Special Request from Hugh Farey

imageHugh Farey writes:

Hi Dan,

I’ve been following your posts avidly as usual, but not commenting much as I’ve been over at James Randi commenting on carbon dating. I wonder if I could ask you or, via shroudstory . . . of the origin of the diagram of the carbon dating piece of material shown by Bryan Walsh at the 1999 Richmond Conference. It’s given in [Carbon Dating of the Shroud of Turin: Partially Labelled Regressors and the Design of Experiments] and is very detailed.

Joe, John, Colin, Thibault, Giulio, Adrie, Barrie, Russ, Dave, Max, Andy, etc. etc. etc. ???

Mark Shea is Confident

imageMark Shea is pretty certain in an article simply called The Shroud of Turin that appears in the National Catholic Register:

Turns out the Shroud of Turin does date from the first century after all.  That’s because it is, as I have always thought, the burial shroud of Jesus of Nazareth. Unless, of course, you seriously believe that a medieval European forger just happened to have a 1300-year-old burial shroud (that originated in the Holy Land) laying around and decided to use it to conduct an absolutely unique and unrepeatable experiment in photo-realistic imaging on cloth.

Mark links to a story in the Vatican Insider which boldly says that in the lede. But it doesn’t say that in the article. It is a stretch. Better to say that Fanti thinks it could be first century. He continues:

At present, however, all the evidence we have accumulated keeps pointing–with a persistence galling to dogmatic materialists–to the image being what Christians have always taken it for: an "image not made by hands" that was somehow imprinted on the burial shroud of Jesus Christ. It is not "proof" of the Resurrection. Nor is it "scientific proof" of a miracle.  Science leaves off where miracles begin and the most the sciences can do is what they are currently doing: say, "We can’t explain how this image was created."  But for those who have placed their faith in Jesus Christ as Son of God and his Resurrection from the dead as their salvation, the Shroud is a particularly striking witness, as are the various other signs and wonders God has done down through the ages. It’s not so much food for the soul (the Eucharist is that) as it is a sort of vitamin pill for the soul.  If it turns out to be a fake, it turns out to be a fake.  Other fakes have happened.  But nothing in the core of the Faith changes.

I have an issue with Mark. He tends to conflate those who think it might be a natural image with those who think it is a fake. He also over simplifies. Plenty of Christians, too, think it is natural or think it is fake. But then he qualifies his ascertains:

Still, I have a high degree of confidence this will not turn out to be a fake, not because I believe it to be the burial cloth of Jesus by faith, but for much the same reason I have a high degree of confidence that Lee Harvey Oswald shot President Kennedy: because it’s the most sensible synthesis of the available physical evidence.  I have nothing riding on the authenticity of the Shroud.  I just think it’s the best explanation of all the data.

Paper Chase: The seam and missing corners of the Turin Shroud

imageAdrie Vd Hoeven writes in The seam and missing corners of the Turin Shroud as characteristics of John Mark’s temple garment in a paper published at Academia.edu (uploaded April 5, 2013):


In this article I will use some known and new facts about the anonymous author of the Fourth Gospel,the so-called ‘beloved disciple’, and about John Mark, and I will compare and link these facts to each other in order to show how the temple garment lost by ‘Mark’ became the burial shroud kept by‘John’. This is illustrated in the figure below. These, and more, facts and links are discussed in more detail and with more sources and arguments in my long article “John Mark – Author of the Gospel of John with Jesus’ mother” on my site www.JesusKing.info.

Full article in HTML or PDF

Again: The Subject of Open Access Science Journals

clip_image001Interesting article, Open-access science journals affect credibility in The Columbus Dispatch by Steve Rissing, a biology professor at Ohio State University. I know we have discussed this before, but Rissing offeres some additional perspectives:

This process of peer review lies at the heart of scientific communication. Done with care, it assures a high standard of objectivity and clarity in research accepted for publication or presentation. Done poorly, it can mislead others, especially members of the public who read the publications directly or through the press.

Most biologists who edit a journal or serve on its board usually do so for no more than one or two journals at a time. One of the new journals that sent a recent “Dear Researcher”invitation to submit a paper has an editor-in-chief who works   for 52 journals, according to an online index service. Those journals cover not only biology but also economics, medical practice and food science.

A recent New York Times front-page story focused on the hidden costs of these new scientific conferences and online journals. The article focused on the plight of unsuspecting conference attendees and authors. They were stuck with undisclosed and exorbitant conference fees and publication costs.

They are hardly the only ones led astray by these practices.

The politicization of science and the rise of science denial have already made it difficult to get a clear understanding of the state of much scientific research. The rise of for-profit journal mills that create hundreds of new publications with few if any standards can only   confuse this situation.

Hat tip: Joe Marino

At least as potent as the finest icons

Tom Acemoglu commented on an article, Science still can’t explain Shroud of Turin, researcher says, appearing in the National Catholic Reporter. It warrants more attention:

I have far more respect for someone who studies something as culturally potent as the Shroud of Turin and can say "we just can’t tell where it came from". This isn’t a claim to faith, but an openness that maybe it can’t be explained away so simply. To deny the possibility that this the shroud is legitimate is not to stand on the intellectual high ground, but in the same philosophical muck as fundamentalism. Positivism IS a kind of fundamentalism.

For me, the Shroud is at least as potent as the finest icons. Honestly, it’s more so. The blood is real, the negatives of the photographs are shocking, the wounds are consistent with the kind of injuries that Jesus sustained, and recent research has picked up so many peculiar things about it that it has become far more difficult to be satisfied with the explanation that it’s a clever medieval trick. Read up on it, if for no other reason than to experience a profound meditation on why the Resurrection and our redemption did not come cheap.

Barrie Schwortz: Isn’t it funny how God always picks a Jew to be the messenger

Here is a story from the National Catholic Reporter that dovetails with the video in the previous posting: Science still can’t explain Shroud of Turin, researcher says:


Barrie Schwortz . . .

Raised in an Orthodox Jewish home, "it took me a long time to come to terms with the fact that I’m a Jew and involved with probably the most important relic of Christianity," Schwortz told Catholic News Service.

"Isn’t it funny how God always picks a Jew to be the messenger," he said.

Schwortz said he, along with the other members of the research team who came from various faith backgrounds, had to set aside personal beliefs and focus on the shroud itself rather than any religious implication it might carry.

Barrie Schwortz: This has to be what it appears to be

This new video (April 25, 2013)  from Catholic News Service is perhaps the very best, very short (2 minutes and 15 seconds) Shroud of Turin video out there.