© Stephen E. Jones
This is the the August 2015 issue of my Shroud of Turin News. See the April 2015 issue for more information about this series. Following
my inaugural editorial, I will add excerpts from Shroud-related August news articles to this post, latest uppermost, with the articles' words in bold to distinguish them from mine.
Contents (click on a link below to go to that article):
"`It Was the Science That Convinced Me': How a Scientist Came to Believe the Shroud"
"`It Was the Science That Convinced Me': How a Scientist Came to Believe the Shroud," National Catholic Register, Ann Schneible, CNA/EWTN News, August 5, 2015 ... ROME - The Shroud of Turin has different meanings for many people: some see it as an object of veneration, others a forgery, still others a medieval curiosity. The Shroud is either the burial sheet of Jesus, or it is a fake. There is no middle ground, as leading Shroud sceptics, Steven Schafersman and Joe Nickell admit:
"As the (red ochre) dust settles briefly over Sindondom, it becomes clear there are only two choices: Either the shroud is authentic (naturally or supernaturally produced by the body of Jesus) or it is a product of human artifice. Asks Steven Schafersman: `Is there a possible third hypothesis? No, and here's why. Both Wilson and Stevenson and Habermas go to great lengths to demonstrate that the man imaged on the shroud must be Jesus Christ and not someone else. After all, the man on this shroud was flogged, crucified, wore a crown of thorns, did not have his legs broken, was nailed to the cross, had his side pierced, and so on. Stevenson and Habermas even calculate the odds as 1 in 83 million that the man on the shroud is not Jesus Christ (and they consider this a very conservative estimate). I agree with them on all of this. If the shroud is authentic, the image is that of Jesus.'" (my emphasis) [19Oct12]For one Jewish scientist, however, the evidence has led him to see it as a meeting point between science and faith. "The shroud challenges (many people's core beliefs) because there's a strong implication that there is something beyond the basic science going on here," said Barrie Schwortz [Right: Fort Wayne News-Sentinel], one of the leading scientific experts on the Shroud of Turin, in an interview with CNA. Strictly speaking, Schwortz is not a "scientist" but a "technical photographer" (see below).
Admitting that he did not know whether there was something beyond science at play, he added: "That's not what convinced me: It was the science that convinced me." Schwortz is one of the rare non-Christians who have been convinced, on the basis of the evidence, that the Shroud is authentic, and yet remain non-Christians. Other examples are: the agnostic art historian Thomas de Wesselow and the late Rodney Hoare, a past Chairman of the British Society for the Turin Shroud.
The Shroud of Turin is among the most well-known relics believed to be connected with Christ's passion. Venerated for centuries by Christians as the burial shroud of Jesus, it has been subject to intense scientific study to ascertain its authenticity, and the origins of the image. This alone proves that the Shroud is authentic. It is simply not possible for the Shroud to be a fake, and modern science not be able to readily discover that. This is a little-known corollary of the Argument from Ignorance, that "if a certain event had occurred [the Shroud was forged], evidence for it would have been discovered by qualified investigators," in which case "the absence of proof of its occurrence as positive proof of its nonoccurrence" [the Shroud was not forged]:
"Argumentum ad Ignorantiam (argument from ignorance) ... A qualification should be made at this point. In some circumstances it can safely be assumed that if a certain event had occurred, evidence for it would have been discovered by qualified investigators. In such a case it is perfectly reasonable to take the absence of proof of its occurrence as positive proof of its nonoccurrence. Of course, the proof here is not based on ignorance but on our knowledge that if it had occurred it would be known ... In some cases not to draw a conclusion is as much a breach of correct reasoning as it would be to draw a mistaken conclusion."The image on the 14-feet-long, three-and-a-half-feet-wide cloth is stained with the postmortem image of a man - front and back - who has been brutally tortured and crucified. Schwortz, now a retired technical photographer and frequent lecturer on the shroud, was a member of the 1978 Shroud of Turin Research Project, which brought prestigious scientists together to examine the ancient artifact. As a non-practicing Jew at the time, he was hesitant to be part of the team and skeptical as to the shroud's authenticity - presuming it was nothing more than an elaborate painting. Despite the false claims of Shroud sceptical propaganda, e.g.:
"While science and scholarship have demonstrated that the Shroud of Turin is not the burial cloth of Jesus but instead a fourteenth-century forgery, shroud devotees continue to claim otherwise. In medieval Europe alone there were more than forty `True Shrouds,' although the Turin Cloth uniquely bears the apparent imprints of a man, crucified like Jesus in the gospel narratives. Unfortunately, the alleged `relic' has not fared well in various scientific examinations--except those conducted by Shroud partisans like those of the Shroud of Turin Research Project (STURP), whose leaders served on the executive council of the pro-authenticity Holy Shroud Guild."most of the 1978 STURP team were themselves sceptical that the Shroud was authentic. Schwortz is an obvious case in point. Why would a Jew be predisposed to think that the Shroud was authentic? And why, if STURP was so "partisan," would it select as its photographer, a Jew?
