The Process of Resurrection

imageDuring the past several days, I have noticed several comments with the phrases “resurrection process” or the “process of resurrection.” Why do we think the resurrection was a process?

We are all familiar, at least in principle, with the way a caterpillar transforms into a butterfly. It is a process. We can make a time-lapsed movie of it and see each and every step. Some will say they see a miracle unfolding. Others will say it is nothing of the kind; it is a perfectly explainable biological process.

If you were to take the first frame and the last frame from the movie of the process, splice them together and pretend that nothing happened in between then you could pronounce and demonstrate with a very short, two-frame movie that a miracle transformation had taken place without a process.

The resurrection, if we are to believe in it, was a miracle. And if we are to take our knowledge from scripture alone, there was a before and after, a first frame so to speak and a last frame. There was nothing in between that we know about. So, why do we think there was a process? Why do we think, for instance, the body dematerialized such that a cloth might fall through it or that that the body might releases some form of energetic byproduct during the resurrection? Why do we think, as Mark Antonacci suggests that Jesus might have passed through a traversable Lorentzian wormhole in space-time or as Frank Tipler suggests that the process of resurrection might have been a form of electroweak quantum tunneling and the images on the Shroud the consequence of a Sphaleron field?

imageThomas Aquinas in Summa Theologica tried to explain that angels in going from one place to another did not pass through the place in between. Nor did they consume time doing so.

By this sort of local movement an angel may, at will, be present successively in several places and thus may be said to pass through the space between the first and the last place of the series. Or an angel may cease to apply its powers in the first place and begin to apply them in the last, not passing through the space between.

Since there is succession, that is, before-and-after, in the application of an angel’s powers, now here and now there, it must be said that an angel’s local movement occurs in time, and is not instantaneous. This time, however, is not measurable in our minutes or seconds; these units of time are applicable only to bodily movement.

For angels, at least in how they traveled, there is only a first frame and a last frame, so to speak.

Thomas was much into angels and was brilliant at logical speculation. We can leave it at that. We don’t need to agree with the saint. Nonetheless, this notion of his provides a useful metaphor for pondering supernatural action. There is in his imaginings a change of state and no measure of time.

Might the resurrection have been that way? What about other miracles? When Jesus healed the blind man was there a moment in time when the man’s eyesight was partially restored? When Jesus turned water into wine were there moments in time, no matter how brief, when the wine was still mostly water and when – perhaps fractions of nanoseconds later – the water was mostly wine?

Might the resurrection have been just a miracle with a before and after and no in between process?

The problem, for us in the shroud world, is we need something to get that image on the cloth.  Or do we?

Looking for Elephants in Ephemeral Clouds (Critical Summary 3.0)

Do those Justinian II Solidus coins look different?

BimageT writes:

Re: Critical Summary 3.0, pages 16 & 17. Can we go back to comments by Hugh Farey and Nabber on 10/22/15 & 10/23/15 and to something I wrote 7/9/15?  In the last two paragraphs of section 9.1, Jackson and company portray some very dubious information as though it was based on an important study. I love Fanti, but ask any art student and they will tell you this is simply how any artist might draw a neckline. Trying to compare it to an almost invisible wrinkle that may well be a modern day wrinkle is like looking for elephants in the ephemeral clouds. And if I buy this the authors have a bridge for sale. Right?

First, let’s look at what Critical Summary 3.0 says on pages 16 and 17, in part:

In 2015 Giulio Fanti and Pierandrea Malfi co-authored an important book entitled: The Shroud of Turin: First Century after Christ. The book includes a long and detailed chapter devoted to the numismatic investigation of the Justin ¡an II 692 solidus as well as other coins bearing an image of Christ. The authors provide an in depth presentation of the tight correlation between the Shroud and the numismatic characteristics of the 692 solidus coin. Their study includes an exacting evaluation of an extensive list of "coincidences" that echo and build on the Vignon and Pfeiffer characteristics. They performed a statistical evaluation on the whole set of "coincidences" and report In their study a certainty greater than 99.99% that the Shroud was the model for Justinian’s 692 gold solidus coin.

We have shown the 692 Justinian II solidus coin with a photographic negative of the Shroud face (body image). The negative image, which was not available until the year 1898, could not have been the archetype for the coin. The actual faint Shroud image had to be the archetype according to Fanti and Malfi. But the negative shows more clearly for our purposes an Interesting "macro-characteristic" of the Shroud that is visible only on close visual inspection of the actual Shroud cloth. In the negative it is an easily observed "characteristic" illustrating the detail and care that must have been taken by the coin engraver. The arrow points out this feature. It is a subtle double fold in the cloth just below the neck. In their book Fanti and Malfi have pointed out how this double fold is interpreted on the coin as the hem of Jesus’ garment.

Hugh Farey, on October 22, had written:

It’s a shame that this blog is not read more carefully. Although it is full of opinions and discussion, from time to time something appears which is easy to check and which refutes previous arguments. For instance, pages 16/17 of this paper is devoted to a comparison of the Enrie negative with a Justinian solidus, with special attention being paid to “a subtle double fold in the cloth just below the neck”. It is easy to check that this fold, subtle or not in the Enrie photo, simply isn’t present in the Pia photo, and was therefore an artefact acquired between 1898 and 1931. Any resemblance to a Byzantine coin is entirely coincidental.

Nabber responded the next day (with pictures)

I have just put the two negatives side-by-side, the Enrie photo from Shroud Scope, and the Pia negative from the Musée de l’Élysée, Lausanne – there is a clear match of the Enrie markings found below the throat, with the Pia negative in the same location. It SIMPLY IS PRESENT in the Pia photo, and any fair-minded person with normal eyesight can see it. But, there is none so blind as he who will not see….

