Stephen Jones wants to know

imageAre there any shroudies who are chess players like him? If so give him a shout. He tells us:

I was the second highest rated chess player in Western Australia in 1967, with a rating of 2070, but I gave competitive chess away for ~45 years until August 2012 when I joined the Perth Chess Club. I am gradually regaining my chess `mojo’ but my rating now is only 1782 and I doubt that I will ever get back to 2070.

Cementing Over Central Park

My problem with a petition that demands new scientific examinations of the Shroud is that it has the process backwards. The horse (the scientific team and procedures) is behind the cart (permission to proceed). Much has to be done before any permission from Turin  or the Vatican can be obtained.

imageSo begins an instructive posting, Examining and Preserving the Shroud of Turin, on John Klotz’s blog, Quantum Christ. It is a must read, so do so.

A central point of John’s posting is this:

I might add a  comment about the non-intrusive – minimally intrusive problem of further scientific examination of the Shroud. I have an analogy: Central Park in New York City

From time to time many well meaning proposals have been advanced for projects believed to have immense public value for Central Park in NYC. It has been estimated, as I recall, that if everyone of them had been approved, Central Park would have been cemented over 5 times. The biggest of such projects that was built is  the Metropolitan Museum of Art which is one of the great treasures of the United States . However, it does display incipient ant hill tendencies to push the boundaries of its site.

I would suspect, that if every well-intentioned person who desired just a tiny piece or more of the Shroud had received their desire, the Shroud would have disappeared long ago, probably before Secondo Pia was even born.

Preservation of the Shroud is not just the Church’s annoying demand  – It is a demand of all humanity (whether some realize yet or not). Whether the controversial 2002 restoration was appropriate or not, the desire of the Church and Turin to first and foremost preserve  the Shroud is absolutely correct. Therefore, what I would call the non-intrusive as opposed to minimally intrusive standard must be recognized. Perhaps a tiny exception for a truly minimally intrusive procedure might be made, and perhaps a definition of intrusive must be formulated.

We could do well to learn from STURP, not just what they accomplished in Turin and afterwards but how they developed, presented and obtained approval for a plan of non-invasive studies.

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Victor Stenger: The Shroud of Turin might have contained genetic material with no Y-chromosomes

imageVictor Stenger was Testing the God Hypothesis in yesterday’s blog posting of the Science section of the Huffington Post:

In my 2007 book God: The Failed Hypothesis; How Science Shows That God Does Not Exist, I applied the scientific process of hypothesis testing to the question of God. The common objection I heard was that the existence of God is not a scientific hypothesis. Let me explain why I say it is.

[ . . . ]

Consider the following hypothetical events that, had they occurred, would have favored the God hypothesis. Readers are invited to think of their own similar "might have been" scenarios. While not necessarily proving the existence of God, they would at least lend some credence to traditional beliefs that currently does not exist.

  • image[ . . . ]
  • Physical and historical evidence might have been found for the miraculous events and the important narratives of the scriptures. For example, Roman records might have been found for an earthquake in Judea at the time of a certain crucifixion ordered by Pontius Pilate. Noah’s Ark might have been discovered. The Shroud of Turin might have contained genetic material with no Y-chromosomes. Since the image is that of a man with a beard, this would confirm he was born of a virgin. Or, the genetic material might contain a novel form of coding molecule not found in any other living organism. This would have proven an alien (if not divine) origin of the enshrouded being.
  • [ . . . ]

But none of this has happened. Indeed, the opposite is true in some cases, such as an abnormally low number of atheists in jail. Every claim of a supernatural event has proved false. The hypothesis of God is not confirmed by the evidence. Indeed, that hypothesis is strongly contradicted by the observations of our senses and the instruments of science.

As I was posting this I noticed that Stephen Jones has provided a good treatment of this. Go have a look.

Some Questions About Mark Antonacci’s Petition

imageOn November 1, 2013, Charles Freeman noticed that the title of Mark Antonacci’s petition read, “We Request That Pope Francis Allow Sophisticated and Minimally Scientific Testing to be Performed on the Shroud of Turin.”

“Minimally scientific.” It was good for a laugh or two and the mistake seemed innocent enough. It was quickly corrected. Ellie Jones let us know:

This was definitely an error in the typing of the headline of the petition. The petition has been corrected to reflect minimally-INVASIVE, not minimally-scientific. The petition was updated a week ago and the word invasive was inadvertently omitted.

