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Yannick Clément on Paul Maloney’s St. Louis paper

December 8, 2014 10 comments

. . . the idea of a man-made forgery became completely obsolete . . .

One person who read Paul Maloney’s St. Louis paper was Yannick Clément (pictured with his guitar in photo supplied by him). What he wrote in an email to me is the reason I moved discussion of Paul’s paper up in the queue. But it also meant I had to delay sharing Yannick’s email until I read the paper. You should read Paul’s paper first. Then read Yannick’s additions, for that is what he offers us here:

imageIn the very long paper written by Paul Maloney entitled « Joseph M. Gambescia, M.D. and the Position of the Feet on the Shroud of Turin. The History of an Investigation. », which he presented at the recent St Louis conference, there is a very interesting list of what he called « Shroud’s anomalies » that represent, as he say, real problems for the painting hypothesis. This list can be found in pages 80 and 81 of his paper.

First, I want to say that I agree with Mr. Maloney that everyone of these « anomalies » are truly problematic for the painting hypothesis (except the second and fifth ones, for which I have serious doubts). But I think this list can be extended and I also think that such an extended list of « anomalies » must be seen as being good enough to discard not only the painting hypothesis for image formation but every hypothesis involving a forgery that would have been done with anything else than a real beaten, scourged and crucified corpse!

I’ll let you judge for yourself… Here’s the « anomalies » I would add to the list of « Shroud’s anomalies » described by Mr. Maloney in his paper:

1- The presence of serum stains surrounding most of the bloodstains and the kind of transfer that is responsible for these blood and serum stains (i.e. a transfer done from exudates of moistened blood clots instead of liquid blood) is enough to discard any idea of a forger who would have artificially created bloodstains on the cloth as a reminder of the bloody stigmata of Christ. Here’s what Alan Adler said about this issue in his book The Orphaned Manuscript: "We have shown by immunological tests that the blood is definitely primate blood, and that it must have been taken from the exudate of a clot at a certain point in the clotting process. An artist would therefore have needed the exudate from the wounds of a severely tortured man, or baboon, and he would need to take the substance within a 20-minute period after the clotting had begun, and paint it on the cloth with the serum edges and all the other forensic precision that we see there. I believe most reasonable people would conclude that it is simply impossible that an artist could have produced the blood imprints on the Shroud of Turin. Rather, it is logical to conclude, from the nature and characteristics of the bloodstains on the Shroud, that the cloth once enfolded the body of a severely beaten and crucified human being."

2- The fact that there are some missing parts in the body image (in the frontal as well as in dorsal image) is totally inconsistent with the idea of a forger that would have artificially crafted these body images in order to create a false relic of Jesus’ burial shroud with body images that would eventually been showed publicly to the faithful. Here’s some of these missing body parts: A) The thumb of the left hand is missing in the frontal image. B) Good portions of the feet are missing in both images (frontal and dorsal). C) The back of the knees are missing in the dorsal image.

3- Except for maybe one or two exceptions, Byzantine and Medieval artists have always depicted scenes of the Passion of Christ with some kind of cloth covering the groin, pelvic and buttocks areas, while on the Shroud, the image is showing a man completely nude.

4- The body image on the Shroud strongly support the hypothesis that the Shroud man had to carry only the patibulum of the cross instead of the entire cross, which is contrary to the vast majority of the artistic depiction of the bearing of the cross by Byzantine or Medieval artists.

5- The minute traces of aragonite dirt that have been found by the STURP team in a few « relevant » places like the heel or the nose for example are truly inconsistent with the idea of a forger using some kind of artistic or artificial technique to craft a false relic of Christ, because such traces of dirt (just like the serum stains surrounding most of the bloodstains by the way) would not have been visible for most faithful who would have look at the Shroud. On the contrary, these minute traces of aragonite dirt are consistent with the idea that the Shroud man would have walked barefoot on the way to his crucifixion.

6- Outside the image of the feet on the dorsal image, there is a clear mirror (or doubled) bloodstain that really seems to have been produced when the cloth was folded in that region. The idea that a forger would have wanted to artificially created such a mirror (or doubled) bloodstain in that particular region goes beyond any rationality, while such a strange feature truly have an « authenticity » signature.

