Browser Issues: This Blog and More

imageA few of you have reported a problem with narrow comments that get truncated on the right. I have submitted the problem to WordPress, the company that hosts this blog. I am still waiting for an answer. 

In the meantime, I have noticed that the problem seems to be limited to Microsoft’s Internet Explorer. The problem disappears on my computer when I use Chrome or Firefox.

Incidentally, and I doubt there is any connection, this problem appears on the the most current releases of the same browser that Homeland Security is recommending we not use until Microsoft makes some corrections to solve some serious security issues.

From Homeland Security:

imageOverview

Microsoft Internet Explorer contains a use-after-free vulnerability, which can allow a remote, unauthenticated attacker to execute arbitrary code on a vulnerable system.

Description

Microsoft Internet Explorer contains a use-after-free vulnerability. This can allow for arbitrary code execution. Internet Explorer versions 6 through 11 are affected.

Note that this vulnerability is being exploited in the wild. Although no Adobe Flash vulnerability appears to be at play here, the Internet Explorer vulnerability is used to corrupt Flash content in a way that allows ASLR to be bypassed via a memory address leak. This is made possible with Internet Explorer because Flash runs within the same process space as the browser. Note that exploitation without the use of Flash may be possible.

Impact

By convincing a user to view a specially crafted HTML document (e.g., a web page or an HTML email message or attachment), an attacker may be able to execute arbitrary code.

And this just drifted in from Word Press.

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Newly Discovered Very Early Image of Jesus?

imageThe Huffington Post is reporting, Earliest Jesus Depiction May Have Been Discovered In Ancient Egyptian Tomb:

A team of Catalan archaeologists have discovered what they believe to be one of the earliest depictions of Jesus in an ancient tomb in Egypt.

The researchers uncovered an underground structure in a series of buried tombs that date to the 6th and 7th centuries. Among the Coptic, or early Christian, images painted on the walls was what lead researcher Josep Padró described as "the figure of a young man, with curly hair, dressed in a short tunic and with his hand raised as if giving a blessing."

"We could be dealing with a very early image of Jesus Christ," Padró told La Vanguardia.

Archaeologists believe the tomb belonged to a well-known writer and a family of priests in the ancient Egyptian city of Oxyrhynchus, according to The Local.

The researchers removed 45 tons of rock to access the tombs, which are situated among several sites Padró has been excavating for the last 20 years.

The drawing is under lockdown while researchers begin to translate the inscriptions surrounding it.

In 2011, archaeologists working near the Sea of Galilee discovered a 2,000-year-old booklet with what was then thought to be one of the earliest depictions of Jesus. The booklet reportedly bore the inscription ‘Saviour of Israel’ and was found in a cave in Jordan among other ancient artifacts.

There is more at Spanish team finds hidden ‘tomb of Jesus

Press Release: Trinity Broadcasting Network Names Headquarters

popular exhibits in building include . . . life-size copy of the Shroud of Turin

imageCOSTA MESA, CALIF. (April 29, 2014) — Trinity Broadcasting Network, the world’s largest religious broadcaster and America’s favorite faith-and-family channel, announced that its international headquarters in Costa Mesa, California has been named the Dr. Paul F. Crouch Sr. International Centre in honor of the global Christian network’s late founder, who passed away on November 30th of last year.

Originally dedicated as Trinity Christian City International on TBN’s twenty-fifth anniversary in 1998, the picturesque facility and campus house the flagship studio and production center for the Christian network launched by Paul and Jan Crouch on May 28, 1973 with one low-power station in Southern California. Today TBN reaches a potential viewing audience of well over one billion individuals and families through 37 domestic full-power stations and 27 international networks reaching every inhabited continent via 87 satellites and 20,000 television and cable affiliates.

“My father, Paul Crouch, had a God-given vision to reach every corner of the earth with the gospel message through the miracle of television,” said TBN Vice President Matthew Crouch. “Through God’s power — and with the help of countless partners all over the earth — he was blessed to see that vision come to fruition, and had the joy of passing the baton on to a new generation to carry that vision forward. He was a true trailblazing broadcast pioneer and it is fitting that this global center for Christian television be named in his honor.”

