I had asked Teddi Pappas in a comment to a previous posting, if since she was ‘doubtful that [Colin Berry] will get the highly detailed image that is seen on the Shroud with a photographic negative of its image,’ what method has been proposed (or even tried) that does? And Teddi had commented thoughtfully in return. Her arguments sounded a lot like mine in the days when I was more convinced that the Shroud was authentic. She inspired me to do a lot of thinking. I must respond, so here goes.
Dear Teddi, you wrote:
The method that has succeeded is singular –the Holy Shroud in Turin, Italy. It has a storied history of containing an image not created by human hands.
I think now, that I would say it differently: — It has a tentative and gap-riddled history of containing an image purportedly not created by human hands, often described in fanciful legendary ways.
The adjectives we choose can say a lot. But Teddi, you continued:
Moreover, I will go farther than that and say that I believe that it cannot –with ALL of its special features– be reproduced naturally. What evidence is there to support this thought? The fact that Jews and Muslims have traditionally wrapped dead bodies in Shrouds. Yet, we have no cloths with images like what we see with the Shroud.
Isn’t the reason we have no cloths with images because shrouds covering buried or entombed bodies quickly decompose? Are there actually some ‘used‘ examples of burial shrouds with which we can examine this premise? Christian burial shrouds should probably be included as well. But I know of none that exist.
Logically, and by a process of elimination, it seems that there can only be two conclusions to the fact that we only have one shroud with images. 1) The Shroud of Turin is fake or 2) it is genuine because a circumstance allowed someone to retrieve the cloth from the tomb. We can assume that circumstance was the Resurrection, which according to scriptures included an open and empty tomb. This is something which many contemporary scholars question. Two postings, one at Reasonable Faith and one at The Biblical Archaeology Society illustrate this: The Historicity of the Empty Tomb of Jesus and The “Strange” Ending of the Gospel of Mark and Why It Makes All the Difference. Because we are perhaps expected to believe in an empty tomb (resurrection/theft/swoon/etc.) to conclude for point two, we find ourselves in a paradoxical pretzel: believing in order to believe.
Until recently the empty tomb has been widely regarded as both an offense to modern intelligence and an embarrassment for Christian faith; an offense because it implies a nature miracle akin to the resuscitation of a corpse and an embarrassment because it is nevertheless almost inextricably bound up with Jesus' resurrection, which lies at the very heart of the Christian faith. But in the last several years . . . [read on] -- William Lane Craig
Teddi, you continued:
This, along with the many attempts that have been made to reproduce this image –and the repeated FAILURES to reproduce a cloth with all of its special features– gives the Shroud a rebuttable presumption of authenticity.
Rebuttable presumption? An interesting and apropos appropriation of a mostly legal term. Nonetheless, I can’t see it. I can’t see it with such an uncertain, broken history. I can’t see it with the paltry evidence about imaged or non-imaged shrouds. Nor can I see the presumption warranted by the failure to reproduce a cloth with many special features. Little work has been done; we have only begun to scratch the surface. Collin Berry went as far as he probably could at the kitchen table. Ray Rogers had just started when he became ill. In 2002 he wrote: “[My] observations do not prove how the image was formed or the “authenticity” of the Shroud. There could be a nearly infinite number of alternate hypotheses, and the search for new hypotheses should continue.”
STURP and all of the science since the mid-1970s, has failed to give us a clear picture of the special features. We don’t even know the chemical and physical nature of the most basic image element: the chromophore. STURP’s summary, which is what is most visible to the public, reads in part: “The scientific consensus is that the image was produced by something which resulted in oxidation, dehydration and conjugation of the polysaccharide structure of the microfibrils of the linen itself.”
The word consensus should serve as a warning flag to everyone.
Walter McCrone, whether actually a member of STURP in a legalistic sense, was closely associated with STURP. He was certainly not part of the consensus. Nor was Ray Rogers who was part of the STURP leadership. He collected particle samples from the cloth and loaned them to McCrone. As a chemist, he strongly disagreed with McCrone’s conclusions made by microscopic analysis. Rogers thought the image might be from Melanoidins, a brownish material derived from a Maillard reaction of something existing on the fibers of the cloth, perhaps an evaporation concentration of a Saponaria officinalis washing solution. “Such sugar-amine reactions may offer a simple, realistic, natural explanation for the colour on the shroud,” he wrote in 2002.
Colin Berry, more recently, has proposed and demonstrated something else. It could also be a Maillard product from flour used to impress an artistic picture on the cloth. His work needs to be written up formally and he should publish in a peer-reviewed scientific journal. I don’t think that will happen. Whereas Colin has perhaps chosen not to run the publishing-gauntlet, he has boldly tossed down the challenge-gauntlet in a series of blog postings. As such his hypothesis is a possibility. Since he might be right, his work is at least worthy of consideration.
Teddi, you wrote:
A simple way to determine if Colin’s experiment is viable or not is to check and see what the photographic negative looks like. That’s something that would be very simple to do. If it’s not performed, especially with my offer to provide a camera and film, and publicly shown, then the question will be “WHY NOT?”
But he has! This is it.
This is the “photographic negative” before using VP-8-like 3D plotting software. Perhaps with a full-sized actual human body instead of plastic toy soldier lacking good facial detail, Colin might be able to achieve a ‘Secondo Pia.’
And this is Colin’s Own Face
“Shame about that beard and moustache – both of which I lack, generated as an artefact of imprinting a facial prominence (chin!) under applied manual pressure (face first coated with imprinting medium – a wet slurry of flour and water – then pressed down onto a sheet of linen with underlying pillow to help mould the fabric to the facial contours – with a little flattening of the nose. Do these incidental details – “beard”, “moustache”, “flattened nose” ring any bells?”
