The Platonist Doesn’t Get It

He wrote:

the whole point of a miracle, of course, is that it cannot be scientifically proven.  And every miracle which does get subjected to scientific observation (say, the shroud of Turin), of course proves to be something quite, dully, mundane.

Go read his blog. Yes, we certainly have different religious beliefs. But, go read his blog. Why study. Why not learn what you can. Obviously, he has not really studied the Shroud. I’m not suggesting that he accept its authenticity. I doubt he would. But the Shroud, even without the need for miraculous explanations, is anything but mundane. It has an intriguing history and a wealth of science behind it. To study it poses extraordinary questions without adequate answers, at least so far. There is nothing mundane about.

The overall posting is good. I agree with much of what he says. By definition the Shroud is not a miracle. There may be a miracle at play, but we don’t know that for certain. And that means it is not mundane. Read: Why the judiciary is the only, frighteningly flimsy, barrier between us and a return to the Dark Ages. « The Platonist

The iPad and the Shroud of Turin

Bobby Johnson, technologyl correspondent for the Guardian:

imageFor anyone who loves new technology, getting the first touch of a new Apple device is a little like laying hands on the Shroud of Turin, or seeing a unicorn: the first experience of a mythical object imbued with miraculous properties.

Does that mean it is a medieval fake or the real thing?

Strangest Quote Ever on the Shroud of Turin

imageCesare Emiliani, Department of Geological Sciences, University of Miami, world renowned geologist, known for his work on marine sediments and plate tectonics, in a letter to Nature following the carbon dating of the Shroud in 1988.

Religion is perfect and unchangeable, the work of God. Science is imperfect, and, I suspect, the work of the Devil. The two should never be mixed. The scientists who participated in the dating of the Shroud of Turin should repent and promise to never do anything like that again. Creationists are even more guilty, for they have been mixing science and religion for years and years.  They should abandon their evil practices forthwith, lest the wrath of God descend upon them like a ton of bricks.

Discussed at The Definitive Shroud of Turin FAQ: The Quest for God and the Jesus of History

Fun Shroud of Turin Short Story

image Fun read. I recommend reading Wizard of Otin: Theme Thursday (Felt & Impression)

His hands trembled as he prepared to cut the linen. The surface of it was fuzzy, almost having a felt like quality to it. There were so many eyes upon him that droplets of sweat began to form on his forehead. . . .

. . . As he readied himself to make the cut, he paused for a moment to gaze at the impression that was frozen into the fabric. Brown blood stains formed an outline of a horrible death. He turned his attention back to what he was doing, but before he could collect his evidence, there arose an uproar from the crowd.

Pope John Paul II is on record as saying, "The Church has no specific competence to pronounce on these questions. She entrusts to scientists the task of continuing to investigate.”

And, indeed, most scientists who are doing research on the Shroud and sincerely think the Shroud of Turin is probably authentic — there are many – would like to see more testing.

The Shroud of Turin on Namse’s Blog

Over at Namse’s Blog is a well written article on the Shroud. It concludes:

These findings are of great importance, not only because they shed light on the 150 year gap, but mainly because they suggest the existence of the shroud in a historical date before the one indicated by the carbon 14 test of 1988.

Full posting: THE SHROUD OF TURIN « Namse’s Blog

Best Comment on the so-called Death Certificate on the Shroud of Turin

image Sometimes a comment is so much better than the original posting it needs to brought to the top. The following comment from Andrea Nicolotti, who has an Italian language website, Christianismus – studi sul cristianesimo e le sue origini, is such a comment.

Andrea concludes with, “PS Forgive my English!” No need for that. It is quite good. Two points struck me as particularly important. I quote them first:

In reality the continuous use of “possibilist” sentences is the style of the entire [Frale] book, where the repeated use the “if” and the “perhaps” in insistent way, is aimed at creating the impression of strong possibility in the reader. . . . If we try to eliminate all the sentences with a “perhaps”, we will cancel the 90% of the Frale’s books.


I have analyzed some of the modern high quality pictures, looking for the handwritings. The most greater part of the presumed signs are clearly fold marks of the shroud or some protuberant threads that, illuminated by the light used by Enrie, appear clearer and therefore dark on the negative image.

There is more. So here is the entire comment in response to other comments:

Before I answer to the two objections:
1) Ad hominem. I have not spoken about Marion to create an argumentum ad hominem, but because Frale introduces Marion as person totally neutral, impartial and disinterested. Before introducing his work, she reconsidered the credibility of Marastoni and Orecchia because they are Catholic; then she created a situation of expectation in the reader, introducing Marion as a super partes scholar. But Marion was a person very interested to the defence of the shroud. The fact that has written some books on the relics, certainly cannot mark him out as an “independent” scientist. Was he agnostic? Strange. He wrote a book on the shroud not limiting himself to speaking of his studies on the handwritings, but making the history of the shroud and concluding with the hypothesis of the resurrection of Christ. If Frale suggests an argumentum pro homine, I use an argumentum ad hominem.

