Should SSG Get Involved?

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A reader writes:

I was just reading your post The Shroud of Turin story brings up all the usual issues about click-bait journalism. You suggest reading The Shroud of Turin, pseudoscience, and journalism by Joel Achenbach in his Washington Post blog.

I was amazed to see that his blog picked up 2084 comments as of this evening. In scanning through them I noticed our own Colin Berry being himself. [See screenshot above]

More to the point. This story about a mythical earthquake and mythical science about neutron radiation from earthquakes affecting carbon 14 dating has damaged shroud credibility in a big way. Right up through the upcoming exhibition in 2015, this ludicrous bit of pseudoscience will be quoted in newspapers as the so called “scientific” reason why those of who think the shroud is real believe the carbon dating is wrong. Forget Fanti. Forget the repair hypothesis. Something needs to be done. With all due respect you and your wonderful hip blog and Barrie Schwortz appearing on late night radio is not enough. The Shroud Science Group should issue a public condemnation of Alberto Carpinteri’s paper published in the journal, Meccanica.

Hip? LOL!

I found the comment by Colin and put the screenshot on top.

Should the SSG do anything? I’m not sure. Will this story carry that much weight? Time will tell.

imageLeading Atheist blogger Ed Brayton has picked up on the fuss in his Dispatches from the Culture Wars blog.

The New Republic has picked up Jerry Coyne’s blog post and called the piece “Pseudo-scientists are still trying to convince you that the Shroud of turin is real. Don’t believe them.” Coyne has dressed it up a bit and added, as he tells us in his blog:

Thanks to the readers’ suggestions, I’ve added Richard Carrier’s objections to the “earthquake hypothesis” and also linked to Greg Paul’s article noting the unrealistic proportions of the “Jesus” image on the Shroud.

Comments are flying at New Republic. Here is part of one that caught my eye by someone called nsecchi:

My purpose [is] to suggest that the Shroud of Turin be given longer shrift than that afforded by the author of the piece. The 1986 carbon dating that he lays such credence to has been recognized to surely be incorrect. The part of the cloth tested was from a patch, done in medieval times, to the Shroud. The Shroud of Turin does have mysteries that make it unique in human history. It was certainly not painted as the author believes. The Shroud of Turin warrants an unprejudiced study, in greater humility than that afforded by the author of this piece. .

And here is one by FMcManus:

I don’t understand why so many people who hate religion spend so much time disproving things almost no religious people believe. And in this case, the religious people who do believe the things disproved would insist emphatically that those beliefs are ancillary and unimportant to their fundamental convictions.

As a Catholic myself who has found the Shroud interesting and unusual, I’ve often hoped its mysterious quality would not ever be explained by scientific investigation. But at the same time, I’ve also hoped scientific investigation would rigorously examine the Shroud and all the claims surrounding it precisely in an attempt to reveal it as non-supernatural. It’s been a few years since I did much reading on the subject, so I don’t know where things stand now.

The earthquake theory strikes me as rather absurd on its face, and simply not worth the debunking it’s subjected to in this article. But the tone of the article is so absurdly shrill, so intent on adopting a sneering contempt for its subject, that it’s inconceivable anyone really interested in scientific investigation of the Shroud would take it seriously. One comes away from it with the impression Jerry Coyne obtained his understanding of religion from reading nothing more sophisticated than a handful of Chick comics.

When you openly despise the people whose beliefs you loathe, you’re not being scientific. You’re just being a bigot.

Of course I’m picking with bias. Your mileage may vary.

So what do we all think. Is this a big deal problem?  Should SSG get involved? Is this blog hip?

112 thoughts on “Should SSG Get Involved?”

  1. “Get involved” how, exactly? The Shroud Science Group is no more a coherent authority than the “Shroudstory” group. Recently they have been discussing the possibility of water-borne bacteria being a source of contamination, which is sensible, and why the corners of the shroud are missing, which is also sensible, but before that there was a lot of quantum biophotonic speculation, which, in the absence of any evidence, is as far-fetched, so far, as the earthquake hypothesis. Some of the group support piezoelectricity as a coherent explanation of the image formation mechanism, and would not be happy for the SSG to repudiate any earthquake hypothesis in their name.

  2. There is a lot of good science behind the authenticity camp. However, With no access to the shroud these extreme hypothesis and experiments are expected. Rather than trying to discredit them I think shroudies should get busy preparing for a new proposal to test the shroud. I don’t think the church should show resistance. The samples have already been clipped off during the 2002 restoration. There is a lot of things to be done on the dust that was vacuumed and the pieces that were clipped off.

  3. Mike, you can bet there will be no access to the Shroud in the next few years, the resistance of the Church is because of what has gone on — and goes on — in the realm of Shroud studies.

    1. Louis, We need serious scientists like Jackson and Jumper and open minded clergy like father Rinaldi to take the lead. I think it will happen in the fullness of time.

      1. Hi Mike, the authorities have ignored pleas and petitions coming from people in the realm of Shroud studies, giving the impression that they feel that there is much to be desired and which has not been seen.

        While there are serious scientists there is no unity among Shroud groups — did you see the message of Benedict XVI read out by Bishop Kevin Vann of Fort Forth, during the last Shroud conference in Dallas? — and since Pope Francis’ priority is cleaning up the Church and studying changes after hearing the laity all over the world things like relics will have to wait.

  4. Mike M :
    There is a lot of good science behind the authenticity camp. However, With no access to the shroud these extreme hypothesis and experiments are expected. Rather than trying to
    discredit them I think shroudies should get busy preparing for a new proposal to test the shroud.

    This. Any such act (by any group) would be a mere aftershock, less than 1/11th the impact of the original press release. I also think “condemn” is much too strong of a word to use.

    Strong, credible science is the best direction, it’s a natural antidote.

    Oh, and yes, absolutely: #danporteriship

    Peace & love, baby

  5. Commenter F. McManus has rightly called attention to beliefs that are ancillary and unimportant to fundamental convictions.

  6. Quote: “This story about a mythical earthquake and mythical science about neutron radiation from earthquakes affecting carbon 14 dating has damaged shroud credibility in a big way.”

    Comment: We should give a big round of applause to Fanti and some others from his SSG fan club for such a discredit. These guys from the SSG have been pushing the issue of radiation being responsible for the image as well as for the dating result of 88 in a big way… So, no! I don’t think they should get involved more than they already had been in recent years, because they have done well enough damage to the credibility of sindonology. Like we say in my country: ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!

    1. I just want to add that this comment from the reader concerning the damage done to the credibility of Shroud science is something I have said here for years…

  7. We should give a big round of applause to Fanti and some other members of the SSG for having highly contributed to discredit Shroud science in the eyes of the scientific community by pushing the radiation issue not only concerning the image formation but also concerning the C14 dating result of 88. Because of this, I truly don’t think the SSG should “get involved”. They have been involved way too much in recent years and we see the result today…

  8. Hi Yannick, so you are finally back as Yannick after I began addressing you with this name instead of “Anonymous”!
    Listen, don’t forget that SSG is not infallible, they just come with discussions and proposals, and while aiming at Professor Giulio Fanti don’t forget that Rogers’ paper, also a part of Shroud science, was rejected by Turin.

    We still have a long way to go.

