Archive for the ‘Science’ Category

Do the Blue Quad Mosaics tell a different story than we think?

March 22, 2015 75 comments

A reader writes:

imageDid Hugh Farey not just drop a bunker buster on the Quad Mosaics when he wrote [in a comment], “These studies are in fact largely ignored by authenticists, in that they are assumed correct and quoted as gospel without any reference to what they actually say. Non-authenticists, on the other hand, have studied them in considerable detail, such that we can say with authority that any contamination of the radiocarbon corner of the shroud made it appear older, not younger, than it really is […].”

If Rogers misread the Quad Mosaics, now what?

I think Hugh may be paradoxically right!

(link and ellipsis above added by me)

Hugh has since added the following in a  clarifying comment:

Claim: “We can say with authority than any contamination of the radiocarbon corner of the shroud made it appear older, not younger, than it really is.” This is based on John M. Morgan III’s paper ‘Digital image processing techniques demonstrating the anomalous nature of the radiocarbon dating sample area of the Shroud of Turin’ at, where he shows that the radiocarbon samples are increasingly contaminated the closer they are to the corner, and on Ray Schneider’s St Louis paper, ‘Dating The Shroud Of Turin: Weighing All The Evidence’ at, where he shows a 99.93% correlation between the radiocarbon dates and the UV-fluorescence.

I don’t know what paradoxically right means. However, Hugh is non-paradoxically right, at least as it applies to this blogger: I did assume that what I was being told about the Blue Quad Mosaics was correct. I didn’t think about it at all. Now I’m not going to make the same mistake and assume Hugh is right. I’m a layman. I’ve read the Morgan paper and I listened to Ray in St. Louis. Now I need to have it explained to me. I’m totally confused. No paradox there.

I recommend a paper by Barrie Schwortz: SOME DETAILS ABOUT THE STURP QUAD MOSAIC IMAGES

I also recommend reading both comments in their entirety ( first comment and the clarifying comment.

And I also recommend an earlier posting in this blog:  Comment Promoted: Are the Quad Mosaics Meaningless?

Tabor: A Distinctive 1st Century Weave

March 21, 2015 20 comments

imageThere is no new news in James D. Tabor’s posting in the Huffington Post blog two days ago.  CNN provided the cover for repetition:

CNN focused on the question of the authenticity of the controversial "Shroud of Turin," in the first episode of its new pre-Easter series "Finding Jesus." Those challenging the authenticity of this ancient relic point to carbon dating tests done at three independent labs in 1988 that dated samples of its cloth to AD 1260-1390, which coincides with the first appearance of the shroud in France in the 1350s. Believers in the shroud’s authenticity have questioned the authenticity of the tests.

What many do not know is that we do in fact have an unquestionably authentic burial shroud from a tomb in Jerusalem that has been carbon dated to the 1st century. Any consideration of the "Shroud of Turin" should begin with a comparison of what we know rather than what we might want to believe.

The tomb of which he speaks is the tomb that Tabor and Shimon Gibson found in June of 2000.

…Textile analysis was done on the cloth–it turned out to be a mixture of linen and wool, not woven together but layered with a separate head piece. It had a distinctive 1st century weave–in contrast to the Shroud of Turin….

And then . . .

The Tomb of the Shroud continues to offer more surprises. We recently noticed that the mitDNA tests of two of the individuals in this tomb match the polymorphisms of two individuals in the Jesus family tomb–namely skeletal materials taken from both the Yeshua and the Mariamene ossuaries. What the implications of this might be, and whether there is any possible relationship between these two families, remains to be explored.

Hat tip to Joe Marino for spotting the posting.

John Klotz Delivers the Knockout

March 20, 2015 35 comments

imageOne may find argument with historical evidence of the shroud’s existence before Lirey. But to say there is no evidence is to be …, well, in my opinion, like the nut jobs  who go about saying there is no evidence that Jesus ever existed.

