The Eric Jumper Lecture at Notre Dame: How did it go? Anyone?

I have had three inquiries about the Eric Jumper lecture. Does anyone have any input on how it went? Here is what I posted the other day:

clip_image001If you can be at Notre Dame on January 29th, Professor Eric J. Jumper will be speaking on the Shroud of Turin on from 3:30PM until 5:00PM at the Lower Level Auditorium in Geddes Hall. This sounds great:

Thirty-five years ago an expedition was mounted to examine the Shroud of Turin, take data and samples in an attempt to establish the possibility that the Shroud could be the burial cloth of Jesus of Nazareth. Dr. Jumper was one of two co-directors of that expedition. This presentation will relate the preparation and testing of the Shroud and discuss the specific findings regarding the chemical makeup of the various stains and images on the cloth. C14 dating, performed in the early 1980’s, showed that the samples of the cloth that were analyzed had a Carbon date that placed them in the Middle Ages. Although no conclusive method has been established on the specific mechanism responsible for the cloths images, the presumption has been that the cloth could not be the authentic burial cloth of Jesus. Dr. Jumper’s position, since the time that the C14 dating was made public, is that the Shroud cannot have a first century origin; however, new information has come to light that has introduced some doubt to his previous certainty.

Source: Professor Eric J. Jumper — Department of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering

</BLOCKQUOTE

How could a medieval mind create an image such as the one on the shroud?

clip_image001A reader writes:

I just read and enjoyed your comments on shroudstory.com. While I am a practicing Roman Catholic, I also have a PhD in chemistry and I hope that I can maintain scientific objectivity regarding the shroud. I believe that whether or not the shroud is the burial cloth of Jesus can be an open question – although I personally believe it is. But whether or not the shroud is the burial cloth of a crucified person or a fake seems to me to be beyond question. If it is a fake, it is probably the most brilliant hoax of all time! It seems to me to be beyond belief that one or more persons could have assembled all of the abundant supporting evidence 1000 years ago. One can concede that with research and great diligence the faker(s) could have assembled the evidence (however unlikely that is) – with one exception: the image! As far as I know, no one has been able to satisfactorily explain or duplicate the image. How could a medieval mind conceive and execute a negative three-dimensional image such as the one on the shroud? It is that aspect of the shroud that tilts my opinion toward regarding it as the burial cloth of Jesus.

Exactly. And why, in an age that was so undemanding, would someone do so.

And then again, I think about the inventiveness and the technology that went into building those cathedrals. But isn’t that altogether quite different?

Teaser of the Day: Front and back images show almost the same color intensity. Or do they?

clip_image001

UPDATE: Hugh Farey sent a couple of screen scrapes from Shroudscope that may help some of see the similarity. They are beneath the fold below.

What is right or wrong with this material from page 9 of The Shroud A Critical Summary of Observations, Data and Hypotheses, by Robert W. Siefker and Daniel S. Spicer.

Table I, Item 1.0:

The front and back images of the body show almost the same color intensity (yellow-brown), i.e., at first sight, we cannot appreciate, which image is the more evident, front or back.

Scored: Established

Comment:

To the naked eye it is difficult to distinguish between the intensity of the frontal and dorsal body images. We believe this observation demonstrates that neither cloth-body contact nor the weight of the body on the cloth significantly affected the image formation process.

End Notes:

  • Eric J. Jumper, Alan D. Adler, John P. Jackson, Samuel F. Pellicori, John H. Heller, James R Druzik, “A Comprehensive Examination of the Various Stains and Images on the Shroud of Turin,” American ChemicalSociety 22 (1984): 451-53. (This was on of the key early papers published by STURP scientists based on their research on the Shroud in Turin in 1978.)
  • L.A. Schwalbe and R.N. Rogers, “Physics and Chemistry of the Shroud of Turin, A Summary of the 1978 Investigation, Analytica Chemica Acta, Vol. 135 (1982): 3-49. (This is another of the early STURP Research Papers.)

What doesn’t sit well with me is the blatancy of the assumption that “neither cloth-body contact nor the weight of the body on the cloth significantly affected the image formation process.” If later in the paper certain artistic image forming processes are to be entertained (as they are and rightly so) such as painting, photography and Luigi Garlaschelli’s method, then it is only appropriate to not poison the well with an obvious image of a human body enshrouded. To the authors’ credit, this is limited to a comment. Such rhetorical shenanigans should be avoided. Simply leave off the last sentence of the comment and this item is probably an established fact. Or is it? 

Continue reading “Teaser of the Day: Front and back images show almost the same color intensity. Or do they?”

