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Where’s the Beef?

May 7, 2012

imageDavid Rolfe posted the following in his blog in response to something I had written:

There are indeed several things that can be debated eg whether to include specific measurements.  But the fact is, Dan, that every single one of the scientists consulted in Valencia was unequivocal about the actual physical nature of the image.  There is no point debating whether black might be white.  

I am not a scientist but I met Ray Rogers and had the opportunity for a long conversation with him as well as an interview. He was determined to show that an explanation could be found that conformed to a natural process.  He was still smarting from the way STURP had been characterized as a religiously motivated body rather than the purely scientific project that he signed up to.  When Jackson published his collapse theory he was more hell-bent than ever to come up with something to counter it.  I am not a scientist but, as a filmmaker, I do understand a bit about human nature and images. It is, frankly, unthinkable that a process that has only ever been known to brown toast and meat could form the Shroud image.  Its homogeneity alone makes this starkly obvious.  There is not one single example in thousands of years of the Maillard process yielding up an image of any kind other than a small smudged blur.  One of the major achievements of the "List" is to put this idea away for good and allow proper considerations to continue unfettered by it.

The fondness that everyone, me included, has for Ray’s memory is the only thing that has kept the theory alive for as long as it has.   (emphasis mine)

Well, David. I tried. I don’t know what caused the image. Nor do I know if the image is the result of a molecular change to the linen fiber or to an impurity layer composed of starch and saccharides from perhaps Saponaria officinalis. I have never been totally comfortable with the Maillard reaction solution. Nor was I comfortable with any other proposal I ever heard.  Something chemically significant happened to the cloth or to a residue/layer/coating/whatever on the fibers of the cloth that gives the image its color. But there is something else about that image – characteristics is a good word – that suggests something more not from radiation or gasses or corona discharge imprinted such a photorealistic image and it was not by accident or incidentally. It is not oversaturated. Where saturation falls to zero it outlines the body without outlines. The curve of the grayscale, compressed as it is into a narrow slice of the full grayscale, is extraordinarily appropriate. The list goes on and on. The odds of this sort of image happening seem incomprehensibly small without the hand of a genius. It’s a forgery or it’s a miracle and I am quite certain it is the latter.

I cannot accept the list as it is written. My only advice to anyone wanting to figure out how to fake the image is to ignore the first sentence or demand empirical evidence that it is factual. I’m willing to listen to reason and look at real evidence. What I have been told so far is pure speculation or opinion. 

  1. Ron
    May 8, 2012 at 9:14 am

    I second this comment, well said Dan.


  2. Paulette
    May 8, 2012 at 9:40 am

    Will Valencia be most remembered for the Valencia Consensus, a theological victory over science? Yes, David, one of the major achievements of the “List” is to put dissenting ideas away for good and allow proper considerations to continue unfettered by science. David, you have brilliantly insulted a large group of sincere people, including this scientist, who think the shroud is real but don’t necessarily think the image was caused by some form of energy produced by a resurrection event. I don’t know if the image was caused by a Maillard reaction but I like to keep an open mind.

  3. Yannick Clément
    May 8, 2012 at 1:00 pm

    The Shroud clique strikes again !!!

    This comment from M. Rolfe prove what I already knew for a long time now : There really is a clique in the Shroud world who have one major agenda : Make believe that the Shroud can offer a real physical proof of the resurrection of Jesus. Bad Chritian propaganda ? YOU BET ! This is just completely disgusting !

    And what is even more disgusting is this : Most members of the clique just don’t want to hear about a possible natural explanation !!! This kind of acting is completely anti-scientific ! There’s no other words to describe it. In fact, it is against any proper scientific method that was always defend by Rogers… You don’t have the right in science to take just what can comfort your belief and put aside everything that don’t fit ! Those people are just full of bias and they just denied everything that goes against their philosophy. And I really believe that acting like that is as bad and anti-scientific as the acting of the sceptics they fight !

    I’m disgusted by them and I know Rogers would have been too ! Why ? Because he was a REAL scientist and not just some wannabes and pseudo-scientists ! And I’m sorry for the clique but science (I’m talking about real objective science here and not some full of bias pseudo-science coming mainly from the Shroud Science Group) his very far from being able to declare that every possible natural explanation have been fully tested yet in laboratory and discarded !

