The following is a REVISED guest posting by Yannick Clément,
a regular commenter on this blog.
I would like to express some thoughts about the « new » paper from Rogers that was recently published on Barrie Schwortz’s website. Here they are:
1- On the contrary to many Shroud researchers who have proposed in recent years their “theories” (mostly supernatural hypotheses related to the Resurrection of Christ) concerning the image formation, this “new” paper from Rogers (entitled “An Alternate Hypothesis for the Image Color”) clearly show that this great scientist had no preconceived ideas about what would have been the main “reactive agent” (or “catalytic compound” as he said) that initiated the formation of the image on the cloth. Effectively, this “new” paper clearly shows that, when he wrote it in 2001, Rogers had not found out yet the Maillard reaction hypothesis (including the idea that some post-mortem gases were the main “catalytic compounds”) he would proposed later on (in 2002) and he was, for the moment, favouring the presence of skin perspiration (sweat) and/or skin secretions, including skin oils (which are biological substances that were tested by Samuel Pellicori of STURP and which can produce a coloration on linen that show a very similar spectral results than what we see on the Shroud), as the most probable “catalytic compounds”, which could have initiated, with the help of heat released by the dead body, a caramelization process of a portion of the top-most fibers on the top surface of the cloth. This shows how science should work (i.e. always keep following ALL the pertinent data and observations in order to develop a rational hypothesis and adjust it along the way if necessary) and how science should NOT work (i.e. never start with a preconceive notion of what MUST have been the cause of a phenomenon (in this case, it is the formation of the body image on the Shroud), in order to avoid the strong temptation of considering only the data and observations that can possibly “fit” with your preconceive idea (and even inventing some more), while leaving aside all the other data and observations (or modifying their most probable meaning), which can be truly problematic to your hypothesis. Unfortunately, in the Shroud world, I’ve seen many researchers (including many “scientists” searching to build up an image formation “theory”, as well as many “historians” searching to build up a “theory” to explain the ancient history for the Shroud) falling right into that trap over the years and this is another reason why sindonology is seen by a good portion of the scientific community as a big joke. Note: You can find a very interesting summary of many coloration experiments made by Pellicori of STURP (including the one made with perspiration (sweat) and skin oils) in a paper entitled “Spectral Properties of the Shroud of Turin”, which he published in 1980 in Applied Optics. He also talk about the hypothesis he developed after these experiments in a paper entitled “The Shroud of Turin Through the Microscope”, which he published in 1981 with Mark Evans of STURP in the journal Archaeology.
2- After the reading of this “new” paper from Rogers, it’s quite evident that the “impurity” hypothesis he proposed for the question of the image chromophore was the corner stone and also the starting point of his whole hypothesis for image formation and that was still the case when he proposed his Maillard reaction later on. For Rogers, the probable presence of a thin and uneven layer of impurities on the top surface of the cloth was the most probable explanation for two of the most “mysterious” characteristics of the image, i.e. the discontinuous distribution of the colored fibers in the image area and the very superficial aspect of the image, which affected only the top-most fibers on the surface of the cloth. So far, I can say that I’ve never read a better, simpler and more rational hypothesis for the image chromophore than Rogers’ own hypothesis. In fact, I can honestly say that I’ve never read another hypothesis for the image chromophore (not even the primary cell wall hypothesis proposed by Fanti and al. in 2010) that have succeed to convinced me that it could really offer the same kind of simple and rational explanation for the discontinuous and very superficial aspect of the image.
3- In this “new” paper, we can find a very important description of an evaporation-concentration experiment made by Rogers, which clearly show that such a natural process normally produce an uneven layer of impurities on the top-most fibers of a cloth, which is the main reason why Rogers thought that this kind of impurity layer was the best explanation for the discontinuous distribution of colored fibers in the image area. This particular evaporation-concentration experiment was made by Rogers with a cotton nap and a dye solution and here’s how he describe the result:
The photomicrograph show that the main concentration of dye on the top surface appears on the fibrils of the nap that are pointing straight up and on the top-most surfaces of the threads.
This is a clear indication that when an evaporation-concentration phenomenon is active inside a cloth, it normally produce an uneven layer of impurities that concentrate mostly on the top surface of the cloth, thus giving us a possible explanation for the discontinuous distribution of colored fibers in the image area of the Shroud (as well as the extremely superficial aspect of the image). Effectively, starting from this result obtained by Rogers, we can presume that, after the active phase of the image formation process (which was most probably mild), only a portion of the coated fibers located on the top surface of the cloth (i.e. the ones that were coated by a thicker layer of impurities) were able to get colored enough to help producing the body image that we see on the Shroud, because the amount of impurities, in their case, would have been sufficient to produce such a result. It should be noted that, in his book about the Shroud, Rogers talk about a similar evaporation-concentration experiment that can be made to evaluate the kind of concentration of impurities that can be produced by such a natural process, but he didn’t mention the fact that the experimental result clearly shows that the layer of impurities located on the top surface of the cloth is uneven, thus offering a very good explanation for the discontinuous distribution of colored fibers in the image area. That’s why this section of Rogers’ “new” paper is, in my mind, very important. It’s so important in fact that it can be use to completely discredit the main “anti-impurity” argument that we can found in the 2010 paper entitled “Microscopic and Macroscopic Characteristics of the Shroud of Turin Image Superficiality” that was written by Fanti, Di Lazarro, Heimburger and some others. Effectively, in this paper, the authors, who tried to push their primary cell wall hypothesis, clearly wrote that Rogers’ hypothesis versus the impurities was unable to explain the discontinuous distribution of the body image on the Shroud. Now, I think that this “new” paper from Rogers can offer them a pretty good reason to completely rethink their conclusion versus his “impurity” hypothesis, which really seems to be the real and only chromophore of the body image. One thing’s for sure: In the light of what we found in this “new” paper from Rogers, it’s fair to say that such an “anti-impurity” argument, which involves the discontinuous aspect of the image fibers, is completely false. And, to be honest, I found it quite funny that they dared to use this kind of argument in a try to discredit Rogers’ hypothesis, while, at first sight, this discontinuity of the colored fibers really seems much more problematic for their own chromophore hypothesis (i.e. the primary cell wall, which is found in every fibers, no matter their location inside the cloth, and not only for those located at the top surface of the cloth).
4– It’s also important to note that because it is a proven fact that a dehydration of ONLY a thin layer of carbohydrate impurities located around a linen fiber is almost impossible to achieve with any sort of energetic radiation, and because all the data coming from the Shroud (especially the fact that the bloodstains were not affected at all during the image formation) strongly suggest that the image formation was very mild, I’m almost sure that this is why Rogers became convinced that a totally natural process (which he was still seeking to fully determined at the time of his death) was really what have caused the formation of a very faint image on the cloth. In sum, the strong conviction of Rogers that the body image color must only reside in a thin and uneven layer of carbohydrate impurities, which would be completely independent from the entire structure of the linen fiber (including the primary cell wall of the fiber) is the most important thing that lead him to conclude that the image formation process was most certainly totally natural. I think it’s fair to say that, in Rogers’ mind, the most probable nature of the image chromophore (i.e. an impurity layer) was the most crucial data to consider when it was time for him to determine the particular nature of the image formation process (i.e. natural and very mild or supernatural and much more “strong” because it would be related to some form of energetic radiation). And here’s the most relevant statement made by Rogers to explain why a thin layer of impurities as the image chromophore should automatically lead to the conclusion that the image formation process must have been natural and very mild:
I studied the chemical kinetics of the impurity materials and conclude that it was improbable that the impurities had been scorched by heat or any radiation source: 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.
We can find this particular quote in the paper The Shroud of Turin from the viewpoint of the physical science published by Emmanuel Carreira in 2010.