Russ Breault and Shroud Encounter also in West Simsbury, Connecticut

Yesterday, I mentioned that Russ Breault would be presenting Shroud Encounter at UNC Charlotte on February 12 at 7:00 PM in the Student Union. I failed to mention that Russ would be doing the same presentation two days earlier on Sunday February 10 from 6:30 PM to 8:00 PM at St. Catherine of Siena Church Proper, 265 Stratton Brook Road, West Simsbury, CT 06092.

image

Déjà vu or what?

imageIt is interesting to note that one year ago a reader of this blog criticized the binary decision table used by Giulio Fanti. See Not happy with Giulio Fanti’s Paper in JIST. He wrote:

Baloney, baloney, baloney. This is based on a simple scoring table of 24 characteristics for 12 methods that looks like a street gambler’s punchboard. It assumes that each of the characteristics has about the same weight. C11 reads, “The pronounced rigor mortis of the body is evident, especially on the back image near the buttocks.” C24 reads, “No image can be found under the bloodstains, because they formed before the body image.” Should these two characteristics have the same weight? And why is there a “because” in C24 which changes the characteristic into an argument. The scoring is essentially binary, using x, o and ? for inconsistent, verified and dubious. All of it seems totally subjective, e. g. like how evident is rigor in the butt. I would trust Zugibe or a forensic pathologist, not Fanti on this. (emphasis mine)

Now look at this quote from the new paper on the Turin Shroud Center of Colorado website, The Shroud A Critical Summary of Observations, Data and Hypotheses, by Robert W. Siefker and Daniel S. Spicer. It reads, word for word, exactly like the sentence in Giulio’s paper “No image can be found under the bloodstains, because they formed before the body image.”

Yesterday, Paulette objected to the sentence in the new paper for the same reason that a reader objected to the identical sentence in Giulio’s paper last year. Paulette wrote:

. . . a scientist would never write “because” in an observation statement, particularly one that is not all that well confirmed. He or she might say is that the observation suggests a possible conclusion, never that it is explained by a conclusion.

I think Paulette comes off a bit too strong when she says, “a scientist would never write . . .” I agree however that it is unwise in a table called ‘Image Characteristics Evidence’ to use what is obviously a conclusion following the word ‘because.’ It is more problematic because (no pun intended) the astute and often questioning reader knows full well that it is a desired conclusion for what becomes obviously the goal of the paper as expressed in the binary decision table. (This is not to imply that I disagree with the conclusion implied by the bloodstain observation even as I disagree with the overall conclusion of the paper).

Now look at the punchboard-style binary decision table in the new paper and consider the criticism leveled at Giulio’s paper a year ago. Similar lists. Same terms such as inconsistent or dubious. Only the subjective decisions within the table seem different leading us to a different overall conclusion.  Déjà vu or what?

The blogosphere has changed the rules of shroud science. Bloggers are a tough crowd. Here, in this blog, for the most part, readers who comment are extraordinarily  well informed, very perceptive and thoroughly analytical. (And I mean to imply that I agree with Paulette and the previous reader.)

It seems to me that a positive thing to do with this paper over many days and weeks ahead is to take one item at a time, maybe one-a-day or so, and discuss it in this blog (or re-discuss it or choose to ignore it). And there will be no let up on the many other things that get posted like this wonderful new Guest Posting by Kelly Kearse: Distinguishing human blood from that of other species.

 

image

Chart from The Shroud A Critical Summary of Observations, Data and Hypotheses

Like a Catholic Hippie Jesus

imageAlright, so I wasn’t thrilled about Barrie Schwortz going to the Prophesy in the News (PITN) Pikes Peak conference. See PITN Taking Advantage of the Shroud of Turin and , How ‘Ya Gonna Keep ‘Em Down on the Farm? After They’ve Seen Paree. I had said:

Frankly, I’m sorry to see the Shroud of Turin used for what I think, now, is basically a movement to sell books and conventions and promote a non-orthodox, off-beat Christianism.

I got a lot of push back from Barrie, Russ Breault and others. And I reconsidered my position, somewhat. Now some folks of the off-beat crowd, very very off-beat crowd, are objecting. Click HERE or on the graphic to see how bad it can get (all 16 pages – requires antacid tablets).

And then there is this at the blog Galatians 4:

Why are so called evangelicals promoting a relic of the Popes?
From LA Muzarulli’s blog..

