Shroud Wars- Alan Vs. Dale Debate Round #1

Enjoy the podcast:–ALAN-VS–DALE-DEBATE-ROUND-1-e2jppf




Well folks, its finally here!  Round 1 of the big showdown between Dale (Pro-Shroud) and his nemesis Alan (the Shroud skeptic).  Quite obviously, Alan and I are not actually nemeses, we both have strong views on the evidence from the Shroud of Turin and we both passionately believe each other is wrong about it.  The following discussion is an attempt to try and discern the truth and address each other’s claims in that regards, it is not an exercise of polemics or ad hominem attacks but a sincere attempt to present both sides on the Shroud evidence.  As a debate, neither of us will be able to present fully our case and both of us have presented our arguments more fully elsewhere (me, in my Podcasts and sources and Alan in his critiques on the Unbelievable? Forums), so one should not take these discussions as the be all and end all of the matter.  An honest seeker is responsible to look deeper into these matters.

Anyways, there is far too much to include in one show and thus Alan and I have agreed to break up the discussions to cover various topics in each debate.  In the first debate/discussion we shall focus on Alan’s contention that the Shroud can demonstrated to be Medieval; the main question for the debate is- “Can the Shroud be Proven to Medieval?”.  It is important to note that on the main topic of discussion in this first debate at least, it is Alan that is making the claim and thus him that bears the burden of proof, not me.

The topics that will be covered in Round 1 include;

i) Non-Relevant Bonus- Alan’s attempt to explain the difference between pseudo-science and qualified scientists and his appraisal of STURP as being pseudo-science conducted by “religious fanatics” whose findings and conclusions from 1978-1981 have no credibility in the scientific community.


ii) Non-Relevant Bonus- What is the Relevance of the Dating to Begin With?  Even if the Shroud is Medieval, who cares!


iii) Pro-Medieval Evidence #1- The Memorandum of Bishop D’Arcis (1389 A.D.).


iv) Pro-Medieval Evidence #2- The Archeological Evidence from the Pilgrim’s Badges/Medallion (1349-1356 A.D.) & the Historical Background Knowledge Argument.


v) Pro-Medieval Evidence #3- The 1988 C-14 Dating (this will include Alan correcting the record and defending Harry Gove against my critiques of him in my Part 1 Podcast and perhaps Alan’s take on the Neutron Flux/Absorption Hypothesis as a proposal explain the results).


Enjoy the show 😊


Recommended Sources (for further study):




1.  Attacking/Defending STURP;

For a list of the credible scientists and experts involved in STURP in 1978 and beyond see = there is another list in the detailed 66-page operational plan and methodology employed by STURP see here = (see p.16-17 for the list of team members and their role in STURP).

For access to 20 or more of STURP peer-reviewed journal articles based on their findings and conclusions during STURP see here = .

Finally, flor the official conclusion reached by STURP in their 1981 Final Report, see here = .


Additionally, see proof that McCrone was the editor of his own journal where he published his results (lack of proper peer-review unlike STURP scientists and experts) = .  Here are some secular sources on what it means for something to be peer-reviewed and how to identify journals as such =  & & .  Also, here is a definition of “pseudoscience”, contrary to Alan STURP does not fit that definition unlike the 1988 C-14 leaders, see here = .


2. Pro-Medieval Evidence #1- Bishop D’Arcis’ Memorandum of 1389;

1389 MEMORANDUM OF PIERRE D’ARCIS SOURCES: Here is a link to the actual English translation of the Memo itself =
i) Skeptical Side: Shroud skeptic Joe Nickell presented this evidence along with several supporting lines of evidence to buttress his argument that the Shroud is an artistic medieval fake, see first 20 mins or so here =

ii) Pro-Shroud Side; For the counter-response by actual qualified historians (includes the various surrounding documents overlooked in my Podcast audio), see the article entitled “Deconstructing the “Debunking” of the Shroud” (this is a reply to the Shroud skeptical article above by Gary Vikan, so you can see the other articles as well) here = . Also, see an 11 page article on the Lirey Controversy (Memo) and background information here = .

iii) General Info based on Timeline Data (for surrounding circumstances around the Memo); Finally, here is a timeline/chronological source giving the surrounding background knowledge related to this 14th century controversy, see here = .

iv) A NEW Source (Not Included in Part 7 Podcast Sources) = .  It explains the mistaken pseudo-history done by French historian and bibliographer, Canon Ulysse Chevalier.


3. Pro-Medieval Evidence #2- The Archeological Evidence from the Pilgrim’s Badge/Medallion & Historical Background Knowledge Argument;

Firstly, here are a couple sources about the Medallion and what it is = . & .

Also for a list of logical fallacies (including the ones that Alan employs in this argument such as circular reasoning/begging the question and guilt by association) see here =; for Circular reasoning/Begging the Question specifically see =

Finally for the Association Fallacy (including the Guilt by Association form) see here =  & .



4. Pro-Medieval Evidence #3- The 1988 C-14 Dating;


NEW SOURCES (NOT INLCUDED IN PART 1 PODCAST):  Some new sources on the problems with the C-14 not included in Part 1 Podcast see here = (contra Invisible Re-weave) , Pro Invisible Re-Weave = , & the two Peer-Reviewed Articles supporting the Re-Weave of the cloth that Barrie Schwortz mentioned in the prior week’s Podcast = ROGERS, Raymond N. – “Studies on the Radiocarbon Sample from the Shroud of Turin” [January 20, 2005] Thermochimica Acta 425 (2005) pp.189-194. (Includes 5 illustrations). = & BENFORD, M. Sue and MARINO, Joseph G. – Discrepancies in the radiocarbon dating area of the Turin shroud – Chemistry Today, vol 26 n 4, [July-August 2008] = .

Next on the Statistical arguments against the reliability of the 1988 C-14 data see here. , & .

Finally, see this with general info on C-14 (all issues) = .



  1. b) Peer-reviewed Nature journal article on the C-14 results (1989)- published by the 1988 Radiocarbon scientists themselves =  .
  1. c) Rob Rucker’s Website (with various written and video sources under the Research and Conference-2017 tabs respectively, including ones related to the C-14 Dating Problem) = .




    1. Good Science, Bad Science, and the Shroud of Turin

    Joel Bernstein

    Global Distinguished Professor of Chemistry

    A lecture looking at the destinguishing features of good science versus bad science with particular reference to the work carried out by Walter McCrone on the Turin Shroud.


    2. The Shroud of Turin: It’s Just Bad Science

    It’s obviously fake

    David Kyle Johnson Ph.D


    3. Chemistry in the face of belief

    Chemistry World

    Good summary of the C14 dating and subsequent questioning of the data.


    4.  Here it is – the original report  on the C14 analysis in Nature



    5.  Radiocarbon Dating – Reliable but Misunderstood Dating Technique


80 thoughts on “Shroud Wars- Alan Vs. Dale Debate Round #1

  1. Dale mentioned that we shouldn’t discount a hypothesis that includes the supernatural. Can anyone come up with a reason for that? Any thoughts on what possible reason anyone could have to take a supernatural hypothesis seriously when there is no evidence at all that the supernatural is even a real thing?

    Also, any thoughts on why christians seem to think that claiming magic is a defeater to any skeptic response when they can’t demonstrate that magic is even a real thing? How can something that doesn’t exist be a defeater response to a skeptical argument?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. What would you say about the origin of our planet and Universe, Darren, or that of the very first lifeform thereon? Would you discount any and all suggestions of a supernatural intervention?

      Come to think of it, what`s the nature of Energy with a Big E, , which we`re told cannot (at least currently) be created or destroyed; merely changed from one form to another? So where did the original Energy of the Universe come from initially?

      If even the most hardened Shroud sceptic acknowledges one circumstance in which we find ourselves totally lost for ready answers, then might it not be conceivable there a second, currently locked away in a Turin Cathedral?

      Shame about the radiocarbon dating, I grant you. But the TS is still a unique entity, even if `faked`, one that nobody to this day can fully explain as regards the properties of that faint negative body image.

      Yes, even to this day , 40 years post-STURP, we have no hard data on the chemical nature of the image chromophore – other than it being bleachable (which should surely have silenced Walter McCrone and his present-day `just an inorganic iron oxide painting` disciples!).

      Given the likely identity of the Man on the Shroud (judged by location of bloodstains (real, faked or a sequenced combination of the two) might there not be a case for setting aside reservations re magic and the supernatural? Ought one not to focus 100% on the means by which the image might have been acquired via non-supernatural means, rather than take a position on the supernatural per se? The crucial word is `focus`, rigorously excluding all needless arguably unhelpful distractions while the science is in progress.

      No, not a bar on free speech, but merely recognising there`s a time and a place for everything.


      1. Given the likely identity of the Man on the Shroud

        What’s your argument for assessing this likely ID?


        1. Argument?

          Bloodstains in all the right places, Bryan, to say nothing of all those scourge marks – some 372 we`re told – but interestingly NOT part of the body image, but `evidenced` exclusively by blood imprints (or, as some might say, “blood”°).

          Both STURP (in its 1981 Summary) and, a short time later, John Heller in his 1983 book, were clearly influenced, hugely so, with celebrated coroner/pathologist Robert Bucklin`s “autopsy” on the TS.

          Shame then about the numerous references to “wounds” etc, given there`s not a single unequivocal “wound” in the body image, the evidence for wounds being entirely due to the location of those bloodstains, matching the biblical account of the Crucifixion and other blood-spilling traumas.

          Why didn`t STURP pick up on this deficit in hard scientific reporting? Why did Robert Bucklin`s testimony go unchallenged? Why STURP`s mute response to what was probably the first injection of a serially-administered stream of pseudoscience, dressed up as the real thing?

          It`s time , is it not, that an unflattering spotlight was placed on Sindonology, one that rigorously separates the tiny kernel of real science from the welter of self-indulgent pseudoscience?

          (The unadulterated science alone is hugely fascinating, the TS being a one-off image, lacking neither precedents nor subsequent imitations).


          1. Argument?

            You don’t think you need to make an argument to identify who the shroud man is?

            Bloodstains in all the right places, Bryan, to say nothing of all those scourge marks – some 372 we`re told – but interestingly NOT part of the body image, but `evidenced` exclusively by blood imprints (or, as some might say, “blood”°).

            There’s a pretty wide chasm between the blood stain locations being consistent with a story and positively identifying it with the specific individual in the story. Do you know how many people were crucified and we don’t have a story about where there wounds are?

            Liked by 1 person

            1. Medieval pilgrims to LIrey in the mid-1350s and later were seemingly won over by the apparent genuineness of what they were shown (aided no doubt by a `helpful` running commentary).

              Is that really so surprising, given bloodstains “in all the right places”?

              That`s not just the generic bloodstains signifying death due entirely to the ordeal of prolonged crucifixion per se, notably the blood stain evidence of a nail in the wrist, and one or two in the feet.

              Let`s not forget the more diagnostic sites linking to the particular multi-trauma crucifixion specific to the founder of Christianity – as set out in the biblical account (scourge marks, crown of thorns, lance-inflicted bloodstain from presumed `wound` in side).

              My money`s on those won-over-to-authenticity Lirey believers vastly outnumbering modern-day hard-nosed sceptics… 😉


              1. Medieval pilgrims to LIrey in the mid-1350s and later were seemingly won over by the apparent genuineness of what they were shown (aided no doubt by a `helpful` running commentary).

                Would you like a list of other things Medieval peoples believed that proved false? It’s not a short one.

                I have to admit with all due respect, I’m finding this line of argument extremely flimsy.


                1. I can only suppose there`s been a misunderstanding somewhere in this short exchange, and have gone back to see how and where it began.

                  I may have been be the author of my own misfortune when stating the following :

                  “Given the likely identity of the Man on the Shroud (judged by location of bloodstains (real, faked or a sequenced combination of the two) might there not be a case for setting aside reservations re magic and the supernatural?”

                  Maybe you took “likely identity” to mean “real identity”. If so, let me reassure you that was not the case Maybe I should have said “presumed identity, seen through the eyes of medieval pilgrims, both trusting and, dare one say, somewhat over-impressionable.

                  Let`s not forget that Bishop Pierre d`Arcis quoted his predecessor as having said that the Shroud was not just “painted” – beware those who say that was all he said – but “cunningly” painted. Quite what he was referring to specifically is anyone`s guess. For my part, I suspect it was the negative tone-reversed image, maybe, indeed probably perceived as an attempt to depict an imprint gained by direct contact between sweat-laden skin and linen. What the bishop overlooked to say or consider – as indeed did STURP – was that the image was NOT a skilful brush-painted attempt to portray a body imprint, but an ACTUAL imprint obtained by simulating a 1st century chance occurrence, say en route from cross to tomb, with the yellow coloration acquired as a result of 13 centuries of ageing! No, not paint and brush but actual draping of linen over one or two naked adult males (Lirey chaplains?) with a suitable imprinting medium (?) and manual applied pressure to capture as much surface relief as possible except the deepest hollows – and scrupulously avoiding sides to prevent Jackson`s dreaded lateral distortion…

                  I say the TS can be simply summarised as a simulated sweat imprint. Is there a reputable journal out there that will accept a three word message, maybe fleshed out with a few extra words of explanation?

                  Fat chance, some might think, given that internet-based sindonologists – with the notable exception of Dan Porter in mid-2015- have not thus far for the most part been able to articulate those 3 simple words :

                  simulated sweat imprint

                  Now why would that be I wonder? Getting too close to an uncomfortable truth maybe?

                  Thus my interest in his interesting new site – with the refreshing open-mindedness displayed by the site owners – while not attempting to conceal their own leanings. My one complaint concerns the splendid interviewee “Alan”. Why won`t he divulge his surname , and allow us to Google like crazy to see what he`s said and done in the past? The man`s a born communicator – at least verbally – ideal for podcasts …

                  What`s he written, and where?

                  Liked by 2 people

                  1. Hi Colin, Alan here.
                    Just to say I’m not an expert on the Shroud, just someone who has done a bit of reading about it.
                    Skeptics and Seekers is a response / expansion of the Premier “Unbelievable” podcast discussion board. This is a Christian site, but almost uniquely on this planet provides a platform for honest debate between believers and sceptics. It has been going for ten years and attracts some of the worlds top theologians and atheists.
                    Since we are discussing areas where we are discussing sensitive issues, I and many others on the discussion board haven’t been too happy on revealing our identities. Indeed it is normal to go by handles any way.
                    However if the podcast takes off and I remain a regular contributor, then I guess, I’m going to have to drop the handle.
                    You will not find anything I’ve written in internet land other than on the Unbelievable discussion board where I’ve got about 1,400 comments up so far.

                    The Shroud is something of importance to Dale as it was one of the main reasons for him becoming a Christian. Others on the board felt that Dale was producing a one-sided take on the Shroud, and they felt that I was best placed to provide an alternative take.

                    Anyway Colin, I’m a fan of your work, and I’d love to interview you and get your opinion on image creation hypothesis, blood or no blood, red blood and the bilirubin affair, knights templar inspiration etc. It would be just me and you. How about it ?