5- This “new” paper of Rogers really shows that, in order to find a viable hypothesis for the body image, he first tried hard to find a rational explanation for the discontinuous and the very superficial aspect of the body image, which he finally found in the probable presence of a thin and uneven layer of carbohydrates impurities located mostly over of the top-most fibers at the surface of the cloth (made primarily of starch and possibly also of saponaria residues, along with maybe some substances that were extracted from the primary cell wall of the fibers during the retting process). Then (AND ONLY THEN), he tried hard to find what would have been the most logical “catalytic compound(s)” that could have interacted with this probable layer of impurities in order to dehydrate these impurities enough to produce a visible coloration, while, at the same time, trying also hard to find what would have been the most logical transfer mode(s) between these “catalytic compounds” and the thin layer of impurities. It’s very interesting to note that this “new” paper prove that Rogers changed his mind about the question of the most probable “catalytic compounds” along the way (but without changing his mind about the fact that the transfer mode should have included a diffusion process), most probably because he ended up finding some irreconcilable problems between his first hypothesis (skin perspiration and/or skin secretions, first proposed by Pellicori of STURP) and some data and observations coming from his intensive study and probably also because he found out that a fresh tortured corpse could truly released some post-mortem gases (ammonia gas and possibly also some heavy amines) before the appearance of the first liquid of putrefaction, thus offering him a viable alternative hypothesis for the “catalytic compounds” issue. It’s crucial to note that these steps followed by Rogers during his research are the RIGHT STEPS any good scientist should follow in the case of the Shroud image (i.e. first try to explain and define the image chromophore in the light of all the data and observations available (including the discontinuous and very superficial aspect of the image) and then (and only then) try to find the most logical “reactive agent” that could have interacted with it in order to produce an image with the same chemical and physical characteristics as the one on the Shroud, while also trying to find the most probable interaction mechanism(s)). Unfortunately for the credibility of Shroud science, this is not what often happened in the Shroud world, where many “scientists” often proposed image formation hypotheses (mostly supernatural in essence and related to the Resurrection of Christ) without trying first to define the image chromophore, while taking into account, among other things, the discontinuous and very superficial aspect of the image. To me, it’s like a magical way of thinking that can be summarized like this:
We don’t know how the burst of energetic radiation we proposed (whether it be a corona discharge, a burst of UV light, a burst of protons, neutrons, etc.) could have produced an image with these very particular characteristics but that’s not a problem, because our hypothesis is related directly to the Resurrection event, which is, in essence, a supernatural event that we can’t define and test in a lab. Because of that, it is totally conceivable (for those who believe in the Resurrection of Jesus!) that such a supernatural event could have caused that kind of “mysterious” image on the cloth, which shows a discontinuous and extremely superficial aspect. At first sight, it is totally illogical that the burst of energetic radiation that we proposed could have caused the very same kind of discontinuous and highly superficial image everywhere on the cloth (no matter if the cloth was in direct contact or if it was located at a few centimeters away from it and no matter if the cloth was located over or under the body), but since this is directly related to the Resurrection of Christ… Anything is possible!
This is exactly the kind of magical thinking that lies quietly under most of the supernatural hypotheses that have been proposed over the years… Of course, those who proposed them will never said it publicly as clearly as I have done, but nevertheless, this is the kind of thinking on which the supernatural hypotheses they proposed is resting and I have absolutely no problem putting an “unscientific” tag over it. Note: even if he didn’t specifically said the same thing as I have just written concerning the magical thinking “syndrome” that pollute the Shroud world these days, we can still found a glimpse of that kind of magical thinking in a public statement made in 2010 by Paolo Di Lazzaro concerning his supernatural hypothesis for image formation involving a burst of UV light, when he said this in an interview:
Though significant, our results allow the recognition of a photo-chemical process capable of generating a Shroud-like coloration, but still do not make it possible to formulate a certain and practicable hypothesis on how the Shroud image was formed: for example, if we consider the density of radiation that we used to color a single square centimeter of linen, to reproduce the entire image of the Shroud with a single flash of light would require fourteen thousand lasers firing simultaneously each on a different area of linen. In other words, it would take a laser light source the size of an entire building.
Here, it should be noted that, in this statement, Di Lazzaro doesn’t even addressed the question of how in the world could he or anyone else succeed to reproduce the discontinuous and highly superficial aspect of the Shroud image (which is the same everywhere on the cloth) with one single flash of light that would be released partially from a source located in direct contact with the cloth and partially from the same source located at some distance from it (up to maybe 4 cm), while at the same time, avoiding to produce a coloration in areas located at more than 4 cm from the source of energy??? Now, if this is not a good example of the “magical thinking” I described earlier, I don’t know what it is!!! Effectively, in the case of Di Lazzaro’s hypothesis (as well as in the case of most if not all the other supernatural hypotheses), it’s only by thinking that the Resurrection could have produce such a feat (even if we don’t know how) that his whole proposal can still stand-up (but only in the eyes of those who believe in the Resurrection of course)!!! On the contrary to such magical thinking, Rogers’ hypothesis versus the “reactive agent” and the way it was transfer to the cloth is totally compatible, theoretically speaking, with his hypothesis concerning the image chromophore, without ever having to rest on any supernatural event or process. Because of this, his whole hypothesis concerning the image formation on the Shroud can truly be considered as being 100% scientific, on the contrary to most (if not all) of the hypotheses involving a supernatural burst of energy at the time of the Resurrection of Christ. Final note: This doesn’t mean that Rogers was right on everything regarding the image on the Shroud, but that surely mean that he followed the right steps in order to propose a RATIONAL explanation (which still need to be fully explored and tested) that took into account EVERY data and observations that were available to him. Concerning this, it should be noted that, on the contrary to most researchers, Rogers had the opportunity to spend 5 days and nights with the Shroud in Turin and, consequently, he was certainly better placed that these guys to know all the pertinent facts regarding the image that we see on this cloth…
6- After having seen the main steps followed by Rogers to build his image formation hypothesis, it’s very interesting to note that these kind of steps followed by Rogers during his research are exactly the same as the ones followed by two italian researchers named Fazio and Mandaglio in their own inquiry about the Shroud image, proving without doubt their professionalism as scientists and the potential value of their conclusions. Effectively, it’s only after they analyzed with great care the characteristics of the image (especially the discontinuous distribution of colored fibers in the image area) that they were confident enough to propose two possible natural mechanisms (thermal radiations from the dead body and/or a gaseous diffusion like the one proposed by Rogers) that can account for such an image. It’s important to note that, for these two scientists, as well as for Rogers, a natural image formation was really what was fitting the best with the kind of very particular characteristics of the body image on the Shroud. The fact that they performed their research in total independence versus the one made by Rogers and, nevertheless, they came up with conclusions very similar regarding the nature of the image formation (even if they differ versus the exact location of the image chromophore), this speaks very loud to me and should have been considered by the Shroud world with much more care and interest than what I have noticed since the publication of their articles about the Shroud. Note: the most important paper they published about the Shroud image is: G. Fazio and G. Mandaglio, Stochastic distribution of the fibrils that yielded the Shroud of Turin body image, Radiation Effects and Defects in Solids, Vol. 166, No. 7, July 2011 (http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/10420150.2011.566877). My guess is that their conclusions, just like the ones of Rogers, are not as fantastic and fabulous as most people wants!
7- This “new” paper from Rogers also indicate that, when he wrote it in 2001, he was already thinking, on the contrary to Pellicori’s conclusion, that a diffusion process must have been active inside the cloth in order to produced the kind of 3-D information that are encoded in the body image of the Shroud. For Rogers, the kind of natural and biological process he was favoring back then (i.e. which would have been initiated by the presence of perspiration (sweat) and/or secretions on the skin of the Shroud man’s corpse) could not have happened in the way it was described by Pellicori (i.e. with a transfer mode involving only direct-contacts between the cloth and the numerous body parts that left their imprint on it), but could only have happened with a combination of transfer modes including both direct-contact and diffusion instead. Important note: After he did more studies and reflections on the subject, it seem that Rogers became totally convinced that the “catalytic compounds” that were responsible for the dehydration of the colored fibers were not the ones tested by Pellicori but post-mortem gases instead (like ammonia gas, along with maybe some heavy amines) that would have been gradually released by the enshrouded corpse. One of the main reason for this change of mind of Rogers concerning the most probable “catalytic compounds” that initiated the image formation process on the Shroud can be found in these two statements he made in his book about the Shroud: 1- “No fibers in a pure image area were cemented together by any foreign material and there were no liquid meniscus marks. These facts seemed to eliminate any image-formation hypothesis that was based solely on the flow of a liquid into the cloth. This also suggests that, if a body was involved in image formation, it was dry at the time the color formed.” 2- “Body fluids (other than blood) did not percolate into the cloth.” In light of these two statements, it really seems that Rogers, after 2001, became totally convinced that no sweat or secretions could have come in contact with the cloth after the Shroud man’s body had been placed inside the Shroud for the reason that the data coming from the Shroud were strongly suggesting that his corpse was dry at the time of his entombment. That’s most probably why he started to look for some other “catalytic compounds” and found out that post-mortem gases could offer a very good alternative.
