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Mythology/Religion

The Not-So-Controversial Shroud of Turin

ShroudTurin

The Shroud of Turin is perhaps the most “controversial” religious artifact in the world and is on public display for the first time in over a decade. As fascinating as this relic is, it is by no means controversial. In reality, the shroud’s authenticity has been dis proven years ago using using various experiments; the only reason for the “controversy” comes from the refusal of the religious community to accept the evidence.

Before we proceed, here is some background: The Shroud of Turin cloth supposedly wrapped Jesus’s body after the crucifixion and became imprinted with his image. Numerous historical references to Christ’s shroud exist but the only reliable records for the one today housed in Turin Cathedral begin in the 16th Century. The herringbone woven cloth measuring 4ft x14ft, is stained with human blood and appears to show the imprint of a crucified man.

Now, let’s look at what I think are the most convincing arguments for the shroud’s forgery:

The Carbon-14 Dating Test:

A “strip was divided into three parts and sent to three leading laboratories specializing in carbon dating, in Oxford, Arizona, and Zurich. Working under conditions of scrupulous independence – not comparing notes – the three laboratories reported their verdicts on the date when the flax from which the cloth had been woven died. Oxford said C.E. 1200, Arizona 1304 and Zurich 1274. These dates are all – within normal margins of error – compatible with each other and with the date in the 1350’s at which the shroud is first mentioned in history.” [1]

The Archaeological Test:

“In Jerusalem, a team lead by Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) archaeologist Shimon Gibson uncovered a Jewish man’s burial shroud in a tomb inside a cave…the researchers also announced that the shroud, radiocarbon dated to 1 – 50 C.E., supports the idea that the Shroud of Turin had not been used to wrap the body of Jesus after his crucifixion. The Jerusalem shroud is made of simply-woven linen and wool, while the Shroud of Turin is made of a complex twill weave, a fabric not thought to have been available on the region until the Middle Ages.” [2]

The Electron Microscopy Test:

“In 1980, using electron microscopy and x-ray diffraction, Dr. Walter C. McCrone found red ochre (iron oxide, hematite) and vermilion (mercuric sulfide); the electron microprobe analyzer found iron, mercury, and sulfur on a dozen of the blood-image area samples. The results fully confirmed Dr. McCrone’s results and further proved the image was painted twice – once with red ochre, followed by vermilion to enhance the blood-image areas.

In 1987, carbon dating at three prestigious laboratories agreed well with his date: 1355 by microscopy and 1325 by C-14 dating. The suggestion that the 1532 Chambery fire changed the date of the cloth is ludicrous. Samples for C-dating are routinely and completely burned to CO 2 as part of a well-tested purification procedure. The suggestions that modern biological contaminants were sufficient to modernize the date are also ridiculous. A weight of 20th century carbon equaling nearly two times the weight of the Shroud carbon itself would be required to change a 1st century date to the 14th century. Besides this, the linen cloth samples were very carefully cleaned before analysis at each of the C-dating laboratories.” [3]

Experimental details on the tests carried out by McCrone are available in five papers published in three different peer-reviewed journal articles: The Microscope 28, p. 105, 115 (1980); The Microscope 29, p. 19 (1981); Wiener Berichte uber Naturwissenschaft in der Kunst 1987/1988, 4/5, 50 and Acc. Chem. Res. 1990, 23, 77-83.

In light of the mountain of evidence pointing to forgery, and considering the fact that at least one modern artist has produced a comparable fake [4], it seems clear that the shroud is not the burial shroud of a savior that its believers wish it to be.

The shroud is a quite simply a fake. I don’t understand how anyone could draw any other conclusion based on all the scientific evidence.

As the old English proverb goes: “There are none so blind as those, that will not see”.

Thank you for reading,

Notes:

  1. Dawkins, Richard, “The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution”, Free Press; First Edition, September 22, 2009, ISBN-10: 1416594787, Pgs: 105-106
  2. Mati Milstein, “First-century Focus”, Archaeology Magazine [A publication of the Archaeological Institute of America], March/April 2010, Pg 9.
  3. McCrone, Walter, C., “The Shroud of Turing: Blood or Artist’s Pigment?”, McCrone Research Institute, Chicago, 1989.
    http://mcri.org/CMSuploads/the_microscope_%20shroud.pdf?PHPSESSID=ff2d7b5207e304b54d597cfe1c345866
  4. Ingham, Richard, “Turin Shroud confirmed as a fake”, Physorg.com, June 21, 2005, http://www.physorg.com/news4652.html
  5. In Detail: Shroud of Turin
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/8612315.stm

About elpidiovaldes

Human, All Too Human.

Discussion

7 thoughts on “The Not-So-Controversial Shroud of Turin

  1. Very good…! Tu tienes razon… y por ti nos enteraremos de

    todas las falcedades del mundo antiguo y el de hoy

    Gracias por abrirnos los ojos…

    Posted by Laide Alonso | April 30, 2010, 23:15
  2. I’m not convinced that the shroud is the real burial cloth of Christ, but it is more controversial than you think:

    1. The radio-carbon dating is in serious doubt. There have been challenges recently concerning the section of the cloth that was tested: http://www.shroudofturin4journalists.com/

    2. Saying that a 1st C. burial shroud with a different weaving pattern proves the Turin shroud’s authenticity is like saying that since the color of the buried man’s tunic was black, therefore all 1st C. tunics must be black.

