Sunday, July 22, 2012

Shooting the fox is not killing the fox!

I have in the past week been unpacking more of my 3,000+ books, following our downsizing to a smaller house about a year ago. In the process I

[Right: Allen R., "How To Win Arguments: The Complete Guide To Coming Out On Top," Thorsons: London, 1996]

unpacked this secondhand book, "How To Win Arguments" (1996) by the late Robert Allen, then Director of Mensa Psychometrics, and eventually Editorial Director of Mensa Publications. I bought the book in 2001, to help me in my debates on Creation/Evolution Internet forums. I hasten to add that I did not buy the book to discover tricks to help me win my arguments, but rather to help me recognise such tricks being used against me!

The only `trick' I used, is what I still use, the "powerful winning technique" of "knowing your stuff":

"Thus we come to another powerful winning technique: knowing your stuff. If you listen to many arguments you will quickly notice how many people have very little grasp of the facts. They depend mainly on their own prejudices and inclinations. To these they will add selectively from bits and pieces they have read, or television and radio programmes they have listened to. However, you can safely bet that their knowledge of the facts is sketchy at best, and probably most of their so-called facts are downright wrong. Someone who has the patience to commit facts, figures, names and dates to memory is in a very powerful position to win arguments. ... Nothing, but nothing, is more destructive to your case than to be caught out in an error of fact. If you want to be taken seriously you must have the facts straight. What is more, you must be able to quote the source of your facts." (Allen, 1996, pp.49-50).

The book has a section on the Shroud of Turin (pages 71-72), which presumably I read, but since I did not seriously consider the evidence for the Shroud's authenticity until 2005, I cannot remember it making any impression on me.

Later, after I had become "persuaded by the evidence that the Shroud of Turin is the burial sheet of Jesus Christ and bears His crucified and resurrected image," I realised how fallacious Allen's arguments against the Shroud were, and a good example of how a highly intelligent person, as Allen presumably was, being a Director of Mensa, and an expert in arguments, can nevertheless deceive himself by not wanting the Shroud to be true. Here is that section with Allen's words bold, to distinguish them from my comments.

Shooting the Fox

There are two main ways of dealing with foxes. Ladies and gentlemen dress up smartly, mount fine horses, and have a splendid time chasing them all over the countryside before finally watching them being torn to bits by hounds. Farmers shoot them. It is considered unsporting but is quick and effective. Using Allen's metaphor, it is not enough to merely shoot a fox, one must actually kill it! One might have merely have temporarily stunned the fox, and if one wishes that the fox was dead, then one is more likely to deceive oneself that the fox is dead, when it is not, and will live to fight another day.

For our present purposes to shoot a fox is to bring an argument to a sudden conclusion by cutting through the peripherals and getting to the heart of the matter in one stroke. This might work if "the peripherals" themselves are not soundly based facts in their own right. In that case they are part of "the heart of the matter" and need to be actually refuted, not just ignored, because there happens to be one line of evidence that seemingly contradicts them.

Often people get to love an argument for its own sake. Indeed they can get so wrapped up in it that they lose sight of its original purpose. If you have the wit and presence of mind to grasp what is essential you can score a speedy and decisive victory. This sounds like the sort of "speedy victory" that US Senator George Aitken was supposed to have proposed during the Vietnam war, that "the U.S. should declare victory and bring the troops home." Or, in other words, "Let's declare victory and get the hell out"! The problem again is that it is not enough to wish that one has "score[d] a speedy and decisive victory," one has to actually do it. But for that to have really happened, the enemy has to be defeated and to admit that it has been defeated.

Take as an example the controversy surrounding the Shroud of Turin. This holy relic was traditionally supposed to be the shroud that had covered the body of Christ. In some miraculous way the image of Jesus' body had become printed on the cloth and could, using a photographic negative, be clearly seen. But was it genuine? Allen has mentioned one of "the peripherals" that must be plausibly explained, and not merely an Aitkenesque "speedy and decisive victory" being declared over it. Which is that, as mentioned in my previous post, the Shroud image is

[Above: "The Shroud of Turin: modern photo of the face, positive left, negative right. Negative has been contrast enhanced": "Shroud of Turin," Wikipedia, 6 July 2012]

actually a "photographic negative," because when it is photographed, using the now old-fashioned medium of photographic film, the imprint on the film, which is called the negative, in the case of the Shroud's image is uniquely a positive. Which means that the Shroud's image is itself a photographic negative!

It was a truly fascinating argument with endless ramifications. For example, the image was only clearly visible, as mentioned before, if you first photographed the cloth and then viewed the photographic negative. Yet, even if the shroud was, as some suspected, a fake, it certainly predated the invention of photography by many years. How could anyone produce a fake that was only visible using a process that had not yet been invented? Indeed, "How could anyone produce a fake that was only visible using a process that had not yet been invented"? And why would he, even if he could? Allen asks the question but doesn't answer it. And since the very concept of a photographic negative was unknown until the early 19th century:

"In 1839, John Herschel made the first glass negative, but his process was difficult to reproduce. ... the Langenheim brothers of Philadelphia and John Whipple of Boston also invented workable negative-on-glass processes in the mid 1840s." ("History of photography," Wikipedia, 22 June 2012)

the Shroud did not merely "predate... the invention of photography by many years," but by at least six hundred years! Even if the Shroud was a fake (which it isn't), it should then have pride of place in the history of photography and/or art. But it is simply ignored, because it is too uncomfortable for modern, secular man to acknowledge its existence.

The complications were endless. The nail holes in the body were in the correct place. Traditionally painters and sculptors had shown Christ's wounds to be in his hands. Anatomically and historically this was nonsense because the hands would not have borne such a weight. The actual method of crucifixion was to drive the nails through the wrist bones. The shroud showed this quite accurately. On the other hand the image on the shroud showed the hands modestly covering the genitals, but if a body has been `laid out' the hands would not normally reach so far. Also the image showed that blood had run from the wounds. Biblical evidence tells us that the body was washed before burial and, of course, dead bodies do not bleed. Allen is right that the Shroud does have "The nail holes ... in the correct place ... through the wrist bones" yet "Traditionally painters and sculptors had shown Christ's wounds to be in his hands" which "would not have borne such a weight." So even if the Shroud's 14th century or earlier forger knew that (when it seems that no one else did), why, if he wanted his forgery to be accepted, would he not depict the nails in the Shroud man's hands?

But as for Allen's claim that "if a body has been `laid out' the hands would not normally reach so far" as to be "covering the genitals," the fallacy is in his assumption that Jesus' body would have had to

[Above: The most likely position in which Jesus died, based on the flow of blood stains on the shroud: World Mysteries]

be "laid out" flat. But the gospels record that Jesus was left hanging on the Cross for several hours following His death soon after "the ninth hour" (3PM) (Mt 27:46-50; Mk 15:34-37; Lk 23:44-46; Jn 19:28-30). And that Jesus' body was not brought down from the Cross and hastily entombed until just before the Sabbath began at sunset (Mt 27:57-60; Mk 15:42-46; Lk 23:50-54; Jn 19:38-42), which in Jerusalem in late April is about 7:20PM. So Jesus' body would have been set by rigor mortis in a bent-forward position, and it would then have been laid in the tomb in that same position. In which case, as can be seen below, Jesus' crossed hands would have easily covered His genitals. So Allen here didn't follow his own advice to "know your stuff" and has been "caught out in an error of fact"!

[Above: Artist Isabel Piczek's reconstruction of how if Jesus body was bent forward slightly, as it would have been due to rigor motis having set in while Jesus' dead body was left hanging on the Cross for several hours, His hands could have easily covered His genitals: Isabel Piczek, "Alice In Wonderland and the Shroud of Turin," 1996]

And as for Allen's claim that "dead bodies do not bleed," in fact they do:

"Derek Barrowcliff, who has died aged 92, worked as a pathologist on a number of post-war murder cases ... He was back in the limelight later in the 1970s, when his research on the propensity for corpses to bleed was quoted in the controversy over the authenticity of the so-called Shroud of Turin. Barrowcliff gave an expert opinion in the case of Hans Naber, a German black marketeer and convicted fraudster, who claimed to have had a vision in 1947 in which Jesus told him He had survived the Crucifixion to rise again from the tomb. Naber claimed too much blood was present on the shroud for it to have swathed a dead body. Corpses do not bleed, he asserted - or at least the large quantity of blood on the shroud did not correspond to the blood emissions from a typical corpse. In his eyes, the shroud proved that Christ had only been wounded. But Barrowcliff had shown that bodies do indeed bleed after death for a time, and demonstrated that cuts on the back of the head of a corpse (comparable to the wounds made by the Crown of Thorns) `would bleed freely, continuously'. ... A midlife convert to Roman Catholicism ... When he was invited to be an expert witness in connection with the Shroud of Turin, Barrowcliff was delighted to be able to combine his religious principles with his scientific practice." ("Obituaries: Derek Barrowcliff," The Telegraph, 15 November 2011).