It is still a work in progress, but quite impressive.
Teddi, you also stated:
People who want to debunk a miracle need to prove that it’s either a painting of some sort or prove that it can be created through some other means that has, heretofore, not been accomplished.
I’m confused. Are you talking about 1) a resurrection miracle only, 2) a stand alone miracle that created the image, or 3) the Resurrection which somehow kicked off a process that created the image (e.g. radiation)?
So you fully understand where I come from on this, I do believe in the Resurrection of Christ. Moreover, I believe it was physical, at least in some sense of the word. It hasn’t always been that way for me. My beliefs have progressed from a belief in a metaphorical ideal to a belief in a spiritual encounter to, now, a belief in the Gospel stories of the apparitions of the physically-transformed Christ. In most of the particulars, my beliefs conform to the Catechism of the Catholic Church and to common Protestant apologetics. I am, however, an Episcopalian, an Anglo-Catholic. It helps to remember, that at least in America for which statistics exist, a third of all Catholics and a third of all mainline Protestants find it difficult to believe in a physical resurrection of Christ.
I should also state that while I believe in a physical resurrection, I don’t believe — not for a moment — that the Shroud’s images were caused by any byproduct or consequence of resurrection. That includes radiation. See my post, The Shroud and Resurrection Mechanics.
I don’t care much what others believe about the Resurrection or if they believe in it at all. It doesn’t matter to me and I don’t think it matters to God. So, I think we are chasing our tails when we try to validate the Shroud in order to validate any one particular notion of resurrection. And I think it is a mistake, as well, to use the Shroud as an evangelizing tool. The Resurrection is not about an empty tomb. It’s not about images or shrouds. It’s about Christ overcoming death. It’s about a “rebuttable presumption” of everlasting life. And it’s about these words from Father Kim Dreisbach, an Episcopal priest and a friend:
That “special responsibility” is to get beyond the linen to the Lord – to see Him in the faces of the dispossessed, the victims of injustice, the poor, the neglected and all the others for whom He died. “Facts” learned about the Man of the Shroud do not guarantee dedicated service in His Name, Alas, these “facts” can become nothing more than religious erudition in pious garb unless they lead to the deepening of the student’s own faith reflected in concern for and service to those for whom the Man of the Shroud came to minister.
Given that the history is so tentative and the science of the Shroud, once promising but now so almost meaningless, how can I not easily refute “a” miracle? Depends, doesn’t it. I have no idea about how the image was formed. I’m thinking it’s about time to reconsider medieval photography and some other ideas.
Doesn’t the carbon dating also provide us with a rebuttable presumption? It should be redone. That may be the best way to address and finally put to bed all of the questions that have arisen.
I’m trying to find a reason to continue to believe the Shroud is authentic. It’s not easy.
What about another idea that originated with Colin about seven or eight years ago: Suppose that another shroud was used to transport the body of Jesus to the tomb or to cover the body while awaiting permission to bury it. My additions to this notion, and that is all that it is right now, are that the 1) image was somehow formed naturally in the hot sun and 2) the existence of this Shroud, now in Turin, was explained away by supposing the tomb was open and empty. I’m just thinking out loud. I still believe the tomb was empty.
Teddi, thanks for your input. It helps me to think. It helps all of us that way.
An interesting post that I already know has got Teddi revving to go to respond to you :)
Anyways, I was just wondering as I don’t usually have a lot Shroud skeptics/agnostics (other than Hugh Farey) willing to be on my Podcast, would you be willing to perhaps do a debate/discussion show with Teddi on the Shroud sometime? I already pitched the idea to her and she is all for it, though she did say that it would be a while before she is ready as she’d like to get closer to finishing her book first before preparing for a debate. For now, I just wanted to ask would you be interested in doing that in principle at least?
Outside of that, as you’ve never been on my show yet, I would be willing to do a simple interview as well to give you a chance to tell the audience who you are and your take on the Shroud first (it’s easier to do that in interview vs. debate shows).
Any interest doing those shows with me and tackling Teddi the Bear lol :)
Thank you for the offer. I’m flattered. But, I gave up interviews, debates, presentations, speeches, and even attendance at conferences about six years ago due to age-related problems. I’d like to be like Jimmy Carter and still teach Sunday School. So thanks, again, but I must pass on your tempting offers. — Dan
No problem, I understand though I am a little disappointed. That said, I’d be interested in seeing some of your prior interviews and debates, do you have any links where I’m able to see them online?
Also did you do these as a Pro-Shroud guy only or did you ever do any when you had your current position on the Shroud evidence?
Anyways, thanks for answering me even if it was to decline. Good news is Hugh is always willing and able to represent the Shroud skeptics on my shows so it’s good to have both sides represented :)
I will, promptly, add “Muse” to my CV! However, apparently, as far as what I was seeking to inspire you with, you were not, as we say, “picking up what I was putting down.” But, I am a persistent muse, (which, it is noteworthy, that the word “muse” and “mule” are the same but for one letter . . . but, I digress. . .)
Anyhow, let us examine some of the points that you have made. I referenced the “storied history” of the Shroud of Turin. You call it a “tentative and gap-riddled history” that is often described in “fanciful and legendary ways.”
So, there is the issue of what sort of expectations are reasonable with respect to a “need” for a chain of evidence that we can expect for information which we think that we should believe in. Obviously, for something that is immobile, like the great pyramids of Egypt, a chain of evidence is not needed, because they are not being moved around from place to place –unlike a linen burial cloth that can be easily transported (such as by people under persecution who were seeking to safeguard it.)