    If it’s true that all the so-called “scientists” present in Valencia think that they understand completely and perfectly the physical nature of the body image, then I’m sorry but they are not worthy of being considered as real scientist ! The REALITY is that nobody presently have enough proof to say that one of those 2 hypotheses is correct regarding the chromophore of the image : 1- The coloration affect the primary cell wall of the linen fiber itself or 2- The coloration affect a thin layer of impurities on top of the linen fiber.

    If someone say that one of those 2 hypotheses have been proven, he is a liar. Sorry but there’s no other word to describe it.

    The REALITY is this : the point #1 from the list of M. Rolfe, no matter what he think or what the clique think, is that there is 2 different hypotheses right now to explain the physical nature of the body image and there’s not enough proof to say which one is the right one.

    WHAT SHOULD HAVE BEEN WRITEN IN POINT#1 OF M. ROLFE LIST IS SIMPLY THIS : The coloration that form the body image come from a dehydration-oxydation process at the surface of the linen cloth that make the affected areas of the cloth look somewhat “older” than the non-affected areas (because there is more oxydation there). And those affected areas of the cloth are not at all fluorescent under UV light, unlike the non-affected areas of the cloth (i.e. the non image area, the scorches and burned areas, the waterstains areas, etc.). Also, it is important to note that some parts of the coloration were left on the sticky tapes from the samples collected by the STURP team and it left an UNDAMMAGED and CLEAN linen fiber behind.


    One last thing : whether or not the hypothesis of Rogers for the image formation is correct, that don’t change anything about the REALITY that the point #1 on the list of M. Rolfe is INCORRECT, scientifically speaking, simply because it has not been PROVEN yet without any doubts. Period.

    I’m not even a scientist and I’m sure I could have come out with a more accurate, more complete and more honest list of facts than the one from Valencia. I ASK EVERYBODY THE QUESTION : IS IT NORMAL ???

    • Adrie
      May 9, 2012 at 4:37 am

      I’m sorry, but Rogers didn’t say that the linen fibers were undamaged after the colored layer had been pulled off. Just a quote from my article “Internal selvedge … – No Maillard reaction” (http://www.jesusking.info/Internal%20selvedge.pdf p. 9):

      “ “On 14 March 1981 … most surprising results were reported by Professor Alan Adler of Western Connecticut University. He had found that the image color could be reduced with a diimide reagent, leaving colorless, undamaged linen fibers behind.” (Rogers, A Chemist’s Perspective, p. 44). After this chemical reaction with diimide, the fibers were “colorless, undamaged linen fibers”, because the image color was not removed by stripping off the coating or removing the coating with a reactant, but was only chemically treated with the strong reductant diimide, donating electrons to the oxidized coating and thus rendering it colorless again.”

      Heller (STURP) wrote; “If the straw-yellow of the images was the result of oxidation, we thought, we should be able to reverse the process with reductants” (Report on the Shroud of Turin, p. 199).

  4. Yannick Clément
    May 8, 2012 at 1:33 pm

    One last comment from me : As Barrie Schwortz once told me, Ray Rogers had a great quality when it came to studied the Shroud of Turin : HE WAS ABLE TO KEEP HIS FAITH IN HIS BACKPOCKET !!!

    I really don’t think we can say the same thing for the majority of the “scientists” that are presently doing researches on the Shroud. It’s very sad to see this because all that it will do is damage even more the rest of the credibility that the Shroud science can still have !

    You don’t believe what I just said ? Then, just name me one (just one !) scientist who his doing researches on the Shroud these days and who is not a Christian believer !!! Personally, I don’t know one…

  5. Yannick Clément
    May 8, 2012 at 1:55 pm

    Precision : Don’t get me wrong. When I emphasize the fact that all the scientists involved presently in Shroud research are believers, I don’t state that every Christian scientist is automatically doing biased science. I just say that when you’re already a believer in Jesus-Christ and you do scientific research about a Christian relic like the Shroud of Turin, there’s a high level of RISK that your science can, somehow, be biased (at least to some extent) because of your faith. To summarize my point : It is a very risky game to play if you really want to stay honest and professional !!!

  1. May 11, 2012 at 4:40 am
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