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"How to Respond to an Anti-Conspiracy Theorist"
The Shroud of Turin: Myth or Miracle? By Mike King
It is only due to the historical element of this subject that the staff here -- (that's Mike & the spirit of co-founder, St. Sugar the Conspiracy Cat) -- upon being asked by a reader for an assessment of the mysterious Shroud of Turin, directed our "critically acclaimed" research capabilities to an objective and in-depth study of the debate over this historical artifact which has always intrigued us.
THE LAST DAYS OF JESUS CHRIST
Though he is most remembered for preaching, some 2000 years ago, about love, peace, mercy, charity, kindness, forgiveness etc., many Christians forget that Jesus was very aggressive and lion-hearted when publicly confronting the mighty Jewish Elders of his day (Pharisees). It was not the warm & fuzzy stuff that caused a problem -- but rather, the confrontational "holy hatred" that led to his crucifixion. A few choice morsels from the New Testament:
Jesus to the Pharisees:
"Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it. And because I tell you the truth, ye believe me not."John 8: 44-45
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you travel land and sea to make a single convert (to Judaism), and when he is won, you make him twice as much of a son of hell as yourselves!"Matthew: 23: 15
Tell it, Jesus. Tell it!
The last straw for the Pharisees and the money men came when Jesus "fashioned (hand made) a whip of cords" (indicating premeditated controlled anger) and literally attacked the "money changers" who were doing business in the temple.
"And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the money changers, and the seats of them that sold doves, And said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves."Matthew 21: 12-13
Tell it, Jesus. Tell it!
This physical attack upon the Rothschilds of his day sealed his fate. To appease the Jewish leaders of the unruly and perpetually rebellious province of Judea, the Roman governor, Pontius Pilate, reluctantly signed off on the ultimate penalty of crucifixion -- symbolically washing his hands of the decree which the Jewish Elders and their mob of "Zealots" demanded. Jesus was brutally flogged, crowned with thorns, and nailed to the cross on "Good Friday." His body was placed in a cave tomb and enveloped in a burial shroud.
The faithful believe that he arose on Sunday -- Easter. Doubters suggest that his disciples removed the body of their beloved teacher and then created the legend of the "resurrection" -- an event said to be confirmed by the mysterious image left on the burial shroud.
Worried that the shroud could turn out to be fake, the official position of Pope Clement VII and the Catholic Church at that time was to declare it to be an artistic relic, but not a holy icon -- a fact which debunkers will often cite, but which fails to take into account the fact no one then, nor to this day, has been able to explain how the haunting image and blood stains got into the fabric.
In 1532, a fire broke out (or was set?) in the chapel where the shroud had been moved to. It melted part of the silver in the container housing the shroud -- dripping molten metal on the sides of the cloth. Some of the damaged area was replaced and stitched together by nuns, but the burn marks and the extinguishing water stains remain visible on the shroud today.
In 1578, the shroud was again moved -- to the Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist in the city of Turin -- which later became part of Italy. It has remained there ever since, with the exception of World War II, when it was relocated to protect it from American bombardment. There was another fire in 1997 which required the shroud to be saved (Satanic arson, I bet).
Going on seven centuries now, the debate about its authenticity continues -- especially since an accidental discovery in 1898. That year, an Italian photographer was shocked to discover that the negative image of the shroud yielded a much clearer positive (possibly indicating that the original image itself is the photographic negative). Ever since, both deniers and believers have sought to bolster their arguments with intensive scientific studies utilizing forensic technologies not available in centuries gone by.
With total objectivity, and with Catholic upbringing and personal wishes set aside, we present some interesting -- frankly, mind-boggling -- elemental facts (previously not known to us) which have been uncovered and agreed upon by scientists of varying faiths or no faith at all. Draw whatever conclusions that your hearts and minds lead to. We are only presenting raw data here -- you decide.
1. There are neither paint, nor oil, nor scorch marks anywhere on the shroud. The source of the image, which only affects the tippy-top microns of the fibers, remains of unknown and inexplicable origin.
2. All attempts at replication -- even with modern technologies and even on just on a small scale -- have failed.
3. The blood on the shroud is real -- type AB with the DNA of a male human.
4. The pattern of the blood stains is consistent with those of a man who was crowned with thorns and flogged mercilessly by two men with spiked whips -- one taller than the other.