Nonetheless, he was intrigued by the scientific questions raised by the image ... And Schwortz soon encountered one of the great mysteries of the image that still entrances its examiners to this day. He explained that a specific instrument used for the project was designed for evaluating x-rays, which allowed the lights and darks of an image to be vertically stretched into space, based on the lights and darks proportionately. This a VP-8 Image Analyzer, which I didn't realise was "designed for evaluating x-rays." As far as I was aware it was designed for converting shades of light and dark in planetary body 2-dimensional photographs into 3-dimensional relief.
For a normal photograph, the result would be a distorted image; with the shroud, however, the natural, 3-D relief of a human form came through. This means "there's a correlation between image density - lights and darks on the image - and cloth to body distance." And this in turn is explained by STURP physicist John Jackson's "Cloth Collapse theory":
"... I would like to develop the thesis that ... in the case of the Shroud image, the cloth did collapse into and through the underlying body structure. ... First, we must assume that the body became mechanically `transparent' to its physical surroundings and, second, that a stimulus was generated that recorded the passage of the cloth through the body region onto the cloth as an image. ... I propose that, as the Shroud collapsed through the underlying body, radiation emitted from all points within that body discolored the cloth so as to produce the observed image. ... this assumption explains the superficiality of the Shroud image and, perhaps, the differentiation in fibril coloring." [18Jan12].And although Jackson does not state it, the dead Man in the Shroud's body becoming "mechanically `transparent' to its physical surroundings" is explained only by Jesus and His resurrection. Jesus' resurrected body was `mechanically transparent' to doors and/or walls:
John 20:19-20. "On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being locked where the disciples were for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, `Peace be with you.' When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. ... Eight days later, his disciples were inside again, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, `Peace be with you.'"The only way that can happen is by some interaction between cloth and body," he said. "It can't be projected. It's not a photograph - photographs don't have that kind of information; artworks don't." This evidence led him to believe that the image on the shroud was produced in a way that exceeds the capacities even of modern technology. And what else could that be but a miracle, the resurrection of the Shroud Man's dead body?
"There's no way a medieval forger would have had the knowledge to create something like this, and to do so with a method that we can't figure out today - the most image-oriented era of human history." ... "The shroud has become one of the most studied artifacts in human history itself, and modern science doesn't have an explanation for how those chemical and physical properties can be made." Clearly if the Shroud had been produced by medieval technology, modern science would have taken only hours, or at most days, to work out how the Shroud's image was made. But it hasn't in 117 years (taking 1898 as the start of modern scientific study of the Shroud). And this is not pro-authenticity propaganda. Philip Ball, a former editor of the science journal Nature (the same journal which in 1989 claimed that the Shroud was "mediaeval ... AD 1260-1390"), admitted in 2005:
"And yet, the shroud is a remarkable artefact, one of the few religious relics to have a justifiably mythical status. It is simply not known how the ghostly image of a serene, bearded man was made. It does not seem to have been painted, at least with any known historical pigments" (my emphasis)And again in 2008:
"It's fair to say that, despite the seemingly definitive tests in 1988, the status of the Shroud of Turin is murkier than ever. Not least, the nature of the image and how it was fixed on the cloth remain deeply puzzling" (my emphasis)
While the image on the Shroud of Turin was the most convincing evidence for him, he said it was only a fraction of all the scientific data that points to it being real. "Really, it's an accumulation of thousands of little tiny bits of evidence that, when put together, are overwhelming in favor of its authenticity." Schwortz is another Shroudie who states that "The evidence is overwhelming that the Turin Shroud is authentic!" However, I do not claim it is "thousands" of items of evidence for the Shroud's authenticity, but I expect it would be in the hundreds. I will know when I have finished my "The evidence is overwhelming that the Turin Shroud is authentic!" series because I am numbering each one.
