Luciano Buso: What’s the point of denying my theory

imageWe mentioned this back in June of last year. At the time the Telegraph and the Daily Mail wrote about it and, not surprisingly, the story died after one day. Now, because of the attention caused by the ENEA report, Marina Tantushyan, a correspondent in Rome for the Voice of Russia, has resurrected the story. It seems that an artist from Treviso, Luciano Buso,  has determined that the shroud is actually a replica of Jesus’ original burial shroud. According to Buso, the Italian artist Giotto di Bondone created the replica in 1315:

Here is an exchange from an interview with Buso by Marina Tantushyan:

[Tantushyan:]  What is your view of the ENEA tests results that in a way contradict your conclusions? Are you ready to insist on your point of view? If yes, what counter arguments are you going to use to prove your point?

[Buso:]  The fact that all theories related to the Shroud of Turin are to be proved invalid to some extent became obvious to me back in 1980s when a group of world renowned scientists who performed carbon dating test on a small piece of the cloth put the Shroud’s origin around 1280-1320. It so happened that even that theory designed by well known scientists who used technology and methods modern for that time collapsed. In my opinion, various theories will always try to deny the existence of the Shroud of Turin. As far as the results of the latest testing that contradict my observations, I can say only this: those who want to doubt my theory will also have to appeal the results of all my work to study hundreds of pictures painted between years 1300 and 2010. In all those I found hidden writing. There is a book about to come out in which I give a precise and detailed account of all examples of hidden writing I have encountered. What I don’t understand is this: what’s the point of denying my theory that proves that Giotto created the Shroud of Turin in 1315 if the existence of these hidden writings is obvious.

imageThis is what you are looking for. It is a stylized “Giotto 15,” meaning of course 1315. And you can find it only by looking at the area just below the chin in an upside down photograph of the shroud, as shown above.

What’s the point of denying?

Quote for today: “When someone wants badly enough to not know something . . .”

imageThe Deuce by way of a comment to Badder Still: Bad Archaeology at Bad Archaeology, writes:

[Sciencebod is] actually extremely interested in not understanding. Between sciencebod, Bad Archeology, and the reader Dan mentioned who denied there was any image at all, I’m reminded of that story about Galileo’s scientific contemporaries who refused to look in the telescope, or did look and claimed to have seen nothing but smudges. When someone wants badly enough to not know something, their will can overcome their very senses.

Cartoon by Chris Madden. Used with permission.

Burden of Proof on the Shroud of Turin

image“Mom” follows up in Life on the Hill: Interesting Response to My Book Suggestions:

Last week I wrote about three books I recommend for skeptical kids. Apparently Dan Porter didn’t particularly care for my inclusion of The Magic Detectives, because he believes it incorrectly portrays the mystery behind the Shroud of Turin. I think his blog speaks for itself, but I just want to address a few things he mentioned. Here’s one thing he said:

[The book was written in] 1989. One of the things I wanted my kids to learn was the value of fact checking. Much has happened since 1989.

First, I find it somewhat comical for a man whose faith is based on the Bible to criticize me for giving my kids a thirteen year old book. Much has happened in the past two thousand years, Mr. Porter.

I do pay attention to what has happened in those 2000 years. I’m not a biblical literalist. For one thing, I fully accept evolution (others here do not). When is comes to history, I fully realize that the Bible is not a very good history book, just as it is not a good science book.

And “Mom” wrote:

The burden of proof must always be with those asserting the claim, and not with those seeking to disprove it. Why is this often a difficult concept for people of faith to grasp?

Philosophically, I don’t have a problem with that. I tend to agree, mostly. From Socrates to Hume to Nietzsche, and more recently, very famously, Antony Flew (pictured above), this has been considered axiomatic. Atheist Flew, at frequent meetings of theist C. S. Lewis’ Socratic Club, regularly argued that the "onus of proof must lie upon the theist."

But should it? Why? For the claim that God exists? For every claim? Every historical object?

When it comes to the existence of God (by extension we can imagine this applying to miracles and the authenticity of the shroud), Paul Copan, president of the Evangelical Philosophical Society and a member of the Catholic Philosophical Society, as argued, better than most, that that is presumptuous and unjustified. Interestingly, Atheist Jeffery Jay Lowder, best known for his websites The Secular Web and Internet Infidels (, wrote an article entitled, “Is Atheism Presumptuous?" In it, he writes:

I agree [with Paul Copan] that anyone who claims, "God does not exist," must shoulder a burden of proof just as much as anyone who claims, "God exists."

Flew later wrote: There is a God: How the World’s Most Notorious Atheist Changed His Mind (2007) with Roy Abraham Varghese (ISBN 978-0-06-133529-7). And he changed his mind about the burden of proof belonging to one asserting a religious claim.

A lot has happened since 1989. Why is this often a difficult concept for skeptics to grasp?

A new “theory” for how the Turin Shroud was faked

Sciencebod has a new theory. He actually calls it a theory giving license, I guess, to just about anyone to say of anything scientific, “it is only a theory.”

“This is intended as the briefest of summaries,” he writes in My new sandpit theory for how the Turin Shroud was produced – as a medieval hoax. I read it and prepared the following diagram to help you understand it.


January tops December

I was pleased to see that December 2011 was the busiest month to date for the blog. The dustup over the ENEA report added to the fact that it was the month for Christmas drove higher volumes of user page views. December 22 was the highest volume day ever with 3,723 views. This was caused largely by the article in The Telegraph.

ENEA calmed down. I expected a quieter month. But January 2012 was a surprise: 78,198 views. It wasn’t frontend loaded, suggesting spillover from December. It wasn’t because of all the comments caused by Sciencebod. A quick look at the logs suggests the growth came largely from an increase in people following the blog on Facebook and Twitter.