    1. Louis, Rogers’ paper have been rejected by Turin, but that doesn’t mean it is because he was doing pseudo-science with the Shroud, which is different than what Fanti and a bunch of others are doing… In the case of Rogers, I think they didn’t accept his conclusion mainly because he did his research with a non-official sample and also because they wanted to protect the credibility of the two textile experts who were choosed by Turin to verify the C14 sampling…

      There’s a huge difference between Rogers’ rational hypothesis concerning the C14 fiasco and those like Fanti and others who proposed things related with the Resurrection to explain such a fiasco (which are solutions that are not credible at all, scientifically speaking)…

    2. And concerning the “anonymous” thing, I don’t know what you are talking about. No comment on this.

    3. Last thing: In my first comment, I was not criticizing all the members of the SSG but only those who pretend to be credible scientists while relying on things related to the supernatural to explain things related to the Shroud like the image or the C14 dating result.

      1. Yannick, it could be Rogers hypothesis versus Fanti et al with other hypotheses proposing a supernatural phenomenon, but as I said there is a long way to go.

        So Yannick was on a long holiday and that is when his phantom “Anonymous” took over, is it?!

    1. My own suspicion is that this was a self-assumed experimental pilot study in early church heresies, What would it be like to have two natures in the one person, or three persons in the one supernatural being, you know, Nestorianism, Monophysitism, Arianism, that sort of thing. Did each nature know what the other one was doing or blogging, etc, etc.

  9. I think a serious group of scientists of various fields connected with the study of such a relic should join together like STURP did back then and start to wrote down a complete test plan for an eventual close examination of the Shroud and I think such a group should exclude any supernatural hypotheses regarding the Shroud. I believe this is the only way sindonology could regain the credibility it once had (i.e. before the C14 dating in 88). Note: I don’t think this kind of serious and credible team effort will ever come from the SSG. That’s my opinion.

    1. Yannick, nothing can be excluded a priori because as I said there is a long way to go. You know that Pope John Paul II left the matter to science and that is the Church’s position because the relic is not part of the Deposit of Faith. The Shroud as we now see it began to be exhibited in France in 1356, ex-King Umberto II di Savoia gave it to the “Pope and his successors” in 1985 and the Church is 2000 years old.

      1. Quote: “You know that Pope John Paul II left the matter to science…”

        Reply : He left it to science, not to pseudo-science that is mainly based on supernatural presuposed notions related to the Hollywoodish idea of what kind of energy the Resurrection is supposed to have produce… Such a way to do “science” in relation with the Shroud is not scientific in my mind because it will never be reproduced in a lab since we both know that a corpse don’t release high-energetic radiations (even during an earthquake)…

    2. I don’t think supernatural causes should be ruled out. I don’t buy radiation theories. But I do think a supernatural dematerialisation could have left an image by some unknown means – maybe an intense release of body gases, an accelerated and intensified version of the vapor causation theory you support Yannick

      1. Don’t you realize Matthias that this is the kind of idea that is the main cause that explain why sindonology is seen as a big joke by a major part of the scientific community? Science is based on the known laws of nature, not on supernatural preconceptions that can be used to “fill the void” of what science can’t explain yet.

      2. Yannick, re: 21. We will have to accept what further information the Shroud image can give us, whether supernatural phenomenon or not. What cannot be done is to force the results obtained after fresh scientific tests to conform to any personal worldview, otherwise it will be like the attitude of the atheists who dismiss the relic a priori.

        As I said, the relic is not an Article of Faith, so when Pope Francis created 19 cardinals last week (including Canadian Gerald Lacroix ) it is to keep the words of Christ alive, based on faith in the New Testament. Pope Francis was not thinking about faith in the authenticity of the Turin Shroud when he did this.

  10. Is it possible that the Church might one day assign the task to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences and things might begin from there?

    1. Kelly, there will be concerns of bias there. The team has to be neutral, not related to the church, the SSG or the shroud haters. They can propose the protocol though, and get someone else to execute it.

      1. I agree that the Pontifical Academy of Sciences should get involved in the next round of direct tests on the Shroud but only in a supervisor role, for the reason of transparency described by Mike. This Academy should be used to analyse the validity of an eventual protocol submitted by an independent team like STURP was and it should also supervised the way the tests and analyses will be done on the Shroud later on. Nothing more, nothing less.

  11. Mike M :
    Kelly, there will be concerns of bias there. The team has to be neutral, not related to the church, the SSG or the shroud haters. They can propose the protocol though, and get someone else to execute it.

    I don’t know if a truly neutral team, exists anywhere. IMO, you get the best scientists to do the job, period.

    True, the PAS are appointed by the Church, but there are numerous major, 1st tier names in modern science (including multiple Nobel laureates) that are members of the group. (I am most familar with those related to the biological sciences), for example, David Baltimore, Paul Berg, Maxine Singer, Francis Collins, Guenter Blobel, Erna Moller… Stephen Hawkins is also an appointed member. Francis Collins is the current director of the NIH, considered by most to be the premier research instituion in the world. These are extraordinarily professional and exemplary scientists, IMO, scientific competence should be the basis for formulation, personal beliefs should not qualify nor exclude anyone from consideration. The work could or could not necessarily be performed by the individual labs of the PAS members, but they would certainly be competent to assign/suggest particular labs that are considered the best, internationally, at evaluating that particular question. If one doesn’t trust such exceptionally qualified scientists to suspend any personal beliefs they may have in evaluating these types of questions, what does that really say? Where do you go from there?

    It is possible within such a framework there could be a certain level of exchange/dialogue with pro-Shroud groups, or anti-Shroud groups in the shaping of a formal investigation plan. You get the best scientists period. Otherwise, you’re setting yourself up for lessing the credibility of type of any investigation that might be permitted. STURP laid the groundwork. The C-14 dating is what it is, was done how it was done. The next go round, if there is one, will be even more high-stakes; it needs to be thought out very carefully, you are not going to keep getting chances.

    The Church is the official custodian of the Shroud. In my opinion, assigning the task to a group such as the PAS to discuss, formulate a well-thought out plan of investigation seems like a natural way to go. Other options are, of course, possible. Any discussion like this is predicated on the Church’s desire to allow further investigation & characterization of the Shroud, if they are interested in doing so, or not.

  12. Turin has sufficient material taken during the controversial restoration and almost two thousand microphotographs to reach a decision about what has to be done. The decision will ultimately reach Pope Francis’ desk and being a highly intelligent and practical man he will provide the guidelines.

    1. I know… I think the fact that the samples have already been taken should be a big plus for future plans. Why would the church delay is beyond me.

      1. Mike, the Church moves slowly when it comes to relics and, depending on the case, canonisation can take dozens of years. Pope Francis is extremely busy right now with issues that are crucial for the future of the Church and there is no doubt that once these are settled he will be able to devote time to the question of the Shroud.

        Meanwhile, relics, serving as props for faith, continue to circulate around the world, like from Sicily to Sri Lanka:
        http://www.archdioceseofcolombo.com/inner.php?news_id=298

  13. Yannick Clément :
    Don’t you realize Matthias that this is the kind of idea that is the main cause that explain why sindonology is seen as a big joke by a major part of the scientific community? Science is based on the known laws of nature, not on supernatural preconceptions that can be used to “fill the void” of what science can’t explain yet.

    Science is based on the laws of nature, but are all laws known and completely understood? The Catechism states there can be no coflict between faith & science as God is the author of both. It’s an arrogant position to assume that everything is known about everything. Or to assume that one’s own view is the only possible view, so black & white that any contrary views be disrespected at any opportunity. None of the theories of image formation are without their issues or gaps, including theories of natural image formation.

    It’s becomes a worn-out litany over time.

