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Shroud Wars 3- Bob Rucker (Pro-Shroud expert) vs. Hugh Farey (Shroud skeptical expert) Debate


Enjoy the Podcast:

Here is the link =–Shroud-Wars-Round-3–Bob-Rucker-vs–Hugh-Farey-e3pt30

Alright, well welcome back to the Shroud Wars debates series, after a 4-month hiatus its finally time to continue on the important discussion on the evidence from the Shroud of Turin. In this show we have two Shroud heavyweights (Bob Rucker and Hugh Farey) facing off against each other to address 2 main topics selected by each of the guests accordingly.

These topics include Bob Rucker’s analysis and explanation of the infamous 1988 C-14 data via neutron absorption as well as Hugh Farey’s take on the how the Shroud Images could have been artistically created in the medieval era.

I think the audience will find this show to be very informative and a fun time had by all!

Happy Easter everyone 😊

Recommended Sources (for further study):

Hugh Farey (skeptic side) Sources:

a) Hugh has provided us with the links to his two academic papers on the Shroud entitled “The Medieval Shroud”, see Part 1 (Feb 2018) = & also Part 2 (Feb 2019) = .

b) Hugh is the former editor at the British Society for the Turin Shroud Newsletter which can be found on the new website here = and/or archives of the BSTS Newsletters can be found here = .

c) Unbelievable? Debate on the Shroud with Hugh Farey vs. Pro-Shroud expert Dr. Alan Whanger = .

d) A couple short videos on the Shroud by Hugh Farey = & .

e) An article on how Carbon-14 dating works as per Hugh’s recommendation was addressed in the show, see attachment here = C-14 HOW IT WORKS FROM HUGH FAREY SOURCE.

f) Hugh also recommended the following book on the Shroud entitled “Shroud of Turin: Uncovering the Paradox within the Archives Holy Shroud Guild” by Giorgio D. Bracaglia = .


Robert (Bob) Rucker (Pro-side) Sources:

a) Bob’s main website on the Shroud is here = . Throughout the show Bob mentions various academic and popular level papers he has written on the Shroud, all those papers can be found here = .

b) Bob’s 3 Papers on the 1988 C-14 dating see Paper #11-13 on the research tab or in the attached documents here = The Carbon Dating Problem for the Shroud of Turin, Part 1 Background- ROB RUCKER and The Carbon Dating Problem for the Shroud of Turin, Part 2 Statistical Analysis- ROB RUCKER. and finally The Carbon Dating Problem for the Shroud of Turin, Part 3 The Neutron Absorption Hypothesis (1)- ROB RUCKER

c) Bob’s 4 Newest Papers that he wished to be made available for people see Papers #19-22 on the research tab of his website or read here = Understanding-the-Statistical-Analysis-of-Carbon-Dating-of-the-Shroud-of-Turin., Status-of-Research-on-the-Shroud-of-Turin., Testing-the-Neutron-Absorption-Hypothesis. and Image-Formation-on-the-Shroud-of-Turin

d) Videos of Bob Rucker; Bob Rucker and Gary Habermas speak on it at Liberty = (2 hours)

Or shorter Conference videos;

i) 2014 St. Louis Conference = (2014 1-hour conference and search for his Slides here = ).

ii) 2017 Conference by Bob Rucker Himself = see all presentations here = . Bob’s particular videos are here = (on the 1988 C-14 stats argument- 40 mins) & (on the Neutron Absorption Hypothesis = 35 mins), (Role of Radiation- 45 mins) & (Problems with Cloth Collapse Theory- Hugh and Bob discuss this about the Shroud being flat at the femtosecond of the Resurrection event).

e) Bob referenced a recent paper in Applied Optics that has been published about recreating the Shroud face using lasers, see attachment here = DiLazzaro 2D Reproduction A.O. 2019

f) A couple good books that Bob would recommend are “Resurrection of the Shroud: New Scientific, Medical, and Archeological Evidence” (2001) & “Test the Shroud: At the Atomic and Molecular Levels” (2016) by Mark Antonacci = and respectively.

g) Also my apologies to Bob, but he also recommended these two sources on image-formation issues as well = Information-Content-on-the-Shroud-of-Turin  and role-of-radiation-in-image-formation

h) Bob has also compiled a list of the various Questions and Answers he has provided in the comments into an attachment for everyone, see here = BOB RUCKER- Questions and Answers on the Shroud from S&S Boards


23 thoughts on “Shroud Wars 3- Bob Rucker (Pro-Shroud expert) vs. Hugh Farey (Shroud skeptical expert) Debate

  1. I’ve received feedback from one of our skeptical listeners on another Board, so just wanted to share that on here in case Hugh or Bob check out the comments;

    TylerB. said this;

    “Atheists are just following the evidence.
    If the Shroud was carbon dated to the 1st century, we would take it more seriously.
    Alas it has been carbon dated to 1260-1390AD.
    The arguments why a 1st century shroud is carbon dated to 1260-1390AD are unconvincing / too tenuous IMO.
    Other evidence also supports the 1260-1390AD range.
    (and anatomical evidence also counts against the Shroud being that of Jesus).

    I was quite impressed by Hugh (the Shroud Demon).
    Many English Christians are quite sensible :))

    BTW, has anyone matched the dimensions of the Crown of Thorns (per Notre Dame) to the Shroud of Turin?
    I note that the Vatican was unveiled the “crucifixion steps” this weekend.”


    1. The Crown of Thorns in Notre Dame has a diameter of 21cm ( I don’t know if that’s an inside or an outside measurement or what. The maximum distance from one side of the head to the other of the Shroud (from shroudscope) is about 19cm. At the level of the top of the epsilon blood mark it’s about 17mm.

      The Crown of Thorns is, however a circlet of rushes, which never had thorns at all. It is supposed that this circlet held together the actual thorn branches. The thorns have all been given away to various kings and bishops (and can be seen in various churches and museums around Europe), and the branches, presumably, discarded.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks Hugh,

        I mentioned on the other Boards that you were willing to answer questions on here, so hopefully they will comment as I know they don’t like the format of our Boards vs. Disqus.