7- The Shroud is a non-homogeneous cloth made of two distinct parts that came from the same original long piece of linen cloth. Such a cutting and later stitching is inconsistent with the idea of a forger who would have wanted to create a perfect relic of Jesus’ burial cloth that would have eventually been showed publicly to the faithful. On the contrary, this very odd feature truly have an « authenticity » signature.

That’s the 7 additional « Shroud’s anomalies » I wanted to add to Mr. Maloney’s list and I think that they are very relevant. In my mind, some of them, like the first one for example, are even more relevant than the ones he pointed out and especially the second and fifth anomalies he described, which are far from being proven. I think that once you take into account all the « anomalies » I described + those described by Mr. Maloney (even if we decide to left aside the second and fifth ones), the idea of a man-made forgery became completely obsolete and you don’t have too much choice to conclude that the blood and serum stains as well as the body image that we see on the Shroud MUST have been left there by some form of (probably natural) interaction between a real bloody and traumatized body and the cloth…

Of course, as I underlined in my paper entitled « Concerning the question of the authenticity of the Shroud of Turin – Please don’t forget the evidence of the bloodstains, such a conclusion doesn’t completely discard the idea of a « natural » forgery done with the use of a real crucified body or the idea of the Shroud being the burial cloth of an anonymous crucified man other than Jesus, but it certainly lead to completely discard any scenario involving a forgery done with the use of some artistic or artificial technique… And this is true not only for the blood and serum stains, but also for the body image.

And when you understand that this is a real burial cloth that enveloped for only a short period of time a real crucified body showing all the bloody wounds of Jesus (as reported in the Gospels) and that such a gruesome burial cloth had been taken out of a tomb in order to be well-preserved (which is something that would have been considered a legal impurity for a Jew in the time of Jesus, not because of the bloodstains on the cloth, but because this cloth had been in contact with a dead body and which can explain, at least partially, why there are no traces of such an important Christian relic in ancient sources), it became obvious that the answer must be positive with a very high level of confidence (which I estimated quite ironically in the same way than the dating results of the C14 labs in 88, i.e. positive with 95% confidence). Effectively, after having analyzed the two possible scenarios that do not involve the body of Jesus of Nazareth (i.e. the scenarios #1 and 2 in my paper about the bloodstains evidence), I came to understand that those two were highly improbable and, honestly, I consider both of them to be very far-fetched (which explain the high level of confidence I just expressed in favor of the authenticity of the Shroud as being the real burial cloth of Jesus).

Yannick Clément, Louiseville, Québec, Canada

Paul Maloney’s St. Louis Paper (The Shroud is not a painting)

December 8, 2014 1 comment

This list, then, and the complexity it represents, itself becomes a powerful argument
against the position that the Shroud was a painting.
No artist ever painted such a complex depiction of the Crucified.

imageMUST READ:  You are not going to be able to read this in twenty minutes. You can’t even skim it that quickly. This 81-and=then-some page paper, Joseph M. Gambescia, M.D. and the Position of the Feet on the Shroud of Turin. The History of an Investigation  by Paul C. Maloney is too important and two informative to to not be read carefully including the endnotes. Here is a sampling:

Page 4:

It was a dreary, rainy afternoon, April 7, 1980. I should have had the light on in my study but I didn’t because I was in a melancholy mood. Then the phone rang. I recognized that baritone voice on the other end of the line and knew I was talking to Hershel Shanks, founder and editor of the world’s largest circulating biblical archaeology magazine, The Biblical Archaeology Review, calling from Washington, D.C.

Hershel wanted me to write an article on the Shroud for the magazine. “But, Hershel, I don’t know anything about the Shroud of Turin!”

Page 9:

It is important here to insert here that Dr. Gambescia was not rejecting the work of the French physician, Dr. Pierre Barbet; he was actually building upon Barbet’s work. Neither was Dr. Gambescia rejecting the special interpretation of the arms and their attendant blood flows proposed by the late Mons. Giulio Ricci. His proposal, however, does suggest an interpretation different from that proposed for the blood flows for the feet than that offered by Mons. Giulio Ricci. It is this new interpretation that we are introducing for further research by the medical profession to be discussed alongside the earlier discussions for the feet. . . .