But now we must wonder, why is a petition being “updated” after most of the signatories have signed it?

A press release on May 21, 2013, read, “Antonacci is currently petitioning Pope Francis . . .  to allow further, non-invasive testing of this burial cloth.” (emphasis mine)

A press release on October 29, 2013, read, “Proposed Minimally-Invasive, Scientific Testing of the Shroud of Turin Endorsed by Shroud Expert,” which is now, of course, what the petition states: minimally-invasive. (emphasis mine)

Is it not highly unusual to change a petition’s wording after many people have signed it?

There is a big difference between non-invasive and minimally-invasive. I support the one and not the other, with the possible exception of carbon dating. Did at least half of the signatories of the petition think they were signing on for non-invasive testing because they relied on the May 21 press release or on whatever wording existed in the petition before it was changed? What did it say?  Were signatories informed that the petition they had signed had been updated? Were they given the opportunity to reconsider?

Gary Habermas on the Shroud of Turin

imageNice, five-minute GodTube video featuring Gary Habermas, Could the Shroud of Turin really be the actual burial garment of Jesus?

From Gary’s website we learn:

Gary Habermas has dedicated his professional life to the examination of the relevant historical, philosophical, and theological issues surrounding the death and resurrection of Jesus. His extensive list of publications and debates provides a thorough account of the current state of the issue. Christian believers as well as unbelievers may find within the contents of this site a strong argument for the philosophical possibility of miracles and the historicity of the resurrection of Jesus, as well as the theological and practical implications of this event.

A Guest Posting by O.K. on the Allegedly Too-Long Fingers

To examine a sizeable PDF version of this posting CLICK HERE

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Barrie on EWTN, Live–and again in repeats

sorry I didn’t post this sooner but I wasn’t home. better late than never.

imageKelly Kearse writes:

Just saw where Barrie will be on EWTN tonight (Wed) live @ 8, here’s the link: http://www.ewtn.com/tv/live/ewtnlive.asp.

Looks like there are a few later repeat broadcast times listed also.

Blowing the Antonacci Proposal to bits

or is it particles?

imageColin Berry writes by way of a comment:

. . . All someone has to do is sneak a mixture of ordinary beryllium and americium-241 (present in domestic smoke alarms) into the cabinet housing the Shroud. That mixture then emits neutrons (half life approx.10 days) and before you know what the Shroud will then be impregnated with radioisotopes such as chlorine-36 and calcium- 41 that Antonacci and his pressure group (if invited in with their scanners) could later proclaim to the world as proof that the Christian story based on Resurrection is proven – and a lot more besides (he reckons, see below ) as to the mechanism of resurrection.

You think I’m exaggerating?

See Antonacci comment from this site in September: (my bolding)

https://shroudstory.com/2013/09/16/speaking-of-more-scientific-testing-of-the-shroud/#comment-44624

Please study the keynote address, which can be found on TesttheShroud.com. I’m not trying to be self-congratulatory or subjective, but these procedures could test every explanation for the Shroud’s radiocarbon dating and answer all the mysteries surrounding the Shroud. If the Shroud linen cloth, blood and other particles on it were examined at the molecular and atomic level, you could also collect enough new information that scientists could analyze this data for many years to come. I will be further updating this proposal, as well.

And on the Petition site:(my bolding)

A leading hypothesis published in Scientific Research and Essays in 2012 asserts that particle radiation was emitted from the length and width of Jesus’ dead body while he was wrapped in the Shroud, and it was this “event” which caused the unique images on the cloth. Molecular and atomic testing could prove that hypothesis to be true. ……

…..If unfakable and independent evidence was obtained to confirm this hypothesis however, it could actually be used to analyze the central premises of various religions throughout history and in our world today.

Objective and independent evidence does not exist to prove the central premises of any other religion, agnosticism or atheism. In contrast, the Shroud of Turin could provide thousands of unfakable items of scientific and medical evidence to prove the central premises of Christianity. This new, incomparable evidence could lessen or remove the underlying bases for many of the world’s ongoing wars and conflicts. The world has everything to gain and nothing to lose by the proposed molecular and atomic testing of the Shroud of Turin. . . .

David Goulet responds:

Would the sabotage you are mentioning lead to ‘unfakable’ evidence? If there is a way to skew the evidence then doesn’t this demonstrate the evidence is indeed fakable? And now that skeptics like yourself are aware of the possibility of sabotage, this would undermine authenticity claims based on said testing.

