Donate to STERA

imageBarrie Schwortz has posted the following on the STERA Facebook page:

We hope you are enjoying the Fall Update to Shroud.com! It was a large one and also launched our once-a-year fundraising effort. Naturally, we hope many of you will make a tax deductible contribution to STERA, Inc. since we must rely in part on our viewers for financial support. We have made it easy to safely contribute online using PayPal or a credit or debit card via our Secure Contribution Form. You can also contribute by mail or by telephone. We thank you in advance for your consideration and generosity.

DO CONTRIBUTE GENEROULSLY
I COUNT HUNDREDS UPON HUNDREDS OF PAPERS ARCHIVED ON THIS SITE
AND THEN THERE ARE ALL THE PHOTOGRAPHS

Here is a link to the Nonprofit Locator page on STERA

Here is a link to latest IRS 990 I could find online.

The Sudarium: A Better Provenance and History?

imageThe Paranormal Report blog, just yesterday, posted a short report, The Sudarium of Oviedo – Better than the Shroud of Turin?

on the Sudarium of Oviedo:

Lying in the Cathedral of Oviedo, Spain in relative obscurity compared to its more famous cousin, the Sudarium presents a better provenance and history than the Shroud and may be the sole surviving relic of the crucifixion that has made it to modern times. Measuring 34″ by 21″, the Sudarium is a bloodstained cloth purported to have covered the head of Jesus of Nazareth after his burial. The cloth is mentioned to have been in the tomb in John 20:6-7 described as a cloth seperate from the shroud. It isn’t mentioned again until 570 A.D. when it was being kept by monks in a cave near Jerusalem. In 614, just before the Sasanian King of Persia Khusru II conquered Jerusalem, the cloth was taken to Alexandria, and within just a few years made its way to Spain through North Africa. Its been there ever since.

AND: here is a 1997 paper with pictures, The Sudarium of Oviedo: Its History and Relationship to the Shroud of Turin by Mark Guscin

Here are some postings on the Sudarium in this blog in just the past year:

New, Very Short Video from National Geographic

Newly published on Nov 16, 2015 by National Geographic, this video is only three minutes long and very well done.  includes short comments by Steven Schaffersman, Ian Wilson and Barrie Schwortz:

The Shroud of Turin or Turin Shroud (Italian: Sindone di Torino) is a length of linen cloth bearing the image of a man that is believed by some Christians to be the burial shroud of Jesus of Nazareth. Radiocarbon dating has dated it to the Medieval period. The shroud is kept in the royal chapel of the Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist in Turin, northern Italy.

Analysis of Fibers in the Raes Area

clip_image001A reader asks:

I have a question that is more directed to Thibault Heimburger who did analyses on actual fibers from the Raes region of the Shroud. Thibault found cotton in fibers 1, 7, and 14. Additionally there was a dye like substance on fiber number 5. Was there any cotton/dye resin found on fibers 2- 4 and 8-13? Thanks.

I Hope This Helps

imageIn an email someone asked:

My friend … has given me your email address.

I have tried to find the origin of the attached picture. I found it on an Internet site and I have asked the owner of the site about it, Anthony Layne, but he does not remember where he found the picture. Here is the link:  http://goo.gl/FctU5r *

Do you have any knowledge about it, ie. is this from the picture formation on the Shroud?

I can of course not use it in my lessons about the Shroud without such confirmation.

A quick Google image search (with Chrome browser, right click on the image and then click on Search Google for this image) reveals four web pages that display the image. One of them is this blog in a posting earlier this year: Seeking Help To Identify an Image Called Superficiality. Readers of this blog have provided some helpful information; for instance Kelly Kearse writes:

Picture is from Baima Ballone’s book Sindone O No, 1990, Figure 34. The above photo is reversed relative to that shown in the book.

I hope this helps.  Do read the comments to learn some additional information about the picture. Click on the picture to see a larger version.


* Note: The full link before shortening is http://tonylayne.blogspot.no/2013/03/resurrecting-authenticity-of-shroud-of.html#.VjnE-EOPTLv

Finally, An Explanation for the Exclamation Mark!

and Michael Tite has some thoughts about the image, as well


imageYesterday, in a comment to Three Questions About The Reweaving Hypothesis, Charles Freeman mentioned that Michael Tite was still lecturing about the shroud. That prompted this response from Hugh Farey:

He is indeed. His most recent lecture was on Monday (yesterday), at the University of Durham Institute of Advanced Studies, in their ‘Evidence on Trial’ series, entitled ‘ Fakes, Forgeries and the Turin Shroud: the scientific evidence.’ It can be heard (audio only although it was clearly an illustrated lecture) at https://www.dur.ac.uk/resources/ias/audio/Tite.mp3.