Pages 80 and 81:

A List of the Shroud’s Anomalies: Problems with the Painting Hypothesis

Finally, if it is argued that an artist did paint the original Shroud—as this view has most forcefully been argued by the late Dr. Walter C. McCrone in so many of his publications—the Shroud now becomes most unique. We may therefore conclude this paper with a convenient list of anomalies, as they would become if a singular artist painted the original:

1. Artists down through the ages have presented the Crucified wearing a crown of thorns. The Shroud shows the Man of the Shroud with a “cap” of thorns.

2. Artists have always depicted the Man of the Shroud with no rope holding the torso against the stipes of the Cross. The Shroud appears to support the view that a rope pulled the torso back to hold it against the upright (stipes) of the cross.

3. Artists have traditionally rendered the Crucified with nails through the palms of the hands. The Shroud shows them to be through the wrists.

4. Artists have long painted the Crucified showing the arms in a “Y” type of stance. But Mons. Giulio Ricci, who studied this in detail, shows that the right arm was likely bent at a right angle, whereas the left was in the “Y” position.

5. Artists have followed several different paths in rendering the feet. Sometimes they show the feet (especially in crucifixes) with the right foot up against the stipes of the cross, and the left nailed atop the right—all with one nail. At other times they have depicted the left against the stipes with the right atop the left foot—again, all with one nail. And sometimes the two feet are nailed side-by-side on a slanted platform (suppedaneum). This latter view is common in Eastern Byzantine, Greek, and Russian Orthodox crucifixes. Gambescia’s view would require two nails, one going through front of the ankle of the right foot to anchor it directly to the stipes, with the left foot nailed atop the center of the right using a single nail leaving the left foot free to swivel.

This list, then, and the complexity it represents, itself becomes a powerful argument against the position that the Shroud was a painting. No artist ever painted such a complex depiction of the Crucified. Yet, students of the history of art—interested especially in cladistics—can now actually see the Shroud as the beginning of a “tree of descent” where one can study just how the many painted views of the Crucified diverged over the centuries, influenced by various translations of the New Testament in conjunction with markings on the Shroud itself and the heavy pressure of tradition in numerous different geographical locales. But that would be the subject of another paper.

Taking comfort in significant endnotes:

Nevertheless, my request to Dr. Adler was precisely because of my concern regarding pareidolia. In my case, I wanted to be absolutely certain that the features discussed in this paper could be seen easily by the human eye. This problem is well illustrated in Ray Rogers review of Mark Antonacci’s book, Resurrection of the Shroud wherein he states:

With regard to other images on the Shroud, few of us can see them. "I think I can see" is not a substitute for an observation, and observations must be confirmed. When Fr. Francis Filas (deceased) claimed he saw the coins, lituus and all, he was looking at specific photographic prints. He had many prints produced at increasing contrast. Finally, all that was left was strings of dots. It took a numismatist who was familiar with ancient Roman coins weeks to "see" the lituus in those photographs. Your mind tries to make sense out of any "patterns" your eye can see. Psychologists have a lot of effort invested in studying such phenomena… It is dangerous to build a scientific theory on such shaky foundations. Your mind tends to see what it expects and/or wants to see. (Rogers’ review, p. 15, available at: http://www.shroud.com/pdfs/rogers.pdf).

The ever present danger of pareidolia and other related issues covered in this extensive endnote (including such problems associated with photo-lithography in the publication process; photo flipflopping [see 13.a below]; cropping, [see 13.a below] etc.) promoted my extreme caution when I asked of Dr. Adler this special favor to examine the Shroud in person in June 1997 to verify whether or not the markings that had been digitally enhanced were there and could be seen without digital enhancement. This footnote, then, not only covers pareidolia, but also other problems that are not technically defined as pareidolia.

Paper Chase: New observations on the Sudarium of Oviedo

December 5, 2014 13 comments

. . . In the back of the Man of the Shroud the hair is apparently arranged in a “ponytail”
shape. . . .  A simpler and more probable explanation is provided by Barta: the “ponytail”
is the result of the use of the Sudarium of Oviedo which was placed and sewed
around the hair in this area. . . .

imageI’ve always found accounts of the coincidences between the Sudarium of Oviedo and the shroud fascinating. Never, however, have I crawled through the details as carefully as I should have.  This paper afforded me a chance to begin that process. This St. Louis conference paper is fascinating. It is worth your time to carefully read New Discoveries On The Sudarium Of Oviedo by César Barta, Rodrigo Álvarez, Almudena Ordóñez, Alfonso Sánchez and Jesús García

Piture: Location of measurement spots on the reverse side of the Sudarium of Oviedo.
The reference numbers are listed in Table III, in the "label" column

I cheat! I jump to conclusions first. But that’s okay as long as I then read the whole paper:

The Sudarium of Oviedo and the Shroud of Turin are two relics attributed to Jesus Christ that show a series of amazing coincidences previously described. These similarities suggest that both cloths were used by the same personality.

