Over the years up until today, we have seen many skeptics about the authenticity of the Shroud (most of them are fans of the man made forgery scenario) accusing the STURP team of being religious fanatics (or religious biased).
So, here’s an argument that I think is as solid as a brick wall to show once and for all that this team effort to analyze the Shroud in 1978 and the years following was performed with great honesty and professionalism: The main conclusion of the team concerning the nature of the image formation on the cloth was “we don’t know yet” and not “it comes from a process that is scientifically unexplainable (in the sense that it is most probably related to some supernatural process)”.
In sum, if the STURP team would have been religiously biased, their conclusion would never have been the kind of “admission of failure” that it was concerning the image formation! NEVER! The team would have done all it can to strongly suggest a supernatural or miraculous process instead, which is not at all what have come out of their great work, proving it was a real honest and professionally performed scientific effort.
Because of their “we don’t know how it got formed” statement in their final conclusion versus the body image, I think anyone can forget the idea that this scientific team was biased in any way. Unfortunately, over the years, and principally since the publishing of the C14 dating results, many supernatural and/or religious fanatics out there have taken the “we don’t know” statement of STURP and turned it into a “we can’t fully explain it, so it most be related to the Resurrection of Christ”, which is a very bad extrapolation that is not worthy of any serious scientific thinking and which is absolutely not what STURP’s conclusion meant.
Maybe STURP should have emphasize a bit the more their conclusion by underlining the fact that the image formation process was unexplainable IN THE PRESENT STATE OF OUR SCIENTIFIC KNOWLEDGE ABOUT THE SHROUD and, of course, this could change in the future if a new series of direct researches on the relic can be allowed by the Vatican…
I hope this short reflection of mine will be good to make people from the 2 principal fringe of Shroud science (i.e. the hardcore skeptics and the supernatural-religious fanatics) reflect and maybe realize how some of their thinking and statements about the Shroud image is far from what STURP really was and from what really was their primary scientific conclusion about the Shroud image.