And it went back and forth. The above picture may help.

To see what BT wrote in July, let’s here simply repeat the blog posting from then: Byzantine Coins Again.

  I think the Byzantine solidi are a meaningful part of a larger historical picture
by which I am persuaded the shroud is much older than its carbon dating suggests.

Is John Jackson and company pointing to something lower down?


BT, a longtime reader of this blogimage writes:

There are many depictions of Christ on Byzantine coins with features that correspond to features on the shroud.  But then there are the exceptions. Then too there are the questions about whether those features are really features at all.  This solidus is an exception. Look at the hair and beard on Christ. Yet the common motif of two parallel curved lines at the neckline of Christ’s shirt is maintained.  It also raises questions about the motif of parallel lines in the neckline of the garment. Fanti on page 113 of his new book compares the neckline on Jesus’ “dress” (shirt) to a “wrinkle on the neck (double-lined)” on the shroud. This is so for many solidi. But in this one we find this very same feature on the neckline of shirts worn by Justinian II  and his young son and co-emperor Tiberius. It is a common way of drawing a hemmed collar on a shirt, is it not?

imageYes.  But aren’t the co-emperors wearing armor (click on the above image to see a larger version)? And does that make a difference?  I also wonder what wrinkle we are referring to. In the Siefker, Propp, Koumis, Jackson and Jackson A Critical Summary of Observations, Data and Hypothesis (v 2.1) we see:

image

I always thought it was the more visible wrinkle. Was I wrong? Is John Jackson and company pointing to something lower down? It makes sense.

MORE:  We had an interesting discussion in the blog with 69 comments about the second-reign solidus in October of 2012 when Hugh Farey had asked:

The coins of Justinian II’s first reign (685 – 695 AD) are indeed remarkably shroud-like, and it is difficult not to think it was indeed the model. However, when, after a period of exile, Justinian returned to the throne (705 – 711 AD), the same sort of coins (with the same designation – Christus Rex Regnantium) have a closely shaven Christ with tightly curly hair. Can anyone suggest why the changed their mind about Christ’s appearance?

And we have had many other discussions in this blog about Byzantine coins:

I think the Byzantine solidi are a meaningful part of a larger historical picture by which I am persuaded the shroud is much older than its carbon dating suggests.

Note:  Critical Summary 3.0 has updated the picture used from 2.1.  Here it is. Do those coins in 2.1 and 3.0 look different?

image

Proof of the Resurrection?

imageJoe Marino was kind enough to send me a clear text version of the press release for Mark Antonacci’s new book. It was much easier to read than the fuzzy one in my previous posting. (I’ve put a copy below the fold).

Anyway, I was reading the release and I noticed this:

[Antonacci] contends that we now live in a singular moment of history. These new scientific test results, combined with previous unparalleled evidence, would confirm that the passion, crucifixion, death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ were actual events in history.

Really? Proof of the Resurrection?

Glancing over my desk, I saw Critical Summary 3.0 sitting on my iPad. What was it that it said on this matter?

The "Fall-Through" hypothesis is strictly data driven and is not intended to offer a "proof" of the Resurrection. To the contrary, Jackson does  not think the Resurrection can ever be "proven". The philosophy of science includes the stipulation to work to "disprove" rather than to "prove". 

— page 83

Got to go with Jackson et al. on this one.


New Press Release:

LE Press, LLC: Mark Antonacci, world-renowned expert on the Shroud of Turin, has just released his second book on the Shroud entitled “Test the Shroud,” a captivating read which reviews and thoroughly explains all of the evidence discovered to date on this unique burial cloth, and confidently proposes further specific testing methods that could prove the Shroud’s authenticity as the burial cloth of Jesus Christ, and answer all of its outstanding questions.

Antonacci, an attorney, has studied the evidence acquired from this burial cloth for almost 34 years. He gave the keynote address at the International Shroud Conference held in conjunction with the cloth’s exhibition in 2010, and his leading hypothesis has been published in a peer-reviewed scientific journal. His accurate description of all of the unique features on the Shroud of Turin allows him to convincingly argue that this is the authentic burial cloth of Jesus Christ. Written in a way that is easy to comprehend, whether a scientist or someone simply fascinated with this one-of-a-kind burial garment and its evidence, Antonacci takes the reader on a journey throughout history, describing every aspect of the Shroud and its unprecedented features. He presents a very testable hypothesis that particle radiation emanating from the dead, crucified body wrapped within the Shroud caused its unprecedented, full-length body images, its still-red blood marks, its erroneous carbon dating and so many other unforgeable features. Antonacci further describes advanced scientific testing techniques that could be applied to the cloth (and its human bloodstains) at the atomic and molecular levels. These sophisticated techniques could demonstrate whether this miraculous event actually occurred to the corpse wrapped within it, and if so, when it happened, where this happened, the actual age of the burial cloth and the identity of the victim.

He contends that we now live in a singular moment of history. These new scientific test results, combined with previous unparalleled evidence, would confirm that the passion, crucifixion, death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ were actual events in history.

To place an order, visit https://www.testtheshroud.org or email lepresspublishing@gmail.com.

Test the Shroud will be available soon on Amazon.com as well as other fine bookstores.


It’s the Curmudgeon in Me

clip_image001A reader in the charming Village of Fishkill, New York,  writes:

Why are you so upset about the Critical Summary document?  What is wrong with Jackson’s Fall Through proposal? It is the only one that works with the data.

Actually, I think Critical Summary 3.0 is a step in the right direction – maybe a couple of steps.  Far from being upset, I am excited about the prospects of debating the data it contains. And maybe with input from others the Critical Summary will improve. It is only at 3.0, after all.

