Colin Berry Takes On Banding and More

imagePaulette writes:

A year ago when Colin Berry first emerged on the Shroud scene, I said that he was out of his league. That is no longer so. He is the only real and formidable scientist skeptic since Walter McCrone. He is better.

Those of us who think the Shroud is real should really appreciate someone who questions everything we think is true. Is it true for instance, as stated in Valencia #1, that there is no image beneath the bloodstains? Maybe not. And now Colin is tackling the Rogers FAQ. For instance, is Rogers right in what he says about banding? Maybe not.

I just want to say I appreciate what Colin is doing even if he comes off sounding a bit too arrogant at times. We need to address everything Colin questions. In due time, I am certain we will.

Here, as an example, is what Colin Berry has to say about banding. Note that Rogers is quoted in italics and Berry in non-italics (Note, too, that Berry changed the spelling of ‘colored’ to British ‘coloured’, not me):

imageFAQ 7: Why are there bands of different coloured (sic) linen throughout the Shroud, and what do they prove about image-formation mechanism?

Bands of slightly different color can be seen in Shroud photographs. They are most visible in ultraviolet-fluorescence photographs (see Hands UV).

Both warp and weft yarns show this property. Some areas show darker warp yarns and some show darker weft yarns. In some places bands of darker color cross. In other places bands of lighter color cross. The effect is somewhat like a plaid.

All of the bleaching processes used through history remove lignin and most associated flax impurities (e.g., flax wax and hemicelluloses). The more quantitative the bleaching process the whiter the product. The bands of different color on the Shroud are the end result of different amounts of impurities left from the bleaching process.

Anna Maria Donadoni, a curator at the Museum of Egyptology in Turin, pointed out locations where batches of yarn ended in the weave and new yarn had been inserted in order to continue weaving. The yarn ends were laid side by side, and the weave was compressed with the comb. The ends are often visible, and the overlaps correspond to zones of different color in the weave. The different batches of yarn show different colors.

Where darker bands of yarn intersect image areas, the image is darker. Where lighter bands intersect an image area, the image appears lighter. This proves that the image color is not a result of reactions in the cellulose of the linen. Some impurities on the surface of the different batches of yarn produced the image color. This observation is extremely important when tests are being made on image-formation hypotheses. If image color is not simply a result of color formation in the cellulose of the linen fibers, image formation must be a much more complex process than we originally thought.

Response

Here we see Rogers at his most infuriating – sounding so categorical, so insistent, so terribly-well informed – yet failing to explain, and using vague imprecise terminology.

OK, so there is banding, and that banding has been invoked to explain the cut-off nature of the face at each side which gives the face a less-than-real life appearance.

But how serious is it? Why has a uv illuminated picture been used to illustrate it. Uv and background fluorescence/quenching effects introduce all kinds of uncertainties. Would not a simple picture taken in reflected, scattered light have served better?

Go to Shroud Scope? Is there evidence there for serious banding effect, and if so, is it anything to do with yarn variation?

Another prime example of Rogers’ careless use of words, even chemical words. He refers to hemicelluloses as flax impurities – a flawed use upon which much extra confusion arises when he develops his “impurity layer” idea. Fact: hemicelluloses are NOT an impurity of linen. They are an intrinsic component. What’s more, they do not confer colour, so would not be a target for bleaching. I believe that Rogers was confusing or at any rate conflating hemicelluloses with pectins. The latter have some characteristics in common, notable pentose sugars, but their distinguishing characteristic is their acidic character and negatively charged groups. Their relevance to linen is not to do with colour. It’s to do with the fact that they are the matrix substance that hold the bast fibres of flax into bundles, and it is the purpose of retting to “rot” the wet flax stems so as to remove the pectins, separating the individual elementary flax fibres, which are then re-assembled in bundles by spinning to form threads but without that cementing pectin.

All of the bleaching processes used through history remove lignin and most associated flax impurities (e.g., flax wax and hemicelluloses). The more quantitative the bleaching process the whiter the product. The bands of different color on the Shroud are the end result of different amounts of impurities left from the bleaching process.

The bands of different color on the Shroud are the end result of different amounts of impurities left from the bleaching process.

Response: That may well be true. But beware a classic flaw in logic, which is to turn that statement around, and assume that any banding one sees on the Shroud must ipso facto represent batch-to-batch differences in the yarn. That is by no means certain or self-evident. For example, the cut-off effect on the two sides of the face is surely too bilaterally symmetrical to have arisen as the result of yarn differences.

Notwithstanding Anna Maria Donadoni , whose expertise I do not question, one also has to ask at what stage bleaching is likely to be carried out on linen, especially the higher grades (herring bone twill etc) – at the yarn stage – producing colour differences on the final cloth, or at the cloth stage to produce a homogeneous end result without a “quilt effect”. Surely the latter?

