Sunday, December 9, 2007

The Shroud of Turin Philippine Exhibition

I took Cols and Caitlin to see the Shroud of Turin exhibit at Mall of Asia today -- Well, its not the REAL Shroud, but the official replica, or the "touring shroud". The real Shroud will next be opened for public viewing in Turin, Italy on 2025. And since I have no plans of making a pilgrimage there, I guess this is the next best thing.

The exhibit is not necessarily for the religious. They do give the scientific explanations to both sides. Personally, I am leaning more towards the skeptic end. The strongest argument in favor of the skeptics is the radio carbon dating tests that have been done on the shroud samples to determine its age. Using standard Accelerator Mass Spectrometry (AMS) methods, several labs conducted the test on different samples and arrived to the same conclusion -- that the shroud only came about roughly during AD 1260 - 1390, so it couldn't have possibly been the burial cloth of Christ.

Several more counter-explanations were made after this landmark conclusion. The main argument of the "faithful" is that the radiocarbon sample that was used to date the Shroud has a very different composition and structure than the rest of the cloth and was not valid for dating the Shroud. In other words, the wrong sample was taken from the Shroud. The Shroud, having endured centuries of handling and transport (including a fire in one of the churches that housed it), has been patched several times by different people. And the "faithfuls" believe that the sample taken for carbon dating was one of the patches that was sewn later on. Couple with this the effect of bacterial decay, and that would set off the carbon dating readings by several hundreds of years. Read this for further details.

I think the solution to solve this impasse once and for all is to just do another radio carbon dating based on the parts that these "experts" believe should be the original. Wouldn't that make things a lot simpler? Unless the church is hiding something. Hmm... sounds like the premise for a future Dan Brown novel. Or maybe not. I read the 1st book of the Christ Clone Trilogy by James BeauSeigneur about 2 to 3 years ago. You can also order it from The basic plot of the story is that these scientists who are studying the Shroud took blood samples from the cloth and cloned a human out of it. The man was aptly named "Christopher". Was he going to be messiah or the anti-Christ. The book was not that captivating, or at least, it did not really compel me to buy and read books 2 and 3. So I really don't know how it ended. If there is anyone out there who is willing to give me a 1 paragraph summary of how it ended, you are welcome to post here. :)

Anyway, the Shroud exhibit will be going around the Philippines up to 2008. So drop by to see it and decide for yourself. You can also purchase the tickets ahead of time and online using PayEasy.

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