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The Ron and Yannick Shroud of Turin Image Discussion

imageA reader writes:

The Ron and Yannick discussion about image formation is a most interesting thing going on on your blog. I check constantly for the latest. Sadly it is buried in comment space under an uninteresting post. You should put a link to it so everyone will see it.

Here is a link:

And here, below the fold (read more) is the discussion as of this writing:

  1. Yannick Clément, August 25, 2011 at 8:32 am

    Even if I don’t believe one second in Jackson hypothesis on image formation, I must say that I have a great respect for the man. I consider him to be a real competent scientist unlike some “wanna be” guys who gravitate around the Shroud world these days. One other important thing that speaks in his favor is the fact that he examine the Shroud in person during 5 days in 1978. That’s certainly help a scientist to understand better this cloth.

    I also have to say “thank you” to him because he had the guts to form the STURP team in the 70s ! It was surely not an easy task !

    So thank you John Jackson !!! I just hope one day, he’ll reconsider his resurrection hypothesis and start to examine (or re-examine) some natural hypothesis for the image formation…

  2. Ron, August 25, 2011 at 6:44 pm

    I too have great respect for Dr.Jackson and the work he has done, tirelessly it seems, over the past decades.I on the other hand agree almost completely on Dr.Jackson’s hypothesis, reason being I personally cannot see the image forming by simply ‘natural causes’.The image is just too complex, natural vapours could never create such a detailed image~ this is agreed upon by many experts.Plus there has never been another incident recorded in history of such an image as the Shroud in all it’s attributes, NONE!…The fact that the blood on the Shroud shows no sign of being ‘ripped’ away from the cloth leads us directly to the body just simply disappearing from within the ‘wrapped’ Shroud.This disappearance would undoubtably release some kind of energy or leave energy or particles behind…In my extensive studies, on image attributes and hypothesis, I have come to the realization that Dr.Jacksons hypothesis tends to answer many more questions than all other hypothesis or theories.


  3. Yannick Clément, August 26, 2011 at 7:02 pm

    Ron, you wrote : “This disappearance would undoubtably release some kind of energy or leave energy or particles behind.”

    I completely disagree with your point of view ! Sorry. How can you say that ? Nobody was there to record the event. And there’s no reports in the Gospel accounts of the risen Christ where it is reported that his sudden appearence in one place was accompanied by extraordinary phenomena ! And don’t forget what Barrie Schwortz always say : Science cannot resurrect people and analysed what image an event like this can do on a cloth !!!

    From my catholic roots, I believed that the body of Jesus simply disappeared from this material world. Nothing can make me think that this event would have produced any by-product… I just can’t understand why it should be so. And that would mean that God would have left some kind of proof of the resurrection of his Son on a piece of cloth ! WHY ? If we ever found proofs of this event, then faith would not be needed anymore and I just can’t believe that’s the will of God. Look at the Gospel accounts of the resurrected Christ. His close disciples ALWAYS had difficulties to recongnize Jesus ! Even his close friends needed FAITH to recognize him !!! In my mind, that’s says a lot about who God really is. He never want to impose his presence to us because God is Love and not a tyrannical despot ! That’s it for the theological aspect of the question…

    You remember the end of the movie The Passion of Christ from Mel Gibson ? We see the Shroud droped to the ground because the body in it simply disappeared without any flash of light or any burst of energy. A very subtle event ! That’s exactly how I see the resurrection event… Why always think of some big Hollywood special effects to go along the resurrection of Christ ??? We’re not in cinema ! Remember the “Beam me up Scotty ?”. Sorry but Jesus is not a character from Star Trek !!!

    Regarding the Shroud and his unexplained image, there’s a great danger that many people fall in : believing that something we see in the nature and we can’t explain is automatically due to God himself ! It’s not because science, today, cannot fully explain the image that science, in the future, could not find the correct explanation !

