Fundamentalist Ssnot, Redux

Tatarize continues his rant at Ssnot (God Snot, Where God’s Not!):

A while back I mistakenly subjected myself to to some painful watching of nonsense by the BBC about the Shroud of Turin, in order to properly purge it from my system and do something slightly productive with it I decided to make a quick post on this blog about it.

Well, I was searching something or other involving my name and I managed to turn up a very interesting post, titled When Atheists Act Like Fundamentalists on Shroud of Turin Blog. Wow. I feel so special! Also, apparently Freepers got a copy of the shroud post. You know somebody must have tore the hell out of your post if the Free Republic batted it around. *smirk*

. . . Most of his "corrections" were based on nonsense that I already knew but long since discounted. Some Shroud people in order to "come to terms" with the radiocarbon dating, discount the dating by suggesting it was taken from the wrong place. I already knew that and found it utterly silly.

“I already knew that and found it utterly silly.” That is unquestionably fundamentalist talk; atheist fundamentalist talk — ignore the science.

The Shroud of Turin was carbon dated in 1988. The conclusion of those tests was that the cloth originated between 1260 and 1390.  However, tests recently conducted at the Los Alamos National Laboratory by a team of nine scientists under the direction of Robert Villarreal confirm what chemist Raymond Rogers found and published in a peer-reviewed scientific journal, Thermochimica Acta (Jan. 2005): The tested sample was not representative of the shroud’s cloth. Rogers’ findings had also been confirmed by Georgia Tech’s materials forensic chemist John L. Brown.

Even the Christopher Ramsey of the Oxford Radiocarbon Dating Laboratory, which participated in the original tests, has concluded the needs for new studies. Not Ssnot, he knows better than scientists.

A scientist will acknowledge that we might not have all the answers. A fundamentalist ignores such caution.

 

  1. Shroud of Turin Ohio State University Villarreal Lecture Part 1 of 5 (Above)
  2. Shroud of Turin Ohio State University Villarreal Lecture Part 2 of 5
  3. Shroud of Turin Ohio State University Villarreal Lecture Part 3 of 5
  4. Shroud of Turin Ohio State University Villarreal Lecture Part 4 of 5
  5. Shroud of Turin Ohio State University Villarreal Lecture Part 5 of 5

Shroud of Turin Ohio State University Lecture on Carbon Dating Problem

 

Shroud of Turin Ohio State University Villarreal Lecture Part 1 of 5 (Above)

Shroud of Turin Ohio State University Villarreal Lecture Part 2 of 5

Shroud of Turin Ohio State University Villarreal Lecture Part 3 of 5

Shroud of Turin Ohio State University Villarreal Lecture Part 4 of 5

Shroud of Turin Ohio State University Villarreal Lecture Part 5 of 5

The Shroud of Turin and the Next Archbishop of Westminster

Ruth Gledhill of the Times reports in her blog:

TURIN SHROUD AVN AND BISHOPS A trinity of priests praying for a miracle? These three priests clutching the Turin Shroud are none other than the three favourites for Westminster, Archbishops Vincent Nichols and Peter Smith, and Bishop Malcolm McMahon, from Birmingham, Cardiff and Nottingham.

. . . Which one of the three will the Shroud favour? Sadly, perhaps, none, as the shroud pictured here is a replica, albeit one of just six in the world, currently on display at an exhibition in Birmingham. Read the full report at Times online faith by the spokesman for the Newman Cause, Peter Jennings.

Full posting: Ruth Gledhill – Times Online – WBLG: Dolan for New York – Westminster next

Cross posted from A Blogspotting Anglican Episcopalian

Nicholas Allen’s Photograph Theory Just Won’t Die

Nicholas Allen continues to push his theory (it has been demonstrated in many ways that the image cannot be a photograph).

AN international television documentary on the controversial Shroud of Turin, which has just been completed, features the work of a Nelson Mandela Bay academic who has been researching the ancient relic for more than a decade.

The Shroud is purported to be the cloth in which the body of Jesus Christ was buried.

Professor Nicholas Allen‘s research resulted in a book in which he explained how the shroud, which appears to carry the imprinted form of Christ, was actually “the first photograph”.

Pioneer Studios from Hammersmith in London filmed the documentary on the mystery behind one of the Catholic Church‘s most important relics, and it will be aired by the Discovery Channel.

The Shroud of Turin was proved to be a 13th or 14th century forgery by carbon dating techniques in 1988 – but that scientific conclusion hasn‘t altogether dispelled the firm belief among many Christians that it is a holy relic.

Allen, formerly dean of the faculty of arts and design at the then Port Elizabeth Technikon, is a sculptor and art historian.

“The documentary is intended to offer a more balanced appraisal of the Shroud‘s import. Apparently another recent documentary was aired in the USA and gave the impression that the shroud was a miracle, so the Discovery Channel decided to commission Pioneer Studios to make a more objective documentary to counter this,” said Allen.

A number of researchers and historians were interviewed for the documentary, mostly Americans.

“I was asked to reconstruct my own experiments from the early 1990s and was also interviewed. My interview took place in the UK at a venue just outside Oxford. For this, I reconstructed a camera obscura, a screen for suspending the shroud and a gibbet for suspending a fibre-glass corpse.”

Allen started his research on the Shroud of Turin out of a passion for history and out of curiosity.

He said he chose his avenue of research because “nobody was looking at how a forgery was made. I started to find out how they did it.

“I started to look at it as a phenomenon and the obvious conclusion it was a photograph.

“Most of my research was based on published work by other researchers. I saw the Shroud of Turin for the first time at the new Millennium exhibition in 2000 in Italy.”