2) “It’s clear it’s just a possibility, not a certitude for Barbara Frale”, you say. In reality the continuous use of “possibilist” sentences is the style of the entire book, where the repeated use the “if” and the “perhaps” in insistent way, is aimed at creating the impression of strong possibility in the reader. The large majority of the possibilities, in the following pages will be turned into reality. If we try to eliminate all the sentences with a “perhaps”, we will cancel the 90% of the Frale’s books. Just against this system (creating an historical reconstruction using undemonstrated hypotheses) prof. Vallerani has written a very incisive review.
The main point is that Frale holds possible that handwriting of the I century can be legible in XIII and then disappear forever. Nobody has ever spoken of them, nobody has ever described them, nobody has ever seen them. The consequences of the fire in Chambery? Someone should explain us *how* the writings did form, and as *why* they disappear. Marion and Frale say that the handwriting possesses the same nature of the body’s image. If the fire has modified the handwritings, has modified also the image of the body. But why? How?

About Capasso: Frale “showed him the handwritings “discovered” by Marion and Courage in a single-blind experiment”? The palaeography is not similar to the medicine. The original is important. Frale has not presented to Capasso the shroud or photos of the shroud, but photographic manipulations of the shroud. The handwritings that are reproduced in the Frale’s book, was prepared by Marion, going over the lines again; if one looks only at the “original” photos, he doesn’t read anything.

Moreover: some of the researchers quoted in the book that I have contacted, are completely against the Frale’s thesis, and in some case spoke with me in terms of “dishonesty”.

The other objections remain: the handwritings do not exist, it is not explained how they formed, the handwritings are integrated in a completely arbitrary way, they are full of errors, the Frale doesn’t know the Hebrew language, the external side of the shroud is completely white, nobody sees the handwritings on the high quality pictures, it is known that the images of Enrie are defective, etc. etc.

I have analyzed some of the modern high quality pictures, looking for the handwritings. The most greater part of the presumed signs are clearly fold marks of the shroud or some protuberant threads that, illuminated by the light used by Enrie, appear clearer and therefore dark on the negative image. It is not necessary to ask a palaeographer to see it.

PS Forgive my English!

Here is the original posting: More: Death Certificate on the Shroud of Turin? « Shroud of Turin Blog

SHROUD OF TURIN from “COAST TO COAST AM” on YouTube and Show’s Website

image MUST LISTEN TO: This is a discussion on the Shroud of Turin on Coast to Coast AM with host George Noory (pictured) and guests Barrie Schwortz and Jerome Corsi. Coast to Coast AM airs on more than 500 stations in the U.S., as well as Canada, Mexico and Guam, and is heard by nearly three million weekly listeners. Broadcasting live Monday thru Sunday from 1 – 5 a.m. ET, it is the most listened to overnight radio program in North America.

  • You can go directly to the show’s site to this broadcast for streaming or MP3 segments of the show. There are four downloadable MP3s.
  • There are twelve segments on YouTube. You may also go directly to YouTube and enter the following search argument: “Coast to Coast Shroud of Turin Barrie Schwortz”

With YouTube, on the first segment you will probably want to move the place marker forward to 4:24 to avoid some unrelated chatter. These are not all labeled but they are in order.

More: Death Certificate on the Shroud of Turin?

I have promoted a comment from a previous posting to address the issue cazab raised. It is a valid point, one that we all need to struggle with: the value of the opinion of experts. Here is the comment:

I’d like to know what do you think of the expert opinion of Prof. Mario Capasso when he declares the inscriptions are corresponding to an handwriting made between -50 to 50.

Is this well-known papyrologist wrong and how, according to you, is it possible ?

According to you, what is the probability for this classic pareidolia to be well-made enough that it can abuse an expert in his field ?

Let’s look at a couple of examples:

The Swiss criminologist and forensic pollen specialist Max three was certainly an expert. He found pollen that strongly suggested that the Shroud of Turin had been in the environs of Jerusalem at some time. However, there were good reasons to question his conclusion.

Avinoam Danin, a botany professor at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Uri Baruch, a pollen specialist at the Israel Antiquities Authority, tried to overcome objections to Frei’s work. At a conference sponsored by the Missouri Botanical Society in St Louis, Missouri, Danin, speaking about the pollen evidence (and floral images that he saw on the Shroud), reported that "In the light of our findings, it is highly probable that the shroud did in fact come from this part [the Jerusalem area] of the world."

But the problem was only compounded. The subject of floral images that Danin believed he saw on the shroud was being mixed up with Frei’s pollen observations because some of the plants were the same. That would be fine but many people doubted that Danin was really seeing these images of flowers. Danin wasn’t delusional. Others saw what seemed to be the same flowers. But some of the flower shaped coincided with banding noise on the fabric. When the banding was mathematically filtered out, some of those images disappeared.

I have met Danin. I have the highest respect for him and his expertise. I’m just not prepared to accept his opinion without more evidence.

Baruch, every bit as much an expert as Frie, could only confirm what Frei had observed but at the genus level and not a species level. That wasn’t very helpful for it greatly expanded the geographic area. A flower particular to a specific area in Frei’s expert interpretation might be found elsewhere in the world according to another expert. In 1991, Danin clarified his position on the pollen evidence. It could not be used to show that the shroud had been in the Middle East.

