Sciencebod reacts

imageHe repostes:

But some here, notably Paulette, might care to take a glance at the paper’s introduction. Note the claimed 7cm difference in length of the front and rear images (see her earlier comment and the scorn she heaps on me for pointing out how obvious it is, even in the images avaliable on the internet). But first she will have to get down off that school ma’am’s high horse of hers ;-)

Ah, the soft rubber tip on the foil: the smiley ;-)  In looking at what Paulette wrote we see that she did not so much heap scorn on Sciencebod for pointing out anything but for not pointing out anything. It isn’t about a claimed difference in length between the front and back images or even if it is obvious. It is about his slapdash approach to analysis, which to my way of thinking is a perfect example of the gee-whiz science he so disdains. Why not say, “I’ve noticed . . . has anyone seen any research on this? . . any thoughts? . . . am I onto something?” Sciencebod seems rather to parry attacks and and declare touché. What does he expect?

Here is what Paulette wrote (I added links and images for clarity):

The author of science buzz tells us that his blog is primarily about his “scepticism re media-hyped gee-whizz science, especially ‘pseudo-science’, as previous postings will demonstrate, NOT religion…”

imageWell it certainly isn’t about science, either. Consider his 5th item in which he tells us, “Dorsal and ventral imprints may have been obtained from two different templates. Some claim dorsal and ventral images are not consistent. A quick play around with my laptop would suggest as much.”

He is out of his league. Look at the picture of the dorsal and ventral images that he put together in his blog (above). This isn’t scientific thinking. As a science teacher I would have given one of my 9th graders a failing grade if he turned in something like this. He has lined up the rightmost and leftmost edge of the cloth as though the feet were aligned to those edges. The best he can do is write, “some claim.” Who? What documentation? Forget the fact that hundreds of scientists spent thousands of hours studying the images on the shroud. imageCompare his “quick play around with my laptop” with the fifteen page paper, “Computerized Anthropometric Analysis of the Man of the Turin Shroud” detailing the real scientific work of Giulio Fanti, Emanuela Marinelli and Alessandro Cagnazzo of the Interdepartmental Center for Space Studies and Activities at the University of Padua. They are consistent.

Almost all of his 37 points are like point 5, not researched, not carefully thought out. Joe Nickell move over. You have competition.

In reference to  He’s back and it’s a doozy « Shroud of Turin Blog

30 thoughts on “Sciencebod reacts”

  1. I didn’t bother ‘even the notion’ of checking out sciencebod’s site, but after seeing the rediculous 5th item picture above and his choosen procedures to such, Paulette’s grading of a F-.., is now understood clearly!….I’m assuming sciencebod, ‘again’ has refused to do any real research on the subject and most likely has never heard of the term ‘foreshortening’ and how it effects the images we see.


    1. There are any number of contradictions in the literature between one so-called “scientific” account or another with much glossing over pivotal issues and details. They can only be addressed by patiently and methodically examining closely the underlying assumptions, crucially to do with how the image was formed – whether by direct contact, involving mainly heat conduction, or additionally or alternatively, indirectly, or by some kind of radiant energy (ir, visible etc) at a distance, albeit in the absence of a defined imaging system (converging lens, concave mirror etc).

      Until one knows the nature of the energy source producing the chemical changes and image, and its proximity and/or angle of attack on the fabric, then it is fruitless to talk about “foreshortening”. It is also insulting to suggest that I – or anyone else for that matter – has “most likely never heard of the term foreshortening”… It is comments of that nature which which make me disinclined to linger here a moment longer than necessary.

      Apologies to those who have raised valid points or objections – without the superfluous and distracting putdowns and ad hom. They are more than welcome to leave comments on my own site (preferably not as “anonymous” which can be problematical, i.e. distinguishing between one anonymouse and another)!

      1. First of all considering you claim to be a scientist; whom patiently and methodically goes thru his work; How possibly could you make a mistake as in the way you ‘aligned’ the frontal and dorsal image in your comparison? It was the main topic of discussion, which you nicely side-stepped. Now for the foreshortening; I agree the fact we know not how the image was formed may cause issue to this but, in this context all can see, (pretty clearly I may add), the body in the shroud was not lying FLAT!….That cannot be disputed. With just that in mind, a foreshortening would be expected. Wouldn’t you agree?