It tells us little about the dating of the Shroud that we didn’t know before, but contains this little snippet which may be of interest:

I put that exclamation mark because the date had been leaked in the press certainly as medieval for some time, so it was really saying ‘there you are; you’ve known it all along.’ Various other interpretations were put on it – rather more sinister ones – so it wasn’t a very helpful thing for me to do, but that was the reason. That was my response.

Later Tite suggests that the image may have been associated with a real crucifixion, perhaps of a crusader. He is particularly taken with the wrist rather than hand bloodstains.

Do listen. The audio runs 45 minutes. (The introduction is barely audible but the lecture is fine.) Here is an abstract of the talk from Durham University’s website:

The primary underlying theme of the lecture will be the role of scientific examination in providing evidence for the authenticity of antiquities that supplements the evidence provided by their stylistic attributes. The methods of scientific examination will include the investigation of the raw materials and fabrication methods used in the production of stone, metal and glass antiquities together with thermoluminescence dating of ceramics and radiocarbon dating of organic materials. Examples of the application of these methods will include the Getty kouros, the British Museum crystal skull, Etruscan bronze figurines, Neolithic pottery from Anatolia, the Turin Shroud and the Vinland Map. The damage caused to our understanding of the past by the illegal excavation of antiquities together with the consequent ethics of collecting and authenticating antiquities will also be considered.

Three Comments Promoted, Seven or So Reasons to Believe the Shroud is Authentic

imageLet’s start with the third comment, one by Hugh Farey:

I also agree with Daveb. He summarises the evidence that counters a medieval date for the shroud admirably, and uses, entirely reasonably, words like “ambiguous” and “unproven”, and explains that he is persuaded of authenticity. I, on the other hand, am not persuaded of authenticity. I think that’s fine. The Shroud will not become authentic, or medieval, on the basis of what Daveb or I am persuaded, and it is good that together we can work towards removing some of the ambiguity of the evidence, whichever way it leads.

The “also agree” is agreeing with John Klotz who packed it into six words:

As usual, Daveb says it all.

 

And what Daveb said:

Until proper representative sampling is carried out in accordance with a valid sampling protocol, the validity of the results from the single grab sample in 1988 must remain ambiguous and debated, whatever the cause might be of the mismatch from an earlier date, in view of other indications that the Shroud is the authentic burial cloth of Jesus of Nazareth. These indications may include: 1) Fanti’s mechanical testing suggesting the possibility of a 1st century date; 2) Historic arguments that the Shroud was in Constantinople in 1204; 3) Indications from the Hungarian Pray manuscript that distinctive features of the Shroud were known in 1195, prior to the alleged C14 dating; 4) Forensic arguments that the image is that of a real crucified person who suffered the punishments reported in the gospels including a crown of thorns and percussio wound to the chest; 5) the otherwise inexplicable cause of the image; 6) the unsmeared blood stains; 7) Presence of Jerusalem limestone; Etc, etc!

The assertion of homogeneity of the cloth remains unproven, in light of reputable assertions of occasional mending, and in that case a single grab sample is insufficient, even though it might be a routine practice for testing of other cloths (e.g. mummy wrappings) for which there would be no cause to presume mending. Rogers, whatever shortcomings there might be in his chemistry knowledge, and also reputed to be an agnostic, was the chemist with the greatest familiarity with Shroud chemistry. His investigations persuaded him that there were anomalies indicative of highly skilled mending.

Should perchance representative sampling demonstrate that the single grab sample was in fact adequately representative of the whole, then some other explanation for this peculiar result might then have to be considered. The forensic arguments, together with the enigmatic cause of the image, seem to me to be particularly persuasive of authenticity.

I’m not sold on numbers 1 and 6, but I am sold overall.  And I think that the historic argument is much more than Constantinople in 1204. I find the Hymn of Pearl very persuasive, for instance.

That Rogers might have been agnostic doesn’t weigh on me. And if it did, it might impress on me a measure of objectivity. However, Joan Rogers, Ray’s wife, has publically stated in the past that they were both Protestants.

Fr. Matthew Pittam on Relics

imageWhen have you ever read about the carbon dating of the shroud in which no mention was made about the results?

The University of Oxford is to become a world leading centre into the study of religious relics following the launch of a new department. This ground-breaking centre, based in Keble College’s Advanced Studies Centre, is to be composed of computer and medical scientists as well as historians, classicists and theologians. Such an interdisciplinary approach builds upon work that has been undertaken by the university’s archaeological school since the 1980s.

Past achievements within the university have included the dating of the shroud of Turin, which involved study in three laboratories and the radiocarbon accelerator unit. This new unit is the first time that such a wide-ranging field of experts has been brought together in this way.

