Archive for the ‘Science’ Category

Bob Rucker: A Burst of Radiation Did Three Things

October 30, 2015 56 comments

Alas,  I could not find that Bob Rucker or his work was mentioned
anywhere in the Critical Summary.

clip_image001Bob Rucker (pictured) posted what follows as a comment last evening. I have added a link to a previous comment by Bob and some links to more information.

It is my opinion that enough evidence has accumulated that we should now realize that there was no invisible repair/reweave in the C14 sample area, and that the solution to the C14 dating problem is what I presented at the St. Louis conference in 2014. I showed that MCNP nuclear analysis calculations indicate that if 3.0 x 10^18 neutrons are emitted uniformly in the body while it was in the shroud in the tomb, then three mysteries related to C14 dating are solved:

1) Neutron absorption in N14 in the shroud creates new C14 in the shroud that is identical to the original C14 in the shroud so that the C14 date is shifted from 30 AD to 1260 AD. The dating laboratories, not realizing that the shroud had been through a neutron absorption event, would have misinterpreted their result by assuming the wrong C14 decay curve.

2) The results reported by the three dating laboratories were not in good agreement with each other. Statistical analysis indicates only a 5% chance that their results were within their measurement uncertainty, so that the differences were probably (95% probability?) caused by something. Plotting their results as a function of the distance from the end of the shroud indicates that there is a slope or gradient of 42 to 57 years per cm across their data depending on the sampling done in Tucson. This slope in the C14 dates from the three laboratories agrees with the MCNP nuclear analysis calculations, which calculate that a uniform neutron emission in the body causes a neutron distribution in the tomb which produces just this range in the C14 dates across the sample region, so that the disagreement between the laboratory values is the result of the slope of the neutron distribution at the sample location resulting from homogeneous emission of neutrons in the body.

image3) These same MCNP calculations predict that a piece of cloth placed on the side bench about a foot in front of the back bench where the body in the shroud was located would date to about 700 AD. This location in the tomb is a natural location for the person working on the body in the tomb to lay the face/head cloth. According to tradition, the Sudarium of Oviedo is the face/head cloth of Jesus. It was C14 dated to 700 AD, in excellent agreement with the MCNP results.

We should realize the importance of not making the common a priori presupposition of naturalism, so that we not automatically rule out anything that is beyond the laws of science as we currently understand them, so that we can follow the scientific evidence where it leads. When this is done, I believe that the scientific evidence indicates that the solution to the enigma of the shroud is that a burst of radiation occurred within the body that did three things: 1) It caused the image, perhaps either by protons or ultraviolet based on experiments. 2) It thrust the blood off of the body, heated it turning it into a liquid, and thrust it against and into the fibers of the shroud, and 3) It caused the shift in the C14 date from 30 to 1260 AD and the slope in the C14 dates as discussed above. Bob Rucker

I’ve noticed that as you age, you learn that when the morning coffee isn’t yet ready, the mind wanders somewhere between wakefulness and wackiness. Hey, I thought in this state, what does the Critical Summary have to say about this. Alas,  I could not find that Bob Rucker or his work was mentioned anywhere in the Critical Summary. Maybe it was just me. Maybe it was too early in the morning to find such stuff.  But then I did find this interesting paragraph on page 82:

Neutron Flux: In the same issue of Nature that reported the 1988 radiocarbon testing results there was an important letter to the editor. This letter rings out today with possibly more force than when It was first written. It causes one again to ponder and adopt a position of caution. The correspondence was with Thomas J. Phillips of the High Energy Physics Laboratory at Harvard University. Phillips suggested that the Shroud might be a fundamentally altered fabric with respect to its C-14 content due its possible witness to some unexplained event, possibly in the tomb of Jesus. He hypothesized that such an unexplained event, which itself cannot be the subject of scientific inquiry, may have had an effect on the Shroud that can be studied scientifically. The unknown event may have generated a flux of neutrons that could have skewed the C-14 / C-12 ratio of the linen doth…..

I met Bob in St. Louis. Nice guy. Undeniably brilliant. Maybe he is on to something. But I’m just not there yet in being able to accept this or any other hypothesis, at least when it comes to how the image was formed. To restate with a bit of on-the-fly-rewrting of what I’ve said before, I say …

With regard to the image I’m stuck in the “it is inexplicable” camp.