                    Liked by 1 person

                    1. As I say, I`m hugely impressed by the depth of your knowledge, Alan, to say nothing of your unflappable responses in live taped interview. Oh, and your appreciative comments re my own humble, some might say interminable zig-zagging researches, also come as a welcome hand-delivered Christmas prezzy

                      Now for the hard stone in the middle of the fruit. On lengthy reflection, `Ive reluctantly come to a conclusion – some 7 years after my first Shroud posting – namely that the internet is not working a medium for transmitting new thinking to the world at large, not if it involves (a) the scientific method and (b) powerful entrenched opposition, attempting to disseminate rival views rooted in politics, ideology, religion etc.

                      All thats left for me to do, one final time on this site, is to summarise those 7 years of research in a few words that require no submission to reputable scientific or other journals.

                      “The image of the Man on the Shroud of Turin is a SIMULATED (“fake”) seemingly age-yellowed sweat/blood imprint of medieval fabrication.”

                      The imprinting medium deployed remains a matter for speculation: I suspect it was simply white flour imprinted onto pressed-over-real 3D body wet linen, with a final heating stage to intensify yellow colour – generating caramelised sugars and/ Maillard browning products from sugar-protein interactions.

                      Bye Alan, bye Dale and site visitors/commentators. Congrats on this your splendid authoritative website with that oh-so-valuable podcast add-on.

                      Oh how I wish this site had existed 7 years ago!

                      Liked by 3 people

                    2. That’s a shame Colin, but Dale has Barrie Schwortz, Gary Habermas and goodness knows who else supporting him. I’m on my own here. How about helping me out by PM ?


                    3. Feel free to email me Alan anytime you think I may be able to assist (or post a comment to my site).

                      sciencebod01 (at)


                      There again I could try using you as an agent provocateur against those entrenched sources of globe-trotting drip-feed pseudoscience. and/or STURP hero-worship, one of which you have flagged up … Nuff said methinks… 😉


      2. What would you say about the origin of our planet and Universe, Darren, or that of the very first lifeform thereon? Would you discount any and all suggestions of a supernatural intervention?
        Come to think of it, what`s the nature of Energy with a Big E, , which we`re told cannot (at least currently) be created or destroyed; merely changed from one form to another? So where did the original Energy of the Universe come from initially?

        Without any positive hallmarks of supernatural causation why would you ever prefer it over a currently unknown/unexplained natural explanation?

        Liked by 2 people

      3. Since no supernatural explanation has ever supplanted a natural one, ever, it is a pretty safe bet that the origins of the universe may just be a brute fact. It has always existed in some form or another.

        Liked by 2 people

  2. Hello Collin,

    “What would you say about the origin of our planet and Universe, Darren, or that of the very first lifeform thereon? Would you discount any and all suggestions of a supernatural intervention?”

    That depends. Can you demonstrate that the supernatural is even a real thing? Or that it is capable of creating planets or life in the first place?

    If it doesn’t exist, then it can’t be an explanation. Things that don’t exist aren’t explanations for anything. The same is true if it exists but isn’t capable of creating or intervening in things.

    So I would say that if you can’t demonstrate 1. that it exists, and 2. that it is capable of doing what it is claimed to be able to do, then yes it is entirely reasonable to just discount the hypothesis until you can.

    After all, how seriously would you take, ‘Pixies did it’? Why should ‘the supernatural did it’ be treated any different than ‘pixies did it’?

    “So where did the original Energy of the Universe come from initially?”

    From what I understand, the universe actually has a total energy of 0, or really close to 0, so it didn’t really come from anywhere.

    “Shame about the radiocarbon dating, I grant you. But the TS is still a unique entity, even if `faked`, one that nobody to this day can fully explain as regards the properties of that faint negative body image.”

    Ok, would I be correct in thinking that you would agree that just because we can’t explain it, that doesn’t mean that the supernatural (something that can’t be demonstrated to exist) is a real candidate explanation?

    “Given the likely identity of the Man on the Shroud (judged by location of bloodstains (real, faked or a sequenced combination of the two) might there not be a case for setting aside reservations re magic and the supernatural?”

    Why is that? Neither magic nor the supernatural can be demonstrated to be real things. Wouldn’t the first step be to demonstrate they are real, and capable of making a shroud, before making them candidate explanations?

    “Ought one not to focus 100% on the means by which the image might have been acquired via non-supernatural means, rather than take a position on the supernatural per se?”

    Depends. How exactly can you test for a supernatural cause? If you don’t have any way to test a supernatural cause, why would you waist any time on it as an explanation?

    “No, not a bar on free speech, but merely recognising there`s a time and a place for everything.”

    Sure I agree. Wouldn’t the time to propose a supernatural causation be after you can demonstrate that the supernatural is real?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I really enjoyed this episode. One aspect of the shroud that always fascinated me is the presence of the blood stains at the wrist VS the palms. Considering human creation (the method being irrelevant here) it would be the only known artistic depiction (at least to me) of the crucified Christ with wrist wounds. The creator(s) of the shroud would have had a singular knowledge about the Roman crucifixion methods that none of his/her contemporaries would have?

    Continue the great work!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Martin,
      Glad you enjoyed it.
      In episode 3 I’m going to be arguing that the depiction of Crucifixion as shown on the shroud will be more representative of the medieval period than what archaeology/ historical writing has revealed about crucifixion. I think you will find it interesting.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. “The creator(s) of the shroud would have had a singular knowledge about the Roman crucifixion methods that none of his/her contemporaries would have?”

      I’m always dubious about claims of what people would and wouldn’t have known at any particular time in history.

      Reminds me of the Ancient Alien proponents. People couldn’t possibly have known how to build the pyramids at that time, therefore aliens.

      In this case it seems to be, People couldn’t possibly have known how Romans crucified people, therefore magic.


      1. Darren my apologies for not making my point clear. My argument is that the still unknown creator(s) (taking the human creation position) would have depicted in his/her creation a very different representation of the wounds then all known peers of the era. To say, for example, that Leonardo DaVinci possessed singular knowledge of human anatomy VS his peers as nothing to do with magic. My claim is simply that the creator(s) would have possessed knowledge about the roman crucifixion ritual that contemporaries ignored or were unaware of. For me this is a very intriguing characteristic if only for the fact that there maybe a yet unknown grand master out there?


        1. Ah. Sorry for that. It actually is a part of Dale’s argument, which is why my mind went there.


          1. No issues Darren. I have not myself concluded anything on that front. To be honest I am always baffled by the fact there are so many wrong artistic depiction of the nailing in the palm vs the wrist . The Roman empire had many scholars … you think something like this would have been documented and known by medieval intellectual? Very interesting 🙂


            1. Lol, having dated an artist at one point, it really isn’t all that surprising. The story the painting is telling is usually more important to an artist than the details being right. Forgers on the other hand? For them it is all about the details being right.

              Liked by 1 person

  4. “On the Trondheim Report (where their experiments in 1986 prove AMS labs were unreliable)”
    ‘Prove’ Dale ?. I’ve warned you about using that word.
    Actually this report did no such thing.
    Non of the labs here was at fault. There was agreement among the labs, but there was one outlier Zurich, and not as a result of anything the lab did. It was a thousand years out !. Sometimes errors occur. That is why the protocols called for multiple labs so that any obvious outlier can be eliminated.


    1. Again, everyone knows what I mean by prove, you and I have a difference in our terminology. Anything that is 50.01% or more probable has been “proved” to me. So, I acknowledge your more stringent use of the term but I’m not bound by it.

      No wonder you have such a hard time communicating. When I use the word prove I mean jelly marmalade.

      Snark aside, how would you defend using the word prove the way you do given the confusion and equivocation it causes?

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Yeah, I use it the same way we all do

        Obviously not, given all the confusion you’re causing with multiple interlocutors.

        the civil legal courts have a standard of “proof” called proving something on a balance of probabilities. So, I’m right in the main stream here.

        It’s called “preponderance of evidence” and it’s the lowest standard of proof used in civil court proceedings. The kind of cases were neighbors fight over a broken fence post. There’s nothing wrong with using this type of definition when using the word “proof” but it can easily lead to equivocation fallacies when discussing issues outside of a courtroom in the arenas of philosophy and mathematics where proof takes on a much stronger meaning.

        So if you’re interested in not causing undue confusion in your discussions, this might be an issue where you don’t dig in your heels.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. “…..I think I’m am justified in using the word the way I do as it is more common sense (vs. yours is the more technically precise meaning which I don’t see as being typical amoung people in general) and so I will continue to use the word as I see fit.”

          This idea is why I don’t take your claims about the shroud seriously. Without a rigorous definition, you are making the word “prove” meaningless. It basically means nothing more than in your opinion. That isn’t how you demonstrate that something is actually true.

          Given your stated goals for the shroud series, it seems counterproductive to me.

          But you are absolutely correct. You can use the word in any way you feel you want. But just don’t be surprised if your series doesn’t do what you set it out to do.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. “You guys dismissing everything I present just because I use the word “proof” feels like you are not being charitable.”

            Maybe, but it has to do with the reliability of your methodology for distinguishing fact from fiction. If your bar is so low that you are going to allow anything that agrees with you as proof of something, and then raise the bar against those items that disagree with you, you have to expect a bit of criticism for your definition usage.

            At some point you have to demonstrate that your methodology is a sound one. And using a lackluster definition means that you aren’t.

            But I’m just a “Foolish skeptic” and a “Troll” so what do I know?

            “….I feel no shame at all in saying that its been proven the Earth is round and not flat-….”

            If you were presenting evidence that was as compelling as the Earth being round, you might have a point, but the evidence you are presenting is not anywhere near that level.

            “…. I’m not going to claim its 100% since science never gets us there, but still they are proven beyond reasonable doubt in my opinion (95.01%-99.99% proven). ”

            Sure, in your opinion. And that is the problem. It is just your opinion. That percentage you are quoting there is not something you can demonstrate is actually true, it is just a percentage that you are making up, in your opinion.

            You are obviously talking to people with differing opinions who would put the probability below 50% if not below 20%.

            Since ultimately you are talking about magic, I haven’t seen any reason to think the probability is above 0% yet that the shroud doesn’t have a physical forger. Going through different methods that, in your opinion, couldn’t do it, doesn’t actually get you any closer to a magic origin for the shroud.

            “What were your thoughts on the Round 1 debate with Alan- I’m sure you are still skeptical but did you at least appreciate the breadth of sources from the secular C-14 community including Harry Gove himself to establish my case against it?”

            Again, this is a problem with your definition of proof. The “evidence” you presented doesn’t actually prove that the C-14 is inaccurate. All you did was present speculation about how it could be inaccurate. You still have a long way to go from, it COULD be inaccurate, to it IS inaccurate.

            “Did I at least raise a reasonable doubt that maybe we can’t “prove” (in my sense of the word) that the Shroud is medieval- if I have at least done that much I would consider that a good step forward.”

            Not in me, no.

            Liked by 1 person

            1. “I get that you are referring more so to the relevance of the dating here and all I can say is that well, I don’t think the skeptic can prove to me that it is 50.01% probable or more that the Shroud being supernatural yet medieval means the evidence is rubbish- remember we are assuming for the sake of argument that we have evidence for God creating images on a piece of cloth- this is incredible.”

              And why would anyone want to make that assumption? Wouldn’t you have to demonstrate that magic is even a real thing to begin with first before we could even begin to make that assumption?

              Why would a skeptic have to prove to you that the shroud was supernatural and medieval, when the skeptic doesn’t believe the shroud is supernatural?

              And if you want us to demonstrate that the shroud is supernatural and medieval, what exactly is the supernatural capable of? How did you determine that, and what could we do to confirm that you are correct in your claims?

              “I bet if you prayed for a miracle that Jesus was true and a cloth with supernatural images of him “poofed” right in front of you, you would believe in Christianity- especially if you confirmed afterwards that the images are in fact miraculous in nature, it would be down-right crazy to believe otherwise.”

              Ok, maybe. That assumes that one can prove that magic exists in the first place, which one can’t, that the supernatural exists and is capable of doing what is claimed of it, which one can’t, that there is a god that exists, which one can’t, and that this god would/could do the things that are claimed he would/can, which again one can’t.

              Then there is the problem that one can’t actually demonstrate that the images are miraculous. About the best you can do is to demonstrate that we can’t currently reproduce them, but that doesn’t get you anywhere near the supernatural.

              If you can’t prove that the supernatural is even a real thing, why would I accept a supernatural claim about a “poofed” in shroud over a couple of aliens with advanced technology that are playing pranks on us? At the very least you can demonstrate that it is theoretically physically possible to “poof” that into existence if your technology was advanced enough, whereas you can’t even demonstrate that the supernatural is real and capable of doing such a thing.

              Do you actually have a real documented example of someone praying for a miracle and getting a “poofed” in shroud?

              “What about me, pretend you come up to me and say “Dale, Jesus is real, I prayed and this miraculously popped into existence out of thin air. I don’t believe you I say, so then you show me the evidence or proof that the images are in fat supernatural…”

              Ok, and how would I do that since I can’t even demonstrate that the supernatural is a real thing or that miracles are real things?

              “….and I agree with you (I agree that God made these images of Jesus), but then I say “yeah but that’s meaningless because God should have done that 2000 years ago”- what????????”

              Sure, but that isn’t even remotely what is going on here. So why are you using this as an example?

              You have absolutely zero evidence that the images are miraculous, that there is a god capable of doing such a thing, that the Jesus described in the bible was even a real person and not just a regular con artist that was mythologized. So I’m not sure where this example is coming from.

              “No, we have evidence for a supernatural image made by God that attests to the truth of Christianity, ….”

              That is definitely the claim. The problem is that you haven’t actually given any evidence to demonstrate it is actually true.

              That is what I am saying; you don’t actually have a reliable methodology to distinguish fact from fiction.

              What you are thinking is evidence, is not actually evidence for your claim. And part of that is because you don’t actually have a good definition of proof that you are using.

              “That’s my take at least.”

              I get that. I really do understand what you are saying. I even understand why you are saying it. The problem is that you aren’t actually trying to understand the critiques you are being given, or why they are being said.

              Maybe that is just a communication issue that I am having. Perhaps I, and the others, are not being clear enough.

              “2. As to people with 50% or 20%- No they are not- ask Colin or Hugh if that is the case.”

              Case in point.

              “3. Well actually, No I don’t have a burden of proof-…”

              If you are claiming that a demonstrably reliable piece of scientific methodology is not reliable, then yes, you have the burden of proof. This is again a demonstration that you don’t actually have a reliable means to distinguish fact from fiction.

              Just throwing out ideas on how something could be unreliable doesn’t get us any closer to understanding what is actually going on.

              “Alan has to prove that the problems I raise probably don’t mean the results are unreliable, I don’t have to prove that they do make the results unreliable.”

              You are the one making the claim that they make the results unreliable. It is your burden of prove to show that your claims are true. Not Alan’s to show that they are false.

              Things don’t magically become true just because someone else can’t demonstrate they are false.

              Throwing out possibilities does absolutely nothing to affect the actual results.

              “That’s not how logic works.”

              It is in the real world. I understand theologians don’t actually like that it works that way, since they can’t actually demonstrate their claims are true, so they go out and try to convince people that is not how it actually works, but yes, that is in fact how it actually works.

              The person with the positive claim has the burden of proof.

              AlAn has the burden of proof when he is making positive claims, and so do you.

              “4. You are not dimished in your faith in the Shroud being medieval- OK, I respect that I was just curious.”

              And why do you call it faith?

