YouTube – The Face of the Man on the Shroud of Turin (Continued)

Laura wants to know if the numbers I cited way back at Extraordinary Stat: The Real Face of Jesus on YouTube are for real. Here is a sample of just a few from YouTube. The numbers of viewers, by a quick estimate, to well over six million views (certainly with some duplication) before I got bored. You get the idea.

People are paying attention.


What is the source of this picture of Jesus?

Does anyone know the source of this picture of Jesus? A reader of this blog is looking for information. Reply in the comment box below or by email to Thanks.


Didn’t Know About This Shroud of Turin Confab

Plant images on the Shroud of Turin

L’Istituto Scienza e Fede, con la collaborazione di Othonia , ha organizzato questa conferenza del prof. The Institute on Religion and Science, with the collaboration of Othon, organized this conference of prof. Avinoam Danin (Università Ebraica di Gerusalemme), lo scorso lunedì 29 novembre 2010, nell’ambito del programma del Diploma in Studi Sindonici, attivato quest’anno presso l’Ateneo Pontificio Regina Apostolorum Avinoam Danin (Hebrew University of Jerusalem), last Monday, November 29, 2010, under the program of Diploma Studies Sindoni, activated this year at the Pontifical Athenaeum Regina Apostolorum

English Translation by Google: The Institute on Religion and Science, with the collaboration of Othon, organized this conference of prof. Avinoam Danin (Università Ebraica di Gerusalemme), lo scorso lunedì 29 novembre 2010, nell’ambito del programma del Diploma in Studi Sindonici, attivato quest’anno presso l’Ateneo Pontificio Regina Apostolorum Avinoam Danin (Hebrew University of Jerusalem), last Monday, November 29, 2010, under the program of Diploma Studies Sindoni, activated this year at the Pontifical Athenaeum Regina Apostolorum

Any flies on the wall?

Google Translation of site: Science and Religion in the Media

B16 Over Canada

It looks like the back door to married priests is through high Anglican rite churches moving to Roman Catholicism. Oh, and they can’t take this beautiful building with them. The Anglicans keep that. . It is pretty much people, vestments and a way of life only. CBC News is reporting:

imageAn Anglican church in Calgary is set to become the first in Canada to accept an offer from the Vatican to become Catholic.

The congregation at St. John the Evangelist — the only high Anglican church in the diocese — has felt increasingly isolated as the parent church slowly liberalized, accepting women as priests and blessing gay and lesbian unions.

"There has been very much a lack of unity," said congregation member Richard Harding.

Last year Pope Benedict XVI offered to let disaffected Anglican congregations switch to the Roman Catholic faith through the adoption of Anglican Ordinariates.

After months of meetings with Catholic officials in Calgary, the congregation at St. John voted earlier this month to accept that offer.

Under the new orders, which have not yet been created, former Anglican parishes will be permitted to maintain their distinctive liturgical practices, and priests will still be allowed to marry.

Context: B16 Over Canterbury. Also: CBC News – Calgary – Calgary Anglican parish to become Catholic

Real Face of Jesus on the Iberian Peninsula This Christmas

"The Real Face of Jesus?" will be broadcast in both Portugal and Spain on Christmas Day 2010.  Details:

New Atheists Who Lack Reason


This new billboard sort of gives you that warm, happy, silver bells Christmas feeling as you enter the Lincoln Tunnel to go Christmas shopping, attend midnight mass or see the Rockefeller Tree.

I’ve never had an issue with reason. I am not particularly troubled by the mythology in the Christmas story. I am troubled by the lack of reason and decency by those who think this is a good thing to do.

UPDATE: We now have dueling billboards. See Dueling Billboards

And? And so what?

imageMaria Zuppello screen-scraped an article by Abigail Zuger that appeared in the New York Times. Here are some interesting tidbits:

Who has seen the mind? Neither you nor I — nor any of the legions of neuroscientists bent on opening the secrets of that invisible force, as powerful and erratic as the wind.

. . . . In the book’s final essay, Joy Hirsch, a neuroimaging specialist at Columbia, sympathizes with readers who hate the idea that they — their essential selves, their likes and dislikes, their premonitions, biases and life decisions — are nothing but neural circuits.