        Anyways, I will forward your answer on to Tyler and hopefully he will continue to ask questions and/or come on here to interact with you directly 🙂


    2. TylerB says that “Atheists are just following the evidence” and then refers to the carbon dating. It may help you to feel good to think this, but I’m sorry, that is not what atheists are doing. Atheists are assuming that the conclusion reached in the Nature paper (Ref. 1, usually called Damon) is true, that “The results provide conclusive evidence that the linen of the Shroud of Turin is mediaeval.” It is too easy for atheists to like this conclusion because it agrees with their worldview, so they do not want to, or are unable to determine whether the scientific data in Damon supports this conclusion. This is called “confirmation bias” and is something that everyone should be careful to avoid. The real question should be whether the measurement data obtained in the 1988 carbon dating of the Shroud (Damon) proves their conclusion that the Shroud dates to 1260 to 1390 AD. In Ref. 2, I list several things that indicate there is a significant problem with the data and conclusion in Damon:

      1. There are 13 other date indicators that are consistent with the first century and contradict the 1260-1390 date (Section 6C of Ref. 3).
      2. The carbon dates from the three laboratories don’t agree with each other. For example, results from Tucson and Oxford are different by 103 years with an uncertainty of 35 years, which falls outside the normal criteria for acceptance.
      3. The carbon dates reported in Damon are a function of (are dependent on) the original location of the sample on the Shroud (Figure 3 in Ref. 4). A slope of about 36 years per cm is indicated by the measurement data reported in Damon.
      4. Each carbon date measurement produces two data values, the measured value itself and a measurement uncertainty. The conclusion in Damon was reached by ignoring half the data, i.e. all the measurement uncertainties (implied in sentences 2 and 3 in paragraph 23 of Damon, which starts with “More quantitively”).
      5. The data reported in Damon indicate that a systematic bias was affecting the measurements. A “systematic bias” is explained in Section 7 of Ref. 3. This means that the measured values were altered by an unknown amount, so that the dates in Damon should be rejected from use in dating the Shroud.

      I realize that these points may not be understood by the layman. This is partially because the time limitations and the format of a debate did not allow me to develop the presentation in a systematic and complete manner. I will have to depend on the honest seeker of truth to read and study my papers in the references.

      To further explain the fifth point above, in my statement, I said that based on a complete statistical analysis (using a chi-squared analysis as in Damon, Ref. 1) of the measurement values compared to the measurement uncertainties, there is only about a 1.4% chance they are consistent (lower-left corner of Table 5 in Ref. 4). This indicates that something unexpected was affecting the measurements with about a 98% probability. The measured values for the samples should have been consistent with the measurement uncertainties because the samples sent to the three laboratories (Tucson, Zurich, and Oxford) were cut from the corner of the Shroud next to each other. Because the samples were originally next to each other on the Shroud, their measured values should have been in agreement, within the measurement uncertainties, but they were not. This indicates that the variations in the measurements were not only due to random measurement errors but also due to something else that was causing a bias, or error, in the measurements. This “something else” in statistical analysis terminology is call a systematic error or bias and causes the samples to have basically different measured values of the ratio of C-14 to C-12 and C-13, which is what is being measured in carbon dating. When samples are basically different in the measured quantity, they are said to be heterogeneous instead of homogeneous. “Hetero” means different whereas “homo” means the same. This means that measurements on heterogeneous samples are not to be believed because the measured values have been changed by something. Since the publication of Damon (Ref. 1), the 12 statistical analysis on the data in Ref. 1 that I am aware of have all concluded that the samples are heterogeneous so that the data should not be used to date the Shroud (Ref. 5). My explanation for this is the neutron absorption hypothesis (Ref. 6). This hypothesis is the best explanation for the data in Damon because it is the only hypothesis that is consistent with everything that we know about the carbon dating of the Shroud of Turin: the date, slope, and range of the 1988 measured values on the Shroud samples, and the 700 AD date for the Sudarium, since the Sudarium is believed to be Jesus’ face cloth and thus related to the Shroud. The forgery/artist hypothesis is not consistent with the slope or range of the 1988 data and thus should be rejected. I hope the honest seeker of truth will pursue these issues by studying my references. My papers listed below can be obtained on this blog site or on the research page of my website at . I am sorry that this has to be so long. Robert A. Rucker

      Ref. 1 “Radiocarbon Dating of the Shroud of Turin” by Damon, et al, Nature, Feb. 16, 1989
      Ref. 2 “Status of Research on the Shroud of Turin”
      Ref. 3 “The Carbon Dating Problem for the Shroud of Turin, Part 1: Background”
      Ref. 4 “The Carbon Dating Problem for the Shroud of Turin, Part 2: Statistical Analysis”
      Ref. 5 “Understanding the Statistical Analysis of Carbon Dating of the Shroud of Turin”
      Ref. 6 “The Carbon Dating Problem for the Shroud of Turin, Part 3: Neutron Absorption Hypothesis”

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Wow, awesome thanks for being willing to interact on here Bob, I trust you are satisfied with the end result 🙂 We had a great response of listeners to the show and some of them have clicked onto some of the sources from both Hugh and you as well.

        I hope that they will be bold enough to ask any questions to you guys as now is their chance to interact with the actual experts, if they have anything they want to know about 🙂

        At some point, I will try to probe you with some questions on here for the audience as I’ve already provided a couple to Hugh on here.

        Thanks again to you and Hugh,



  2. An edifying exchange. Hugh landed a nice blow with the “fine tuning” wrt the neutron flux theory. Bob made some good points with the C14 dating paper.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Anthony,

      I agree with you that I thought that the “fine-tuning” type argument was interesting and substantial. Bob’s reply was to deny that the historical evidence supports a medieval date (via the coin and painting similarities having been copied from the Shroud). Perhaps if Hugh modified his argument to say, it just so happens to line up with the uncontroversial historical dating evidence or something like that.