Along with re-naming the facility after its founder, TBN has unveiled the Dr. Paul F. Crouch Sr. Memorial Room, which is open to the public and features many historically significant exhibits and items from the life and ministry of Dr. Crouch.

In addition to serving as TBN’s international headquarters and the flagship studio for its award-winning daily Praise the Lord music, ministry, and talk show, the Dr. Paul F. Crouch Sr. International Centre is the public face of the network and a welcoming destination each year for thousands of friends and partners of TBN. Among the popular exhibits open daily to guests are:

– TBN’s famed Virtual Reality Theater, an unforgettable viewing experience which features some of TBN’s most popular and impacting big-screen films, includingThe Revolutionary, One Night With the King, Carman the Champion, and The Omega Code.

– A dramatic, interactive recreation of the Via Dolorosa, the street in the old walled city of Jerusalem upon which the suffering Savior carried His cross to Calvary.

A life-size recreation of the Shroud of Turin, which many Christians throughout the centuries have believed is the actual burial cloth of Jesus.

– Beautifully manicured gardens and magnificent fountains, along with spectacular murals and artwork throughout the building — including an inspiring reproduction of the classic statue of Michael the Archangel defeating satan.

Guests can also take a tour behind the scenes at the TBN flagship studio and may even participate as part of the audience in a live taping of TBN’s Praise the Lord program.

“Throughout TBN’s first forty years my father emphasized how crucial our many friends and partners around the world are to the ongoing success and fruitfulness of this broadcast outreach,” said Matthew Crouch. “We are privileged through the Dr. Paul F. Crouch Sr. International Centre to share his vision and to continue that outreach across the earth.”

About the Trinity Broadcasting Family of Networks

With 27 networks and growing worldwide, the Trinity Broadcasting Family of Networks is the world’s largest faith-and-family television group, airing a broad range of church and ministry programming, Christian music, family friendly movies, children’s programming, and shows for teens and young adults 24 hours a day to every inhabited continent via 87 satellites and 20,000 television and cable affiliates. In addition, TBN’s most popular global networks are available on computers, smart phones, and other mobile devices, and over 25,000 hours of entertaining and inspiring On-Demand programming is accessible via TBN’s innovative online network, iTBN.org. To find out more about the Trinity Broadcasting Family of Networks, log on to www.tbn.org.

Media Contact
Colby May, E-Mail: cmay@tbn.org; Tel: 972-313-9500

April Newsletter for the St. Louis Shroud Conference

imageThis appears as the April Newsletter for the conference scheduled for October 9-12, 2014:

Posted by St. Louis Shroud Conference Administrator on Monday, April 28, 2014

We are now about 5 1/2 months away from the conference. The Most Reverend Michael Sheridan, a St. Louisan who is currently bishop of Colorado Springs, will be presenting a talk on the theme of the conference: the Shroud being the controversial intersection of faith and science. The day and time of the talk will be announced at a later date.

Also attending the conference is Prof. Bruno Barberis, Director of the International Center of Sindonology in Turin. The Center was founded in 1959 and is the scientific consultant to the Papal Custodian of the Shroud – the Archbishop of Turin – and of the Turin Shroud Committee. It promotes hundreds of round tables and meetings on the Shroud, both Italy and abroad. Prof. Barberis will likely be presenting 1 or 2 papers. Also in attendance will be several members of the Shroud of Turin Research Project team that studied the Shroud for five days in 1978.

Numerous abstracts have been submitted, and the final program will be announced around the beginning of June. If you register before June 1, you get $30 off the registration fee. Plan to join us for what promises to be an exciting conference.

Sabotage?

imageDanusha Goska, in  a comment posted on the Holy Shroud Guild Facebook page, weighs in on the possibility of sabotage or error in the 1988 carbon dating.

April 25 at 4:47pm

I have to ask … to what extent does anyone talk about falsification or simple error in the 1988 carbon dating? In other words, to what extent do people interested in the Shroud discuss whether or not it is possible that someone sabotaged that test, or that the labs tested the wrong cloth, accidentally or on purpose?

For myself, sabotage or error strike me as entirely plausible, but I wonder to what extent others mention it.

Ian Wilson treats this thought as if it were taboo, but Thomas de Wesselow acknowledges that it is possible.

