Yannick Reacts to Special Issue

As I have stated before, I welcome respectfully written postings from readers of this blog. I may or may not agree with the authors. The posting that follows is from our good friend Yannick Clément and it is significantly about my good friend Giulio Fanti. And it is significantly about the special issue of Scientific Research and Essays in Academic Journals.

In large measure, on this topic, I agree with Yannick. It should be no surprise to Giulio that I disagree with him on corona discharge as a hypothesis for image formation. I also disagree with him on his use of "God of the Gap" reasoning, well articulated by Yannick. Giulio and I have discussed these things before.

imageThe very public nature of a "special edition" of an open access scientific journal (if it really is a scientific journal) has prompted this posting. Giulio wants criticism sent to the editor of the journal. That will probably not happen in any meaningful way. If it does it will not match “real” open access criticism. The journal’s openness is facilitated by the internet Thus it cannot hide behind quaint old fashioned ways. This is why we blog. There are already dozens of comments in this blog that would otherwise go to an editor. Here, we may disagree. We even dish out insults. But we discuss things in a way that in the end is a thousand times more scientific than this special edition.

Giulio wrote: "But I ask these bloggers, why it does not exist a similar Special Issue presenting scientific facts against the authenticity of the Shroud? I think because there aren’t!"

That simply isn’t so. Check out Colin Berry’s blog. This posting, Yet more ‘Fanti-sy’ from Fanti, Faccini et al, this time on the spear so-called “wound”…, is a example. Colin is rapidly replacing Joe Nickel as primary skeptic. Unlike Joe, an actor in a made-for-TV white smock jacket, Colin is a real scientist. And Colin writes better with a more acerbic flair than does Nickel whose PhD was in English literature. And Colin, retired science-bod with a PhD in biochemistry, is active in investigating the shroud and criticizing almost every aspect of shroud science. And he can be every bit as outlandish as Nickel.

But I digress in this introduction. Here is Yannick (corrected copy due to an error on my part):

* * *

Because I feel that someone has to express is concern about a “special edition” like that, I have decide to write some kind of an editorial comment that, I hope, will be an eye-opener for some readers (but I’m not dumb enough to think it will be like that for all). Anyway, no matter what people will think of this (I know, I’m a close-minded person !), I will express my deepest feeling about this “supernatural marketing” operation lead by M. Fanti, simply because I have too much respect for an authentic, honest and really scientific quest for truth regarding the Shroud. All right, here we go :

I had heard about this project of M. Fanti since last summer when Thibault Heimburger mentioned it to me. Having made a quick overview of the subjects covered by the papers presented (and some of their conclusions too) in this “special edition” on the Shroud, I’m not surprised at all to see that a large emphasis have been put on things related to many different supernatural hypothesis of image formation (and others related to natural radiation produced during an earthquake, which in itself, look almost as supernatural to me in the context of a complete image, front and back, of a corpse on a linen cloth).

I want to point out one crucial line in M. Fanti’s editorial that speaks very loud about who the man really is and how he thinks. Here it is : “The Turin Shroud is one of the objects that tends to put some doubts in the positivistic thinkers who state that the Science can explain all the physical world. In fact, the Turin Shroud is unexplainable…”

Here, I think M. Fanti, if he wanted to really act like a real scientist, should have add the word “yet” after the word “unexplainable” !!! But of course, he did not. I know it’s just one small word, but it makes all the difference between an authentic scientific discourse and a religious biased discourse covered up under an intention to be “scientific” (which is something not worthy of science). Each time I read things like that, I say to myself that the God of the gaps is still alive and well ! When something is not understood, some people conclude real fast as an act of God… It’s precisely that kind of “obscurantism” view about the Shroud that I just can’t stand. And it makes me really sad to note that the majority of the researches on the Shroud these days are conduct by “believers” who share the same frame of mind than our friend Fanti. You don’t agree with me ? Just take another look at the recent list of “facts” presented in Valencia by M. Rolfe (especially the first draft) that was co-signed by almost anyone present there and you’ll understand that I’m right about that. In that context, don’t be surprises if sindonology is often looked by the vast majority of the scientific community (those who don’t let their faith intervene in their science) as a joke without any sense of credibility whatsoever.

The FACT is this : the history of science is full of examples of phenomenon (or material things) that were unexplainable at some point in history and, later on, with the constant development of science, that were finally fully explained. I don’t see any reason why the Shroud should be considered differently, except if you don’t believe in the real value of science and in his constant evolution and development. On this crucial subject, here’s what Ray Rogers wrote in his book A Chemist’s perspective on the Shroud of Turin : “In seeking an understanding of the Shroud, you will often see the statement : “Science can not explain the image; therefore it was produced by a miracle.” The Greeks recognized the fallacy of such an “argumentative leap” millennia ago. The fact that science has not “yet” found an explanation PROOVES NOTHING. Science continually collects observations and information, and conclusions often change with time. Persons who believe in absolutes will be unhappy with science (note: this quote from Rogers makes you wonder why there are still scientists who thinks like M. Fanti today !).” And just after that, Rogers quotes Carl Sagan who said one day (with great lucidity) : “Absence of evidence is not the same as evidence of absence.” This last statement fits perfectly with the image on the Shroud.

I think our friend Fanti and all the “scientists” who share his frame of mind should take good note of that part of Rogers book and reflect upon it for a while. Maybe also they should read again what we can find in the conclusion of the paper published in this “special edition” by the colleague of Fanti, Francisco Alconchel-Pecino : “Probably the controversy arose (note : he talks about the C14 dating but I think his quote would better fit for the whole image formation issue) because, once more, HUMAN INNOCENCE (note : concerning the image, we can say “human religious thinking” instead and that would be the same) WAS SURPRISED BY THE SUBTELTIES OF MOTHER NATURE.”