    Yannick Anonymous Yanonymous:

    1. Quote: “The Catechism states there can be no coflict between faith & science as God is the author of both.”

      Reply: Try to explain this to the scientific community, which is composed of a majority of atheists and agnostics! He he! Seriously, you have seen how the “earthquake theory” was received by the scientific community? It’s evident that any kind of image formation “theory” based on something extraordinary related to the Resurrection will never be accepted by this community… And it’s not because all the hypothesis involving a natural phenomenon still contain some unanswered questions that this is not the right path that science must follow… Science is not something that seek to patch holes with some supernatural phenomenon¸or else it’s not science anymore. But I don’t know why I say this again since you are yourself a scientific and should know this better than I…

      1. Last thing: if the image on the Shroud is the product of a natural phenomenon related to the presence of the tortured corpse of Jesus, it’s important to emphasize that this would not, in any way, cast more doubts over the reality of his Resurrection or his divine nature… We should never forget the true reality of the Incarnation in the flesh!

    2. I can’t help myself… I must add that I’m not sure at all that invoking the « laws created by God » is really ethical in a scientific discourse. I don’t say that this is what you just did, but I must say that I would be very doubtful on the quality of a scientific paper related to the Shroud (or any other scientific study related to another subject) if one day, I see that kind of religious expression being used in it…

      1. You mean like someone saying: “it’s important to emphasize that this would not, in any way, cast more doubts over the reality of his Resurrection or his divine nature… We should never forget the true reality of the Incarnation in the flesh!”

        I’m sure scientists would find that a very rational statement. :)

      2. “Laws created by God” was a comment on this blog, not written in a scientific paper, so it makes sense in the context of the discussion.

      3. This kind of cheap shot is what makes me dislike this blog… Unlike Mr. Kearse, I’m not a scientist! Therefore, how can you think for one second that what I said could be part of a scientific paper or study? Again, I’m affraid you mixed apples and oranges…

  14. Mike M :
    Kelly, that makes sense. How do we get the PAS to take the lead? Do we petition the church?

    I think any such move has to be done first and foremost with respect and recognition, i.e. full understanding and appreciation that the Church is the custodian of the Shroud. Nothing should be approached as a demand or “the people’s right to know.” Then, if approached positively and professionally, who knows, perhaps a dialogue could be opened. From what I understand, Fr. Rinaldi was instrumental as a go between with the STURP scientists & the Church. My own belief is that is God wants things to move in this direction, they will, the pieces will fall into place-somehow, someway.

  15. One more comment : People make a big deal of the name Anonymous and even my name when they see a new comment. Can’t you please stop focussing on who say this or that and start focussing only on what he say. Then ask yourself if this cannot be correct after all, even thought this has been said by Yannick or Anonymous or someone else. We’re here to share ideas and frankly, if I judge an idea to be good, I don’t care too much from who it come from…

    1. So Yannick you do not believe in any supernatural reality? You do not believe a supernatural event can leave a physical legacy? For you the resurrection is metaphorical? If not and you believe it was a supernatural event why is it beyond the realms of possibility that a supernatural event left behind a physical legacy?

      1. That’s not the point. In fact, this is not important what Yannick believe or not because I’m not a scientist and I never said I was one. What’s important to ask ourselves is this : When it come to someone pretending to be a true scientist who do some researches on the Shroud (or on any other subject), did his faith (or did his anti-religious feelings) interfere in his science? That’s what matter when it comes to Shroud science.
        I would also like to add that talking about some theological concepts is all right in a religious or theological paper but this has surely not his place in a scientific paper about the image formation on the Shroud.

  16. Yannick Clément :
    Quote: “The Catechism states there can be no coflict between faith & science as God is the author of both.”
    Reply: Try to explain this to the scientific community, which is composed of a majority of atheists and agnostics! He he! Seriously, you have seen how the “earthquake theory” was received by the scientific community? It’s evident that any kind of image formation “theory” based on something extraordinary related to the Resurrection will never be accepted by this community… And it’s not because all the hypothesis involving a natural phenomenon still contain some unanswered questions that this is not the right path that science must follow… Science is not something that seek to patch holes with some supernatural phenomenon¸or else it’s not science anymore. But I don’t know why I say this again since you are yourself a scientific and should know this better than I…

    Some of my best scientific friends are atheist/agnostic-they have far less of an issue with it than you do. There are issues of science and there are issues of faith-both have their share of unanswered questions. As I said before, I’m a Christian who happens to be a scientist and a scientist who happens to be a Christian. The two can coexist.

    1. Quote: “The two can coexist.”

      My personal opinion about that: When it comes to DNA study (or any other study that is not at all related to religion), I’m sure they can. But when it comes to studying a Christian relic like the Shroud, you will allow me to be much more suspicious about that…

    2. Additional comment : I don’t mean that every scientist who got faith will automatically be biased in his science once he start to study the Shroud, but this is more likely than someone studying a subject that has no religious aspect. That’s what I really meant.

  17. Yannick, re.42. There is nothing to thank me for, however I beg to differ in #46, where you refer to research on the Shroud and if it demonstrated a scientist’s anti-religious feeling. I think Ray Rogers was a good and serious scientist, but he evaded a point when it could lead to religion. That was when he co-authored a paper on evolution, not on the Shroud, where he implied that the process was automatic, failing to explain where the rationality came from. It was his way of avoiding the trap, because he must have known that the
    scientist can only answer the How questions, never the Why questions, which is in the domain of theology.

    One of the good things about you is that your belief in the Incarnation and the Resurrection does not depend on what is seen on the Shroud, and there I am with you.

    1. Barrie Schwortz once told me personally that Rogers had faith in God. So I think the so-called anti-religious feelings of Rogers are just bullsh** that comes from the proud members of supernatural fringe of sindonology who hates him as it was Satan himself…

      1. Yannick, I agree with you when you say, “So I think the so-called anti-religious feelings of Rogers are just bullsh**.” But when you say, “that comes from the proud members of supernatural fringe of sindonology who hates him as it was Satan himself…,” you are way out of bounds. Hate is a strong word. Adding measure to it as you did (Satan), is unacceptable. Rather than editing it out, I’m pointing it out. You don’t win arguments this way.

        Barrie has told me the same thing, that Rogers believed in God. And so did Kim Dreisbach. In fact, I’m going to step out of bounds, myself, to quote from an email written by Joan Rogers, Ray’s wife, to someone else (I happen to have a copy). She wrote: “Ray and I were always Protestants, but we all believe in the same God, and he hears all our prayers.”

    2. Quote: “One of the good things about you is that your belief in the Incarnation and the Resurrection does not depend on what is seen on the Shroud, and there I am with you.”

      Reply: That would be so nice if this would be the case for every researcher involve in the study of the Shroud…

  18. Well, if that was what Rogers thought then one can trace his rationale. If he had gone further to answer the Why, even by dropping a hint, he would then be judged to be anti-scientific by many in the field of science. These scientists fail to see that giants of science like Gregor Mendel and Georges Lemaitre were Catholic priests.

    As for the reply in #51, that is nothing more than the position of the Church, isn’t it?

  19. Yannick Clément :
    That’s not the point. In fact, this is not important what Yannick believe or not because I’m not a scientist and I never said I was one. What’s important to ask ourselves is this : When it come to someone pretending to be a true scientist who do some researches on the Shroud (or on any other subject), did his faith (or did his anti-religious feelings) interfere in his science? That’s what matter when it comes to Shroud science.
    I would also like to add that talking about some theological concepts is all right in a religious or theological paper but this has surely not his place in a scientific paper about the image formation on the Shroud.

