Blowing the Antonacci Proposal to bits

or is it particles?

imageColin Berry writes by way of a comment:

. . . All someone has to do is sneak a mixture of ordinary beryllium and americium-241 (present in domestic smoke alarms) into the cabinet housing the Shroud. That mixture then emits neutrons (half life approx.10 days) and before you know what the Shroud will then be impregnated with radioisotopes such as chlorine-36 and calcium- 41 that Antonacci and his pressure group (if invited in with their scanners) could later proclaim to the world as proof that the Christian story based on Resurrection is proven – and a lot more besides (he reckons, see below ) as to the mechanism of resurrection.

You think I’m exaggerating?

See Antonacci comment from this site in September: (my bolding)

https://shroudstory.com/2013/09/16/speaking-of-more-scientific-testing-of-the-shroud/#comment-44624

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.

And on the Petition site:(my bolding)

A leading hypothesis published in Scientific Research and Essays in 2012 asserts that particle radiation was emitted from the length and width of Jesus’ dead body while he was wrapped in the Shroud, and it was this “event” which caused the unique images on the cloth. Molecular and atomic testing could prove that hypothesis to be true. ……

…..If unfakable and independent evidence was obtained to confirm this hypothesis however, it could actually be used to analyze the central premises of various religions throughout history and in our world today.

Objective and independent evidence does not exist to prove the central premises of any other religion, agnosticism or atheism. In contrast, the Shroud of Turin could provide thousands of unfakable items of scientific and medical evidence to prove the central premises of Christianity. This new, incomparable evidence could lessen or remove the underlying bases for many of the world’s ongoing wars and conflicts. The world has everything to gain and nothing to lose by the proposed molecular and atomic testing of the Shroud of Turin. . . .

David Goulet responds:

Would the sabotage you are mentioning lead to ‘unfakable’ evidence? If there is a way to skew the evidence then doesn’t this demonstrate the evidence is indeed fakable? And now that skeptics like yourself are aware of the possibility of sabotage, this would undermine authenticity claims based on said testing.

For myself, I share your fear. There is a segment of Christianity that pushes a Christian triumphalism and the Shroud could be be exploited by them. The thought that Christians would use the Shroud to proselytize turns my stomach. It has been called the Silent Witness…that is exactly how it should be seen. If God wanted it to preach he would have added audio to it.

Hmmm, that makes me wonder… could there be audio properties encoded in it? Who needs flowers and coins when you could have music and soundbites. :)

The Antonacci proposal is probably dead.

42 thoughts on “Blowing the Antonacci Proposal to bits”

  1. The problem is the narrowness of the proposal, focused on Antonacci’s theory. To the extent that new examinations are done they must be not focused on anyone’s particular thesis.

  2. Suppose Antonacci’s tests show what he expects. Suddenly it will be the skeptics who will scream about contamination and conspiracies. And I might need to agree with them. But not to worry. It is not going to happen.

    1. That’s exactly why I think that if there is a new round of direct testing on the Shroud in the future, the team that will be acknowledged by the Vatican will have to be formed ONLY by scientists that have never publicly proposed any image formation hypothesis versus the Shroud or else, the project will be suspicious from the very beginning and will leave the door to every possible critics from the skeptics (if the team would be composed of well-known pro-Shroud researchers)… This is so evident for me that I hope it will be as evident for the persons at the Vatican who will take the decision one day to allow a new series of direct tests on the relic.

      1. Complementary note: Such a team should not include guys like Fazio, Mandaglio, DeSalvo, etc. (researchers who have proposed natural image formation hypotheses), no more than Fanti, Di Lazzaro, Jackson, etc. (researchers who have proposed supernatural image formation hypotheses) and surely not Colin Berry or anyone else who have proposed an image formation hypothesis involving a human forgery.

        If this “caution” principle is not respected, we’re done.

  3. As commented more than once on this blog:

    a) If the TS is ever “proved” to be a fake it will not demolish Christianity
    b) If it can be “proved” in some way or the other that it demonstrates the Resurrection, there will still be many more questions to answer.

    Let us now turn our attention to Jacobovici with his “Jesus family tomb” hypothesis for we have here another example of extremes, this time with the use of bad archaeology, and by someone who is not an archaeologist. Anyone who has read enough about the topic knows that this hypothesis has been dismissed by the topmost scholars. So what did he do? He has appealed to the Patio tomb, twenty metres away, bringing in yet another theory, based on flimsy evidence. He went to the extent of bringing world-renowned epigrapher Father Émile Puech into the scene to show the less accurate of two replicas of the so-called Jonah ossuary leading the priest into a trap, the same thing he did with Professor François Bovon, who died last week. Nothing has been proved, but that does not deter him. He also smiled when Father Puech told him that Jesus was resurrected and so there could be no remains in any ossuary.

    Realising that this second theory is also bound to fall apart, he has now announced a (bombastic) book and documentary to be launched together with Discovery in a few months time. And what is it about? It is about “God’s bride”, that is, Jesus and Mary Magdalene. And what is it based on? A fourth-century, repeat, fourth century, gnostic document. Worse, he has twisted the meaning of one line to suit his fancies. Well, by now he should know that he will not have the success he expects because the flaws have already been shown by some of the world’s best scholars.

    Jacobovici is also one-track minded, he has not studied enough, and if he did he would think twice about what he is proposing, realising that he faces the possibility of being swallowed by quicksand in the very beach he is taking us to see some entertainment which he is advertising as serious studies. He who smiles last smiles most.

    We should avoid extreme positions, whether it comes to the TS or to developments in Biblical Archaeology.

  4. I deliberately omitted a third ingredient from the neutron-generating mixture, needed to make it fit- for-purpose (wouldn’t want to make things too easy for our would-be Resurrection-simulators now, would we?).

    Missing ingredient? Like the americium-241, it’s also in most if not all homes, and could probably be used “as-is” or crushed down to a powder, after separating from a protective and supportive botanical outer layer. No more clues…

  5. Anonymous :
    Complementary note: Such a team should not include guys like Fazio, Mandaglio, DeSalvo, etc. (researchers who have proposed natural image formation hypotheses), no more than Fanti, Di Lazzaro, Jackson, etc. (researchers who have proposed supernatural image formation hypotheses) and surely not Colin Berry or anyone else who have proposed an image formation hypothesis involving a human forgery.
    If this “caution” principle is not respected, we’re done.

    Sounds suspiciously like a form of scientific excommunication if you ask me… It’s not scientists, good, bad or indifferent, who need cutting out of the picture. It’s over-opinionated folk like our born-again Anonymous who simply haven’t the first clue as to how science operates – namely as an interplay within the one mind of hypothesis and experimental fact. No principle (far less preconception) nor placed-on-pedestal personality, living or dead, can or should ever be accorded protected-status in science. One should not be having to say this.

    1. One thing’s for sure: If I was the Pope, no way you, Fanti or Fazio would ever put their hands on the relic. Way too much danger of bias and the only reason you disagree with me is the fact that you are included in the batch.

      For example: Would you trust any scientific conclusion about the risk associated with smoking coming from a scientists whos researches would be paid by the cigarette industry? No way! Too much risk of bias. Same thing regarding the Shroud. There are a lot of “scientists” around here who already have made up their mind about the nature of the image while they publicly defend one hypothesis over the others. So,if some of them put their hands on the relic, it’s highly probable that, consciously or not, the reading and analysis of the new data would get somewhat biased by some preconcieve notions they have. You know like me that, in science, the data are not always neutral in the sense that you can take 2 different scientists and give them the same set of data and they will get to 2 different conclusions based on these data for the simple reason that they will have 2 different ways of understanding and analyzing these data…

      In sum, it would be much better for the credibility of Shroud science if the next round of researches on the cloth would include only to-notch scientists who have not proposed or defended publicly any known hypothesis regarding image formation and/or regarding the question of whether or not this is the authentic burial cloth of Jesus Christ. Sorry for those who already have come to the public place to tell their ideas about the relic…

      1. “Would you trust any scientific conclusion about the risk associated with smoking coming from a scientists whos researches would be paid by the cigarette industry?”

        Bad choice of analogy. Not so long ago, in a different context, I posted a photograph of myself in the company of the scientist/statistician who established the link between smoking and lung cancer.

        http://shroudofturinwithoutallthehype.wordpress.com/2013/10/11/a-possible-new-approach-to-learning-more-about-the-chemical-make-up-of-the-shrouds-image/

        It was the conference at which I first unveiled my most cited scientific paper (some 360 times according to Google Scholar). Check it for yourself – put Berry, C.S into Google Scholar.

        I repeat: you simply do not have the first clue about the way science works. Your attempts to turn it into a loyalty test (your test) are naive and frankly offensive.

      2. The fact is this: I would never trust any “pro-scorch” conclusions coming from you if you could had direct access to the Shroud (thank God, that will never happen) for the simple and good reason that the Shroud image is not a scorch and this conclusion has been independently confirmed by a lot of experts. You could still believe this for yourself but the simple fact that the blood on the Shroud is real blood coming from the Shroud is enough to discard your bad review of the data.

    2. I just want to add that, because of the fact that the data are not always neutral depending on the kind of reading that is done, that’s precisely why I prefer to put my trust on INDEPENDENTLY CONFIRMED CONCLUSIONS regarding the Shroud. And so far, based on this, the most reliable conclusions I have founded are 1- The bloodstains are made from real blood and, most probably, this blood is the one of the man whos body image is imprinted on the cloth (therefore, the Shroud is an authentic burial cloth of a dead and crucified man who had the same bloody stigmata as Jesus of the Gospel and who spent less than 48 hours in that cloth). 2- The body image on the cloth is the result of an interaction (probably natural) between the dead body of that man and the inner surface of the cloth (the one that was facing the corpse). 3- The image, because of some very specific properties like the discontinuous distribution of colored fibers in the image area and its extreme superficiality, cannot have been the result of a man made forgery, nor it could have been caused by some high-energetic by-product of the Resurrection of Christ.

      For the moment, and until new solid independent conclusions could be found, that’s where I stand regarding the Shroud. Even if I’m not a scientist myself, I don’t think this way to see things regarding this relic is very dumb…

      1. “Even if I’m not a scientist myself, I don’t think this way to see things regarding this relic is very dumb”.

        Like playing the same record, over and over again, it is not necessarily dumb. It’s just tedious and monotonous.

        (Has it ever occurred to you that your “experts” from 10 or 20 years ago, if still alive, might be willing to reconsider their views in the light of more recent information, and rather resent your attempts to set their now dated views in concrete?)

      2. Fazio and Mandaglio (two real experts in radiation – nuclear phycisists – who should know the characteristics of a scorch) are still writing papers about the Shroud nowdays, so I don’t know what you mean by “dated views”.

        And here’s my reasoning about that: The bloodstains alone (especially the fact that these stains were formed on the cloth prior to the image formation and the very probable fact that these stains are coming from an highly traumatized person) are enough to understand that the Shroud image came from an interaction between a dead body and the top surface of the cloth and we both know that a dead body doesn’t emit enough heat radiations to scorch a linen cloth. Consequently, the Shroud image is surely not a scorch. Fazio and Mandaglio (as well as Rogers if he was still here) would say the same thing. And Fazio and Mandaglio would also told you that it’s scientifically impossible to obtain the kind of discontinuous distribution of colored fibers in the image area with any kind of scorch. Why don’t you think like them?

      3. Fazio and Mandaglio would also told you that the sort of discontinuous distribution of colored fibers on the Shroud is only obtainable through a very mild and natural process, which still need to be fully determined.

      4. By the way, this conclusion that the image formation on the Shroud was very mild and involved only a low release of energy is totally consistent with another important data coming from the Shroud, which is that the bloodstains (except those in the damaged areas of the 1532 fire) were never exposed to a high level of heat.

  6. sorry off topic…
    here in Aus, hot news on the ABC today was the fraudulent research of University of Queensland researchers re: Parkinson’s disease.
    Here is an older article, nothing newer I can find:

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-09-03/uq-investigates-study-that-might-never-have-happened/4932648

    Just once again shows that academics are not necessarily saints, and that ‘research’ can of course be tainted by the almighty $$$

    Note I am not implying that the radiocarbon work was fraudulent, but rather just aim to show that fraudulent research at credible academic institutions can and does occur

    1. Who needs “fraudulent” radiocarbon-dating laboratories when it is ‘discovered’ after the event that the material they had been given was a youthful repair patch? They could have been the most honest and decent folk in the world, but still have seen their work and reputations trashed for having had the audacity to return a result in error by some 1300 years, one that all honest and decent folk can see to be contrary to the Overwhelming Weight of Other Evidence.

  7. sorry again off topic. I’ve just viewed Barrie’s TED talk. Good presentation, he comes across very likeable.
    Interesting that he seems a big believer in Shroud authenticity, but has reaffirmed his Jewish faith. So, I can only guess he considers a naturalistic cause for the Shroud image (I’m assuming if he believed in miraculous creation he might have converted to Christianity?)

    1. Really? You’d have to ask him, but I don’t think the book of Genesis is the exclusive property of Christians…

  8. Anonymous :
    By the way, this conclusion that the image formation on the Shroud was very mild and involved only a low release of energy is totally consistent with another important data coming from the Shroud, which is that the bloodstains (except those in the damaged areas of the 1532 fire) were never exposed to a high level of heat.

    I addressed that argument of Rogers’ within weeks of getting interested in this subject (almost 2 years ago), stating that Rogers had almost certainly mistaken 4-hydroxyproline as constituent of normal blood, when it is present in mere traces, and is in fact a marker for connective tissue collagen, possibly, indeed probably, animal-derived collagen (which Rogers himself later acknowledged).

    For all your pretensions to bookishness, you have taken absolutely none of this on board. That’s because in chemical and scientific matters generally you are way out of your depth. My advice to you is to stick to the things you know about, stop lecturing others who have spent their entire careers immersed in this kind of detail (oh, and change the record).

    1. It’s very funny to see that, for every pieces of evidence that goes against the scorch hypothesis (some of which have been independently confirmed by experts over the years), you seem to ALWAYS have a different conclusion that, guess what, is ALWAYS fitting good with your own hypothesis about the scorch!

      As I said earlier, a lot of times in science, data are not neutral! In fact, it’s not so much the data itself that matter but the way you will read, interpret and analyze these data. And in this case, it’s very hard for a scientist (because he is first and foremost a poor human being sinner like anyone else) to not be tempted to push the data in direction of his preconceive ideas. I might be wrong but it seem to me that you are doing just that with the Shroud data…

      1. Sorry but I just wanted to get a good summary of your personal hypothesis regarding the image formation. I have not followed all the post you wrote on this blog and I have not read much of your own blog, so I would like to know the summary of it and why you don’t agree with the conclusions of experts in radiation like Rogers, Fazio and Mandaglio (who have or had nothing to gain from those conclusions except getting a bit closer to solving the “mystery” of the Shroud…

  9. Anonymous :
    Sorry but I just wanted to get a good summary of your personal hypothesis regarding the image formation. I have not followed all the post you wrote on this blog and I have not read much of your own blog, so I would like to know the summary of it and why you don’t agree with the conclusions of experts in radiation like Rogers, Fazio and Mandaglio (who have or had nothing to gain from those conclusions except getting a bit closer to solving the “mystery” of the Shroud…

    It’s impossible to discuss the ideas of Fazio and Mandaglio unless one has high-definition photomicrographs in front of one, preferably of the Shroud image areas alongside model scorches. Links?

    1. PS: It’s hard to tell how much credence one can place on all the confident claims for the Shroud image having this or that special character at the microscopic level, e.g.interruptions, striations etc when one personally has not seen the evidence in close up. One wonders in fact if everyone is working from the same Mark Evans/Barrie Schwortz photomicrographs that appear in the 2010 Fanti et al paper on microscopic versus macroscopic aspects of the Shroud image (available in open access pdf format on a tab on the following link):

      http://docserver.ingentaconnect.com/deliver/connect/ist/10623701/v54n4/s1.pdf?expires=1383868381&id=76156936&titleid=72010085&accname=Guest+User&checksum=FE438FED5C0A58ED995D793814E07220

      Scroll down to Fig. 7 and read the caption, and try spotting the details that are described. Some might feel, like me, that at least 5 times the magnification is needed to be sure that one is really seeing all those details, that they are consistent features, and that they represent something terribly unexpected and out of the ordinary for an ancient discolored piece of linen. If the high-tech claims by Fazio and Mandaglio for the Shroud image being stochastic and quantized etc (and thus created we are told, first as a latent image with low energy input, and then developed later etc etc,) are also based on these same photographs, at the same inadequate level of magnification, then a healthy degree of scepticism is in order methinks.

      I have another niggle re that Fig 7: the comparison for a “contact-only” image is a rust stain on the Shroud. I would like to have seen what the fainter scorch edges look like too, and, in due course, model scorches alongside the Shroud image before too many castles get built in the sky. Heat scorches do not have to be high localized, i.e. restricted to points of actual contacts, since pyrolysis gases (superheated steam etc with a high thermal energy content) entering the interstices of the weave may exert effects at a distance, and that’s without considering Garlaschelli-style scenarios with hot adhering particles of ochre or other thermosensitizing pigments that “etch” the fabric after gentle roasting in an oven, maybe in a more subtle fashion than simply pressing a hot bas-relief template directly against the cloth.

      1. I always tend to trust more scientists like Pellicori of STURP (a real imagery expert by the way) who was there in Turin in 1978 and saw the Shroud with his own eyes (and through a microscope)… And since he published his observations in a peer-reviewed journal and said to the world that the Shroud image was extremely superficial (no more than 2 or 3 colored fibers in deep) and that it clearly show a discontinuous distribution of colored fibers in the image area, I have no good reason right now to not trust such observations, especially when I consider the fact that these observations never were put in doubt by any other STURP researchers who were also present on location in Turin. I think the only reason you doubt these observation Colin is the fact that they are extremely problematic for your personal idea of what might have produced the Shroud image!

      2. Complementary comment: As Fazio and Mandaglio have pointed out, considering all the known characteristics of the Shroud image (especially the two I mentioned in my previous post), the best type of process that can fit with these are the stochastic processes (all natural), while the forgery hypotheses as well as those related to a burst of high-energetic radiation (that include the one involving an electrostatic discharge at the time of an extremely hypothetical earthquake) MUST be discarded because they simply cannot account (theoretically speaking) with all these known characteristics.

        Consequently, CAN WE PLEASE START TO SEARCH IN WHAT REALLY LOOKS LIKE THE RIGHT DIRECTION FOR ONCE (i.e. a natural and complex phenomenon or phenomenons that most probably yield a latent image that took maybe décades to fully develop)?

  10. Anonymous :
    I always tend to trust more scientists like Pellicori of STURP (a real imagery expert by the way) who was there in Turin in 1978 and saw the Shroud with his own eyes (and through a microscope)… And since he published his observations in a peer-reviewed journal and said to the world that the Shroud image was extremely superficial (no more than 2 or 3 colored fibers in deep) and that it clearly show a discontinuous distribution of colored fibers in the image area, I have no good reason right now to not trust such observations, especially when I consider the fact that these observations never were put in doubt by any other STURP researchers who were also present on location in Turin. I think the only reason you doubt these observation Colin is the fact that they are extremely problematic for your personal idea of what might have produced the Shroud image!

    There’s nothing in the least bit problematical for me as regards superficial images on linen, having done experiments (unlike you) and reported what I see, with accompanying photographs, like the ability to imprint an intense scorch image on a single layer of plant cells (onion epidermis) with scarcely any effect on underlying linen.

    What is problematical is the way that you and others bandy around the term “discontinuous distribution of coloured fibres” without bothering to produce high magnification photographs to illustrate exactly what you mean, and failing to eliminate the heterogeneity of the retted flax fibre surface as the possible cause of that heterogeneity. You and others are far too quick to see mystery, giving your agenda-driven pro-authenticity spiel (plus tirades and personal attacks) a veneer of superficial plausibility by recourse to second-hand stochastic mumbo jumbo and quantum weirdness without ever stopping to consider the basics of flax botany or the vagaries of retting biotechnology.

    Sorry, but I’m not impressed by your MO. But then, I’m just a boring old experimentalist (and hypothesis-tester).

    1. If you’re not willing to listen to me (that can be understandable because I’m no scientist), I think you should start to listen to real experts in radiations like Fazio, Mandaglio and Rogers who worked all their life in this field of science… And when I hear experts like that telling me that I must forget any image formation mechanism that involved a release of high energetic radiation of any kind (for the simple reason that if this was the case, all the superficial fibers of the colored threads on the Shroud would be colored, which is not the case at all), I LISTEN CAREFULLY AND HAVE NO REASON TO NOT TRUST THEIR PROFESSIONAL JUDGMENT (at least, until I get some proofs of their intellectual dishonesty versus the Shroud, which I never found in their cases so far).

      If three well-recognized experts in heart surgery that never have been accused of being intellectually dishonest or of working with an agenda being their back would say to you that, without any doubt, heating carrots cannot gives you a heart attack, why would you not trust their professional judgment? For me, it’s exactly the same thing for the professional judgment of Fazio, Mandaglio and Rogers regarding the scientific impossibility of high energetic radiations to have produced an image with all the same properties as the one on the Shroud…

      1. If we cannot trust the judgment of well-known and acknowledged experts in their scientific fields, then where are we going (this is true in sindonology as well as in any other domain)?

  11. “CAN WE PLEASE START TO SEARCH IN WHAT REALLY LOOKS LIKE THE RIGHT DIRECTION FOR ONCE (i.e. a natural and complex phenomenon or phenomenons that most probably yield a latent image that took maybe décades to fully develop)?” Of course we can. Some of us do. But why plead in capital letters? Linen, urea, myrrh, ammonia, madder root and all the rest are available in Canada as well as the UK. Why not get some and experiment for yourself?

    1. Why not? Because I’m no scientist and I truly don’t have the false pretention to act like one! :-) And if some do, I just hope they will do their experiment properly while following the scientific method, which include taking account of all the pertinent data coming from the Shroud (and not just some of those).

  12. Anonymous :
    If we cannot trust the judgment of well-known and acknowledged experts in their scientific fields, then where are we going (this is true in sindonology as well as in any other domain)?

    Since when has science progressed by “trusting the judgement of experts” whether well-known and acknowledged experts? In any case, none of the people you mention are or were household name scientists, like Nobel Prize winner Linus Pauling – yet even he got it completely wrong with DNA, forgetting that DNA is an acid (deoxyribonucleic acid), so cannot use its acidic (phosphate) functions for modelling its secondary structure.

    You need to read, or maybe re-read, Watson’s Double Helix to be reminded that the best scientists have amazing blind spots and lacunae of ignorance (Crick couldn’t even be bothered to learn the structural formulae of the nucleotide bases of DNA, crucial for modelling, instantly losing credibilty at a crucial meeting with the Wilkins/Franklin team at Kings College London).

  13. Hugh wrote: “I shall never heat carrots again…”

    My reply: I think it would be better for you to start trusting the profesionnal judgment of guys like Rogers, Adler, Fazio and Mandaglio instead! ;-)

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