For myself, I share your fear. There is a segment of Christianity that pushes a Christian triumphalism and the Shroud could be be exploited by them. The thought that Christians would use the Shroud to proselytize turns my stomach. It has been called the Silent Witness…that is exactly how it should be seen. If God wanted it to preach he would have added audio to it.

Hmmm, that makes me wonder… could there be audio properties encoded in it? Who needs flowers and coins when you could have music and soundbites. :)

The Antonacci proposal is probably dead.

Of Similarities: The Tunic of Argenteuil and the Shroud of Turin

clip_image001By email, Joe Marino sends along some very interesting quotations from the new book, Witnesses to Mystery: Investigations into Christ’s Relics by Grzegorz Gorny (Author) and Janusz Rosikon (Illustrator). They are from a chapter “on the little-known ‘Tunic of Argenteuil,’” Joe writes, “believed to be the robe mentioned in Mt 27:31 and the tunic mentioned in Jn19:23-24.”:

1) of many similarities as discussed on pp. 190 and 191:

     In 1998 scientists at the Optics Institute in Orsay decided to compare the bloodstain patterns on the Tunic of Argenteuil and on the Turin Shroud  They created realistic and rotational computerized geometric models of what the tunic would look like if worn by a man of the same physical stature and morphology as the man depicted on the shroud.  The result was absolutely bewildering:  it turned out that the bloodstains on the tunic were aligned exactly with the imprinted wounds visible on the shroud.  Overlaying both images drove the scientists to the conclusion that both clothes were stained by the same bleeding man.

     Could that man have been Jesus of Nazareth?  It was confirmed that the tunic was produced using horizontal looms, whose width matched the proportions of those looms used in Christ’s time.  The weave, made using a so-called Z twist, indicates that the robe was probably made in the Near or Middle East.  The fabric’s dye was made of dyer’s madder (Rubia tinctorum), which was in widespread use in ancient times around the Mediterranean Basin.  The dyeing took place before the fabric was woven, and alum was used alongside the dye to dress the cloth.  Both of these practices were common in the first century.

     Because of these results, interest in the tunic steadily grew throughout the scientific community.  In 2004, the Institute of Genetic Molecular Anthropology in Paris commenced tests on the relic.  During restoration work one year earlier, the tunic was cleaned with a special vacuum cleaner.  Scientists therefore decided to analyze the vacuumed particles.  With the use of a scanning electron microscope (SEM), they discovered 115 pollen grains belonged (sic) to 18 plant species.  The most frequently occurring types of pollen were from:  nettle (Urtica fragilis), with 41 grains, and Syrian mesquite (Prosopis farcta), with 13 grains.  Most of the pollen grains belonged to species that had already been discovered on the Turin Shroud (six species) and the Sudarium of Oviedo (seven species)  Among them were Lebanon cedar (Cedrus libani) and spreading pellitory (Parietaria judaica).  The most significant discovery, however, was of two species endemic to Palestine:  the terebinth (Pistacia palaestina) and the tamarisk (Tamarix hampeana).  Their pollen grains have likewise been discovered on the Turin and Oviedo cloths.

2) on the limitations of carbon dating as discussed in pp. 192-193:

     From all the tests conducted on the Holy Tunic of Argenteuil, only one result challenges its ancient origins.  This was achieved using carbon dating tests, which took place in 2004 and 2005 under the initiative of the subprefect of Argenteuil, Jean-Pierre Maurice.  A sample of the relic’s fabric was tested twice using C14 radiocarbon particles.  The first test, in 2004, concluded that the tunic dated back to between A.D. 530 and 650, and the second test, in 2005, placed the date between 670 and 880.  Already, the variation in results points to the unreliable nature of carbon testing, as has been discussed with regard to the Turin Shroud.

     Lucotte says he following with regard to the limitations of carbon dating:  "There are many factors that can alter the results of tests using radiocarbon particles.  Even scientists who carry out the tests admit that this method of dating only works properly when the test sample is actually representative of the material whose age one wishes to determine.  In other words, the C14 particles in the test sample must come from the same era as the fabric as a whole.  If at some point over the years the fabric became suffused with either older or younger carbon particles, then the tests would obviously be rendered inconclusive.  In the case where older carbon particles are present, the fabric is dated as being older than it is, and the opposite is true if the fabric contains younger carbon particles."

