Speaking of more scientific testing of the shroud

imageWhat has happened to Mark Antonacci’s direct appeal to Pope Francis. You will recall that he was proposing, in extraordinarily goal-oriented terms:

the application of molecular and sub-atomic testing methods to the Shroud of Turin. These tests, in combination with many prior test results and studies, could prove or disprove with objective, independent evidence that:

1. Particle radiation irradiated the Shroud of Turin linen, its blood and other material;
2. Particle radiation emanated from the length, width, and depth of the dead body wrapped within the cloth;
3. The event occurred in the first century to a first century cloth;
4. The event happened inside Jesus’ burial tomb.

Since April 18, only 157 people signed the petition.

Back in April, I posted, Antonacci Proposing Molecular and Sub-Atomic Testing To Resolve Disputes Regarding the Shroud. I wrote:

I’m a bit concerned about factual accuracy when I read:

More than a century of scientific and medical analysis has eliminated all proposed naturalistic and artistic attempts to duplicate the Shroud’s unique, full-length images. Only two hypotheses to explain these unique images have been published in peer reviewed scientific journals:

1) The Corona Discharge hypothesis, by Dr. Giulio Fanti, who led scientists at the University of Padua in Italy to challenge previous C-14 or radiocarbon dating. Using three different methods to test fibers from various locations throughout the cloth, these scientists obtained an average date of 33 B.C. +/- 250 years.

2) The Historically-Consistent hypothesis by Mark Antonacci that not only accounts for all of the Shroud’s unique body image features, but also its radiocarbon dating and its numerous non-body image features, which other hypotheses do not even attempt to explain (http://www.testtheshroud.com).

And, just what are these molecular and sub-atomic testing methods? 

30 thoughts on “Speaking of more scientific testing of the shroud”

  1. Off topic but can someone more scientifically minded than I assist.
    It’s spring here now in Australia. My wife and I got the summer bed linens out. One of the white sheets had a blood mark from when our son had a bleeding nose last summer. It’s still bright red. Why?

  2. My elementary understanding of Science, is that one seeks to observe phenomena, and then one endeavours to interpret the results. After a quick read of the ‘testtheshroud’ link above, I very quickly came to the conclusion that the presentation there was extremely strong on self-congratulatory subjective interpretation, unsubstantiated by any kind of reporting on quantification of any phenomena so observed. I believe it may run the serious risk of bringing future Shroud research into serious disrepute. But that’s only my unqualified opinion. The ‘About Us’ page identifies Signor Antonacci as an ‘attorney at law’. I would be surprised to learn that the legal profession even in Italy requires any kind of science qualification for admission to it ranks.

  3. Is Antonacci an organizer of the 2014 St. Louis conference? If so, I would be concerned about shroud science’s claim to objectivity.

    1. Paulette, after making some inquiries, it is my understanding that Mark is one of a half-dozen people involved in organizing the conference. His foundation is a co-sponsor of the conference, Given that he is not a scientist or historian, he should not have a significant role in selecting papers or speakers. And frankly, I would like to see Mark present a paper so that it can be examined in a public.forum.

  4. “More than a century of scientific and medical analysis has eliminated all proposed naturalistic and artistic attempts to duplicate the Shroud’s unique, full-length images. Only two hypotheses to explain these unique images have been published in peer reviewed scientific journals: the CD hypothesis and the H-C hypothesis”

    I would think if such a statement appeared in the Abstract of a peer-reviewed journal, the reviewers and/or editor would ask for some anti-spin to be applied here. “More than a century of scientific and medical analysis has failed to explain the basis for the Shroud;s unique, full-length images. Two hyptheses that have been suggested include…”

    Eliminated all naturalistic attempts? I think the jury’s still out on this one

  5. matthias :
    Off topic but can someone more scientifically minded than I assist.
    It’s spring here now in Australia. My wife and I got the summer bed linens out. One of the white sheets had a blood mark from when our son had a bleeding nose last summer. It’s still bright red. Why?

    The typical color change blood undergoes as it dries results from hemoglobin changing from an oxygen-containing form to a deoxygenated form (methemoglobin), associated with different forms of iron in each. The oxygenated and deoxygenated forms show different spectral properties, to the eye, fresh (oxygenated) blood appears bright red, dried (deoxygenated) blood appears more brown, blackish.

    One explanation might be that a coating on the fabric “locks” the hemoglobin into a conformation that mimiics the oxygenated form. A similar type of result was reported by Rogers who dabbed blood onto Saponaria-treated cloth vs. untreated cloth. Exposure to sunlight (uv) has also been discussed as influencing the perception of color in bloodstains.

