Because of Colin’s most recent comments about Rogers, bordering on conspiracy theory thinking, I thought it valuable to repost a posting from more than a year ago (January 9, 2012). But before repeating it, let me pull forward one particular paragraph:
Kim Johnson of [ the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry affiliated New Mexicans for Science and Reason] wrote the following in an obituary on Rogers: “He was a Fellow at Los Alamos National Laboratory, and tried to be an excellent, open minded scientist in all things. In particular, he had no pony in the ‘Shroud of Turin’ horserace, but was terribly interested in making sure that neither proponents nor skeptics let their scientific judgment be clouded by their preconceptions. He just wanted to date and analyze the thing. He died on March 8th from cancer. He was a good man, and tried his best to do honest science.”
And now, déjà vu again: Sciencebod, Do some homework on the Shroud of Turin (Or is Colin having a senior moment?)” Oh, I know, ad hom, ad hom, ad hom:
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Hello again Dan
I keep asking myself how I could have been so misinformed re the date of reweaving on which you corrected me so comprehensively with you references to Margaret of Austria. Might it be because pretty well everything I have come across in reading states that the repairs, including reweaving were indeed carried out AFTER the 1532 fire, regardless of who commissioned them, e,g, this from a Reverend gentleman:
So my original objection still stands – why go to all the trouble of invisible mending, in a corner, when there is massive fire damage elsewhere. In fact, why would anyone even think about mending before the fire, given that an unmended cloth, showing at least some of the ravages of time, would make for a more convincing holy relic…?
PS Have you seen my latest theory re mummified cadavers, like the ones in that Capucin Brno monastery that missus and I gawped at just two or three years ago.
Dear ColinB: You have got to be kidding me. This is how you change your mind, on the basis of one reference on a web page? Some “Reverend gentleman,” you say? Here is what your reverend gentleman says:
Physicist Ray Rogers, prior to his death, uncovered the reason why the Carbon14 tests were invalid. The Shroud had had invisible repairs, carried out by Poor Clare nuns, after the fire in 1532 in the chapel in Chambery, France. The samples for the Carbon14 dating had been taken from the area which was not the original Shroud. . . . Unfortunately, when the sample sites were chosen, the 1532 repairs were not known about and so it was an unfortunate and misleading coincidence that the samples that were tested came from the patch added by the Poor Clare nuns and not the original Shroud. It was therefore to be expected that the 1988 Carbon14 results pointed to a 16th century date.
Oh, my. You have got to be kidding. Not only is this reverend gentleman wrong, not only does he not know what he is talking about, you are utterly uninformed and naïve. Now these other four reverend gentlemen are holding up the cloth long before the carbon dating. You can see the patches in what is an old painting. Bet they knew!
Rogers, who was a chemist, not a physicist, did not uncover the reason. It was Joseph Marino and Sue Benford.
The fire was on December 4, 1532 in the Sainte Chapelle, Chambéry. The shroud was protected by four locks. With the fire going on, Canon Philibert Lambert and two Franciscans summoned the help of a blacksmith to open a grille. By the time they succeeded, a reliquary made by Lievin van Latham to Marguerite of Austria’s specifications had partly melted. The shroud folded inside was scorched and severe holes were formed by molten silver. Chambéry’s Poor Clare nuns repaired the Shroud beginning on April 16, 1534 and finishing on May 2, 1534 not 1532 as the reverend gentleman says. The nuns knew. From that day forward, the repairs were the most prominent feature of the shroud, more so than the faint image. To suggest that the 1534 (let’s be accurate) repairs “were not known about and so it was an unfortunate and misleading coincidence,” at the time of the carbon dating sampling is just laughable. In fact, if anything, the carbon dating protocol discussions frequently referred to the patches sewn on by the Poor Clare sisters.
Patches applied to the shroud in 1534 were obvious; as noticeable as leather patches sewn to the elbows of an old sweater. Would earlier repairs in 1531 (a plausible date from the historical records) or at any other time, have been so expertly done that that they would have gone unnoticed when the carbon 14 samples were cut from the cloth?
