The St. Louis Shroud Conference of 2014 was an outstanding success. A total of 162 people attended. Most were from the United States, as one might expect. But there were attendees from Australia, Canada, England, France, Hong Kong, Italy and Spain, as well.
Whether or not we were able to attended, we all benefit from new material emerging because of the conference. We all owe a debt of gratitude to Joe Marino and his committee. It takes a lot of work, diplomacy and imagination to manage such a successful conference. Thank you.
And we need to thank the authors of so many wonderful papers and presentations. How much we learned! Thank you.
Joseph G. Marino Chairman
Joseph Marino is a leading expert on the Shroud of Turin. He has researched, written and lectured extensively on the Shroud since 1977. He currently works at The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio.
Since the mid-1980s, Joe has worked extensively with many of the top sindonologists in the world. Much of his work has been in conjunction with the late Sue Benford. Both Joe and Sue performed exceptional work on researching the Shroud, and bringing its message to the world.
Mark Antonacci is an attorney and author of The Resurrection of the Shroud (New York: M. Evans and Co., 2000) the most comprehensive book to date on the Shroud of Turin.
Laura is a security professional, specializing in surveillance detection training and consulting. She is a professional speaker and author. Her publishing company, Cradle Press, offers several books about the Shroud of Turin, all available on major online bookstores.
Chuck Neff, Executive Producer of the Salt River Production Group, has more than 35 years of experience in the television, radio, and video production industries. He has worked as a news reporter, anchorman, and producer with NBC News in Chicago, as well as TV and radio stations in St. Louis, Denver, and Terre Haute.
Keith Plein is a veteran sales and marketing consultant, working for nearly 40 years in a Fortune 100 company. As President of his own firm, he brings his unique contributions to the Salt River Production Group, where he also serves as the group’s Director of Sales and Marketing. His career has spanned a series of diverse industries, including automotive, commercial transportation, agriculture, housing, and aviation.
John Schulte has been following the Shroud of Turin for more than three decades. A retired architect, John travels extensively throughout the Midwest to make presentations on the Shroud. He has also written comprehensively on many of the details seen on the Shroud. Most notably, John has performed broad research on the blood seen on the back of the man depicted in the Shroud image.
Note: Pictures and bios shamelessly copied from the conference website.
You didn’t provide a link to the [Critical Summary]. Nor did the conference site. I was able to find it by entering “google jackson shroud center.”
Oops! Here it is: A Critical Summary of Observations, Data and Hypotheses – Version 2.1
This same conference attendee noted:
Dr. Siefker’s chart evaluates ten hypotheses against a short list of only seventeen image characteristics. Dr. Siefker said of his paper was a utility for all of us. No it is not. It is a biased defense of Jackson’s theory and nothing more. Do you think people will find it methodically suspicious that only Jackson’s cloth falling hypothesis matches 100% of all image characteristics and that no other hypothesis comes close?
Suspicious? No. Disappointed in the methodology? Yes! See Déjà vu or what?
The folks at Colorado Springs want feedback. The second page of the summary states: “We welcome comments, but we can only consider those that are substantive and that are emailed directly to our website (via the Shroud Data tab).” But that tab merely asks people to send comments to an email address, ShroudFacts@gmail.com.
If the goal is progress in our understanding of the shroud, whatever the truth may be, then transparency and open dialog is called for. Today, newspapers, magazines and even highly respected journals welcome online comments in the clear. Authors mix it up with readers and offer clarifications. Readers mix it up with each other and many people benefit from the opinions of others.
If, on the other hand, the objective is controlled marketing of an idea then, fine, we-welcome-comments-but-we-can-only-consider-those-that-are-substantive-and-that-are emailed-directly-to-our-website will work for the authors of this paper.
Hmmm! Someone could put up a webpage for each characteristic, each hypothesis, each historical item and so forth, with an appropriate explanation, and invite discussion; make the labels match those in the paper so people could look it up in the paper. Hmmm!
The full paper is 106 pages, with lots of tables, making it a bit unwieldy. You might want to save it to your computer or better yet put up a copy on the Google Cloud. I also loaded up a copy on my Kindle. That works pretty well but the page numbers are messed up.
The paper is a locked up PDF so you can’t easily quote from it which is not a good idea for promoting ideas in this day and age. If you want to do some fair use quoting you will need to retype the material or OCR it (Microsoft Notebook works perfectly on whole pages).