8- Finally, this “new” paper from Rogers can truly be helpful to understand how complex the image formation probably was. Effectively, this paper shows quite clearly that, in Rogers’ mind, there were probably three major conditions that must have been fulfilled in order for a particular fiber to become colored, which are: 1- For a fiber to become colored, it must have been located in the immediate vicinity of the body surface, at no more than a few centimeters. The estimation made by the STURP team was that such a fiber must have been located at no more than 4 cm from the body, while Mario Latendresse estimated that after 2 cm, the image formation process had probably lost nearly 80% of its coloring capacity. 2- For a fiber to become colored, it must have been submitted to a minimal amount (still undetermined) of “catalytic compounds” (in Rogers’ mind, this means that a minimal amount of post-mortem gases must have come in direct contact with such a fiber and for probably a minimal period of time that is also undetermined). 3- For a fiber to become colored, it must have been coated with a minimal amount (still undetermined) of carbohydrate impurities. In Rogers’ mind, this impurity layer would have been primarily composed of starch, along with maybe some residues of saponaria, pectine, hemicellulose, etc., and all these substances would have come from the different “manufacturing” steps (retting of the flax plant to produce the threads, covering of the threads with starch to protect them during the weaving, bleaching of separate hank of yarns, washing of the final cloth with saponaria and final drying in open air, etc.) that were done to produce the linen cloth. These three conditions described by Rogers in his writings are very important to understand because it shows how complex the image formation process would have been if his image formation hypothesis is at least partially correct. And along with these three major conditions, which were all crucial, in Rogers’ mind, for the production of a color on top of the fibers that composed the Shroud image, it is also possible to think that other particular conditions were most probably important also for the production of a coloration (dehydration) around some fibers located at the surface of the cloth. Here’s some of them: 1- The amount of heat that was released by the dead body after it was placed inside the Shroud, which is still undetermined (Rogers really thought that this could have been another important factor in the color production). 2- The kind of temperature and humidity that were present inside the tomb and inside the Shroud during the short time that the corpse was lying inside of it, which is still undetermined. 3- The amount of time the body stayed inside the cloth, which is still undetermined. 4- The environmental condition(s) in which the cloth had been kept and preserved before the body image appeared completely at the surface of the cloth (this could have taken many months, years or even decades), which is still undetermined. These are just some possible factors that could have had an impact on the production of a coloration (dehydration) at the surface of the cloth. Of course, other factors can still be proposed…
In conclusion, I would simply say this: No doubt, this “new” paper from Rogers constitutes a real historical finding, which can help us to understand the high level of scientific professionalism with which Rogers did his inquiry versus the Shroud image. In consequence, this paper can also help us to realize the poor scientific value of the work done by some other “scientists” versus the Shroud image… And in the end, I think we can really see this particular paper as being the genesis of the Maillard reaction hypothesis Rogers has developed later on and, as such, it truly helps to understand all the main steps he took (in the correct order, scientifically speaking) during the building of his personal hypothesis regarding the body image on the Shroud. I hope this long sharing of thoughts will help some readers to understand better the professionalism of Rogers regarding his inquiry versus the Shroud, as well as the great potential value of his personal hypothesis.
Paolo Di Lazarro has drawn attention elsewhere to this quote which seems very relevant.
“Naturally there can be no contradiction of clear scientific data. The Resurrection accounts certainly speak of something outside our world of experience. They speak of something new, something unprecedented — a new dimension of reality that is revealed. What already exists is not called into question. Rather we are told that there is a further dimension, beyond what was previously known. Does that contradict science? Can there really only ever be what there has always been? Can there not be something unexpected, something unimaginable, something new? If there really is a God, is he not able to create a new dimension of human existence, a new dimension of reality altogether? Is not creation actually waiting for this last and highest ―evolutionary leap, for the union of the finite with the infinite, for the union of man and God, for the conquest of death?
J. RATZINGER: Jesus of Nazareth: Holy Week: From the Entrance into Jerusalem to the Resurrection, Ignatius, San Francisco 2011, translated by Philip J. Whitmore from the original German Jesus von Nazareth: Zweiter Teil: Vom Einzug in Jerusalem bis zur Auferstehung, Libreria Editrice Vaticana, Vatican City 2011, pp. 246-7.
This opens the debate to the issue of the Resurrection, obviously, but so, too, to other possibilities. The speculations of Dr. Andrew Silverman and “New Physics” is a good example. http://www.lightoftheshroud.com/Presentations.html
Yannick, have you given any consideration to how Ray Rogers might have accounted for the homogeneity of the image? The theory might account for a few square inches. Perhaps even, say, the area of the face. But to assume that the impurity layer and the transfer mechanism was homogenous over 14ft x 4ft and (probably) acting over parallel planes is stretching credulity further than any alternative.
You paint a picture of a scientist proceeding without any motivation other than to reach a conclusion based only on the available evidence. All scientists in my experience claim this. In practice, they, at best, can impose the strictest self-discipline on themselves to minimize bias. Ray was “furious” (his word) that STURP was “hi-jacked” and came to be dominated by Jackson’s (in his view “unscientific”) collapse theory. His avowed motivation was to produce an alternative “rational” explanation. He was fighting a highly charged “war” with a rival. Chemistry against physics, and science versus (his view) pseudo science. That is a very different reality.
Quote: “Yannick, have you given any consideration to how Ray Rogers might have accounted for the homogeneity of the image? The theory might account for a few square inches. Perhaps even, say, the area of the face. But to assume that the impurity layer and the transfer mechanism was homogenous over 14ft x 4ft and (probably) acting over parallel planes is stretching credulity further than any alternative.”
My answer: the only answer I can give you David is a TRUTH I already said many times here on the blog: Nature can really be surprising sometimes!!! Please don’t underestimate the power of nature (which was created by God as you know) to create masterpieces. We got plenty of good examples of this if you look carefully around us. And here’s a good example of this: the images of plants, leaves and flowers that are created by the Volckringer pattern phenomenon! On this subject, I really encourage you to read carefully (and with an open-mind) the very good paper that was written by John DeSalvo about a possible link between this natural phenomenon and the Shroud image: http://shroud.com/pdfs/ssi06part4.pdf
Question for you (and anyone else): And what if Rogers’ hypothesis could not be coupled with DeSalvo’s own hypothesis in order to explain the Shroud image? I don’t see why some elements of both hypotheses could not be considered together to build a new natural hypothesis that could maybe explain even better the Shroud image. On this subject, I think there are some possibilities that some biological substances (like urea and lactic acid for example) were still present on the skin and hair of the Shroud after the probable drying of his intense sweat, which could have taken part in the image formation process by a diffusion mechanism of the molecules of those substances, along possibly with the post-mortem gases described by Rogers. I think it’s fair to assume that there is a real possibility that such a mixture of gases and molecules could well have taken part in the final formation of the image. Until some scientist can investigate properly and in-deep all these possible avenues, I think it’s intelligent to leave this door open for the moment… Remember that it is even possible to think that a fine coach of urea that would have been left on the dry skin and hair of the Shroud man after the drying of the intense sweat could also have produced a release of ammoniac gas as well…
By in the end, the most important question we must answer to determine if a natural process should be seen as the most rational and probable thing that lead to the formation of the body image is the question of the chromophore of the image. And as I said in my guess posting, in face of all the pertinent data and observations coming from the Shroud I never encountered so far a better, simpler and more rational hypothesis than Rogers’ own impurity hypothesis.
Complement to the last paragraph of my answer to Mr. Rolfe: Because I really think Rogers’ hypothesis versus the impurities is the best concerning the question of the image chromophore and because I think it is the best to explain all the characteristic of the image (especially the discontinuous and very superficial aspect of the image), that’s why I think it is scientifically sound to conclude, just like Rogers, that the image formation was most probably natural. On this question, we must always keep in mind this great quote from Rogers: “I studied the chemical kinetics of the impurity materials and conclude that it was improbable that the impurities had been scorched by heat or any radiation source: 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.”
Taking this fact into account, if the image chromophore is truly located in a thin and uneven layer of impurities on top of the most superficial fibers of the cloth, then the conclusion must be that the image formation was most probably natural in nature.
