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Comment of the Week by Thibault Heimburger

May 12, 2012 41 comments

imageThibault Heimburger writes by way of a comment:

Dear Yannick my friend,

You know me and I know you.
You know that for me Ray Rogers was a "master", a true scientist (perhaps the only one in Shroud studies).
You know that I have studied in depth all the papers, articles etc.. you are quoting.

The truth, in my opinion, is that there is absolutely no possibility…to know the truth.
There is absolutely no mean to be sure that the image chromophore  is carried by the pcw or by an " impurity layer".

Please show me a single fact (from Rogers himself) demonstrating that the "impurity layer" is the only possibility.
Maybe he was right, maybe not. ALL the facts are consistent with both possibilities.

Warm regards.

Thibault.

Yannick had written:

That’s why, in the present state of our knowledge about the body image on the Shroud, the only thing we can say for sure is that it results from a dehydration-oxydation process on the top-surface of the cloth. For the question of the real chromophore of the image, it is still scientifically unproven yet.

And that was the point. The image is a molecular change to the primary cell well of the fiber or to an impurity layer. We don’t know which. Yannick has just received the endorsement of one the best Shroud of Turin scholars out there.

May I also recommend Thibault’s A DETAILED CRITICAL REVIEW OF THE CHEMICAL STUDIES ON THE TURIN SHROUD: FACTS AND INTERPRETATIONS.

Sentence One in the Richard Dawkins Challenge is Wrong. Period.

May 11, 2012 27 comments

imageThe following is a carefully researched, well thought out guest posting by Yannick Clément. I have been arguing that the first sentence in the list of image criteria in the Challenge to Richard Dawkins is erroneous and misleading. This is something that Dawkins or anyone else will quickly realize if they research the topic. It completely destroys the scientific credibility of the challenge and as a consequence, I believe, it will be ignored. 

Yannick initially wrote the following as a comment for the posting, Where’s the Beef? I felt is should be it’s own posting and with his kind permission I have made it so. I welcome other guest posting from anyone in SSG, particularly anyone mentioned in this posting. (English is a second language for Yannick, as it is for many shroud researchers and students of the shroud. Kindly keep this in mind. I have not edited to improve word usage). (Revised at 9:12 A.M.)

An analysis of many quotes from Raymond N. Rogers
regarding the chromophore of the body image on the Shroud of Turin

By Yannick Clément

In the present state of our knowledge about the Shroud, it is impossible to be 100% sure about the chromophore of the body image (i.e. what exactly was affected by the image formation process, whether it be the primary cell wall of the linen fiber or a thin layer of impurities present only on top of the fiber). As we can see, there’s 2 different hypothesis that are proposed and, scientifically speaking, no one can say for sure which one is correct.

In order to have a better understanding of the thinking of Ray Rogers about the chromophore of the image on the Shroud, I started to look in every papers written by Rogers for the exact comments he made on the (still debated) question of the chromophore of the body image.

First, here’s what we can read in page 29 of the paper “Scientific method applied to the Shroud of Turin” : “The color of image fibers was often stripped off of their surfaces, leaving COLORLESS CELLULOSE FIBERS. The color reside ONLY ON THE SURFACE OF THE FIBERS.” Maybe Rogers didn’t say EXPLICITELY that the linen fibers were UNDAMMAGED after the colored layer had been pulled off, but nevertheless, he used the word “COLORLESS” which really is a synonimous in this context. And in his answer to question #12 of his paper “Shroud of Turin FAQ”, Rogers said that those “ghosts” of coloration were a CONFIRMATION of the fact that the diimide would reduce the color on the fibers, leaving undammaged fibers behind.

Those 2 observations made by Adler (i.e., the diimide reduction and the ghosts) were so important for Rogers that he started to realize that the conclusion he made with STURP about the chromophore of the image (he thought that the dehydration-oxydation process affected directly the linen fiber), was probably wrong. In fact, that’s when he started to change his mind on the subject (leading him to change the conclusion he wrote in his STURP paper) and that’s when he started to look for a better explanation in regard of the new facts he learned from Adler.

And more than that, for Rogers, the reduction of the coloration with diimide and the presence of “ghosts” of coloration in the sticky tapes were part of a larger spectrum of observations that lead him to conclude that the linen fibers themselves (including the primary cell wall) were NOT affected directly by the image formation process, but, instead, it was most probably a very thin layer of impurities ON the surface of the fibers that were colored.

