The Skeptical Teacher

Musings of a science teacher & skeptic in an age of woo.

The Shroud of Turin Reveals the 3D Face of Jesus?

Posted by mattusmaximus on April 3, 2010

Just in time for Easter, the “History” Channel has come out with a television special which claims to have found the “true face” of Jesus Christ.  And just how was this amazing feat accomplished?  Supposedly through a complex, three-dimensional computer analysis of the Shroud of Turin.

See the ABC News story here…

Of course, this is a major media fail on the part of the “History” Channel, because the entire argument that this is the face of Jesus is based upon a false premise.  Namely, the assumption on the part of both the “History” Channel and the researchers performing the computer analysis is that the Shroud of Turin actually did cover Christ… when in reality it didn’t.

All the evidence we have to date shows quite clearly that the Shroud could not have been the funeral covering for Christ, because all signs point to it being created sometime around the 13th century A.D. (see my previous blog posts on the Shroud of Turin here and here).  And, unless I’m really bad at both math and a basic understanding of Christian theology, Jesus is supposed to have been resurrected a mere three days after his death, as opposed to roughly seven centuries!!! All the cool technology in the world won’t change the basic fact that if you start with a bad argument (i.e., the Shroud is authentic), you’ll still end with a bad argument (i.e., the “3D face of Jesus” is the real thing).  In other words… “garbage in = garbage out”.

So while the “History” Channel might be going for ratings with the timing of this TV special, they get a big, fat failing grade for spreading yet more nonsense when they are supposed to be educating the public.

26 Responses to “The Shroud of Turin Reveals the 3D Face of Jesus?”

  1. Party Cactus said

    Ha! I love the quotations. I hate how the History channel is becoming so bogged down with crap. Monster Hunters, UFO Hunters, The Apocalypse Show, and those ghost buster guys…when you think about it, how sick is that show, anyway? Ok, lets just toss skepticism in the trash for a moment and assume ghosts are real. What does that imply? The otherworldly specters of the deceased are people too right? We’re still talking about sentient beings. And these guys go out there ‘hunting’ them? Why do they need harassed when they’re just minding their own business? What, now that someone’s dead you can assault them because they’re a ghost? You know what it’s called it when you attack someone because they’re a member of a particular group of people? A hate crime. In the unlikely event that ghosts turn out to be real those guys should rot in a prison cell, but if you actually believed in ghosts how could you support something so barbaric? Bet no one ever thinks of it like that.

    Been watching Food Tech on History, it’s not history but it’s pretty cool if you like food and agricultural stuff. History should cancel the garbage and put on some more good shows, like The Universe, that show rocked. I guess, technically, that one had some history material in it.

  2. skepticalhippie said

    I didn’t know that Jesus looked so Italian?

  3. RoZeZ said

    “..entire argument that this is the face of Jesus is based upon a false premise. Namely, the assumption on the part of both the “History” Channel and the researchers performing the computer analysis is that the Shroud of Turin actually did cover Christ… when in reality it didn’t.”

    Even more false premise: the assumption that Jesus actually existed.

    • Alison said

      Jesus definately existed… If you have any doubts, talk to him every night before you sleep and ask him to reveal the truth to you. Im sure he will come to you.

      • mattusmaximus said

        I could just as easily make the same argument to you about Thor, Krishna, or any one of innumerable gods. Of course, that – just like your argument – would be a vacuous argument to make, wouldn’t it?

  4. Zen66 said

    At long last! Proof that Jesus, if he existed, was a white, anglo-saxon gentile! Mazal tov!

    Also, even sans million dollar equipment I can rightfully say those two faces look nothing alike.

  5. Did you actually watch the entire presentation. Excellent historical arguments were made for the existence of the shroud in art prior to this time. Many questions about the carbon 14 dating were raised. More importantly, there are issues with the non existence of certain chemicals associated with linen that should still be present at 700 years, but aren’t.

    Since you are all scientists here, you should also be contemplating that there are still no reasonable theories of how the image got there. That there is no other similar image in all of history or nature, and that this one is related to Jesus is far more than a coincidence unless your mind is already made up. Which, of course, those in this forum cannot be accused of.

    • mattusmaximus said

      You claim there are no “reasonable theories” of how the Shroud image formed. Would that explain why it was so easily replicated, using methods readily available in the 13th & 14th centuries? That same link also addresses your erroneous claims regarding carbon-14 dating.

