The so-called "Shroud of Turin" is still believed to be evidence that a "Jesus Christ" deity construct once existed. The truth of the matter, however, is that the cloth is known to have been a painting created as a gift to a Christian "pope."

This text contains a good coverage of the painting.

Even knowing the painting's origins, willful ignorance and self-deception (motivated by the need to believe that some gods have evidence to support them) continues to result in delusional behavior. The need for evidence for deity constructs continues to get ever more desperate as the benefits of science continue to manifest themselves in an ever more technoligically oriented world.

Richard Smith:

Still with me, Frankie? Good. Some of the `facts' that you've misrepresented to me, or lied about, or both are as follows:

Frank V.:
fv> "So maybe the paints faded over the centuries" you may
fv> reply. But that makes no sense either. First, paints and pigments
fv> fade when exposed to bright direct sunlight for prolonged periods
fv> of time - but the Shroud has been kept in church strong-boxes and
fv> dungeons all these centuries. And, that's irrelevant anyway,
fv> since you and I already agree that the scientific evidence shows
fv> that there are no paints or pigments on the Shroud:

Richard Smith:

The levels of lies and fabrications in this one quote is staggering.

So, what else did you have to say that was incorrect?

Frank V.:
fv> In other words - however and whenever it was created - the
fv> Shroud's image has *always* been pale yellow on a paler
fv> yellow background.

Richard Smith:

This is wrong for two reasons.

Let's see here . . . you also said (and I admit that I'm paraphrasing here, but I will be glad to find the exact quote if you like) that heating the cloth under certain conditions would produce a layer of carbon on it, yet you claim there was no such carbon on the cloth at all. However, there IS carbon on the cloth, from exactly the same type of source: the fire that destroyed parts of the shroud (it was so hot that the silver container it was in was partially melted) also deposited said carbon.

You also point out that if the cloth of the shroud was draped over a hot statue that there would be an image of the top of the head, or scorching of the top of the head . . . and there is none. You're right, there is no image for the top of the head, just the front and back of the body. However, if it was the funeral cloth of Christ and had been draped over him, there would ALSO be an image of the top of his head unless you want to speculate that whatever mumbo jumbo produced it didn't work on the top of his head. And that would be foolishness on your part.

As a matter of fact, there are several good reasons for not believing that the cloth was ever actually draped over a body . . . there is no flattening of the body as would be represented by a body at repose on its' back . . . there should be some image spread, and there's not . . . and there are anatomical errors as well.

You state that there would be no motive for someone to forge the shroud of Christ. Yet this is not true. Monetary rewards, as well as the acclaim of the Church, etc., during a period when there were a LOT of religious artifacts/relics circulating . . . many of them spurious. To quote James Randi (The Faith Healers, Prometheus Books, 1989):

Catholic churches and private collections still overflow with hundreds of thousands of items. Included are pieces of the True Cross (enough to build a few log cabins), bones of the children slain by King Herod, the toenails and bones of St. Peter, the bones of the Three Wise Kings and of St. Stephen (as well as his complete corpse, including another complete_skeleton!), jars of the Virgin Mary's milk, the bones and several entire heads and pieces thereof that were allegedly once atop John the Baptist, 16 foreskins of Christ, Mary Magdalene's entire skeleton (with two right feet), scraps of bread and fish left over from feeding the 5,000, a crust of bread from the Last Supper, and a hair from Christ's beard -- not to mention a few shrouds, including the one at Turin.

One avid German collector claimed to have more than 17,000 of these objects, which inspired Pope Leo X to calculate that the man had saved himself exactly 694,779,550 1/2 days in purgatory by such pious devotion to his hobby. But his efforts were outdone by the Schlosskirche at Halle, West Germany, which boasted 21,483 relics in its vaults.

So, as even you can see, relics were big business just in the selling of them, regardless of the fees one could charge for the viewing of same . . . and we know that people have paid to see the shroud of Turin, don't we?

However, you don't have to believe me or Randi on this . . . you can believe the man who forged the shroud and the early Catholic church in it's designation of it as a fake. I'm indebted to Don Martin for the following post of July 15, 1996, 13:06:

Don Martin:
DM> A tidbit:
DM> By 1357 the Lirey cloth, proclaimed to be Christ's
DM> burial shroud, was being exhibited frequently for fees
DM> to large crowds of pilgrims from all over, when a
DM> skeptical French bishop named Henri de Poitiers launched
DM> an investigation into its provenance. As reported by
DM> Henri's successor, Bishop Pierre d'Arcis, the result was
DM> that the exhibitions were stopped. But three decades
DM> later they started again, prompting Pierre to write a
DM> lengthy letter to Clement VII, the Avignon Pope, to
DM> counter "the contempt brought upon the Church" and "the
DM> danger to souls." The famous letter--the earliest known
DM> reference to the shroud--begins (in translation):
DM> The case, Holy Father, stands thus. Some time since
DM> in this diocese of Troyes the Dean of a certain
DM> collegiate church, to wit, that of Lirey, falsely
DM> and deceitfully, being consumed with the passion of
DM> avarice, and not from any motive of devotion but
DM> only of gain, procured for his church a certain
DM> cloth cunningly painted . . .
DM> Pierre then describes the image on the cloth, which we
DM> today call the Shroud of Turin, along with the
DM> circumstances of the exhibitions and continues:
DM> Eventually, after diligent inquiry and examination,
DM> he [Henri de Poitiers] discovered the fraud and how
DM> the said cloth had been cunningly painted, the truth
DM> being attested by the artist who painted it, to
DM> with, that it was a work of human skill and not
DM> miraculously wrought or bestowed.
DM> Later in his letter, Pierre states:
DM> I offer myself here as ready to supply all
DM> information sufficient to remove any doubt
DM> concerning the facts alledged.
DM> Clement considered the matter and issued a Bull,
DM> which, although allowing exhibition of the cloth,
DM> ordered that it be advertised only as a "copy or
DM> representation." However, this directive was gradually
DM> forgotten, and the proclaimed shroud came to be the most
DM> venerated relic in Christendom.
DM> Mueller MM, The shroud of Turin: A critical
DM> appraisal. The skeptical Enquirer
DM> 1982:7(3):15-34.