John Klotz, in a MUST READ essay, CNN’s Finding Jesus loses Him, makes it abundantly clear. By page 7 John is writing:

There is more: an eyewitness account of exhibitions of a linen shroud that is more than arguably the Shroud of Turin. The witness was a French knight who participated in a siege of Constantinople during the Fourth Crusade which ended with the "Christian" knights looting Constantinople and stripping it of all its cherished relics that could be carried away. Among them was the linen cloth that was the Shroud of Turin.

This is how Gibson and McKinley described it their book Finding Jesus:

"In 1203, a Flemish knight named Robert de Clari, fighting with the Fourth Crusade then camped in Constantinople, noted that a church within the city’s Blachernae Palace put on a very special exhibition every Friday. On display wasn’t just the holy image of the face of Jesus, but the actual cloth in which Christ had been buried. In 1205 de Clari composed a more detailed account: ‘There was a Church which was call[ed] My Lady Saint Mary of Blachernae, where there was the shroud (syndoines) in which Our Lord had been wrapped, which every Friday, raised itself upright so that one could see the form (figure) of Our Lord on it, and no one either Greek or French, ever knew what became of this shroud (syndoines) when the city was taken [by the Crusaders].’" 10

What happened to the Shroud after Constantinople was looted by the French? Wilson has favored the idea that it came into possession of the Order of the Knights Templar in France. The Order was suppressed in 1307 by French King Philip the Fair. On March 19, 1314, its Grandmaster, Jacques deMolay along with the Order’s Master of Normandy Geoffrey de Charny were burned at the stake.11 That Geoffrey may have been related to the Geoffrey de Charny who was the documented owner of the Shroud in 1355.

However, Gibson and McKinley echo another view that has achieved some currency. One of the French knights who participated in the sack of Constantinople was Orthon de la Roche who performed outstanding service and was named the Lord of Athens. He later returned to France. Jeanne de Vergy was a descendant of Orthon. She became the second wife of the 1355 "owner" of the Shroud Geoffrey de Charny. Gibson and McKinley hypothesize that the Shroud was a part of her dowry when she married Geoffrey12

This is not a complete recitation of the reported history of the Shroud prior to 1532. When Professor Goodacre baldy states that there is NO evidence of the Shroud’s history before Lirey, he is simply wrong.

The KO is in the next paragraph:

In my opinion that is not his most egregious error. Perhaps it’s excusable as only his opinion. However, his statement that the critics of the carbon dating were engaged in special pleading is not just wrong but, in my opinion, reprehensible.

Some of us who are not, like John, skilled lawyers, need to remind ourselves what a special pleading is – to pull out that old definition from behind mind’s cobwebs. According to Wikipedia (I’m not a scholar, either) it is “a form of fallacious argument that involves an attempt to cite something as an exception to a generally accepted rule, principle, etc. without justifying the exception.”

I share your opinion, John. It is reprehensible.

Note:  The photograph, by an unknown photographer, is of Ingemar Johansson knocking out Floyd Patterson and becoming the boxing heavyweight world champion in 1959 is a press photograph taken before 1969 and is therefore in the public domain (Wikimedia Commons)

A Shift-Drift in Colin Berry’s Thinking?

March 17, 2015 76 comments

To misparaphrase Dylan Thomas: Do not go gentle into that good night
but rage, rage against the dyeing of the cloth (dying of the light).

imageI remember many postings to the Shroud Science Group to and by Ray Rogers. One didn’t need to agree with him to please him. He liked new thinking if it was based on real science. At the same time, however, he was tolerant of dolts like me who did not know science very well but were willing to listen.

He liked it when people were willing to hypothesize and experiment. Propose any method for image formation that was based on real science, and you had his complete attention. I think, from what I read over the span of many months, Ray would have truly enjoyed Colin Berry’s latest blog posting, Is the Shroud of Turin image really "enigmatic"? See this straightforward, no-nonsense modelling exercise:

Colin begins with a bit of prefatory stage setting. In reacting to people who call the image enigmatic. He writes:

…  it’s perhaps not surprising that some have read “enigmatic” to mean not just "mysterious" but “supernatural”.