Again, see Déjà vu or what?
Note: I have corrected the spelling of Bob Siefker’s name in the email above rather than annotate the error with (sic). I carelessly repeated the error in my own comments and have corrected that as well.
Note 2: The URL for the Critical Summary was changed on October 19, 2014. This page has been updated.
Stuck at Chicago O’Hare. Next, some sleep
The last presentation was Robert Siefker’s excellent explanation of The Shroud: A Critical Summary Of Observations, Data And Hypotheses Version 2.0, a document published by the Turin Shroud Center of Colorado headed up by John Jackson. More on this shortly in another posting.
It was a good conference. All of the presentations were very good. Most we’re excellent. A few were outstanding. Some, to my particular way of seeing things, were particularly notable for one reason or another. I’ve already mentioned Andrew Silverman’s mind consciousness talk and Ray Schneider’s overview of significant evidence in earlier postings. There were others.
Saturday afternoon: When Bob Rucker finished his extended talk, MCNP Analysis Of Neutrons Released From Jesus’ Body In The Resurrection the applause was seismic. In closing, he mentioned that he had a few handouts of his slides. They were gone in 15 seconds as people all but climbed over tables to grab them. I was approached by several people to see if I would publish his PowerPoint now because nobody wanted to wait until the conference papers were published, probably in December. Bob has given me an electronic copy of 54 of his charts and is writing up notes of what he said. When I get it I’ll post the whole thing here. So watch for it.
Sunday morning: Nothing will wake you up like a ten foot tall picture of Charles Freeman at 8:00 in the morning (see picture above). It was one of the slides Jack Markwardt used in his most outstanding special presentation, Modern Scholarship And The History Of The Turin Shroud. This is a big deal. If Jack is right, and indeed he may be, we may need to completely rethink the history of the shroud before it arrived in Western Europe. We may need to reconsider the notion that the cloth was “doubled in fours” or whatever definition we have been using for the word tetradiplon. We may need to reimagine what happened before, during and after AD 944.
Still Sunday morning: Barrie Schwortz gave an eight minute talk about Ray Rogers. Strip away any mention of the shroud, as Rogers did in his work-a-day world, and you find a brilliant and dedicated scientist admired by his peers at Los Alamos. Thanks, Barrie. It needed to be said. For now, and until we can get Barrie’s full presentation, lets not have any comments on Barrie’s talk.
As for comments on Bob Siefker’s presentation, let’s wait for a subsequent posting on the subject, maybe later today. And, as for Jack Marwardt’s new historical theory, let’s wait for the actual paper to be published because this is potentially seminal.
Much more to talk about.
"Just the facts, ma’am."
1) I was buttonholed outside the ballroom where the conference was taking place. I don’t remember the exact conversation that took place. This is what I can reconstruct from what I remember:
“The facts are not in dispute,” the conferee said, suggesting that I was doing a disservice to the public by allowing facts to be questioned.
“Which facts? Which list of facts are we talking about?” I wanted to know.
“Certainly, not Fanti’s list,” he said.
Point made? I think so.
2) During the only truly skeptical-of-authenticity presentation, Speculations On The 14th Century Origins Of The Turin Shroud by Joe Accetta, someone leaned over and whispered,”Joe was part of STURP, he should know that [wood block printing with iron gall ink] won’t work because there is no image under the bloodstains. He knows the facts.”
3) Overheard during breakfast: “Everyone is entitled to their own opinions but not their own facts’. Really? See the posting Everyone’s Own Facts published on this blog June 20th, this year.
4) Also overheard during breakfast (same person): “If you want facts stay away from Porter’s blog.”
5) Oh, by-the-way: Sgt. Friday never said those words in the TV show. No, really, that is factually incorrect! Those words are from a movie staring Tom Hanks and Dan Aykroyd.
Therefore, it was refreshing to hear Bruno Barberis, in his paper, The Future Of Research On The Shroud, call for re-examination of factual information. Here are a few of items that I quickly jotted down:
- Iron concentrations at different places on the shroud, image and non-image areas, bloodstains, etc.
- Presence of proteins at different places on the shroud
- Oxidation and dehydration origins and characteristics
- Aragonite traces
- Pollen identification
- Confirm that there is no image under the bloodstains
- New and expanded analysis of the bloodstains
My notes are inadequate, but you get the idea. Oh, by-the-way, Barberis pointed out that the STURP results should be the starting point. In other words . . .