  2. I read the points on sciencebod’s site and was astounded, not by the skepticism, but because of the misinformation conveyed. I’m always willing to listen to the arguments of skeptics, after all it is the truth that is ultimately important no matter where it leads us. And good quality counter arguments are important to keep the science research and views on the Shroud credible. sciencebod has chosen to ignore the works of John Jackson who demonstrated comprehensively that a heated base relief could not have been used to create the Shroud of Turin image. He has also chosen to ignore the forensics examinations carried out by a number of leading medical experts. He’s also ignored the findings of Heller and Adler on the constitution of the blood stains. What about the conclusions of textile expert Mechthild Flury-Lemberg who said the cloth is likely 1st century? The list goes on.

    sciencebod, if you really mean to critique the science on the Shroud in an objective, open minded and fair manner, you have to do significantly better than this, .. and I’m sure you can. Sadly, from what I’ve seen so far you’re just one of the many who contribute to the spreading of misinformation on the internet. So what do you really stand for sciencebod?

  3. Lots of people claim to have “comprehensively” proved or disproved this or that. Shame they frequently contradict each other (see my previous comment), or gloss over the discrepancies.

    Anyway, thank you for providing a checklist – but I am disinclined to respond to scatter gun indictments such as yours. I am not on trial, here or anywhere else. I simply speak my mind, a process that served me well enough in 25 years as a research manager/scientist.

    Try raising one point at a time, try to hear me out before rushing to judgement, and you might start to enamour me more to Dan’s otherwise splendid site…

    You just can’t get the commenters these days, Dan… ;-)

    1. sciencebod, you astound me again. And yet you complain about ad hominem attacks on this site. Anyway, that’s not important. What is important is your assertion in points 1 and 2 on your website that the Shroud image was formed through heat imprinting from a shallow bas relief template. John Jackson’s work tried to replicate such a process and to summarise these were the findings:
      1. The resulting image didn’t yield a consistent high resolution. There were hollow spots round the eyes, bridge of the nose etc. Garlaschelli’s replication effort had the same problem.
      2. Regardless of the temperature of the bas-relief, thermal discoloration appeared after a few seconds.
      3. The superificiality of the image found on the Shroud could not be replicated. The scorch extended several layers into the thread, instead of the outermost fibrils.
      4. All efforts to increase the scorch time (by wetting the cloth for example) resulted in distorted images with reduced contrast.
      5. Any blood stains would undergo thermal decomposition on contact with the surface of the bas-relief. (Remember, there is no image underneath the blood on the Shroud. You could counter that a forger made a template to ‘skirt’ the bloodstains – but why would he do that? And surely such a process would be detectable under the microscope?)

      Another problem is that wouldn’t an image produced by heat scorching fluoresce under UV light? The Shroud body image does not fluoresce under UV light but scorches like the burns from the 1532 fire do.

      sciencebod, I would like to know why you assert that heat imprinting was used given these problems? Really, I am interested. As I said before I want to listen to the opposing view, so long as this is backed up by arguments that are objective, factually correct and scientific.

      References to Jacksons work can be found at

      1. Jackson’s work with bas relief and statues was the subject of a long and detailed summary on one of Stephen Jones’s splendid posts (shame he is so crotchety re his one-comment-only policy).

        J for Jackson

        Shame too that the house-that-Jackson-built is riddled with woodworm and dry rot in the form of flaws, omissions and contradictions. The problem with demolishing Jackson is deciding which of the numerous weak points of the structure to lean on first – one is spoiled for choice.

  4. @ron (no reply key against your comment)

    I cropped nothing off the left or right of the complete shroud image, viewed laterally, i.e. the feet remained intact, albeit indistinct, especially in ventral view.
    I then chose a vertical line of bisection approximately midway between the ventral and dorsal heads, i.e. the image-free zone.
    One half I rotated through180 degrees, and then cut and pasted above the other half.
    The editing software placed the two feet ends together (IT WAS NOT ME THAT MADE THAT DECISION)
    I looked at the result to decide if it was biased or not. The triangular burn marks were certainly not in alignment (no reason why they should be of course given that each layer of linen burns differently), but the burn marks were LOWER on the dorsal side, whereas the head and thus apparent length/height was GREATER on the dorsal side. Had I shifted the dorsal side higher to get the burn marks in better alignment, the dorsal head would have looked EVEN HIGHER than I showed. In other words, any bias was AGAINST the point I was making.

    Later, after the dressing down from Miss, I went back to Google images, and found someone who had done my exercise, but with clearer images which showed the different sets of “poker holes” (see my site for the link). Those holes were in near-perfect alignment, both the set at the very top and another lower down.

    In other words, if I am being charged with deliberately misaligning in order to manufacture the appearance of a disparity in size, then there is no case to answer.

    Given that one of the “must read” references we were given earlier today starts by stating categorically that the dorsal image is 7 cm longer/taller than the ventral, and given that I merely suggested on the basis of my own “playing with the laptop” (my very words), and that I could hardly have done more to hedge my words, then I frankly consider this inquisition bang out of order. I’ve answered your question – and it is the FIRST and LAST TIME I submit to this kind of inquisition. Open-ended questions, yes. Loaded accusations, NO…

    PS: I don’t claim to be a scientist. I AM a retired PhD scientist, previously Head of Nutrition and Food Safety at a Food Research association, and generally held to be an authority on resistant starch and dietary fibre. There are people right now in Europe, the US and China all filing for patents on a discovery I published 25 years ago. Whether you believe that or not is a matter of supreme indifference to me …

  5. Well Bod you did claim to be a scientist in your post above, I didn’t just make it up. Nonetheless I accept your explanation for the ventral/dorsal misalignment, I know how difficult some software can be to perfect. But although it was a software mistake, did you think it reasonable to post such an image knowing it could bring on such misinterpretation? It would also misguide anyone who is not familiar with the Shroud. (We also can’t assume whomever folded the Shroud during the fire did so from where we would expect) …so I would have suggested aligning the image from a central point or from the top of the head. Maybe you can do so once you get a better hold of the software! As for the second issue; May I suggest that before taking things literally from ‘loose’ facts posted here, and just “playing with the laptop” before you make comments that dispute evidence for the Shroud, you investigate first much more material. You see that seems to be the issue everyone has with you here and can you blame them? You must realize, most here take the Shroud very seriously and truthfully most are pretty sick of skeptics that come along claiming to know all the answers to why the Shroud is a fake, without proper research. Honestly I don’t think anyone is questioning your intelligence here, I’m definitely not and I said so in my first post to you, but people may be judging your approach to the matter….that is what I feel anyways.


    1. But you still seem to be missing the point, Ron. There was NO misalignment – not because of anything that I or the software did or did not do, right or wrong, but because, and I repeat, others have done the same exercise in which those mysterious poker holes are prominent (and being of small diameter are ideal as reference points) and they END UP WITH THE SAME RESULT – with the dorsal image longer/taller than the ventral.

      here’s the link

      So, in other words, while the orientation of the feet would be problematical if one were trying to align those front and rear, the feet become irrelevant if one takes the poker holes as one’s unambiguous reference points. (Yes, it’s making the assumption that the linen drapes over the head and torso in the same way front and rear, which is not an unreasonable one, except for a prominence like the nose which won’t make a great deal of difference).

      Think of the poker holes like a belt. If the subject had been wearing a belt, visible in front and rear, one could have aligned on the belt – and then have been very surprised to find the rear head several cm higher than the front one…

      At the end of the day, it’s just a blog – not a submission to Nature journal… If some find it provocative, OK, but then I find a lot of what i read in the papers on the matter of the Shroud provocative, like those publicity-seeking Italians with their high-energy lasers speculating on supernatural processes…

  6. Bod, you are also missing the point that you cannot go by the poker holes in comparing the dorsal/ventral image lengths, as they are two seperate things, produced at two different times. I’ve also noticed the picture in the link has been ‘cropped’. It is quite evident from the dorsal image as the toes are missing including some non-image area extending from the toes, plus the empty area between the D/V heads has not been cropped at the proper point (alas there is several centimeters material missing). Furthermore, in actuality the dorsal side of the shroud is longer, (material wise moreso but image wise also), this has already been covered by several people. According to ‘wrapping’ experiments done by Dr Jackson et al. Whomever folded the body in the Shroud gave ‘generous’ material for the dorsal or bottom side of the Shroud. This is shown and quite evident from Jackson’s close examination as can be seen in a short clip @ As for the actual image differences in length, this is easily explained by the foreshortening effect of the body not being flat but contorted in rigor-mortis.


    1. Oops, senior moment there on my part, Ron – I was momentarily looking at the fused side by side piccy as if that were the original way the cloth was folded – instead of up and over.

      But it beats me how you can discern toes – i have trouble seeing feet, never mind toes.

  7. Yes, good picture(s), ron, for which I thank you, but still needing the, er, eye of faith to make out the toes.

    But I’m still puzzling why I can’t rearrange the upstairs/downstairs pictures to get two side-by-side for height comparison without getting accused of trickery, while Google’s Turin Shroud image file has at least six, I now discover, and most if not all show the dorsal longer/taller than the ventral…



    OK, I’ll accept (reluctantly for now) that it’s all to do with flexion, rigor mortis, foreshortening, call it what you will, but something inside tells me there is something not quite right.