Discovery Promoting Shroud Video on Feature About Two New Saints

imageInteresting that Discovery News is featuring this video, Shroud of Turin Goes Digital, in a sidebar to a featured story about John Paul II and John XXIII being declared saint

Did a single thread get tested in 1982. Is it important to know? And why?

imageAs I was making a pot of coffee this morning, Jason Engwer was posting a fascinating and important article to Triablogue: The 1982 Carbon Dating Of The Shroud Of Turin.

Once I got to these two paragraphs I couldn’t stop to refill my cup:

There seems to be widespread agreement, among the accounts circulating, that this dating test on the Shroud took place in the early 1980s (my sense is that the large majority say 1982) in California, involving one thread from the Shroud near the area of the 1988 carbon dating, producing two dates differing by several centuries for each end of the thread, one date being close to the time of Jesus and one several centuries later. For example:

"[John] Heller took me back to the train station that evening [in 1984], and as we sat waiting for my train back to New York City, he told me in strictest confidence about a secret C-14 run that had already been made on a thread from the Shroud. He said . . .

Most people, in quoting others, use ellipsis to truncate a quote, feeling perhaps that what follows is not so significant to them. I mean something else. I’m advertising: go read the whole article. But, if you haven’t done so yet, this should inspire you to do so:

It seems to me that Adler’s behavior at the Turin workshop in 1986 supports his credibility on this issue. (The Turin workshop was a meeting, attended largely by scholars in relevant fields, that had the objective of formulating plans for the upcoming carbon dating of the Shroud.) During the course of the meeting, Adler argued for taking samples from multiple places on the cloth and advised that the cloth’s edges and water stain areas be avoided (Harry Gove, Relic, Icon Or Hoax? [Bristol and Philadelphia: Institute of Physics Publishing, 1996], 153; William Meacham, The Rape Of The Turin Shroud [Lulu, 2005], 74-5). Those recommendations would undermine the significance of the sample allegedly used in the 1982 test. Why would Adler lie about a test in 1982, yet try to persuade the Turin officials to conduct the later carbon dating in a way that would so much undermine the purpose of his lie?

Haven’t jumped over yet? “Here’s my tentative conclusion. . . “, writes Jerry. Not fair fast scrolling to the bottom. Read every word up to Jerry’s conclusion. Now read the conclusion..

So what do you think? Did it happen? Is it important?

An Oh-So-True Observation

imageKelly Kearse writes:

It’s often said that the Shroud is the most studied artifact in human history-I might be tempted to substitute in the word “discussed” for “studied” -I think there is much that remains to be systematically investigated.

More on How Valid are the Vignon Markings?

image

UPDATED

O.K. writes:

Hello Dan. May I ask you to post this gallery of Pantocrators & mandylion compared to the face of the Shroud + Vignon marks? Maybe this would be convincing presentation that (in my opinion) assuming that all those faces are not derived from the Shroud is absurd. Having some time, maybe I will try to put the Vignon marks on all those portraits, but let the public play with them first.

Okay, here it is: Gallery of Pantocrators & Mandylions+2002 Durante positive photograph of the Shroud face (taken from Shroud Scope)+ Vignon marks (taken from shroudstory.com)

By my count (and opinion), there are 19 20 works of art, a diagram and the the face on the shroud in one very helpful PDF file.

Colin Berry’s Sticky Tape Experiments

It sounds, maybe, like a problem in psychophysics

imageColin is doing some interesting experiments. You will want to read How infuriating. LIRA (The Linen Industry Research Association of Belfast) is no more:

.  . .  I’ve been eye-balling what happens when one applies sticky tape to scorched linen. The first pull takes off heavily scorched fibres (not whole threads, note, but individual, so-called ultimate fibres). With fresh tape on the same area, one gets progressively lighter harvests of detatched fibres. So far so good. One is basically seeing what Raymond N.Rogers did with his sticky tape sampling of the Turin Shroud.

It’s what happens next that is interesting. If one takes the sticky tape samples, one can lever up free or broken ends of fibres, and then pull them out with tweezers (tricky but feasible). When one looks at the extracted fibres, one’s first thought is that they are colourless, matching Rogers’ description, i.e. his claim that the image colour stays behind through being highly superficial and able to be easily stripped off. But here’s the caveat. If one sticks the collected "clean" fibres back on paper with the same sticky tape. one then finds they are in fact still yellow or brown, and indeed is able to compare them with those that were not removed, i.e. still in situ, to see there is really no colour difference when compared side-by-side under the same conditions, i.e. white background, viewed through a thickness of sticky tape. In other words, one has to beware of artifacts when looking at individual fibres, even with the naked eye (with still more artifacts possible when using a microscope). . . .

