John Klotz Issues a Challenge: Show Me an Image

A reposting from Quantum Christ Image by John Klotz
(with permission)

A Challenge to the Skeptical Community: Show Me an Image

imageI have a challenge to those skeptical of the authenticity of the Shroud of Turin, Show me an image comparable to the Shroud of Turin at least five centuries old. It doesn’t have to be of Christ or have any relationship to religion. It can be of anything.

I am in the process of completing a manuscript with a current working title of: “The Coming of the Quantum Christ: The Shroud of Turin and the Apocalypse of Selfishness.”

It includes in the large part, the scientific study of the Shroud of Turin. Some weeks ago I challenged a skeptic on Dan Porter’s   Shroud Story blog to show me an image of sufficient relative antiquity that has similar characteristics as the image on the Shroud of Turin. I do not recall ever receiving a response. So now I the challenge to the larger skeptical community:

Show me such an image of that was in existence no later than 1500 CE [AD]. I choose that year as the cut-off because I believe no one can seriously dispute the existence of the Shroud by that year.

Not a painting. Painted images do not qualify because I submit that from one thing established by the Shroud of Turin Research Project (STURP) in 1978 and by additional research since that time, is that the Shroud is NOT a painting. Sorry Walter McCrone fans. In one of my chapters I cite Harry Gove’s initial impressions of McCrone when he first met him. They are not complimentary.

So here’s the challenge: direct me to an image currently in existence that was created prior to 1500 CE that has features comparable to the Shroud. That would include at a minimum:

  1. A depth of the image no greater than the outer shell of a fibril of linen. The image of the shroud is such, or even more probably, a darkening of by-products left on  the linen from the  retting of it by methods dating back to BEFORE 1000 CE but I won’t quibble about a measly 500 years;
  2. Sufficient definition (resolution) of the image to allow determination of important features of a human body to the extent those are determinable from the Shroud image;
  3. Difference of various parts of the image intensity to allow interpretation as a three dimensional object.

I am serious about this. My final chapter is 18; The Challenge of the Shroud and if anybody has a relevant image, I will comment there or maybe in a relevant earlier  chapter with proper attribution.

You may respond to this posting to Warning, I am looking for a specific item: an image that has the characteristics of the Shroud image that predates 1500 CE. It does not have to be of Christ. If you  wish to direct me to such image please respond. However, I  will delete argumentation about my criteria which fails to cite an image which matches the criteria.

Six Months Ago Today: The Dawkins Challenge

imageHas there been any news? Here is the challenge letter dated March 29, 2012:

An open letter to Richard Dawkins

29th March 2012

Dear Richard Dawkins

It is really not sufficient to dismiss the Shroud, as you do, on the basis of a C14 test from a single and badly selected sample area. Are you really saying that C14 has never made a mistake? Archaeologists frequently go back to retest something when other data conflicts. That has been impossible with the Shroud.

In your Shroud blog you argue, rightly in my view, that it is not enough for Christian apologists to weigh faith heavier than facts. After all, Christianity is based on a historical figure. The Shroud of Turin is a much-studied tangible object and it is a very significant fact that its unique image – so far – remains unfathomable. But that could be about to change if you, with the weight of your formidable foundation behind you, choose to accept this challenge.

When Professor Hall, Head of the Oxford Radio Carbon Unit announced the C14 result he was asked for his explanation for the Shroud. He said: “Someone just got a bit of linen, faked it up and flogged it”. This sounded a bit glib at the time and now, over twenty years on, it is beginning to sound a little hollow. No one has yet been able to show how it might have been “faked up”.

Accepting this challenge would appear to be consistent with your foundation’s mission. Does it not represent a wonderful educational opportunity to investigate what some have suggested could only have been the work of a Leonardo Da Vinci? To make the decision easier for you we will donate the £20,000 to your foundation if you simply accept the challenge and follow it through to some kind of conclusion. The public can make up their own minds about the result.*

The challenge then, if you choose to accept it, is to explain how the Shroud and its image might have come into existence. You will find a list of the most significant image characteristics here. If you cannot pin it down then, in all conscience, you should, at least, give it the appropriate respect as an enigma. If you can explain it then this site’s title becomes a misnomer and you will have solved a great mystery. Everyone would like to see this matter resolved. Could you be the one to do it?