    Even though you recognize you are not a scientist, this does not hold you back from costantly pointing out how “good science” operates and what a “good scientist” would do. And you repeatedly insult (by name) other scientists who research the problem of image formation by mechanisms that differ from those you believe in. The point is, is the science sound? Is the approach sound? One of the best Shroud papers I have personally ever read is John Jackson’s “An unconventional hypothesis to explain all image characteristics found on the Shroud image”. Not because I thought it contained all of the answers. Not because it agrees with everything I think. Not because I think it can be proven. But because, in my opinion, it clearly models the way a scientist thinks. How a scientist approaches a problem, particularly in the context of an unconventional idea. Scientific thought can operate in such a realm, believe it or not.

    1. The only way someone like you can back-up Jackson’s wild hypothesis (you should know, as a scientist, that a dead corpse doesn’t emit light) is ONLY POSSIBLE if you have faith. This would never be accepted by most of the scientific community because, unlike you, they are able to keep their faith (if they have it) in their back Pocket. Rogers is a good example of this. Not Jackson. And not you either as I can see…

  20. Yannick Clément :
    The cheap shot I refer to is what David said above…

    How is that a cheap shot?! You only want to allow ‘science’ any say on the Shroud, but then ‘profess’ from faith when speaking of the Resurrection. But heaven forbid if anyone else were to do the opposite.

    Don’t get mad then if someone calls you on it — in a friendly way.

    1. Read again my post: I’M NOT A SCIENTIST. Unlike Mr. Kearse, I’m not a scientist! Therefore, how can you think for one second that what I said could be part of a scientific paper or study? Again, I’m affraid you mixed apples and oranges… I have nothing else to say.

      1. I’m not angry at you David. I just wanted to underline the fact that your comment was, as Louis pointed, completely out of context since I am not a scientist who use theological ideas to back-up his conclusions… That’s all.

  21. Yannick, when the Bible refers to Jesus shining brilliantly at the Transfiguration would you call that metaphorical, or do you believe he actually emitted radiation? Given that Jesus is so often referred to in electromagnetic terms in the Bible, why are you so against a radiant model for the image on the Shroud? And I’m quite sure that Rogers didn’t know the properties of this light from God so that he could dismiss it.

    1. Knowing that a lot of images that are found in the Bible are most certainly metaphorical, I have to say that the whole transfiguration scene look like this to me, as it is also the case concerning St Paul’s conversion and as it is also for a lot of stuff we found in Matthew concerning the Passion, death and resurrection of Christ and as it is also for the scene of the Pentecost. To me, all those images are a middle eastern ancient way to describe with stricking images a much more subtle and spiritual reality… Look, even Jesus himself used that technique when he was telling his parables to the people! Important note to conclude: even if all those scenes are not 100% historical in the sense that they most probably not happened as it was described, that doesn’t mean the more profound and spiritual reality they try to described with poor human words and images did not happened… In the case of the transfiguration, I really believe some disciple surprised Jesus one day after or during he was praying in the mountain and were struck by the way he looked like (as he was transfigurated because of the loving connexion he had with his Father at the moment). We say the same thing sometimes when we someone madly in love: this guy (or this girl) is completely transfigurated! That doesn’t mean this person is emitting some form of radiation!

  22. I personally believe we will never understand how that image is formed. I have no doubt it was produced by the body ( not from an external source like an earthquake ) it is photochemical or thermochemical in nature because it is very superficial almost produced in a flash speed (as shown by ENEA’s experiments). It was not produced by fluids coming from the body because it would’ve never produced this resolution of an image. it was not produced by vapours because it is very superficial, and again resolution would be a problem. I don’t exclude a natural phenomena but I think it’s highly unlikely. So when left with a supernatural event I think the only thing that a new team of scientists can do is to continue what STRP did. i.e. new carbon dating of the multiple pieces that were clipped off from several locations in 2002. Re-examine the pollen grains from the dust that was vacuumed in 2002, re-examine the chemical composition of the shroud vs the side strip vs the C14 region. Reexamine the blood stains, is it really high in bilirubin, is it really there before the image. it would be to validate STRP work, the things that STRP scientists would’ve done if they took a second chance to examine the shroud, what did they miss and what could’ve been done better. I think that’s what the focus should be.

  23. Nobody knows how the image was formed. Here is a copy of my notes for slide #69 of a presentation I’ll be doing on 25 March:

    “Image Formation Theories #1:
    Classified as: Artistic (pious forgeries); Supernatural; Naturalistic;”

    “Artistic: No known process has succeeded in replicating all properties: No pigments, superficiality of image, non-directional, no image under blood-stains, imaging does not affect blood, anatomical accuracy, photo-negative property, image has 3-D coding, image within 40 hours;”

    “Supernatural: Imperfections and minor distortions in image, Image is of a corpse in rigor mortis, no-one’s idea of a glorified resurrected Christ; Conceivable as a secondary miracle = Providence provided necessary environment for naturalistic process for image; Prof Giulio Fanti at Padua claims he simulated colour using high energy lasers (corona discharge theory);”

    “Naturalistic: Paul Vignon (1905) postulated body’s discharge of ammonia acting on myrrh & aloes (suggestive but not proven); Ray Rogers (2003) Maillard Reaction = Amino – Carbonyl Reaction (persuasive, many consider likely, but also needs something else??); Giovanna de Liso (2010) Image formation during seismic activity.”

    I think that pretty well sums up the present position. Individuals may choose to quibble about one or two entries, but that’s how I’m going to do it. If it’s artistIc, we’ll talk aboout that; If it’s supernatural, I’ll talk about that; If it’s naturalistic, that’ll be the way to go. The scientists can’t have it all their own way. They can laugh their heads off for all I care about anyone’s opeinion! Why? Because NONE OF THEM KNOW!

    1. Dave, I am just curious, how long is your presentation. Mine is 3x1hr each and I always run out of time because of the questions.

    2. Mike: This will be my first presentation on the Shroud, so it’s a bit of a pilot, and really only an introduction for those who don’t know a great deal about it. We weren’t sure about how much interest there’d be when setting it up. I could probably do maybe four 90 minute sessions for a really adequate coverage, including say the 1988 C-14 testing and a good look at the science in more depth and various attempts to replicate the image, and maybe some other stuff. However: First 90 minute session I’m aiming at an overview, known history, negative & 3-D images, a bit on Shroudscope images, possible influences in iconography, quest for earlier history; Second 90 minute session emphasis on science aspects: Forensic pathology (mainly Barbet & Zugibe), Shroud as textile, Turin commission 1969-76, Pollen samples, Peter Rinaldi, STURP project 1978, Image formation theories, maybe run quickly over some of Barrie’s photo record of STURP if time. I don’t know how it’ll go, but if there’s sufficient interest, I’ll develop it further for maybe next year, or else do it for other groups as well. I’ll need to watch the time closely, as there’s a lot of material there.

      1. There is a lot of interest among the youth. Many of whom don’t know anything about the shroud. Mature audience also show interest, they either lost interest overtime and want an update or lost faith in the shroud after the C14 dating. Good luck

  24. Kelly Kearse :

    Mike M :
    Kelly, that makes sense. How do we get the PAS to take the lead? Do we petition the church?

    My own belief is that is God wants things to move in this direction, they will, the pieces will fall into place-somehow, someway.