      I, personally, of course would have my own theological answer to that more modified skeptical argument- which would be along of the lines of my typical Molinistic reasons and so I won’t offer it here.

      Glad that you appreciated both Hugh and Bob’s take there, I know they will both be thrilled to know that both lay skeptics and Christians are taking an interest in their ideas and research on the Shroud 🙂


    2. Thanks Anthony. Suppose the number of neutrons in the body is Bob’s 2 x 10 ^ 28. A random number of neutrons emitted could be any number from 1 to 20 thousand trillion trillion. Assuming we do not have to be precise to the nearest neutron, let’s say to the nearest million trillion, then the chances of a random amount of radiation producing a distortion of the radiocarbon date from 1st to 14th century is 1/ 20 000 000 000. That is a staggeringly small probability.

      If, of course, the emission was not random, but mediated by Christ, then why should he emit just the right of neutrons to persuade people that his Shroud was made in the Middle Ages? My God is not deceitful.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hugh,

        I have been waiting for people to comment and interact with you before I ask you any questions but as I thought this was the most interesting argument you made on the C-14 topic, I wondered what you made of William Dembski’s Specified Complexity for detecting design in relation to what I call your “Deceitful God Design” objection to Bob.

        Now, putting on my atheist/skeptic hat for a second, Atheists will often object to intelligent design by saying that random events happen all the time, so what? You are trying to provide the satisfy the specification criterion with the uncontroversial historical Memo evidence showing the Shroud to be Medieval (and assuming no historical evidence for it being older)- this fulfills specificity via the the event of the C-14 matching the Memo as corresponding to an independently given pattern.

        But what about complexity criterion- Dembski has said that only events that are 1/10^150 can be ruled out mathematically as not being due to coincidence, I think he uses a couple examples to show that events with an immense improbability do in fact occur all the time when the odds are greater than the complexity boundary he calculated.

        So, I’m just curious if you think the Shroud C-14 data matching the uncontroversial historical evidences would fulfill Dembski’s scientific criteria of specified complexity?


        1. Hi Dale,

          I’m afraid I don’t have much time for the cod mathematics of William Dembski. There is a popular myth that the more improbable an event, the more likely it is to happen, which seems the basis of his argument but is quite obviously logically absurd. I’m afraid ‘specified complexity’, like ‘intelligent design’, is a poor attempt to rationalise creationism, which is at the heart of all his mumbo-jumbo.

          The idea that you can place a limit on coincidence is weak. Unlikely events happen. Of course, probability cannot be strictly applied to unique (or even few) events: it cannot strictly be applied to events in the past, for that matter. What was the probability that Notre Dame would catch fire? No doubt before the event the insurers had worked it out to ten decimal places. After the event the answer is easy: 1. It happened.

          In the context of the Shroud, then if (and it’s a big ‘if’), neutron radiation is responsible for shifting a 1st century date to a 14th century date, then the probability of that having happened is 1. It happened. However, we are not really looking into the post-assumption probability, but into the reasonableness of the assumption in the first place.

          In ‘supernatural’ terms (which we must be careful not to call ‘miraculous’ but ‘outside our current understanding of science’), then presumably God could do whatever he liked. However, if he likes deceiving me into thinking a 1st century cloth is actually 14th century, then I’m not sure he is the God I have always taken him for.

          In ‘natural’ terms – well, in the absence of any parameters, it is difficult to assess any natural terms, but the chances of a radiation emission concomitant to a resurrecting body exactly coinciding with the amount necessary to raise the radiocarbon date from the date of the resurrection to the date of a cloth’s first appearance in historical literature and imagery are, I’m sure, very remote.

          Liked by 2 people

          1. Alright cool, thanks Hugh- it was interesting, I just wanted to get your take on Intelligent Design angle as I know alot of the skeptics on here would immediately object to the Fine Tuning type arguments with the old “improbable things happen all the time” gambit, so I wanted to see how you would come back if I just said that in response to your objection.

            Another possible angle I could ask you about on this is that how do you know that what you envision God as being is in fact correct (you say God is not a deceiver), however in the Bible God and Jesus often act in ways that we moderns don’t expect such as God asking rhetorical questions to Adam and Eve (asking “Where are you?”- why go through the charade), or Jesus becoming angry and cursing a fig tree or overturning the money tables is often said to be shocking and unexpected behaviour by many today, I even had a discussion on the Resurrection with my skeptical co-host this week and claimed Jesus was deceptive after his Resurrection b/c he showed up with wounds but surely our new Resurrection bodies will not maintain their death wounds such as if I’m shot in the head, I will continue to have the bullet hole showing on Judgement Day- thus skeptics claim Jesus seemed to be deceptive when he showed the disciples a Resurrection body with the mortal wounds still present.

            So, I’m just curious of what you make if someone says in the light of these examples that maybe God does display behaviour at times that seems odd to our modern sensibilities and expectations but that doesn’t mean it can’t be the case or that God is somehow immoral in these instances.

            Have you thought about this aspect at all?


      2. The fine-tuning argument related to the carbon dating of the Shroud does not prove that the God of the Bible was intentionally deceiving others. The fine-tuning argument is that the range of the possible number of neutrons emitted from within the body is so large that it is extremely unlikely that just the right number of neutrons (2 x 10^18) would have been emitted to produce a carbon date (uncorrected value of 1260 ± 31 that produces a corrected range of 1260 to 1390, with a 95% probability) that exactly agrees with the earliest uncontested date for the existence of the Shroud, indicated by when it was first exhibited in Lirey, France, about 1355 to 1356. There are several problems with the reasoning in this “fine-tuning” argument.

        1) The starting point for this criticism (the carbon date of 1260 ± 31) should be rejected from use in dating the Shroud (see my previous reply) because a statistical analysis of the measurement data indicates that samples were heterogeneous, i.e. that they were basically different implying the probable presence of something (a systematic bias) that had changed the ratio of C-14 to C-12 andC-13 on the samples, thus changing the dates. Since the amount that the dates have been changed cannot be known, they ought to have been rejected from use in dating the Shroud. This is standard practice in statistical analysis. When this is done, the fine-tuning argument collapses.

