Archive for the ‘Science’ Category

And Being Nuclear Physicists They Did Not Know?

February 3, 2015 Leave a comment

if a hacker wanted to break down the minority pro-authenticity resistance,
and reinforce the majority anti-authenticity prejudice .  . .

Stephen Jones has restarted his conspiracy theory machinations to convince everyone who might read his blog that the results of the carbon dating of the Shroud of Turin were manipulated by a computer hacker in Arizona who hacked the computers in Arizona, Oxford, and Zurich. And possibly with help from the KGB.

imageHow you say?   Well . . .

A hacker with access to the AMS control console computer (as Timothy W. Linick did), could run a program which would intercept the output of the AMS radiocarbon dating program, en route to the computer’s screen and replace the Shroud’s first (or early due to contamination) century date with a date which, when calibrated, would be "1350 AD," for this very first run of carbon dating of the Shroud. Thereafter for Arizona and the other two laboratories the hacker’s program could replace the Shroud’s date with random dates within limits which, after calibration, displayed dates clustered around 1325 ±65. Finally the hacker’s program could automatically order its own deletion when the dating of the Shroud would have been completed (e.g. after 3 months), leaving no trace of its former existence[5].

Stephen at first thought the computers were networked.  Then realizing they were not he supposed other methods like Linick sending out a code update before the tests.  Now, wouldn’t it be an amazing discovery if someone could show that that happened?  It was 1988, after all; things like computer security were more casual then. Even so, it seems implausible.  Has Stephen chased this possibility down? If so, there is no mention of it. Instead, in another posting, he wrote:

Following Dr. Jull and Prof. Ramsey’s clarification that the AMS system computer was never online at the their two laboratories (and therefore presumably also not at Zurich), the hacker, or hackers, would have had to insert a program,  or modify the existing program, manually and locally in each of the three laboratories. . . .That makes it more likely that the KGB was involved.

That is conspiracy theory 101.

Here is a taste of some convoluted logic that he just posted:

And because they were all nuclear physicists[17] they did not realise how absurdly unlikely that date of 1350 was. Because since the Shroud is known to have existed from at least 1355[18], the flax would have had to have been harvested in 1350, retted under water for several months[20], spun into linen fibre, woven into a linen cloth, and then the image imprinted on the cloth, all within 5 years! Not to mention stitching and edging the cloth to match that which was found only at the first-century Jewish fortress of Masada (see "Linen sheet"].

Moreover it would mean that the Arizona laboratory’s pretreatment of their Shroud sample would have had to have been perfect, removing all non-original carbon. But that is highly unlikely because:

"In 1532 the Shroud was being kept inside a silver casket stored in the Sainte Chapelle, Chambéry, when a fire nearly destroyed the building. The intense heat melted a corner of the casket, scorching the folded linen within, and producing the now familiar scorch marks on the Shroud. Since silver melts only at 960 degrees centigrade, the heat inside the casket must have been intense. In these circumstances moisture in the Shroud would turn to steam, probably at superheat, trapped in the folds and layers of the Shroud. Any contaminants on the cloth would be dissolved by the steam and forced not only into the weave and yarn, but also into the flax fibres’ very lumen and molecular structure. … contaminants would have become part of the chemistry of the flax fibres themselves and would be impossible to remove satisfactorily by surface actants and ultrasonic cleaning. More drastic treatments to destroy the contaminants would inevitably damage the flax fibres themselves"[21].

And being all nuclear physicists, they would probably have been unaware that in 1350 the Shroud was was owned by the most honourable knight in France, Geoffrey I de Charny (c. 1300-1356), "who "wore on his epaulettes the motto `honour conquers all’ … wrote deeply religious poetry … was chosen by France’s king to carry into battle his country’s most sacred banner, the Oriflamme of St Denis, an honour accorded only to the very worthiest of individuals … died a hero, defending his king with his own body in the … battle of Poitiers" and "fourteen years after his death he was duly accorded a hero’s tomb, at royal expense …"[22]. So "It is extremely difficult to understand how such a man would have lent his name … to … fraud"[23].

So the 1350 date must be wrong. But if a hacker wanted to break down the minority pro-authenticity resistance, and reinforce the majority anti-authenticity prejudice, and create a climate of expectation that subsequent datings would confirm that the Shroud was medieval, then 1350 was the date he would have used for that very first dating !

So the 1350 date must be wrong? 

If you want to get caught up on this, read Stephen’s part #1, part #2,part #3, part #4, part #5, part #6, part #7, part #8, part #9, #10(1), #10(2) and #10(3).