Is it a form of the checker shadow illusion? The square A is exactly the same shade of grey as square B.

image

The image above by Adelson, Edward H. (2005). Called the "Checkershadow Illusion", it is found at MIT.edu. It is Licensed by Wikimedia wherein it is stated: The copyright holder of this work allows anyone to use it for any purpose including unrestricted redistribution, commercial use, and modification.

How Valid are the Vignon Markings?

clip_image001[10]A reader writes:

I suggest that you only focus on the Shroud of Turin content on Stephen Jones’ site. Ignore what he says about you or your blog. 

Others, in comments and emails, have offered similar good advice.

Okay, here goes. On April 14, Stephen wrote:

Vignon paid particular attention to a topless square (Vignon marking 2 above) on the 8th-century Christ Pantocrator in the catacomb of St. Pontianus, Rome[11] Artistically it made no sense, yet it appears on other Byzantine Christ portraits, including the 11th century Daphni Pantocrator, the 10th century Sant’Angelo in Formis fresco, the 10th century Hagia Sophia narthex mosaic, and the 11th century "Christ the Merciful" mosaic in Berlin[12]. And at the equivalent point on the Shroud face, there is exactly the same feature where it is merely a flaw in the weave[13].

I disagree. Artistically, a topless square, or at least the right and left vertical lines of one, are quite common. It makes perfect artistic sense as some of the pictures, below, show. Maybe the artist copied the lines from the faint lines on the shroud or from a statue of Aristotle. Maybe he simply introduced it artistically.
 
In fairness to Stephen, he is only saying what many before him have said. I had believed it was important. It was something that helped me believe that the shroud was real. Then, one day I was shaving. (I still believe it is real but I’ve discounted this at least.)
 
Thoughts? Should other Vignon markings be questioned as well? Should the whole concept be reconsidered? Or, am I mistaken?
 

Report on Barrie Schwortz in Hamilton, Ontario

imageJeff Mahoney has written a good article about a recent talk by Barrie Schwortz in Hamilton put on by the the Vancouver Shroud Association, talks that are going on every day at 1pm and 7pm until April 28:

For centuries, it has engrossed believers and skeptics, serving for some as a fixing point for faith, for others as a caution against gullibility and hokum.

Quite a legacy, all in all, quite an ongoing fury of fame, for a piece of flaxen cloth woven in a three-to-one herringbone twill.

[ . . .]

"It (the shroud) is not the answer to faith, but it might make you consider it," Schwortz concluded.

So the whole enterprise plays to this hunger for mystery and connection, while anchoring it heavily in science and forensics but not taking that final leap into the supernatural.

Some Advice from Stephen Jones

imageYou might want to read the whole thing. I wish I hadn’t encountered this in the morning. Coffee isn’t strong enough. A couple shots of 100 proof Virginia bourbon would help with the reading of this.

Stephen warns:

If Jesus caused His scourged, crowned with thorns, and crucified and speared in the side image to be imprinted on His burial sheet and then has preserved it against all the odds down to this day, then it is highly likely (to put it mildly) that He expects those who become aware of His image on the Shroud, to repent and believe in Him and His death on the cross to pay for their sins. So those who become aware of the evidence for the Shroud’s authenticity, yet refuse to believe in Jesus and His death for them, will, like Chorazin and Bethsaida receive a more severe judgment than if they had never heard of the Shroud.

Stephen writes mostly about me:

[Because] Mt 7:22-23. "22 On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ 23 And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’"

I hasten to add that it is OK to be a non-Christian in the Shroud discussion. Barry Schwortz and Thomas de Wesselow are two non-Christians who think the Shroud is authentic. But according to Jesus’ words above (which Dan will probably dismiss as a mere "metaphor," it is not OK to be a non-Christian and especially a non-Christian who THINKS he is a Christian when he isn’t.

Whether it is metaphor or poetic hyperbole or a prophetic vision understood literally, the interpretation is nutty.