It is not fair to thrust upon the Shroud a standard that is different from that which we use to determine the authenticity of other artifacts or other pieces of historical knowledge. One might argue that one might require more evidence to believe in something that would put intense pressure on a person to change his or her behavior worldview. I would say: NO. The standard is the standard. When one raises the bar for evidence just because one would have to change one’s behavior or world view if one accepts some piece of evidence as true, this is just an example of BIAS contaminating one’s thinking. And, when we accept paltry evidence to believe things that we do not really care about or things which do not effect our behavior or world view, then we are just being sloppy with how we assess evidence.
And, while we are all guilty of being sloppy with evidence that we trust, this is, unfortunately, a reality of life. One cannot deeply investigate every single piece of information that one believes in –this would not only be utterly absurd, it would drive us all to insanity. So, there has to be a standard. For people who wish to be considered “reasonable,” that standard needs to be reasonable in light of the imperfectly preserved historical data that exists. After all, things do not cease to be what they are simply because a perfect and continuous provenance cannot be established for them. Again, no movable object in history is favored with such an indisputable chain of evidence for its provenance.
And, as aforementioned, the skeptic’s nature is that even with a perfect provenance, there will be some other, additional, reason/s as to why he cannot believe that a certain something is true which he has an emotional or financial interest in. We all know, for example, how easily we all accept data from one or just a few experts on historical archaeological findings. But, if that finding is the purported Shroud of Christ –well, the standard just got raised to one that is radically different from the standard applied to other archaeological findings.
Perhaps an interesting though experiment is to try and provide a detailed accounting of every place that our cellular phone had been yesterday. I mean, EVERY place –the specific rooms in our home, the gas station, the grocery store, etc. Now magnify this with an object that is from nearly 2,000 years ago. And, add a real-world fact to the situation for everyone who is mobile and not bed-ridden: you would be hard-pressed to do this accurately. Why? First and foremost, it is because you were not thinking that you needed to keep a perfect chain of evidence for your cell phone. This is, of course, very different with police officers transporting evidence –which they do, of course, need to keep a detailed accounting of the chain of evidence for trial.
Expectations need to be more reasonable –especially with regard to a provenance for an ancient relic or artifact. Moreover, even if people were given a phenomenal chain of evidence, that still would not be enough. The goalpost would move to that the question of “how do we know that the chain of evidence is trustworthy?” It would be argued that we do not have affidavits notarized by several people so that we can have confidence in the evidence. Then, even if that were provided, the goalpost would, once again, be moved. It would, then, be: how do we know that we can trust those people? How do we know that their signatures were not forged? This will go on endlessly. If such a way of thinking is carried out to its logical end, one would be forced to not believe in anything other than one’s own existence –per Rene Descartes’ “I think, therefore I am.”
No, instead, what is needed is looking at a piece of evidence (whether it is accompanied by the kind of provenance that you want for it or not) and see whether it meets important criteria to identify it as being what it purports to be. THIS is the gold-standard. After all, if someone kills someone with a gun and then throws the gun in a dumpster in another state, do you think that the police need to establish precisely how the gun came to be in that dumpster? No, this is unnecessary. Instead, what is needed is to determine if the gun was actually the murder weapon. Evidence would be examined which can be totally independent of the gun’s provenance. Evidence such as whether the victim’s blood was spattered onto the gun would be very important. Fingerprints on the gun would be important –especially if they match fingerprints at the crime scene. Whoever’s fingerprints on the gun would be especially relevant if this person were an enemy of the victim. You get the idea . . .
And, let us examine George Washington as a historical figure. For us to believe that George Washington “really” existed, do we have to have video footage of his entire life (or, perhaps, at least, video footage every year on his birthday?) (And, a skeptic would say that the video footage is a “deep fake . . .”) Is the fact that legends have been created about George Washington (such as his allegedly cutting down the cherry tree and not lying about it to his father) somehow evidence that he really did not exist? Are the often-told stories of Washington’s famously crossing the Delaware River [not the Potamac, which is the legend], also, evidence that George Washington did not exist? As your muse, I shall now move on to provide further inspiration on some additional points you made.
With regard to my mentioning that we have no other such burial shrouds in history that have on them a (STILL) INEXPLICABLE image of a human body on it, you mentioned asked: “Isn’t the reason we have no cloths with images because shrouds covering buried or entombed bodies quickly decompose?” Well, apparently not. This article that I quickly found and perused mentions a 1st century woolen shroud that still exists, but it, also, mentions linen shrouds that still exist –but, none of them have body images on them. https://www.shs-conferences.org/articles/shsconf/pdf/2015/02/shsconf_atsi2014_00010.pdf
Also, I read that there are plenty of times that clothing on a corpse’s body remain undecomposed, and (not surprisingly) sometimes that frontal portion of the clothing remains in better shape than the back portion of the clothing –since the decomposing body fluids would tend to fall downward.
You argue that there are only two conclusions that you can think of as to why we only have one shroud with images on it: (1) that the Shroud of Turin is a fake or (2) that the Shroud of Turin is genuine because a circumstance [the Resurrection, creating the image] allowed someone to retrieve the cloth from the empty tomb.