              “Here is where I would put my confidence in the proposition that the Shroud is medieval based on Alan’s evidences and my counters all factored in;”

              So why is it that I have faith, but you have confidence? You are the one after all proposing magic.

              “a) Memo – 20% proven the Shroud is medieval based on it.”

              And how did you come up with this 20% number? How do you know the number shouldn’t be 95% or 10% or 67.6346%?

              What objective criteria do you use to come up with that number. And if there is no objective criteria, why should we care about the number at all?


  5. You guys dismissing everything I present just because I use the word “proof” feels like you are not being charitable.

    That is not at all what is happening. Talk about being uncharitable.

    It feels like you guys are being unfairly nit-picky on this towards me when its obvious for anyone who listens to what I actually say in the series that I don’t mean absolute proof in a mathematical sense, I’m talking of proof within a scientific and/or historical context

    Proof in a scientific sense is far above a preponderance of evidence legal standard. Historical “proof” is indeed looser, hence it’s responsible to practice epistemic humility when trying to “prove” something using historical methods.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The debate format was more intriguing but I have upper level issues with the entire approach as I’ve stated on several occasions. I’d really prefer it if Skeptics and Seekers spent time on other topics.


  6. The D’Arcis Memorandum. I guess this should really wait until Episode 20 appears here, but I thought I’d pop it in anyway.

    The discrediting of the D’Arcis memorandum is a bit of a two-edged sword for authenticists, as we shall see. However, I find Argument 1 somewhat confusing. Dale announces that the Gospel of Mark is exactly analogous to the d’Arcis memorandum, so that if Alan believes in the truth of the Memorandum, he should also believe in the truth of the Gospel of Mark. The corollary to this is that Dale must also accept that if the Gospel is to be taken as true, then so should the Memorandum, or vice versa, that if Dale rejects the Memorandum, he should also reject the Gospel. I think this argument goes off the rails completely, so it is fortunate that we eventually find that there is no equivalence and the argument is specious.

    Argument 2 is that there is no record of the inquiry which d’Arcis claims was carried out by Bishop Henri. This is a classic “absence of evidence” argument. Because we can’t find it, therefore it didn’t happen. However, it seems that subsequent to whatever happened or didn’t happen, the Shroud ceased to be exhibited for 35 years or so, exactly as if the inquiry had happened anyway.

    Argument 3 is very odd. Dale calms that there is some dispute as to whether d’Arcis was claiming that “the artist” who painted the Shroud admitted to his deception, or that “an artist” merely looked at it and declared it a fake. However the text of the Memorandum is perfectly clear:
    ” probatum fuit eciam per artificem qui ilium depinxerat” or
    ” Also it was proved by the artist who had painted it.”
    If this is an attempt to translate “depinxerat” as “copied”, it is a very poor one. ‘Depingere’ does not, nor ever has meant ‘to copy’.

    Argument 4 brings in a letter that does exist, namely Bishop Henri’s approval of what Geoffrey de Charny had built. It says:
    “Volentesque huiusmodi cultum in quantum possumus ampliare divinum, dictas litteras ac omnia et singula in eisdem contenta, declarata, et narrata tamquam rite et Canonice prout perlegitima documenta fuimus et sumus informati, acta dataque et concessa ac etiam ordinata fuisse, laudamus, ratificamus, approbamus, ac in et super eisdem nostrum praebemus consensum, auctoritatem et decretum.”
    ” And ourselves wishing to develop as much as possible a cult of this nature, we praise, ratify and approve the said letters in all their parts – a cult which is declared and reported to have been canonically and ritually prescribed, as we have been informed by legitimate documents.”
    Bishop Henri fully approved of whatever Geoffrey’s “cult” was, a cult which had been “canonically and ritually prescribed, as we have been informed by legitimate documents.” This cannot refer to a shroud, for which nothing had been prescribed, and for which there were no legitimate documents. It can, and obviously does refer, to the cult of the Virgin Mary, which was the reason for the church at Lirey being built in the first place, and in which feasts of the Virgin were celebrated with particular solemnity.

    Furthermore, there is nothing in the d’Arcis memorandum to suggest that Geoffrey de Charny was responsible for the Shroud anyway, all the blame being placed on the Dean of Lirey, who may well have acted without any authority from his master, who had either recently died or was on the verge of dying at the Battle of Poitiers.

    Argument 5 brings in “a bunch of other documents”, including, in the most dismissive terms, the fact that “there was some waffling back and forth with the pope who says, ‘OK we’ll call it a likeness or representation.’ Really? This is what the Pope waffled:
    “quandiu ostensio ipsa durabit, capis, superpelliciis, albis, pluvialibiis vel aliis quibus-libet ecclesiasticis indumentis seu paramentis nullatenus propterea induantur, nec alias solempnitates faciant que fieri solent in reliquiis ostendendis, quodque propterea torticia, facule seu candele minime accendantur, nec eciam propterea luminaria quecunque ibidem adhibeantur; quodque ostendens dictam figuram, dum major ibidem convenerit populi multitudo, publice populo predicet et dicat alta et intelligibili voce, omni fraude cessante, quod figura seu representacio predicta non est verum Sudarium Domini nostri Jhesu Christi, sed quedam pictura seu tabula facta in figuram seu representacionem Sudarii, quod fore dicitur ejusdem Domini nostri Jhesu Christi”
    “as long as an ostentation lasts, no capes, surplices, albs, copes or any other kind of ecclesiastical garments or accoutrements are to be worn, nor any of the solemnities usual to the ostentation of relics performed. Torches, candles and tapers must be kept to a minimum, and no other kind of illumination used instead. And throughout the display of the said image, whenever a large crowd of people has gathered, it is to be formally announced to them, in a loud, clear voice, with no obfuscation, that the image or representation before them is not the true Shroud of our Lord Jesus Christ, but a painting or canvas made in the form of or as a representation of the said Shroud, of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

    That’s quite a powerful waffle. However political the Pope was being, he was clearly not in the slightest doubt that the Shroud must be exhibited as a “a painting or canvas made in the form of or as a representation” of the shroud, not the real thing.

    But there’s more. Although Bishop d’Arcis excoriated the 1355 Dean of Lirey for “falsely declaring and pretending that this was the actual shroud in which our Saviour Jesus Christ was enfolded in the tomb”, he does not accuse young Geoffrey de Charny of the same thing, 35 years later. Now it is being represented as “a picture or figure of the shroud,” which surely would have been unobjectionable had it not been displayed “with the utmost solemnity, even more than when the Body of Christ our Lord is exposed; to wit, by two priests vested in albs with stoles and maniples and using the greatest possible reverence, with lighted torches and upon a lofty platform constructed for this special purpose.” What’s more, whereas in the past it had been termed the “sudarium”, which is the word John uses for the cloth wrapped around Jesus’s head, and now it is only being called the “sanctuarium”, which doesn’t occur in the New Testament but might reasonably be translated as a rather generalised “holy thing”. D’Arcis’s complaint in not that the people in charge of the Shroud are formally calling it genuine, but that they are exhibiting in such a way as to make all the common folk believe it is the real thing.

    In fact, it is the “bunch of other documents” that make it irrelevant whether d’Arcis was honest or not, or actually sent his memorandum or not. If he didn’t, then one wonders why the Pope should suddenly issue his ‘no solemnity’ interdict. The news of the unauthorised veneration must have reached him be a different route. So if not d’Arcis, who?

    Best wishes,

    Sources: All the documents are published as appendices in Ulysse Chevalier’s book, “Étude Critique sur l’Origine du St Suaire de Lirey-Chambéry-Turin”, which can be found at The translation of the memorandum is by Herbert Thurston, and reprinted at, and the other translations are mine.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hey Hugh,

      Once again love getting this kind of skeptical counter on the actual substantial issues here 😊

      Firstly just so you know Episode 20 has been up already but David didn’t post as a separate blog see here = . Nevermind, I see you have already listened to it as I read down further (just ignore any replies which assume you didn’t already listen to Episode 20 – Part 2 of Round 1). As for Round 2, Alan and I are scheduled to discuss that this upcoming Saturday on Dec 1, so it should be posted up sometime this Sat evening or Sunday probably.

      1. As to your evaluation of the Gospel of Mark comparison, I think you missed the fact that this was my entire point, to say they were comparable in terms of having a historical document written 40 years after the event but that one can’t just blindly take them at face value- instead one needs to use historical methods to determine if the contents of the said document can be deemed to be “historical” or not. So, it wasn’t an argument but more a coy little trap to get Alan to reject the Gospel of Mark via various historical criteria or tools and then turn around and say many of the same issues apply with the Memorandum as well and should therefore likewise be rejected.

      2. Yes Hugh, you are quite correct to point out that the absence of evidence is not evidence of absence, except when we would have an expectation to have more evidence then we do and on that front I tried to establish that expectation (I know you haven’t heard Episode 20 yet, so listen to that and then get back to me if you still think this point applies or not). I think we would expect there to be a mention of an official inquiry had there in fact been one, we have plenty of opportunity that would provide us with an expectation to see such had there actually been one, yet its not mentioned at all (this is suspicious to say the least). Alan said that medieval records are fragmentary and thus we shouldn’t expect such records but this is historically naïve, we do have records of all the surrounding documents and certainly any official inquiry would have been expected to be recorded in the archives and/or referenced in the external documents surrounding this matter that we have- Alan even mentioned some letter from Geoffrey that has gone missing, but he completely didn’t realize this refuted his own point since the fact that this missing letter was referenced in an external letter we do have is how we know of its existence in the first place and hence supports my claim that we should expect mention of the Memo and/or inquiry in at least one of the sources we have surrounding the controversy.

      As to the noted absence for “34 years or thereabouts”- yeah right, what is your point here???? You (and/or Alan) bears the burden of proof here not me. Jeanne could have taken the Shroud with her when she left to the Alps and got remarried in order to escape from the invading English, you can’t assume it was hidden or buried somewhere to prevent some officials from taking it after an inquiry- that is begging the question. There is nothing remarkable in itself that D’Arcis would have known the Shroud was shown decades prior and had reappeared recently- he was living in a very close proximity to the events he narrates- its like saying because the Gospel of Mark knew Pontius Pilate was the governor of Judea during the time of Jesus everything else he says must be historical- that’s not how it works.

      3. As to the translation issue, “the artist” vs. “an artist”- this was sort of an aside since it was something, I had read about it but I even mention that I hadn’t had time to really check too much into it. So, if you claim to know Latin and claim there is no translation issue on this front, then I am happy to stand corrected there 😊

      4. You are correct in what you say about the dispute on the Shroud primarily being focused on the Dean of Lirey rather than with Geoffrey himself as he was on very good terms with the King at the time. Nonetheless, you seem to be attempting to once again cast doubt on whether we should expect there to be any mention of an inquiry or the Shroud dispute but it strikes me as odd that it shouldn’t even be mentioned in anyway nor any mention of him ever having visited Lirey to do the inquiry itself- not even as an “off-the-cuff” comment.
      Again, while not conclusive in itself, I do think it should raise an eyebrow here.

      5. As to the “other documents”- firstly awesome thanks for the link to the source there (it was actually the same source I provided in my own Recommended Sources section), anyways most helpful. I would just say you should check out some of my sources addressing Chevalier’s work here = & .

      Secondly, I find it curious that you neglect to mention the Pope’s final letter;
      “Papal Bull also dated 1 June 1390. Six months later Clement again changed his mind. He again supports the Lirey shroud, making no mention of idolatry. Here is the gist: Since we have heard that crowds go to Lirey out of devotion to the cloth, we, desiring to encourage this pilgrimage, enlarge the indulgence for the faithful who visit said church annually at Christmas, etc. And we strictly prohibit anyone, of whatever rank, from appropriating or usurping the offerings of the faithful”.

      Also, I find it odd that a meticulous lawyer like D’Arcis, who would have had ready access to the historical documents/records from such an inquiry, doesn’t cite any documents, doesn’t provide any quotes from the proceedings and/or doesn’t even have a precise idea as to the precise date this inquiry happened.

      Finally, you and Alan are quite correct to mention that there is probably a lot going on here that we are unaware of, but nothing you said here in your critique proves on a balance of probabilities that there was in fact an inquiry on the Shroud conducted by Henri whereby “the artist” confessed to having cunningly painted it- the fact remains we have no mention of the Memo or the crucial aspects of the injury and confessing artist in any of the extant documents or official archives (Vatican or Avignon) , no mention of it in the extensive history written in the 17th century by Nicholas Camusat’s “Promptuarium Sacrarum Antiquitatum Tricassinae Diocesis” and if true, we should have every expectation for this stuff to be mentioned in at least one of more of these sources that we possess. Without this, you can’t establish your skeptical case that the Memo accurately records an inquiry whereby an artist confessed to having painted the Shroud and without that essential component you don’t have a leg to stand on, as I see it, in proving the Shroud is Medieval based on the Memo evidence alone.

      That’s my take at least, but again I’m really grateful for the thoughtful critiques here from you 😊

      Kind regards,


      P.S.- I notice you only correct the record with regard to what I say but not Alan (skeptical solidarity I suppose haha just kidding), but I was interested as Alan made the claim that the Memo, to his mind, implies that the Shroud was not painted in a traditional sense. That is the opposite of how I’ve read it, but I only know English and not Latin- just curious if you think there is any validity to this, as I know you are partial to Garlaschelli’s hypothesis personally, wouldn’t you agree the Memo clearly means to say that the Shroud was painted as in McCrone’s traditional painting hypothesis or would you disagree with this?


  7. Some good responses, Dale, but it seems to me that you are not really familiar with Nicholas Camusat’s “Promptuarium Sacrarum Antiquitatum Tricassinae Diocesis”. It can be found at It contains only two documents regarding de Charny’s chapel at Lirey at the time of Henri de Poitiers, neither of which mention the Shroud at all, let alone any investigation into it. If this is what you mean by “we do have records of all the surrounding documents” then I have to say I disagree entirely. By your own reasoning, the lack of any document mentioning a holy relic and a major pilgrimage centre, at Lirey, should be a convincing demonstration that there wasn’t one.

    In general, Alan was entirely correct, and it is quite unfair to call him “historically naive”. The Bibliotheque Nationale Collection Champagne 154, specifically including documents about Rheims, Lirey and Troyes (and the d’Arcis memorandum) covers these three places over four hundred years, and contains 258 manuscripts. If that’s not fragmentary I’d like to know what is. Similar collections contain similarly fragmentary evidence.

    Now this: “As to the noted absence for “34 years or thereabouts”- yeah right, what is your point here???? You (and/or Alan) bears the burden of proof here not me.” I think not. this is our evidence.

    1) d’Arcis says a shroud was exhibited at Lirey 34 years ago.
    There is some independent evidence for this in the pilgrim badge.
    2) d’Arcis says that the shroud was discredited.
    There is no independent evidence for this, but absence of evidence is not evidence of absence, and we certainly do not have “records of all the surrounding documents”. What we do have, in the documents of Henri of Poitiers, is good evidence for what de Charny built his chapel for, and how it was used. Not for the Shroud but for the Virgin Mary.
    3) d’Arcis says the Shroud was then removed from exhibition because of its being discredited.
    There is no further mention of the Shroud until d’Arcis catches up with the story in 1390 or so. This is in keeping with his previous statement.