Stephen is also closing in on evidence that the carbon dating results were fraudulently changed by computer hackers. (I continue to leave out the names of people he blames but you can read them on his blog):

I have since found documentary evidence of how Zurich and Oxford’s AMS control console computers could have been accessed remotely by [so and so] (with the help of [another so and so] who confessed he had hacked for the KGB) and their programs changed, yet them never having been connected to Arpanet or the Internet. And that would explain why [the so and so and the other so and so] unexpectedly `committed suicide’ within days of each other.

I have asked Stephen for examples of how he was defamed on my blog – that is one of his complaints about me. He explains that since he no longer reads the comments about him he cannot do so.

Bill Donohue on the Ten Commandments, the Shroud of Turin and More

clip_image001CNSNews is discussing the fact that the movie, ‘Ten Commandments’–Made in 1956–Wins Nielsen Ratings this past Easter Sunday.

Commenting on “The Ten Commandments” ratings, Catholic League President Bill Donohue said “what was most telling was how it creamed the religious fare shown on the Travel Channel and the Science Channel.”

The Travel Channel showed “Greatest Mysteries: Holy Land,” which included a segment on the Shroud of Turin and “the audience was asked to consider whether the cloth’s impression was the face of Leonardo da Vinci,” said Donohue. In another segment, “we learned that Judas, who betrayed Jesus, was actually his best buddy,” he said.

The Science Channel showed a program on the non-canonical “Gospel of Mary,” which argued that “the male-dominated Church did not want to deal with a woman (who may have been the leader of the apostles!),” said Donohue, while a second program “called into question many Biblical accounts of Christ’s birth, death, and resurrection.”

“It is striking that a Christian-themed entertainment movie offers a more accurate historical account of the Bible than programs that purport to be scientific,” said Donohue.  “It only goes to show that the average American is a lot smarter than the elites who seek to manipulate them.”

Do Protestants View the Shroud Differently? .

image

Danusha Goska has posted a discussion about how Protestants view the shroud in Catholics, Protestants, and the Shroud of Turin:

I wrote to Barrie Schwortz, one of my personal heroes, and the Shroud spokesperson par excellence.

In spite of his pressing schedule, Barrie took the time to write back and gave me permission to quote him. Barrie wrote,

"I actually have a special introduction to my presentations for non-Catholic Christian venues which I call: ‘The Top 5 Reasons Why Some Christians Are Shroud Skeptics.’ It addresses the primary reasons why some Christians deny or ignore the Shroud (and I’ve probably heard them all over the past 20 years). Here are the issues I discuss in the form of a 20 slide PowerPoint presentation:

1.The Shroud is a "graven image.“

2.The Shroud is just another Catholic relic.

3.The Gospels state that Jesus was tied with linen strips, yet the Shroud is a single large cloth. It further states there were 2 cloths in the tomb.

4.The Man of the Shroud has long hair, which is forbidden in the Gospels.

5.The Prophecies say the Man’s beard was plucked, yet the Man of the Shroud has a full beard.

We’ve heard all of these many times; they are discussed on this blog every now and then. But I caution, these are not characteristic of “Protestant” beliefs about the shroud. Whereas, many Protestants have hang ups about relics (it goes back to the Reformation era) I don’t think the other four items are characteristic of what most Protestants think except those who embrace biblical literalism. Those who embrace biblical literalism are generally more likely to be Evangelical Christians even to the point of eschewing the term Protestant. And even then there are many exceptions; witness Stephen Jones.

To put it another way, I don’t think most mainline Protestants think differently than Catholics on these items. Some of the best scholars of the shroud and proponents of its authenticity are not Catholic. I’m not.

BTW: The picture is from Danusha’s blog. She writes: “If anyone can identify this picture, please write to me. I found it unattributed on the web and I’d love to know more about it.”

Paper Chase: Pam Moon Suggests Lucas Cranach the Elder Painted the Lier Copy

clip_image001Pam Moon has published another interesting paper, The Lier Shroud and Lucas Cranach the Elder (pictured in his self portrait) The synopsis Pam offers reads:

This paper argues that the artist who created the Shroud of Turin copy known as the Lier (or Lierre) Shroud may be Lucas Cranach the Elder (1472-1553). It examines the signature on the Shroud and compares it with the different ways Cranach signed his name. It looks at Cranach’s relationship with Maximilian 1 the Holy Roman Emperor (1459 -1519) who was thought to have commissioned copies of the Shroud. It examines the similarity of the Lier copy to the Shroud of Turin. And finally it examines other examples of Cranach’s work particularly his Christ as the Man of Sorrows dated 1515.