Excellent summary and analysis. I will confess to being guilty as charged as one who holds to a “magical” explanation. One of the reasons is that Rogers himself wasn’t convinced that the maillard reaction alone could explain the high resolution image we see especially of the face and hands. Second, it is hard to imagine that gas emitting from a decaying body could produce an image of identical intensity top to bottom and front to back. Others who have experimented or explored this theory have also indicated that such emission of gases would be more pronounced around bodily orifices but this is not the case. Rogers did not support any supernatural cause of the image yet he acknowledged that the lack of decomposition stains on the cloth supported the resurrection hypothesis. Unless we assume that the body was stolen and the cloth left behind…or that Jesus woke up found Mary Magdalene and headed for the coast of France, then somehow and in some way the body literally disappeared. There are too many verses of scripture that suggest light was involved. So while current experiments with lasers don’t explain everything neither does gas emitting from a decaying body. Perhaps the answer is not an all or none approach but a combination of causes.
Quote: “One of the reasons is that Rogers himself wasn’t convinced that the maillard reaction alone could explain the high resolution image we see especially of the face and hands.”
My answer: This is not at all a good argument! Even if this was true that Rogers wasn’t convinced that his own hypothesis could account completely for the high resolution (note that I’m still very doubtful that it was really the case since I don’t find any statement of that nature in any of his writings), this could not be seen as meaning that something supernatural must have come to “patch” the hole!!! Thinking like this is truly doing a magical thinking, which, in essence, is completely unscientific.
Quote: “Second, it is hard to imagine that gas emitting from a decaying body could produce an image of identical intensity top to bottom and front to back.”
My answer: For you, it is hard to imagine that, but not for Rogers. Also, I can say that, on the contrary of you and many others, it was even harder for Rogers to imagine the dead body of the Shroud man being able to release some energetic radiation that would have been able to colored ONLY a thin layer of impurities without affecting at all the entire structure of the underlying linen fiber and so, no matter if some parts of the body were in direct-contact with the cloth and some other parts were located at some distance from it (up to maybe 4 cm)…
Quote: “Rogers did not support any supernatural cause of the image yet he acknowledged that the lack of decomposition stains on the cloth supported the resurrection hypothesis.”
My answer: I don’t if Rogers really was thinking that the lack of decomposition stains was truly a piece of evidence in support of the Resurrection account (again, I’ve never read anything of that nature in any of Rogers’ writings), but one very important point has to be make here: Even if Jesus’ Resurrection is true (as I believe it is), that cannot be seen, scientifically speaking, as any kind of evidence that this particular event had anything to do with the formation of the body image on the cloth. Here, I think it’s good to reprint a new though I wrote this morning about Rogers’ new paper: “It’s also important to note that because it is a proven fact that a dehydration of ONLY a thin layer of carbohydrate impurities located around a linen fiber is almost impossible to achieve with any sort of energetic radiation, and because all the data coming from the Shroud (especially the fact that the bloodstains were not affected at all during the image formation) strongly suggest that the image formation was very mild, I’m almost sure that this is why Rogers became convinced that a totally natural process (which he was still seeking to fully determined at the time of his death) was really what have caused the formation of a very faint image on the cloth. In sum, the strong conviction of Rogers that the body image color must only reside in a thin and uneven layer of carbohydrate impurities, which would be completely independent from the entire structure of the linen fiber (including the primary cell wall of the fiber) is the most important thing that lead him to conclude that the image formation process was most certainly totally natural. I think it’s fair to say that, in Rogers’ mind, the most probable nature of the image chromophore (i.e. an impurity layer) was the most crucial data to consider when it was time for him to determine the particular nature of the image formation process (i.e. natural and very mild or supernatural and much more “strong” because it would be related to some form of energetic radiation). And here’s the most relevant statement made by Rogers to explain why a thin layer of impurities as the image chromophore should automatically lead to the conclusion that the image formation process must have been natural and very mild: “I studied the chemical kinetics of the impurity materials and conclude that it was improbable that the impurities had been scorched by heat or any radiation source: 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.” We can find this particular quote in the paper The Shroud of Turin from the viewpoint of the physical science published by Emmanuel Carreira in 2010.”
All this to say that even if Jesus body truly disappeared from Inside the Shroud during the Resurrection, that cannot be taken as any serious evidence to think that his body image that we see on his shroud was formed by anything else than a natural process. Remember this great truth (which is an integrant part of the Christian faith): Jesus body was a dead body before he resurrect and disappear from Inside the shroud! This is an important part of the Incarnation dogma that most people sadly seem to deny, forget or underestimate. And because it is a very probable reality that his body was a dead meat for several hours prior to his Resurrection, I don’t see why this tortured corpse could not have emitted any biological substances that could have taken a huge part in the formation of the body image… So far, there is nothing in all the Shroud data to really contradict such a possibility. Sorry for those who are only seeking something supernatural on the Shroud…
An extract from my article written in polish:
“Ale wizerunek jest. Niewytłumaczalny. Ray Rogers sądził że jego teoria reakcji Maillarda jest w stanie w naturalistyczny sposób, bez odwoływania się do cudów, wyjaśnić powstanie wizerunku na Całunie. Rogers był chemikiem, przeprowadził odpowiednie eksperymenty i stwierdził że przy odpowiednich warunkach da się tą metodą uzyskać zabarwienie poszczególnych włókien o właściwościach takich jak na Całunie. Ale nie był fizykiem i nie interesowała go tak naprawdę praktyczna niemożliwość uzyskania tak doskonałych makroskopowych właściwości wizerunku w wyniku procesu gazowej dyfuzji. Jak to możliwe utworzyć tak niezwykły obraz nie zaprzeczając statystycznym prawom termodynamiki? Rogers uznał że nie ma sensu rozważać tego problemu, ot zdarzył się taki nieprawdopodobny wypadek i my możemy jedynie a posteriori dociekać jak to się w sposób naturalny stało (nie oznacza to że teoria Rogersa zaprzecza Zmartwychwstaniu, po prostu w ogóle nie bierze go pod uwagę). Może tak się stało, może nastąpił taki zupełnie niewyobrażalny wypadek –w teorii nie jest to niemożliwe. Tyle że tak nieprawdopodobne, że prędzej bym się spodziewał że odkryty basen olimpijski w letnie upały sam z siebie zamarznie (co też jest teoretycznie możliwe)… I dlaczego zdarzyło się to akurat w przypadku osoby, która przeszła dokładnie identyczne męki jak opisywane w Ewangelii męki Jezusa z Nazaretu, z którym być może jest po prostu tożsama… Chyba że czyjaś niewidzialna ręka kierowała torem każdej cząsteczki amoniaku… Zmartwychwstanie Jezusa i utworzenie wizerunku mogło się odbyć również i bez błysku… ale w równie cudowny sposób!”
Czytaj więcej na: http://ok.apologetyka.info/racjonalista/dzieje-caunu-turynskiego-wedug-leszka-zuka-z-racjonalisty-cz-2,629.htm
Google translation (with my corrections):
But the image is. Inexplicable. Ray Rogers believed that his theory of the Maillard reaction is able naturalistic way, without resorting to miracles, explain the origin of the image on the Shroud. Rogers was a chemist, carried out the appropriate experiments and found that the appropriate conditions this method can get the color of individual fibers with properties such as the Shroud. But he was not a physicist and was not really interested in the practical impossibility of obtaining such perfect macroscopic properties macroscopic of the image through a process of gaseus diffusion. How is it possible to create such an unusual image not denying the statistical laws of thermodynamics? Rogers concluded that there is no point in considering this problem, just happened to such an incredible event and we can only investigate a posteriori how it naturally happened (this does not mean that the theory of Rogers denies the resurrection, just does not take it into account) . Maybe so, maybe there was such quite unbelievable event -in theory it is not impossible. Only so improbable, that sooner I would expect that the outdoor Olympic swimming pool to freeze by itself in the summer heat (which is also theoretically possible) … and why it happened jus tonly in the case of the individual who had suffered exactly the same passion as Passion of Jesus of Nazareth described in the Gospel with whom perhaps he can be identified … unless Someone guided by the invisible hand the track of each molecule of ammonia … Resurrection of Jesus and the creation of the image could take place even without the flash … but also in a miraculous way!
Quote: Resurrection of Jesus and the creation of the image could take place even without the flash … but also in a miraculous way!
My answer: If this magical thinking was true, then can you explain to me why God was such a poor “artist” that he was even able to produce a complete body image on the cloth? Effectively, the UV photo study done by Miller and Pellicori of STRUP proved that the body image was not totally complete in some parts, like the feet region and also the back of the knee (dorsal image).
Here’s my answer again (with a small correction): My answer: If this magical thinking was true, then can you explain to me why God was such a poor “artist” that he WAS NOT even able to produce a complete body image on the cloth? Effectively, the UV photo study done by Miller and Pellicori of STRUP proved that the body image was not totally complete in some parts, like the feet region and also the back of the knee (dorsal image).