Allen‘s research was published as a thesis, and later in 1998, he published a book The Turin Shroud and the Crystal Lens: Testament to a Lost Technology.

Allen believes the Shroud of Turin is physical evidence that people understood at least the rudiments of primitive photography about five centuries before its accepted discovery in 1799 by Thomas Wedgewood.

In 1988, carbon dating was done by three institutions which came up with exactly the same conclusion that the linen of the shroud was grown between 1260 and 1390.

Weekend Post: News

Shroud of Turin shows another mystery face

Fun and Story for Everyday provides an interesting posting on the shroud. There are a couple of factual errors but other than that it is a good article:

1) will be published online ahead of print publication. Actually that was published by the Journal of Optics of the Institute of Physics in London, on April 14, 2004.

2) The shroud has been kept rolled up in a silver casket and has been on display only five times in the past century. Actually, it is no longer kept rolled up or in a silver casket. It it stored flat in an inert gas, temperature controlled, fire proof chamber.

3) The next display will be in 2025. Actually that has been changed to 2010.

Here is the posting:

The ghostly image of a man’s face has emerged on the reverse side of the Shroud of Turin, the piece of linen believed to have been wrapped around the body of Jesus after he was crucified, scientists say. The discovery, using new digital imaging techniques, adds new complexity to one of the most controversial relics in Christendom.

The study, which will be published online ahead of print publication in the Journal of Optics A: Pure and Applied Optics, examined the back surface of the famous handwoven linen. The front side of the shroud, which carries the smudged outline of the body of a man, has been venerated as proof that Christ was resurrected from the grave, yet dismissed by others as a brilliant medieval fake. While a multitude of scientists have investigated the front side of the shroud, the back side has remained hidden for centuries beneath a piece of so-called Holland cloth.
Nuns had sewn on the cloth in 1534 to protect the shroud after it had been damaged by fire. And researchers only fully scrutinised the cloth’s back surface in 2002, when the 14-foot-long linen was unstitched from the Holland cloth during a restoration project. To the naked eye, the back surface of the shroud showed almost nothing, apart from a peculiar stitching that Dr Mechtild Flury-Lemberg, the Swiss textile expert who performed the restoration work, identified as a style seen in the first century AD or before.
The back surface, however, was photographed in detail and the pictures published in a book by Monsignor Giuseppe Ghiberti, one of the Church’s top shroud officials. At the end of the restoration, a new reinforcing cloth was sewn back in place, hiding the shroud’s reverse side once more. "As I saw the pictures in the book, I was caught by the perception of a faint image on the back surface of the shroud. I thought that perhaps there was much more that wasn’t visible to the naked eye," said Giulio Fanti, professor of mechanical and thermic measurements at the University of Padua and the study’s lead author.
Imaging the face
Fanti used sophisticated image processing based on direct and inverse Fourier transform, enhancement and template-matching techniques on Ghiberti’s pictures to uncover the image of a man’s face. Lying behind the known image of the bearded man bearing the marks of crucifixion, the new image had a striking 3-D quality and matched the known face in form, size and position.
"Though the image is very faint, features such as nose, eyes, hair, beard and moustache are clearly visible. There are some slight differences with the known face. For example, the nose on the reverse side shows the same extension of both nostrils, unlike the front side, in which the right nostril is less evident," Fanti said. But the enhancing procedure did not uncover the full body image as it appeared on the front side. "If it does exist, it is masked by the noise of the digital image itself. But we found what it is probably the image of the hands," Fanti said.
\

The presence of a face on both sides of the shroud would seem an obvious feature in case of a fake: when making a print onto a cloth, paint soaks the cloth’s fibres and also reaches the back side. "This is not the case of the shroud. On both sides, the face image is superficial, involving only the outermost linen fibres. When a cross-section of the fabric is made, one extremely superficial image appears above and one below, but there is nothing in the middle. It is extremely difficult to make a fake with these features," Fanti said.
Shrouded in mystery
Scientific interest in linen cloth began in 1898, when lawyer Secondo Pia photographed it. The negatives showed the image of a bearded man with pierced wrists and feet, and a bloodstained head. In 1988, the Vatican approved carbon-dating tests. Three laboratories in Oxford, Zurich and Tucson, Arizona, concluded the shroud was medieval, dating from 1260 to 1390, and not a burial cloth wrapped around the body of Christ.
But since then a growing sense that the radiocarbon dating might have had substantial flaws has emerged among shroud scholars. Fanti’s finding matches a hypothesis postulated in 1990 by Dr John Jackson, a U.S. physicist who conducted the first major investigation into the shroud in 1978. Jackson speculated the presence of a faint image on the back surface of the shroud, only in correspondence to the frontal image. The history of the cloth has been steeped in mystery. It has survived several blazes since its existence was first recorded in France in 1357, including a mysterious fire at Turin Cathedral in 1997.
The shroud has been kept rolled up in a silver casket and has been on display only five times in the past century. When it last went on display in 2000, more than three million people saw it. The next display will be in 2025. via

Source: Fun and Story for Everyday: Turin shroud shows another mystery face

Suffering of Christ deepened physician’s faith

Kevin Kelly, Catholic Key Associate Editor:

0220_Stanley.jpg

BUTLER – It is not a book for the squeamish.

But it is a book for those who want to understand fully and exactly, from the perspective of a medical professional, what Jesus Christ gave to humankind through his passion and death.

Dr. Gerard Stanley Sr. was a resident in family practice in the early 1980s when he read Dr. William Edwards’ paper, "On the Physical Death of Jesus Christ," in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

The paper moved him both as a physician and as a Catholic – what could possibly lead Jesus to suffer some of the most brutal torture any human being could possibly suffer unless he loved us enough to die horribly for us?

