Extraordinary claims. Ordinary investigations.

CSI: Vatican

Zoom in. Now… enhance.

tilma_2It has become a trope, and as such, has also been parodied. Amazingly though, even before television was invented, the Catholic Church was already resorting to this plot device to promote a miracle which, incidentally, may have been a complete work of fiction.

It’s all related to the miracle of Guadalupe, a very special Marian Apparition not only because it’s one of the pillars of Catholic belief in Mexico and one of the largest Catholic shrines in the world…

But also because the miracle left a very physical evidence behind, the allegedly supernaturally formed image of Our Lady of Guadalupe.  

Like other relics, all sorts of claims to support supernatural characteristics are promoted by the faithful, and among them is the claim that:

“According to many scientists who have inspected the image, it seems that in her eyes, in both of them and in the precise location as reflected by a live human eye, could be seen many figures that have been extensively analyzed and seem to correspond to the shape and size of human figures located in front of the image.”

csi_vatican

This is “CSI: Vatican”, where “zoom… and enhance” works even in an image painted over cloth. As early as 1929 alleged “reflections” in the eyes of the image were already being considered, but as in CSI, it would be only with the aid of computer “enhancement” that such claims would gain greater notoriety.

EnhancedImage 

Nevertheless, this only works that way in fiction. Any image record, in any medium, will have several limitations, and one could consider the impossibility of such feats of “enhancement” both through Information Theory – by defining how one cannot extract indefinite amounts of information from a defined set of pixels – as well as limits related to fundamental physical effects such as the uncertainty principle and Planck’s constant.

What the faithful see in the eyes of Guadalupe is simply pareidolia.

caruso_guadalupe

Yeah, I know, terrible joke, but now you know how religion can be stranger than fiction.

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Posted in Fortean,Skepticism | 4 comments

4 Comments so far

  1. PersonFromPorlock September 26th, 2010 9:33 pm

    “What the faithful see in the eyes of Guadalupe is simply pareidolia.”

    Or a miracle, which is what they’re claiming.

  2. J.R.D. Skinner September 29th, 2010 4:27 pm

    @PersonFromPorlock So miracles are like a game of hide and seek? Personally, if I’m going to be sent a miracle, I’d rather it be on a scale that I’m actually going to notice.

    ——–

    I actually stopped by today hoping Monday’s press conference would get some coverage – http://news.blogs.cnn.com/2010/09/27/ufos-showed-interest-in-nukes-ex-air-force-personnel-say/?hpt=T2 – I don’t know if any of these folks are known nutters, or what the situation is.

    A lot of chatting and not much evidence, as far as I can see.

    Anyhow – keep up the great work!

  3. terry the censor October 1st, 2010 1:45 am

    > Or a miracle, which is what they’re claiming.

    If you can see anything in that eye, that’s the miracle.

  4. satori October 7th, 2010 3:11 pm

    I agreed with most of the post, but what I don’t agree is the last phrase: “Yeah, I know, terrible joke, but now you know how religion can be stranger than fiction.”

    I don’t know if we are talking about religion in the whole post, it seems most that we are talking about how we can see whatever we choose to see, is not only about religion, is even about science researchs or even about any of us, we choose to se whatever we want, same point can be proved while reading this blog.

    “What the thinker thinks, the prover proves”

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