Photograph for Today

Right now there is a going-nowhere-fast thread on the Perspectives on Everything discussion board. Entitled, Shroud Of Turin Real? New Research Dates Relic To 1st Century, Time Of Jesus Christ, it started on March 28th. The most recent comment, number 255, was from yesterday, May 30th. I’m not recommending it, unless you are having trouble sleeping.

But what did catch my eye in the thread is this great photograph from a YouTube video, Why the Shroud of Turin is a forgery? by Walter Hain, Vienna, Austria:

image

Here is the video if you want to watch it, It runs about eight minutes, or so.

How can you argue with this?

imageIn reacting to the news about the Shroud of Tuurin conference in Mexico City, a blogger for the Church of God News blog explained why you cannot reconcile the image on the shroud with the biblical fact that Jesus had short hair:

While hair does grow after death, it does not grow quickly enough for the length that is on the Shroud of Turin.  Jesus said He would be in the grave three days and three nights (Matthew 12:40), and that would not be enough time for long hair to appear.

The Holy Shroud and the Year of Faith Conference

imageFrom the Catholic News Agency (CNA/EWTN):

Headline: Experts meet in Mexico for conference on Shroud of Turin

Mexico City, Mexico, May 29, 2013 / 01:03 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Experts from around the world gathered in Mexico for a conference on the Holy Shroud of Turin in light of the latest studies indicating that the linen bears the characteristics of Jesus’ burial cloth.

The conference, entitled “The Holy Shroud and the Year of Faith,” took place May 24-25 in Mexico City as the Mexican Center for the Study of the Shroud marked its 30th anniversary.

The center is led by Dr. Adolfo Orozco, who is dedicated to studying and making known the burial cloth “that is presumed to have enveloped the body of Jesus of Nazareth and was a witness to the moment of the resurrection.”

In addition to the conference at the Marian Plaza at the Basilica of Guadalupe, an exact replica of the shroud was also on display.

Among the characteristics of the shroud discussed during the conference were its three-dimensionality, the first-century style weaving of the linen and the impossibility that it could have been the work of Leonardo Da Vinci, as historical records show that it was exhibited in Europe 92 years before the artist was born.

The blood on the shroud is human and was absorbed into the cloth before the image was imprinted upon it, experts said. The scientific analysis of the shroud fits with the Gospels’ narration of the historical facts, along with research on Hebrew customs from that time period.

Although it is unknown how the image was imprinted on the cloth, it can be compared to a radioactive reaction, which would coincide with the moment of the Resurrection, experts explained.

Speakers at the event included Dr. Bruno Barberis, director of the Shroud of Turin Musuem; Father Eduardo Chavez Sanchez, postulator of the cause of canonization of St. Juan Diego; Dr. John Jackson, director of the Center for the Study of the Shroud in Colorado Springs; and Dr. Rafael de la Piedra, a lay consecrated member of the Sodalitium Christianae Vitae and the director of the Center for Catholic Studies of Lima.

New Novel Coming: The Linen God by Jim O’Shea

imageRiver Laker, publicist for an upcoming novel by Jim O’Shea (Wayside Press), writes:

The Linen God is based on the fascinating history and science surrounding the legendary Shroud of Turin. It is similar to Dan Brown’s Angels and Demons, taking readers on a thrill ride spanning continents and millennia. However, it is different than Brown’s secular works in that it delivers a powerful faith message while helping to establish historic and scientific credibility for the legitimacy of this amazing artifact.

As, who I believe to be a Shroud advocate like Mr. O’Shea, I was hoping you might help spread the word on this highly anticipated novel, due to hit bookshelves on July 1 (paperback and ebook). Mr. O’Shea’s goal with this novel is to reach not just people who have an existing interest in the Shroud, but even more those that may never visited a Shroud-related website or, in some cases, have no idea what the Shroud of Turin is!

We believe this novel may be able to reach people in ways non-fiction books, articles, television, and websites have failed to.

The Facebook link below contains a synopsis, sample chapters and advance reader’s reviews (currently rated 5 stars!) of The Linen God. I was hoping you could "Share" this Facebook page as well as forward this information along to friends/colleagues and perhaps post the link on the Shroud of Turin blog if you deem appropriate.

https://www.facebook.com/jimosheaauthor?ref=tn_tnmn

And River sent along a review excerpt by award-winning novelist Doug Peterson:

Weaving together Vatican politics and the mystery of the Shroud of Turin, Jim O’Shea has crafted a wonderfully engaging, page-turning thriller. In this fast-paced debut novel, O’Shea combines science and faith with a healthy dose of suspense, and the result is a harrowing adventure that is part Michael Crichton, part Frank Peretti.

