have. It is something else the Spirit of God seeks from you. We suggest sending him a "knee mail" message to figure out what that is exactly.

Colin Berry On Rogers and Arnoldi Paper

May 24, 2015 12 comments

imageYesterday, Colin Berry, in one of his updates to his seemingly always evolving and meandering long postings, tells us what he would have done had he been refereeing Rogers’ and Arnoldi’s paper, “THE SHROUD OF TURIN: AN AMINO-CARBONYL REACTION (MAILLARD REACTION) MAY EXPLAIN THE IMAGE FORMATION”, which appeared in the peer-reviewed journal Melanoidins:

Had the paper come to me for refereeing… it would have been rejected out of hand.

I’d have appended the following specific comments to the author and journal Editor:

1. Do not go citing Pliny the Elder out of the blue, begging the question re Shroud authenticity, implying that the radiocarbon dating can be safely ignored.  Oh no it cannot. The author might think it invalid, based on his examination of a few threads illicitly removed from the radiocarbon sample, with a subsequent gap in the chain of custody. But he cannot expect others to take his rejection as the consensus position in science. It’s not. Indeed, the manner in which Pliny has been insinuated into the above text suggests strongly that Raymond N.Rogers was not strictly neutral and disinterested on the subject of authenticity when he penned the above paper, making it worryingly possible that he was not  neutral at the time he worked with STURP in 1978. It’s my belief that Rogers was a closet authenticist. If he considered the radiocarbon dating, then he as STURP’s chemical team leader should have been the one to press for a repeat dating – not to go tacitly assuming authenticity. Science has to be totally objective in its written PEER-REVIEWED publications.

2.The presence of starch "confirmed" with a reagent that designed to test for something entirely different? The correct reagent for detecting starch is a solution of iodine in potassium iodide, which gives a blue-black inky colour with starch. A solution of iodine in sodium azide, intended to detect sulphoproteins, one that gives a totally different colour (red), CANNOT be assumed to be testing for starch UNLESS VALIDATING TESTS ARE REPORTED.  They were not. We are asked to accept that iodine/azide is a dual purpose reagent. Who says? Neither does it inspire confidence to see a reference to "amilose", it being AMYLOSE needless to say. Secondly the differentiation between amylose (straight chain starch) and the unmentioned amylopectin (branched chain starch) simply cannot be inserted into a scientific account without a word of explanation. In nay case, the two components of starch were not properly recognized as distinct chemical entities until the 1940s. Their relevance to colorimetric tests for starch is highly questionable to say the least, unless dealing with genetic variants of wheat that are enriched in one or the other (e.g. waxy maize starches that are almost entirely amylopectin, which gives a red or purple colour with iodine/potassium iodide). What we see here is at best sloppy and imprecise unscientific reporting that should never have got past the referees.

3. There is no conclusive evidence that starch or other polysaccharides and/or sugars are  present on the Shroud, and even if the red colour with iodine/azide were admissible evidence, for which no assurance is offered, the evidence for that was from Adler and Heller. One CANNOT GO BASING MAJOR CLAIMS (as Roger’s "starch fraction/Maillard hypothesis" has become a major claim) on evidence from other workers, in other laboratories, that is little more than anecdotal.


Colin Berry: The Scourge Marks are Frankly Not Credible

May 17, 2015 156 comments

When someone is flayed with a Roman flagrum, one expects to see the skin ripped to shreds,
with blood flows to match. One does not expect to see neat imprints

imageIs that so?  Has this idea been investigated?

Colin had written a comment:

The crucial point surely is that there is no imaging of “wounds” or “injuries” as such on the sepia body image of the TS – absolutely none. The evidence for “wounds” and “injuries” rests entirely on the position of bloodstains at various locations. Even the “scourge marks” showing the dumb-bell shapes etc of skin-lacerating or indenting metal or bone tips are (we’re told) solely blood imprints – there’s no corroborating evidence in the body image.

The reliance on bloodstains alone to support the biblical narrative (scourging, crown of thorns, nails wounds, lance wound) with no supporting evidence whatsoever in the body image is entirely consistent with medieval forgery. Indeed, it’s hard to think of an alternative explanation – unless one’s view of the TS is “authentic until proven otherwise” (an authenticity-endorsing or promoting ‘sindonological’ position, as distinct from one that is strictly neutral, dispassionately scientific).

Thibault Heimburger replied:

I never understood what you mean by “imaging of wounds …”  What do you expect to see on a linen on contact with a bloody wound? I would expect to see exactly what we see on the TS.

Can you explain?

Colin then writes:

Maybe nothing. But I’m not the one who constantly refers to “wounds” or “injuries” for which there’s no independent and corroborating evidence in the body image, merely blood that is in locations that fit the biblical narrative. It’s to do with the burden of proof.

When someone is flayed with a Roman flagrum, one expects to see the skin ripped to shreds, with blood flows to match. One does not expect to see neat imprints correspondingly exactly with the shape of the metal or bone pellets, as if all they did was to produce contusions with just the right amount of weeping blood to “imprint” an image, with no surplus to obscure and thus ‘spoil’ the image. The scourge marks are frankly not credible, except as the work of a forger intent on creating over-simplified neat and geometric patterns that lack both realism and credibility.