Not that there is anything wrong with that; this article is not about the shroud but … As a new centre to study relics opens in Oxford, Fr Matthew Pittam takes a look at some more unusual examples in the Catholic Herald:

  • The head of St Catherine of Siena – San Domenico Basilica Siena, Italy
  • The Holy Prepuce (Christ’s foreskin) – stolen in the 1980s
  • St Antonius’s body – Church of San Marco, Florence, Italy
  • Blessed John Henry Newman – The Oratory of St Philip Neri, Birmingham, UK
  • The hand of St Francis Xavier – Gesu, Rome

Well, I hope Oxford is not planning to test the foreskin.  It has gone missing, since 1983. 

Fr. Pittam concludes his article:

I remember a friend telling me how he had retrieved relics from a presbytery bin when the parish priest had disposed of them in the early 1980s. This just shows how relics have been regarded by many more recently.

Hopefully, the new Oxford Centre for the Study of Relics will help further advance and promote the use of relics in the Church and encourage us to think afresh about their importance. Whilst studies will undoubtedly identify some relics as counterfeit or misidentified, others may be confirmed as originating from the time and place where the holy person lived. It will certainly give the veneration of relics more credibility.

JFK and the Shroud of Turin

imageJohn Klotz has an interesting posting in his blog, Living Free.  It’s called Yet again, JFK [and the Shroud]. Read it and follow the links.

THE BOOKENDS — beginning:

I am working to update and mold the material in Quantum Christ into a new book tentatively entitled "The Pope and the Apocalypse [and the Shroud?] Distractions abound including four matters that are still in litigation at one stage or another. Also, current events of an apocalyptic nature including the refugee crisis are a necessary distraction but a component of what I will be writing about.

— ending:

This morning there was published on Salon an excerpt from a new book by David Talbot. David is not only the founder and first editor of Salon; he has spent a lifetime digging deep in the JFK assassination. I thoroughly recommend the Salon posting. And the next time some scientific expert or skeptic derides the authenticity of the Shroud as being disproved by the "evidence," think JFK and the Warren Report.

http://goo.gl/gh6LCh

(link shortened by me using Google URL Shortener)

Is it the evidence or the legitimizing and reporting of the evidence?

Three Questions About The Reweaving Hypothesis

imageA reader asks:

Is there any confirmation that Raymond Rogers actually analyzed the 1988 Sample when he determined it was interwoven with dyed Cotton? How exactly do we know he received this from Gonella?

Also, did Joe Marino and Sue Benford ever have access to the 1988 sample? How could they have confirmed it was a reweaved sample if they were kept at individual universities?

Has anyone ever responded to this supposed refutation of the reweave theory titled The Invisible Mending of the Shroud, the Theory and the Reality.

HERE are a few postings in this blog dealing with the subject. Just scroll down the page. If you want to see the comments, click on the title or the word comments.

(linking in email edited by me)

More on The Relic Master

Interesting article in the Wall Street Journal about the author of the soon to be released novel, The Relic Master.

Some years ago, Christopher Buckley was writing an article on people’s infatuation with lists when he stumbled on something unexpected. His research yielded not just online “listicles” about embarrassing celebrity moments but a reference to a very different sort of list: a catalog of the 19,013 holy relics that belonged to Frederick of Saxony, who ruled from 1483 to 1525. It became the basis for his new novel, “The Relic Master,” out next month.

Mr. Buckley, 63, is best known for his satirical Washington novels such as “Thank You for Smoking” (1994) and “The White House Mess” (1986), as well as for “Losing Mum and Pup” (2009), his memoir about his parents, Patricia and William F. Buckley Jr., the conservative writer and impresario. For much of his career, he also wrote political commentary for publications such as National Review, the magazine his father founded.

But in recent years Mr. Buckley has focused more on straight fiction. “The trouble with trying political satire anymore is American politics have reached the point of being self-satirized,” he says with a smile.” Satire is “everywhere, especially on TV, and is being brilliantly done.” So he thought he ought to do something different.

Set in the early 16th century, during the papacy of Leo X, “The Relic Master” tells the story of a scheme to forge the Shroud of Turin. Mr. Buckley’s characters include historical figures such as the painter Albrecht Dürer, the Duke of Urbino and Frederick of Saxony.

In the story, Dürer counterfeits the famed relic—an idea that came to Mr. Buckley when he saw a self-portrait by Dürer that resembled, to his mind, a reverse negative of the Shroud of Turin. …

I’ve mentioned William F. Buckley, the father on occasion in this blog, perhaps most significantly in a posting directed at Colin Berry, On arrogance and second hand literary wisdom.

Note:  The color photograph, above, is inline linked, meaning it is directly displayed from the Wall Street Journal website without copying it.  It is by Peter Ross.

