The Crucifixion of St PZ

Many people have noticed the ad for the ghastly Jesus documentary at the top of the pages here. I’m not thrilled, as you might guess—I think this is almost certainly a load of pseudoscientific fluff. Since it is so prominently promenaded across the pages, I’m now feeling obligated to watch the silly thing, so the ad has won them one viewer, at the cost of personal pain to me.

Since I am taking on the sins of our advertiser, however, I will suggest to you readers that you can consider yourselves redeemed and should feel no compulsion to watch it yourselves. If you want to, you may, of course…or you can just wait for my summary on the day after.

Also, since our family TV is in the basement which gets awfully cold this time of year, I’ll probably watch it on Skatje‘s TV, so she’ll probably see it, too. Maybe I’ll have her pass judgement as well. (Maybe the metaphor would be more apt if Skatje is Jesus, and I can be her father who forces her to experience torment to relieve the rest of the world of sin? Ah, it doesn’t matter, the whole story makes no sense anyway.)


  1. #1 tom
    February 27, 2007

    I put up Richard Dawkins “Nice guys finish first” an excellent documentary on altruism in groups:

  2. #2 Sastra
    February 27, 2007

    Max is right — until this has gone through peer review, it’s all suspect. There really was a 2,000 year old cave with 10 stone caskets which discovered about 20 years ago, but the names are common. Some of the names were Jesua, son of Joseph; Mary; Mary; Mathew; Jofa; and Judah, son of Jesua. A few of the details sound more than a little vague: they did some sort of statistical analysis on the odds of those particular names appearing together, but seem to have neglected to include all the names in the tomb. The tomb would also be in a surprising place, and quality, if it was the legendary Jesus and his family.

    My understanding is that this isn’t another breathless Christian discovery of Noah’s Ark that “proves” the Bible is all true. The filmmaker involved here is the guy who produced The Titanic, and he is purportedly trying to “sink Christianity.” Jesus had a son — and, worse, no Empty Tomb and bodily resurrection. Wow, just like the Da Vinci Code, except it’s all archeology and science.

    I’d be very skeptical on this.

  3. #3 Torbjörn Larsson
    February 27, 2007

    Unblock your ads for scienceblogs so that they don’t end up getting sent out on cheap parchment in the future.

    Really, why should we suffer at the cross? Bad blogs, adblocks, what you gonna do…

  4. #4 Ichthyic
    February 27, 2007

    The only way to satisfy Christianists that the ossuary in question is Jesus’ tomb is to proclaim that his bones were not found therein, and by dint of this non-appearance it must then follow that this locale is indeed his final non-resting place.

    perfect. sounds like a perfect story for the Onion.

  5. #5 Ichthyic
    February 28, 2007

    they’d pull something else out of their hat

    hmm, I was rather thinking of someplace else they would pull it out of.

    do they really say the dates for the shroud are because of divine intervention???

    can you point to a reference for that?

    that’s a keeper.

  6. #6 nat
    February 28, 2007

    Ichthyic, I saw a better explanation than the divine intervention : the recent date comes from the fact that all the samples were voluntarily taken from the same area of the shroud, but this area had been repaired during the time period determined by the datation… nice, isn’t it ?

  7. #7 dorid
    February 28, 2007

    Ichthyic, the Catholic Church OFFICIALLY remains neutral on the subject of the Shroud. Yet they have a feast day for the Shroud (May 4) My experience with the responses of the Catholic Church come from discussions with my former priest, and with Harry Gove (back in the early 80s)

    I guess now they’re trying to use the “preservation” theory a more scientific sounding spin… this was recently published in a Catholic Journal:

    In 1993 Garza-Valdes discovered that the linen fibers of the shroud contained fungus and bacteria that had formed a symbiotic relationship, creating a “bioplastic coating” on the fibers, which rejuvenated the linen.

    Whiting quoted the scientist as saying that laboratories had tested “a mixture of carbon from the original linen and new carbon from the bioplastic coating produced by the bacteria. It was this that caused the shroud to be dated as medieval.”


    or you can buy one of the many videos available through Catholic bookstores:

    Jesus and the Shroud of Turin DVD – This film reveals new evidence to debunk the skeptical modern scientists and shows convincing evidence of the authenticity of the Shroud as the burial cloth of Jesus Christ. It presents an in-depth study of the Shroud and its incredible history as one of the most celebrated religious artifacts in the world. [BUY VIDEO]

    if you want to wade through some of the other nonsense, here’s a link that quotes a number of articles: (this is of course a Christian site)

    and the above contians this little nugget:

    When the Piltdown man hoax was uncovered in 1953, sophisticated chemical analysis techniques, developed in part by Teddy Hall, showed that skull fragments and other bone pieces had been expertly dyed to look older and match each other. This was done to fool people into thinking the bones were very old. People were fooled and many thought that the Piltdown man might be the missing link.

    In the case of the Shroud of Turin, it was threads were dyed to look older and to match other threads. But it wasn’t the threads of the Shroud itself that were dyed. It was a small area in one corner of the Shroud where some mending threads had been dyed to look like the rest of the age-yellowed Shroud. Chemical analysis proves this. There is absolutely no doubt about that.

    In the case of the Shroud it was the carbon 14 testers that were fooled. And they should not have been fooled. There were clues that warranted investigation…

    Ever notice when religious nutjobs want to refute science they ALWAYS bring up Piltdown Man, no matter HOW relevant it is to the argument at hand?

    Sorry I couldn’t get a direct quote from someone on that. It’s generally accepted by both the Catholic and Orthodox churches that certain relics are miraculously preserved by God, bodies of saints kept in tact for example… and even some cases where long dead bishops give blessings.

    Here is a page from the Orthodox Information Center on Veneration of Holy Relics which touches on the “fact” that God preserves the relics of Christ and of the Saints and refutes scientific evidences:[CLICK]

    now, if you want to see this on an OFFICIAL church site [CLICK HERE

    The basic doctrine here is that Saints (and Christ) are imbued with divinity which is incorruptable, and the relics are extensions of that divinity:

    “What is of the earth remains earthly, and when fire consumes matter, it returns to the dust from which it came. But the divine fire neither destroys nor annihilates. The miracle of the burning bush is perpetuated in eternity. The fire will kindle the whole world. The entire creation will some day be permeated by divine rays” (The Living God, Bishop Kallistos Ware, p. 91).

    I hope this helps 😉

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