Friday, February 13, 2015

The Turin Shroud is clearly a medieval fake - albeit a very clever one. What more is there to say?

It's two postings for the price of one today: here's the first. Scroll down to the RED for the start of the second.

This posting comprises the thread of comments on a recent posting on Dan Porter's site.  The graphic you see above was my last 'voluntary' comment over there (though I'll respond to direct questions).

 That posting is worth a cover version here in its own right, being a rare and workmanlike summary of the anti-authenticity case from 3 distinguished Italian scholars.


Some of their numerous points are ones this blogger has been pressing himself these last few months, notably the idea that regardless how executed, the TS image was intended to be seen as a contact imprint from a body onto linen, in sweat as well as blood, and that it's simply not credible that knowledge of so charismatic an image as the TS (double image, head to head) could have been totally suppressed for some 1300 years by one or more secret fraternities of Shroud custodians. (See my comments on this earlier posting, Feb 4.
and on this one three days later.)
 Having wasted thousands of words pressing simple straightforward logic, and getting little back by way of  return except ridicule and insults (the few exceptions to that broad-brush description know who they are) I decided to bow out, and do so in a way that makes a point. I posted images instead of text. Any words of my own, the minimum needed, were incorporated into the images to create a series of cartoons, billboards etc. Images are more powerful than words.

Images imprint onto the visual cortex, a major part of the hind-brain with a minimum of pre-processing that is in any case not under conscious control.

Words on the other hand get consciously pre-processed in many subjective ways, so much so that where Porter's site is concerned, 99% or more of one's words either fall on deaf ears or get hopelessly scrambled and commuted comminuted within seconds of receipt.

Here's the thread in question. It's missing one image, which the site's host felt obliged to delete in response to a complaint. I will attach it to the end later, together with its few added words of relevant "message" re the nature of TS image as a special kind of imprint. I'll also add a small section pointing out the bankruptcy of the pro-authenticity tendency which routinely flaunts the late 12th century Hungarian Pray Codex with its oh-so-twee alleged L-shaped poker holes as trophy evidence for the TS being older than the radiocarbon dating. Meanwhile, it has been totally unable to find or adduce evidence elsewhere in the entirety of Western art for the distinctive TS 'double' image appearing before the 1355 (approx.) Lirey Pilgrim's badge.

As I say, bankruptcy. Bankruptcy on stilts.

Late addition: Rather than offend those finer sensibilities again, here's a clue to the deleted image. If Kim Kardashian had been a car, she might have looked something like this (note shiny bodywork, raised rear chassis)