"I wept when I first saw the face, in 1980, as I believe it is really him. I don’t worship the image, and it doesn’t add to my salvation. It does, however, leave me speechless as I have a tangible link to events that happened almost 2000 years ago, a cosmic picture, if you will of the event that Christians call the resurrection, made, I believe by God himself, as the lifeless body dematerialized in millions of points of light. Is the man on the Shroud Jesus? That’s up to you to decide for yourself. As for me, the Shroud of Turin is God’s Calling Card."

. . . Because this thing is not a "picture" of Jesus whatsoever. Besides the obvious breaking of the second commandment, it’s all wrong. The OT tells us that long hair is a shame unto a man, and they expect Jesus to have long hair? It’s just another phony rendition of the Catholic "jesus".

You all may think I am strange with this one, but I knew the Shroud of Turin was phony within the same year I came out of the Catholic church. Take a look at this face… Long hair anorexic like an inverse of the Catholic "hippie" "jesus:….

Oh, my gosh, Barrie has long hair.

Guest Posting by Kelly Kearse: Distinguishing human blood from that of other species

Distinguishing human blood from that of other species:

Too much monkey business?

clip_image002[5]

clip_image002[7]
The term “human blood” is consistently used in discussions of the bloodstains on the Shroud. Just how is human blood distinguished in the laboratory? And where exactly does the data on the Shroud stand? These questions are briefly discussed below.

 

Human blood versus animal blood

A scientist cannot just look at a bloodstain with the naked eye and tell that it’s human blood. For fresh blood, microscopic analyses may allow one to distinguish mammalian red blood cells from non-mammalian red blood cells due to the absence and presence of a nucleus, respectively. If sufficient numbers of (white) blood cells are present, chromosomal characterization (karyotyping) may be performed, at significantly higher magnification. Among primates, only humans contain 46 chromosomes; chimpanzees, gorillas, and orangutans contain 48. The chromosome number of other species is quite variable, for example pigs have 38, sheep have 54, dogs have 78, and cows have 60.

In aged bloodstains, such microscopic tests are not practical because blood cells become dehydrated and rupture within hours of drying. Species characterization of dried, aged bloodstains relies on serological (immunology) tests or molecular (DNA) analysis. Chemical tests cannot distinguish human from animal blood. For serological studies, human blood components (usually albumin or immunoglobulin proteins) are detected using antibodies that are generated in another species, for instance, rabbits. When utilized in the laboratory, such antibodies would not react with blood components from other animals, for example chickens or cows, because enough difference exists from their human counterpart proteins that the antibodies fail to recognize them.

clip_image002

A positive reaction in such tests usually results in the conclusion that human blood is present. However, this is where things get somewhat tricky. Even though such reagents are designated as “anti-human”, this only refers to the species in which they were generated. Cross-reactivity (or the lack thereof) must be independently verified. Species that are closely related to humans (i.e. non-human primates) express blood components (albumin and immunoglobulin) that are similar enough to those of humans to also react positively in such tests (see picture above). In forensic settings this is typically disregarded unless special circumstances warrant that such possibilities be considered (at a crime scene within a zoo, for example, or if someone were known to keep apes or monkeys as pets). In most situations, when it is stated that bloodstains tested positive for human blood, this underlying supposition exists. Strictly speaking, such serological tests do not distinguish human blood from the blood of other primates (monkeys or apes). If sufficient DNA is intact for molecular biology analysis, specific regions of certain genes may be targeted that have sequences unique to humans, which allow them to be effectively distinguished from those of closely related species.

Human origin of the blood on the Shroud

In the vast majority of discussions of the human nature of the bloodstains on the Shroud, the studies that are typically referenced are the experiments of Adler and colleagues and Baima Ballone and coworkers, utilizing serological tests for detection of common major blood components: albumin, immunoglobulin, ABO antigens. In fact, such studies do not distinguish human blood from the blood of other primates.

With the Shroud, primate may imply human but this is an extension beyond what the data actually show. Adler was appropriately cautious in concluding that the data only demonstrated that the blood was of primate origin, and even conducted experiments to evaluate the cross-reactivity of such “anti-human” reagents. Adler would also comment, “If you choose to think that the image you see is that of a chimp or an orangutan, you’re perfectly welcome to believe that…

To date, the only study that directly addresses the human nature of the Shroud bloodstains is an often overlooked report by Baima Ballone et al. that evaluated the expression of additional blood components found on red blood cells, specifically the M,N, and S antigens. (Such antigens have also been studied in the blood analysis of King Tut). The conclusion was that the bloodstains on the Shroud are characterized as MNS positive. What is most significant about these studies is that unlike M and N antigens, which are shared between certain primates and humans, the S antigen is exclusive to humans only. No S counterpart exists in other species, including apes or monkeys. This point was not emphasized (or mentioned) in the report, as the significance of this relationship among primates was not fully elucidated until several years later (in non-Shroud related studies). Of the six serological analyses of blood components on the Shroud, this brief study remains the single most definitive piece of serological evidence that directly addresses the human origin of the blood on the Shroud. For a more detailed discussion see: “Empirical evidence that the blood on the Shroud of Turin is of human origin: Is the current data sufficient?” recently published on shroud.com. The full-length manuscript is available at http://www.shroud.com/pdfs/kearse1.pdf.

