Berlenbach coordinates a monthly beer appreciation club at St. Timothy’s Episcopal Church, in which they brew good beer (I’ve seen firsthand the hops growing up the side of the church exterior) and hold tastings and food pairings. His parish made T-shirts available at the event stating "Church Basement Brewery" on the front, and "Serving God’s love, twelve ounces at a time" on the back.
and a synagogue:
When one attendee [at Fergie's Pub in Philadelphia on Saturday afternoon – see A Rabbi, a Priest and a Minister Walked Into a Bar... ] doubted whether Abraham would enjoy a beer, Freedman [the rabbi] aptly shifted gears. "I’m not sure if I can speak for Abraham, but Abraham Joshua Heschel, one of the great rabbis in recent history, spoke of a theology of amazement: a rediscovery of the wonder of our world and the fact that we are even alive to experience creation at all. And if you think about it — fermentation is an amazing thing! That you could leave some hops and barley and yeast in water … and over time … something called fermentation happens, and you have an amazing beverage! Heschel called us to marvel at the creation God has given us, and I think we have to include brewing and beer in this amazement."
But did anyone mention the Maillard reaction?
[S]ince Dr. Rogers was aware that the “dye that was used, along with the aluminum mordant and the gum Arabic” was present throughout the TS not just in the location of Raes corner in my opinion he should have addressed that issue in his paper. Instead we had to wait three years for Dr. Maloney’s explanation
(Pictured: Paul Mahoney giving talk in 2008 at the Ohio conference)
The previous day, Giorgio had given us some specifics:
Madder rose is not isolated to Raes corner it’s found throughout the TS based on the sticky tapes from the 1978 STURP studies. So if you do believe in the invisible weave you also have to except the hypothesis stated by Paul Maloney.
” The yellow amorphous tubular flaked like material resin was possibly also the same thing Dr. Nitowski saw and was convinced it was Myrrh and aloes just as Dr. McCrone first thought. Steven Schafersman is also correct when he states the madder root was first announced by Dr. McCrone. This is also confirmed by Paul Maloney, President of ASSIST at a Talk given at the “The Shroud of Turin: Perspectives on a Multi-Faceted Enigma” conference in Columbus, Ohio on August 14-17th 2008, when he states, “Walter McCrone had sent him in 1981 several Kodak transparencies of photos he took of Shroud linen fibers. “On those slides, (Guild also has them) McCrone had written the following note: madder rose, linen fiber, medium (blue) sample 3 CB” 4 and sample 3-AB. McCrone was referring to photomicrographs made on STURP sticky tape samples 3-CB and 3-AB which came from the blood flow across the back nearest the side-strip side of the Shroud and directly adjacent to that flow on linen, itself. It was on that side where someone would have been working their repairs if the re-weave theory is held to be correct. McCrone, of course, due to his belief that the Shroud was painted by an artist, was trying to prove that the Shroud had been in an artist’s studio.” Source: Maloney, Paul C. “What Went Wrong With the Shroud’s Radiocarbon Date? Setting it all in Context.” Talk given at the “Shroud of Turin: Perspectives on a Multi-Faceted Enigma”conference in Columbus, Ohio on August 14-17th 2008.
Comments: Regarding the presence of madder rose on the cloth, Maloney says, “There is now a new way of looking at the presence of that madder rose. Although this is some distance from the “Raes Corner” such trace amounts can now be conjectured to explain the dye that was used, along with the aluminum mordant and the gum Arabic as a binder to create the wash to finish the re-weave. Thus, it may now be seen not as a contaminant from an artist’s studio, but rather a contaminant from the weaver’s workshop.”
Russ Breault has a video at Shroud University, of Paul Maloney’s talk, What Went Wrong with the Shroud’s Radiocarbon Date? Setting It All in Context (Note: this link is for a Windows Media Video (WMV) file). Also see, Chronological History of the Evidence for the Anomalous Nature of the C-14 Sample Area of the Shroud of Turin (PDF file) by Joseph G. Marino and Edwin J. Prior.
He writes, regarding the preparation time for Easter 2013 (source shroud.it)
Dear priests, deacons, religious and lay people of Turin Diocese,
the Lent of this Year of Faith will see us engaged in several significant moments of celebration in the Cathedral to profess together the unity of the faith that makes us the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. As the Apostle Paul reminds us in Ephesians: «Try to keep, by the peace that binds you, that unity which comes from the Spirit: there is only one Body, only one Spirit, as only one hope, only one Lord, only one faith, only one baptism. There is only one God and Father of all, above all, that in all is present and acts » (4,3-6).
