Archive for the ‘Other Blogs’ Category

screw·y 1. crazy. 2. ludicrously odd, or inappropriate.

May 31, 2015 5 comments

It seems a bit dishonest or it is extremely sloppy work to directly link to Ian Wilson’s
book in a sentence that reads, “Note the further evidence that
Arizona’s first "1350 AD" radiocarbon date of the Shroud was a fraud, perpetrated by a computer hacker, allegedly
Timothy W. Linick 

imageStephen Jones is writing what should be/could be a most helpful and interesting Turin Shroud Dictionary. Wonderful, right? 

It could be. I would like it to be. Here are a couple of samples from an entry for Geoffroy I under G (split in Ga to Gm). Despite being a bit op-ed-ish, there is some interesting stuff here with many hot links that should prove useful to many people:

Geoffroy I owned (or knew he was going to own) the Shroud by 1343. In1343 Geoffroy I applied to Philip VI for funds to build and operate a chapel in Lirey with five chaplains. Geoffroy himself would contribute his inheritance from an great-aunt Alix de Joinville (1256-1336), the mother of Bishop Pierre d’Arcis (c.1300-95), which further explains Bishop d’Arcis later hostility to the exhibition of the Shroud at that same Lirey church (see future). In June that same year, 1343, King Philip donated land with an annual rental value for financing the chapel. In 1349, in a petition to the French Pope at Avignon, Clement VI (1291–1352), Geoffroy advised that he had constructed a chapel at Lirey with five canons (priests), and requested that it be raised to collegiate church. For a tiny village of 50 houses, this is evidence that Geoffroy already had the Shroud in 1343 (or knew he was going to get it), and was planning to exhibit it at that Lirey church. However, due to Geoffroy I’s second imprisonment in England 1349-51, the collegiate status of the church was not proceeded with. Nevertheless, by 1353 the church had six canons, one of whom was Dean, as well as three other clerics. Moreover in that same year, 1353, King John II agreed to a further annual revenue increase. In 1354, Geoffroy renewed his petition to the new Avignon Pope Innocent IV (c. 1195-1254), renewing hisrequest that the Lirey church be raised to collegiate status, which was granted. So from a simple rural chapel in a village of 50 fifty houses,Geoffroy was preparing his Lirey church from 1343, to be a centre of pilgrimage! Clearly the pilgrimages would be to see the Shroud (as happened in c. 1355. So Geoffroy must have owned the Shroud from no later than 1343 (or knew he was going to). And King Phillip VI must have known that Geoffroy had (or was going to get) the Shroud from at least 1343, for him to agree to fund a church with such a disproportionately large number of clergy for such a tiny village. So too must his son King John II to agree to increase funding of the Lirey church in 1353, as well as the French Avignon Popes Clement VI and Innocent IV. This places a 1343 time constraint on theories of when and how Geoffroy I de Charny obtained the Shroud (see next).

More interesting stuff. It seems well researched.

[…] This is actually stated in a 1525 document which was posted at the entrance of the rebuilt Lirey church:

"King Philip of Valois … informed that the count of Charny had got out of prison [in 1342] … sent for him … and so that the church of Lirey would be more revered and honored, he gave him the holy shroud of Our Lord, Savior and Redeemer Jesus Christ … to be put … in the church that he hoped and proposed to build …. And … gave him leave and permission to give the church, for an endowment, up to the sum of two hundred sixty livres tournois; and afterwards the king John, son of Philip of Valois, also gave the count of Charny power and permission to give and increase the foundation of the church, up to the sum of a hundred livres tournois besides the gift of his father; all in amortized rent without paying any tax, from which he released him by a special grace on account of the great and agreeable services that the count of Charny had done for them" (my emphasis)[10].

This was accepted as reliable by arch-Shroud critic Canon Ulysse Chevalier (1841–1923), and by earlier Shroud pro-authenticists Beecher (1928), Barnes (1934) and Currer-Briggs (1987). But it was rejected on inadequate grounds by both Wilson (1979 & 1998) and Crispino (1988). A sufficient reason for Philip to give Geoffroy the Shroud would be if in the 1341 battle of Angers, Geoffroy saved the life of Philip’s son, the future King John II. That would fit Geoffroy II’s explanation that the Shroud was "freely given" to his father and Geoffroy II’s daughter Marguerite’s explanation that it was "conquis par feu" ("conquered by fire"), i.e. obtained by conquest in battle, by her grandfather Geoffroy I. But there are other plausible explanations of how King Philip VI obtained the Shroud and then gave it to Geoffroy I de Charny [see future "Besançon," "Jeanne de Vergy," and "Philip VI"].

