In The Mystery of the Shroud, Kerry Weber summarizes the status of the shroud in the current issue of America, the distinguished national weekly Catholic magazine published by the Jesuits in America. She starts out:
Today’s technology can do amazing things: phones take photos; cars park themselves. Yet, researchers still have not developed a device that can definitively pin down the origins of a famous image on a piece of cloth. The Shroud of Turin continues to puzzle many believers and scientists alike, and even major investigations have failed to provide a conclusion that satisfies everyone.
The shroud, in part thanks to the debates surrounding its authenticity, is a reminder of the mysteries that remain within our faith, and the image upon it reminds viewers of the suffering that many have endured because of their faith. Schwortz sought the truth through science by putting aside his biases. In a similar spirit, we must be willing to let go of our own desires and beliefs as we seek the great truths of our faith through Christ. We must always be ready to put aside the assumptions we carry—our prejudices and personal biases—and to be open to the God of surprises and to greater truths, miraculous or not.
What happened to the 2003 proposal by William Meacham and Raymond Rogers to take about 30 mg of carbon dust and scrapings from the horrific so-called restoration in 2002 — now stored in glass vials — and subjecting it to radiocarbon dating. It is a mixture of carbonized and charred shroud material along with all manner of contamination.
While we can assume that the date would be unreliable, because of contamination, it could still be useful. Imagine what it would mean if the calculated age was significantly older than the age determined in 1988.
So what happened? Anyone know?
In view of this, I call your attention to Shroud Material Lost.
I noticed that you have responded to my criticism of your posting, The Shroud of Turin: 2.6. The other marks (5): Coins over eyes, with an inline addendum. You begin:
Response to Dan Porter In a post, "The Forger and the Coins: One in a Gazillion with 13 Zeroes," Dan Porter, owner of the Shroud of Turin Blog, has criticised my post above, dismissing the evidence for the coins over the eyes of the man on the Shroud as "pure pareidolia":
"… But this is so only if you believe that the images of coins are there. I’ve spent years considering this question; I don’t believe they’re there. What people see, I think, is pure pareidolia.
But pareidolia is (my emphasis):
"…a psychological phenomenon involving a vague and random stimulus (often an image or sound) being perceived as significant … Common examples include seeing images of animals or faces in clouds …"
"… the imagined perception of a pattern or meaning where it does not actually exist, as in considering the moon to have human features".
Stephen, if you don’t like the term pareidolia – and I still do – then how about visual noise?
However, in this Porter is simply ignoring the evidence above, for example, that Jackson, et al. found on their VP-8 Image Analyzer three-dimensional `relief map’ of the Shroud, images of two, round, flat objects over the eyes, which were the same size and shape of Pontius Pilate leptons.
Round flat objects? Let’s look at several images:
1) This is perhaps the most famous of the images. It is a VP8 image prepared by Jackson. One might say the images over the eyes seem like flat disks. There might be something there. It’s hard to tell. Barrie Schwortz says,
I do not argue that there appears to be something on the eyes of the man of the Shroud, and it may well be coins or potshards . . .
But, I’m not even sure of that.
2) In the photo Stephen, you provide, seemingly (I agree with you on this) sourced from Giovanni Tamburelli of the Centro Studie Laboratori Telecomunicazioni S.p.A., Turin, Italy, we see, as you put it, “small, round, raised, object over each eye.” These certainly don’t appear like, “two, round, flat objects.” These could very well simply be eyelids.
They did not "imagine" them-the images really are there. And this was confirmed by others using different three-dimensional computer processing. Even if the details on the face of those two objects could not be seen, it would still be a reasonable conclusion that they are Pontius Pilate leptons.
Look! How can this possibly be a reasonable conclusion? Potshards? Um, maybe. Nothing but the normal curvature of eyes, perhaps swollen eyes? It seems so.
3) The History Channel provides an image prepared by Ray Downing during the making of the Real Face of Jesus. I think this provides good confirmation that “two, round, flat objects” ARE NOT clearly (conclusively) there.
If anything, the 3D images, and there are others as well, argue against the presence of coins over the eyes.
But Stephen, you continue:
And Porter is simply ignoring the improbability that a lituus shape and even one letter, in the correct order and angle of rotation around the lituus (both of which can be clearly seen on the Shroud – see above) `just happen’ to be chance patterns in the Shroud weave, which `just happen’ to be over the eye of the man on the Shroud, is of the order of 1 in 1.1216 x 1015. Not to mention that the `chance patterns’ are three-dimensional, round and flat!
If I thought that what constituted particular shapes and letters was completely or mostly the same chemical product that constitutes the image of the man on the shroud, I might think the statistical argument has merit. But I don’t think so.