The conclusion reads:

Without a more detailed examination of the signature by an art expert it is not possible to confirm that Lucas Cranach painted the Lier Shroud in 1516. However it is a possibility that could be researched further. Certainly his accurate paintings of Christ as the Man of Sorrows deserve more attention from Shroud researchers. In favour of Cranach being the painter of the Lier Shroud: what are the chances of there being two world class artists who worked for Maximilian 1 and Margaret of Austria, who spoke the Old Nuremberger dialect and had a surname beginning with a C viewing the Shroud of Turin in 1515 – 1516? The probability tips towards Cranach being the creator of the Lier Shroud.

If Cranach does prove to be the painter then we can learn more about the Shroud from his association: Cranach was a Renaissance master and capable of very accurate drawings. For example we can learn about the nature of the whip marks on the arms; possibly how the dislocation appeared before the fire; the length and condition of the cloth before the fire. It would confirm that in 1516 the corners were not missing and that there was probably more
cloth beyond the feet than we can currently see.

Finally, if Cranach is the artist it raises problems for the medieval Radiocarbon date. If a painter as accomplished as Lucas Cranach the Elder cannot come close to replicating the complexity of the Shroud in his copy, how can we possibly believe an unknown medieval artist could create it from scratch?

 

The paper is rich with examples. I found it fascinating.

I do have a problem with the last paragraph. It doesn’t make sense unless you are thinking of a painting of a painting. The notion that if Cranach is the artist of the Lier copy, it is a problem for the medieval results for carbon dating of the shroud seems to be an afterthought. The subject of carbon dating isn’t even mentioned before the next to last sentence of the paper.

Glen Beck, Genius on the Shape of the Nose

imageHugh Kramer who has an Atheism column in The Examiner tells us Glenn Beck defends the ‘Jesus Pancake’

There’s a big flap over a flapjack in the news and the Christian blogosphere this week. The whole thing began on Good Friday when a cook in the Cowgirl Café of Norco, CA was trying to make a Mickey Mouse pancake but ended up with something wholly (holy?) unexpected instead: a johnnycake with the face of Jesus on it. . . .

Didn’t know about this big flap? You are lucky. The story continues:

And now, Glenn Beck is adding his two cents worth. On his radio program yesterday, Beck defended the possibility that the Jesus pancake was indeed a divinely-inspired message from God.

“I’m not one that buys into the, you know, toast and the pancake and stuff like that, but I’m also not willing to reject things that people interpret as a good sign of hope…”

“I don’t want to question God,” said Beck. “I really believe we are entering a season of miracles… and I’m not going to [second?] guess on somebody else’s miracle that’s giving them peace.”

To emphasize the possibility of a miracle, Beck put an image of the face on the Shroud of Turin and a photo of the Jesus Pancake side-by-side and remarked upon the similarities, mainly “the shape of the nose.”

His co-hosts however, were unimpressed.

Wait a minute, Beck was showing the pictures on a radio show? A radio show?

Ridiculous Quote for Today

Though anti-religious zealots insist religious people hate science, you’d never know it watching dozens of shows on the Shroud of Turin or on ancient archeology or almost anything else. They all have scientists, I saw Science 2.0 fave Phil Plait in one about the Book of Revelation. Those shows are all being watched by religious people who are engaging in confirmation bias, no different than organic food shoppers and political party supporters do.

image— From the “NOTES:” of an otherwise interesting article, Kepler – Young Earth Creationist by Hank Campbell published this morning in Science 2.0.

So host Neil Tyson tells us about Ussher and then we fast forward to modern geology and how much smarter we are now. Okay, fine, but was Ussher all that wrong for the time? Was anyone doing better? No.  What they leave out is that a legendary scientist was just as wrong.