For years, Dr. Stanley, now in practice in Butler where he is a member of St. Patrick Parish, would lecture on the passion and death of Jesus to small groups. Finally, at the urging of friends, he put his years of research and knowledge into a book.

"He Was Crucified," subtitled "Reflections of the Passion of Christ," was published in January by Concordia Publishing House. It is available at the I. Donnelly Co., 6601 Troost in Kansas City; from the publisher at 1-800-325-3040 or online at http://www.cph.org, or through online retailers such as Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

"I have a PhD in theology," said his pastor, Father John Bolderson who got the first copy off the press in January. "This is as scholarly a presentation on the crucifixion as I have ever read anywhere."

Stanley said it was a book that he had to write.

"How could I not write it," he said. "That became the question."

Far from a gory rehash, Dr. Stanley writes with precision and plain simple language as he breaks the death of Jesus into four phases – the weakening of his body during the agony in the Garden of Gethsemane, the horrendous scourging at the pillar, the carrying of the cross to Golgotha, and finally, his agonizing death on the cross.

"Every time I reflect on Jesus’ passion, I grow in my appreciation for what my Savior endured for me and my sins," Stanley wrote in his introduction. "If you receive insight into Christ’s suffering, then this book has accomplished its purpose.

The book is filled with art from ancient to modern that depicts Jesus’ suffering. It is also filled with Scripture, hymns and reflections from great thinkers ranging from Cyril of Alexandria to Martin Luther that were added by the book’s editor, Dr. Kent J. Burreson who sits on the faculty of Concordia Theological Seminary in St. Louis.

It is a book, Stanley told The Catholic Key, that is not meant to be read and put aside.

"How do you not help spread the word to help shed light on what Jesus went through for us?" he said.

Stanley said even depictions of Jesus nailed to the cross don’t fully reflect the agony he suffered.

"We always give Jesus a nice clean body, but that’s not what happened," he said. "I guess if that helps us relax and gives us a chance to meditate, then it’s a good thing."

But understanding the fullness of Jesus’ suffering is also important, he said.

"It’s hard to imagine how people could be so cruel to another human being," he said. "We wouldn’t allow this to happen to an animal."

Stanley said that Edwards’ original paper was written to debunk a short-lived heresy floating around at the time that Jesus death was faked and that he was resuscitated, not resurrected, a few days later.

But even today, not even with the tools of modern medical technology, could Jesus have survived what he experienced, Stanley said.

Stanley said he paid particular attention to Gethsemane because that is an important, yet overlooked, part of the passion story.

He pointed to the Gospel of Luke, the physician, who described Jesus sweating profusely, his sweat "like great drops of blood."

That is a medical condition called hemohidrosis, a phenomenon so rare that no observer could imagine it, Stanley said.

Stanley said the same profuse sweating under intense agony was recorded in the horrific experiments that Nazis performed on concentration camp prisoners.

"You ask yourself, what could have been so intense that could have caused this?" Stanley said.

"It begs the question: Did Jesus in his final few hours in the garden actually experience what was about to happen?"

Stanley said that in his three hours in the garden, Jesus fully experienced everything that was about to happen to him. He went through every stage of grief – denial and the final temptation of the serpent, bargaining with God the Father to remove the burden from him, then finally, with the assistance of an angel sent to strengthen him, acceptance.

But by that time, after three hours, the profuse sweating of blood had taken its toll on Jesus’ body, leaving him profoundly weakened, Stanley said.

"He surrendered himself with complete understanding of what was going to happen," he said.

Following his arrest, Jesus was beaten, tortured and shuttled back and forth between the Roman governor, Pontius Pilate, and Jewish authorities who could not, by Roman law, execute Jesus themselves.

Pilate actually wanted Jesus alive, Stanley noted.

"Jesus was a disruptive force to the Jewish hierarchy, and anything that was disruptive to the Jewish hierarch was welcomed by Pilate," he said.

But the Jewish leaders who wanted Jesus dead prevailed by telling Pilate that Jesus claimed to be the "King of the Jews."

"That’s what got him," Stanley said. "Jesus’ claim that he was a ‘god’ would not have been offensive to Pilate. But Pilate didn’t want the word getting back to Rome that he had spared a threat to Rome."

Pilate ordered Jesus scourged and crucified.

The scourging alone was fatal, especially to a man in Jesus’ weakened condition from Gethsemane, Stanley said.

"That was the routine procedure. The condemned were to be scourged before being put on the cross, but they were to die on the cross," he said.

Roman scourging caused more than pain, he said. Attached to the whips they used were barbs that ripped off flesh, muscle and even bone. Using the Shroud of Turin as evidence of what a victim of scourging endured, Stanley said that Jesus endured well over 100 strokes.

"His flesh and muscle was literally ripped off," Stanley said. "His back, neck, arms, buttocks, anywhere a whip would have hit, was ripped open. Think of the hatred the Romans must have had: ‘Here is your king. We will beat him.’ They beat him so severely that he died rapidly on the cross."

But not that rapidly. After crowning him with thorns and opening gashes on his head, the Romans nailed him to the cross with a precision they learned over decades of crucifying their enemies.

They were very careful to place the nails in the wrists and ankles that would hold up the weight of a man, yet not rupture vital blood vessels and cause quick death.

The crucifixion was all about pain, Stanley said.

"Now think back to the Garden of Gethsemane," he said. "Is that enough to ask your Father to take it away?"

Bleeding and in anguish from the brutal scourging, the crown of thorns digging dozens of new wounds into his head, Jesus heaved and gasped for every breath he took, his open wounds scraping the rough cross for three solid hours.