     Carbon dating can be particularly unreliable with fabrics, since they easily absorb fluids containing substances in which one can find traces of carbon, such as calcium carbonate (which occurs naturally as chalk, limestone, and marble) or organic materials.  The presence of these carbon particles, which can be deeply embedded within the fabric, can have a great effect on test results.  In the case of the Tunic of Argenteuil this is highly likely:  in an attempt to protect it from insects and mold, the relic was treated in the last century with the insecticide DDT, which contains a large amount of carbon.

This Will Go On Forever, and Ever: More Jesus Pareidolia in the News

imageJoe Marino passes along some more Jesus pareidolia from a WND article,  Google photo: Jesus just spotted in sky? As Joe points out the Kit Kat photo, mentioned in the article is old stuff; see, Jesus in Toledo by way of a piece of candy in January, 2011.

Mention images of Jesus these days and the shroud gets mentioned. WND reports:

Dr. Paul Lakeland, director of the Center for Catholic Studies at Fairfield University, says visualizing the Creator of all things in everyday objects has become a way for people to bring their beliefs to reality, as they desperately want to see signs and wonders.

“Everyone’s religious life is connected to their imagination,” Lakeland told the Hour. “But I’ve seen this before. Someone has a bagel that looks like it has an image of the Virgin Mary on it … I do scoff at the sort of thing, but it doesn’t do anyone harm. However, they (the McCaffreys) shouldn’t have people line up at their home to see the ink blot.”

He indicated the Catholic Church often downplays any credence to similar sightings.

“There is a reason to be a bit skeptical because there are very few (images) that have seen the level of credibility as say, the Shroud of Turin,” Lakeland said. “But, it’s all in the eye of the beholder.”

Pareidolia is a big deal when it comes to things some claim to see on the shroud like coins, flowers and inscriptions.

On arrogance and second hand literary wisdom

imageSince Colin Berry found it necessary to question the accuracy of a quotation by someone else by actually saying . . .

Goodnight David Goulet. I suggest you go away and do your homework – thoroughly, before pitting me against your second hand literary wisdom.

. . . I will take the opportunity to question a quotation Colin has used a couple of times. I wasn’t going to say anything. I do like the quote. I do hope William F. Buckley actually used these words; for I want to use them and attribute them to him. I won’t go so far, however, as to say Buckley didn’t say:

In short form:

  • “The purpose of an open mind is to close it . . .”

In long form:

  • “The purpose of an open mind is to close it, on particular subjects. If you never do — you’ve simply abdicated the responsibility to think.”

He must of said it, right? But Wikiquote, a Wikipedia affiliated project and the online bible of such things, is in the process of purging the quote for lack of a definitive source. But there is hope. Colin do you have a reference? I’ll even update Wikiquote or let you have the honor.

Is it perhaps an internet inspired adaption of the this quote by the Catholic apologist, G. K. Chesterton who wrote:

The object of opening the mind, as of opening the mouth, is to shut it again on something solid.

— Autobiography. Collected Works Vol. 16, p. 212

Perhaps Buckley “borrowed” the words and swizzled them and the meaning. I don’t know. I hope I’m wrong and that along with David I merely suffer from “second hand literary wisdom.”

Anyway, Colin, there was a better way to offer a correction to someone. I don’t want things spinning out of control again.

Overheard behind us during Barrie’s Talk: “That’s only Listerine”

not exactly, but thymol is an active ingredient in Listerine

imageLast evening at the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist in Savannah, Georgia, Barrie Schwortz (pictured here as he appeared in 1978 with Secondo Pia’s camera from 1898) gave an outstanding talk  on the Shroud of Turin and the work of STURP.  See the TEDx Talk (link in the upper right hand corner) to get a much shorter example of one of Barrie’s presentations. Barrie went on for two hours. My wife and I were totally captivated every minute of those two hours. Barrie knows his stuff. Yes! But he is funny, as well, and we laughed the whole evening. (Thank you Barrie, for mentioning the blog and the discussions we are having about some of the subjects you discussed.)

