Bill Meachem, by way of a comment, wrote:

Dan, My delight at seeing your Shroud blog and forum revived was much diminished by your quoting me TOTALLY OUT OF CONTEXT. I did not “put it that way.” This is the full context:

“The Shroud of Turin Research Project (STURP) formed around a nucleus of scientists studying the Shroud by means of computer enhancement and image analysis. Jackson et al. (1977) scanned the image with a microdensitometer to record lightness variations in the image intensity and found a correlation with probable cloth-to-body distance, assuming that the Shroud was draped loosely over the corpse. They concluded that the image contains three-dimensional information, and confirmation was obtained by the use of a VP-8 Image Analyzer to convert shades of image intensity into vertical relief. Unlike ordinary photographs or paintings, the Shroud image converted into an undistorted three-dimensional figure, a phenomenon which suggested that the image-forming process acted uniformly through space over the body, front and back, and did not depend on contact of cloth with body at every point.”

Clearly I am summarizing what was reported by STURP, and the sentence you quoted is obviously a continuation of “They concluded …” Now one might say I should have been a bit more sceptical, but having never seen or studied what a VP-8 Image Analyzer can do, I went for a simple reporting style.

Yes, I’ve never seen a black swan either, but you make it appear that I was reporting on MY OWN observation of how the Shroud image “converted…”

The issue really can be better refined this way: Is there any medieval PAINTING or RUBBING (forget about modern photos of death masks, etc) that would yield anything approaching a natural body 3D image when subjected to VP-8 or software analysis?

On another topic, surely you don’t mean this sentence to stand alone:

“There is no basis whatsoever for concluding that the cloth covered a body.”

But only in the sense that the VP-8 results did not provide any evidence to support the conclusion. There is of course a wealth of other evidence that makes it an almost inescapable conclusion.

But having said all that, I am still pleased to see you back on the Shroud scene.


I stand corrected.

On the second point (starting with “On another topic), Colin Berry has also written to me in an email to say something similar, “3D response alone provides no basis for concluding that the cloth covered a body.”

I was careless.  Nonetheless, I do not feel like Jim Firth does when he writes:

The naive 3D mystique born of amateurish image analysis has infected shroud research for more than 40 years. Sadly, it still does because it feeds attempts to prove the resurrection with wildly imaginative narratives of the resurrection.

I don’t think it really “infected” shroud research.  Ray Rogers pursued his miracle-free gaseous Maillard reaction hypothesis. Guilio Fanti worked on his corona discharge ideas. Nichola Allen built a working room-sized camera.  Frank Tipler wrote a book in which he suggested that the shroud’s image was a code from God on how to save the universe from eventual demise while developing the software making eternal life possible.   And for the most part, we learned to quit believing that there were coins over the eyes, flower images all over the cloth, and Hebrew and Roman lettering on the cloth.

Nor was the 3D analysis naive.  The analysis was based on the best technology at the time. It is time, however, to move forward and analyze the image with newer and better methods.