Conspiracy Theory Part 4

June 8, 2014 30 comments

imageStephen Jones has posted another article attempting to advance his conspiracy theory that the carbon dating results were manipulated at all three labs by computer hackers. Over and over he has charged one of the Arizona physicist with being part of a KGB led conspiracy to fake the results and make the shroud appear medieval.

Today is as close as he has gotten to providing evidence: He tells us that a skeptic, Dennis Dutton, in 1986 “predicted that if the cloth ever were to be dated using radiocarbon dating it would be shown to have been from about 1335, give or take 30 years.”  Moreover, Walter McCrone in 1981 suggested that the cloth wasd from about 1355.

And so Stephen writes in a very long rambling posting:

So a hacker would know what date to `give’ the Shroud for maximum effect: shortly before 1335-1355! And, as we shall see, there is evidence that Linick was at least familiar with McCrone’s prediction.

Linick was at least familiar with McCrone’s prediction. No, there is no more yet. Anyway, you might want to read it.

To be continued in part 5, he tells us. I can hardly wait.

Answering Charges of Pseudoscience, Bias and More

June 8, 2014 5 comments

imageIn Answering a Skeptic, Barrie Schwortz effectively punches back hard on charges of pseudoscience . . .

With all due respect, I believe the extent and diversity of STURP’s research clearly demonstrates the indepth nature and relevance of their testing. Referring to their work as pseudoscience is rather demeaning and petty, considering the time and care they put into planning their experiments, the qualifications of the team members themselves and the respected organizations they represented. Because of the truly unique and controversial nature of the subject matter and its importance to nearly a billion people around the world, they also understood there would be intense public scrutiny, so they had to execute even greater care in every facet of their work. In the end, they also had to break new ground as nothing like this had ever been attempted before.

and bias . . .

As for bias, I am assuming you really mean religious bias, since that is the commonest claim made by skeptics. Never mind that our team included three Jewish members (Al Adler, Don Devan and me), one Mormon, one Evangelical, several Catholics, several Protestants and some avowed atheists and agnostics. Had religion ever been a criterion for membership, most of the STURP team members would never have agreed to participate. Even the Church custodians and the emissary of King Umberto (the owner of the Shroud in 1978) did nothing to interfere with or influence our work. They did not want it to even appear that that might be the case and consequently gave us complete autonomy. The only bias I perceive is your dismissing a wealth of credible scientific data because it disagrees with your friend’s conclusions. No one is infallible, not even Walter McCrone. As I stated before, the bulk of the credible scientific evidence disputes his conclusions. Of course, you are free to dismiss that evidence on any grounds you wish, but I assure you there were no hidden motives or any agenda, other than to honestly try to answer the questions about the Shroud’s image.

I couldn’t agree more with what Barrie said. I might have preferred another title, though: answering an Uninformed Skeptic, perhaps; or, maybe a Naïve Skeptic or a Befuddled Skeptic. It is not that the letter writer to whom Barrie is responding is a skeptic that matters. Most skeptics in the world of shroud studies are not so poorly informed. Many, in fact, contribute greatly. Let’s remember that the editor of the British Society for the Turin Shroud is a skeptic sceptic of the shroud’s authenticity. You won’t hear such unsubstantiated blanket statements from him. Hugh Farey’s contributions on this blog are immeasurably important.  So are those of Charles Freeman and Colin Berry, to name two more. Other skeptics, like me, believe the shroud is authentic but by nature are skeptical. Initially, I was an all around skeptic of the shroud, as was Barrie, himself. I am still skeptical of much that is claimed about the shroud. I’m skeptical about the claims of coins and flowers in the images, about the reliability of some of the historical documents and about some of scientific claims like the Blue Quad Mosaics. Enough said. I get to get on my high horse every now and then, even with my good friend Barrie.

Categories: News & Views

Speaking of 3D

June 8, 2014 10 comments

This is a 3D enhanced moving image and not, it seems, a true 3D plot. How did Petrus Soons and his team do this? Notice that the background behind the head is treated differently than the head. Is there anything else peculiar about this? I call your attention to a previous posting, I certainly have real reservations about Petrus Soons’ 3D work. Any comments now?, Do read the many thoughtful comments that resulted. Click here or on the image, below.



