Archive for the ‘Science’ Category

More Testing? Maybe.

April 13, 2015 15 comments

If Papa Francesco will want to’ take this path, we will do it as long as the research
is conducted with honest ‘intellectual, without preconceptions and ideological
assumptions a priori.

— Archbishop of Turin, Monsignor Cesare Nosiglia

imageThe following is a Google translation of an article, The Shroud: the linen cloth that wrapped Jesus, between mystery and science, appearing in

The Lead:

The Catholic Church does not comment officially on the question of authenticity, leaving science to examine the evidence for and against, but authorizes the cult as a relic or icon of the Passion of Jesus

The article:

Tradition identifies it as the sheet used to wrap the body of Jesus’ in the tomb, but the history of the Shroud – that from 19 April to 24 June will be ‘on display in Turin Cathedral – and’ marked by many mysteries, as well as continuous disputes on Authenticity ‘of the relic. The Shroud and ‘a linen sheet, rectangular in shape and dimensions of about 442 × 113 cm, on which and’ visible double image ‘negative’ of the body of a man subjected to a series of tortures and finally crucified. At the top and bottom of the image and ‘marked by the traces of the fire that development’ in 1532 in the chapel of the castle of Chambery, where it was kept the sheet folded in a box of silver. The exposition in 2015 and ‘the second after the restoration of 2002, in which you removed the patches that had been affixed by the Poor Clares of Chambery.

All historians believe documented the history of the relic from the middle ‘of the fourteenth century, the date of his appearance. On his previous history and its antiquities ‘there’ agreement: radiometric dating with the technique of Carbon 14, performed in 1988 and considered inadequate by the same creator, American chemist Willard Libby, has dated the construction of the sheet between 1260 and 1390, but supporters of authenticity ‘of the relic argue that the samples used could also come from parts mended after the fire of 1532. Some scholars believe that the Shroud is the authentic burial cloth of Jesus’. According to these the Shroud of Turin dates back to the first-century Palestine. Then enjoys much credit to the hypothesis that it is to be identified with the ‘mandylion’ or ‘Image of Edessa’, an image of Jesus’ very venerated by Eastern Christians, who died in 1204 (this would explain the absence of documents which refer to the Shroud in that period). Countless scientific tests and forensic where the find and ‘was submitted. Shroud studies of 1981, made from Italian alien autopsy and by Americans Heller and Adler, found on samples of wire traces of human blood group AB; For its part the Swiss biologist Frei Sulzer identified on the cloth pollens of over 50 plants, present not only in Europe but also in the Palestinian areas and the Anatolian. Israeli researchers have also found traces of particular plants belonging to the area of ​​Jerusalem.

The Catholic Church does not comment officially on the issue of authenticity ‘, leaving science to examine the evidence for and against, but authorizes the cult as a relic or icon of the Passion of Jesus’. "I am convinced that on the Shroud should still encourage the pursuit of science," he says about the archbishop of Turin, Monsignor Cesare Nosiglia. The papal custodian of the sacred cloth opens the possibility ‘of new studies: "If Papa Francesco will want to’ take this path, we will do it – he says – as long as the research is conducted with honest ‘intellectual, without preconceptions and ideological assumptions a priori." Several popes, from Pius XI to John Paul II, expressed their personal conviction in favor of authenticity ‘. And ‘there’ waiting for what they will say ‘Francis Pope during his visit to Turin, scheduled on 21 and 22 June.

Photograph from Il Custode della Sindone

Categories: Science Tags:

New Garlaschelli and Borrini Study

April 11, 2015 117 comments

imageThere is a new study out by Matteo Borrini, professor of forensic anthropology at John Moores University in Liverpool (UK), and Luigi Garlaschelli University of Pavia, that argues against the authenticity of the shroud. The following is a Google translation from Italian of a UAAR (Union Atheists Agnostics and Rationalists) press release posted in the A Good Reason blog by the UAAR and reposted in AgoraVox:

Press Release:  Shroud: new studies call into question the authenticity: 

imageThe imprint of the body on the Shroud does not match that of a condemned posted in a location similar to the classical representations of the crucifixion. And not even that of a bloody body lying in the tomb.

These are the findings of new studies by Matteo Borrini, professor of forensic anthropology, now at John Moores University in Liverpool (UK), and Luigi Garlaschelli University of Pavia, that for this research has obtained a contribution of the AU.

The work, presented by Borrini at the Conference of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences in Orlando (USA), confirms the findings already last year by a similar study of the two teachers.

As known, the image of the Shroud of Turin are visible, in addition to the faint image of a body, even trace amounts of (alleged) blood resulting from the wounds of passion on his forehead and neck, on the chest, on the feet, and finally on the back of one hand and on the front of the forearms, from wrist to elbow.

The scope of work of Borrini and Garlaschelli was to verify – using forensic techniques of BPA (Bloodstain Pattern Analysis – analysis of the shape of the blood stains) – what should be the posture of a human body so that the rivulets of blood you have as it appears on the footprint human in the Shroud of Turin.

A thin cannula for transfusion, connected to a bag of blood, was applied to the dorsum of the left hand of a volunteer in three different positions of possible leakage of the nail, in agreement with the most common assumptions about the exact anatomical location of the wound as it follows from the Shroud.

In previous studies, the forearm was kept at different inclinations with the aid of a goniometer ballistic – 0 °, the horizontal arm, 90 °, vertical arm – and a modest amount of blood had been made on the back of the hand casting and along the forearm.