Rogers was actually very skeptical. According to Philip Ball of Nature, “Rogers thought that he would be able to ‘disprove [the] theory in five minutes.’” (brackets are Ball’s). Inside the Vatican, an independent journal on Vatican affairs, reported:
Rogers, who usually viewed attempts to invalidate the 1988 study as ‘ludicrous’ . . . set out to show their [Benford and Marino] claim was wrong, but in the process, he discovered they were correct.
It was close examination of actual material from the shroud that caused Rogers to begin to change his mind. In 2002, Rogers, in collaboration with Anna Arnoldi of the University of Milan, wrote a paper arguing that the repair was a very real possibility. The material Rogers examined was from an area directly adjacent to the carbon 14 sample, an area known as the Raes corner. Rogers found a spliced thread. This was unexpected and inexplicable. During weaving of the shroud, when a new length of thread was introduced to the loom, the weavers had simply laid it in next to the previous length rather than splicing. Rogers and Arnoldi wrote:
[The thread] shows distinct encrustation and color on one end, but the other end is nearly white . . . Fibers have popped out of the central part of the thread, and the fibers from the two ends point in opposite directions. This section of yarn is obviously an end-to-end splice of two different batches of yarn. No splices of this type were observed in the main part of the Shroud.
Rogers found alizarin, a dye produced from Madder root. The dye appeared to have been used to match new thread to older age-yellowed thread. In addition to the dye, Rogers found a gum substance (possibly gum Arabic) and alum, a common mordant used in medieval dying.
Several years earlier, a textile expert, Gilbert Raes (for whom the Raes corner is named), had been permitted to cut away a small fragment of the shroud. In it he found cotton fibers. Rogers confirmed the existence of embedded cotton fibers and noted that such cotton fibers are not found in other samples from anywhere else on the shroud. Cotton fibers were sometimes incorporated into linen threads during later medieval times, but not earlier, and not even as early as the carbon 14 range of dates. This, along with the dyestuff, suggested some sort of alteration or disguised mending.
In 2005, Raymond Rogers, after four years of study on this matter and months of peer review published his findings in the scientific journal, Thermochimica Acta. Go read it. Go study the real history of the shroud and shroud research. Find out how many scientists have confirmed the work Benford and Marino started and Rogers completed.
BTW: Ray Rogers, a distinguished chemist, was a Fellow of the prestigious Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL). Originally, the home of the Manhattan Project during World War II. It is now part of the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA).
Rogers had been a charter member of the Coalition for Excellence in Science Education in New Mexico. He campaigned vigorously for the teaching of evolution, and against teaching creationism, in the public schools.
He also served on the Department of the Air Force Scientific Advisory Board as a civilian with the rank equivalency of Lieutenant General. He had published over fifty scientific papers in ethical peer-reviewed science journals. He was a member of New Mexicans for Science and Reason (NMSR), an organization affiliated with CSI.
Kim Johnson of NMSR wrote the following in an obituary on Rogers: “He was a Fellow at Los Alamos National Laboratory, and tried to be an excellent, open minded scientist in all things. In particular, he had no pony in the ‘Shroud of Turin’ horserace, but was terribly interested in making sure that neither proponents nor skeptics let their scientific judgment be clouded by their preconceptions. He just wanted to date and analyze the thing. He died on March 8th from cancer. He was a good man, and tried his best to do honest science.”
Rogers once wrote to The Skeptical Inquirer (letter was published):
I accepted the radiocarbon results, and I believed that the "invisible reweave" claim was highly improbable. I used my samples to test it. One of the greatest embarrassments a scientist can face is to have to agree with the lunatic fringe.
Colin, you tell me you are a real scientist. Then you change your mind because you read something on the web page of a reverend gentleman without checking it out. Are you a real scientist? I’ll believe you when you admit you are wrong on the patches.
Oh, that “latest theory re mummified cadavers.” You don’t mean theory Mr. Scientist. Really. Check out the facts about the images. Really. You might want to read Giulio Fanti’s, “Hypotheses Regarding the Formation of the Body Image on the Turin Shroud. A Critical Compendium,” in The Journal of Imaging Science and Technology, (Vol. 55, No. 6 060507-1–060507-14, 2011). It is a marginal paper but it does nicely summarize what many people before you have tried with a bit more science. There is a handy list that might allow you to call your wild-ass speculation a hypothesis (not theory, though) if you can meet some of the criteria.
Do some real home work.