“These cells and molecules, awash in various neurochemical cocktails in my basal ganglia, are presumably the basis for my love and attachment to my husband,” she writes. “Earlier in my academic journey I would have resisted this unavoidable fact of biology on the misguided rounds that a physical basis would diminish the grandeur and centrality of my choice of a life partner.”

Now, however, Dr. Hirsch says she joyfully embraces “the astonishing unity of the physical brain and the mind” for the potential it clearly holds for improving the lot of humankind. And furthermore, she doesn’t see that anyone has much choice about accepting it.

“People assumed for thousands of years that there must be something else,” the scientist Jonah Lehrer writes in the introduction. “And yet, there is nothing else: this is all we are.”

YouTube – Is the Shroud of Turin Evidence for Jesus?

We now have some video that we were looking for. According to YouTube, “Resurrection scholar Gary Habermas offers some evidence for the Shroud of Turin. Here’s a brief glimpse of his lecture [a PowerPoint presentation] at the 2010 Evangelical Theological Society’s annual meeting.”

As much as I admire Gary Habermas, I have some real problems with the details of his talk, particularly suggestions about so-called x-ray like imagery on the Shroud. I’ll have more to say on this later. For now, here is the video:

RIP: Joe Wesley Dickerson dies at age of 96


imageLongtime Jasper physician and founder of Dickerson Hospital, Dr. Joe Wesley Dickerson died Wednesday in a Lufkin hospital.

He was 96.

Funeral services are pending at Forest Oaks Funeral Home and Crematory in Jasper.

Condolences can be posted at

Apart from his medical career, Dickerson, an Episcopalian, was deeply passionate about uncovering the origin of the Shroud of Turin.

In a Feb. 3, 1990 story in The Beaumont Enterprise, Dickerson said, "Within my heart, I think that it is (the image of) Jesus (in the Shroud of Turin). I think it’s a miracle."

Many, like Dickerson, believe the shroud, a linen cloth 14 feet long and 3 1/2 feet wide, bears the image of the crucified Christ. Scientists, however, claimed carbon dating invalidates those beliefs.

Dickerson was an observer in 1978 when scientists conducted a series of tests in Turin, Italy on the shroud.

We might want to say that SOME “[s]cientists, however, claimed carbon dating invalidates those beliefs,” but that that has been shown by a number of scientists writing in peer-reviewed journals to be incorrect.

Jasper doctor Joe Dickerson dies at age of 96 – Beaumont Enterprise

Tony Blair vs. Christopher Hitchens in the Munk Debates

Here are nine segments, in order. James Emery White, Pastor and Ranked Adjunctive Professor of Theology and Culture Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary writes in Cross Walk

The Outspoken Atheist versus the Catholic Convert

It won’t be broadcast on BBC World until January 1, 2011, but the word is already out on the debate on Friday, November 26. It was between the fit Tony Blair, the former prime minister of the United Kingdom, and writer Christopher Hitchens, one of the "new atheists" (along with such others Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris) who is in chemotherapy for late-stage esophageal cancer.

Staged in Toronto by Canadian gold-mining magnate Peter Munk, the clash had been billed in terms of a heavyweight boxing match. As Philip Sherwell of The Telegraph put it, it was "the polemicist verses the politician, the sceptic versus the statesman, the outspoken atheist versus the Catholic convert."

And apparently, Hitchens won not by knockout, but by decision.

The resolution that was debated?

"Religion is a force for good in the world."

This was a good resolution for Hitchens to debate.

As has been noted by others, such as David Bentley Hart, there are really only three arguments being made by this new group attempting to popularize atheism. The first two are easily addressed, for they are based on category mistakes.

I agree fully with Dr. White’s assessment. Indeed the first two are category mistakes. Hitchens won the debate, I agree. But he didn’t change my mind. 

Full article by White. Very much worth reading.