His internal organs began to fail, Stanley said. His lungs could not exchange oxygen, and carbon dioxide began to build up. His kidneys began to quit. His heart was ready to burst. Any one of a number of causes, including loss of blood and body fluid, was enough to kill.

When the Roman centurion delivered the "death thrust" into Jesus side, puncturing his heart, it wasn’t to kill him, but to make certain he was dead, Stanley said.

Stanley admitted that as a physician, Jesus’ death was horrifying. But the story does not end there. In his final chapter, Stanley reflects on the triumph over death of the resurrection.

It is that miracle of the promise of eternal life that Stanley has also witnessed in his patients as they are facing death.

"Part of our job as physicians when we can’t change the outcome is to make patients as comfortable as possible as they die," he said.

"They go through it all. First you ask your saints and God the Father for help, then you see that Jesus went through the same thing," Stanley said.

"Knowing Jesus went through this and more, there is a comfort there," he said. "They can then die with a peacefulness that you can see. It is just remarkable."

Stanley will give a presentation on the suffering of Jesus following the 10 a.m. Mass Feb. 22 at St. Patrick Parish, 400 W. Nursery St., Butler, where he will also sign his book.

The following Sunday at 6 p.m. the parish will host a screening of Mel Gibson’s "The Passion of the Christ."

The Catholic Key: Online Edition Newspaper of the Diocese of Kansas City – St.Joseph

The Artist Within & the Shroud of Turin

Well since I’m "too Catholic" I’ll just have to go ahead and show you a sketch I did of Jesus, based upon the image on the Shroud of Turin.

Check out: The 5th Sister: The Artist Within

Any takers for the ‘Turin Shroud’..?

This is very funny. The blogger needs to get his facts straight, however.

It is 4cms long and could possibly be one of the most important religious relics in history.

Alternatively, it could be a shred of raggedy cloth.

Now one Kent man is hoping to put his ‘find’ to the test – by selling what he thinks may be part of the Turin Shroud on eBay! For a quid!

Arcade worker Wes Leonard has put the small piece of the cloth – which he tongue-in-cheek declares may be Christ’s death mask – up on the internet auction site with bids starting from £1.

He can’t remember where he bought the oval-shaped box about five years ago, but thinks it was either from a boot fair or from eBay and he paid about £5 for it.

Leysdown resident Mr Leonard, 52, has no intention of ripping people off and knows it is very unlikely to be a genuine piece, but is just giving people a laugh.

He said: "It’s a bit of mischief, I’m just having a bit of fun.

"There’s the great story about the Turin Shroud and how the pieces have disappeared – you never know. But it’s tongue in cheek."

• The Turin Shroud was discovered in the 14th century and for hundreds of years was believed to be the death mask of Jesus Christ. However, carbon dating in 1988 showed it to be a medieval fake.

Fact Check:

In 1988, dozens of scientists participated in the carbon dating of the shroud. Three outstanding radiocarbon dating labs at Oxford University, the University of Arizona and the Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich participated. The British Museum and the Archdiocese of Turin participated in supervisory roles. The conclusion: the shroud’s cloth was manufactured between 1260 and 1390 CE. The shroud, it seemed, could not be authentic.

What followed next is not well understood: There were a number of people after 1988, including several scientists, who were not convinced that the carbon dating results were right. In part, this was because there was a mountain of other evidence that suggested a much earlier provenance for the shroud and there were some very puzzling mysteries about the nature of the image. Some speculated on why the carbon dating might be wrong but none of the proposals seemed very scientific. It was mostly hypotheses that could not be falsified (ala Popper).

Two researchers, Sue Benford and Joe Marino, who were not scientists, proposed that the cloth had been mended in the seventeenth century in a corner from which the carbon dating samples were taken and thus what had been dated was probably a mixture of original cloth (presumably first century) and newer thread.

Raymond Rogers, a Fellow of the Los Alamos Laboratory was perplexed by this proposal that seemed to him very unscientific. As a chemist, he had personally examined the shroud in 1978, warning church official that he would report whatever he found. As it turns out, he did offer an opinion on the cloth’s authenticity because there were too many unanswered questions. However, in 1988, he accepted the carbon dating results and withdrew from further shroud study. When he read about what Benford and Marino were suggesting, he was certain that they were wrong. They were, as he put it, part of the lunatic fringe of shroud research. He was certain that he could prove they were wrong. He had some material from the sample corner and set out to do so.

Much to Rogers’ surprise, Benford and Marino were right. Rogers not only found substantial evidence of mending, he found stark chemical differences between the corner from which the carbon dating sample had been taken and the rest of the cloth. If there were chemical differences then the sample could not be reliably considered to be representative of the whole cloth. This invalidated the carbon dating.

Before publishing his findings in the peer-reviewed journal, Thermochimica Acta (vol 425 [2005] pp 189–194) in 2005, Rogers, with Anna Arnoldi of the University of Milan, published an informal paper in 2002. Though it was widely distributed, it received no comment from those who had been involved in the carbon dating. It wasn’t until 2004 when the Journal of Research of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (U.S. Department of Commerce, NIST, U.S.
Government Printing Office) published an important paper by Lloyd A. Currie. Currie, a highly regarded specialist in the field of radiocarbon dating and an NIST Fellow Emeritus, wrote a seminal retrospective on carbon 14 dating. Because the Shroud of Turin was such a famous test, Currie devoted much of his paper to it.
Like Rogers, Currie dismissed any argument that radiocarbon labs had done anything wrong in dating the Shroud of Turin. Currie also rejected, as Rogers also had done, other very unscientific proposal. But Currie did acknowledge that disguised mending was a viable explanation. He cited the work of Rogers and Arnoldi. He found it credible.

