Archive for the ‘Comments Promoted’ Category

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

November 23, 2015 12 comments

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.

Categories: Comments Promoted

Bob Rucker: A Burst of Radiation Did Three Things

October 30, 2015 56 comments

Alas,  I could not find that Bob Rucker or his work was mentioned
anywhere in the Critical Summary.

clip_image001Bob Rucker (pictured) posted what follows as a comment last evening. I have added a link to a previous comment by Bob and some links to more information.

It is my opinion that enough evidence has accumulated that we should now realize that there was no invisible repair/reweave in the C14 sample area, and that the solution to the C14 dating problem is what I presented at the St. Louis conference in 2014. I showed that MCNP nuclear analysis calculations indicate that if 3.0 x 10^18 neutrons are emitted uniformly in the body while it was in the shroud in the tomb, then three mysteries related to C14 dating are solved:

1) Neutron absorption in N14 in the shroud creates new C14 in the shroud that is identical to the original C14 in the shroud so that the C14 date is shifted from 30 AD to 1260 AD. The dating laboratories, not realizing that the shroud had been through a neutron absorption event, would have misinterpreted their result by assuming the wrong C14 decay curve.

2) The results reported by the three dating laboratories were not in good agreement with each other. Statistical analysis indicates only a 5% chance that their results were within their measurement uncertainty, so that the differences were probably (95% probability?) caused by something. Plotting their results as a function of the distance from the end of the shroud indicates that there is a slope or gradient of 42 to 57 years per cm across their data depending on the sampling done in Tucson. This slope in the C14 dates from the three laboratories agrees with the MCNP nuclear analysis calculations, which calculate that a uniform neutron emission in the body causes a neutron distribution in the tomb which produces just this range in the C14 dates across the sample region, so that the disagreement between the laboratory values is the result of the slope of the neutron distribution at the sample location resulting from homogeneous emission of neutrons in the body.

image3) These same MCNP calculations predict that a piece of cloth placed on the side bench about a foot in front of the back bench where the body in the shroud was located would date to about 700 AD. This location in the tomb is a natural location for the person working on the body in the tomb to lay the face/head cloth. According to tradition, the Sudarium of Oviedo is the face/head cloth of Jesus. It was C14 dated to 700 AD, in excellent agreement with the MCNP results.

We should realize the importance of not making the common a priori presupposition of naturalism, so that we not automatically rule out anything that is beyond the laws of science as we currently understand them, so that we can follow the scientific evidence where it leads. When this is done, I believe that the scientific evidence indicates that the solution to the enigma of the shroud is that a burst of radiation occurred within the body that did three things: 1) It caused the image, perhaps either by protons or ultraviolet based on experiments. 2) It thrust the blood off of the body, heated it turning it into a liquid, and thrust it against and into the fibers of the shroud, and 3) It caused the shift in the C14 date from 30 to 1260 AD and the slope in the C14 dates as discussed above. Bob Rucker

I’ve noticed that as you age, you learn that when the morning coffee isn’t yet ready, the mind wanders somewhere between wakefulness and wackiness. Hey, I thought in this state, what does the Critical Summary have to say about this. Alas,  I could not find that Bob Rucker or his work was mentioned anywhere in the Critical Summary. Maybe it was just me. Maybe it was too early in the morning to find such stuff.  But then I did find this interesting paragraph on page 82:

Neutron Flux: In the same issue of Nature that reported the 1988 radiocarbon testing results there was an important letter to the editor. This letter rings out today with possibly more force than when It was first written. It causes one again to ponder and adopt a position of caution. The correspondence was with Thomas J. Phillips of the High Energy Physics Laboratory at Harvard University. Phillips suggested that the Shroud might be a fundamentally altered fabric with respect to its C-14 content due its possible witness to some unexplained event, possibly in the tomb of Jesus. He hypothesized that such an unexplained event, which itself cannot be the subject of scientific inquiry, may have had an effect on the Shroud that can be studied scientifically. The unknown event may have generated a flux of neutrons that could have skewed the C-14 / C-12 ratio of the linen doth…..

I met Bob in St. Louis. Nice guy. Undeniably brilliant. Maybe he is on to something. But I’m just not there yet in being able to accept this or any other hypothesis, at least when it comes to how the image was formed. To restate with a bit of on-the-fly-rewrting of what I’ve said before, I say …

With regard to the image I’m stuck in the “it is inexplicable” camp.