Good and evil in their purest forms collide in a climax that threatens the future of the Church. And at the center of it all is the mystery of the Shroud and the mystery of the Incarnation, which left an indelible mark on the world—and quite possibly on a piece of ancient linen. The Linen God will leave its mark on readers as well.

YouTube: The Restoration and Backside Scans

FASCINATING & with English Voiceover: Russ Breault found this YouTube, “The Shroud of Turin – Fabric Materieals,” about the restoration and the scan of the back image. The link is https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hkecpU5n78Q.

A Guest Posting by Yannick Clément: Two Quotes About the Blood

imageFollowing an interesting exchange on the blog concerning the question of the color of the blood on the Shroud, I would like to share with everyone two very important and relevant quotes concerning the question of the authenticity of the blood that is on the Shroud.

The first one come from Al Adler’s book “The Orphanes Manuscript” and was written by Dorothy Crispino: “On the 10th of June (1997), Adler saw the Shroud for the first time. It was, for him, an awesome experience. It was a recognition, by sight, that, as he had been demonstrating in tireless experiments, the Shroud could not be a painting. (Adler said:) “When they unrolled the Shroud… Just look at it! It takes two seconds… This is no painting! That blood is blood!”

And the second quote come from Pierre Barbet’s book “A Doctor at Calvary” (personal translation): “(On the 15th of October 1933), I saw the Shroud in full daylight, without any glass interposition, at a distance of less than 1 meter, and I suddenly felt one of the most intense emotion of my life. Because I saw, at my surprise, that all the images of wounds had a color clearly different than the whole body (image) and this color was that of a dried blood that had soaked the cloth. It wasn’t, like it is for the rest (of the image), brownish stains on the Shroud reproducing the relief of a corpse. The blood itself had stained the cloth by direct contact and this is why the images of wounds are positives while the rest is negative. The exact tint was difficult to define… but the general aspect was that of red (carmin mauve, said Mr. Vignon, following the thought of Antoine Legrand), more or less faded depending of the wound: more accentuated for the side (wound), at the head, at the hands and at the feet; paler, but very perceptible, on the numerous scourge wounds… But the surgeon understood, without any doubt, that this was blood that had soaked the cloth…”

So, in the end, I think these two quotes coming from true blood experts that have seen the Shroud in person in Turin (Barbet even saw it in sunlight) are well enough to understand that the question of the supposedly unusual color of the blood on the Shroud is really secondary… The fact that these two experts have immediately recognized, with some surprise and even with some shock in both cases, that these stains cannot have been made of anything else than blood is what really matter when it comes to the blood issue! And what is really important to note is the fact that, in both cases, these two blood experts didn’t made any mention of a problem concerning the color of the blood when they saw the Shroud with their own eyes of expert and recognized immediately that the blood on the cloth is really blood! Their first reaction in front of the Shroud is very telling because, in both cases, the color of the blood was not an issue that could have made them doubt if these stains were really made of blood or not! Truly, what they saw was evident for them: it was real blood… In other words, if the color of the blood they saw was as unusual as some think, they would never have made this kind of instant conclusion that the stains are really made of blood!

So, when you add the fact that Adler and, indepedently in Italy, Baima Bollone, have both scientifically proved that these stains are made of real blood, surely primate and probably human, then there are no question about the fact that what appears to be blood on the Shroud is really blood, no matter his color! Again, that’s what really matters in the end.

On that subject, it is very interesting to read this other quote from Barbet’s book (published in 1950): “Of course a rigorous scientific proof that these stains are blood would need physical or chemical tests… but since it is proven that the other images (note: he refers to the body image) are not manmade, that this Shroud contained a corpse, can these traces of wounds, so riches in details as real as unexpected, could be colored by something else than blood?”

Since it has been scientifically proven since that time that the blood is real blood, I think Barbet, following his previous comment, would have easily conclude that such a blood, in the context of a real burial cloth that really contained the corpse of a crucified man, cannot be anything else than real human blood… I think we can easily forget about the possibility that it can be baboon’s blood!

