And you thought you knew all about peer reviewed journals.

This is an entry from Beall’s List of Predatory, Open-Access Publishers. “Operating essentially as vanity presses, these publishers typically have a low article acceptance threshold, with a false-front or non-existent peer review process. Unlike professional publishing operations, whether subscription-based or ethically-sound open access . . . “

imageScienceDomain International  This publisher’s fleet of 18 journals all try to show legitimacy by having titles that begin with "American" or "British" or "International." Any journal that begins with these terms must be respected, right? The "contact us" page is chiefly a web form, but the site does list three offices, one in the U.K., one in the U.S., and one in India. The site uses the "pool reviewers" method of peer review. Although the journals do have nominal editorial boards, there is really just one big editorial board for all the publisher’s journals and reviewers are supposedly selected from that big list to review each submission. Looking at individual articles, I notice that the period between submission and acceptance is generally two weeks, an indication of bogus or nonexistent peer review.

And guess who is listed as Chief Editor: Prof. Dmitry A. Kuznetsov (pictured above), N. N. Semenov Institute for Chemical Physics, Russian Academy of Sciences, Kosygin St. 4, Moscow 119991, Russia.

If you haven’t read it, read William Meacham’s, “The amazing Dr Kouznetsov,” in Antiquity

An update to Paper Chase: The amazing Dr Kouznetsov by William Meacham

Have a think about it. Of linen strips and the Shroud of Turin.

imageA reader writes:

I have just read your comments on the side bar of the Shroud of Turin Blog. Are you a practicing Christian or are you needing scientific proof because the Bible contradicts what the scientists are saying.

John 20:5-7 says

"He bent over and looked in at the strips of linen lying there but did not go in. Then Simon Peter came along behind him and went straight into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there, as well as the cloth that had been wrapped around Jesus’ head. The cloth was still lying in its place, separate from the linen."

This indicates that there was at least three pieces of fabric that Jesus was wrapped in. So my question is "how can the shroud be His"? My faith lies in what the Bible says, not what scientists say.

Have a think about it.

As on a previous occasion in this blog, may I recommend an excellent paper by Diana Fulbright: “A Clean Cloth: What Greek Word Usage Tells Us about the Burial Wrappings of Jesus.” I hope you will find that there is no contradiction.

It is widely believed among biblical scholars that the cloth “which had been around Jesus’ head” was the sudarium used to cover Jesus’ face while he was carried to the tomb, perhaps even while he was being taken down from the cross, and possibly while he was being prepared for burial. Most likely, it would have been removed prior to the use of the shroud for burial and it would have been carefully rolled up and put aside in the tomb. There is another possibility. The cloth around his head may have been a chin band used to keep the jaw closed. Other strips, mentioned in John’s Gospel would have been a few strips of linen used as ties, to respectfully bind hands and feet or to tie a shroud around a body. All of this, including the use of a shroud would have been completely consistent with what we know of how a few people, mostly rich people like Caiaphas, Joseph of Arimathea, or Nichodemus, were buried in tombs in the environs of Jerusalem. None of this is contrary to what it says in the Bible. It conforms, but just not the way we sometimes imagined it or were told it or saw it in pictures. Joe Marino, a very knowledgeable shroud scholar also recommends the following works:

  • Safrai/Stern “Jewish People in the First Century,”
  • Rachel Hachlili (“Jewish funerary customs, practices and rites in the Second Temple period
  • Jürgen K. Zangenberg, “Dry Bones-Heavenly Bliss: Tombs, Post Mortem Existence and Life-After-Death in Ancient Judaism,”
  • (I am, in part, repeating material from an older posting).

Dear reader, I take great comfort that my faith lies in what the Bible says and that it is not contradicted by what scientists say. That is true, as I see it, for the shroud, evolution and the creation of the universe. I suspect we disagree on many ways of understanding, which Christians have done since Peter and Paul. So, now, to answer your specific questions, I am a practicing Christian and I am not needing scientific proof.

You couldn’t make this up. No you couldn’t. No. Really. You could not.

imageHeadline: Time Travel Machine Discovered By Italian Film Scientist True Photographic Evidence

 

Unlike the garbage you will witness on youtube you are about to see incredible real images you thought were impossible. The incredible angular film system discovered by Italian experimental film scientist Vincenzo Giovanni Ruello in 2009 films in between angles of the colour spectrum 7 colours to discover hidden and encoded images in past and future time…this is real.

The first image I will bring you back in time 2000 years and show you the real battered and tortured face of Jesus Christ moments before crucifiction which I discovered in the St Peters Veronica Veil in April of 2011. His left eye open the right bashed shut and massive injuries to the right of His face which appear to be whip marks. Please see my other clips linking it now to the Shroud of Turin.

The second image is what Cern Hadron Collider will eventually show the world the God Particle Dark Matter Photograph which I discovered from a photograph of a carbon atom which was all blue from the Ukraine University of Physics and Technology several years ago.

The incredible angular light wave film system discovered in March of 2009 has shown you actual true and real photographic images of the past and the future.

(C) 2012 Vincenzo Giovanni Ruello

Time Travel Machine Discovered By Italian Film Scientist True Photographic Evidence – YouTube

Paper Chase: The amazing Dr Kouznetsov by William Meacham

imageMUST READ:  This article by William Meacham, “The amazing Dr Kouznetsov,” in Antiquity is a must read:

Here is a story to strike a chill of anxiety into the hearts of editors and their peer-reviewers. Do we, should we, need we check our submissions with greater rigour?

Keywords: Ireland, conservation, creationism, medieval, textiles, Turin Shroud

It is rare in scientific fraud to find a repeat offender. Once exposed, the perpetrator usually slinks off into oblivion. Yet the case of a low-level Russian microbiologist, working in the Moscow City Station for Sanitation and Epidemiology, reveals an extraordinary resilience: he was able to put himself in the international limelight no less than three times, twice even after being discovered in flagrante delicto. His final act was a spectacular fraud performed on a prominent British journal, involving false claims about archaeological samples not from some remote corner of the former Soviet Union, but from the Republic of Ireland.