In the Pastoral Letter on Baptism ‘Devi nascere di nuovo’ (You must be born again), I remember that the profession of baptismal faith runs on a series of "no" and "yes" that affect the whole existence of the believer and that qualify their testimony.
So now we want to express our faith also publicly, professing it to live it with the most consistent love and hope. The Cathedral is the mother church where communion and unity of God’s people, around the Bishop, takes place in the most important moments of the liturgical year. It is therefore the place with the most symbolic and concrete unity of faith and charity which unites us and makes us the Church that walks along time and here in our territory.
In this solemn and important occasion we also want to venerate the Holy Shroud, « icon of the Holy Saturday », as Benedict XVI said, with acuity and depth, on his visit during the Exposition in 2010. Beneath the Cross (tells us the Gospel of Mark) the Roman centurion – pagan, therefore – seeing how Jesus had died, said: «Truly this was the Son of God » (Mc 15,39). It is therefore contemplating the Crucifix that we too can say the central act of our faith in Jesus buried, who died and rose again for the salvation of the world.
The Holy Shroud by showing us the tortured body of the Crucified and his suffering face, reminds us of the words of the Apostle John: « God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life » (Gv 3,16). Therefore the Shroud speaks to us not of defeat, but of victory; not of death, but of life; not of despair, but of hope; not of darkness, but of light emanating from the Holy Linen and sustains the faith of those who believe and live it in love.
Contemplating and praying before the Shroud, therefore we will address to the Lord our common prayer: Lord, increase our faith. Do not allow to be less in us the joy and enthusiasm to believe that You are here, in your Church, and operate wonderful things even amid the storms of a reality that seems more and more taking many people away from faith in You. Give us a heart open to the acceptance, courage in the search for who ignores you and wisdom to find ways for an effective new evangelization in our land.
To the Blessed Virgin Consulated, patroness of the diocese, we will rely our profession of faith and the will to make it a new life for us and for every person we meet in everyday of our lives.
So I shall expect you with joy and I hope that we can live together strong moments of prayer, communion and true fraternity.
Mgr. Cesare NOSIGLIA
bishop, father and friend
I just read and enjoyed your comments on shroudstory.com. While I am a practicing Roman Catholic, I also have a PhD in chemistry and I hope that I can maintain scientific objectivity regarding the shroud. I believe that whether or not the shroud is the burial cloth of Jesus can be an open question – although I personally believe it is. But whether or not the shroud is the burial cloth of a crucified person or a fake seems to me to be beyond question. If it is a fake, it is probably the most brilliant hoax of all time! It seems to me to be beyond belief that one or more persons could have assembled all of the abundant supporting evidence 1000 years ago. One can concede that with research and great diligence the faker(s) could have assembled the evidence (however unlikely that is) – with one exception: the image! As far as I know, no one has been able to satisfactorily explain or duplicate the image. How could a medieval mind conceive and execute a negative three-dimensional image such as the one on the shroud? It is that aspect of the shroud that tilts my opinion toward regarding it as the burial cloth of Jesus.
Exactly. And why, in an age that was so undemanding, would someone do so.
And then again, I think about the inventiveness and the technology that went into building those cathedrals. But isn’t that altogether quite different?
It is interesting to note that one year ago a reader of this blog criticized the binary decision table used by Giulio Fanti. See Not happy with Giulio Fanti’s Paper in JIST. He wrote:
Baloney, baloney, baloney. This is based on a simple scoring table of 24 characteristics for 12 methods that looks like a street gambler’s punchboard. It assumes that each of the characteristics has about the same weight. C11 reads, “The pronounced rigor mortis of the body is evident, especially on the back image near the buttocks.” C24 reads, “No image can be found under the bloodstains, because they formed before the body image.” Should these two characteristics have the same weight? And why is there a “because” in C24 which changes the characteristic into an argument. The scoring is essentially binary, using x, o and ? for inconsistent, veriﬁed and dubious. All of it seems totally subjective, e. g. like how evident is rigor in the butt. I would trust Zugibe or a forensic pathologist, not Fanti on this. (emphasis mine)
Now look at this quote from the new paper on the Turin Shroud Center of Colorado website, The Shroud A Critical Summary of Observations, Data and Hypotheses, by Robert W. Siefker and Daniel S. Spicer. It reads, word for word, exactly like the sentence in Giulio’s paper “No image can be found under the bloodstains, because they formed before the body image.”