With regard to WHY we have a burial shroud with a body image on it that has yet to be reproduced (with all of its special characteristics), we cannot just look at the Shroud of Turin in a vacuum. No, it is absolutely relevant to pay attention to what the history states which it is steeped in. That history tells first tells us (via the Gospels) that Jesus Christ made (on many occasions) falsifiable claims that He would be killed and that on the third day that He would rise again from the dead. This cannot, and should not, be ignored. Why? Because the Shroud of Christ (a.k.a. the Shroud of Turin) is the most compelling evidence that Christ was who He said He was: GOD –and not some lunatic or charlatan. What can possibly be more amazing than a cloth which is of this natural world –and which is STILL with us in this world—but this cloth emulates the very nature of Christ: of this world and not of this world. This cloth made of linen contains not only a supernaturally created image (the rebuttable presumption has already been established about this –more on that in a moment), but it has been proven beyond a reasonable doubt to contain blood on it –an element on a shroud that is not necessarily to be expected.
And, what does Leviticus 17:11 say about blood? “For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you on the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood by reason of the life that makes atonement.” (NASB)
So, this makes the Shroud of Turin not your common, everyday burial shroud from either modern times or antiquity. Moreover, one must ask: why do we still have this Shroud? Most likely, we still have it because it is either (1) a medieval fake that people have preserved since that time, OR (2) because enough people have, historically, understood what an odd, unique and glorious cloth this is –and Whose it is—and they have moved heaven and earth to preserve It for nearly two millennia.
And, let’s cut to the chase: what exactly is good-enough evidence to survive for nearly two millenia for reasonable people??? Is not a cloth that is still with us and which has been exhaustingly tested (especially with countless microchemical tests) by compulsive scientists – good enough? It should be, and if it’s not, there’s something else at play with why someone continues to resist what Secondo Pia’s startling discovery [about the NEARLY 100% photonegative quality of the Shroud] should clearly tell us all: THE IMAGE ON THIS CLOTH WAS CREATED THROUGH SUPERNATURAL MEANS, and, as such, is a MIRACLE. And, the best way to evidence the miracle of the RESURRECTION is with the MIRACLE that tells us WHO WAS RESURRECTED.
The poetry of this is just majestic. Those with ears can hear it, and those with eyes can see it –they just need to listen and to look.
As far as the Shroud’s having a rebuttable presumption of authenticity, the published, peer-reviewed papers by STURP more than enough cover this ground. If anyone doubts this, read the papers which can all be found for free on shroud.com –a treasure trove of scholarly information about the Shroud.
Colin Berry’s experiment regarding an attempt to recreate the image on the Shroud has not been shown to be like the Shroud in any way other than rather superficial ways. First of all, the 3-D aspect was done with Image J software (if I recall correctly.) This is not a VP-8 analyzer. There might be some sort of difference between the two. I wonder whether or not Image J software tends to “fill in” or enhance areas or not. I don’t know. But, this is not an apples-to-apples comparison. But, I will grant Colin that it’s not exactly easy to find a working VP-8 analyzer –much less get access to it. So, while I do not grant him that his method has shown the true 3-D qualities in the same way that we see with the Shroud, let’s just move on to the next issue: superficiality. Does Colin’s oil and flour slurry only go 2 fibers deep within a linen thread of 100-200 fibers? Also, there is the issue of the photonegative of his facial image. I’m talking with a traditional camera and traditional film. I did not notice a photonegative of his face –only of the little figurine (which is, again, not an apples-to-apples comparison.) Moreover, from the photo, the photographic POSITIVE of the figurine looks more detailed than the photographic negative. This is, of course, contrary to the Shroud. Moreover, there needs to be an IMPERFECT photographic negative –since Shroud skeptics have pointed out that the Shroud is not a perfect photonegative. Sure, I’ll go with that –so, let’s see someone produce an intricate photonegative that has the same quirks as the Shroud’s.
And, with regard to whether a Maillard reaction is going on with the body image, I do think that is possible. But, if so, I do not think that it is due to a flour and oil slurry. There is, also, the issue of Heller and Adler’s not having detected even a speck of oil or flour on the Shroud. So, there is that, also.
But, I want to see what photonegative of a face that has GREATER detail than the photopositive. But, even with this, there are still the other specifications that must be met.
And, with regard to what kind of miracle was involved, I think that given that the evidence is that It is the burial cloth of Christ, I think that it only makes sense that it be a resurrection miracle that produced this. But, far be it for me to tell God what kind of miracles He can produce and when. But, all of the clues are there for us to understand what the Shroud’s purpose is: to evidence the Resurrection and show that Christ was telling the truth about His divinity.
And, if the Resurrection was not real –in a physical sense—then Christianity is a waste of time. Fortunately, however, we do not need to rely on faith to tell us that the Resurrection is real and that the supernatural world is real. We have all of the incredible evidence that we need wrapped in the Shroud.
Thanks for the conversation, Dan!
All the best,
Teddi, can you tell me what you mean by, “But, I want to see what photonegative of a face that has GREATER detail than the photopositive.” ?
In the days when we put “negative film” in a camera and then had the film developed and “positive prints” made from them, every negative had more detail than the print. That was true for drugstore prints on cheap paper and for prints on the highest quality sliver gelatin papers like the iconic photographs of Ansel Adams that he meticulously printed himself. It is a matter of the chemistry of the photosensitive compounds suspended in an emulsion. It was also true of every copy ever made of Secondo Pia’s, Mark Evans’, Barrie Schwortz’ et. al’s photographs of the Shroud of Turin. That was true until the development of digital photography.
Then it occurred to me that you may have meant original negative pictures made of Shroud of Turin such as Secondo Pia’s famous negative on a glass plate, or Mark Evan’s famous pictures, or Barrie’s. I wouldn’t call the image on the cloth a photonegative or a photopositve (I’m confused by your terminology). The image on the Shrou is a negative image or a mostly negative image since we can’t be sure about the hair and beard. We could just say it is an image that seems to be a negative. Anyway, what Pia created on a glass plate in his camera looks for all the world like a positive image (ON WHAT IS TECHNICALLY A CAMERA/PHOTO NEGATIVE). It has extraordinary detail. But as much as we may want to believe otherwise, Pia’s plate contains much less detail than what is on the cloth. REALLY! This is even true of Durante 2010 images and the more detailed Haltadefinizione images with 39 billion pixels of data,
Think of this as a version of the Turing Test: Given the opportunity, a talented art forger could produce the Shroud face such that if a camera is used to make negatives (that looks like a positive images) of both faces, we would all be hard pressed to know which was fake and which was real.