You don’t like that? Well then you can consider Bob Rucker’s radiation, John Jackson’s cloth falling through a mechanically transparent body whatever that means, Tipler’s sphaleron quantum tunneling, Giulio Fanti’s corona discharge, Paolo Di Lazzaro’s ultraviolet (with or without the cloth falling through the body, Rogers’ Maillard reactions (quite natural if it could work but requiring every bit as much of a miraculous manipulation to produce such an image as any of the other byproduct of a miracle hypotheses would), Charles Freeman’s it’s-not-a-fraud painting (if STURP and Colin Berry are wrong) and Colin Berry’s fraud-by-Maillard if everyone else is wrong (which is not unreasonable to suppose).  Or think of something else.

As for the C14 question, I’m also stuck in the “so far inexplicable” camp.

Here are some resources for understanding and thinking about Bob’s ideas.

Another Comment by Bob Rucker: Reaction to Ray Rogers’ Paper on Radiation

Abstract for the Following Paper

MCNP Analysis of Neutrons Released from Jesus’ Body in the Resurrection (54 Slides)

Notes for the 54 Slides

Video of the Presentation in St. Louis (1 Hour)

Splish Splash

October 29, 2015 2 comments

Thomas writes:

The Shroud is just so mysterious! So compelling!

Lying in the bath tonight with my 187m tall, 200 lb frame (similar to the Shroud Man) I jiggled around with different lying postures and thought this:

Surely a medieval artisan, if creating the Shroud image, would have shown Jesus with legs together and flat, if portraying the image of a dead and buried Christ …eg. like this:


The apparently bent legs – amongst other things – just make so little sense in the medieval artisan theory!


Categories: Comments Promoted

No Closer to the Truth Because of Simony

October 9, 2015 29 comments

Despite whatever encouragement we got from Bruno Barberis in St. Louis …

Comment Promoted

imageDaveb tells by way of a comment to Breaking News: Sources of DNA on the Shroud of Turin that us that he perceives a different aspect of the story. There may be a lot of truth to what he thinks.

… I suspect that the good people of Turin may still be locked into a medieval mind-set concerning their relic. It generates tourist dollars for their hotels, cafes, restaurants, souvenir shops, tour guides, and even perhaps the occasional Fiat. But only so long as the mystery or enigma remains. Bring in the scientists, let them study the micrographs, and the truth may then be revealed, and it’s no longer the mystery that it was. The fear is that the cloth may be proved to be not what it appears to be. Goodbye to the tourist dollars. Goodbye to the worshippers.

But what if indeed it is the burial cloth of the Christ? We can get no closer to the answer, because of this simony. Millions are deprived of knowing the truth, all because of the lame excuse that the scientists are too disputative, too skeptical, too arrogant or too whatever. So likely as not, so long as the fear remains, we will never know the truth.

Despite whatever encouraging words we might have heard from Bruno Barberis in St. Louis on the future of shroud research, I’m not seeing any reason to be encouraged. Dave may have why.

A year ago, almost to the day, I wrote in "Just the facts, ma’am.":

Therefore, it was refreshing to hear Bruno Barberis, in his paper, The Future Of Research On The Shroud, call for re-examination of factual information. Here are a few of items that I quickly jotted down:

  • Iron concentrations at different places on the shroud, image and non-image areas, bloodstains, etc.
  • Presence of proteins at different places on the shroud
  • Oxidation and dehydration origins and characteristics
  • Aragonite traces
  • Pollen identification
  • Confirm that there is no image under the bloodstains
  • New and expanded analysis of the bloodstains

My notes are inadequate, but you get the idea. Oh, by-the-way, Barberis pointed out that the STURP results should be the starting point. In other words . . .

And Professor Barberis didn’t hold out much hope that this would happen soon. “I’m not the pope,” he said. And he doubted that he would be the next pope.

Your thoughts?

Categories: Comments Promoted Tags:

Beg Your Pardon (Comment Promoted)

July 13, 2015 38 comments

Solid scholarship never begs the question, and scrupulously avoids terminology that essentially begs the question.There are no legitimate grounds – scientific, historical or biblical – for describing the TS as a “burial” shroud. In fact it’s best not described as a shroud at all. It’s the Lirey/Turin body-imprinted envelope.

— Colin Berry in a comment to Barrie Schwortz,
Colin Berry and Some Good Reporting in Fort Wayne

imageBut “body-imprinted envelop” is okay?