But, it may not be his final act. Check back for more information soon.

READ FULL ARTICLE HERE: The amazing Dr Kouznetsov | Antiquity

( TinyURL: http://tinyurl.com/7xkm4rk )

Feel Good Distraction

Be sure to have the sound on. YouTube link is http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oAVjF_7ensg

Let’s Talk Red Blood: Bilirubin, Saponaria officinalis and UV

imageColin writes back with a comment:

As I have said previously Dan I am not at all happy with either the tone or content of some of the responses I have received on your site. I do not like being used as an Aunt Sally by true believers either here – or on other “single issue” sites which I happen upon in pursuing my SCIENTIFIC interests.

I’m sorry you feel that way. You blogged. We pounced. It is the nature of blogging. You invited criticism by posting something in a controversial realm. You invited particular criticism by suggesting that the image was created by heat in a way that made it seem like you thought no one had considered this before. It appeared, to all who have extensively studied the shroud, as though you had not done even the smallest amount of research. The same was true when you discussed the patches. You are not to be thought of as an Aunt Sally; no one thought of setting you up. And we aren’t “true believers” in the disparaging sense that you mean. Some of us approached our study of the shroud skeptically. I did and it took years for me to change my mind. My friend, Barrie Schwortz, a Jew, did so as well. Those of us who believe the shroud is real do so, for the most part, because we find the evidence compelling. That doesn’t mean we aren’t wrong. Most of us are open-minded.

I have lamented the fact that today there are insufficient, qualified, scientifically-minded skeptics of the shroud. True belief, in the complimentary sense, as opposed to blind belief, thrives best facing up to doubt. Make of us Aunt Sally’s. That is the ideal.

So I’ll take half the blame for the tone. Some of the commenters deserve some. You must take on some. Can we discuss things going forward. Keep in mind, there will be tone problems. Ask Helmut Felzmann (see New Kindles from Helmut Felzmann) how nasty I can get.

imageSo then you wrote:

So I shall simply say this: using Ehrllch’s reagent (diazotised sulphanilic acid) in the Van den Bergh reaction is OK if one is using it on fresh blood, where bilirubin, if present gives a purple colour. But adding it to a highly aged and degraded sample of dried blood and reporting a positive response simply “by eye”, without reporting or referring to any numerical / spectral / chromatographic data to characterise the chromophore as having come from bilirubin is frankly Mickey Mouse science.

Speak about tone. Now continuing:

Had I been given the sample, I would have tried dissolving ii first, and then performing a Folch- type lipid extraction with chloroform/methanol/water at approx neutral or slightly acidic pH, when I would expect bilirubin to partitiion into the lower organic phase. I would then have attempted to isolate the bilirubin, e.g. by thin layer chromatography, and then used GLC-mass spectrometry of the volatile methyl or TMS derivatives, as described in my 1972 paper against similarly derivatised authentic bilirubin standards.

As for the suggestion that bilirubin could contribute to an unusual red colour of dried blood, words fail me. Yes, bilirubin is orange, but its colour would be masked by haemoglobin in whole or dried blood. Yes, bilirubin levels in blood may be raised as a result of physical trauma, e.g. heel-strike injury causing mild haemolysis in runners, but the idea that an alleged elevated level of bilirubin (not proven, far less quantified) has anything to say about crucifixion trauma is frankly laughable. More Mickey Mouse science.

As indicated earlier, bilirubin is prone to both bleaching and/or photooxidation on storage, exposure to light etc. There are numerous mechanisms involving photoisomerism, addition of singlet oxygen etc etc. Those who work with bilrubin on a regular basis avoid exposing it to light and oxygen. Goodness knows what gave a “positive” Ehrich’s test on Shroud blood, but I doubt strongly that it was bilirubin.

Ray Rogers suggested another possibility. In his paper with Anna Arnoldi, SCIENTIFIC METHOD APPLIED TO THE SHROUD OF TURIN: A REVIEW, Rogers, who argued for an evaporation concentration layer on the shroud’s fibers, wrote:

Saponaria [officinalis] is hemolytic, which could explain why the old blood stains on the cloth are still red. Diane Soran (deceased) of Los Alamos, tested hemolysis on Saponaria-washed cloth before we went to Turin. The blood is still red on those 25-year-old samples. Controls are black.

Stephen E. Jones has jumped in on Now we are cooking with Sciencebod, which prompted by earlier comments:

The ENEA Report (translated by Google and hence the strange English style) has an explanation for the too red color of the Shroud blood:

“The UV and VUV light colored linen that is compatible with the absence of staining in the blood stains of the Shroud (hemoglobin in thin blood absorbs UV and VUV light) and the second some scholars [46] UV light may be responsible for another very unique feature of Shroud, the red spots of blood after so much time of their deposition.” (p.22).

The reference is to: 46. C. Goldoni: “The Shroud of Turin and the bilirubin blood stains” Atti dell’International Conference on The Shroud of Turin: Perspectives on a Multifaceted Enigma, edito da G. Fanti (Edizioni Libreria Progetto Padova 2009) pp. 442-445. http://www.ohioshroudconference.com/papers/p04.pdf

In that paper, which was translated from Italian and difficult to follow, Goldoni (a Doctor of Medicine and Clinical Pathologist) states:

“Coming back to the Shroud it is important to note that the bright-red colour of blood, visible on the cloth, is connected with an exposure to ultraviolet rays. This last result was in agreement with many previous observations. … However, the following irradiation in the UV-next showed, after exposure of only 30 minutes, a sharp change towards the bright red colour regardless the bilirubin excess in each samples (Fig. 2)” (pp.3,5).