Concluding Remarks

Taken together, the current serological data indicate the blood on the Shroud is of primate, i.e. human origin. Could more work be done in the laboratory to strengthen the conclusion that the blood is indisputably human? The answer is yes. Should there be sufficient doubt that the blood is in fact, human, and may represent the blood of a monkey or ape? The MNS studies say no. All other data are consistent with this finding. Moreover, Adler has effectively commented on the difficulties a forger would encounter in trying to apply clotting blood [of any species] to various regions on the Shroud. Since the original blood studies were performed some thirty years ago, significant advancements have been made in the development of serological and molecular tools that could prove useful in advancing previous information. For example, within the past few years, monoclonal antibodies have been generated that effectively distinguish human blood from that of closely related species. Similar to blood typing data, additional analyses would cross-check and verify previous findings on the bloodstains of the Shroud.

Shroud Encounter at UNC Charlotte February 12

imageThe University of North Carolina campus in Charlotte has a series of web pages about Religious and Spiritual Life at UNC Charlotte including this page about Shroud Encounter with Russ Breault on February 12 at 7:00 PM in the Student Union Library.

Be there if you can.

image

Paper Chase (NEW): The Shroud: A Critical Summary of Observations, Data and Hypotheses

imageAs Gabriel recently noted in a comment:

The Colorado center has just made public http://www.shroudofturin.com/shroud.html a very interesting document ” The Shroud A Critical Summary of Observations, Data and Hypotheses ” with many of the things we customarily discuss in this blog.

Here is what the Turin Shroud Center of Colorado is reporting:

The Shroud: A Critical Summary of Observations, Data and Hypotheses

Use this link [or click on the picture of the cover page shown here] to view the above titled PDF document. This is a large document so it will take a minute to download: View PDF . The document includes all of the important scientific observations from the STURP expedition. In addition, the most important data from research conducted by our TSC scientific team, other scientists, forensic and historical researchers, both before and after STURP, is included along with our comments and evaluation. We will maintain this document on a continuous basis. The document is designed to be revised over time to include all important new research findings and thinking on the Shroud. All changes will be documented in a formal log of changes to help support the user stay up to date on the Shroud. The document includes detailed references to source research material.

imageThe Critical Summary is a copyrighted document but you are given permission to print it for private and for non-profit educational purposes.

If you have comments or suggestions regarding this document please send them to us by Email here(ShroudFacts@gmail.com).

It is 44 pages long including title material and end notes. Here is the description at the Turin Shroud Center of Colorado

Thibault Responds to Colin

Yesterday, Thibault HEIMBURGER (TH) posted the following comment on Colin Berry’s (CB) blog:

CB wrote: “TH chooses the crudest “bas relief” template imaginable – a metal plate with a shallow, steep-sided recess to represent “relief”. He gets some scorches that not surprisingly have excessive differences in scorch intensity and contrast between the two flat-iron like planes, and then proceeds to enunciate general principles for why the Shroud cannot possibly be a scorch”.

Apparently, CB did not read my paper, [which Colin points to by saying, ‘see top-right hand corner on Dan Porter’s Home Page]. Otherwise he would have seen than the major part of it is dealing with the microscopical characteristics of ANY KIND of scorch at fabric and thread level and not with the problem of contrast or relief.

Because my model has no slightly rounded relief, CB thinks that all my observations and photographs are not reliable.

Does CB think that with a slightly rounded relief rather than with a flat template, the microscopical characteristics of the color distribution (and all my observations) at fabric, thread and fiber level should be very different ?

In order to produce an imprint one have to apply a hot surface on the linen.
I did it with the kind of “crudest bas-relief” I used because it was the only mean to test different temperatures, different pressures and different contact times.
Using a “better” bas-relief (in the sense of CB), one can certainly obtain a better “image” but its characteristics at fabric, thread and fiber level cannot be different than the characteristics showed in my paper because the fundamental mechanisms are similar.