Hi Teddi. You wrote: “Colin Berry’s experiment regarding an attempt to recreate the image on the Shroud has not been shown to be like the Shroud in any way other than rather superficial ways.”
I say crucial rather than superficial. We could argue this all day long.
You say, “First of all, the 3-D aspect was done with Image J software (if I recall correctly.) This is not a VP-8 analyzer. There might be some sort of difference between the two. I wonder whether or not Image J software tends to “fill in” or enhance areas or not. I don’t know. But, this is not an apples-to-apples comparison. But, I will grant Colin that it’s not exactly easy to find a working VP-8 analyzer –much less get access to it. So, while I do not grant him that his method has shown the true 3-D qualities in the same way that we see with the Shroud,
C’mon, Teddi. You say, “I wonder whether or not Image J software tends to “fill in” or enhance areas or not. I don’t know.” Is this not an attempt to poison the well? If this were a courtroom, I would be on my feet objecting. Either the jury must ignore the comment, or I must be allowed to call an expert witness.
Out of earshot of the jury, perhaps in the judge’s chambers, I’d explain that the VP-8 uses a video camera and lights, almost certainly incadesant lights, which even with reflectors, create “hotspots” on the Shroud photograph, which indeed tends to “fill in.” Since so much of this system is analog and not digital, I must ask: Were grayscale tests performed for linearity? Because of the camera, were cross-hair and grid tests conducted to test for focus and alignment? What are all of those dials on the front of the machine? What were the settings, and why?
ImageJ is not like the VP-8. Thank goodness. The VP-8 has the potential for significant distortions or fill in.
The VP-8 makes pretty crappy 3D projections. See https://shroud.com/vp8-01.gif.
Now look at the digital software image made with ImageJ at https://i0.wp.com/shroudstory.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/image49.png?resize=600%2C571
Finally, look at an image done with Microsoft 3D builder, which will blow your socks off at https://shroudstory.com/2019/03/15/microsoft-3d-builder/
For a wealth of 3D material that includes a lot of discussion about ImageJ try this link: https://shroudstory.com/?s=imagej
Teddi, I try to play both sides of the street. That’s all. That Microsoft 3D Builder image gives me chills.
Has Colin Berry demonstrated superficiality with some photomacrographs at around 40x-80x or so? I would want to see how many fibers deep his image shows, and I’d want to see if there is any capillarity and trace evidence of prior cementation (if he has washed the cloth.) I would want to see what the sticky tapes look like with the image he produced and compare them to the sticky-tapes of the body-image area from the Shroud.
I would, also, want to see if, with the image of his face, if there is an imperfect (but close to perfect) photonegative quality to it. The photonegative of the toy does not count because it lacks the detail of a real human face, AND his photopositive of the toy seems (from the photo) to have more detail than the photonegative –which is the opposite of what we see with the Shroud.
Regarding the Image J situation vs. the VP-8, you know as well as I do that an apples-to-apples comparison is the gold standard. Moreover, when you start getting into fancy modern-day computerized stuff (where we have the ability to create “deep-fakes” from FREE computer apps, I want to know how much the Image J might be “filling in.” After all, you say that Image J “blows your socks off” –this might be the case because of the huge amount of enhancement (which could be altering and/or manipulating what is really present on the image and what is not) that the Image J software might be doing.
Yes, yes, you might be objecting in court about my comments regarding the Image J, but I suspect that Judge might overrule your objection. (!)
I don’t think you are going to see the many things you want to see from Colin. He has wisely retired from the field. That’s one reason. Another is that you probably can’t accurately compare observations of image characteristics on an ancient piece of linen, manufactured in ancient ways that we may not understand, that has been folded, spindled, held aloft, exposed to a high-temperature fire, and subjected to candle smoke, sweaty hands, and all manner of other contaminants over the years. And why would Colin make sticky tapes? He has the original fibers from his work.
As for superficiality, who knows for sure? Colin has challenged this characteristic, anyway. See Not superficial? The implications could be staggering > https://shroudstory.com/2019/02/08/not-superficial/. Follow some of the links therein. Also read Neither Science nor Catholic in Hugh Farey’s blog > https://medievalshroud.com/neither-science-nor-catholic/.
What do you mean the photonegative of the toy does not count? Colin has been in the process of trying different hypotheses, not trying to perfectly mimic the Shroud’s detail levels in a real human face. I don’t understand what you’re saying when you write, “[the] photopositive of the toy seems (from the photo) to have more detail than the photonegative –which is the opposite of what we see with the Shroud.”
As for the VP-8, what do you mean when you say, “an apples-to-apples comparison is the gold standard.”? How so?
When you write, “when you start getting into fancy modern-day computerized stuff (where we have the ability to create “deep-fakes” from FREE computer apps, I want to know how much the Image J might be “filling in.” you seem to be using a courtroom tricks. I have a slide rule and with it I can multiply two numbers together. I also have a calculator on my phone, one on which it is possible that someone wants to deep fake my grocery list. I guess I should stick with my slide rule, my old rotary dial telephone, my 1952 Chevy with five radio station buttons. (In 1976 when John Jackson, et. al used the VP-8, two-thirds of the telephones in the U.S. were still rotary dial phones. The VP-8 is really old and quite obsolete.)