  1. (1/9) Munk Debates: Tony Blair vs Christopher H…by DailyHitchens229,071 views
  2. (2/9) Munk Debates: Tony Blair vs Christopher H…by DailyHitchens229,161 views
  3. (3/9) Munk Debates: Tony Blair vs Christopher H…by DailyHitchens225,426 views
  4. (4/9) Munk Debates: Tony Blair vs Christopher H…by DailyHitchens224,611 views
  5. (5/9) Munk Debates: Tony Blair vs Christopher H…by DailyHitchens224,401 views
  6. (6/9) Munk Debates: Tony Blair vs Christopher H…by DailyHitchens223,574 views
  7. (7/9) Munk Debates: Tony Blair vs Christopher H…by DailyHitchens223,340 views
  8. (8/9) Munk Debates: Tony Blair vs Christopher H…by DailyHitchens223,178 views
  9. (9/9) Munk Debates: Tony Blair vs Christopher H…by DailyHitchens223,747 views

Wikileaks on the Shroud of Turin: It gets better

imageB&B writes: “By Jove I think he’s got it. Leonardo da Vinci looks just like Julian Assange.” Referring of course to the picture (click image for larger view).

Amy from Nevada asked, “Is Lombatti for real?”

(No, Amy, he just wrote on his site: “As for the Wikileaks news, I was just kidding. Irony, this was the goal of my funny (I hope) blog post.”)

<< On Lombatti’s site >>

Aldo Grano wrote, “So già chi è: Leonardo di nome, Davinci di cognome, detto Codice,” which Google translates as, “I already know who he is: the name of Leonardo, Davinci’s last name, said Code.”

Chidambaram Ramesh wrote:

It has been pretty firmly established by various researchers that the Shroud is not a painting in any known sense of the term. When taken in concert certain conclusive facts about the Shroud – it conforms to the Gospel accounts, anatomically perfect, light and dark are reversed, extremely superficial, there is no mark of paint or brush strokes, fibres of the cloth were not cemented together by any foreign material, depth information of the image has been encoded three-dimensionally, occurrence of high level of bilirubin in the bloodstains, abundance of microscopic dust in the foot-area of the imprint, to name a few – these are enough to make even a skeptic believe in the natural causes of Shroud image. It could never be a hoax. Still, if it is proved that it a fake, then it would be more wondrous than it is now!

imageAntonio Lombatti then wrote: “As the Israelli archaeologist Joe Zias – who excavated more than 300 Second Temple Jewish tombs – wrote: Not only it’s a clear fake, but it’s also a fake of bad quality.”

The behavior of professional Bible scholars on this relic has been deplorable. It’s true, the Turin Shroud may be seen as a ridiculous topic to deal with. So, apart from Joe Zias, James Tabor, Rachel Hachlili, Shimon Gibson, and Levy Rahmani – experts on Second Temple Jewish burials and Early Christianity – scholars have rarely tackled the fancy claims made by the Shroud authenticity supporters. And this has left room for popular quackery both on library shelves and, above all, on the web. Lurid falsehoods and distorted reasoning have been repeated so many times that the common people and some scholars too may think they are facing the real burial cloth of Jesus. The method used by these "shroudologists" bends the mind the wrong way, an insidious and real corruption, and it has nothing to share with scholarly analysis and philological tools.

And my good friend Dan Scavone, emeritus prof. of history, Univ. of Southern Indiana, wrote:

My friend Antonio (Lombatti) is a formidable scholar. But he knows that ridiculous claims may be found in the writings of "shroudophobes and "sindonoclasts" as well.  So, to take him at his word, Joe Zias must have found other forgeries in his 300 tombs !  How else could he know with any certainty that the Shroud is "a clear fake . . . of bad quality"?  Although I agree generally with the position of Chidambaram Ramesh, I would argue that if someone ever had thought to forge the Turin Shroud, the New Testament suggests nothing at all about a frontal-dorsal image of Jesus on a burial cloth.  Why, then, would someone "forge" it and hope the Christian world would accept it?  Antonio himself has elsewhere cited 95 documents, none of which negates the sixth-tenth century documents that already describe the Turin Shroud with the details only an eyewitness could include.  The blood now scientifically known to be real human blood and the perfect human anatomy (obviously NOT known to Gothic and later sculptors of the twelfth-fourteenth centuries) also "trumps" the forgery card.  Texts going back to the second century are also available in modern libraries, but they can wait until the appearance of the Guardian story.  Also Israeli botonist Avinoam Danin has attested to the presence of pollen and faint images of plants indigenous to the Holy Land.