I think it’s fair to conclude that the question of the authenticity of the blood on the Shroud has been answered since a long time! All the rest (like the question of the color of the blood) are details that cannot be taken (even by honest skeptics) as being potentially able to prove the contrary of what has already been proved, i.e. that the blood could be anything else than real human blood.

Final note: It is important to also keep in mind that most of this blood is not made of whole blood but is made of exudates of blood clots that were humid enough to stained the cloth. This had a huge impact on the shape and texture of the bloodstains on the cloth and who knows if this could not also had some impact on the resulting color of these bloodstains on the cloth? Anyway, no matter if this had an impact on the color or if the color is really redder than normal, the most important thing to understand, once and for all, is that what has stained the Shroud cannot be anything else than real human blood and this scientific fact represent a huge problem for anyone who wants to demonstrate that this relic is in fact a human creation, probably made during Medieval time! That’s what matters the most concerning the blood that is present on the Shroud…

The vagaries of human visual perception and individual judgment

imageA reader writes:

I have been following comments from a small handful of your blog readers claiming that there are images of coins over the eyes. These claims are fraught with difficulty. Those who tilt LCD computer screens or enhance photographs exhibit a breathtaking ignorance of how the technology they use works. What you must do is only use technically superior full color images, the color in order to help identify invalid image parts such as dirt, fiber anomalies, blood and foreign particulate matter. Then you must develop analytical methods and tools that don’t rely on the vagaries of  human visual perception or individual judgment. For now, it is utterly foolish to claim there are any coin images.

Flowers anyone? Lettering? Other things?

Group Captain Leonard Cheshire VC

clip_image001From the Daily Sketch more than fifty years ago (March 7, 1955) as posted at Hold the Front Page blog a couple of days ago:

This is very much a personal view by Group Captain Leonard Cheshire VC and imageoffers no scientific evidence for or against the authenticity of the Shroud of Turin. In 1954 Cheshire, having been inspired by a photo of the Shroud face while recuperating from tuberculosis, toured Britain with an exhibition of Shroud photographs.

Extensive scientific tests were carried out on the Shroud in October 1979 and in 1988 radiocarbon dating was done on some samples of the cloth, the results of which indicated that the shroud was no older than the 13th Century. Some authorities claimed that the samples were from a medieval repair rather than the original Shroud material, so the controversy continues but one mystery remains, apart from whether it is the image of Jesus or not, how was it made?

I have posted On the Beliefs of Group Captain Cheshire back in 2011.

The Shroud of Turin Exhibit & Museum in Alamogordo

A couple of RVers blogging their way from Ontario to Florida to New Mexico stop by The Shroud of Turin Exhibit & Museum.

clip_image001When Roy and I discovered this museum in Alamogordo, we were hesitant to go to it, but we are so glad we did! The presentation and displays were excellent! We learned a lot!

[ . . . ]

With equipment designed to detect dimension, they learned that the shroud projects a 3 dimensional image! They don’t know why! The photograph of the shroud projects a 3D image on the monitor, and will also do it with your cell phone! A reverse black/white negative of the shroud will also project a 3D image! Other types of photos do not project a 3D image!

Nice review!  And from this blog two years ago:

imageWow! Go check out SEAM Home Page

Tours
Group tours in English. To schedule tours in German & Spanish, contact Events or call (575) 415-5206 (corrected).

Presentations at Your Location
Deacon Pete Schumacher, 1972 VP8 Production Engineer, is available to conduct . . .

About Us
Free Turin Shroud interactive exhibit at White Sands Mall, 3199 N White Sands Blvd, Suite D1, Alamogordo, NM, 88310. We offer a backlit, full-sized picture, the only interactive VP-8 Image Analyzer* 3D experience, NM Shroud research, etc. Our goal is make Turin Shroud available to all including the vision impaired.

Forced by the evidence to jettison long-held assumptions about Catholic relics

imageShafer Parker, the senior pastor of Hawkwood Baptist Church in Calgary, Alberta, writes:

As to the shroud, you need to know that I was forced by the evidence to jettison my long-held assumptions about “Catholic” relics and conclude that it is likely the burial cloth that Joseph wrapped around Jesus. For what it’s worth I had read John Wilder’s The Other Side of Rome before I was ten years old, making me a convinced anti-Catholic most of my life. I was particularly taken by his chapter on relics and spent most of my life joking about the gallons of Mary’s breast milk found in the cathedrals of Europe and making sure everyone knew there are enough pieces of the “true cross” on display to build a battleship.