    Sure there are other possible reasons for the Shroud exhibitions and pilgrimages being suppressed, but guessing what they might be in the absence of evidence is not a rational argument for promoting them against the one piece of evidence we do have.

    As for Clement VII’s second pronouncement (June 1390), I’m afraid I can’t find the primary source online. However I have no doubt whatever that it continues to insist that the shroud is not authentic, but a representation. Even if d’Arcis made his whole story up, and never sent his letter, there was clearly no papal sanction for the authenticity of the Shroud. In fact, according to d’Arcis not even de Charny (II) declared its authenticity. The point about the loud clear announcement was that it was being exhibited in such a way as to let the common people assume it was real, even when all the authorities knew it wasn’t. Even in 1418, when Humbert de la Roche took it into safe keeping, it was described as a sheet bearing an image of Christ, not as his shroud.

    Best wishes,

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hey Hugh,

      Good comeback here and again thanks for the source for people to look up Nicholas’ history- but you prove my point, there is no mention of an inquiry in it. Furthermore, as to “other douments” I was referring to the other surrounding documents that you mention, such as the 1390 Papal Bull- here is a full list I found in my sources;

      The Other Documents

      i) Bishop Henri’s only letter addressed to Geoffroy I de Charny, original owner of the TS–dated 28 May 1356–mentions no inquest. In it Henri praises Geoffroy’s piety and “… as we have been informed by legal documents, we praise, ratify, and approve a divine cult of this sort.” The TS is not mentioned, and Henri has not gone to Lirey, but has “been informed.” This letter denies the claims of d’Arcis. D’Arcis, a lawyer, who elsewhere carefully cites documents, cites no dated official documents in his Memorandum, saying only that the inquest had been held “about” 1355.

      ii) Anti-Pope Clement VII’s Brief to Geoffroy II, dated 28 July 1389 (about five months before the Memorandum of Bishop d’Arcis). Clement acknowledges the Charnys’ religious motives for showing the cloth and agrees that it had been removed from the church and brought to safety because of war and pestilence. He permits the showing of the cloth publicly, but calling it a “figure or representation,” and on Bishop d’Arcis, Clement imposes “perpetual silence.” The Brief mentions no inquest, artist, or scandal.

      iii) Letter from King of France Charles VI to the Bailly of Troyes, dated 4 August 1389. “The Bishop of Troyes has stated before our Curia that the church in Lirey is displaying a certain handmade and artificially depicted cloth as if it were the true Sudarium Christi.” The king commands the Bailly “to get the cloth and bring it to me so that I might relocate it in another church in Troyes.”

      An observant attorney might ask why, just months before the drafting of his Memo, d’Arcis, a canon lawyer, did not cite the damning evidence of Henri’s inquest or the name of the artist? Had he done so, it would surely have been recited in the King’s letter. Instead, the King mentions only d’Arcis’ charge, not Henri’s charge, that the image on the cloth was handmade. Fr. Herbert Thurston, first English translator of the Memorandum and a sindonoclast himself, noted this, adding that d’Arcis feared that the King would be able to verify its truth (Thurston, p. 26).

      iv) Report of the Bailly of Troyes, dated 15 August 1389, says, in essence: We went to the church at Lirey but the Dean would not hand it over to us, and we did not proceed further in the matter.

      v) Letter from the First Sergeant of the King to the Bailly of Troyes, dated 5 September 1389: The writer says he officially announced to the Dean and to Geoffroy II that the cloth was verbally made the property of the King. Nothing, in the end, came of this.

      vi) Clement’s letter to Bishop d’Arcis, dated 6 January 1390: Written after the Memo but not referring to it, as was customary, this letter says that the cloth was replaced in the church with Clement’s permission, despite the Bishop’s prohibition, and any opposing action would be visited with excommunication.

      vii) Papal Bull of Clement VII, dated 6 January 1390, admits he has changed his mind. First he repeats the words of his letter to Geoffroy II of 28 July 1389. He again orders d’Arcis to perpetual silence. Then follow the modifications: To remove every chance of error or idolatry in the display of the cloth, we ordain that whenever said figure or representation is displayed, one should announce loud and clear that it is not the true Sudarium of the Lord, but a picture or copy only.


      viii) Papal Bull also dated 1 June 1390. Six months later Clement again changed his mind. He again supports the Lirey shroud, making no mention of idolatry. Here is the gist: Since we have heard that crowds go to Lirey out of devotion to the cloth, we, desiring to encourage this pilgrimage, enlarge the indulgence for the faithful who visit said church annually at Christmas, etc. And we strictly prohibit anyone, of whatever rank, from appropriating or usurping the offerings of the faithful.

      I think you would confirm that none of these documents mention an inquiry whereby “the artist” confirmed that he painted the Shroud back in the 1350’s or thereabouts. The issue of the Pope being reluctant to affirm it as the actual Shroud of Christ or not is irrelevant (I don’t think you can prove that he knew either way); without the expected confirmation of the crucial component of this Memo- the inquiry taking place with the confessing artist, then to my mind t’aint “provably” Medieval and that is what we care about in using this evidence at the end of the day.

      Also, thanks for confirming that you found Alan’s case to be generally good, I’m disagree obviously, but I’m sure Alan will appreciate having you think so 🙂

      Kind regards,


      P.S.- I hope you don’t mind a little back and forth here, I know I am the host and should probably just be letting you have the final say in your comments as I don’t want to discourage having you or Colin sharing your opinions. If you prefer I just leave your comments as stand alone vs. responding, just let me know and I will be happy to do so for you guys 🙂


  8. Yes, I certainly agree that the inquiry regarding the origin of the Shroud is not found anywhere else but Bishop d’Arcis’ memorandum. And I certainly agree that the memorandum is not proof of anything. I never suggested it was. However I must take issue with the Pope being “reluctant” to affirm the cloth as the authentic shroud of Christ. His pronouncements are made in the firmest and clearest tone. “Figura seu representacio predicta non est verum Sudarium Domini nostri Jhesu Christi.” Whatever it is, it is not the true sudarium of our Lord Jesus Christ.

    Now here’s a challenge. When was the first time anyone claimed that it was the real shroud? (Apart from its first appearance in 1355 or so) I think you’ll be surprised…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Awesome, thank you so much Hugh for that admission as that really is the root cause (or main underlying reason) as I see it as to why I don’t find the evidence from the Memo (and by extension the Medallion) as being persuasive on a balance of probabilities. So yeah, I think that is a good place to let people decide whether the evidence is good for themselves- ultimately it will hinge on whether I have established whether we should “expect” the inquiry and artist to be referenced in these other documents or not. If yes, then you will agree with me and if no, then Hugh is correct to say that the absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. So that seems to be the fundamental distinction between the Pro-Shroud vs. Shroud skeptical side here for people to try and discern for themselves. Although as Hugh also concedes even if I can’t establish an “expectation”, the burden of proof is on the Skeptic (Alan) in this instance and thus one needs to say that the Memo is “proof” the Shroud is Medieval and Hugh himself has reservations on that front.

      As to your challenge- alright I’ll bite- well firstly I assume you mean the first time in its uncontroversial history since I could easily just say “Oh it was King Abgar in the first century or Peter in 30 A.D. or something” (if I wanted to be a smart aleck lol). Anyways, I’m going to say it wasn’t until the 1898 when Pia saw those negative photo plates- I know he thought it was the real Shroud of Christ when he saw that and so I can say that with certainty.

      Apart from that, I’m sure there were always some people in prior centuries that made such claims, obviously the Memo of 1389 complains that it was being passed off as such indirectly and so obviously, I would assume even you would agree that some people must have thought the Shroud was real even back then but that’s probably why you exclude “its first appearance in 1355 or so” but I find it hard to believe that no one else after the 14th century also thought or claimed it was the real Shroud of Christ. I think Ian Wilson mentions that there is implicit evidence that its owners over the centuries thought it was real and treated it as such. Plus, there are something like 52 occasions where the Shroud was used to “sanctify” other paintings/images and so this would imply they saw it as being real in some way.


  9. There is nothing in the legend of Abgar to suggest that he, or anyone associated with it, thought that the miraculous image he received was a shroud. But be that as it may the first suggestion we have that the owners of the cloth we know as the Shroud actually claimed that it was the real Shroud rather than a painting was in 1443 (|almost a hundred years after it was “cunningly painted” and originally passed off as genuine by the Dean of Lirey) by which time it was somewhere off to the east in the possession of Marguerite de Charny.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh OK, cool I did not know that I confess- wasn’t too surprising for me actually but glad to learn something new 🙂


  10. And now! The C-14 test!

    Authenticists get so confused about this that it is difficult to know where to start, without writing a huge essay beginning at the very beginning. For instance, Bob Rucker believes that the sample consisted of the original cloth of the Shroud, but the the dates were skewed by neutron radiation at the resurrection, while Barrie Schwortz thinks that the dates were accurate measurements of the age of the samples, but that the samples did not consist of only of original Shroud material.

    So let me confine myself to a couple of comments.


    In Bob Rucker’s paper, “The Carbon Dating Problem for the Shroud of Turin, Part 1: Background” he gives four reasons for not accepting the medieval date as accurate. Leaving aside the first three, which are largely subjective and merely demonstrate his a priori commitment to authenticity, the fourth concerns statistics, his own particular speciality and upon which his next two papers are based. He says (Section 6D):
    “Based on a chi-squared statistical analysis, the spread in all sixteen measurements has only a 1.4% probability (Table 6) that it was caused only by random measurement errors.”
    If ‘sixteen measurements’ is his genuine understanding of the results, then by that very understanding, he demonstrates that he does not understand how the results quoted in the Nature paper were generated. As I will explain later, the phrase ‘sixteen measurements’ is literally meaningless in this context. Furthermore, Rucker knows as he writes this paper that the Nature paper does not substantiate his claim (mentioning, correctly, twelve measurements). Nevertheless, he continues to refer to them, in attempting to demonstrate faults in Nature’s statistics. However by not using the same numbers, it is hardly surprising that he comes to different conclusions.

    He also says (earlier, Section 3):
    “In 1988, […] they evidently measured about 92% of the C14 that would have been present when the flax plants were alive. Believing that the density of C14 atoms must be following the black decay curve in Figure 3 as time progresses, those doing the analysis of the C14 dating would use the black decay curve to conclude that the Shroud is about 690 years old (relative to 1950), as shown by the horizontal and vertical dashed lines in Figure 3. As a result, they assigned an uncorrected date (not corrected for changes in C14 concentration in the atmosphere) of 1950 – 690 = 1260 AD to the Shroud.”
    This is a misrepresentation. Although Rucker’s Figure 3 does show how the 690 years BP (Before Present) date could have been achieved (actually it is a simple calculation based on the percentage of remaining C-14 and its half-life), the box in the top right hand corner does not show what happens next. Although a rough estimate of actual age could be obtained by subtracting 690 from 1950, this was not, and is not, done. The actual age was obtained by means of a calibration graph, as illustrated in the Nature paper. No “uncorrected date” is “assigned”.

    With confidence shaken in Rucker’s impartiality, and in his understanding both of how radiocarbon decay measurements and age determinations are made, it is with trepidation that we move onto his next paper…

    [However before we go on I’d like to throw in a comment about peer-reviewed papers. I’m not as slavishly committed to their authority as some, but I do think one ought to be consistent. If the 20 or peer-reviewed papers by the members of STuRP are sacrosanct, then surely so should be the radiocarbon paper in Nature, Walter McCrone’s red ochre paper in the Accounts of Chemical Research, and the recent paper on blood-flows in the Journal of Forensic Sciences. No?]

    Here is Rucker’s main complaint about the Nature paper, and the source of the mysterious “sixteen measurements”:
    “The laboratory in Tucson made eight measurements on the Shroud samples (Table 4) instead of the four measurements listed in Damon (Table 1). This reduction from 8 to 4 measurements was accomplished by averaging pairs of values. This process eliminated Tucson’s highest and lowest values from the report so that the measurement data listed in Damon appeared to be more consistent than it was. It was many years before it was revealed that Tucson had done eight measurements instead of just four.”

    By not understanding how to measure C14 atoms, Rucker has misunderstood how to measure C14 decay. The truth is that Arizona did not make eight measurements, but over eight hundred! And so, more or less, did the other laboratories.

    This is what you do…..

    – You are given a small piece of cloth to date, which you cut into four pieces.
    – Each of those four sub-samples is converted into graphite, which is pressed into seven of the ten ‘target-pits’ in a target wheel (the other three pits contain controls)
    – The target wheel is placed in the machine, which tests each target for a minute (10sec C13, 50sec C14), fifteen times before the wheel is rotated to the next target. (So far, that’s 7×15 measurements per subsample).
    – And the wheel is rotated right round four times. (7x15x4 measurements).
    That’s 420 measurements per subsample, which are all combined into a single number for the calculation of the percentage of C14 and the years BP equivalent.
    Arizona did this whole operation twice per subsample, getting two percentages, and two years BP, for each subsample.
    The other laboratories either only did it once, or do not retain their original sets of measurements.

    For the purposes of the Nature paper, each of the twelve subsamples, Arizona 4, Zurich 5, Oxford 3, were given a single date. The exact number of measurements, or how many times each target wheel was tested, or how many times each wheel was sent round each time, is not recorded, so solely to pick up Arizona’s ‘half-way’ calculations without including the others is, as I said before, meaningless.

    The mistake made by Rucker and his sources was to treat every number they were given as if they were for a separate subsample, which they weren’t. The Nature paper makes this perfectly clear:
    “The results of these independent measurements (Table 1) in each case represent the average of several replicate measurements made during each run (samples are measured sequentially, the sequence being repeated several times)”and the exact procedure, also as listed in Nature, can be found at


    Those who claim that there was some kind of ‘invisible’ patch or inweave at the radiocarbon corner have never seen any, made any, or had any done. I have, and it isn’t invisible. It is sometimes claimed that there was a secret technique known only to French tapestry restorers in the 17th century that has since been lost, which was used to repair the Shroud. There wasn’t, and there isn’t. It is sometimes claimed that the booklet “The Frenway System of French Reweaving” shows how to do it. It doesn’t. It is sometimes claimed that various companies, such as Without A Trace in New York or the British Invisible Mending Service in London, can do it. They can’t. Both companies have produced a sample of their work for me, and it is just traceable on the front and easily detectable on the back. The hypothesis that an inweave one centimetre wide and eight centimetres long couod be made by unravelling threads and re-ravelling new threads into them is wholly unsupported by evidence, and impossible in practice.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Hey Hugh,

      Alright, time for the main event- the 1988 C-14 dating result. First let me just say how refreshing it is to have a thoughtful and informed Skeptic to interact with in the comments- sadly this is not always the case with some of the more “hard-nosed skeptics” and thus, it is very much appreciated and informative for both myself and those sincerely interested in truth as opposed to simply asserting their skeptical talking points (I hope I come across in the same way on your end as a Pro-Shroud guy) 😊

      Not sure you characterization of Pro-Shroud proponents is accurate there Hugh, it certainly does not apply to me, you like to quote me word for word and so you should know better if this claimed confusion was aimed at me personally, I certainly know the difference between the Neutron Flux/Absorption vs. Invisible Re-Weave hypotheses- in point of fact it has only been Shroud skeptics I’ve encountered who get tied up in knots and confused as to the two options (obviously, lay skeptics are the only ones I’ve interacted with predominately thus far though).

