These are early days, but I’m (how shall we say?) quietly confident.
— Colin Berry
No wine before its time. And don’t read Colin Berry’s posts in his blog before they have aged for a few days to match his unorthodox posting style. Now is the time. Fine wine indeed if you like something acidic. Give it time to breath. That doesn’t mean, of course, that you or I will like it. It is time to read Might this be how the Turin Shroud was faked, using medieval alchemy?
Colin writes in his blog:
Here it is folks: the best I can offer after more than 3 years of almost non-stop experimentation : Model 9 ("the nitric acid model").
Alternative name (afterthought, added 25th April): this new technique produces what might be called a "tactile chemograph". Maybe there was only one ever produced (the image that we now call the Turin Shroud). The tactile chemograph may be thought of as a forerunner of the photograph. (In both instances, one produces a latent image from a real person without harming them in any way, one that can then be developed in a bath (or vapour chamber) with the appropriate developing chemicals.
There was the moment that Thibault Heimburger asked Colin to “explain in detail the advantages of your new hypothesis with regard to your ‘old’ scorch hypothesis.” Colin provided ten points. You should read them all. Here are two to temp you:
6. The technique allows for blood (or blood substitute) to be applied at the same time as body-imprinting medium, provided the blood or substitute stays red in nitric acid fumes (real blood does not – it quickly turns a brown colour). Blood would have been applied after. i.e. directly on top of the gooey imprinting medium to account for there being no body image under Shroud “blood”.
8. When applied to new linen, the technique has a side-effect that would be seen as a bonus – artificial ageing of the linen. Centuries later, pro-authenticity chemists and others would be delighted to find there was less potential vanillin and more mechanical weakness than would be expected of medieval linen a mere 700 years old.
Jumping to the conclusion (maybe, for there is no predicting with Colin):
The Turin Shroud. was this the world’s first and only tactile chemograph (think of it as a primitive ‘photographic’ negative, except for one tiny detail. Neither light not any other kind of elect6romagnetic radiation played any part in its production. It relied on the human touch (well, gentle massage actually).
What finally persuaded this blogger to abandon thermal scorching, and move to liquid (or semi-liquid) imprinting? It was that paper that Joe Accetta PhD presented at the St.Louis gathering, 2014, in which he propsoed that the TS image had been produced by woodblock imprinting. Up till that time I’d always been sceptical re the use of any kind of liquid imprinting medium, considering that would risk a reverse-side image. But I concocted my own equivalent of Joe’s "oak gall" imprinting ink, in which the iron salts probably have a mordant action, as well as creating the ink by reaction with plant tannins. Here’s an image produced, substituting tannin-rich pomegranate rind extract for oak galls, supplemented with iron (II)sulphate.
That ‘wet’ image was as good, if not better than anything produced by scorching. Yes. there was some reverse-side penetration, but might that not be minimized by suitable modification of technique, or simply by using thicker linen (and the TS linen IS thick, as Hugh Farey has observed).
Once liquid imprinting was permitted as an option, then a host of new experimental options were opened up. Thanks Joe Accetta. You weaned me of those thermal scorches (but they were useful in other ways, showing that ANY negative imprint can model certain key features of the TS, notably negative image and 3D-enhancibility). Models in science do not need to tick all boxes simultaneously. One can run different models in parallel, each earning its keep in one or other respect, while patiently waiting for the day when the super-model suggests itself, one that combines the best features of its precursors, not only mine, but those of Garlaschelli and Accetta in particular. Hugh Farey and Adrie van der Hoeven added some useful and thought-provoking grist to the mill too, though whether they and the previous two would approve of the end-result is another matter.
Might tactile chemography prove to be the super-model? We shall see. These are early days, but I’m (how shall we say?) quietly confident.
Oh oh! You can’t put the cork back in, can you?
Two days ago, Joe NIckell posted an article, Fake Turin Shroud Deceives National Geographic Author, on the CSI website (formerly known as CSICOP but now CSI, The Committee for Skeptical Inquiry).
When a great magazine like National Geographic speaks, the world naturally listens. We were especially glad this is so when—for its March 2015 cover article, “The War on Science”—it cited such attacks as those on climate change, evolution, vaccinations, and genetically altered food, as well as the moon landing. “Thanks, National Geographic,” we said (2015) in our magazine, Skeptical Inquirer.