I blog not to upset the apple cart but to seek the truth.  That means taking a bite out of each apple in the cart to see how it tastes (wow, that’s a scary metaphor if you’re a Genesis 2:17 literalist). 

For instance, I have had some concerns about the reliability of the image characteristic B7.0 on page 62 that reads:

No image can be found under the bloodstains.

Comment:  The areas at the boundary between the colored image-bearing fibers and bloodstains, wounds and associated serum retraction rings were carefully studied by STURP, and the relationship at this boundary was found to be complex and fine-tuned. For example, experiments were performed employing enzymatic removal of the blood from blood-coated fiber samples. These experiments revealed that there was no image beneath the blood or beneath the blood serum at the boundary of the tested bloodstains. The image color was found to terminate consistently at the boundary of the bloodstains and/or serum retraction rings. …

Have we resolved the matter? Maybe. I’m okay with it if we say that it is probably true (I hate to be such a curmudgeon). Maybe we can say, “No image has been found.” You have to read Hugh Farey on the possibility of image color under bloodstains along with all of the comments, especially those by Kelly Kearse, Thibault Hiemburger and Hugh.

Maybe on Page 73 I’d want to recommend a small x under Contact (F1.0) and maybe I’d like to count this whole row as more important than the Bone Structure row. That’s just me being difficult.

And if the picture above is blood on the face (is it? – See A Guest Posting by O.K. : Blood on the face of TSM? ) then how can we comfortably say there is no image under bloodstains? Just asking.

And I don’t have a problem with Jackson’s Fall Through hypothesis, per se (unless I try to say per se because then I do). It is ingenious. I’m just not ready to accept it based on what I see. And something in my gut still tells me that images don’t get caught on camera, so to speak, by energetic byproducts of miracles. It’s the curmudgeon in me. That’s a subject for another day.

No, I’m not upset.

I should add, while I think the shroud is probably real, I am not prepared to accept any of the hypotheses discussed in Critical Summary based on image characteristics.

Dan Spicer: We have a simple explanation.

imageIn response to A Critical Summary 3.0 Discussion: One Very Smart Bartender, Dan Spicer writes:

Look at p. 14 in our paper from St. Louis. We have a simple explanation.

That would be Electric Charge Separation as the Mechanism for Image Formation on the Shroud of Turin: A Natural Mechanism by D.S. Spicer and E .T. Toton (Revised 23 May 2015) as found at shroud.com.

Before turning to page 14, it might help to look at an extract of the abstract that amplifies the meaning of the title and nicely explains the mechanism:

We advance the hypothesis that a constant, or slowly varying electric field was present in the tomb and that the two stated facts provide the underlying mechanism for formation of an image with vertical displacement information: the revealed surface charges on the Shroud serve as collection sites for polar gas molecules or ions emanating from the body or from the aloe and myrrh that had been applied before entombment, substances that could serve as oxidizers or other active species for inducing visual surface alterations, and the extension of the electric field in the vicinity of the surface of the body out to distances away from the body would provide mapping of surface features of the body onto the non-conforming (tented) portions of the Shroud.

… and the conclusion from the paper, here quoted from a posting last December in this blog, A Gedankened Image Forming Process:

As should be clear, our hypothesis depends on a completely natural mechanism. It does not conflate the image formation mechanism with the Resurrection, nor should it. The image is not the recording of the Resurrection but it is an image capture of the body of a crucified man consistent with the historical records of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. That no hitherto satisfying mechanism for image formation has been discovered is not proof that a supernatural explanation must be the only other choice, nor does the discovery of a credible mechanism of image formation impugn the belief in the reality of the Resurrection. If it were possible to take a photo of the Ascension-where is the miracle? Is it the Ascension or the photo of it? We believe that the Shroud Image is indeed the image of Jesus Christ’s lifeless body only and it strengthens the historical argument for His existence, death, and His Resurrection.

And now the simple explanation on page 14:

Observers of the ventral side of the Shroud often comment on the detail in the hands and how long the fingers appear to be. Our mechanism for image formation explains this in a very natural way. First of all, there had to be considerable trauma to the hands and arms as a result of the crucifixion. They were elevated considerably above the rest of the body throughout the crucifixion and the arms must have been severely traumatized by having to manage the full body weight. Circulation had to be compromised and it would certainly be the case that the hands and forearms would have been considerably dehydrated due to profuse sweating, which would lead to a desiccated state for both the hand and forearm tissues, which, as a result, would reveal the underlying bones. In addition, this would have been much more pronounced than anywhere else on the body, with the possible exception of the mouth and lips. As a result of the desiccation state of both the hand and forearm tissues, the bones making up the hands and forearms would form prominences so that the surface charge density would naturally be greater on these body features, leading to sharper and high contrast images.

imageWhen in the full light of the day, a paper is examined under a magnifying glass, that light, focused on one spot, may ignite the whole paper. That maybe will happen with Critical Summary 3.0.* The spot is the chart on page 73, Image Characteristics vs. Image Formation Hypotheses, that attempts to claim that only John Jackson’s Fall Through hypothesis “is judged capable of satisfying image characteristics” – that is, seventeen image characteristics selected by the paper’s authors.

Dan Spicer offers an alternative, one that to me seems more realistic than a cloth falling through a body as a function or accident of resurrection. Moreover, Colin Berry’s explanation in support of contact imprinting must also be considered. And we must consider O.K.’s argument that the appearance of metacarpals in the image is possibly perfectly natural. As O.K. writes in a comment:

The maximum range for imaging is in my opinion (based on analysis of distances of my facial features), as well as Vignon’s no more than 1-2 cm (Jackson & Jumper 3.7 cm is clearly untenable). Based on 3D plot we see that the metacarpal gaps have a greyscale intensity of ~ 90-100 (they are white), while metacarpals, and fingers are about 150-160 (green-yellow). This would indicate level difference of maybe ~5 mm. Quite possible, especially for dehydrated hands. No X-ray is needed here.