All tests had shown that in order that the stream of blood flowing on the outside of the forearm, as visible on the shroud, the angle of the arm itself must be greater than 80 ° and less than 90 °, and then placing it in a position almost, but not totally vertical.

The new tests now conducted have considered other aspects:

  1. The arms were always placed vertically, even with hands over his head, to play the position assumed if the condemned had been crucified in a single vertical pole.
  2. To simulate the hypothesis that the bleeding had occurred (perhaps by a body washed) after death, blood was dripped from the back of the hand of a volunteer lying with his hands on the pubis in the same position of the Man of the Shroud ( both legs stretched that flexed). In none of these tests has achieved a performance of rivulets similar to that seen on the Shroud.
  3. Scholars have finally run a BPA for the wound to the right side. A sponge (of the same size of the alleged injury readable on the shroud) soaked synthetic blood was pressed through a special grip on the torso of a mannequin standing. The trend trickles result in this case is vertical, consistent with that from image front of the Shroud of Turin. However doing the bleeding experimental with dummy lying (for groped to reproduce leaking from image ridge of the Shroud, which also derives from the wound to the chest for bleeding post-mortal), the result was quite different.

Taken together the results of these tests are therefore not consistent with the general trend of the rivulets of blood on the Shroud of Turin and seem to refuse to testify in favor of their authenticity, but rather in an artistic or didactic.

Link to postings about the previous studies by Borrini and Garlaschelli .

Cargo Cult Image Formation Science

April 1, 2015 8 comments

imageA reader writes:

Nice bunch of jaw wagging there yesterday on how to figure out how the image was made. RMO Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman.

In the South Seas there is a cargo cult of people. During the war they saw airplanes land with lots of good materials, and they want the same thing to happen now. So they’ve arranged to imitate things like runways, to put fires along the sides of the runways, to make a wooden hut for a man to sit in, with two wooden pieces on his head like headphones and bars of bamboo sticking out like antennas—he’s the controller—and they wait for the airplanes to land. They’re doing everything right. The form is perfect. It looks exactly the way it looked before. But it doesn’t work. No airplanes land. So I call these things cargo cult science, because they follow all the apparent precepts and forms of scientific investigation, but they’re missing something essential, because the planes don’t land.

RMO? (no morning coffee, yet)

I think the reader makes a valid point. (but then again, no morning coffee, yet)

Note:  Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman! (Adventures of a Curious Character) was first published in 1997. It was a New York Times bestseller. It is still selling well, now in every imaginable format. Amazon give us a brief biographical note:

Richard P. Feynman was born in 1918 and grew up in Far Rockaway, New York. At the age of seventeen he entered MIT and in 1939 went to Princeton, then to Los Alamos, where he joined in the effort to build the atomic bomb. Following World War II he joined the physics faculty at Cornell, then went on to Caltech in 1951, where he taught until his death in 1988. He shared the Nobel Prize for physics in 1965, and served with distinction on the Shuttle Commission in 1986. A commemorative stamp in his name was issued by the U.S. Postal Service in 2005.

Note 2: I reformatted the reader’s email to set off  Feynman’s words. Emphasis his.

What’s to like over on Colin’s blog right now?

March 31, 2015 61 comments

Making Joe Accetta’s idea work?

imageWhat is there to like in the experimentation being live-blogged in Can that weird and wonderful Turin Shroud be modelled? See my hands-on results with dye-imprinting, reported in real time?

Well, for one thing Colin is experimenting, not simply speculating. When Luigi Garlaschelli produced his manufactured images, he was immediately criticized for failing to match many if the shroud’s image characteristics. Luigi had failed. Colin is aware of that and he is taking the image characteristics into account. It is appropriate to note, however, that all of the image characteristics are not completely unchallenged; for instance, how certain are we that there is no image beneath bloodstains? Colin is aware of those issues, as well.

He begins this way:

For background, see the posting immediately preceding this one. It attempts to explain my switch in focus from the ‘scorch’ model to that proposed last year by Joseph Accetta – based on medieval dye imprinting technology. I’ve extended and embellished it a bit, but as the title indicates, this post is about getting ‘hands-on’ experience with dye impriinting off 3D templates, with a view to getting familiar with the pros and cons of the Accetta model, vis-vis the scorch model.

imageThe posting ends this way (at least for now, there is no way of knowing when a post ends with Colin):

Oh dear. This is the reverse side, photographed straight afterwards, and already one can see bleed-through, despite the presence of that thickening agent. Late addition: the gum arabic was then left to evaporate in air until a treacly consistency, that was then painted onto the crucifix. despite the higher viscosity than used with dye, there was immediate bleed-through to the reverse-side of the linen.

Gum arabic is, sad to say,  NOT the answer if one’s attempting to achieve contact-side imprinting only. Maybe there are alternatives that need testing, but they have to fulfil a number of criteria yet to be discussed in detail.

Maybe one needs to test a starch dispersion, or colagen glue from boiling animal bones etc? Suppose it imprinted well, with minimal bleed through. Suppose it was then prone to flaking off with ageing and/or handling, leaving that fainter ghost imagewhich is what we may be seeing today. There’s still work to be done. But first I must report the results of testing out a different scenario by which a ghost image could have formed, one that results in a modification of superficial linen carbohydrates, based on the premise that alum and/or iron sulphates used as mordants could have generated sulphuric acid that at sufficiently high local concentration to react chemically to produce changes not dissimilar to those obtained by thermal means (contact scorching). For that, the experiments moved from kitchen to garage, involving as they did a degree of hazard.

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

March 22, 2015 76 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)


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 711 other followers

%d bloggers like this: