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CHATGPT AND THE HOLY SHROUD

We have found in Academia.edu a really curious article published on March 7, 2023. Prof. Jose L. Fernandez talks with ChatGPT about the holy shroud. It is a first approach to AI in a simple but interesting conversation. Everyone can draw their own conclusions, although it would be desirable to go deeper into this field.


He has over 30 years of experience in industry as system engineer, project leader, researcher and department manager. He was involved in projects dealing with software development and maintenance of large systems, specifically real-time systems for air traffic control, power plants Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA), avionics and cellular phone applications.

For 20 years, he was associate professor at the Industrial Engineering School of the Madrid Technical University (UPM).

His areas of interest are model based systems engineering and requirements engineering.

Areas of Professional Expertise: Requirements engineering, Model Based Systems Engineering, Real Time systems development, Systems and Software Engineering.


The Authenticity of the Shroud of Turin. A written conversation with ChatGPT


1. Introduction


The Shroud of Turin is among the most studied, controversial and enigmatic of all ancient objects.The big effort spent in studying it has produced a huge amount of observations and characteristics dge are not well classified and describing it (Fernandez, 2014). But these evidences and knowledge are not well classified and structured, and are frequently presented as lists or tables of properties without separating evidences from mere speculation.

The usage of knowledge representation, ontologies (Fernandez, 2005) and artificial intelligence tools such as ChatGPT could be very helpful in managing the vast knowledge about the Shroud of Turin for the sake of comprehension of this mystery.

ChatGPT is a generative artificial intelligence that creates new content. This tool developed by OpenAI, is designed to respond to text-based queries and generate natural language responses. It

is part of artificial intelligence tools known as natural language processing (NLP), which seeks to teach computers to understand and interpret human language. ChatGPT is built using a deep learning architecture, which enables it to learn patterns in language and generate text that is coherent and human-like.

It is important to realize that how to prompt the tool is important for the results obtained (Hamilton, 2023), so nowadays the job of prompt engineer is needed. The tool has answers but not always the right answers. One important problem with AI is interpretability and other is bias (NIST, 2023).


2. My conversation with Chat GPT (March 6,2023)


Jose L Fernandez: Is Jesus the man on the shroud of Turin?

ChatGPT: The question of whether the man on the Shroud of Turin is Jesus is a subject of much debate and controversy among scholars and religious figures. The Shroud of Turin is a piece of cloth that bears the image of a man who appears to have suffered wounds consistent with crucifixion, and many Christians believe that this is the burial cloth of Jesus.

However, the authenticity of the Shroud of Turin as the actual burial cloth of Jesus has not been scientifically proven, and many experts believe that it is a medieval forgery. Carbon dating tests conducted in 1988 placed the creation of the shroud in the 13th or 14th century, which further supports the theory that it is not the burial cloth of Jesus.

In any case, whether or not the man on the Shroud of Turin is Jesus remains a matter of personal belief and interpretation, as there is no definitive evidence to support either claim.


Jose L Fernandez: What do you respond if Carbon dating of the Shroud of Turin is locally obtained?

ChatGPT: If the carbon dating of the Shroud of Turin was obtained from a localized area, it could potentially raise questions about the accuracy of the results. Carbon dating works by analyzing the ratio of carbon-14 to carbon-12 in a sample, which can be affected by contamination or changes in the environment.

However, it is important to note that the carbon dating tests conducted on the Shroud of Turin in 1988 were performed using samples from multiple locations on the cloth, and the results were consistent across all of them. The tests were also conducted by multiple laboratories using different methods, which helps to ensure the accuracy of the results.

Furthermore, other scientific evidence, such as pollen analysis and the presence of historical inconsistencies, suggests that the Shroud of Turin is not the actual burial cloth of Jesus.

In conclusion, while localized carbon dating could potentially affect the accuracy of the results, the

multiple tests and consistent results obtained from the Shroud of Turin suggest that it is not the burial cloth of Jesus.


Jose L Fernandez: All the carbon dating samples were obtained from the same location in the Shroud of Turin. Pollen analysis does not contradict the authenticity of the Shroud of Turin.

ChatGPT: I apologize for the mistake in my previous response regarding the carbon dating samples.

You are correct that all three carbon dating samples were taken from the same location on the Shroud of Turin, and this has been a point of criticism from some researchers who argue that the sampling was not representative of the entire cloth.

Regarding the pollen analysis, while some studies have suggested that the pollen found on the Shroud of Turin matches plants from the Middle East, which would support the authenticity of the cloth, other studies have challenged these findings and suggest that the pollen could have been introduced through handling or contamination.

Overall, the authenticity of the Shroud of Turin remains a matter of debate and interpretation among scholars and religious figures. While some argue that the shroud is the actual burial cloth of Jesus, others point to the scientific evidence, including the carbon dating results and inconsistencies in the historical record, as reasons to doubt its authenticity.


Jose L Fernandez: What about vanillin?

ChatGPT: Vanillin is a chemical compound that is found in lignin, a component of plant cell walls. Vanillin is also present in flax fibers and some other materials, including linen.

One of the arguments against the authenticity of the Shroud of Turin is that vanillin testing has indicated that the cloth is not as old as it would need to be in order to have been the burial cloth of

Jesus. Vanillin testing is a chemical method that measures the amount of vanillin in a material, and since vanillin breaks down over time, it can be used as a proxy for the age of a material.

