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Royal Society Lecture: Exchanges in science and religion

January 16, 2014

BT writes from Connecticut:

Thinking that we focus too much on Newtonian science to try to explain the Shroud while ignoring Quantum science, I was hunting about and came upon this. While it does not pertain directly to the Shroud, this presentation by physicist and priest, the Rev. Dr. John Polkinghorne, KBE, FRS, does suggests useful ways of thinking about the Shroud. It may be found on the Royal Society website . . .


Categories: Science and Religion
  1. Louis
    January 16, 2014 at 9:43 am

    Good idea providing a link to Rev. John Polkinghorne, he was one of those I recommended for reading the week before last on the blog. He has spoken at conferences in the Vatican and published some books, however I must advise that he is down-to-earth in his approach, not the kind of scientist to indulge in make believe to increase faith. That is why I like and recommended him.

  2. Hugh Farey
    January 16, 2014 at 2:56 pm

    “We focus too much on Newtonian science to try to explain the Shroud while ignoring Quantum science.” No, we don’t. We follow advances in quantum science closely, and understand very well how our current understanding of it does not suggest any relevance to the Shroud. In the lecture above, Dr Polkinghorne recognises that quantum theories about the material world deal in concepts “more than sixteen orders of magnitude beyond anything of which we have have direct empirical contact.” That is not to say that quantum events cannot have anything to do with the Shroud, but that waving the word ‘quantum’ about as if it were currently anything more than wild speculation is not at present a fruitful mode of scientific enquiry into image formation.

  3. Louis
    January 16, 2014 at 3:20 pm

    That’s right, it will first have to be demonstrated that image formation is quantum mechanically feasible.

  4. ChrisB
    January 17, 2014 at 6:47 am

    Didn’t the Italian lab that fired uv photons at a piece of cloth and got a result similar to the image on the Shroud demonstrate that image formation is feasible when quantum mechanics is applied?

    • Hugh Farey
      January 17, 2014 at 8:56 am

      Shining a light on a cloth and interpreting the result does not, and did not, require any quantum electrodynamic interpretation. The word quantum does not appear in the paper describing the experiments.

      • ChrisB
        January 17, 2014 at 4:29 pm

        Well, I think it can be interpreted in a QED manner, certainly as an agent, as photons are traveling from one point to another point. They just happen to be having an effect on the cloth on the way. I’m not sure in which respect other commenters expect quantum mechanics to be involved in image formation.

  5. Louis
    January 18, 2014 at 2:07 pm

    Other commenter says: Di Lazzaro was dealing with laser, that is why he did not mention quantum.

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