The Shroud of Turin

There’s been a big to-do over whether they’ve found a way to duplicate the Shroud of Turin. A group of scientists funded by an athiest group came to the conclusion that they wanted to come to, by trying to forge the Shroud. The end result is so embarassingly bad that I think it’s good evidence that the Shroud is genuine: if after centuries of trying to debunk the Shroud, this is the best we’ve got, I think that’s good evidence that this wasn’t some Medieval forgery.* Mark Shea’s coverage is very good on this. Everything points away from this being a hoax.

If some 14th century artist forged it, he could have made a heck of a lot more money honestly, because he was superior to any other artist living at the time: and, as Mark Shea points out, “herringbone weave cloth covered with pollen from the Holy Land was certainly fore-sighted of the forger.” Not too many forgers have contingency plans for scientific advancements centuries away.

Ah yes, but there is one glaring stick which athiests can use: a 1988 carbon-dating of some threads in the Shroud dated them as Medieval. And indeed, just about everyone agrees that those threads were, because they were part of a patch from where the Shroud had been damaged. Ray Rogers, one of the scientists who initially “debunked” the Shroud, eventually debunked his own team’s research and came to believe that the Shroud was real. It seems very much to me that atheists are going by blind faith – a blanket refusal to believe that this is the real Shroud – while Catholics have the best science and circumstantial evidence on their side. You have to really bend over backwards to turn this into a hoax!

*I should note that no one is required to believe that the Shroud is genuine – I happen to, and I think that the evidence is overwhelmingly on the side of its authenticity.

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