Three Questions About The Reweaving Hypothesis

November 22, 2015 65 comments

imageA reader asks:

Is there any confirmation that Raymond Rogers actually analyzed the 1988 Sample when he determined it was interwoven with dyed Cotton? How exactly do we know he received this from Gonella?

Also, did Joe Marino and Sue Benford ever have access to the 1988 sample? How could they have confirmed it was a reweaved sample if they were kept at individual universities?

Has anyone ever responded to this supposed refutation of the reweave theory titled The Invisible Mending of the Shroud, the Theory and the Reality.

HERE are a few postings in this blog dealing with the subject. Just scroll down the page. If you want to see the comments, click on the title or the word comments.

(linking in email edited by me)

Categories: Carbon 14 Dating

More on The Relic Master

November 22, 2015 Leave a comment

Interesting article in the Wall Street Journal about the author of the soon to be released novel, The Relic Master.

Some years ago, Christopher Buckley was writing an article on people’s infatuation with lists when he stumbled on something unexpected. His research yielded not just online “listicles” about embarrassing celebrity moments but a reference to a very different sort of list: a catalog of the 19,013 holy relics that belonged to Frederick of Saxony, who ruled from 1483 to 1525. It became the basis for his new novel, “The Relic Master,” out next month.

Mr. Buckley, 63, is best known for his satirical Washington novels such as “Thank You for Smoking” (1994) and “The White House Mess” (1986), as well as for “Losing Mum and Pup” (2009), his memoir about his parents, Patricia and William F. Buckley Jr., the conservative writer and impresario. For much of his career, he also wrote political commentary for publications such as National Review, the magazine his father founded.

But in recent years Mr. Buckley has focused more on straight fiction. “The trouble with trying political satire anymore is American politics have reached the point of being self-satirized,” he says with a smile.” Satire is “everywhere, especially on TV, and is being brilliantly done.” So he thought he ought to do something different.

Set in the early 16th century, during the papacy of Leo X, “The Relic Master” tells the story of a scheme to forge the Shroud of Turin. Mr. Buckley’s characters include historical figures such as the painter Albrecht Dürer, the Duke of Urbino and Frederick of Saxony.

In the story, Dürer counterfeits the famed relic—an idea that came to Mr. Buckley when he saw a self-portrait by Dürer that resembled, to his mind, a reverse negative of the Shroud of Turin. …

I’ve mentioned William F. Buckley, the father on occasion in this blog, perhaps most significantly in a posting directed at Colin Berry, On arrogance and second hand literary wisdom.

Note:  The color photograph, above, is inline linked, meaning it is directly displayed from the Wall Street Journal website without copying it.  It is by Peter Ross.

Categories: Books

Computer Hacking Theory for Carbon Dating Continues

November 21, 2015 12 comments

“If so, then this itself was a form of scientific fraud,
or at least scientific dishonesty.”  Surely, you’re joking, Mr. Jones.

“The AMS system is clearly designed so that if there was a problem with the dating process at a laboratory, then its target (Shroud) and control sample dates would wrongly agree together, and disagree together with the correct Shroud and control samples dates of the other two laboratories.”  Again, surely …



imageOkay, I know the subject is over-reported. But I like the quotation by Richard Feynman. It’s a quotation I have always liked, never thought much about, and now am seeing again in the context of the shroud. It is from his famous book, Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman!.

The first principle is that you must not fool yourself-and you are the easiest person to fool. So you have to be very careful about that. After you’ve not fooled yourself, it’s easy not to fool other scientists.

It did strike me as odd that Stephen Jones would use this quotation in his never-ending quest to convince skeptics of the shroud’s authenticity and non-skeptics alike that the results of the 1987 carbon dating of the shroud were the product of a computer program planted in all three AMS labs by a computer hacker, possibly on behalf of the Soviet Union’s KGB.

