Paper Chase: New Paper Challenges Rogers

imageAdrie van der Hoeven has published a lengthy article, Internal selvedge in starched and dyed temple mantle – No invisible repair in Turin Shroud – No Maillard reaction on the Holy Shroud Guild website. I have not read it but I picked out this concluding paragraph under Discussion on page 33:

The physical, chemical, and microscopical data of the radiocarbon sample area show no signs of a repair or inexplicable differences with the main Shroud, and even indicate that the sample area and main Shroud are one cloth and that this cloth most probably was a first-century Jewish temple garment. As an invisible 16th-century repair of the Shroud  seems to be precluded, another explanation of the reported medieval radiocarbon date of a first-century cloth might be found. Antonacci reported an experiment showing that ancient linen is radiocarbon-juvenized by neutron irradiation. Di Lazzaro reported experiments showing a Shroud-like coloration of linen can be created by VUV-irradiation.  Fanti reported experiments showing that a Corona Discharge (an electrical discharge naturally accompanied by particle- and VUV-irradiation) can create Shroudlike images, which fit the characteristics of the Shroud’s superficial body images better than (results of) all other proposed  image formation processes do. Di Lazzaro invited Ramsey, director of the Oxford Radiocarbon Accelerator Unit, to collaborate  in a team to study the Shroud’s radiocarbon dating results.  Such a collaboration could produce very interesting insights.

Krauss: I don’t really give a damn what "nothing" means to philosophers; I care about the "nothing" of reality."

imageDawkins seems to be on my radar since David Rolfe’s Shroud of Turin challenge to him. This article, Has Physics Made Philosophy and Religion Obsolete? by Ross Andersen in Atlantic caught my attention:

In January, Lawrence Krauss [pictured], a theoretical physicist and Director of the Origins Institute at Arizona State University, published A Universe From Nothing: Why There Is Something Rather Than Nothing, a book that, as its title suggests, purports to explain how something—and not just any something, but the entire universe—could have emerged from nothing, the kind of nothing implicated by quantum field theory. But before attempting to do so, the book first tells the story of modern cosmology, whipping its way through the big bang to microwave background radiation and the discovery of dark energy. It’s a story that Krauss is well positioned to tell; in recent years he has emerged as an unusually gifted explainer of astrophysics. One of his lectures has been viewed over a million times on YouTube and his cultural reach extends to some unlikely places—last year Miley Cyrus came under fire when she tweeted a quote from Krauss that some Christians found offensive. Krauss’ book quickly became a bestseller, drawing raves from popular atheists like Sam Harris and Richard Dawkins, the latter of which even compared it to The Origin of Species for the way its final chapters were supposed to finally upend "last trump card of the theologian."

I haven’t read the book, but I have added it to my ‘when I get some time’ list. There is a good interview by Andersen with Krause in this article. I like Krause’s answers in that they seem honest. That doesn’t mean I agree. Here is a snippet:

Continue reading “Krauss: I don’t really give a damn what "nothing" means to philosophers; I care about the "nothing" of reality."”

History Done Right.

Jack Markwardt explains:

imageI originated and presented this hypothesis to an international conference convened at Ohio State University in 2008 for the simple reason that the early history of the Turin Shroud cannot be credibly linked to the ancient city of Edessa through a literal application of the Abgar legend. The preeminent historian of Edessa, J.B. Segal, after years of arduous study and investigation, concluded that the Abgar legend constitutes “one of the most successful pious frauds of antiquity”. It should not be surprising, therefore, that a number of highly-respected modern historians have summarily rejected this pious fraud as evidential of the Turin Shroud’s whereabouts during the first Christian millennium, particularly because real historical evidence provides not the slightest indication that pagan Edessa was even partially converted to Christianity prior to the late second-century reign of King Abgar the Great. The preeminent historian of Antioch, Glanville Downey, ascribed that development to a two-phase evangelization mission, one which initially resulted in the baptism of Abgar the Great and ultimately concluded with the consecration of Edessa’s first bishop, Palut, in 200 CE, by Serapion, the bishop of Antioch. Relatively recent attribution of an image of Christ to the city of Edessa during the first half-millennium of Christianity arises exclusively from a substantial permutation of the Abgar legend authored, in ca. 945, by a Byzantine Emperor who desired to bestow an apostolic provenance upon the Christ-icon which had recently been transferred to his capital from Edessa. In order to explain away, in one bold imperial stroke, the complete historical anonymity of this icon during the first five Christian centuries, Constantine VII Porphyrogenitus sponsored the publication and circulation of a tale which featured not only the cloth’s first-century concealment within a niche located above an Edessa city gate, but also its miraculous rediscovery there by a fictional Edessan bishop, Eulalius, during the Persian siege of 544 CE. It has been suggested, in lieu of this incredible miracle-discovery tale, that the icon was actually found in the wake of the great flood of 525 CE which damaged Edessa’s city walls; however, it is rather significant that such a truly notable event merited no mention whatsoever in the Edessan Chronicle, a Syriac work composed in ca. 540-544 CE, which not only described the great flood but also detailed the most commonplace of Edessan ecclesiastical matters. In my opinion, modern scholarship will continue to reject the identification of the acheiropoietos image of Christ which was brought from Edessa to Constantinople in 944 CE with the Turin Shroud unless and until the provenance of that icon, and the circumstances surrounding its arrival in Edessa, can be reasonably established on the basis of non-legendary evidence.