Yesterday, Paulette objected to the sentence in the new paper for the same reason that a reader objected to the identical sentence in Giulio’s paper last year. Paulette wrote:
. . . a scientist would never write “because” in an observation statement, particularly one that is not all that well confirmed. He or she might say is that the observation suggests a possible conclusion, never that it is explained by a conclusion.
I think Paulette comes off a bit too strong when she says, “a scientist would never write . . .” I agree however that it is unwise in a table called ‘Image Characteristics Evidence’ to use what is obviously a conclusion following the word ‘because.’ It is more problematic because (no pun intended) the astute and often questioning reader knows full well that it is a desired conclusion for what becomes obviously the goal of the paper as expressed in the binary decision table. (This is not to imply that I disagree with the conclusion implied by the bloodstain observation even as I disagree with the overall conclusion of the paper).
Now look at the punchboard-style binary decision table in the new paper and consider the criticism leveled at Giulio’s paper a year ago. Similar lists. Same terms such as inconsistent or dubious. Only the subjective decisions within the table seem different leading us to a different overall conclusion. Déjà vu or what?
The blogosphere has changed the rules of shroud science. Bloggers are a tough crowd. Here, in this blog, for the most part, readers who comment are extraordinarily well informed, very perceptive and thoroughly analytical. (And I mean to imply that I agree with Paulette and the previous reader.)
It seems to me that a positive thing to do with this paper over many days and weeks ahead is to take one item at a time, maybe one-a-day or so, and discuss it in this blog (or re-discuss it or choose to ignore it). And there will be no let up on the many other things that get posted like this wonderful new Guest Posting by Kelly Kearse: Distinguishing human blood from that of other species.
Hugh Farey wrote in a comment yesterday:
It was of huge benefit to have actual shroud fibres to compare experimental ones with, and I would never attempt to dismiss Rogers’s observations out of hand. Nevertheless I am not convinced by some rather sweeping statements that do not, to my mind, correctly describe the nuances of what is actually seen under a microscope. I have yet to see a photo that demonstrates that a shroud image fibre is not coloured throughout its diameter. Indeed, I would aver that Rogers’s Figure VI-2 in his Chemist’s Perspective book demonstrates exactly the opposite. “An unusually deeply coloured image fibre” he captions it.
I am also intrigued by the “scorching in the medullas.” As the medullas (Does he mean lumens?) are essentially hollow tubes, what precisely is scorched? Having spent weeks now looking at scorched firbres under a microscope myself, I think those black lines may in fact be on the surface of the fibres, not in the middle. The lumen is usually wider than those black lines, and indeed, if I magnify his Figure VI-1 till it fills the screen (I have the online version of his book) I can see what I think are the sides of the interior, uncoloured, lumen, on either side of the black line supposedly marking the ‘medulla.’
It is the business of the scientist to attempt to falsify hypotheses, and the business of the hypothesis to defend itself. Sadly, Ray Rogers is no longer able to answer my observations on his observations, which perhaps he could have done with other photomicrographs. However, as it stands, I still cannot consider the case against scorching proven.
Gabriel asked Hugh to provide them and he did along with this explanation:
Here are the two photos I was talking about. The first, showing (to me, at least) a uniformly coloured fibre with a clear lumen, is from elsewhere in your blog, but in Rogers’s book as VI-2. The second is a massive enlargement of VI-1, showing a scorch fibre. I think the black crease is a surface phenomenon, while the two arrows point to the sides of the lumen, uncoloured, deeper within the fibre. (It was a bit of a devil to extract from the pdf, so you’ll probably have to crop off the white surround or something; I couldn’t do it somehow). I had a warning from Thibault, quite justified, that I wandered into microscopy at my peril, but I do think my photos clearly show what I say I see, whereas a lot of the published ones are indistinct, to say the least. If anyone spends hours sweating over a hot microscope, surely he illustrates his findings with the best photos he can manage, and although I do understand that the earler ones were taken without the benefit of a digital camera or photomanipulation, they are not always clear enough to be convincing.
Some of us may be interested in this: Meredith Schwartz writes in Library Journal, Many JSTOR Journal Archives Now Free to Public:
The archives of more than 1,200 journals are now available for limited free reading by the public, JSTOR announced today. Anyone can sign up for a JSTOR account and read up to three articles for free every two weeks.