Is it that Stephen’s theory is preposterous or is it that it seems preposterous and we’re all of us fools? It’s fair, I guess, to ask, given what Feynman said. But then, too, we might think a little introspection by Stephen may be in order.

This part of the theory may be new to you. Stephen writes in his blog, The 1260-1390 radiocarbon date of the Turin Shroud was the result of a computer hacking #4. It makes for interesting reading:

The uncalibrated dates of sample 1 (the Shroud) in Table 2 of the 1989 Nature paper are widely different. As can be seen in Table 2 of the 1989 Nature paper (see above), sample 1 (the Shroud)’s average uncalibrated radiocarbon date by each laboratory was widely different, unlike the non-Shroud samples (2, 3 and 4). Prof. Gove criticised the 1989 Nature paper for having been, “opaquely written” and “difficult to comprehend … even by experts in the field“:

“On 27th February the 16 February 1989 issue of the British journal Nature (volume 337) finally reached the library in my lab. On pages 611-615 appeared the article titled ‘Radiocarbon dating of the Shroud of Turin’ by P E Damon et al. … The article was rather opaquely written-difficult to comprehend in complete detail even by experts in the field …”[20]

Presumably this was deliberate so as to conceal the inexplicable fact that the Shroud sample dates between the three laboratories were widely different. If so, then this itself was a form of scientific fraud, or at least scientific dishonesty.

So says Stephen. Now, dear reader, figure this out:

As stated above the process was fully “under computer control” so human error cannot have intervened in the process, to cause the Shroud sample dates at each laboratory to disagree widely (as they did-see next), while the control samples dates had “exceptionally good agreement. The AMS system is clearly designed so that if there was a problem with the dating process at a laboratory, then its target (Shroud) and control sample dates would wrongly agree together, and disagree together with the correct Shroud and control samples dates of the other two laboratories. Otherwise AMS radiocarbon dating in general would be unreliable and this “mediaeval … AD 1260-1390” AMS radiocarbon date of the Shroud would have to be disregarded anyway (as it should have been)!

So again it is inexplicable if the Shroud sample dates were real (and not computer-generated by a hacker’s (allegedly Timothy W. Linick‘s) program in this fully computerised process), for “the agreement among the three laboratories for [control] samples 2, 3 and 4” to be “exceptionally good,” yet the “spread of the measurements for sample 1[the Shroud]” to be somewhat greater than would be expected (my emphasis).

He does provide a nice graph to help us see this*:

Anyway, I like Feynman’s quote.  I may find a way to feature it on every page of my own blog. It is useful. You can invoke it, probably, for every argument you have about the shroud. It makes for great ad hominem slinging, too. Just make sure you are not the person who has fooled himself.

*The image of the graph is inline from Stephen’s site so he can’t complain that I’m copying his material.

Categories: Uncategorized

Upcoming Event in Rome

November 19, 2015 3 comments



Title: La Sindone, fotografia di un risorto?
When: 27.11.15 18.30 – 20.00
Where: Auditorium Giovanni Paolo II – Roma
Category: Istituto Scienza e Fede


Program (translated by Google):

  • Introduction: Antonio Gaspari, P. Rafael Pascual LC
  • The Shroud and the relics of the Passion of the Lord, Prof. Antonio Cassanelli, Diocesan Centre Sindonology Giulio Ricci, Rome
  • Scientific research on the Shroud: present knowledge and future perspectives, Prof. Bruno Barberis, International Centre Sindonology, Turin
  • Recent hypotheses on the formation of the image of the Shroud, Prof. Paolo Di Lazzaro, ENEA, Frascati
Categories: Event

Just in time for Christmas: The Relic Master

November 19, 2015 16 comments

"Might be pitched Hollywood-style as The Princess Bride meets Ocean’s XIII."

