The Shroud of Turin is a Fake. But You Already Knew That October 7, 2009

The Shroud of Turin is a Fake. But You Already Knew That

I’ll admit, when I heard about this story, I was just surprised to learn that anyone actually takes the Shroud of Turin seriously. Are some Christians really that gullible?

What’s that?

Ken Ham, you say?


Never mind.

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  • Baconsbud

    I have read a few of the stories on this and am amazed at how simple it was for him to do this. I also noticed that the religious have been pretty quiet so far about how easily it was done.

  • I remember sitting in a Baptist small group (with adults) and one of the members saying that the Shroud of Turin was evidence of Jesus being resurrected. So there are people still believing that it is legitimate.

  • Geoff

    Ken Ham almost certainly doesn’t believe in it, because it’s Catholic and they ‘ain’t True Christians'(TM). One of the few things he has right, if you were to believe in the NT guy.
    Of course, Ken Ham isn’t a real Christian either, according to what JC says in The Book.
    I know it’s obvious, but all the ‘family’ morons pretend to follow the guy who says you have to leave all that behind you if you want to follow him.
    It should be problem for all those who think themselves Xtian and then actually get round to reading the bible.

  • From the article:

    An Italian scientist says he has reproduced the Shroud of Turin, a feat that he says proves definitively that the linen some Christians revere as Jesus Christ’s burial cloth is a medieval fake.

    While I do believe that the shroud is a fake, that statement is a logical fallacy.

    Just because someone can reproduce the shroud does not necessarily prove that it is a fake.

    However, it does prove that it was possible to fake the shroud using the tech of the time.

  • Geoff

    Robert, a very brief and cogent response. I enjoyed reading it.

  • littlejohn

    For those of you who have been reading the Skeptical Inquirer as long as I have, you know this has been done before. I don’t remember if it was Joe Nickell or Walter McCrone, but one of them made a bas-relief carving of a bearded man’s face and made a rubbing using red ocher. It bore an uncanny resemblence to the Turin shroud. I think it’s in the book “Inquest on the Shroud of Turin,” Prometheus Books, which I recommend.

  • @Robert Madewell

    While I agree with your sentiment, check out what the Italian scientist actually said (two paragraphs later):

    We have shown that is possible to reproduce something which has the same characteristics as the Shroud,” Luigi Garlaschelli, who is due to illustrate the results at a conference on the para-normal this weekend in northern Italy, said on Monday.

    Chalk another one up to “good journalism”.

  • I found it interesting to see how the local newspapers spun this story in their headlines.

    Chicago Tribune: Italian debunkers reproduce Shroud of Turin, say it’s evidence relic is man-made

    Chicago Sun-Times: Italian group claims to debunk Shroud of Turin

    Daily Herald: Group claims to debunk Shroud of Turin

    Don’t you think the last two sound like they don’t want you to take the “claim” seriously? Sure looks that way to me.

    Of course, this brought the commenters out in force, and the usual crap about radiometric dating being thrown off because the shroud was in a fire is being bandied around again.

    This whole exercise was a waste of time. There’s no point in talking to religionists about scientific proof or evidence. They don’t care. If the evidence contradicts their beliefs, that just proves science is bullshit. If you can’t stop people from buying slivers of the “one true cross” from ads in the back of the Weekly World News, you’re never going to convince them that the Shroud of Turin is fake.

  • Hill’s Criteria of Causality are a classic set of screens for truth in medicine.
    The Plausibility criteria is very important.
    Perhaps we should formalize Criteria for Disbelief — one would be plausibility of fraud.

    This experiment, then, is needed because it adds to the weight of evidence needed to firmly uproot the false belief.

  • The ability to reproduce it using technology available at the time of its origin is not in itself proof that the shroud is a fake; however, it is evidence against its authenticity. A miracle should be impossible to reproduce, no?

    When I was a fundamentalist evangelical christian, I did not believe in the Shroud of Turin. Our church did not believe that we needed such physical evidence to back up our faith.

    I can’t decide whether that is better or worse than those who take pride in believing what they think is physical evidence, albeit a scam.

  • The Science Pundit,

    It’s an accurate quote. However, it’s obvious that the journalist thought that it meant proving that the shroud was fake. Still bad reporting, in my opinion.

  • Demetrius Of Pharos


    because it’s Catholic and they ‘ain’t True Christians’(TM)

    I realize, of course, that you’re joking, but anytime anyone says that (even in jest) I’m reminded of Nietzsche:

    “There was only one True Christian, and he died on the cross.”

    …Actually, that assumes Jesus was real. Shucks, its such a good quote otherwise.

  • @Robert Madewell

    That’s actually the point I was trying to make. I should have been more clear on that.

  • The Other Tom

    Yes, there really are christians who are gullible enough to believe in the nonsense of the “shroud of turin”.

    I believe it’s real: It’s a real piece of fabric, and it may even have been a real burial shroud. But that doesn’t make it a miracle, or holy, or mean it necessarily had anything to do with this guy Jesus who may or may not have actually existed.

