The Dawkins challenge has been noticed by a blog, Revelation and Rationality run by several Ahmadi Muslim researchers who are interested in the interface between science and religion. They write:
The team behind www.shroud-enigma.com have challenged Richard Dawkins over his recent dismissal of the Shroud of Turin’s authenticity, offering a £20,000 reward for proving the image to be fake. . . .
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In a blog post of December 2011 Dawkins dismissed the credibility of the Shroud, citing the Carbon Dating investigations of 1988. “…the carbon-14 evidence that the shroud’s linen is much too young to be the shroud of Jesus is rock solid. Three independent labs, in Arizona, Zurich and Oxford, were each given four samples, making 12 datings in all…”
The shroud-enigma.com team have dealt with this issue in another part of their website, criticising both the decision to take only one sample from the cloth, (whilst seven samples was the original agreed protocol), and the area of the cloth selected,
“There were certainly practical reasons for cutting a piece adjacent to an area already cut away but given the nature of the test, this particular spot was probably the worst that might have been chosen. Countless times over the centuries (even millennia if the C14 is wrong) the Shroud has been held up for display and, until only a few decades ago, this was always by grasping the corners. The potential for contamination here is infinitely greater than anywhere else on the cloth. The associated wear and tear may also have made it necessary to carry out repairs.”
This seems to have been confirmed by the work of the late Raymond Rogers whose work showed that whilst the C14 dating was correct, it was carried out on a rewoven part of the cloth, thus rendering the 1988 results irrelevant. (Please see: http://www.shroud.it/ROGERS-3.PDF).
Dawkins has yet to respond to this challenge.
The posting continues to discuss the shroud, including this:
Does the Shroud support the theory that Jesus survived the Crucifixion?
One major stumbling block is that most of the researchers are looking for theories that would cause a cold, lifeless body to form an image with the above properties.
Some researchers, such as German scholar Holger Kersten, have stated that if Jesus survived the Crucifixion, and laid in the selpucre recovering from his ordeal for many hours, maybe days, then formation of an image with many of the above characterisitics is possible.
Kersten made attempts to re-create the image in his own experiements, with some success, but without anything conclusive.
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Who are the experts on the Shroud?
The best source of information on the Shroud of Turin, from an objective and experience scientist, is http://www.shroud.com – this website is maintained by the current leading expert on the Shroud, Barrie Schwortz. Barrie being Jewish also means that his research and view is not coloured with the polemic and religous sentiment that other research and papers often shows.
Dawkins Challenged Over Shroud Dismissal | Revelation and Rationality
There’s absolutely no doubt the area tested in 1988 was a repair. Rogers proved that beyond a shadow of a doubt. According to all the medical experts that have studied the Shroud, the man enshrouded was without doubt dead. There is absolutely no chance of that person surviving.
I think the Muslims may have a problem. Here’s an extract from Encyc Brit on prophecy in Islam:
“Prophets are men specially elected by God to be his messengers. Prophethood is indivisible, and the Qurʾān requires recognition of all prophets as such without discrimination. Yet they are not all equal, some of them being particularly outstanding in qualities of steadfastness and patience under trial. Abraham, Noah, Moses, and Jesus were such great prophets. As vindication of the truth of their mission, God often vests them with miracles: Abraham was saved from fire, Noah from the Deluge, and Moses from the pharaoh. Not only was Jesus born from the Virgin Mary, but God also saved him from crucifixion at the hands of the Jews. The conviction that God’s messengers are ultimately vindicated and saved is an integral part of the Qurʾānic doctrine.”
I’ll check my copy of the Qur’an, and see if I can find the ref. If there’s a Muslim Shroudie out there looking in, his comments should be interesting.
Hi- this is absolutely true, that messengers are protected by Allah. The shroud is further evidence of Jesus’ survival from the cross, but this is also referenced in the Quran, Bible here is some interesting reading to give you a Muslim viewpoint:
What’s interesting about the hypothesis that Jesus survived the crucifixion is that it necessarily requires a naturalistic image formation. The problem proponents of this “live body” theory immediately run into is that the image on the shroud does not show the tell-tale signs that the man wrapped in it was alive. If he were alive there would be MUCH more image distortion, most especially in the areas of the face because he would be breathing. If a naturalistic image formation process was the cause of the image then you would most definitely see evidence of breathing interfering with that because the exhaust from the man’s lungs would disrupt the mechanism of image formation, especially around the nose and mouth. Plus there’s no image evidence of movement of ANY kind over it’s formation period, which would necessarily be many days. The man would have to remain dead still for the entire period.
Also, the blood evidence that remains would negate a live body as the man in the shroud would continue to bleed, especially from the side wound. There’s not enough blood on the shroud to suggest this was even possible, even at rates of flow where the victim was in a coma. And lastly, though not comprehensively, there’s no evidence of smearing of blood from the removal of the body. Had he been alive and got up of His own physical power (or even with the aid of another), even after days, it would be most plausible that there would be massive smearing of blood evidence because the wounds would still be bleeding, especially if the body was moved because it would disturb any clots, especially in the head, wrist, and side wound areas. There’s just no trace of this anywhere on the shroud. Even if anyone intended to fool future generations by carefully removing the shroud I do not think it could be done. But then again, who would intend to do such a thing in the first century.
The body wrapped in the shroud was dead.
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