With all good wishes

David Rolfe

* This £20,000 donation is not made possible because championing the possible authenticity of the Shroud is well funded or lucrative operation – far from it – but because your acceptance would trigger a commission for a documentary along the lines of our 2008 BBC2 film with Rageh Omaar. If you wish, you could nominate an executive producer.

Marcel Alonso on Rogers’ Impurity Layer

A guest posting from Yannick Clément that is relevant to the Dawkins Challenge:

* * *

imageI would like to share with you a reflection made by a French engineer named Marcel Alonso (member of the French group CIELT and also member of the SSG if I remember well) who supports the hypothesis of Rogers concerning the chromophore of the body image on the Shroud, i.e. that it is composed of a thin layer of carbohydrates impurities found on-top of the linen fibers (external to them). This reflection of Alonso gives us another possible clue that could support the hypothesis of Rogers. Here it is (translation is mine from an original article published in French) :

With adapted numeric treatment, the French engineers Castex, de Bazelaire and Doumax succeed to “equalise” the basic tint of each thread in the region of the face.” (Personal note : they did this to remove the banding effect we see everywhere on the Shroud, particularly noticeable in the region of the face, which had a proportional effect on the intensity of the body image). Alonso continue : “The image carried by the threads appear then purified of every parasites that can deform it, and it is a more regular face, less severe, and more conventional, that we can contemplate.

(Personal note : You can see the result of their numeric treatment of the face here : On this website, it is the second set of 2 side-by-side pictures, showing the face before and after their numeric treatment.

Then, Alonso make a very interesting deduction :

Since these treatment leave the image intact [personal note : with no deformation of the image], the formation of this image WOULDN’T HAVE ALTERED THE SURFACE COMPOSITION OF THE THREADS, which would go in the sense of a DEPOSIT OF COLORATION ADDED TO THE THREADS.

Before making this statement, in the same paper, Alonso said this :

The layer of coloration possess the “additive” nature that allow the numeric treatment (by removing the “noise”) to uncover the (real) image.

It’s maybe a bit complicated to understand, but I think his point of view deserve some serious thoughts ! For Alonso, the fact that a numeric treatment done to remove all the banding effect on the Shroud didn’t produce, at the same time, any deformation of the image is a good sign that the image hasn’t altered the surface composition of the threads (i.e. the primary cell wall of the linen fiber). And if his interpretation is correct, that can only mean, for him, that the conclusion of Rogers regarding the image chromophore (i.e. the coloration didn’t affect at all the linen fibers themselves) MUST BE TRUE !!!

Personally, I’m not enough skilled about things like that (numeric treatment of image versus the chromophore) to be sure if the point of view of Alonso is correct or not. Anyway, I found his reflection very interesting, mainly because this is the very first time I’ve heard something of that nature. For this reason, I thought it deserves to be known. I hope you will seriously reflect upon this, because in the end, it can well be a real good clue that point in favor of the hypothesis of Rogers concerning the chromophore of the image…

Continue reading “Marcel Alonso on Rogers’ Impurity Layer”

Does Dawkins even know he has been challenged?

image29condorito writes in YouTube comments for Shroud Enigma Dawkins Challenge:

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out what happens with this challenge, assuming Dawkins accepts it. Dawkins will come out with some pseudo-scientific hair-brained explanation (probably combined with contentions on other "agreed" characteristics), he will have the backing of the anti-shroud community, and then claim that his view wasn’t accepted because of the bias from the other side.

The media, if it doesn’t side with Dawkins, will report both sides as equally valid.

As of this writing there have only been 428 views and 3 comments after 3 days. The challenge is about 8 weeks old. Does Dawkins even know he has been challenged?

