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I stand corrected!

March 9, 2019 17 comments

Bill Meachem, by way of a comment, wrote:

Dan, My delight at seeing your Shroud blog and forum revived was much diminished by your quoting me TOTALLY OUT OF CONTEXT. I did not “put it that way.” This is the full context:

“The Shroud of Turin Research Project (STURP) formed around a nucleus of scientists studying the Shroud by means of computer enhancement and image analysis. Jackson et al. (1977) scanned the image with a microdensitometer to record lightness variations in the image intensity and found a correlation with probable cloth-to-body distance, assuming that the Shroud was draped loosely over the corpse. They concluded that the image contains three-dimensional information, and confirmation was obtained by the use of a VP-8 Image Analyzer to convert shades of image intensity into vertical relief. Unlike ordinary photographs or paintings, the Shroud image converted into an undistorted three-dimensional figure, a phenomenon which suggested that the image-forming process acted uniformly through space over the body, front and back, and did not depend on contact of cloth with body at every point.”

Clearly I am summarizing what was reported by STURP, and the sentence you quoted is obviously a continuation of “They concluded …” Now one might say I should have been a bit more sceptical, but having never seen or studied what a VP-8 Image Analyzer can do, I went for a simple reporting style.

Yes, I’ve never seen a black swan either, but you make it appear that I was reporting on MY OWN observation of how the Shroud image “converted…”

The issue really can be better refined this way: Is there any medieval PAINTING or RUBBING (forget about modern photos of death masks, etc) that would yield anything approaching a natural body 3D image when subjected to VP-8 or software analysis?

On another topic, surely you don’t mean this sentence to stand alone:

“There is no basis whatsoever for concluding that the cloth covered a body.”

But only in the sense that the VP-8 results did not provide any evidence to support the conclusion. There is of course a wealth of other evidence that makes it an almost inescapable conclusion.

But having said all that, I am still pleased to see you back on the Shroud scene.

Bill

I stand corrected.

On the second point (starting with “On another topic), Colin Berry has also written to me in an email to say something similar, “3D response alone provides no basis for concluding that the cloth covered a body.”

I was careless.  Nonetheless, I do not feel like Jim Firth does when he writes:

The naive 3D mystique born of amateurish image analysis has infected shroud research for more than 40 years. Sadly, it still does because it feeds attempts to prove the resurrection with wildly imaginative narratives of the resurrection.

I don’t think it really “infected” shroud research.  Ray Rogers pursued his miracle-free gaseous Maillard reaction hypothesis. Guilio Fanti worked on his corona discharge ideas. Nichola Allen built a working room-sized camera.  Frank Tipler wrote a book in which he suggested that the shroud’s image was a code from God on how to save the universe from eventual demise while developing the software making eternal life possible.   And for the most part, we learned to quit believing that there were coins over the eyes, flower images all over the cloth, and Hebrew and Roman lettering on the cloth.

Nor was the 3D analysis naive.  The analysis was based on the best technology at the time. It is time, however, to move forward and analyze the image with newer and better methods.  

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An Offer from Lee Jones (Comment Promoted)

March 8, 2019 36 comments

If anybody wants any of the high resolution images of the shroud for their research, drop me an e-mail at djleejay85@google,mail.com I have the enrie image (1.4 gigabytes) the STURP images, the HAL9000 (Haltadefinizione) images from 2008, and the Durante images from 1997,2000,2002 and 2010, They range in size from 500 megabytes up to around 27 gigabytes. I know how much of a ball ache it can be trying to find decent resolution images. Marios shroud scope is a good resource but he converted the TIFF files to JPG and then chopped them up so nobody can download them lol. I have the file he uses which is the 2002 image, personally i think the 2000 image is sharper and reveals more detail. The best out of the lot of them is the Durante 2010 image, it is alot more detailed than the Haltadefinizione images (39 billion pixels if i remember correctly, whereas the haltadefinizione image was 12 billion pixels)

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No basis for concluding that the cloth covered a body

March 5, 2019 27 comments

Once upon a time, it was said of all swans that they were white. And this was so because no one, at least no one during the Middle Ages in Europe or the Middle East, had ever seen swans of another color. It was as good as a fact. That was until 1697 when Dutch explorers discovered black swans in Australia.  And thus, a logical fallacy got a name. Wiktionary defines the Black Swan Fallacy thus:

The black swan fallacy holds that if all you have ever observed in your field research are white swans, you might be tempted to conclude ‘All swans are white’. However, a black swan was discovered in Australia. Therefore, all it takes is one black swan to falsify the general statement about the universality of white swans.