The statistic that you refer to were based on observations made on the 1931 Giuseppe Enrie photographs, beautiful and detailed, technically wonderful and absolutely wrong for this kind of analysis of small details. Why? Because the film was high resolution orthochromatic film. The problem was compounded when Enrie coupled this film choice with near-raking light thus creating countless miniscule patterns and shapes from the shadows between threads of the weave. Since orthochromatic film basically only records black or white, any mid-tone grays that existed on the cloth as image, background banding patterns in the ancient the linen, and accumulations of centuries’ worth of dirt particles caused more miniscule imaging.
The picture on the right is an approximation of banding found in the face area. The dark horizontal band about a quarter of the way down goes right through the eyes. Vertical banding lines also go through both eyes. Before you can do any statistics you must adjust for the banding noise, shadow noise and visible contamination noise.
It helps to quote from something Barrie Schwortz wrote in 2009:
. . . the high resolution orthochromatic film used by Enrie, coupled with the extreme raking light he used when making the photographs, created an infinite number of patterns and shapes everywhere on the Shroud. Since orthochromatic film basically only records black or white, any mid-tone grays of the Shroud image were inherently altered or changed to only black or only white, in essence discarding much data and CHANGING the rest.
The grain structure of orthochromatic film itself is distinctive: It is not homogenous and consists of clumps and clusters of grain of different sizes that appear as an infinite myriad of shapes when magnified. It is easy to find anything you are looking for if you magnify and further duplicate the image onto additional generations of orthochromatic film, thus creating even more of these shapes.
Although Enrie’s images are superb for general views of the Shroud (they look great), they contain only a small part of the data that is actually on the Shroud so they are much less reliable for imaging research purposes and have a tendency to lead to "I think I see…" statements. I would feel much more confident if these claims were based on the full color images of the Shroud which contain ALL the data available.
As I used to try and explain to Fr. Francis Filas, who first "discovered" the rather dubious coin inscriptions over the eyes and who had enlarged and duplicated the Enrie images (through at least five generations – and always onto orthochromatic film), there is a fine line between enhancement and manipulation. Fr. Filas first presented his findings to the STURP team in 1979 and frankly, not one of the STURP imaging scientists accepted his claims.
And now Stephen, you suggest something that just isn’t true.
From other things Porter has written, for example, his preferring a naturalistic explanation of the Shroud’s image, I assume that he does not want there to be images of coins over the Shroud man’s eyes because that would be more problems for a naturalistic explanation of the Shroud’s image, and further evidence for a supernaturalistic explanation of it.
No. No. I don’t “prefer” a naturalistic explanation. I only prefer a true explanation. Less than a month ago I posted So which hypothesis, of all those ever proposed, do I prefer? in which I wrote:
I consider any image caused by radiation, of any kind, naturalistic. The only question is where the very natural radiation came from. I remain totally unconvinced from any evidence or by any argument so far presented that miracles produce energetic byproducts.
So which hypothesis, of all those ever proposed, do I prefer? None!
Let me repeat what I said: None!
Actually, I have a gut feeling that the image is miraculous in ways none of us have yet imagined (supernatural if you prefer that term). How is not something I am ready or able to articulate. I doubt the image was caused by the resurrection or by any energetic byproduct of the resurrection just as much as I doubt it is the accidental product of a pre/non-resurrection chemical reaction.
Stephen, you conclude:
Therefore Porter blithely dismisses all the evidence above that there are Pontius Pilate coins over the eyes of the man on the Shroud with the `magic’ word "pareidolia"! But in so doing he goes far beyond what the word "pareidolia" means. However, Porter is welcome to his beliefs and I don’t see my role as convincing him, or anyone, but just presenting the evidence and letting my readers make up their own minds.
Blithely? You mean, lacking due thought or consideration? Talk about going beyond the meaning of a word.
I know there are still a few people who think there are images of coins over the eyes. That’s unfortunate.
Of recent I contacted you and your organization regarding a claim for the "Shroud of Turin," of which it is referred to now. I am asking you once again how you wish for me to proceed in pursuing that claim without hardship, animosity or anguish to any of the parties involved therewith. Within it contained the remains of that which I am and my predecessors were related. We are prepared fully and completely to undergo any and all tests that said keepers of the Shroud and its governing body and/or government require to prove that we are physically related to that of the soul whose body was enshrouded therein.
I guess I should forward this to Turin.
Yesterday, in his blog, Stephen Jones revisited the topic in a posting entitled, The Shroud of Turin: 2.6. The other marks (5): Coins over eyes. He concludes:
Finally, this is yet another problem for the forgery theory[§14]. A medieval, or earlier, forger would have had to imprint the tiny letters 1.3 mm (1/32 inch), four of which are barely visible, and the rest invisible to the naked eye, on linen, in photographic negative, when the very concept of photographic negativity did not exist until the early 19th century. Moreover, these leptons were not identified as being coined by Pontius Pilate until the early 1800s, so even in the unlikely event the 14th century or earlier forger knew of these coins, he would have no reason to think they were significant.