And yet science—and truth—have since come under attack by an online article that bears the imprimatur of National Geographic. Written by Frank Viviano, the article “Why Shroud of Turin’s Secrets Continue to Elude Science” (2015) is so misleading, so replete with falsehoods, so lacking in basic facts about the notorious “shroud” that it is an affront to the proud name of National Geographic.
It is also a glaring example of how not to approach a controversy. Just as one would not get information about the curvature of the Earth from the Flat Earth Society alone, one should not primarily get “facts” about the Turin cloth from The Shroud of Turin Research Project (STURP) and other partisans. STURP’s leaders served on the executive council of the Holy Shroud Guild, which is devoted to the “cause” of the reputed relic. Viviano tells us in glowing terms of the “scientific disciplines” covered by STURP, without being aware that it lacked experts in art and forensic chemistry. We shall see presently why this matters, but let’s first look at the shameful portions of the shroud’s history that Viviano shamelessly omits.
And Joe concludes:
Scholarship and science have proven the Turin “shroud” a fake, from its incompatibility with first century burial cloths and procedures, its lack of historical record, and a bishop’s report that the forger had confessed, to the suspicious-looking “blood” that is really tempera paint, pigments making up the body image, and the radiocarbon dating that confirms the cloth originated at the time of its documented appearance in the fourteenth century—when it was fraudulently claimed to the be Holy Shroud of Christ. Such evidence against any secular object would be considered clear proof of inauthenticity.
Frank Viviano’s article is a disservice to science and unworthy to appear under the respected name National Geographic.
Of course, Joe is the model for unbiased information. Visit joenickell.com by clicking on his picture.
There is an interesting perspective on the shroud by Nathanael Jones in Southern Accent, the student newspaper of Southern Adventist University, a Seventh Day Adventist school. The article is What the Shroud of Turin and you have in common:
As the school year comes to a close and it’s time to start summer ministries, I was looking for a bit of new inspiration. Where is God? How can I know He’s with me? How can I see Him, know for sure that I’m not taking part in a make-believe ministry?
According to the Wall Street Journal, this past Sunday the Shroud of Turin was displayed for the first time in five years. The Shroud is a Catholic relic that they believe to be the burial cloth of Jesus Christ. Over 1 million people reserved tickets to see it and the Pope has plans to pray in front of it in the coming months.
“Relics are proof that God shared our history,” said Paul Badde, a well-known Catholic author.
All of this got me thinking about whether protestant Christians have proof that God shared our history, since we don’t keep physical relics of God’s Holiness on earth, and if we do, what it is?
[. . . ]
To my way of thinking, there is a bit of misunderstanding about Catholics, Protestants in a broader context, the shroud as a relic and the meaning of proof. But I like the measure and spirit of the article.
If new carbon 14 tests show similar results the Jacksons and Fantis of Sindone World will be doing a lot of telling us that radiation from the resurrection changed the date. There will be new explanations. Look at what happened between 1988 and 2015. The Turin Shroud is more real today than it was 25 years ago.
Carol Glatz has an interesting piece in the Catholic Herald, ‘Obsession’ with authenticity hides Turin Shroud’s real meaning, says expert. That expert is Gian Maria Zaccone, scientific director of the Museum of the Shroud of Turin. He said it at a preview of the shroud exposition for journalists. Take a couple of minutes to read the entire article:
“It is up to one’s own personal judgment, that is, neither I nor anyone else can tell you that the Shroud is authentic or not; each person examines and works out what research has offered” and then makes up his or her own mind.
Church doctrine has long held that any reverence or honour given to a religious object or relic must be given to what it represents and not to the object itself, he said.
As I am getting ready to post the above, in comes an email from Joe Marino with a Google translation of a Vatican Insider article that features answers to questions by Zaccone and Andrea Nicolotti. Nicolotti is a frequent participant in this blog who has commented nearly two-hundred times. In the Vatican Insider article Nicolotti tells us (Googlized):
"The Church in the official discourse uses some caution, however, in practice (books, television, catechesis, conferences) promotes propaganda authenticity and discourages the contrary. This creates a lot of ambiguity. "
What Nicolotti is saying is the same thing I am beginning to hear more often. Stephen Jones used the term duplicitous, which is a bit harsh. See yesterday’s posting, Ye shall know them by their photographs.
And so the question was posed: What should the Church do with the Shroud?