BUT THEN the entry for Geoffroy I goes screwy on us:

Geoffroy I and the Shroud’s "1350 AD" first carbon-date. Note the further evidence that Arizona’s first "1350 AD" radiocarbon date of the Shroud was a fraud, perpetrated by a computer hacker, allegedlyTimothy W. Linick [see future "hacking" and "Linick"], because in 1350 the Shroud was owned (and had been since ~1341) by the "perfect knight," Geoffroy I de Charny, author of three works on chivalry, whowould rather die (and did die) than go back on his word. The implicit claim by the 1988 radiocarbon dating of the Shroud, made explicit by Oxford’s Prof. Edward Hall (1924–2001):

"`There was a multi-million-pound business in making forgeries during the 14th century," he bluntly told a British Museum press conference. `Someone just got a bit of linen, faked it up and flogged it.’"[12]

that Geoffroy de Charny, was a party to a fraud in either having "faked" the Shroud (while he was almost fully occupied in fighting battles or as a prisoner of war), or paying (despite the fact that he was poor) a forger who "flogged" it to him, is manifestly absurd!

It seems a bit dishonest or it is extremely sloppy work to directly link to Ian Wilson’s book in a sentence that reads, “Note the further evidence that Arizona’s first "1350 AD" radiocarbon date of the Shroud was a fraud, perpetrated by a computer hacker, allegedly Timothy W. Linick

Colin Berry on STURP

May 30, 2015 14 comments

imageWhen I finally got around to reading Colin’s latest posting, the words “Rambling Wreck” came to mind.  (Sorry for being so late getting around to Colin’s postings but timing is everything with him – one never knows if he is done or where he is rambling to).

To football fans (that is American football, Colin), the term "Ramblin’ Wreck" refers to Georgia Tech’s mascot, a 1930 Ford. But according to Wikipedia the term…

has been used to refer to students and alumni of Georgia Tech much longer than the car that now bears the name has been in existence. The expression has its origins in the late 19th century and was used originally to refer to the makeshift motorized vehicles constructed by Georgia Tech engineers employed in projects in the jungles of Central America. The Wrecks were constructed from whatever the engineers could find—mostly old tractor and automotive parts—and were kept running by the engineers’ ingenuity and creativity

imageDisabuse yourself of the idea that I am referring to Colin’s rambling wreck style of posting. (To find what he posts go to his blog and then search for the words “Put more simply.”)    I’m thinking more about how he uses an otherwise interesting write up on his experiments, Progress report on my new model for the Turin Shroud. Might the sepia body image be a surface film of nitrated protein derived from wheat glutens? to fire a broadside at STURP.

… Put more simply, the scientist needs to have an inkling of underlying process or mechanism in order to know where to concentrate manpower and resources. Without that inkling he or she could waste years or decades thrashing around for an answer, accumulating masses of data that throw little or no light on the problem.

Folk can probably guess where this is leading – to STURP and its technology-obsessed approach to the Shroud, arriving in Turin with all that hardware, but without a single good idea about where to concentrate resources. Indeed. most of its efforts were focused on testing a dud hypothesis, something that should have been plain to see back in 1978, and indeed in 1898, namely that the Shroud might simply be  ‘just a painting’. How could Secondo Pia’s negative image possibly have been ‘just a painting’. A negative image implies an IMPRINT, one where the template determines the final image, where there is no obligatory artistic free-hand process at the final imprinting stage. One has a master template – a real person, or maybe just a statue or bas relief- that gives a slave imprint – a tone-reversed negative of the master. Why on earth would an ad hoc task force of scientists and engineers bother to focus so much effort in testing for whether the Shroud was ‘just a painting’ when the primary objective should have been to deduce the process that resulted in a negative imprint?

STURP’s prime focus should have been on deducing (a) the nature of the template and (b) the nature of the imprinting process – whether entirely passive or human-aided. In short, the project should have been one about reverse-engineering.