Where darker bands of yarn intersect image areas, the image is darker. Where lighter bands intersect an image area, the image appears lighter. This proves that the image color is not a result of reactions in the cellulose of the linen. Some impurities on the surface of the different batches of yarn produced the image color. This observation is extremely important when tests are being made on image-formation hypotheses. If image color is not simply a result of color formation in the cellulose of the linen fibers, image formation must be a much more complex process than we originally thought.

Here we see Rogers going into overdrive, and basing major conclusions on evidence that is at best impressionistic. Yes, one expects an additive effect of yarn and image colour. But we are then pitchforked into a conclusion of mind-boggling dogmatism, namely that “this proves that the image color is not result of reactions in the cellulose of the linen”. What possible justification can there be for such a conclusion – whether proved right or wrong in the fullness of time? What evidence is there so far that the colour is due to impurities on the surface as distinct from in the cellulose? None whatsoever that I can see. The “impurity layer” hypothesis of which so much use has been made, and which has been endlessly touted as if fact rests on some very dodgy, opaque, impenetrable exposition. Note: I am not disputing the position that the image is not in the core crystalline cellulose. But we moved on from that issue, and in any case there is cellulose in the PCW as well, albeit less crystalline. We seem to have another hotch potch of poorly presented, ambiguous misleading unstructured argument which is then used to underpin a highly individual and partisan position. That is why I have said so little re Rogers in the past – and the little I have said has usually been less than flattering. Regardless of the soundness or otherwise of his chemical know- how it is his flawed exposition that makes it so difficult to address the issue – not knowing what he really understood or misunderstood through his woolly imprecise use of words and syntax.

If image color is not simply a result of color formation in the cellulose of the linen fibers, image formation must be a much more complex process than we originally thought.

But that’s because Rogers showed no recognition of the PCW and its superficial reactive hemicelluloses. Had he recognized it, he might have seen image-imprinting as LESS rather than more complex, compared with imprinting onto a highly ordered crystalline cellulose. The reason it is “complex” is because Rogers has made a spectacular jump from intrinsic cellulose to extrinsic impurities, and from pyrolysis to Maillard chemistry requiring not only reducing sugars but putrefaction amines also. The latter “diffusion hypothesis” has since been elevated to holy writ and still dominates all the discussion on Shroud forums, despite being based on a faulty understanding of linen fibres and their microstructure.

12 thoughts on “Colin Berry Takes On Banding and More”

  1. I too appreciate the analytical way that Colin has addressed this particular FAQ. Clearly a good competence in language use is of singular advantage in anlays(z)ing clarity of thought. His innate sc(k)epticism enables him to address important scientific issues. However that scepticism is another matter when it comes to making a commitment on the authenticity of the Shroud. He should be prepared to be more open-minded on the possibility of the Shroud being the burial cloth of Jesus Christ. It tends to identify him as a pseudo-sceptic, rather than a true sceptic. As a scientific position, scepticism has utility. But as a committed belief position, it may better serve ignorance, rather than truth,

  2. I agree with Paulette : “I just want to say I appreciate what Colin is doing even if he comes off sounding a bit too arrogant at times. We need to address everything Colin questions. In due time, I am certain we will.”

    The problem is that Colin is dealing with so many different questions that it is difficult to study in depth most of them.

    I WOULD BE GLAD TO WORK WITH SOME OF YOU TO STUDY IN DEPTH SOME QUESTIONS STARTING FROM COLIN’S CLAIMS.

    If some of you are interested, please ask Dan my private email address.

    Thibault.

  3. In his blog Colin Berry wrote about the so-called doubly superficial image effect restricted to the face and maybe hands:

    “(I believe a separate template used to make the “hair” and that it exerted greater pressure on the linen than the rest of the face or body – giving a scorch that penetrated through the entire thickness of the weave).”

    I see Colin Berry makes (consciously or unconsciously) his MY opinion that the burial clothes exerted grater pressure on part of the hair (+ the beard and moustache +? the hands) than the rest of the body and adapt it to his scorch theory.

  4. Re CB’s “scorch theory: but for the pseudo-Knight-Templar-history-and-archaeology and the pseudo-bloodstained-pattern-analysis that back it up it might have been dismissed from the very start as a Mickey Mouse theory. CB should better stick to what he is really an expert in as far as science is concerned rather make incursions in fields of expertise he is totally ignorant namely Knights Templar History and Archaeology and (Archaeological) Bloodstained Pattern Analysis.

  5. Reminder for CB: archeologically and scientifically, there is MORE THAN ONE possible heating source that should be explored to account for the Sindon image formation process.

    1. Most of the issues questionned by Colin Berry have been raised for a while and deserve a proper answer.

      Take the pcw, Thibault Heimburger explained in this blog that Rogers didn’t know it and that data are consistent with pcw +/- impurity layer.

      Take the gas diffusion hypothesis, an article in the top right corner of this blog clarifies Rogers’ very interesting views.

      The point is almost everyone is out of his league and true experts like Kelly Kearse are missing.

      1. Reminder for anoxie: blood biochemistry is quite different from (archaeological) bloodstained pattern analysis.

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