Who knows what nonsense lurks in the hearts of Valencia? The Shadow knows.

imageA reader writes:

It occurs to me that Nathan Wilson’s famous “Shadow” satisfies all but one of the image characteristics of the The Valencia Shroud Enigma Challenge. That one shortcoming is easy to remedy.

imageThe “Shadow” is certainly a molecular change confined to the outermost few hundred nanometers of the fiber, well within the primary cell wall. The “Shadow” is not visible when viewed with transmitted light. Image intensity does correlate to imagined cloth-to-body distances. There is no side-of-body imaging. Image resolution matches that of the Turin cloth.  And as with the Turin cloth there are no outlines. Nor is there any notion of directionality. Of course, the “Shadow” is very much a photographic-like negative.

There is only the matter of there being no proof of no image below a bloodstain to make the “shadow” fully compliant with the challenge. It is a problem only because no blood was used on the original “Shadow”. That can be corrected and a new image can be prepared in a week’s time.

Please provide the UPS mailing address of the judging panel. To whom should I send wire transfer instructions. 

Maybe the Shadow Shroud really does meet all of the criteria. Nathan can have fun with this and Dawkins may end up having the last laugh.

Richard Dawkins, Famed Atheist, Supports Free Bibles In Schools

Now with David Rolfe’s Challenge to Richard Dawkins it probably makes sense to keep up with everything Dawkins. The Huffington Post tells us that Richard Dawkins, Famed Atheist, Supports Free Bibles In Schools:

imageRichard Dawkins, the well-known British atheist, wrote in the Guardian that he supports education secretary Michael Grove’s plan to send free King James Bibles to every school.

In fact, he said he would have even donated to the cause insisting that: "A native speaker of English who has never read a word of the King James Bible is verging on the barbarian."

However, Dawkins has an additional motive for supporting Secretary Grove’s plan.

"People who do not know the Bible well have been gulled into thinking it is a good guide to morality," Dawkins writes. "The surest way to disabuse yourself of this pernicious falsehood is to read the Bible itself."

The Valencia Dawkins Challenge: No Consensus on Consensus

imageGiulio Fanti (pictured) writes:

Dear Dan. . . . You have my permission to inform whoever you want of my position: "I am tired for all the recent diputes on SSD (sic: SSG) . . . I asked David Rolfe to improve the Valencia’s list, but my proposal was not considered, instead I have recently noted a  variation which I don’t approve. For this reason I asked David Rolfe to cancel my name from Valencia’s list."

So much for consensus? Another reader observes:

It is unfortunate that scientists like Ray Rogers and Al Adler are not around to defend their work. They may have passed away but their published scientific findings are still perfectly valid without proof to the contrary. Thanks to careful sleuthing by Yan Clement, we are reminded that McCrone found starch and Rogers confirmed it. Stéphane Mottin had thought that the cloth’s fluorescence was caused by some deposit of pectin. Al Adler tested for and found pectin impurities. Is it any wonder that the Valencia five chose to ignore fluorescence? The consensus of Valencia is as phony as baloney.

Ron, by way of a comment, offers a different perspective:

I see no problem in the change made to the number 1 statement, it mentions the impurity layer and that that may be involved in the image formation and not just the linen fibrels…good enough! The main point is that the image is extremely superficial…point made, case closed.

As for all the opposition to the ‘consensus’, this I believe is not a ‘true’ consensus for any true meaning of the word. We must remember these ‘points’ mentioned on the list were established already by most all scientists involved with the Shroud investigation, so not just decided by a few!. These points were just picked out of an already ‘established’ list of scientific points! It doesn’t matter who you have on the board or how many, there will always be opposition to certain members choosen or to the fact some of the more prominant scientists cannot be included.

One reader writes:

The Valencia Challenge. The team of five. Prize money. The whole thing sounds like a hyped-up pay-per-view sporting event. Forget Dawkins and skeptics. Instead “challenge” all the shroud scientists to arrive at a real comprehensive “consensus”. Be honest. Report out majority and minority opinions and admit it when there is no consensus. The lack of standard citations (AAAS, CSE or MLA) and the lack of specific metrics, where appropriate, makes the whole Valencia thing seem amateurish.

Andy Weiss nets it out nicely:

I would say consensus in science is right when you have a tested, repeatable theory that is correct.  The consensus does not create the right result.  It only reflects that scientists accept what is proven as such.

