Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The Shroud of Turin? Seriously?

Well, it's just been reported in the news that a team of "researchers" (I will not dignify them by calling them scientists) have come forward with the claim that the Shroud of Turin is authentic.  The incredible part isn't that a bunch of religiously motivated people have attempted to twist science into confirming their faith.  That nonsense has been going on ever since before Darwin turned the cannon of science against religion 151 years ago.  What's incredible is that so many reporters would report it as though it were at all credible!

Now, everyone knows that radiocarbon dating put the shroud's age at between 1260 and 1390 C.E., thus making it a medieval forgery.  But these researchers say that the sample of the cloth used to make this measurement was likely taken from a piece that was likely repaired with newer material after a fire burned parts of the shroud.

If the PolitiFact meter were put on that one, it would say, "Pants On Fire!"

Shown above, is the shroud itself.  It's not as large as I would have liked, but it will do.  That white rectangle in the lower left is where scientists clipped a 2" by 8" section which could be atomized for the Carbon-14 test.  It's pretty obvious that this section is contiguous with the rest of the cloth.  And if that's not enough, there's a PBS documentary that filmed the section being scissored out, and anyone can see bloody well that it's not a "repaired section."

But just for the sheer hell of it, let's play along.  Let's say the shroud breaks with every Jewish tradition in folding the body up in a single piece of cloth (not done) folded the long way (also not done) and leaving a narrow, two-dimensional imprint pattern, as if the ultraviolet rays emitted from Jesus upon resurrection only went in a single parallel, straight up or straight down, rather than in a dispersed, outwardly-radiating pattern (as you might expect) which would have created an unrecognizably darkened smear instead of a photograph.  You then have a scriptural problem.

The Book of John, chapter 20, verses 6 and 7 clearly state that Jesus' burial cloth was in strips, not a single piece, and that a separate burial cloth had been around Jesus' head.  So, logically, we have only three choices:  1.) This passage from The Book of John is fake, 2.) The Shroud of Turin is fake, 3.) They are both fake!  The only option we do not have is that either of these things support Christianity!

So go on, you stupid reporters, and uncritically pass along this story without one, single guffaw.  Oh, how I miss Christopher Hitchens at this moment.  Hell, I miss H.L. Mencken!

Meanwhile, most high school graduates in America can't find Italy on a map, much less Turin.  Now you tell ME which is the more important story!


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