But this is so only if you believe that the images of coins are there. I’ve spent years considering this question; I don’t believe they’re there. What people see, I think, is pure pareidolia. (see: Paper Chase: Why There Are Probably No Images of Coins, Lettering, Flowers and Whatnots on the Shroud of Turin). Unless Jones can prove the images of coins are there, he cannot legitimately say that a forger would need to “imprint the tiny letters.”
Jones, to his credit, tries to prove it. He is thorough. His posting is comprehensive with extensive notes and citations. Maybe its me. Can someone explain this to me?
Fifth, the probability that there is a lituus and one letter in the correct position over one of the eyes of the man on the Shroud is 1 in 1.827 x 106 x 6.1389 x 108 = 1.1216 x 1015, i.e. 121 with 13 zeroes after it. Therefore the evidence is very strong that there is an image of a Pontius Pilate dilepton minted between AD 29-32 over the right eye of the Shroud. This is true irrespective of whether there is over the left eye the image of one or two Julia leptons, minted by Pontius Pilate in AD 29; and despite the mistake of Filas and Whanger in not realising that since the lituus on the image of the coin in an Enrie 1931 negative photograph over the right eye of the Shroud has a reversed question mark shape, then the Pontius Pilate lepton coin which was the basis of that image must have a question mark shape.
By way of a comprehensive comment, Joe Marino wisely advises:
There are still a lot of people who believe the 1988 tests prove the Shroud to be a fake. Perhaps most of those people won’t change their minds because they’re happy for the Shroud not to be real. But some people might change their minds if they’re informed of all the pertinent facts. If nothing else but for the sake of those people, I think it’s worth discussing why the dating was unreliable.
Gian Marco Rinaldi has posted some information from the Italian documentary “Night of the Shroud.” [See: The Carbon Dating of the the Shroud: Will we ever know what really happened?] Below is some information I put together that also includes data from that documentary:
We all know that Michael Tite, the overseer from the British Museum for the 1988 dating, took over for Teddy Hall when he retired and after some anonymous businessmen donated 1 million pounds to Oxford for ostensibly having proven the Shroud a fake. If nothing else, it just looks shady.
I’ve discovered some other relationships that also appear to be alarming along with many indications of political maneuvering. The Italian Documentary “The Night of the Shroud” made the following observations:
*On January 4, 1984, Teddy Hall wrote a letter to a member of the Academy, Prof. Porter to encourage the Vatican to allow C-14 testing. A copy of the letter was sent to the President of the Academy, Carlos Chagas and also to the Vatican. But the copy to the Vatican only contained the 1st page, which criticized STURP, but without saying why.
*Chagas later wrote Cardinal Ballestrero that everything was going fine but then turned around and wrote the Vatican saying there were problems with Ballestrero.
*In 1985, Harry Gove produced at the Trondheim C-14 conference a suggested protocol for the Shroud C-14 dating. Chagas let only another Academy member, NASA scientist Victor Canuto, to review the protocol.
*One person in the documentary said that Gove had Chagas in his pocket.
*In July 1985, after STURP submitted their test proposal, Chagas again had Canuto review it. Chagas reported as his own Canuto’s report, which criticized STURP’s proposal to do a C-14 in conjunction with 25 other tests.
*On July 13, 1985 Cardinal Ratzinger approved for a 2nd time STURP’s 26 test proposal.
*On July 22, 1985, Harry Gove met with Victor Canuto.
*During the Turin workshop meeting in September 1986, Chagas asked Canuto to come up with a summary of proposals. According to William Meacham, the text did not reflect what everyone had agreed upon. Luigi Gonella, Cardinal Ballestrero’s advisor, requested corrections be made but that wasn’t done. The text was not signed by anyone but was presented by Chagas as the agreement with Church authorities.
*Cardinal Ballestrero wrote a letter to the Vatican Secretariat of State regarding the strange behavior of Chagas.
*On May 21, 1987, the Secretariat of State said that there would be 3 labs, 3 samples and 1 sample site.
*On October 10, 1987, Cardinal Ballestrero made an official announcement regarding the number of labs and samples.
*Gove, upset at not being 1 of the 3 labs, contacted the Papal Nuncio, American Senators and the Ambassador to the Vatican, but to no avail.
*The 3 chosen labs all wrote letters to the authorities that were the exact wording of the letter that Gove had sent to the Nuncio, Senators & Vatican Ambassador. The letter from the Zurich lab was postmarked in Rochester, where Gove lived.
*The Secretariat of State informed Cardinal Ballestrero that only the C-14 test should be done.