  6. Jayden Cameron said

    A science teacher, really? I take it you have not read the 2005 article in the peer reviewed journal, Thermochimica Acta, by Raymond N. Rogers of Los Alamos National Laboratory, nor the follow up response in Nature, the leading peer-reviewed scientific journal in the world, nor the 2004 article by Lloyd A. Currie in the Journal of Research of the National Institute of Standards and Technology -because I can assure you, the researches behind the History Channel special have done so. Time to update your resources.

    But I do think this quote is apropos:
    When flaky and wild ideas appear in newspaper articles or on television, as they often do, scientists cringe. Rogers referred to those who held such views as being part of the “lunatic fringe” of shroud research. But Rogers was just as critical of those who, without the benefit of solid science, declared the shroud a fake. They, too, were part of the lunatic fringe.

  7. Chico said

    – Bodies don’t bleed after death……..
    – Hebrew law dictated cleansing of the corpse before wrapping.

    • Rhoda said

      This was the cloth (or one similar) used to cover him after he was taken from the cross. Not the one Joseph used when he prepared the body for burial.

  8. telson said

    The testimony of the Bible records the shroud of Turin as a fake. The evidence of the Bible is undisputed. On this article, you can find Biblical evidence showing the shroud as the deception:

  9. “… when in reality it didn’t.

    All the evidence we have to date shows quite clearly that the Shroud could not have been the funeral covering for Christ, because all signs point to it being created sometime around the 13th century A.D.”

    Okay Mr. Dramatic Three Dots Me Right. What a pretentious narcissist. Oops that’s redundant. Moron: why are you so gullible and such a jerk? So someone dates the shroud and magic it must not be really jesus cuz carbon dating is juz oh so reliable. And big dummy: when will you acknowledge they tested a sown on piece, and when will you acknowledge there was soot from a fire on the shroud, do i need to explain why that would skew the dating, you dummy, you dumb dumb massive massive idiot? Punch yourself you moron. What a… moron. FAIL.

    God bless you moron, as he always does. One more thing:

    get a brain already sock puppet, and stop worshiping ramen noodles and meatballs in the sky (how fitting that the god of atheists is food / their belly).

    • mattusmaximus said

      Clearly, you are full of Christ’s love.

    • CD said

      Oh yum, spaghetti. And how fitting Jesus was Italian. I might just wipe my face with the shroud afterward. Yum yum, I taste biscuits…oh wait…no that’s a bit of zombie flesh….*brains brains brains*

  10. albert mendoza said

    In the 70’s, three reputable and independent laboratories dated a piece of cloth from the shroud of turin to be about 700 years old or made around the 13th century. But 21st century evidence now suggests that it’s much older and that the technology used in the initial dating might have miscalculated the age of the cloth.

    My feeling is let’s just wait and see. I think the bottom line is not the picture of the man but what he left behind: the concept of love for our fellowman that is actually a viable sociological concept and, if practiced minus religious bigotry or self-righteousness, has all the potential of improving the human condition.

    Spinoza once asked, are bitter hatred and rancorous animosity the ready criteria for the Chritian faith?

    Let’s prove him wrong.

    • CD said

      Even if the cloth is even older, how do we know that they didn’t just ransack someone’s tomb and paint the face on it? And even if it is a face-oil-imprint thing, how do we prove it’s Jesus face? Do we have a sample of Mary’s DNA? No? Let’s go ask God then…

  11. Alex said

    I lol!

    I like your post Mendoza. A christian constantly struggles to love others as God did–to the point of death. Often our own selfishness is one of our biggest obstacles, yet God recognizes the woundedness of the world and seeks to draw us close to him with an unfathomable love.

    I grew up in a household of mixed faith. I am a Catholic Christian. (Somewhere between Orthodox Catholic and Roman). I am not afraid of questions of my faith, because I have nothing to lose, only to gain more knowledge. (Which is why I am Catholic now.) I like skepticism. So in line with being skeptical of your post I offer this: It has a section addressing the carbon dating and more discussion.

    Ok tangent aside <__> Thanks for sharing Mattus Maximus.