    Do you know if the sheets were treated with fabric softner or washed in a certain type of detergent beforehand? Relatedly, were they treated with a stain remover or other type of detergent soon after the bloodstain was discovered? Hung out to dry in the sunlight?

    1. interesting. My only guess is that it might have something to do with the washing agent my wife used. All I am certain of is that the mark is still clearly bright red after one year.

  6. Can someone here confirm Rogers last paper to Thermochimica Acta (Jan. 2005) was accepted through peer review?

  7. julie fantham :
    Can someone here confirm Rogers last paper to Thermochimica Acta (Jan. 2005) was accepted through peer review?

    Thermochimica Acta is a peer-reviewed journal. If I remember correctly from talking to Barrie, the reviewers requested certain revisions after submission, which is not uncommon in the peer review process.

  8. Thanks Kelley, If anyone has definite proof it was peer reviewed, I would appreciate it. I’m battling someone who insist Rogers paper is considered “Apologia” and was not peer reviewed through the Journal.

    1. The current editor of the journal should have access to information as to who was asked to review old papers. He/she may not tell you who they were, but should be able to confirm whether the paper was properly reviewed or not.

    2. Rogers paper was reviewed over a period of many months and he had to rewrite several portions and perform additional experiments before it was finally accepted. Because of the subject matter, they put Rogers through a very intensive review process. They do not publish papers that are NOT peer reviewed. It is only considered “apologia” by those who don’t like Rogers’ conclusions.

  9. Back to Antonacci, and trying to bite to bite back my criticisms of his breathtaking generalisations, I have to maintain my own stance of earlier on that the experiment is more important than the experimenter. His hypothesis is that the shroud contains abnormal quantities of two specific isotopes, Calcium-41 and Chlorine-36. This, presumably, can be measured, compared to a reference standard. If he is correct, then we must take seriously his contention that a neutron radiation event may have been the cause of it. If not, then he must come up with a different experiment if he wishes to continue to maintain that the shroud was irradiated.
    It must be noted that neither of these isotopes are as vanishingly rare as it appears from his website, being cosmogenic and found in any surface deposit. Calcium-14 is used in a dating procedure (for rocks rather than organic things) very similar to radiocarbon dating.

  10. Matthias :
    interesting. My only guess is that it might have something to do with the washing agent my wife used. All I am certain of is that the mark is still clearly bright red after one year.

    BTW, what type of fabric are the sheets made of?

    1. The evidence for what I stated in my last posting is on the front page of the paper itself: received by the journal on 14 April 2004 and accepted for publication on 12 September 2004, five months later. During that time the review process was ongoing and Rogers made all the necessary corrections or changes that were recommended by the reviewers.

  11. While I appreciate your interest, I wish to address some of your concerns.

    With regard to the number of signatures on the petition, more people have signed identical hard copies that I have not yet posted on Test the Shroud’s web site, which I’ll be updating soon.

    All naturalistic and artistic attempts that have been proposed since Vignon and Delage led the first scientific inquiry in 1900-02 have failed to duplicate the body images or blood marks found on the Shroud of Turin, including Vignon’s naturalistic method. One advantage to naturalistic and artistic methods is that they can be tested and their results examined.

    Dan also focused on two statements regarding naturalistic and artistic methods and other image forming hypotheses. Only yesterday I was advised of some image forming papers that have been published in various journals, some of which may have been peer-reviewed. Several of these papers do not account for all of the Shroud’s body image features. While aware of most of these papers, I was not aware that some may also been have published in peer reviewed science journals. If they have been, I welcome the interest of the scientific journals and congratulate the authors.

    My hypothesis was originally published in my book, The Resurrection of the Shroud (New York: M. Evans and Co., 2000) after almost 20 years of research regarding the evidence relating to many aspects of the Shroud’s provenance and the cause of its many unique features. I first wrote to several STURP scientists in 1984 about an initial image forming hypothesis that was eventually incorporated into the Historically Consistent hypothesis. I actually wrote two letters to John Jackson at that time and subsequently had the privilege of assisting John, and helping to advance the publication of his landmark Cloth Collapse hypothesis at the Paris Conference in 1989 and at the St. Louis Conference in 1991. I had the benefit of learning from one of the very best how to devise the most logical explanations for the observable features on the Shroud.

    Furthermore, only one scientific test result among thousands is inconsistent with the Shroud’s authenticity as Jesus’ burial garment. This, of course, is the controversial radiocarbon dating that the Historically Consistent hypothesis can explain. John mentioned several times how important it was to devise tests whose results could be shown to be consistent or inconsistent with a proposed hypothesis.