‘Resurrection of Jesus and the creation of the image could take place even without the flash … but also in a miraculous way!’
Exactly. If the resurrection was outside the laws of nature then it was not necessarily a radioactive type of event with a flash that caused the image.
Again, I am comfortable with an unfathomable supernatural explanation.
I have a couple of quibbles about the ‘new’ Rogers paper, particularly regarding the ‘coating,’ which, although the STURP team were specifically looking for various coatings, did not appear till after the carbon dating of 1988. Until that time, they were unanimous in declaring the image to be a feature of the shroud itself, and were confident that no coating of any kind was involved, even though “we expected to find starch on the shroud.” I do not find the discovery of an entirely superficial layer of starch created by an evaporation gradient very convincing, although I agree that it would be a convenient explanation.
The idea that the expectation of finding starch on the shroud meant that they didn’t look for it, is ludicrous. Rogers’s photo of a few blue strands resulting from the evaporation of a ‘very dilute solution of a blue dye’ is interesting, but needs to be supplemented by experiments involving a rather less dilute solution of something starchy to contribute to an explanation of the shroud image. We also need to consider what should happen when the toasted coating was subsequently subject to a soaking in water, as evinced by the water-stains.
Rogers concluded by believing that “a combination of relatively rapid decomposing impurities on the surface of the cloth, with transfer/diffusion of catalytic compounds from a body” could account for the image. The relevance of his sideline into thermal radiation direction, and his mention of calculating “the temperature of a surface that would be sufficient to caramelise any of the possible sugars or starches on a cloth” is thus somewhat dubious. It reads as though as least some of his mind was on thermal, rather than chemical, degradation.
One thing that Rogers explains well, and which I believe to be true, exactly contradicts Mottern, London and Morris’s paper on the X-ray examination of the shroud. He says, of the manufacture of Holland cloth: “Considerable material was lost during the bleaching process, and the newer linens are less dense, as can be seen with the Holland cloth. The newer linens are also homogeneous. They do not show bands of different thread in the weave.”
Mottern et al agree that “the holland cloth is a more loosely woven fabric than the linen,” but then say: “A few measurements indicate that the linen threads [of the shroud] are rather uniform 0.15mm. In contrast the thread diameters of the holland cloth vary from 0.1 to 0.45mm.” They also say: “The bands of high and low densities which run along the length and across the width are the result of the different thread diameters of the backing cloth. … In contrast, the linen threads are more uniform in diameter.” Mottern et al also describe the holland cloth as cotton. Although Rogers was referring to colour and Mottern to thread thickness, their divergent opinions of the homogeneity of the two cloths are irreconcilable.
Quote: “The idea that the expectation of finding starch on the shroud meant that they didn’t look for it, is ludicrous.”
My answer: STURP main purpose was to check out the painting hypothesis regarding the Shroud image. That’s probably why they never check out for the presence of starch, although Rogers was clear in later writings that McCrone had already reported a probable presence of starch on some Shroud fibers during his microscopic inquiry of the samples that were taken by Rogers. Note that it’s a bit bizarre that Rogers didn’t said a word about that in his 2001 paper, but later on, he was very specific about that. Also, you must understand that Rogers eventually did exactly what he wrote in his 2001 paper, which is that he went on checking out for starch and, guess what? He was able to confirm McCrone’s claim about that!
If you read carefully my paper about Rogers’ observations and conclusions regarding the image (http://shroudnm.com/docs/2013-01-10-Yannick-Clément-Reflections-on-Ray-Rogers-Shroud-Work.pdf), you will find these important statements made by Rogers about the presence of starch impurities on the Shroud:
Quote #35: “The fact that the color resides only on the fiber surfaces leads to the hypothesis that the color formed as a result of chemical reactions involving impurities on the surface. The spectra strongly suggest that the impurities were carbohydrates that dehydrated as a result of image-formation process. The hypothesis of carbohydrates impurities is supported by observations of traces of some starch fractions on image fibers.”
Quote #36: “Microchemical tests with iodine detected the presence of starch impurities on the surfaces of linen fibers from the Shroud. Impurities were detected that could take part in color-producing Maillard reactions.”
Quote #37: “A search for carbohydrate impurities on the Shroud confirmed McCrone’s detection of some starch fractions. Starch and low-molecular weight carbohydrates from crude startch would color much more easily than would cellulose as a result of either thermal dehydration or chemical reactions.”
There is no good reason to doubt these statements from Rogers (especially when you understand that starch was not found by just one researcher but by two independent researchers), which strongly support his hypothesis about the image chromophore, which is the corner stone of his whole Maillard reaction hypothesis and which strongly suggest that a totally natural process was what has formed the image on the cloth. Important note to conclude my point: whether this image formation process only came from post-mortem gases and a release of heat from the body and/or from some other biological or burial substances that could have been present around the corpse and/or from some other “facilitating” factor, that remains to be verify more deeply under proper lab control.
Additional comment: Here’s some more very relevant quotes from Rogers’ writings about the starch issue:
Quote 141: “When amines and reducing sugars come together, they will react. They will produce a color. This is not a hypothesis: this is a fact. A cloth with crude starch on it will ultimately produce a color, if it is left in close proximity to a decomposing body.”
Quote 142: “It is important to recognize that Maillard colors will form every time amines and simple starches and/or sugars come together.”
Note: the quote numbers have been taken from a brand new and updated version of my paper that will be put online very soon on shroudnm.com and on the website of the Holy Shroud Guild, which will include some relevant quotes taken from the “new” paper that was written by Rogers, which was published on Barrie’s website recently.
Last thing: It’s also important to note that, in Rogers’ mind, the impurity layer on the Shroud is most probably composed mainly of starch, along with probably other residues of saponaria, pectine, hemicellulose, etc., but in smaller quantities.
The funny thing about this infallibility imparted to Rogers is that it is sounding like a broken record. There is no doubt that Rogers was a good scientist but he was biased, refusing to accept anything that hinted about the supernatural, like Dawkins ignoring aspects of reality that were not convenient to what was being propounded. Once again, Rogers co-authored a paper that involved evolution, attributing everything to an automatic process, ignoring the fact that even an automatic process has to have rationality behind it, which means one has to ask where the rationality came from.
On the other hand, no one says anything about the fact that the “pro-Resurrection” scientists have always demanded a fresh examination of the Shroud, in order to confirm what they have propounded.
Quote: “The funny thing about this infallibility imparted to Rogers is that it is sounding like a broken record.”
My answer: Louis, you really misunderstood my comment. I never said that I believe Rogers’ hypothesis is surely 100% correct regarding the Shroud image. What I say is this: The steps he followed to build up his own hypothesis were done in the correct order (scientifically speaking) and, because of this, we must give it a high value. Also, another important point I wanted to make with my comment is this: because his hypothesis regarding the crucial question of the image chromophore is the best that exist (by far) regarding all the known data coming from the Shroud, along with the most probable fact that the image formation process was very mild, I think it’s honest to think that the most probable nature of the image formation that occured on the Shroud was completely natural (which doesn’t necessarily mean Rogers’ Maillard reaction hypothesis is 100% correct regarding the Shroud image)…
Yannick, yes, this is an objective answer because the Maillard reaction is yet to be proved. Roger may have been meticulous but it still seems that he had some bias when it came to the supernatural. If this bias could be detected when he referred to the evolutionary process it could also creep into Shroud studies. This kind of bias can be seen while reading Pinker, Dawkins, even what Lüdemann has written. There are “pro-Resurrection” Shroud scholars who have rejected theories propounded by “Pro-Resurrection” Shroud scientists, so there is objectivity on that side too.
Quote: “Roger may have been meticulous but it still seems that he had some bias when it came to the supernatural.”
My answer: Of course Rogers had some anti-supernatural bias for simple and good reason that he was a real scientist. Science should never open the door to any supernatural event that could “patch” the holes left by someone’s hypothesis. Never. This would be like going back to the Middle ages.
Also, as I said in my long guess posting, the fact that Rogers became convinced that the image chromophore was located only in a thin layer of carbohydrates impurities (along with the most probable fact that the image formation was very mild and happened at normal temperature) just reinforced his idea that the image formation process must have been completely natural… Is it so hard to understand?