  1. February 11, 2015 at 6:22 am
    Don’t you all have impression, that our sceptical friends lack any new argument, and just simply repeat those long-refuted old myths and half-truths about the Shroud?
  2. February 11, 2015 at 6:31 am
    • February 11, 2015 at 6:42 am
      Yes, exactly, Colin, the hypocrisy of the sceptics is feaching full scale.
      This article by Garlaschelli, Lombatti & Nicolotti is neither scientific, nor popular-science. It resembles rather ideological manifesto, with its own “truths” and dogmas.
      On another forum we have a very interesting discussion about trivialisation of New Atheism movements, that their theses are getting more and more shallow and primitive with time. The same can be said about similar the “Shroud scepticism” movement -it gets trivialised as well. This article as well as recent writings of our friend Charles are few, but examples of that trend.
  3. February 11, 2015 at 7:02 am
    • Nabber
      February 11, 2015 at 9:15 am
      The number of gross misrepresentations and outright lies in one article is staggering…
      • February 11, 2015 at 9:44 am
      • February 11, 2015 at 11:26 am
        I have to agree with Nabber. There are certainly valid points in this article, but seeded among them are weeds of misdirection. It damages the overall credibility. It would appear both sides of the debate have a tendency toward “piling on”.
        • February 11, 2015 at 11:57 am
        • February 11, 2015 at 12:03 pm
          I wonder what Kim Kardashian thinks of the Shroud?(can’t wait to see what CB finds for this one).
        • February 11, 2015 at 12:28 pm
        • February 11, 2015 at 12:41 pm
          My expectations were exceeded! Though I suspect Max may not be the only one to soon be put on a short leash around here.
        • February 11, 2015 at 12:55 pm
  4. piero
    February 11, 2015 at 9:23 am
    and there is “the other side of the moon” under the address:
  5. piero
    February 11, 2015 at 9:38 am
    Under the address:
    the Italian words =
    Quali sono le motivazioni per cui molti, nel dibattito sulla Sindone di Torino, si schierano in favore dell’autenticità del Telo? Molti sindonologi – non solo cattolici, ma anche ebrei, atei, agnostici e cristiani di differenti chiese – sono convinti dell’autenticità del Telo che la tradizione venera come lenzuolo funerario di Gesù. Nel corso della realizzazione di questo speciale dedicato alla Sacra Sindone, in vista dell’ostensione di aprile, ci siamo confrontati, tra gli altri, con Giuseppe Baldacchini, fisico dell’ENEA di Frascati (Roma), Emanuela Marinelli, docente di Scienze Naturali, e Domenico Repice, teologo (che per il nostro Speciale hanno realizzato alcuni servizi che saranno pubblicati nelle prossime settimane). Abbiamo così estratto una sintesi delle ‘ragioni del sì’ all’autenticità della Sindone. … … …
    and here the rough translation:
    >What are the reasons why many in the debate on the Shroud of Turin, are lined up in favor of the authenticity of the Shroud? Many sindonologists – not only Catholics, but also Jews, atheists, agnostics and Christians from different churches – are convinced of the authenticity of the Shroud that tradition reveres as burial cloth of Jesus. During the making of this special issue dedicated to the Holy Shroud, in view the exposition of April, we discussed, among others, with Giuseppe Canopies, physical ENEA Frascati (Rome), Emanuela Marinelli, Professor of Natural Sciences, and Domenico Repice, theologian (that for our Special realized some services that will be published in the coming weeks).
    So we extracted a summary of the ‘reasons’ yes’ to the authenticity of the Shroud… … …
    • PHPL
      February 12, 2015 at 7:01 am
      “Many sindonologists – not only Catholics, but also Jews, atheists, agnostics and Christians from different churches – are convinced of the authenticity of the Shroud that tradition reveres as burial cloth of Jesus.”
      How can an atheist be convinced of the authenticity of the Shroud ?
  6. piero
    February 11, 2015 at 9:43 am
    >Giuseppe Baldacchini, retired researcher in physics at ENEA
    and not :
    >Giuseppe Canopies, physical ENEA
    — — — — —
    Other informations under the address:
    Dr. Giuseppe Baldacchini
    Born in 1941…
    … … Working in ENEA since 1967, presently chief of the “Lasers and Accelerators” Section of “Innovation” Department. Formerly associated researcher at Univ. of California, Berkeley (1972) and at Univ. of Utah, Salt Lake City (1976-77). He contributed with more than 110 papers to physical journals in the fields of cryogenics, molecular spectroscopy and solid state physics. Awarded with the “S. Panizza” prize for outstanding contributions in Physics by the Italian Physical Society. …
  7. piero
    February 11, 2015 at 10:21 am
    Here an italian key-phrase:
    L’archeometria costituisce il collegamento tra le discipline umanistiche (arte, archeologia) e quelle scientifiche (biologia, chimica, fisica, geologia).
    Archaeometry is the link between the humanities (art, archeology) and the sciences (biology, chemistry, physics, geology).
    — —
    Then, see also the following argument (a possible title):
    “Physics Methods in Archaeometry, SPM controls and textile samples (= on samples coming from Turin Shroud and Sudarium of Oviedo)”…
    • piero
      February 11, 2015 at 11:18 am
      The “italian key-phrase” was my attempt to introduce the argument
      that I underlined (at the end of my previous message) with the title:
      “Physics Methods in Archaeometry, SPM controls and textile samples”.
      The AFM can profile surfaces at resolutions
      from micrometers to nanometer scale. The AFM has
      several advantages over SEM and TEM such as true
      3D imaging, working under atmospheric pressure
      and the possibilities to scan in controlled environmental.
      Also, no special preparation of the samples is required.