As this photograph of bleeding dead animals in an abattoir graphically demonstrates, dead bodies do bleed. My first job, while I was still in high school, was in a

[Right: Dead animals bleeding in an abattoir: Carmen4thepets]

butcher's shop, and included sweeping up the blood-soaked sawdust sprinkled over the floor to absorb any blood which dripped from the meat, so I know from personal experience that dead bodies do bleed! Again Allen has been "caught out in an error of fact" due to him not following his own advice to "know your stuff"!

This argument looked set to go on for ever. It got extremely heated and some of the scholars involved got so emotionally and intellectually bound up in the struggle that religious conversions were reported to have taken place among them. Indeed! While not strictly speaking a "religious conversion" in the sense of becoming a Christian, a noteworthy example of someone who one might not have expected to accept wholeheartedly the authenticity of the Shroud, was the late Bishop John A.T. Robinson, author of the theologically liberal book Honest to God:

"This month, with very deep regret, came the news of the parsing of Dr. John Robinson, Dean of Chapel at Trinity College, Cambridge, and one of the founders of the British Society for the Turin Shroud. Dr. Robinson's active association with the Shroud began with a memorable letter of 30 July 1976, addressed to Father Peter Rinaldi: `You won't know me, though you may know me by name as the notorious bishop who wrote Honest to God and therefore about the last person to be a believer in the Shroud, if that is the right word! But for a long time I have been very much impressed by the evidence ... that there is here something that cannot easily be explained away ... ' Following this letter Dr. Robinson was introduced to those in Britain researching the Shroud at a time the subject was still little known. Via articles supportive of the Shroud's authenticity, and his personal participation in the Silent Witness film, he gave immense encouragement, the impetus from which greatly assisted the formation of the B.S.T.S. The Society's very name, carefully chosen to avoid any foregone conclusions, was John Robinson's personal inspiration. At the time of the exposition of the Shroud in 1978 Dr. Robinson travelled to Turin to view the cloth for himself. He was so moved by the concluding Mass in Turin cathedral that in a true spirit of ecumenism he received Catholic communion." ("Obituary: Dr. John Robinson, of Trinity College, Cambridge, a founder of the B.S.T.S.," British Society for the Turin Shroud Newsletter, No. 6, September/December 1983, pp.4-5).

So the sceptical, theologically liberal, Dr. John A.T. Robinson was not only, by his own admission, "about the last person to be a believer in the Shroud," he was one of the founding members of the British Society for the Turin Shroud!

Then, at long last, permission was given to take a small portion of the shroud and subject it to carbon dating. The results were conclusive. The cloth was of such late manufacture that the image could not be genuine. The fox had been shot. To paraphrase Mark Twain, the report of this `fox's' death have been greatly exaggerated! The Pray Manuscript (1192-9) with its at least 12 unique features it shares with Shroud, is alone proof beyond reasonable doubt that the 1988 radiocarbon dating of the Shroud as "medieval ... AD 1260-1390" (Nature, Vol. 337, 1989, pp.611-615) simply has to be wrong." Even Prof. Christopher Ramsey, current Director of the Oxford Radiocarbon Unit, and a co-signatory of that 1989 Nature paper, has admitted that "There is a lot of other evidence that suggests to many that the Shroud is older than the radiocarbon dates allow":

"There is a lot of other evidence that suggests to many that the Shroud is older than the radiocarbon dates allow and so further research is certainly needed. It is important that we continue to test the accuracy of the original radiocarbon tests as we are already doing. It is equally important that experts assess and reinterpret some of the other evidence. Only by doing this will people be able to arrive at a coherent history of the Shroud which takes into account and explains all of the available scientific and historical information." (Ramsey, C.B., "Shroud of Turin Version 77," Oxford Radiocarbon Accelerator Unit, 23 March, 2008).

In a way it was a pity that such an entertaining argument should come to such an abrupt end. Many of the issues that had been raised were interesting and worthy of serious consideration but, once the fox was dead, they were quickly disregarded by all but a dedicated few. Allen was deceiving himself if he really thought that one tiny postage stamp sized sample, taken from the worst possible part of the ~4.4 x 1.1 metre Shroud, could overturn all the other evidence for the Shroud's authenticity.

Even on its own published data in Nature there clearly were major problems in the three laboratories' dating of the Shroud.Here we had three specialist radiocarbon dating laboratories, all dating the same tiny 8cm x 1.2cm piece of linen, sub-divided between them into three approximately equal parts, using the same AMS method, who each dated the Shroud significantly differently from each other and even from within each laboratory!

[Left: Extract from the main table of the three laboratories' radiocarbon dates of the Shroud (Sample 1): Damon, P. E., et al., "Radiocarbon Dating of the Shroud of Turin," Nature, Vol. 337, 16 February 1989, p. 612]

As can be seen, Arizona laboratory's ages of the Shroud ranged from a low of 561 (591-30) years to a high of 734 (701+33) years, a span of 173 years or 31%. Oxford's ages were from a low of 685 (730-45) years to a high of 860 (795+65) years, a range of 175 years or 26%. Zurich's ages ranged from a low of 578 (635-57) years to a high of 794 (733+61) years, a span of 216 years or 37%!

Arizona had the lowest age of 561 (591+/-30) years, while Oxford laboratory had the highest age of 860 (795+65) years, a range of ages of the Shroud between the three laboratories of 299 years, or 53%!

This is a shambles of a result, considering that the three laboratories between them were dating by the same AMS method, the same tiny postage stamp sized sample of the Shroud! And yet they had the effrontery (if not the scientific dishonesty) to claim that, "The results provide conclusive evidence that the linen of the Shroud of Turin is mediaeval ... AD 1260-1390":

"Very small samples from the Shroud of Turin have been dated by accelerator mass spectrometry in laboratories at Arizona, Oxford and Zurich. As controls, three samples whose ages had been determined independently were also dated. The results provide conclusive evidence that the linen of the Shroud of Turin is mediaeval ... The age of the shroud is obtained as AD 1260-1390, with at least 95% confidence" (Damon, P.E., et al., "Radiocarbon Dating of the Shroud of Turin," Nature, Vol. 337, 16 February, 1989, pp.611-615, p.612).

Rather, the results provided conclusive evidence of the late physicist Richard Feynman's First Principle - "you must not fool yourself-and you are the easiest person to fool":

"The first principle is that you must not fool yourself-and you are the easiest person to fool. So you have to be very careful about that. After you've not fooled yourself, it's easy not to fool other scientists. You just have to be honest in a conventional way after that. I would like to add something that's not essential to the science, but something I kind of believe, which is that you should not fool the layman when you're talking as a scientist ... I'm talking about a specific, extra type of integrity that is not lying, but bending over backwards to show how you're maybe wrong, that you ought to have when acting as a scientist. And this is our responsibility as scientists, certainly to other scientists, and I think to laymen. ... One example of the principle is this: If you've made up your mind to test a theory, or you want to explain some idea, you should always decide to publish it whichever way it comes out. If we only publish results of a certain kind, we can make the argument look good. We must publish both kinds of results." (Feynman, R.P., "Cargo Cult Science," in "Surely You're Joking, Mr Feynman!," 1990, p.343)

Stephen E. Jones
My other blogs: Jesus is Jehovah! and CreationEvolutionDesign (inactive)

27 comments:

Flagrum3 said...