BTW: Any picture of the Shroud that can be deep faked (a misunderstanding of the term) on a computer can be deep faked on the VP-8.
ImageJ is a public-domain Java image processing program developed and freely distributed by the National Institute of Health (NIH). It comes with extensive documentation and the source code is available for inspection. So far, to the best of my knowledge, no one has ever suggested that the program fills in or changes data in any way. I very much doubt it does. I suspect that lighting does with the VP-8.
Today, a pear fell on my head while I was sitting under a tree. I can’t be sure it was because of gravity for this wasn’t actually a gold standard apple-to-apple comparison with the original Newtonian Malus Domestica.
I think Teddi makes an extremely good job of persuading the jury of her criteria for conviction – or acquittal, I suppose, since she is a defence lawyer – and then establishing the evidence required to fulfil the criteria. In the absence of an opposing attorney, I think it would be very compelling.
However, there is another viewpoint, and if Teddi can build her own goalposts and show how her evidence fits them adequately, then I think I should be allowed the same.
A cloth claiming to be ancient appeared in France in the mid-fourteenth century, unprovenanced, and unauthorised. It was denounced and suppressed as a fake for forty years, passed to a different owner as a fake twenty years later, and then claimed to be genuine again. It doesn’t look like a shroud, it doesn’t resemble any ancient cloth, and there is no evidence of any similar cloth from ancient times. It does look like a medieval altar-display, there is evidence of looms on which it could easily have been made from medieval times, and there is ample evidence that cloths of similar usage were commonplace throughout Europe. Finally it was carbon dated to the middle ages. I believe it is absolutely correct that had it been claimed to be Julius Caesar’s toga or Charlemagne’s bedsheet it would never have inspired the frenetic investigation of today; but not that it would be assumed to be authentic. It would have long been accepted as a fake and put in storage in a museum, for occasional display in exhibitions of historic misattributions.
I don’t think it wise to refer to Orit Shamir’s paper on shrouds as evidence in favour of the antiquity of the Turin Shroud. The tattered shreds of fabric excavated from various tombs are not evidence in favour, they are quite powerful evidence against. Wrong material, wrong weave, appalling state of preservation, and, of course, like all shrouds, associated with skeletons. Of course, it is easy – and true – to explain that Jesus’s shroud could have been different, and that there is a reason it is not associated with a skeleton, but Shamir’s paper does nothing to substantiate those possibilities.
At one point Teddi implies that the very longevity of the cloth is in itself evidence of extreme antiquity. This is circular reasoning of the most blatant kind. Because it has lasted two thousand years, it must be two thousand years old!
On “rebuttable presumptions,” I gather that these are rather like mathematical axioms. They are statements that are generally assumed to be true by both parties, for the purposes of subsequent debate. They are not conclusions made by either side after the debate has occurred. Perhaps the most commonly stated is that the shortest distance between two points is a straight line, upon which most of Euclidian mathematics is founded.
In criminal law, I believe there is a rebuttable presumption of innocence until proved guilty, but that cannot apply to the Shroud. Is “innocence” the same as “authenticity,” or “forgery”? Another legal phrase Teddi – and others – uses is the “burden of proof,” but this too is difficult to apply to the Shroud. If the Shroud is “presumed authentic,” then, sure, the burden of proof lies on those who assert a medieval origin, but if the Shroud is “presumed medieval,” then the burden of proof lies on those who think it authentic. Unless both sides agree which is the “rebuttable presumption,” then there is no such presumption at all.
So the idea that the authenticity of the Shroud should be assumed, in a debate whose principle motion is to determine whether or not the Shroud is authentic, is very one-sided. Dan is perfectly correct to point out an inverse. The idea that the correctness of the radiocarbon date should be assumed, in a debate whose principle motion is to determine whether or not it is correct, would also be ludicrous. As a good Catholic, I am happy to discuss my religion with other Christians on the basis that the Resurrection is a rebuttable presumption, but I certainly would not, and do not, claim it to be so in discussion with people of other faiths.
You said: “As a good Catholic, I am happy to discuss my religion with other Christians on the basis that the Resurrection is a rebuttable presumption, but I certainly would not, and do not, claim it to be so in discussion with people of other faiths.”
Your beliefs should be your beliefs regardless of who you are speaking to. If you have the evidence to establish a rebuttable presumption of something, you should “run with it” no matter who you are speaking with.
With “rebuttable presumptions,” these can exist as just a blanket presumption such as in the U.S. criminal justice system where, from the start, an accused has (without needing to show any evidence) a presumption of innocence.
But, I am not suggesting this sort of a situation. What I am referring to is this: whoever makes the claim has the burden of proving that claim. If a person can establish a case that is more likely to be true than not, then a rebuttable presumption has been established that the claim is true. HOWEVER, if the counter-arguments are strong enough to where there is no longer a preponderance of the evidence that causes one to think that the claim is true, then this rebuttable presumption is lost.
STURP has presented evidence far beyond the over 50% mark to establish a rebuttable presumption that the Shroud is authentic. Moreover, STURP has presented evidence far beyond 50% to demonstrate that the criticisms against its arguments are FALSE. So, the evidence is such that the Shroud has a rebuttable presumption that is true.
If a skeptic or skeptics could replicate the image-making process and the bloodstains (the way that we see them on the Shroud), then that would go a long way towards demonstrating that the Shroud is not a miracle. But, after all these years, and with all the fancy technology, there is still no replication of the Shroud images with all of their special features.