That’s exactly what I’ve been saying on this blog over and over again in regard of the body image ! And I really think Fanti and all the other “scientists” like him should meditate on that phrase for a very long time. But even then, I seriously doubt that they would finally accept it one day concerning the image on the Shroud. Like they say : once you’re mind is made up on a subject… But don’t you think it’s funny (or pretty shameful) and very telling to see how those people are ready to change completely their mindset depending on the subject ? Effectively, they are ready to accept the truth contained in this quote from Alconchel-Pecino when it comes to the C14 dating (in order mainly to disregard Ray Rogers conclusions about what went wrong in 1988), but at the same time, they will never accept this very same truth concerning the body image on the Shroud !!! This kind of “mindset shifting” (or “spinning mindset” if you prefer) makes me sick, especially when it comes from people who pretend to be authentic scientists. Religious beliefs have not their place in a scientific research and this example of “mindset shifting” depending on the kind of issue they deal with is a very good proof of that.

Before I conclude, I would like to also say this : M. Fanti and his colleagues can published the number of papers they want to proclaim that the body image on the Shroud was produced by a corona discharge (if there are not 20 papers that pretend CD is the solution of the image, I think there’s none !), or that it was produced by other kinds of energetic discharge related to the Resurrection, like UV light, radiation of some sort, etc. (note that if the image is really a by-product of the Resurrection, it can’t be all of those things !!!), in the end, that will never change the heart of the problem, which is the real nature of the IMAGE CHROMOPHORE.

Effectively, if Rogers was right about this most important aspect of the Shroud, then I’m sorry for M. Fanti, M. Antonacci and all the others who proposed supernatural based hypotheses but that would mean they are most probably wrong. I think these people might reflect some more on what Ray Rogers said about the body image fibers from the Shroud that he analyzed in dept : “The crystal structure of the flax image fibers was NO MORE DEFECTIVE than non-image fibers. It would take very good temperature control specifically to scorch impurities without producing some defects in the cellulose.” In other words, Rogers clearly states here that if there really is a thin layer of carbohydrates impurities on-top of the fibers on the surface of the Shroud (and with the findings of starch fractions and pectic substances on top of the fibers, it sure look that way), any form of energetic radiation (whether it be UV light, corona discharge, proton, neutron, etc.) would not only have caused a coloration of the impurities but would also have caused some form of defects in the linen fiber (even if it would only be defects in the primary cell wall of the fiber and nothing else) easily discernable for a specialist in radiation like him.

Unfortunatelly for all the fans of the supernatural, Rogers told us that this was not the case concerning the Shroud, especially in the case of the ghost of coloration left in the sticky tape that revealed a colorless, lustrous and undamaged linen fiber behind (Rogers exact words). That’s the reality. And if people still think that Rogers was not thinking about the whole linen fiber (including the primary cell wall) when he was using the generic term “cellulose” in his writings, please read again the study I’ve done this year concerning all the things Rogers wrote on the subject ! You can find this study

I think I’ve been able to show clear evidences that Rogers was thinking “the entire fiber (including the primary cell wall)” when he was using the term “cellulose”… In the end, from Rogers writings, it seems quite clear that, in his mind, the entire linen fiber (including the primary cell wall) has not been affected at all by the image formation process. And he based his judgment not on a preconceived notion but on observations and facts regarding the body image…

All this to say that until we’ll be 100% sure about the image chromophore (I’m afraid it will take another round of direct chemical testing to really be certain about that), all of these “scientists” who proposed supernatural hypotheses will never have the right to proclaim, like nevertheless Garcia-Macedo et al. just did in the conclusion of their paper about the corona discharge (M. Fanti’s baby that was completely rejected by Rogers experimental testing) that “The results shown here gave new experimental EVIDENCES to support the idea that the Turin Shroud image was QUITE PROBABLY produced by a corona discharge.”

From a strict scientific point of view, these kinds of sure claims are just premature and false, simply because if Ray Rogers hypothesis concerning the image chromophore is correct (and presently, no one can say he was wrong about that), then it would mean that this conclusion from Garcia-Macedo et al. would surely be completely wrong and off-track, and it would also be the same for any kind of other energetic radiation hypothesis that would colored the primary cell wall of the linen fiber… In other words, if the image chromophore is NOT the primary cell wall of the linen fiber (so far, I’ve just seen one paper published which conclude that the primary cell wall is the chromophore and it was written by M. Fanti and others; this conclusion doesn’t surprise me because the primary cell wall as a potential image chromophore “fits” better with his corona discharge hypothesis), that would mean that all these supernatural hypotheses are most probably incorrect versus the real nature of the body image on the Shroud. Again, from a strict scientific point of view, there are chances (maybe good chances) that the image chromophore is not the primary cell wall and, consequently, that any image formation proposition that produced any kind of defect in the primary cell wall is wrong.

So, I hope you will be very prudent when you will read these papers of Fanti et al. in order to avoid thinking too fast that their conclusions about the image formation are probably right. In reality, they’re still very far from being able to prove anything, simply because we still don’t know for sure what is the real image chromophore… Finding once and for all what is the real image chromophore : that’s were the attention of the scientists who wants to study the Shroud properly should be directed. But unfortunately, that’s rarely the case these days and the image formation hypotheses (mostly supernatural in nature) are still largely the centre of the attention. This “special edition” is just another perfect (and bad) example of that.