And in any case, these characteristics are very different from those observed on the Shroud.

clip_image001Looking carefully at the slightest King George VI horse brass picture (on the right), I can predict what follows:

With a microscope:
1) In the darkest parts (nose, hear, crown etc.) one will find all the characteristics of the “scorch” as described in my paper;
2) in the lightly scorched areas, one will find all the characteristics of the “light scorch” as described in my paper
3) In the white areas, one will find..no color (contrary to the shroud) or perhaps some fibers described as “very light scorch” in my paper.

To summarize, with a “good” template, one will find all the characteristics I found with my “bad template” but on a single image.

I challenge CB to prove that I am wrong but now with photographs at fabric and thread level.

We will see who is agenda-driven.

TH alias Thibault.

If you want to see CB’s retort then go on over to Colin’s site and scroll towards the bottom of Raymond N Rogers: STURP supremo chemist (RIP) who sadly lost the plot (due to an apparent blind spot, it would seem, for those ultra-thin and highly superficial primary cell walls of flax and linen fibres). | The Turin Shroud: but for the pseudo-science it might have been dismissed long ago as a medieval fake

Eric J. Jumper to Speak on the Shroud of Turin

clip_image001If you can be at Notre Dame on January 29th, Professor Eric J. Jumper will be speaking on the Shroud of Turin on from 3:30PM  until 5:00PM at the Lower Level Auditorium in Geddes Hall. This sounds great:

Thirty-five years ago an expedition was mounted to examine the Shroud of Turin, take data and samples in an attempt to establish the possibility that the Shroud could be the burial cloth of Jesus of Nazareth. Dr. Jumper was one of two co-directors of that expedition. This presentation will relate the preparation and testing of the Shroud and discuss the specific findings regarding the chemical makeup of the various stains and images on the cloth. C14 dating, performed in the early 1980’s, showed that the samples of the cloth that were analyzed had a Carbon date that placed them in the Middle Ages. Although no conclusive method has been established on the specific mechanism responsible for the cloths images, the presumption has been that the cloth could not be the authentic burial cloth of Jesus. Dr. Jumper’s position, since the time that the C14 dating was made public, is that the Shroud cannot have a first century origin; however, new information has come to light that has introduced some doubt to his previous certainty.

Source: Professor Eric J. Jumper — Department of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering

It May Be Illegal to Read This in South Carolina

imageThis is the warning fellow blogger Steve Skardon put on his blog, South Carolina Episcopalians:

Warning !!!

SC Episcopalians has been served with an Order by SC Judge Diane Goodstein to stop refering to the officially-recognized Diocese of South Carolina as "The Diocese of South Carolina" or "The Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina."

The Judge’s Order also applies to individuals who might use these terms. Please do not read any of these articles out loud, or you could be in violation of SC law and possibly subject to arrest.

Here is the story at Episcopal News Services, the official news service of the Episcopal Church.

Here is some background: Presiding Bishop issues Pastoral Letter to the Episcopal Dxxxxxx of Sxxxx Cxxxxxxx (not to be confused with ex-bishop Lawrence’s secessionist Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina).

I might understand this ridiculous ruling after reading why it was filed. Well would, I? Nah! To apply it to a blog reporting the news, is someone somewhere in this state nuts?

So does this ruling apply to newspapers, also? Does it apply to all blogs or just blogs in South Carolina? And how might that work? What if a blog is hosted in another state – or the cloud, as almost all blogs are these days? What if someone in South Carolina drives to Georgia with a laptop and posts from Starbucks in downtown Savannah? In returning home might he be arrested for transporting inappropriate words across a state line? Does this ruling apply to Time Warner’s ISP service? Must they block these words flowing into the home of someone in the state?

clip_image001Maybe it is time for the Streisand Effect to kick in. The Streisand Effect is named after the attempt by Barbra to prevent her house from appearing on the internet, ” Indeed! Wikipedia offers this definition:

The Streisand effect is a phenomenon on the Internet where an attempt to censor or remove a piece of information backfires, causing the information to be widely publicized. Examples are attempts to censor a photograph, a file, or even a whole website, especially by means of cease-and-desist letters.

I have more sympathy for Barbra Streisand than I do for Mark Lawrence and the forty or so partial congregations following him out of the Episcopal Church. They can leave. They are just not entitled to the buildings, bank accounts and the name of the church. In the end, if past court cases are predictive, the breakaway congregations will end up losing the buildings, money that is left and the names.

And here is a useful FAQ.