    I totally agree with that statement. As I said earlier, in the fullness of time. For God knows how many years the shroud was there and no body could appreciate its features until 1898, when Pia revealed the mysterious image in his dark room. Then it was another 33 years before Giuseppe Enrie vindicated Pia discovery. Another 16 years passed before the 3 dimensional information was discovered by the VP8 image analyzer. God is really taking his time with the shroud. Sometimes I think the message is actually intended, not for us, but for a future generation where scepticism will be even more aggressive and more hostile.

  25. When I first get interested by the Shroud and by the scientific researches around it, I never thought there were so many scientists who were so blinded by their faith that they let it interferred into their researches. This is something I found truly disgusting (because I have a real respect for good science that is free from any religious purpose) and when I see how bad sindonology is considered by most of the scientific community, I have no difficulty to understand why.

    Don’t forget that, in order to buy or build hypotheses like the ones proposed by Fanti, Di Lazarro, Jackson, DeLiso and others, someone NEED to have faith in the resurrected Christ. Outside of this, NO ONE WILL EVER ACCEPT one of those supernatural hypothesis as having any scientific credibility or validity… And you will NEVER see one scientist who don’t believe in the resurrection of Jesus-Christ emitting this sort of supernatural hypothesis.

    In sum, I really believe that any scientist who is able to keep his faith in his back pocket while doing his science will never accept those kind of hypotheses. For me, this is the best way we can determined if a scientist is able or not to keep his faith away from his science (where it should be).

    1. Additional comment : When I talk about all the supernatural hypotheses for image formation that exist out there to some of my friends who don’t believe in the resurrection of Christ (most of them being well educated people who respect science), they all start to laugh and they inevitably put those wild ideas in the same bag as the theories about UFOs and those put forward by someone like Dan Brown… That says a lot about the great damage that is done to sindonology by all those pretended scientists who have fell in the bad trap of letting their faith interferred greatly into their science…

    2. One last thing : Along with having faith in the resurrection of Christ, I truly believe that someone needs also a very good imagination to think Jesus’ corpse could have emitted some form of energetic radiation at the precise moment he disappeared from inside the Shroud and the tomb! This is what I call the « Hollywoodish » idea of the resurrection and I was surprised and very pleased to see that Mel Gibson didn’t fall into that trap at the end of his movie The Passion of Christ…

  26. Yannick has made it abundantly clear that he does not think of himself as scientist. However he does seem to think that the “miracle” of the Shroud must have a rational explanation, while the “miracle” of the Resurrection does not. This seems to me inconsistent. Either events can have supernatural explanations or they cannot. If they can, then either the creation of the Shroud, or the Resurrection, or both, may have a supernatural cause, and Yannick is wrong to despise Fanti, Jackson and the rest for entertaining such a possibility. If they can’t, then both the Shroud and the Resurrection were caused by the natural laws that apply to every other event as well.

    1. It’s a very big mistake to make this kind of direct link Hugh between the Resurrection and the image on the Shroud because, in the present state of our knowledge (thanks mainly to the STURP effort), we can see that there is absolutely nothing in the set of data coming from this relic that can make us think there have been any kind of energetic radiation emitted. Rogers was damn clear about that and he was the best member of the STURP team that could have been able to noticed if there would have been any sign (the most tiny sign in fact) of any energetic burst of something related to the image formation…

      So, if the Shroud is the one of Jesus and the image don’t come from any energetic burst of radiation, does this mean the resurrection did not happened? Of course not! Why in the world such an event must have produced any kind of by-product in the form of a burst of material energy? Why does such an event could not have look like what Mel Gibson showed at the end of his movie (i.e. just a cloth falling down slowly on the ground without any burst of light, radiation or something like that while the body suddently disappeared from inside of it)? I don’t know why this could not have happened that way. In fact, when we consider together all the data coming from the Shroud (including the fact that no bloodstain have been damaged or disturbed), this is the kind of scenario that can easily comes into your mind (if you believe in the resurrection of course)… Unfortunately, this is not spectacular and doesn’t help to sell many books.

      And finally, I must add this: if I’m wrong to dispise Fanti, Jackson and all the other faithful scientists who proposed supernatural hypotheses covered under the tag “scientific theory”, then it’s also true of the vast majority of the scientific community (especially those from outside the pro-Shroud world).

    2. Would it be helpful if we defined what ‘supernatural’ means, as it seems not all of us are on the same page. To me, supernatural – in regards to the Shroud/Resurrection — means something that occurred that our current understanding of nature does not provide a closed explanation for. Were the laws of Nature, as we know them, broken Easter morning? We do not know because ‘we don’t know what we don’t know’ about all those laws.

      For others supernatural may be utterly pure imaginative fantasy. It was the leprechauns that raised Jesus from the grave!

      I believe there is room for the former definition in serious sindonology, but not the latter.

      1. To me, supernatural in the case of the Shroud is related to the dead body it once contained. Any proposed scenario involving any kind of burst of energy from this corpse (which we both know is impossible in our material reality) must be tagged as being a “supernatural” hypothesis and therfore, needs faith in the resurrection of Christ (and, as I said, a good sense of imagination) to be accepted by someone.

      2. I must add that having faith in the resurrection is not necessarily the case for the hypothesis of a burst of radiation coming from an earthquake (which put it appart from the other), but it surely need a lot of imagination to believe such a thing could produce a good image of both sides of a human corpse (not only the side that was facing up but also the side that was facing down to the ground). In that sense, because this kind of scenario appear so ludicrous, I think we can put the tag “supernatural” over it anyway.

    3. Last thing concerning Rogers : the only kind of radiation he was not ready to discard in the context of the image formation is the natural emission of heat from a fresh corpse. For a time, he thought a great dose of heat that scorched the cloth could have been plausible but he eventually discarded this hypothesis completely. This is important to remember.

  27. I suppose it is not to be expected that a non-scientist should reply rationally, but I must press a little harder for a clearer answer to my point. Yannick is completely positive that no supernatural explanation is thinkable for the shroud, and even to mention the possibility is to invite well-deserved ridicule from atheists and himself. However, and this is the bit I’m not clear about, I believe he does think the resurrection was supernatural, but in this case atheist disparagement is not a problem. I really don’t see why. To claim that it is completely impossible – laughable, ridiculous – for a dead body to emit radiation, but completely possible for a man to return to life after being crucified to death is wholly illogical. If any event which genuinely defies natural law is possible, then it is possible anywhere, in the shroud, in a dead body, in the movement of the earth around the sun, or in the turning of water into wine. That doesn’t mean it is true, and it doesn’t mean there is evidence for it, but it does mean that it is possible.

    1. You don’t understand my point, so it seem. I don’t reject completely all the supernatural related to faith. I believe miracle do exist. My point is this: There is nothing in the data related to the Shroud image that makes me believe (nor Rogers and a bunch of other serious scientists like Fazio, Mandaglio, Mills, DeSalvo, etc.) that the cause of it should be related to something that defy the laws of nature and that something else than a dead body should have produced the image. That’s all I say. All the crazy supernatural hypotheses that exist to explain the image do not consider all the pertinent data and tries to make believe something supernatural is at the heart of the image formation while everything point in direction of a natural formation of this image of a dead and tortured man.

      In sum, if someone ask me : what can be the cause of this image of a dead and tortured man, I would answer : the dead body of a tortured man! By thinking like this, does it mean my rationality is problematic?

    2. Hugh, I think you should ask yourself the question : What is more irrational? To think like I do versus the resurrection and the Shroud or to believe a miraculous event like the resurrection could have produce some physical burst of energy that have left a faint imprint of the body on a piece of cloth (and which could be detectable by science)?