Picture is of Timothy W. Linick from a University of Arizona obituary.

Were Some Bloodstains Added Later or Maybe Retouched?

January 29, 2015 200 comments

imageColin Berry in part of a comment writes:

Twice now on this site I’ve reminded folk that any difficulty in seeing the TS body image from a distance would have been rendered less of a problem in public displays by the presence (or maybe deliberate addition) of blood stains and scourge marks. So while “over-flagellation” has been cited as evidence of a paying of lip service to prevailing artistic fashion it might equally well have been done to assist visibility, while not compromising the credibility that attaches to a faint body image per se deemed to be a genuine imprint of the body of Christ.

To which Thomas replies:

Nice theory re: blood Colin. I’ve said it before, I’ve got a feeling some, if not all the blood, was added. I still on balance believe the image is ‘authentic’. But not necessarily the blood. Or at least not all of it.

And Colin replies:

Thanks Thomas. It’s in fact quite instructive and possibly enlightening to put oneself in the position of a medieval monk who has been given the task of making a faint body imprint more visible from 50 yards,while (a) doing nothing that detracts from the ghostly body image and (b) can lend further credibility to a 33AD provenance consistent with or reinforcing the New Testament accounts of the torture and crucifixion..

Personally, I’d start with the major blood flows, and not worry too much about some of them seeming to trickle down the frontal hair, the important thing being to leave a signature of the crown of thorns (the latter not being imaged). I’d then add the scourge marks, making them as evenly spaced as possible, with minimal cross-crossing that looks untidy, and trying not to undo my major bloodstain handiwork work by mixing up or overlapping the two types. Forearms? There’s a lot of work gone into creating those intricate blood trails there, so don’t go and spoil it by adding some distracting scourge marks as well, bar the merest hint. I’d also be very careful to keep scourge marks clear of the area on the dorsal side where the viewer expects there to have been long hair reaching down to the shoulders, especially as the latter itself is poorly imaged. Maybe the colleague who did the body image to simulate a sweat imprint felt it best to give the merest hint of a hair imprint, hair tending to trap sweat, perhaps, as distinct from facilitating its passage from scalp to linen.

And BT from Connecticut, where the snow has finally stopped for awhile, writes in an email:

Dr. Berry’s theory is interesting and should be carefully considered. I am inclined to speculate that all or some of the bloodstains were originally there and remain so. I say this because it seems likely and it appears from a very limited sampling that some bloodstains may have blocked image formation. We can not rule out the possibility that well intentioned caretakers of the relic may have retouched the bloodstains. When you consider that the Holy Shroud may be 2000 years old and that it was unfurled before crowds and folded and unfolded countless times the idea of retouching bloodstains becomes plausible.

This is why we need to see the high definition images that church is withholding.

Source of above image:  a clipping from Haltadefinizione image at

Categories: Blood Studies Tags:

BSTS Article by Hugh Farey

January 21, 2015 16 comments

a genuine chronological gradient?

imageHugh Farey has written an interesting article for the current, December, 2014, issue of the British Society for the Turin Shroud (BSTS) Newsletter entitled Radiocarbon Recalibration. 

Although the spread of measurements is relatively small, it is sufficient to cast doubt on the homogeneity of the three laboratories’ samples, and justifies Riani and Atkinson’s claim of the probability of a genuine chronological gradient across the samples (although their conclusions were based on an analysis of all twelve results, not just the three averages above.(Regression Analysis with Partially Labelled Regressors: Carbon Dating of the Shroud of Turin, Riani et al., Statistics and Computing, 2012)

To my way of thinking this plays into the mended shroud explanations for errors in the carbon dating and some image-caused-by-radiation theories current in some circles.

Categories: Carbon 14 Dating Tags:

There is another reason Charles Freeman is wrong

January 15, 2015 57 comments

imageA reader of this blog, Alan C., writes:

There is another reason Charles Freeman is wrong. The image on the Shroud of Turin is a negative. While I know you can’t prove a negative (that is a pun), I contend that no one has ever seen a painted negative other than maybe copies of the Shroud or of a photographic negative. In fact, it would be almost impossible if not completely impossible for anyone to paint a negative image. Just imagine someone could however. Why would he and how would he know it was correct?

If you are speaking of a grayscale negative, one that contains many shades of gray and possibly black and white, then I agree with you, Alan.

