Samuel Johnson Meets His Match

September 22, 2014 13 comments

image

imageIn a comment, Colin wrote:

It is unhelpful and unconstructive to judge the TS as a choice between authentic or non-authentic. It’s like deciding whether a stuffed swan one is about to see in a natural history museum is black or white – it could be either.

The rational and constructive way of viewing it is to ask whether the TS is a contact or non-contact scorch.

If it’s a contact scorch, then it’s fairly certain the image is man-made, using a heated template to imprint the image (which will of course be a negative, explaining what might otherwise seem peculiar at least from an artistic standpoint, being much more photogenic centuries later when Secondo Pia-era photography and light/dark reversal became practicable).

If it’s a non-contact scorch, then all options are open, pro-authenticity ones included, radiocarbon dating notwithstanding.

But while there are groups who promote their own preferred non-contact scenarios (laser beams, corona discharges, sugar-seeking putrefaction vapours, earthquake-releases of radioactive emissions etc) few if any of them are willing to generalize and say it’s a non-contact process that is being proposed, and that the image characteristics are consistent with, and can be modelled in the laboratory as a non-contact process with a qualitatively-different outcome from the simple, uncomplicated man-made contact one I favour.

In short, we see systematic evasion of the scientific essentials, the latter based on model-testing and evaluation. Not a pretty sight.

Some folk’s thinking might be described as pre-Renaissance. Indeed, there may well be a hankering for pre-Renaissance certainties, when everyone, the unwashed, uneducated classes especially, knew their place and did not dare to question their social and intellectual superiors.

 

So, is Colin redefining the word scorch to mean anything that “resulted in oxidation, dehydration and conjugation of the polysaccharide structure of the microfibrils of the linen itself* (or perhaps of an impurity coating on the microfibrils)?  Is that fair? Samuel Johnson did define the word as also meaning, “to be dried up.”

Are we to assume then, when Colin says all options are open for non-contact scorches, he means to allow, in addition to all-natural chemical processes, scorches produced from the imagined energetic or sub-atomic particle byproducts of miraculous events?  Is that fair?

Does ‘all options are open’ extend to the appearance of a scorch that might have miraculously appeared on the cloth without any chemical process taking place? By without process I mean something that was not at some time partly formed or forming as we might imagine water changing into wine in steps. By without process I mean without heat or chemical reaction. By without process I mean without the passage of time, as if a changed visual state could have been photographed by an unimaginably fast camera in only two frames, visually not there and then visually there.

If we are thus open to miraculous images that seem to be non-contact scorches and might not have involved a formation process, must we not also be open to miraculous images that seem to be contact scorches and might not have involved a formation process?

Frankly, if we allow for miracles, we are beyond the limits of science. I don’t see any difference between contact and non-contact in this context.

It would be fair to argue that I threw miracles into the mix and that was never Colin’s intent. Fair enough. But that doesn’t solve anything, does it? Are not the investigators of UV, for instance, contemplating miraculous causation in some way or other?  Is there a philosopher in the house? David Hume, where are you?

While I was writing this, Colin clarified his position of contact vs. non-contact. It is helpful, so here it is:

I use “contact scorch” to indicate there is no imaging except where template is in direct physical atom-to-atom contact with hot metal, ceramic, whatever. If there’s the slightest air gap, then there’s essentially no scorching, though a slight yellowing might just be possible from hot convected gases.

There are those who maintain that the TS image includes parts of the subject that could not have been in contact with linen. They have yet to convince this sceptic. All the important parts, i.e. raised relief, could or would be accessible, especially if linen were draped over template (whether bas relief or fully 3D) and then manually and forcibly impressed in and around important contours. The places most likely to get ‘missed’ are precisely those that appear as pale poorly or non-imaged areas on the TS (eye sockets, around the crossed hands, the gaps or even curvature between fingers etc.).

I use bas relief to imply something like the head on a coin with a little raised relief but much less in relative terms than the real live or dead subject, or a fully 3D representation of the latter (statue, bust etc). The wiki definition is OK seems OK for starters:

“Bas-relief is a type of sculpture that has less depth to the faces and figures than they actually have, when measured proportionately (to scale). This technique retains the natural contours of the figures, and allows the work to be viewed from many angles without distortion of the figures themselves.”

I believe the face (at least) of the TS image was imprinted from a bas relief (as incidentally did Prof Luigi Garlaschelli). The sharpish break in image continuity between cheek and hair on both sides is the give-away, suggesting there to have been a groove or trough in the template such that no imaging was possible in that gap. The idea that the break is just a banding effect in the linen, that the ‘missing’ image is retrievable with the right ‘enhancement’ with computer software etc, simply does not stand up to close critical scrutiny. That knob-twiddling-solves-all view is an example of what is known technically in boring old mainstream science as “pure tosh”.

* A Summary of STURP’s Conclusions

Lest the wrath of God descend upon them like a ton of bricks

September 21, 2014 11 comments

Angel, in a comment directed at Colin Berry, wrote:

… I am not stating you haven’t spent an enormous amount of time and energy attempting to recreate a likeness that would disprove the Shroud image. That is commendable, although antithetical to Christian belief. Yet, it is your right, as a scrutinizing scientist….