Another, Different Truth by Fiction

Jill Rachel Jacobs interviews Linda Stasi (pictured), Author of the new novel The Sixth Station in the Huffington Post: (But first read my previous post, And what theory is that?)

image[Stasi is] an award-winning Big Apple columnist in a newspaper with over 1 million readers daily. Media critic and co-host of NY1’s "What A Week," Linda Stasi, has also been a guest on The O’Reilly Factor, The Today Show, Good Morning America, The View, Chris Matthews, CBS Morning Show,Good Day New York, to mention a few.

In her new book, The Sixth Station (Jan. 22), Stasi reveals a riveting and provocative read, full of twists and turns, passion and conspiracies, while tackling a host of hot and timely topics, such as terrorism, Christianity, good vs. evil. . . .

The interview explains how she conducted her research for six years. And then:

Q: So is there really a relic that exists in a monastery deep in the mountains of Italy that may contain the DNA of Jesus?

A: I believe that it does. It’s called il Volto Santo and is the true Veil of Veronica, which is celebrated as part of the Stations of the Cross in almost every Catholic Church in the world. The thing I discovered is, however, that there never was a saint — or a woman– named Veronica. That is a story made up by the Church. The image most likely however, appeared on the cloth wrapped around the face of Jesus — as was the Jewish custom back then — as he was laid in the tomb. The Shroud of Turin was then wrapped around the cloth and the body. Thus the images.

And then:

Q: What do you say to cynics or to those whose feathers may have been ruffled with the controversial subject matter you tackle in The Sixth Station?

A: For one thing I prove that Saint Veronica, who is celebrated in The Sixth Station of the Cross, and for whom the fourth and most important pillar of the entire Vatican is dedicated, is a total fiction story. She never existed — but the story was made up because the Church wouldn’t have allowed the most important relic in all of Christendom to be placed in the hands of a woman they denigrated –Mary Magdalen. Did I mean to upend a 2,000 year old belief?

No. As a reporter did I have a choice? No–not once I found out the truth I didn’t.

Okay, I ordered the Kindle version. I wish it came as an audiobook so I could listen to it while walking the dog.

A most avuncular posting

imageJohn Klotz writes in his blog, Living Free:

Once, while reporting a debate I participated in some years ago, the New York Law Journal referred to me as the “most avuncular” of the participants. I was a little upset because it looked like a reference to my weight, which wasn’t that bad until I looked the word up. Avuncular means “uncle like, a tendency to make points by telling stories”(or perhaps to bore relatives to death). I took satisfaction in that because in history, two of the most avuncular personalities were Abraham Lincoln and Jesus Christ. To make their points, Christ told parables and Lincoln told jokes – some of which, if you saw the recent movie or read any of his biographies, were a bit uncouth. I was in good company.

Right now in the course of drafting my manuscript, I am struggling a bit to capture the flavor of the scientific miracle that was the 120 hours of scientific analysis by STURP in Turin. I am particularly taken by the tale of aragonite limestone being found. But first let me tell MY story.

As some may know, my wife Rene and I have a particular empathetic but rambunctious Yellow Labrador Retriever  named Bogart. One morning a week or so ago I was walking “Bogie” and  . . . 

Read on at Living Free

Guest Posting by Kelly Kearse: Whose DNA is it, anyway?


Whose DNA is it, anyway?

Immunoglobulin, the T cell receptor, and the Shroud of Turin

image

Below is a brief synopsis of the paper “DNA on the Shroud of Turin: Distinguishing endogenous versus exogenous DNA” recently published on shroud.com. The full- length manuscript is available at http://www.shroud.com/pdfs/kearse2.pdf.

In the 1990s, Garza-Valdes reported in the book “The DNA of God” the cloning and sequencing of human gene segments from blood remnants on the Shroud. The presence of human DNA on the Shroud is sometimes viewed as corroborative evidence that the bloodstains are composed of real blood. Mature red blood cells in the human lack a nucleus and do not contain DNA; any DNA present from bloodstains must come from the white blood cells, which include B and T lymphocytes, or B and T cells for short. It is the DNA present within these two cell types that could prove useful in verifying that (certain) DNA on the Shroud is truly from blood cells and not from contaminating DNA, originating from other sources (see below).

Contamination of handled objects: Touch DNA

A major issue that persists in DNA analysis of objects that have been handled by numerous individuals is contamination. The average person sheds roughly 400,000 skin cells per day, a portion of which contains DNA that may be transferred to handled objects, referred to as touch DNA. DNA may be transferred by direct contact with the cloth, or by touching an object, which then comes in contact with the cloth (or with threads removed from it). A determined skeptic might argue that contaminating DNA is responsible for the previous results, a charge that is somewhat difficult to counter.