    The history of mankind is full of discoveries that were able to solve mystery that people believed were directly caused by God ! Regarding the Shroud, we have to always remember that science asn’t completed yet all testings and experiments of all the possible natural causes. There’s more experiments and analyses waiting to be done…

    From all my readings of the published papers in peer-reviewed journals, there’s no facts there that convinced me that the image is due to some supernatural cause. And I have notice one important thing : from all the scientist who analysed the cloth in 1978 (including the italian team composed of Baima Bollone, Riggi, etc.), I AM AWARE OF ONLY ONE PERSON who believe that the resurrection have something to do with the image formation : John Jackson !!!

    And don’t forget one thing : M. Jackson hypothesis still have some problems (the image of the back is one of the most important), just like the Maillard reaction alone have some problems, the Corona discharge have some problems too and any direct contact hypothesis have some problems. THERE’S NOT ONE SINGLE PROCESS THAT SEEM TO BE ABLE TO EXPLAIN THE IMAGE. So, I think science will have to look for the correct combination of processes to find the right explanation… To achieve that, it will surely take another series of direct researches on the cloth. We’ll have to be patient. For the moment, I’m still optimistic that science, one day, will be able to find the solution and I’m still convinced that this solution will involved only natural processes (probably 2 or more complex chemical processes). Again, I want to say it again : from all the scientific data collected by STURP or other researchers who analysed directly the cloth, I haven’t seen anything who convinced me that the solution must me search in some supernatural event !

    Finally, we have to remember one important thing : NATURE CAN BE VERY SURPRISING SOMETIMES !!!!

    If you’re not convinced, read this paper :

    I just hope nobody will believe this image on the matress come from God !!! And still, science cannot fully explain it even today ! For this reason, do you think we have to call it a miraculous image ? I don’t think so ! Same thing for the Shroud !!!

  4. Yannick Clément, August 26, 2011 at 7:11 pm

    If someone have not seen the ending of the movie The Passion of Christ, go there :

    Of course, anyone can believe in a burst of protons, a flash of UV light, an electric discharge or something like that… Personally, I believe this movie scene is pretty close to the real event of the resurrection. With my eyes of catholic, that’s the way I see it…

  5. Ron, August 27, 2011 at 12:25 pm

    Yannick you must remember where I am coming from when talking of the Shroud. I’ve mentioned before, I personally believe the Shroud is of Christ and believe it WAS left by God as a testiment to his ressurection.To me there can be no doubt of this.The facts speak for themselfs, so many unanswered questions, researched by numerous experts who seem baffled by this simple Shroud.But speaking scientifically it would seem impossible that a body can just leave this environment or dimension without a trace of it ever existing, even if that means minute particles lasting just micro-seconds.This is not a ‘Natural’ occurence (the bodies disapearance) which nature conjured up, otherwise we would surely have evidence of it occuring at somepoint in history, which is not so….just the Shroud.My belief and Dr.Jackson’s hypothesis does not go against your idea of the last scene which the movies depicts, in actuality it would seem that Mr.Gibson produced that scene with Jackson’s theory in mind.Also when talking the Shroud image and God’s hand in it, Why not? The Shroud definately was not left by God for anyother era then ours, not for 2 thousand years would the ‘TRUE’ image be recognizable for all to see.There is something in that.We are the generation(s) that require this ‘sign’ more then anyother in history.We are the generation of doubting Thomas’s and why not believe that God foresaw this and thus left us this miraculous image to strengthen our resolve or simply to remind ALL what exactly he did for us?


  6. Yannick Clément, August 27, 2011 at 10:16 pm

    Hello Ron ! I just want to keep on with you this friendly exchange of ideas ! I just want to take some of the interesting things you said and comment :

    You wrote : “I personally believe the Shroud is of Christ and believe it WAS left by God as a testiment to his ressurection.” I respect your belief but, as I said and even if I’m a catholic who believe in the resurrection, I don’t understand why God would have left some kind of physical trace of this event that goes beyond our material world. It’s just my opinion.