Last November, I wrote the following as a blog posting. I was convinced then that Charles did not understand the significance of fact that the image on the shroud is a negative image. Colin Berry had just then written, “. . . one has to explain the NEGATIVE image.”  (caps are Colin’s), which Charles never did.  I contend that if he can’t do so his entire argument goes down the drain.

Here is the previous posting:

Dear Charles Freeman, re the Famous Arnolfini Portrait by Van Eyck

November 9, 2014

The picture of the Arnolfini Portrait by Jan van Eyck is in Wikipedia’s image library.
It is in the public domain. The smaller picture shows details that are visible in a small
convex mirror on the wall.

Hi Charles,

Colin Berry had repeatedly pointed out that the image on the shroud is a negative image. He was suggesting that it implied a contact imprint.

Well, maybe. Or maybe a a chemical reaction from a diffusion of gases like Ray Rogers proposed or a photograph like Nicholas Allen theorized or maybe, if your worldview allows it, some radiation that was a byproduct of a miraculous event. But we don’t need to go into all that. The point was and is, as Colin pointed out to you,  the image on the shroud is a negative and “. . . one has to explain the NEGATIVE image.”  (caps are Colin’s)

That is when you responded to Colin saying:

Colin – what is the problem in creating as negative image? The artisT of the Shroud as well as the Besancon shroud, was commissioned to imagine an image that a dead body might have left. The conventional iconography of tHe side wound is on the right side of the body, so he produced it on tHe left. Not difficult.

imageFor a more sophisticated negative image look at the mirror on the famous Arnolfini portrait by Van Eyck in the National Galley, London ( 1434). There are other cases of mirror images but this is the best.

Do you not know the difference between a negative image and a mirror image?

In your article, you mention the negative image three times. In the very first paragraph you write:

. . . Here we have negative images of Christ’s body as if they had been transferred from the body to the cloth. . . .

Okay, that’s fine. About a quarter of the way down you write:

. . . Note, too, the blood dripping from the lance that, in the negative image of the Shroud, appears to be reproduced outside the body image on its left side. . . .

Left side! Is this a clue? And then in an extraordinary paragraph at about three quarters of the way on, you tell us.

What can we say about the painting on the Shroud? The images are crude and limited in tone. They show none of the expertise of the great painters of the 14th century, who, even on linen, were capable of mixing a variety of pigments into rich colours. . . . Again, the hair of the body would have fallen back if the figure had been lying down but the blood is as if it is trickling down the hair of a standing figure. In short, it appears to be a painting made by an artist whose only concession to his subject is to imagine that this is a negative impression of the body (as shown by the wound on the chest being on the left of the image in contrast to the conventional right, as seen in the Holkham crucifixion scene) that had been transferred to the cloth. (red emphasis mine in all instances)

Do you not know about Secondo Pia’s famous photograph in 1898?  Do you not know what it means?

Charles, you write:

I am working within the mainstream, not Shroudies mainstream, but academic mainstream in setting out my hypotheses. No one who has read my articles thinks I am saying anything more than placing the Shroud within an acceptable medieval context.

imageAcceptable medieval context?  Show me one example of someone painting a negative image in the medieval or anytime in history. Find me an artist anywhere in the world who can do so. I’m sure it is possible. So, too, I imagine is patting your head, rubbing your stomach, jumping rope and singing the Halleluiah Chorus backwards all at the same time. Try it. No, I mean try painting a negative without a negative to copy. Try it.

There is something more going on in the picture on the right than a mere mirror image. It’s a negative of the picture on the left. And since the picture on the left is, itself, a negative and since two negatives make a positive, the negative on the right is a positive.

Charles, check out this negative thing with academic mainstream.  Without an example, you do not have any medieval context.

imageOne more question, in three parts, Charles:  If all the paint has flaked off, how do you know the images are limited in tone? How do you know it was not painted in rich colors? And, was this a color negative painting in which colors as well as gray scale values are reversed?

Without an example you do not have any medieval context.



An interesting paper on the subject is The Concept of Negativity Through the Ages vs The Negative Image on the Shroud by Isabel Piczek.

Just Published: What Went Wrong with the Radiocarbon Date?

December 19, 2014 33 comments

not arguing in this paper that the Benford-Marino-Rogers theory is THE
sole answer to our question . . . it has an awful lot going for it. . . .

imageMUST READ:  It begins with this paragraph, even before we encounter the title and authors name:

Foreword: I had requested that this paper not be published with the 2008 Ohio Conference papers because there were some questions about the nature and history of cotton I wanted to explore before doing so. However, in the interim, my attempts to investigate some issues did not produce results because I was unable to get in contact with the specialists who might have been able to provide the additional information I sought. Joe Marino recently requested permission to publish on-line my Ohio presentation and the appendices of materials I had gathered. I have granted him that permission late this year (December, 2014). The material is largely unchanged from my 2008 Ohio presentation. Bits of more recent information are set off from the body of the original text by my use of brackets [ ].