The three gene segments that have been isolated and analyzed from the Shroud are: the betaglobin gene (a subunit of hemoglobin), and the amelogenin-X and amelogenin-Y genes (present on the X and Y chromosomes, respectively). Such genes are not exclusive to blood cells, but are present in essentially all cells throughout the body, including skin cells. Thus, analysis and sequencing of such gene segments is unable to distinguish if they originated from DNA from bloodstains present on the cloth, or from contaminating DNA from exogenous sources, i.e. skin cells.

Same technique: Different Target Genes

Previous Shroud DNA studies utilized the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) technique that works by repeated cycling of DNA replication to exponentially amplify DNA. Such methods allow even small gene fragments to be very rapidly and effectively analyzed: a billion DNA copies can be created from a single DNA strand in just three hours time.

Unlike past Shroud studies, which focused on genes that appear identical in all cell types, the suggested experimental approach uses PCR techniques to specifically target lymphocyte receptor genes. B and T lymphocytes are unique in that unlike any other cell type in the body, the DNA encoding their cell surface receptors undergo rearrangement and splicing: immunoglobulin, or antibody for B cells, and the T cell receptor for T cells. As a normal process of B and T cell development, receptor genes separated by large distances on the chromosome are brought close together and edited to create a final product. Although other cell types, including skin cells, contain such genes, they remain in the unrearranged (germline) configuration throughout their lifetime: DNA rearrangement is specific for lymphocytes. Detection of rearranged lymphocyte receptor genes is an established and routine laboratory

clip_image008

procedure, commonly used in the diagnosis of various leukemias and lymphomas. Multiple B cell and T cell receptor genes exist that could be suitable for DNA analysis. Moreover, as many of the genes are present on different chromosomes, this might increase the chances for detection if certain DNA regions are more fragmented than others. Samples taken from several sites on the Shroud, particularly those below the fibers on the surface, would yield the most definitive conclusion. Such an approach may help establish that DNA in the blood areas of the Shroud of Turin originated from white blood cells (lymphocytes) present on the cloth.

Philosophy: The Way of the Agnostic (and the Shroud)

clip_image001Gary Gutting, a professor of philosophy at the University of Notre Dame and an editor of Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews has a very interesting article, The Way of the Agnostic in the Opinion pages of the NY Times:

. . . But believers such as Alvin Plantinga, Richard Swinburne and Peter van Inwagen, to cite just a few examples, have well-thought-out reasons for their belief that call for serious discussion. Their belief cannot be dismissed as on a par with children’s beliefs in Santa and the Easter Bunny. We may well not find their reasons decisive, but it would be very difficult to show that no rational person could believe for the reasons that they do.

I think of Swinburne’s Credulity principle – believing what we see even if it is hard to swallow scientifically – and I think of the shroud and how this principle is one reason, if not the primary reason, by which I believe it is real. And then I think more about how much the shroud can be the grounding for other beliefs.

Knowledge, if it exists, adds a major dimension to religious commitment. But love and understanding, even without knowledge, are tremendous gifts; and religious knowledge claims are hard to support. We should, then, make room for those who embrace a religion as a source of love and understanding but remain agnostic about the religion’s knowledge claims. We should, for example, countenance those who are Christians while doubting the literal truth of, say, the Trinity and the Resurrection. I wager, in fact, that many professed Christians are not at all sure about the truth of these doctrines —and other believers have similar doubts. They are, quite properly, religious agnostics.

. . . and then, well, I believe in the Resurrection anyway, but . . . I guess I can be like Plantinga, Swinburne and others in this regard. Well, Swinburne anyway; Plantinga makes me reach for the wine bottle before I get through his incomprehensible-for-me modal logic.

A Different Point of View

imageJoshua who blogs at “No Apologies Allowed” Weekly Apologetics Cartoons offers a different perspective, forcing me to at least reconsider my opinion that associating the shroud with the PITN folks is unfortunate. He writes:

Although skepticism about anything these days is understandable, as someone who has followed Marzulli’s work and guest blogged for him once, I can pretty much guarantee that he’s not addressing the Shroud for money. (For what it’s worth, he rarely mentions it on his broadcasts.) As Mr. Schwortz himself said above, the crowds that will be drawn to the PItN event will be like me — evangelical Christians. Most of us (myself not included) consider the Shroud to be a forgery at worst and a Catholic relic at best. Bringing up the Shroud in such an atmosphere is not going to necessarily endear either speaker to the audience, but, as Mr. Schwortz said, they can let the facts speak to themselves. And that works. It was actually his presentations and defense of the Shroud in radio interviews and debates along with LA’s rare mention of the Shroud which got me back into researching it and brought me to your great blog about a year or so ago.

