Insanity Break: College Entrance Essays

Applying for college? Need an essay to accompany that application form? Want to show them how smart you are even though you haven’t learned how to write and you don’t know much about anything? Well, these folks will write that essay for you. They are recommending a paper on the Shroud of Turin for a mere $7.95 per page. Here is a sample of their writing. How can you go wrong? Oh, go ahead and read three sentences. It won’t hurt you.

Oh, I should have mentioned that the price for a PhD thesis is $35.95 per page if you need it in 4 to 6 days, a bit more if you need it sooner.


Quote for Today: Better to be Proven a Fraud?

From a comment earlier today from looneytombs:

imageAnd this is the sad thing about the Shroud, that even if one day it is proven to be the death shroud of Jesus, Christians will still argue and debate over its significance and exploit it to prove their own religious dogmatic convictions. If this precious relic cannot unify us by its awesome existence then it would be better it be proven a fraud.

The Shroud of Turin Blimp

clip_image001Any clues to what Daniel Milberg is trying to tell us? Any interpretations? Is that a Nordic cross? Which one?

Click on the image to see a larger version on the artist’s blog. He has some other interesting stuff to look at.

Seemingly Uninformed About the History of the Shroud of Turin

clip_image001Catherine Beyer, writes in

As a historian, one might presume I’d love the History Channel. I don’t. I tend to want to scream at it, because the History Channel needs viewers to make money and apparently spectacle and scandal draws more viewers than solid history.

So far, okay. I mean, Ice Road Truckers and Pawn Stars. But they do some good history too.

The Shroud of Turin is going on display in Turin Cathedral, and the History Channel has cashed in on the event with a special about "the real face of Jesus," which is about showing what Jesus actually looked like through examination of the shroud.

But the History Channel production, which is now years old, was not shown to cash in on the “display” of the Shroud on March 29. It was a repeat, repeated so many times now, that I failed to even blog about its Eastertide showing this year. 

Beyer went on to write:

Forget the fact that the authenticity of the Shroud has long been questioned. There’s no historical record of its existence before the 14th century. Oops. And multiple carbon-datings of the shroud dates its creation to the 13th or 14th century. Oops.

But the History Channel has an answer for that, something that might mollify casual viewers but makes no sense within the context of studying history:

Since then, however, further studies have cast doubt on those results, suggesting that the shroud may indeed date back to the time of Jesus Christ’s life and death.

No, that does not suggest the Shroud dates back to the time of Jesus. If the carbon-dating is wrong, that means we have less evidence pointing to a Medieval dating. It does not miraculously produce evidence of a Biblical dating.

Oops. History Channel show didn’t say so. Watch the video again.

Beyer went on to quote Cardinal Severino Poletto, the Archbishop of Turin. That was a good idea.

There is no mathematical certainty that the Shroud is indeed the cloth in which Our Lord was wrapped. It is quite clear to all that our Christian faith is not based on the Shroud but on the Gospel and the teaching of the Apostles.

From her bio we learn that, “Catherine Noble Beyer is an educator, illustrator and web author, as well as a practicing Wiccan.” I have no issue with any on this – any of it. My issue is with her non-objective, seemingly uninformed, approach to the shroud’s history. As an historian, has she read any books on the Shroud’s history? Has she read any papers by Scavone or Markwart? Has she ever heard of the Pray Manuscript?

Turin Shroud Replica in St. Andrews (Church of England) Tiverton.

imageFrom This is The West Country we learn that an artist’s biblical work to be displayed alongside replica Turin Shroud:

Visitors to St Andrew’s Church in Tiverton will be able to view Rosa Tuffney’s acclaimed work alongside one of six official replicas of the Turin Shroud – a piece of linen cloth containing the image of a crucified man’s body, back and front.

The paper reports about a Vatican sanctioned copy (there are about six in Great Britain and at least nine in the U.S. and I imagine more elsewhere):

The Rev Sheath said the shroud’s visit was the largest arranged by a parishioner after they saw it on display at Worcester Cathedral.

He said: “It’s quite a coup for us.

“It will put not just St Andrew’s on the map, but also Tiverton, I’d think.

Wait a minute. St. Andrews is Church of England (Anglican) and it is displaying a Vatican sanctioned copy of the Shroud. I like that! Hurry, the parish web page below shows that you have until May 5th.


So which hypothesis, of all those ever proposed, do I prefer?

imageMark Antonacci, author of The Resurrection of the Shroud, writes:

Thanks for posting the full press release of April 18th about molecular and sub-atomic testing of the Shroud on your blog.

In reply to some of the brief comments about it, could you post the following:

The current issue of Time magazine (that I received on 4/20) states in an article about Pope Francis by Cardinal Dolan that "the Pontiff earned a master’s degree in chemistry."  I have seen similar statements previously, but did not notice whether lower or upper case was used in describing the degree.  I assume Master was the name of the degree that he received (I believe before he began his religious studies in earnest), and that either upper or lower case is appropriate, whether this degree exactly matches a two year post-graduate degree or not.

Also, all naturalistic and artistic methods that have been proposed since Vignon and Delage’s initial scientific study in 1900-02 have failed to duplicate the many body image features (or blood marks) found throughout the Shroud’s full-length images.

I don’t think anyone is faulting you for saying that Pope Francis has a masters or Masters degree in chemistry. Look at this list:

  • Forbes: Pope Francis, Scientist: “Or at least, he was. When Jorge Mario Bergoglio was a young man, he graduated from technical school as a Chemical Technician. He then earned his Masters Degree in chemistry from the University of Buenos Aries. It was only after that that he decided to become a priest.”
  • USA Today: A scientist pope and high-tech Catholicism: “Many of us are still trying to learn about the new pontiff. We know a few things already. He is not only a man of faith, but also science — a chemist, by training.”
  • NBC: Meet the new pope: Francis is humble leader who takes the bus to work: “Francis earned a degree in chemistry and was ordained a priest in December 1969. He was named archbishop of Buenos Aires in 1998.” and “He has a master’s degree in chemistry from the University of Buenos Aires.”
  • Parade: 10 Things to Know About Pope Francis: “He’s a scientist. On top of his philosophy degree from the Catholic University of Buenos Aires, he also has a master’s degree in chemistry from the University of Buenos Aires.”

Live Science, the Telegraph, the Guardian, Biography, Catholic News, Christian Post, Chronicles of Higher Education . . . The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Chicago Tribune, Reuters, and The Associated Press all just say he studied as or was trained as a chemist without any specifics.

It is probably wise to look to his official Vatican biography published at It reads, in part:

He was born in Buenos Aires on 17 December 1936, the son of Italian immigrants. His father Mario was an accountant employed by the railways and his mother Regina Sivori was a committed wife dedicated to raising their five children. He graduated as a chemical technician and then chose the path of the priesthood, entering the Diocesan Seminary of Villa Devoto. On 11 March 1958 he entered the novitiate of the Society of Jesus. He completed his studies of the humanities in Chile and returned to Argentina in 1963 to graduate with a degree in philosophy from the Colegio de San José in San Miguel. From 1964 to 1965 he taught literature and psychology at Immaculate Conception College in Santa Fé and in 1966 he taught the same subject at the Colegio del Salvatore in Buenos Aires. From 1967-70 he studied theology and obtained a degree from the Colegio of San José.

It should be noted that in all likelihood the title “chemical technician” was a high school diploma as recently reported in o the Argentine paper, La Nacion in a the article, Jorge Bergoglio, un sacerdote jesuita de carrera.  It should also be noted that his biography says he then choose the path of the priesthood. That was at age 21, a young age for completing a university masters degree program.

The biography does not suggest the word masters, uppercase or otherwise. It is probably best to conform.

As for the statement . . .

Also, all naturalistic and artistic methods that have been proposed since Vignon and Delage’s initial scientific study in 1900-02 have failed to duplicate the many body image features (or blood marks) found throughout the Shroud’s full-length images.

. . .  I agree. I still agree if you strike the words naturalistic and artistic and just say all methods.

By the way: I have to add the words, “so far” in order to fully agree.

By the way number two: I consider any image caused by radiation, of any kind, naturalistic. The only question is where the very natural radiation came from. I remain totally unconvinced from any evidence or by any argument so far presented that miracles produce energetic byproducts.

So which hypothesis, of all those ever proposed, do I prefer? None!

Urgent Note? Really?

A reader writes regarding the video about the Sudarium (now corrected):

You failed to note the urgent note at the beginning of the documentary. It raises questions about the reliability of the documentary.

Here is the note. I don’t think it raise serious questions at all. If anything it is self serving by Brown.