      AFM can provide important information on surface forces
      (adhesion, friction, electrostatic, van der Waals, etc).
      So …
      AFM is an indispensable tool that can shed light on Turin Shroud and its enigmas.
      — —
      What is your opinion?
      • piero
        February 11, 2015 at 11:21 am
        Nobody wanted to listen me (about the SPM controls) for the past seventeen years (= 1998-2015)…
      • February 11, 2015 at 11:42 am
  8. Max patrick Hamon
    February 11, 2015 at 12:42 pm
    SIX very short posts (alleged “relevant comments” in image) by Colin within about five hours (from February 11, 2015 at 6:31 am to February 11, 2015 at 11:42 am). I am allowed only FIVE posts a day. Dan strikes again with his Double standard policy. Cherchez l’errreur.
    • February 11, 2015 at 1:32 pm
    • Dan
      February 11, 2015 at 1:41 pm
      I never said five. I said I am considering a limit. What you do, Max, is to write a short comment, then follow it with a typo correction, and then follow that with an additional short thought or two and soon we have 4 or 5 comments when with a little care you could’ve written it as one comment. Those of us who follow comments as emailsend up getting four or five emails. If that is enough you sometimes sprinkle in a couple comments that really say nothing substantive but are intended to insult someone. I’m asking you, Max. please help me out Stop and review your comment before sending it. You are causing me a lot of extra work.
      • Max patrick Hamon
        February 12, 2015 at 5:52 am
        The fact is I post comment while working on my professional files (working about 100hours a week on a current basis). I comment IN LIVE (NO TIME ENOUGH to articulate a research paper or even re-read all my comments, besides English is not my first language) while [THE REST OF THIS COMMENT DELETED BY DAN PORTER].
  9. Hugh Farey
    February 11, 2015 at 1:01 pm
    The article should be balanced against “” (thank you Piero for pointing it out) published two days earlier, which gives the authenticist point-of-view and is no less free of distortion than its counterpart above. I look forward to the next instalment “sindone-le-ragioni-di-indecisione” which points out the murky bits in both.
  10. Thibault HEIMBURGER
    February 11, 2015 at 4:27 pm
    It seems to me that our friend Colin now has some kind of aphasia ;-))
    Nevertheless,I like particularly the picture of Kim Kadarshian (please don’t tell that to my wife!).
    Colin, I’ll be in London the next week for 2 (perhaps 3) days with my wife and my son.
    Some suggestions ?
    • February 11, 2015 at 5:36 pm
    • Thomas
      February 12, 2015 at 4:31 am
      Yes that picture of dear Kim made my day….have never been interested in her but maybe that has now changed ;)
  11. Louis
    February 11, 2015 at 5:35 pm
    Stale material again, probably based on ideology, and aimed at the forthcoming exposition. A waste of time.
  12. Thomas
    February 12, 2015 at 4:33 am
    There is staleness on both sides of the debate….
  13. Louis
    February 12, 2015 at 5:15 am
    What the anti-authenticity camp has stated above is not only stale, it even stinks. On the other hand, we see small developments in the opposite camp from time to time. Have you read this?
    Developments such as these will be refined as more studies emerge. Stay tuned, there will be more to come shortly.
  14. Louis
    February 12, 2015 at 6:04 am
    Hi Colin
    I like your errr… Scotch-Irish sense of humour. Only, I didn’t detect the smell of roses, just stale spaghetti,,,
  15. Louis
    February 12, 2015 at 6:45 am
    Come on, as an expert in the nutrition industry you should know the difference between cold and stale…
    • February 12, 2015 at 7:05 am
      • Louis
        February 12, 2015 at 5:00 pm
        Colin, I won’t discuss nutrition with you. That is your field of expertise, about which I know little. So let’s forget about the spaghetti or try stale gorgonzola or panettone.
        We need your comments in Shroud research. You are, after all, mesmerised with what you see in the image.
  16. Nabber
    February 12, 2015 at 8:34 am
    Colin, regarding your Kim picture: you have a lot of time on your hands, re: computer use, so I warn you to be careful about what you do with it. The pic doesn’t belong on a website like this, IMHO.
    Dan: your judgment failed you this time.
    • February 12, 2015 at 9:20 am
    • February 12, 2015 at 9:31 am
      Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa.
    • Dan
      February 12, 2015 at 10:32 am
      I removed it. That the picture appeared in the Daily Mail is reason enough. Don’t pursue with other examples. We are overdoing it with pictures as comments.
  17. February 12, 2015 at 10:58 am
    Be as sniffy as you like about a UK tabloid Dan, while Nabber recoils at the sight of an acre of celebrated bum.
    But if your read the Mail article, you will see that the image first appeared on the front cover of the New York based “Paper” magazine Winter edition, priced at $10.
    Where this blogger’s concerned, it’s now images or nothing. Words are wasted on this site. They simply get thrown back in one’s face.
  18. PHPL
    February 12, 2015 at 11:24 am
    The Raison d’être of this site is an image .
    • February 12, 2015 at 11:44 am
    • Nabber
      February 12, 2015 at 11:57 am
      Pi$$ – poor analogy, Mr. P.
  19. February 12, 2015 at 12:21 pm
    Click on image below to see important site-non-friendly message
    • Nabber
      February 12, 2015 at 3:39 pm
      Merely silly. Terminally cute.
Response to this posting: 
Stan Walker, MD
February 14, 2015 at 8:26 am
Colin’s leap of faith that the shroud is a fake – is quite a leap. There should be an Olympic medal for the kind of leaps Colin makes. He believes the shroud is a fake – but UFOs and All Star Wrestling is for real.