      0. COMMENT 0- The Single Sample Issue;

      This issue wasn’t addressed in your rebuttal, hence why I will call it “COMMENT 0.”, but yeah, I provided 3 different reasons as to why I don’t buy the 1988 C-14 dating results as being reliable representations of the Shroud actual calendar age. It has to be remembered that each one of them alone is sufficient to establish this doubt in its reliability and so if even one stands then I win the debate on this topic.

      On the issue of the single sample location, no one disputes (including you, Colin, the 1988 C-14 scientists and Alan) that only one sample location on the cloth was used for dating purposes- this is a confirmed fact which no can reasonably deny. OK, so what is the significance of this fact in terms of showing we can’t rely on the results of the C-14?

      Well, in the light of the testimony of various secular C-14 experts and archaeologists on the general reliability problems of using AMS C-14 techniques to date the Shroud at that time (remember those 9-11 quotes I gave from reputable experts like Dr. Garman Harbottle, Dr. Lloyd A. Currie or Dr. Murdoch Baxter for example and not to mention the various investigations that showed how unreliable the method was at the time- i.e. the Trondheim report as per the peer-reviewed literature I posted in a comment to Alan and the detailed study of the reliability of 38 C-14 labs done by Britain’s Science and Engineering Research Council), let me quote a couple people here on the single sample issue in particular to make my case;

      a) William Meacham- “No responsible radiocarbon scientist would claim that it was proven that all contaminants had been removed and that the dating range produced for a single sample was without doubt its [let alone the entire object’s] actual calendar age”.

      b) Dr. Harry Gove himself (lead C-14 scientist in the 1988 dating) said- “The piece that was removed from the Shroud” was divided amoung the three labs and came from one specific spot. If there were some reason why the C-14 content in that piece were contaminated, its inaccurate. All of the labs used the same cleaning technique (which did not account for various embedded/chemically bounded or enhanced forms of contamination), and if there some kind of contaminant not taken care of then it would give the same answer to all three labs and all three would be wrong”.


      “The new procedure suggested [7 down to 3 labs and 3 samples locations to one], is bound to produce a dating result that will be questioned in strictly scientific terms by many scientists around the world who will be very skeptical of the arbitrarily small statistical basis for our testing (one sample)….the use of a single sample is ill-advised as it will not generate a reliable date but will rather give rise to world controversy, we suggest that it would be better not to date the Shroud at all”.

      What can I say, I believe in science and listen to what the experts in the field themselves have to say, funny that some Shroud skeptics (not necessarily you Hugh) will only do the same when convenient for them, but are more than happy to abandon the evidence/testimony is of a disconfirming (to their skeptical notions) nature. I can only echo Alan here (in a comment he once made about main regards to the Memorandum evidence), “Special pleading, special pleading, special pleading, special pleading…….”.

      Now, I feel I can rest my case here, with this evidence alone but your reply does address (in part) my other two objections and/or reasons for thinking the 1988 C-14 results are unreliable and so I will turn to them next, in reverse order 😊

      2. COMMENT TWO:

      As to the “Invisible Re-Weave” hypothesis, well on this front I agree with Hugh on this- I think this explanation for the 1988 C-14 results is improbable, though still worthy of serious consideration (don’t forget Barrie referenced those 2 peer-reviewed journals on this).
      However, at the end of the day I think Hugh is probably correct here in his reasons he lays out- I myself said much the same in my Part 1 Podcast as I referred to textile expert Dr. Methchild Flury-Lemberg’s observations during the 2002 Shroud restoration work (I myself linked to an article written by her in the sources which I was happy to see a few people have taken advantage of = ). Alan also touched upon some other reasons to think there is not a patch which also factored into my own evaluation and ultimate rejection on a balance of probabilities of this explanation including, ironically, the X-Ray Fluorescence and Radiographic data suggesting no such patch exists that Rogers himself published in the peer-reviewed literature with Larry Schwalbe in 1982 titled “Physics and Chemistry of the Shroud of Turin” freely available here = . Now, out of fairness there is peer-review on Rogers and Barrie’s side and so I don’t think one should simply dismiss their perspective on this, instead look at the evidence on both sides and decide for yourself just as Barrie, Hugh and I have done, I think once done that rejection of the hypothesis is the more likely option but up to you guys as Barrie Schwortz and Rogers (deceased) obviously disagree 😊

      Now that said, I do think that there are some relevant scientific findings (some of which I mentioned during the debate with Alan) which do show the sample location for the C-14 was non-representative of the rest of the cloth. Such a conclusion does not have to entail an invisibly re-woven Medieval patch in order to be effective in undermining our confidence in the 1988 C-14 results- an area on a cloth can be non-representative for other reasons apart from a patch. Scorched areas are not representative, water stain areas are not representative, the Raes sample had cotton and was not representative, various types of contamination in one area vs. others could also lead to this outcome as well- so there a number of ways this can happen and if so then this would mean we can’t have confidence that the 1988 C-14 result reliably represents the Shroud’s actual calendar age (especially problematic when combined with the fact that only one sample location was taken).

      Alan’s only come-back (that I remember) was to say that there couldn’t be enough “gunk” contamination to get the Shroud back to 30 A.D. and as that is the “only date that matters” thus this cannot be a factor in giving us an erroneous or unreliable C-14 date; according to Alan, “its either 30 A.D. or 1350 A.D.”. Unfortunately, this is flawed reasoning on several fronts;

      i) Alan assumes my position that the Shroud belongs to Jesus must be established or else the Shroud is Medieval- nope sorry, this is illogical. Alan had the burden of proof to show the Shroud was Medieval based on the C-14 data (I had no burden in our Round 1 debate to show the Shroud belonged to the first century at all and hence why I admitted that based on the C-14 evidence alone, I couldn’t prove it goes back to 30 A.D.).
      Alan (in the Round 1 debate at least) fails to acknowledge that logically speaking, it might be the case that both of us could be wrong in our opinions of the Shroud’s provenance (i.e. it doesn’t date to 30 A.D nor the Medieval period)- there are a lot of dates in between them- maybe the Shroud is an 8th century or 7th century fake or something. All I cared to do for the purposes of Round 1 was establish some reasonable doubt as to reliability of the C-14 results proving the Shroud is from the 1300’s/Medieval era- that’s it and I was a smashing success at it if I do say so myself (esp. since no else on the comments will, it appears only skeptics wish to voice their opinions on here)!

      ii) Not Enough “Gunk” Contamination to Do the Trick;

      Secondly, what about Alan’s claim that there can’t be enough additional C-14 contamination to get the Shroud from 30 A.D. to the 1350’s A.D. Well, Alan was correct to say that some forms of “standard contamination” such as a bioplastic coating or wax/tallow or smoke contamination, etc. on their own would not be able to account for this aspect (it would be estimated that the amount of gunk needed to do so would double the mass of the Shroud as we have it and STURP scientists have conclusively shown that the relative density of the Shroud is comparable to other cloths which do not have such pollution factors present)- I covered this myself in my Shroud series Part 1 Podcast on the Bioplastic Coating hypothesis/proposal.

      However, Alan’s logical failure here is thinking that Pro-Shroud proponents are obligated to pick one (and only one) explanation- not all of the explanations for the C-14 are necessarily mutually exclusive, it could very well be that while no single contaminant in itself can get the Shroud back to 30 A.D. maybe a combination of mutually reinforcing contaminant proposals could. Thus, perhaps some of the scientific findings suggesting the Shroud sample location is non-representative play a mere “contributing factor” as opposed to “full explanation” as to why the 1988 C-14 results are unreliable.

      Also, its important to note that actually we do have a couple different explanations of “Enhanced” forms of contamination such as Carbon Monoxide and Neutron Flux which can in and of themselves take the Shroud from 30 A.D. to the 1300’s as per the C-14 results. So, actually the skeptical claim here is just mistaken (not sure if Hugh agrees or not) but remember Dr. Robert Hedges (1988 C-14 director of lab and scientist) and Dr. Thomas Phillips from Harvard’s High Energy Labs agree with me and both published in peer-reviewed journal Nature saying so. Once again, will you skeptics (not referring to you personally Hugh) dismiss the words of the experts?

      Finally, while on this topic- I want to point out one thing that bothered me during the debate and so want to clarify- Alan asked me if the C-14 gave me a first-century date would I still reject it- to this Alan assumed my bias would have caused me to be inconsistent here but I claimed I was consistent and would reject the dates as being reliable regardless based on these factors. Alan questioned my honesty here to which I provided concrete proof in that I believed Gary Habermas on the C-14 dating of the threads which put the Shroud back to 30-70 A.D. +/-; as the evidence suggested it was unreliable I rejected it just as I’m doing with the 1988 C-14 results now.

      Both Alan and Hugh have taken me to task on this line of evidence not being true (to which I have conceded they are correct on this front) but nonetheless that was irrelevant to the question Alan asked me about my implied hypocrisy- the fact is I believed it was true based on Gary’s testimony and yet still I rejected the results’ reliability based on what I saw as being the same relevant considerations as my rejection of the 1988 C-14 test results. Thus, I am consistent and therefore demand that skeptics (again not referring to you personally here Hugh) give me my due credit on this front.

      1. COMMENT ONE:

      In the first place once again thank you for very detailed refutation of this Statistical argument against the C-14 dating, I would be lying if I didn’t say that I was able to learn a thing or two in here and very much appreciated the source you provide at the end on how -14 works 😊

      a) Personal Bias Attacks;

      Now, in the first place you seem to want to hammer home how biased Pro-Shroud proponents like Rucker are and that they have no understanding of the measurements or how to utilize them statistically. You also make a comment that Pro-Shroud proponents are biased hypocrites that enforce the peer-review only one way. Once again, from my perspective this equally applies to many lay Shroud Skeptics who mindlessly believe the 1989 Nature article on the C-14 in infallible (without question) and then simply reject the results of STURP’s work in the peer-review (stating it should never have made peer-review in the first place)- talk about biased double standards! However, if you listened to what I actually said during the debate you will no doubt know that I agree with you that peer-review is not sacrosanct but at the same time should not be mindlessly dismissed either- there is an added layer of credibility when something is in the peer-reviewed literature vs. written in popular and/or even scholarly level non-peer reviewed literature; I explicitly said as much in the debate with Alan!

      As to Rucker’s lack of understanding or credentials- well perhaps- he admits to not being trained in this type of thing specifically, he is not a C-14 scientist or a statistician (though his work was vetted by one who was a statistician). I can easily turn around and lay criticism to the C-14 scientists since they have no training in stats either and relied on and the level of shenanigans that I ‘ve read about that went on during the whole affair which I could reference in regard to Tite and Gove is enough to make your head spin (for example, what about the secret 4th sample that was smuggled in for example “Dr. Tite who had specifically asked for a FOURTH control sample ! After some problems and with the help of Prof. Evin, the sample, in the form of threads was taken from the cape of St. Louis d’ Anjou, located in the basilica of St. Maximim (France). Anyway, the choice by Dr. Tite of this sample, dated 1290-1310 AD, indicates clearly that he, who was supposed to be NEUTRAL, was influenced by the ARBITRARY opinion that the Shroud originated in the same era. This fourth sample, in the form of threads, was brought to Turin by the French textile expert Vial and Prof. J. Evin, a French radiocarbon expert from Lyon. This non invited man, not named in any report, said that he brought this “last minute” parcel because he did not trust the Italian mail… No one knows for sure how, when and by whom this sample has been introduced to the Cardinal. According to L’Osservatore Romano of 23-04-1988 : “ALL operations were video-recorded and fully documented by photography”.


      What about the fact that the samples were not tested blind but came with little labels identifying the samples with the ages on it prior to the testing.

      Again, if we want to reduce the convo to personal attacks to cast doubt on people’s motives and incentives then Pro-Shroud conspiracy buffs can have a field day with all the things that went on behind the scenes. I explicitly wanted to avoid that kind of thing in the debate with Alan, as there are perfectly good explanations for some of these things (including the two issues I mention above) and I feel it distracts from the substantive points of difference.

      So, I will say this as a final comment on this sub-section- Rucker is not alone, there are other experts who have conducted similar statistical analyses in the same way the 1988 C-14 results were calculated using the Chi-Square test. The C-14 scientists are not experts in statistics and thus relied on statisitians to do the analysis see here “These differences are due to the fact that Dr. Morven Leese, a member of the British Museum staff, who performed the statistical analysis, did not use the classical method, but a specific method for the comparison of radiocarbon dates, developed by the Australian scientists Drs. Wilson & Ward.”- see the detailed analyses with comments from 1988 C-14 leader Michael Tite here = & . Likewise, we have multiple statisticians and experts who concur with Rucker’s analysis here and know what they were doing with the results they used, see p.19-21 section entitled “7. Agreement of Previous Researchers with this Statistical Analysis” from here =–Part-2-Statistical-Analysis.pdf?lbisphpreq=1 .

      b) Main Complaint Analysis (via Rucker);

      Firstly, the point about 800 measurements was interesting to learn about but not important since at the end of the day in whatever way all these are condensed into wither 12 or 16 measurement data points by the time they are used in the Chi-Square test (so I just assume everyone has done their job there in reducing or averaging the data correctly there).

      Now, I must confess that given your explanation, this seems to make a lot of sense and has eliminated most if not all of the suspicion that I had regarding why they averaged those 8 measurements into 4 and then all of a sudden Voila, a 95% degree of certainty was achieved.
      Just to clarify to make sure I understand you correctly here- So, what you are saying is that 2 labs rotated each sub-sample 4 times producing 420 measurements each, but Arizona did so 8 times to produce 840 measurements with the same sub-sample. Thus, the reason it was permissible to average the results from 8 down to 4 measurement values was because it was using the same sub-sample. By contrast, Rucker’s analysis would only be valid had Arizona tested 2 different sub-samples 4 times each in getting the 8 measurements overall that were used in the Chi-square test. Is this correct?

      Also, is it permissible then to reduce the 4 measurements down to 2 or 1 value in the same way? Why or why not?

      I also have access to Rob Rucker’s personal email and so I will try to reach out to Rob Rucker himself to ask about this- hopefully he will be willing to comment either on here or via email to me, so I can give his counter to your characterizations on this. If he does so, I or he will post it up here asap 😊

      Thanks again,



      1. “So, what you are saying is that 2 labs rotated each sub-sample 4 times producing 420 measurements each, but Arizona did so 8 times to produce 840 measurements with the same sub-sample.”
        No. The point is that we have no data from the other three labs except the final datings they achieved for each of their subsamples.
        “Thus, the reason it was permissible to average the results from 8 down to 4 measurement values was because it was using the same sub-sample.”
        Sport of. The Americans used four subsamples (not one), so four dates were required from them. The Nature paper is entirely based on single dates for each of the twelve subsamples tested. We do not know precisely how the dates for the three Oxford subsamples and five Zurich subsamples were achieved.
        “Rucker’s analysis would only be valid had Arizona tested 2 different sub-samples 4 times each in getting the 8 measurements overall that were used in the Chi-square test. Is this correct?”
        No. The eight measurements would only have been acceptable to the Nature compilation if they derived from eight different pieces of cloth. No statistical calculations should be carried out using values derived from different levels of data accumulation.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Various typos, but I feel it important to point out that line four above should read “the other two labs”, not “the other three labs.”