Here’s some of the most important quotes from Rogers about this important question :

1- The medullas of colored image fibers are not colored. The cellulose WAS NOT INVOLVED in color production. The cellulose of the image HAD NOT CHANGED as a result of image formation.

2- Heller and Adler found that the image fibers could be decolorized with diimide. Reduction left COLORLESS, UNDAMAGED CELLULOSE FIBERS BEHIND.

3- Heller and Alder also reported that “ghosts” of color were stripped off of fibers by the adhesive of sampling tapes when they were pulled out of the adhesive and that the insides of the fibers were colorless.

4- The “ghosts” had the SAME CHEMICAL COMPOSITION as expected from DEHYDRATED CARBOHYDRATES.

5- Because chemical rates are exponential with temperature, cellulose would react MUCH MORE SLOWLY than other carbohydrates.

6- At high optical magnifications, up to 1000X, no coatings could be resolve on the surfaces of image fibers; however, the surfaces appeared to be “CORRODED”. That observation suggests that a VERY THIN COATING OF CARBOHYDRATE had been significantly dehydrated on the OUTER SURFACES of the fibers.

7- The color is ONLY ON THE OUTER SURFACES of the image fibers. This suggest that the impurities were the result of cloth-production methods and they should appear on all parts of the cloth. Until this time, we had assumed that the image color was a result of chemical changes in the cellulose of the fiber.

8- The spectra STRONGLY SUGGEST that the impurities were CARBOHYDRATES that DEHYDRATED as a result of IMAGE-FORMATION PROCESS.

9- The EVIDENCE IS STRONG that the image IS NOT a result of dehydration of the cellulose by any mechanism.

10- Since the cellulose was not colored, the impurities had to be SIGNIFICANTLY less stable than cellulose.

11- If preexisting impurities enabled image formation, some should have still been on the Shroud at the time of the 1532 fire. A search of tape samples from lightly-scorched areas revealed GHOSTS that appeared to be IDENTICAL to those from image areas. Thin layers of colored impurities had stripped off from scorched fibers that were COMPLETELY ISOLATED FROM IMAGE AREAS.

12- During the tape sampling on the Shroud done by Rogers, much less force was required to remove tapes from image areas than from non-image areas.

13- The image spectra were essentialy IDENTICAL to those of AGED LINEN and LIGHT SCORCHED. The structures of ALL FORMS OF DEHYDRATED CARBOHYDRATES would be VERY SIMILAR, containing complex systems of conjugated double carbon bonds. CELLULOSE IS NOT UNIQUE. Sugars and starches give the SAME TYPES of dehydration/conjugation chemical structures. Identical colored structures are produced by low-temperature reactions between reducing carbohydrates and amines, i.e., Maillard reactions.

14- Dehydration causes shrinkage; therefore, any coating of carbohydrate impurities would “CRAZE” during dehydration. Such a crazed coating would be easy to pull off with adhesive, explaining the EASY REMOVAL of tapes from image areas. Question from me : Do you really think that the primary cell wall of the linen fiber would react that way and craze if it was dehydrated, making the coloration easily removable with a sticky tape ? One thing’s for sure, I’ve never read anything in Di Lazarro’s papers that would suggest something of that nature. I think this question is important and shrould be submit to a proper scientific examination. It would be nice if a real expert in chemistry and microscopy could submit some linen samples without any coating on the fibers (modern linen fibers) to some kind of dehydration-oxydation process and verify the reaction of the primary cell wall before and after. If the primary cell wall wouldn’t craze when it dehydrate and if the coloration obtained would’t be easily removable with a sticky tape, then it would be a pretty good indicator that the coloration on the Shroud didn’t involved the primary cell wall. And I think the first samples that should be verified like that by an expert in chemistry and microscopy are the ones produced by Di Lazarro with UV lasers. It would simply need to verify and compare the coloration area versus the non-coloration area of his samples and note the differences in the physical aspect. If the primary cell wall didn’t shrink and craze during the coloration process and if this coloration is not easily removable with a sticky tape, then we would have to think that the coloration he obtain is probably not exactly the same kind of coloration than what is on the Shroud, because, for Rogers, this was exactly the effect (shrinkage and crazing) produced by the image formation process on the surface of the linen fibers. Is there any scientist interested to verify that ?