Computer Hacking Theory for Carbon Dating Continues

“If so, then this itself was a form of scientific fraud,
or at least scientific dishonesty.”  Surely, you’re joking, Mr. Jones.

“The AMS system is clearly designed so that if there was a problem with the dating process at a laboratory, then its target (Shroud) and control sample dates would wrongly agree together, and disagree together with the correct Shroud and control samples dates of the other two laboratories.”  Again, surely …

 


 

imageOkay, I know the subject is over-reported. But I like the quotation by Richard Feynman. It’s a quotation I have always liked, never thought much about, and now am seeing again in the context of the shroud. It is from his famous book, Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman!.

The first principle is that you must not fool yourself-and you are the easiest person to fool. So you have to be very careful about that. After you’ve not fooled yourself, it’s easy not to fool other scientists.

It did strike me as odd that Stephen Jones would use this quotation in his never-ending quest to convince skeptics of the shroud’s authenticity and non-skeptics alike that the results of the 1987 carbon dating of the shroud were the product of a computer program planted in all three AMS labs by a computer hacker, possibly on behalf of the Soviet Union’s KGB.

Is it that Stephen’s theory is preposterous or is it that it seems preposterous and we’re all of us fools? It’s fair, I guess, to ask, given what Feynman said. But then, too, we might think a little introspection by Stephen may be in order.

This part of the theory may be new to you. Stephen writes in his blog, The 1260-1390 radiocarbon date of the Turin Shroud was the result of a computer hacking #4. It makes for interesting reading:

The uncalibrated dates of sample 1 (the Shroud) in Table 2 of the 1989 Nature paper are widely different. As can be seen in Table 2 of the 1989 Nature paper (see above), sample 1 (the Shroud)’s average uncalibrated radiocarbon date by each laboratory was widely different, unlike the non-Shroud samples (2, 3 and 4). Prof. Gove criticised the 1989 Nature paper for having been, “opaquely written” and “difficult to comprehend … even by experts in the field“:

“On 27th February the 16 February 1989 issue of the British journal Nature (volume 337) finally reached the library in my lab. On pages 611-615 appeared the article titled ‘Radiocarbon dating of the Shroud of Turin’ by P E Damon et al. … The article was rather opaquely written-difficult to comprehend in complete detail even by experts in the field …”[20]

Presumably this was deliberate so as to conceal the inexplicable fact that the Shroud sample dates between the three laboratories were widely different. If so, then this itself was a form of scientific fraud, or at least scientific dishonesty.

So says Stephen. Now, dear reader, figure this out:

As stated above the process was fully “under computer control” so human error cannot have intervened in the process, to cause the Shroud sample dates at each laboratory to disagree widely (as they did-see next), while the control samples dates had “exceptionally good agreement. The AMS system is clearly designed so that if there was a problem with the dating process at a laboratory, then its target (Shroud) and control sample dates would wrongly agree together, and disagree together with the correct Shroud and control samples dates of the other two laboratories. Otherwise AMS radiocarbon dating in general would be unreliable and this “mediaeval … AD 1260-1390” AMS radiocarbon date of the Shroud would have to be disregarded anyway (as it should have been)!

So again it is inexplicable if the Shroud sample dates were real (and not computer-generated by a hacker’s (allegedly Timothy W. Linick‘s) program in this fully computerised process), for “the agreement among the three laboratories for [control] samples 2, 3 and 4” to be “exceptionally good,” yet the “spread of the measurements for sample 1[the Shroud]” to be somewhat greater than would be expected (my emphasis).

He does provide a nice graph to help us see this*:

Anyway, I like Feynman’s quote.  I may find a way to feature it on every page of my own blog. It is useful. You can invoke it, probably, for every argument you have about the shroud. It makes for great ad hominem slinging, too. Just make sure you are not the person who has fooled himself.

*The image of the graph is inline from Stephen’s site so he can’t complain that I’m copying his material.

Upcoming Event in Rome

 

image

Title: La Sindone, fotografia di un risorto?
When: 27.11.15 18.30 – 20.00
Where: Auditorium Giovanni Paolo II – Roma
Category: Istituto Scienza e Fede

 

Program (translated by Google):

  • Introduction: Antonio Gaspari, P. Rafael Pascual LC
  • The Shroud and the relics of the Passion of the Lord, Prof. Antonio Cassanelli, Diocesan Centre Sindonology Giulio Ricci, Rome
  • Scientific research on the Shroud: present knowledge and future perspectives, Prof. Bruno Barberis, International Centre Sindonology, Turin
  • Recent hypotheses on the formation of the image of the Shroud, Prof. Paolo Di Lazzaro, ENEA, Frascati

Just in time for Christmas: The Relic Master

"Might be pitched Hollywood-style as The Princess Bride meets Ocean’s XIII."