The title is What Went Wrong With the Shroud’s Radiocarbon Date? Setting it all in Context. It is by the archaeologist and long time shroud scholar Paul C. Maloney (pictured).

imageHere are the first few paragraphs just to give you a good idea why this paper is so important.

We are only two years away from a fresh exhibition of the Turin Shroud [occurring in 2010]–and with that will there be another round of testing? In this light it seems a valuable exercise to recap previous hypotheses regarding the C14 results offered in the years following the 1988 testing. (2). Professionally, I am an archaeologist–some of you might call me an “antique historian.“ This is a paper about history. What I shall attempt to do here is to gather together in one place observations and explanations that have been published elsewhere. There are many things about the Shroud we would all like to know but in this paper I shall deal largely with only one question: What went wrong with the Shroud‘s radiocarbon date? I will provide here a brief synopsis of proposed answers with focused examination of one of those proposals.

A Strange Story

But first I want to share with you a “strange story”. Many of you have already heard it. I first heard it many years ago as it was circulated by Bill Meacham. A single thread of the Shroud was sent surreptitiously to a West Coast Laboratory back in 1982. One end of that thread came up with a date of 200 A.D. while the other end resulted in a date of ca. 1000! How could this be? I thought about it long and hard and finally dismissed it as a complete fluke. Anyway, that was quite a “yarn”! Bill Meacham preserves this story in his most recent book published a few years ago. (3)

Radiocarbon test results and reactions to it

Here’s another story, also old, so much so, you are probably all tired of hearing it. Briefly, on April 21, 1988 a single sample was removed from the so-called “Raes’ Corner” on the Shroud by the late Giovanni Riggi di Numana. This was divided up between three labs, Oxford, Zurich, and Tucson, Arizona and the results analyzed by the British Museum. The analysis from that testing was released on Oct. 13, 1988: the cellulose taken from the Shroud was to be dated with 95% confidence to between 1260 to 1390 A.D. (4)

Most of us reacted first with a mixture of shock and consternation! How could this be? The late Fr. Albert R. Dreisbach liked to say that “the preponderance of evidence” argued for the antiquity as well as the authenticity of the cloth. After all, how could the Shroud have been rendered in artistry 60 some years before the first bracket of the 1260-1390 released radiocarbon date? As we all began to recover it was generally agreed that something was radically wrong. The question was “What?” There have been six major approaches to this question. Evaluative remarks and commentary have been confined to the endnotes due to time constraints.

A dozen pages in, as we approach the conclusion, we read:

When everything is properly understood, the entire picture of the Shroud should come together as a beautifully constructed puzzle. If something is out of place, the whole will not look right. We are currently still in that mode. Not everyone agrees with Ray Rogers findings. Especially in Europe there are those who believe his findings do not represent the real nature of the Shroud. Thus, this issue of “homogeneity” vs. “heterogeneity” needs to be resolved so that we can move forward. If a “re-weave” is not the explanation for the characteristics found at the Raes’ Corner then we badly need an explanation for why cotton is woven into that corner but is not demonstrated in threads in the main body of the cloth.

What does the opposite side of the ledger look like? Do the x-rays of the Shroud show any evidence of the re-weave? Bryan Walsh suggests they do not. (Personal communication). Walsh also notes that in discussions “…with textile conservators in the U. S., they said that while reweaving might be made difficult to perceive on one side of a cloth, it would be painfully obvious on the other side of the cloth because of the various threads and knots involved in stitching it.”

I’m not arguing in this paper that the Benford-Marino-Rogers theory is THE sole answer to our question “What Went Wrong?” Nevertheless, the factors I’ve marshalled here suggest that it has an awful lot going for it. . . .

There is, in Appendix III, a gem, a Dialogue between Ray Rogers and Bryan Walsh in February 2005. And elsewhere throughout the paper there are photographs that you may never have seen. This paper is a must read.

Photomicrograph note:  The caption reads:

B. Second photomicrograph of W. C. McCrone’s rose madder. STURP tape 3-CB very near to STURP tape 3-AB but taken on the blood flow across the back. (Photomicrograph by W. C. McCrone. From the Paul C. Maloney collection of McCrone illustrative materials. No magnification listed by McCrone).