Hello everyone. Last night and today, I have written a much complete version of my thoughts regarding this very interesting and even important paper from Rogers and here it is (I hope you will now comment on this new updated version instead of the one that was posted by Dan):
[The rest of this comment is in the revised version]
But why unscientific? And why supernatural? It is normal in science that if some phenomena cannot be explained within boundaries of old theories, new theories with new speculative entities are being proposed, some are later rejected, some confirmed. For example, neutrinos, they were once proposed as a “patch” for the “whole” in particle physics, and later they were discovered. And no one calls it “magical thinking”.
What I meant is that if someone would used the possible doubt Rogers had versus the capacity of his hypothesis to explain the high resolution of the image (I said “possible” because I’m still not convinced of this and, in fact, we can even trace some quotes of Rogers where he said just the opposite of this) in order to make believe that this automatically mean that something supernatural related directly to the Resurrection MUST also have been active to “complete” the final image, this person is guilty of doing an unscientific reasonning. Like Barrie Schwortz cleverly said in many interviews: In science, you can’t used an unknown to prove another unknown (or just to back-up some preconceive notions about the Resurrection linked with the Shroud image).
Of course, the fact that some natural theory has gaps, doesn’t automatically “prove” the Resurrection, or any theories assuming that the Image on the Shroud is a direct effect of it. But it doesn’t mean we are not allowed to assume some additional factor, whether within confines of our current knowledge of nature (some influence of electromagnetic field? additional chemical reactions?), or outside of them (Resurrection?). The notion that “you can’t use an unknown to prove another unknown” is nonsense. You can use it, and it is frequently used (just example of neutrinos I mentioned). The one thing you need, is to discover one of those “unknowns” and make it “known”.
Read my comment again, so maybe you will understand the point.
Or what I call “the God who path the holes”, which is also an unscientifc concept that has nothing to do in a real scientific inquiry (whether it regard the Shroud or any other “mystery”).
Yannick, do you really know what is “a real scientific inquiry”? Because I am under very strong impression that you have a very distorted vision of it (shared by Rogers BTW). You can call “unscientific” whatever you wants, but this doesn’t mean all others must agree.
I totally aware that all the supernatural fans out there will NEVER agree with my when I said that Rogers inquiry about the Shroud was done the right way, on the contrary to most “scientists” who have proposed over the years supernatural hypotheses for image formation before even considering carefully what can really be the image chromophore, in regard of all its very particular characteristics. Because if they would have done so with honesty, they would probably have agree with Rogers’ hypothesis and, consequently, they would probably have forgotten any idea related to a burst of energetic radiation of any sort, for the simple and good reason that it is virutally impossible, scientifically speaking, to color such a thin layer of impurities without affecting the underlying linen fiber in such a way that it would have been easy for someone like Rogers to detect it…
Anyway, I give you the right to still believe the Resurrection had something to do with the image on the Shroud… That’s your freedom. ;-)
It seems that sometimes some scientists simply do not want to go deeper into the questions of existence because that would mean going beyond their realm of inquiry, but then they take shortcuts to adjust their science to some kind of philosophy and that’s that. Einstein believed in the “God of Spinoza who reveals himself in harmony amongst all men”!
re #15 That real scientists should have anti-supernatural bias is new to me. So are we to take it for granted that the physical world is all that we can know about, become kind of deists?
That’s not what I meant Louis. As a Christian believer, I’m completely convinced that there is a spiritual reality surrounding us (that we can’t see but that is real nevertheless), but that’s not a reality that can be studied by science, because science, by nature, is bound to the known laws of nature.
Good enough, Yannick. The laws of nature were made for everything in the physical world and the question that arises is: Is God bound by these laws or do the miracles, as given for instance in Catholicsm,demonstrate that he is not?
Yannick, my dear friend… you sound like a MILITANT ATHEIST now. And I am really convinced that you have VERY DISTORTED perception of what scientific inquiry is, and what ISN’T. Your notion above is similar to what positivists and other philosophers of science abandoned about 100 years ago (however it is still present in popular imagination, and even by some scientists with little or no philosophical background). Science should be open for all possibilities. With the approach presented above, the scientifc progress would have halted around year 1900.
Just want to remind that I am NOT against Rogers theory. Just want to say, that even if correct (and this is doubtful, and far away from being proven because contrary to someone’s beliefs, it has very serious problems), in my opinion it is AT MOST half of the explanation.
I believe in the Resurrection of Christ as a dematerialization of his body when it was still laid inside the Shroud, but without assuming any burst of energy of any kind (because I believe the “impurity” hypothesis of Rogers is truly the most probable answer for the image chromophore and also because of the data coming from the Shroud, which strongly suggest the image formation was very mild and happened at normal temperature without ever affecting the bloodstains).
I also believe in the Incarnation of Christ (including the reality of his dead body before the Resurrection), which could well have lead to a released of post-mortem gases and other molecules, as well as a release of heat and water vapor, which could all have interacted with the thin layer of impurities to form the body image on the cloth.
Is this thinking really makes me an atheist? I don’t think so! ;-) Now, a Christian guy who keep his feet right on the ground? Surely!
Quote: “Science should be open for all possibilities.”
My answer: Science should follow closely the scientific method, which only take into account all the known data and observations. And when you do this concerning the Shroud without any preconceive notion regarding the Resurrection, you have some good chances to come to the same conclusion than Rogers versus the image chromophore (i.e. located only in an impurity layer and nothing else). And once you came to such a conclusion and consider the scientific truth that no known form of energetic radiation seem to be able to color only such a thin layer of impurities without affecting at all the underlying linen fiber, that’s when you have no otheir choice than to highly favored a natural formation process for the body image.
Quote:”My answer: Science should follow closely the scientific method, which only take into account all the known data and observations.”
And contrary to your claims, I think that the Rogers hypothesis is FAR AWAY from that. What about 3D effect, or no side images, for example? Besides what are the “known data and observations.? There are many controversies about them. What about possible secondary images (coins, inscriptions, flowers)? If their presence is confirmed, this would be something that Rogers’ theory CANNOT explain -so that’s why IMHO there is so great opposition against them (pareidolia is just a convenient excuse).
Quote:”And when you do this concerning the Shroud without any preconceive notion regarding the Resurrection, you have some good chances to come to the same conclusion than Rogers versus the image chromophore (i.e. located only in an impurity layer and nothing else).
No problem yet.
Quote: “And once you came to such a conclusion and consider the scientific truth that no known form of energetic radiation seem to be able to color only such a thin layer of impurities without affecting at all the underlying linen fiber, ”
No special problem yet. Comment: I don’t think that the radiation hypothesis must be “that right explanation”, it also has its own specific problems, just like hypothesis of gaseous diffusion has own. And unless any of them (radiation or diffusion, I don’t favor any of them) overcomes its specific difficulties, they cannot be treated as explantion how the images were formed on the Shroud.
Quote: “that’s when you have no otheir choice than to highly favored a natural formation process for the body image.”
As I said, non sequitur. The fact that the image is located just only on impurity layer BY NO MEANS proves that formation process for the body image was only natural. It MIGHT (but didn’t HAVE TO) have some supernatural component.And perhaps it is impossible to either prove or disprove its presence.
Sorry, Yannick, but this won’t do at all. Your quotes are all from at least a decade later than the carbon dating. Why not quote from “Physics and Chemistry of the Shroud of Turin” written when the 1978 investigation was fresh in mind?
Quote #1: “Gettens and Stout suggest casein, starch, and waxes as further but less likely possibilities. … There is no evidence to support the contention that any of the above media produced the yellow fiber discolouration.”
Quote #2 (concerning the 1532 fire): “If the image had been painted with a proteinaceous, plant-gum-, or starch-based vehicle, the medium would have scorched more rapidly than the cellulose of the linen. No evidence for a scorched medium can be seen.”
Quote #3: “Microchemical studies of yellow fibrils taken from tape samples of the pure-image area have shown no indication for the presence of dyes, stains, inorganic pigments, or protein-, starch-, or wax-based painting media.”
Quote #4: Direct visual observations of image areas that intersect scorch and water stains reveal nothing that might suggest the presence of organic dyes or water-, protein-, or starch-based painting media.”
And is it, in fact true that because “we expected to find starch on the shroud, so we did not specifically look for it”? Well, no. The iodine test for starch is specifically included in Heller and Adler’s list of “Tests employed for the detection of organic structures and functional groups.” (Table 7 of “A Chemical Investigation of the Shroud of Turin”)
Your Quotes 36 and 37 directly contradict the above. There is very good reason, therefore, to doubt either Rogers’s post-2000 work, or his and STURP’s 1978 work. Would you care to speculate which one is wrong?