To me, the situation of Shroud science is not very good these days. It seems like there’s constantly a battle out there between an authentic quest to find the scientific truth about the Shroud (whatever it could be) and a quest to backed-up a religious belief (hidden behind a pretension to do science). Unfortunately, I’m not sure that the first quest is looking strong in that battle and I really think it’s a bad thing for the future of sindonology. You wonder why the Vatican has blocked every proposal of direct testing on the relic ? You can be sure that the rising of the second type of quest I just described has a lot to do with that. If the vast majority of the modern scientists who study the Shroud would be members of the first quest I described (without being driven by some preconceived notion of what the Resurrection is supposed to have been and have produced), you can be sure that more studies of the relic would have been permitted since a long time. To me, the problem is not the Turin Centro or the Vatican, but it is much more the supernatural fringe who constantly try hard to prove the Resurrection while using the Shroud. That’s where we found the real problem of sindonology and to me, that’s the main reason why any proposal for direct research on the cloth is constantly blocked.

When you think of all the great scientist who has studied the Shroud over the years (some are still there) without having this kind of religious agenda in the back of their mind, the present situation is really a shame ! Let’s just pray that any member of the supernatural fringe will never be able to touch the Shroud in their lifetime because if they did, we’re done !!! The “mystery” of the body image should be considered on the same level by science than other phenomenon unexplained yet, like for example, the partial body image on the Jospine Mattress. I don’t think this image on a mattress has ever been considered as miraculous by any credible scientist, so on a strict scientific level, why the Shroud image should be considered differently when it comes to study it ?

Message to M. Fanti and others : If you were offended in some way by this comment, just keep in mind that it’s just one personal opinion freely expressed (we’re living in a free world no ?) among many others. It’s just that what was said in the editorial (along with the nature of most of the papers published) make me fear the worst about the real objectivity of this “special edition”. For instance, I would have like to see some papers published about credible natural hypothesis of image formation involving some kind of chemical reactions and, most of all, about some testing and analyses done in laboratory to verify the 2 main hypotheses concerning the image chromophore of the body image (i.e. the thin layer of impurities proposed by Rogers and the primary cell wall proposed by M. Fanti et al.)…

Yannick Clément, Louiseville, Québec, Canada

P.S. : For those who wants to reflect upon the question of the possible image chromophore, I suggest you to read my own analysis on the subject

33 thoughts on “Yannick Reacts to Special Issue”

  1. For once I do agree with YC against the arch-miraculists’ explanation of the Sindon image formation process.

  2. Actually the corona discharge as a hypothesis for image formation has become Fanti’s “adopted baby”. In 1983 O. Scheuermann was the first to propose a possible body image formation mechanism based on CD.

  3. The Turin Shroud image is YET unexplainable not just because of its “unexplainableness” but just because of all the misconceptions, misinterpretations and biased observations that inhibit the unravelling of the scientific and archaeological truth.

  4. Here is an example of both STURP total neglect and Colin Berry’s fanciful/non archaeological interpretation of a crucial datum:

    In Thibault Heimburger’s 2008 review of STURP research, Colin Berry read: “At least one
    of the blood samples (the “Zina thread” from the image heel) showed a strong peak for hydroxyproline at low temperature. This amino-acid is present in animal proteins including blood proteins or collagen.” Whence CB “[…]think[s] [he] now know[s] why STURP chemist Raymond Rogers detected hydroxyproline in the blood on the Shroud – and it’s to do with […] medicinal leeches…”

    In response to Colin Berry’s post I wrote:

    “CB, for once I will tend to agree with you: there is “[…] human blood […] accompanied by [an] animal-derived product[]“. As early as 1994, I have theorised the Sindon was soaked with the waters of the Red Heifer ashes (most likely the in-soaked inner long linen burial cloth was used to purify the shed innocent blood of the crucified victim whose tightly wrapped-up body was then to be subjected to a myrrhic aloetic fumigation).

    The detected hydroxyproline in the blood on the Shroud has nothing to do with medicinal leech but most likely instead with the Red heifer and crimson dyed wool…or/and the Malky stone dust of Jerusalem.”

    1. The used of the ritual waters (those of the Red Heifer ashes) is to be understood in the light of cleansing the Sanhedrin’s implied sin (that of the shedding of an innocent blood).

  5. The only alternative left to explaining the presence of hydroxyproline in the blood on the Sindon at heel level could be contact with one of the relic’s painted copies.

  6. This is a very coherent posting by Yannick. The English is excellent, making for easy reading, and if he sought assistance for this, it showed good judgement. I agree with him up to the point that it cannot be definitively asserted that the image had a miraculous origin, as up to the present time there is insufficient evidence. It is an error of judgement for a scientist, or even an engineer, to assert at this stage that it does have a miraculous origin, although one might have a private view about this. However, where I think I may depart from Yannick’s expressed viewpoint, is that it MAY have a miraculous origin. I suggest that one piece of evidence that could support this view, is the apparent lack of body deformation on the dorsal view – it appears to be suspended weightless in space – or to put it another way, it is as if the image was formed in the upright position. It is of course possible that the body may have been placed on its side, which could also explain the lack of dorsal body deformation.

    It is an obligatory requirement of Catholic belief that miracles can and do happen (Check out the Catholic catechism). However there is no obligatory requirement for any belief that any specific event generally deemed miraculous, was in fact miraculous. It is well-known that the Church requires aduequate proof of miracle(s) for the causes of canonisation of saints. Most of these are otherwise inexplicable healings, but other miracles are also admitted (check catechism).

    Yannick, and also others, in their various comments, often emphasise the importance of understanding the chemical processes involved in forming the TS image. However I also think it important to be accepting of various possible explanations involving the discipline of Physics. The science of Physics may be just as important as Chemistry, and possibly even more so. I have often mentioned in other postings the work of Giovanna de Liso, who obtained intriguing high-definition 3D images under moderate earthquake activity.