But what if that isn’t the whole story? What if Satan, in order to distract the world from the one true relic, the burial cloth of Christ, filled the world with false relics in order to discredit the one true artifact that forever forces a skeptical world to deal with the fact of Christ’s resurrection?

Read New evidence on the Shroud of Turin in Shafer’s blog, Think Like Jesus.

Summer Reading: Tell Me What You Want to Believe and I Will Tell What You Will Believe

imageEdward Steers Jr. is the author of a new book (The University Press of Kentucky, March 7, 2013)   Hoax: Hitler’s Diaries, Lincoln’s Assassins, and Other Famous Frauds. With a forward by Joe Nickell, the book is available with a hardcover for $22.23 or as a Kindle e-book for $13.72 from Amazon.

The publisher’s description at Amazon is as follows:

Did a collector with a knack for making sensational discoveries really find the first document ever printed in America? Did Adolf Hitler actually pen a revealing multivolume set of diaries? Has Jesus of Nazareth’s burial cloth survived the ages? Can the shocking true account of Abraham Lincoln’s assassination be found in lost pages from his murderer’s diary?

Napoleon famously observed that "history is a set of lies agreed upon," and Edward Steers Jr. investigates six of the most amazing frauds ever to gain wide acceptance in this engrossing book. Hoax examines the legitimacy of the Shroud of Turin, perhaps the most hotly debated relic in all of Christianity, and the fossils purported to confirm humanity’s "missing link," the Piltdown Man. Steers also discusses two remarkable forgeries, the Hitler diaries and the "Oath of a Freeman," and famous conspiracy theories alleging that Franklin D. Roosevelt had prior knowledge of the planned attack on Pearl Harbor and that the details of Lincoln’s assassination are recorded in missing pages from John Wilkes Booth’s journal. (bold emphasis mine)

Two days ago. Steers summarized his view on the shroud in the Huffington Post:

Chapter Title: Tell Me What You Want to Believe and I will Tell You What You Will Believe

To believers, the Shroud of Turin is the authentic burial cloth that covered the body of Jesus Christ following his resurrection. To skeptics it is a fourteenth century artistic creation used to attract pilgrims and their money. Controversy abounds this sacred piece of cloth, coining it one of the most hotly debated relics in all of Christianity. First put on public display in 1357, it immediately began to draw large crowds of worshipers and skeptics alike. The shroud boasts an image of a man bearing all characteristics of someone who was crucified, which serves as undeniable evidence of authenticity for advocates. Of course, this image should be convincing if it were the creation of medieval artists wanting to persuade pilgrims it was the burial cloth of Jesus. Though modern science with its sophisticated technology would seem to set the record straight, the Shroud of Turin still often embraced as genuine—proof that no amount of evidence can overcome faith.

Here is the table of contents from Google Books. It looks interesting.

Foreword

Introduction: “Snap, Crackle, and Pop”

1. Oath of a Freeman: The King of Forgers

2. Pearl Harbor: Treachery in the Oval Office?

3. Hah Hitler! The Hitler Diaries

4. The Shroud of Turin: Tell Me What You Want to Believe and I Will Tell What You Will Believe

5. Skullduggery: The Man Who Never Was

6. The Missing Pages from John Wilkes Booth’s Diary

This book really came out quietly; no press releases that I saw. Editorial reviews are from the editor of the Lincoln Herald, the Executive Director of the Lehigh Valley Heritage Museum and Miles Russell, (we are guessing) who is the author of several books including a couple on the Piltdown Man hoax. I have not seen any online mention in Skeptical Inquirer.

An Important and Highly Informative Guest Posting by Paul Maloney

I’m sorry that I have not been a direct part of the discussion on Dan Porter’s valuable blog. Unfortunately, I have been working for my oldest son in State College, PA and time and resources have not been available to me to conduct extensive research to respond to the many important observations offered by the participants.

On May 18, 2013 Giorgio paid me a great compliment by stating that I was President of ASSIST. I thank him for that kindness but, in fact, I am not now, nor have I ever been the President of ASSIST. That honor belongs to Dr. Frederick T. Zugibe, M.D., Ph. D. who, though now retired from his position as Chief Medical Examiner of Rockland County, New York, is still President of ASSIST. I can see how the error came to be because in my position as General Projects Director of ASSIST I have often been in the public eye, working for ASSIST.

Yannick Clement, also on May 18, listened to my presentation available on Russ Breault’s site (of my paper read at the Columbus, Ohio conference on Aug. 14-17, 2008) and wonders why the findings of Alan Adler, John Brown and Ray Rogers have not been the subject of greater discussion since my presentation hints that such components as those found in the “Raes Corner” may be present throughout the Shroud”. Later, however, he listened again to my presentation and correctly recognized that my view was actually a support for the invisible reweave approach; he goes on to say “It’s important to note that this could also have been caused by the numerous manipulations and the numerous folding and unfolding of the cloth over the centuries—I’m surprise[d] that Maloney did not talked about that possibility in his speech because, in my mind, this is the most probable one.” Actually, while that is a possibility, I don’t think I can place any of these specific scenarios on a sound provable basis. Let me explain: For example, I am not able to present any evidence to show the presence of madder rose “throughout the Shroud”; I only know of just the two STURP sticky tape samples studied by McCrone (i.e., tape 3 AB and 3-CB—both of which came from the dorsal end of the Shroud and over near one of the 1534 patches on the “side-strip” side of the cloth). I still view these examples provided by McCrone as trace contaminants, a point I think McCrone himself was using to show that the Shroud was in an artist’s studio. 3-AB is an off-image tape sample very near the image margin but which cannot be solidly placed on the image area itself. 3-CB, however, apparently is on a blood-flow across the back, just below the 1534 patch also on the “side-strip” side of the cloth. Can any of these "contaminants" be used to prove either McCrone’s point or mine? (Please see the link to the file of the McCrone-adapted photograph at the end of this missive.

My Columbus paper was not a discussion of the “contaminant” problem, but was wholly devoted to discussing the radiocarbon dating problem—especially as the sample(s) taken on April 21, 1988 for testing by 3 laboratories came from the “Raes Corner” area of the Shroud. What was the nature of that corner compared to the nature of the rest of the Shroud? It is, therefore, perhaps appropriate for me to address the broader concept of “contamination”. McCrone gave one interpretation of the madder rose; I offered a different one. However, I cannot scientifically “prove” that either the artist’s studio or the weaver’s workshop is the actual context for demonstrating a scientific concept. The problem is a difficult and knotty one: this is because we need to distinguish between “signal” and “noise” to firmly ascertain the difference between proposed scenarios. The presence of the contaminants–by themselves–may confuse the issues.

Over a period of some seven years, I have been compiling a pictorial atlas of the many kinds of particles and fibers and other trace “contaminants” that can be found on the 26 Max Frei sticky tapes which he took from the image side of the Shroud in October of 1978. This compilation is still in progress–now approaching more than 90 pages. I have taken perhaps some 7000 Kodak transparencies using first an E. Leitz microscope with a camera mounted on top and then a Nikon Optiphot microscope to obtain these views. I wish to emphasize that I have not used any kind of spectrometry or chemical testing to ascertain the physical identity of the individual particles or fibers. I have largely employed the very same techniques as Walter McCrone and Eugenia Nitowski using my own eyes to create a kind of “informal” identification of the material I found. I was never able to “see” anything I thought might be specific evidence of madder rose on linen fibers as a “contaminant”. I did, however, see variously dyed cotton but these may actually have originated from the clothing of visitors who came to see or study the Shroud. Or maybe they were devotees who simply touched a piece of cloth to create what we call a “brandeum” to obtain by transfer the holiness of the Shroud.

Thus, while I suggested the weaver’s workshop in my 2008 Columbus, Ohio paper, I don’t think that is the only possible explanation for such contaminants. Members of STURP took note that the room in which they conducted their 1978 exam of the Shroud had paintings on the walls and ceiling of that room and when trucks trundled by on Turin’s busy streets it was completely plausible to think that tiny particulates drifted down on the cloth surface.

But one should also not forget the important studies of the True Copies marvelously gathered together by the late Don Luigi Fossati and published in Shroud Spectrum International (SSI, no. 12, September 1984, pp. 7-23 and no. 13, December 1984, pp. 23-39) noting that there is documentation that at least 52 True Copies were laid cloth to cloth and image to image on the original. Can the medieval formulae yield to such sloughing off to leave traces on another cloth? The True Copies are clearly paintings and these could have left traces of their pigments on the Turin Shroud. To test this hypothesis, I requested that Dame Isabel Piczek, with the help of Dr. Robert Koehler in Los Angeles (magnanimously arranged for us through the kind efforts of the late Dr. Robert Bucklin) and over a period of several weeks tested various formulae spanning the medieval recipes for pigment mixing (See Theophilus, On Divers Arts, Dover Publications, New York, 1963 [Originally written ca. A.D. 1100]). She took swaths of linen and placed them against dried painted samples and then, using the microscope, determined that–in her words to me in a phone call "They slough off like mad!!!"

