In “Scientists say Turin Shroud is supernatural” (The Independent, 20 December 2011), Michael Day reports,
After years of work trying to replicate the colouring on the shroud, a similar image has been created by the scientists.
However, they only managed the effect by scorching equivalent linen material with high-intensity ultra violet lasers, undermining the arguments of other research, they say, which claims the Turin Shroud is a medieval hoax.
Such technology, say researchers from the National Agency for New Technologies, Energy and Sustainable Economic Development (Enea), was far beyond the capability of medieval forgers, whom most experts have credited with making the famous relic.
Actually, anyone familiar with mediaeval technologies (rush lights and donkey power) would discount such claims immediately. Put another way, if mediaeval technologies could produce the Shroud of Turin, the Middle Ages would have been a vastly different time to live in.
But the Independent’s headliner is a bit misleading: What the Enea report said was, “This degree of power cannot be reproduced by any normal UV source built to date.”
That’s science working as it should. No fatuous claims are dredged up to explain it away. If we don’t know, we don’t know. Maybe some day we will know all.
Incidentally, the Catholic Church does not claim that the Shroud is authentic (because there is no sure way of doing that). Even if it is a remarkable piece of cloth and no one ever determines how the image was created prior to the twentieth century, that does not prove it is the burial cloth of Christ. The Church says only that it is permitted to Catholics to venerate the Shroud if they wish, on account of the fact that no one has shown that it is not authentic, and it may help someone’s spiritual life.
See also: The Shroud of Turin makes way more sense than water on Mars