This is a major expansion of the Register & Read program, following a 10-month test, during which more than 150,000 people registered for access to an initial set of 76 journals. The new additions bring more than 4.5 million articles from nearly 800 scholarly societies, university presses, and academic publishers into the Register & Read offerings.
A posting from John Klotz’ blog, Living Free:
As some of you may know, I am working on a manuscript the working title of which is “The Coming of the Quantum Christ: The Shroud of Turin and the future of Science and Humanity.” I have just completed the draft of Chapter Seven (:Game Change”) which ends with the Shroud of Turin Research Group (STURP) in 1978 flying from New York to Turin to begin what is undoubtedly the most concentrated scientific study of the Shroud in its arguably two millennia history. (Some of what follows may wind-up in the “quantum” part of my manuscript., the Aquinas and Teilhard part.)
But in the past few days, the news has been of renewed efforts of the right wing extremists elected in the 2010 elections at the state level to gut Planned Parenthood again on the mistaken claim that Planed Parenthood is dedicated to abortion and that it spend most of its money providing abortions. That is simply not true. Ninety-Seven per cent of Planned Parenthood activities are devoted to women’s health issues, a part of the 97% does include contraception services, BUT, the number one way to prevent abortions is contraception.
But was does this have to do with Eva Cassidy and Nancy LaMott, two female vocalists. They have one thing in common: they both died in the prime of their singing careers from cancers that if discovered in time might have saved their lives.
First, a word about their music. Eva was a relatively unknown quantity when she died of melanoma at age 33. It was three years after her death that she came to the attention of a British disk jockey singing “Some Where Over the Rainbow. The rest is, as they say, history. There is a You Tube of an ABC Nightline story on Eva at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bXU219b3Zdw (It’s 15 minutes long so you might want to finish this article before going to it.)
Eva first came to my attention when I stumbled across a recording of her singing “At Last” on Napster some years ago. You may recall that in the Inaugural Balls of 2008, Michelle and Barak Obama danced to “At Last.” Beyonce was the singer but I recall hearing the song many years before. Like a lot of songs some of it may seem over done, but I have always cherished the last verse:
And then the spell was cast.
And here we are in heaven,
Because you are mine at last.
I was had a moment like that, New Year’s Eve, 1961.
Eva’s version is on You Tube at:
I stumbled across Nancy LaMott when I was once looking for tracks of “You’re Clear Out of This World.” I thought it was a Kurt Weil song because it seemed to draw from “Speak Low” one of Weil’s most beautiful songs. It wasn’t though. But Nancy LaMott did a set of “You’re Clear Out of This World” and Cole Porter’s “So in Love” that was out of this world. You find a recorded live performance:
The first time I heard Eva Cassidy sing, I knew she had passed away. I remember hearing of Nancy LaMott on NYC disk jockey Jonathan Schwartz’s Saturday morning jazz centered program. It was not until I discovered her recording of “Clear Out of This world” that I discovered that she too had died. Hers was uterine cancer. http://community.seattletimes.nwsource.com/archive/?date=19960324&slug=2320684
The implication in Seattle Times story was that she was on the brink of stardom at the time of her death
I will not claim that either of these two precious women could have been saved by Planned Parenthood because I am not familiar enough with their economic circumstances to know if they either qualified for, or needed, Planned Parenthood services. But millions of American women have qualified for these services and in many instances owe their lives to Planned Parenthood. You can see some examples at:
Now the commercial: What has any of this have to do with Thomas Aquinas and Teilhard?
The issue is the human soul and when does that immortal soul come into existence. We now have claims that a fertilized egg cell, even before implantation in the womb, is a human being entitled to all the due process rights of a human being which would mean that even “morning after” pills would be murder because they prevent implementation. Thomas Aquinas would have disagreed.
He lived 800 years ago, long before Darwin. Aquinas along with St. Augustine was one of the pillars of Christian theology. Aquinas wrote concerning the issue of when the soul was infused into the fetus that it occurred at the time of “quickening” and that before quickening there was not a human soul but a vegative one. He seems to foreshadow both Teilhard and Darnwin
Teilhard wrote in the “Phenomenon of Man” that it was at the point in the evolution of a species of primates that it developed the quality of reflection or self awareness, that the human species was born. To credit the metaphor of Genesis, that would be the point when humanity became the “image and likeness” of God.