How could Colin not reply, even if it meant breaking his umpteenth pledge to never again comment in this “insistently proselytizing pro-authenticity” blog. He states:

Angel: there’s nothing “antithetical to Christian belief” in being a sceptic where the TS is concerned. Ask the Vatican if you don’t believe me.

This philosophical badinage reminds of a humorous letter to the editor of Nature. From four years ago:


Strangest Quote Ever on the Shroud of Turin

imageCesare Emiliani, Department of Geological Sciences, University of Miami, world renowned geologist, known for his work on marine sediments and plate tectonics, in a letter to Nature following the carbon dating of the Shroud in 1988.

Religion is perfect and unchangeable, the work of God. Science is imperfect, and, I suspect, the work of the Devil. The two should never be mixed. The scientists who participated in the dating of the Shroud of Turin should repent and promise to never do anything like that again. Creationists are even more guilty, for they have been mixing science and religion for years and years.  They should abandon their evil practices forthwith, lest the wrath of God descend upon them like a ton of bricks.

More Coverage on the St. Louis Conference

September 21, 2014 Leave a comment

imageSheila Frayne Rhoades has a write up on the conference in the local Chesterfield Magazine Network. (Chesterfield is the St. Louis suburb where the conference will take place).

According to Chuck Neff, former St. Louis TV news reporter and executive producer of Salt River Production Group, one of the conference’s sponsors, the local conference is particularly significant.

“In light of the public exposition of the Shroud in 2015 (in Turin), this St. Louis conference stands to be an incredible hallmark of discovery from a noteworthy gathering of many of the world’s leading experts on the Shroud,” Neff explained. “I find it not only interesting, but extremely exciting that so many international Shroud experts would be making their way to St. Louis, to talk about what some describe as the biggest mystery on the face of the earth.”

The four-day conference is open to the public. Tickets can be purchased in advance on the conference website (stlshroudconference.com) and at the door.

Presenters include Joseph G. Marino, conference chairman; Mark Antonacci, founder and president of Resurrection of the Shroud Foundation, a conference co-sponsor; and Barrie Schwortz, the official documenting photographer during the first scientific examination of the Shroud in 1978, among many others.

[ . . . ]

The conference will feature presentations on image formation and C-14 (radiocarbon) dating as well as the physics, chemistry, history, archaeology, iconography and theology of the Shroud.

Categories: St Louis 2014

Pictures for a Sunday Morning

September 21, 2014 Leave a comment

The Shroud of Turin replica on display at St. Maria Goretti Church in Hatfield,
Pennsylvania, Sunday evening Sept. 14, 2014. Photos by Susan Keen.
CLICK HERE or on the photo to see several pictures.

image

Categories: Press Coverage Tags:

Accommodations for Special Pilgrims in 2015

September 20, 2014 Leave a comment

imageA Bing translation from sindone.org:

. . . people who live in suffering and young people will be the main «players» the next exposition of the shroud. To accommodate adequately and comfortably sufferers and their carers Health Pastoral of the Diocese of Turin, together with the Organizing Committee, is preparing a series of services: reception places for those who made the pilgrimage to the Shroud during the day, and hospitality locations for stops in Turin . . .

You can also try Google or learn Italian.

Categories: 2015 Tags:

Time Out Productions presents Russ Breault

September 20, 2014 2 comments

This 28 minute interview was published on YouTube yesterday:

According to the description at YouTube:

Time Out Productions presents Russ Breault of Shroudencounter.com on the Shroud of Tourin.
RUSS BREAULT has been researching and lecturing on the Shroud of Turin for over 25 years. His presentation makes use of over 150 superb images and unfolds like a CSI investigation. The audience is riveted as each clue is revealed and becomes another piece of a grand puzzle as the mystery of the Shroud is explored. Carefully designed to be educational and entertaining, Mr. Breault delivers a dynamic, fast-paced experience. His highly acclaimed presentation is called THE MYSTERY OF THE SHROUD.

Mr. Breault has captivated hundreds of audiences from New York to Hawaii. College and university presentations include Duke, Auburn and West Point along with hundreds of church events. He has been a guest speaker at scientific societies including the American Chemical Society.

Mr. Breault has appeared in numerous national shows and networks including ABC, CBS, The History Channel and many other local programs.

Categories: Video Tags: ,

Paper Chase: Uncovering the Sources of DNA on the Shroud

September 20, 2014 9 comments

imageGiulio Fanti has most kindly allowed me to republish a recent paper from the Bari conference. The paper is:

ATSI 2014 – Uncovering the Sources of DNA
of the Turin Shroud

by G. Barcaccia, G. Galia, A. Achilli, A. Olivieri, A. Torroni
and G. Fanti.

The last sentence reads:

Our experimental findings and additional clues pose a further difficulty to those who postulate a central European origin and a historical interval corresponding to the Middle Ages of the Relic.

Also see:  Surprising Paper out of Bari: Plant DNA Studies on the Shroud of Turin

Categories: Paper Chase Tags:
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