Now consider the expert opinion of Walter McCrone. He was undoubtedly one of the world’s leading authorities in the world of microscopy. He was reknowned art forgery expert. He identified paint particles on the Shroud and declared it a fake. Is this well-known microscopist wrong?

In fact, attempts to verify McCrone’s observations showed that what he thought he saw could not be what he thought it was. This was especially true of tests conducted by one of McCrone’s own staff. Mark Anderson proved, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that McCrone was wrong. So did mass spectrometry tests conducted at the University of Nebraska. The expert was wrong.

Ray Rogers used to say over and over, “I think I see is not a scientific statement.” Any claim—coins over the eyes, flowers, pollen identification, lettering, paint particles, etc.—needs to be independently verified and peer reviewed. When enhanced photographic images are used, the enhancements must be reproducible. The enhancement work done on the Enrie photographs (five levels of contrast enhancement with orthochromatic film) is not reproducible because no two pieces of film are identical. Digital enhancement is always reproducible if the detailed work is documented. This has never happened.

Skeptics of the shroud love to claim that the expert McCrone found paint and dismiss the claims of any experts that argue that the shroud is real. Proponent of authenticity love to use the claims of experts that support their view and dismiss skeptics like McCrone. That is why independent, reproducible verification as well as peer review is essential.

I’m not saying a well-known papyrologist is wrong. I’m just saying that we need more information before we can rely on his opinion.

Death Certificate on the Shroud of Turin?

This is the video that is getting so much attention. As I indicated in a previous posting, I am not convinced that the lettering is there. It would be wonderful if Frale was right, but I think there are too many unresolved problems. It is very probable that we are looking at classic pareidolia created by the photographs and background noise on the Shroud itself.

We’ll have to see how this shakes out. We need independent confirmation that the lettering is really there. That will take time and sophisticated image analysis. Until then, after consulting with several members of the Shroud Science Group, I remain skeptical.Don’t get me wrong,I think the Shroud of Turin is real. A strong case can be made, but this is not part of it.

MIracles, Mystery and Science at The Lewis Crusade

The Lewis Crusade is one great blog. I’m glad I just this week discovered it. From what I have seen so far it is intelligently and thoughtfully written. It is thus informative and thought provoking. This is a blog that I must follow regularly. For example:

Perusing [my] blog led me to this site, “The Definative Shroud of Turin FAQ,” and a tangential thought . . .

He then goes on to write (now I have something to think about all morning):

This got me to thinking.  We often make a big deal about proving “science can’t explain it” when we talk of miracles.

Yet C. S. Lewis argues in Miracles that most miracles are really a “speeding up” of nature, not a violation of it.  God made the laws of Nature, and He doesn’t arbitrarily break His own rules.

For example, says Lewis: Jesus turns water into wine.  Water turns into wine all the time.  It just usually has to go through a process where it is ingested by grape vines, fills up the grapes on those vines, and then gets mashed out of the grapes.

An example from Lewis’s own life, long after he wrote that book: Joy Davidman Gresham Lewis had bone cancer.  In addition to her cancer going into remission, an issue in her health was the strength of her bones themselves.  After an Anglican priest known for the gift of healing prayed over her, not only did her cancer go into remission, but her bones began to miraculously rebuild themselves. . . . . And around the same time, her husband developed osteoporosis.  “Jack” Lewis always felt that God was taking the calcium out of his bones and giving it to Joy.  In other words, it was a “Miracle’ bcause God was doing it beyond the explanation of medical science.  But God was essentially giving a supernatural transplant.

After Mother Angelica was healed of her need for braces, Franciscan University Presents did a panel discussion of healings and miracles, and the technical distinction.  Fr. Scanlon said that he had been to Lourdes and worked on the claims of miracles there.   There are thousands and thousands of authenticated cases of “Healings” from Lourdes–cases that do not quite reach the Church’s formal definition of “miracle” but do meet the average person’s.

I’ve said it before: the question is not whether the image on the Shroud (or on Juan Diego’s tilma, for that matter) can be explained by modern science . The question is whether the explanation would have been available to someone of the time period.  There are people who would rather think the Shroud is a medieval photography experiment than accept the idea of its authenticity.

Read the entire posting at MIracles, Mystery and Science « The Lewis Crusade

Really? More evidence that verifies Shroud of Turin is Real

John C. Hathaway over at The Lewis Crusade discusses Barbara Frale’s claim that there is lettering on Shroud of Turin. Frale, a Vatican researcher, discusses this in her new book The Shroud of Jesus Nazarene. While I do think the Shroud of Turin is genuine: the burial shroud of Jesus Christ. I respectfully disagree with these findings (but it is a great blog).

Hathaway writes:

And, again, it falls in the category of, “How would an alleged Medieval forger have known this??”

1.  In 1978, letters were found around the face area of the Shroud of Turin

2.  Shroud researcher Barbara Frale has made a career of figuring them out.

3.  The letters say “Jesus the Nazorean” in Greek, Hebrew and Latin.

4.  Frale wanted to know *why* the letters were there.  She did a great deal of research and found out . . .  [Read the full post for more of Hathaway’s posting].