As I have written in the Introduction to my manuscript, science today has advanced to the point where it is grappling with the issue of human consciousness. Roger Penrose and Stuart Hameroff have written that the human mind and(and necessarily awareness) arise from trillions of micro-tubules in the brain acting as a quantum computer with among other attributes, the ability to participate in “quantum entanglements.” That is the development among quantum phenomena to react identically and thus communicate instantaneously across time and space beyond the normal constraints of time and space. Einstein called the concept “spooky” but to paraphrase Cole Porter, it is strange, dear, but true.
I discuss this on my blog at
Where does it leave us. Ironically, it leaves us at the door step of Roe v. Wade which divided the pregnancy into three stages of legal concern. The first stage would correspond to Aquinas vegative state at the very least.
To the best of my knowledge, the Catholic Church has not yet stated as a matter of faith and morals that God has infused the soul in the ovum at the time of fertilization. Because science is now grappling with the issues of self-awareness that so closely resemble the Aquinas dichotomy, it would be best perhaps to avoid such speculation.
Galileo was nearly burned at the stake for challenging the Ptolemaic view that the earth was the center of the Universe. It might be best for everybody to take a deep breath before demanding all of our laws bend to the fundamentalist view about soul creation.
And it would certainly be a very good idea to those who are demanding the defunding of Planned Parent to back-off a bit. Millions of women have depended on Planned Parenthood for life saving services. As for me, I can not get the voices of Eva Cassidy and Nancy LaMott to be still.
Okay STURP team, it’s time to land.
Source: Living Free
Yannick Clément sends along a new collection of Ray Rogers quotations:
I don’t think I have forgotten too many relevant quotes concerning this most important topic regarding the Shroud and I truly believe that all your readers (as well as all the Shroud researchers, from the SSG or not) should take the time to read all those quotes in order to have a better view of the real situation regarding the Shroud’s image. I also believe that this new paper should be used along with the one published by Thibault Heimburger in last August. I really think that if someone takes the time to read these two papers one after the other, he will definitely have a great view of what an expert like Ray Rogers thought about the body image that is on the Shroud.
You can go read the quotes or click on “More” to read the rest of Yannick’s transmittal email.
Colin Berry writes in his blog in a Guest posting from Hugh Farey (yipee – another science bod!)
Some of you may be familiar with physics-trained Hugh Farey, who has been doing experiments recently with scorching of linen, and use of an ultraviolet lamp to check changes in fluorescence that may or may not accompany scorching from hot metal.
Yesterday he kindly sent me photographs of some of his current experiments. In the next day or two I will display his photographs here, together with his accompanying comments. Any thoughts of my own regarding Hugh’s findings will appear as comments, provoked or unprovoked by others’ observations and conclusions.
And with what I can only assume is a note to Thibault Heimburger, Colin writes:
Now that’s what I call a (bas relief) template. French physicians please note!
Go have a look. Click on the photograph (or here) for some additional information. This may turn out to be interesting after a bit more analysis and commentary.
PS: I know what I’m getting for Christmas It’s a microscope with a USB socket for linking to a laptop. It will hopefully serve as the equivalent for a bolt-on camera attachment. I’ll soon be able to take a better look at the superficiality issue. Now all I need is a uv lamp…
Now that is something all of us have been waiting for.
There is an interesting discussion going on over on Colin’s blog. The title of it is “Let’s poke ‘em with hokum…” | The Turin Shroud: but for the pseudo-science it would have been dismissed long ago as a medieval fake. Everything after the word hokum constitutes the title of his blog. No question about where he stands, is there? The discussion involves Colin, Hugh Farey, Adrie, and a brief appearance by Thibault Heimburger offering some literature finding help.
What Colin does throughout his blog – and we should thank him for this – is challenge what perhaps for some have become almost fundamentalist-like beliefs about the shroud: lack of fluorescence in the image, serum halos, bilirubin, no image beneath bloodstains, etc..
Here is a taste:
Colin Berry says:
Maybe fluorescent has a role to play in distinguishing between these two mechanisms – or, for that matter, any others that may be proposed. But the problem one is up against is that the fluorescence (or lack of) that we see now may not accurately reflect what might have been seen centuries ago immediately after image-imprinting. Fluorochromes tend to be fairly reactive and thus unstable chemicals – if not within weeks or even years – at least over decades and centuries as chemical double bonds become modified by oxygen etc. If Rogers’ vanillin can act like a chemical clock, albeit erratically, then so can fluorochromes that are initially yellow-green under uv light. As for those elusive red ones – well, I’m as much in the dark as you. The only red fluorochromes I have come across are free porphyrins, i.e. the cyclic tetrapyrroles that remain behind when iron is stripped out of haems.