    You wrote : “The facts speak for themselfs, so many unanswered questions…” As I said before and I think I’m right on this point, it’s not because science can’t completely explain the image today that it will be the case in the future ! If science cannot fully explain the image today, don’t you think it’s just because modern science is just not advanced enough ? Who can say what the future will bring ? The only thing science can say right now is : Science cannot fully explain the image in the present state of our knowledge of the cloth. And that doesn’t mean it will always be that way in the future. And one other very important thing to always remember : Nobody know all the starting parameters regarding the Shroud (mainly from a textile point of view), the body that was put in it and the tortures he suffer (mainly from a forensic point of view) and the environment surrounding the crucifixion place and the tomb (mainly from a meteorogical point of view). So, it is VERY hard for scientist to explain an image that come from a set-up with so much unknown starting data !

    You wrote : “But speaking scientifically it would seem impossible that a body can just leave this environment or dimension without a trace of it ever existing.” Speaking scientifically Ron, there’s many things related to Jesus that seem impossible !!!! ;-) Speaking scientifically, it would seem impossible that someone walk on water. Speaking scientifically, it would seem impossible that someone feed more than 5000 persons with only 2 fish and 5 breads ! You surely understand my point ! If Jesus was really the Son of God, as I believe he is, his miracles were Signs made by God that operate them outside the normal physical laws. And if resurrection is the biggest Sign made by God, why this Sign could not have happened without the emission of any physical by-products ? I don’t see why it could not have been that way 2000 years ago. It was an event that is completely outside our physical laws !!! Speaking scientifically Ron, it would seem to me impossible that a dead body could have emit any kind of energy at all !!! ;-)

    You wrote : “This is not a ‘Natural’ occurence.” Of course ! It is something that happened once in all history of mankind and goes beyond the field of science ! So, in this sense, how can we be so sure that it was necessarily accompanied of some physical by-products ? Just a little theological reflexion about this : remember the story of the Old testament where Elijah encounter God on the mountain ? God wasn’t in the fire, he was not in the storm, etc. He was in a still small voice ! This text is extraordinary to make us understand that God is not like we always tend to see him : A supernatural being who act like a Super Hero from Hollywood ! God is Love, so when your name is Love, you don’t need to do extraordinary thing to impress anyone. Why always make a Hollywood scenario when we think about the resurrection and think that it needed a burst of light or energy of some kind ?

    You wrote : “actuality it would seem that Mr.Gibson produced that scene with Jackson’s theory in mind.” If we ask John Jackson to film a movie scene of his hypothesis, I really don’t think it would be a copy of Mel Gibson’s final scene. Jackson pretend that the body, while he dematerialized, became some kind of an energetic field in which the Shroud dropped. In the scene of Gibson, where do you see a energetic field (that surely would have produced some kind of light) inside the Shroud ? Did you saw the excellent documentary “The real face of Jesus” that was showed on History channel ? In it, Russ Breault present a scenario of the resurrection versus the Shroud that, to me, is much more close to the hypothesis of Jackson with a very short burst of light coming from the body. You can see it here : Can we agree that this resurrection scene is not the same than the one from the movie of Gibson ???

    You wrote : “We are the generation(s) that require this ‘sign’ more then anyother in history.” On this, I completely agree with you that the Shroud is a SIGN (not a proof) of the resurrection and that our scientific age seem to be design for it. As John Paul II said : The Shroud is a challenge for the intelligence. Well said ! But that don’t mean it is a by-product of the resurrection… For me, I have said it before, the Shroud is like the empty tomb. It is a sign that point out to the resurrection of Christ. But I don’t see it as a physical proof of this event. It’s not the same.

    You wrote : “why not believe that God foresaw this and thus left us this miraculous image to strengthen our resolve or simply to remind ALL what exactly he did for us?” Again, as a catholic, I agree with you on this point ! I think the Shroud can be good for lead to faith some doubters or, like it does for me, to strengthen the faith of some believers. But, why not think that God would have used the laws of nature to produced this marvelous image of himself ?