Stephen, as I have mentioned before on here; a more indepth look at radiocarbon dating procedures/ protocols/ known limitations, and a comparison of such to the procedures actually followed in the 1988 dating is warranted.I believe this to be extremely important and very much overlooked, even by Sindinologists. If people are made more aware, they would I hope understand how rediculous the notion "that the fox is dead" is actually not true. Also to the photographic negative/positive issue, it can and has easily been argued that the artist had no intention/knowledge of such technology, but that the negative/ positive was just a unexpected by-product of the image formation method used, whatever it was.

Your thoughs?

PS; I know you stated you would get to the c14 in due time and realize you are busy, but it is an extremely important issue. Atleast I think it should be.


F3

Anonymous said...

John A.T. Robinson (not Robertson)was a liberal theologian but a scrupulous New Testament historian. His The Priority of John, now, it seems, out of print, is a careful analysis of the Gospel of John in which he tries to show that this Gospel is as close to the historical facts as the other three,a solid historical source. I was not aware he was interested in the Shroud, but it's the sort of thing he would have been interested in

TWVOLCK

Stephen E. Jones said...

Flagrum3

>...as I have mentioned before on here; a more indepth look at radiocarbon dating procedures/ protocols/ known limitations, and a comparison of such to the procedures actually followed in the 1988 dating is warranted.

Agreed. But I have been chipping away at those results. Publishing the laboratories own widely diverging results, is just one more nail in the coffin of their "medieval ... AD 1260-1390" date.

>I believe this to be extremely important and very much overlooked, even by Sindinologists.

I don't think it has been overlooked by the Shroud pro-authenticity side. It's now 24
years since the C14 testing and much has been written on the unreliability of the 1260-1390 date in the interim.

The focus has shifted to other lines of evidence, like the Pray Manuscript (1192-95), with its at least 12 unique features shared in common with the Shroud; and the 15 Vignon markings in Byzantine art from the 6th century also shared in common with the Shroud, to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the 1988 C14 date for the origin of the Shroud's linen of 1325 +/- 65 years, simply has to be wrong.

>If people are made more aware, they would I hope understand how rediculous the notion "that the fox is dead" is actually not true.

The problem is that most people, like Allen, don't want to be aware that the Shroud of Turin really is the very burial sheet of Christ, and bears the image of His crucified, dead and resurrected body!

That would make Christianity true (which it is) and radically change their lives. It is easier to be like the proverbial ostrich and hide one's head in the sand, imagining that if one refuses to admit the Shroud is authentic, then it can not be!

>Also to the photographic negative/positive issue, it can and has easily been argued that the artist had no intention/knowledge of such technology, but that the negative/ positive was just a unexpected by-product of the image formation method used, whatever it was. Your thoughs?

So what was that "method used"? That can produce all the major features of the Shroud, including its photographic negativity, three-dimensionality, extreme superficiality (the Shroud image is the thickness of the primary cell wall of a flax fibril: 1/5th of 1/1000th of a millimetre); no paint, pigment or dye forms the image, etc?

Why has no one yet been able to reproduce the image of the Shroud that withstands critical microscopic examination?

And who was this 14th century or earlier forger (who would be the greatest artist who has ever lived)? Where are the other example of his work using this same "method"?

>PS; I know you stated you would get to the c14 in due time and realize you are busy, but it is an extremely important issue. Atleast I think it should be.

Thanks for your interest and patience. But as I said, I am chipping away at it!

Stephen E. Jones
-----------------------------------
Comments are moderated. Those I consider off-topic, offensive or sub-standard will not appear. I reserve the right to respond to any comment as a separate blog post.

Stephen E. Jones said...

>That [the Shroud being authentic] would make Christianity true (which it is) and radically change their lives.

The above is not strictly correct. It is still possible to believe that the Shroud is authentic and yet Christianity is not true.

There has always been a tiny minority of Shroud pro-authenticists who are not Christians, because although they accept that the image on the Shroud is Christ's, they do not believe that it was the result of His resurrection, but is some natural process.

The agnostic French Professor of Anatomy, Yves Delage, who in 1902 delivered a paper arguing for the authenticity of the Shroud to the Paris Academy of Science, believed the Shroud image was caused by decomposition of Christ's body. Rodney Hoare, a former President of the British Society for the Turin Shroud, believed that Jesus did not die on the Cross. And art historian Thomas de Wesselow, believes that Jesus did die on the Cross but the image on the Shroud IS His resurrection!

But they are weak positions which have few followers. Most non-Christians realise (even if subconsciously) that if they accepted the authenticity of the Shroud they would be well on their way to becoming a Christian.

Therefore they take the line of least resistance and deny that the Shroud is authentic. And like a drowning man clutching at a straw, they cling to whatever Shroud anti-authenticity evidence they have heard of, no matter how problematic, like the 1988 radiocarbon dating of the Shroud, which claimed the Shroud linen was "medieval ... AD 1260 - 1390."

Stephen E. Jones

Stephen E. Jones said...

TWVOLCK

>John A.T. Robinson (not Robertson)was a liberal theologian but a scrupulous New Testament historian.

Agreed. Sorry I wrote "Robertson" which I have now corrected.

>His The Priority of John, now, it seems, out of print, is a careful analysis of the Gospel of John in which he tries to show that this Gospel is as close to the historical facts as the other three,a solid historical source.

I have Robinson's "Redating the New Testament" (1976) in which he argues that all of the New Testament was written before the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70, because such a momentous event would surely have been clearly mentioned in the New Testament if it had happened before they were written, but it isn't.

From memory (I have the book in front of me but I am trying to save time) Robinson pointed out that Jesus' prophecies of the destruction of Jerusalem in Matthew 25; Mark 13 and Luke 21 are too general to have been "prophecies after the event" and they would surely have mentioned the fulfillment of those prophecies if it had already happened before they were written.

Even the Book of Revelation, widely regarded as the last-written book of the NT in c. AD 90, has passages about the Early Church's struggle with Judaism, for example:

Rev 2:9. "I know your tribulation and your poverty (but you are rich) and the slander of those who say that they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan."

and

Rev 3:9. "Behold, I will make those of the synagogue of Satan who say that they are Jews and are not, but lie-behold, I will make them come and bow down before your feet, and they will learn that I have loved you.

But if Jerusalem had been destroyed by the Romans 20 years before John wrote the above, it would be surprising that there would be no mention of it when it clearly would have been relevant in that Jewish persecution of Christianity context.

Also, the theme of the Book of Hebrews is that Christianity represents the better New Covenant, the Old Covenant having been made obsolete by Jesus' once and for all sacrifice of Himself. Therefore if Hebrews was written after AD 70, it would certainly cite the destruction of Jerusalem and especially of the Temple with the consequent cessation of the Mosaic sacrificial system, as further proof of its argument.

>I was not aware he was interested in the Shroud, but it's the sort of thing he would have been interested in

Robinson also delivered a paper, "The Shroud of Turin and the Grave-Clothes of the Gospels," at a 1977 conference on the Shroud in Albuquerque, New Mexico. It is in Stevenson, K.E., ed., "Proceedings of the 1977 United States Conference of Research on The Shroud of Turin," Holy Shroud Guild: Bronx NY, 1977, pp.23-30. It is a paper well worth reading, because Robinson brought his expertise in New Testament Greek to bear in clarifying the meaning of words in those New Testament passages which relate to the Shroud.

Robinson commenced his paper by explaining that what overcame his scepticism of the Shroud is, "that no forger starting, as he inevitably would, from the details of the Gospels ... have created the shroud we have":

"One of the things that shook my natural predisposition to scepticism about the Turin shroud was precisely that it could not at all easily be harmonized with the New Testament account of the grave-clothes. I am not saying that it is incompatible with them but simply that no forger starting, as he inevitably would, from the details of the Gospels, and especially that of the fourth, would have created the shroud we have." (Robinson, J.A.T., " The Shroud of Turin and the Grave-Clothes of the Gospels," in Stevenson, K.E., ed., "Proceedings of the 1977 United States Conference of Research on The Shroud of Turin," Holy Shroud Guild: Bronx NY, 1977, p.23).

Stephen E. Jones

Matt said...

"One of the things that shook my natural predisposition to scepticism about the Turin shroud was precisely that it could not at all easily be harmonized with the New Testament account of the grave-clothes. I am not saying that it is incompatible with them but simply that no forger starting, as he inevitably would, from the details of the Gospels, and especially that of the fourth, would have created the shroud we have."