Studies have indicated that the amount of vanillin in the Shroud of Turin is consistent with a medieval origin, rather than a first-century origin as would be required for it to be the actual burial

cloth of Jesus. However, some researchers have criticized the validity of the vanillin testing method, arguing that it is not a reliable indicator of the age of the cloth.

Overall, the question of the authenticity of the Shroud of Turin remains a matter of debate and interpretation among scholars and religious figures, and different types of scientific analysis, including carbon dating and vanillin testing, have been used to support various arguments for and against its authenticity.


Jose L. Fernandez: What about tridimensional image and the Shroud of Turin wrapping of a real cadaver?

ChatGPT: The Shroud of Turin bears an image of a man that appears to be three-dimensional, which has been cited by some as evidence of its authenticity as the burial cloth of Jesus.

Proponents of the authenticity of the Shroud argue that the three-dimensional image could not have been created by any known artistic or scientific method, and that the only explanation for it isthat the cloth was used to wrap a real cadaver. They argue that the image was somehow created by the release of energy from the body of the person wrapped in the cloth, perhaps as a result of the resurrection or some other miraculous event.

However, critics of this theory argue that there are alternative explanations for the threedimensional image, including the possibility that it was created by a medieval artist using techniques that are not fully understood today. Others have suggested that the image could have been created by some form of natural decomposition or chemical reaction, rather than by the body of a real person.

In conclusion, while the three-dimensional image on the Shroud of Turin remains a subject of much debate and controversy, there is no definitive scientific evidence to support the theory that the cloth was used to wrap a real cadaver. The authenticity of the Shroud of Turin as the actual burial cloth of Jesus remains a matter of personal belief and interpretation, as there is no definitive evidence to support either claim.


Jose L. Fernandez: What techniques can a medieval artist use to create the Shroud of Turin image?

ChatGPT: There is no definitive answer to how a medieval artist could have created the image on the Shroud of Turin, but there are several techniques that have been suggested by researchers and scholars.

One theory is that the image was created using a technique known as bas-relief, in which a threedimensional sculpture is created and then covered with a cloth soaked in a pigment. The pigment would then settle into the crevices and create a detailed image on the cloth.

Another theory is that the image was created using a technique called scorching, in which a heated metal template is pressed onto a piece of cloth to create an image. This technique was commonly used in the Middle Ages to create decorative designs on cloth and leather.

A third theory is that the image was created using a combination of these and other techniques, possibly including painting, stenciling, or rubbing with pigments.

While none of these theories have been definitively proven, they do provide possible explanations for how a medieval artist could have created an image that appears to be three-dimensional and bears many of the same characteristics as the image on the Shroud of Turin. Nonetheless, the origin of the Shroud of Turin image remains a mystery and is the subject of ongoing research and debate among scholars and scientists.


Jose L. Fernandez: What about the evidence of no image under the blood stains?

ChatGPT: One of the arguments in support of the authenticity of the Shroud of Turin is the presence of blood stains on the cloth, which are consistent with the biblical account of Jesus' crucifixion. Some proponents of the shroud's authenticity also point out that there is no image visible under the blood stains, which they argue is evidence that the image was not painted or created by an artist.

This argument is based on the assumption that if the image on the shroud had been created by an artist, there would be some evidence of pigment or paint visible under the blood stains. However, critics of this theory point out that it is possible for an artist to have created an image that is not visible under the blood stains, either by using a technique that does not involve pigment or by applying the pigment in a way that does not leave any visible traces.

In addition, some researchers have suggested that the blood stains themselves may not be consistent with an actual crucifixion, and that they could have been added to the cloth at a later time. While this theory remains controversial, it suggests that the presence of blood stains on the shroud may not necessarily be proof of its authenticity.

Overall, while the absence of an image under the blood stains is sometimes cited as evidence of the shroud's authenticity, it is not a definitive proof and is subject to interpretation and debate among scholars and scientists.


3. To conclude


My impression as a user is that ChatGPT makes summaries of the existing knowledge but in its first answers it does not consider all the possibilities, hence the importance of the human expert interaction and prompting. In the Shroud of Turin case, it produces some errors such as mentioning that vanillin amount is consistent with a medieval origin and others related to the techniques to produce the image.

In general, systemic bias can be present in AI datasets. Computational and statistical biases can be

present in AI datasets and algorithmic processes, and often stem from systematic errors due to non representative samples. Human-cognitive biases relate to how a person perceives AI system information may be present as well (NIST, 2023).

So, it is important not to forget that it is a tool and it can also be wrong. In the conversation presented here you can see how ChatGPT rectifies and apologizes, which I think is positive. The conversation could have continued but considering that the results were illustrative of ChatGPT capabilities, I decided to end it.


References


Fernandez Jose L., 2005. “A systematic approach for understanding the image formation of the Shroud of Turin. “ The 3rd International Dallas Conference on the Shroud of Turin, September 8 through 11, 2005, Dallas, Texas (USA).


Fernandez Jose L., 2014. “A Features Model of the Shroud of Turin. Considering it as a system.” Workshop on Advances in the Turin Shroud Investigation (ATSI), Bari (Italy), September 4 -5, 2014.


Hamilton, A.C., 2023. “Introduction to ChatGPT.” Digital Age Media.


NIST, 2023. “Artificial Intelligence Risk Management Framework (AI RMF 1.0).” National Institute of Standards and Technology. US Department of Commerce.

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