Towards the end of his talk, Barrie was explaining why should be cautious about a new round of carbon dating at this time. There are some concerns that first need to be addressed. One was the possible effect of thymol on the shroud. Thymol was used to sterilize the shroud’s wood lined reliquary after cutting samples from the cloth. Ray Rogers, in his book, “A Chemist’s Perspective On The Shroud of Turin,” writes:

The custodians had allowed a small sample to be cut from the Shroud for textile analysis in 1973. Without consulting any of the scientists who had studied the cloth in 1978, the custodians allowed a much larger sample to be cut for radiocarbon dating in 1988. The date was reported as AD 1260-1390. At the time the cloth was sampled, the reliquary was treated with thymol, a phenolic compound used to sterilize materials. Thymol reacts with cellulose (linen), and the cloth’s composition has undoubtedly changed.

Rogers, many pages later, goes on to say:

. . . They sterilized the reliquary before the Shroud was replaced in it. They give the times during which bags of thymol were in the reliquary, but there is no way to estimate how much vapor reacted or was adsorbed on the walls of the container Thymol has a high vapor pressure. and it adsorbs strongly to any type of surface. The reliquary was lined with wood. Wood has a cellular structure and composition that favors absorption of materials like phenols. You can think of it as blotting paper for thymol.

Surface areas are routinely measured in science by adsorbing vapors on the materials and measuring amounts (usually called the BET method). A significant amount of thymol could have adsorbed on the wood, and wood has a large cellular surface area. More thymol would have reacted with the cellulose and more reactive hemicelluloses, lignin, and plant gums of the wood. No analyses were done. The amount of thymol left in the reliquary is unknown, but it is critical.

Some thymol would have desorbed and transferred onto the Shroud rather quickly. The desorption would reduce the free thymol concentration, reversing the equilibrium of thymol-wood reactions This would provide more thymol for reactions with the Shroud. Given enough time, reactants keep reacting until they reach their lowest energy state or equilibrium. I can not estimate the composition of the Shroud as it was taken from the reliquary. Apparently the persons involved with the 1988 sampling fiasco did not try.

Thymol is a “phenolic” compound, closely related to carbolic acid (phenol). The use of thymol shows a complete irresponsible ignorance of chemistry. Many superbly qualified chemists live in Europe and the United States, and some of them have had years of experience with the Shroud. They care about the Shroud. Many specialists on carbohydrates would have been happy to consult free of charge. Why were none asked about the long-term effects of thymol on cellulose (linen)? On iron compounds?

Thymol is also called “thyme camphor.” It is obtained by steam distillation of different species of plants of the genus Thymus or Ajowan. All of its carbon is modern carbon. Each modern thymol molecule that is grafted onto the linen will reduce the apparent age of the cloth by some amount. A significant amount of reaction will totally destroy the option for making accurate radiocarbon age determinations on the cloth. . . .

I have heard some say the Thymol effect might be only a few years. I’ve heard others say that we have no idea what the effect might be. Might be is the point.

Mario Latendresse’s take on the 3D data

red/cyan 3D glasses are available at Amazon.com for $1.65 or
you can make your own with some acetate and red and blue markers –  here is how.

imageMario (website = Sindonology) writes in a comment:

I think that the presence of 3D data in the Shroud image is simple and can be mathematically explained in a simple way. I also think that the anaglyph is a very simple transformation of that data into a 3D encoding that can be visually perceived. That very simple process leaves no doubt that 3D data exist in the Shroud image. And there is no subjectivity involved as far as this process is completely independent of the Shroud and has been used to generate millions of other anaglyphs. Sorry to repeat this reference, but for a short presentation of how such 3D data is encoded and an anaglyph version of the entire Shroud image can be generated, please see:

http://sindonology.org/shroudScope/shroudScopeHelp.shtml#3D.

In a few words, the composite software simply (based on a linear transformation) shift horizontally, based on the luminosity of the pixels, some of the pixels of the Enrie photograph and then combined them with the original photograph using two different colors, one for the original image and a different color for the shifted pixels. It is therefore a very simple process that can be described by a simple linear transformation of pixel locations. It can’t get much simpler.

imageThe Shroud Scope has the full Enrie photograph transformed as an anaglyph where you can zoom-in and -out (back and front of the man of the Shroud). For example, please see (you will need color filtered glasses):

http://www.dshroud.com/shroudScope/shroudScope.shtml?zl=3&image=7&lon=323&lat=1417

(Again, absolutely no artistic or subjective transformation was applied to generate that image, but only the transformation described in the previous reference was applied.)

Notice the various details of the realistic 3D image, for example the belly, the front feet where we have a perception of the tip (toes?) of the feet, and of course the various 3D details of the face. The back is also quite interesting in terms of 3D realistic representation.