15- NOTHING than dehydrated carbohydrate could be found in the image area.

16- Bands of different-colored yarn can be observed in the weave of the cloth. Where darker bands intersect image areas, the image is darker and where lighter bands intersect image areas, the image is lighter. THIS PROVES that the image color IS NOT SOLELY a result of reactions in the cellulose of the linen. Something ON THE SURFACE of the different batches of yarn produced color and/or accelerated color formation. This suggests that significant VARIATIONS in impurity concentrations existed among yarn batches. The observations of bands of color agree with historical reports on the methods used to produce ancient linen.

17- 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. The hypothesis on carbohydrates impurities is SUPPORTED by observations of TRACES OF SOME STARCH FRACTIONS ON IMAGE FIBERS.

18- Evaporation concentration (of impurities) CAN EXPLAIN the superficial nature of the image and the identical properties of the front and back images.

19- When a cloth is dried on a line, impurities concentrate on both evaporating surfaces, however, more impurities will deposit on whichever surface dries faster. Any concentration of impurities can take part in the image-formation reactions. This CAN explain the “doubly-superficial” image (personal note : if this doubly-superficiality is really there).

20- Image formation proceeded at NORMAL TEMPERATURES in the absence of energetic radiation of any kind.

21- Any radiation that is energetic enough or suffisciently intense to to heat the cloth enough to cause the initial dehydration reactions of cellulose would penetrate into a fiber to a distance determined by its energy. Personal note : Some people said that Di Lazarro’s experiments proved that Rogers was wrong here because he was able to obtain a coloration that didn’t penetrate into the internal part of the fiber (made almost exclusively of cellulose). But I don’t think this reasonning is true ! In his writings, when Rogers talked about “cellulose”, I don’t think he was only thinking about the internal part of the linen fiber. On the contrary, I really think that he was refeering to the whole complete linen fiber instead (INCLUDING THE PRIMARY CELL WALL). If my point of view is correct, then I think that what he said is still completely true, even in the case of the results obtained by Di Lazarro. Effectively, the coloration he obtained with UV lasers DID penetrate the first layer of cellulose material of the fiber, i.e. the primary cell wall (composed essentialy of cellulose, hemicellulose and pectin). In other words, a penetration is still a penetration, even if it affect only the first layer of an object and leave untouched his more internal part ! In this case, I think Rogers would have describe it as “a very superficial penetration due to a very low level of energy coming from the UV lasers”. In fact, that’s exactly what Rogers claimed : “…any radiation would penetrate into a fiber to a distance determined by its energy.” And what is the MOST IMPORTANT thing to note is that, for Rogers, no matter what is the dept of the penetration into the fiber, if there is a penetration, even if this penetration only affect the primary cell wall, it’s NOT THE SAME KIND OF COLORATION than what he observe on the image fibers from the Shroud. In reality, I don’t think that what Rogers said about the penetration of energetic radiation (including UV lasers) into a fiber was incorrect at all ! I just think it was misinterpreted ! If you change the word “cellulose” for the expression “the whole linen fiber (including the primary cell wall)” in Rogers writings, everything become clear ! And, on this same topic of energetic radiation, Rogers continue by saying this : “Simple heating would change both the cellulose and the blood. Both protons and neutrons leave characteristic tracks in flax fibers. The image fibers COULD NOT have been colored by energetic radiation.”

That’s the principals observations reported by Rogers about the question of the chromophore of the image. For him, there was no doubt that this whole picture could only mean one thing : The linen fibers were not affected directly by the image formation process. Instead, this whole picture was pointing in another direction, i.e. that it was a very thin layer of impurities that was colored on top of the linen fibers. This is the interpretation of Rogers, after years and years of studying the evidences and observations regarding the Shroud : “Because the cellulose was NOT INVOLVED in image formation, the color must have formed in IMPURITIES ON THE SURFACES OF THE IMAGE FIBERS. INDEPENDENT CONFIRMATION have PROVED that all of the image color resides in a VERY THIN LAYER ON THE OUTSIDE SURFACES OF THE COLORED FIBERS.” (Rogers, Shroud of Turin FAQ, Question #9).