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Hey Hugh,

            No worries on the typos, I do it all the time myself plus oral typos as you yourself have brought up in a few of your feedback comments about my Podcast lol 🙂

            Anyways, OK very good- I’m going to take some time to think this over a bit and read over the article you gave here. In the meantime, hopefully Rucker reaches out but I will give you my final take one I’ve thought it over a bit first- at face value what you are saying does seem to make sense though.




          2. Hey Hugh,

            OK, so thank goodness Rob Rucker himself was kind enough to engage with your criticisms of his work on the C-14 and anything else as well. Now, he wants to provide a full refutation of your comment but he is busy until after Dec 1st and so he said he would provide a fuller reply after that (which I will post up here and/or perhaps Rucker will comment directly himself- to remove me as the middle man.

            Anyways, in the meantime, he did provide me a brief response which I wanted to share for people’s consideration;


            Thank you for your email. This is a very important topic and I want to deal with it in detail. But I have an important Shroud research meeting on Saturday (12-1-18) that I am now preparing for. What are your time considerations for my response?

            For now, I will give what I hope is a very simple and quick reply. The main objection appears to by my use of 16 measurements (page 311 of “Test the Shroud” by Mark Antonacci and his reference 28, etc.) instead of the 12 used in Damon. If my paper (“The Carbon Dating for the Shroud of Turin, Part 2: Statistical Analysis” by Robert A. Rucker) was read entirely with understanding, then it should have been clear that I did the statistical analysis calculations both ways, with the 12 measurement values listed in Damon and with the 16 measurements values listed in the more recent references. The statistical analysis for Damon’s 12 values is in Table 5. The statistical analysis for the 16 values is in Table 6. The important value is in the lower left hand corner of each table. This is the “Significance level (%)” which is defined in the note as “The probability of obtaining, by chance, a scatter among the 3 laboratory weighted means as high as that observed, assuming the quoted random errors reflect all sources of variation.” If you look in Table 5 for Damon’s 12 measurements (count them in the first column), the calculated significance level =1.40%. If you look in Table 6 for the 16 measurement values (count them in the first column), the calculated significance level = 1.39%. So whether you use Damon’s 12 values or the 16 values, the significance level only changes by 0.01%, which is very insignificant. When I talk about this result, I usually round the 1.39% off to 1.4%. This means that there is only a 1.4% probability of the measurements being consistent with the measurement uncertainties. This implies that there is about a 100% – 1.4% = 98.6% probability that the measurements were affected by something (in statistical analysis terminology this something is called a systematic bias) that affected all of the measurements, changing them from the true value to an apparent value. When I talk about the probability of the systematic bias, I usually round off the 98.6% value to 98%.

            The point should be made that my statistical analysis in my paper is based on the assumption that all of the measurement values and the measurement uncertainty values are correct. The measurements were correct in the sense that they measured the correct amount of C14 in each sample. The only failure in the process documented in Damon was that the statistical analysis failed to recognize the presence of the systematic bias. Since this systematic bias was neither recognized or quantified, the conclusion of the carbon dating in Damon (1260 to 1390 AD) should be rejected. My next paper in the sequence (“The Carbon Dating for the Shroud of Turin, Part 3: The Neutron Absorption Hypothesis” by Robert A. Rucker) hypothesizes that this systematic bias was caused by neutron absorption in the Shroud. To shift the carbon date from 30 AD to 1260 AD only requires that the C14 on the Shroud at the sample location be increased by 16%.

            My statistical analysis is superior to that done in Damon because I assumed that all of the measurement and uncertainty values were correct. The statistical analysis in Damon recognized that the measurements were inconsistent with the uncertainties, but instead of then rejecting the measurement data, which they should have done, they assumed that all of the uncertainties could simply be ignored. In other word, the 1260 to 1390 AD value was obtained in Damon by their ignoring half of the data, i.e. all of the measurement uncertainties. This is terrible statistical analysis and thus terrible science. The conclusion in my statistical analysis is confirmed by previous statistical analysis done by Remi Van Haelst, Bryan J. Walsh, and Marco Riani, et al (Ref. 8 to15 in my paper). I hope this help you. Please send additional questions as the occur”.

            Alright, hope this is helpful and look forward to Rucker’s fuller response on this once he gets a chance, as soon as he sends it to me, I will post it asap 🙂



  11. Dale, it’s great you have some shroud heavy hitters joining the message boards. It also prompts me to ask a question.

    It appears that people with deep investment of time and expertise are falling on both sides of the shroud (believer and skeptic). And even you yourself stated to me that even if I tracked the entirety of your argument for the shroud, I could come out either a believer or non-believer.

    So, what’s my impetus to invest anything beyond what I can read quickly here?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah Bryan, You wouldn’t want to be tortured by Dale’s invisible friend right?


      1. I’m neither provoking nor trolling. I’m commenting on the basic repugnance of any religion that requires a “salvation” in the first place.


    2. This reads more like preaching than rational justification. And I’d be interested in your take on Hugh’s answer to the same question below. It rings a lot truer to me.

      In order to have successful conversations, you must find common ground to start from. If your answer to my question has the thesis ZOMG YOUR ETERNAL LIFE IS AT STAKE, you’ve misread your audience and demonstrate a lack of awareness of the different places you and I are coming from.

      I get that the shroud is important to your personal faith journey. But you have a long way to go if you want to successfully argue for it to non-believers.


      1. “…. but it strikes me as somewhat offensive that you sold me for the answer I provide you given that you asked me (a Christian) such a question and then expected me to answer only in ways that you approve of- you don’t dictate to me what types of answers are acceptable.”

        So in your world, Bryan isn’t allowed to prefer rational reasons over preaching?

        “Thus, you have no intellectual right to judge me or the answer I provided- maybe you should take lessons in how to ask questions in a clearer manner if you don’t want to hear certain answers.”

        But you have the intellectual right to judge Bryan and the answer he gave?

        Double standard much?

        So is this your normal pattern? People respond to you honestly and you blow up at them and think you are being personally persecuted? It seems to be a pattern with you. You may want to put away your ego a bit and realize that just because you think the response you are giving is the next best thing to sliced bread, not everyone is going to agree with you.

        And blowing up at people for a perceived slight, when he was just being honest with you isn’t going to make you look any better. After all, this response isn’t any better than the first two that you deleted.


      2. “But yeah, it seems from your reaction that you prove you are not an open minded person but closed minded and only open to hearing what you want to hear- quite frankly this is your failing as a supposed “real seeker” not mine and I expect better of you. ”

        Sure, sure, because in your mind, if the other person doesn’t like your answer, then they are not a “real seeker”.


        1. “I know you want commenters to feel respected but there has to be some mutual respect toward me as well (after all last I checked I was part of this community as well).”

          So you are able to blow up at Bryan, showing him no respect at all, but you continue to expect others to continue to respect you?

          Another double standard?

          “(the first 2 I deleted out of concern they might be too much as Darren himself apparently found out about somehow)”

          When you hit submit, the system emails your response to everyone who is following the post. So everyone saw them.

          “Darren is asking for it here and its not fair that he gets to use me as his own punching bag….”

          I always love it how christians always think that asking questions, asking christians to demonstrate that what they are claiming is actually true, and pointing out when they are demonstrably wrong is somehow being mean and means that I am using you as a punching bag.

          “Alright Darren, thank you for not minding your own business and showing me that you are indeed biased and not open minded to the truth.”

          Is this some sort of protective device you have? Anyone who disagrees with you automatically becomes biased and not open minded to the truth?

          If you have this great truth that I am not being open minded about, why is it exactly that you can’t demonstrate that your claims are actually true?

          “I have the intellectual right to judge Bryan, because he had the audacity to judge and persecute me first without justification-”

          Except he did neither to you. He gave his preferences about the type of answers he preferred. But sure it is all about you right? You poor persecuted christian….

          “I was kind enough to provide him with a rational and logical answer to his question….”

          Which he didn’t think was rational or logical. Neither did I. And I’m guessing if you asked David, he probably didn’t either. But it is all about you right? You poor persecuted christian.

          “…who are you to lecture me bud!”

          Given that you have taken to lecturing me, by your own standards, I am the person responding in kind to you.

          “None of you are entitled to my comments (despite the fact some on here think you are);”

          Just as well I’m not one of them. But given that it is an open forum, you will have to expect people to comment on your comments. I’m sure Bryan will produce his own once he has time to see the ridiculous post you made.

          “I replied to Bryan’s question in good faith because I thought he was sincerely interested in my thoughts and so he should have been grateful that I even spent the time replying in the first place instead of complaining about how he didn’t like the answer I provided.”

          So in your world if he doesn’t like your answer that means he wasn’t asking in good faith and wasn’t sincerely interested? Do you honestly think that your answers are so great that everyone that hears them must automatically like them and agree with you? Are you truly that self conceited?

          There is absolutely nothing in his response to you that indicated that he wasn’t sincerely asking. The only think in his response was that he didn’t think you gave a good enough answer to his question.

          But it is all about you right? You poor persecuted christian.

          “So, here is what I will do, as there is nothing of value worth responding to in skeptical comments like yours, then I will simply ignore them as the meaningless drivel that they are.”

          Its a free country. But I will continue taking time out of my day to respond to your meaningless drivel about magic and gods.

          “Go ahead, you and Bryan can mock and berate me and my logical arguments out of sheer ignorance all you like,..”

          I’ll just show the rest of the forum where all the flaws are and the parts that you can’t actually demonstrate is true. If you don’t want to respond, that is fine. If you do, that is fine as well.

          Perhaps before you go you can answer one question though.

          Why do christians think that showing the flaws in there arguments, especially when they can be demonstrated to be flaws, and that asking them to demonstrate that what they are claiming is actually true is somehow mocking them and their arguments?


  12. Bryan,

    For what it’s worth I’m a card-carrying church-going hymn-singing Roman Catholic by birth, education, employment and inclination, and am not investigating the Shroud as any kind of confirmation of my faith. However Im also a scientist by education and profession, and a historian by profession. All these are also my chief leisure pursuits, so I find the investigation of the Shroud as a Forensic Historian fascinating, and the exploration well worth the time I spend on it.

    However I do not consider the Shroud any more supportive of my personal faith than Leonardo’s Last Supper or Michaelangelo’s Pieta, and would not recommend anybody spend hours ploughing thorough Bob Rucker’s statistical gallimaufry in search of religious enlightenment. If you’re a mathematician, engineer or empirical scientist you’ll find it fascinating; if you’re a philosopher, artist or poet probably rather dull, and not worth the investment. Authentic or not, it won’t change your life.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I appreciate your point of view, Hugh, thanks.


  13. Thanks very much to Bob Rucker for replying so quickly. I know he is a lot busier than I am. On the whole, I agree with what he says, although I don’t agree that the Nature Paper demonstrated either “terrible science” or “terrible statistical analysis”. Prof. Bray of the Colonnetti Institute (mentioned in the Nature paper) , and J. Andrés Christen of Freiburg University (in “A New Robust Statistical Model for Radiocarbon Data”, at both verified that the conclusions were valid.
    However, at the time, it was not possible to include later information, that the three laboratory dates (and more specifically the twelve subsample dates) lie along a chronological gradient. The positions of each lab’s sample on the little strip divided into three is, even now, not easy to reconstruct. For this reason, the Oxford sample’s significant difference from the Arizona sample could not be ascribed to such a gradient, which was why the authors treated the results the way they did.
    Now that the sequence Arizona-Zurich-Oxford (young to old) has been established, the significant difference between the Arizona and Oxford samples can be used to refine the manipulation of the data, such as was carried out by Riani and Atkinson (“Regression Analysis with Partially Labelled Regressors: Carbon Dating of the Shroud of Turin”), and the hypothesis that the dates were skewed by miraculous neutron radiation from a source closer to the centre of the Shroud derived from it.
    Perhaps the most important thing is that no statistician has declared that the radiocarbon date was anything other than medieval. Attention is now focussed (by authenticists) on why the radiocarbon date was medieval, not that either the sampling, the subsequent analysis or the conclusion drawn from it should be abandoned. However I will concur that the ultimate conclusion: “These results therefore provide conclusive evidence that the linen of the Shroud of Turin is mediaeval” could be modified either by the removal of the word “conclusive”, or by the substitution of “the linen of the Shroud of Turin is mediaeval” by “the tested sample of the linen of the Shroud of Turin yielded a medieval date.”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Awesome thanks Hugh, and as promised when Rucker gets back to me with is fuller reply, I will post it up here for you to respond to asap 🙂


  14. Table 2 of Bob Rucker’s Carbon Dating Problem Part 2 is interesting. I wonder why it’s there? It gives the impression that calendar years derived from C14 results can be averaged. This is not true. For example, while a BP date of 700 gives a single calendar date of 1276, a calendar date of 600 gives three equally possible dates, 1310, 1338 and 1386, while 1375 is impossible and 1335 is extremely unlikely. It is not sensible to average any particular combination of the calendar dates. It would be sensible to average the BP dates (to 650) and then calibrate that, getting two dates, 1290 and 1362. (In this example, for clarity, I have deliberately not given any measurement of error.)

    The Nature paper does that, arriving at an average BP date of 691 ± 31, which calibrated to 1290 ± 30 and 1375 + 15. Although this was given as 1260-1390, there is in fact almost no probability that the Shroud dates to any year between 1330 and 1340. The “middle date” between 1290 and 1360 is 1325, but rather than being the most probable, this is actually very unlikely – that’s no doubt why it was not chalked up on the famous blackboard behind Hedges, Hall and Tite.

    I appreciate that to the average reader this is bizarre beyond sanity, so I refer you all to my article “Radiocarbon Recalibration” at

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Awesome, thanks for the source there. Again I will let Rucker know of this once he gets back to me, so I can provide his own counter 🙂


    2. Hey Hugh and everyone else.

      Out of respect to Bob Rucker, he has emailed me a final reply here but in light of some of the back and forth that happened recently he has sadly decided not to engage further after this- I did wish to post up his final word for those interested as a good reminder that while it is easy to get so entrenched into our respective sides that we lose track of what is most important- discovering the truth. Personally, I’ve really enjoyed the convo I’ve had with Hugh on this front, let’s all strive to create better and more understanding convos on the boards 🙂

      Here is Rucker’s final word (I hope some of you find it helpful):


      We had another great Shroud Research meeting this morning (Saturday, Dec. 1) in Richland, WA, with nine scientists present and much follow up work to be done as a result. Fortunately for our research on the Shroud, Richland, Washington, is one of the premier research centers of the United States and specializes in nuclear research.

