Is Charles Freeman Emerging as the World’s Leading Shroud Skeptic?

“This is a small sample of Charles Freeman’s research on the subject, which should be more widely known so that National Geographic would be embarrassed to take the shroud seriously.”

— Ophelia Benson

clip_image001While Colin complains that the world is ignoring his two-stage imprinting model, Charles Freeman is getting special attention for his painting theory from Ophelia Benson over at Butterflies and Wheels in the well-read Free Thought blogs collection.  Benson is particularly well known for her criticism of pseudoscience and religious fundamentalism. She writes: 

Charles Freeman has an article in History Today about the Shroud of Turin. He tells me the subject is neglected by academics, and “the absurd ideas of the authenticists are given full and virtually unchallenged internet space.” He adds that National Geographic is especially bad on this, maintaining “the idea that there is something inherently mysterious about the Shroud when in fact an afternoon in a conservation lab – which would find the traces of gesso and paint – would probably sort things out.” He gave me carte blanche to use the article, so have a feast.

So have a feast. Or not.

21 thoughts on “Is Charles Freeman Emerging as the World’s Leading Shroud Skeptic?”

  1. It is absolutely amazing the way the pseudo skeptics swallowinq whole any din-bat, unathenticated theory as long as it “proves” the Shroud a fake.

    As I understand the Freeman position as reported uin the article uoted: all iot will take is for the vtican to authprixze tests diretd towrds hi one theory to solve the whole mu=ystery. All it would take for a pig to fly is for it to sprout wings.

    I am still waiting for an identification of the existence in present time of an “art object” that has the physical properties of the Shroud mimicked to the molecular and the atomic level.

    1. typos dinbat = dingbat
      vtican = Vatican
      authprixze = authorize
      mu=ystery = mystery

      I can’t believe I am over-caffeinated this early in the morning.

  2. Why do some folks just have to go out of their way in an attempt to destroy the Christian faith ? As I have said before, I am not a scientist but I do know how to read and think. I am more than happy accepting the proof that has been published that proves that the Shroud is the burial cloth of Jesus Christ and he resurrected on the 3rd day. Also as I have said before while I was reading one of the articles and was studying and comparing the online photos, I was told by my Guardian Angel that I was looking at images of the risen living Jesus Christ. The image was imprinted by the living Devine Soul as it re-entered and re-constituted the body of Jesus the Christ.

  3. I can understand Charles’ position as an acadêmic but feel the need to point out that the complexities in the image have not been taken into account.

    1. Louis,

      You are presuming that Charles is an academic. Does he have an academic position?

      1. Hi John
        He hás no academic position, but hás given courses in history at Cambridge. I can say one thing, speaking from experience. Acadêmics can be biased in what they publish and they are generally respected because of their positions. I havê known serious researchers in Parapsychology in Europe who havê complained to me that acadêmics refuse to address their research. Parapsychology is recognised by the UN.
        I’m now working on a review of an acadêmic book, which should be posted today. It is a serious study that merits consideration.

        1. I did a PhD so know from experience that the academic world is far from pure. Its full of bias and world views often dictate. In my field you faced an uphill battle if you didn’t subscribe to the left leaning doctrine expected. I didn’t subscribe and struggled. So much for free thought and openess to different perspective – things that in my view should be central to academia.

  4. “While Colin complains that the world is ignoring his two-stage imprinting model,”

    If you want to be taken serioulsy you have to be consistent.

    Whatever nonsense Charles Freeman is writing, he has been consistent with his views, and has published a readable article about it.

    Colin had published a kind of “summary” of his scorch hypothesis, it was back in the days you could still read one of his blogpost with a single mug of coffee. He had been promoted on Wikipedia.

    Is he still complaining that his scorch hypothesis which could “explain it all” has been removed from the references on Wiki? Is he complaining that Wiki has not updated his page for his latest “hypothesis which explains it all”?

    1. Charles Freeman hangs out on every skeptic blog message board known to man. Bottom line: Freeman’s world view is severely threatened by an authentic and unexplainable Shroud. He is not adding anything of value to the discussion on this board. And the only thing I agree with Colin on….

      1. If you had to be scientifically correct to be a leading Shroud skeptic, one would know.

        You think he doesn’t add anything of value, i think Colin doesn’t either. As a chemist, i would rather listen to Thibault, silent so far on his own views.