    Earthquakes may be viewed as some kind of supernatural activity in Quebec. I can assure Yannick that we take them in our stride in NZ, and also doubtless they do in California and Japan, and also apparently in Italy. Nor are they rare events in the Middle East. This week in NZ, we have just had one of our dormant central North island volcanos wake up spewing ash, after being asleep for over 100 years, But I suspect it had little to do with the publication of Scientific Research and Essays in Academic Journals!

  7. ¡Hidroxiprolina!

    ¡Un MAGNÍFICO argumento a favor de la AUTENTICIDAD!

    -En el individuo normal, SANO, la hidroxiprolina se encuentra como TRAZAS en el suero sanguíneo, y en mayor cantidad en la orina como hidroxiprolina libre y hidroxiprolina conjugada con péptidos.

    -En el individuo ENFERMO con diversas patologías que aquí no interesan, la hidroxiprolina aumenta en el suero sanguíneo y sobre todo en la orina.

    -¿Adivinan en qué situaciones AUMENTA de forma considerable la hidroxiprolina tanto en el suero sanguíneo como en la orina?

    -La hidroxiprolina aumenta de manera muy considerable en suero sanguíneo y en orina en los INTENSOS ESTIRAMIENTOS MUSCULARES MANTENIDOS, lo que es bien conocido por la medicina del deporte.

    – No se me ocurre un ESTIRAMIENTO MUSCULAR MANTENIDO MÁS INTENSO que el proporcionado por 3 horas de CRUCIFIXIÓN.

    [el pico de hidroxiprolina en la muestra procedente del talón me sugiere “contaminación” por la orina. En el tipo de muerte que sufrió Jesús sería normal la emisión de orina…. incluso de heces y líquido seminal]

    – Yo soy médico clínico, sugiero que un médico mejor cualificado que yo en bioquímica de la sangre y la orina como el Dr. Heimburger retome el tema de la hidroxiprolina.


    1. Bing Translation: Hydroxyproline!
      An excellent argument for authenticity!
      -In the normal, healthy individual, the hydroxyproline is found as traces in the blood serum and in greater amounts in urine as a free hydroxyproline and conjugate hydroxyproline with peptides.
      -On the individual sick with various diseases that do not interest here, the hydroxyproline increases in the blood serum and urine.
      -Did they guess situations in which increases substantially the hydroxyproline in serum and urine?
      -The hydroxyproline increases very significantly in blood serum and urine in deep stretch muscle kept, what is well known for the sports medicine.
      -I think not a stretch muscle maintained more intense than the one provided for 3 hours of CRUCIFIXION.
      [the peak of hydroxyproline in the sample from the heel suggests to me “pollution” by urine.] [The type of death suffered by Jesus would normal urine…. even of faeces and seminal fluid emission]
      -I am a clinician, suggest that a doctor better qualified than me in biochemistry of blood and urine as Dr. Heimburger resume the subject of the hydroxyproline.

      1. The Zina thread come from an Italian medical expert named Alberto Zina who took it in the region of the heel where there was bloodstains. After that, the sample was given to Ray Rogers by Gonella in 1980 for analysis. Rogers state in his book that the sample came to him in a very bad state. Here’s what he say about that : “There was very little sample in the envelope (note : in fact, there was only some red flecks that were still there). The Zina sample had been cut to pieces.”

        Nevermind that fact, Rogers choose go ahead and analyzed some red flecks found in the envelope with the method known as pyrolisys mass-spectrometry, which is a very precise method to found any organic material that would be present in a sample. Even if the state of the sample was no good, he still did the analysis because he did some previous chemical testings on the biggest red fleck he could find in the envelope and the results give him a good confidence that this red material was really blood. For the pyrolisys mass-spectrometry, he got a high peak that indicate the presence of hydroxyproline. Carlos interpretation of this result is, of course, interesting in the context of a tortured and crucified body, but I think we should be careful not too extrapolate too much from this one single finding. I really don’t know if Heller and Adler have found traces of hydroxyproline in their own blood sample analysis. I’m really not sure about that. If hydroxyproline could be confirm in other blood samples coming from elsewhere on the Shroud, then the interpretation of Carlos would be much more possible in my mind.

        Anyway, it’s important to note that it’s not the most important thing that came out of this particular analysis of the red fleck made by Rogers. Let’s hear Rogers himself about that : “The appearance of a low-temperature emission of hydroxyproline sets a definite upper limit on the highest temperature that could have been seen by the blood after it appear on the cloth. The blood WAS NEVER HEATED TO A HIGH TEMPERATURE by boiling the Shroud in oil (as sometimes had been suggested) or BY THE IMAGE-FORMATION PROCESS.”

        To me, that’s the main finding that came from the pyrolisys mass-spectrometry analysis of the Zina samples that was made by Rogers. This finding is very important because it tend to corroborate the idea that the image formation process was probably active at room temperature without creating a high increase of temperature. This goes well with any natural image formation process involving a chemical reaction between the surface of the cloth and some biological substances coming from the dead body. Of course, this is just one clue in favor of these kind of chemical hypotheses, and never constitute a proof. But anyway, in my mind, this is an important data that point directly in that direction and not at all in the direction of some kind of energetic radiation that would have come from the corpse.

        It would be interesting if one day, some independent researchers could confirm this finding of Rogers, by using another blood sample that would come from another part of the Shroud and that would be in a better state of conservation. Independent confirmation my friends ! Everything is there. And in the case of any findings concerning the Shroud, I think it’s even more prudent to wait for 2 different independent confirmation coming from 2 different samples before considering a particular finding as an authentic fact !!!