  28. Yannick Clément :
    The only way someone like you can back-up Jackson’s wild hypothesis (you should know, as a scientist, that a dead corpse doesn’t emit light) is ONLY POSSIBLE if you have faith. This would never be accepted by most of the scientific community because, unlike you, they are able to keep their faith (if they have it) in their back Pocket. Rogers is a good example of this. Not Jackson. And not you either as I can see…

    Yanic,

    I’m not trying to back up anything. You’re not even close. You clearly have a knee-jerk reaction to anything connected to certain key words or key names (basically, anything other than Rogers) that clouds any objectivity or rationality that might exist. Reread my comment. I recommend that you put your caps lock key in your back pocket, together with your presumptions.

    1. Sorry for you, I will not. I have no Phd like you, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have an opinion and that such an opinion have no chance to be closer to the truth than yours… We’re here to exchange opinions. If you don’t like mine, pass it by.

  29. Yannick Clément :
    Sorry for you, I will not. I have no Phd like you, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have an opinion and that such an opinion have no chance to be closer to the truth than yours… We’re here to exchange opinions. If you don’t like mine, pass it by.

    Great! Works for me.

  30. What I cannot stand is to see some people using science to back-up some ideology. In the case of the Shroud, this is exactly what’s going on in some circles and of course, the ideology is religious. That’s what I can’t stand, especially in the light of all the most pertinent data coming from the Shroud that doesn’t point at all in the direction of a suddent burst of energetic radiation of any kind.

  31. I suspect that this thread has persisted for so long because one of the combatants seems to be insistent that Science can find all the answers about the Shroud. This is a presumption. It may be that the Shroud image is naturalistic, and one might then expect that if given adequate access to the relic, then Science might some day discover all that is to be known about it. However in our present state of knowledge it is equally possible that the image has a supernatural origin. How is the competent scientist of Faith to take account of this very real possibility?

    Does he ignore the possibility that it may be miraculous, knowing than that whatever scientific endeavours he persists in may well be fruitless, as his Science may be incapable of providing the answer? Or perhaps he may look for some kind of boundary where Science and the Supernatural might meet? This second path seems to be the one trod by such as Fanti, Carpenteri and Jackson. For various reasons they seem to have discarded the purely naturalistic explanation and seem to be searching for some kind of amalgam of science and the supernatural. Yes, it involves conjecture and speculation and an agnostic scientist is unlikely ever to accept their conclusions. As in all such new ideas they will sometimes go astray, as seems to have been the case with the Carpenteri paper. But what if they happen to be right in their suspicions that a purely naturalistic explanation will never suffice?

    In the absence of adequate experimentation, a purely naturalistic explanation cannot yet be ruled out. I should like to see a concerted programme of experiments with time-expired lab animals to see if it is possible to produce Shroud-like images by naturalistic means. Whether that is indeed possible cannot yet be excluded.

    In the meantime, other well-meaning attempts to explore the boundaries between science and the supernatural need not be deplored. However, they might be constructively criticised when their unwarranted speculations are asserted as more than just possibilities, and are published as formal papers in scientific journals. They risk the odium of bringing Shroud science into disrepute.

  32. Today, I have read a newspaper article in ” le Monde” (one of the first newspaper in France) entitled: ” Le suaire, le seisme et la science”. This paper (full of humor !!) is related to the Meccanica’s paper.
    Needless to say that this kind of “paper” (Meccanica’s paper) is a disaster for Shroud science.
    I fully agree with Yannick on this point.

    What do we need ?
    We need new data.

    “On July 2, 2003 the work on recording the spectra and taking samples of minute particles from the surface of the reverse side of the Shroud cloth began” (in Sindone 2002, Flury-Lemberg).
    Raman spectra, UV-Vis reflectance spectra and fluorescence spectra from the reverse side of the Shroud were performed.
    I wonder why they performed the spectroscopy studies on the reverse side only.

    “On the reverse side of the Shroud we noticed some individual weft ends a few millimeters long protruding from the cloth while on the front none are visible (…) Some of these weft ends, from 2-10 mm long, were taken for ANALYSIS. Those numbered S1-S7 come from blood areas”.

    All the data were given to Cardinal Poletto, the Papal custodian Card. Poletto.

    To my knowledge, none of these data are available.

    Sadly….

    1. First, I want to say that I think Fanti’s work in sindonology is also a disaster for Shroud science and, if you’re honest Thibault, you will acknowledge that most of the ideas that are developed in this “earthquake” paper had already been put forward by Fanti himself during the last decade…

      Also, concerning your comment “we need new data”, I think Turin simply wait the right time to submit those data to proper analysis and this “right time” will only come, in my opinion, when a multi-disciplinary group of scientists will get together and submit a professional test plan to the Turin authorities, just like STURP did back in the 70s. Most probably, Turin will never give those data to just one or two researchers, so they can use them for their own benefit and I agree perfectly with this vision. In order for the authorities to agree for a new series of direct researches and analyses (including the analysis of all the data and material taken during the restoration of 2002), I’m pretty sure this will take the same kind of team effort that was done by STURP back then. In other words, scientists interested by the Shroud should look at the building of the STURP team and the making of their test plan and try to follow their footsteps. Such a new test plan should, of course take into account all the findings and conclusions of STURP and try to design some tests to confirm or reject each of them, while trying also to push the analysis further than what STURP did concerning some important subjects like the question of the chromophore of the image (which is the most important thing that still need to be fully determine in order to understand the image, to judge the validity of each image formation hypothesis out there and maybe to build a new (rational) ones that will have more chance to fully explain it).

  33. daveb of wellington nz :
    In the absence of adequate experimentation, a purely naturalistic explanation cannot yet be ruled out. I should like to see a concerted programme of experiments with time-expired lab animals to see if it is possible to produce Shroud-like images by naturalistic means. Whether that is indeed possible cannot yet be excluded.
    In the meantime, other well-meaning attempts to explore the boundaries between science and the supernatural need not be deplored. However, they might be constructively criticised when their unwarranted speculations are asserted as more than just possibilities, and are published as formal papers in scientific journals. They risk the odium of bringing Shroud science into disrepute.

    daveb,

    I agree with all that you said-it is a very balanced perspective.

    A comment relative to the portion I highlighted above. The naturalistic route would seem
    much more amenable to a concerted effort of experimentation than many of the alternative
    explanations-yet, it seems to lag behind in attempts to collect empirical data. I have always thought Rogers sold himself short in his paper mache hand experiment-the system was not the best-in my opinion the detail is just not there-even knowing the hand was the substrate, it is difficult to appreciate the shape in the resulting image. To an unknowing observer, it would appear more like a Rorschach than identifying it as a hand. Relative to a real hand, I have wondered if the porosity of the skin might help to provide some of the focus, detail that would be important to demonstrate.

    In designing an experiment using lab animals, a considerable number of variables exist, both relative to treatment conditions of the cloth and the body underneath it. However, compared to trying to develop a system for resurrecting a body, it seems like a bargain. It would be nice to see this idea move more forward experimentally.

  34. Louis :
    No blood sacrifices in the realm of Shroud studies, please.

    Lab animals are routinely used in many lines of research-it could probably be coordinated with a lab group that was already using (control) animals as part of another study.

  35. Kelly: “Lab animals are routinely used in many lines of research-it could probably be coordinated with a lab group that was already using (control) animals as part of another study.”

    The world is changing, for instance, there are countries where lab animals for testing cosmetics is prohibited, and this is just a start. Sorry, I would tell anyone who suggests using lab animals for Shroud research: put yourself in the animal’s place to see how it feels.