And thus was made what was perhaps the greatest error in Shroud science. For once upon a time, and still today, it is said, “​When input to a VP-8, a normal photograph does not result in a properly formed dimensional image but in a rather distorted jumble of light and dark ‘shapes’.” That is what it says on a page by Barrie Schwortz at shroud.com (updated in 2014). This thinking is repeated in many ways. You will find it in Jackson et al.’s Critical Summary, a defense of something called the “Fall Through hypothesis. You will find it in countless presentations, websites and books.

Bill Meacham put it this way:

Unlike ordinary photographs or paintings, the Shroud image converted into an undistorted three-dimensional figure, a phenomenon which suggested that the image-forming process acted uniformly through space over the body, front and back, and did not depend on contact of cloth with body at every point.

Unfortunately, that just doesn’t hold up.

image_thumb.pngThe black swan moment happened at an international Shroud of Turin conference in St. Louis in 2014, Joseph Accetta, in a presentation, explained how a normal photograph could contain all the same type of three-dimensional information found on the Shroud.  John Dee German, an optical physicist with STURP has said much the same thing.

To the left is a photograph of a death mask from Joseph Accetta’s presentation. Below, courtesy of Colin Berry who did the work, is the proof that Accetta was right.

 

image.png

 

So this statement at shroud.com, once thought to be true, is simply not true:

​This spatial data encoded into the image actually eliminates photography and painting as the possible mechanism for its creation and allows us to conclude that the image was formed while the cloth was draped over an actual human body.

 

There is no basis whatsoever for concluding that the cloth covered a body.

Photography, painting and other methods are just as likely now as they were before the VP-8 was ever used. 

 

Nassim Nicholas Taleb, in his book, The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable,  described by The Sunday Times as one of the twelve most influential books since World War II, explains how we fall into Black Swan traps:

  1. The event is a surprise to the observer.
  2. The event has a major effect.
  3. It is rationalized by hindsight.

In this context, re-read the page by Barrie Schwortz at shroud.com

Every option is back on the table. Yes, even John Jackson’s Fall Through hypothesis if one can recognize that it is a mere assumption and not established or valid science that the cloth covered Jesus’ body. It is for other reasons that I think the Fall Through hypothesis is unlikely.  Read The Resurrection is Just Too Mysterious to Be Described

 

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Not superficial? The implications could be staggering.

February 8, 2019 54 comments
Colin Berrys Microscope Picture

 

Left: the arrow points to a THREAD that is displaying a cut edge, i.e. much needed transverse section. Why the speckled appearance? Right: enlargement, showing that it’s the SCW cores of some but not all individual FIBRES that contain the dense pigment, probably Maillard-derived melanoidin, the latter possibly having penetrated via this investigator’s proposed reticular network of capillary channels existing between the MICROFIBRILS.


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If Colin Berry is right, the implications could be staggering. It’s enough, I thought, to warrant waking up this blog for at least one posting. Your comments are, as always, welcome.


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I retired from blogging just over three years ago.  Until today, I stayed away from this blog and every other Shroud of Turin related website and newsletter.

A few days ago, I decided to jump back in, at least for one posting. That was after getting an email from Dr. Colin Berry. He wanted me to know that he now suspected that the Shroud’s image is not superficial.

Not superficial? But Isn’t it a fact that it is? Isn’t it something we all believe is true?
On his blog, he told of …
…   a realization that the supposed ultra-superficiality of the TS body image – pointing we’re told to a supernatural origin –  had scarcely a single solid fact to back it up. …
No, not on the surface PCW (primary cell wall) but hidden away, out of sight, deep within the microfibril-packed core of the SCW (secondary cell wall).  Oh dear: has sindonology got it entirely wrong with its ‘out-of-this-world ultra superficial’ body image?

Colin’s email to me invited me to look at his blog.  Colin tried to boil the ocean in his last posting, something that I used to do myself, sometimes. I would do so again, this time in a reply to him. In addition to my reaction to Colin’s non-superficiality grenade, I had three years of pent up thinking to unload. When I realized my reply was too long to be a reasonable blog posting or email, I turned it into a PDF file called,The Resurrection is Just Too Mysterious to Be Described & A Response to Dr. Colin Berry. 