Personally. this retired science bod is quite happy to entertain the possibility of certain phenomena being supernatural, but only if non-supernatural explanations have been carefully considered and rigorously excluded.. Thus I’m minded to think that the "Big Bang" was the work of a supernatural entity – though that has not prevented me proposing a non-supernatural explanation (see margin notes) that uses conventional physics.

Rigorous filtering out of non-supernatural explanations is sadly not the case where the Turin Shroud is concerned -  there being little real science and a surfeit of pseudo-science aka tosh.. One has only to peruse the headlines that have appeared from scientists ("scientists"?) in recent  years.  Try googling  turin shroud to find entries like this one which as it happens was what sparked my own (renewed) interest in the Shroud, after lying dormant since the 1988/9 radiocarbon dating.

Which sets us up for a fascinating shift or drift in thinking:

What if the image layer were a faint  scorch, or, better still me(currently)thinks Joseph Accetta’s DYE imprinting (now this blogger’s preferred hypothesis in place of a previous fixation with thermal imprinting aka scorching.) 

Actually, going beyond Accetta…

Addendum: as stated here and elsewhere, this blogger now aligns himself with Joseph Accetta in  thinking that the TS image was probably dyed onto the linen, rather than heat-scorched. (I would not have rated dyeing per se very highly, but for the fact that dyeing onto linen is difficult without use of a mordant, that the most common mordant – alum – is highly acidic, and that sulphuric acid from slow alum hydrolysis may explain the faint ghost image we see today (so I’ve gone beyond Dr. Accetta  somewhat). So how does printed fabric respond to the conversions outlined above?

The posting, on Colin’s blog, started March 8th, has been growing. There is this from additional material added just yesterday:

Note: either of the two hydroxides can easily rearrange to make the hydrated oxides, like, er. McCrone’s iron oxide, accommodated within a "painted image" scenario. (Did he ever consider dyeing, as distinct from painting?).

Speaking of which – dyeing that is -  the so-called "dye-rot" that degrades some ancient printed textiles has been attributed to iron-based mordants, especially those that use iron sulphates, as distinct from iron chlorides (sulphuric acid being non-volatile, unlike hydrochloric).

Heaven help us:

Note the current focus on dyeing,  with initially soluble pigments, as distinct from painting with insoluble ones. Hat tip again to Joseph Accetta, assuming the problem of reverse-side (aka obverse-side) action can be resolved. If it can’t, this blogger may need to revert to instant thermal scorching….

Or supernatural?

Note:The image shown above is accidental. It is of a drop cloth used below a plastic grid while dyeing other pieces of cloth as discussed in Lisa Kerpoe’s blog having nothing whatsoever to do with the shroud or the topic at hand.

A Rebuttal of Jackson’s Refutation of Reweaving?

March 8, 2015 101 comments
Categories: Carbon 14 Dating Tags:

Mark Goodacre Answers Carbon Dating Questions on CNN Website

March 5, 2015 109 comments

… and several other questions, too.

To keep up with all the Tweets to Mark click on @goodacre

To follow the continuing dialog on Facebook, visit

imageMark, a professor of New Testament and Christian Origins in the Department of Religious Studies at Duke University, is a featured expert in the CNN series, Finding Jesus.

Here are his answers to two carbon dating questions:

Vance Lipsey: Is there a better way to check the shroud than carbon dating? I’ve been told carbon dating is very inaccurate.

Goodacre: Actually, carbon dating is an excellent way to ascertain the date of an artifact. Many are disappointed, not surprisingly, that the shroud dated to between AD 1260 and 1390. I recall my own disappointment (but not surprise) on hearing the results back in 1988. But the scientists doing the carbon dating were not amateurs, and the samples were tested in three separate labs. Moreover, the carbon date cohered with other evidence that the shroud was a medieval forgery, like the fact that there is no evidence of its existence until the 14th century.