— Kirkus Reviews, starred review

imageAnother shroud novel. But the author is Christopher Buckley, famous for his book, “Thank You for Smoking” which was adapted for the high-grossing movie of the same name. The Relic Master will be available on December 8th as a traditional bookstore hardcover suitable for Christmas wrapping ($26.95, 400 pages, Simon & Schuster). The Amazon Kindle version will sell for $12.99. The promo reads:

From New York Times bestselling author Christopher Buckley, “one of the funniest writers in the English language” (Tom Wolfe), a compelling and hilarious adventure featuring a sixteenth-century relic hunter and his best friend, Albrecht Dürer, who conspire to forge the Shroud of Turin.

The year is 1517. Dismas is a relic hunter: one who procures “authentic” religious relics for wealthy and influential clients. His two most important patrons are Frederick the Wise, Elector of Saxony and soon-to-be Cardinal Albrecht of Mainz. While Frederick is drawn to the recent writing of Martin Luther, Albrecht pursues the financial and political benefits of religion and seeks to buy a cardinalship through the selling of indulgences. When Albrecht’s ambitions increase his demands for grander and more marketable relics, Dismas and his artist friend Dürer conspire to manufacture a shroud to sell to the unsuspecting noble. Unfortunately Dürer’s reckless pride exposes Albrecht’s newly acquired shroud as a fake, so Albrecht puts Dismas and Dürer in the custody of four loutish mercenaries and sends them all to steal Christ’s burial cloth (the Shroud of Chambéry), Europe’s most celebrated relic.

On their journey to Savoy where the Shroud will be displayed, they battle a lustful count and are joined by a beautiful female apothecary. It is only when they reach their destination that they realize they are not alone in their intentions to acquire a relic of dubious legitimacy. Filled with fascinating details about art, religion, politics and science; Vatican intrigue; and Buckley’s signature wit, The Relic Master is a delightfully rich and intelligent comic adventure.

I thought you might want to see the back cover ahead of seeing it in a bookstore.


Categories: Books

Dematerialization 101

November 16, 2015 77 comments

After too much wine, I guess I might imagine that dematerialization might have happened.

clip_image001Though my recent posting, The Process of Resurrection, got few comments (only 14), it did generate some emails to which I here respond without bothering to repeat the content of the emails; you’ll get the gist of them.

No, the Resurrection is not a scientific fact. No John Jackson did not prove any such thing. And no, the “fact” that Jesus walked through a closed door is not evidence that his post-resurrection body had dematerialized. Nor did Jesus tell Mary Magdalene not to touch him because he was mechanically transparent.

The Bible doesn’t even say that Jesus walked through anything. John 20:19 (New Revised Standard Version – Catholic Edition) reads:

When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.”

Where does it say that he walked or passed through a door or a wall? Now go read The Process of Resurrection if you haven’t already done so. Read about angels and the in-between. Understand, we are talking metaphorically.

Verse 26 doesn’t offer any support to the idea that Jesus passed through anything:

A week later his disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were shut, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.”

And verse 27 doesn’t say that Jesus had rematerialized mechanically while in the upper room with Thomas:

Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it in my side. Do not doubt but believe.”

It doesn’t say that Thomas touched Jesus.  Maybe this was history’s greatest bluff and Thomas was not only a doubter but someone who failed to call that bluff.

Verse 17 does not mean that Jesus’ body was dematerialized:

Jesus said to her “Do not hold on to me, because I have not yet ascended to the Father…

Wishful imagination is permitted. But it is only wishful imagination. The author of John’s Gospel, whoever he was, could have been more specific. And Jesus could have been clearer.

“Do not doubt but believe,” said Jesus to Thomas.

What we find in the Bible, in John’s Gospel, or in any of the Old or New Testament books, is not scientific fact. And no, it isn’t even evidence. To my way of thinking this is not only true in the fields of science but also so in the objective study of history.  It is not historical fact that Jesus appeared to anyone after his burial. Thus I don’t know if the events in the cenacle happened as John’s Gospel tells it. I don’t know if these events happened at all.

But I do believe the stories; that is a different way of thinking, altogether. I peg my faith on what I believe not on what I know to be fact.

“Do not doubt but believe,” said Jesus to Thomas.

So, I should also tell you what I don’t believe.  I don’t believe that Jesus’ body dematerialized and/or rematerialized, not as part of the Resurrection and not at any other time before the Ascension.  There is no biblical, scientific or historical basis whatsoever for thinking so.

I’m saying I don’t believe it. I’m not saying I believe it didn’t happen. The distinction is in why.

But the shroud proves dematerialization, nonetheless, right?

Wrong! The idea that Jesus’ burial cloth fell through a mechanically transparent body while something energetic created an image on the cloth is complete fantasy.  I turn to the best short answer anyone has ever written on the subject. There is nothing new in what Hugh Farey writes, just wonderfully, right-on, articulate brevity:

[You say:] “The fall-through hypothesis fits the data of the image characteristics.”

Well, of course. The trouble with the fall-through hypothesis is that, being imaginary, its parameters can be adjusted so that it fits whatever observations we want. If a critic were to say that the instantaneous disappearance of 70kg of mass would create a sudden large vacuum which would suck the shroud into a screwed up ball in the middle, then we simply have to invent a physics in which that doesn’t happen. If he says that the energy emitted by such a disappearance would exceed that produced by several megatons of nuclear bomb, vaporising the Shroud and most of Jerusalem with it, we simply invent a physics in which that doesn’t happen either. All we need is for a “body wrapped in the Shroud to become volumetrically radiant […] and simultaneously mechanically transparent, thus offering time-decreasing resistance to the cloth as it collapsed through the body space.” Simples. Made-up physics can explain anything.

After too much wine, I guess I might imagine dematerialization might have happened. After all, nobody can prove it didn’t.

Categories: News & Views

Another Perspective on the Shroud Copy Exhibited at the Indianapolis Children’s Museum

November 15, 2015 Leave a comment

The amazing research that has gone into the identification and authentication of the Shroud of Turin (replica represented in the Exhibit) gave me pause

Kanwal Prakash Singh gives us an interesting perspective from his visit to the Indianapolis Children’s Museum (related, see Facebook: Barrie Schwortz on Indianapolis) in the Punjab News Express:

What one sees at the “National Geographic Sacred Journeys” Exhibit that opened on August 29 at the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis is only one part; what the treasured iconic images and artifacts inspire in our heart and the “pilgrimage” into our deeper self may transform our perceptions and relationships with others may be the real major blessing and sure to initiate interfaith events and journeys of discovery closer to home. That will define the ultimate gift and triumph of the “Sacred Journeys” Exhibit, annual Indy Festival of Faiths, other faith-based efforts, and lead us to learn about and respect this diversity as an important dimension and spectrum of our humanity.

… The Sacred Journeys Exhibit at the Children’s Museum in Indianapolis is a carefully-choreographed window to some selected panels of sacred heritage and faith traditions…

Towards the end of the article:

“Sacred Journeys” is especially important for children. In today’s multicultural society, schools, workplaces, an increasingly interdependent and interconnected world, it is important that we know about other cultures and neighbors. If for no other reason, then at least to develop respect: end suspicion, unfounded stereotyping, prejudice; problems of mistaken identity and wrongful associations that are causing many challenges for Sikh Americans and others.


“Sacred Journeys” helped my understanding and awareness. It did not intrude upon faith precepts, commandments, and traditions. The amazing research that has gone into the identification and authentication of the Shroud of Turin (replica represented in the Exhibit) gave me pause about the priceless surviving artifacts and vestments of Sikh Gurus, many hand-written sacred texts, the hallowed history and heritage that presently lie in less than ideal conditions and environment – in old suitcases, closets, untended places in Sikh shrines and with people that may not fully understand their historic and timeless spiritual significance. Witnessing the care, attention, scientific and technological advancements adopted by Abrahamic faiths, gave me a jolt of urgency to draw attention to preservation, safeguarding the sacred in Sikh and other faiths.

Categories: News & Views

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