    A series of general tests and experiments to test this and all other image forming hypotheses was first published in my 2000 book, along with an extensive discussion of the proposed naturalistic and artistic image forming methods. Since then I have continued to study all subsequent methods that have been proposed to account for the Shroud’s many features. I updated the Historically Consistent hypothesis in 2012, as well as the tests and experiments in 2010. Those tests were proposed in the keynote address given at the Shroud conference that was held in Frascati during the Shroud’s last public exhibition.

    So I was a little amazed when Dan closed his comment with “… frankly, I would like to see Mark present a paper so that it can be examined in a public forum.” My name is on four important papers given or published at three Shroud conferences in Italy and the U.S, which were attended by Shroud experts from throughout the world. These papers not only passed the conference review process, but the last paper passed a peer-review process of scientists. My 2000 book is now in its third printing. The above papers and book cite hundreds of end notes for support. All of my statements relating to the Shroud have been open for public review for the last thirteen years.

    The Shroud encompasses fields ranging from science to medicine to archaeology and countless others. You could never be an expert in all of these fields. Even if you were trained in one area of one field, such as physics, this would not make you an expert throughout your entire field, nor would you be an expert in the other fields. You can, however, study these fields as they relate to the Shroud and communicate with experts in these fields.

    I’ve always felt that being an attorney was beneficial with Shroud studies. The veracity and relevance of items of evidence is central in all areas of Shroud analysis. Whether this evidence is also independent, or can be forged, or is corroborated by other such evidence is also critical. If I had to choose one profession to have been trained in before investigating the Shroud, I’d choose the legal profession. The extent of your study and knowledge of the Shroud, and the quality of your published work is the best indicator of one’s qualifications or expertise.

    Please study the keynote address, which can be found on TesttheShroud.com. I’m not trying to be self-congratulatory or subjective, but these procedures could test every explanation for the Shroud’s radiocarbon dating and answer all the mysteries surrounding the Shroud. If the Shroud linen cloth, blood and other particles on it were examined at the molecular and atomic level, you could also collect enough new information that scientists could analyze this data for many years to come. I will be further updating this proposal, as well.

  12. Mark, I knew about Frascati, so I spoke in haste suggesting that your paper should be presented in a public forum. I apologize for giving the wrong impression. But the need is still there, I’m hoping some day for a conference where discussion following a presentation is readily available to everyone, preferably in video form archived on YouTube or Vimeo, where discussion is open and comprehensive (may Dallas 2005 with its imposed refusal to allow questions and with uniformed Texas Rangers in the room to make sure, never happen again). I would like to see your paper openly discussed along with all of the other image hypotheses – all of them. In the meantime, we might hopefully do it here.

    Peer review doesn’t give credence to a hypothesis in a paper, only to the scientific methodology of the author, which is important. Peer review of anything published in open access journals like Academic Journals’ “Scientific Research and Essays” is probably suspect in the minds of many people. I have much greater trust in the scientific caliber of something published by Paolo dl Lazzaro, for instance, with or without peer review. When I see anything from Academic Journals I’m immediately prejudiced against the paper. Paulette is right. We should drop the term peer review when trying to promote an idea. It has probably been abused and bastardized beyond meaning in the world of shroud research: that is too bad.

    Giulio in a guest posting defending the use of Academic Journals

    Paper Chase: Mark Antonacci’s Hypothesis

  13. All naturalistic and artistic attempts that have been proposed since Vignon and Delage led the first scientific inquiry in 1900-02 have failed to duplicate the body images or blood marks found on the Shroud of Turin, including Vignon’s naturalistic method. One advantage to naturalistic and artistic methods is that they can be tested and their results examined.

    Im not convinced that the right experiment to fully test a scenario involving the Maillard process has been designed. I don’t think the results of previous attempts automatically eliminates it-think it is still on the table.

    BTW, I’m not suggesting this must be the answer, just trying to remain objective.

    Your idea of examining scientific particles is an interesting one, and appears to have a relatively straightforward readout. I also agree that detailed examination of the cloth and blood particles at the molecular and atomic level could provide a wealth of information.

  14. Mark said:
    “Furthermore, only one scientific test result among thousands is inconsistent with the Shroud’s authenticity as Jesus’ burial garment.”
    Thousands? Really? Is that a rhetorical exaggeration?

    1. Leaving aside the radiocarbon tests, I wonder what Mark would accept as other scientific tests that are consistent with the Shroud’s authenticity. An obvious test would be those whose credibility would be accepted by the scientific community as a whole. I am not a scientist but every time I go through these debates I get the impression that almost every test is disputed within the Shroud community, not a good starting point if one wants to attract outsiders to the debate.
      I was talking to a medievalist art historian who said that he knew nothing about the Shroud and that it was much too controversial an issue for him in any case. That spoke volumes.

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