I was there at Ohio in 2008 and remember the presentation, Ancient Edessa and the Shroud: History Concealed by the Discipline of the Secret. It was excellent. Read it.

And I don’t like P. Z. Myers, Either

imagePart of P.Z. Myers Sunday Sacrilege: Sacking the City of God in his blog Pharyngula. I guess if you are a Christian and take classes from this guy at the University of Minnesota, Morris, it’s a good idea to keep your faith to yourself:

Now wait, there might be some people saying (not anyone here, of course) that that’s no fair. Maybe you’re a liberal Christian, and I’m picking on the extremists (although, when we’re talking about roughly half the United States being evolution-denying, drill-baby-drill, apocalypse-loving christians, it’s more accurate to say I’m describing a representative sample). Perhaps you’re a moderate, you support good science, education, and the environment, you just love Jesus or Mohammed, too.

I’m sorry, but I don’t like you.

Do read the whole thing if you want to get an idea about this guy (right in picture) who is now outpacing Richard Dawkins (left with jacket) on the internet.

A Report from the Shroud of Turin Conference in Valencia

imageGoogle translation of an article appearing in

Scientific experts in the study of the Shroud of Turin have analyzed this Saturday in Valencia, studies on the footprint of the relic, during the first session of the First International Congress on the Shroud to be held in Valencia until Monday.


The doctor of physical sciences Manuel Carreira said that "on the Shroud of Turin is kept a single image in the history of archeology" and that "today, as a physicist I can say that there is no suitable explanation to explain how was generated. " The scientist has referred to the imprint can be seen on the surface of the shroud and it is for a man tortured, as the Gospels indicate that Jesus did.

Meanwhile, photographer and scientist STURP (Shroud of Turin Research Project) research team in the U.S. to investigate the Shroud of Turin in 1978, Barrie Schwortz, showed attendees a selection of over 2,500 images taken during the investigation, reported by the Archbishop in a statement.

In addition, the U.S. PhD in Physics, John Jackson, who was the coordinator of STURP, made a critical review of scientific procedures carried out in 1978 and stressed the importance of continuing the analysis using technological advances that have occurred since then to refine the observations and hypotheses about the process of generating the image on the web.

The director of the documentary The Silent Witness "(1978), David Rolfe, has proposed to those who claim to have been able to reproduce by artificial means the image to present to the scientific community to verify their models if they exhibit the same characteristics that observed on the Shroud of Turin, such as the effects of three-dimensional photographic or negativity.

Finally, Paolo di Lazzaro, head of the Laboratory Eccimeri of the National Agency for New Technologies of Italy, made a summary of five years of experiments with different types of lasers to try to explain the image sindónica.


The First International Conference on the Shroud has been opened in the Aula Magna of the Faculty of Medicine of Valencia by Jorge Manuel Rodríguez, president of the Spanish Centre Sindonology, organizer of the congress, on the occasion of its 25th anniversary.