My reply:

Next please.

Second posting:

How’s this for a coincidence. Just an hour ago I was composing thoughts for a future posting, and had decided to deliver a broadside on those seeking evidence to fit a preconception, and kidding themselves that was in the finest traditions of sound scholarship.

Then a new posting appeared on (see cut-and-paste below) which purports on first reading to report an objective research exercise by a teacher and his/her charges, though one very perceptive student at the end considered otherwise, and said why: “We found things because we were looking for things”.

I’ll cut-and-paste my own thought first, set down before the posting, and with no further refinement, and then copy-and-paste the Porter/school teacher posting.

Here's my jottings, warts an'all: 

Analysis and synthesis

Porter’s site is all analysis, no synthesis. What’s more, the analysis, at least the pro-authenticity so-called analysis is for the most part agenda-driven.
There is no coherent theory to support a 1st century provenance. The science to support this or that theory for image imprinting is for the most part scarcely distinguishable from science fiction, the attempts to explain away the radiocarbon dating are rarely if ever followed with an appeal for the test to be repeated, the attempts to ‘demolish’ scorching and/or other medieval origins are token, superficial or crudely-designed so as to be virtually guaranteed to give the “right” answer, and reported in such a way as to soothe and reassure the faithful that all is well, with little or no attempt to impress the sceptics.


Compare the amount of time spent in EITHER:

 (a) browbeating us into accepting that the Pray Codex constitutes  incontrovertible evidence that the TS existed before the Lirey display, i.e. late 12th, not mid-14the century approx 1192-1195,  some 150 years pre-Lirey?

(Thinks: why don’t I scour 12th century religious art and look for signs of the TS? Or even 13th century?)

(b) proactive searching image files of pre 14th century art for what is indisputably a representation o0f the TS image (e.g. double man, frontal v dorsal view of same man etc).

Why not search and achieve a coup? Fame awaits the man or woman who can locate that image. Nope, they don’t search and we all know why. It’s because they know or suspect that there’s no image to be found. And why not let someone else do the searching, since their failure to find an image can always be explained away, and if they do find an image, then it’s a windfall for authenticity at no time or effort on their party.

Would the Veil of Veronica have been the most celebrated icon in the 14th century if there had been the slightest hint that it was bettered by a whole-body imprint, and one that did not require miraculous post-processing?  Why did it take decades for the TS gradually to supplant the Veronica?

There needs to be a grown-up debate about what constitutes evidence.