  36. Kelly, have got a spare cat or dog (they “used to be routinely used in many lines of research”)?
    I do agree with Louis: “No blood sacrifices in the realm of Shroud studies”.

  37. Max Patrick Hamon :
    Kelly, have got a spare cat or dog (they “used to be routinely used in many lines of research”)?
    I do agree with Louis: “No blood sacrifices in the realm of Shroud studies”.

    A-ok. No problem. I, myself, am a tremendous animal lover-I have been since I was a child. I also used numerous animal models in my line of research (mostly mice, some rats)-there was no legitimate alternative. I completely understand & respect others’ sentiments & opinions. I don’t think you would have to run a mouse through the passion experience to answer some basic questions, or even participate in a blood sacrifice, it could be a animal provided by another source. There are also dedicated labs that study the changes human bodies undergo with death, pioneered by Dr. Bill Bass a number of years ago. I understand where you are coming from.

  38. Kelly, we don’t need Josef Mengeles in the realm of Shroud research. You are a newcomer in the realm, and I know that you are welcome, and did you know that Gus Accetta injected a liquid into his own body when actively involved in Shroud research? He did not use animals.

  39. Louis :
    Kelly, we don’t need Josef Mengeles in the realm of Shroud research. You are a
    newcomer in the realm, and I know that you are welcome, and did you know that Gus Accetta injected a liquid into his own body when actively involved in Shroud research? He did not use animals.

    Yes, I read the Accetta work. Newcomer or not, welcome or not-be careful about the Mengeles reference-it is an entirely different situation.

  40. Sorry, Kelly, the realm of Shroud studies has no room for blood sacrifices. If Shroudies insists on that it will become even more difficult to gain acceptance. Write down what I am telling you now, with hour and date.
    Don’t forget: the Man of the Shroud was also a victim of blood sacrifice, and what do Christians think about it?

  41. Yannick Clément :
    Knowing that a lot of images that are found in the Bible are most certainly metaphorical, I have to say that the whole transfiguration scene look like this to me……… We say the same thing sometimes when we someone madly in love: this guy (or this girl) is completely transfigurated! That doesn’t mean this person is emitting some form of radiation!

    Yannick, I have to disagree with that description. I think it’s even more ridiculous than the earthquake hypothesis. Some verses in the bible can be difficult to interpret (wheather figurative or literal, e.g “a day” in genesis 1) and their exist a lot of debate over those. Other verses are clearly metaphorical or symbolic in nature (e.g. “The lord is my shepherd”) while others are clearly literal (“Now there were six stone waterpots set there for the Jewish custom of purification, containing twenty or thirty gallons each. Jesus said to them, “Fill the waterpots with water.” So they filled them up to the brim.”) as you can see in the way those verses were written you can tell that it was a literal description of events. The transfiguration event is clearly literal. You see the disciples were “terrified” and they “fell on their faces” even Peter said to Jesus, “Rabbi, it is good for us to be here; let us make three tabernacles, one for You, and one for Moses, and one for Elijah”
    When I was a teenager I always got stuck on this verse. I would say its in the bible, it must mean something. I totally missed the rest of the verse “For he did not know what to answer; for they became terrified”(Mark 9:6) this is not how you write a Metaphore, this is how you write an eyewitness account. Peter basically was saying gibberish and its written in the bible because… This is what happened. This is not because they saw Jesus face showing love to the Father. They freaked out because He was in another form. “His face shone like the sun, and His garments became as white as light”.

    1. Knowing for sure if a verse in the Bible is metaphorical or not is a real guessing game. No one can be certain unless some archaeological or litterary discovery can confirm the historicity of what is described in that part of the Bible. But one thing’s for sure: it is a well-acknowledge fact that in the Middle East during ancient time, the writers didn’t had the “journalistic” approach most modern writers have today. In such a context, we must be extremely careful not to take everything that his written at first degree. One good clue to think if a verse is using metaphorical images is to find the same kind of images used in the Ancient Testament. And themes like “light”, “white”, “fire”, etc. are unquestionably found in many parts of the Ancient Testament. That’s why I tend to consider the images we found in the accounts of the transfiguration, of the Passion, death and resurrection in the Gospel of Matthew, of the conversion of St Paul and of the Pentecost (just to name a few) as probably metaphorical in good parts, even though, as I said, they still refers to TRUE REALITIES, but realities that are SPIRITUAL and not visible with our human eyes (only visible in fact with the EYES OF THE HEART). I think we can forget the idea of Jesus emitting flash of lights or another sort of energetic radiation during what have been called the transfiguration…

      1. Yannick, it’s not a guessing game. I was hoping you will actually read what I wrote. Anyways, you can forget the idea of Jesus emitting flash of lights but I won’t. The bible clearly says it happened. We can’t pick and choose what we like. I think we should just agree to disagree.

      2. Mike, if you take the description of the disciples being “terrified” and to “fell on their faces” as a clear proof of the historicity of the transfiguration account, this is because you don’t understand what I said in my previous comment about the best way scholars can determine if an account in the Bible is historical or metaphorical (or a mix of both)… I said to you that if some images of an account of the New Testament can be found in the Old Testament, a red flag must be raised concerning the historicity of this account and, I don’t know if you’re aware of this, but the description concerning the disciples being “terrified” and to “fell on their faces” is almost a verbatim of the account of Moses meeting God in Mount Horeb! Can’t you see the connection? So, in such context of direct links between the account of the transfiguration and the account of Moses at the Horeb (and also when you consider that at the transfiguration, Moses is supposed to have been there with Jesus), I think it’s fair to assume that at least a portion of the transfiguration account (a major part in my mind) is most probably metaphorical (including the idea of light coming out of Christ and the presence of Moses and Elijah with him).

        Note : If the belief that this account is completely historical makes you feel better and help you sleep at night, my suggestion is that you keep on believing this… As I said (and most scholars agree with me) : knowing FOR SURE if a particular part of the Bible is historical or metaphorical is a real guessing game, unless we can back-up this particular account with solid historical facts and/or archaeological findings.

      3. I must add that the description of the disciples being « terrified » and to “fell on their faces” is also directly related to the account of Elijah meeting God on the mountain, which is another good clue to think most of the transfiguration account (i.e. most of the images used in this account) is metaphorical.

  42. Louis :
    Kelly: “Lab animals are routinely used in many lines of research-it could probably be coordinated with a lab group that was already using (control) animals as part of another

    study.”
    The world is changing, for instance, there are countries where lab animals for testing cosmetics is prohibited, and this is just a start. Sorry, I would tell anyone who suggests using lab animals for Shroud research: put yourself in the animal’s place to see how it feels.

    My main reasoning was to use animals already gone by the wayside. No blood sacrifices. No different from a pig used in the tv experiment with Barrie last year. Just at least, in triplicate, please. And controls, okay? Apart from actually involving the body of an animal, I believe there is much one could learn about the process from really scouring the literature and talking to the labs that routinely study the physiological mechanisms associated with death. That, on its own, could help advance things.

    Somewhat off-topic, but related, let me just briefly share this with you as someone who has been there, done that. Then I’ll stop.

    Here are two studies I was a part of that characterized antibodies used in the evaluation of human ovarian cancer. The antibodies recognize tumor specific antigens that are important in the diagnosis and treatment of cancer.

    http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/1097-0215(20001215)88:6%3C866::AID-IJC5%3E3.0.CO;2-6/full

    http://iospress.metapress.com/content/dqmj6wakd35yn153/

    These antibodies were generated in mice. They simply cannot be made in tissue culture, they require a living system. There are strict guidelines for the ethical treatment of animals in such research. I don’t know about the specifics of cosmetic testing.