  • ihedenius

    Funny anecdote told by Joe Nickell on Point of Inquiry.

    Nickell: “But some I think are rather like the woman who told me once that a … she said”:
    Woman to Nickell: “you’re missing the point of the Shroud of Turin”
    Nickell: “oh I hope not”
    Woman: “yes you’re missing the the point, the point isn’t whether the shroud is genuine or not”
    Nickell: “you got me there because to me thats it and I can live with whatever the case is. With any of my investigations I just don’t get personally involved, I just want to know the truth and do the best I can to find that out and I’ll live with that.”
    Woman: “no no you are missing the point, the point is whether *if* we can make people believe it’s genuine we can lead them to the true religion”
    Nickell: “Oh so sort of tell a little lie for Jesus ?”
    Nickell: “she started backing off from that…”

  • Darwin’s Dagger

    The Shroud of Turin is not a fake, it is the actual Shroud of Turin.

    It is not the burial shroud of any 1st century Galilean preacher. Radiocarbon dating proved that in 1978.

    This scientist has not proven that the Shroud is not the burial cloth of Jesus, he has merely demonstrated one method by which the Shroud may have been created in the 12th century.

  • Even when I was a Christian, I never believed the shroud was anything more than a medieval fake.

    Shroud believers talk about the image being imprinted by the “energy” of the resurrection or some such nonsense, but that implies the resurrection was governed by the physical laws of the universe or some form of “masterable vitalism” rather than the power of a god. Why would a miracle of god require a physical release of energy? Surely god could just make the body alive without the requirement of the infusion of energy. Is this supposed to be an all powerful deity or just someone with access to really advanced knowledge of science and technology such that they appear to be a god????

  • Reginald Selkirk

    I found it interesting to see how the local newspapers spun this story in their headlines.

    My favourite was how it was reported in the National Catholic Register:
    Atheist-Funded Researcher: Shroud of Turin Is a Fraud

    And we all know we can’t trust those atheists.

  • Siamang

    Am I the only person who thinks it doesn’t even look like a real person’s image?

    It’s CLEARLY a cartoon or sculpture of a person. It doesn’t look real.

  • Am I the only person who thinks it doesn’t even look like a real person’s image

    Maybe Jesus really looked like that. A scary thought. No wonder he never married. Maybe that’s why people always want to divert their eyes… 😉

  • Jeff

    I have personally worked on The Shroud for over 30yrs. I can tell you now these Italian ‘scientists’ are deceiving people with their claims. These people are nothing more than Athiest propoganda merchants. The Shroud will always remain un-explainable.

  • Jeff

    Before you ask, they’re saying these things because it’s an easy way to make a considerable amount of money. These people give scientists a bad name.

  • Loren Petrich

    Why all this preoccupation with the Shroud of Turin?

    Why not some examination of other medieval relics? Or relics of other religions?

    Like the Cloak of Kandahar and the Tooth of Kandy.

  • Preoccupation with the Shroud of Turin by Christians is a lot like the preoccupation with UFO’s that I find common among atheists. Absolutely no credible evidence, but an overwhelming need to believe. Faith in Jesus Christ is entirely different. No shroud (or celestial lights) required. [btw–I’m only responding to this blog because the subject interests me. I don’t really believe in atheists]

  • Anjie C

    Don- [btw–I’m only responding to this blog because the subject interests me. I don’t really believe in atheists]

    How is it that you do not believe in Atheists?

    I would also like to note I have not come across an Atheist that believes in UFOs..

  • Hi,

    I’ll keep it very short, but the copy looks very good but when examined closer it’s not a good copy at all. 1. the shroud has perfect 3D information in it. The 3D image from the copy is very poor indeed compared to the shroud! 2. The shroud has it’s blood BENEATH the image, the copy was done by adding it later, on top. That would indeed be the most easy way because the blood would have to be in all the exact right places. But the shroud first had blood on the cloth and then later the image. 3. The shroud of turin does not contain red oaker. The copy may LOOK nice but in order for it to be a duplicate it should have all the same strange charactaristics. And by the way, even IF a copy would be possible, then that does not explain the original perse! We can make almost perfect diamonds but that doesn’t mean that there are no real diamonds. Don’t believe a simple press release, examine ALL the facts before you jump to any conclusions. The shroud is simply TOO perfect to be the work of a medeval artist. There are many details they certainly didn’t know about (the wounds, the nails through the wrists causing the thumb to turn inside. And why would someone in that time create such a faint image that somehow looks perfect today in 3D and as a negative? In 2009 we can’t even match that perfection! The texture by the way is also ancient Jewish (Masada) and the shrouds documented history also goes back further than the carbon dating (which was done poorly, contaminated area and maybe even a repair patch). Anyway, keep an open mind and study ALL the facts, that is pure science.

    Kind regards, Menno

  • p.s. does the ‘copy’ also have a second identical face on the back, as the shroud does, without soaking through the cloth but the same image, as thick as a bacteria, on both sides?

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