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?