— Kirkus Reviews, starred review


imageAnother shroud novel. But the author is Christopher Buckley, famous for his book, “Thank You for Smoking” which was adapted for the high-grossing movie of the same name. The Relic Master will be available on December 8th as a traditional bookstore hardcover suitable for Christmas wrapping ($26.95, 400 pages, Simon & Schuster). The Amazon Kindle version will sell for $12.99. The promo reads:

From New York Times bestselling author Christopher Buckley, “one of the funniest writers in the English language” (Tom Wolfe), a compelling and hilarious adventure featuring a sixteenth-century relic hunter and his best friend, Albrecht Dürer, who conspire to forge the Shroud of Turin.

The year is 1517. Dismas is a relic hunter: one who procures “authentic” religious relics for wealthy and influential clients. His two most important patrons are Frederick the Wise, Elector of Saxony and soon-to-be Cardinal Albrecht of Mainz. While Frederick is drawn to the recent writing of Martin Luther, Albrecht pursues the financial and political benefits of religion and seeks to buy a cardinalship through the selling of indulgences. When Albrecht’s ambitions increase his demands for grander and more marketable relics, Dismas and his artist friend Dürer conspire to manufacture a shroud to sell to the unsuspecting noble. Unfortunately Dürer’s reckless pride exposes Albrecht’s newly acquired shroud as a fake, so Albrecht puts Dismas and Dürer in the custody of four loutish mercenaries and sends them all to steal Christ’s burial cloth (the Shroud of Chambéry), Europe’s most celebrated relic.

On their journey to Savoy where the Shroud will be displayed, they battle a lustful count and are joined by a beautiful female apothecary. It is only when they reach their destination that they realize they are not alone in their intentions to acquire a relic of dubious legitimacy. Filled with fascinating details about art, religion, politics and science; Vatican intrigue; and Buckley’s signature wit, The Relic Master is a delightfully rich and intelligent comic adventure.

I thought you might want to see the back cover ahead of seeing it in a bookstore.

image

Dematerialization 101

After too much wine, I guess I might imagine that dematerialization might have happened.

clip_image001Though my recent posting, The Process of Resurrection, got few comments (only 14), it did generate some emails to which I here respond without bothering to repeat the content of the emails; you’ll get the gist of them.

No, the Resurrection is not a scientific fact. No John Jackson did not prove any such thing. And no, the “fact” that Jesus walked through a closed door is not evidence that his post-resurrection body had dematerialized. Nor did Jesus tell Mary Magdalene not to touch him because he was mechanically transparent.

The Bible doesn’t even say that Jesus walked through anything. John 20:19 (New Revised Standard Version – Catholic Edition) reads:

When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.”

Where does it say that he walked or passed through a door or a wall? Now go read The Process of Resurrection if you haven’t already done so. Read about angels and the in-between. Understand, we are talking metaphorically.

Verse 26 doesn’t offer any support to the idea that Jesus passed through anything:

A week later his disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were shut, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.”

And verse 27 doesn’t say that Jesus had rematerialized mechanically while in the upper room with Thomas:

Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it in my side. Do not doubt but believe.”

It doesn’t say that Thomas touched Jesus.  Maybe this was history’s greatest bluff and Thomas was not only a doubter but someone who failed to call that bluff.

Verse 17 does not mean that Jesus’ body was dematerialized:

Jesus said to her “Do not hold on to me, because I have not yet ascended to the Father…

Wishful imagination is permitted. But it is only wishful imagination. The author of John’s Gospel, whoever he was, could have been more specific. And Jesus could have been clearer.

“Do not doubt but believe,” said Jesus to Thomas.

What we find in the Bible, in John’s Gospel, or in any of the Old or New Testament books, is not scientific fact. And no, it isn’t even evidence. To my way of thinking this is not only true in the fields of science but also so in the objective study of history.  It is not historical fact that Jesus appeared to anyone after his burial. Thus I don’t know if the events in the cenacle happened as John’s Gospel tells it. I don’t know if these events happened at all.

But I do believe the stories; that is a different way of thinking, altogether. I peg my faith on what I believe not on what I know to be fact.

“Do not doubt but believe,” said Jesus to Thomas.

So, I should also tell you what I don’t believe.  I don’t believe that Jesus’ body dematerialized and/or rematerialized, not as part of the Resurrection and not at any other time before the Ascension.  There is no biblical, scientific or historical basis whatsoever for thinking so.

I’m saying I don’t believe it. I’m not saying I believe it didn’t happen. The distinction is in why.

But the shroud proves dematerialization, nonetheless, right?