For more: Wikileaks on the Shroud of Turin « Shroud of Turin Blog

Wikileaks on the Shroud of Turin

Here is the latest, in English and Italian, from the creative-skeptical mind of Antonio Lombatti:

imagedomenica 28 novembre 2010

È appena stato pubblicato un file riservatissimo da parte di Wikileaks, in cui si cita il documento medievale con il nome del falsario della Sindone. Altri dettagli quando il file sarà reso disponibile.

Among the top secret documents, there’s also a medieval manuscript with the name of the Turin Shroud’s forger. More to come when the file will be available.

Source: Lombatti’s site.

Quote for Today

imageTom Junod in Esquire:

. . . I believe that we are all going to die, in that science increasingly believes otherwise — and science increasingly has become a matter of belief. Its logic, once pointed at the eradication of disease and infection, is now inexorably pointed at aging and death, which is to say the ultimate questions that were once left to religion. . . .

. . . But in the end it won’t matter what I believe. All that will matter is what the data says. And if it says that my destiny is to get older, longer, I will find myself on a line with all the other doubters, trying to avail myself of the consequences of faith.

Year in Science – 2010 Science News and Discoveries – Esquire

WikiLeaks has crossed a bright line

Blake Hounshell at Foreign Policy Passport:

imageBut is there a principle that says it’s OK to publish one-off scoops, but not 250,000 — or for that matter 2.7 million — of them all at once? The former feels like journalism; the latter seems grotesque and irresponsible, more like "information vandalism," in the words of secrecy expert Steven Aftergood. And even if responsible papers like the New York Times have a chance to review and contextualize them, there’s no way they can dot every i and cross every t in the time allotted. There’s just too much.

WikiLeaks breezily sidesteps these sorts of questions, arguing that the global public ought to have a right to read classified documents anytime, from any government. But that may be ex post facto rationalization for a decision to publish documents the group was handed on a silver platter. It’s clearly doesn’t work as a general rule — otherwise, there would be chaos. And it clearly doesn’t work unless you’re convinced, like Julian Assange apparently is, that everything the U.S. government does is inherently nefarious.

Full article: Has WikiLeaks finally gone too far? | FP Passport

Current Physical Chemistry and the Shroud of Turin

image Boring? Boring, perhaps, to anyone but a chemist? Well, maybe not. This is a list of upcoming special issues of Current Physical Chemistry, a leading STM* journal from Bentham Science Publishers. But catch the second special issue in the list. And by all means, read the Aims and Scope below. The shroud is getting more and more attention in scientific journals. I don’t think it is so much because of what we know but because of what we don’t know.

  1. Self-assembly in organic/inorganic hybrid materials
  2. The Physical Chemistry of the Shroud of Turin
  3. Conducting Polymers
  4. Organic/Inorganic hybrid photofunctional materials of photochromic dyes and chiral metal complexes
  5. Quantum Nanobiology and Biophysical Chemistry
  6. Biomolecular Simulations and Applications
  7. Advanced Materials and Nanotechnology for DNA detection
  8. New Trends in Photophysics
  9. Protein Folding Dynamics
  10. Advanced Microporous and Mesoporous Materials

Here is some more information  from Bentham Science about the future Shroud of Turin issue:

Aims & Scope:

The Turin Shroud is by far the most studied “acheiropoietos” (literally: not made by human hands) object in the world but also one of the most controversial. Though some characteristics of the double body image -such as its 3-D outline, negativity and superficiality are well known- other just as important characteristics are not.

For the moment it seems impossible to reproduce all these characteristics together in fact many questions involving the procedures of image formation are still awaiting satisfactory answers.

The radiocarbon dating measurements carried out in 1988 apparently demonstrated that the Shroud dates from the Middle Ages, but recent statistical work has seriously challenged the accuracy of that result showing an important contamination of the linen fabric.