Like any good scientist, Ussher interpolated from what he had, in this case the Bible and a historical date for the death of the Bablyonian King Nebuchadnezzar II in 562 B.C. Deriving from that, he back-azimuthed generations to arrive at  the exact day that the Earth must have been created in 4004 B.C. "It was a Saturday," Tyson says, with perfect comedic timing.  And completely wrong, as we now know.

Kepler was just as wrong. Mock him? No, he was a scientist. Fair enough. The criticism is of Neil Tyson who really is a great scientist. His bias does show every now and then but this may just be something he didn’t know about. Who did?

The quote, though, was ridiculous.

Of Pro-Authenticists and Anti-Authenticists

imageHi Stephen,

I do hope everyone will carefully read your latest blog posting (April 18th), My response to Dan Porter. Certainly, that is what you want. You posted it.

I just want to make a couple of points.

You write:

My personal observation is that Porter has, over the years, drifted from a pro-authenticity to an anti-authenticity position, perhaps without realising it. On his blog Porter bent over backwards to be favourable towards anti-authenticists but was unfavourable towards unequivocal pro-authenticists like me.

I think of myself as open-minded. And I think the majority of people who participate on the Shroud Story blog are open-minded, as well. Some of us, like me, think the shroud is authentic; others do not. We may even be biased. But most of us, I think, are open to solid evidence. Can you offer any specifics to show how I favor certain people because they think the shroud may not be real?

You call yourself an “unequivocal pro-authenticist.” That almost sounds like the chap who goes about saying, “My mind is made up. Don’t confuse me with the facts.” Surely you don’t mean for us to think that. 

“I have figured Porter out,” you write:

. . . He is not against the 1988 radiocarbon dating of the Shroud as "mediaeval … AD 1260-1390" per se. He is against any closure of any issue, pro- or anti-authenticity. That way he can have endless debate, maximising the views and comments to his blog, which he regularly boasts about.

Good statistical results are good news for all of us who want to see open-minded discussion about the shroud. This month, alone, in just the first 20 days , 49,419 people viewed 98,798 pages. There have been over a thousand comments. Frequent new content and quality back and forth comments makes for readership.

When I wrote, “Why absent fraud? Why not other possibilities?,” you responded:

Proving my point. Porter is not interested in converging on the truth, only in debating endless "possibilities".

But then you admitted that your hypothesis is “tentative.”

So, as Porter KNOWS, my claim has ALWAYS been TENTATIVE that . . . was the computer hacker, or one of the computer hackers, who according to my proposal duped the three radiocarbon dating laboratories at Arizona, Zurich and Oxford by modifying the program in each of the three AMS control console computers, so as to substitute the Shroud’s first or early century radiocarbon date, with bogus dates which, when calibrated, clustered around 1325, only ~25 years before the Shroud first appeared in undisputed history in the 1350s. And absent a "smoking gun," such as an admission or confession by someone in a position to know, my claims that: 1) there was a hacker (or hackers); and 2) that . . . was that hacker (or one of the hackers), might always have to remain tentative.

In the spirit of debating endless possibilities, I must ask (somewhat tongue in cheek, I must admit and apologize for): Did hackers also change the results of the Tuscon, Toronto and recent Madrid carbon dating of the Sudarium?

Stephen, I am not a pro-authenticists or an anti-authenticists; never have been and I hope I never will be. I was once skeptical of the shroud and changed my mind based on evidence. I may change my mind again but that seems unlikely. No one benefits more than me from this blog. That is why I do it. I mean think about it, why would I go to all this trouble if not to learn and give back in the process.

The Carbon Dating of the Sudarium of Oviedo Plus the Caves of the Sudarium

the 2007 carbon dating
and a bit of fascinating history

imageO.K. writes:

I would like you to post some of the following issues on the blog:

1. The 2007 carbon dating of the Sudarium of Oviedo. Mark Guscin has written in the article ‘The Second International Conference on the Sudarium of Oviedo’