    Again, to finish, I’ll say something that, I think, speaks very loud : from all the scientists who analysed the cloth in 1978 (including the italian team composed of Baima Bollone, Riggi, etc.), I AM AWARE OF ONLY ONE PERSON who believe that the resurrection have something to do with the image formation : John Jackson !!! All the others seemed convinced that the image was not a forgery BUT was not a miracle either…

  7. Ron, August 29, 2011 at 7:04 pm

    Yannick, science will never prove anything definate with the Shroud image, now or ever, probably the way God wants it.My point was not whether it is natural or not, or whether one movie representation got it right or not, we don’t know, but the chance still stands that the image may have been caused directly by the resurrection or from a bi-product of such and more so then by chance or by natural causes as it stands. If it was strictly a ‘natural’ occurance I think we would have gotten it by now, but we haven’t.This to me points drectly to the resurrection.I believe God left just enough information on the cloth for those with “open eyes to see” the truth and for others not.Which definitely seems to be the case presently, otherwise why is the image here at all? I don’t care what the consensus is on this topic by the majority of scientists, as they are just as lost as anyone, or maybe they are looking at things with their eyes shut…Those are my thoughts and beliefs, nothing will change that.It is also okay to agree to disagree on certain aspects of the topic of the Shroud, which seems is to be in our case…So we disagree on some aspects, so what.


  8. Yannick Clément, August 29, 2011 at 11:37 pm

    Hi Ron ! Don’t worry ! I don’t want to impose my view to you and I respect your belief.

    I just want to let you know that there is other possibilities than to believe the Shroud is a true miraculous image or at least, came from a by-product of the resurrection. By the way, did you know that the image is incomplete ? The top of the feet, the back of the knees, the sides of the body and the top of the head is missing. So, just from this standpoint, I don’t think we have to really consider the possibility of a true miraculous image because if it was so, the image would surely be complete ! So, we’re left with two possibilities : a by-product of the resurrection or a natural cause. I will say it again : it’s not because science didn’t understand completely the image for now that it means it was caused by the resurrection. That’s all I say. Even if science, for the moment, don’t have a satisfactory answer to the question of how the image came to be, it is still possible that it is a true masterpiece from the nature (with the will of God) ! And if it is so, it doesn’t mean at all that the resurrection it’s not a reality !

    In fact, as a catholic believer, I’m able to see a sign of the resurrection on the Shroud but it’s not in the image, it’s in the blood ! As doctor Barbet point out, the blood traces were not distract at all by the disappearence of the body from the Shroud. It’s really like the body dematerialized ! That’s a great sign of the resurrection ! But, it doesn’t mean there was any by-product of this extraordinary event.

    I believe in Christ and I believe in the resurrection. I also believe the Shroud is the real burial cloth of Christ. But, I don’t think we must make 1 + 1 = 2 in this case. To me, it’s premature to think that way because the science didn’t make all the testing that could be done on the cloth. There is still many experiments that could be done and will be done one day, when the Vatican will permit a new series of direct testings on the cloth ! In some STURP papers, it is even written specifically that there’s more testings that have to be done on the cloth and that the STURP team wasn’t able to do in Turin. Also, it is written that there’s some re-testings that will have to be done one day with more precise instruments. STURP did their examination in 1978. Since, new instruments and techniques are avalaible to examine the cloth more precisely. I really think a future “STURP 2″ will be able to resolve many issues about the Shroud. Let’s wait and see ! Sience always goes on and one day, I think we will find some answers. Maybe there still be some questions left open. It’s possible. But, to me, that will not mean the image is miraculous.

    Just look at the Jospine matress body image. Science can’t fully explain this image too. But I hope, at least, we can agree that this image is not an “act of God” !!! It is surely a natural image that we don’t fully understand FOR THE MOMENT. Why would it be so different for the Shroud image ? Because it is the Shroud of Christ ? I don’t think it’s as obvious as this.

    I just finish the reading of ALL the papers published by STURP ! Yes, everyone of them ! And I must tell that there’s nothing in it that convinced me to believe the image is a by-product of the resurrection. Sorry to let you know this, but all the data I’ve learned in my reading point to a natural cause… I know there is some big difficulties regarding the image (like the 3D information incode in it) but that don’t mean science won’t be able to resolve them one day.

    So, yes, I think we’ll have to agree to disagree but it’s all right ! Everyone can have his own opinion about the image on the Shroud. At least, you and me, we’re not shy to share our point of view on this question !!! ;-) And, in the end, the most important thing (and we agree on that) is the fact that the Shroud is probably the genuine shroud of Jesus-Christ !

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