Rogers also asked John Brown, a materials forensic expert from Georgia Tech to confirm his finding using different methods. Brown did so. He also concluded that the shroud had been mended with newer material.

Since then, a team of nine scientists at Los Alamos has also confirmed Rogers work, also with different methods and procedures. Much of this new information has been recently published in Chemistry Today.

Any takers for the ‘Turin Shroud’..? | KentOnline| News

Shroud of Turin exhibition to open in Birmingham

face Peter Jennings of The Times reports:

A free exhibition on the Turin Shroud, the image believed to be the burial cloth of Jesus, will be held in Birmingham for week from this Saturday (Feb 21st) until next (Feb 28)

The Roman Catholic archbishop of Birmingham, the Most Rev Vincent Nichols is recommending a visit to The Cross, The Resurrection and the Shroud of Turin as “an excellent way to begin” Lent.

He said the exhibition, which he had visited in Little Aston in September helped visitors “enter more deeply into the sufferings of Our Lord.”

The Archbishop added: “I am delighted that this remarkable exhibition is coming to St Chad’s Cathedral.”

It has been put together by Pam Moon, lay minister at St Peter’s Anglican Church, Little Aston in the Diocese of Lichfield, where her husband, the Rev Phil Moon is vicar.

Full story: Free Turin Shroud exhibition to open in Birmingham -Times Online. Sourced for cross posting from A Blogspotting Anglican Episcopalian

The Custodians of Time

Good article from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich:

What began with a particle accelerator in the Laboratory of Nuclear Physics at ETH Zurich nearly half a century ago is now one of the world’s leading labs for ion beam physics. Having been converted into an accelerator mass spectrometer, today the particle accelerator is used to determine the age of historically significant objects.

. . .

This was the technique used at ETH Zurich to date renowned objects like the Turin Shroud or Ötzi, the frozen mummified corpse found in the Alps in 1991. Up until now, they have been the most famous objects to be dated at the Laboratory for Ion Beam Physics. To determine how old something is, a few milligrams of the object are burned and a graphite sample is produced from the resulting carbon dioxide. This is then analyzed in the AMS. The ratio of 14C atoms to 12C atoms compared to the initial concentration of 14C in the atmosphere defines the radiocarbon age which after calibration by the tree ring curves the true age of the sample. Traditional methods measure radioactive degradation. However, as the half-life increases, the decay becomes seldom and much more material is needed to obtain a good signal, explains Synal. The AMS method is three to four orders of magnitude more efficient. Here, the natural isotope ratios have a concentration of between 10-15 and 10-12 atoms in the material being examined. There are 1015 atoms of 12C for one 14C atom. Such a low proportion of 14C in the ratio therefore has to be measured with extreme precision, which is only possible with the AMS.

But we need to look at the full story:

There were a number of people after 1988, including several scientists, who were not convinced that the carbon dating results were right. In part, this was because there was a mountain of other evidence that suggested a much earlier provenance for the shroud and there were some very puzzling mysteries about the nature of the image. Some speculated on why the carbon dating might be wrong but none of the proposals seemed very scientific. It was mostly hypotheses that could not be falsified (ala Popper).

Two researchers, Sue Benford and Joe Marino, who were not scientists, proposed that the cloth had been mended in the seventeenth century in a corner from which the carbon dating samples were taken and thus what had been dated was probably a mixture of original cloth (presumably first century) and newer thread.

Raymond Rogers, a Fellow of the Los Alamos Laboratory was perplexed by this proposal that seemed to him very unscientific. As a chemist, he had personally examined the shroud in 1978, warning church official that he would report whatever he found. As it turns out, he did offer an opinion on the cloth’s authenticity because there were too many unanswered questions. However, in 1988, he accepted the carbon dating results and withdrew from further shroud study. When he read about what Benford and Marino were suggesting, he was certain that they were wrong. They were, as he put it, part of the lunatic fringe of shroud research. He was certain that he could prove they were wrong. He had some material from the sample corner and set out to do so.

Much to Rogers’ surprise, Benford and Marino were right. Rogers not only found substantial evidence of mending, he found stark chemical differences between the corner from which the carbon dating sample had been taken and the rest of the cloth. If there were chemical differences then the sample could not be reliably considered to be representative of the whole cloth. This invalidated the carbon dating.

Before publishing his findings in the peer-reviewed journal, Thermochimica Acta (vol 425 [2005] pp 189–194) in 2005, Rogers, with Anna Arnoldi of the University of Milan, published an informal paper in 2002. Though it was widely distributed, it received no comment from those who had been involved in the carbon dating. It wasn’t until 2004 when the Journal of Research of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (U.S. Department of Commerce, NIST, U.S.
Government Printing Office) published an important paper by Lloyd A. Currie. Currie, a highly regarded specialist in the field of radiocarbon dating and an NIST Fellow Emeritus, wrote a seminal retrospective on carbon 14 dating. Because the Shroud of Turin was such a famous test, Currie devoted much of his paper to it.
Like Rogers, Currie dismissed any argument that radiocarbon labs had done anything wrong in dating the Shroud of Turin. Currie also rejected, as Rogers also had done, other very unscientific proposal. But Currie did acknowledge that disguised mending was a viable explanation. He cited the work of Rogers and Arnoldi. He found it credible.

Rogers also asked John Brown, a materials forensic expert from Georgia Tech to confirm his finding using different methods. Brown did so. He also concluded that the shroud had been mended with newer material.

Since then, a team of nine scientists at Los Alamos has also confirmed Rogers work, also with different methods and procedures. Much of this new information has been recently published in Chemistry Today.