  8. Muy interesante Carlito! This is another possible option (possibly the best one)..

  9. If Carlito is right (and he might well be), the presencve of hydroxyproline in the blood on the Sindon at heel level, could definitely be a “CRUCIAL” datum ;-) to opposed to Colin Berry’s medicinal leech fanciful hypothesis.

  10. Ray Rogers was a good scientist but there is a tendency to “deify” him among some Shroudies as though whatever he wrote about the Shroud is gospel truth. This is a wrong approach since in another paper he wrote involving evolution,and nothing to do with Shroud studies, it was obvious that he was bordering on scientism by revealing his pre-conceived ideas as though nothing metaphysical was possible. Even Dawkins now seems to entertain the possibilty that God exists.

  11. Louis, can you provide the reference on that paper written by Rogers on evolution and his ideas on metaphysics?

    1. Gabriel, I do not have it right now, so please see if you can find it over the Internet if you are in a hurry. Regarding his ideas on metaphysics, it is implicit in the paper.

  12. The fact that Rogers was a “rational” scientist doesn’t change anything on the value of his researches, hypotheses and conclusions versus the Shroud. In fact, it’s precisely the opposite ! It ensure us that he had no religious bias when it comes to Shroud research, which is something we can’t say of many modern Shroud “scientists”. Religious thinking MUST stay out of any credible scientific research, and this is also true (even more maybe) concerning the study of the Shroud of Turin (because it’s so easy to fall into that religious or supernatural trap for any scientist who happen to be at the same time a Christian devotee). And if sometimes Rogers could have sounded like a “preacher” in his writings (I agree), it is most probably due to the fact that he felt that many persons in the Shroud world (researchers) were not doing science as it should be and he wanted to teach them the RIGHT WAY to do science (whether it concern the Shroud or any other material object in the Universe).

    In the end, I prefer 1000 times to see a Raymond Rogers (no matter what was his personal beliefs versus God and the Resurrection of Christ) doing Shroud researches with integrity, rigor and professionalism than seeing all those religious biased people who pretend doing Shroud science these days. How can you trust these researchers, their hypotheses and their findings when you have a profound sense that these people have a preconceived notion (religious of course) versus the Shroud ?

    With a scientist like Rogers, even if he could have made mistakes like anyone else, at least, there was no such religious bias and we can easily assume without too much risks that his research was not driven by his personal feeling (or preconceived ideas) because, as a rationalist, he had no will to “use” the Shroud for any purpose whatsoever…

    Some people in the anti-Rogers clique seems to try hard these days to discredit his honesty versus his researches on the Shroud by saying that he desperately wanted to show that the image was formed naturally. But… WHAT ELSE CAN YOU EXPECT OF A REAL SCIENTIST ??? Of course he will try hard to find a natural explanation for the image !!! Of course, since he’s a scientist (and not a Jesus freak) !

    And for sure, that don’t make him someone with some obscure agenda to “disprove” the supernatural reality of the Shroud ! This kind of thinking is completely ludicrous.

  13. To say that scientists with religious beliefs have no credibility when it comes to Shroud research is about as ludicrous as it gets. It utterly fails to acknowledge the role of religion in the development of science, commencing with the Summa Theologica of Thomas Aquinas; pioneers in Renaissance science, including astronomers Copernicus and Galileo, Founders of the calculus Isaac Newton and Gottfried Leibnitz; and so many others who came after them, Kepler, Blaise Pascal and so on. The break-through with Aquinas demonstrated that order was to be sought in the workings of the universe, and that phenomena were not the work of a capricious God or random Fate. Even the battling Bernoulli family with all their internal strife were originally intended for the Church.

    At the heart of the Arab development commencing in the fifth century, was the motivation of Islamic objectives. The atheism and agnosticism of some modern scientists with their so-called “rational” approach is a relatively modern phenomenon. Commencing in the 12th c, the universities were founded on religious principles, and required religious affirmation.

    The assertion makes the assumption that professional scientists are unable to set aside their religious beliefs in a way that compromises their scientific endeavours. It fails to understand the professionalism and integrity with which professional scientists approach their work.

    Shroud researches have advanced most significantly by those with a religious belief, or as a result of their research, came to such a belief. What is being said is that only atheists can make a useful contribution to Shroud research. This is even more ludicrous than asserting that only scientists with a religious belief should carry out such research! To deify the work of Rogers, is to misdirect the object of true worship. It also fails to allow that in fact, for all we may know, there may only be a supernatural explanation for the image. that only scientists can provide an explanation. In over 100 years of shroud research, they have still failed to come up with an answer!

    “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and not rely on your knowledge.
    In all ways Acknowledge him and he will make your paths straight”. Prov 3:5-6

  14. a.-Yannick CONFUNDE a los lectores:

    -Para ser CIENTÍFICA la propuesta de Rogers, la reacción de Maillard tendría que haber sido INTERRUMPIDA BRUSCAMENTE por la RETIRADA o el ROBO del cadáver de Jesús antes de las 36-48 horas de su permanencia en el sepulcro.

    -De no interrumpirse bruscamente la reacción de Maillard, la “imagen” habría sido una gran MANCHA INFORME por la acción de los productos de la DESCOMPOSICIÓN y la PUTREFACCIÓN del cuerpo de Jesús.

    b.-Yannick SE CONFUNDE:

    -Yannick dice ADMITIR la resurrección de Jesús, la “desmaterialización” del cuerpo de Jesús antes de las 36-48 horas de su permanencia en el sepulcro.