Hugh Farey says:
I don’t know if my hypothesis works better when the ‘overall’ scorching happens before or after the ‘image’ scorching. However, we are told that the entire shroud is ‘yellowed with age’ and ‘weakly fluorescent.’ This is consistent with the entire shroud being heated (as part of the manufacturing process before the image, or in a reliquary after the image) to, say, 200C, producing some visible chromophores (yellow -I have still not been able to produce fluorescence without any visible change at all), and some invisible fluorochromes. (Your Phase 1 above) I believe the fluorochromes form at one temperature, and are indeed degraded into non-fluorescence after a very small increase in temperature. If I pour a blob of molten lead onto a piece of linen, and (after tipping it off) look at it under UV light, the scorch itself does not glow, it just looks brown, but it is surrounded by a coastline of yellow-green fluorescence, as if a steep temperature gradient is being illustrated, from no change, to fluorochrome, to visible scorch (shades of brown) and eventually to char (black). Your Phase 2 then, is the application of a hot template, which would turn more of the fluorochromes into non-fluorescing scorch, reduducing the overall fluorescence. I entered the shroudstory/shroudwithoutallthehype fray trying to demonstrate (with you) that the image could be a scorch, but was consistently obstructed by the “scorches fluoresce but the image does not fluoresce” chant. I think the idea that scorches only in fact fluoresce round the edges, and that the fluorescence of the shroud image is smothered by the overall backgroud fluorescence, overcomes this obstruction.
Joe Marino writes:
You may want to let your readers know that De Wesselow’s "The Sign: The Shroud of Turin and the Resurrection" is available for only $5.95 at www.HamiltonBook.com .
It has quite a good selection of books on religion. The catalog I have lists the shipping and handling to be $3.50 total no matter how many books are ordered. I’m not sure if that applies to online ordering or not. The site has info on requesting a catalog.
Supersense: Why We Believe in the Unbelievable. By Bruce M. Hood. The author, a cognitive scientist, posits that our minds are designed from the very start to think there are unseen patterns, forces and essences inhabiting the world, and that it is unlikely that any effort to get rid of supernatural beliefs, or the superstitious behaviors that accompany them will be successful. 302 pages. HarperCollins. Pub at $25.99 Only $3.95.
It’s books like these that I think show the import of the Shroud. Anyone can try to explain away belief in the supernatural but it’s not so easy to debunk something as supernaturally concrete as the Shroud. I hope to read it at some point. Perhaps one of your readers can do a review if they read before I do.
Kim Ann Zimmermann, in an article, Pareidolia: Seeing Faces in Unusual Places, writes in LiveScience:
A prime example of pareidolia and its connection to religious images is the Shroud of Turin, a cloth bearing the image of a man — which some believe to be Jesus — who appears to have suffered trauma consistent with crucifixion. The negative image was first observed in 1898, on the reverse photographic plate of amateur photographer Secondo Pia, who was allowed to photograph it while it was being exhibited in the Turin Cathedral.
Are there no editors at this magazine? In the three short paragraphs just above the paragraph I just quoted, Zimmermann very correctly and very clearly defined pareidolia as follows:
The word is derived from the Greek words para, meaning something faulty, wrong, instead of, and the noun eidōlon, meaning image, form or shape. Pareidolia is a type of apophenia, which is a more generalized term for seeing patterns in random data.
Some common examples are seeing a likeness of Jesus in the clouds or an image of a man on the surface of the moon.
The picture of a man on the Shroud of Turin is not at all mere random data. It is unmistakably a picture of a man. It might be a yet unexplained work of art. It might even be a photograph by Leonardo da Vinci. (Humor me, I’m just trying to make a point). It might be the product of some natural phenomenon. Or it might be a miraculous acheiropoieton, an image not created by human hands. But it is not a pattern of random data that just so happens to look like a man. That would be so extraordinary and so statistically implausible as to be truly miraculous. It is not a pareidolia.
We’ve covered this extensively in this blog, most recently four months ago when I wrote these words (again) from an earlier post:
One day, I was astonished to receive an email from someone who claimed that we only think we see an image of a face on the Shroud. What we think is an image, he told me, is merely the happenstance accumulation of smudges and stains on the cloth. It is no different than an imaginary image of Jesus on a burned slice of toast. It is a pareidolia, an apophenia. I had never heard of either of these words. Now I have. As far as I can see, they mean the same thing. According to my Merriam-Webster dictionary apophenia is "the experience of seeing patterns or connections in random or meaningless data." Pareidolia is defined as apophenia.