  12. the beliver said

    Here is my opinion yes there is never going to be enough proof that the cloth was is what was used to cover him or if it is even that old. the equiptment that was used was not as modern and as accurate as it is today and as things progress so will the tecnology that we have today the carbon dating that they used is old and outdated. Unless God himself was to come down and say yes it is there is never going to be enough for all the non belivers out there for those that belive let them belive that it is for the ones wondering if it is then you try and disprove it until you do that then don’t say anything negative about the results that were found when you did nothing to help in the progress. personally i belive that it was cause there is plenty of evedence that it was the cloth used to cover his body cause of the blood marks thats on the cloth and that is also in the shape of the body as well cause when you do a painting the paint would seep through the cloth and so would any type or ink. the stains are from water cause of the way that it has spread some of the other markings and stuff are possibly from dirt over the years and from where it has travled too. you also have to remember that i doubt that they gave him a bath before laying him in the tomb so the blood markings will still be bleeding out in which casue would show onto the cloth the face print could possibly be from where the dark areas are are where there was a ample anount of sweat from carrying that cross and from the storm that the bible talked about gathering any dirt that was in the air and when light touched the cloth it bleached the surrounding areas cause the rest of which of his body was dirty that it blocked any light to pass through who is to say tho that when god rose him from the dead that his earthly body didn’t glow when he lifted him up cause god can work wonders and we all know that. In whatever case the body can be seen on the cloth updated machines have dated it back longer then it was given in the 70’s with the older tecnology at that time. theres many explanations out there but none of which will be enough for some to say yes it was his coverings yes he is real and yes i belive. . . but whatever the case may be it is there it is real there is a human figure on that cloth it is human blood they tested that. there is no telling why the carbon dating didn’t pick it up but that strip was resown back on and its possible that when it was sown back on that its picked up traces of the bactira from that time period from the people that sown it back together. the 3D picture shown is a great possiblity of what he looked like because he had the bearded face of a 30 year old man the scars shown show someone that was beat they show the scars that he suffered for you and for me they show the pain, it shows the markings on his feet and on his wrist where the nails where drivin through him to hang him on the cross. i say keep with the experiments to find the truth be hind the matter

  13. jay said

    It’s just funny how skeptics blatantly dismiss stuff that huge number of scientist have concluded. Obviously not knowing enough, they still believe the carbon dating was correct while the people who did it now admit it wasn’t.
    If you watch this program entirely you’ll see how they create this 3d face out of the data in the shroud, then produce a life size model with rapid prototyping AND recreate a modern version of the shroud from the model they made and find that it is an exact match with the original shroud.

    The face on the shroud does not look like the model they made because the shroud image is not a photographic picture. The fact that they can reproduce a face from “data” pulled from the shroud, then reverse the process from the model they made and arrive at the same strangely proportioned image that you see on the shroud is remarkable. It cannot be denied that the face they modeled is pretty darn close to the real face that mysteriously created the image on the shroud. The 3d model in fact is what that person looked like – doesn’t mean it certainly was Jesus. You don’t have to believe in Jesus, you don’t have to believe this is the shroud Jesus was covered with but you can’t deny simple facts proven by thousands of hours of CSI -type scrutiny – which also proves the linen is much older than the carbon dating suggested, that the image can not be made by an artist, that there are no pigments or inks or paint on it, that the fabric contains pollen from plants that only grow in the Palestine area etc.

    While those scientists – many of whom were originally very skeptical about the shroud, have gone to great lengths to find out what made the image on the shroud have not been able to find out and simply state it can not be explained but is known for sure that it is not an image made by human being, then who are people who don’t even have the patience to watch the whole program to tell the shroud is from 1300s and is a fake?

  14. Blain Conway said

    If you had really watched and absorbed what was being stated, you would have heard that they repeatedly stated that there was a huge problem proving that this likeness is Jesus Christ. There was also information presented that the sample taken to perform the carbon dating was the most flawed sample that could have been taken. Even to the point of suggesting that that particular corner was replaced during the 12th century. They stated again and again that there would never be any way to prove without a shadow of a doubt that this is the face of Christ. Where is your faith? Faith is very important when facing these types of issues. It should raise questions in your mind. That’s what the history channel was attempting to do.

  15. Rhoda said

    While I’d like to believe this is a true depiction of Jesus Christ, I keep coming to the Scripture in Isaiah that said, “he had no form or comeliness that anyone would desire him”. This depiction is of a very handsome man, one that would have been admired both by men and women of the time. So, I don’t believe this to be the Shroud of Jesus. But it doesn’t matter. I don’t care to wait until my first sight of him is in his house. 🙂

  16. Jane said

    The “history” channel is not there to educate people. It’s put out there by “big brother” or the free masons or the big 8 or whomever control everything to confuse us and perpetuate paranoia. It’s sad that this article was the only one to pop up on Google pointing out that this is an obvious hoax since it uses a hoax as it’s basis. Isn’t “the shroud” a photograph of Leonardo DiVinci?

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