*Only Cardinal Ballestrero and Michael Tite put the samples in the containers for the labs. (Although there was something like 22 hours of videotape, the putting of the samples into the containers was the only part of the procedures that wasn’t filmed.)
*About 2 weeks after the dating, Chagas was removed as President of the Academy. (I learned from another source that the announcement was made by a Msgr Renato Dardozzo, who will come up again shortly.)
*The late Professor Jerome LeJeune, a member of the Academy, publicly stated that further analysis of the C-14 results needed to be made.
This next part does not come from the Italian documentary. I discovered that Msgr. Renato Dardozzo was the Chancellor of the Academy (i.e, Chagas’ right-hand man). According to June 3, 2009 article in “The Guardian” (UK) (http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/belief/2009/jun/03/vatican-central-bank) Dardozzo smuggled out more than 4,000 documents pertaining to the scandal-racked Vatican Bank. The article says, “It is interesting to note that Dardozzi’s motive for turning whistleblower was not unalloyed disapproval of the IOR’s unethical conduct. His decision to smuggle his secret archive out of the Vatican was motivated, at least in part, by anger at the Institute’s refusal to pay him a commission on the sale of a valuable real estate property near Florence. The unusual monsignor wanted to leave the money to his adoptive daughter, who health condition required expensive treatment.”
So, we have a financially-needy monsignor, who was the right-hand man to Chagas, alleged to be in Harry Gove’s pocket. If there was a million dollar pound donation available for the Oxford lab for ostensibly having proven the Shroud to be a fake, were there additional “donations” to pass around to key authorities to make sure that certain actions would take place for the C-14 dating of the Shroud? While there’s no hard proof, it once again looks suspicious.
I know an ex-NASA scientist who knows Victor Canuto. The scientist asked Canuto for the story about the C-14 dating–but Canuto wouldn’t tell him a thing.
With all of the above circumstances, the last thing that should be done is to blindly accept the results of the 1988 dating.
From Jull’s letter, it is interesting that they dated each graphite pellet twice. I previously thought that they had obtained two pellets from each subsample. If the pellets were only four, and not eight, then the weight is compatible with about 1 mg for pellet and it is quite possible that they dated only two quarters of the total sample.
The results for each of the eight measurements are known (they were published by Remi Van Haelst).
As to Zurich, it was Bonnet-Eymard, I think, who said that they also had kept a spare fragment, but without a proof as far as I remember.
In the website of ETH Zurich (the Institute were the dating had been done) there are the photos of some of the subsamples, but not all. I have tried to reconstruct the jigsaw puzzle of the three fragments that are shown for the first half of the sample but have not succeeded. Any body will try? http://archiv.ethlife.ethz.ch/e/articles/sciencelife/turin.html
But for Zurich there is another problem. Two unpublished sheets of data, presumably a first version of the radiocarbon results, have appeared in an Italian documentary (La Notte della Sindone, The Night of the Shroud). Some of the results for Zurich are different from those that were published in Nature. I have published an article about these data in January 2013, but it is in Italian. I have already done an English transltion and it will soon be published on the internet.
Three days later the English Version of “Two sheets of data of unknown origin with presumed results of the 1988 radiocarbon dating of the Shroud of Turin” was online
In a separate email to me, Gian Marco Rinaldi writes:
As you will see, two data sheets have surfaced which are analogous to Tables 1 and 2 of the 1989 Nature report with the results of the dating but contain some discrepancies with respect to the published data. The discrepancies concern the Arizona data and especially the Zurich data. There are no discrepancies for the Oxford data.
The two data sheets have been shown in an Italian documentary, "La Notte della Sindone", without any comments. I have been in contact with the authors of the documentary, Francesca Saracino and Paolo Monaci, and have asked them about the provenance of the data sheets. Until now, it seems that they are not willing to provide any information. I think that they do not want to disclose the identity of the person from whom they have obtained the data.
Therefore I do not know if the unpublished data are "real" or have been invented by anybody for whatever reason.
You will see that, lacking any explanations, there is ground for suspicions about the conduct of the radiocarbon dating. In particular, for Zurich one might guess that in their second cycle of measurements the results for all the four samples (Shroud and controls) turned out to give younger ages with respect to the first cycle, possibly for a systematic error, and the measurements were repeated, if a portion of textile had been saved, or the results have been somehow altered or corrected in the published version. I do not myself claim that there have been any irregularities, but I think that it would be appropriate for Zurich to provide some explanation.
Already in March last, I had sent the manuscript of this English version to the authors of the 1989 Nature report, that is to those who are still alive and for whom an email address was available. Several of them have replied but had no relevant infomation to provide. In particular, I had written to Willi Woelfly and Georges Bonani of Zurich but they have not replied.