The team behind www.shroud-enigma.com have challenged Richard Dawkins over his recent dismissal of the Shroud of Turin’s authenticity, offering a £20,000 reward for proving the image to be fake.
“The challenge then, if you choose to accept it, is to explain how the Shroud and its image might have come into existence… If you can explain it then this site’s title becomes a misnomer and you will have solved a great mystery. Everyone would like to see this matter resolved. Could you be the one to do it?”
In a blog post of December 2011 Dawkins dismissed the credibility of the Shroud, citing the Carbon Dating investigations of 1988. “…the carbon-14 evidence that the shroud’s linen is much too young to be the shroud of Jesus is rock solid. Three independent labs, in Arizona, Zurich and Oxford, were each given four samples, making 12 datings in all…”
The shroud-enigma.com team have dealt with this issue in another part of their website, criticising both the decision to take only one sample from the cloth, (whilst seven samples was the original agreed protocol), and the area of the cloth selected,
“There were certainly practical reasons for cutting a piece adjacent to an area already cut away but given the nature of the test, this particular spot was probably the worst that might have been chosen. Countless times over the centuries (even millennia if the C14 is wrong) the Shroud has been held up for display and, until only a few decades ago, this was always by grasping the corners. The potential for contamination here is infinitely greater than anywhere else on the cloth. The associated wear and tear may also have made it necessary to carry out repairs.”
This seems to have been confirmed by the work of the late Raymond Rogers whose work showed that whilst the C14 dating was correct, it was carried out on a rewoven part of the cloth, thus rendering the 1988 results irrelevant. (Please see: http://www.shroud.it/ROGERS-3.PDF).
Dawkins has yet to respond to this challenge.
Want to learn more?
To hear Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih IV (rh) speak on the subject, click here.
In addition, an article by Arif Khan previously published on this blog has been reposted below for convenience:
(Original blog post found here).
Shroud of Turin – Fake or Not
By Arif Khan
A few news articles on the authenticity of the Shroud of Turin again appeared in the news a few days back (see the end). Arif Khan, a good friend who has written many articles on Should of Turin has most kindly submitted the following on request.
Was the Shroud not Proved Fake in 1988 by Carbon Dating?
Dating of a sample, performed independently by 3 laboratories did return dates ranging from 1260-1390 in 1988, and yet the controversy rages on. The biggest issue was that the dating lead to more questions than it answered. How did the image form? Who formed the image and why?
Recent research, from 2005, by the late Raymond Rogers showed strong evidence to support the idea that the section that was used to cabron date the Shroud of Turin was from re-woven section. This effectively rendered the carbon dating result irrelevant for dating the cloth.
Why was the 2005 research about the carbon dating not more widely covered?
Wide coverage was given to the story, but most people are not aware of it. A story of a test, such as carbon dating, showing a revered relic to be fake gets more attention and coverage than later expert analysis.
Didn’t someone show the Shroud was a fake recently?
There are many so-called experts who come up with press releases about the Shroud being fake. The same theories are recycled about image formation and yet these theories have all been proved wrong many years ago.
Why is it so hard to get objective information about the Shroud?
It seems that anyone seriously interested in spending years researching the Shroud already has a religous agenda. Myself included! The researcher sets out to prove a pre-existing hypothesis. This leads to some strange analysis by ‘experts’, such as those of Dr Frederick Zugibe – as well as recent research from ‘Italian government scientists’.
Why is it so hard to explain the image?
There are specific key characteristics of the image that any theory must account for:
1. The image is a photographic negative
2. There is a 3D property to the image – the further away a part of the body was from the cloth the fainter that part appears
3. The image is visible only in the very upper fibres of the cloth – it does not go all the way through to the back of the cloth
4. When standing close to the cloth the image is not visible – it is only visible when standing a few metres away from the cloth
5. The blood flows on the cloth have been shown to be 100% anatomically correct based on modern physiology
6. There are no pigments or dyes used on the cloth
7. The blood is human and contains extractable DNA samples
It is very hard to put together a theory that can satisfy all of the above items.
Does the Shroud support the theory that Jesus survived the Crucifixion?
One major stumbling block is that most of the researchers are looking for theories that would cause a cold, lifeless body to form an image with the above properties.
Some researchers, such as German scholar Holger Kersten, have stated that if Jesus survived the Crucifixion, and laid in the selpucre recovering from his ordeal for many hours, maybe days, then formation of an image with many of the above characterisitics is possible.
Kersten made attempts to re-create the image in his own experiements, with some success, but without anything conclusive.
What is the next step?
Another carbon dating experiement, using a another area of the cloth, would be appreciated by the scientific community. Until that occurs there are many researchers coming out with material, but most of it is regurgitation of older material.
Who are the experts on the Shroud?
The best source of information on the Shroud of Turin, from an objective and experience scientist, is http://www.shroud.com – this website is maintained by the current leading expert on the Shroud, Barrie Schwortz. Barrie being Jewish also means that his research and view is not coloured with the polemic and religous sentiment that other research and papers often shows.