sciencebod, by way of a comment on the thread, “And you thought you knew all about peer reviewed journals” has brought up some tough questions that need their own thread so as not to be lost. I have subdivided his comment into three parts to which I have  taken the liberty of adding the numbers 1, 2 and 3:

image1. Speaking of imaging, or at any rate computer-aided imaging, can anyone explain to me why the so-called 3D-encoded image on the Shroud includes not only the victim, presumed to be 1st century AD, despite totally spurious (we are told) carbon dating to the contrary, but extends to the later 1532 fire damage as well?

The burn marks indeed have (or seem to have) a 3D appearance. The best and the only explanation is that the burn marks are progressively darker near the center of the scorch mark and this translates into a pseudo-elevation when plotted. It is no different then a drop of ink on a piece of filter paper, getting lighter and lighter as it moves away from the center. It plots like the shape of a mountain. This phenomenon is useful in better understanding the burn marks. Good observation, sciencebod.

imageThis does not mean that the 3D appearance of the body isn’t exceedingly mysterious. It proves (some would say only demonstrates) that the image is not by reflected light as it would be seen by the eye of an artist or the lens of a camera. The intensity of the image color can be plotted as a 3D elevation of a body if one presumes (or allows for convenience) that the body is in a generally horizontal position. Some, particularly those who favor an energetic cause for the image, say that it represents body to cloth distance. I remain unconvinced that it is distance. But whether or not the image represents body to cloth distance it is an analog height-field dataset. It cannot be a photograph made with reflected light.

2. Re the latter: look for the 4 framing elongated diamond-shaped additions that intrude upon and spoil an otherwise perfect snapshot, one which would only be possible – acccording to a group of Italian scientists – using state-of-the-art short-wave uv laser beams.

I don’t think the Italian scientists (ENEA) actually said that. I think they said UV light , not specifically lasers (they used lasers experimentally), was capable of creating a coloration of the fibers that is similar to what is found on the shroud. What they did is constantly overstated mainly because the media didn’t read the report.

3. (Shhh – don’t mention the lack of a converging lens, concave mirror, or even pinhole camera, without which no imaging is possible, at least not according to boring old 20th/21st century science), …

That is a problem. That is a big problem. How do we get a high resolution (focused) image without a converging lens, concave mirror, or even pinhole camera. That is of course true only if we think the image was created by light in the near infrared to ultraviolet spectrum. (Other focusing possibilities come to mind for microwave and x-ray.) This is one of the reasons that I doubt that the image was caused by light or any energy source. There is one interesting proposal for overcoming this problem. It is advanced in the History Channel documentary by Ray Downing. It is beyond explaining here, but do have a look. 

Ray Rogers was acutely aware of the resolution issue when he proposed a chemistry-only solution, a Maillard reaction, as the cause of the image. His work (not in my mind yet a fully formed hypothesis) has since been improperly and unfairly characterized as merely a diffusion hypothesis (e.g. totally and inappropriately misrepresented in Giulio Fanti’s most recent paper, “Hypotheses Regarding the Formation of the Body Image on the Turin Shroud. A Critical Compendium,” in The Journal of Imaging Science and Technology, (Vol. 55, No. 6 060507-1–060507-14, 2011)).

As most of you know, if you read the many threads of discussion in this forum, Yannick Clément is the strongest and most articulate proponent of Rogers imaging work. I won’t even try to summarize his views. Just go browsing. Rather, I still have a copy of an email I received from Rogers on January 4, 2004. It read, in part, in this version as posted to the Shroud Science Group (compare to Fanti):

Dear Dan and Researchers:

Just to clear up a few items. . . .

Fairly thin stagnant zones of gas form near fixed surfaces. Other gases that approach such zones must diffuse through the stagnant gas to reach the surface. Diffusion of gases through other gases is modeled with Graham’s Law of Diffusion. The rates of diffusion are inversely proportional to the square roots of the densities of the gases. Diffusion parallel to the surface of a cloth that covers a body can not be instantaneous, and it will be much slower for heavier
molecules. The main products of body decomposition after a few hours are quite heavy molecules.

In the context of image-formation hypotheses that involve reactive gases, remember that cloth is porous. Gases diffusing to the surface can pass through the pores and be lost. [This fact is probably responsible for the image color on the back of the cloth in the area of the hair. Matted fibers inhibit the diffusion of gases.] This phenomenon will restrict vapor concentrations as a function of the distance from contact points where a body touches a cloth.

Cloth surfaces are active and adsorb gases rapidly, a fact that further limits concentrations as a function of distance.

John Jackson’s mathematical analysis of image resolution suggested that no single, simple molecular-diffusion or radiation mechanism could produce the image observed. However, a combination of systems could offer an explanation, e.g., anisotropic heat flow by radiation from the body to the cloth, attenuated heat-flow in the cloth, gaseous diffusion, convection, surface properties of cloth, and the dependence of chemical rates on temperature.

BTW: In this email, Rogers stated, “Energetic radiation absolutely can not be used to explain the properties of the image.” That, at least, the ENEA team proved was wrong.

So sciencebod, I don’t have complete answers for you. As there is no burden of proof issue here, I have no problem being very convinced by the 3D and many other characteristics of the image that it is not a forgery. Yes, I know that sounds a bit like the ridiculous ‘irreducibly complex’ issue in evolutionary biology, but it is not the same. There is no claim that the complexity of the image or the image mechanism is irreducible. It is just illusive, still. I don’t think it is energy, however. I think Rogers may have been on the right track. He did create some rudimentary experimental images. But note I said “may have been.”

Something is missing. I don’t know what it is.