Most scientifically-minded Shroud researchers have problems with the claim. Frale’s conclusions are based on the studies done by French researchers Marion and Courage that was published in the late 1990’s.  This study used the 1931 Giuseppe Enrie photographs taken with orthochromatic film and very angular, almost raking, lighting. They look great, visually, but they are not adequate for detail identification of fine detail.

Orthochromatic film only records black and white and interpolates for a limited range of gray with silver grain patterns. In a sense it is like halftone dots of varying shapes of silver clumps.  It would be impossible to capture the high definition required for these claimed inscriptions. I believe we are looking at classic pareidolia. See What is pareidolia and why is it important? and Crazy Stuff of the Shroud of Turin.

A Different Point of View

I enjoy reading a blog posting that is objective and well written even if I disagree with it. This is such a posting. It is the second paragraph, that I have quoted below, with which I disagree.

It is clear that so far no one has been able to deduce how the image found on the shroud was actually made.  There appears to be no form of paint or other substance that has been added to the shroud, but I have not heard of people actually wrapping corpses in replica shrouds to see if any image can be produced.  If they did so, what would they find?  Would it be a ‘normal’ occurence, or are we beginning to believe in a ‘miraculous’ origin for the image?  If an image could be produced, how long would it take to form?  We have to remember that Jesus was in the tomb for something less than 48 hours (Friday afternoon/evening until early Sunday morning) and so any image that was formed only after a longer period of time would have to cast doubt on the veracity of this shroud belonging to Jesus (unless one wanted to argue that it was that of Jesus, but that He couldn’t, therefore, have risen as claimed and believed).

But I must return to the point that I began to make above.  It is surely not right for Christians to focus on such external things.

I think Christians should fully explore the question on matters of the faith through history, science and archaeology. That includes the shroud of Turin. Full posting: The Turin Shroud – Windows Live

Does religion play a role in the ongoing study of the Shroud of Turin?

Is the study of the Shroud part of the ongoing quest for God? I discuss this at the Definitive Shroud of Turin FAQ. More will follow in the days ahead as I expand this tab in the FAQ. I wrote:

Religion gets in the way of studying the Shroud of Turin, objectively. And yet, if the Shroud was not a religious object–one might say a relic–the impetus for seeking to understand its provenance and the nature of the images would be largely missing. Oh, yes, there would be interest. There would be people who are passionate about the Shroud just as there are people who are passionate about mysterious artifacts from history: old maps, stones with inscriptions, coins, pyramids and temples. But interest would not be as intense and widespread. Similarly, there would not be such impassioned skepticism about its possible authenticity.

image Shortly after Raymond Rogers published his findings in the peer-reviewed scientific journal Thermochimica Acta, decidedly showing that the 1988 carbon dating of the Shroud was invalid, Philip Ball (pictured), a former physical sciences editor for Nature, that most prestigious international science journal, the same journal that had published the carbon dating results in 1989. wrote in Nature Online:

The scientific study of the Turin Shroud is like a microcosm of the scientific search for God. It does more to inflame any debate than settle it . . . . And yet, the shroud is a remarkable artifact, one of the few religious relics to have a justifiably mythical status. It is simply not known how the ghostly image of a serene, bearded man was made. (Emphasis in bold mine)

Is Ball right? Is it a microcosm of the scientific search for God?

The full page is available at What roles does religion play in the study of the Shroud of Turin?

Reply to The Other Skeptic

Dear Other Skeptic:

I enjoyed your post and agree with much of what you said. Your primary point seems to be that there is no proof of God. I quite agree.

You wrote, “It defeats the purpose of faith when there’s ‘proof’.” Theologians have been saying that for many centuries. The great St. Augustine of Hippo (A.D. 354-430) said essentially the same thing.

It could be pointed out that there is also no proof that God does not exist. But doing so raises the problem of who owns the burden of proof, the believer or the skeptic. I’m inclined to agree with the great Atheist philosopher Bertrand Russell that the proof lies with the believer. I’m okay with that because I don’t need proof.

I agree largely with your comments about Creationism and Intelligent Design (ID) and to some extent your comments about the probability of life evolving elsewhere in the universe and in a so-far-still-highly-speculative multi-verse. Yes, and of course, your comments on a fine tuned universe reflect the opinion of many scholars. But your facts need some work. The question is far from resolved, with some of the world’s greatest cosmologists, astronomers and theoretical physicists coming down on both sides of the issue.

You wrote:

For example, there is a laughable theory that states if you take a ruler that measures inches and stretch it across the universe. The ruler is supposed to represent the possible range of gravity. If the formula for gravity was just one inch off, then there would be no life anywhere. This is preposterously false. It was created not by a physicist, astronomer, or any other professional who could make those types of calculations. It was fabricated by a lawyer, a creationist lawyer. Everyone knows that astronauts do just fine where there is no gravity.