    In my opinion, one has to weigh the relative cost of using animals in scientific and medical research with the overall benefit towards human beings. Several of the labs I have worked in were attached to or located within a clinical setting. Many of the patients there were last chance treatments. I saw their families in the hallways. I saw the patients themselves sitting outside in the courtyard, and rode together with them on the elevator. It was very, very easy to put myself in their place and the place of their family members; the thought of the animals, quite frankly, came secondary or even further down the ladder.

  43. Kelly, I get your point, yet I see no need for animal sacrifice in Shroud studies. There is no guarantee that the expected results will be obtained and it will have the opposite effect:
    it will take people away from Christianity and towards Buddhism. If you read what is going on in the world of religion you will understand that.
    Lastly, Barrie Schwartz was unaware of the pig experiment when he was interviewed, he himself said that on this very blog.

  44. Louis :
    Kelly, I get your point, yet I see no need for animal sacrifice in Shroud studies. There is no guarantee that the expected results will be obtained and it will have the opposite effect:

    it will take people away from Christianity and towards Buddhism. If you read what is going on in the world of religion you will understand that.
    Lastly, Barrie Schwartz was unaware of the pig experiment when he was interviewed, he himself said that on this very blog.

    Sacrifice is the stickler, wasn’t advocating that animals be intentionally sacrificed for the purposes of study in this case, only considering the use of those already expired for other purposes. Also, just seriously discussing with those who actually catalogue & measure the changes associated the human body & release of compounds following the last breath-this, to me, would seem a better avenue than trying to assume how a lot of the details of such a model might work.

    I know the story of Barrie & the pig! Read it, we talked to each other.

    BTW, some might view nailing cadavers up as rather barbaric

    1. Kelly says:”Sacrifice is the stickler, wasn’t advocating that animals be intentionally sacrificed for the purposes of study in this case, only considering the use of those already expired for other purposes. Also, just seriously discussing with those who actually catalogue & measure the changes associated the human body & release of compounds following the last breath-this, to me, would seem a better avenue than trying to assume how a lot of the details of such a model might work.
      I know the story of Barrie & the pig! Read it, we talked to each other.
      BTW, some might view nailing cadavers up as rather barbaric”

      It is good discussing with a very qualified Shroudie who I am sure will be needed by both the realm of Shroud studies and Church when the time comes.
      If by expired you mean dead (animals), then that’s OK for me.
      Release of compounds following the last breath? That is a really a better avenue.

  45. I’m a little surprised by Louis’ apparent squeamishness on this matter. There are respectable labs where routine testing on animals still persist. De Liso used a snake and I’m unaware that any objections arose from this. Problem is snakes are cold-blooded, metabolism unlike human. Abattoirs still thrive (tried any NZ lamb recently?), I’ve heard that it’s still bad news for turkeys on Thanksgiving in USA, and chicken farms still yield other products besides eggs. Where do KFC and Mcdonalds get their key ingredient, it’s not all soy! Admittedly, both NZ and Australia have serious problems with Japanese whaling in our Southern Ocean. Or maybe you could start off with fishes, but again they’re cold-blooded.

    I think there’s a serious vacuum in our knowledge of Shroud Science as to whether images can or cannot be routinely formed from carcases. Until the matter can be settled one way or another, I fear there will be little real advances in understanding what processes might be involved. Barbet was not averse to using cadavers or amputated limbs in his research.

    “No blood sacrifices!” is a fairly emotive objection. Possibly Louis is a vegetarian or vegan? I’ve been in abattoirs (my dad was a butcher), and I’ve worked in a fellmongery when a student; The slaughter chain is not a pretty sight and can be fairly upsetting for the young. But most of us are still omnivores. I doubt if a Chinese or Japanese lab would have any serious ethical problems with setting up such an experiment. There would be objections in India.

    Until a serious attempt is made to understand what imaging processes may be involved, naturalistic vs supernatural causes will remain in the area of idle speculations going nowhere!

  46. Most NZ lamb is now killed by certified halal butchers for markets in the Middle East. Curiously some countries have enacted legislation against ‘shehitah’ (Judaic Law for kosher meat) on grounds of animal cruelty, unwarranted it seems.

    In the meantime, enjoy your KFC, Big Macs, rump steak, pork chops and sausages to taste, perhaps a bit of top-side for the Sunday roast!

  47. My comment “No blood sacrifices in the realm of Shroud studies” has nothing to do with emotion, as daveb alleges, it comes after years of deep thought in problems relating to existence, involving humans, animals, plants, inanimate nature.
    Daveb says his father was a butcher, so I could jokingly say that no wonder he is in favour of using animals in laboratory experiments, but I wont! My father was a doctor, his elder brother got an honorary doctorate in medicine from the very European university where he became a doctor years before. A few years before that he was appointed by both Government and Church to examine the incorrupt body of a Catholic saint and submit a report, which was later published by an European Academy of Science. But this has not influenced me in the least because my father did not have much patience with animals and my uncle did not seem to be a big animal lover. My position is based on study and observation and experience, which would drive anyone to understand that all form of suffering should be reduced to the minimum possible because there is a lot more evil in the world than most people imagine. The most dangerous form of evil is that one which acts silently. For those who are unwilling to accept this, one can say, at least to believing Christians, it is mentioned in the most important Christian prayer: The Lord’s Prayer.

    As for daveb’s second comment, I beg to differ, halal butchers got their theology from (in my view) unnecessary teachings that crept into the Old Testament. How could the God of Israel be different from the pagan gods if he advocated blood sacrifices? The hated Romans also sacrificed animals, the Seleucid ruler Antiochus Epiphanes slaughtered swine in the Jerusalem Temple to show that he was in charge in Palestine and could desecrate the house of worship. The Prophets seem to have understood, for one of them wrote, “I will have mercy and not sacrifice”.

    I have seen a Jewish politician, an extremely respectable person who has done a lot of good, much more good than his gentile colleagues, demanding an end to “Shehitah” (kosher),and some four months ago I saw a TV news report where two groups of Jews, Orthodox and Reform, were arguing on the streets and the issue was blood sacrifice. The Reform Jew told the journalist present that the chickens the Orthodox were selling for 30 dollars each did not take away anyone’s sins and that the Orthodox were making money out of it.

    Of course, this view comes from the historical-critical reading of the Bible, a form of study which was accepted even by an important Israeli Jewish scholar like Yehezkel Kauffman.

    So, it seems that appealing to laboratory animals to study the Shroud image formation is more like an act of desperation, nothing more than a demonstration of weak faith. As I commented more than once here, even if it is “proved” that the Man of the Shroud is Jesus it will still not answer many questions.

  48. In # 108, daveb unnecessarily brought the halal butchers in NZ into the discussion about using animals in Shroud research. It must be pointed out that the NZ government is outdated in its policies, it must seek the example given by Poland.

    Other than this, HM Queen Elizabeth II is the country’s head of state, her son Prince Charles went to Qatar last week to demand protection for Christians in the Middle East, the region where NZs halal butchers send their meet. We must hope that the NZ government pays attention to the good and important work being done by Prince Charles, and reads a bit of the latest news:
    http://news.yahoo.com/syria-jihadists-lay-down-rules-christians-194212635.html;_ylt=AwrBJR_nSA9TsScAcTfQtDMD

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