Here is what Colin writes in full:

Let’s avoid a lot of futile talking at cross purposes. I maintain that the Shroud is the realization of a thought experiment, carried out in the 14th century, freely admitting that requires having to make some qualifying assumptions. That leaves you or anyone else free to question those qualifying assumptions if wishing to undermine and/or demolish my case. What you cannot do is come back with pro-authenticity thinking that makes its own qualifying assumptions and imagine they have any relevance to my medieval thought experiment scenario, with incomplete knowledge of actual historical events, and based instead on an imaginative reconstruction of those events, accurate or otherwise (probably the latter).

But there’s a further sting in the tail, as I have flagged up on the News Sentinel article. The description of the Shroud as a “burial” cloth goes beyond the biblical record. It is based on making a number of qualifying assumptions, all presupposing authenticity, and then uses that label “burial cloth” essentially to promote authenticity via the back door, so to speak. That back door is then left open so as to admit further fanciful speculation, requiring still more qualifying assumptions e.g. that the superficial body image could only have been formed by miraculous flash of radiation at the instant of resurrection (overlooking to mention that the image thickness corresponds roughly with that of the primary cell wall of the flax bast fibre).

The description of the TS as a “burial shroud” is an egregious example of “begging the question”. There is no greater academic sin one can commit, short of downright fraud, than to create and promote lines of argument that “beg the question”, ones that carelessly or shamelessly create a closed loop between preconceptions and conclusions.

I can see why sindonologists want the TS to be seen as a burial shroud, and do NOT want it to be seen as having any transport role from cross to tomb – that creating all kinds of problems re stereo-register or lack thereof between blood and body image. But I’m not buying into any of that. Solid scholarship never begs the question, and scrupulously avoids terminology that essentially begs the question. There are no legitimate grounds – scientific, historical or biblical – for describing the TS as a “burial” shroud. In fact it’s best not described as a shroud at all. It’s the Lirey/Turin body-imprinted envelope.

That back door is NOT then left open so as to admit further fanciful speculation. What a bunch of begging the question. I have never accepted the idea that the shroud image was formed by radiation.

Categories: Comments Promoted

Is the Shroud Really the Most Studied Whatever in History?

June 29, 2015 6 comments

imageCharles Freeman, in a comment, reacts to the the first sentence in the description of the new book by Giulio Fanti and Pierandrea Malfi which reads, “The Turin Shroud is the most important and studied relic in the world.”

… We often seem to read this but there has been actually a great deal more intensive research directly on the fabric and images ( writings,inks,etc,) of the Dead Sea Scrolls than of the Shroud and it has been undertaken by top- level specialists in the relative disciplines. As the recent report on the Scrolls in Minerva, the international journal of art and archaeology, noted’ no other set of documents has been subjected to so many analytical techniques’. The main difference ,of course, is that the Scrolls, after a poor start, have been open to direct specialist examination with increasingly sophisticated equipment.

I would certainly argue that we have learned more from the Scrolls than we have from the Shroud.

And, if I remember correctly, Bill Meacham once told me that he thought that Ötzi, the Hauslabjoch Iceman Mummy – was it that or something else – may be the most studied historical artifact.

Okay, point taken. But then again, the Dead Sea Scrolls and Ötzi are not exactly relics if we insist on being precise. But then again we often hear that the shroud is the most studied artifact in history and maybe that isn’t so.

Charles Freeman on Tetradiplon and the Video on

May 7, 2015 7 comments

imageHe wrote in a comment a few hours ago:

… Someone please tell Ian Wilson so that he can revise his text for any new edition of the Shroud. This should go along with his correction of the illustration of tetradiplon as you cannot translate it as ’doubled in four’ alongside an illustration showing it doubled to make eight ( alas a mistake repeated in the video that Barrie has just posted).

Better leave out the tetradiplon issue altogether as it only refers to the cloth BEFORE Christ wiped his face with it and there is no indication in the text that it was refolded as such afterwards. Having ploughed my way through 150 examples of Greek words where tetra was added, the most likely translation is doubled four times- which is exactly the way they folded the Parthenon cloth as seen in the Parthenon frieze in The British Museum. But that would cut through the face of the Man on the Shroud and so would destroy Wilson’s argument. Better just to edit all this out to save Wilson further loss of credibility among the Byzantine experts.

Click on the image or follow this link: to see the video. It’s pretty short.

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