        2) The carbon date of 1260 AD is the average of the average uncorrected values from the three laboratories. The average uncorrected values from the three laboratories in Damon, et al (Ref. 1, Nature, Feb. 16, 1989) are Tucson (646 ± 17), Zurich (676 ± 24), and Oxford (750 ± 30) where the value is the years before 1950. The value of 17 for the uncertainty for Tucson is calculated in Table 5 of Ref. 2. This value is used instead of the value of 31 given in Damon (Ref. 1) because the value in Damon cannot be calculated from the data. The equivalent years AD (uncorrected) is Tucson (1304 ± 17), Zurich (1274 ± 24), and Oxford (1200 ± 30). Allowing for twice the uncertainty produces a corrected date range of about 1295 to 1390 for Tucson, 1285 to 1380 for Zurich, and 1245 to 1295 for Oxford. Only two of these (Tucson and Zurich) would include the date when it was exhibited in 1355 to 1356 in Lirey, France. The Oxford data does not. Thus, the argument that the carbon date exactly agrees with the 1355-1356 date is not entirely true. Notice also that the uncorrected date for Tucson (1304 ± 17) is different from Oxford (1200 ± 30) by 104 ± 35 years (104/35 = 3.0), which falls outside the normal 2.0 criteria for acceptance. Thus, Tucson and Oxford obtain statistically different values for the date of the Shroud, so they can not all agree exactly with the 1355 to 1356 date for the Shroud. This indicates that something strange is going on, so the data ought to be rejected from use to date the Shroud.

        3) The end point for this criticism (about 1355 to 1356) is arrived at by cherry-picking the evidence. There are very good reasons for believing that the Shroud was in Constantinople prior to 1204 AD, long before the C14 date of 1260 to 1390. This is confirmed by Byzantine coins starting in 692, the Hungarian Pray Manuscript (1192-1195) containing an image of Jesus’ burial cloth with the same L-shaped pattern of burn holes as on the Shroud of Turin, and the report (1203-1204) of French crusader Robert de Clari that Jesus’ burial cloth was exhibited weekly at the Church of St. Mary in the Blachernae district of Constantinople. In the debate, my Byzantine coin minted in 1025 to 1028, at least 232 years (232/31 = 7.5 sigma) before the low end of the carbon date range of 1260 to 1390, was criticized by saying that it could have been anyone with long hair. But it should be clear who this image is, because on the other side of the coin it says “Jesus Christ, King of Kings”, though not in English of course. The image of the face on my coin is a very common image on both coins and paintings for over a thousand years, including paintings that clearly depict the crucifixion of Jesus. To say that this image could be anyone with long hair is not reasonable.

        I never said, nor do I believe, that the number of neutrons emitted from within the body (2 x 10^18) that is required to shift the carbon date at the sample location from about 30 AD to 1260 AD (uncorrected) is random. In fact, it appears to be carefully chosen, not for deception but for revelation. The number of neutrons appears to be closely related to the number of protons that are needed to form the image on the Shroud. If the number of protons emitted within the body were a factor of perhaps five smaller, no image would have been formed because it would have been insufficient to discolor the fibers. And if the number of protons emitted within the body were a factor of perhaps five greater, the entire image would have overexposed so that it showed no details. In other words, to form the image on the Shroud by protons emitted within the body, the number of protons would have to be within a certain range, so that the number of neutrons emitted from within the body would probably also have to be within a certain range. There are at least two possibilities for the reason for this relationship between the number of neutrons emitted and the number of protons emitted: 1) the ratio of neutrons to protons that exist in matter, and 2) the ratio of neutrons to proteins that would coalesce from a pure energy source such as a singularity. I have not calculated values precisely, but my best estimate is that the number of protons emitted within the body would have to be within about a factor of 5 of the number of neutrons (2 x 10^18) emitted within the body. Trying to think logically, if God exists, and if God came into this world in the person of Jesus, and if Jesus was resurrected from the dead (all of which Christians believe), then God could have had a purpose in building the physics of resurrection into the basic fabric of the “laws of physics” of the universe when he created it. It would be very reasonable for God to do this if he wanted to leave physical evidence of Jesus’ resurrection, such as a “snap shot” of Jesus’ resurrection on his burial cloth. The number of neutrons included in the burst of radiation from the body could also have had a divinely intended purpose, such as measurability of the carbon date distribution to prove that the neutrons came from the body and not from some other source.

        Do we have any evidence of the fine-tuning of the universe in other areas? Yes, most definitely. Modern science has concluded that our universe is extremely fine-tuned for life to exist ( ). This fine-tuning is exhibited in the values of the basic constants of physics. If we assume the big-bang, if the gravitational constant were just a little higher or a little lower, then no galaxies, stars, or planets would have formed, and thus there would be no life anywhere in the universe. A little higher for the gravitational constant and the big-bang would have recollapsed into a singularity. A little lower for the gravitational constant and the gas produced by the big-bang would have continued to expand without collapsing into any solid matter such as stars or planets. This same fine-tuning argument applies to so many physics constants that the question becomes why does human life exist, why does any life exist, and why does the universe exist? Thus, the fine-tuning argument that is being used against neutron absorption causing the shift in the carbon dating of the Shroud, if applied generally, would mean that human life should not exist, any life should not exist, and the universe should not exist. But they do exist. How can this be so?