Like how legitimate is it to select one, just one artefact that has a handful of details that one can claim are “points of correspondence” with the TS? Yup, a sample size of 1, the very thing that causes all the breast-beating and vehement condemnation re radiocarbon dating, yet resorted to quite happily where the Pray Codex is concerned?

Then look at the so-called points of correspondence and ask: what weight can be attached to this kind of “evidence”

Take that vague blotch  on the head  that’s supposed to be a proxy for the epsilon-shaped blood stain, except this one is not epsilon-shaped. It’s Jesus, the crucified Jesus. He had worn a crown of thorns, so the artist needed to make a decision. 

Do I show the crown still in place? (No). Do I omit all trace of blood? (No). Do I show a great deal of blood? (No). Or do I just hint at blood? (Probably yes). 

Far from being a point of correspondence, it’s a point of NON-correspondence, given that while some blood needed to be shown, there was a missed opportunity to depict it as epsilon-shaped if the intent had really been to show a Shroud-inspired image. 

As I say, it's neither a point of correspondence nor weak correspondence, but in reality a point of NON-correspondence given that blood in some shape or form was fairly likely to be shown on head (especially as some had been shown on the hands). Speaking of which – those hands: there was an opportunity to show it on the wrists in any of the  4 pictures – again not taken.

Pray 4th: blood on subject's left palm (NOT wrist), no blood on forehead, lots of the little circles in various patterns that on Pray 3 are seen as "L-pattern" and thus TS-inspired (!). You couldn't make it up, unless you're a Shroud detective (M.Clouseau, not Sherlock Holmes).

Another missed opportunity, another point of non-correspondence. The latter grow like topsy if one looks hard enough, instead of selectively.

What we see with the Pray Codex is sloppy third rate, agenda-driven so-called scholarship. I for one am not wasting time arguing with folk whose only concern is to fit the facts to fit their preconceptions, then walk away with a smug, self-satisfied grin on their faces.

A Hung Jury on the Pray Manuscript

by Dan
A teacher in Indianapolis writes:
imageI conducted an experiment with 12 high school students.  I gave the group one large picture of the Shroud (as it is, not tone reversed into a positive image) and an enlargement of the weave pattern that I did not describe other than to say it was the weave pattern of the Shroud. I also gave them a copy of the Hungarian Pray Manuscript drawing. I asked them if they thought it was inspired by or derived in part from the Shroud of Turin. They were given thirty minutes to discuss this question among themselves. I listened and tried to not show any expression on my face.
This is not a scientific experiment. The population is too small. There are no controls.  Students were not interviewed.  The only criteria for selection was that the student had not heard of or seen a picture of the Hungarian Pray Manuscript and that they had heard of the Shroud of Turin even though some of them were not sure what it was. Two, other students, not selected for this experiment, thought that a shroud was part of an automobile’s cooling fan, which it is.
After only three minutes a majority of the students decided that the weave pattern was symbolically depicted in the HPM. I recognize that bias caused by the photograph of the weave pattern played a role in this identification. There was no other way.
They all spotted the mark on the forehead and the crossed hands.  It took several minutes to spot the four holes in an L-shape pattern. Eight of the twelve thought the holes were meaningful.
They never mentioned the nude body on the Shroud or the HPM. Nor did they notice the absence of thumbs.
At the end of thirty minutes, nine students were sure the HPM portrays the Shroud and Jesus as seen on the Shroud. That is how they put it, which was better than the “inspired” or “derived” wording I used.  Two students remained unconvinced but remained open to the possibility. One student was certain that any similarities were merely coincidental because, “We found things because we were looking for things.”

I’m convinced.  And I know about the absence of thumbs.  I like the wording: “[T]he HPM portrays the Shroud and Jesus as seen on the Shroud.”

So will this curiosity-driven blogger/retired science bod be posting that first draft response to, in any shape or form?

Nope. He's ceased wasting words on that site.

If he were to send anything, it would be this:



sciencebod said...

Time maybe to prime the pumps on my own comments!

This posting has been attracting more hits in its first 24 hours than is customary. Why is that I wonder, given it's not been picked up on another site, at least not that I'm aware of?