Categories: 3D, Image Theory

Anticipating the Conference: Thibault Heimburger on Rogers’ Samples

June 8, 2014 3 comments

Thibault Heimburger |  10-Oct-2014  |  9:00-9:30 am


. . .  In the last years, I was able to obtain several documents from Prof. Gonella’s archives, as well as documents and photographs from Rogers’ archives and finally another confidential document demonstrating the “chain of custody” for the Rogers’ C14 threads.

With all these unpublished documents, I will show that the Raes and radiocarbon samples Rogers used were beyond any reasonable doubt genuine Shroud samples.

Click on the title to read the full abstract. Click here for the conference home page.

Categories: St Louis 2014

1988 Pictures and Details from Oxford

June 7, 2014 7 comments

clip_image001According to three emails from people today, one being from Pam Moon:

. . . following a request under the 2007 UK Freedom of Information Act Professor Christopher Ramsey has published all the data and photographs for the Shroud of Turin on their website.  You can find the photos at:  The data and papers are at

You can download large TIFF image files. For instance, this image is available in a 2925 x 4300 pixels (12.6 MP) size which translates into 9.8 in x 14.3 in @ 300 PPI.

The paper comprising Supplementary Information for: Nature 337, 611– 615 and Details of chemical cleaning of the Turin samples is interesting.

Categories: Carbon 14 Dating

Colin Berry is up with an interesting posting about 3D enhancement

June 7, 2014 15 comments

By St. Louis, will it confusing to talk about 3D in conjunction with the shroud?

imageColin writes in his blog:

The Turin Shroud image is famously 3D-enhancible, given the right software. Initially it was shown with the so-called VP8 image analyser that was allegedly space-age technology, and not surprisingly led to much over-hyped speculation that the TS image was different from any other.

This  blogger pricked that particular balloon some 2 years ago, pointing out that the 3D- enhanced images not only brought the man’s image up out of the page, but the 1532 scorch marks as well. (Wikipedia credits me with making that finding, but I’ll try not to let it go to my head).

There’s more talk right now about what the modern day equivalent to VP-8 (freely downloadable ImageJ software) does or does not do to the TS image that is meaningful. In other words, what are the ‘correct’ settings that gives a valid image?

imageWe need to distinguish between 3D plotting and 3D enhancement. Colin took a cartoonish picture meant to be a depiction of sorts of Jacques de Molay, the Grand Master of the Knights Templar. Why, well read that in his blog. He then executed a rather simple 3D Surface Plot using the original colors to plot with. In other words he merely gave the picture some shape based on the relative luminance or brightness of every x/y coordinate in the picture.  That is 3D enhancement. I made a reasonably good imitation of it. It is the second picture and it looks almost as if I stole it from his blog.

But that isn’t really isn’t a legitimate plot. You need to use a monochrome color, not the original colors and not the grayscale (of those colors). There are two imageways to do this. First you can use the two monochrome colors the tool provides, blue and orange. Or you can load a simple flat color background as texture. I used a solid green background image. As you can see, the plotting yields very unnatural elevations.

imageFinally, you can use on of the Color Look Up Tables such as the Thermal LUT. O.K. has made this point in comments elsewhere. These can be very telling as the example on the left shows.

“[W]hat are the ‘correct’ settings that gives a valid image?”, asks Colin. I don’t know. But unless we sort this out there is going to be a lot of confusion.

Categories: 3D, Image Theory

A Decline, an Uptick and a Rise

June 7, 2014 31 comments

Warning: not well enough said, the focus is on what Americans believe.

clip_image001Biblical literalism comes up now and then in this blog. It is unavoidable. And why avoid it? It is part of our thinking process when we discuss the shroud.

Gallup just finished a significant poll.

Religion News Service (RNS) came up with a nifty chart that summarizes some of it nicely. Just click on the thumbnail to the right to see the chart at RNS

LiveScience turned the focus of the story towards evolution – they would, wouldn’t they. Discovery News dressed up the LiveScience article. Here is a tidbit from Discovery News:

Americans consistently report high levels of belief in the supernatural. About 80 percent of Americans believe in miracles and three-quarters believe in the virgin birth of Jesus, according to a 2013 Pew survey.

At the same time, while most Americans have a healthy respect for science, many could use a refresher course in the basics. For instance, a 2014 National Science Foundation study found that only three out of four Americans know that the Earth revolves around the sun and not vice versa, and a large percentage didn’t know the Earth’s core was hot. Large percentages didn’t know that the father’s sperm determines a baby’s sex.

Maybe, someday, Gallup or Pew or the NSF will ask about beliefs in the shroud.


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