What is not complete clear yet, is the effect of the cloth wrapping the body versus this 3D data. But what appears almost certain to me is that the image was formed while it loosely wrapped a 3D form, and clues to that are numerous, such as parts of hair appears at the same level as the cheeks which means that the cloth was very closed to the hair when the image was formed. But a complete clarification of the relation of the wrapping vs the cloth body distance can be done by doing a computer simulation. Not very complex to do, but quite tedious to do in details.

Should we be reassessing the VP-8 results (Continues Previous Post)

imageI asked for it. And I got it, like a left-hook to my jaw. Within minutes of asking on this blog, I got a PDF file from O.K. called An ImageJ presentation showing difficulties of obtaining Shroud-like 3D encoding on normal photographs. Then, from Hugh Farey, I got a file with some pictures showing rather startling, contrasting results achieved with ImageJ. This I saved as a PDF file called 3D Imaging PDF. Both files are zoom-able.

Like so many other "facts” or beliefs about the shroud – like the stated belief that the bloodstains are undisturbed or that there is no image beneath the bloodstains – maybe we should be asking if VP-8 results from 1976 really mean anything.

The images from Hugh Farey (smaller here than in the PDF at 100% page size) follow:

image

Maybe the 3D data doesn’t mean what we think it does

imageA reader writes:

This may sound like heresy. Maybe the 3D information encoded in the image doesn’t represent body to cloth distance. I see in Wikipedia, “optical physicist and former STURP member John Dee German has since noted that it is not difficult to make a photograph which has 3D qualities. If the object being photographed is lighted from the front, and a non-reflective "fog" of some sort exists between the camera and the object, then less light will reach and reflect back from the portions of the object that are farther from the lens, thus creating a contrast which is dependent on distance. Shroud researcher Colin Berry has observed that the scorch marks and holes in the shroud also produced clear 3D images under the VP8 analysis. He deduced from this that the shroud image was produced by light scorching, and has produced 3D images from scorches using appropriate software.”

I have long wondered if perhaps the apparent three-dimensional data that is the image represents something altogether different than anything we have imagined. Ray Rogers used to point out that a drop of ink on a filter paper would look like a mountain when plotted the same way (e.g. VP-8).  Colin Berry is right that scorch marks and holes on the shroud produce 3D images; the scorches, obviously, are not spatial information.

Here is a link to the paper, On the Visibility of the Shroud Image by John Dee German. Given the following concluding paragraph it would be nice to see an example:

One final thought on the “impossibility” of making a photograph that has 3-D qualities: it is not impossible, or even very difficult. If a front-lighted facial portrait is taken in a chamber where a uniformly distributed, moderately dense grey or black “fog” is present, less light will reach the receding portions of the face due to absorption of the light by the fog. Furthermore, of the light that does reach the more distant parts of the subject, more of the reflected light necessary to make the photograph will be absorbed on the way back to the camera, increasing the distance dependent contrast even more.

Back in early October Hugh Farey had written here in the blog:

Almost any monochrome painting (or photograph) made full face, with the light from in front and a dark background, shows three dimensional attributes that are at least as good as and often better than those exhibited by the Shroud. This can be tested by any suitable image processing software such as ImageJ.

OK responded:

Wrong Hugh. I tested this using ImageJ. No monochrome painting or photograph has 3D properties as good, as has the Shroud -and in case of the Shroud they are callibrated to the surface of the cloth, not to the plane in infinity. Check pictures in my article:

http://ok.apologetyka.info/racjonalista/jak-nie-zosta-zrobiony-caun-turynski,473.htm

Again, I would like to see just one example of 3D plotting from a full face photograph other than the shroud. I don’t think it is so easy.

But then the question is whether or not the 3D data represents cloth to body distance. I’m not convinced that it does.

Note: Image above is taken from OK’s paper.

Consider Rogers

I was sitting by the side of a salt marsh watching storm clouds rolling in from the west. The Atlantic, barely visible beyond some low dunes, was churning up waves that I could now hear even at a distance. My dog, sitting at my side, was sniffing the air. I was thoroughly enjoying the solitude and the fresh air when my iPhone binged to alert me to a new comment on the blog. My dog started barking because he thinks the iPhone sounds like a doorbell. The comment, by David Goulet, made my day:

imageThe wise man has more to learn from the fool than the fool from the wise man. Now I’m not saying Colin is a fool, nor you. Nor am I a wise man. But the heart of this saying is that the wise man can learn even from something that on the surface seems ‘fantasy’. Why, because the wise man has the ability to discern, to put things in perspective and context. He finds nuggets of Truth amongst a load of B.S.