Publication Note:  I received this paper a few days ago. Would I install it on the 2008 Ohio conference website since I had the keys and supposedly the skills to do so? Sure, I said. Well, if you go to the conference site and look you will see some evidence of my trying. I’m still trying to work out went wrong with hosting company.  In the meantime I have temporarily installed this paper within this blog space so you can read it without further delay. Here you need the keys and no special skills. My apologies for taking so long.

So, open or download: What Went Wrong With the Shroud’s Radiocarbon Date? Setting it all in Context by Paul C. Maloney by clicking on the title.

Categories: Carbon 14 Dating Tags:

A Gedankened Image Forming Process

December 17, 2014 16 comments

We believe our hypothesis can readily be tested simply by . . . 

our hypothesis depends on a completely natural mechanism.
It does not conflate the image formation mechanism with the Resurrection

imageWhen I spotted Electric Charge Separation as the Mechanism for Image Formation on the Shroud of Turin: A Natural Mechanism by D.S. Spicer and E .T. Toton on’s St. Louis Conference page, and I read the abstract again, I quickly looked for something else to read. It’s  the non-scientist in me; this was going to be difficult paper, I realized.

I was wrong. It was very interesting and easy to understand.

I always jump to the end where I found this under Discussion and Conclusions on page 15:

As should be clear, our hypothesis depends on a completely natural mechanism. It does not conflate the image formation mechanism with the Resurrection, nor should it. The image is not the recording of the Resurrection but it is an image capture of the body of a crucified man consistent with the historical records of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. That no hitherto satisfying mechanism for image formation has been discovered is not proof that a supernatural explanation must be the only other choice, nor does the discovery of a credible mechanism of image formation impugn the belief in the reality of the Resurrection. If it were possible to take a photo of the Ascension-where is the miracle? Is it the Ascension or the photo of it? We believe that the Shroud Image is indeed the image of Jesus Christ’s lifeless body only and it strengthens the historical argument for His existence, death, and His Resurrection.

Got it!  That’s clear.  Now back to the beginning. This part of the introduction had me hooked. Read on!

In this paper we examine a novel image formation mechanism that comprises a uniform low frequency quasi-electrostatic field and polar molecules to produce the image of a crucified man on a linen cloth known as the Shroud of Turin. Given that to date the historical evidence tracks the origins of the cloth back to at least the 6th century AD, that forensic evidence strongly supports the conclusion that the man enclosed by the Shroud was in fact crucified, which totally undermines the assertion of forgery by revealing details in physics, chemistry and medical knowledge only available in the 20th century, and that there are additional physical tests, other than the one-off and often cited C14 test against the authenticity of the Shroud, that date the Shroud to the 1st century AD, we will assume that the crucified man was in fact Jesus of Nazareth and use the New Testament Gospels as a source of information for Jesus’ crucifixion.

Among the many STURP (Shroud of Turin Research Project) findings regarding the images of a crucified man found on the Shroud of Turin (ST) there are six that point to a clear and natural explanation for both the dorsal and ventral images of the cloth [21, 16, 1, 2, 3, 8, 20]. These are:

  1. Images on the cloth exist only of the dorsal and ventral surfaces of body and these images lie only on the fibers found at the extremities of the cloth
  2. No image or discoloration exists between the two surfaces of cloth, i.e., within the cloth
  3. There is no image of the top of the head or sides of the body enclosed by the cloth [14]
  4. The image density on the cloth appears to embody information on the vertical distance between the cloth and the portion of the ventral body imaged, as if the cloth were held flat and horizontal slightly above the body or, in the case of the dorsal image, between the cloth on either the floor or shelf on which the body lied and the back of the body. In essence, the closer the cloth was to the body the darker the image, and the farther away the fainter the image [13]
  5. A body image is visible in areas where there was no contact between the body and the cloth
  6. The coloration does not appear under the threads where they cross in the weave of the cloth

And there was this timely paragraph that pertains to recent discussions on this blog about why the image does not fluoresce – of course, assuming . . .

The STURP measurements showed that the Shroud fluoresced everywhere except in regions of the image. This suggests to us that the image formation mechanism somehow changed the allowed atomic transitions that permits the rest of the cloth outside of the image areas to fluoresce. This fact suggests that identifying what is allowing fluorescence can help to determine what chemically causes the image. A good start would be to see whether calcium fluoride or residual pectins (an Alan Adler suggestion[1]) are present on the cloth.

[1] Brian Walsh private communication

Future Testing of the Shroud

December 16, 2014 13 comments

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