Richard Smith:

As you can see, not only was the forgery uncovered in the Middle Ages, but the forger confessed.

We won't even get into such facts as that:

Still with me? Good. I'm glossing over a lot of errors to get to the main ones, so as to keep this within one message.

You have many errors of logic. You assume that since I agreed that it was a fake, I have to prove it was a fake . . . yet when I present evidence for that, you ignore it (I'm referring to the carbon dating, but more on that later). You also harbor the illogical attitude that language denotes intelligence. If that were true, then there would be a lot fewer intelligent people in the world, especially those who can not use language.

Yet people with speaking problems, aphasia, etc., are not automatically less intelligent; in essence, if you don't like my language, then get the fuck out. If your points are so shaky as to be weakened by my bluntness and fondness for Anglo-Saxonisms, then you need help.

You're also in error for implying that I need to reproduce the Shroud exactly as it would have been done in order to refute the idea that it is genuine. That is just intellectual silliness on your part, Frankster. I don't HAVE to recreate it to be able to refute it.

BTW, you were aware, weren't you, that two University of Texas Forensic Experts HAVE duplicated the shroud? They did it as a brass rubbing/painting of pigment over cloth, which produced the exact same kind of fuzzy edges/photo effect as apparent on the original shroud. If you are curious, please see the January 2, 1994 issue of The Journal of Imaging Science and Technology, Issue 34, pages 59-67.

You also seem to weasel a bit about whether you say it is the shroud of Christ or not. Let's cut through the horseshit here, Frank. Either it IS the genuine article . . . i.e., the Shroud of Christ, or it is NOT . . . right? If it is a forgery, then naturally it is NOT the real thing.

I assume you know what an anachronism is. It is something that should not exist in a particular time, but belongs to a later time. The shroud of Turin is an anachronism. For it to be really the shroud of Christ, it would have to have existed since the supposed death of Christ, about two thousand years ago. However, the cloth IS newer than that.

Three independent labs in 1988 (Oxford, Zurich, and the University of Arizona) carbon dated the cloth of the shroud to around the mid-1300's. It was reported in Nature Magazine, which I am referencing below. I don't think I want to type the whole article in, so you will just have to get your own copy if you have questions. But I will quote the first paragraph of the conclusion:

The results of the radiocarbon measurements at Arizona, Oxford, and Zurich yield a calibrated calendar age range with at least 95% confidence for the linen of the Shroud of Turin of AD 1260-1390 (rounded down/up to the nearest 10 yr). These results therefore provide conclusive evidence that the linen of the Shroud of Turin is mediaeval.

So, by this one test, the authenticity of the Shroud of Turin is refuted. Nothing else is needed to do so, no recreation is necessary. That is, unless you can tell how the image hung around for over a thousand years before the linen was ready for it, or how the people who made the shroud of Christ were able to travel in time to get this linen? The other evidence cited above is nice to contribute to this, but really, this point is the only one needed.

You have been rude, obnoxious, you have misrepresented my quotes and words, you have passed judgment, bitched about your treatment and about the quality of people here, and made fun, all under the `benign' guise of scientific inquiry.

If you want to continue to dialogue with me on this, you will display quotes within their context, you will take my language as I take yours, you will not lie to me further, and you will do two more things.

Firstly, you will do what you wanted me to do: show exactly how it was possible for the shroud to be formed, except in your case you will presumably be working from the other argument, that of the supernatural.

And, secondly, you start with the radiocarbon dating first and refute that, if you can. Otherwise, you will be getting from me the same thing you are getting from Dan Ceppa: dead air.

To plan, will, and NOT DO is will-depleting,


... Joe Nickell, Inquest on the Shroud of Turin, Prometheus 1983.
... Radiocarbon Dating of the Shroud of Turin, by P. E. Damon, D. J.
    Donahue, B. H. Gore, A. L. Hatheway, A. J. T. Jull, T. W. Linick,
    P. J. Sercel, L. J. Toolin, C. R. Bronk, E. T. Hall, R. E. M.
    Hedges, R. Housley, I. A. Law, C. Perry, G. Bonani, S. Trumbore, W.
    Woelfli, J. C. Ambers, S. G. E. Bowman, M. N. Leese, & M. S. Tile,
    Nature, February 16, 1989, volume 337, issue 6208.


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