For this reason, Schwortz launched the website Shroud.com, which serves as a resource for the scientific data on the relic. Since a lot of Shroud.com's content is historical, artistic and photographic, it seems that Schwortz is using the term "scientific" broadly, to mean "factual" or "evidence-based." As we will see, this has implications for Schwortz' own position on the Shroud and his non-Christianity.
Nonetheless, he said, there are many who still question the evidence, many believing it is nothing more than an elaborate medieval painting. They are deluding themselves. Like the proverbial ostrich with its head in the sand, they imagine that if they refuse to look at the evidence for the Shroud's authenticity, then it will somehow not affect them. But if the Shroud is authentic and the man on it is the resurrected Jesus (as the evidence overwhelmingly indicates) then it definitely will affect them, whether they accept it or not:
Acts 17:30-31. "The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent, because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead."And as Ball stated above of the image on the Shroud: "It does not seem to have been painted, at least with any known historical pigments." As STURP discovered in 1978 and published in peer-reviewed scientific literature, there are "No pigments, paints, dyes or stains," etc., on the Shroud which forms its image. The image is not added to the Shroud's linen fibres but is a physical change to the image fibres themselves:
"The chemistry of the various stains and images on the Shroud of Turin is presented. The chemical conclusions were drawn from all the data and observations, both physical and chemical, collected by direct investigation of the Shroud in 1978. The conclusions are that the body image is made up of yellowed surface fibrils of the linen that are at more advanced stages of degradation than the non-image linen. The chromophore is a conjugated carbonyl. No evidence was found in the body image of any added substances that could have contributed to the yellow color of the fibrils that form the image. The blood images on the cloth are made of blood. The data, taken together, do not support the hypothesis that the images on the Shroud are due to an artist."
"I think the reason skeptics deny the science is, if they accept any of that, their core beliefs have been dramatically challenged, and they would have to go back and reconfigure who they are and what they believe in," he said. "It's much easier to reject it out of hand and not worry about it. That way they don't have to confront their own beliefs." "I think some people would rather ignore it than be challenged," he added. While a few (including presumably Schwortz-see below), can accept that the Shroud is authentic, and not take the next step and accept that the image on it is Jesus, being a "`snapshot' of [His] resurrection":
"Even from the limited available information, a hypothetical glimpse of the power operating at the moment of creation of the Shroud's image may be ventured. In the darkness of the Jerusalem tomb the dead body of Jesus lay, unwashed, covered in blood, on a stone slab. Suddenly, there is a burst of mysterious power from it. In that instant the blood dematerializes, dissolved perhaps by the flash, while its image and that of the body becomes indelibly fused onto the cloth, preserving for posterity a literal `snapshot' of the Resurrection."and therefore Christianity is true, most non-Christians sense that implication and are unwilling to face up to it. But again, their choosing not to accept that the Shroud is authentic, does not make it not authentic. If the Shroud is authentic and the image on it is the resurrected Jesus (as the evidence overwhelmingly indicates), then their denying it is the biggest mistake of their lives. Because they would then be rejecting Jesus' "fifth Gospel" of love to them:
"If it is authentic, the Holy Shroud is unquestionably the greatest religious relic known to Christianity and one of the most fascinating antiquities known to mankind. If it is authentic, the Shroud can rightfully take its place as "The Fifth Gospel," for what it reveals of Jesus and his suffering far exceeds the scant Gospel words of the evangelists. If it is authentic, and if no completely satisfactory natural explanation can account for its unusual physical properties, then the Shroud is indeed the most miraculous of Holy Miracles - an enduring, self-made portrait of the man who would be called Savior by millions of Christians throughout the world."with that rejection's inevitable consequences (Matthew 25:31-36, 41-46).