    3. McCrone is a lone wolf with regard to the pigment on the shroud. That is a very old argument that no one argues for anymore. Every story I can find of late from scientific research discounts the painting theory.

    Again, whether the shroud is real or not is neither here nor there to me. But I cannot deny that it is an extraordinary artifact. Few skeptics see this, since they are typically always in “debunking” mode. But remember, the hoaxer (if it is a hoax) only needed to fool gullible medieval folk who would have been just as happy with a tooth or fingernail of a saint, not 21st C. scientists and artists who need sophisticated equipment to fully comprehend the shroud’s complexities. It is indeed mysterious, and yes, still quite controversial.

    Posted by Jason | May 1, 2010, 02:00
    • Cute comment, but ignorant of the facts. The “controversy” ends when the religious community allows the scientific community total access to the shroud. This is constantly denied, since everyone knows that it would put the “controversy” to rest. Let’s not forget where the “controversy” stems from: complete ignorance.

      Let’s also not forget the propaganda and marketing potential of the shroud’s controversy, it’s a best seller! See my article on the “The Myth of the Missing Link” controversy and how the media just loves using the term despite the fact that it’s not accepted in the scientific community. The religious community also benefits greatly from the “controversy”, it’s to their advantage [and pocket money] to keep it so, please read “The Hypocrisy of the Clergy” for further elaboration on this point.

      Thanks,

      Posted by elpidiovaldes | May 1, 2010, 17:20
      • “Cute comment, but ignorant of the facts.”

        Actually, I’m quite aware of the facts. The irony of the statement is that you apparently are not. Your use of outdated information regarding the dubious McCrone painting theory and failure to acknowledge the actual peer-reviewed science that has cast doubt on the radio-carbon dating bears this out. Or, maybe you do about these things and choose to ignore them, preferring instead to rail against “religion.”

        “The “controversy” ends when . . .”

        So we’re agreed that there’s a controvery?

        Let me restate: the shroud may very well be a fake, but it is not as easily disproven as most skeptics make it out to be. I’m as frustrated with the Catholic church as anybody concerning their refusal to allow the shroud a thorough testing. But let me ask you a question:

        If the shroud is re-tested and found to date to the 1st C., what would you make of it then?

        Posted by Jason | May 1, 2010, 21:57
      • Mwhahahahaha, I laugh at your final question…”Jesus” is a myth and nothing more. There is absolutely nothing on this Earth that has or will prove otherwise, thus any talk about the shroud’s authenticity is a joke. The “controversy” you speak of is artificially created and perpetuated in much the same way the “Jesus” myth is: by massive dishonest propaganda and the promotion of ignorance.

        I recommend anything by Joseph Campbell or Carl Jung. Also, please don’t forget to read my article on the Hypocrisy of the Clergy.

        But i digress…I will address your comments on the testing methods. First, you have the microscopy test which puts the shroud in the middle ages, then a few years later a different type of test [carbon dating] shows the same conclusions, and later still, you have another type of test [archeological] that talks to the same conclusion as all the others before. These are three completely kinds of tests that all point to the same conclusion. This is the beauty of modern science, we have multiple ways of testing for things. There is no such thing as the perfect test, the answers lie in testing things [and ideas] several times and in several ways. Let’s be honest, if one type of test absolutely proved one thing, but another type of test shows inconclusive results, then one can argue for or against.

        The argument is simple: Everything points to a hoax, it is up to the church to prove otherwise. The “controversy” grows out of their refusal to give up their beloved shroud…At the end, it is very much in their favor to keep it “controversial” and out of the hands of science.

        Please advance the human cause instead of hindering it with such comments. The artificial creation of confusion and controversy are tools used by political elites as well as the religious community to maintain their grip on power. As long as we’re debating the lies sold to us, we are left holding the short end of the stick. It is only when we see through all the smoke and mirrors that the picture becomes clear.

        Thanks,

        Posted by elpidiovaldes | May 1, 2010, 23:41
  3. The carbon 14 tests on the shroud have proven to be from a border to the cloth added in 1300’s. The actual fabric that covered the body of Christ has never been date tested.
    There are many historical records of the Shroud that date back before the 1300’s. The Pray Manuscript shows an illustration of the Shroud from 1192 AD. King Avgar of Edessa requested the Shroud. The Shroud was also known as the Edessa cloth and the Mandylion. In 944 AD the Shroud was taken to Constantinople. In 1204 AD the crusaders sacked that city & took the Shroud to Europe.
    Did the ‘comparable fake’ test 3-D in the VP-8 image analyser? Did it have pollen from 28 mideast plants? Did the image go only .002″-.005″ deep?
    Do you believe in Jesus Christ? You will some day but will you do it in time to be saved from eternal destruction?

    Posted by Pete Thorniley | May 1, 2010, 06:20

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