The authors of Critical Summary carefully use the word judgment. That’s appropriate. But we must realize that this is the judgment of a small team in Colorado, albeit a distinguished scientific team that understands the shroud. It is not the judgment of the wider community that studies, ponders and debates how the images on shroud were formed. I think that much, if not most, of the larger community disagrees with or is ambivalent towards the falling cloth hypothesis. The page 73 chart does little or nothing to change anything in this regard.

Anyway, that’s my opinion. What’s yours?

 

The paper is A Critical Summary of Observations, Data and Hypotheses by Bob Siefker, Keith Propp, Dave Fornof, Ares Koumis, Rebecca Jackson and John Jackson. It can be downloaded to your computer or any cloud space you use. You can extract a working copy of page 73 by changing your destination printer to PDF file and printing only one page of what is effectively page 75. In Windows 10, you can copy the page into a Notebook tab.

See:  Available: Critical Summary Version 3.0

A Critical Summary 3.0 Discussion: One Very Smart Bartender

Colin Berry:  “Personally I think the boniness is prima facie evidence for imprinting by a contact process.”


And O.K. with a short presentation with his hands, Shroud Scope and no comment …

image


imageOne really very smart bartender who is something of amateur shroudie:  What’ll it be today?

Me: Bud Light  and a Chili Colorado, no pun intended.  Did you have a chance to look at the CS that we talked about?

Bartender:  Yes. I went to the chart you told me about [on page 73]. I picked the last item, Bone Structure [item B9.1]. It was one of only two items [out of 17] that the Colorado folk reckoned could not be produced by any other hypothesis other than Jackson’s Fall Through hypothesis that, by definition, is not a hypothesis. It can’t be tested. 

Note to readers: Bone Structure is listed in CS 3.0 as “Class 1 Evidence: This rating is given to items of evidence that are firmly supported by empirical and/ or forensic research. To receive this rating there must be multiple corroborating research sources.”  Personally, I have my doubts as this conversation, which is a reconstruction and not a transcript, unfolds. The above schematic of a hand is for me and others who are not as knowledgeable about the hand as this bartender is. A Chili Colorado at this establishment is a plate of sirloin tips in spicy red sauce wrapped in corn tortillas. Colorado, after all, means red.

Me: Let’s go through the bone structure item from the beginning. The description reads, “There are indicated images of finger bones all the way to the wrist on the left hand of the Shroud body.”

Bartender: In other words, “I think I see.”

Me: Or perhaps in the case of the CS you could say, “We think we see.”

Bartender: Right. Go on.

imageMe: It reads:

… The TSC research team has studied a broad spectrum of photographs of the Shroud hand area executed with different lighting approaches and technical equipment. The team has judged from their extensive studies, joining others who have reached the same conclusion, that the metacarpal bones & the left hand of the body can be observed extending all of the way to the wrist area….

Bartender: A wordy way of saying “We think we see.”  And it has that “4 out of 5 doctors agree” like spiel you find in herbal remedy ads. There is no there-there in the statement.

Me: I agree. You could say the same thing about those NASA pictures of a big face on Mars.  It is opinion based on visual observation. Many people have reached the same conclusion, too. Now continuing:

… These metacarpal bones are hard to observe in front-lit positive and negative photographs of the Shroud. They are somewhat easier to detect in ultraviolet photographs, backlit photographs and contrast enhanced images….

Bartender: Why is that?  Without the why this means nothing. Without why it argues for a pareidolia explanation. 

Me:  It would be nice to see all these photographs in a convenient array so I could see if I agree. You have to admit these two photographs in the CS look convincing.

Bartender: Not really. Hold your hand up there over your laptop keyboard, palm facing down. Now look at the top of your hand in the light of the screen. That’s a bit of raking light there and you can see the metacarpals all the way to the wrist. I can’t say an artist wouldn’t paint this. Nor would I say it isn’t something you’d get with one of Colin Berry’s contact imprinting methods* or even something that might not show up in an unknown ancient photographic technique. There is something going on here but it doesn’t mean it applies to only one rather wild and crazy scheme of a cloth falling through a dematerializing body. The Xs on the chart are highly subjective, highly debatable, highly counter-argumentative.

imageMe: Let’s go on with the description:

… Perhaps the metacarpal bones are easiest to observe in edge-enhanced photographs. The work of Dr. Alan Whanger and Mary Whanger has made a significant contribution in this area. The Whangers used a technique of image-edge enhancement for the hand images that show the metacarpal bones quite clearly (see References for a full-length book published by the Whangers and a paper published in Applied Optics that document the Whanger methodology)….

Bartender: The only reference in the CS that I could see was for their polarized overlay method [on page 116]. Was that also about edge enhancement? Hmm?  [That would be “Alan D. Whanger and Mary Whanger, Polarized image overlay technique: a new image comparison method and its application", Applied Optics, Vol 24, No.6 (15 Mardi 1985): 766-772.” as detailed in page 116 of theCS]

Me:   It’s been years since I read it.

imageBartender: Edge enhancement is pretty iffy stuff. The picture [above in yellow] looks like a pseudo-3D made by offsetting negatives on top of one another or maybe using PhotoShop edge methods.  [see Wikipedia on Edge Enhancement]. It generates artifacts.  Yes that is a pretty convincing when looking at the picture in an unquestioning way. Why do people only ever show the pictures that seem to support their theories and never all the pictures that don’t. Rub your fingertips across the metacarpal bones on your hand. Can you imagine some rubbing technique that would bring them out in a picture? Easily, right? Or look at photos of hands. They really are part of the visual feature. It doesn’t take a cloth falling through a body to make them part of the image. 