Schwortz emphasized that the science points to the shroud being the burial cloth belonging to a man, buried according to the Jewish tradition, after having been crucified in a way consistent with the Gospel. In which case the Shroud would not be "a product of human artifice," and therefore, as even leading Shroud sceptics Schafersman and Nickell admit above, "the image is that of Jesus". In which case Ockham's Razor (the simplest explanation which accounts for the facts is to be preferred) applies: Jesus is the only person of whom it is credibly claimed that He was resurrected. The Shroud of Turin only has an image of a body that has wounds and bloodstains consistent with the Gospels' description of Jesus' suffering, death and resurrection. The simplest explanation which accounts for those facts is that the Shroud of Turin is Jesus' burial shroud and the image on it is of Jesus and caused by His resurrection!
However, he said it is not proof of the Resurrection - and this is where faith comes in. "It's a pre-Resurrection image, because if it were a post-Resurrection image, it would be a living man - not a dead man," he said, ... This is a "fallacy of false dichotomy". There are three states of Jesus' resurrection, not two: pre-resurrection, resurrection and post-resurrection. The Shroud image is of Jesus at the "instant" of His resurrection (see above on "snapshot"). If it were "pre-Resurrection" Jesus would still be dead and Schwortz would have the problem of explaining how the dead Jesus imprinted his image on His burial shroud. Besides, even on Schwortz' own admission, if the image on the Shroud were "a pre-Resurrection image" (which it isn't), then the resurrection of Jesus must have immediately followed. The only way that Schwortz could escape this inevitable logical entailment is if he denied the resurrection of Jesus altogether. Which being a non-Christian, as Schwortz often makes a point of:
"Science photographer Barrie Schwortz considers it ironic that he, an Orthodox Jew, is spending much of his time trying to convince Christians that the Turin Shroud may well be an artifact of Jesus."and indeed in this article that, "He has never converted to Christianity, but remains a practicing Jew" (see future below), Schwortz presumably does deny the resurrection of Jesus. If so, he should come right out and state it unequivocally. But then what Schwortz would really mean is a non-resurrection image. Otherwise, what would Schwortz' point be in splitting hairs about "a pre-Resurrection image" if he does accept the resurrection of Jesus?
"Interestingly enough, one of the most visited shroud-related websites -- www.shroud.com -- was started and is run by Barrie Schwortz, who is Jewish. Schwortz was the documenting photographer on the 24-member Shroud of Turin Research Team that directly examined the shroud in 1978. Schwortz believes he has a unique role in the controversy. `I don't have a horse in the race,' he said. `I don't have that emotional tie to Jesus that Christians have. I'm an Old Testament guy.'
... adding that science is unable to test for the sort of images that would be produced by a human body rising from the dead. This is false. Science can and does test for evidence of Jesus' resurrection on the Shroud and has proved beyond reasonable doubt that the image on the Shroud is that of Jesus imprinted at the instant of His resurrection. But scientists under the thought-control of Naturalism ("nature is all there is - there is no supernatural") refuse to accept that evidence. Moreover Schwortz is employing a Fallacy of Equivocation on the word "science." He has been using the word "science" broadly, such that he (a photographer) is a "scientist" and his website Shroud.com "serves as a resource for the scientific data on the relic," yet much of its content is historical, artistic and photographic. This is just another example of Naturalism's `heads I win, tails you lose' strategy. Naturalistic science has no problem testing for the supernatural when it thinks it can disprove it. The radiocarbon dating of the Shroud as "mediaeval ... AD 1260-1390" is a case in point. But as soon science discovers that the supernatural appears to be what happened, then suddenly science is `unable' to test for the supernatural, and it is relegated to "faith" not "science" (see next)!