You are, of course, referring to Philip E. Johnson, a law professor at the University of California, Berkeley. There are two problems. First of all you try to poison the well by implying that the gravity question in fine tuning was the invention of a lawyer, a creationist lawyer, no less. You are factually correct that the ruler analogy was proposed by Johnson, but wrong in thinking that because he is a lawyer he is unqualified to speak to the issue. He is only responsible for the analogy (you sound like those you most criticize). The underlying issue has been raised by many great physicists and cosmologists.

Martin Rees is considered by many to be England’s greatest living scientist and perhaps the world’s greatest cosmologist for his work on microwave background radiation in the universe, theories about the clustering of galaxies, quasars and black holes. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society and its current president. He has identified six constants in nature such as the ratio of the strength of electromagnetism to that of gravity that if even slightly different would make the universe, as we know it, impossible. There would be no stars, no galaxies, no planets, and no carbon-based life. (Others have identified other constants in nature to the same effect but Rees’ selection dominates for now.)  Rees doesn’t necessarily think this implies design or the existence of God. But others do.

Stephen Hawking is a contender for the title of greatest of the living cosmologists. His blazing intellect is beyond question. And he describes just one of these relationship brilliantly:

We know that there has to have been a very close balance between the competing effect of explosive expansion and gravitational contraction which, at the very earliest epoch about which we can even pretend to speak (called the Planck time, 10-43 sec. after the big bang), would have corresponded to the incredible degree of accuracy represented by a deviation in their ratio from unity by only one part in 10 to the sixtieth power.

The ruler analogy is actually a good one for what both Rees and Hawking say, even if it was created by a creationist with whom you and I otherwise disagree.

Your criticism of the Genesis accounts is fairly good, though you ramble too much. You might be interested to know that St. Augustine writing in the fifth century would have agreed with you in large measure. Many Christian believers today also agree. I’m okay with it, too.

The Shroud of Turin:

For some strange reason you decided to introduce the Shroud of Turin into this discussion. Here you tripped up rather badly on matters of fact. If we remove questions about God’s existence from the questions about the Shroud, the evidence becomes overwhelming. There is no need to appeal to miracles to explain the images. And claims that the Shroud is somehow evidence of a miracle, even specifically the Resurrection, is problematic. Believe what you want, but get the facts right.

Let’s look at what you wrote:

You wrote, “It is supposedly the shroud in which Jesus Christ was buried.” That is what is at issue. Okay. I agree.

You wrote, “He left a mark on the shroud as he floated through it on his way to heaven.”

The vast majority of scientists who think it is real or might be real do not think any such thing. This notion has been voiced in the public (oh, just incidentally by a lawyer). Most scientists and Shroud scholars say only that we have no idea how the image was formed. No idea! And we don’t mean by that that the absence of evidence is evidence of anything.

Oh, it should be pointed out that scripture refers to two different events: the Resurrection and the Ascension (into heaven). You meant the Resurrection. At least that is what some contend. Most believers in the Shroud are more open-minded on this point, however.

In 1988, the Shroud was carbon dated. It was determined, then, that the cloth was medieval. Hence it was declared a forgery. But, twenty years later, in 2008, Philip Ball, the former physical science editor for Nature, the acclaimed, peer-reviewed, international scientific journal that published the carbon dating results, wrote an interesting piece in Nature Online. He is writing as a scientist only:

It’s fair to say that, despite the seemingly definitive tests in 1988, the status of the Shroud of Turin is murkier than ever. Not least, the nature of the image and how it was fixed on the cloth remain deeply puzzling.

Ball explains why it is murky. He gives two example. One is scientific; the other historical. His reasons are solid.

You did write:

Probably the most controversial evidence is radiocarbon 14 dating. Researchers have found that the shroud was made between 1260 and 1390 AD. This seems very reasonable because the “discovery” of the shroud was recorded around 1355.

Yes, and no, no, no, no. The earliest record of the shroud in extant historical records in Western Europe is in 1355. As Ball and countless others very well know there are many records of a shroud in Edessa, Constantinople, Athens and Besancon before 1355. The only question is this: Is it the same shroud? Today, the evidence is overwhelming that it is.

You wrote, “Some people claim that the cloth was either exposed to carbon monoxide, fire (which contains carbon dioxide in the smoke).”

Actually this has been fairly well refuted by Christopher Ramsey at the Oxford Radiocarbon Dating lab. This is not why the carbon dating was wrong. And Ramsey does agree that further studies are needed. Check your facts.

You wrote:

Even if the carbon dating was unreliable because of some event that made the shroud’s age somewhat inaccurate, there is other evidence that shows that the shroud is counterfeit. Walter McCrone, a leading expert in microscopy, was a part of the Shroud of Turin Research Project.

Actually, McCrone was not a part of STURP despite his claim that he was kicked out. He never accepted the agreement not to publish before studies were completed (fairly standard). He was therefore not accepted into the group. I have the official list and know many of the members of STURP. He was not part of STURP.

You wrote:

He found that the stains that is supposed to be blood of Christ is actually pigment (red ochre and vermilion tempera to be exact). Alan Adler and John Heller published an article opposite to what McCrone wrote concluding that the stains were blood. As it turns out, neither Heller nor Adler were eligible to make the assumption that the stains were blood.