        Two answers are given to this fine-tuning argument. 1) Of the trillions upon trillions upon trillions of universes (each consisting of all the galaxies) that naturally came into existence, we just happen to live in the one universe that contains intelligent life, i.e. human beings. But there is no detailed concept how all these universes could have been formed and there is no evidence that other universes were formed. We only have evidence for one universe – ours. Thus, this option is without foundation. This option also violates the philosophical prohibition of an infinite sequence of cause and effect. 2) The second option is that there must have been an intelligence outside of our space-time reality, call it God if you want, that created the space, time, and matter in our universe. This creation was accomplished by choosing the initial basic constants, laws, and boundary-conditions of the universe for the purpose of producing intelligent human life. Under this explanation, it is entirely reasonable for this intelligence to build into the basics of the universe ways to communicate to his creation, such as producing an image of a crucified man on linen at the moment of resurrection by the emission of a certain number of protons from within the body, and that this specific number of protons implies a specific number of neutrons for measurability and evidence that they came from within the body. I am merely arguing that there could be a reasonable explanation for the image that we see and the carbon date that we have measured, so that deception is not necessarily implied.

        Ref. 1 “Radiocarbon Dating of the Shroud of Turin” by Damon, et al, Nature, Feb. 16, 1989
        Ref. 2 “The Carbon Dating Problem for the Shroud of Turin, Part 2: Statistical Analysis”

        Liked by 2 people

        1. Hey Bob,

          Thanks so much for this informative reply here, really appreciate your take on this and I don’t want to take advantage of your kindness in replying on here but Hugh mentioned a point in his latest comment that I was wondering if you might like to come back on (if not, then no worries, you have done enough).

          Here is what Hugh said;

          ” I’m quite intrigued by the the idea that the amount of neutrons emitted was related to the amount of protons emitted to form the image. There are about equal numbers of both in organic matter, so I’m assuming Bob thinks about 2 x 10^18 protons were emitted with the neutrons – only the protons were collimated vertically while the neutrons were not. However, whatever the radiation was made of, it is crucial to this image formation hypothesis that it attenuates from maximum effect to no effect at all as it travels across the air gap between the body and the cloth, about 4cm being the ‘extinction’ distance. If this is what happens to protons, then it is not possible for them to have been emitted from inside the body, as, flesh being thousands of times denser than air, the protons would have been absorbed by the body by the time they reached the surface. They must have been emitted from the surface, so no X-ray effect would be visible. Further, if the image can be adequately explained by proton emission, then X-ray or infrared laser pulses of femtosecond duration are not only unnecessary but also counter-productive, as the cloth would receive twice as much ‘image-forming energy’ as required, and end up twice as degraded”.

          Thanks and take care,


          Liked by 1 person

          1. I would like to answer (A) several questions (Q) that Hugh brings up.
            Q1) What types of radiation were emitted from within the body?
            A1) We don’t know for sure at this point. There has been inadequate experimentation on the Shroud to determine the exact components of the radiation. As a result, when I answer this question, I must give a very general answer. I usually say, “The image could have been formed by electromagnetic radiation and/or charged particles such as protons or electrons”. The “such as” in this statement is not meant to restrict the options to only protons or neutrons but to give examples of what “charged particles” are. Indeed, any of the many charged particles in what is called the “standard model of physics” may have caused the image. A type of particle that is outside or beyond our standard model of physics could also have caused the image. We don’t really know. On this issue, I say in paragraph 4 of Ref. 1 that “The main type of radiation that caused the image is believed to be charged particles such as protons and electrons, but low energy electromagnetic radiation such as infrared, visible light, and ultraviolet might have also contributed to forming the image. Highly penetrating radiation such as neutrons, X-rays, and gamma rays are not believed to be primarily responsible for the image because if this were the case, then the image would have been just as strong on the outside of the wrapped configuration as on the inside of the wrapped configuration (toward the body), which would be contrary to the evidence on the Shroud.”

            Q2) Which particles were collimated and which were not?
            A2) Anything that caused the image, such as charged particles and/or electromagnetic radiation, had to be collimated to maintain a vertical one-to-one relationship between each point on the cloth and each point on the body that was vertically above or below the cloth. Since there was no lens between the body and the cloth, to form the good resolution image on the cloth, each point on the cloth had to receive information (the information that defines the appearance of a naked crucified man) from only one point on the body, so the radiation had to be vertically collimated to carry this information. In contrast to this, neutrons, since they are so penetrating, would not have been primarily responsible for the image, for then the image would have been just as strong on the outside of the wrapped configuration as on the inside of the wrapped configuration (facing the body), which is not the case. Thus, neutrons do not have to be vertically collimated, but may have been emitted uniformly in all directions. But they also could have been vertically collimated. We don’t really know. In my approximately 400 MCNP nuclear analysis computer calculations that I ran in 2014, each taking between 6 and 13 hours on my computer, I ran cases with neutrons both vertically collimated and uniformly emitted, i.e. not vertically collimated. But this was too much information to report at the Shroud conference in St. Louis in October of 2014 or in my papers (Ref. 2). I had to choose a small subset of my calculations to report on. I chose to report the case for neutrons that were emitted uniformly in all directions thinking that perhaps the charged particles were vertically collimated due to magnetic and electrostatic fields that may have been present. Neutrons have no electrical charge so they would not have been affected by magnetic or electrostatic fields, so under these assumptions, the neutrons may not have been vertically collimated, but could have gone uniformly in all directions.

            Q3) In your concept, were the charged particles emitted within the body?
            A3) Yes, they had to be emitted within the body to carry the information to the cloth regarding the presence of the bones in the body, since some bones (teeth, bones in the hands, etc.) can be seen on the cloth.