In this contribution, we describe the X-ray fluorescence analysis performed on the Sudarium and we highlight a new fascinating coincidence with the Shroud and with the place of the Passion. Among the chemical elements detected, the concentration of Ca is the most reliable one. It is associated to soil dust and it shows a significantly higher presence in the areas with bloody stains. This fact allows us to conclude that the main part of the Ca located in the stained areas was fixed to the cloth when the physiological fluids were still fresh or soon after. As the stains have been correlated with the anatomical part of the deceased man, the amount of Ca can also be related with his anatomical features. The highest content of Ca is observed close to the tip of the nose, indicating unexpected soil dirt in this part of the anatomy. A particular presence of dust was also found in the same place in the Shroud providing a new and astonishing coincidence between both cloths.

The low concentration of Sr traces in the Sudarium, even lower in the stained areas, matches also well with the type of limestone characteristic from the Calvary in Jerusalem.

This new finding complements two other recently publicized: The ponytail shape of the Man of the Shroud hair, whose origin is justified by the use of the Sudarium of Oviedo and the alleged presence of a scourge mark in this cloth.

Such a gathering of evidences strengthens the tradition that both cloths have wrapped the same body, that of Jesus of Nazareth.

Paper Chase: A critical (Re)evaluation of the Shroud of Turin blood data by Kelly Kearse

December 2, 2014 1 comment

There are only 109 charts in the PowerPoint

Barrie Schwortz also wrote in A Personal Report on the 2014 St. Louis Conference:

imageOne of my favorite conference papers was the special presentation by Kelly Kearse see photo at right) titled, “A Critical (Re)evaluation of the Shroud of Turin Blood Data.” After the death of Al Adler in 2000, and for more than a decade, no credible credible blood or DNA experts remained actively actively involved in Shroud research. Then, in 2012, Kelly Kearse came on the scene and Shroud.com published the first of his blood blood papers that year (we have published four more since). Not only has he brought us his expertise in this critical area of Shroud research, but equally as important is the amazing ability he brings to make these complex issues understandable to everyone. Perhaps it is because he now uses his Ph.D. to teach high school science and has to make the materials interesting and understandable to younger folks. In the end, I guess I liked his paper because I actually understood it! I also overheard Mark Borkan tell Kelly at the end of his talk that he had “…learned more about the blood in that 30 minute presentation than in all the personal conversations he had had directly with Al Adler.” Now that is a compliment!

Read A critical (Re)evaluation of the Shroud of Turin blood data: strength of evidence in the characterization of the bloodstains (Paper) and the PowerPoint Presentation. I didn’t recall that there were 109 charts. It was just too interesting to notice. Maybe he skipped a couple charts.

And what a pleasure it was to meet Kelly.

A Bold Conclusion: the Blood, the Image, the Man

September 23, 2014 15 comments

imageThat conclusion begins:

The present analysis of available scientific data obtained from the Shroud of Turin and the results of a few experiments allow the conclusion that the best explanation, and a consistent one, for the peculiar pinkish redness of the bloodstains on the Shroud is that authentic acid blood of a dead crucified person stained an authentic Jewish madder-dyed temple mantle during and after an authentic Jewish burial procession of a person whose dead body formed an image on and disappeared from the Shroud in an extremely delicate way before putrefaction. This delicate and timely disappearance of the dead body and the presence of a bloodstained image of what seems to be a first-century Jewish ornament of a Sanhedrin member indicate that this person most probably was Jesus Christ.

This is no small paper; call it a book. That one paragraph, above, is on page 230. The paper is rich with footnotes. Many (it seems like most) of the footnotes and the ten pages of the bibliography have hyperlinks. There are numerous images, graphs and diagrams.

imageThe title is: Authentic acid blood mordanted the madder-dyed Shroud of Turin pinkish red before image formation – Jesus was dead

The author is A.A.M. van der Hoeven. The PDF was installed on Academia.org just yesterday, September 22, 2014. Adrie’s page on the site is HERE.