      Regarding your blog, I see my name and my papers ( being discussed. Unfortunately, I find so many misunderstandings and what appears to me to be incivility and lack common respect that it becomes difficult and distasteful to attempt a reply to all the issues that have been raised. Even if I were to spend all the time necessary to answer all the misunderstandings, I feel that they would not be able to consider my answers reasonably since they have taken such hardened positions against anything that I say, so I would be wasting my time. I believe that my time is better spent on my research on the Shroud. I believe that in time this will be demonstrated by the results of our research. I will leave it to the reader of my papers that are available at the above website to decide for themselves. Some background about myself might be helpful though. I earned BS and MS degrees in nuclear engineering at the University of Michigan, earning both degrees in less than four years, and worked for about 38 years in the nuclear industry running nuclear analysis and statistical analysis computer software. 24 years were spent at General Atomics in San Diego designing advanced nuclear reactors and managing a small statistics and measurement control group preparing measurement data and uncertainty data for bi-monthly inventories of fissile material in a nuclear fuel fabrication facility to assure that no fissile material was being lost or stolen. I then spent about 14 years doing criticality safety calculations and documentation for nuclear fuel fabrication as a consultant for Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) and Department of Defense (DOD) facilities at various locations across the country. In my statistical analysis work to assure that no fissile material was being lost or stolen, I had to satisfy NRC and DOD inspectors that I was doing the statistical analysis correctly, so that they could be assured that no nuclear weapon could be constructed from stolen fissile material. That is how important my qualifications were. If I had ever made the claim that I could simply ignore the measurement uncertainties, for any reason, I would have been fired immediately as incompetent. That is why I said that the statistical analysis in Damon (P. E. Damon + 20 other authors, “Radiocarbon Dating of the Shroud of Turin” in Nature, Vol. 337, No. 6208, pages 611-615, February 16, 1989) was terribly wrong, because they chose to ignore the measurement uncertainties rather than to admit that there was a fundamental problem with the measurement data. Using the same statistical analysis technique that was used in Damon (a Chi-Squared statistical analyses), applying it to the same 12 measured values given in Damon, but believing that the uncertainty values are correct rather than just ignoring them, results in about a 100% – 1.4% = 98% probability (Table 5, bottom left value in “The Carbon Dating Problem for the Shroud of Turin, Part 2: Statistical Analysis” by Robert A. Rucker, paper 12 on my website at that something (in statistical analysis terminology, this “something” is call a systematic bias) was affecting all of the measurements. When a systematic bias affects any group of measurements, if the bias is not recognized and quantified, then there is no way to determine how wrong the measurements could be, so that the measurement data ought to be rejected from consideration. This is the reason that the 1260 – 1390 date in Damon should be rejected. It also raises the serious question as to what was causing the systematic bias that was affecting all the measurements in Damon. The next paper in my series (“The Carbon Dating Problem for the Shroud of Turin, Part 3: The Neutron Absorption Hypothesis” by Robert A. Rucker, paper 13 on my website) develops my answer to this question, which is the Neutron Absorption Hypothesis. This hypothesis was first proposed in 1989 by Dr. Thomas J. Phillips, then a member of the High Energy Physics Laboratory at Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts (“Shroud Irradiated with Neutrons?”, Nature, Vol. 337, No. 6208, pages 594, February 16, 1989). This hypothesis was proposed in the same issue of Nature that included Damon. This Neutron Absorption Hypothesis is attractive from a scientific perspective because: 1) it is the only hypothesis that is consistent with the four things that we know about carbon dating as it relates to the Shroud, 2) it makes specific predictions that are very testable, and 3) it is an integral part of a wholistic explanation to the many mysteries of the Shroud (“Explaining the Mysteries of the Shroud” by Robert A. Rucker, paper 16 on my website). My goal in the above work has been to solve the mysteries of the Shroud of Turin. The above papers are the result of five years of my research and consideration.

      My belief that it is most reasonable to believe that the Shroud of Turin is the authentic burial cloth of Jesus is not my initial assumption, because it ultimately does not affect my worldview whether the Shroud is authentic or not. Because of this, I can objectively follow the scientific evidence where it leads. Thus, my belief that it is most reasonable to believe that the Shroud of Turin is the authentic burial cloth of Jesus is solely based on my assessment of the scientific evidence that results from the application of the process of forensic science to the Shroud of Turin. I hold no animosity against anyone because I believe that everyone has basic intrinsic value as a human being.

      All my best to everyone.”


      1. Well I think that’s a pity. The “back and forth” has consisted of three comments from me, none of which have truly been addressed.
        My first considered that using sixteen measurements instead of the Nature paper’s twelve was statistically unsound, and I explained why. Bob Rucker did not address this.
        My second explained why the Nature paper assumed that the samples were not systematically different, and why they coped with the undoubted inconsistency in the dates in the way that they did. Although Bob explains in detail, and not unreasonably, why “the measurement data ought to be rejected from consideration”, the entire edifice of the neutron absorption hypothesis is built on the supposition that the measurement data are in fact correct.
        My third comment explained in detail why it is not reasonable, or indeed possible, to attempt to average out calendar dates derived from radiocarbon decay, and inquired the purpose of Table 2 in Bob’s second paper. Once again, he has chosen not to address this at all.
        I contend that none of my comments are “misunderstandings”, and that it is not true that I “would not be able to consider [Bob’s] answers reasonably, nor that I have “taken such hardened positions against anything that [Bob says], so [he] would be wasting [his] time.”
        I don’t know if this correspondence has any readers apart from Dale and myself, but I trust that if there are any, they will find the lack of any attempt to address my comments disappointing.

        Liked by 2 people

        1. I admit, I am disappointed myself here Hugh as I really was looking forward to seeing you two experts interact, I think it would have been very informative and appreciated by me and I hope by others on here very much. That said, I respect his position on that front even if I myself disagree with it.

          Anyways, you will be happy to know that a few people have been clicking on some of the links you’ve provided and I have saved the pdf links you provided for my own research as I look into it it in more detail from you and re-look at Rucker’s three articles in the light of the points you and he raised in the responses I do have.

          I have long said that so long as one person is interested then its worth it for me to do the Shroud series, there have been times where I’ve wondered if my passion and desire for people to take an interest in the Shroud has more hurt than helped the cause in that respect but when I see some of the people clicking on the links it reminds me that there are a few listeners/readers who go beyond just listening to an entertaining show/debate to find out more about it themselves and that makes it all worth while for me.

          Once, I’ve completed the 3 debates with Alan, I was planning on writing a follow up from Barrie’s take on anything I wasn’t able to answer adequately, I would be more than happy to include this in there for him, but given that he takes the invisible re-weave option, I’m unsure he will have much to say about it vs. Bob Rucker himself- but I will make a note to ask 🙂

          Kind regards and glad to see you are still willing to engage despite this disappointing development 🙂



  15. “Yeah Darren, I will give you this last one before I deleting my comment and since you guys get it regardless of whether I delete or not, then I an delete right after I post it then.”

    That is very mature of you Dale.

    “Bryan asked me- what the impetus would be for him to study the Shroud evidence since I said that he might become a believer but might not after looking into it. I said the fact that its possible he might become a believer alone is worth a bit of investigation (an viable option in the question itself)- just like there is a possibility . Where’s the flaw genius????”

    Yes, because that is what I was talking about. I have a feeling you already know that wasn’t what I was talking about.

    The particular flaw in your logic in this one is that Bryan wasn’t rejecting you or your theology or closing the door on his investigation. He just would have preferred a rational answer from you rather then a theological dogma.

    “Oh that’s right there’s none, you guys are just biased and can’t handle the truth.”

    Is this something you can actually demonstrate is true? Or is this just a claim you are making because you feel that everyone else who disagrees with you is biased and closed minded? Or is this a self protection mechanism because you realize you can’t actually demonstrate your claims are true, so it is some sort of deluded “first d=strike” to try to discredit the people that disagree with you?

    “Over and out, I will delete this right after posting as it should go through to you anyways.”

    That’s ok, I can quote you in my response from you so that people can see what you said.


    1. When you hit submit, the system emails your response to everyone who is following the post. So everyone saw them.

      Hey Darren, can you show me how to engage this feature? I get emailed when someone likes a comment of mine and get no other email notifications. Thanks in advance.

      I’ll post a response to where the discussion went a little later. To say I’m flabbergasted is no exaggeration. But I wish to take the high road. I hope you’ll join me because I want the arguments to win the day, not who got a rise out of whom, whether warranted or not.


      1. Yikes. The italics should close after paragraph 1, where I’m quoting Darren.


      2. “I hope you’ll join me because I want the arguments to win the day, not who got a rise out of whom, whether warranted or not.”

        I agree.

        Any thoughts as to how you will get Dale to recognize when his arguments are failing?

        All you did was comment that you prefer one type of answer over another and he went ballistic. I took him step by step through his argument and the definition of the argument from ignorance to show that his argument met the definition.

        How exactly does one let the arguments win the day when he isn’t willing to treat the evidence or the arguments honestly? (That’s a real question)

        “Hey Darren, can you show me how to engage this feature?”

        I log in with my google account and I followed this blog. I’m assuming that is how it is done. I don’t remember ever changing any settings or anything.


        1. Ultimately, if Dale and I cannot find common ground to argue from, I probably can’t convince him. But I’m more concerned with everyone else reading. So I’m gonna try to promote the use of skepticism, empiricism and epistemic humility to make the arguments that win minds.

          Liked by 1 person

  16. Dale, I want to start by acknowledging that my last post was curt and very blunt. I didn’t expect it to be received like a candygram, but your response is beyond my comprehension. You seem to take offense at the drop of a hat. And visceral, to the bone offense at that. I’ve been around the internet and I am a pussycat compared to your average forum traveler.

    I’m here to talk about ideas, not people. I was careful to craft my response about YOUR ANSWER, not you personally. Now, I make mistakes, but please try to remember this when reading anything from me in the future.

    On the shroud: anything you ask me to assume BEFORE contemplating the shroud CANNOT BE a resultant belief from contemplating the shroud. This is reasoning 101 I can’t believe I have to spell this out. So if I have to assume God or Jesus or Christian doctrine to be impressed by the shroud, then the shroud cannot be the reason I accept God or Jesus or Christian doctrine. How would you respond if I asked you to stop thinking about the shroud for good because it angers Vishnu? And then when you pushed back on me, I told you you had to assume Hinduism is true to take my claim seriously.

    And in fact, the one part of my response you didn’t address was the most poignant of all as far as I am concerned. You have fellow Christian and heavy hitter shroud contemplater Hugh stating:

    However I do not consider the Shroud any more supportive of my personal faith than Leonardo’s Last Supper or Michaelangelo’s Pieta, and would not recommend anybody spend hours ploughing thorough Bob Rucker’s statistical gallimaufry in search of religious enlightenment. If you’re a mathematician, engineer or empirical scientist you’ll find it fascinating; if you’re a philosopher, artist or poet probably rather dull, and not worth the investment. Authentic or not, it won’t change your life.

    How do you square this with your vehement view of how a non-believer should take the shroud?

    I’m going to stick to the non-shroud posts for the most part moving forward. I’m hoping we can have meaningful interactions there.

    Sincerely, Bryan


    1. You’ve written a lot I could respond to but I’ll honor your wishes and not interact. I am happy with what the record reflects and feel your version of my words, motivations and arguments don’t hold up to scrutiny.

      If you ever change your mind, hop back in. I’ll be here.


      Liked by 1 person

  17. Moving on!

    Episode 20. From 1:21:17

    1) “[The blue quad mosaic image] showed that the image reflecting the chemical composition of the surface of the Shroud in the area where the sample was taken from is coloured blue. […] It’s different from the rest of the cloth.”
    It was, I think Joe Marino and Sue Benford who first observed that the so-called blue quad mosaic image (neither blue, nor quad, nor a mosaic) of the ventral lower limbs had a green (not blue) area in the lower left hand corner, where the sample was cut. What they did not observe was that there are four of these images, more or less covering the whole double image (ventral torso, ventral legs, dorsal torso, dorsal legs) and that three of them are almost identical. They are overall various shades of red through orange to yellow, and all three have green in the lower left hand corners. So if it is surmised that the green area represents different chemical composition from the rest of the cloth, it must be surmised that the same different chemical composition is also present in the equivalent places of the other two images. However, they also did not observe that all three of these almost identical images also have a bright blue band occupying the whole top third. If it is surmised that a variation in colour represents a different chemical composition, then it must also be surmised that the quad images show that the entire Shroud is composed of wide alternating bands of two different materials. There is no evidence for this at all, so I consider it far more likely that the different colours of the quad images are more deeply affected by the intensity and angle of the incident light by which they were taken that anything to do with the composition of the cloth. This subject was discussed at some length a few years ago, and can be read up at

    2) “Additionally, ultra-violet fluorescence images were taken by Dr Vern Miller, and it shows that this region is visibly darker in that spot where they took the sample compared to the rest of the cloth.”
    The alleged UV photo of the radiocarbon corner has been posted so often it is difficult to know where it came from. I do not think it is a UV image at all. It is certainly not one of Vern Miller’s from 1978. His images, and the circumstances in which they were made can be studied at There is no other account of anybody else taking UV images of the Shroud ever. As it happens, it doesn’t really matter because the radiocarbon corner can be seen to be darker than the rest of the Shroud quite easily with the naked eye.

    3) “Also Dr Alan Adler, on a chemical level, has done various tests and discovered there’s a waterstain in the area, and there’s starch or salt as well. Here’s what he says, based on a chemical analysis as opposed to spectral. “There’s far more salt in the radiocarbon sample fibres than the waterstains on the rest of the Shroud. That is because in the waterstains, the water hit and the soluble salts started diffusing out into the cloth. […] If you look at where the carbon-14 sample was taken it is a “bounded” waterstain, so that means that all the soluble materials diffused until they hit the edge, and then they concentrate there at the edges. So, the radiocarbon fibres have a different chemical composition from the non-image fibres of the body of the cloth.”
    This is very odd. In Further Spectroscopic Investigations of Samples of the Shroud of Turin (, Adler says: “Only a single sample was taken was taken from a rewoven edge in a waterstained area a few inches from one of the burn marks” He says something similar in several other articles. He also makes reference to a selvedge, without, it seems, really knowing what a selvedge is. In this he is not alone.

    However, everywhere on the Shroud is only a few inches from a burn mark, and if a model of the Shroud is folded according to the reconstruction of Aldo Guerreschi (at, it can easily be seen that the sample corner was about as far from the source of the burn as it could be. What’s more, a glance at any photo of that corner will show that although the Raes sample and even the ‘riserva’ portion of the radiocarbon sample are indeed covered by a waterstain, the area actually tested by the laboratories was not. This observation makes sense of some of Adler’s FTIR findings which seem to resemble waterstain threads, and were carried out on radiocarbon threads provided by Gonella and Riggi: they came from the ‘riserva’ portion.

    It is perhaps worth mentioning that any soluble contamination of the test samples was washed away during the extensive cleaning process.

    4) “Wax, tallow: that’s another major contaminant that Harry Gove himself said, “Yup, I looked under the microscope. It seems to be there.””
    I’ve no idea where this might have come from. I don’t think Gove had any opportunity to examine the Shroud under the microscope, and although it has often been observed that the Shroud is spotted with blobs of wax here and there, I have not heard the idea that it might be invisibly smeared with it.