As it happens, last night I re-read physicist John Jackson’s 1991, “An Unconventional Hypothesis to Explain all Image Characteristics Found on the Shroud Image” and in it Jackson presciently (20+ years ago) attributed the Shroud’s image to ultraviolet light emitted from the body:

Chemical Nature of the Image. Electromagnetic radiation that is absorbed strongly in air consists of photons in the ultraviolet or soft x-ray region. It happens that these photons are also sufficiently energetic to photochemically modify cellulose. Such photons are strongly absorbed in cellulose over fibril-like distances. Experiments performed by the author have shown that subsequent aging in an oven of photosensitized (bleached) cloth by shortwave ultraviolet radiation produces a yellow-browned pattern like the Shroud body image composed of chemically altered cellulose. Thus, I posit that radiation from the body initially photosensitized the body image onto the Shroud. This pattern would have appeared, if the radiation was ultraviolet, as a white (bleached) image on a less white cloth. With time, natural aging would have reversed the relative shading of the image to its presently observed state where it appears darker than the surrounding cloth (which also aged or darkened with time, but not as fast). This mechanism is consistent with (1) the observed lack of pyrolytic products in microchemical studies of Shroud fibrils expected from high-temperature cellulose degradation (in this case image coloring occurs by natural aging at ambient temperatures over a long period of time) and (2) the absence of substances in the image areas that chemically colored the cloth (Note that image coloration is produced onto the cloth only by radiation and without any extraneous chemicals).” (Jackson, J.P., “An Unconventional Hypothesis to Explain all Image Characteristics Found on the Shroud Image,” in Berard, A., ed., “History, Science, Theology and the Shroud,” Symposium Proceedings, St. Louis Missouri, June 22-23, 1991, The Man in the Shroud Committee of Amarillo, Texas: Amarillo TX, 1991, p.341. Emphasis original).

And what’s more, Jackson had proposed that the Shroud’s blood was also photochemically modified:

Photochemical Modification of the Shroud Blood. Given that the assumed radiation stimulus induced a chemical change in the cellulose of the Shroud, which we refer to generically as the `body image,’ it is reasonable to ask if analogous chemical changes might also have been induced in the blood which remained attached to the Shroud during the hypothesized collapse.” (Jackson, 1991, p.343. Emphasis original).

I really would be interested to hear more from Colin.

If the Shroud of Turin is a fake, it’s impressive

imageMarilyn and John McFarlane in Lighthearted Travel say it well:

Over the years various scientific tests have been performed on the fabric. Every finding, on either side, is challenged. Nothing guarantees its authenticity–and nothing explains the imprint of the image.  It remains shrouded in mystery. My eyes still see only an ancient, stained cloth, but the enlargements and displays in the museum point it out clearly. If it’s a fake, it’s impressive. Even more impressive is its effect on the millions who hold it sacred.

Now we are cooking with Sciencebod

imageColinB writes:

[. . . some are claiming (or to that effect)] . . . elevated levels of bilirubin, despite the fact that bilirubin is light-sensitive and prone to photoxidation? I could tell you quite a lot about the latter, having spent two years researching the phototherapy of neonatal jaundice (my first published paper in 1972 as it happens). (emphasis mine)

ColinB, please do tell us. Let me assure you that the goal of most Shroud of Turin researchers, by the hundreds over several decades, is to determine the truth: scientific, historical, etc. If oxidation is a potential problem it should be addressed. 

I assume by now that you’ve read A DETAILED CRITICAL REVIEW OF THE CHEMICAL STUDIES ON THE TURIN SHROUD: FACTS AND INTERPRETATIONS by Thibault Heimberger. It is an excellent paper, particularly in its discussions about the bilirubin-rich blood. It is only about 30 pages. I also recommend:

  • Alan D.Adler. Chemical and Physical Aspects of the Sindonic Image in The Orphaned Manuscript- A gathering of Publications on the Shroud of Turin. Effata editrice. Torino, Italy. 2002. ISBN 88-7402-003-1.
  • Alan D.Adler. The origin and nature of blood on the Turin Shroud in Turin Shroud-Image of Christ? William Meacham, ed., Hong-Kong, March 1986, reproduced in The Orphaned Manuscript- A gathering of Publications on the Shroud of Turin. Effata editrice. Torino, Italy. 2002. ISBN 88-7402-003-1.
  • John H. Heller and Alan D. Adler: A chemical investigation of the Shroud of Turin. Canadian Society of Forensic Sciences Journal, 14 (3), 1981.
  • L.A.Schwalbe, R.N.Rogers : Physics and Chemistry of the Shroud of Turin. Analytica Chimica Acta, 135 (1982) 3-49.
  • Please, write a short paper on the bilirubin issues, or even just a few paragraphs. I will publish it here in this blog. I will circulate it among 136 members of the Shroud Science Group, if you wish. Many will see it here, anyway. With the SSG, I cannot circulate it anonymously. I’m sure you understand.

Metaphors or Mix Up?

imageIn considering wrist wounds on the Shroud of Turin, a blogger asks:

What are we to make of the stigmata of St Francis and of Padre Pio? The positions of their stigmata, as near as I can tell, correspond to the traditional sites of Christ’s wounds, notably the palms of the hands.

What went wrong? Did Jesus not remember? Or is this an indication that the stigmata are, in spite of the plethora of evidence presented in the Cause of Pio, extremely clever fakes?

Full posting: Identity crisis: God’s Metaphors

Reflections On The Shroud Of Turin–Recommended

imageRobert Perry at NHNE Pulse:

A carbon-dating test in 1988 measured the cloth as originating between 1260 and 1390. And that seemed to put an end to it. The Shroud was proclaimed a fake and one of the scientists who measured its age labeled belief in it on par with being a flat-earther.

But that didn’t end it. People slowly realized that the date didn’t explain how the image got there — an image that is not composed of paint, but of some kind of chemical change to the cloth itself — and why everything else about the Shroud seemed so flawlessly realistic. The carbon-dating stood on one side while a mountain of other equally scientific evidence stood on the other. It wasn’t a case of science vs. faith, but of science vs. science. (emphasis mine)

Full article: Reflections On The Shroud Of Turin | NHNE Pulse

Critical scholarship applied to the Gospels

imageInteresting, short article in The Economist

Christians were initially uneasy with such academic scrutiny. The Vatican only dropped its objections to critical scholarship after the second world war; Pope Benedict XVI, for example, might challenge the scholars’ conclusions but he would not object to their method.