  5. I beg pardon about my past intervention (= yesterday)
    because I wrote imprudently about nanotensile test (Hysitron apparel)
    and I forgot to write a in good manner about all the controls…

    Where are the AFM experts ?
    Did they carefully avoid experts who might actually find that the Holy Shroud is not what it purports to be?
    Is that the reason for the silence?
    I don’t believe in that controversial idea, but I am curious about
    the possible results from the inherent discussions…

  6. “… that National Geographic is especially bad on this, maintaining “the idea that there is something inherently mysterious about the Shroud when in fact an afternoon in a conservation lab – which would find the traces of gesso and paint – would probably sort things out.” ”

    Over a period of three days in 1978, some 30 scientists with impeccable credentials, with then state of the art equipment found no trace of gesso, nor of paint, yet Freeman persists with promoting his absurd hypothesis, which lacks any supporting evidence whatsoever, and yet he finds support from similarly minded ignoramuses from Academia, and close minded so-called “free-thinkers”.

    As a professional art critic, Freeman is unable to distinguish an image of a real human being from that of a painted portrait, is unable to understand the distinction between an imprint and a painting, nor the distinction between a negative image and a positive, and is utterly lacking in any scientific credentials whatsoever. He claims to have examined candidates in the philosophical discipline of “critical thinking”, and yet he breaks all the rules of this discipline in his own uninformed comments, passing over and ignoring any scientific work which does not suit him, and can only resort to citing anonymous experts in defence of his specious claims.

    1. Dave, don’t hold back, tell us how you really feel …
      ; ^ }

      (and thanks!)

    2. These comments suggest that the case for authenticity is closed. Yet science moves on and I shall be interested to see what new tests on the Shroud will bring. I know where I think the argument will end up.
      I am just happy to wait but naturally I am putting forward my own ideas in the meantime as everyone else here is doing. It is something called free debate.

      1. yes it’s free debate. But I think many of us would appreciate knowing who your so called experts are. The ongoing anonymous referencing is frustrating and breeds suspicion as to credibility when it’s possibly not warranted.
        Surely some of these experts wouldn’t have a problem with being name checked if they are so confident in their views?

        You don’t have to do it here. Why not write an article where their opinions are brought through?

        1. Thomas- you are quite right- the articles will keep on coming- and when I need to give an acknowledgment of an expert I will do so with their permission.
          We may never get a final solution for the Shroud but we can at least provide overlapping evidence from a variety of specialists which gives us a reasonable understanding of it.
          Inevitably many textile experts will give their opinion from what they can see of the Shroud’s weave and iconography and the present state of the images but prefer not to go further without a close-up examination. Sadly unlike the Anti-Kythera Mechanism where there is access given freely to those with the right expertise- the Shroud at present is off-limits and expert opinion is likely to be limited as a result.

  7. I like to interpret the story of 3 monkeys in different way:
    1.Hear only who support (or from experts who don’t want to divulge their names),
    2.Speak (or write) only to get popular,
    3.See (or read) only the area of your speciality.

  8. Do you know the Determination of Abrasion Resistance of Fabric by using the Martindale Method on fabrics made of linen?
    In other words:
    Is it possible to know what are you thinking about the possible useful tests (to use) in order to show the truth?
    — — —
    I am curious to know what is the exact level of abrasion for the four corners of the ancient cloth.
    — —
    The reasoning is the following : if there are 1300 years of difference the behavior of the textile material in the Raes/C14 corner is different with respect the original part of the cloth.
    Then, in my opinion, it is very easy to do an interesting comparison through non-destructive analyses (= SPM controls)
    Perhaps we can start from the tables of results obtained using the adequate controls on linen samples (controls on experiments done to find the level of abrasion on linens previously treated with different kind of treatement [= Martindale, crockmeter, etc.]).
    — — *** — —
    >The Martindale Abrasion Tester was developed by J.G. Martindale in the early 1940s under the auspices of the Wool Industries Research Association in England. It uses an oscillating top plate to move a circular test specimen in a grouping of elliptical repeating paths over a stationary abradant under pressure. There are a set of 16 sequentially changing ovals or back and forth ellipses executed in each repeating group. The precise
    repeating group is known as a Lissajous figure.
    >Quantifying The Abrasion Resistance Of Textiles can be performed in several ways each of which requires the rubbing of the fabric of interest against a standard abradant and the assessment of how much abrasion it takes to either create a hole, aesthetic deterioration, strength loss or mass loss.


    Martindale 900 Series

    Click to access 2011120810224025.pdf
    — —
    Here another way (destructive = Digital Bursting Strength Tester)
    to test the textile material:

    TruBurst2 Dual Control

    — —
    I’d like to address the interesting issue in terms of time (= centuries) and level of textile damage’s probability (see: Bayes’ theorem)…
    Do you know where are the useful works or the useful ancient samples?
    For example:
    Were the ancient coptic samples never controlled in this manner???

    1. I have. I can make nothing of your website. If you have any evidence of anything, post it here.

    2. I’m sorry that I have to agree with Hugh. I’m not at all sure that Eugene has anything of substantial evidence or not. If he has, then it might be helpful to him, if he consults someone more skilled in the design of web-sites. I was unable to discover anything on his present site that demonstrated any evidence at all, beyond a few incidental assertions.

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