Regarding the issue of the paper that I attached in my prior response, you are straw-manning my argument. Dan was questioning whether a burial cloth could remain undecomposed after wrapping a corpse. The paper that I provided supplies the answer: YES. I even specified that the case mentioned in that paper speaks of a woolen burial cloth, but it references linen burial shrouds that have survived as well.
You stated: “At one point Teddi implies that the very longevity of the cloth is in itself evidence of extreme antiquity. This is circular reasoning of the most blatant kind. Because it has lasted two thousand years, it must be two thousand years old!”
I don’t recall right now whether I ever implied this or not (and, unfortunately, I don’t have time to go back and scrutinize what I had written [which was 5 pages long], but I am more interested in your statement. Let’s just assume for the sake of argument that I said this (which I don’t think I did, but who cares, let’s all just play along): The Shroud has lasted 2,000 years, therefore it must be two thousand years old.
Well, is something HAS EVIDENCE THAT IS HAS has lasted 2,000 years, that would be EXCELLENT EVIDENCE by any realistic measure that the item is 2,000 years old. How would it not be? Can something last longer prior to its existence? NOPE. If something is was created or came about 2,000 years ago but has been encapsulated and perfectly preserved for 500 years so that the aging process has stopped, does that mean that the item has still not lasted 2,000 years? NOPE. Once again, you are using this “circular reasoning” attack in a way that is INCORRECT. An example of circular reasoning is this: “The Bible is true, because in the Bible it states that it is true.” This is circular reasoning because there is no independent evidence demonstrating that the Bible is true other than its direct claim that it is true. BUT, this is not the same with the Shroud –which has independent pieces of evidence establishing that its age can span to the time of Christ’s crucifixion.
Regarding Julius Caesar’s toga, you know good and well that countless artifacts from antiquity are believed as true because, probably, no more than a handful of experts have deemed it so. The Shroud is under attack for its authenticity because if it is true, it would cause many people to feel very stressed about needing to change the way that they live their lives –and lots of people are not interested in doing this. As such, this is bias that is factoring into the creation of a double-standard for how relics are determined to be authentic or not.
The potent evidence of the Shroud’s authenticity –where are miraculous image evidences the miracle of the Resurrection and that Christ was who He said he was is a game-changer if people have the guts to admit to themselves what the evidence tells them is true. But, many people love to delude themselves so as to not have to change how they live in order to comport with the rules that God has put in place for us to live by. It’s pretty obvious to those who have eyes and can see.
Splendid comments, as usual.
1) “As a good Catholic…” Yes, one’s beliefs are one’s beliefs, and one should be ready to defend them regardless of whom you are speaking to. However, in order to discuss, say, Jesus’s teaching in Asia after the crucifixion, both parties would have to agree to the presumption, even if solely for the purposes of the discussion, that Jesus did not ascend into Heaven after forty days. Otherwise no discussion is possible. That’s what I thought a rebuttable presumption was, but I bow to your superior experience of the law, of course.
2) I can certainly agree that in your opinion, “STURP has presented evidence far beyond the over 50% mark to establish a rebuttable presumption that the Shroud is authentic.” But it is only your opinion (and those of other authenticists, of course). Many people, such as myself, have a different opinion, which is that there is no evidence at all that the Shroud is authentic. I don’t know how your rebuttable presumption is established in legal proceedings. Do you just present your case to the judge, and see if he agrees with you? What if your legal opponent disagrees?
3) I hadn’t realised that your reference to Orit Shamir’s paper was only to establish the longevity of linen in general, and not the preservation of Jewish shrouds. The Egyptian Museum in Turin is full of much older linen, in a much better state of preservation, so I’m happy to agree with that.
4) In one of your comments above you wrote: “What exactly is good-enough evidence to survive for nearly two millennia for reasonable people? Is not a cloth that is still with us […] good enough?” That’s the circular reasoning I was referring to. I know that the parentheses contained another statement (“which has been exhaustingly tested”) which is not an example of circular reasoning, but the two ‘evidences’ are not the same. The first is, the second isn’t. Naturally you go on to insist that there is adequate evidence (your rebuttable presumption again) that the cloth is two thousand years old, but I disagree. I don’t think there is. The simple fact the the Shroud is still with us is not evidence that it is two thousand years old. I do agree that if it could be established that it was two thousand years old, that would be evidence that it was Jesus’s, but I don’t think that, in spite of being “exhaustingly tested” that its antiquity has been established.
5) Your most important point is your last, which suggests that if it could be demonstrated that the Shroud was authentic, then many people would have to change their lifestyles. Do you think that’s true? Firstly, suppose it was established as authentic, but not necessarily miraculous.
By far the most numerous opponents of the Shroud’s authenticity, as a trawl through videos and the comments to them will show, are Christians, whose denial of the Shroud is based entirely on their reading of the bible. I wonder how their lifestyle would change. Perhaps they would give up their literal adherence to the bible and join a more mainstream version of Christianity, or perhaps they would give up Christianity altogether. Whether they would become better people is not, I think, obvious.
What about non-Christians, or atheists? I think they would, if they don’t already, acknowledge that Jesus had ‘died’ and was buried, and perhaps that he revived and lived again, but I don’t think they would feel it necessary to recognise him as divine.
Secondly, what would happen if it could be conclusively proved that the Shroud was the product of a divine event, outside the realm of science altogether. Apart from a few simple refuseniks, everybody would have to acknowledge that God became man in Palestine 2000 years ago. And what would happen? Well, in Europe, for example, that was actually the case for nearly a thousand years. How was people’s lifestyle different then? Was it, socially and morally speaking, any different from today? Was there more tolerance? justice? social responsibility? good news for the poor? I submit it’s a moot point, your honour.