            Q4) There appears to be a conflict for protons emitted within the body. The protons, if emitted within the body, would have to penetrate some distance through the body before they exit from the body, yet not be able to penetrate an air gap distance of more than about 3 to 4 cm between the body and the cloth because at greater gap distances, the fibers are not discolored. This appears to be a serious objection to the neutron absorption hypothesis because the average density of a human body is about 1.0 g/cm3 whereas the density of air is only about 0.012 g/cm3. How can the protons penetrate the body but not penetrate the air much further than 3 to 4 cm?
            A4) I am not saying that the cause of the image had to be protons. Protons are often suggested as the cause of the image only because: A) there are so many protons in the human body, about 2 x 10^28, B) because it is one of the most stable forms of matter that pure energy could coalesce into, and C) because experiments have been performed with protons showing that they can discolor fibers. These reasons might be suggestive, but they don’t require the image to be caused by protons. It may be another type of particle that is in the standard model of physics, or it might be a type of particle that we know nothing about. If that were the case, then perhaps the reason that the particles are diminishing as they go from the point of emission to the point where they would hit the Shroud is due to decay, rather than due to scattering or absorption. If the image is due to protons, then there is another possibility that ought to be considered, but I must go outside of science for this. The Biblical text (John 20:3-9) indicates that Jesus’ burial cloth was empty. Christians believe that Jesus’ body had disappeared from within his burial cloth in the tomb (Ref. 3). This disappearance was probably not by a disintegration of the atoms that were in his body but by a transition of the body into an alternate dimensionality (Ref. 4). I believe that it is reasonable to assume that the radiation was emitted from the entire body by the process that was causing the entire body to make the transition into the alternate dimensionality, so that the radiation was being emitted throughout the body, and that the radiation was being emitted during the entire transition process. This transition process may not have been instantaneous but may have taken place over a very small fraction of a second, such as a milli (10E-03) second, micro (10E-06) second, or nano (10E-09) second. If we assume that the image was caused by protons, then as the body disappeared, from 100% present to 0% present, the protons could have readily penetrated the remaining fraction of the body as it approached 0% present. This is a possible solution to the question and can be calculated by MCNP nuclear analysis computer calculations though I have not yet performed these calculations.

            Liked by 2 people

            1. Thanks for answering those questions Bob, again don’t want to interrupt your good convo with Hugh but just wanted to say its great to have you guys continuing the convo on here with all the helpful back and forth- people continue to check out the sources on the Shroud (and even previous Shroud shows and sources), so I’m thrilled that you guys have brought attention back to the Shroud 🙂


  3. I’m not sure what side of which argument I’m meant to be on here! If someone does not believe in a event because of its extreme improbability, they are unlikely to change their mind on the basis that improbable things happen all the time. The number of times an extremely improbable thing occurs is much less than the number of times an extremely improbable thing doesn’t occur. Unless, of course, there were a great many opportunities for it to occur. If there are ten million opportunities for a one in a million event to occur, then it actually becomes quite likely!

    As for the ‘deception’ of God, I do not find that any of your examples illustrate that. Quite the reverse, they demonstrate truth. I won’t discuss the literal truth of God chatting to Adam and Eve, as I don’t think there is anything to discuss, but asking someone where they are, even if you know quite well, is not necessarily deceptive. The question was for Adam and Eve, not for God.

    As for your New Testament examples, again I see no deception (although I have to say I’m rather suspicious of the accuracy of the fig-tree story). Expressing disapproval of money-changing in the temple may have been because… he disapproved of money changing in the temple. Having holes in his hands and feet was probably because he had been crucified, with holes, in his hands and feet. Being shocking or unexpected isn’t the same as being deceitful. Showing me a cloth apparently dating from the 14th century is probably because the cloth actually does date from the 14th century…..

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey Hugh,

      Lol, yeah I know my questions are a bit weird as I’m a Christian and I’m totally with you on the fact that these examples, even if true, do not show that God is immorally deceptive or something. But even still, I have heard some skeptics raise these issues as showing God is deceitful to their minds and I was just raising the possibility that maybe God is not necessarily being deceitful in the case of the Shroud despite that’s how it might appear to you or others personally. So, I just wanted to clarify that not everything that seems to be immorally deceptive to some people necessarily is; that’s the only point I was making there.

      As to the improbability issue- yeah fair enough, I’ve accepted your answer on that front, just wanted to sort of co-opt a common skeptical challenge to design type arguments (which would include your “Deceptive God Design” objection to Bob’s Neutron Flux notion). In a sense, your objection is equivalent to a design argument utilizing Dembski’s “specified complexity” reasoning (whether deliberately so or not).

      I noticed that some of the skeptics bought into your counter argument here as being valid or persuasive- namely if what Bob hypothesizes about the Neutron Flux is in fact true, then this would be a kin to God being a deceptive designer as he would have to be said to have providentially “designed” (in whatever way) the coincidence that the particular piece of neutron irradiated cloth that the 1988 C-14 scientists choose to date just happened to align with when the known uncontroversial historical evidence (i.e. the Memorandum) says the Shroud dates from. Given all the other areas of the Shroud they could have chosen to date and their lack of knowledge to predict what particular piece of irradiated cloth would have provided that “desired” result at the time (as Bob’s research/model couldn’t have been utilized back then), then this, of course, is an incredibly complex or improbable event/coincidence to occur randomly (without purposeful intelligent design by a hypothetical deceptive God) as you mention in the show and hence, if true, must have been designed to occur by God in some kind of immorally deceptive plan.

      So, I was more just pointing out that many skeptics who accept this as valid reasoning for design here, but don’t do so when presented with pro-God designer type arguments elsewhere because, according to them, “complex events/coincidences happen all the time”, would need to maybe have pause for thought and consider the merits for why they accept provable design (whether deceptive design or not) in your objection to Bob, but not in other cases that support God’s “good design”, etc. So, was just curious on your take on that front out of interest and for the audience’s sake.

      For me, obviously the answer lies in the fulfillment of Dembski’s “specified complexity” criteria as to how I answer what I consider an evidential case of “intelligent design” is. I get you take issue with intelligent design though (in terms of the creation v. evolution debate anyways), though not sure you would object to other case studies where the criteria are being applied to detect design (such as in the case of your “Deceptive God Design” objection. for example.