Source: Textual criticism: Believe it or not | The Economist

Quote for today by Stephen Colbert

imageComedian Stephen Colberts quoted not joking in the New York Times on January 4, 2012:

[Mother] taught me to be grateful for my life regardless of what that entailed, and that’s directly related to the image of Christ on the cross and the example of sacrifice that he gave us. What she taught me is that the deliverance God offers you from pain is not no pain — it’s that the pain is actually a gift. What’s the option? God doesn’t really give you another choice.

Full article: How Many Stephen Colberts Are There? – NYTimes.com

ColinB thinks I’m evading the question. This is enough until he does some reading on his own.

imageColinB aka writes back:

OK Dan, so I can understand why you dislike the claim that the reweaving of the sampled regions took place after the fire, as a response to the fire. Who in their right mind would go the trouble of invisible, or near invisible reweaving on an inconspicuous corner of the cloth, given the damage elsewhere. But you have still failed to address my original question. Why would anyone, Margaret of Austria included, have commissioned repair by reweaving BEFORE the fire? What would be the point? It’s only an inconspicuous corner of the cloth, after all.

Here is some helpful reading.

  1. [PDF] Historical Support of a 16th Century Restoration in Shroud C-14 … (2002)

  2. [PDF] New Historical Evidence Explaining the Invisible Patch in the 1988 … (2005)

  3. [PDF] Invisible Mending and the Turin Shroud: Historical and Scientific … (2008)

  4. One good explanation is that Margaret bequeathed a piece of the shroud to her church. Remember, this was private property. Remember, too, that relics or even pieces of relics were thought to have special, even magical qualities (many still think so). She then arranged to have the spot rewoven.

Why do it so expertly that even the scientists and Vatican overseers some 6 centuries later imagined it was the original shroud that was being sampled? Why would Margaret etc interfere with a supposed Holy Relic? Why risk compromisinmg its authenticity in any way?

Call it medieval souvenir collecting. It was very common with relics. Cloths of saints were divided among many church and private owners. It still goes on.

Sorry, but for all your welter of words, punctuated with those inevitable putdowns that seem par for the course on internet forums, you have failed to address the objections I raise, ie. to your “contamination by reweaving” hypothesis . Yes, hypothesis. But I need hardly remind you that the onus is not on the scientist to prove the fabric was not contaminated. No one should be asked to prove a negative. The onus is on you and others to prove that it was contaminated, which you have so far failed to do… I can see that it is a handy out for those who want to rubbish the C-dating, but it’s hardly scientific, is it, to conjure up red herringss, and expect others to prove you wrong. Can you prove that Kepler-22b and all the other exoplanets are not made of green cheese?

imageActually, it is not contamination by reweaving that needs to be established as a scientific hypothesis. Rogers (and others) proved that the material of the sample area was chemically different than the rest of the cloth in two significant ways. Reweaving is a plausible explanation from history.

  1. There were significant quantities of cotton, madder root dye, aluminum (likely from alum mordant) and gum (possibly Arabic gum) in the sample area. These materials do not exist in significant or measurable quantities throughout the whole shroud. That is proof of material intrusion, in this case or more precise terminology than contamination. 2) The sample area contained significant amounts of vanillin. The rest of the cloth contained no detectable vanillin.
  2. Microchemical tests reveal vanillin (C8H8O3 or 4-hydroxy-3-methoxybenzaldehyde) in an area of the cloth from which the carbon 14 sample were cut. But the rest of the cloth does not test positive for it.  Vanillin (vanilla) is produced by the thermal decomposition of lignin, a complex polymer, a non-carbohydrate constituent of plant material including flax. Found in medieval materials but not in much older cloths, it diminishes and disappears with time. For instance, the linen wrappings of the Dead Sea scrolls do not test positive for vanillin. (The kinetics constants for calculating the loss of vanillin from lignin are E = 29.6 kcal/mole and Z = 3.7 X 10exp11/second). Quantitative counts of lignin residues show some large differences between the carbon 14 sampling areas and the rest of the Shroud. Where there is lignin in the sample area it tests positive for vanillin. Other medieval cloths, where lignin is found, test positive.  The main body of the Shroud, with significant lignin at the fiber growth nodes, does not have vanillin. The Shroud’s lignin is very old compared with the radiocarbon sampling area.
    Here is a collection of reading for you:

1.  Thermochimica Acta (Volume 425 Issue 1-2, 2005, pages 189-194, by Raymond N. Rogers, Los Alamos National Laboratory, University of California) – The peer-reviewed article is available on Elsevier BV’s ScienceDirect® online information site. The abstract reads:

The combined evidence from chemical kinetics, analytical chemistry, cotton content, and pyrolysis/ms proves that the material from the radiocarbon area of the shroud is significantly different from that of the main cloth. The radiocarbon sample was thus not part of the original cloth and is invalid for determining the age of the shroud.

Ironically, Rogers was trying to prove that the “results are accurate and the samples came from the shroud.”

2.  Microscopical Investigation of Selected Raes Threads from the Shroud of Turin by John L. Brown, retired Principal Research Scientist at the Georgia Tech Research Institute’s Energy and Materials Sciences Laboratory. This is a 2005 independent, by-different-means  confirmation that the carbon 14 dating was flawed.

3. The 2008 work of Bob Villarreal and a team of nine scientists at the Los Alamos National Laboratory which confirmed that the carbon dating of the Shroud of Turin is wrong. According to Villarreal:

[T]he [1988] age-dating process failed to recognize one of the first rules of analytical chemistry that any sample taken for characterization of an area or population must necessarily be representative of the whole. The part must be representative of the whole. Our analyses of the three thread samples taken from the Raes and C-14 sampling corner showed that this was not the case.

4. Chemistry Today (Volume 126, Number 4, pages 4-12, July-August 2008 by M. Sue Benford and Joseph G. Marino). Discrepancies in the radiocarbon dating area of the Turin shroud

5.  A 2009 paper, Cotton in Raes/Radiocarbon Threads: The Example of Raes #7, by Thibault Heimburger; published on the STERA site.