Rodriguez stressed that "it is a scientific meeting which aims to determine the current status of research on the sheet, according to tradition, wrapped the body of Jesus of Nazareth in the tomb after the crucifixion, preserved since 1578 in Turin, and determine possible future protocol analysis. "

Source: Scientific experts analyze in Valencia Shroud studies on the imprint of the relic –

Carbon Dating the Shroud of Turin Again?

imageCharles Freeman, by way of a comment, writes:

Dan I am sure that you would support, and I hope make strong moves to use your influence, to campaign for a new radio-carbon -14 dating. After all, in the past twenty-five years r-c dating has become more scientifically accurate and it should be able to avoid the criticisms of the 1988 dating. Maybe it would also pinpoint a more precise date within or outside of the 1260-1390 period.

Those of us who stick to the presumption of the 1988 dating standing do so a) because in relation to the three possible alternatives, a swapping over of samples by the Cardinal and Tite, some form of contamination ( many different contaminants, soot, sweat, carbon monoxide suggested) or an invisible rewoven patch selected as the sample, critics of the testing disagree so violently among themselves – e.g see Antonacci’s critique of Raymond Rogers’ 2005 paper- that the independent observer cannot be convinced that a single clear refutation of the 1988 testing has been proposed by the critics b) There is not a hint in any of these critiques that resolution of the problems proposed would lead to a radio-carbon 14 dating in the first century.

Only those who are absolutely committed to supporting one date or the other have anything to fear from a retesting and as STURP has been among the main critics of the 1988 tests, it is presumably their primary responsibility to call for a new test by at least three independent radio-carbon-14 laboratories. STURP would presumably provide observers who would be present alongside textile and radio-carbon 14 experts to make sure that representative samples of the whole Shroud are chosen. As shroud or burial cloths undoubtedly did exist in the tomb of Jesus in c. 30, there is just a possibility they survived and I for one would not rule that out.

I don’t think any of us should have anything to fear by a redo, certainly not if our goal is the truth. This time, however, carbon dating must be done correctly and with complete transparency. Sampling, chemical analysis, cleaning and testing protocols must be developed by knowledgeable  representatives of various constituencies including radiocarbon dating scientists, archaeologists who have studied the shroud, chemists with special competence in flax and other materials that may be present on the cloth, ancient textile experts, the owners and/or custodians (Vatican/Archdiocese of Turin). The protocol must be widely published in detail well in advance of the testing. I would allow for a review panel and a public report.

Many open issues need to be addressed before testing. For instance, are there any unresolved questions about how suitable carbon dating is for linen as evidenced by tests on human and ibis mummies? Are there questions about the effect of thymol which was used to disinfect the shroud’s reliquary. There are controversies about such concerns and that is just the point. Resolve them or at least consider and account for them as much as possible.

To minimize future accusations of mistakes or shenanigans (I like that word), media representatives should be involved in every phase of the test. Clear ‘firewalls’ must be implemented and impartially observed for blind/control samples. All sample and subsample data including weight, chemical analysis, and radiocarbon dating must be preserved and made public.

New Peer Reviewed Paper on the Carbon Dating of the Shroud of Turin.

imageIn the April 2012 issue of the journal Statistics and Computing is an article entitled “Regression analysis with partially labelled regressors: carbon dating of the Shroud of Turin,” by Marco Riani, Anthony C. Atkinson, Giulio Fanti and Fabio Crosilla. The abstract reads:

The twelve results from the 1988 radio carbon dating of the Shroud of Turin show surprising heterogeneity. We try to explain this lack of homogeneity by regression on spatial coordinates. However, although the locations of the samples sent to the three laboratories involved are known, the locations of the 12 subsamples within these samples are not. We consider all 387,072 plausible spatial allocations and analyse the resulting distributions of statistics. Plots of robust regression residuals from the forward search indicate that some sets of allocations are implausible. We establish the existence of a trend in the results and suggest how better experimental design would have enabled stronger conclusions to have been drawn from this multi-centre experiment.

This just adds to the mountain of information that completely invalidates 1988 carbon dating of the shroud. Even so, you will hear people say, as they have said here, the dating stands until redone. Or you will hear that it is still the default or official test. You will even hear that the evidence that disputes the carbon dating is insufficient or Improper. What are they thinking? Is there some Marquess of Queensberry rule in science that disallows common sense? Granted this statistical analysis will feel like a hard, low, below the belt blow. Nonetheless, it knocks the air of quality out of the work done by the three labs in 1988.

Unfortunately the article is behind a pay wall ($34.95). Regression analysis with partially labelled regressors: carbon dating of the Shroud of Turin – Online First – Springer