Article: The custodians of time

Posting withdrawn

This post has been removed. It resulted from an error in a web crawler. The announcement of a series of shroud presentations was for this time last year. I probably should have spotted the error by remembering the similarity to announcements a year ago.

Evolution and the Shroud of Turin

Cross posted form http://www.one-episcopalian-on-faith.com/

JMWJim Wharton has written an interesting article entitled, “The Skeleton in Evolution’s Closet.” You will want to read the entire article but let me extract a few pieces. He is writing about a The Wall Street Journal review by Philip Kitcher of Jerry A. Coyne’s new book, “Why Evolution is True.” There is much I agree with and disagree with in Wharton’s piece. He writes:

Unfortunately for Mr. [sic: Dr. or Professor] Coyne, his book follows on the coattails of many other books on the same subject. Consequently . . . such a frequency of books on the subject has forcefully interjected a strong element of suspicion of all evolutionary authors’ motives into the debate. The most conclusive observation on such evolution apologists now becomes “The lady doth protest too much methinks.” (Shakespeare from Hamlet).

The key fallacy in Mr. Coyne’s and other apologists’ approach to evolution is their argument inferentially excludes the existence of God. This exclusion of God causes great annoyance and displeasure for most people living on the planet. The heart of Mr. Coyne’s argument is “Life on earth evolved gradually beginning with one primitive species—perhaps a self-replicating molecule—that lived more than 3.5 billion years ago: it then branched out over time throwing off many and diverse species; and the mechanism for most (but not all) of evolutionary change is natural selection.” This removes God from the equation of life on the planet. Our uncle, the monkey, is really not a monkey at all. He has been replaced by a mere self-replicating molecule. That’s even more distressing.

There is absolutely nothing distressing about that. I know that Professor Wharton was speaking metaphorically, but it needs to be said nonetheless that humans did not evolve from monkeys. We are certainly closely related to modern apes.  Humans, homo sapiens,  share a common ancestor with modern apes, African gorillas and chimpanzees.

As for Wharton’s assertion that “[The] exclusion of God causes great annoyance and displeasure for most people living on the planet,” well maybe or maybe not. We can, for some perspective, consider how Americans might feel from Gallup surveys.  Gallup has developed three categories, given them definition, and polled the public. The three categories, which have stayed pretty much the same for the last 30 years, are:

  • Creationism (Young Earth): God created man pretty much in his present form at one time within the last 10,000 years. 44% of the general population believes this but only 5% of scientists do.
  • Theistic Evolution: Man has developed over millions of years from less advanced forms of life, but God guided this process, including man’s creation. 39% of the general population believes this, but so do 40% of scientists.
  • Naturalist Evolution: Man has developed over millions of years from less advanced forms of life. God had no part in this process. Only 10% of the population believes this but 55% of scientist do.

Wharton continues:

The exclusion of God, as one of the consequential central theses of most evolutionists is defended by their hiding behind a subjective and biased utilization of their cherished scientific method.

No, Jim, it is OUR scientific method. The scientific method, is an ever-evolving product of philosophy, not science: Descartes, Peirce and Popper, for instance. 

Like Mr. Coyne, their fallacy is they universally reject the possibility of God by refusing to take even the first step into a scientific investigation of the possibility of God. That is to say, they never objectively ask the question “is there a god?” This does not mean that no scientist ever asked the question however, the scientific method demands “hard objective evidence” (according to their definition of evidence) to support the conclusion. With this ingrained bias of most evolutionists, if not also most scientists, it is impossible to conduct a scientific investigation of the existence of God because all evidence suggesting a spiritual existence is classified as “not hard and objective.” The rejection by evolutionists and scientists of the entire class of evidence they exclude because it does not conform to “their definition of objective” violates their own scientific methodology.

I simply disagree. But I see where you are going and I’m sympathetic.

The evidence chain Science chooses to ignore contains the observations and experiences of millions of individuals of the human species over time. Mankind, in every culture, has observed the presence of a higher power as long as mankind has existed. Scientists’ explanations of any spiritual experience, however, are always “a mind playing tricks on its owner.”

Which is not scientific. The mind does play tricks but there is no basis for assuming any spiritual experience is “a mind playing tricks on its owner.”  That is a belief.

The rejection by the scientific community of the massive body of evidence under the classification of “spiritual” is, in itself, an unforgivable chasm of ignorance. What science fails to understand about this spiritual class evidence is, like any other evidence, constructive and methodical examination is required to separate the valid from the invalid.

But that doesn’t make it scientific. It isn’t the job of the scientist, as a scientist, to examine “spiritual” data, no matter how substantial or credible it seems. But it is a fair task for philosophers, theologians and historians.

So should a scientist, if he must or should ignore some information, even ask the question: does God exist? If, as I suspect, most monotheists believe God is beyond space and time, we cannot observe him directly (granted, a priori). The best we can do is look for evidence of his work within space and time. Or the lack of any evidence, as the case may be.

Dr. Coyne, Richard Dawkins, PZ Myers and a host of evolutionary biologists find no need for a creator god within and because of the Theory of Evolution. Lacking such evidence they choose not to believe that God exists. That’s fine. I have not problem with that. But they assert that this clearly shows that there is no God and that is problematic for it assumes, without any evidence . . .

  1. that evolution is not God’s way
  2. that we should not believe in anything for which there is insufficient scientific evidence.

Mark Thompson at The League of Ordinary Gentlemen recently wrote:

Religion is not science, and in attempting to gain acceptance as a science, it allows itself to be treated on the same terms as science.  In other words, it begs to be treated as if it were falsifiable, when the entire point in faith is that it is something that is unfalsifiable.  Worse, it forces religion to get tied up in arguments that have precious little to do with the elements of faith that are so very important: things like morality, conscience, meaning, etc.  And so it loses the forest for the trees, to use a cliche.