Wrong! The idea that Jesus’ burial cloth fell through a mechanically transparent body while something energetic created an image on the cloth is complete fantasy.  I turn to the best short answer anyone has ever written on the subject. There is nothing new in what Hugh Farey writes, just wonderfully, right-on, articulate brevity:

[You say:] “The fall-through hypothesis fits the data of the image characteristics.”

Well, of course. The trouble with the fall-through hypothesis is that, being imaginary, its parameters can be adjusted so that it fits whatever observations we want. If a critic were to say that the instantaneous disappearance of 70kg of mass would create a sudden large vacuum which would suck the shroud into a screwed up ball in the middle, then we simply have to invent a physics in which that doesn’t happen. If he says that the energy emitted by such a disappearance would exceed that produced by several megatons of nuclear bomb, vaporising the Shroud and most of Jerusalem with it, we simply invent a physics in which that doesn’t happen either. All we need is for a “body wrapped in the Shroud to become volumetrically radiant […] and simultaneously mechanically transparent, thus offering time-decreasing resistance to the cloth as it collapsed through the body space.” Simples. Made-up physics can explain anything.

After too much wine, I guess I might imagine dematerialization might have happened. After all, nobody can prove it didn’t.

Another Perspective on the Shroud Copy Exhibited at the Indianapolis Children’s Museum

The amazing research that has gone into the identification and authentication of the Shroud of Turin (replica represented in the Exhibit) gave me pause


Kanwal Prakash Singh gives us an interesting perspective from his visit to the Indianapolis Children’s Museum (related, see Facebook: Barrie Schwortz on Indianapolis) in the Punjab News Express:

What one sees at the “National Geographic Sacred Journeys” Exhibit that opened on August 29 at the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis is only one part; what the treasured iconic images and artifacts inspire in our heart and the “pilgrimage” into our deeper self may transform our perceptions and relationships with others may be the real major blessing and sure to initiate interfaith events and journeys of discovery closer to home. That will define the ultimate gift and triumph of the “Sacred Journeys” Exhibit, annual Indy Festival of Faiths, other faith-based efforts, and lead us to learn about and respect this diversity as an important dimension and spectrum of our humanity.

… The Sacred Journeys Exhibit at the Children’s Museum in Indianapolis is a carefully-choreographed window to some selected panels of sacred heritage and faith traditions…

Towards the end of the article:

“Sacred Journeys” is especially important for children. In today’s multicultural society, schools, workplaces, an increasingly interdependent and interconnected world, it is important that we know about other cultures and neighbors. If for no other reason, then at least to develop respect: end suspicion, unfounded stereotyping, prejudice; problems of mistaken identity and wrongful associations that are causing many challenges for Sikh Americans and others.

[…]

“Sacred Journeys” helped my understanding and awareness. It did not intrude upon faith precepts, commandments, and traditions. The amazing research that has gone into the identification and authentication of the Shroud of Turin (replica represented in the Exhibit) gave me pause about the priceless surviving artifacts and vestments of Sikh Gurus, many hand-written sacred texts, the hallowed history and heritage that presently lie in less than ideal conditions and environment – in old suitcases, closets, untended places in Sikh shrines and with people that may not fully understand their historic and timeless spiritual significance. Witnessing the care, attention, scientific and technological advancements adopted by Abrahamic faiths, gave me a jolt of urgency to draw attention to preservation, safeguarding the sacred in Sikh and other faiths.

Paris

image

Joel Bernstein on Good Science, Bad Science, and the Shroud of Turin

5:11 mark: “… first, I’m going to talk about good science and bad science. We’ll contrast them. And I’ll give you some examples of good science and bad science…. You’ll have then the
rules … I’ll give you the story of one particular person’s research on the
Shroud of Turin and let you judge….”


This lecture by Joel Bernstein, Global Distinguished Professor of Chemistry at NYU Abu Dhabi, was given in May of 2014. It was published on YouTube three days ago where it has so far been watched only nineteen times, including by me.  It runs one hour and thirteen minutes, including questions.

 

From the YouTube description:

This talk explores the tension between scientific fact and religious faith in the identification and verification of a sacred relic. Many catholic cathedrals and churches can claim some relic associated with Christ. The sanctity of the religious institution is enhanced by proximity of the relic to the time and place of Christ’s life. However, the source and history of many of these relics are often cloaked in mystery due to the scanty historical record. One of the most famous is the treasured Shroud of the Cathedral of Turin. In the 1970’s, authorities overseeing the Shroud enlisted a team of scientists to examine and presumably to verify its source and history. Some of the conclusions drawn from that study, and the absence or presence of scientific evidence for those conclusions, has led to perhaps the quintessential conflict between acceptance of the validity and veracity of the scientific method on the one hand, and religious belief and faith on the other.