5. Some of the blood which stained the shroud had previously bled out onto the body from a still-living man -- and some of the blood oozed out after death.
6. The properties of the blood samples reveal the presence of a trauma-induced chemical released from the liver -- indicative of someone who had been tortured and terrorized.
7. There are dirt remnants on the face area -- consistent with a man falling down face first, perhaps while carrying the heavy cross to his place of execution.
8. In 2019, it required a lawsuit and a court-order for a team of secular Oxford scientists to finally access the original 1988 data compiled by an earlier team of scientists whose work led to the publication of a much-publicized "debunking" article in the journal, Nature. After the British Museum was forced to release the data, the Oxford team scientifically ruled out the 1988 findings.
9. The carbon-dating "debunk" of 1988 turned out to be hasty (if not rigged) conclusion based on contaminated and repaired (from the 1592 fire) samples of the cloth. We have learned of many cases of erroneous carbon-dating -- such as a known 1000-year old Viking artifact dating back only to the 1980s.
10. In 2013, a more advanced procedure known as spectroscopic dating confirmed that parts of the shroud could indeed be dated back to the days of Christ. (here)
12. The image was not drawn by strokes nor by dotted art techniques.
13. The image is extremely superficial -- yet, when photographed, the negative comes into full focus with much more detailed realism. An artist would have had to anticipate the invention of photography -- many centuries later -- for viewers to fully appreciate the artwork.
14. The embedding of this image -- one theory posits -- could be consistent with a burst of intensely bright UV light. A divine Polaroid picture? The location of the tomb was measured to have unusual levels of electromagnetic activity. (here)
15. The image -- when photographed -- has 3-dimenional properties.
16. Pollen samples (pollen gets into everything!) -- removed from the fabric by tape -- indicate that the shroud contains pollen types indigenous to Europe, Turkey (Constantinople) and Jerusalem.
17. Advanced technology used to analyze negative images revealed the presence of ancient Roman coins used to weigh down the body's eyelids. (*This particular point is disputed)
18. The particular weave of the shroud is consistent with a weaving pattern popular in Egypt and Judea 2000 years ago -- but not known in Europe.
19. The experts on the "debunk" side of the case -- as well as the media -- clearly manifest an emotional bias, and hostility toward the hypothesis that the shroud could be the result of something supernatural. The negativity is so strong that it has driven them to manipulate and then hide data. What Satanists have not been able to accomplish by arson, the debunkers have sought to achieve by Fake Science instead. Why?
20. The scientifically-based believers (many of them non-religious and some Jewish) as well as the "still undecideds" -- on the other hand -- do not reveal any such dogmatic prejudice or cognitive bias.
21. Every single claim of "debunk" or "duplication" to date -- after a period of predictable media hype -- has later been exposed (by scientists, not the Church) as shoddy science -- or at least been credibly challenged by other experts and rendered inconclusive.
22. In April, 2022, the film producer David Rolfe publicly offered the British Museum a $1 million reward if they can successfully fake this iconic artifact. Rolfe:
“They said it was created by a medieval fraudster, and I tell them, well, if he could do it, you should be able to do it too. And if you can, I have a $1 million reward for you. I encourage them to repeat this thing by creating something similar today. Because of all the evidence that I have seen, if it is a fake, it is the most ingenious fake in history."
So far, no takers for the reward.
THE BOTTOM LINE
After much intensive analysis, no forensics expert or scientist has been able to honestly explain away these mysteries -- nor figure out by what unusual means this blood-stained image of a terrorized man was embedded upon and within the shroud. Not. Even. Close.
Indeed, to this day, the entirety of the debunk case amounts only to a continuing "Appeal to Incredulity" fallacy -- nothing more. Now, that in and of itself does not prove that the shroud is the product of a miracle, of course. It simply means that -- contrary to breathless media reports -- the well-funded and well-equipped teams of crack forensic scientists who have studied the shroud have never been able to debunk it. This sets up a logical "either or:"
The shroud is EITHER the most cleverly sophisticated artistic and technological hoax in human history -- with the artist having had the foresight and forensic knowledge to use the real human blood of a terror-stricken live, and then dead, "volunteer" -- perpetrated 1800 years before the most basic photographic technology was even invented ....
OR ... it is a supernatural forensic sign of God's handiwork.
There's no "in between" scenario here. -- And that's all we care to say about the matter.