Methinks there may be a simple explanation. Up till now I've been reluctant to use "medieval fake" as a key word/label, but finally decided to take the plunge, in view of the major convergence between my thinking and that of Luigi Garlaschelli etc al.

When I googled (Turin Shroud medieval fake) I found this paper at the top of Page 2 returns. My posts usually languish well down listings, especially of (Turin Shroud)on its own. So I've probably got those two extra terms and the hardening of opinion to thank for added visibility and hopefully new visitors to this site.How nice it would be if just a few left a comment. It doesn't need to be flattering!

Plans for the future. I briefly linked to two other recent postings on where I have focused on the failure of the iconic "double man" image to be seen prior to 1355, which I consider to be pretty damning for authenticity.

I may make one or two extra postings here similar to this one, basically gift-wrapping what I have posted elsewhere as comments, including responses (relevant ones that is) where they help "tell a story".

sciencebod said...

This is the image in the sciencebuzz image archive that caused such a frisson on, resulting in its deletion:

Why did I use it? Your host here was in full image-only mode (see rationale in main posting) and was challenged to work in Kim Kardashian.

Well, it didn't take long to find the image of that celebrated rear chassis in Google archives, whose source was impeccable: first on the front cover of "Paper", an up-market NY-based glossy magazine, $10 per issue, which was then picked up the whole world over, including my own country's tabloid press. I used the image from the Daily Mail, a change from "Obese mother of 13 drawing £55,000 a year in State benefits accuses lover of watering her gin".

Naturally I did not post it for vicarious thrills only. There was a message attached that was of huge relevance to the Turin Shroud, conveying as it did my preferred explanation for the rationale of the TS as a putative sweat imprint (simulated rather than real if, as I suspect, a contact-scorch from a heated metal template) modelled on the legend of Veil of Veronica.

Enjoy (the message that is - what did you think I meant?)

sciencebod said...

11:00 London time

This posting has just this minute appeared on

At present, I have 125 hits, and am still at the top of Page 2 Google listings for (turin shroud medieval fake).

Now, received wisdom would have us believe that Google rankings are based mainly on links, on having one's words quoted elsewhere with links to one's sites.

Yet after some 3 years of posting, and having dozens, yes dozens of my postings highlighted "over there", I have actually gone down in the rankings in the last year or so, not up.

Why? Well,today's developments give a clue. It's the choice of one's key words/labels that are crucial. "Medieval fake" is in fact a 'red flag' category, one that is 'suggested' by Google as soon as one enters (turin shroud). By attaching this posting to that category I now have visibility that may help to trigger positive feedback, the kind that has made my "heavy CO2" posting my most visited (currently some 20 per day).

Dan Porter is trying to portray me right now as a loner, one who wants to cut himself off, play by himself.

Not true. I've wanted interaction across the entire internet, but one thing's for certain. Despite his site being held up as the major Shroud forum in terms of free-flowing comment, current developments etc, coverage by Dan Porter fails to translate into hits and visitors to one's own site, or one's search engine rankings. Yes, it's something I've addressed previously and heard Dan Porter's response that I'm failing to do this or that (make better use of social media sites etc).

But here's a thought. On the occasions when you have seen or read media reports the latest developments re the Shroud, when has there ever been a mention of what has been said on Porter's site, or who has said it?

Answer: I cannot recall a single instance in 3 years when that has happened. If the truth be told it is Dan Porter with a relatively small coterie of commenters who "plays alone". Sure, he may have thousands of folk a day reading his site, but if they never place a comment, and never refer to in the mainstream media, then he and his site are for all intents and purposes near-invisible where public opinion is concerned, whether sceptical or pro-authenticity. I for one do not wish that fate for my site,i.e. to dwell in obscurity, and will constantly try new approaches. One of them right now is to place Dan Porter's site lower down my scale of priorities, and try to analyse exactly what it is that prevents it reaching lift-off. I already have a germ of an idea. It's to do with what the philosophers call analysis and synthesis. Synthesis operates at a higher level than analysis. Porter's site is all analysis, and often very sterile and superficial analysis at that, with NO synthesis, no big idea, no take-away message.