Joel Bernstein
Global Distinguished Professor of Chemistry, NYUAD

image
Hat tip to Joe Marino for spotting this.

Nevertheless, the images are real enough!

imageOur resident Kiwi, daveb of wellington nz, of late, has been mentioning Giovanna de Liso, repeatedly, as we continue to struggle with an explanation for the images on the shroud  He has been talking about de Liso since at least April of 2013. Most recently — like a couple of hours ago — in a comment to Because I Don’t See It, he wrote:

I have yet to see a satisfactory explanation of how or why Giovanna de Liso obtained her Shroud-like images from her 12 years of seismic experiments. A protegee of Giulio Fanti, I cannot believe that she faked them. However, neither Fanti nor anyone else has come with what to me might be a satisfactory explanation. She claims that she only ever obtained images under very specific conditions, including the detection of radon! Nevertheless, the images are real enough! […]

And, Hugh Farey, our resident 60/40 skeptic, quickly responded:

Daveb is quite right about the possibilities of geological explanations; they just haven’t been explored or quantified sufficiently for anything much to be said about them. Yet. […]

That woke me up this morning. I realized it is time to read or re-read, as the case may be, Shroud-like experimental image formation during seismic activity by Giovanna de Liso. 

The abstract reads:

Seismic oxidative phenomena on vegetal structures and ferromagnetic rocks, occurring only along parallel surfaces to the ground, led me to verify experimentally if, naturally, in conjunction with earthquakes, it is possible to form images with a 3D character similar to Turin Shroud image, of objects placed between the two edges of linen cloths folded in two and soaked with different solutions. Some similarities with the Shroud image were obtained only on ferromagnetic rocks, during seismic radon emission, with electrostatic discharges and geomagnetic variations, in agreement with Lattarulo s theoretical hypothesis.

Why did I not pay more attention when the paper was included in the Proceedings of the International Workshop on the Scientific approach to the Acheiropoietos Images in Frascati in 2010? Did it then seem too much off-the-wall?  And now, not?

Psychological Influences in Seeing Inscriptions on the Shroud of Turin

… the normal psychological processes underlying perception of writing, and the tendency of these processes to produce illusory perceptions, should be an essential consideration when addressing the existence of religious inscriptions on religious artifacts such as the Shroud of Turin.


In sum, the aim of this research has not been to question the authenticity of the Shroud or the presence of images of a human body and face. Instead, our focus has been the claims made concerning the existence of religious inscriptions which many believe cast crucial light on the provenance of this important artifact.


imageOn October 28, 2015, PLoS ONE, a peer-reviewed, open access journal, published Seeing Inscriptions on the Shroud of Turin: The Role of Psychological Influences in the Perception of Writing by Timothy R. Jordan, Mercedes Sheen, Lily Abedipour, and Kevin B. Paterson. (You can also access this article from the U.S. National Library of Medicine
at the National Institutes of Health)

Do access the article and read it. It is well done. 

Abstract:

The Shroud of Turin (hereafter the Shroud) is one of the most widely known and widely studied artifacts in existence, with enormous historical and religious significance. For years, the Shroud has inspired worldwide interest in images on its fabric which appear to be of the body and face of a man executed in a manner consistent with crucifixion, and many believe that these images were formed in the Shroud’s fibers during the Resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth. But, more recently, other reports have suggested that the Shroud also contains evidence of inscriptions, and these reports have been used to add crucial support to the view that the Shroud is the burial cloth of Jesus. Unfortunately, these reports of inscriptions are based on marks that are barely visible on the Shroud, even when images are enhanced, and the actual existence of writing on the Shroud is still a matter of considerable debate. Here we discuss previous evidence concerning the psychological processes involved generally in the perception of writing, and especially when letters and words are indistinct. We then report two experiments in which the influence of religious context on perception of inscriptions was addressed specifically, using an image of woven fabric (modern linen) containing no writing and with no religious provenance. This image was viewed in two different contexts: in the Religious Context, participants were informed that the image was of a linen artifact that was important to the Christian faith whereas, in the non-religious Neutral Context, participants were informed that the image was of a simple piece of linen. Both groups were told that the image may contain faint words and were asked to report any words they could see. All participants detected words on the image, and indicated that these words were visible and were able to trace on the image the words they detected. In each experiment, more religious words were detected in the Religious Context condition than in the Neutral Context condition whereas the two contexts showed no effect on the number of non-religious words detected, indicating that religious context had a specific effect on the perception of illusory writing. Indeed, in the Neutral Context condition, no religious words at all were reported in either experiment. These findings suggest that images of woven material, like linen, inspire illusory perceptions of writing and that the nature of these perceptions is influenced considerably by the religious expectations of observers. As a consequence, the normal psychological processes underlying perception of writing, and the tendency of these processes to produce illusory perceptions, should be an essential consideration when addressing the existence of religious inscriptions on religious artifacts such as the Shroud of Turin.