6. A 2010 paper, Carbon Dating of the Shroud of Turin: Partially Labelled Regressors and the Design of Experiments, co-authored by Marco Riani, Anthony C. Atkinson, Giulio Fanti and Fabio Crosilla; recently published on the website of the London School of Economics. The abstract reads:

Bottom line. There is sufficient reasonable doubt about the carbon dating. It was the British Museum and the labs who failed to do a good job, failed to account for apparent material intrusion, failed to chemically characterize the samples, etc. Red Herring, my ass.

Sciencebod, Do some homework on the Shroud of Turin

imageColinB/sciencebod writes:

Hello again Dan

I keep asking myself how I could have been so misinformed re the date of reweaving on which you corrected me so comprehensively with you references to Margaret of Austria. Might it be because pretty well everything I have come across in reading states that the repairs, including reweaving were indeed carried out AFTER the 1532 fire, regardless of who commissioned them, e,g, this from a Reverend gentleman:

http://ecc-c.org/TurinShroud.aspx

So my original objection still stands – why go to all the trouble of invisible mending, in a corner, when there is massive fire damage elsewhere. In fact, why would anyone even think about mending before the fire, given that an unmended cloth, showing at least some of the ravages of time, would make for a more convincing holy relic…?

Kind regards

PS Have you seen my latest theory re mummified cadavers, like the ones in that Capucin Brno monastery that missus and I gawped at just two or three years ago.

Dear ColinB: You have got to be kidding me. This is how you change your mind, on the basis of one reference on a web page? Some “Reverend gentleman,” you say?  Here is what your reverend gentleman says:

Physicist Ray Rogers, prior to his death, uncovered the reason why the Carbon14 tests were invalid. The Shroud had had invisible repairs, carried out by Poor Clare nuns, after the fire in 1532 in the chapel in Chambery, France. The samples for the Carbon14 dating had been taken from the area which was not the original Shroud. . . . Unfortunately, when the sample sites were chosen, the 1532 repairs were not known about and so it was an unfortunate and misleading coincidence that the samples that were tested came from the patch added by the Poor Clare nuns and not the original Shroud. It was therefore to be expected that the 1988 Carbon14 results pointed to a 16th century date.

imageOh, my. You have got to be kidding. Not only is this reverend gentleman wrong, not only does he not know what he is talking about, you are utterly uninformed and naïve. Now these other four reverend gentlemen are holding up the cloth long before the carbon dating. You can see the patches in what is an old painting. Bet they knew!

Rogers, who was a chemist, not a physicist, did not uncover the reason. It was Joseph Marino and Sue Benford.

The fire was on December 4, 1532 in the Sainte Chapelle, Chambéry. The shroud was protected by four locks. With the fire going on, Canon Philibert Lambert and two Franciscans summoned the help of a blacksmith to open a grille. By the time they succeeded, a reliquary made by Lievin van Latham to Marguerite of Austria’s specifications had partly melted. The shroud folded inside was scorched and severe holes were formed by molten silver. Chambéry’s Poor Clare nuns repaired the Shroud beginning on April 16, 1534 and finishing on May 2, 1534 not 1532 as the reverend gentleman says. The nuns knew. From that day forward, the repairs were the most prominent feature of the shroud, more so than the faint image. To suggest that the 1534 (let’s be accurate) repairs “were not known about and so it was an unfortunate and misleading coincidence,” at the time of the carbon dating sampling is just laughable. In fact, if anything, the carbon dating protocol discussions frequently referred to the patches sewn on by the Poor Clare sisters.

Patches applied to the shroud in 1534 were obvious; as noticeable as leather patches sewn to the elbows of an old sweater. Would earlier repairs in 1531 (a plausible date from the historical records) or at any other time, have been so expertly done that that they would have gone unnoticed when the carbon 14 samples were cut from the cloth?

Rogers was actually very skeptical. According to Philip Ball of Nature, “Rogers thought that he would be able to ‘disprove [the] theory in five minutes.’” (brackets are Ball’s). Inside the Vatican, an independent journal on Vatican affairs, reported:

Rogers, who usually viewed attempts to invalidate the 1988 study as ‘ludicrous’ . . . set out to show their [Benford and Marino] claim was wrong, but in the process, he discovered they were correct.

It was close examination of actual material from the shroud that caused Rogers to begin to change his mind. In 2002, Rogers, in collaboration with Anna Arnoldi of the University of Milan, wrote a paper arguing that the repair was a very real possibility. The material Rogers examined was from an area directly adjacent to the carbon 14 sample, an area known as the Raes corner. Rogers found a spliced thread. This was unexpected and inexplicable. During weaving of the shroud, when a new length of thread was introduced to the loom, the weavers had simply laid it in next to the previous length rather than splicing. Rogers and Arnoldi wrote:

[The thread] shows distinct encrustation and color on one end, but the other end is nearly white . . . Fibers have popped out of the central part of the thread, and the fibers from the two ends point in opposite directions. This section of yarn is obviously an end-to-end splice of two different batches of yarn. No splices of this type were observed in the main part of the Shroud.

Rogers found alizarin, a dye produced from Madder root. The dye appeared to have been used to match new thread to older age-yellowed thread. In addition to the dye, Rogers found a gum substance (possibly gum Arabic) and alum, a common mordant used in medieval dying.

Several years earlier, a textile expert, Gilbert Raes (for whom the Raes corner is named), had been permitted to cut away a small fragment of the shroud. In it he found cotton fibers. Rogers confirmed the existence of embedded cotton fibers and noted that such cotton fibers are not found in other samples from anywhere else on the shroud. Cotton fibers were sometimes incorporated into linen threads during later medieval times, but not earlier, and not even as early as the carbon 14 range of dates. This, along with the dyestuff, suggested some sort of alteration or disguised mending.

In 2005, Raymond Rogers, after four years of study on this matter and months of peer review published his findings in the scientific journal, Thermochimica Acta. Go read it. Go study the real history of the shroud and shroud research. Find out how many scientists have confirmed the work Benford and Marino started and Rogers completed.  