    -Yannick dice admitir la INTERRUPCIÓN SOBRENATURAL de la reacción de Maillard ( la reacción propuesta por Rogers).

    -La hipótesis de una interrupción SOBRENATURAL de la reacción de Maillard NO ES CIENTÍFICA.

    c.- Yannick debe APRENDER a ser coherente.

    -La hipótesis de Rogers es CIENTÍFICA si se interrumpe por un medio NATURAL la reacción de Maillard.

    [lo que NO SIGNIFICA que sea cierta]

    -La hipótesis de Yannick es NO CIENTÍFICA ( interrupción de la reacción de Maillard por la Resurreción ).

    d.-Siendo la Sábana Santa un OBJETO FÍSICO REAL, todo científico que estudie los posibles efectos sobre la Sábana Santa de reacciones “químicas” ( sea Rogers o sea Garlaschelli, etc) o de reacciones “fisicas” ( sea Fanti, Di Lazzaro, Antoacci o el que fuera), será un BUEN científico o será un MAL científico en razón de la METODOLOGÍA que aplique, NO en razón de sus creencias religiosas .Todo científico, creyente o no creyente, sabe que NO EXISTE ninguna energía física o química que pueda RESUCITAR a los muertos.

    Carlos Otal

  15. corneliotel :a.-Yannick CONFUNDE a los lectores:
    -Para ser CIENTÍFICA la propuesta de Rogers, la reacción de Maillard tendría que haber sido INTERRUMPIDA BRUSCAMENTE por la RETIRADA o el ROBO del cadáver de Jesús antes de las 36-48 horas de su permanencia en el sepulcro.
    -De no interrumpirse bruscamente la reacción de Maillard, la “imagen” habría sido una gran MANCHA INFORME por la acción de los productos de la DESCOMPOSICIÓN y la PUTREFACCIÓN del cuerpo de Jesús.

    Is this true? Does Rogers’s hypothesis really require that the Maillard reaction stopped after 36-48 hours? Or 36-48 hours is the expected natural period for a Maillard reaction under certain conditions like those in a cold tomb? Is it also true that otherwise we would only see a big blur of stains?
    Can any expert on Maillard reaction elaborate on this?

  16. According to my ritualistic/halakhistic approach, the body was tightly wrapped up (with solid objects laterally pressed next to the skin) within an in-soaked sindon and then subjected to a myrrhic aloetic fumigation while resting in extra height (on two stones) first on its left and then right side. Through the drying-up process, the inner long linen burial cloth could have mechanically and very gradually gotten sort of taut again by itself. There is nothing supernatural at all about it as arch-miraculists would like have us to believe.

  17. To back up their point, arch-miraculists whether unconsciously or consciously, currently falsify the translation from Greek of some of the particulars of Yeshua’s burial relations by the four evangelists.

  18. Gabriel:

    Una vez cesados los procesos de AUTOLISIS, e incluso en ocasiones sin haber cesado, se inician los auténticos fenómenos de DESCOMPOSICIÓN, entre los cuales SÓLO voy a mencionar los que serían RECONOCIBLES en el Hombre de la Sábana:

    1.- la infiltración gaseosa o enfisema, afectando a párpados y labios.
    2.- flictenas pútridas, elevaciones de la epidermis con líquido en su interior.
    2.- desprendimiento de la piel al romperse las flictenas.
    4.-salida del contenido gástrico por la boca y a veces el intestinal por el ano a consecuencia de la presión gaseosa.

    Más de 36-48 horas la producción de GAS es máxima, el ENFISEMA es máximo y la piel empieza a soltar un LÍQUIDO NEGRUZCO propio de la putrefacción.

    La reacción de Maillard es aquí IRRELEVANTE en la producción de una MANCHA INFORME relacionada con la descomposición cadavérica.


  19. Colin es un individuo MUY INTELIGENTE…….. es lástima que milite en el lado “equivocado”, aunque para él sea más divertido.

    Colin escribe:

    “How odd that Shroudology showed not the slightest interest in hydroxyproline, except as “evidence” against scorching, despite Rogers himself flagging it up as possibly of animal origin.”

    Yo también estoy SORPRENDIDO.

    Colin ha entendido MUY RÁPIDO el GRAN INTERÉS de mi comentario sobre la hidroxiprolina.

    La presencia de hidroxiprolina en la sangre sería una PRUEBA IMPORTANTÍSIMA de autenticidad, probablemente la MAYOR…….

    1.- Autenticidad de la SANGRE como sangre humana.

    2.- Sangre procedente de un SER que fue sometido a un enorme desgaste y estiramiento muscular :

    a.-intensas contracciones musculares por el suplicio del látigo….con muy probables micro-lesiones musculares por la acción directa del látigo.
    b.-inicio del transporte del madero de la cruz para el que la fuerza muscular ya no le responde.
    c.-intenso y mantenido estiramiento muscular a consecuencia de la crucifixión.

    En los años en que escribió Rogers NO se habían realizado estudios sobre la hidroxiprolina en relación a los esfuerzos musculares, estudios desarrollados fundamentalmente en relación con la medicina del DEPORTE y de gran interés sobre todo en la “contracción muscular excéntrica”……..

    ¿Será Colin el ÚNICO interesado en el tema de la hidroxiprolina?


    Carlos Otal

    1. Colin Berry’s leeches-used-as-felt-tipped-pens hypothesis is just OldScienceBODDology…

  20. Because Rogers himself flagging up the hydroxyproline as possibly of animal origin, I myself thought of a possible human blood contaminant of animal origin.

  21. Here, I want to reply to Daveb’s comment #9 (and I think this comment will calm down also our friend Carlos) :

    Dave, I think your comment is very interesting.