Huh? Where do you get this? Heller and Adler (as well as many others) did numerous tests on the bloodstains. The late Adler was one of the leading experts on blood. He was eligible. They were all eligible.

All of the material cited below, and their publishing journals, are peer reviewed scientific journals. Incidentally, McCrone’s work is not peer-reviewed. Mark Anderson, doing a review, found that McCrone had misidentified both the red ochre and the vermilion. Further tests at the University of Nebraska also showed that McCrone was wrong.

It is human blood:

  • S. F. Pellicori analyzed the spectral properties of the Shroud’s image, the bloodstains, and non-image areas using ultraviolet-visible reflectance and fluorescence spectra.  These are highly reliable quantitative measurements based on reflectance and not visual interpretation. This is documented in Applied Optics (1980). pages 1913-1920.
  • Alan Adler, an expert on porphyrins, the types of colored compounds seen in blood, chlorophyll, and many other natural products concluded that the blood is real. In collaboration with John Heller, the conclusions that the blood is real was published in the peer-reviewed scientific journal Applied Optics (also 1980). The heme was converted into its parent porphyrin, and this was confirmed with spectral analysis.
  • Baima Bollone also found both the heme porphyrin ring of blood and the globulin in flakes of blood from Shroud samples, independently confirming the work of Adler.
  • X-ray-fluorescence spectra showed excess iron in blood areas, as expected for blood.
  • Qualitative microchemical tests for proteins were positive in blood areas but not in any other parts of the Shroud.

Various chemical tests by E. J. Jumper, A. D. Adler, J. P. Jackson, S. F. Pellicori, J. H. Heller, and J. R. Druzik are documented in a peer-reviewed scientific paper "A comprehensive examination of the various stains and images on the Shroud of Turin," ACS Advances in Chemistry, Archaeological Chemistry (1984)

You wrote:

Another reason to be more certain that the shroud is fake is that there are several traces of vanillin. Vanillin is the residue of decomposed lignin. This chemical is commonly found in medieval wear but not in older material. For example, the Dead Sea Scrolls were wrapped in material that did not contain vanillin. This and other evidence makes the accuracy of carbon 14 dating of the shroud more acceptable.

You got this backwards. There is no vanillin on the shroud. See the peer-reviewed scientific journal Thermochimica Acta (Vol. 425, pages 189-194). This is what Ball was referring to in Nature. The cloth cannot be medieval.

One more point about gravity. Your wrote: “Everyone knows that astronauts do just fine where there is no gravity.”

The question of gravity to which address yourself has nothing to do with whether or not astronauts or any form of life can live without gravity. If gravity was not what it is there would be no planets or stars or galaxies or most of the chemical elements that exist. This isn’t even questioned by any serious scientists at all. The only question is one of a designer and as you probably know that is why the speculation about a multi-verse has traction. Without gravity there would be no massive stars, the nuclear engines required to transform three helium nuclei into carbon by means of this triple-alpha process. Without carbon there would be no astronauts.

Deum Videre

Brand new blog. Awaiting some content to ponder. It looks promising

The brainteasing conundrums, bedazzlements and whodunits posed to us by the Shroud of Turin, the Sudarium of Oviedo, the Abgar legend, the Mandylion, the Veronica, the Uronica, the Holy Face of San Silvestro, the Holy Face of Genoa, the Holy Face of Lucca, the Holy Face of Montreuil, the Mannopello image, and various other images and relics, originating from the earliest Christian times all the way to AD 1934 and Saint Faustina’s Image of Divine Mercy

Deum Videre

Shroud of Turin Now Appearing in Google China

Now that Google is easing its censorship of the web in China, it is returning, essentially, the same results seen by the rest of the world for the search phrase “Shroud of Turin.” Previously, only a few skeptical articles were listed.


Well Written, Accurate Article on the Shroud

This is a good article, well written. I don’t agree with everything Onysko says, particularly about image formation, but I do agree with him that the Shroud is the real deal.

By Joanne Berger DuMound, Sun News

January 14, 2010, 1:59PM


LANZER/SUN NEWSThe Shroud of Turin, which will be publicly displayed in Italy this year, is permanently shown behind bulletproof glass in an argon gas environment. David M. Onysko holds a picture of the person he believes is the image on the burial cloth — Jesus Christ.

Miracles share a part of David M. Onysko’s life.

The Middleburg Heights resident believes the first he has experienced is what he calls the “Man in the Shroud.”

It is better known as the Shroud of Turin, a centuries-old cloth that bears the image of a crucified man.

Onysko, a lecturer who has studied the shroud for 30 years, believes, like millions of others, the image is Jesus Christ.

Another miracle is his being able to view it — twice.


KYLE LANZER/SUN NEWSMiddleburg Heights resident David M. Onysko saw a picture of the Shroud of Turin about 30 years ago and was awestruck by its image. Since then he has attended several scientific conferences and has lectured about the burial cloth.

He hopes another occurs this spring when the Shroud will be displayed for an unprecedented third time in 12 years at St. John’s Cathedral in Turin, Italy. It will be shown from April 10 to May 23.