BTW: Ray Rogers, a distinguished chemist, was a Fellow of the prestigious Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL). Originally, the home of the Manhattan Project during World War II. It is now part of the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA).

Rogers had been a charter member of the Coalition for Excellence in Science Education in New Mexico. He campaigned vigorously for the teaching of evolution, and against teaching creationism, in the public schools.

He also served on the Department of the Air Force Scientific Advisory Board as a civilian with the rank equivalency of Lieutenant General. He had published over fifty scientific papers in ethical peer-reviewed science journals. He was a member of New Mexicans for Science and Reason (NMSR), an organization affiliated with CSI.

Kim Johnson of NMSR wrote the following in an obituary on Rogers: “He was a Fellow at Los Alamos National Laboratory, and tried to be an excellent, open minded scientist in all things. In particular, he had no pony in the ‘Shroud of Turin’ horserace, but was terribly interested in making sure that neither proponents nor skeptics let their scientific judgment be clouded by their preconceptions. He just wanted to date and analyze the thing. He died on March 8th from cancer. He was a good man, and tried his best to do honest science.”

Rogers once wrote to The Skeptical Inquirer (letter was published):

I accepted the radiocarbon results, and I believed that the "invisible reweave" claim was highly improbable. I used my samples to test it. One of the greatest embarrassments a scientist can face is to have to agree with the lunatic fringe.

Colin, you tell me you are a real scientist. Then you change your mind because you read something on the web page of a reverend gentleman without checking it out. Are you a real scientist? I’ll believe you when you admit you are wrong on the patches.

Oh, that “latest theory re mummified cadavers.” You don’t mean theory Mr. Scientist. Really. Check out the facts about the images. Really. You might want to read Giulio Fanti’s, “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). It is a marginal paper but it does nicely summarize what many people before you have tried with a bit more science. There is a handy list that might allow you to call your wild-ass speculation a hypothesis (not theory, though) if you can meet some of the criteria.

Do some real home work.

New Kindles from Helmut Felzmann

imageHelmut Felzmann, a member of the Shroud Science Group, writes:

I want to inform you that there are 2 new ebooks from me available on Amazon (later also on other platforms in ePub-format) :

(1) ebook1: "Resurrected or Revived – Why the Turin Shroud puts the Core of Pauline Christianity in Question"

and

(2) ebook2: "In Search of the "Real God" – Beyond Pauline Christianity"

They are volume 1 and volume 2 of the book series "New Light on Jesus", which is available as paperback.

Links are always US (Amazon.com)

ebook1 deals only with the Shroud and has 2 reasonably updated chapters:

The History of the Shroud and the Portrayal of Jesus : This refers to the relations between the TS and the portrayals of Jesus in the 4th century before the "image of edessa" became the standard for all portrayals of Jesus in the Byzantine Empire.

Fraud on the Turin Shroud – the C14-dating fiasco: The statement is now unambigous, the evidence allows no other conclusion.

Yes these ebooks are no models for mainstream "Shroud-convictions" but the result of my more than 35 years of study of the shroud and the results of shroud research.

Ebook2 is initially the result of my own spiritual struggle with the main outcome of the research, namely that as far as humanly possible to tell Jesus has survived his crucifixion.

You must now that in my twenties I have been a strong traditional Christian believer and a member of a Pentecostal church, a branch from the US. The Shroud has been for me a kind of proof for the core of my belief that Jesus supernaturaly rose from the death and that the image was the result of a kind of energy-flash during the resurrection.

My insight 1999 that only a living body can cause such an image was first a kind of shock for me; but indeed it only accompanied a paradigm-shift, which was already occurring during this time in my thinking. And this paradigm-shift again was the consequence of the process of overcoming an extreme traumatic experience which took place in the first months of my life. A long story, which I do not want to bore you with. The result is that I (originally an MBA and business administrator of an IT-company) became ultimately a therapist myself (www.hfelzmann.de) .

Therefore I humbly feel that I have something to say in the area of science, religion, spirituality and psychology / psychotherapy.

Of course also German versions are available – here are the links at Amazon.de:

Auferstanden oder aufgestanden? : http://www.amazon.de/Auferstanden-aufgestanden-paulinischen-Christentums-ebook/dp/B006K0PYE6/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1326053205&sr=8-2

Auf der Suche nach dem "wirklichen Gott" : http://www.amazon.de/Suche-nach-wirklichen-Gott-ebook/dp/B006NKRHES/ref=sr_1_6?ie=UTF8&qid=1326053205&sr=8-6

Neues Licht auf Jesus: http://www.amazon.de/Neues-Licht-Jesus-%C3%BCberraschenden-Erkenntnissen/dp/300028463X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1326053205&sr=8-1

Even a french version is available – the french ebook contains both volumes but concerning ebook1 an older version:

Nouvelle Lumière sur Jésus: http://www.amazon.fr/Nouvelle-Lumi%C3%A8re-sur-J%C3%A9sus-ebook/dp/B006KTKACS/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&qid=1326053367&sr=8-5

An update for all printed books is available as PDF in English and German. If you have the paperback-book or the french ebook just contact me and I mail to you the update-pdf at no cost. The paperback in french will be available soon at Amazon.fr but of course you can directly receive it from me together with the update. A french translation of the update is intended.

ebook1 (shroud) has no digital rights management, so that it can be easily converted into PDF and printed (e.g. via calibre http://calibre-ebook.com/)

An ebook can be updated at any time. So if you read it and find something which is objectively wrong please inform me and I will check and update the text if necessary.

I consider Helmut a friend and disagree with him on just about everything, particularly his views on Swoon Theory, image creation, and the carbon dating of the shroud. Though I may disagree, I recommend reading his books as I do recommend reading everything about the shroud. Make up your own mind.

He wants to translate the entire web

imageThe immediate need to translate the ENEA Report and other Shroud of Turin papers prompted me to notice this. Luis von Ahn, founder and former CEO of ReCAPTCHA, Inc., and an associate professor of computer science at Carnegie Mellon University has an idea for translating the entire web. Here, he writes on CNN:

(CNN) — I want to translate the Web into every major language: every webpage, every video, and, yes, even Justin Bieber’s tweets.