The Pollen Scam?

"I regret that, from what I’ve learned from our research, we can not currently use the pollen to define any geographical indication.” — Avinoam Danin*

clip_image001Recent discussions about pollen on the Shroud of Turin, reflected in three recent postings in this blog…

… compels me to want to dig deeper.  Joe Marino kindly sent me, in Google translation, The Shroud of Turin: The scam of pollen. The complete file (In Italian, La Sindone di Torino: La truffa dei pollini. Il dossier completo). It is a paper by Gaetano Ciccone published in June of 2011 at La Sindone di Torino (http://sindone.weebly.com/).

To the reader who asked why I permit so much negative information about the shroud to appear in this blog, permit me a quote by Thomas Aquinas:

The truth of our faith becomes a matter of ridicule among the infidels if any Catholic, not gifted with the necessary scientific learning, presents as dogma what scientific scrutiny shows to be false.

Of, course, I would substitute Christian for Catholic (even if I was Catholic).

Here is a Google translation of an early snippet from The Scam of pollen:

Therefore below will be made an examination of what has been written and published on the subject ‘pollen Shroud’, bearing in mind always that the opponents of the authenticity is denied access to the source documents: the Shroud of Turin and the same material derived therefrom. So here there is proposed at all to study the Shroud pollen, but to study ‘the study of pollen Shroud’. It is, essentially, a work of ‘history of science’ or, as it would be preferable to express themselves, ‘history of pseudoscience’. Ultimately, it is a historical research.

Have been four scholars who took samples of powder with pollen from the Shroud of Turin: Max Frei in 1973 and in 1978, John Riggi in 1978 and 1988, Raymond Rogers in 1978 and then Pier Luigi alien autopsy in 1978 and 2002. Of these researchers, only the first results announced sensational and decisive. Others have not reported anything on their studies, apart from a few hints disappointing.

In consideration of Sindonisti, Frei has by far the most important scholars of the Shroud palynology. John Riggi in 1982 defines it as "the great Frei" [Riggi 1982, p.105], "the illustrious man" [Riggi 1982, p.119], stating that "I was very honored to know this great little man" [ Riggi 1982, p.140].

Even today the figure of Frei and his work is hailed uncritically accepted by some Sindonisti such Emanuela Marinelli, Marco Tosatti, Barbara Frale, Bruno Barberis:

And a later snippet from somewhere about mid-point:

Aside from the quick examination of the tapes made ​​by McCrone in 1988 and the review carried out by Baruch in 1998, in 2001, Professor Thomas Litt, Institute of Paleontology, University of Bonn, has been able to observe the remains of Frei in his laboratory in Bonn, but we do not know the details. The minutes of that examination was dispatched from Litt to Danin and spouses Whanger. Whanger I have never announced anything on the subject, while Danin, following this report, changed his mind than his previous convictions, denying practically all the work done together with his assistant Baruch, and drew the conclusion that the study of Shroud pollen could not get any geographical indication: "I regret that, from what I’ve learned from our research, we can not currently use the pollen to define any geographical indication ‘[Danin 2008, p.54]. It seems that ever since Baruch no longer interested in pollen or Shroud [Wilson 2010, p.65]. Danin, as is known, continues to support the authenticity of the shroud on the basis of hundreds of fingerprints of plants or parts of plants, which he views on the cloth and on the photos of the towel. It appears that the material is more designed by Frei palynologists specialists. And we’re now at 28 years after the death of Frei.

* From a translation of a translation.

Because I Don’t See It

imageA couple of days ago on the Shroud Encounter Facebook page, Russ Breault posted a YouTube video from the Smithsonian Channel, Why the Vatican Believes in the Shroud of Turin. Russ wrote, “This is seriously cool. I hope we can fully validate these findings.”

The video was published about two and half years ago and in that time has only received about 3,350 viewings. That is surprising for the Smithsonian Channel which has over a quarter millions subscribers.

I was reminded of what was probably the shortest posting to ever appear on this blog . Back in April of 2011, a reader asked:

I’ve been reading your blog religiously for months. Why do you keep saying that you don’t see writing even though Vatican expert Barbara Frale does?

I replied. “Because I don’t see it.”

Nothing has changed in my mind. Anyway, enjoy the video. It is less than three minutes long. 



A couple of posting you might want to check out:

 

Paper Chase: Why There Are Probably No Images of Coins, Lettering, Flowers and Whatnots on the Shroud of Turin

An interview with Dr. Barbara Frale

The Writing on the Shroud: A Stephen Jones Update