Like Robinson I don't think the Shroud is incompatible with the New Testament at all. I imagine his reference to the fourth gospel - John - alludes to the fact that John mentions a head napkin along with the linen clothes. Presumably Robinson thought this might have been problematic because if Jesus was wearing the head napkin, the face image would have been imprinted on that rather than on the Shroud?

The incompatibility of the Shroud rests not with its relationship to the gospels, but rather its relationship to contemporaneous art. Of course, this incompatibility is not an argument against authenticity, but indeed an argument FOR authenticity.

BTW I was in the University of Adelaide's library today, undertaking some further study after enjoying the Crow's victory yesterday. I headed over to the art history section and perused a couple of my favourite books of Christian art again. The earliest nude image of Jesus I found was dating from the early / mid 1400s. I perused hundreds of images of art of Jesus from about 1200 to 1400AD. No nude Jesus's.

The Pray Manuscript and the Shroud are clearly atypical for the time (indeed even in the 1500s / 1600s nude Jesus's are very rare)

Stephen E. Jones said...

Matt

[...]

>BTW I was in the University of Adelaide's library today, undertaking some further study after enjoying the Crow's victory yesterday. [...]

Rejoicing at the Adelaide Crows' 49 point thrashing of my beloved West Coast Eagles is a bannable offence! Just kidding.

I tipped the Eagles even though I thought the Crows would win.

I have great respect for the Crows, they are a tough outfit and have rebounded amazingly quickly after falling so low in 2011 that coach Neil Craig had to walk.

Still I think the Hawk's 47 point drubbing of the Pies, without Buddy, must make them favourites to take the flag this year.

Apologies to non-Australians who would probably find this Australian Rules Football jargon unintelligble. I won't make a habit of this but I just had to repond to Matt's rubbing salt into my wounds! :-)

I will respond to the Shroud part of your comment later, Matt.

Stephen E. Jones

bippy123 said...

Stephen, the "the hands couldnt possibly cover the gentitals" argument from skeptics had me stumped for a while, until I did further research into this. I then tried this out on myself with my head slightly inclined and my legs slightly bent (in perfect accordance with rigor mortis) and voila, the hands fit perfectly in covering the genitals. It was so perfect that they couldnt have fit in any other way (not longer then the gentials or shorter).

Great article again
bippy123

Stephen E. Jones said...

bippy123

>... the "the hands couldnt possibly cover the gentitals" argument from skeptics had me stumped for a while, until I did further research into this. I then tried this out on myself with my head slightly inclined and my legs slightly bent (in perfect accordance with rigor mortis) and voila, the hands fit perfectly in covering the genitals. It was so perfect that they couldnt have fit in any other way (not longer then the gentials or shorter).

Agreed. The Shroud sceptics, i.e. true believers in the Shroud's inauthenticity, repeat mindlessly the same false arguments:

"The image on the shroud has his hands neatly folded across his genitals. A real body lying limp could not have this posture. Your arms are not long enough to cross your hands over your pelvis while keeping your shoulders on the floor. To achieve this the body can not lie flat, yet Jewish burial tradition did not dictate that a body must be hunched up so as to cover the genitals before wrapping in the shroud. The most obvious answer is that the artist knew the image would be displayed and didn't want to offend his audience or have to guess what the genitals of Jesus would look like." ("The Shroud of Turin Scam," Silly Beliefs, 3 June 2012).

This is false on several counts. Jesus' burial was not a normal Jewish burial but the entombment of a crucifixion victim who had been left hanging on a cross for up to ~3 hours (from ~3pm to ~6pm). So His body would have been fixed by rigor mortis into a bent forward position.

Therefore Jesus' body would most likely have been laid on the tomb shelf in that bent forward position, and not be forced to "lie flat" because of some alleged "Jewish burial tradition".

It is also false that "the [hypothetical] artist ... didn't want to offend his audience or have to guess what the genitals of Jesus would look like."

If the hypothetical artist "didn't want to offend his audience" then he wouldn't have depicted Jesus completely nude, front and back, in the first place, but would have covered His private parts with a cloth as Christian art traditionally did.

Besides, if you look closely at the Shroud with ShroudScope (Durante, 2002, Vertical), under high magnification, you can see what looks like the tip of Jesus' penis between his hands!

Ian Wilson, who had seen the Shroud up close in 1973 for several hours had already noted this:

"There is even a feature consistent with the tip of a penis protruding just below these fingers. (Wilson, I., "The Blood and the Shroud," 1998, pp.24-25)

But then according to this aptly named "Silly Beliefs" site's own argument, that must mean the Shroud is authentic and not the work of an artist!

>Great article again

Thanks.

Stephen E. Jones

Stephen E. Jones said...

Matt

>... Like Robinson I don't think the Shroud is incompatible with the New Testament at all.

Agreed that the Shroud is not incompatible with the gospels, but on the other hand, there is not enough information in the gospels for a hypothetical forger to arrive at the image on the Shroud.

A forger, if he wished to have his forgery accepted (and why else would a forger go to all that trouble to forge the image on the Shroud?), would ensure that his forgery of the Shroud was closely compatible with contemporary traditional depictions of Jesus':

1) suffering (e.g. the crown of thorns would be a wreath and not a cap as the Shroud's head punctures indicate);

2) crucifixion (e.g. the nails would be in the palms of His hands and not His wrists, as on the Shroud); and

3) burial (Jesus' would be bound in strips like an Egyptian mummy, not enfolded in a simple linen sheet as He is on the Shroud).

On this last point Robinson particularly noted:

"So far there is no difficulty in correlating the Biblical evidence with that of the Shroud. Any presumption that the body was wrapped round in a winding sheet (contrast the swaddling cloths of Luke 2:7) or swathed in 'strips of linen' (John 19:40, NEB), rather like an Egyptian mummy, is read into the texts and has no support in Palestinian burial customs, which the fourth evangelist insists were followed (John 19:40). Later we read in Acts (5:6) that the body of Ananias was simply 'covered' (cf. Ecclus, 38:16) and buried. That the corpse of Jesus was enfolded in a simple linen cloth passing lengthwise over the head and covering the whole body back and front is not, I submit, what any forger with medieval or modern presuppositions would have thought of; but it makes complete sense of the texts and comforts with the other ancient evidence." (Robinson, J.A.T., "The Shroud of Turin and the Grave-Clothes of the Gospels," in Stevenson, K.E., ed., "Proceedings of the 1977 United States Conference of Research on The Shroud of Turin," 1977, p.25. Emphasis original).

[continued]

Stephen E. Jones said...

[continued]

>I imagine his reference to the fourth gospel - John - alludes to the fact that John mentions a head napkin along with the linen clothes. Presumably Robinson thought this might have been problematic because if Jesus was wearing the head napkin, the face image would have been imprinted on that rather than on the Shroud?

No. Interestingly Robinson thought the "head napkin" (Gk. sudarion) was not "a jaw-band" but rather "some purely hypothetical turban-like object":

"That the sudarion was a jaw-band has been recognized by some commentators from the New Testament material alone (e.g. J. N. Sanders). It seems an altogether more likely interpretation of the Johannine evidence than that it refers to some purely hypothetical turban-like object collapsed in upon itself such as H. Latham presupposed in his famous chapter on the witness of the grave-clothes in The Risen Master. This in any case would be described as going `round the head', which John does not say of Jesus, and could not possibly be said to go 'round the face', as he does say of Lazarus. But though the Turin shroud is not itself required to establish this point, it has certainly helped me to envisage more clearly what the function and position of the sudarion must have been. This again is not, I suggest, how any forger would have thought. He would have imagined it lying over the face, rather like the bogus St. Veronica's handkerchief, and incorporated its image on a separate piece of material." (Robinson, 1977, p.28).

which is not far from what the Sudarium of Oviedo was (see the video "Shroud Report Interview with Mark Guscin on the Sudarium of Oviedo").

>The incompatibility of the Shroud rests not with its relationship to the gospels, but rather its relationship to contemporaneous art. Of course, this incompatibility is not an argument against authenticity, but indeed an argument FOR authenticity.