Nicolotti: "No, this is not a question for a historian. It is not my job to say what the Church should do. As far as I’m concerned I feel so overwhelming evidence medieval origin, which I can not understand how anyone can argue otherwise if not placing myself from a point of view devotional or emotional, not rational. "
Zaccone: "I agree that we need a historical, but we must give priority to the study of the object to get the answers we seek regarding the origin of the Shroud. Consider the historical research is very important in many ways, but not fundamental to the question of authenticity. The Church, as I said before, does what it has always historically done and continues to do: teaching propose that image to go to the heart of what it represents, according to the teaching that, through the representation, honor and worship you make it to the principal. "
N: "From the historical point of view it is necessary to perform a cleaning of all the false rumors and legends about the Shroud touted as true. A serious scientific study would be equally desirable. Let’s start with some certain items. The first historical are medieval. At the time, even those who possessed it affirmed the authenticity of the Shroud: called "figure or representation."The fabric – according to my conclusions, which had already reached some historians of weaving, unheeded – is technologically medieval. Twelve radiocarbon datings, performed in 1988 in three different laboratories, have called medieval. Then there are strong indications, such as the fact that no one in history for thirteen centuries, from the tomb of Jesus to the Middle Ages, has never spoken of this shroud; and when the bishop of Troyes and the pope have spoken for the first time, they did say that it was a fraud. So I conclude that it is extremely unlikely that this object dates from the time of Jesus. In addition, the image on the Shroud could not have produced by contact with a dead body without the intervention of a craftsman, and stains of "blood" are not realistic. Efforts are made to doubt this evidence, but I think no effectiveness. If we want to give priority to the devotional aspect, then there was no talk of authenticity. But the question always resurfaces, I can not dodge the issue. That the problem is not secondary demonstrated by the fact that the Shroud is constantly engaged in an effort to delegitimize the results of studies to the detriment of the authenticity, concocting complicated alternative explanations or by resorting to the subject of the miracle. It rejects arguments against and always has a tendency to cite research favorable authenticity (pollens, written, coins) without ever giving into account when they are rejected by the scientific community. Meanwhile access to the Shroud is foreclosed to scholars for decades: it is even forbidden to work on the high-resolution photographs, a situation quite simply unacceptable. "
Z: "I do not think can be considered closed the question of the origin of the Shroud. I’m not saying that is certainly true, I just say that you can not wipe out so simply a series of elements at least doubts, such as the formation of the image, which even today, despite the numerous theoretical and experimental studies carried out, remains without explanation because no one has yet managed to produce an equal. Also because the problems of interpretation of radiocarbon dating were already present in the literature relative to other datings addition to that of the Shroud. Also I think I have repeatedly made clear how the documents, particularly those medieval, can be interpreted in a more complex and not necessarily for the worse. And I would also like you cease to believe that any researcher – even if the value of goal – that enters the order of ideas that the Shroud may be authentic, thereby become unreliable when no object of derision. There must be a science of the Shroud, but scientists who study according to their specializations. I do not find correct that a nuclear physicist deals with history and vice versa. "
There is, on a single page, an excellent AP video and an awful short-shrifting by Paul Vale, the New York based Night Editor for the Huffington Post UK on the HuffPo-UK site. The article is probably short enough to repost the whole thing without violating fair use. The video, unfortunately sandwiched in between the headline and the story, is well worth watching. It can be accessed by clicking on the picture on the right:
A piece of cloth scientifically proven to have no connection to Biblical times has gone on display in Italy, with millions expected to make the pilgrimage to see the medieval forgery. The infamous Shroud of Turin — a 14 foot piece of linen once believed to be Christ’s burial cloth — went on public display on Sunday after a 5-year hiatus, with Pope Francis reportedly planning to see the “sacred” garb in June.
The linen boasts a faded image of a bearded man, which for centuries was said to be an imprint of the face of Christ. However, in 1988 researchers dated the shroud with Carbon 14 testing, the results placing the garment’s creation within the period 1260-1390. Still, many members of the clergy dismissed the facts, with one Archbishop even decrying the findings as an "overseas Masonic plot" designed to discredit the Roman Catholic Church.
Recent Popes have been careful to avoid pronouncing on the issue, unwilling to reject the shroud while opting to highlight its more symbolic resonance. Yet despite its inauthenticity, the relic remains a big draw for tourists — believers and non-believers. "It’s an occasion that brings everybody together and aims to give a precise response to the violence in this world. It tells us that the way to build a fairer world is not violence, but love," Cesare Nosiglia, Turin’s current archbishop, told the Associated Press.
The shroud will remain on display in the Cathedral of Turin until June 24.