With its content split up into hundreds of languages — and with over 50% of it in English — most of the Web is inaccessible to most people in the world. This problem is pressing, now more than ever, with millions of people from China, Russia, Latin America and other quickly developing regions entering the Web. In this TED talk, I introduce my new project, called Duolingo, which aims at breaking the language barrier, and thus making the Web truly "world wide."

We have all seen how systems such as Google Translate are improving every day at translating the gist of things written in other languages. Unfortunately, they are not yet accurate enough for my purpose: Even when what they spit out is intelligible, it’s so badly written that I can’t read more than a few lines before getting a headache. This is why you don’t see machine-translated articles on CNN.

With Duolingo, our goal is to encourage people, like you and me, to translate the Web into their native languages.

Now, with billions and billions of pages on the Web, this can’t be done with just a few volunteers, nor can we afford to pay professional translators. When Severin Hacker and I started Duolingo, we realized we needed a way to entice millions of people to help translate the Web. However, coordinating millions of contributors to translate language presents two major hurdles. First, finding enough people who are bilingual enough to help with translation is difficult. Second, motivating them to do it for free makes this next to impossible.

The idea behind Duolingo is to kill two birds with one stone . . .

Read on: The man who wants to translate the Web – CNN.com

The Veronica is not in St. Peter’s

imageAntonio Bini in the Holy Face of Manoppello writes The Veronica is not in St. Peter’s:

After almost five centuries the Vatican admits its disappearance in 1527. A circumstance which makes credible the hypothesis that it is identical to the Holy Face

On May 31, 1999 at a crowded press conference held in Rome at the foreign press association Fr. Heinrich Pfeiffer revealed the results of his study affirming that the Veronica and the Holy Face of Manoppello should be seen as one and the same. This news was reported by Italian and foreign television networks among their top stories for the day. Usually the coverage was linked to the classic stereotype of the mountainous Abruzzo region, so that Manoppello was described as a "forgotten village at the foot of the Maiella range".

Some of the journalists asked the Vatican for an opinion in this matter. The response was "total silence", said the correspondent for the Spanish television network Antenna 3’s news program of May 31, 1999, as he broadcast with the facade of the Basilica of St. Peter’s behind him.

The Catholic press and church leaders showed indifference and kept their distance, effectively isolating Father Pfeiffer, director of the Course on Cultural Patrimony for the Gregorian University, who is considered to be among the world’s most authoritative scholars of Christian art. Some Italian scholars of the Shroud of Turin (sindonologists) didn’t hesitate to show their annoyance at the news, and in some cases gave their opinion that at best the Holy Face could only be a copy of the Veronica.

Pictured, left to right, Padre Germano di Pietro, OFM Cap., Antonio Bini and Father Heinrich Pfeiffer, S.J. on May 31, 1999 the day of the press conference.

It is an old story that merits new reporting and expanded study. So go read it.

We still need an English language version of the ENEA Report

imageI was recently reminded that the ENEA report is an Italian language summary of three peer-reviewed papers written in English. 

  1. From the IWSAI proceedings. P. Di Lazzaro, et al. Sub-micrometer coloration depth of linens by deep ultraviolet radiation (Free Access) 
  2. Full article is pay walled ($35). Here is a link to the abstract and a place to order if you want: G. Baldacchini, P. Di Lazzaro, D. Murra, G. Fanti: “Coloring linens with excimer lasers to simulate the body image of the Turin Shroud” Appl. Opt. vol. 47, 1278-1283 (2008)
  3. Full article is pay walled ($25). Here is a link to the abstract and a place to order if you want: P. Di Lazzaro, D. Murra, A. Santoni, G. Fanti, E. Nichelatti, G. Baldacchini: “Deep Ultraviolet radiation simulates the Turin Shroud image” Journal of Imaging Science and Technology vol. 54, 040302-(6) (2010)

The media will not read the peer-reviewed material, particularly if they have to pay of jump through hoops to get a copy of a report. Without a clear English version, journalists will continue to misreport this story. Remember the headline in The Independent that read, “Scientists say Turin Shroud is supernatural.” It is being repeated hourly in blogs, twitter and local-only newspapers.

We need a clear English version of the ENEA report.

Bill Meacham responds to Gabriel on using trace elements to determine geographic origin of the Shroud of Turin

imageHong Kong archaeologist William Meacham (pictured), longtime Shroud of Turin scholar and author of"The Rape of the Turin Shroud,” sent a detailed response to a comment by Gabriel on January 2.

First, here is Gabriel’s comment again:

Following with my previous comment, a recent research (*) has shown that using a set of 11 trace elements (Al, Ti, Ni, As, Rb, Y, Mo, Ag, Cd, Ba, and La) and not just a dubtious one like C14, it is possible to identify the region of the world a linen comes from. The authors have achieved to distinguish linens from Poland, Italy and JApan using those 11 trace elements.

I think it would really be helpful to carry out the same analysis on the Shroud and clearly establish whether its linen comes from the Middle East (one point for authenticity) or from let’s say France. In case the linen came from France, we could once and for all rule out the possibility of an authentic relic. In case, it came form the Middle East it wouldn`t mean that the Shroud is authentic 100%, but would represent a very strong point in its favour.

(*)Takako Inoue, Kengo Ishihara and Kyoden Yasumoto.International Journal of Clothing Science and Technology Vol. 22 No. 2/3, 2010 pp. 174-186

Here is Dr. Meacham’s response:

[re:] "Comparative analysis of hand properties and compositions of trace elements in linen fabrics produced in different regions" in: International Journal of Clothing Science and Technology, Vol. 22 No. 2/3, 2010

I had a look at this paper thru the university library, and it doesn’t have much relevance to determining the geographical origin of the Shroud.