Me: Good point. Let’s finish up. The description includes this:

… Similar techniques employed by the Whangers have suggested facial bones and images of teeth can be identified In the Shroud facial image.

Bartender: Yeah, right. And nails, part of a spear, a sponge tied to a reed, and one of those scroll thingies [phylactery] on the forehead. Give me a break. [See Council for Study of the Shroud of Turin]

* What Colin wrote almost two years ago:

Personally I think the boniness is prima facie evidence for imprinting by a contact process [rather] than one by radiation. With a contact process, it is just those parts of each finger that are approximately in the plane of the linen (i.e parallel) that make best contact, especially if there is applied pressure, and that is the top surface. One has only to go a few mm below that topmost plane, and the curvature of the finger means progressively less contact and pressure. There is also the likelihood of a tenting effect across the fingers that means poor imaging between the fingers. Now look at the Shroud image and you will see precisely the kind of shadowing one would expect.

Postings from the past that warrant attention include:

A Guest Posting by O.K. on the Allegedly Too-Long Fingers (including 16 comments)

Guest Posting: The Shroud of Turin – An X-Ray?

So, what do you think?

Available: Critical Summary Version 3.0

A Critical Summary of Observations, Data and Hypotheses
 by Bob Siefker, Keith Propp, Dave Fornof, Ares Koumis, Rebecca Jackson
and John Jackson.


imageClick on the image to the right or type …

 http://goo.gl/RsVUaa 

… to download a copy.  This is big and may be slow so I suggest saving the PDF on your own computer’s drive or to a cloud server. 

Pictured:  Version 3.o in my iPad on a coffee table
downloaded from Google Drive.

Smile You can print the 118 pages.

Smile You can search this document using Chrome, Microsoft’s New Edge browser, etc.

Rolling on the floor laughing I was not able to put the document into Kindle because of its size. Amazon will only load PDF files that are smaller than 50 MB and Critical Summary clocks in at 106 MB. What you can do is print the first 40 pages as a PDF, the second 40, and then the rest of the document. Give different names to each segment and then send them off to Kindle services at Amazon. Think of it as a book in three volumes.

Coffee cup I was, however, able to upload Critical Summary to Google Drive. This means I can read it on an iPad at Starbucks.  Google Drive is pretty fast.  I was able to upload the whole document in less than three minutes and subsequently open the document on my iPad in less than a minute. 

Steaming mad One thing you cannot do (by authors’ choice) is copy and paste.  This is just plain silly.  I use Microsoft Notebook to get around this taboo-like limitation against fair use quoting: how not to win friends and not influence people. 

Here is the preface copied and pasted via Microsoft Notebook:

Preface

The purpose of the Critical Summary is to provide a synthesis of the Turin Shroud Center of Colorado ([SC) thinking about the Shroud of Turin and to make that synthesis available to the serious inquirer. Our evaluation of scientific, medical forensic and historical hypotheses presented here is based on TSC’s internal research, Shroud of Turin Research Project (STURP) data, and other published research.

The Critical Summary synthesis is not intended to present new research findings. With the exception of our comments all information presented has been published elsewhere, and we have endeavored to provide references for all included data. The ratings given to data items presented in the empirical data sections of the Critical Summary are based on TSC’s judgment of what constitutes class 1, Class 2 and Class 3 evidence, as explained in the Introduction.

We wish to gratefully acknowledge the contributions of several persons and organizations. First, we would like to acknowledge Dan Spicer, PhD in Physics, and Dave Fornof for their contributions in the construction of Version 1.0 of the Critical Summary. We are grateful to Mary Ann Siefker and Mary Snapp for proofreading efforts. We also are very grateful to Barrie Schwortz (Shroud.com) and the STERA organization for their permission to include photographs from their database of STURP Shroud photographs. Barrie served as a lead photographer during the STURP expedition to Turin to study the Shroud and today is recognized worldwide as the founder and administrator of the important Shroud research repository site http://www.shroud.com.

imageAll Shroud photographs are ©1978 STERA Inc. unless otherwise noted.

We welcome comments, but we can only consider those that are substantive and that are emailed directly to our website (via the Shroud Data tab).

Thumbs down Oh, and yes. The punch card chart aiming to be scientific analysis showing that John Jackson’s fall through hypothesis is the only workable hypothesis is still in Version 3.0 (on page 73).  Ridiculous.  More on that later.

Messenger The authors want comments but only those “that are substantive and that are emailed directly to [their] website.”  I, on the other hand, think that open no-holds-barred discussion is the only way to go. We’ll do that.

Coming Soon from Colorado: Critical Summary 3.0

Maybe this time we should crawl through the document, item by item, day by day, pointing back in some cases to discussions we have already had like questioning the validity of the VP8 results, and passing along some suggestions for Version 4.0 someday.


imageI’m hearing that we should see an updated version of A Critical Summary of Observations, Data and Hypotheses: Version 2.1, by Bob Siefker, Keith Propp, Ares Koumis, Rebecca Jackson and John Jackson. The updated version, as I understand it will be Version 3.0.

Based on URL details, it is quite possible that the old version 2.1 will be overwritten. If you want to keep a copy (I have one in my personal cloud space), you should probably go after it now.  I want it so I can make comparisons when the new version pops – DIFFPDF is a great tool for this. The current Google short URL is:

http://goo.gl/RsVUaa

I wonder if that blatantly ridiculous chart of 17 image characteristics versus several image hypothesis will stick around. I imagine it will. What else, maybe?