Agreed.

BTW I was in the University of Adelaide's library today, undertaking some further study .... I headed over to the art history section and perused a couple of my favourite books of Christian art again. The earliest nude image of Jesus I found was dating from the early / mid 1400s. I perused hundreds of images of art of Jesus from about 1200 to 1400AD. No nude Jesus's.

Thanks for that confirmation. I have not yet been into our State Reference Library to check out those same books.

>The Pray Manuscript and the Shroud are clearly atypical for the time (indeed even in the 1500s / 1600s nude Jesus's are very rare)

Agreed.

Stephen E. Jones

Flagrum3 said...

Hi Stephen, thanks for the response. I would just like to make clear my statement that Sindonologists have overlooked the C14 dating. What I meant precisely is the ineffective way in which most have gone about refutting the actual tests. Mostly stating the tests were done accurately and that the sample was bad. This is far from the truth and has been shown there were many issues with the testing procedures themselfs, and to a lack of protocol. Examples; The test samples definately were not properly examined before cleaning; therefore not being absolutely sure all contaminants were destroyed. Most importantly and the least mentioned fact was that the size/weight of the final samples 'actually tested' were below the minimum threshold for proper testing!...A point very rarely mentioned or known. The fact that these amongst several other issues are very rarely mentioned was my point, and goes right to the heart of the issue. Which is that the C14 testing done in 1988 was a disgrace to science.

I'd also like to add to Matt's and your comments on the hands covering the groin area on the Shroud...I believe it has become well established that the body of Jesus would have gone into rigor-mortis almost instantly at the time of his death and through studies done on the Sudarium it is quite likely he spent 2 hours deceased on the cross. This would put his body 'frozen' in the final position of crucifixion, bringing the head forward, chest out, back slightly arched and legs bent at an angle. Furthermore thru Sudarium study he spent another approximately 45 minutes at the foot of the cross, face down. The arms would have had to be broken out of rigor and evidence of a dislocated shoulder is evident on the Shroud, as noted by several experts. All this meaning the body could not have been layed flat when placed in the Shroud and gives substantial reasoning to the hands being able to cover the groin area. As Matt as mentioned anyone can test this out by simply lying down with a thick pillow behind the head bended knees and hips tensed, to see how easy the hands can reach and cover the groin area.

Stephen I am also curious to your stating yourself and Wilson can see what looks like genitalia at or between the hands? Can you explain where axactly this can be seen? Is it from the negative or positive pictures and where exactly....I am not proposing you are wrong just I've studied the pictures closely and have never noticed it.

Thanks


F3

Matt said...

Stephen
One of the observations I made when viewing G. Schiller's wonderful volume of Christian art was a Greek epitaphios from circa 1200AD. The epitaphios showed Jesus laid out on a Shroud, with HERRINGBONE WEAVE. I have noticed this with a couple of later epitaphios too.
I think it is highly likely that this would have been based on a viewing of the Shroud, however before I am convinced of this I want to know whether herringbone weave linen was commonplace in Byzantium / Greece around the 1200s / 1300s. If it was common, then one should not necessarily read too much into the epitaphios image. If it was rare, I believe the image dating from 1200AD is further strong evidence of the carbon dating's inaccuracy.

Flagrum3 said...

Would like to correct an error in my last post. I meant Bippy123 and your comments and Bippy123's personal experiment, not Matt's as typed. Sorry for the error.

F3

Stephen E. Jones said...

Flagrum3

>I would just like to make clear my statement that Sindonologists have overlooked the C14 dating. What I meant precisely is the ineffective way in which most have gone about refutting the actual tests.

Sorry, but how many Shroud books do you own/have read? You cannot properly claim of "Sindonologists" the "ineffective way in which most have gone about refuting the actual tests," if you have not read where they have done this.

Ian Wilson's "The Blood and the Shroud" (1998) and Stevenson &Habermas' "The Shroud and the Controversy" (1990) both have excellent chapters where they highlight the problems of the 1988 C14 dating of the Shroud.

That they have been effective in undermining the validity of the "medieval ... 1260-1390" C14 date of the Shroud is indicated by how widespread is the knowledge among the general public that the 1988 C14 dating was flawed. Only the other day I was talking to a non-Christian friend about the Shroud and he had heard that the radiocarbon dating sample may have been a more recent repair.

And sindonologists cannot be fairly blamed for the majority of the public (including perhaps even the majority of Christians) not accepting the Shroud is authentic. As the old saying goes, "a man convinced against his will, is of the same opinion still." Most people (including perhaps even most Christians) don't accept that the Shroud is authentic because it doesn't fit into their worldview.

>Mostly stating the tests were done accurately and that the sample was bad.

I am not sure who these "Mostly" are? Both Wilson's and Stevenson & Habermas' books extensively lay out the problems with the C14 dating.

I notice that Freeman has a section on the "1988 ... radiocarbon-14 test of a ... sample of the Shroud [which] suggested a date for the Shroud of 1260-1390." Note that even Freeman says "suggested" not "conclusive evidence" as the labs and media were saying in 1989!

I will respond to what Freeman says about the C14 dating when I get to it.

>This is far from the truth and has been shown there were many issues with the testing procedures themselfs, and to a lack of protocol.

Agreed. But where did you learn of this if not from Shroud pro-authenticity works?

>Examples; The test samples definately were not properly examined before cleaning; therefore not being absolutely sure all contaminants were destroyed.

See above on where did you learn of this?

>Most importantly and the least mentioned fact was that the size/weight of the final samples 'actually tested' were below the minimum threshold for proper testing!...A point very rarely mentioned or known.

I agree that this is a "least mentioned fact" - it is the first I have heard of it! But I doubt that it is true. The three C14 labs were experts in C14 dating and Arizona had Harry Gove, the inventor of the AMS C14 method overseeing the first test.

The C14 labs' leaders were agnostic/atheists who were supremely confident the Shroud was medieval, so there is no reason why they would have not used a sample that was above the minimum, so as to prove that they were right.

>The fact that these amongst several other issues are very rarely mentioned was my point, and goes right to the heart of the issue.

One reason why some criticisms of the C14 dating are "rarely mentioned" is that they are of dubious value.

[continued]

Stephen E. Jones said...

[continued]

>Which is that the C14 testing done in 1988 was a disgrace to science.

Agreed with that. Even if there was no medieval repair, the fundamental problem was that their sample was unrepresentative, being from only one tiny corner of the 4.4 x 1.1 m = 4.84 m^2 Shroud, and therefore it was not statistically valid.

It was therefore "a disgrace to science" that the three labs, despite knowing this, and that their results in the published table in Nature were wildly at variance between each other and indeed within each lab, for the same postage-stamp sized sample of the Shroud and all using the same AMS method, nevertheless they claimed that:

"The results provide conclusive evidence that the linen of the Shroud of Turin is mediaeval ... AD 1260-1390."

But their own published results provided conclusive evidence that they had botched the dating and if was any other dating they would have admitted it, and returned a finding of inconclusive result, or more likely would have just presented the client (the Vatican) with the dates, drawing no conclusions except for pointing out the wide variations in the dates.

Except the Vatican was not the client-the three laboratories were their own client. The Vatican never asked the labs to date the Shroud. The labs asked the Vatican if they could date it! From mempory it was Turin's Prof. Gonella who pointed out this possibly unique departure from normal C14 dating.

>I'd also like to add to Matt's and your comments on the hands covering the groin area on the Shroud...I believe it has become well established that the body of Jesus would have gone into rigor-mortis almost instantly at the time of his death and through studies done on the Sudarium it is quite likely he spent 2 hours deceased on the cross.

Agreed. The gospels say that Jesus died just after "the ninth hour" (3PM) and that He was entombed just before evening when the Sabbath was about to begin (~7:20PM). The following is a reasonable time-line:

Jesus died on the cross ..... 15:15
Jesus certified dead ........ 15:30
Pilate approves Jesus' burial 16:30
Jesus taken down off cross .. 17:30
Body carried to tomb ........ 18:00
Body prepared for burial .... 18:30
Body enshrouded ............. 18:45
Tomb sealed with boulder..... 19:00
Disciples arrive at homes ... 19:15
Sabbath/Passover begins ......19:20

By this estimated timeline Jesus would have been dead on the cross for 2¼ hours before He was taken down off it, and by the time he was actually covered by the Shroud He would have been dead for 3½ hours.