Onysko, an unemployed physical education teacher, first saw the shroud personally in 1998, under a coincidental set of circumstances. He had been lecturing on the phenomenon for years, and went to Italy hoping to view it. But, due to a family emergency, had only one day available before returning to the U.S. to do so. That day was set aside for the worldwide media, of which he was not included.

“I prayed to God, saying, ‘You can do anything. I will trust You that I will see it,’” he said.

He believed his prayer was answered.

During his visit, Onysko met an Australian who knew of his lecturing. One event led to another and he not only received a pass for that “media” day, but the ticket had a l½ month time limit. He also attended a press conference at which he asked a question.

“I believe God wants me to bring the gospel story, the Passion — the suffering, death, burial and resurrection — of Christ and relate it historically, scientifically and theologically,” he said. “Science doesn’t contradict the Bible. It confirms it. It was science that said that was Jesus Christ of Nazareth. I know who it is.”

Onysko will bring his lecture at 6:30 tonight to Seekers Coffee House & Caf , 13365 Smith Road and 7 p.m. Feb. 5 at Grace Christian & Missionary Alliance Church, 7393 Pearl Road. Both are in Middleburg Heights.

The three-dimensional cloth

The shroud is considered the most studied artifact in human history. It is 14 feet long and 3 feet wide, containing images of a bloodied, crucified man lying in a burial pose. The grave cloth shows the front and back of the crucified man. It also reveals the many wounds that cover his body. The man was pierced in his right side, had punctured wounds in both wrists and feet, deep wounds around his head and about 200 barbell-shaped bruises on his back and front, including other markings.

Testing of the bloodstains on the cloth showed they were from real human bleeding from wounds on a body that came into direct contact with the cloth.

“He wore a helmet of thorns, clearly detected in the shroud’s image. What other man in history, and the Romans crucified thousands, experienced a crown of thorns? It was unique to Christ,” Onysko said. “The preponderance of evidence points to its authenticity.”

He also said the spear wound, between the man’s fifth and sixth rib, “precisely” measures the width of a first-century Roman lance. This, and other aspects of the cloth, shows three-dimensional information.

The possible cause of the image

The most astonishing fact about the shroud is that it is a photographic negative. It doesn’t look lifelike in person. But reverse the dark and light areas and the likeness of an actual body appears.

This then begs the question, how did such an image appear on the cloth? The image rests on the top two or three cloth fibers. The linen fibers also are yellowed, prematurely aged.

“We know that heat causes dehydration. Well, scientists have determined the mechanism that caused the image was some type of oxidation and dehydration of the linen fibers. It was some type of light and/or heat mechanism,” Onysko said. “It cannot be duplicated. Scientists won’t call it a resurrection. They termed it a flash photolysis. But I know some who will.”

He said the mechanism that caused the image produced much greater energy than the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

“The Bible said God is light. Jesus Christ is referenced in many scriptural passages with the pure brilliance of light,” Onysko said. “How do you duplicate the resurrection? This is Jesus Christ of Nazareth who rose from the dead.”

Authenticity of the cloth

kl9200114c.jpgKYLE LANZER/SUN NEWSA close-up photograph of the facial image shows deep thorn wounds covering the forehead and what Onysko believes are coin marks over the eyelids.

A radiocarbon testing of the cloth in 1988 showed it dated back between 1260 and 1390. But Onysko said the sample portion tested was from a side strip, a selvedge, which was sewn onto the shroud after it was saved from a fire in France. He also said the shroud was made of “fine” linen, like the type the rich Joseph of Arimathea purchased who, according to Scripture, helped take Christ down from the cross and prepare him for burial.

Onysko said Dr. Ray Rogers, a nuclear scientist who worked at the Los Alamos National Laboratory that developed the atomic bomb, studied the shroud and proved the sample did not represent the main body of the shroud, identifying an invisible weave. The sampling also had a different chemical composition than the main part of the cloth.

“That is all the world needed to hear,” Onysko said.

He also highlighted that pollen spores lifted from the cloth came from plants growing in a specific area in Jerusalem.

Tonight’s presentation will last about 45 minutes. He will have 8-feet by 4-feet photographs of the shroud, a power-point presentation and various items that enhance his lecture.

“I allow people to make their own decision. I try to be as objective as I can but also intellectually honest,” he said. “The doubting Thomases of the 21 century with their modern technology do not know how the image was made.”

And, as far as miracles in seeing the shroud this year?

“God willing, I will go,” he said.

Onysko’s Web site is He may be reached at (216) 688-0040.

Contact DuMound at (216) 986-7538 or

Stephen Jones’ The Shroud of Turin blog

image If you haven’t been over to see his website lately, do so. Stephen Jones is posting some great work. His latest posting on the Hungarian Pray Codex is an absolute must read.

Visit: The Shroud of Turin

More than half a million tickets reserved to see Shroud in 2010

From Catholic News Agency:

Turin, Italy, Jan 14, 2010 / 12:28 am (CNA).- When the Holy Shroud is put on display this Spring visitors are expected to pour into the city of Turin, Italy to catch a glimpse.  This exposition, which comes ten years after it was last shown publicly, has already led hundreds of thousands of people to reserve tickets.