    But in the league table of things “not quite right” it hardly gets a look in, compared with some other things one could mention, Jackson’s experiments especially. Who’d have thought that an inanimate bas-relief yields a “respectable 3D image?” That’s not a finding you will see or hear trumpeted on this site, oh no sir…

  8. @sciencebod #7 – You said “Shame too that the house-that-Jackson-built is riddled with woodworm and dry rot in the form of flaws, omissions and contradictions.” That’s always a possibility and that’s why it should be critiqued, though objectively, and preferably using scientific terms. You’ve eluded the questions in my last posting, which is a bit of a disappointment. I’d still like to know on what basis you justify asserting on your website the Shroud image was formed through heat imprinting from a template.

    1. Chris, I’ve been looking again at those Jackson experiments, the ones in that Stephen Jones link I gave earlier.

      It is certainly time that someone tried separating the nitty gritty science from the homely arts & crafts – to say nothing of computer gee-whizzery. I’ll try composing something this evening for posting on my own site (can’t have it dying its death of cold in the blogosphere boondocks). I’ll let you know here when it’s ready for viewing.

      Oh, and it WAS formed by a ‘thermographic” – not optical imaging – process primarily via contact heat conduction with maybe a small ir contribution – of that I have no doubt whatsoever.

    2. Bods eluded the questions because he has no answer to them, as he has problems ‘seeing’ the toes on the image I pointed him too (which are quite evident), he’s apparently not ‘seen’ the points you mentioned! Points such as; the image doesn’t fluoresce under UV light, or the blood has not been affected by a heat source, or in that to create the “superficial depth of image” such as found on the Shroud, the cloth could only have been placed; an incredibly short period of time over the casting, in the order of milliseconds, (impossible by the way) considering the detail found and the 3d properties, not to mention the length of cloth we are talking about here…If bod is capable of completing this task, to it’s full extent, I would then be llikely to visit his blog to ‘see’ it.

      Oh and Bod, owing to the fact you could not see the toes, maybe you are in need of glasses or a new prescription maybe?….just saying!


      1. Actually I have just finished re-reading what Raymond Rogers had to say on the subject of scorch marks, more specifically his rejection of any notion that the image was a scorch. It’s the one where he throws in a free chemistry tutorial on the Arrhenius “energy of activation ” equation, and which was cited verbatim to/at me shortly after my first visit to this site.

        Frankly, I find that particular section from an otherwise very competent chemist (RIP) one of the least satisfactory, indeed bewildering of his entire output (at least that which is available for free on the internet). I may well take you up that suggestion of yours, and make Rogers on Scorching my next post.

        But the most recent one was also done at the suggestion(urging?) of a comment on this site – see earlier on this thread – and so far there’s been no feedback. It’s early days I know, but is it too much to hope that silence can be taken to imply consent ? 0r is by way of a stunned silence – because until reminding, folk here had forgotten how impressed (though maybe not elated) Jackson had been with his first bas relief experiments, choosing then to quibble on matters of art and crafts detail as distinct from scientific principle?..

      2. Ron, I’m beginning to think all he wants to do is talk and drive traffic to his own site by biting off Dan’s more popular blog. It’s a known technique for those managing less popular topics on their own site to drive traffic their way (this is rampant in political blogs). For all his claimed credentials he keeps missing minor details (like scorches fluoresce) when he makes his assertions. You would think that someone of his claimed caliber would pick up on the details before he makes his claims instead he says he has, ah, what did he call them?, “senior moments”. I can understand those but they seem too convenient in this context. Last week it was a cadaver that made the shroud, this week it’s bas relief with scorches, next week – who knows? One things seems near certain about his assumptions – it cannot be what it simply purports to be – an actual burial cloth that may have an image on it from a natural phenomenon, hence the swags. He’s grasping at straws. And when constructive criticism is leveled his response is more or less that someone else is blind, not him. It’s a pattern. It reveals, I think, something more about him than anything about the shroud.

        He can claim anything he wants with regard to his experiments as it is the internet but until he puts forth something that can be put in the hands of others and his work can be reviewed by peers the rubber has not met the road so to speak. Until then he might as well be the wind howling. I wish him peace and good will in his life.

      3. I have spent a considerable time searching through image files to find toes on the Shroud, so far without success. Would you kindly oblige with a link to toes please? Toes please. Not vague diagonal striations.

        Aside: it is generally acknowledged that the dorsal image has the better impression of a foot, albeit one heavily obscured (or rather excluded) with blood-stains (RHS). But the dorsal image will show the underside of a foot, i.e. the sole, and we all know that toes on the underside look nothing like toes on the topside. So I fail to see where you found an image that was unequivocally toes, comparable in quality, say, to that of the hands and fingers.