>This would put his body 'frozen' in the final position of crucifixion, bringing the head forward, chest out, back slightly arched and legs bent at an angle.

Agreed.

[continued]

Stephen E. Jones said...

[continued]

>Furthermore thru Sudarium study he spent another approximately 45 minutes at the foot of the cross, face down.

Thanks for this. My first thought was that it is difficult to see why, unless the Roman soldiers took Jesus' body down from the cross awaiting Joseph of Arimathea returning with Pilate's permission to bury Jesus:

But if you think about it, that is probably what they routinely did. Otherwise they would have a messy problem when next it came to crucify someone on the same cross!

Contrary to artworks and movies showing Jesus dragging a cross through Jerusalem, a Roman cross was in two-parts: a heavy permanent upright fixed at the site of crucifixion called a stipes. Attached to this at the time of crucifixion was a lighter cross-beam called a patibulum. It was the patibulum which a crucifixion victim carried to the place of execution where the stipes was.

As well as this, Jn 19:31 states that the Jewish religious leaders wanted the bodies of Jesus and the other victims off their crosses by the time the sabbath began at sunset:

"Since it was the day of Preparation, and so that the bodies would not remain on the cross on the Sabbath (for that Sabbath was a high day), the Jews asked Pilate that their legs might be broken and that they might be taken away."

Also, Mk 15:42-46 indicates that there was an extra delay because, after Joseph of Arimathea went to Pilate to request Jesus' body, Pilate summoned the centurion to confirm to him that Jesus was dead:

"42 And when evening had come, since it was the day of Preparation, that is, the day before the Sabbath, 43 Joseph of Arimathea, a respected member of the council, who was also himself looking for the kingdom of God, took courage and went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. 44 Pilate was surprised to hear that he should have already died. And summoning the centurion, he asked him whether he was already dead. 45 And when he learned from the centurion that he was dead, he granted the corpse to Joseph. 46 And Joseph bought a linen shroud, and taking him down, wrapped him in the linen shroud and laid him in a tomb that had been cut out of the rock. And he rolled a stone against the entrance of the tomb."

Walking from the site of crucifixion outside the city wall, through the narrow streets of Jerusalem to the Governor's Palace and back, on the eve of Passover would have been an especially slow process, for a Roman centurion and his guard.

So this yet another example of how the Sudarium fits the gospels' description of Jesus' crucifixion, death and burial in a way that no forger would have depicted! As Pierre Barbet would have asked:

"Could a forger have imagined this?" ("A Doctor at Calvary," 1953, p.119).

>The arms would have had to be broken out of rigor and evidence of a dislocated shoulder is evident on the Shroud, as noted by several experts.

Agreed. It was possible to break the rigor mortis of the arms, but not of the body. If one or both of Jesus arms were fixed by rigor mortis splayed out at an angle, then for a dignified burial, and to cover His body with the Shroud, it would have been necessary to break rigor mortis to force Jesus' arms so the hands crossed over His lower body.

>All this meaning the body could not have been layed flat when placed in the Shroud and gives substantial reasoning to the hands being able to cover the groin area.

Agreed. Besides, the anti-authenticist claim that a forger, who would have been the greatest artistic genius the world has ever seen, made elementary errors of body proportion that even an average high school art student would not make, just doesn't compute!

[continued]

Stephen E. Jones said...

[continued]

>As Matt as mentioned anyone can test this out by simply lying down with a thick pillow behind the head bended knees and hips tensed, to see how easy the hands can reach and cover the groin area.

Agreed.

>Stephen I am also curious to your stating yourself and Wilson can see what looks like genitalia at or between the hands? Can you explain where axactly this can be seen? Is it from the negative or positive pictures and where exactly....

As I said, "... if you look closely at the Shroud with ShroudScope (Durante, 2002, Vertical), under high magnification, you can see what looks like the tip of Jesus' penis between his hands ..."

I cannot say it any clearer than that.

>I am not proposing you are wrong just I've studied the pictures closely and have never noticed it.

If you still cannot see this, then it is probably a problem of individual perception. Some can see (or think they can see) images on the Shroud that other Shroud pro-authenticists cannot.

I don't claim that it IS "the tip of Jesus' penis" only that it "looks like" it is, or as Wilson put it, it is "a feature consistent with the tip of a penis":

"There is even a feature consistent with the tip of a penis protruding just below these fingers." (Wilson, I., "The Blood and the Shroud," 1998, pp.24-25).

One thing is for certain. If a forger was trying to preserve Jesus' modesty by artificially depicting His hands over His genitals, then the forger botched the job if he painted a feature that was "consistent with the tip of a penis protruding just below [Jesus'] ... fingers"!

Stephen E. Jones

Flagrum3 said...

Stephen, I guess my writing skills are lacking as obviously my statement on Sindonologists has not come across well. I believe my point is valid, IN that in the media; TV, documentaries, radio interviews etc, etc; (places which get the most wide spread attention and reach a larger audience, like possibly your non-christian friend), no mention is made of the two issues I mentioned (amongst others), at all! One would need to purchase a book or more precisely read obscure papers found on sites like shroud.com to get this information. Most of the 'high-profile' sindonologists will always mention only the 'recent repair' evidence, but there is so much more! That is what I meant by my statment, not that sindonologists have not covered it. FYI I have read atleast a dozen books, (including two by Wilson), hundreds of papers (including a couple by Habermas) and several peer-reviewed papers on the subject of the Shroud and the Sudarium of Oviedo. I haven't read them all, some are hard to find and some very expensive.

Point was the mainstream 'high-profile' sindonologists do not make a big enough issue about the botched protocols, procedures and intricacies of the c14 dating or it's propensity for errors, in my opinion.

--------------------

The issue of the under-threshold weight of the samples is not a false statement and I am not making it up. It has been mentioned in atleast two papers. I will have to find those papers so to send you a link or reference. But as unbelievable as it sounds these "professional" labs did just what is stated.

--------------

As for the genital issue, sorry I guess I somehow missed your pointing to the 2002 Durante vertical image earlier. I have noticed 'something' in that area myself but cannot decipher what exactly. I remember reading somewhere, I think it may be from one of Dr Wanger's papers that he believes it to be some type of small pouch and the rope can be seen hanging from the fingers of the viewable hand. I can't discern that either. But then I'm one who believes he sees the coins over the eyes, although they can only be seen in certain images and possibly the vp-8 images (atleast as objects on the vp-8 images)

F3

Stephen E. Jones said...

Flagrum3

>I believe my point is valid, IN that in the media; TV, documentaries, radio interviews etc, etc; (places which get the most wide spread attention and reach a larger audience, like possibly your non-christian friend), no mention is made of the two issues I mentioned (amongst others), at all!

We are starting to go around in circles on this one. So for the last time my view is that sindonologists HAVE made the point that the C14 procedures were flawed, many times, but those flawed procedures actually were back in 1988, 24 years ago, so it is very old news and the media (to the extent they are interested at all) are more interested in reporting more recent problems with the C14 dating, like the possibility that what they dated included a 16th century repair.

There is also the problem that journalists, who are the ultimate "Jacks of all trades and masters of none" and the general public, simply don't understand such things as "breaches of C-14 dating protocols" and the concept and significance of a representative sample, but they do understand the dating of a 16th century repair and how it could make a 1st century cloth appear to be 14th century.

I.e. let x = the sample's 1st century proportion and therefore 16x is its 16th century proportion. Therefore x + 16x = 14; i.e. 17x = 14; i.e. x = 14/17 = ~0.82 = ~82%. Therefore if 100%-82% = 18% of the sample was 16th century cotton, it would make the sample appear to be 14th century. It could be less than this because other factors, e.g. newer carbon contamination which may be impossible to remove from a bloodstained, much handled linen cloth would combine to make the C14 age appear younger than the cloth's actual age.

>One would need to purchase a book or more precisely read obscure papers found on sites like shroud.com to get this information.

That's right. The media is hooked on recency, because most of its readers are. That's a fact of life. Any media outlet which ignored that would cease to exist.