The samples were all modern, and the researchers were mainly interested in industrial aspects of the "linen fabrics which were used to make suits, jackets, trousers, skirts, blouses, one-piece dresses, etc." In addition to trace elements, they also tested for mechanical properties like thermal conductivities, air permeability, elasticity, drape, etc.

The introduction sounded promising:

"In this paper, the effects of environmental conditions on the growth, development and yield of the following varieties of fiber flax were estimated: Fortuna, Minerwa, Svapo, Waza, and Nike. The environmental parameters were the soil composition, the type and pH of the soil, the climatic conditions, the time of agronomic operations, and the agronomy level."

But then things get very confused. One set of samples was described thus:

"The growing districts for the linen fabrics from company A were Ireland and North France; the yarn was processed in Italy and woven, dyed, and finished in Japan."

To my mind that renders the study fairly useless as far as trace elements related to geographical origin, since some of the elements could have been picked up at various points in the processing.

Even if one had say 18th century linen samples securely provenanced, the cross-breeding of species and borrowing of methods of fertilizing, retting, etc. would cast doubt on a trace element approach, unless one had results of very clear and distinct clusters with no overlap — a very doubtful outcome.

A more promising approach would be stable isotope ratios which should be determined solely by the environment in which the flax was grown. But it is unclear whether this would yield distinctive results that would distinguish specific regions, say the Middle East from North Africa, or Greece from Spain.

It would be good to see a pilot study if pre-modern linen samples could be found.

Bill

Tom Chivers would like to be able to "Get over it" but the Shroud of Turin evidence won’t let them

imageMUST READ: Stephen E. Jones writes an excellent piece on his blog:

“No,” Jones writes in response to Tom Chivers having written in the Telegraph that, “The Turin Shroud is (almost certainly) fake. It makes no difference to anything. Get over it.”

. . .  The ENEA report is yet another major piece of evidence that the Turin Shroud is certainly NO fake. And again, if it "makes no difference to anything," why does Chivers bother to write about it? Chivers (and his ilk) would like to be able to "Get over" the Shroud but the evidence won’t let them!

Tom, if you are reading this: The Turin Shroud is NO fake. It is objective (i.e. true whether it is believed or not) evidence that Jesus lived, suffered, died on a cross for the sins of those who put their trust in Him (John 3:16) , was buried, and rose from the dead. That makes all the difference to everything. Accept it!

This will get a reaction from Yannick. And I don’t agree with everything Stephen writes; more on that later. But it is a must read. And while you are at it, read Italian study claims Turin Shroud is Christ’s authentic burial robe. It is a must read, too. I should have said that earlier. These are long articles so pour yourself a full cup of coffee or another glass of wine or whatever.

Imagine what Mary looked like from the Shroud of Turin?

imageFrom the blog of Fr. Dwight Longenecker, pastor at Our Lady of the Rosary (Roman Catholic) Parish in Greenville, South Carolina:

We believe that the Blessed Virgin was not just a conduit or channel for the Son of God to come into the world. Instead he took his human flesh from his human mother. In other words Jesus would have looked like Mary, and Mary would have resembled Jesus. I guess if you want to see what Mary looked like you would have to imagine the man of the Shroud of Turin, but in female form and not so beat up.

Fr. Longenecker is an interesting person. After graduating from the fundamentalist Bob Jones University he went on  to study theology at Oxford University. He was ordained as an Anglican priest and served as a curate, a chaplain in Cambridge and a country parson.

imageRealizing that he and the Anglican Church were on divergent paths, in 1995 he and his family were received into the Catholic Church. He spent ten years working as a freelance Catholic writer, contributing to over twenty-five magazines, papers and journals in Britain, Ireland and the USA.

In 2006 he was ordained as a Catholic priest under the special pastoral provision for married former Anglican clergy. Here he is pictured with his wife and four children and an unidentified bishop.

Fr. Longenecker’s very impressive blog: Standing on My Head: Jesus and Mary – Mary and Jesus

And so, is the Shroud of Turin another “So What?”

imageInteresting article at RNS by Cathy Lynn Grossman, Religion Editor at USA Today:

Helton, 28, and Dohm, 54, aren’t atheists. They simply shrug off God, religion, heaven or the ever-trendy search-for-meaning and/or purpose. Their attitude could be summed up as “So what?”

. . .

Only now, however, are they turning up in the statistical stream. Researchers have begun asking the kind of nuanced questions that reveal just how big the “So What” set might be:

—44 percent told the 2011 Baylor University Religion Survey they spend no time seeking “eternal wisdom,” and 19 percent said “it’s useless to search for meaning.”

—46 percent told a 2011 survey by Nashville, Tenn.-based LifeWay Research that they never wonder whether they will go to heaven.

—28 percent told LifeWay “it’s not a major priority in my life to find my deeper purpose.” And 18 percent scoffed at the idea that God has a purpose or plan for everyone.

—6.3 percent of Americans turned up on Pew Forum’s 2007 Religious Landscape Survey as totally secular—unconnected to God or a higher power or any religious identity and willing to say religion is not important in their lives.

imageHemant Mehta (pictured left), who blogs as the Friendly Atheist, calls them the “apatheists,” while the Right Rev. Mariann Edgar Budde (pictured right), the new Episcopal bishop of Washington, D.C., calls them honest.

image“We live in a society today where it is acceptable now to say that they have no spiritual curiosity. At almost any other time in history, that would have been unacceptable,” Budde said.

She finds this “very sad, because the whole purpose of faith is to be a source of guidance, strength and perspective in difficult times. To be human is to have a sense of purpose, an awareness that our life is an utterly unique expression of creation and we want to live it with meaning, grace and beauty.”   

. . .

They’re uninterested in trying to talk a diverse set of friends into a shared viewpoint in a culture that celebrates an idea that all truths are equally valid, [David Kinnaman, a Christian researcher] said. Personal experience and personal authority matter most, and as a result Scripture and tradition are quaint, irrelevant, artifacts.

And the Shroud? Quaint, irrelevant? The story of course doesn’t ask. We can ask.

Full article: RNS Feature: "For many, `Losing My Religion’ isn’t a song: It’s a way of life"