Should atheists take the Shroud of Turin seriously?

It seems like science takes the Shroud rather seriously, though perhaps this is just because it’s been studied so long. Personally I think it’s just a very clever hoax, after all the 13th century in Italy was hardly the Stone Age, but who knows right?

What makes you think that?

Pretty much everyone except some religious nutters, actually.

What do you mean by “take seriously”? As much as we take seriously any garment purported to have been “worn” by a historically important Roman Empire-era person. If something plausibly rumored to be Caesar’s toga were around, it would be worthwhile that some experts do what they could to find out if that provenience were possible or probable (“definite” would be quite unlikely). Why should this be any different?

With the shroud or anything else related to someone’s beliefs, one needn’t take it seriously, but one should be courteous enough not to mock the believer. Asking questions about another’s beliefs doesn’t necessarily cross a line - it’s all in what and how you ask. You may never accept the other person’s point of view, but perhaps you can learn to understand it.

Come to think of it, this could be applied to pretty much anything in life - musical preferences, lifestyle, literary choices. And, as often is the case, it comes down to “Don’t be a jerk.”

So, no, no one *has *to take the Shroud of Turin seriously, but it’s really bad form to belittle someone who does.

As a self-appointed spokesman for all of science, let me assure you that no, we don’t. At least, not in the sense of “gosh, maybe this ‘miracle’ thing is true, after all! Let’s check it out!”

What you’re seeing is simply that the shroud is a very rare situation where believers are willing to make an actual, testable claim - that this physical object is the manifestation of a supernatural miracle. Usually, such miracles are numinous and leave nothing at all behind - or at least nothing that is physically altered. So the shroud is a nearly unique opportunity to do a test and demonstrate that no such miracle occurred. Of course, as should have been expected, the actual facts don’t seem to have mattered to anyone.

And as a self-appointed spokesman for all of art, nope ditto. If you’ll please look at the hands, you’ll notice that they aren’t modeled very well, as you’d hope to do to pass a basic life drawing class (let alone like the bumps and open spaces you’d see if you were to lay a cloth on a set of bloody knuckles). They are more like a row of smooth, regular curves, like the hands in a Medieval illuminated manuscript.

No. Nor should we take seriously anyone who does take the Shroud of Turin seriously.

**protoboard **may be thinking of the recent paper by some Italian (dare I guess committed Catholic?) scientists who are bending over backwards to explain away the carbon dating evidence by invoking neutron particles released by rockscrushed in an earthquake as the mechanism of imprint, as well as a confounding factor in the carbon dating. Of course they ignored all the evidence from other Palestinian artifacts of the time that date properly. And the fact that the image doesn’t remotely match what a shroud wrapped around a human would look like, but does match a cloth laid on a bas-relief. Oh, and Occam’s Razor has gone completely out the window. Plus also people so bunched in the panties to provide scientific evidence for this miracle amusingly forget that they’re talking about friggin’ magic. Just say, “It’s magic,” and leave science for people willing to examine their biases already!

It was declared a fraud shortly after it was unveiled more than 700 years ago. Why would anyone, atheist or otherwise take seriously anything that even less advanced societies knew to be spurious?

Even if it hadn’t been carbon dated to a time period more than 1k year AFTER it was supposed have been used,it still lacks any provenance for its claims.Atheists should treat it like the fraudulent piece of “artwork” that almost certainly is.

I don’t think theists need to take it seriously either. It’s like the Donation of Constantine - old enough to interesting, but still clearly a fake.


To me this looks shopped. I can tell from some of the pixels and from seeing quite a few shops in my time.

Um… what? I’m sorry, but we can rationally categorize the people who believe the shroud of Turin is meaningful in the same group as those who believe in Nessie or Bigfoot. It’s a confirmed hoax.

I guess this is Cecil’s point:

To me, the REAL miracle is the Virgin Mary in Grilled Cheese Sandwich. Explain that, atheists!

Even the Pope doesn’t take the shroud seriously. Although, he did maintain that it’s an important icon in religious history. And its symbolic importance.*

Not the current pope but a previous one, I can’t remember which one.

Hardly matters, as which atheists takes the pope seriously?

Yes. It’s an 800 year old piece of art. Why not treat it seriously on that basis alone?

Ah. Because mocking feels better. :smack:

<raises hand> Francis appears to be a good, honest and sincere man who wants to use his considerable power and influence improve the lives of all who will listen, and takes the charges against his church very seriously - which can’t be said of the last two papa-sans. I feel the same way about the Dalai Lama and a number of other honest, open-faithed religious leaders.

But then, as a small-a atheist I don’t feel any need to demolish others’ beliefs to ‘prove’ mine.

Nobody should take it seriously, neither atheists nor believers of other religions nor Christians.

Look at it from God’s point of view - why would God drop this one piece of falsifiable evidence into the one true religion, yet have all the followers and prophets speak of needing faith, and making a leap? Looking for a piece of incontrovertible evidence that ‘proves’ Christianity is missing the point.

Nobody is being mocked, to my knowledge, for treating it as a work of art. They are being mocked for treating it as an artifact of supernatural origin. Surely you knew that, didn’t you?