>Most of the 'high-profile' sindonologists will always mention only the 'recent repair' evidence, but there is so much more!

Of course there is "so much more". But it is impossible to communicate that "so much more" to this modern "5-second grab" digital age. I have 80+ books on the Shroud which I have mostly read; and have recently read and scanned every BSTS Newsletter from Jan 1982 to Jun 1996 so they can be archived on Shroud.com, and am now going to read and scan every one of the 118 issues of Shroud News, yet still I would have only scratched the surface of Sindonology.

>That is what I meant by my statment, not that sindonologists have not covered it. FYI I have read atleast a dozen books, (including two by Wilson), hundreds of papers (including a couple by Habermas) and several peer-reviewed papers on the subject of the Shroud and the Sudarium of Oviedo. I haven't read them all, some are hard to find and some very expensive.

Which two books by Wilson have you read? You need to read ALL of them, especially his post 1988 books which discuss the problems with the C14 dating. However a blind spot with Wilson is his rejection out of hand of the medieval repair theory merely because textile expert Mechthild Flury-Lemberg claims she cannot see the repair threads with her bare eyes therefore they cannot be there (a point that Freeman latches on to in his paper, that I will respond to when I get to it):

[continued]

Stephen E. Jones said...

[continued]

"In Whiting's zeal to espouse the late Dr. Ray Rogers' [It is Benford & Marino's theory. Rogers reluctantly agreed with them] `re-weave' theory, which he used heavily to help publicise his book, it does not seem to have occurred to him to talk in depth to the two restorers, professional textile experts who have spent more hours in the closest contact with the Shroud than any other living person, concerning why they refute the theory. Whiting attended the 2005 Dallas Conference, at which Dr. Flury-Lemberg was one of the guest speakers, so he had every opportunity to question her in depth. So much, therefore, for his claimed `impartial' presentation of `all the facts'." (Ian Wilson, "Review of Brendan Whiting The Shroud Story, Harbour Publishing, Strathfield, New South Wales, Australia, 2006").

>Point was the mainstream 'high-profile' sindonologists do not make a big enough issue about the botched protocols, procedures and intricacies of the c14 dating or it's propensity for errors, in my opinion.

See above. I am not saying your point is not valid, it is just the critical tone you wrote it in. Together with your point there should have been some acknowledgement of: 1) Sindonologists HAD for many years since 1988 pointed out the flaws in the C14 dating procedure; 2) In more recent Shroud conferences and Shroud pro-authenticity works sindonologists tend to focus on newer criticisms of the C14 dating like Benford & Marino's 16th century invisible reweaving theory and Rogers vanillin dating method; and 3) The media is biased towards more recent news and simpler explanations, e.g. that what the labs dated was a mixture of 1st century and 16th century fibres, yielding a 14th century C14 date. So let's leave it at that.

[continued]

Stephen E. Jones said...

[continued]

>The issue of the under-threshold weight of the samples is not a false statement and I am not making it up. It has been mentioned in atleast two papers. I will have to find those papers so to send you a link or reference. But as unbelievable as it sounds these "professional" labs did just what is stated.

I would appreciate those links and/or references. But I expect it is a mere allegation which is most unlikely to be correct because the labs would have nothing to gain from subdividing the one-third sample they were each given to the point that they were under the weight threshold for a valid AMS C14 date.

>As for the genital issue, sorry I guess I somehow missed your pointing to the 2002 Durante vertical image earlier. I have noticed 'something' in that area myself but cannot decipher what exactly. I remember reading somewhere, I think it may be from one of Dr Wanger's papers that he believes it to be some type of small pouch and the rope can be seen hanging from the fingers of the viewable hand. I can't discern that either.

My point was that, even if it isn't the tip of Jesus' penis, the forger really botched the job if his aim by depicting Jesus' hands crossed over His pubic area, was to preserve Jesus' modesty, he painted something that looks like the tip of Jesus' penis!

And also, depicting Jesus' naked rear end is hardly preserving His modesty!

>But then I'm one who believes he sees the coins over the eyes, although they can only be seen in certain images and possibly the vp-8 images (atleast as objects on the vp-8 images)

I agree that there are coins over the Shroud Man's eyes, and in one close up of the Shroud face I could clearly make out the Shepherd's staff (L. lituus) that was a feature of a Pontius Pilate lepton. But interestingly I cannot make out that coin feature even at the maximum resolution of ShroudScope.

But a point that is often obscured in the debate over the coins over the eyes, whether there is lituus and/or letters, or they are merely imperfections of the weave, is: 1) the VP-8 image analyser definitely found objects over the Shroud Man's eyes that were the same size and shape as a Pontius Pilate's lepton; 2) early Jewish skulls have been found with coins inside them, and there is a gap in a skull's eye socket through which a coin could have fallen, when the flesh had decomposed; and 3) Francis' Filas' point that the improbability of there being imperfections of the weave which correspond to the shape of a Roman lituus and the letters "UCAI" in the precise relative locations that they are on a Pontius Pilate's lepton is ASTRONOMICAL, i.e. about 1 in 6.2273 x 10^42 (Filas, F.L., "The Dating of the Shroud of Turin from Coins of Pontius Pilate," 1980, p.12).

Stephen E. Jones

Stephen E. Jones said...

Matt

>One of the observations I made when viewing G. Schiller's wonderful volume of Christian art was a Greek epitaphios from circa 1200AD. The epitaphios showed Jesus laid out on a Shroud, with HERRINGBONE WEAVE. I have noticed this with a couple of later epitaphios too.

Yes, I saw that on Dan Porter's blog, "Herringbone Weave within Stavronikita Epitaphios (Revisited)". Thanks for that. It clearly is based on the Shroud with its crossed hand and herringbone weave. Have you a link to the original image?

>I think it is highly likely that this would have been based on a viewing of the Shroud, however before I am convinced of this I want to know whether herringbone weave linen was commonplace in Byzantium / Greece around the 1200s / 1300s.

It probably was not uncommon. But the COMBINATION of: 1) Jesus; 2) His hands crossed in front of Him (and here the Shroud anti-authenticists have done us a favour by emphasising how normally one cannot lie flat and have one's hands crossed over one's pubic area); and 3) the herringbone weave; is evidence beyond reasonable doubt that it was based on the Shroud.

>If it was common, then one should not necessarily read too much into the epitaphios image.

Disagree. See above on the COMBINATION of Shroud features tipping the balance in favour of these epitaphioi being based on the Shroud. In courts of law, finding seeds, pollen, etc, of one species on a body, means very little. But finding a COMBINATION of different species of seeds seeds, pollen, etc, narrows the field down considerably and can pinpoint a unique location where the COMBINATION of those different species of seeds seeds, pollen, etc, only occurs.

>If it was rare, I believe the image dating from 1200AD is further strong evidence of the carbon dating's inaccuracy.

This is definitely worth pursuing. There already are other works of art which are about the same date as the Pray Manuscript, which have Shroud-like features, e.g. "Nicholas of Verdun: Scene of the Entombment, from the Verdun altar in the monastery of Klosterneuburg,near Vienna" (pre-1181).

I have more references on Greek Orthodox epitaphioi, which I will add in the next day or so to these comments.

Stephen E. Jones
-----------------------------------
Comments are moderated. Those I consider off-topic, offensive or sub-standard will not appear. I reserve the right to respond to any comment as a separate blog post.

Flagrum3 said...

Hi Stephen,

Sorry for the lengthy delay in getting this information to you. As for your comment; " I would appreciate those links or references...because the labs would have nothing to gain from subdividing the one-third samples they each were given"

Please refer to these two papers which can be found at shroud.com under scientific papers; "Evidence is not proof: A Response to Tomothy Jull" by Mark Oakley (2010)and "Radiocarbon dating the Shroud of Turin- The Nature Report" by Remi Van Haelst...There is one other paper I am searching for that specifically mentions the final size/weights of the tested samples and also remarks to the lack of proper pre-cleaning done by all labs involved.

Here is a few quicky points from these papers; A Qoute from Harry Grove from his book "Relic, icon or Hoax" ~"for standard dating like the Shroud, 5-10mg of carbon would be required"...Therefore a consensus was reached at the workshop in Turin in 1986, on the proposed testing that the CARBON WEIGHT of each sample should be 5mg MINIMUM.