Yannick Clément on Colin Berry’s Latest Hypothesis

May 10, 2015 13 comments

imageHe writes in an email:

If we take the question of the image formation without also taking into account the rest of the important data coming from the Shroud, I would say that even if Colin Berry could really produced an image on linen that would show ALL the chemical and physical properties of the Shroud image (I’m 99% certain that he can’t because, among other thing, there is absolutely no color penetration anywhere on the Shroud, which is something no medieval forger using the kind of chemical process he proposed could have rationally achieve), his result would never prove that this is how the Shroud image was formed.  This would only show that the kind of "artificial" process he proposed can produce an image on linen like the Shroud, which is very different than claiming this MUST be the way it was done.

And more importantly, the evidence coming from the bloodstains (which I have summarized in this paper:ément-The-evidence-of-the-bloodstains.pdf) would still be there to contradict the idea of a false relic that could have been "artificially" created by a forger.  As I showed in my paper, the blood evidence coming from the Shroud is enough to prove that this cloth is a real burial cloth that has enveloped only for a short period of time a real scourged and crucified man that has been executed with the known historical method that was used by the Roman Empire before the reign of the Emperor Constantine.  In such a context, the ONLY rational hypothesis that could involve a forgery is the one I summarized in the point #1 you can find in page 6, which goes like this: "It is a real burial shroud of someone other than Jesus of Nazareth who suffered the same tortures as he with a forged image done by someone without using any art technique. In this case, a forger “naturally” produced the image while using a real human corpse. Because of the great resemblance between what happen to Jesus in the Gospels, we must assume that this forger did it in order to produce a false relic of the Passion of the Christ. Also, because of the presence of many differences between any known artistic depictions of the Passion of the Christ prior to the first known public exhibition of the Shroud in the 14th century and the bloodstains and the body image that are on the Shroud (for example, the nailing in the wrist instead of in the palms, the wearing of a cap of thorns instead of a crown and the very distinct dumbbell shaped marks of scourging coming from a Roman flagrum), we must assume that if he tortured and crucified himself (with the help of some collaborators), this forger was well aware of the Roman procedures concerning scourging and crucifixion. In fact, it is even more rational to think that this forger used the body of a real crucified victim who was put to death by the Romans, before the crucifixion was banished by the emperor Constantine, in the last years of his reign that ended in 337. We also have to assume that this forger took the dead body out of the shroud before it started to corrupt in such a way that this extraction did not disturb the bloodstains, never broke the linen fibrils under them and did not disturb the body image. In sum, this scenario can be described like a “natural” forgery using a real tortured and crucified body. And whether or not the forger knew that he would obtain a body image on the cloth, along with the bloodstains, is not completely clear. In fact, the formation of an image like that could have well been just an accident."

If Berry (or anyone else) still wants to defend the idea of a forgery while remaining rational, I urge him to think seriously of what I just said and to try to find a way to produce a Shroud-like image with the use of biological products that could have been released inside the Shroud shortly after death by a highly-traumatized human corpse that had been scourged and crucified. In my mind, that would certainly be much more interesting than seeing him constantly trying to produce at all cost a Shroud-like image with the use of a man-made technique, while completely leaving aside (or at the very least, not considering seriously) the crucial evidence coming from the bloodstains…

Colin Berry Has It All Figured Out, Sort Of, Maybe

May 9, 2015 71 comments

You’ve got to love the experimentation and impressive results so far

imageColin Berry gives this lengthy title to a blog postings over at his Science Buzz blog: The chemical principles behind the iconic Turin Shroud can now be explained. All that remains is to produce a look-alike copy. Then he goes on to say:

It’s taken over 3 years of almost non-stop experimentation, but this blogger/retired science bod is now able to explain how the faint negative image of the Turin Shroud was obtained (as a feat of medieval technology, aided by alchemists).

The task: produce a contact image that could be claimed to be that left by the crucified Jesus on Joseph of Arimathea’s ‘fine linen’.

It’s incredibly simple in principle (why didn’t I think of it sooner?):

1. Paint an adult human male (alive or dead) with an organic paste …

2. Press linen against the subject (or subject against linen) …

3. Develop the image chemically….


So I maintain that the plausible science is established – at least in principle-  so far as producing a negative  sepia 2D image from imprinting off a 3D subjectis concerned.  Whether it matches all the additional or peculiar characteristics of the TS image (extreme superficiality, lack of reverse side image, lack of uv fluorescence, microscopic characteristics etc.) remains to be seen. However,let’s insert a note of caution: not all those listed characteristics were necessarily there immediately after image formation, regardless of age – centuries or millennia. Some of those characteristics may be a result of ageing. At present it seems sensible to adopt a broad-brush approach, attempting to accommodate  only those ‘headline’ characteristics of the TS that have led to its being described as iconic or enigmatic. Where the latter are concerned, the prize for the most ‘iconic’ must surely go to the pioneering 1898 photography by Secondo Pia, which converted the Shroud negative back into a positive (by innocently treating the TS as a positive and convereting to a negative!).

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