Interesting quote: “Your Quotes 36 and 37 directly contradict the above. There is very good reason, therefore, to doubt either Rogers’s post-2000 work, or his and STURP’s 1978 work. Would you care to speculate which one is wrong?”
Hugh, in this “new” paper from Rogers, I think you you can find a pretty good explanation for why the post-2000 finding of starch claimed by himself (which confirmed a previous microscopic conclusion made by McCrone) is most probably correct and it doesn’t necessarily contradict the conclusions you quote from his STURP paper.
This comes from the fact that the detection of carbohydrate impurities like starch in the context of the ancient method of manufacturing linen cloths was not part of the official STURP test plan, which means that Rogers and other STURP members did not build specific chemical tests to detect this particular substance, especially on non-image fibers. Rogers was very specific about that in page 6 of his “new” paper: “We expected to find starch on the Shroud (here, Rogers certainly means in non-image areas), so we did not specifically look for it.” And he had: “We should have tested for starch and other polysaccharides.” This must be understand like this: Back in the STURP days, he and others scientists from STURP should have designed a microchemical test plan to detect residues of starch, saponaria and other possible polysaccharides (like hemicellulose and pectin residues) that could have been left on the top surface of the cloth (in a layer of various sort of carbohydrate impurities) by the ancient manufacturing method that was used to make the cloth, which could have been dehydrated (colored) by the very mild (and probably natural) image formation process, instead of just checking out if the image fibers could have been artificially colored by a starch-based painting media (which is something totally different, chemically speaking, than a dehydration of starch and other carbohydrate residues by some “catalytic compounds” like post-mortem gases).
In sum, McCrone check specifically for things like starch because he had in mind to prove the Shroud had been painted and starch could have been used in the painting media, and he found some but, on the contrary to his idea that such a substance had been used to paint the Shroud, Rogers explained in his later writings that such residues would most probably have been left on the fibers by the ancient method of making linen cloths (with starch that was used to protect the threads during the weaving) and not because of a painting forgery (note that the bloodstains on the cloth are enough to discard any painting hypothesis while showing that the Shroud is a real burial cloth that was used to bury a real crucified body).
Note also that most of the quotes from the STURP paper of Rogers concern specifically the painting hypothesis (which was the primary goal of STURP). This means that Rogers had most probably designed a microchemical test plan to see if some starch-based painting media could be detected in image fibers (which was one part of the whole “check the painting theory” build by STURP) and if such a media could be the cause of the color of the image. Obviously, he wasn’t able to confirm the presence of such a painting media that would be responsible for the color. In the meantime, he or any other STURP member never did a specific microchemical examination of the non-image fibers of the Shroud samples (especially in non-image area) in order to detect or not the presence of starch fractions (or other polysaccharides) that could have been left on those fibers by the ancient method of making linen cloths, for the simple and good reason that, back then, no one had in mind that the image color could have been located in a thin layer of carbohydrate impurities that would have been made partially of starch. On the contrary, back then, every members of STURP was almost sure the image chromophore was located directly inside the structure of the linen fiber, because (among other things) they were able to totally discard any painting hypotheses (including the idea of a painting forgery that would have been made with a starch-based painting media)…
I think this is the most logical and probable explanation for this apparent discrepancy (only apparent but most probably not real) between the paper Rogers wrote for STURP and his post-2000 writings. In sum, back in the STURP days, he and all the other scientists of the team had not thought of designing a specific microchemical test plan to verify the presence of possible traces of starch, saponaria and other possible carbohydrate in non-image area that could have proved the presence of a thin layer of impurities on the top-most fibers of the cloth, thus giving us a pretty good confirmation that this is really were the image color is located on the Shroud (image chromophore).
And when, after 2000, Rogers made new chemical tests that were more specifically designed to detect the presence of traces of starch and saponaria, he came out hitting 1 for 2, as he was able to confirm McCrone detection of some strach fractions, while he wasn’t able to find traces of saponaria, even though he was able to find some circumstantial pieces of evidence that can support the real presence of such substance in the thin layer of impurities that was probably colored during the image formation process. One thing’s for sure: this confirmation of the presence of starch residues on top of some superficial fibers on the Shroud, along with the observation of ghosts of color and the banding effect, strongly support the idea that the image chromophore is located only in a thin and uneven layer of carbohydrate impurities and that no part of the fiber structure was colored during the image formation process, which, if this is correct, MUST have been very mild in order to color only this kind of unstable carbohydrate layer, while not affecting at all the underlying fiber (including the external part of the fiber, i.e. the primary cell wall). Concerning this, Rogers was very clear about the fact that if the color is really located in this kind of thin layer of impurities (as he proposed), then this means that we can forget any image formation process that would involved some form of energetic radiation (including the UV light, the corona discharge and the earthquake hypotheses of Di Lazzaro, Fanti and DeLiso).
I think your summary is quite excellent because it discusses this former theory in light of other theories, highlighting the strengths and weaknesses of many of the theories and also highlighting good science compared to no science. Thanks Yannick.
AN IMAGE THAT SPEAK OF THE INCARNATION WELL BEFORE IT SPEAK ABOUT THE RESURRECTION
– A new guess posting of Yannick Clément following my previous guess posting
The numerous reactions (almost always negative) I got following the publication of my guess posting about the “new” paper of Rogers I’ve been very telling.
Once again, I realize that most people interested in the Shroud don’t want to hear anything regarding a potential natural formation of the body image we see on the cloth! Even though the whole portrait given by the numerous data and observations coming from the Shroud (in my guess posting, I’ve mentioned the most important ones) really point in the direction of a natural formation of the image (most probably coming from some biological substances released by the dead body or already present on his skin and hair), which was related to a very mild image formation process that most probably didn’t implied an important release of heat and/or energy, people still wants (seem to me that this is at all cost) to keep on believing in a supernatural cause for the image that would be related directly to the Resurrection of Jesus Christ and, consequently, would give them a sure proof of this event.
More deeply, the major part of all the comments regarding my guess posting really give me the strong impression that most “shroudies” (by the way, I hate that very American way of talking of someone interested in the Shroud – Sounds like “treekies” to me) are associating the question of the authenticity of the relic with the Hollywoodish idea that the Resurrection of Christ (its “dematerialization” if you will) must have produced a release of energy of some sort. Their thinking can be summarized like this: If the Shroud is really authentic, then the “mysterious” image on it MUST be directly related to the Resurrection of Christ. It cannot have come from anything else than a supernatural burst of energy coming from the corpse, which was in its “Resurrectional” mode. And, even worst, I can sense that many of these people are even thinking something like this (which has absolutely no sense to me): If the Shroud is authentic and the image on it came from a totally natural process, then this could mean that Jesus’ Resurrection did not really happened.
Personally, I think that this is a very bad way to look at the Shroud, because this kind of thinking really open the door very wide to the strong temptation to put aside (or not really considering with true rationality) all the pertinent data that really point in the direction of a natural cause for the image, mainly due to a fear (conscious or not) that such a natural cause could really be true. Here’s an example of such data that are pointing strongly in favor of a natural process for the image formation: The very probable location of the chromophore in a thin layer of impurities (honestly, I think Rogers has given us well enough solid arguments to place this hypothesis in no.1 place concerning the chromophore question) really makes it almost impossible to think that any form of energetic radiation (related to the Resurrection or not) could have produced this very subtle, superficial and discontinuous coloration everywhere on the cloth (no matter if the body was in direct contact with the cloth in some places and as far as 4 cm away from it in other places). Here’s another one: the fact that the bloodstains were not affected at all by the image formation process, along with the discontinuous and very superficial aspect of the image strongly suggest that the image formation process was very mild and that it happened at normal temperature with no release of a high amount of energy. As Fazio and Mandaglio wrote (along with another researcher named Roberto) in a short paper that was published in 2012 in the British Society for the Turin Shroud Newsletter (link: https://www.shroud.com/pdfs/n75part10.pdf): “Nowadays, we know that a slight transfer of energy triggered a stochastic process.” Note: this is a kind of process that can cause an image that is discontinuous and very superficial like the one on the Shroud and that can only be natural in nature (in a paper entitled “Stochastic distribution of the fibrils that yielded the Shroud of Turin body image”, these 2 Italian scientists were very clear on this question and there’s no doubt that Ray Rogers would have agreed with them about that). And in the same BSTS Newsletter paper I just mentioned, they emphasized this conclusion by saying: “The Shroud body image, produce over many years (e.g. a few decades), is natural. Therefore, to explain the image formation we do not need to say that it was a miracle and we can rule out the medieval forgery hypothesis.” And they also said: “…the UV radiation, the corona discharge and the attempts made to demonstrate a forgery must be excluded.”
