imageHi Guys (all three):

I certainly have no objection to you arguing that the Shroud of Turin is a fake. But, please, do so with factual material.

First of all, the video about the Shroud that you are using as something of a straw man to dispute and ridicule is awful and very inaccurate. It features Brother Michael Dimond, a self-proclaimed “Benedictine monk” of a two-person Sedevacantism cult (the other member is his sibling-brother Peter) that claims that the papacy has been vacant since the death of Pope Pius XII in 1958. They claim that Pope John Paul I was murdered by Masons and Communists who infiltrated the Vatican. They are not competent in matters having to do with the church or, for that matter, the shroud.

One example is Br. Dimond’s claim about the travertine aragonite found on the shroud. Indeed, if what Dimond said was correct your criticism would be justified. (And your snickering). But it was not and you demonstrated, with ridicule, that you do not understand the subject, at all. Here are some facts for you to consider:

Joseph Kohlbeck, Resident Scientist at the Hercules Aerospace Center in Utah, and Richard Levi-Setti of the Enrico Fermi Institute at the University of Chicago, examined embedded dirt particles taken from the Shroud’s surface. The dirt was found to be travertine aragonite limestone. And you laughed, saying in essence, so what. Read on.

Using a high-resolution microprobe, Levi-Setti and Kolbeck compared the spectra of samples taken from the Shroud with samples of limestone from the limestone outcropping in and around Jerusalem. The chemical signatures of the Shroud samples and the Jerusalem limestone were identical except for some minute fragments of organic cellulous linen fiber that could not be separated from the Shroud samples. Kolbeck readily acknowledges that this is not proof that the Shroud was in Jerusalem and that there might be other places in the world – though none are known and it is statistically unlikely any will be found – where travertine aragonite has the identical trace chemical composition. It is also slightly possible though highly implausible that this dirt was applied by a forger. This is the stuff of real forensic science. You should know better. If you wish to take a skeptical stance on this matter do so with facts and scientific principles, not uninformed mockery.

You mention in your YouTube video that Walter McCrone found paint. Did you mention that Mark Anderson, who worked for McCrone, examined the fibers using laser microprobe Raman spectrometry and found that what McCrone thought was (inorganic) paint was in fact an organic substance. It was not paint! Or did you mention that the shroud (and not just fibers) had been observed with visible light spectrometry, ultraviolet spectrometry, infrared spectrometry, x-ray fluorescence spectrometry, and thermography and no paint was found? Did you mention that later, pyrolysis-mass-spectrometry tests on individual image-bearing fibers, conducted at the Mass Spectrometry Center of Excellence at the University of Nebraska and that scientists there were unable to detect any paint particles or painting medium? To repeat myself, this is the stuff of real forensic science. You should know better. If you wish to take a skeptical stance on this matter do so with facts and scientific principles, not uninformed mockery.

BTW: McCrone was never a member of STURP and was never, therefore, kicked out of STURP.

Where do you get your facts? We could go on and on. But we’ll give one more example. Here is a bit of transcript from your video:

I’d like to talk about the modern science that’s been done on the shroud. This the part where I thought it was pretty conclusively put to bed. So in the 70s there was a group of scientists and researchers. They were commissioned by the Vatican. The acronym was STURP. They were the Shroud of Turin Research Project. Their job was to go in an scrutinize the shroud and find whatever evidence there was and sort of bring the light of science to bear on this. And the first problem I have with this is that all them were Catholics, they were believers, they’re doing science backwards. They’re starting with a conclusion and trying to find evidence that goes that way rather than follow the evidence wherever it may lead.

They were not all Catholics. In fact, Barrie Schwortz and Al Adler were Jewish. Others held religious beliefs that were at odds with Catholic beliefs. Raymond Rogers, the lead chemist, was a distinguished Fellow of the prestigious Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL). He was a charter member of the Coalition for Excellence in Science Education in New Mexico. He had published over fifty scientific papers in ethical peer-reviewed science journals. Very significantly he was a member of New Mexicans for Science and Reason (NMSR), an organization affiliated with the national, non-religious organization CSICOP. (To the best of my knowledge, Rogers was a Protestant Christian, but by no means a believer in the Shroud’s authenticity).

In what you say on your video about doing science backwards there is an unsavory charge that these scientists, by the dozens, were dishonest to the extent that they violated basic scientific principals. Are you prepared to defend this accusation?

You don’t need to believe that the Shroud is authentic. I have many friends who don’t believe it is real, including Catholics, including real priests. I have met several non-Christians, including an Atheist, who believe it is real. Unlike you, they have all made an intellectual judgment with correct facts.

Your YouTube production has promise, if you continue. One suggestion. Don’t use ridicule and mockery unless you know what you are talking about. In fact, don’t use ridicule at all. Another suggestion. Do some research, real research.

Link to video: YouTube – This Non-Religious Life – Episode 3: Response to Viewer Feedback