I’m one of those people who always reads the acknowledgments before I begin. How many names do you know?

The author wishes to express her gratitude to all people and institutions who kindly granted permission to use their published material. These are, in random order, the Commissione Diocesana per la Sindone, the Optical Society of America, Elsevier, Inc., Springer Science+Business Media, Russ Breault, Shroud of Turin Education Project Inc., the Infrared and Raman Users Group, the NIST Chemical Sciences Division, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, the Biocommunications Association, the American Chemical Society, the Shroud of Turin Education and Research Association, Inc., Petrus Soons, John Wiley and Sons, Ltd., Russ Selzer, Thibault Heimburger, the Institute of Chemistry of the University of Tartu in Estland, Antonino Cosentino, the Royal Society of Chemistry, Paul Weyth, Mario Latendresse, Colin Berry, Louis L. Bispo.

She is also grateful to T.J. Egan, F.E.G. Guimarães, M.J. Melo, A. Boffi, and Varaprasad Bobbarala for answering her questions on the aqueous heme dimer, lignin fluorescence, alizarin and purpurin spectra, acid methemoglobin, and madder root extracts, respectively.

Now to read the paper.  Because it will take half a ream of paper to print it, I have put it onto my iPad and a Kindle reader so I can take it to Starbucks or wherever I am during the next few days.

If you do nothing else before you walk away from this posting, read the Table of Contents, below.

BTW: HERE IS AN ALTERNATE LINK to the paper on another site that seems a bit faster.

Image Note:  The caption reads, “Fig. 2.29. A part of the small of the back area of the Shroud in visible light (left) and UV light, showing fluorescence “slightly enhanced” (right).” A footnote tells us it is from T. Heimburger’s A detailed critical review of the chemical studies on the Turin Shroud: Facts and Interpretations, 2008, over at shroud.com.

Here is a peak at the Table of Contents:

    • 1. INTRODUCTION. 4
    • 1.1. Normal blood features. 4
    • 1.2. Special features of the bloodstains. 5
    • 1.3. Analysis in this paper 6
    • 2. COHERENCE OF SPECIAL BLOOD FEATURES. 6
    • 2.1. Red color but no Soret band. 6
    • 2.1.1. Acid heme dimers. 7
    • 2.1.2. Heme-madder lake. 24
    • 2.1.3. Blood before image. 67
    • 2.2. Separate serum – UV-fluorescence halo on wrist 69
    • 2.2.1. Identification of separate plasma/serum.. 69
    • 2.2.2. No fluorescent “serum” scratches but dark images of stripes. 77
    • 2.2.3. Some “serum” margins possibly a tenting effect around … bloodmarks. 78
    • 2.3. No potassium signal in three X-ray fluorescence spectra of bloodstains. 80
    • 2.3.1. Postmortem blood is hyperkalemic. 80
    • 2.3.2. Vertical serum draining. 82
    • 2.3.3. Horizontally and vertically imprinted serum halos. 84
    • 2.3.4. Filter effect 89
    • 2.4. Few cells – hemolysate stains. 90
    • 2.4.1. Separate serum not red. 92
    • 2.4.2. Hemolysis mechanisms. 92
    • 2.5. Hydroxyproline in red particles on Zina-thread. 98
    • 2.6. High Na and Cl levels on reverse side. 99
    • 3. SURVIVAL OF CLOTH, BLOOD AND SERUM – PRESERVATIVE COATING.. 101
    • 3.1. Myrrh and aloes – antibacterial and antifungal 101
    • 3.2. Saponaria – antibacterial and antioxidant 102
    • 3.3. Madder – antimicrobic, antifungal, insecticidal, antioxidant 103
    • 3.4. Leech saliva antibiotics. 104
    • 3.5. Mordant protects madder lake from degradation. 104
    • 4. MADDER ON STARCH COATING.. 105
    • 4.1. Starch. 107
    • 4.1.1. Strippable sealing film.. 107
    • 4.1.2. Hot water washed out starch – blue fluorescence. 110
    • 4.1.3. FTIR spectra of Raes samples are similar to FTIR spectra…. 112
    • 4.2. Madder dye. 149
    • 4.2.1. Visible color and wet acid-base chemistry. 149
    • 4.2.2. Reflectance curves of clear areas – raw and absolute. 158
    • 4.2.3. Raw fluorescence scan background. 162
    • 4.2.4. Fluorescence photography. 166
    • 4.2.5. Image fluorescence. 174
    • 4.2.6. SEM-EDS analysis – smooth organic coating embedding particles. 178
    • 4.2.7. Microscopy – Red aluminum lake particles. 179
    • 4.2.8. Pyrolysis/Mass Spectrometry. 184
    • 4.3. Not pectin or microbial bioplastic coating. 186
    • 4.4. Not Saponaria. 186
    • 4.4.1. Acidichromism – not Saponaria. 188
    • 4.4.2. Fluorescence – not quite Saponaria. 188
    • 4.4.3. UV-vis absorbance – not Saponaria. 190
    • 4.4.4. Sugars – no Saponaria evidence. 191
    • 4.4.5. Solubility – not Saponaria. 192
    • 4.4.6. Color with iodine – not Saponaria. 193
    • 4.4.7. Effect on chelated iron – not Saponaria. 193
    • 4.4.8. Effect on image formation – not Saponaria. 194
    • 4.4.9. Lake colour with Al3+ and Ca2+ – not Saponaria. 194
    • 4.4.10. Heme-complex colour – not Saponaria. 195
    • 4.4.11. Relative reflectance of bloodstains – not Saponaria. 197
    • 5. FORMATION MECHANISMS. 198
    • 5.1. Post-mortem heme dimer formation – …  199
    • 5.2. Blood drying on the body. 205
    • 5.3. Rivulets running across the Shroud. 207
    • 5.4. Pools of wet blood – brown bloodstains. 209
    • 5.5. Scourge marks. 210
    • 5.5.1. Very faint – not dense – not chemically tested – no spectra. 210
    • 5.5.2. No fluorescent serum scratches or serum borders. 214
    • 5.5.3. Only dorsal scourge marks on reverse side. 214
    • 5.5.4. Hyperfibrinolysis caused pink imprints but no smears before image formation. 214
    • 5.5.5. Other ways of scourge mark transfer 221
    • 5.6. Blood smears from hands of buriers. 223
    • 6. OTHER RED COLOR HYPOTHESES. 224
    • 6.1. Authentic blood. 224
    • 6.1.1. Blood of a living, crucified person. 224
    • 6.1.2. Bilirubin. 224
    • 6.1.3. Prior UV-irradiation. 231
    • 6.1.4. CO-ligand from carbon monoxide gas. 232
    • 6.1.5. Saponaria-treated cloth. 232
    • 6.2. Painted-on bloodstains. 233
    • 6.2.1. ‘Cured’ blood paint – NO or CO.. 233
    • 6.2.2. Iron oxide particles in protein binder 237
    • 6.2.3. Iron-madder lake. 238
    • 6.2.4. Acid blood. 238
    • 6.3. Survey red color hypotheses. 239
    • 7. BLOOD ON THE PETALON – NOT ON THE BEARD.. 241
    • 8. CONCLUSION.. 247
    • 9. ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS. 249
    • Bibliography. 250

Why Doesn’t the Blood Create an Image?

July 13, 2014 80 comments

dry or wet, why not? Why not if teeth or tissue or hair does?

imageColin Berry asks an interesting question:

. . . The  reason for there being blood trickles down the hair is allegedly because the blood was imaged directly by a blotting paper effect prior to body imaging, so  ends up out of stereoregister with body image*. As I say, smart…

If that’s the case, then why isn’t there a double blood image, one set on the cheek,  as a subset of "body image" say, matching exactly the blood trails on the adjacent hair?

I repeat: if  dead protein like keratin, whether fibrous or not, and even mineralized tooth enamel can leave an image, then why not the distinctive cell debris and proteins of blood?  The  latter should remain in stereoregister with the fabric of the Shroud, right through the imaging process, regardless of where the "real blood" relocated due to relative shifting of corpse within Shroud.

It is a good question to ask of those who think the image was formed by a dematerializing body, perhaps even those who speak of any manner of radiation or energy creating the image: Why don’t we see a double-blood signature, one as real blood, one as ‘body image’, at least when out of stereoregister?

I like the question. It sort of supports my idea that the image, which I believe is somehow related to the Resurrection – an event I believe in – was not formed by a natural chemical reaction or by any form of energy that was the byproduct of a supernatural event. I know that sounds like I’m calling the image impossible. I know. But the Resurrection is impossible. The incarnation is impossible. Creatio ex nihilo is impossible. Right?