You don’t like that? Well then you can consider Bob Rucker’s radiation, John Jackson’s cloth falling through a mechanically transparent body whatever that means, Tipler’s sphaleron quantum tunneling, Giulio Fanti’s corona discharge, Paolo Di Lazzaro’s ultraviolet (with or without the cloth falling through the body, Rogers’ Maillard reactions (quite natural if it could work but requiring every bit as much of a miraculous manipulation to produce such an image as any of the other byproduct of a miracle hypotheses would), Charles Freeman’s it’s-not-a-fraud painting (if STURP and Colin Berry are wrong) and Colin Berry’s fraud-by-Maillard if everyone else is wrong (which is not unreasonable to suppose).  Or think of something else.

As for the C14 question, I’m also stuck in the “so far inexplicable” camp.

Here are some resources for understanding and thinking about Bob’s ideas.

Another Comment by Bob Rucker: Reaction to Ray Rogers’ Paper on Radiation

Abstract for the Following Paper

MCNP Analysis of Neutrons Released from Jesus’ Body in the Resurrection (54 Slides)

Notes for the 54 Slides

Video of the Presentation in St. Louis (1 Hour)

Comment Promoted: The Punch Card Chart

October 23, 2015 1 comment

imageRobert W. Siefker comments about posting, Available: Critical Summary Version 3.0

Dan, the “punch card chart” is not aimed at being “scientific” analysis. As clearly stated at the top of the chart with the word “judged”, this is TSC’s analysis. We have included only 17 image characteristics because we think that these seventeen, in and of themselves, can be used to evaluate image formation hypotheses that have gained at least some traction through the years. The chart itself does not stand alone. Appendix 1 gives our reasoning for each mark. Again it is judgment and if the image characteristics are indeed true, as we judge them to be, understandable to anyone. We also state that the The fall-through hypothesis cannot be tested or proven. In fact it is a very “unscientific” explanation as we acknowledge in its description and in the Conclusion. It just fits the data. Read it. Think about it in the context of the whole body of Shroud evidence.

Fair enough.  I stand corrected. I was probably unfair. We still need to crawl through the details, however.

Categories: Image Theory, Science

News About the Shroud. Pass It On. Well, Most of It.

October 20, 2015 2 comments

imageOn October 6th, I posted Breaking News: Sources of DNA on the Shroud of Turin. I was reporting that Nature had just the previous day published Uncovering the sources of DNA found on the Turin Shroud by Gianni Barcaccia, Giulio Galla, Alessandro Achilli, Anna Olivieri and Antonio Torroni.

On October 14th, I followed with Linen from India? after getting a prompting email from a reader.

Now the MSM may be catching on. There is a story here, after all.

Nothing yet in the biggies or on the major news services.

HEADLINES AND LEDES DEPARTMENT: (yes LEDE is the correct spelling), the Daily Mail may have gotten it best. No, really, the Daily Mail:


imageONE TRACK MINDS OFF THE RAILS DEPARTMENT:   Stephen Jones, in re-captioning this diagram from Nature, tries to tell us:

… this is further evidence against the 1988 radiocarbon dating of the Shroud … and evidence for that the 1260-1390, i.e. 1325 ±65 radiocarbon date was computer-generated by a hacker’s (allegedly Arizona physicist Timothy W. Linick’s) program.

Click on diagram to enlarge.

Categories: News & Views, Science

The Amazing Parts

October 19, 2015 3 comments

People can see the most updated scientific evidence regarding the Shroud, and then they can make their own reasoned judgment regarding its authenticity.

imageNews from Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas (bold emphasis is mine):

“The most amazing part of the Shroud is the majesty of the face.”

That statement from Jim Bertrand, a Shroud expert affiliated with the Turin Shroud Center of Colorado, rang true for Benedictine College students, faculty, staff and members of the surrounding communities who saw his presentation, along with a life-sized replica of the Shroud, on the Atchison campus on October 8.