I wrote what follows in December, last year.  It will be interesting to see what has been improved this time.

A response to the Critical Summary presentation

December 7, 2014

A reader writes:

I was wondering if you were there when Robert Siefker dumped on you and your blog during his presentation in St. Louis. Do you have a response?

I was there. It was no big deal. It was friendly. I do have a couple of things to say, however,

Transcript (Bob Siefker):

If I tell [someone] about the Pray Manuscript or somebody just casually mentions it as evidence for the shroud . . . [he] goes to where to find out? Where would he go? He’d go to the Internet. And how many potential hits will he get on the Internet? When you pull up Google it says I’ve got how many articles related to this inquiry Go do Pray Manuscript.  There’s 2,300,000 different potential sites you can go to or indexes in their database for the Pray Manuscript. . . . Does that tell you maybe there’s controversy?

Two million, what? Going online a little while later, I got the following page counts from Google: 1,340 pages for Pray Manuscript and 3,840 for Pray Codex (with or without Hungarian thrown in). Remembering that the French call it Le Codex Pray, I realized the need to consider other languages. Overall, I got about 5,600 pages scattered among less than one thousand websites. That’s a far cry from 2,300,000. That’s not to say there isn’t controversy. There is. But Google counts are NOT indicative of it. Where did that idea come from? There are, after all, 13,100,000 pages about chicken soup.  Controversy?  Well, yes: noodles versus rice.

But, yes, there is real controversy about the Pray Manuscript. We know this from reading my blog.

Back to the transcript (Bob Siefker):

And then you start drilling down. And then you go to Dan. Forgive me Dan, for a second. Then you go to Dan Porter’s blog and you say oh good, here’s a trusted source. I’ll inquire on Pray Manuscript and you get nine different articles or blog entries, and over 1100  postings, comments. And you start reading them. You’re going to go all over the board. And now you are a shroud neophyte. And now you are a shroud skeptic.  Because you can’t find any answers.

Skeptic? Is that bad? Sad? What? I was a shroud skeptic at one time and I’m glad I was. I remain a skeptic when it comes to many topics pertaining to the shroud, like the claims some make of seeing images of flowers on the cloth. Is that bad?

It should be clear to everyone who reads my introduction in the right-hand column of every one of my blog pages that I think the shroud is probably authentic. Moreover, if you read my postings about the Pray Manuscript you should see that I think it is an artistic interpretation of the burial and resurrection of Christ based on the shroud and the Gospel narratives. As such, I feel that the Pray Manuscript (Codex) is convincing evidence of the shroud’s existence more than a century before its first documented appearance in Western Europe. It is thus, also, convincing evidence that the shroud is older than the earliest date determined by carbon dating. But – and this is very important – in reading the comments of others, it should also be clear that some people disagree. Many who write those comments are well informed and highly qualified. There is a rational basis for their opinions. The fact that there is controversy is something that everyone learning about the shroud should be aware of when they weigh the evidence for themselves.

“Because you can’t find any answers,” Bob wrote as criticism.  Fair enough. Blogs aren’t logical to everyone. They are not like our familiar libraries with their now-electronic old-fashioned card catalogs. They are not like the books that fill those buildings. Nor are they like the online encyclopedias we have come to love and hate. Blogs don’t have the tables of contents or indexes that we are used to. But blogs can be very useful if we use search engines and take the time to read what people are writing.

“And now you are a shroud skeptic,” said Bob.  Really? I give people more credit than that. People don’t become skeptics because they can’t find answers. If anything it’s the other way around; people will believe all manner of things because of a lack of information.

Transcript continued (Bob Siefker):

So there should be a credible way. Dan’s blog provides a tremendous resource for the shroud community and those who have a grounding of some basis, but don’t ever tell a first person that you’ve talked about the shroud, oh go to Dan’s blog and you’ll learn about the Pray Manuscript. You just can’t do it.

imageWell, yes, you can. But it doesn’t happen. The reality of the Internet, like it or not, is that most people will go directly to Wikipedia. Or they may search for “Pray Manuscript” in a search engine and, surprise-surprise, they encounter Wikipedia’s article at the top of the results page. If they are a neophyte, that is where they will most likely begin. They will begin withWikipedia.

It’s illustrative to see what Wikipedia says in the single paragraph that deals with the Shroud of Turin:

One of the five illustrations within the Codex shows the burial of Jesus. It is sometimes claimed that the display shows remarkable similarities with the Shroud of Turin: that Jesus is shown entirely naked with the arms on the pelvis, just like in the body image of the Shroud of Turin, that the supposed fabric shows a herringbone pattern, identical to the weaving pattern of the Shroud of Turin, that the four tiny circles on the lower image, which appear to form a letter L, “perfectly reproduce four apparent “poker holes” on the Turin Shroud”, which likewise appear to form a letter L. The Codex Pray illustration may serve as evidence for the existence of the Shroud of Turin prior to 1260–1390 AD, the alleged fabrication date established in the radiocarbon 14 dating of the Shroud of Turin in 1988.  (emphasis mine)

That’s it. And, actually, it is quite accurate and economically informative. It is not, however, sufficiently detailed for a careful evidentiary analysis. Moreover, the phrases “sometimes claimed” and “may serve as evidence” imply uncertainty. The phrase “supposed fabric” addresses a point of controversy with regrettably no elaboration. Indeed, we might say, all three phrases tell us there’s controversy.

There is controversy. That is a fact! Shouldn’t the neophyte know about that? Shouldn’t everyone know there is controversy?  Are some of us so afraid of someone becoming a skeptic that we don’t want them to see both sides of the story? The page about the Pray Manuscript in the Critical Summary suggests that there is no controversy whatsoever.

That, in part, is why I cannot recommend the Critical Summary to someone just learning about the shroud. It is inadequate for the task of introducing anyone to the codex. Don’t get me wrong; this document contains an excellent write up about it. I’m convinced that much of it is correct. But there are points I don’t agree with like Mechthild Flury-Lemberg’s opinion that the painter of the illustration in the codex  must have seen the shroud.

I don’t think I’m alone in wanting to know what others think. I’m sure that I’m not alone in wanting to know more.  The Critical Summary ignores that. The Critical Summary is simply too elementary and too much of a one-perspective proselytizing document. Go back to what Bob said in the first minute or so of his talk.

I didn’t become a skeptic because I couldn’t find the answers. I became convinced of the legitimacy of the Pray Codex and its importance as evidence of the shroud’s earlier provenance only after I examined both sides of the questions about the codex illustrations. The blog helps me do that.

Back to the transcript (Bob Siefker):

Barrie, that’s where you want your people to go next if we haven’t told the story about the Pray Manuscript in our document maybe.

I would like to agree. The problem with Barrie’s site (shroud.com) is that it doesn’t contain many of the latest papers. It doesn’t contain any real discussion about the topic. That is not a criticism. It is a statement about the changing nature of the internet.  Other sites, such as Academia.edu have become increasingly popular with authors because they can self-publish when they want to, revise papers without having to wait for update schedules and use social media. There are discussion facilities and direct connections to Twitter and Facebook.

Many other papers are published on conference sites or in journals.   It would be nice if shroud.com could be the one go-to site because it is a great site. More and more so, it doesn’t really matter where papers are archived.  It is all about how they are found and accessed.

Try this in Google:  <site:shroud.com “pray codex” OR “pray manuscript” filetype:pdf>.  Now try it without the site specific limitation. The counts are 34 and 506 respectively.  Academia.edu has 27 papers on just the Pray Manuscript. Why would you not want to at least consider those? (Note: OR must be uppercase).

There is another consideration. It pertains to peer review and the trend towards better review systems. But that’s a subject for another day.

When it comes to the shroud, I believe that every fact and observation, every ancient picture and document, every hypothesis and speculation, everything we think we know and think we don’t know must be questioned.

On the day after the conference I noted that one of the attendees had written to to this blog:

Dr. Siefker’s chart [in his paper] evaluates ten hypotheses against a short list of only seventeen image characteristics. Dr. Siefker said of his paper [it] was a utility for all of us. No it is not. It is a biased defense of Jackson’s theory and nothing more. Do you think people will find it methodically suspicious that only Jackson’s cloth falling hypothesis matches 100% of all image characteristics and that no other hypothesis comes close?

(click on image to see chart)

I went on to add:

The folks at Colorado Springs want feedback. The second page of the summary states: “We welcome comments, but we can only consider those that are substantive and that are emailed directly to our website (via the Shroud Data tab).” But that tab merely asks people to send comments to an email address, ShroudFacts@gmail.com.

If the goal is progress in our understanding of the shroud, whatever the truth may be, then transparency and open dialog is called for. Today, newspapers, magazines and even highly respected journals welcome online comments in the clear. Authors mix it up with readers and offer clarifications. Readers mix it up with each other and many people benefit from the opinions of others.

If, on the other hand, the objective is controlled marketing of an idea then, fine, we-welcome-comments-but-we-can-only-consider-those-that-are-substantive-and-that-are emailed-directly-to-our-website will work for the authors of this paper.

[ . . . ]

The paper is a locked up PDF so you can’t easily quote from it which is not a good idea for promoting ideas in this day and age. If you want to do some fair use quoting you will need to retype the material or OCR it (Microsoft Notebook works perfectly on whole pages). . . .

For these many other reasons, as well, I cannot recommend the Critical Summary to anyone, particularly “a shroud neophyte.”  But do have a look and try to keep an open mind.

Maybe this time we should crawl through the document, item by item, pointing back in some cases to discussions we have already had like questioning the validity of the VP8 results, and passing along some suggestions for Version 4.0 someday.

Quick Reaction to In the Belly of the Beast

“Whoa,” writes a reader in reaction to my Belly of the Beast posting. “Before you go slamming Dr. Jackson you need to look at the YouTube of him explaining the folds and the way the shroud was lifted out of the box. And read Dr. Jackson’s Foldmarks as a Historical Record at shroud.com where you can see the photographs. You dumb s… “

I think I ran into a fan. The part you may want to see starts at about the 11:10 mark and runs to about 18:00.  It is a good explanation.  Watch it! I still believe that the fold marks must be confirmed. I still say it is not class 1 evidence.  (Link to YouTube). And I added in the link to the above mentioned paper.

In the Belly of the Beast

imageI was reminded during Bob Siefker’s presentation in St. Louis that John Jackson and the other authors of A Critical Summary of Observations, Data and Hypotheses – Version 2.1 assign significant importance to the raking light photographs of the shroud. So do I, but far less so. To my way of thinking:

  • the cloth was at times folded
  • the cloth was possibly folded in half along its length three times such that the face, and only the face, appeared on the outside. This, of course, lends credence to the term tetradiplon. It also comports with the idea that the shroud may have been stored folded in a reliquary with a grate, so as to show only the face.
  • the cloth may have been been an inspiration for the Man of Sorrows icons that show Christ rising out of a coffin-like container.

I have been giving this some thought. What did the Critical Summary actually say?