But similarly, science demeans itself when it used as a proof of the non-existence of god.  Science is not meant to provide unfalsifiable answers, nor is it intended to answer questions that can only admit of unfalsifiable answers.  To do so is to turn the scientific method on its head.  And in so doing, science demeans itself because it loses part of its very essence.

I think he is spot on.

Thus, I am intrigued that Wharton should mention the Shroud of Turin in this context. I disagree with some of what he writes about it but he has raised an interesting issue, one where I think we see a real failing on the part of scientists.

Let’s look at what he wrote:

The Shroud of Turin is another example of the rigor applied by the Catholic Church to the verification of miracles.

Even though I think the Catholic Church has been extraordinarily irresponsible with the care and scientific investigation of this artifact, I agree.

The Shroud of Turin apparently dates from the first century and is considered by many to be the burial shroud of Jesus Christ.

All to easily, I have used the word apparently. May is a better choice. It may date  from the first century. The carbon dating from 1988 (showing 1260 to 1390 CE) has now been sufficiently invalidated. This is widely acknowledged in peer reviewed scientific journals. Christopher Ramsey, the head of the Oxford lab, which participated in the 1988 tests, has called for new studies. Other scientific tests push it back to at least 700 CE. Fairly good historical evidence pushes it back to at least the sixth century. Two observations by textile experts offer some evidence of close proximity to the first century.

The position of the Church is that it neither confirms nor denies the authenticity of the Shroud. While the Shroud has been examined many times by many experts who have offered conflicting opinions on its authenticity, no one has been able to figure out how the full length image of Christ’s body was imprinted on the cloth itself.

To be accurate, it is the image of an apparently crucified man. One may only infer that it is Christ.  The fact that no one has been able to figure out how the image was formed does not mean that someone will not do so. 

Many people, including experts, believe the image, which is an exact photographic negative, . . .

While it is true that the image seems and acts like a photographic negative, this may not be completely so. An exact photographic (monochromatic) negative of a human form would span a significant part of the full grayscale spectrum from white to black. The image on the shroud is highly compressed into less than a fifth of the grayscale towards the white end of spectrum. In photography, this happens from underexposure and results in significant loss of detail. The shroud image contains the detail. It is only with modern day image enhancement techniques that we can force it look like an exact photographic negative.  Moreover, because the image is truly a topograph (an analog 3D dataset, e.g. spatial data), it is not photographic in any sense of the word.

. . . was formed by a radiation like burst of energy.

Most scientist that I know (or have corresponded with) have serious reservations about this idea, not so much because they think the idea of a burst of energy is absurd (and many do) but because there is no evidence to support this idea. The image is superficial (about 200 to 800 nanometers deep at most) and no known type of radiation would act to produce such an image.

They conclude that this is proof of Christ’s Resurrection.

I know of only one scientist, John Jackson of Colorado Springs, who thinks this. Many think, instead, that the image may have been formed by some yet unexplained natural phenomenon, perhaps an amino/carbonyl reaction between natural saccharide compounds on the cloth and amino gases emitted by a body.

While it would be an easy leap to ascribe a miraculous event to the creation of the cloth, the Church stops short of that conclusion. Based on the considerable evidence which I have seen as well as many expert (scientific and not) analyses of the cloth, I personally believe the Shroud of Turin is the authentic burial Shroud of Jesus and is material proof of his Resurrection. However, I would leave open the possibility that a credible, contrary explanation for the creation of the cloth could be provided in the future.

I, too, believe that the shroud is authentic. But proof, so far, is elusive.  Having said that, I also complain because there as a lack if scientifically-minded skeptics to challenge my belief and the belief of many people, some who all too easily accept authenticity.

In 1988, dozens of scientists participated in the carbon dating of the shroud. Three outstanding radiocarbon dating labs at Oxford University, the University of Arizona and the Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich participated. The British Museum and the Archdiocese of Turin participated in supervisory roles. The conclusion: the shroud’s cloth was manufactured between 1260 and 1390 CE. The shroud, it seemed, could not be authentic.

What followed next is not well understood: There were a number of people after 1988, including several scientists, who were not convinced that the carbon dating results were right. In part, this was because there was a mountain of other evidence that suggested a much earlier provenance for the shroud and there were some very puzzling mysteries about the nature of the image. Some speculated on why the carbon dating might be wrong but none of the proposals seemed very scientific. It was mostly hypotheses that could not be falsified (ala Popper).

Two researchers, Sue Benford and Joe Marino, who were not scientists, proposed that the cloth had been mended in the seventeenth century in a corner from which the carbon dating samples were taken and thus what had been dated was probably a mixture of original cloth (presumably first century) and newer thread.

Raymond Rogers, a Fellow of the Los Alamos Laboratory was perplexed by this proposal that seemed to him very unscientific. As a chemist, he had personally examined the shroud in 1978, warning church official that he would report whatever he found. As it turns out, he did NOT offer an opinion on the cloth’s authenticity because there were too many unanswered questions. However, in 1988, he accepted the carbon dating results and withdrew from further shroud study. When he read about what Benford and Marino were suggesting, he was certain that they were wrong. They were, as he put it, part of the lunatic fringe of shroud research. He knew that he could prove they were wrong. He had some reserved material from the sample corner and set out to do so.

Much to Rogers’ surprise, Benford and Marino were right. Rogers not only found substantial evidence of mending, he found stark chemical differences between the corner from which the carbon dating sample had been taken and the rest of the cloth. If there were chemical differences then the sample could not be reliably considered to be representative of the whole cloth. This invalidated the carbon dating.