The conversion factor between the weight of the Turin Shroud and it's carbon weight is 24%. The weight of the cloth samples must therefore be a MINIMUM of 20.83mg.'

'Arizona used two samples for testing, weighing; 14.72 and 11.83 mg respectfully and these themselves were DIVIDED INTO TWO!"

"The carbon weights of the tested samples would therefore have been approx: 1.77mg and 1.42mg!!...WELL BELOW THE AGREED THRESHOLD FOR AN ACCEPTABLE RESULT."

'The same applies to the other testing labs in Zurich and Oxford.'

Here is another another couple of points; The AMS method was in it's infancy in 1988, it was at the time a unproven method of measurement and new to all labs. Several test runs were done beforehand with some very erroneous and wide-ranging results, which they had no answer for!!...So much for experience.

Further; No official report on the testing has EVER been published, except for the Nature Report, even the Church has never received a final report to date!

By the way, I don't think Harry Grove was 'overseeing' the first test, atleast not officially, as he was only invited as an observer. This I gathered from several writings, including his own book, I believe, if memory serves me.

Sorry, a couple of points I'd just like to mention about the "Coins over the eyes". Your mention of the coins found in skulls; It has been said it was a pagan ritual and that the Jews did not follow this ritual; A total fallacy, as the pagans would place the coins in the mouth not the eyes. BUT, I have found through some research that coins have been found in the skulls of several Jewish tombs and as you say they were in the skull cavity. A coin placed in the mouth could never find it's way into the skull cavity, therefore the coins must have been over the eyes...There is also the error in the lettering found on the coin images on the Shroud, which none were aware existed, until years after! How does one explain this?

I was able to discern the lettering as well as the lepton in my viewing of the 'certain images', but as mentioned not on most other images viewed, which is a conundrum.

Thanks for listening.

F3

Stephen E. Jones said...

Flagrum3

>As for your comment; " I would appreciate those links or references...because the labs would have nothing to gain from subdividing the one-third samples they each were given"

>Please refer to these two papers which can be found at shroud.com under scientific papers; "Evidence is not proof: A Response to Tomothy Jull" by Mark Oakley (2010)

That should be "Evidence is Not Proof: A Response to Prof Timothy Jull" by Mark Oxley (2011).

>and "Radiocarbon dating the Shroud of Turin- The Nature Report" by Remi Van Haelst...There is one other paper I am searching for that specifically mentions the final size/weights of the tested samples and also remarks to the lack of proper pre-cleaning done by all labs involved.

Thanks for these. I had Oxley's paper but not Van Haelst's. Oxley's paper does mention the problem of the samples being subdivided down to below the minimum C14 threshold (from which you quote below) but I could not find that in Van Haelst's very technical paper.

>Here is a few quicky points from these papers; A Qoute from Harry Grove from his book "Relic, icon or Hoax" ~"for standard dating like the Shroud, 5-10mg of carbon would be required"...Therefore a consensus was reached at the workshop in Turin in 1986, on the proposed testing that the CARBON WEIGHT of each sample should be 5mg MINIMUM.
>
>The conversion factor between the weight of the Turin Shroud and it's carbon weight is 24%. The weight of the cloth samples must therefore be a MINIMUM of 20.83mg.'
>
>'Arizona used two samples for testing, weighing; 14.72 and 11.83 mg respectfully and these themselves were DIVIDED INTO TWO!"
>
>"The carbon weights of the tested samples would therefore have been approx: 1.77mg and 1.42mg!!...WELL BELOW THE AGREED THRESHOLD FOR AN ACCEPTABLE RESULT."
>
>'The same applies to the other testing labs in Zurich and Oxford.'

Thanks for pointing this out. Added to the devastating criticisms that Van Haelst made, this is just another act added to the comedy of errors that was the 1988 C14 dating of the Shroud!

>Here is another another couple of points; The AMS method was in it's infancy in 1988, it was at the time a unproven method of measurement and new to all labs. Several test runs were done beforehand with some very erroneous and wide-ranging results, which they had no answer for!!...So much for experience.

Agreed. The idea that three labs using the same infant AMS method on such a complex (arguably THE most complex) archaeological artifact as the Shroud, given all the errors they made, could have independently arrived at the same date range, 1260 - 1390, the middle date of which, 1325 +/- 65 years, `just happens' to be a mere 30 years before the Shroud appeared at Lirey, France, in c. 1355, WITHOUT committing at least low-level "scientific fraud" in "making results appear just a little crisper or more definitive than they really are, or selecting just the `best' data for publication and ignoring those that don't fit":

[continued]

Stephen E. Jones said...

[continued]

"The term `scientific fraud' is often assumed to mean the wholesale invention of data. But this is almost certainly the rarest kind of fabrication. Those who falsify scientific data probably start and succeed with the much lesser crime of improving upon existing results. Minor and seemingly trivial instances of data manipulation-such as making results appear just a little crisper or more definitive than they really are, or selecting just the `best' data for publication and ignoring those that don't fit the case-are probably far from unusual in science. But there is only a difference in degree between `cooking' the data and inventing a whole experiment out of thin air." (Broad, W.A. & Wade, N.J., "Betrayers of the Truth: Fraud and Deceit in the Halls of Science," 1982, p.20)

is UNBELIEVABLE!

>Further; No official report on the testing has EVER been published, except for the Nature Report, even the Church has never received a final report to date!

This highlights an important point I read somewhere (possibly in a BSTS Newsletter I scanned) that the Vatican was not really the client. The LABS ASKED the Church for permission to date the Shroud, not the other way around and the LABS PAID for the test, not the Church.

The Vatican was incredibly naive, weak and inept through the whole C14 fiasco. It should have insisted that it was the client and paid for the test, and created a binding legal contract with the labs which contained a large financial bond which would be forfeited if the labs failed to keep their side of the contract, e.g. not leaking the results before the Vatican received the report.

>By the way, I don't think Harry Grove was 'overseeing' the first test, atleast not officially, as he was only invited as an observer. This I gathered from several writings, including his own book, I believe, if memory serves me.

Disagree. Gove WAS the `Godfather' of the AMS method, and his own book reveals him as a dominant and combative personality. There is no way that he would be simply an observer of the most important test of HIS method of C14 dating.

[continued]

Stephen E. Jones said...

[continued]

>Sorry, a couple of points I'd just like to mention about the "Coins over the eyes". Your mention of the coins found in skulls; It has been said it was a pagan ritual and that the Jews did not follow this ritual; A total fallacy, as the pagans would place the coins in the mouth not the eyes.

That pagans put coins IN THE MOUTHS of their dead, to pay the ferryman across the River Styx" does not mean that Jews put coins OVER THE EYES of their dead for the same reason. In death the eyes open (it takes living muscles to close them), so the placing of small inexpensive coins over the eyes of their dead was for a respectful reasons, i.e. so their eyes would be closed in death.

The lepton was ideal for this, because as Jesus' "Parable of the Widow's Mites" her "two small copper coins" [Gk. lepta were acceptable in the Temple offering since they did not have an idolatrous image on them.

>BUT, I have found through some research that coins have been found in the skulls of several Jewish tombs and as you say they were in the skull cavity. A coin placed in the mouth could never find it's way into the skull cavity, therefore the coins must have been over the eyes...There is also the error in the lettering found on the coin images on the Shroud, which none were aware existed, until years after! How does one explain this?

Yes. Francis Filas claimed there were letters "UCAI" on one of the coins over the eyes of the Shroud Man. But critics pointed out that it should have been "UKAI" on a Pontius Pilate lepton. But later Filas found Pontius Pilate leptons with the misspelling "UCAI" on them.

>I was able to discern the lettering as well as the lepton in my viewing of the 'certain images', but as mentioned not on most other images viewed, which is a conundrum.

I could see the shepherd's crook but not the lettering on a Shroud image in the past. But I cannot now see even the former on ShroudScope.

But my point remains that the VP-8 image analyser did discover objects over the Shroud Man's eyes that are THE SAME SIZE AND SHAPE AS THE PONTIUS PILATE LEPTON.

>Thanks for listening.

Thanks for your most informative comment.

Stephen E. Jones