The much venerated relic of Christ, the Holy Shroud, will be on exposition at the Cathedral of Turin from April 10 to May 23, 2010.  This marks the first time it will be seen by the public since it was restored in 2002, and the first time that it will be exhibited at all since the Church Jubilee Year in 2000. 

The restoration efforts were carried out to remove pieces of cloth that were burned in the 1532 Chambéry fire, remove "patches" and a lining placed on the Shroud in 1534, and install new means of support for the Shroud.

According to official numbers released by the Diocese of Turin, the Jubilee year exposition a decade ago saw more than a million visitors to the relic during the 72 days it was on display.  This year, there will only be 44 days to see it, and Italy’s Libero newspaper reported this week that 600,000 people have already made reservations.

Pope Benedict XVI plans to visit the site on May 2, 2010.

Cardinal Severino Poletto, the Papal Guardian of the Shroud, invited the visits, saying that the Shroud offers a "strong call to contemplate, in the image, the pain of every man, the suffering to which we often don’t even know how to give a name."

He also added in an official message for the exhibition that "the Shroud can be, for whomever wishes to see it, a great opportunity to get to know and love oneself, one’s brothers and the Lord Jesus Christ."

The exposition of the Shroud will be celebrated with daily Mass at 7:00 a.m. for the duration of its display at the cathedral, the Holy Sacrament will also be exposed in a nearby chapel and priests will be available for Confession.

The cathedral will be open to visitors with reservations until 8:00 p.m.

Susan Carmichael Looking through Different Lenses

Susan Carmichael writes: 

. . . As a scientist, it is a struggle to always balance the scientific method and religious faith; however, I have realized that science has only strengthened my faith and not hindered it. The best example that I can provide is from my chemistry teacher. Carbon dating was used in 1988 to date the Shroud of Turin. The age of the cloth was determined to be only 600-700 years old. Does that disprove that the cloth was not the authentic burial shroud of Jesus? No because only the outside corners of the cloth was tested. There is a story that the cloth was in a church fire around the dated timeframe and that it had been repaired. In this story, faith was questioned; however, even if the cloth is truly only 600-700 years old, that does not make people immediately disbelieve in their religious views.

Actually, Susan, it was only a small sample from one single outside corner. The evidence is overwhelming that this corner was mended. Ray Rogers, a Los Alamos National Laboratory Fellow wrote in the peer-reviewed, scientific journal Thermochimica Acta:

The combined evidence from chemical kinetics, analytical chemistry, cotton content, and pyrolysis/ms proves that the material from the radiocarbon area of the shroud is significantly different from that of the main cloth. The radiocarbon sample was thus not part of the original cloth and is invalid for determining the age of the shroud.

Rogers’ findings have since been confirmed by the late John Brown at Georgia Tech and a team of nine scientists at LANL led by Bob Villarreal. The chemical kinetics analysis shows us that the cloth is at least 1300 years old; how much older cannot be determined from this.

Good posting at Looking through Different Lenses – SusanCarmichael

How to See the Holy Shroud


James Sajo reports in Suite 101.

The most revered relic in Christianity is normally locked in a secret room in a cathedral in Turin (Torino), Italy. This year, the door will be opened.

The Holy Shroud, also known as the Shroud of Turin, has been on public display only 17 times in the last three centuries. Make that 18. From April 10 through May 23 of this year, the iconic cloth will be on a rare public exhibit.

The Shroud is a fine linen cloth that bears the image of a beaten and crucified man. Many believe it is the winding sheet used to wrap the body of Jesus after he was crucified. A century of scientific research and extensive tests have failed to conclusively prove or disprove the provenance of the cloth.

Shroud of Turin Reservations

Reservations are mandatory to see the Shroud. Visitors can book on-line using the Shroud web site. An alternative is to go to the reception area in Turin’s beautiful Piazza Castello (just around the corner from the Cathedral) and make a same-day booking. Same-day reservations are a risky proposition, as space will be limited.

The on-line booking form is easy to follow. It allows visitors to see which dates and time slots are available. The form allows booking for individuals or groups (a separate booking form is offered for large groups, along with information on hotels offering group rates). Once booked, an email confirmation will be sent. Visitors must bring a copy of the email confirmation with them to the exhibit to ensure entry.

The exhibit is open every day from 7AM to 8PM. Once inside the Cathedral, visitors will be permitted 15 minutes to view the Shroud. It is best to avoid weekends, especially Sunday, as those dates are more crowded. May 2nd is completely booked already. The Pope will visit Turin and see the Shroud on that day.

Shroud of Turin: How to See the Holy Shroud

Synod, saints, Shroud of Turin on 2010 papal calendar

Clerical Whispers: Synod, saints, shroud all on papal calendar for 2010

imageAs Pope Benedict XVI says goodbye to 2009, his 2010 calendar is already being filled.

On the horizon for the next 12 months are four papal trips; a Middle East Synod of Bishops; the expected publication of a document on the Bible and the second volume of "Jesus of Nazareth;" a major gathering of the world’s priests; a pilgrimage to the Shroud of Turin; a probable consistory and several likely canonizations and beatifications — including that of Pope John Paul II.


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