Bertrand has been studying the Shroud for more than 30 years and has been affiliated with the Shroud Center of Colorado since 2014. He talked about the history of the Shroud and the scientific evidence surrounding its authenticity, including new peer-reviewed scientific information regarding the dating of the Holy Shroud, which has been the subject of much debate.

“As a presenter of the Shroud, my mission is to unite Truth with the human heart,” he said. “People can see the most updated scientific evidence regarding the Shroud, and then they can make their own reasoned judgment regarding its authenticity. Whether a relic or an icon, the Shroud is a sacramental, leading us to a deeper relationship with Jesus.”

Bertrand presented a wealth of scientific evidence that supported the Shroud’s existence in 1st century Jerusalem. He noted botanical evidence of pollen from plants native to the area. He talked about geological evidence of soil found around the image’s feet, knees and nose that is of a particular type of rock only found in Jerusalem. He noted the biological studies of the blood stains, including the fact that they are still bright red due to the body’s release of bilirubin caused by a massive loss of blood, which supports Biblical accounts of Christ’s Passion.

He also talked about the 1978 carbon dating that placed the Shroud’s origin around 1250. The section tested turns out to have been from a corner of the Shroud repaired in Medieval times and containing cotton, satin and other fibers not found in the rest of the linen Shroud. There is also resin present that was used to join cotton threads to linen threads.

“It turned out to be the worst possible place to sample,” Bertrand said. He went on to show three other recent datings of the Shroud using chemical and mechanical tests. All three had wide ranges of dates for their results, but they all crossed the 1st century.

Reasoned judgment is fine. It’s the way it should be. But there is a real problem with the most updated scientific evidence.  Much of it is controversial. It is often not updated. And frequently not really so scientific as we make it out to be.  How good is that botanical evidence?  Is bilirubin really why the blood is still red? Was that corner repaired? Are those three other dating methods even valid?

The most amazing parts of the Shroud is how much we don’t know. I can’t make a reasoned judgment on the scientific evidence.

Categories: Article, Science

That doesn’t make sense …

October 18, 2015 12 comments

image… writes Andrew, who follows this blog while taking the train into work in the morning. Based on the shroud …

… does Jesus have blond or white hair?  That doesn’t make a whole lot of sense if he was Jewish. Although there are no descriptions of what Jesus looked like in the New Testament, I think this would have stood out so much it would have been mentioned.

Maybe. I don’t know. We can only speculate. What are the odds?  This is from the 1906 Jewish Encyclopedia under the subject of Hair (there may be something more current):

The true explanation of the existence of Jewish blonds has been the subject of lively discussions among anthropologists. Some believe that it is due to climate and environment (Pruner, Bey, Pritchard, Jacobs), while others attribute it to racial intermixture, particularly to the admission of Aryan blood into modern Jewry (Broca, Virchow, Schimmer, Ripley, and others). Elkind shows that the color of the hair is independent of the cranial index. Virchow’s investigations show that in the eastern or darkest provinces of Germany the proportion of blond types among Jews does not decrease; whereas in the Prussian provinces, which are predominantly blond, the Jews show the highestproportion of brunettes, and in Silesia, where the non-Jewish population is of very dark complexion, the Jews have a high percentage of blonds. The same has been shown by Schimmer to be the case in Austria. Andree ("Zur Volkskunde der Juden," pp. 34-40) points out that the fact that red and blond Jews are found in North Africa, Syria, Arabia, Persia, etc., is proof that intermarriage has had little to do with the production of the blond type in eastern Europe. He is of the opinion that there were blonds among the ancient Hebrews, and that the modern red and blond Jews are their descendants. Luschan agrees in this view. Jacobs attributes the erythrism of the Jews to defective nutrition, and shows that it is present not only among the European Jews, but also among those in Algiers, Tunis, Bosnia, Constantinople, Smyrna, and Bokhara, where the presence of Aryan blood could not be admitted.

Another thought:  Ray Rogers and Anna Arnoldi in, Scientific Method Applied to the Shroud of Turin: A Review, wrote:

imageHowever, it has long been recognized that the images of the hair, moustache, and beard are anomalous. Figure 26 (sic, should be 27, shown here) shows a slightly contrast-enhanced view of the area of the face and hair. The density of the image is greatest in those areas. That can easily be explained by the inhibition of vapor diffusion through a mat of hair. Ammonia is first evolved from the lungs; therefore, amine concentrations would have been highest in the vicinity of the nose and mouth (moustache and beard).