Colin does a bit of Monday morning quarterbacking:

That’s the optics and physics dealt with. Now for the chemistry (and botany): is the image intrinsic to the linen carbohydrates, or is it associated with an extrinsic coating ("impurity layer")? An answer to that question could be (or have been) gained by use of high resolution light or scanning electron microscopy, especially ofcross-sections of TS body image fibres. Various mechanical and/or chemical/enzymatic procedures could have been used to remove a putative impurity coating, to see what was underneath – an intact or degraded fibre, with or with its primary cell wall. (Ah yes: the PCW – an entity that somehow fails to receive a single mention in the 1981 STURP Summary despite being the most superficial part of the linen fibre, and despite having a thickness (200nm) that corresponds, approximately, with Rogers’ estimate of TS body image thickness).

And then he dumps on Rogers, Jackson, Adler and Heller:

Overview of STURP’s damp squib (no big bang, just a handy smokescreen for some)
Why did STURP set up its straw man target (if you’ll pardon the internet lingo), i.e. that it was ‘just a painting’? Given all the effort expended in ruling out what should have been self-evident from an imprinted negative image, why did it end up telling us next to nothing positive about the TS image?

If one looks at the research activity of its demob-happy leading lights subsequent to publication of the 1981 Summary, it’s clear why the latter took the form it did. It left the road clear for   narrative-spinning pro-authenticists to drop any pretence of scientific objectivity, and to go inserting fantasies as if fact into the Shroud literature. I refer to Raymond N.Rogers with his Pliny era special pleading (starch fractions, saponins etc initally, with more later in the pipeline re spliced repair threeads and missing vanillin precursors for challenging the radiocarbon dating), to John Jackson for his  wacky radiation-imaging/collapsing cloth ideas, and to Adler and Heller for their "blood too red /trauma bilirubin" fantasies.  None of that massive self-indulgence, that wholesale retreat from strict scientific objectivity would have been possible if STURP had done its job properly, and focused on the TS as (probably, indeed almost certainly) a simple contact imprint, one requiring manual assistance, and thus consistent with the radiocarbon dating and medieval forgery.

The stultifying STURP project, with no realistic prospect of a return visit to Turin for years, nay decades, had its intended effect – to create a smokescreen-protected frozen conflict, one in which the pro-authenticity pseudo-science tendency could operate with impunity. Thank goodness that STURP’s attempts to oversee the 1988 radiocarbon dating (mixing and matching with a broader-based examination of pre-Lirey "history" was rejected. Just imagine the result: a few pen drawn circles on the Pray Codex  – the coffin lid, not Shroud as we are/were led to believe – would have been produced as a trump card, grounds for rejecting that  oh-so-arrogant  ‘error-prone’ methodology for which an endless source of contaminants can be invoked – new repair threads, bioplastic films, thymol, radiation-induced C-14, carbon monoxide, smoke …

Is the broadside justified?  Contrast Colin’s view a recent comment by John Klotz:

One of the good things that has happened recently is the leadership role now being played by Bruno Barberis at Turin Centro. At one conference he held STURP as a model for future examinations of the Shroud but a “STURP” with true international membership..

There is no question in my mind that John Klotz has carefully studied the work of STURP and understands it. I think Colin is mostly just shooting from the hip, so to speak.

Categories: Other Blogs

Colin Berry is not Seeing Red

May 27, 2015 55 comments

Berry: Where did the story of the too-red blood originate?  Answer: from Adler and Heller

imageYou may have noted a comment by Charles Freeman. 

Well, we just have to disagree on the reality of the human blood. I am an independent scholar, formerly a Senior Examiner of the International Baccalaureate;s critical thinking programme, Theory of Knowledge, and thus used to looking at evidence or asking those who know.

I had the Heller/Adler papers read by a professor emeritus of physiology who said that their claims that this was blood were totally unconvincing. I show the bloodstains to any forensic expert i can find and they all say they have never seen dried blood that red.

So I am not working on the understanding that this is blood.

Why can’t the STURP tests be replicated 37 years on? Have they lost the tapes???

Caption:  Robert Downey Jr. telling Charles Freeman that everything looks too red.

Will we ever learn the name of any of Charles’ many experts du jour. But that isn’t the point.  The point is that Charles is playing the blood-is-too-red card, perhaps too carelessly, something that Colin Berry in one of his overly long, topic-drift postings picked up on. In fact, Colin, is challenging the very notion that the blood is too red.

Let’s see some of what he has to say by clicking in and scrolling down until you spot Charles Freeman’s name for the fourth time:

Er, which photograph(s) of the TS show the blood as "too red"? How come after 3 years of looking at TS photographs, I have yet to see them?

It can’t be the 1931 Enrie photographs, since they are B/W. It can’t be the 2002 Durante pictures, at least those that appear on Mario Latendresse’s Shroud Scope, since the colour of the blood in those  pictures is scarcely distinguishable from the body image, the entire look being a dull plum.

Durante 2002 (from Shroud Scope): blood too red?

(The first thing I do with Shroud Scope pictures is put then into MS Office Picture Manager and adjust brightness/contrast/midtone from 0,0,0 to -7/100/15 in order to get the blood looking redder). So which photos are Charles Freeman showing to his buttonholed experts? Maybe those Halta pictures on the iPad app, recently described (aptly methinks) as mere toys?

Blood too red? …

Or maybe the BBC’s earlier release in 2008 of Halta pictures that do show a rosy hue in places where it’s not expected, but in prominent areas of body image, not blood especially.

Halta image from BBC site (2008). Some pink coloration – but it’s mainly in the beard and other body-image locations.

Finally, let’s not forget the Turin custodians’ own site with a selection of TS views, essentially the same it would appear as those on Shroud Scope.No, the bloodstains do not look too red. Indeed, they do not look red at all.

Where did the story of the too-red blood originate?  Answer: from Adler and Heller, who said in writing the blood was too red, the porphyrin spectrum was atypical, and thus was born the "trauma bilirubin/acid methemoglobin" claim, …

Barrie M.Schwortz has been responsible over the years for proselytising the "blood abnormally red" description, and his admiration for Alan Adler’s pro-authenticity narrative-friendly bilirubin explanation. …

Misleading impression of ‘redness’ created by high magnification/strong illumination? RGB reference standards for comparison? Might the colours also have been digitally adjusted in a manner that accentuated redness?

That still leaves unanswered the question as to which photograph Charles Freeman showed to his forensic experts or emeritus professor of physiology. I shan’t bother asking him directly. I’ve wasted too much time already – putting innumerable points and questions to someone who persistently displays a blissful indifference to the hard facts – and getting back nothing useful in return.

Remember the fun days?  Anyone remember Let’s Talk Red Blood: Bilirubin, Saponaria officinalis and UV?  All those other people believing the blood is too red.  Colin wasn’t questioning it then, was he?

Colin Berry On Rogers and Arnoldi Paper

May 24, 2015 12 comments

imageYesterday, Colin Berry, in one of his updates to his seemingly always evolving and meandering long postings, tells us what he would have done had he been refereeing Rogers’ and Arnoldi’s paper, “THE SHROUD OF TURIN: AN AMINO-CARBONYL REACTION (MAILLARD REACTION) MAY EXPLAIN THE IMAGE FORMATION”, which appeared in the peer-reviewed journal Melanoidins:

Had the paper come to me for refereeing… it would have been rejected out of hand.

I’d have appended the following specific comments to the author and journal Editor:

1. Do not go citing Pliny the Elder out of the blue, begging the question re Shroud authenticity, implying that the radiocarbon dating can be safely ignored.  Oh no it cannot. The author might think it invalid, based on his examination of a few threads illicitly removed from the radiocarbon sample, with a subsequent gap in the chain of custody. But he cannot expect others to take his rejection as the consensus position in science. It’s not. Indeed, the manner in which Pliny has been insinuated into the above text suggests strongly that Raymond N.Rogers was not strictly neutral and disinterested on the subject of authenticity when he penned the above paper, making it worryingly possible that he was not  neutral at the time he worked with STURP in 1978. It’s my belief that Rogers was a closet authenticist. If he considered the radiocarbon dating, then he as STURP’s chemical team leader should have been the one to press for a repeat dating – not to go tacitly assuming authenticity. Science has to be totally objective in its written PEER-REVIEWED publications.

2.The presence of starch "confirmed" with a reagent that designed to test for something entirely different? The correct reagent for detecting starch is a solution of iodine in potassium iodide, which gives a blue-black inky colour with starch. A solution of iodine in sodium azide, intended to detect sulphoproteins, one that gives a totally different colour (red), CANNOT be assumed to be testing for starch UNLESS VALIDATING TESTS ARE REPORTED.  They were not. We are asked to accept that iodine/azide is a dual purpose reagent. Who says? Neither does it inspire confidence to see a reference to "amilose", it being AMYLOSE needless to say. Secondly the differentiation between amylose (straight chain starch) and the unmentioned amylopectin (branched chain starch) simply cannot be inserted into a scientific account without a word of explanation. In nay case, the two components of starch were not properly recognized as distinct chemical entities until the 1940s. Their relevance to colorimetric tests for starch is highly questionable to say the least, unless dealing with genetic variants of wheat that are enriched in one or the other (e.g. waxy maize starches that are almost entirely amylopectin, which gives a red or purple colour with iodine/potassium iodide). What we see here is at best sloppy and imprecise unscientific reporting that should never have got past the referees.

3. There is no conclusive evidence that starch or other polysaccharides and/or sugars are  present on the Shroud, and even if the red colour with iodine/azide were admissible evidence, for which no assurance is offered, the evidence for that was from Adler and Heller. One CANNOT GO BASING MAJOR CLAIMS (as Roger’s "starch fraction/Maillard hypothesis" has become a major claim) on evidence from other workers, in other laboratories, that is little more than anecdotal.


John Klotz, the Blind men, the Elephant and the Shroud of Turin

May 21, 2015 28 comments

imageJohn Klotz has posted The Blind men, the Elephant and the Shroud of Turin on his blog. Have a look. He is right, of course:

As I have written, more than once, I find the community skeptical of the Shroud of Turin much like the blind men and the elephant. This morning, exasperated as usual by the "experts," who seek to cram the issue of Shroud authenticity in their area of expertise (like the art historian who claims to have solved the "mystery" of the image) I decided to do a little (very) research. My view is that there are three general disciplines with subgroups that must be addressed and an approach founded on only one or two of them will always come-up short: Religion, History and Science. …


Yet, I can not escape my observation that when I read and participate in discussions and debate about the Shroud, so many are either side of the authenticity side of the argument seem like blind men (and women) arguing about the nature of an elephant. This morning I did a little research on the blind men issue and found on the web via Wikipedia the following couplet which is attributed to Buddha:

"O how they cling and wrangle, some who claim
For preacher and monk the honored name!
For, quarreling, each to his view they cling.
Such folk see only one side of a thing."

Jainism and Buddhism. Udana 68-69:

Parable of the Blind Men and the Elephant

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Picture for Today: Getting Ready for the Shroud Exhibition in 1931

May 10, 2015 5 comments
Categories: Exhibition, Other Blogs

Colin Berry’s Method and 3D Information

May 10, 2015 5 comments

it is presumptive to think the 3D information represents cloth-to-body distance.
It is presumptive because you must have a method in mind

clip_image001A reader writes:

Colin Berry’s method may provide synthetic cloth to body information represented by varying color density for close together body features such as fingers beside each other. It cannot provide proper relative spatial information for disparate features related to each other at a distance such as the tip of the nose and the outer edge of each cheek.  Dr. Berry’s method cannot generate the sort of spatial information we see in Petrus Soon’s 3D renditions.

You are possibly right that Colin’s method cannot produce meaningful, relative 3D information for “disparate features related to each other at a distance.”  That seems obvious when looking at his method. But is that 3D information really contained in the shroud image in the sense you suggest? Does it represent reality?

1) I’m still not convinced that the 3D information represents cloth-to-body distance. It works out, it seems to me, to somehow represent body shape but it is presumptive to think the 3D information represents cloth-to-body distance. It is presumptive because you must have a method in mind to even suggest it.

 2)  I certainly have serious reservations about the 3D work undertaken by Petrus Soons.  I suspect that the real 3D information on the shroud is more like what we see with ImageJ, the VP8 and John Jackson’s 3D corrugated cardboard plot exhibited at the U.S. Air Force Academy Chapel in Colorado.

Might Colin’s method produce that kind of 3D data? I don’t think so, “synthetic” or otherwise. But I don’t know that. I think we need to wait and see.

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