      Hope that makes sense and as always thanks for your take, I really appreciate it 🙂


  4. Hey everyone,

    I just received this piece of feedback from one of our Christian listeners, I’m not able to respond in the feedback section and so I just wanted to post it up here for Bob and/or Hugh to respond to and also give my own personal take;

    Here is what Justin said;

    “Hi Dale, I’m wondering what are your thoughts about Hugh Farey’s argument the “Deceptive God Design objection” to Bob’s Neutron Flux notion. Here are some thoughts your input would be appreciated. I’m a Christian and we have to think God allows free will the scientists who conducted the test had free will to conduct the test correctly or incorrectly. They took one sample from the worst spots on the Shroud and did Not commit to the agreed protocols. Also there was many recommendations that where made from the STURP team that where ignored. Also if the Shroud belongs to Jesus (which is the View I hold strongly) we need to expect something to effect the true date of the Shroud since the resurrection would be involved. The evidence points to radiation being admitted from The Body. If God was truly trying to play a trick then there would be no evidence pointing in the direction of its authenticity. There are also a lot of other reasons to think its from the first century. The book “test the shroud” explains. The people who are being deceived are the ones not looking at all areas but are only looking at one skeptical idea to “support” their hopes over the many, many arguments that support the Shrouds authenticity. There was something that effected the measurements even the raw data from the test shows that. If skeptics want to claim its medieval have to Show the paintings and the coins are not copied off of the Shroud and have to show another human in medieval times that could cause radiation from a body”.


    Hey Justin,

    Yeah, thanks for reaching out and asking the question here, I’m not sure if you have listened to any of the other shows in my Shroud series or not, but I essentially take the same view as Bob Rucker on this front, I think Bob’s Neutron Flux Hypothesis is in fact the correct explanation and that the Shroud did indeed wrap Jesus’ body. I will just say that I’m glad you didn’t know my own position from listening to the debate b/c I was trying my best not to show any partiality in the show given that my own opinion is the same as Bob’s, so as the host I didn’t want to be seen as favouring one side over the other; so hopefully your asking for clarification on my own position is proof that I did my job well on that front 🙂

    As to the Deceptive God Design argument, yes I think the route that Bob took during the debate was a good one in saying that we have valid evidence from the Shroud’s link to the Sudarium and the Coins/Numismatic evidence. Hugh and Bob did actually go back and forth on the Argument from Art History and Coins argument and I think Hugh has provided some counters on that front that have me less confident about some of this (these were in the comments of previous shows), however I remain convinced overall with the Sudarium of Oviedo, Fanti’s statistical analysis of the coins and also perhaps the odd features that Bob mentions as well (though Hugh once told me he was working on comparing them on other apostolic and non-religious figures). I’m no longer persuaded about using the Points of Congruence however as I think there is further confirmation work that needs to be done on that front. Finally, as to the Test the Shroud book, yes I have Antonacci’s book myself and I find it to be an invaluable resource as to all the evidence he provides in there- I even linked to it in the sources above. If interested, I give sort of my take on the dating of the Shroud going back earlier than the Medieval times in Parts 2-3 of this series and/or in the Shroud Wars debates Round 1-Part2 and Round 2 with the Shroud skeptic Alan.

    As to the 1988 C-14 scientists not doing the best job- yes I think that is correct, I do think that STURP was much more well organized for various reasons (as you no doubt are already familiar with if you have Antonacci’s books) and so I would agree there were some problematic elements involved in the C-14 dating procedure. Bob and Hugh had a good convo about that regarding the reporting though. Personally, I am convinced by Bob’s MCNP anaylsis that there was a systematic bias present and hence I don’t think we can have any confidence in the 1988 results representing the actual calendar age of the Shroud unless and until another test is done as Bob has submitted to be done to see if we can confirm or falsify his Neutron model.

    Therefore, in regards to Hugh’s “Deceptive God Design” argument, do I think it is an interesting and substantive argument that deserves to give some pause for thought- yes I do but all things considered I don’t find it persuasive in showing that God is deceptive or that the 1988 C-14 results should be assumed to not be the result of neutron irradiation and thus, accepted as an accurate reflection of the Shroud actual calendar age.

    I don’t think we can say that the 1988 C-14 scientists deliberately picked that spot knowing in advance it would give them the desired result of 1260-1390 A.D vs. 8500 A.D. though and this is where the unlikely coincidence is said to kick in (as Bob said, “they were just lucky or fortuitous” on that front). So the way to address this for me is via one or more of the following explanations;

    1. There is no coincidence b/c the historical evidence shows the Shroud is not medieval (the route that Bob took during the show with the ccoins for example and that you allude to in your answer). Thus there is no unlikely coincidence since one could just say that skeptics are biasedly dismissing or ignoring the evidence that is inconsistent with their desired medieval date.

    2. Molinism- God providentially set up circumstances so that this unlikely coincidence would occur for some morally justified reason (as opposed to simply trying to be deceptive unnecessarily as Hugh implied He would be if this were in fact the case). It could be that God has perfectly justified reasons for allowing this kind of confusion as it helps us to develop “heaven-fit” character traits by forcing us to learn to look at the evidence cumulatively rather than in isolation and strive to find answers to resolve seemingly contradictory findings or results, or something to that effect (i.e. more souls would be saved by God causing us to develop these heaven or salvation-fit traits by working out how and why the 1988 C-14 results came out as they did).

    3. Finally, it could be that the Shroud is in fact Medieval and the C-14 result is correct- again, I don’t care as much personally when the Shroud dates from so long as the images are provably miraculous or what I call a “G-Belief Authenticating Event”. Of course, a Pro-Shroud proponent could then simply ask Hugh, well if it is Medieval, why would God provide me with convincing historical evidence that the Shroud is not medieval (according to Hugh’s logic, wouldn’t that make God to be deceptive to them???).

    That’s my own personal take, hope it helps and hopefully Bob and/or Hugh will chime in and give their own thoughts on your comment if they like 🙂



    1. Thank you Dale for those great responses. I also think Rob’s neutron flux hypothesis is the correct explanation with no doubts. I also seen that Rob Rucker did respond above.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hey Justin,

        You are welcome, hope the answers were helpful in some way 🙂

        I wouldn’t be as confident as you are on the Neutron Flux but I definitely favour it and if it is in fact true that the bones and teeth are shown on the Shroud then I would agree it is conclusive that some kind of radiation from within the body must have been involved in the process of image formation. I’ve seen the close-up photos and so I do see what they are talking about but I’m a little skeptical of this at the moment. Bob was kind enough to provide some come-back to me in private on that front and both he and Hugh did discuss it in the show itself a little but I’m still “ify” on this detail for example.