    1. Well, looks like you’ve definitely convinced yourself, Colin. The only thing left to do is create a Euro-Disney Shroud with all the gee-whiz features from your arts and crafts skills and submit it for analysis. Should be easy now that you’ve got it all figured out. And now that you’re retired you should have plenty of time to get it right and put everyone in their place. Good luck.

      1. “The purpose of an open mind is to close it, on particular subjects. If you never do — you’ve simply abdicated the responsibility to think.”

        William F. Buckley, Jr.

  9. Hi,

    The shroud could be folded on the backside, under he bottom. Explaining the difference in lenght, the absence of image, the duplication of wounds and the slight angulation.

  10. @chris “For all his claimed credentials he keeps missing minor details (like scorches fluoresce) when he makes his assertions”

    I think you will find is that the oft-quoted paper said it is the 1532 burn marks on the Shroud that show fluorescence under uv ,as distinct from the image. That’s not the same as saying that all scorch marks are non-fluorescing, which in turn raises all sorts of unresolved questions re the nature of the fluorophore(s), and whether pyrolysis, i.e. heating under conditions that restrict oxygen access, e.g. a closed silver reliquary, would generate fluorophores more readily than if the roasted carbohydrates had free access to abundant oxygen. (There are good theoretical grounds for thinking that may well be the case, to do with the creation of conjugated diene systems and extensive pi-bond delocalised systems, especially with aromatic ring systems – ones that favour fluorescence- when there is no oxygen to sequester the surplus electrons from pyrolytic C-H, O-H bond fission etc.

    I have every right to promote my own site – how else do you think that blogs become visible when there are millions of them out there? But I like to think I am discreet in that respect, with occasional mentions, sufficient to signpost it to those wishing to see my longer posts as distinct from comments. In my comments here, I have up until now tried not to burden folk with too much chemical detail (though reading the above you might be forgiven for thinking otherwise).

    You may rest assured there will be a lot more (uncompromising) chemical detail in the coming days and weeks on my own site, given that my attempt at a lighter touch here has been so misrepresented.

    Goodnight one and all.

    ColinB (aka sciencebod) MSc, PhD (Biochemistry)

    1. Correction: “That’s not the same as saying that all scorch marks are non-fluorescing,” should have read as “fluorescing”, not “non-fluorescing”.

  11. sciencebod :
    OK, I’ll accept (reluctantly for now) that it’s all to do with flexion, rigor mortis, foreshortening, call it what you will, but something inside tells me there is something not quite right.

    I’m reluctant too. There’s a real issue concerning the difference of lenght between frontal and dorsal image.
    Fanti proposed outlines, reproduced on the picture above. You can see these outlines are continuous.
    Point is if you look at the dorsal image, there is a zone under the buttocks with no image. How do you draw an outline ? by extrapolation ? Assuming there must be an image ? Assuming the linen was here, standing in front of the body, streched ?
    What has been taken for granted can be questionned.

    Sciencebod is just pointing an issue with no satisfying answer.

    1. Thank you anoxie. I won’t say much more on the subject, at least not here. Suffice it to say that the desrciption of the computerisied anthropometric study of Fanti et al as “real scientific work” is comedic, as is the paper itself. Nowhere does that paper consider the sceptics’ view that the image was produced from an inanimate replica. e.g. a bas relief or statue. Instead it makes numerous explicit assumptions that it was a body that had been taken down from a cross in a state of rigor mortis with head tipped forward, knees drawn up, that an image had been acquired on a cloth that was loosely draped over etc. Talk about self-serving assumptions – ones that make that final diagram of the two “supeimposable” (sic)outlines totally at odds with unaided, non messed-around-with simple observation, e.g.

      link to non-computer transformed dorsal v frontal comparison

      Note too they say “superimposable”, not “superimposed” – a crucial difference, and then refer to “compatible”, a term that is shot through with subjectivity.

      Nowhere does the paper say how the image was formed from a real person on that draped-over cloth, especially those parts not in direct contact with the cloth. What a worthless publication – the referees should have thrown it straight back, or better still in the bin…

      I am only too painfully aware, needless to say, that the icy-cold objectivity of (real) science is not for everyone (present company excepted ;-) and that would include those so-called scientists who use computer-aided (re-)imaging systems in an attempt to escape the evidence of their own eyes, to say nothing of common sense…

      The clue to the artefact – a term I use deliberately- lies I believe in those (over)long bony fingers, says he with a gleam in his eye, which I intend to put up for discussion shortly. But probably not here… I know where I am not welcome…


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