If Mr. Schwortz sticks to the facts and people willingly donate their own money to maintain them and to explore this most researched and controversial artifact more, I fail to see anything wrong with that.

Anyway, just throwing this out there for everyone’s consideration.

Peace,

Joshua

Fair enough!

See PITN Taking Advantage of the Shroud of Turin in the Shroud of Turin Blog

Nice Pictures of Statue Based on Shroud of Turin

imageFrom the blog, Peg Pondering Again

Yesterday a friend posted some photos of the bronze statue of our Lord that was cast from 3D images of the Shroud of Turin, on his Facebook page from his trip to Israel.

Had to share his and a few I found online.

PITN Taking Advantage of the Shroud of Turin

imageThe Prophesy in the News (PITN) folks are going to milk the Shroud of Turin material for all it is worth to help promote their conference. HERE and HERE are examples.

And see my post, How ‘Ya Gonna Keep ‘Em Down on the Farm? After They’ve Seen Paree

FYI: Back in 2008, one of the Rapture websites called “WHY” put out this message to people who thought they would be raptured:

We have made it possible for you to send them a letter of love and a plea to receive Christ one last time [after you have left]. You can also send information based on scripture as to what will happen next. Each fulfilled prophecy will cause your letter and plea to be remembered and a decision to be made.

"WHY" is one last chance to bring them to Christ and snatch them from the flames!

How did the computer know?

imageHere is the best Rapture idea yet. This book, How to Profit From the Coming Rapture: Getting Ahead When You’re Left Behind should be an immediate success.

For a fairly good write up on the Rapture movement see Rapture in Wikipedia.

Frankly, I’m sorry to see the Shroud of Turin used for what I think, now, is basically a movement to sell books and conventions and promote a non-orthodox, off-beat Christianism.

If, when I was just learning about the shroud, I had seen this connection being promoted, I’d have run for the hills.

Not that this has anything to do with the C14 dating of the shroud

imageRebecca Morelle, a science reporter for BBC World Service writes:

In 2012 researchers found evidence that our planet had been struck by a blast of radiation during the Middle Ages, but there was debate over what kind of cosmic event could have caused this.

Now a study suggests it was the result of two black holes or neutron stars merging in our galaxy.

This collision would have hurled out vast amounts of energy.

[ . . . ]

Last year, a team of researchers found that some ancient cedar trees in Japan had an unusual level of a radioactive type of carbon known as carbon-14.

Not that this has anything to do with the C14 dating of the shroud. But some will want to consider the possibility. And they should.

UPDATE: See the comment from Paulette.

Yannick Clément Dedicates Revised Paper Thibault Heimburger and Colin Berry

imageHe writes:

Recently, I have updated my recent paper about Rogers’ conclusions and observations concerning the body image of the Shroud. The most important thing I have done is to write the correct reference for each quote, so that my paper can be more “user friendly” for anyone who wants to use one quote for his own research and writing. I have also merged some quotes together since they were coming from the same part of Rogers’ book or paper and I have also add a few new quotes that I think are also relevant for the subject of the body image.

And the best news is the fact that my updated paper is now published online on 2 Shroud website, namely the site of the Holy Shroud Guild and the website of Paul Schumacher in New Mexico!

Here’s the links to them:

. . . I truly think that this version is much better than the one I gave you the other day, so I hope you will help me to diffuse it to a large audience!

 

And as a footnote, he writes

I dedicate my paper to Thibault Heimburger and Colin Berry who love to put into question all the conclusions of Rogers concerning the image!!!

Indeed this is a useful collection.

And what theory is that?

imageI can hardly not wait to read Linda Stasi’s novel, “The Sixth Station,” due out tomorrow, after reading this in the NY Post:

What if they cloned Jesus — would the same thing happen all over again?

That was the idea I had when I began researching my first novel, “The Sixth Station,” out Tuesday.

I began by exploring the possibility that the DNA of Jesus could be present somewhere — most likely, of course, on the Shroud of Turin. I was surprised and disappointed to discover that the image on the Shroud is only a negative — like an old photo negative. What’s dark is light, and what’s light is dark. The theory is that the image was likely transferred from something other than a body. Therefore no DNA.

Don’t you love it when someone says, “The theory is . . .”

And then there is this:

But the real surprises were yet to come: As I photographed [real Veronica’s Veil at Manoppello], each image on my digital camera bore a different expression. In one, the mouth was open, teeth showing. In another, the mouth was closed in a beatific smile causing Father Jake to faint on the altar.

Well at least this book is a novel. And I will read it, well maybe/ It is available in Kindle and Hardcover.