    First of all, may I suggest you to read again my recent paper concerning the question of the authenticity of the Shroud. You’ll see that I’ve developed 4 possible scenarios to explain the relic and that one of them (the last one) include the possibility that the image on the Shroud could come, directly or not, from the Resurrection of Christ. And if you pay attention to the footnote related to the description I’ve make of the 4th scenario, you’ll read this : “This 4th scenario might shock some because it is based on a dogma of faith (the Resurrection of Christ) and, by definition, it goes beyond the pure scientific rationality. But, since the Shroud of Turin is considered by Christian tradition as being the authentic burial cloth of Jesus-Christ, it seems justified to keep open that possibility, even if, in face of all the known and confirmed data, such a scenario is not necessarily the most probable. For a very detailed analysis of that possibility, see: Raymond N. Rogers, A Chemist’s Perspective on the Shroud of Turin, Barrie Schwortz Editor and Publisher, July 2008.

    So, I hope now you can admit the fact that it’s not true that I have completely shut the door to the possibility of a miraculous event in the case of the Shroud, even if I don’t considered this avenue as the most probable ! Stating that the image on the Shroud could not have been, in any way, a direct product or a by-product of the Resurrection of Christ was not the point I tried to make with my editorial letter. In fact, I agree with you that, on a PERSONAL AND PRIVATE BASIS, it is truly possible for someone to BELIEVE that the image on the Shroud is related to the Resurrection of Christ. I know very well that this is not an idea that the Catholic Church officially promote, but I don’t think we should (or can) FORCE someone to deny that faith if it’s what he believe. Besides, we can teach them properly about the Shroud and his image, but that’s another story…

    Anyway, the MOST IMPORTANT POINT I wanted to express in my editorial is this : If someone (and it is pretty evident that, sadly, there are many modern sindonologists in that category) start or base his study of the Shroud of Turin on the preconceived notion that the Resurrection SHOULD have something to do with the body image on the cloth and, consequently, avoid, neglect or, even worse, refuse completely to considered properly all the possibilities that exist for a natural occurring image formation, especially in the light of the observations, conclusions and hypotheses reported by Ray Rogers and others (especially concerning the probable chromophore of the image), then this person is guilty of doing a bad science, because it is religiously biased. Period. As I often said here on the blog, religious dogmas or ideas should not have anything to do with any good scientific research. And if such a person go ever further and try to “prove” the Resurrection using the image on the Shroud, then this is called “doing science with a religious agenda in the back of your mind” and it is a complete shame in comparison to any scientific research that is performed in the state of the art, following completely and honestly the scientific method (i.e. following ALL the data and facts no matter where it leads you and what the conclusion can be, even if it goes against some preconceived notions you could have at the beginning). A “scientist” that would be found guilty of such a “crime” should not be considered “reliable” no more on this particular subject and I’m sure there’s some modern sindonologists (I don’t want to mention any name here) that are part of that group !

    It’s interesting you mention the fact that the Catholic Church will NEVER proclaim a miracle before science has done a complete in-dept analysis of the reported phenomenon and find out that this phenomenon CANNOT be scientifically explained by the known Laws of nature.

    I really think that if we apply this notion with honesty (and without any religious feelings) to the image on the image on the Shroud, we have to conclude that it is not possible, in this particular case, to call this a “miracle” (and the Church never claim the image to be miraculous by the way) for the simple and good reason that it is really premature to state that science CANNOT explained this thing with the known Laws of nature. That’s the reality because the Shroud and his image, up until this day, has not been DIRECTLY analyzed enough by science for someone to claim that science has come full circle concerning this image and 1- is still not able to define and understand his nature (the chromophore) and 2- is still not able to describe a natural theory that can account for all the known physical and chemical characteristics of the image.

    Even if a lot of researches have been made on the relic, we have to understand that direct testing has only been made once (by STURP and some Italians in 1978 and the years following), along with some more researches done after that by other scientists claiming they have worked with authentic samples from the Shroud. In this context, I really don’t think anyone has the right to proclaim that science has made a full and complete examination of the relic so far. The best proof of that can be found in the fact that the STURP team, right after having published his final peer-reviewed article concerning the research on the Shroud, was already asking permission to the Cardinal of Turin and the Vatican for a second round of direct testing on the cloth !!!!

    Because of the fact that science still need further testing on this relic before it can be said that the analysis is complete, no one can proclaim that the image SHOULD have been caused by a miraculous event.

    Personally, I think science is pretty close to answer the first question concerning the image chromophore and concerning the second question (the one related to the image formation process), it’s evident that this will be the more complex “mystery” to resolve, but if we can understand perfectly the real nature of the chromophore (question #1), then I truly believe science would be in a pretty good position to find the proper answer for the second question, especially if more testing under laboratory conditions can be performed to analyze more deeply some interesting natural image formation processes like the Maillard reaction proposed by Rogers (and there are others natural suggestions also interesting that exist) in the context of a body who suffered a long torture prior to his death by crucifixion and who was enveloped (probably loosely) in a shroud that was probably manufactured with the ancient method of making linen cloths.

    In fact, this is precisely the SECOND MOST IMPORTANT POINT I wanted to make with this editorial letter ! To me, if science can finally find what is the real nature of the image chromphore (without any serious doubt), then it will be much easier to evaluate correctly all the proposal that have been made over the years concerning the most probable process (or processes) that can explain the image formation on the cloth in the very particular context I just describe. And this should hallowed science to finally have a much clearer idea of the direction where to search in order to find the solution to this enigma. I really think that this should be sufficient to eventually permit the resolution (once and for all) of this “mystery”, thanks to the scientific method.