I wrote back. "The image is too detailed. It is too realistic and too complex to not be the real face of a man. When I say real, I mean by any means. Absent other evidence this includes painting, photograph or something else that we don’t understand."
But he persisted. His mind was made up. "You can’t prove it," he wrote back. "It could be pure coincidence and you don’t know for a fact that it isn’t. What is the threshold for perceiving an image? What are the criteria for saying that the image is of a man? Are you an expert on the human face?"
I suspect that there is a rather fuzzy swath of undecidedness between certainty that an image is of a face and is not. Given the setting and circumstance and a measure of sanity in whatever our worldview may dictate to us, we can usually avoid undecidedness. If I see a face in the clouds, I know it is a phantasm (another cool word), an illusion, an apparition of sorts. I am sure most of us think the same thing if we see a face on a piece of toast or in a smudge of a windowpane. It should be easy to know what we see for any given context. If I see a face in a Picasso, even if it looks less like a face than what I see on my morning toast, I know it is an image of a face because of the context. But what about the face on the shroud? It is a face. The context is clear. There is an entire body there – admittedly, at the risk of being declared incompetent, maybe a pareidolia. I don’t know how the face got there but it is a face.
Is there pareidolia on the shroud? I think so: the coins over the eyes, lettering, flowers, scorches that look like clowns. We’ve been there many times.
Interesting, in light of our many discussions about the Shroud of Turin. The Rev. Paul Brandeis Raushenbush, the Senior Religion Editor at The Huffington Post writes in an article, Ask Not What Religion on the Internet Can Do for You…:
As the Religion Editor at The Huffington Post, I often ask audiences: "How many of you use the Internet in your religious practice?" Often people keep their hand down, surprised anyone would sully their religious practice with the web. Then I ask how many of them have ever looked up a Bible passage, a prayer, researched a religious figure or watched a guided meditation or prayer — all of the hands go up.
Religion is one of the hottest areas of the Internet because religion is one of the most intense and contested arenas of human relations and ideas. There are many people who are taking information from the Internet that is shaping their religious thought and perception. But all that glitters on the Internet is not gold. The web has only the ethics that people bring to it and provides the perfect vehicle for those who wish to spread misinformation, ridicule, provoke or incite people of a different culture or belief. Take one example: Right now if you type in Jew into the Google search, an Aryan nation site comes up on the first page.
Last week, in his Hidden Experience blog, Mike Clelland pointed us to Jeffrey Vallance’s cartoon website and his piece about some other images that people see in the shroud. Be sure to see the ventral and dorsal (front and back for the rest of us) images and some of his other provided links. The picture here is an interpretation of the sinister clown images seen in the burn marks. Enjoy the laugh:
However, some people have claimed to have seen "other" images on the Shroud such as coins on the eyes, chin bindings, Jewish packets on the forehead called "phylacteries" and cryptic words and letters. Researchers believe they see specific coins minted by Pontius Pilate placed over the eyes Of the shroud man. A group of secondary images caused by burn marks from a fire in 1532 produced what appear like sinister clown-like faces. Some believe that the devil tried to burn the Shroud in 1532, but when this proved unsuccessful, he created the scorch marks (that are actually darker than the Holy Face) in an attempt to mock the Shroud. As the true burial cloth of christ, the Shroud was the most dangerous object to the forces of evil. The Devil was so exasperated by the existence of the Shroud (the most scientifically conclusive evidence of the the Resurrection) tha he sought to destroy the relic forever – instead he only pathetically managed to burn the clown-like faces on it. Both the devil and the clown are trickster figures. The sinister clowns on the Shroud can be interpreted as diabolical portraits made by the devil himself.
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Colin Berry lets us know about this comments back-and-forth that appeared in Stephen Jones’ Shroud of Turin blog:
Weaving fan: ‘A further highly unusual [sic] feature of the Shroud’s linen is the weave itself. … an altogether more complex three-to-one herringbone twill …’
Jones: I regard your putting a “[sic]” in Wilson’s words quoted by me (and therefore my words) as substandard and personally offensive. The only valid excuse would be if Wilson or I made a spelling or grammatical mistake, which we didn’t.
Weaving fan: Ian Wilson, not so far as is known an expert on textiles.