Cynthia Restivo: So I know the carbon dating was off, but wasn’t it later shown that the piece of cloth used for the testing was a section that had been repaired after some fire damage or something? Which would explain why it dated different?

Goodacre: No, that’s not been established. Those who defend the authenticity of the shroud often say the sample might have been taken from a part of the shroud that was repaired after it was damaged by fire in the 16th century. But this is special pleading. The scientists who took the sample knew what they were doing. Professor Christopher Ramsey noted that the unusual weave on the sample matched the weave on the rest of the shroud perfectly.

Checking In On Colin Berry: A New Image Model ‘forming in my mind’

March 3, 2015 23 comments

So one mixes up some alum and some thickening agent – a gum or starch etc

imageColin is is toying with a new image formation scheme. He is blogging about it though it is difficult to know this. Instead of posting new entries in his blog, Colin adds more text to old ones, so much so that even Google is gasping for air.

In what follows, we are looking at some new text added to a posting for February 20, Might the Shroud of Turin properly be described as a ‘proximity imprint’ in sweat and blood, real or simulated, to distinguish it from Freeman’s faded painting? If you want to follow along you can find the latest text (as of this morning) roughly 4/5 of the way down what is now a very long webpage:

… Am presently  researching, thoroughly I hope, a distinctively different angle on the manner in which the Shroud image may have been produced. It’s a difficult call to beat contact thermal imprinting, while still  producing a negative  non-directional image with 3D properties etc etc. But the new model that’s been forming in my mind, with some prompting from the writings of Luigi Garlaschelli and Joseph Accetta, might be more suited to the medieval mind (and technology) than the heated inanimate  templates (horse brasses, brass crucifixes)on the cooker hob in this blogger’s 21st century kitchen.

A few paragraphs later:

Here’s a few broadbrush ideas to be getting along with.

Firstly, there had to be template.One does not paint a negative image freehand, at least not one so photograph-like as the TS (when submitted to 19th/20th century technology). The template may have been totally inanimate (14th century provenance), e.g. a metal or ceramic bas relief, or it may been a real person (allowing for a 1st century provenance, if one is willing to junk the radiocarbon dating – count me out).

So one mixes up some alum and some thickening agent – a gum or starch etc – applies it to one’s subject of template, then presses down linen to get an imprint. What then?  Knowing what we now know about the properties of alum, one could suggest an immediate roasting at a temperature that leads to chemical sehydration of the linen carbohydrates in areas in immediate contact with the alum paste. Knoock off the surplus paste when doen and one has (maybe) a faint yellow negative image.

clip_image001And – to be expected:

Briefly, the Lirey Pilgrim’s Badge provided a possible rationale for imprinting the image of a bearded man who was NOT Jesus, but a Knight Templar, indeed the most prominent, Jacques de Molay. Why? Because de Molay, Grand Master of the outlawed order was burned at the stake in Paris 1314. Alongisde him was a fellw Templar, Preceptor of Normandy, Geoffroi de Charney. That name is almost but not quite identical to that of the Lord of Lirey whose widow placed the Shroud on its first recorded public display in 1357, shortly after he husband’s death at the Battle of Poitiers. Her husband is said by celebrated genealogist Noel Currer-Briggs to have been the nephew of his quasi-namesake who died in 1314, some 43 or so years earlier.  Might the TS image have been intended to represent a Knight Templar and the manner of death, especially as the "burning at the stake" had in fact been performed sadistically by slow-roasting? Was it a tribute (initially) that had remained in the family, a closely guarded secret initailly for obvious reasons when Templars were still being dispossed and worse by an alliance of convenience between the then heretic-seeking Papacy and cash-strapped French monarchy? Was it ‘reinvented’ to represent the victim of crucifixion rather than "scorching".

Was there supporting evidence that might corroborate that interpretation?

More to come:

I can hardly wait.

Categories: Image Theory, Other Blogs Tags:

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