    If what I just said could be confirmed in the future, then I don’t think the possibility for the body image to have come from the Resurrection of Christ (and consequently, to be called “miraculous”) will still be there. Remember what Sagan said : Absence of evidence is not the same as evidence of absence. It’s not because the image is not fully understood today that it will always be that way in the future and that we have the right to call for a supernatural event in order to explain it… This TRUTH is very important if we want to stay scientifically sound in our analysis of the Shroud of Turin and his image (or any other material objects in the Universe by the way). Remember that science, in face of something it can’t explain, will ALWAYS add that this is only true for today because, as Barbet said very well in his book : WE CAN’T PRESUME OF THE FUTURE ! So, that why you will always see conclusions like this : In the PRESENT STATE OF OUR KNOWLEDGE, science cannot explain this phenomenon.

    IT IS EXACTLY THE SAME WITH THE SHROUD and, if we want to stay scientifically credible, we should recognized that there is no good reason (not even the tradition that state it is the burial Shroud of Christ) to believe otherwise ! And let’s never forget what Francisco Alconchel-Pecino said in his recent paper about the C14 issue : “Probably the controversy arose because, once more, HUMAN INNOCENCE WAS SURPRISED BY THE SUBTELTIES OF MOTHER NATURE.” This great TRUTH should always be kept in mind when it comes to analyzed the Shroud and his image… Unfortunately, this is not always the case (to say the least) !

    And concerning the idea that an earthquake could be responsible for the image, front and back, of a human corpse on a linen shroud, I’m sure I’m not the only to find this possibility quite absurd. Anyway, as I said, let’s wait for science to finally find out what is the true nature of the image chromophore and then, we’ll have a much better scientific basis to analyze properly if this hypothesis of the earthquakes can have any chances to explain the image on the Shroud… Is it a deal ??? ;-)

    But be sure of one thing (I don’t want to presume of anything here. I just emit an hypothesis), if Rogers was correct about the image chromphore (i.e. that it resides ONLY in a thin layer of carbohydrates impurities on top of the fibers), then this earthquakes hypothesis (or any other hypothesis involving an energetic radiation) would really be in jeopardy. That’s why the exact nature of the image chromophore is so important to confirm and, in my mind, that should be the MAIN QUESTION that an eventual new series of direct researches on the cloth SHOULD TRY TO ANSWER IN PRIORITY. Because you can be sure of one thing : if the question of the chromophore is not properly answered and stay covered in doubt (as it is today), it will never be possible to prove any hypothesis of image formation !

    I hope that my call concerning the resolution of this most important issue will be heard by some competent ears !!! One thing’s for sure : It doesn’t seem to have been heard by M. Fanti ! I say that because in his most recent paper “Open issues regarding the Turin Shroud”, here’s the 3 major issues in his mind : The formation of the image (as expected, it comes in #1 place even if, as I said, it should always come in #2, after the image chromophore), the conservation and his dating. You see ? NOT EVEN A WORD about the most crucial question of it all concerning the Shroud, which is the image chromophore !!!! This is truly incredible and pretty shameful… Let’s hope that other scientists will heard my call much better than M. Fanti, who seem to think (wrongly) that this question of the chromophore was settled with his 2010 paper in which he proclaimed, without any chemical testing to back it up, that the image chromophore was most probably the primary cell wall and not a thin layer of impurity on top of the fibers !!!! As I said in my editorial, it’s not surprising at all that he claimed this, since it is truly possible to colored only the primary cell wall of a linen fiber without affecting his core with a corona discharge (as demonstrated by an experiment done by Rogers himself !!!).

    Meditate on that for a while and you’ll see that all this doesn’t smell very good, to say the least. And what is also important (and shameful) to note is the fact that this question of the chromophore seem to be (wrongly) settled in the mind of many other sindonologists. I say that because, in Valencia earlier this year, a bunch of them had no difficulty to sign a list of “facts” proposed by M. Rolfe, in which we originally found the hypothesis of the primary cell wall, while the hypothesis of Rogers was completely cast out !!! To me, this is a VERY GOOD CLUE that clearly shows the very bad state of sindonology these days… I’ll say it again : This is really shameful !!! When he see that, Rogers (and others) must turn over in his grave !!! THE FACT IS THIS : THE QUESTION OF THE IMAGE CHROMOPHORE HAS NOT BEEN PROPERLY CONFIRMED YET AND SHROUD SCIENCE SHOULD FOCUS ON THAT INSTEAD OF ON IMAGE FORMATION !!! It’s only when this question will be properly settled that we could focus our attention on the image formation process…

    Final note : At least, there’s one good thing that can be found in this paper from Fanti : For the first time (to my knowledge), in page 3 of his paper, he recognize the fallacy of his conclusion of the probabilistic model he once made and that gave a probability of 100% (!) that the Shroud is really the authentic Shroud of Jesus Christ (note : he doesn’t say “Jesus of Nazareth” as it should for a scientist, but “Jesus Christ”, which speak very loud to me). At least, here, M. Fanti was able to recognize that his result had no value whatsoever because they were based on “subjective evaluations”. At least, this recognition is one good point for him !!!

    P.S. : I am currently writing a follow up paper to my article concerning the authenticity of the Shroud and, in it, I will do an in-deep analysis of the second part of the question of the Shroud authenticity, which is the real identity of the man of the Shroud. I hope to be able to finish it this autumn… One thing’s for sure : you will never see me stating that the probability that this is really the Shroud of Jesus (of Nazareth !!!) is 100%, simply because it wouldn’t be an acceptable conclusion, scientifically speaking. On that particular question, we’re dealing with probabilities, not certainties!

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