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Guest Posting on the Thermochimica Acta Editorial

O.K., a frequent participant in this forum, writes:


Bella, Garlaschelli & Samperi editorial exposed

In the beginning, I want to say that this response to the editorial of Bella, Garlaschelli & Samperi editorial in Thermochimica Acta (TCA, freely available until 30th October 2015) is not focused about mass spectrometry, pyrolysis, nor any of the purely scientific issues regarding it. Those issues will be addressed in much more comprehensive response to TCA, being prepared by Thibault Heimburger. It is not about whether Rogers was right or wrong in his paper. Nor it is not about authenticity of the Shroud. It is mainly about style (and the ethics) presented in that editorial, which is enough to discredit it as a scientific publication, and prove it to be actually a manipulation of the reader. This response is based purely on the text of that editorial, Rogers article, and Marco Bella comments in the thread Editorial in Thermochimica Acta by Bella, Garlaschelli and Samperi on Rogers’ 2005 Article on http://shroudstory.com/.

One fundamental rule: in scientific publications the text must be as precise as possible. No vague, or ambiguous terms.

Having that in mind, let’s look at the title of the editorial:

There is no mass spectrometry evidence that the C14 sample from the Shroud of Turin comes from a “medieval invisible mending”

Why not simply:

There is no evidence that the C14 sample from the Shroud of Turin comes from a “medieval invisible mending” ?

Why did they need to insert those two bolded words?

Because, as we will see, the two bolded words change the meaning of the title diametrically.

Nevertheless, Marco Bella wrote in a comment (September 8, 2015 at 2:48 am):

Dear Tristan,

You might be right that the word “medieval” is not fully appropriate in the title. It might give the impression of not ruling out the possibility that the mending has been executed at another time, while there is actually no evidence of whatsoever mending. […] Since they first used this term to describe their theory, I feel it is correct to keep it, even if there is no evidence at all to support this pseudoscientific hypothesis and the term might be not fully appropriate. -my emphasis.

So no evidence, or no mass spectrometry evidence? Because the two phrases mean two entirely different things!

Rogers wrote in the abstract of his paper:

Preliminary estimates of the kinetics constants for the loss of vanillin from lignin indicate a much older age for the cloth than the radiocarbon analyses. The radiocarbon sampling area is uniquely coated with a yellow–brown plant gum containing dye lakes. Pyrolysis-mass-spectrometry results from the sample area coupled with microscopic and microchemical observations prove that the radiocarbon sample was not part of the original cloth of the Shroud of Turin. The radiocarbon date was thus not valid for determining the true age of the shroud. -my emphasis.

And also on pg. 193 (this can be treated as a sort of conclusions of that paper):

The combined evidence from chemical kinetics, analytical chemistry, cotton content, and pyrolysis/ms proves that the material from the radiocarbon area of the shroud is significantly different from that of the main cloth. The radiocarbon sample was thus not part of the original cloth and is invalid for determining the age of the shroud.-my emphasis.

While Rogers based his reasoning on combination of observations, data and measurements, in contrast Bella, Garlaschelli & Samperi concentrate only on mass spectrometry (which was not the only, nor even principal method Rogers used)- According to the Author, however, the key evidence to support his thesis is the analysis of two pyrolysis spectra(pg. 170 of Editorial ) dismissing all other evidence as the unspecific qualitative chemical tests presented by Rogers (pg. 171). In general the editorial is full of insinuations, weasel phrases, and derogatory terms -extremely bad style for scientific publication. But it lacks a very key element. Rogers wrote The combined evidence from chemical kinetics, analytical chemistry, cotton content, and pyrolysis/ms

NOWHERE IN THE EDITORIAL THERE IS A WORD COTTON!

Therefore writing There is no mass spectrometry evidence, instead of no evidence is misleading people -especially coupled with concluding remark Therefore, none of the presented data supports the conclusion by Rogers. As we have seen, the authors did not analyze nor address fully Rogers claims. Writing There is no mass spectrometry evidence is de facto admitting that there is some other evidence for invisible mending -of which even the authors in their apparent desire to debunk Rogers had apparently forgotten.

The word “cotton” is the SMOKING GUN that the editorial of Bella, Garlaschelli & Samperi is at least a manipulation of the reader.

Objections that the cotton issue will be addressed elsewhere? Not allowed: Marco Bella himself wrote in a comment (September 7, 2015 at 12:16 pm):

When evaluating a scientific paper, the analysis must be limited to what is actually written or referenced in the paper. The “ideas” of the author written somewhere else (specifically, a book which did not pass any peer-review) are of no significance for our editorial. I just focus on the reported data in Rogers’ TA paper This is how science works.

So be it -with regards to Bella as well!

The main question for Bella et al., given all what Rogers wrote, and what Bella et. al wrote (and nothing else) –is there any evidence for invisible mending? YES OR NO?

This editorial is not only below any scientific, but moreover below any ethical standards -and as such, it should have been not allowed for publication.

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