And daveb of Wellington, New Zealand agrees with Andy and then offers some interesting stuff:

To some extent the debate about (non-)/acceptability of consensus in science is merely semantic, and I think Andy’s comment comes close to the mark.  The sciences in general have frequently been contentious.  I can recommend any of Hal Hellman’s books in his series "Great Feuds in …" (Science / Mathematics / Technology / Medicine).  The feuds were sometimes about priority, sometimes about validity, sometimes about concepts.

Two matters come to mind in connection with this challenge and the debate about consensus.

Around 1900, David Hilbert, president of a prestigious international mathematical association presented a programme of some 23 unsolved problems for the twentieth century.  I think most of them have now all been resolved, a few in quite unexpected ways, e.g. Godel’s undecidability theorem, axiom of choice, and the contiuum hypothesis in transfinite numbers.  Hilbert had not sought consensus for his programme, but his status as president had allowed him alone  to formulate his programme of challenges.

The second matter relates to the Paul Wolfskehl prize of 100,000 marks for the proof of Fermat’s Last Theorem   Fermat had formulated his notorious theorem around 1637, and claimed to have had a proof (he hadn’t – it was really a hypothesis).  The problem challenged the best mathematicians for the next few hundred years.  In 1908, Paul Wolfskehl, a Gernan industrialist bequeathed in his will a prize of 100,000 GM to whomever could solve it.  The challenge attracted every amateur mathematician throughout the world, and the math dept in the university of Gottingen was inundated with attempted proofs. In response the dean developed a routine card response "The first error occurs in Line xxx".
The Theorem was finally proved by the English mathematician Andrew Wiles at Princeton U in 1995, who had dedicated much of his professional life to its solution.  Peer review of his first presentation of the "proof" revealed.a serious problem which seemed intractable.  However further work resolved his difficulty, and Wiles eventually collected the prize.

You can find any amount of material on the web about Fermat’s Last Theorem, the Wolfskehl prize and Wiles’ proof of the theorem.  Simon Singh has published an excellent paper-back on the subject.

The example serves to acceptance in the scientific community comes about, certainly in mathematics anyway.  I doubt if the Shroud challenge will attract the same amount of attention as did the Wolfskehl prize.  But it would not surprise me if we have to wait a few more hundred years, before the enigma can be finally resolved.

Cazab disagrees with Crichton:

Crichton is dead wrong: consensus is  not "a way to avoid debate by claiming that the matter is already settled."

Consensus in science is needed because it tells us where the evidence leads for experts in the field.

For example in history the consensus in scholarship is that Jesus really existed and was not a mythical figure. But a tiny minority of minors scholars disagree. Scholars do not say "our consensus is the ultimate truth" but just this where all the data and our line of reasoning lead.

In science, the consensus in scholarship is that quantum particles do exist. But some major scientists and philosophers of science (van Fraassen for example) disagree. There is a debate the matter is not already settled.

But maybe Crichton just confuses  "consensus" and "paradigm".

But Colin Berry, after promising to leave us “loonies,” returns a few minutes later to challenge us and sour the milk in our morning coffee. This is prompted by Yannick’s discussion of statement 1 in the Valencia challenge. Have we (all of us) done our homework well enough, is how I read this. This is perhaps a taste of what is to come:

"Maillard products are not water soluble, and they do not moved when wetted.” Really? Who decides these matters? Science by consensus is bad enough. Science by ex cathedra pronouncement is even worse…

To set the record straight, and speaking as a previous Head of Nutrition and Food Safety at a food research institute, let me tell you that Maillard reaction products (melanoidins) that are made using reducing sugars and simple amines can most certainly be water-soluble. It is the melanoproteins that tend to be insoluble (see under "Isolation" in that link) but Rogers specifically stated it was, at least according to him, low molecular weight putrefaction amines (cadaverine, putrescine etc) that provided the amino nitrogen for production of the Shroud image.

Henry from San Antonio writes:

I think it is a good idea. I don’t agree that a consensus of a handful of experts is a problem. Go for it.

No consensus on consensus!