I find it a bit unfortunate, but not too surprising, that Christians (me too sometimes) seek to find in the Shroud of Turin any proof of the resurrection.
It is perhaps to forget that the importance of faith without proof, is clearly expressed by Jesus, in particular in his exchange with Thomas, but also with the Pharisees affirming that only a sign: the sign of Jonah would be given to men.
In this sense, the real miracle of the Shroud is perhaps to be like our most beautiful dreams which vanish all the more quickly as we try to clarify them.
Proof of the resurrection would negate, at least for some of the most rational of us, the freedom to believe or disbelieve. Doesn’t Paul say that only faith saves?
On 2D-3D software. I can quite see that without any idea of how this works one might challenge the idea that two different versions, such as the VP-8 and ImageJ, are comparable. Well, that’s OK. But I do know how it works, and can assure you that they are comparable. Both of them “fill in” to some extent, and how satisfactory the resulting image may be depends of how various factors are manipulated.
For example, the Enrie photos of the Shroud have a very narrow range of greys. Most of each photo is made of small areas of either black or white. If the tiny areas of black are given the lower limit of elevation and the tiny areas of white are given the highest, then the resulting 3D image is just a forest of needles, and although a vague 3D image is ascertainable, the model is pretty meaningless.
Even a modern close up such as Shroud 2.0 fails in this respect. The tops of all the threads, imaged or unimaged, are all lighter than the valleys between the threads, and again, a precise interpretation leads to a forest of needles.
What to do? Inevitably, areas of the photo must be averaged. ImageJ enables one to adjust the amount of averaging, but I can’t speak for the VP-8. Images can be entirely averaged to an almost uniform grey, producing an almost uniform horizontal plane, which is not very helpful. Such is the nature of the weave of the Shroud that 1mm squares can produce quite good averages, that smooth out the shadows over the threads, so that the darkness of each average corresponds to our perception of the darkness of the Shroud at that place. Unfortunately, such is the irregularity of the colouring of the Shroud that even this produces a more or less meaningless landscape, so the averaging must be increased again to cover areas of about 5mm square.
Assuming that these little 5mm square areas are square in shape, this would result in a model made of little square section towers, which again, have to be smoothed out to produce realistic looking 3D terrain. The amount of smoothing can be adjusted on ImageJ, but again, I don’t know about the VP-8. Certainly, the settings on ImageJ can be exactly matched to anything the VP-8 can produce.
One significant feature of Colin’s 3D image, however, is that the actual colour of the negative has been reproduced on his image, with the light parts on the higher elevations and the dark parts lower. This cannot be done with the VP-8, the colour of whose images is exclusively related to the apparent elevation of each area, and it can be argued that an ImageJ 3D interpretation is assisted by this. Fortunately, this can be removed, so that the colour is a uniform grey, or blue, say, resembling the VP-8’s green. And fortunately for Colin, his little model produces just as good a 3D representation in grey-scale as it does in colour.
Teddi is correct that the positive and negative photos reproduced above are at different resolutions. The positive (brown marks on white cloth) is much better than the negative (in 3D, white marks on dark cloth). However it is an easy matter to take the positive and invert it, and sure enough the detail of both is thus the same.
This is a good explanation of the 3-D plotting concept. I think I understand the process very well, but I could not have expressed it as well as you did, Hugh. I never thought of calling the smoothing process fill-in. But that works for me. Fill in, I thought of as the addition of information, not an algorithmic adjustment of the data points in the brightness height-field of the image.
One concern I have had with the VP-8 was The addition of brightness in certain parts of the picture (hotspots). In a demonstration in 2014, in St. Louis, I noticed that the camera used to capture the image for the VP-8 analyzer was mounted on the tripod and I aimed down at the picture on the table. Lighting was accomplished with a single bulb inside a metal reflector shining on the picture at an angle. The picture was on semi-gloss paper or glossy paper and you could see reflected light across the forehead and around the nose. Moreover, you could see a faint shadow of one of the tripod legs in the vicinity of the right shoulder. That was, as I see it, fill in in the form of light contamination. Of course, this was just a demo but it raises concerns, nonetheless.
Another concern I have with VP-8 is it the picture used for analysis is captured with a camera and adjustable focus lens. What happens if the lens is not in perfect focus? Does an out-of-focus affect the smoothing? And are there any controls in place to make sure the lens is precisely at 90° to the picture.
The VP-8 was a great and innovative device in its day. So too, were many new pre-computer electronic devices.
Blurring the image is quite a good way of smoothing it, and averaging out the irregularities caused by the high contrast or the shadows between the threads. You could put the camera out of focus, or send the image through blurring software before subjecting it to ImageJ.
As for hotspots, that’s interesting, but doesn’t seem to be important. It could result, say, in a completely uniform grey sheet being given some relief by the analyser. If a positive of the Shroud were used, then dark areas could be bleached, producing flat areas where there should be relief. If a negative were used, then hillocks should appear in areas which ought to be flat. There is no obvious appearance of that on the images I have seen, nor of a diagonal raised (or sunken) bar that would represent the shadow of a tripod.
Remarkably, the VP-8 seems rather rarely to have been used to make 3D-models from 2D images, probably because so few 2D-images are suitable. Mostly it seems to have been used to generate artificial elevations from differently coloured patches on a flat landscape (rather like the chessboard illustration sometimes shown on Shroud sites), such as differently coloured vegetation on landscapes. Sadly it seems to have been a bit too unwieldy to be really useful, and neither more discriminatory, nor quicker, that what could be established by the human eye. Naturally it was never, ever, ever, used to analyse images of the moon or Mars.
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