Before publishing his findings in the peer-reviewed journal, Thermochimica Acta (vol 425 [2005] pp 189–194) in 2005, Rogers, with Anna Arnoldi of the University of Milan, published an informal paper in 2002. Though it was widely distributed, it received no comment from those who had been involved in the carbon dating. It wasn’t until 2004 when the Journal of Research of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (U.S. Department of Commerce, NIST, U.S.
Government Printing Office) published an important paper by Lloyd A. Currie. Currie, a highly regarded specialist in the field of radiocarbon dating and an NIST Fellow Emeritus, wrote a seminal retrospective on carbon 14 dating. Because the Shroud of Turin was such a famous test, Currie devoted much of his paper to it.
Like Rogers, Currie dismissed any argument that radiocarbon labs had done anything wrong in dating the Shroud of Turin. Currie also rejected, as Rogers also had done, other very unscientific proposal. But Currie did acknowledge that disguised mending was a viable explanation. He cited the work of Rogers and Arnoldi. He found it credible.

Rogers also asked John Brown, a materials forensic expert from Georgia Tech to confirm his finding using different methods. Brown did so. He also concluded that the shroud had been mended with newer material.

Since then, a team of nine scientists at Los Alamos has also confirmed Rogers work, also with different methods and procedures. Much of this new information has recently been published in Chemistry Today.

Sadly, with the invalidation of the carbon dating, criticism of the shroud, mostly on secular humanist and atheist sites has degenerated into unwarrented ridicule and ad hominem attacks:

A constant refrain is that believers in the shroud think that the image was formed by a burst of radiation from the resurrection. This simply isn’t true (though it is frequently repeated in the press because of constant press releases emanating from John Jackson). Also, we frequently hear that those who think the shroud is real are are religious fanatics or fundamentalists. Again this isn’t true. In fact, many fundamentalists and fanatical biblical literalists reject any possibility that the Shroud of Turin is genuine based on a very narrow interpretation of the Gospel of John.

Professor, Dr. Jerry A. Coyne, who was the topic of discussion at the top of this posting and in Professor Wharton’s posting, stepped in it. Three days after Wharton published his blog posting, on February 4, 2009, Coyne wrote, simply, these words:

Holy relics, such as the Shroud of Turin, have turned out to be clever fakes.

Oh? This scientist who abhors, as he does, non-scientific claims, inaccurate information and inadequate research, has made a claim that would be hard if not impossible to substantiate. There have only been two scientifically-based claims that the shroud is fake: 1) a 1978 claim of finding paint particles that was never peer-reviewed but refuted in several peer-reviewed scientific journals and 2) the carbon dating. However refuting evidence that it is fake does not make it real.

The date Coyne ignored was scientific data. He should stick to explaining why evolution is true and stay away from topics he does not understand – such as God and the Shroud of Turin.

Jim Wharton has helped us all see this.

Pareidolia

Yes, it is amazing. But the detail in the shroud images goes well beyond pareidolia. I am afraid, however, that there is a problem with pareidolia when people see things on the shroud that probably aren’t there; for instance coins and lettering, etc.

Isn’t it wonderful how the human mind works? Apparently we have a knack of recognizing faces in every day objects. That phenomenon is called pareidolia . Most famous of course are the shroud of Turin, or when people see Jesus or the Virgin Mary in a peace of toast or some dirt on a window. That’s called acheiropoieta (yeah I looked that up). One of the most stunning examples I came across lately is this vintage photo of a child sitting on a man’s lap. You actually have to look hard to see beyond the face to see the actual picture.

 

Thanks to Fingermaze: He’s all around us.

Pareidolia

Yes, it is amazing. But the detail in the shroud images goes well beyond pareidolia. I am afraid, however, that there is a problem with pareidolia when people see things on the shroud that probably aren’t there; for instance coins and lettering, etc.

Isn’t it wonderful how the human mind works? Apparently we have a knack of recognizing faces in every day objects. That phenomenon is called pareidolia . Most famous of course are the shroud of Turin, or when people see Jesus or the Virgin Mary in a peace of toast or some dirt on a window. That’s called acheiropoieta (yeah I looked that up). One of the most stunning examples I came across lately is this vintage photo of a child sitting on a man’s lap. You actually have to look hard to see beyond the face to see the actual picture.

 

Thanks to Fingermaze: He’s all around us.

Author Interview with Robin Maxwell of Signora da Vinci

Where oh where do they get their facts about history?

Signora_Da_Vinci Q: While researching for Signora da Vinci is there anything you learned about Leonardo da Vinci that surprised you or that you didn’t already know?

A: Just about everything. Like most people, I knew Leonardo was an amazing artist, anatomist and inventor (I’d been to one of the exhibits that display the inventions — flying machines and hydraulic systems to name a few) — that he’d created and that modern engineers executed. But I’d had no idea that he was a brilliant philosopher, an atheist who first and foremost worshipped nature; a vegetarian (at a time when such a thing was considered heretical); at different times in his life bisexual, homosexual and asexual; that he was publicly and excruciatingly tried for the crime of "sodomy"; and that he was probably a prime mover behind the Shroud of Turin hoax.

Don’t blame the interviewer: Passages to the Past: Author Interview with Robin Maxwell of Signora da Vinci

Pink Panther and the Shroud of Turin

The new Pink Panther movie with Steve Martin will give the Shroud of Turin some attention. In the movie, the infamous thief, The Tornado, steals the shroud, the Magna Carta, the Imperial Sword and the Pink Panther diamond.

The blogosphere is suddenly clogged if one is searching for material about the shroud.