Scientists love unsolved mysteries. But they hate whacky people like me who suggest that the answers may be mysteries “all the way down,” at least before my morning coffee.

Stephen Hawking put it this way:

A well-known scientist (some say it was Bertrand Russell) once gave a public lecture on astronomy. He described how the earth orbits around the sun and how the sun, in turn, orbits around the center of a vast collection of stars called our galaxy. At the end of the lecture, a little old lady at the back of the room got up and said: "What you have told us is rubbish. The world is really a flat plate supported on the back of a giant tortoise." The scientist gave a superior smile before replying, "What is the tortoise standing on?" "You’re very clever, young man, very clever," said the old lady. "But it’s tortoises all the way down!"

But then in The Grand Design, Hawking writes:

Because there is a law such as gravity, the Universe can and will create itself from nothing. Spontaneous creation is the reason there is something rather than nothing, why the Universe exists, why we exist.

A spontaneous image? I like that. But what about the bloodstains? Is Colin on point with this; is it a valid objection to Jackson, et. al.? I like the question, so far. Now for coffee.

Everyone’s Own Facts

June 20, 2014 19 comments

Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.”
– Daniel Patrick Moynihan

imageThe exception to that bit of wisdom from Senator Moynihan may be Shroud of Turin studies. It is not my intent to pick on Yannick Clément, in particular, but he just provided a useful illustration. Fact selection is a rampant problem when it comes to the shroud. We are almost compelled to ask, which facts are you using and why.  Yannick in a comment illustrates this:

Good enough for me means simply that I agree to consider something as a fact when two experts gets to the same conclusion while working independently of each other. One confirms the other in sum and that’s when we can take something for granted in science. Not before. In the case of the bloodstains on the Shroud, we can.

Just read the books published by Adler and Baima Bollone and you’ll see that the results of their analyses of the blood and serum stains (which was done with different tests, but which gave very similar results) was strong enough for both of them to claim that these stains are not made of something else than human blood and serum and even more, that these stains comes from a highly traumatized person, which is in total sync with the body image.

If that’s not good enough for some people, that’s good enough for me.

(bolded emphasis above is mine)

Is it good enough that John Jackson and his “team of research associates” and, separately, Alan Whanger found x-ray-like imaging on the shroud? Robert Siefker and Daniel Spicer have confirmed that:

There are images of teeth and bone structures associated with the face, as well indications of finger bones all the way to the wrist. . . . John Jackson and his team of research associates have observed these features and they are mutually confirmed by Whanger and other researchers.

The implication in the use of the word mutually is clear. They mean exclusively. Two experts have concluded the same thing. So, by Yannick’s definition, is this a fact?

Was it good enough that a consensus of experts at Valencia concluded that:

The body image is created by molecular change of linen fibres. There are also bloodstains. There is no body image beneath the bloodstains.

(bolded emphasis above is mine)

It took some squawking by other experts to get the above paragraph amended, something called by some the Valencia Compromise Parenthetical. It now reads on David Rolfe’s site:

The body image is created by molecular change of linen fibres. There are also bloodstains. There is no body image beneath the bloodstains. (For the avoidance of doubt, this characteristic does not exclude the possibility that the molecular change may have taken place in an impurity layer at the linen surface).

When is a fact a fact? Two people working independently and finding the same thing?  Really?

If we apply Yannick’s words, “that’s when we can take something for granted in science”  to other areas of science we can get ourselves in all sorts of trouble. Certainly, for a long time, experts working independently concluded that we lived in a static universe. James Jeans, Fred Hoyle and Albert Einstein, though they held different working views, arrived at similar steady-state conclusions. It would take others to dismantle the fact of a static universe. It would take Einstein admitting he was wrong.

Certainly in the field of evolution we can find independent experts concluding for irreducible complexity as evidence of a designer god. Can we say that working independently and concluding essentially the same thing, Michael Behe, Stuart Burgess, William A. Dembski, Phillip E. Johnson, and Stephen C. Meyer make Intelligent Design a fact? 

Note: We can even find two experts who will tell you James R. Schlesinger said what is attributed to Moynihan. And we can find two others that will tell you the opposite is true.

I don’t know what makes anything a fact when it comes to the Shroud of Turin.

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