"The shroud is a test of faith, not a test of science." See what I mean? As soon as Schwortz, unwittingly under the thought-control of Naturalism, encounters evidence on the Shroud for the supernatural resurrection of Jesus, it is relegated to "faith ... not ... science." But the Shroud is Jesus' test of Naturalistic science, and His verdict is:
"MENE, MENE, TEKEL, and PARSIN ... you have been weighed in the balances and found wanting" (Daniel 5:25,27).Philosophical naturalists (including Theistic Naturalists who don't deny that God exists but claim that He does not intervene in nature or history) don't realise that their minds have been taken captive by the "philosophy" of Naturalism:
Colossians 2:8 "See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.""There comes a point with the shroud where the science stops, and people have to decide for themselves. The answer to faith isn't going to be a piece of cloth. But, perhaps, the answer to faith is in the eyes and hearts of those who look upon it." The Shroud (amongst other points in science, like the origin of life, etc) is where Naturalistic science stops and true science, which is willing to "follow the evidence, wherever it leads," begins. And then discovers that Naturalism is false and Christianity is true! Nevertheless, I agree that Jesus has given people freedom of choice to "decide for themselves.” But that does not mean that the evidence for the Shroud's authenticity is not so strong that there will not be adverse consequences (to put it mildly) for those who, become aware of the evidence of the Shroud' authenticity, but choose to reject it. While respecting humans' right to choose Jesus or reject Him, nevertheless since Jesus' resurrection, God "now ... commands all people everywhere to repent":
Acts 17:30-31. The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent, because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead."or face the consequences of refusing the rightful claim of Jesus to reign over them (Luke 19:11-17, 27).
When it comes to testifying to this meeting point between faith and science, Schwortz is in a unique position: He has never converted to Christianity, but remains a practicing Jew. And this, he says, makes his witness as a scientist all the more credible. "I think I serve God better this way, in my involvement in the shroud, by being the last person in the world people would expect to be lecturing on what is, effectively, the ultimate Christian relic. "I think God in his infinite wisdom knew better than I did, and he put me there for a reason." See above that Schwortz, "an Old Testament guy," presumably rejects the resurrection of Jesus (but as far as I am aware, he does not disclose this to his Christian audiences). If so, like the agnostic Thomas de Wesselow, his witness to the Shroud's authenticity, is that much more impressive, since it cannot be claimed by anti-authenticists that Schwortz (or de Wesselow) are biased, being Christians. But what is not impressive is Schwortz' subtle message to his Christian audiences of his own (presumed) non-Christian view that the resurrection of Jesus did not actually happen, but is merely "faith." This is false, because as the Apostle Paul pointed out in 1 Corinthians 15:14, 17:
"... if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. ... And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile.However, none of this is intended to be critical of Barrie Schwortz as a person. I count myself an Internet friend of Barrie, through hundreds of emails to and from him in scanning and putting online the BSTS Newsletter (issues 1-42), Shroud Spectrum International, and now Shroud News. I have found Barrie to be one of the kindest, friendliest and supportive persons in "Sindondom." However to me, a verse that could have been in the Bible, but isn't, is:
"Better criticism from a friend, than praise from an enemy."although Proverbs 27:6:
"Faithful are the wounds of a friend; profuse are the kisses of an enemy"comes close! I hope Barrie (in the unlikely event that he reads this), will take my criticisms as the "faithful ... wounds of a friend." If I didn't care about Barrie who, like another righteous Jew, is "not far from the kingdom of God" (Mark 12:34), but not yet in it, I would have avoided the topic. I will keep praying for him. [top]
Editorial. New editorial My scanning of Rex Morgan's Shroud News, which always started with an editorial from him, has given me the idea to from now on start my Shroud of Turin News with an editorial. Rex Morgan's Shroud News now online! The highlight of the month for me was receiving via Barrie Schwortz' STERA Newsletter on 16 August, the long-awaited news that, "Rex Morgan's Shroud News [is] Now Online! (18 Down, 100 To Go)" [see photo above]. I have to date scanned and emailed to Barrie up to issue 24, September 1984. Topic index. I am continuing to add past pages to my Topic Index from the beginning working forwards, and have indexed up to and including my post of 22 November 2011. It is a `trip down memory lane' for me. I had forgotten much of what I had posted and I am saving all my posted photos so that if they disappear (some of them had but I have reposted them), I can always add them back. August's posts. In August I blogged 7 posts: (1) "Topic index ... "H-M" and (2) "S-Z"; (3) "Shroud of Turin News - July 2015"; (4) physicist Frank Tipler's key question "... why the radiocarbon date is exactly what one would expect it to be if the Turin Shroud were actually a fraud"? (but isn't); (5) part #2 of my concluding summary series of my hacking theory, now expressed as a statement: "The 1260-1390 radiocarbon date of the Turin Shroud was the result of a computer hacking," (6) "Sidestrip #5" of my series, "The evidence is overwhelming that the Turin Shroud is authentic!", which is now a priority for me; and (7) my "Turin Shroud Dictionary" series, "H". Most pageviews in August. Google Analytics lists as my blog's pages most viewed for the month: "Re: Shroud blood ... types as AB ... aged blood always types as AB, so the significance of this ... is unclear," Mar 18, 2011 - 316; "The Shroud of Turin: 3.6. The man on the Shroud and Jesus were crucified," Dec 2, 2013 - 92; "Shroud of Turin News - July 2015," Aug 11, 2015 - 90; "Weave #4: The evidence is overwhelming that the Turin Shroud is authentic!," Jul 16, 2015 - 86; "The 1260-1390 radiocarbon date of the Turin Shroud was the result of a computer hacking #1," Jul 23, 2015 - 85. I have no idea why the older two were my blog's leading pageviews for August. Presumably they were/are being discussed on other forums unknown to me. [top]
1. Copi, I.M., 1953, "Introduction to Logic," Macmillan: New York NY, Seventh Edition, 1986, pp.94-95. [return]
2. Nickell, J., 2005, "Voice of Reason: The Truth Behind the Shroud of Turin," Skeptical Inquirer / Livescience, 18 March. [return]
3. Ball, P., 2005, "To know a veil," Nature news, 28 January. [return]
4. Ball, P., 2008, "Material witness: Shrouded in mystery," Nature Materials, Vol. 7, No. 5, May, p.349. [return]
5. Jumper, E.J., Adler, A.D., Jackson, J.P., Pellicori, S.F., Heller, J.H., Druzik, J.R., in Lambert, J.B., ed., "A Comprehensive Examination of the Various Stains and Images on the Shroud of Turin," in "Archaeological Chemistry III: ACS Advances in Chemistry, No. 205," American Chemical Society, Washington D.C., 1984, pp.447-476, p.447. [return]
6. Wilson, I., 1979, "The Shroud of Turin: The Burial Cloth of Jesus Christ?," , Image Books: New York NY, Revised edition, p.251. [return]
7. Humber, T., 1974, "The Fifth Gospel: The Miracle of the Holy Shroud," Pocket Books: New York NY, p.12. [return]
8. Siemon-Netto, U., 2005, "Jewish believer in the Shroud,"United Press International, March 18. [return]
9. Holman, J., 2007, "Like a Black Hole: Los Angeles Artist Offers Shroud of Turin Theory," Los Angeles Lay Catholic Mission, 10 January (no longer webbed). [return]
1. This post is copyright. Permission is granted to extract or quote from any part of it (but not the whole post), provided the extract or quote includes a reference citing my name, its subject heading, its date, and a hyperlink back to this post. [return]
Posted: 1 September 2015. Updated: 9 November 2015.