This and other physical and chemical aspects are the backdrop underpinning the aims and scope of the present Special Issue, and it is hoped that it will prove as a useful forum to shed some light on some of the mysteries which still hamper our knowledge of the formation and age of the Shroud.

Keywords: Turin Shroud, image formation, hypotheses, radiocarbon dating, sample contamination, physico-chemical tests.


• New scientific data
• Body image formation hypotheses
• Image characteristics
• Image processing
• Novel tools of analysis
• Radiocarbon dating and other physico-chemical dating methods
• Restoration and conservation issues
• Historical aspects and comparison with other acheiropoietos images
• Forensic views
• Proposals for new physico-chemical tests

Submission deadline for Authors: April 2011, Professor Giulio Fanti (Guest Editor)

BSP :: Current Physical Chemistry

*STM means Scientific, Technical and Medical journal by and for scholars.

A Connecticut Thanksgiving Proclamation


A Connecticut Thanksgiving Proclamation
State of Connecticut
By His Excellency WILBUR L. CROSS, Governor

ProclamationThanksgiving Proclamation

Time out of mind at this turn of the seasons when the hardy oak leaves rustle in the wind and the frost gives a tang to the air and the dusk falls early and the friendly evenings lengthen under the heel of Orion, it has seemed good to our people to join together in praising the Creator and Preserver, who has brought us by a way that we did not know to the end of another year. In observance of this custom, I appoint Thursday, the twenty-sixth of November, as a day of

Public Thanksgiving

for the blessings that have been our common lot and have placed our beloved State with the favored regions of earth — for all the creature comforts: the yield of the soil that has fed us and the richer yield from labor of every kind that has sustained our lives — and for all those things, as dear as breath to the body, that quicken man’s faith in his manhood, that nourish and strengthen his spirit to do the great work still before him: for the brotherly word and act; for honor held above price; for steadfast courage and zeal in the long, long search after truth; for liberty and for justice freely granted by each to his fellow and so as freely enjoyed; and for the crowning glory and mercy of peace upon our land; — that we may humbly take heart of these blessings as we gather once again with solemn and festive rites to keep our Harvest Home.


Free Thunker Cartoon about the Shroud of Turin


Of course, a real free thunker is not fooled by cartoons but by facts and the latest science.

Source: Free Thunk

An Atheist’s Thanksgiving Dinner Grace

Hemant Mehta, in his blog, Friendly Atheist offers up this dinner grace. Christian that I am, I like it.

Secular Coalition for America president Herb Silverman offers an example of a secular grace that you can use during dinner tonight:

Let us take a moment to think about where the food we are about to enjoy has come from and to acknowledge those who worked to bring us this food. Let us appreciate the earth, the sun, the air, and the water needed to nourish the plants and animals. Let us thank the farmer who cared for the plants and animals and the migrant worker who toiled to harvest the crops. Let us thank the laborer who processed the food, the truck driver who brought the food, and the grocery store workers who displayed it. Finally, let us thank our friends who prepared this meal and have provided us with the opportunity to be together and share each other’s company.

It’s perfect, really, thanking nature and the people who made the meal possible. Only someone so narrow-mindedly religious could find that offensive since a god wasn’t included in the list.

I like it. I might add, as well, thanks for our amazing universe and planet, for science (including evolution) by which we come to appreciate the wonder of life. Having said that, I might, too, in my heart and mind, direct my thanks to the God I believe in. I might even add, “in Jesus Christ we pray.” But I will silently add those thoughts and feelings since I will be sharing Thanksgiving dinner with several all-in-the-family Atheists.

Hermant, thanks for a “perfect” grace.

Friendly Atheist » An Atheist’s Thanksgiving Dinner Grace

Extraordinary Stat: The Real Face of Jesus on YouTube

A reader from New Hampshire writes:

I very roughly but conservatively count well over a half million views of YouTube snippets from the History Channels’s Real Face of Jesus. Going viral is something that happens to a single video in a day or a week only to be a vague cyber memory. What is happening here is different. Many people over many weeks have been making short segments from the show and uploading them. Thousands watch some of them. Tens of thousands, even hundreds of thousands watch some of the segments. YouTube has a place for giving a video a thumbs up or down. Ten to one or perhaps twenty to one like them. The written comments are are almost completely positive.