And Professor Barberis didn’t hold out much hope that this would happen soon. “I’m not the pope,” he said. And he doubted that he would be the next pope.
I think I should do what I started before and didn’t finish: discuss the facts that are out there in the public mind. Maybe I should tackle one fact a day for weeks and weeks.
If you don’t get it, see The Story Behind The Shroud of Turin And the Carbon Dating Debacle
not from the conference
I like Fr. Dwight Longenecker, former Evangelical Christian, former Anglican priest and now Roman Catholic parish priest, with a wife and children, no less. I like reading his blog, Standing on My Head! This week Longenecker posts, Evidence for God’s Existence in which he writes:
It is the resurrection of Jesus Christ, of course, which is the one miracle that rules them all, and I am more and more convinced by the evidence of the Shroud of Turin.
[ . . . ]
Whenever I am now in dialogue with an atheist I skip all the philosophical arguments and simply therefore point to the shroud.
My challenge to the atheist is, “I dare you to seriously study the shroud with an open mind in an objective manner.”
I’m reminded of David Rolfe’s challenge to Richard Dawkins.
Okay, but . . . Being skeptical about the shroud (or not) and being an atheist (or not) are not the same things. I’ve met an atheist who believes the shroud is real. And I know many Evangelicals, Anglicans, Catholics and Christians of all kinds who are skeptics of the shroud, just as I know many who are not.
Should it be skeptics of the shroud rather than atheists who we should be daring “to seriously study the shroud with an open mind in an objective manner”?
But then again does that work? Hugh Farey is an example to consider. He is the Editor of the British Society for the Turin Shroud (BSTS). He has studied the shroud for years. He is one of the more knowledgeable and articulate students of the shroud. He knows the facts but remains skeptical of the shroud’s authenticity. He happens to be Christian. In fact, he is Catholic. But he remains a skeptic. Would it be different if he was an atheist?
I doubt it.
If atheists really want evidence for the existence of God, then they should seek genuine evidence of a miracle, and they should do so objectively, carefully and with an open mind.
There’s plenty of excellent scientific evidence for the shroud out there. They should take a look.
I just know too many open-minded skeptics of the shroud to agree. Some are Christian, some not. Some are atheist, some not. All have taken a serious look at the excellent scientific evidence but, typically, I think, that’s where it ends.
from the conference
When it comes to prioritizing the uploading of video recordings to YouTube, just remember that Andrew Silverman’s talk, Natural, Manufactured Or ‘Miracle’? was particularly interesting. I do want to hear it again, soon.
Andrew quickly honed in on the subject of consciousness, more specifically, about what Robert Lanza calls biocentrism. “Without consciousness, space and time are nothing,” says Lanza and he argues that “The universe bursts into existence from life, not the other way around as we have been taught.”
I read the best selling book (Biocentrism: How Life and Consciousness are the Keys to Understanding the True Nature of the Universe). I’m not sold on the idea but I find it fascinating. This is why I sat up a bit more, focused a bit more. Later, when I spoke with Andrew he called the subject mind-centrism. I do like that better.
Back to Andrew’s talk. He quotes Max Planck:
I regard consciousness as fundamental. I regard matter as derivative from consciousness. We cannot get behind consciousness. Everything that we talk about, everything that we regard as existing, postulates consciousness.
He quotes Erwin Schrödinger
And Andrew cites a paper by Stanford’s Andrei Linde, one of the primary authors of the inflationary universe theory. The cited paper is called Universe, Life, Consciousness. One telling sentence reads:
Is it possible to introduce a “space of elements of consciousness,” and investigate a possibility that consciousness may exist by itself, even in the absence of matter, just like gravitational waves, excitations of space, may exist in the absence of protons and electrons?
What does this have to do with the shroud? It may be a stretch but it should be fun to think about it.
Andrew states (from the abstract for his talk):
Developments in quantum theory and cosmology have led some eminent scientists to postulate that consciousness, awareness and will are far more than incidental products of the material universe but may be fundamental to existence itself.
Could it be that the image on the Shroud might well be the single most important piece of physical evidence to help us discover more about the relationship between mind and matter, the nature of humanity and our relationship to the material universe and to each other?
Could it be?
It is one of those “you had to be there” talks. You have to see the video. Russ, I will be unfairly impatient.