I have also attached the McCrone map which he published in "Judgement Day for the Shroud" (p. 79) but my attachment here was actually a scan taken directly from a glossy McCrone sent me. This would give the public a clearer view of (generally) where the two STURP tapes were taken. However, I have not had the time to compare McCrone’s drawings of tape samples superimposed on the Shroud with the actual documentation photographs taken in 1978 by Barrie Schwortz. There may be a problem of interpretive accuracy on the part of McCrone, who simulated the shape of the tapes, with the actual markings of the original sample sites which were indicated by round magnetic markers (laid down by Dr. Tom D’Muhala, I think), not by rectangular "tape-shaped" markers. Moreover, the original tapes were stretched across a clear plastic "rail" by Ray Rogers for transit from Torino to the United States so that the fibers would "hang down" and not be vitiated by the adhesive on the tape. McCrone, however, adhered them directly to microscope cover slips which were then, in turn, taped to a microscope slide, so he could view them with ease beneath his microscope. But the few STURP slides I personally saw showed tape samples which were much shorter (not more than maybe several centimeters in length) than could have been stretched across the plastic rail and I am tempted to believe that someone (McCrone??) actually cut them shorter for convenience of handling. In this process could other extraneous materials have accidently "contaminated" the original STURP samples? Did McCrone conduct this process in a "clean room"? It would be difficult to state unequivocally that this did or did not happen to the STURP slides in McCrone’s possession and, unfortunately, Walter is no longer amongst the living to have him detail his process.

Thus, I think a very profitable study could be made of such “contaminants” and this might be very informative about the past history of the cloth. But at this point in time I am unable to provide a solid scientific footing to “prove” that the trace contaminants bearing madder rose actually came from a weaver’s workshop.

The full size file is at https://shroudofturin.files.wordpress.com/2013/05/scan0002.jpg

Regards to all,

Paul

General Projects Director, ASSIST

Update: Streaming Information for The Night of the Shroud Documentary

Bimagearrie Schwortz has posted this on Facebook:

My good friend Francesca Saracino, director of "The Night of the Shroud" documentary, has notified me that the program will air in Italy (in Italian) on Sunday, May 26 at 9 am on Mediaset’s Retequattro (Channel 4). Afterwards, it will be streamed online and available for 15 days on the Mediaset website: http://www.mediaset.it/rete4/

We will also include the link in our next website update on or about May 31st.

Updated information for the posting The Night of the Shroud to Air on Italian Television

An Atheist Going to a Heaven He Doesn’t Believe In

A reader from New York writes:

If I could take what the pope said about salvation seriously, then your shroud would become irrelevant. You don’t need to believe in anything, said Francis according to CNN. As an atheist it is nice to know I’m going to a heaven I don’t believe in where I’ll find out if your shroud is real or fake.

Or not! Here is what CNN is saying online:

image

 

But you must read beyond the first two paragraphs.

Francis’ comments received a great deal of attention on social media, with a number of people asking whether the Catholic leader believes that atheists and agnostics go to heaven, too.

On Thursday, the Vatican issued an “explanatory note on the meaning to ‘salvation.’"

The Rev. Thomas Rosica, a Vatican spokesman, said that people who aware of the Catholic church “cannot be saved” if they “refuse to enter her or remain in her.”

Of course, as an Anglican I don’t agree. Nor will many  Orthodox, Coptic, Protestant and Evangelical Christians. But then again this controversial stance isn’t new. Nor is the controversy, also raised in the CNN story, over works and grace new.

“You don’t need to believe in anything,” the letter writer from New York says.

I remember sitting in a discussion forum in an Episcopal church about three years ago. The priest leading the discussion wrote three options on a chart under the heading, “What You Must Believe for Salvation” Under that, in parentheses, he wrote, “Salvation = Heaven.”

  1. Because of Christ’s Sacrifice you can be saved without believing in Christ.
  2. To be saved you must believe in the resurrection of Christ.
  3. To be saved you must believe in the words of the Nicene Creed.