Jones: This is FALLACIOUS. Wilson has spent a LIFETIME studying the Shroud and has met, seen and heard at Shroud conferences, and corresponded with, many “an expert on textiles”. To dismiss what Wilson says about the Shroud’s weave because he is not “an expert on textiles” is also substandard.
Weaving fan: Compare: Gilbert Raes, renowned expert on ancient textiles: … The type of weave [the herringbone pattern of the Turin Shroud] is not particularly distinctive and does not enable us to determine the period in which it was produced” .
Jones: This is also substandard. As I previously pointed out, Raes was talking about not being able to pinpoint the weave of the Shroud TO THE TIME OF CHRIST. He was not saying that 3:1 herringbone twill weave linen was produced in Europe in the Middle Ages.
Weaving fan: There is nothing particularly special about 3/1 weave which is why it is so widespread, even way back in ancient Egypt and still used by weavers today.
Jones: This is merely an ASSERTION by you. It is also FALLACIOUS. That 3:1 herringbone twill weave is “widespread” TODAY and was known “in ancient Egypt” does not thereby mean it was produced in Europe in the Middle Ages.
Weaving fan: Wilson is misleading here. Remember also that Tite had to find a piece of linen that the owners would allow to be cut up to be used as a CONTROL.
Jones: This is FALSE. The amount of linen needed as a control in the 1988 AMS radiocarbon dating was only the size of a POSTAGE STAMP. So it would NOT mean it would have to be “cut up”. The Shroud is of FAR GREATER value than any individual medieval linen and so the Vatican would never have allowed the Shroud to be C14 dated if that meant it would be “cut up.”
The fact is that Tite of the British Museum could NOT FIND a medieval piece of linen AT ALL which was 3:1 herringbone twill and therefore visually identical to the Shroud, so that the C14 dating labs could not tell which was the Shroud. But if medieval European 3:1 herringbone twill linen was so common as you claim it was, it would have been NO PROBLEM for Tite to obtain a POSTAGE STAMP sized sample of at least ONE of them.
Weaving fan: Wilson seems to imply that there were no similar herringbone cloths around in the Middle Ages. This is not true- it is simply that most are in museums (e.g the Victorian and Albert Museum in London) and can not be cut up to provide a control sample.
Jones: This is FALSE. See above.
As I pointed out above, several aspects of your comment I found to be substandard and even offensive, and so according to my policies it should not have appeared (see below). I only allowed it to appear so that I could further refute your argument.
I used to have a policy for those who like to argue and waste my time by reiterating the same false and substandard arguments:
“Each individual will usually be allowed only one comment under each post. Since I no longer debate, any response by me will usually be only once to each individual under each post.”
This policy was not permanently abolished, but only temporarily relaxed, and is held in reserve by me to invoke whenever I deem it necessary, as I now do.
Therefore you have had your last comment under this post. You are free to comment under other posts on this blog, but if they are similarly substandard they won’t appear.
I don’t like Jones’ way of moderating comments. Colin Berry doesn’t either. But did Colin, who squeals like a wounded something-or-other every time someone criticizes him, need to serve up this?
Berry: You, Mr. Uptight Stephen E.Jones, are not just a martinet, but A BOIL ON THE BUM OF THE BLOGOSPHERE! (emphasis his)
How to win friends and influence people!
But back to the question in the title: Who is right, Weaver fan or Jones?
Vatican Insider is reporting The Holy Shroud: One Big Bang and the body was gone. So will Telegraph journalism follow, as we might expect?
Giuseppe Baldacchini is a physician who has worked for Italian research centre ENEA for a number of years. He is also a passionate scholar of that mysterious object which is the Holy Shroud of Turin and in recent days he has published a book about his findings, which readers can access by clicking on the following link. Of particular interest is a fascinating theory he has come up with to try to respond to a series of questions about how the image on the Shroud was formed and how the body which lay wrapped inside the winding sheet could have disappeared. Baldacchini presents two theories: one, that the Shroud is a medieval fake which is useful in worship rituals and/or religious propaganda in the Catholic Church, like many other relics. And two, that it is the genuine article and really did contain Jesus Christ’s body, making it a witness of his Resurrection.
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So how did the body disappear? Baldacchini’s response is this: “The only phenomenon in Physics that can lead to the complete disappearance of mass, producing an equivalent energy is the process known as matter-antimatter annihilation (AMA). . . .
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.
This was done just to make it easier for some of us. You can also use shroudblog.com in an email and it will work as a link to this blog.