Long walks with the dog, away from the blog, gave me the chance to think a lot about the Shroud.  Colin and I are closer than I thought we were. It is mostly in the conclusions about the authenticity of the cloth that I disagree with him. I think we are very much in agreement about not finding any basis for an image being created as the result of the Resurrection.

What Colin is now saying about the lack of superficiality in the image reminds me of the 3D problem. It was often said that it is impossible to plot 3D information from paintings and ordinary photographs. Bill Meacham put it this way:

Unlike ordinary photographs or paintings, the Shroud image converted into an undistorted three-dimensional figure, a phenomenon which suggested that the image-forming process acted uniformly through space over the body, front and back, and did not depend on contact of cloth with body at every point.

 

Unfortunately, that wasn’t true.  At an international Shroud of Turin conference in St. Louis in 2014, Joseph Accetta proposed that a photograph of a certain death mask might contain all the information needed in exactly the same way as the image on the Turin Shroud.  He was right; Colin did so and confirmed it.  That challenged the belief, stemming out of an erroneous assumption that the grayscale values on the Shroud represented cloth-to-body distance or body shape.  It was a classic case of an assumption being treated like a fact. See:  It is really, really time to rethink what we think about 3D.

Colin is a scientist. If he is wrong about the non-superficiality of the Shroud image he certainly wants to know it. And he wants to know why.  And if he’s right he wants you to know. And I want you to know that this might challenge a generation of postulating about how the image was formed.

Categories: Uncategorized

Computer Hacking Theory for Carbon Dating Continues

November 21, 2015 12 comments

“If so, then this itself was a form of scientific fraud,
or at least scientific dishonesty.”  Surely, you’re joking, Mr. Jones.

“The AMS system is clearly designed so that if there was a problem with the dating process at a laboratory, then its target (Shroud) and control sample dates would wrongly agree together, and disagree together with the correct Shroud and control samples dates of the other two laboratories.”  Again, surely …

 


 

imageOkay, I know the subject is over-reported. But I like the quotation by Richard Feynman. It’s a quotation I have always liked, never thought much about, and now am seeing again in the context of the shroud. It is from his famous book, Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman!.

The first principle is that you must not fool yourself-and you are the easiest person to fool. So you have to be very careful about that. After you’ve not fooled yourself, it’s easy not to fool other scientists.

It did strike me as odd that Stephen Jones would use this quotation in his never-ending quest to convince skeptics of the shroud’s authenticity and non-skeptics alike that the results of the 1987 carbon dating of the shroud were the product of a computer program planted in all three AMS labs by a computer hacker, possibly on behalf of the Soviet Union’s KGB.

Is it that Stephen’s theory is preposterous or is it that it seems preposterous and we’re all of us fools? It’s fair, I guess, to ask, given what Feynman said. But then, too, we might think a little introspection by Stephen may be in order.

This part of the theory may be new to you. Stephen writes in his blog, The 1260-1390 radiocarbon date of the Turin Shroud was the result of a computer hacking #4. It makes for interesting reading:

The uncalibrated dates of sample 1 (the Shroud) in Table 2 of the 1989 Nature paper are widely different. As can be seen in Table 2 of the 1989 Nature paper (see above), sample 1 (the Shroud)’s average uncalibrated radiocarbon date by each laboratory was widely different, unlike the non-Shroud samples (2, 3 and 4). Prof. Gove criticised the 1989 Nature paper for having been, “opaquely written” and “difficult to comprehend … even by experts in the field“:

“On 27th February the 16 February 1989 issue of the British journal Nature (volume 337) finally reached the library in my lab. On pages 611-615 appeared the article titled ‘Radiocarbon dating of the Shroud of Turin’ by P E Damon et al. … The article was rather opaquely written-difficult to comprehend in complete detail even by experts in the field …”[20]

Presumably this was deliberate so as to conceal the inexplicable fact that the Shroud sample dates between the three laboratories were widely different. If so, then this itself was a form of scientific fraud, or at least scientific dishonesty.

So says Stephen. Now, dear reader, figure this out:

As stated above the process was fully “under computer control” so human error cannot have intervened in the process, to cause the Shroud sample dates at each laboratory to disagree widely (as they did-see next), while the control samples dates had “exceptionally good agreement. The AMS system is clearly designed so that if there was a problem with the dating process at a laboratory, then its target (Shroud) and control sample dates would wrongly agree together, and disagree together with the correct Shroud and control samples dates of the other two laboratories. Otherwise AMS radiocarbon dating in general would be unreliable and this “mediaeval … AD 1260-1390” AMS radiocarbon date of the Shroud would have to be disregarded anyway (as it should have been)!

