Colin Berry On Rogers and Arnoldi Paper

imageYesterday, Colin Berry, in one of his updates to his seemingly always evolving and meandering long postings, tells us what he would have done had he been refereeing Rogers’ and Arnoldi’s paper, “THE SHROUD OF TURIN: AN AMINO-CARBONYL REACTION (MAILLARD REACTION) MAY EXPLAIN THE IMAGE FORMATION”, which appeared in the peer-reviewed journal Melanoidins:

Had the paper come to me for refereeing… it would have been rejected out of hand.

I’d have appended the following specific comments to the author and journal Editor:

1. Do not go citing Pliny the Elder out of the blue, begging the question re Shroud authenticity, implying that the radiocarbon dating can be safely ignored.  Oh no it cannot. The author might think it invalid, based on his examination of a few threads illicitly removed from the radiocarbon sample, with a subsequent gap in the chain of custody. But he cannot expect others to take his rejection as the consensus position in science. It’s not. Indeed, the manner in which Pliny has been insinuated into the above text suggests strongly that Raymond N.Rogers was not strictly neutral and disinterested on the subject of authenticity when he penned the above paper, making it worryingly possible that he was not  neutral at the time he worked with STURP in 1978. It’s my belief that Rogers was a closet authenticist. If he considered the radiocarbon dating, then he as STURP’s chemical team leader should have been the one to press for a repeat dating – not to go tacitly assuming authenticity. Science has to be totally objective in its written PEER-REVIEWED publications.

2.The presence of starch "confirmed" with a reagent that designed to test for something entirely different? The correct reagent for detecting starch is a solution of iodine in potassium iodide, which gives a blue-black inky colour with starch. A solution of iodine in sodium azide, intended to detect sulphoproteins, one that gives a totally different colour (red), CANNOT be assumed to be testing for starch UNLESS VALIDATING TESTS ARE REPORTED.  They were not. We are asked to accept that iodine/azide is a dual purpose reagent. Who says? Neither does it inspire confidence to see a reference to "amilose", it being AMYLOSE needless to say. Secondly the differentiation between amylose (straight chain starch) and the unmentioned amylopectin (branched chain starch) simply cannot be inserted into a scientific account without a word of explanation. In nay case, the two components of starch were not properly recognized as distinct chemical entities until the 1940s. Their relevance to colorimetric tests for starch is highly questionable to say the least, unless dealing with genetic variants of wheat that are enriched in one or the other (e.g. waxy maize starches that are almost entirely amylopectin, which gives a red or purple colour with iodine/potassium iodide). What we see here is at best sloppy and imprecise unscientific reporting that should never have got past the referees.

3. There is no conclusive evidence that starch or other polysaccharides and/or sugars are  present on the Shroud, and even if the red colour with iodine/azide were admissible evidence, for which no assurance is offered, the evidence for that was from Adler and Heller. One CANNOT GO BASING MAJOR CLAIMS (as Roger’s "starch fraction/Maillard hypothesis" has become a major claim) on evidence from other workers, in other laboratories, that is little more than anecdotal.


12 thoughts on “Colin Berry On Rogers and Arnoldi Paper”

  1. As long as there is experimental data with chemistry in the study of thermoanalytical usage, the paper is entitled to be published in Thermochimica Acta. I would conclude however, other publications may not find it suitable.

    1. Giorgio, a little bit off-top.

      A few months back I asked you whether it is posssible to publish the “Proceedings of the 1977 United States Conference of research on the Shroud of Turin.” on the HSG website. You confirmed that yes, but still up to this date those documents are not published. Do you still plan to make them available online? It would be great help for researchers.


      1. What I did find is the 1977 Workshop Proceedings of the United States Conference of Research on the Shroud of Turin (March, 1977). Is this what you’re looking for?

    2. When I get a chance I will scan the pages and let you know when it’s uploaded.

  2. Colin,

    We study your theories and experiments with genuine interest. Why would you want to suppress any scientific analysis?

    Your efforts have only proved how the Shroud image was not formed. This I do appreciate.

    “By doubting we come to truth.” Cicero

  3. Unfortunately it is now already ten years since the death
    of the famous Dr. Ray Rogers, an expert in the field
    of thermo-chemical controls, and no one seems to have
    been able to extend its research in that area…

    >…Starch “toasts” much more easily than cellulose, giving
    the familiar colors from yellow through brown. …

    For example:
    Where are the AFM controls on adequate experiments?
    Until now we have not yet seen the result from the AFM controls.
    Why no interest to show us the truth?

    I think Colin Berry does not seem to really consider the use
    of AFM techniques for advanced control of his experiments.
    But, on the other hand, I see that he is far enough away
    from what is the concrete reality of the old textile fabric (the Shroud).
    [I apologize for that judgment, a bit harsh…].
    So, the advanced microscopies should apply mainly
    to the simulations that are incontrovertible close
    to that ancient textile repert.

  4. Unlike some “Shroudies” I never believed that the Maillard reaction and Ray Rogers are essential in authenticating the Shroud:
    Chemistry is only part of the story, physics and history are also involved, so there was no reason for him to press for a repeat dating.

    1. Louis wrote:
      >Unlike some “Shroudies” I never believed that the Maillard reaction and Ray Rogers are essential in authenticating the Shroud …

      In itself this claim seems to be strange.
      I never believed these things (Maillard reaction, and [perhaps] Dr. RR claims
      on Vanillin loss from Lignin…) as essential facts…

      What is the meaning about the Maillard reaction and Ray Rogers
      with respect the authentication of the Shroud?
      I don’t see a clear connection!
      Can you explain us more exactly on this subject?…

      1. In other words, in my idea, it is possible a new dating (as Prof. Giulio Fanti indicated with the didactical works based on “mechanical dating”…) based on SPM controls.

  5. Piero wrote, “this claim seems to be strange”. It is’nt, and it becomes clear in the interviews that can be accessed by clicking on the links above.

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