Also, the idea that if the Shroud is authentic, the body image that we see on it must be directly related to the Resurrection leaves the door wide open for every possible supernatural concepts (which, as I said before, often rests on a magical thinking, which, by nature, is truly unscientific) that could make believe that the image was really formed at the time of the Resurrection.
Finally, and it’s a shame for a Christian like me: This kind of thinking seems to completely put aside (or forget or even denied) the reality of God’s Incarnation in our humanity! One thing’s for sure: For me (who is also a Christian who believe in the reality of Jesus’ Resurrection), the Shroud is a burial cloth showing the bloody stigmata and the body image of a dead Jesus in a total state of rigor mortis, which makes me feel strongly that the image on the cloth is most probably related much more to the Incarnation of God than to his Resurrection! Here, it’s important to state this very loud: this probable fact shouldn’t be seen as a denial of the reality of Jesus’ Resurrection in any way!
Having said this, I really think that the “supernatural” fans out there should try for a second to forget about the Resurrection when it comes to reflect upon the image of a dead Jesus that we see on the Shroud and concentrate much more on the very important concept of the Incarnation of God in our humanity. Effectively, most people interested in the Shroud (most of them being faithful Christians) seems to forget that before his body disappeared from inside the Shroud (as well as from inside the tomb), Jesus’ body was dead like any other body would be after a Roman crucifixion and this dead state of Jesus’ body was still an integrand part of God’s Incarnation! As such, there should be absolutely no theological or philosophical problem for anyone interested in the Shroud (especially the Christians) to consider the idea of a natural formation of the body image with great peace, knowing that, if this is really how the image of a dead Jesus got on the cloth, this would NOT AT ALL be a fact that could put the Christian concept of the Resurrection of Christ in jeopardy, while, at the same time, it would emphasize even more the Christian concept of the Incarnation of God in our humanity, which is a reality that speak about who God really is as loud as the Resurrection!
Unfortunately, this is not what I normally see in most blog comments, especially when it comes to talk about a probable natural cause for the body image… I really think those persons should really ask themselves these good questions:
What would be the problem for your Christian faith if the body image on the Shroud would be directly related with the Incarnation of God instead of the Resurrection of Christ?
How would this be a problem for the Christian concept of Resurrection?
And why would the idea of a body image produced by the dead body of Christ (which is a possibility that is still somehow related to the concept of the Incarnation) BEFORE the happening of his Resurrection would not be possible in your mind or, worse, would be problematic for you and your faith?
And why would such a scenario (i.e. a natural image formation process that was active before the Resurrection) be in contradiction with the reality of Christ’s Resurrection or be in contradiction with the idea that this Shroud and its body image were really part of God’s plan for each one of us who would eventually be interested and fascinated by this relic, even though he didn’t needed, to accomplish such a plan, to rely on some supernatural powerful means but on the natural laws that he created?
And here’s the most crucial questions of them all: Is it possible that, since the conclusion of the STURP inquiry, most people have completely passed by the most profound message the Shroud had to give us by thinking that this relic is mainly speaking about the Resurrection of Christ while, in reality, there are some very good chances that the Shroud, with its image that probably come from a natural interaction between the dead body of Christ and the cloth, is speaking primarily of the Passion and death of Jesus Christ and, by implication, of the Incarnation of God in our humanity (without putting aside the Resurrection of Christ that immediately followed this natural process of image formation)?
Before answering this question, I think you should read and reflect upon the great article written by Father Peter Rinaldi in June 1934 and entitled “The Holy Shroud” (link: https://www.shroud.com/pdfs/rinaldi1934.pdf), in which you will clearly see that, back then (and up until at least the STURP days), most Christians (and even serious Shroud researchers like Barbet, who was able to analyze the Shroud while leaving his faith in his back pocket) were understanding the main message coming from the Shroud exactly that way (i.e. as a relic that’s mainly speaking about the Passion and death of Christ, well before his Resurrection).
In sum, is it possible that the Shroud, with its body image of a dead, beaten, tortured and crucified Christ in rigor mortis and its bloody stigmata, is speaking first and foremost about the Passion, death and Incarnation of Christ (in other words, of his human nature that would have been able to left a natural and graphic body and bloody imprint on the cloth, which represent the greatness of his love for all humanity), much more than his Resurrection or his divine nature (even if it really does in the end but surely not as clearly and not as directly)? More profoundly, is it possible that the most important message of the Shroud talks primarily of the greatness of the love of God for all humanity much more than his own personal Resurrection, while showing us in graphic details where such a God was willing to go with his human body in order to reveal us this awesome and eternal truth: His merciful love for all humanity (Christians or not, “good” or “bad”, that doesn’t matter to him) has absolutely no limit at all when it’s time to save even the most lost of his children and, consequently, we have absolutely no good and rational reasons to fear such a loving and merciful God (even though most people, Christians included, still do even today)?
And in the end, is it possible that the body image that we see on the Shroud (along with all the bloodstains on it) can really be a real and great SIGN of the Incarnation of God (a real and complete incarnation in our humanity with a real human body that can suffer and die like the body of every other human being, which therefore could surely have emitted some “catalytic compounds” that could have colored the surface of the cloth soon before and/or soon after his death) instead of being, like many people today desperately wants to see (even if it’s simply not there), a real and sure PROOF of Christ’s Resurrection?
And here’s a final and important question for all the Christians interested by the Shroud: If the answer to all those questions (or even just a few) should be “yes”, what would be the problem for your faith in Christ (including your faith in his Resurrection)?
I hope those who will read this comment of mine (especially those who are thinking the Shroud image cannot have come from anything else than the Resurrection event) will at least take some time to ask themselves seriously those questions and, more importantly, will reflect with an open mind upon the possibility that the formation of the body image of a dead Jesus that we see on the Shroud could be related directly, not to the Resurrection of Christ, but to his Passion, death and, by extension, to his divine Incarnation in our humanity and therefore, could really come from a natural interaction that happened between his human corpse and the cloth in which he had been placed after his death…
I think such a concept, which reinforce the conviction that the Shroud is truly an authentic burial cloth and that it is truly associated with Jesus of Nazareth, while never putting the reality of Christ’s Resurrection in jeopardy in any way, deserve some serious thoughts, especially in the light of all the pertinent data coming from the Shroud, which strongly suggest that the body image of a dead Jesus that we see on the cloth has been formed by a totally natural process that still need to be fully describe and reproduce.
Important note to conclude (which is mainly for all the anti-Rogers folks out there): Whether or not a Maillard reaction, in the way it was proposed by Rogers, can have taken part in this still undetermined but natural process is another story that shouldn’t interfered here.
Yannick Clément, Louiseville, Québec.
P.S. : When I look at the Shroud, I see, first and foremost, an image of a dead and crucified Jesus that mainly speak of his Incarnation in our humanity and, therefore, I don’t see any good reason why such an image could not have been caused naturally by his human corpse (especially by the fact that his body was tortured so bad before his death). And when I analyze all the pertinent data and observations that have been collected over the years versus the Shroud image, the fact that there is none of them that need to be link with the Hollywoodish notion of what should has been the Resurrection of Christ (i.e. a supernatural and extraordinary event that must have been accompanied with a burst of energy of some sort) in order to get explained just reinforce my way to understand the most important message coming from the Shroud and its image of a dead Jesus in rigor mortis (i.e. as the greatest sign of the reality of the Incarnation of God in our humanity and, by implication, the greatest sign of the unconditional love of God for every one of his children (Christians or not, “good” or “bad”, that doesn’t matter to him) that we all are).
I can’t help chuckling at the inadvertent irony of Yannick posting a new ‘guess’ posting after his previous ‘guess’ posting! A Freudian slip, perhaps?
:-) But please forget about the title and ask yourself if some questions I asked in my post could possibly be answered affirmatively… I really think there are some good chances that God gave us the Shroud to help us understand better the reality of his Incarnation in our humanity but, unfortunately, most people these days seem to have completely pass-by this extraordinary message. As I said in my post, I truly believe that the Incarnation of God can tell us as much (and perhaps even more) about him and his unconditional love for all humanity than his Resurrection…
Explanation for the somewhat strange title : Originally, this comment of mine what intend to be proposed to Dan as a new guess posting, but for whatever reason, he did not wanted to post it in a near future and I simply decided to post it here… I hope people will understand better the title now and concentrate on the heart of my message instead.
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