Here’s a thought experiment, if Rogers (or others of these scientists) was still alive and reading this blog, do you think he would discount Colin’s experiments or theories? Or would he take up the challenge, go back to his instruments to see if Colin was right or if he was talking through his rear end? I believe Rogers would have taken up the challenge as he did with the invisible weave theory – which also must have sounded like fantasy.

With an enigma like the Shroud nothing should be thrown off the table. Nothing! That is bad science and it is even worse theology.

I completely agree.

Picture is Raymond Rogers by Barrie Schwortz

Russ Breault in Decatur, Alabama this Sunday

imageThere is a nice, well-written story in the Decatur Daily (Alabama) newspaper about an upcoming Shroud Encounter lecture: Expert to trace story of Shroud of Turin mystery.

“This is the greatest unsolved mystery and it will remain a mystery,” said Russ Breault, of Peachtree City, Ga. “We can apply what we have learned from science, but we will never be able to prove or disprove the shroud’s authenticity. For that, we would need DNA.”

If you are in the Tennessee Valley area this Sunday note that:

. . . leading expert, Breault will present his findings in “Shroud Encounter” at Parkview Baptist Church in Decatur on Sunday. The free multimedia presentation will take place from 6-7:30 p.m.

The “CSI”-style presentation features more than 200 images exploring the history, archaeology, forensics and theology of the shroud and a life-size photo replica.

“It is like a fast-moving motion picture, not some boring lecture,” Breault said. “We will explore the different theories and ask the question, ‘If this is a real image, could it be Jesus?’ ”

Todd Evans, pastor at Parkview Baptist, recommended the presentation for both believers and non-believers.

Where haven’t you been lately, Russ?

Barrie Schwortz on the road again

imageHe informs us on the STERA Facebook page:

I leave this Sunday for lectures in Savannah, Georgia and Birmingham, Alabama (see link below). My lecture on November 4th is free and open to the public, so I hope to see some of you there. I also will be appearing on EWTN Live on November 6th while in Birmingham. Please check your local listings for the specific air times in your area.

As reported here on October 10th: The Savannah Morning News’ online community calendar is reporting that Barrie Schwortz will deliver a presentation on the Shroud, a burial cloth that is believed to have wrapped the body of Jesus Christ after His death, and the work of the scientists involved in 1978.

The presentation is open to the public. It will be in the lower chapel of the Cathedral. of Saint John the Baptist, 222 E. Harris Street, Savannah, Georgia, at 7:00 pm on November 4th.  Attendees are being asked to enter through the side entrance on Harris Street.

Stephen Jones on Antonacci’s Latest: the Vatican would probably want to see a broad consensus

imageStephen Jones has picked up on Antonacci’s recent release from a story that appeared in the The Edwardsville Intelligencer (a suburb of St. Louis).  As of this morning, this seems to be the only news outlet to pick up the story. Well, that and two blogs.

Stephen, as he has been doing with all news stories lately, analyzes the story and adds his thoughts. He concludes:

It will be interesting to see what the Vatican’s response (if any) to this petition will be. If the Pope (the owner of the Shroud) does agree to further testing of the Shroud, I doubt that it will be in response to effectively one individual’s (Antonacci’s), request. My guess is that to minimise any further controversy the Vatican would probably want to see a broad consensus among Shroud pro-authenticists (and maybe even including Shroud anti-authenticists), of what the tests would be, how they would be carried out and by whom, before it agrees to any further testing of the Shroud.

I agree with Stephen. We only need to look back to the 1980’s to see how to go about this in the right way. Then, John Jackson gathered solid support from many credible scientists in different fields and developed a well-reasoned, scientific plan for examining the shroud. The result was STURP.

A petition like this one is probably counterproductive. It glaringly show the lack of support among shroud scientists and scholars.

Catch of the Day: Minimally Scientific Testing???

hat tip to Charles Freeman – maybe this is why nobody is signing

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An interview with Dr. Barbara Frale

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In a new posting, this morning, on the Holy Shroud Guild’s Facebook page, Giorgio Bracaglia points us to an article on the guild’s site: Was there a link between the Knights Templar and the Turin Shroud? : An interview with Dr. Barbara Frale by,
Louis C. de Figueiredo.