    Quoting from item L6 of the Critical Summary:

One of the tasks undertaken by the STURP team was to take raking light photographs of the Shroud. Linen has poor elasticity, explaining why it wrinkles so easily. Thus, linen cloth has sort of a memory that can reveal how the cloth has been folded (see item H 13.0,2). . . .

Okay. That seems probably so.

Jackson has studied the fold lines, some of which are as sharp as a straight edge and show discoloration as would be expected if folded over the edge of a wooden block or batten, as illustrated as "F” in the diagram below.

Words like “discoloration as would be expected if” sound speculative, not evidentiary. At least, it is not strong evidence.

Jackson’s team developed a computer program that maps prominent folds found on the Shroud related to the Man of Sorrows Icon.

That instantly bothered me. What sort of computer program maps fold marks on the shroud to hand painted icons? In what way? Moreover, to which Man of Sorrow Icon? Without an explanation this unfortunately sounds like the “scientists say” jargon we encounter in television commercials.  It’s like “ a computer programs says.”

Google suggests these icons:

image

.

The Critical Summary goes on to say:

These folds have been found to be consistent with the design of a lifting device that could have been used for raising the cloth.

imageConsistent with what design? This is an imagined lifting device. The point of this imagining may be to match the AD 1203 description of what Robert de Clari saw or to fit an account of “The Palace Revolution of John Comnenus by Nicholas Mesarites wherein we find

In [Constantinople’s Pharos] chapel Christ rises again, and the sindon with the burial linens is the clear proof.

I’d like to think there is some connection. I’d like to think this is all true. But the imagined device (click on the image on the right), while illustrative of a possibility, seems far too tentative to be in an evidence table.

So what are the fold marks really evidence of? How good is the evidence?

The authors of the paper have classified this as Class 1 Evidence which they define thus:

This rating is given to items of evidence that are firmly supported by empirical and/ or forensic research. To receive this rating there must be multiple corroborating research sources.

Yet when I look at the references I find only one paper by Eric Jumper and two similar popular books by Ian Wilson. Unfortunately Wilson uses material “deduced by Dr. John Jackson.” While not exactly a circular reference, it’s close. There is not much to go on.

Wilson goes on to say, “Although exactly how the cloth was made to rise is necessarily conjectural.” (The Blood and the Shroud page 157). Perhaps anticipating the problem some of us might therefore have, Bob Siefker said in his St. Louis talk:

Some people might not like the fact that we’ve rated this class 1 evidence but we’re in the heart of the belly of the beast. I’ve seen those folds. I’ve seen the marks. I’ve seen the razor thin nature of those folds where the “F” block is. I’m not only rationally convinced that the scheme is right, I’ve seen close evidence and had it very deeply explained to me. I’ve been very lucky to be in the belly of the beast, over here [pointing to], John Jackson.

So? Can I see the folds? Can anyone see the folds?  Are the photographs online? Can we examine the computer program’s logic? Without some illustrative photographs of the folds, without an explanation of what the computer program does, I’m thinking the entire item, L6, should be demoted.  Without some supporting evidence of a cloth-raising device being used, the speculative diagram should be removed. It is evidence of nothing.

What am I missing?

Déjà vu Squared

imageA reader of this blog who was in St. Louis on Sunday morning to hear Bob Siefker emailed me:

You didn’t provide a link to the [Critical Summary]. Nor did the conference site. I was able to find it by entering “google jackson shroud center.”

Oops! Here it is: A Critical Summary of Observations, Data and Hypotheses – Version 2.1

This same conference attendee noted:

Dr. Siefker’s chart evaluates ten hypotheses against a short list of only seventeen image characteristics. Dr. Siefker said of his paper was a utility for all of us. No it is not. It is a biased defense of Jackson’s theory and nothing more. Do you think people will find it methodically suspicious that only Jackson’s cloth falling hypothesis matches 100% of all image characteristics and that no other hypothesis comes close?

Suspicious? No. Disappointed in the methodology? Yes! See Déjà vu or what?

The folks at Colorado Springs want feedback. The second page of the summary states: “We welcome comments, but we can only consider those that are substantive and that are emailed directly to our website (via the Shroud Data tab).” But that tab merely asks people to send comments to an email address, ShroudFacts@gmail.com.

If the goal is progress in our understanding of the shroud, whatever the truth may be, then transparency and open dialog is called for. Today, newspapers, magazines and even highly respected journals welcome online comments in the clear. Authors mix it up with readers and offer clarifications. Readers mix it up with each other and many people benefit from the opinions of others.

If, on the other hand, the objective is controlled marketing of an idea then, fine, we-welcome-comments-but-we-can-only-consider-those-that-are-substantive-and-that-are emailed-directly-to-our-website will work for the authors of this paper.

Hmmm! Someone could put up a webpage for each characteristic, each hypothesis, each historical item and so forth, with an appropriate explanation, and invite discussion; make the labels match those in the paper so people could look it up in the paper. Hmmm!

The full paper is 106 pages, with lots of tables, making it a bit unwieldy. You might want to save it to your computer or better yet put up a copy on the Google Cloud. I also loaded up a copy on my Kindle. That works pretty well but the page numbers are messed up.

The paper is a locked up PDF so you can’t easily quote from it which is not a good idea for promoting ideas in this day and age. If you want to do some fair use quoting you will need to retype the material or OCR it (Microsoft Notebook works perfectly on whole pages).

Again, see Déjà vu or what?

Note:  I have corrected the spelling of Bob Siefker’s name in the email above rather than annotate the error with (sic). I carelessly repeated the error in my own comments and have corrected that as well.

Note 2: The URL for the Critical Summary was changed on October 19, 2014. This page has been updated.