In 2010, Fanti, Di Lazarro and al. published a paper in which they claim that the hypothesis of Rogers concerning the chromophore of the image was most probably incorrect and that it was instead the primary cell wall of the linen fiber itself (composed mainly of CELLULOSE, HEMICELLULOSE AND PECTIN) that had been colored. It’s their conclusion and it is completely different from Rogers. And what those people pretend is that Rogers made an error of interpretation because he didn’t was aware of the primary cell wall of the linen fiber ! This kind of thinking is kind of extreme when you think of all the time that Rogers spend studying linen fibers !!! To me, their assumption is just unbelievable…

The only problem is that Rogers never named the primary cell wall in any of his writings. And that’s the major argument of Fanti and al. in order to make believe that Rogers knew nothing about the primary cell wall. This kind of reasonning is much too simplistic to be true. We have to remember that it’s not because Rogers never named the primary cell wall that he knew nothing about it ! And some clues that he really knew this part of the linen fiber can be found in his book. In fact, if you’re wise enough to read between the lines, you understand that he knew perfectly well the structure of the primary cell wall and, nevertheless, he NEVER consider this part of the linen fiber as a valid option to explain the coloration !

Here’s some examples of that :

1- In page 12 of his book, we can read this : “When linen is heated, water immediately begins to be desorbed and the linen dries out. As the temperature increases, the cellulose melts with decomposition. Quickly heated and cooled linen shows little black balls where it melted. As it melts, the carbohydrates (CELLULOSE AND SUGAR-BASED HEMICELLULOSE IMPURITIES) start to dehydrate chemically. The colored products of dehydration are extremely complex, but they have some WELL-KNOWN CHEMICAL PROPERTIES AND STRUCTURAL UNITS. Personal note : You can see here that Rogers knew perfectly well the cellulose and hemicellulose components of the primary cell wall (even if he don’t use the term “primary cell wall”) and he knew exactly how this chemical structure would dehydrate in presence of heat . And nevertheless, he NEVER CONSIDERED this kind of dehydrated chemical structure as a valid option to explain the color of the body image on the Shroud, even if he knew perfectly well that the coloration of the Shroud came from a dehydration-oxydation process ! In fact, in his paper “Scientific method applied to the Shroud of Turin”, Rogers said : “Some type of carbohydrate dehydration reaction seems most probable as an explanation for the image color; however, the COLOR APPEARS ONLY ON THE SURFACE OF THE INDIVIDUAL FIBERS. The color of the image DOES NOT INVOLVED THE CELLULOSE.” Personal note : Here, I think we have an important sign that, in Rogers perspective, when he was using the word “cellulose”, like here, this term included also the primary cell wall, because this part of the linen fiber is also composed (partially ) of cellulose, along with hemicellulose (the other major component with the cellulose) and pectin (third component which is a minority). I think that’s the reason why we don’t see anywhere in his writtings the expression “primary cell wall”. In other words, when Rogers refered to “cellulose” in his writings, he was thinking about the complete linen fiber as a whole (including the primary cell wall). It’s pretty evident that Rogers knew very well the chemical structure of this external part of the linen fiber, but he didn’t think that it was important to make the distinction with the rest of the fiber (the internal part, which is made almost exclusively of cellulose). If he had been aware of the pretention of Fanti and al. concerning the primary cell wall, I’m 100% sure that he would have make a clear distinction between the primary cell wall and the internal part of the linen fiber !!! We have to remember that, in the time Rogers wrote his papers and his book, there was still no hypothesis concerning the primary cell wall as the chromophore of the image. In this context, I’m sure Rogers didn’t thought it was necessary to make a clear distinction between the 2 main parts of the linen fiber. That’s most probably why he never write anything specific about the primary cell wall, even if it’s evident that he knew well about it… To conclude this comment, I suggest anyone to read again the list of 21 quotes from Rogers writings that I previously reported in this paper and each time you’ll read “cellulose”, try to think “the whole linen fiber” (including the primary cell wall, along with the internal part of the fiber), because I’m almost sure that’s what Rogers had in mind !

2- In page 57 of Rogers book, he talks about a pyrolysis mass spectrometry analysis that he did on different samples from the Shroud. Here’s one important thing he said about this analysis : “Mass 131 appeared at much higher temperatures in all of the spectra, but those are in the range of CELLULOSE, LIGNIN AND HEMICELLULOSE .” Personal note : Again, this is a very good clue that Rogers knew perfectly well the chemical structure of the primary cell wall of the linen fiber, even if he don’t use the term.