        But yeah, all in all I think its conclusive that the Shroud is not medieval (the Sudarium link evidence is just too powerful to my mind) and that its more probable than not it dates back to Jesus time. Further, I believe it is probably a “G-Belief Authenticating Event” (miraculous event involving God in some way) for the truth of Christianity in terms of image-formation. Personally, I believe that the charged particle radiation hypothesis is the best option we got so far and so that is the option I favour for sure 🙂


        P.S.- Just wanted to say how thrilled I am to know that you have found the Shroud evidence convincing and helpful- I hope my shows on the Shroud have also been informative for you as well 🙂


  5. Hi Dale; lots to discuss!

    I find I easily miss comments that get slotted in between earlier ones, so I’m sorry that I haven’t replied to Bob’s comment earlier.

    1) I’m not an atheist, but I find no reason to dispute the medieval date. The statistical discrepancies in the reported dates are sufficiently accounted for by the slight chronological gradient discovered by Riani and Atkinson. Other alleged evidence for an older date does not stand up to analysis. I have come across explanations that are “the best” or “the only” explanations for things too often to give them much credence.

    2) I do not believe that God was out to deceive us by emitting just the right number of neutrons to fit a medieval date. I don’t think he emitted any neutrons at all. If he had done, he would have deceived us, which I don’t think is his style, but I don’t think he did.

    3) I have studied all the literary, archaeological, artistic and numismatic evidence, and do not think that any of the images purported to derive from the Shroud actually do so. I apreciate that this is somewhat subjective, but have no time at all for alleged “points of congruence”.

    4) I’m quite intrigued by the the idea that the amount of neutrons emitted was related to the amount of protons emitted to form the image. There are about equal numbers of both in organic matter, so I’m assuming Bob thinks about 2 x 10^18 protons were emitted with the neutrons – only the protons were collimated vertically while the neutrons were not. However, whatever the radiation was made of, it is crucial to this image formation hypothesis that it attenuates from maximum effect to no effect at all as it travels across the air gap between the body and the cloth, about 4cm being the ‘extinction’ distance. If this is what happens to protons, then it is not possible for them to have been emitted from inside the body, as, flesh being thousands of times denser than air, the protons would have been absorbed by the body by the time they reached the surface. They must have been emitted from the surface, so no X-ray effect would be visible. Further, if the image can be adequately explained by proton emission, then X-ray or infrared laser pulses of femtosecond duration are not only unnecessary but also counter-productive, as the cloth would receive twice as much ‘image-forming energy’ as required, and end up twice as degraded.

    Then Justin. I’m afraid I’m not taken with the invention of facts to justify a hypothesis. Much is made of the rejection of the Turin Protocol. This Protocol was drawn up by three Americans after the last day of the conference and never accepted by the owner of the Shroud. The protocol which was accepted by the owner of the Shroud was also accepted by the scientists involved, and more or less followed. The decisions as to how much to cut and where to cut it from were made and carried out by representatives of the owner, not by the scientists.

    When you suggest that “we need to expect something to effect the true date of the Shroud since the resurrection would be involved”, I wonder why we need to expect any such thing. Are you suggesting that God could not do it any other way? He managed to raise several other people without anything so extravagant.

    I guess you are not familiar with my researches, or you would not be able to write: “The people who are being deceived are the ones not looking at all areas but are only looking at one skeptical idea to “support” their hopes over the many, many arguments that support the Shrouds authenticity.” I have not only looked at all areas, but in many cases have been the only person interested in the Shroud to do so. If you think there is any aspect of the Shroud I have overlooked, please point it out and I shall be pleased to investigate it immediately.

    I’m afraid your last sentence is too incoherent to be meaningful.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey Hugh,

      No worries on the delay, I’m just grateful to have both you and Bob commenting on here and to have some of the audience interacting on here 🙂 As to you being an Atheist or not thinking the neutron flux hypothesis is true, if that was meant for me as opposed to Justin or Bob, yes I’m of course aware of this fact. My adopting of skeptics or Atheist arguments were meant to make a point for the audience that may be reading- for example the point about the specified complexity angle was for the non-Christian Anthony who might reject design arguments based on unlikely events/coincidences in other contexts where Christians appeal to “intelligent design” or “fine-tuning” but yeah I recognize this just isn’t an issue for you given you don’t believe a Neutron Flux happened. I was more providing a point for consideration based on your objection which says if it is in fact the case that a neutron flux is responsible for the 1988 C-14 result then this would be a case of “deceptive design”.

      Also on #3. Yeah I take your point on Alan’s points of congruence- though I do think it may be indicative, I no longer use it as evidence to prove the Shroud is not medieval- in large part that was due to your criticisms of that particular line of evidence.

      on #4. Yeah that is an interesting point that I hope Bob answers there. I’m not necessarily committed to the bones/teeth and so this 4 cm attenuation factor may not be an issue for me but yeah would be interested to see what Bob makes of this objection if he sees and replies to it 🙂

      Thanks again for your take as always 🙂


    2. Hey Hugh I don’t think God was out to trick us the evidence is there let it speak for itself. Almost every physicist Ive spoken to is saying the evidence points to radiation coming from the dead body is God playing a trick on them too? I think the objection “God was trying to trick us” could be claimed in any situation here I think God wants us to find out the TRUTH. You also stated God raised others from the dead yes but none other than Jesus had a resurrected body he’s the first fruits. God could of raised Jesus without neutrons yes but thats like saying why did God create all these other planets when he could of Just created ours he did for reason. The evidence is there to show that the medieval date should be thrown out the window. The God I know grants evidence and grants free will. When Robs confirms or falsifies his hypothesis then we will find out then.

      Liked by 1 person

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