So again it is inexplicable if the Shroud sample dates were real (and not computer-generated by a hacker’s (allegedly Timothy W. Linick‘s) program in this fully computerised process), for “the agreement among the three laboratories for [control] samples 2, 3 and 4” to be “exceptionally good,” yet the “spread of the measurements for sample 1[the Shroud]” to be somewhat greater than would be expected (my emphasis).

He does provide a nice graph to help us see this*:

Anyway, I like Feynman’s quote.  I may find a way to feature it on every page of my own blog. It is useful. You can invoke it, probably, for every argument you have about the shroud. It makes for great ad hominem slinging, too. Just make sure you are not the person who has fooled himself.

*The image of the graph is inline from Stephen’s site so he can’t complain that I’m copying his material.

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Russ Breault will also be in St. Louis, November 15

November 7, 2015 Comments off

After speaking on Friday and Saturday in Chester, Illinois, Russ Breault travels to St. Louis to speak at Incarnate Word Parish on November 15, 2015. The church’s website informs us:

Encounter the Shroud of Turin

imageIncarnate Word is pleased to sponsor international Shroud of Turin expert, Russ Breault on November 15, 2015 in our Kent Center at 7:30PM. Admission is free!

Russ Breault is bringing his FAST PACED, DRAMATIC, VISUAL, UNFORGETTABLE, BIG SCREEN EXPERIENCE titled "SHROUD ENCOUNTER" to Incarnate Word!  Russ uses over 200 images covering all aspects of the history, science, art and theories of how the image on the Shroud may have been formed.  He will have two small displays, as well as a full size 14 ft by 3.5 ft replica of the Shroud available for up-close viewing.

The Shroud of Turin (reportedly the burial cloth of Jesus Christ, bearing his image) is the most analyzed artifact in the world. At the direction of Pope Francis it will once again be on public display next year in Turin, Italy. Russ’ presentation has been called  "Tour de force", "Spellbinding", "Mesmerizing", "Riveting": and more.  He has appeared in numerous documentaries seen on History Channel, Discovery and CBS.  He was interviewed last year on Good Morning America for an update on the latest research concerning the Shroud. Russ has also lectured at some the country’s most prestigious universities including Duke, Penn State, Johns Hopkins, West Point, Cal State, Auburn, GA Tech, U Mass and many more.

Please plan to attend and explore the mystery of the Shroud. See you there!

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Checking in on Stephen Jones’ Blog

September 1, 2015 1 comment

imageStephen has been discussing the side strip: Sidestrip #5: The evidence is overwhelming that the Turin Shroud is authentic!

< CLICK ON IMAGE TO ENLARGE >

Problem for the forgery theory. That the Shroud has almost invisible stitching in its seam that is identical to stitching found elsewhere only at the Jewish fortress of Masada, which was last occupied in AD 73, is yet another (see #1, #3 and #4) problem for the forgery theory. Since a medieval forger would be most unlikely (to put it mildly) to even know about almost invisible first century Jewish stitching; and even if he did know about it, he would be even more unlikely to go to the trouble of adding it to his forgery (what use would almost invisible stitching be to a forger?); and even if he wanted to use it, he would be most unlikely to have the high degree of skill needed to do such stitching. So again the forgery theory would need to resort to the pre-1988 fall-back position of the late leading anti-authenticist Walter McCrone (1916-2002), that "a first century cloth could have been found and used by a 14th century artist to paint the image":

"A carbon-dating test would be final if it led to a date significantly later than the early first century. A first century date, on the other hand, would remove almost all obstacles to universal acceptance of the `Shroud’ as authentic. Only the careful objective scientist might still point out that a first century cloth could have been found and used by a 14th century artist to paint the image"[18].

But, leaving aside whether that would be "objective," for anti- authenticists to claim that a medieval forger forged the Shroud’s image on a 1st century cloth would, as we saw in parts #3 and #4, mean admitting that the 1988 radiocarbon dating of the Shroud claim was wrong…

Does Stephen mean this is overwhelming – the emphasis on the word in the title of his posting is his – or that this argument, in conjunction with a gazillion other (or a few other) arguments, is overwhelming. I think he means the latter. I’m just not a big fan of piling up weak arguments one on top of the other. But then, again, that’s just me. And maybe it’s not weak.

Your thoughts?

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