Of course, this is assuming a diffusion model or something similar – a natural phenomenon.

Categories: Image Theory

More Carbon Dating and Other Studies of Christian Relics

October 13, 2015 3 comments

The unit concluded that shroud was made between 1260 and 1390.

clip_image001Ruth Gledhill reports in Christian Today, in an article titled, Results on investigations into fragments of the True Cross coming soon:

Oxford University has launched a centre to study ancient Christian relics such as bones claimed to be those of St John the Evangelist, John the Baptist and fragments purported to be from the true Cross.

The new centre will be based at Keble College’s Advanced Studies Centre.

Researchers will use radiocarbon dating, genetics and theology to draw together research and findings from around the world to try and establish the authenticity or otherwise of some of the world’s most famous relics.

Some archaeologists already believe they have found pieces of the True Cross on which Jesus was crucified

The centre follows advances in science which now allow higher precision radiocarbon dating and DNA analysis that establishes common ancestries and likely geographic origin of individuals.

Oxford has led the field in this area. Researchers used the Radiocarbon Accelerator Unit to date the Shroud of Turin, believed by some to be the burial cloth of Christ. The unit concluded that shroud was made between 1260 and 1390.

Professor Thomas Higham of Oxford also led a team dating six small bone fragments found on an island in Bulgaria named Sveti Ivan, translated as St John, which turned out to be the bones were of a man who lived in the Middle East at the same time as Jesus.

In 2014, the team also analysed remains of a small finger bone attributed to John the Baptist that was associated with the famous Guelph Treasure. The sample from the finger bone was dated to 660-770 AD, which meant it was too young for St John the Baptist.

More recent work has included analysis of remains thought to be of St Luke, St David, and the True Cross, on which Jesus was crucified. The results of these investigations have yet to be published.

And there is more to the article.

Was Jesus’ Body Washed?

October 11, 2015 45 comments

imageStephen Jones has just completed a lengthy, ten-installment posting (appearing in chunks over a one month period) that is part of a response to a reader named Daryl, who asks, "Wasn’t Jesus’ body washed before putting it in the grave?"

It is certainly worth taking the time to read since it illustrates how complicated that question can be.  Stephen lists three possible answers that may be held by those who are what he calls “pro-authenticists.”

1) A full washing of Jesus’ body and a later oozing of blood This was the position of the lateFrederick Zugibe (1928-2013), the Chief Medical Examiner of Rockland County, New York:

"The body unquestionably would have been covered with blood because the heart pumps about 4,500 gallons of blood through the more than 60,000 miles of large and small blood vessels throughout the whole body each day. Instead of the very exact imprints of the wounds, the Shroud would bear large indistinct masses of blood over the entire image, including the face, arms, hands, feet, and trunk."[2]

But then Zugibe has a problem. If Jesus’ body was fully washed, how does he account for the fact that there is still blood on the Shroud? Zugibe’s unconvincing and inconsistent answer is that after Jesus’ body was washed, blood that was still in the wounds then oozed out onto the Shroud…


2) An incomplete washing due to shortness of time, leaving some blood on the Shroud This is a possible pro-authenticist position on the washing of Jesus’ body, although I don’t know of anyone who has held it. But as we saw above, since there was insufficient time for the full Jewish burial rites (see below), Joseph and Nicodemus would have postponed the washing of Jesus’ body (if there was to be one – see future) until after the Sabbath. And, as we saw, the bloodstains and dirt on Jesus’ face were not washed, which surely they would have been, even in an incomplete washing. So this second possible pro- authenticist position on the washing of Jesus’ body is also refuted by the evidence.

3) No washing due to shortness of time and Jewish law This is, as I understand it, the majority position held by Shroud pro-authenticists.

I guess I am in the minority or maybe even the group of none ( make that now one). I just don’t buy arguments like “surely they [=the wounds on Jesus’ face] would have been,”  given that we know so little about what really happened, and why so, some 2000 years ago. Moreover, I do find Zugibe quiet convincing for the most part.

Categories: Blood Studies, Other Blogs

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