We voted by raising our hands. As I recall each option received eight votes. I was very surprised by the vote for number 3. While I believe in the resurrection I also don’t believe that you must believe in it for salvation.

The Pew Research Forum survey from 2008, Many Americans Say Other Faiths Can Lead to Eternal Life,” is very revealing, at least for Americans. Based on polling data, 83% of American Catholics believe that Protestants can have eternal life and 49% believe Atheists can.

One twittering pundit asked: Should we believe the pope or the vatican spin?

Does the story in the Huffington Post with the headline that reads, "Pope Francis Says Atheists Who Do Good Are Redeemed, Not Just Catholics” clarify anything?

An article in the Christian Post, “Pope Francis: Non-Catholics and Atheists Can Do Good, Too,” explores this story effectively, at least this early in the news cycle.

Anyway, why does this make the shroud irrelevant?

A PowerPoint from Russ Breault

Russ writes:

Thanks for posting the article from Miami. I really think the witness issue is important. I have done a little PPT-video on it. Here is the link from Vimeo.

The Witness from Russ Breault on Vimeo.

The Witness from Russ Breault on Vimeo.

Max thinks I’m a half-blind arch-skeptic

clip_image001Max-Patrick Hamon writes to me in a comment and an email:

By way of reply to a most unfortunate and desinformative posting of yours entitled “Dear Stephen E. Jones » (May 12, 2013) that triggered Paulette’s most vehement and blind criticism, (“The myth of the coin must end”) and a whole series of biased opinions by a few gullible arch-sceptics, please find here attached, [the paper below].

Although I don’t share Stephen Jones ‘half-blind’ arch-advocacy as far as the coin-over-eye issue is concerned, I must confess I just cannot buy into your ‘half-blind’ arch-scepticism either.

For the sake of good archaeology and fairness of debate, thank you therefore for publishing it in your blog.

And here it is:

Coins over eyes PART ONE: ARE ARCH-SCEPTICS THE VICTIMS
OF THE ‘I THINK I SEE NOTHING BUT’ SYNDROME?
By Max Patrick HAMON

Continue reading “Max thinks I’m a half-blind arch-skeptic”

The Night of the Shroud to Air on Italian Television

clip_image001Francesca Saracino writes:

I have a good news to communicate.

The Night of the Shroud will be aired here in Italy Sunday,May 26 at 9 am on one of the most important Channels here in Italy Retequattro (Channel 4)

The program will also be visible on the satellite then also the many Italian people who live in U.S. could see him, of course, in time-shifted.

Would you be so kind as to post the news in your website?

This is great news and we hope soon to also find a TV in the U.S who send the documentary on the air!

Progress! If anyone knows how to get a stream of this, let me know. And lets hope for a U.S. broadcast soon.

Resurrection: What happens with quantum entanglement?

A reader writes:

I have always wondered, hypothetically, according to current physical theories (one or more hypothetical theories) _if_ a body (an "object" with mass in space/time, assuming some kind of unobserved QM state)… simply "disappeared".

What would happen? What would be the signature effects?

Would there be any non-local QM side-effects? What happens with "entanglement"? Is unobserved "disappearance" (or collapse to nothing) possible given current hypothetical physical theories?

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And Thomas Aquinas only wanted to know if an angel in going from point A to point B had to travel through the in-between. It’s a good thing the good saint didn’t know about entanglements.

Here is a readable article by Tia Ghose from LiveScience that appeared in the Huffington Post just last month: Quantum Entanglement Experiment Reconfirms Physics Phenomenon Einstein Called ‘Spooky’

Want a brief definition?  This is from a HuffPo mouseover for the above picture:

According to quantum mechanics, two or more particles can become "entangled" so that even after they are separated in space, when an action is performed on one particle, the other particle responds immediately. (Shown here, two entangled mechanical oscillators made up of two pairs of trapped ions.)

A kind of witness?

imageGreat article by Tom Tracy appeared earlier this week  on the Archdiocese of Miami website. Tom writes:

“The one thing that convinces me most that it is authentic has nothing to do with science or history, it has to do with theology,” [Russ] Breault told The Florida Catholic. “Every miracle of Jesus had eyewitnesses and yet the greatest of all miracles had no eye witnesses — but yet there was a kind of witness and that is the linen shroud itself. It becomes a witness for all generations.”

The Silent Witness? We hear this in various ways from many people. I think it is an idea that needs more discussion.

Struggling with Naturalist Explanations

imageIn referencing a discussion in this blog, Long time blogger, Jason Engwer, in Triablogue writes on The Failure Of Naturalistic Theories To Explain The Shroud Of Turin:

Here’s a thread discussing the failure of various naturalistic theories to explain the Shroud of Turin. We don’t just need to explain how the image could have been produced, but also why it happened with Jesus in particular and not with other individuals, the timing of the image formation (around the time when other evidence suggests Jesus was resurrected), and how the removal of the body from the Shroud didn’t do more to disturb the bloodstains and damage the cloth. I think that Jesus’ resurrection is the best explanation for the totality of the phenomena. But what I want to highlight here is something Barrie Schwortz wrote in the comments section of the thread linked above. Schwortz is an advocate of the view that the Shroud image formed as a result of a Maillard reaction, and Ray Rogers held the same view, yet Schwortz writes:

Ray Rogers told me personally that he believed, “Something else was at work with the Maillard reaction,” but he didn’t know what that was and didn’t live long enough to explore it.

[ . . . ]

Of course, we might imagine that the something else might be miraculous. I rather suspect that Rogers didn’t think so. I do. But then again, as I have said, I consider any image caused by radiation, as well, naturalistic. The only question is where the very natural radiation came from – like from a resurrection event?

I think Jason thoughts on this are most useful.

The best piece of Shroud of Turin reporting I have ever read

clip_image001John Klotz writes in a posting, The Shroud, Dr. Pangloss and Sammy Glick;

There is a controversy brewing about a Smithsonian Channel documentary about the Shroud of Turin. It sounds like another attempt by the Main Stream Scientific Community (the “MSSC”) to debunk the Shroud. The most interesting thing about this controversy seems to be the FACT that the militant atheists can’t escape the Shroud and so must destroy its authenticity. They can not accept a world (or existence) in which the Shroud of Turin proves not only that Christ existed, but that in three days his body parted company with his burial cloth.

I come to this controversy as a lawyer who has had a life long interest in science and, alas, politics. I have ridden too many horses going-off in too many different directions. I also write and did win an honorable mention award from New York Press Association for –In-Depth Reporting. That piece was about corruption in the appointment of mortgage foreclosure receivers and was a least one cause of reform in the appointment of receivers in the New York State. I also remember someone remarking that one of my briefs read like a novel (it was meant as a compliment – I think.).

The late New York Supreme Justice Theodore Roosevelt Kuperfman described one article I wrote as “the best piece of political reporting I have ever read.” . . .

Aw shucks, dot dot dot. You’re just going to have to read The Shroud, Dr. Pangloss and Sammy Glick for yourself.

The pig experiment was not Barrie’s experiment

imageYannick Clément, in a very long winded comment repeated below, does have a point. Well several. But for your clarification, as you read it, I did talk with Barrie Schwortz yesterday. I can confirm that the experiment with the pig was not his idea and not his experiment. He was thrust into the situation, unaware, during the production of the documentary. He offered his comments and the rest was a matter of creative editing. As Barrie writes:

Watch for the next update on shroud.com (due at the end of this month) for an article titled, “Behind the Scenes of a New Smithsonian Channel Shroud Documentary” in which I will give some details on the techniques the producers used for creating the program.

And now for Yannick’s comment:

After having seen the TV program, I have some good comments to make :

1- In the program, there are two huge historical mistakes : 1- The program seem to suggest that Geoffroy de Charny was some kind of an obscure knight when he became in possession of the Shroud, which is totally false. In fact, de Charny was one of the leading knight of all the kingdom of France when he build the Lirey church. And 2- The program tell us that de Charny claimed he get the Shroud during a crusade he made, which is also totally false. In fact, de Charny NEVER SAID A WORD about how and when he became in possession of the Shroud. It’s also very important to understand that de Charny never participate in the 4th crusade, which saw the Latin crusaders making the sack of Constantinople. This terrible event, which most probably lead to the transfer of the Shroud from that city to Europe, happened a century before de Charny’s time. The only crusade in which Geoffroy de Charny participated is the Smyrna crusade in 1346 and it’s highly improbable that he could have come in possession of the Shroud at that occasion, no matter what Ian Wilson and other “historians” can think.

Continue reading “The pig experiment was not Barrie’s experiment”