3- In page 86 of his book, Rogers show an image (figure X-7) that is the result of an experiment he made with a linen sample prepared with the same antique method described by Pliny the Elder in order to test the hypothesis of the corona discharge. Here’s what he said about his result : “A single fiber from the center of figure 2 in water. HEMICELLULOSES AND PECTINS have been oxydized, leaving most of the more stable cellulose.” Personal note : this observation from Rogers is highly important for 2 reasons : A) It clearly show, one more time, that Rogers knew perfectly well the chemical structure of the primary cell wall of the linen fiber, even if he don’t use the term. And B) It clearly show that, for Rogers, this kind of result, obtained from a corona discharge (and that also look pretty much the same as the result obtained by Di Lazarro with UV lasers), was DIFFERENT from the coloration present at the surface of the Shroud !!! THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT TO NOTE !!! For Rogers, an oxydation of the hemicelluloses (principal component of the primary cell wall) and pectins (minor component of the primary cell wall) WAS NOT the same thing as the oxydation on the Shroud that produce the body image. This example, taken from page 86 of Rogers book, show that, for him, it was very clear that the primary cell wall, as long as the rest of the linen fiber, WAS NOT colored during the image formation process that affected the Shroud.

4- In page 131 of his book, Rogers talk about the chemical treatment of the reliquary of the Shroud that was done after the 1988 C14 sampling. Here’s what he said : “A significant amount of thymol could have absorbed on the wood, and wood has a large cellular surface area. More thymol would have reacted with the CELLULOSE AND MORE REACTIVE HEMICELLULOSES, LIGNIN, and plant gums of the wood.” Personal note : Even if he speak here about wood and not about linen, we can see, one more time, that Rogers knew perfectly well the chemical structure of any cellular object, whether it is wood or linen. And he also knew perfectly well that the components of the primary cell wall (especially the hemicellulose and the pectin) are more reactive than the cellulose. This is another VERY IMPORTANT thing to note : Rogers knew very well that those components of the primary cell wall are easier to color but, nevertheless, he NEVER CONSIDERED this kind of chemical structure as a valid option to explain the color of the body image on the Shroud. In other words, we can say that Rogers not only knew very well the chemical structure of the primary cell wall, but he also knew very well that this part of the fiber is more reactive than the internal part of the same fiber. But even if he knew this, he NEVER CONSIDERED the primary cell wall as being the real chromophore of the body image on the Shroud.

So, you see ? I think those are very good clues that prove that Rogers knew perfectly well the complete chemical structure of a linen fiber, including the primary cell wall. And nevertheless, he NEVER consider this part of the linen fiber as a valid option to explain the coloration we see on the Shroud !!! Of course, that doesn’t prove that Rogers is right about his thin layer of impurities, but that clearly show the erroneous aspect of Fanti and al. argument that Rogers knew nothing about the primary cell wall and that his ignorance about it caused him to make an error of interpretation regarding the sum of evidences and observations concerning the Shroud. And if we take a global look at the whole picture of the situation, and if we consider all the arguments proposed by Rogers, I think it is VERY HARD to scientifically discard his own hypothesis concerning the coloration of a thin layer of impurity on top of the linen fibers at the surface of the cloth, nevertheless what M. Rolfe’s list can say at point #1 (i.e., the image come from a molecular change of the linen fiber itself) and nevertheless what Fanti and al. can say against Rogers hypothesis in their paper published in 2010.

That’s why, in the present state of our knowledge about the body image on the Shroud, the only thing we can say for sure is that it results from a dehydration-oxydation process on the top-surface of the cloth. For the question of the real chromophore of the image, it is still scientifically unproven yet. But, personally, I have to say that Rogers hypothesis represent a very good solution in regard of all the known facts and observations concerning the body image on the Shroud…

Here’s the sources I used for my documentary research :

1- Rogers book “A chemist’s perspective on the Shroud of Turin” (link : http://www.lulu.com/shop/raymond-n-rogers/a-chemists-perspective-on-the-shroud-of-turin/ebook/product-17416203.html)

2- Rogers paper “Shroud of Turin FAQ” (link : http://shroud.com/pdfs/rogers5faqs.pdf)

3- Rogers paper “Scientific method applied to the Shroud of Turin” (link : http://www.shroud.com/pdfs/rogers2.pdf)

4- For basic information about the primary cell wall, see : http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G2-3408000066.html

Louiseville, Québec, Canada. May 10, 2012.

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