Just five days ago, on April 18, 2019, Robert A. Rucker released a new paper at shroudresearch.net: Image Formation on the Shroud of Turin
It concerns me when a scientist attempts to justify a scientific hypothesis with an appeal to consensus (argumentum ad populum) and that is exactly what Rucker does:
Most Shroud researchers believe that the evidence on the Shroud indicates that the image could not have been formed by an artist or forger, but that in some unknown way the body that was wrapped in the Shroud encoded an image of itself onto the cloth (Ref. 2 and 3). This is the starting point for this proposal.
The assumption about most researchers might be true. It probably is. At least it is these days. At one time in history, there was a consensus belief in geocentrism. Things change, group-think evolves. This is exactly why argumentum ad populum is a fallacy. Might it be, if more well-informed skeptics of the Shroud researched the cloth, that a different consensus might arise?
Anyway, it is sufficient for me that I disagree. I don’t think the evidence indicates that the image could not have been formed by an artist or forger. That doesn’t mean that I think the image was formed by an artist or forger. It means I don’t think the evidence supports an obviously unprovable assumption. Can anyone prove it?
Nor do I think the evidence supports the idea “that in some unknown way the body that was wrapped in the Shroud encoded an image of itself onto the cloth.” Just the word unknown de-hypothesizes everything, doesn’t it?
There is this in the hypothesis:
The radiation not only had to be emitted from the surface of the body, but it had to be emitted from within the body because we can see bones on the Shroud, including teeth, bones in the hand, etc. The radiation had to be emitted within the body to carry to the linen cloth the information regarding the presence of these bones in the body.
We would be wise to regard the advice of Raymond Rogers who wrote:
Two of the most damaging things a “scientist” can do during the development of a “scientific” study is to include speculations on an equal basis with tested facts and
exclude observations he does not like. We have seen both problems in Shroud literature. “I think I see,” seems to be accepted by “true believers” on an equal basis with quantitative measurements.
Physiologically, the effect is explained in terms of “lateral neural inhibition”: the human eye enhances edge contrasts. The mind plays games with what we think we see. Some devoted observers see images of flowers, teeth, bones, etc. on the Shroud. A statement like “I think I see” is totally unacceptable in a scientific discussion.
The appearance of bones including teeth is the issue here. The claim is unacceptably treated on a par with facts. Can we be sure that we are seeing teeth and bones?
We can also look at this explanation from Colin Berry:
Personally I think the boniness is prima facie evidence for imprinting by a contact process [rather] than one by radiation. With a contact process, it is just those parts of each finger that are approximately in the plane of the linen (i.e parallel) that make best contact, especially if there is applied pressure, and that is the top surface. One has only to go a few mm below that topmost plane, and the curvature of the finger means progressively less contact and pressure. There is also the likelihood of a tenting effect across the fingers that means poor imaging between the fingers. Now look at the Shroud image and you will see precisely the kind of shadowing one would expect.
Title: Image Formation on the Shroud of Turin
Author: Robert A. Rucker, MS (nuclear)
Published: April 18, 2019 (Revision 0) at shroudresearch.net
The Shroud of Turin contains good-resolution full-size images, without pigment, of the front and back of a naked crucified man. This paper proposes a multi-step process for formation of these images on the linen Shroud. By following the evidence on the Shroud where it leads, without a presupposition of naturalism, a hypothesis for image formation can be hypothesized that is consistent with all the evidence on the Shroud. The proposed hypothesis involves radiation emitted in the body that carries the information to the Shroud that is required to control the mechanism that discolors the fibers in the threads that make the image. This information is that which defines the appearance of a naked crucified man. We can see the image on the Shroud because this information has been encoded into the pattern of the discolored fibers that make the image. The proposal includes the radiation discoloring the fibers by a static discharge from the top portions of the fibers facing the body, resulting in electrical heating and possible production of ozone that discolors the fibers. This process naturally results in a negative image that contains 3D or topographical information, threads with a mottled appearance, and microscopic properties that are consistent with the Shroud.