Here is a link that will help you see what our reader from New Hampshire was seeing:


God and the Philosophers Conference: Dubious Claims About the Shroud of Turin

According to the blog, Come Reason’s Apologetics Notes:

Dr. Gary Habermas presented some new findings of the Shroud of Turin that really caught my ear. It seems the Shroud exhibits x-ray type images, where you can see the teeth and metacarpals on the image – very odd for someone to render those if they were trying to fake an image.  There was also a 15 foot full-scale replica of the shroud at the exhibit.

These supposed x-ray type images of teeth and metacarpals are not new claims. They are old claims. And they are widely rejected by most shroud scholars. Did Gary explain why so many people think otherwise?  It was just over a week ago that I wrote in this blog about seeing teeth and flowers and coins on the shroud:

The images of a person, certainly a man if we look closely, exists on the shroud. Many well pronounced features are part of that image. But there may be other parts of the image that some people claim to see that are probably pareidolic perceptions.

Takeo Watanabe’s views "that subliminally learning something ‘too well’" results in false positives may explain many reported images and features of the shroud image. A botanist may see images of flowers and plants. A numismaticist may see images of ancient coins. A dentist may see what looks like teeth. It would be totally unfair to say that this is what happened when such experts saw these things. But it would be unfair to not suggest the possibility.

The shroud is dirty, creased and wrinkled. It has been exposed to dust, moisture, smoke from fire and almost certainly candles and incense. It has been exposed to moisture and there are clear water stains in places. It has been folded different ways and rolled up for storage. Folding causes creases. It has been held aloft and probably hung in ways that over time caused stretching. The cloth was woven on a hand loom with handspun thread that is not perfectly uniform. All of this contributes to visual information and visual misinformation.

coins.23 So does the banding patterns, the variegated appearance of the cloth. We know that it alters the appearance of the face very dramatically. It certainly must contribute to what some say they see on the shroud. For instance, if you look closely, you are likely to see what looks like teeth behind the man’s lips, as though somehow the image contains x-ray qualities. But vertical banding lines may be the reason we see teeth. Clear banding lines extend well beyond the teeth, beyond the face even, and seemingly for the length of the cloth.

Come Reason’s Apologetics Notes: God and the Philosophers

Quote for Today

A lot of times charity is a good place to start, but it’s a terrible place to end.” — Shane Claiborne at the American Enterprise Institute during a debate with Peter Greer.

The topic of the debate is pictured below. Interestingly, suggesting exaggerated PR for the debate, neither one thought Jesus was either of these things.


Was Jesus a communist or a capitalist? – CNN Belief Blog – Blogs

John L. Allen, Jr. on the election of Archbishop Dolan

imageJohn L. Allen, Jr. has an interesting perspective on Dolan’s election in the National Catholic Reporter:

. . . Yet interestingly, the swing to leadership by cardinals and big-time archbishops can also be seen as an assertion of the autonomy of the U.S. conference vis-à-vis Rome. With Cardinal Francis George, the American bishops knew they had a leader who could go toe-to-toe with the heavyweights of the Roman Curia as a full equal, and more or less the same point can be made of Dolan.

While American bishops these days are undeniably more “evangelical” in outlook, closer to the spirit of John Paul II, they also are less inclined to defer to Roman sensibilities on many non-doctrinal matters, such as finance and institutional management. Their take-away from the sex abuse crisis, for example, is that the American bishops had it right on the “zero tolerance policy,” and those in Rome who opposed it have been proven wrong.

More generally, watching the cycle of meltdowns in Rome under Italian Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone over the last five years, many American bishops are inclined to believe that the current Vatican regime means well but often can’t make the trains run on time. They want someone who can go to Rome and make American judgments stick, and Dolan is arguably better positioned to do so than Kicanas.

Read the full article: Three keys to reading the Dolan win at the USCCB | National Catholic Reporter

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