Just weeks before the congress took place, new samples from the Sudarium were subject to carbon dating. Five samples were dated from five different cloths –three of them came up with the expected date, while the cloth from an Egyptian mummy returned a date of any time in the 19th or 20th centuries. The laboratory immediately concluded that the cloth (and the mummy) were fakes. The sample from the Sudarium was dated to around 700 AD. Scientist César Barta spoke about the carbon dating process, emphasising the fact that if carbon dating is always absolutely accurate, then we could just as well finish the congress there and then. However, there were several points to bear in mind– in specialist carbon dating magazines, about half the samples dated come up with the expected date, around 30% with an “acceptable” date, and the other 20% is not what one would expect from archaeology. The laboratory used (via the National Museum in Madrid) said they were surprised by the result and asked if the cloth was contaminated with any oil based product, as oil is not cleaned by the laboratory processes used before carbon dating and if oil is present on a sample, the date produced by carbon dating is in fact the date of contamination. Finally, the history of the Sudarium is very well established and there are definite references to its presence in Jerusalem in AD 570 and at the beginning of the fifth century.

Micheal Hesemann in a recent book (“Chusta Chrystusa, Naukowcy na tropie zmartwychwstania” pg. 230-232, that is polish edition of “Das Bluttuch Christi”) gives some more details. The dating was performed by Beta Analytic Inc. from Miami, and the result was 660-890 AD.

It is curious, because so far we know, the Sudarium had been carbon-dated in the 80s, by two laboratories: Tuscon and Toronto, based on samples taken from it by Max Frei and Pierluigi Baima-Bollone. Various accounts about the results exist. So far I have met: 653-786 AD Toronto, and 642-769 AD (in other version 642-869 AD) Tuscon. Micheal Hesemann, on the other hand, reprots 540-869 AD. Also "between 1st and 9th century" claim was made at one point.

Does anyone has any more details about 2007 dating? So far I know, on the Barrie’s site, on the Valencia conference page, there is listed a paper called ‘Dating the Cloths by the C14 Method – The Oviedo Sudarium’  by Felipe Montero Ortego, but it seems to be inaccessible either via Barrie’s site, or the Google.

2. The second issue is that I have found interesting site of Micheal Hesemann. Mainly German, but there are a few articles in English.

The second referenced item, Discovered: The Cave Monastery which housed the Sudarium of Christ  concludes fascinatingly:

Many question remain unanswered: Did St. Gerasimus discover a hiding place of the early Christians, did he find the long-forgotten “Sudario Domini” in these very caves, maybe preserved in a wooden chest or a large jar, like the Dead Sea scrolls? Or was the precious relic entrusted to him by his teacher, St. Euthymius, the “founder and patron of the Judaean wilderness”, who established several laurae of hermits in the Judaean desert? We can only speculate about the details. But we can say for sure that Antoninus gave an accurate description of the cave monastery which existed in the cliffs of the Wadi en-Nukheil, at least since the 5thcentury. And that in this cliff laura, according to the pilgrim’s report, the Sudario was once venerated, before it was brought first to Africa, then to Spain.

New Paper: The Missing Corners and the Radiocarbon Date

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Preferred New PDF Link  The Missing Corners of the Shroud of Turin and the Radiocarbon Date

Pam Moon has a new paper out, The Missing Corners and the Radiocarbon date of the Shroud of Turin at The Shroud of Turin Exhibition website.

Note: the paper is 11 slow-as-molasses pages stored as PNG graphics files wrapped in HTML. I’m travelling this week and must read papers through a hotel WiFi signal. It took 6 minutes to load on Windows 8.1 It is still trying to load on an iPad. Printing fails each and every time with various pages being dropped. (Others have encountered printing problems, I’m told). My only option was to save each page file manually, then print each one in Photoshop. You can only copy text with OCR software, which is how I copied the following paragraph.

This paper argues that the corners were removed because of water damage from douse water used to put out the fire that partially burned the Shroud in 1532. The contaminated douse water led to the formation of mould and bacteria on the cloth. The corners were too damaged and stained to be saved so they were cut away by the curators of the Shroud. Then the area around the cut was unravelled and cleaned with a disinfectant applied with a cotton or linen cloth. Additional fibres were added to the Shroud material by the cleaning process. Finally the unravelled fibres were rewoven and a patch applied to the corner.

It is an interesting paper. Take the time to read it.

Pam, if you see this and you want your paper to get the attention it deserves, please put it into a PDF file.

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Tweet for Today: The Shroud of Turin and Bigfoot

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Skeptic’s Society Pat Linse said Shroud of Turin is fake like Bigfoot. Shroudies very upset by comparison. Bigfooties upset even more.