    Finally, while I’m at it, Leoncio Garcia-Valdez’s bioplastic coating theory. It is, of course, well known that in order to contaminate a 1st century cloth with a 17th (or later) addition you need a ratio of at least 2-1 (contamination to original), of which there is absolutely no sign anywhere on the Shroud, least of all on the little fragment of radiocarbon sample still remaining, in the possession of Timothy Jull and photographed in closeup by Barrie Schwortz at However, what is not widely appreciated is that even if the entire Shroud were reduced to a heaving mass of bacteria-poop, since all the carbon atoms would derive from the Shroud, the poop would date to exactly the same age.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Once again excellent counters Hugh, with sources for people to check into as well 🙂 Will get back to you in time once I have a chance to read through all your sources and comments on the C-14 in full (Rucker’s Stats argument + the Non-representational nature here) + any other issues you have forthcoming on it as you progress through the debate 🙂 I will take the time to do this within the next couple weeks or prior to Christmas to advance the discussion to the best of my ability as a laymen on the Pro-Shroud side 🙂

      One thing on the doubling of the mass, of course I am already well aware of this and Garcia-Valdaz’s theory which I myself refute in my own work. But what about the notion that it could play a “contributing factor” rather than full account of throwing off the the C-14 results- would you rule that more qualified claim altogether?- If the answer is already in the post and I missed it in my scan here, just let me know and hopefully I will notice it when I go into it in more details over the next couple weeks 🙂



      1. Thanks, Dale. However the last sentence of my post explains why bacterial contamination cannot even be a contributing factor. However much transfer of material there may have been from cloth to bacteria or fungus, the same carbon atoms are involved, and so the contamination will date to the same age as he Shroud. Exactly the same sort of thing happens when some marine shells are dated, whose carbonate content derives from dissolved carbonates derived in turn from limestone deposited millions of years ago – since the carbon of which they are made has not been ‘atmospheric’ for millions of years, so the date of the shells appears to be millions of years old. Even anomalous dates of people, such as lake dwellers and King Richard III of England, are usually ascribed to their sea-food diet.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Yeah sorry I noticed that part on my second scan through. I promise you that I will take the time to study this and give my best rebuttal to the C-14 issues you mention- right now its hard as I’m preparing for Messianic Prophecies Part 4 and also Shroud Wars Round 2 which is scheduled for this Saturday.

          Let me ask this, if you have more critiques on the C-14 or what’s been posted thus far, would you be able to post it up prior to this Saturday- that way once I have the time I can reply to all your issues at once on those topics and then your free to move on and critique my Round 2 debate with Alan (assuming you wanted to of course) 🙂

          Thanks and just be patient, even if it takes a couple weeks or so- I will get it up here for you 🙂

          In the meantime however, I do have some good news in that Rucker was very kind and devoted some of his time to provide some more details on the C-14 issues that you raised and given this took his time away from his research, I want to show the respect for his efforts and ensure our audience (and me) had the benefit of his knowledgeable answers and sources on this front;

          Here is what Bob Rucker said;

          “Hugh Frey said (November 30, 2018, 12:41 pm) that “Prof. Bray of the Colonnetti Institute (mentioned in the Nature paper), and J. Andrés Christen of Freiburg University (in “A New Robust Statistical Model for Radiocarbon Data” … both verified that the conclusions were valid”. He stated that this paper could be obtained at

          While I have read many papers about the carbon dating of the Shroud of Turin, I was not familiar with this paper. If Pref. Bray had verified that the conclusions in the paper by Damon were valid, i.e. that the Shroud was correctly dated to 1260 to 1390 AD, then perhaps I needed to revise or withdraw my paper “The Carbon Dating Problem for the Shroud of Turin, Part 2: Statistical Analysis” which is available as paper 12 on In reviewing Prof. Bray’s paper, I find that my paper does not need to be revised or withdrawn. The following are the reasons. I will try to keep the explanations simple.

          1) The paper is not primarily about carbon dating of the Shroud of Turin, as can been seen by there being no mention of the carbon dating of the Shroud in the title, in the abstract on the first page, or in the statement of the conclusions under “DISCUSSION” on the last page. Pref. Bray’s paper is about using the equations of Bayesian statistical analysis to determine outliers, which are measured values that are so different from other measured values that they ought to be dropped from further consideration in the statistical analysis.

          2) In Prof. Bray’s 13-page paper, the carbon dating of the Shroud is used starting on page 8 as an example of the application of Bayesian statistical analysis to determine outliers among the 12 measured values given in Damon. Nowhere in this discussion did Prof. Bray claim that he had “verified that the conclusions were valid” (quoted from Hugh Farey), referring to the conclusion in Damon that the Shroud dated to 1260 to 1390 AD.

          3) Prof. Bray’s use of the carbon dating of the Shroud as an example was based on “assuming that the 14C determination y arises from a Normal population” (quoted from the abstract) and “We assume that each determination arises from a population with a mean mu(theta)” (quoted from page 8 of the paper). I will attempt to explain what this means for the layman. He is assuming that all 12 measured values given in Damon come from only one bell-shaped (Normal) distribution of values. This is the same assumption that was used in Damon, but it is only an assumption. Neither in Damon’s paper nor in Pref. Bray’s paper is this assumption tested, but it is tested in my paper and in the references in my paper. The conclusion is that it is not correct to assume that all 12 measurements given in Damon are from a single normal (bell-shaped) distribution because the measurement values, when considered with the measurement uncertainties, indicate that something, called a bias, was changing the measurement values from the correct dates to apparent dates. This bias was not random but was systematic in the sense that it was a function of the previous location of the samples on the Shroud. The assumption of a normal (bell-shaped) distribution of measurement values is invalidated by this presence of a systematic bias that was a function of the sample’s original location on the Shroud.

          4) In Prof. Bray’s use of the carbon dating of the Shroud as an example, he utilized, in his Bayesian statistical analysis, the measurement uncertainties quoted in Damon. This contradicts one of the basic assumptions in Damon’s paper, i.e. that the measurement uncertainties should simply be ignored, and confirms one of the basic assumptions in my paper, i.e. that the measurement uncertainties must not be ignored.

          5) The usual simplistic criteria to determine an outlier in a normal (bell-shaped) distribution is two-sigma, which means that 95% of the measurements will be accepted and, on average, only 5% of the measurements will be identified as outliers and thus dropped from further consideration in the statistical analysis. This 5% criteria would yield a 60% chance (0.05 x 12 = 0.6) of there being one outlier among the 12 values given in Damon, and only a 3% chance (0.05 x 0.05 x 12 = 0.03) of there being two outliers. Using his Bayesian statistical analysis, Prof. Bray found that there were two outliers among the 12 values given in Damon. The low probability (3%) of there being two outliers among the 12 measurements again indicates that the possible presence of a systematic shifting the measurement values ought to be considered.

          In conclusion, I find no evidence that Prof. Bray’s paper “verified that the conclusions were valid”, referring to the conclusion in Damon that the Shroud dates to 1260 to 1390 AD. Instead, Prof. Bray’s paper rejects the crucial assumption in Damon that the uncertainties can be ignored and confirms important elements of my paper, i.e. the measurement uncertainties ought to be included in the statistical analysis, and the relatively high number of outliers indicates that the presence of a systematic bias should be considered. My paper concludes, with a 98% probability, that a systematic bias was present. This high probability that a systematic bias affected the measurements invalidates the assumption of a normal (bell-shaped) distribution in papers by Damon and Prof. Bray.”


  18. A small technical note. One of those linked files is linked at file://. That is only ever going to work for you, as long as you are using the correct computer.


  19. Thanks again to Bob Rucker. He confuses Professor Anthos Bray, Director of the Giacomo Colonnetti National Institute of Metrology, who verified the statistics in the Nature paper, with Professor Juan Andrés Christen, of the Centro de Investigación en Matemáticas, who wrote the paper he quotes extensively from. Andrés Christen is a specialist in the Bayesian analysis of radiocarbon dates. I don’t blame him; I confused our J Andrés Christen with one Andreas Christen, Professor of Environmental Meteorology at the University of Freiburg.

    Of Prof. Bray, the Nature paper says: “The results, together with the statistical assessment of the data prepared in the British Museum, were forwarded to Professor Bray of the Istituto di Metrologia ‘G. Colonetti’, Turin, for his comments. He confirmed that the results of the three laboratories were mutually compatible, and that, on the evidence submitted, none of the mean results was questionable.”

    Of Prof Christen, his own paper says: “Thus it seems likely that it was made some time between 1300 and 1350 AD, just as was concluded in Damon et al. (1989)”.

    I consider that my statement that both these men “both verified that the conclusions were valid” was correct.

    However, as I agreed before, both Bray and Christen, and for that matter the other statisticians who worked on the radiocarbon date, certainly worked on the assumption that “all twelve radiocarbon datings performed on it should relate to the same calendar year.” In the absence of knowledge of the order of the samples along the sample strip, they could do no other. This was not bad science. They did recognise that the Oxford and Arizona dates were not statistically reconcilable, and in the circumstances decided that it was the quoted errors that were at fault, not that the Shroud was not homogenous. Had they been able to take the positions of the samples into account, no doubt they would have concluded that the sample came from a range of medieval dates, probably still between 1260 and 1390.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hey Hugh,

      I just thought you would appreciate my getting back in touch to let you know my final opinion on the 1988 C-14 results- Bob Rucker was kind enough to discuss the details with me over phone today and I tend to have rather solidified my opinion of his knowledge on the statistical data, even walking me through all of the charts and your objections- when all is said in done I do think Rucker’s main essential point stands that there is an overwhelming probability that there was a systematic bias at play in the results obtained in 1988 which means we can have no confidence that the results obtained actually reflect the real calendar age- I’m even stronger in my opinion now in this regard than I was originally.

      That said, I am now weaker on the sample being provably non-representational for some reason, while I do think there is some valid evidence which could raise the question, I hadn’t realized, even if true (which you question), the extent to which the pre-cleaning procedures employed could neutralize this issue- even Rucker seems to admit that the cleaning process seems to have been quite rigorous on that front and so while I don’t wish totally disregard the evidence, I would no longer be as confident as I was previously in using this argument.

      Alright, that’s my final take on the 1988 C-14 data. Alan and I are scheduled to duke it out in Round 2 this Sat (assuming he doesn’t postpone or something), so look forward to seeing your feedback or critiques on the content of that debate 🙂



      1. The key to meaningful statistical analysis (whether prospectively or retrospectively) is random sampling. Taking a single strip from a corner is NOT random sampling, Dividing into 3 and giving 1 to each of 3 labs is NOT random sampling. So is it any surprise that a small but systematic trend is discernible in the data? But that is not grounds for rejecting the 88 dating out of hand, not if one regards that as a minimally-damaging ranging-shot analysis using 30-year old AMS protocols.

        Next step: repeat the dating using excised THREADS (not patches!) from a wider range of (non-image) sites, ideally selected at random (or risk still more of those apparent trends in the data!).

        Where there’s a will, there’s a way (forward)…

        Then return to one’s dog-eared copy of “Nitpicker’s Guide to Statistics” if one still doesn’t like the answer… 😉


        1. Lets face it Dale your opinion is worthless. You are not an expert on Carbon dating. Thanks for the feedback Hugh. Given everything said I am persuaded by the opinion of Prof Ramsey who is head of the Oxford Radio Carbon Lab. Namely that we would love to have more C 14 tests, as now we can analyse individual threads, and not only that, at multiple parts within those threads. HOWEVER he does not think we would get a date much different to the one we already have from 1988.
          The cloth is medieval.


  20. Oh! I didn’t realise qazarly was Alan!

    I think since this is largely Dale’s blog, he is entitled to express whatever opinions he has. I value them, actually, even if I disagree with them, as they can act as a measure of how successful my own arguments are, as well as giving them a focus.

    I’m also very glad he spent a good long time discussing Bob Rucker’s views, because in that time he will surely have understood, among other things, that:

    a) The “sixteen results” thing is statistically meaningless, as eight of them were at a different level of analysis from the other eight.

    b) To treat the simple calendar year range derived from any number of results statistically is also meaningless, as any BP result can result in up to three different ranges of calendar dates, not all equally likely.

    (Cynical note: Actually I’d bet a pound to a penny these were not even mentioned, being incontrovertible.)

    Now what’s all this about “a world’s expert who, unlike Ramsey, is a qualified expert”. I’m sure I’m misunderstanding you here. You cannot be suggesting that a man who has spent the last twenty years at the forefront of radiocarbon dating is not a “qualified expert”, although that is the impression you give.

    And this: “the systematic bias issue to which Rucker has used and confirmed via a 1 billion dollar Government funded computer system.” What nonsense. A chronological gradient can be derived on the back of an envelope, providing one knows the order in which the samples were cut from the sample strip. As it happens (and this really is breaking news), I am currently working on a re-interpretation of that order, which, if convincing, will throw both the chronological gradient, the neutron enrichment hypothesis and the concept of the contamination gradient into confusion, and fully justify the way Damon et al. tackled the statistical discrepancy. The trouble is that it’s not completely convincing yet (even to me!), so not ready for publication, but it’s coming!

    And, with respect, I don’t think I misunderstand anything that Rucker has done, have followed all his work with absolute clarity, and mildly resent the idea that anyone who rejects it must be stupid.


    1. Hey Hugh,

      Yeah that is our beloved Alan lol.

      Anyways, thanks for the comeback, yeah I just wanted to give you my final take there having done my best to look into the issues that you brought up in that regard and yeah those issues you mentioned were discussed actually.

      As to the expert bit, I meant in the statistics calculation and its relation to MCNP analysis- Ramsey as a C-14 scientist is not trained for that, even Tite himself admits that in some of the quotes even you provided from my Remi Van Haelst article I believe- Rucker’s is trained in using MCNP analysis and his work was vetted or peer-reviewed by various qualified statisticians, plus the Nature/Damon article admits the essential problem in that regard which Rucker argues for.

      Anyways, I absolutely look forward to seeing your publication on this when ready (assuming its free online), please provide a link in here and maybe I could even get you and Rucker to discuss the matter in April/May of 2019 (if up for doing two debates instead of the just the one with Barrie- but that is up to you as I don’t want to over tax your generosity). I do think you misunderstood some things from some of your objections and based on Rucker’s responses but yeah if doing a discussion with him (and he agrees on his end) we could all find out the truth live so to speak 🙂

      Finally, as to the claim that anyone who accepts the C-14 must be stupid- what is this going on about, whoever said that? I hope that’s not what you are getting from me though I am convinced you are wrong about having confidence in the 1988 C-14 dates, so a little confused why you think this is what I’m saying. Just out of curiosity though, Alan’s comments seem to imply that anyone who doesn’t believe in the 1988 C-14 is stupid or biased in some way, why you don’t you mildly resent that as well- do you think its fair to call Bob Rucker stupid then?

      As my last word on Round 1 debate, just wanted to say, I do respect and appreciate your comments even when I disagree in the end, so never meant to imply I didn’t, I greatly look forward to your push backs on Round 2 debate which we are recording tomorrow 🙂



      P.S.- Bob was telling me about a conference in Ancaster Ontario in August 2019 where a skeptic is set to speak, I remembered you mentioned you would be in Toronto this summer- out of curiosity were you talking about the same thing or were you talking about something different?


      1. Um… I think that skeptic is me, although there has been some suggestion that Joe Nickell be approached as well. When I told them to get their baseball bats ready for me, they cheerfully replied that in Canada they use hockey-sticks…

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Awesome, I was telling Bob that I wish it was in the city itself rather than in Ancaster (who picks these locations) as its a bit too far out of the city for me to be able to show up- but I will be routing for both of you guys to have a good conference- along with the others there as well 🙂

          As to the hockey sticks- well if you are lacking in that department, I would be happy to lend you one of mine to use for defense- despite being an “evil Shroud skeptic” I think you are entitled to that much at least haha 😛


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