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Significant Response to the Preview of the Thermochimica Acta Editorial

September 9, 2015 55 comments

… if one of the points of peer-reviewed literature is to help fine-tune the author’s thinking,
it seems a bit questionable that this editorial comes 10+ years after the original article by Rogers and the death of the author.

imageThibault Heimburger contacted the editors of the journal and has been invited to offer a response to the Thermochimica Acta editorial that is currently in “accepted for publication” status. He has agreed to do so and we can look forward to that. But that will only address some of the scientific issues with this preview article.  There are 115 comments so far in the thread Editorial in Thermochimica Acta by Bella, Garlaschelli and Samperi on Rogers’ 2005 Article and many of them take issue with other elements of the article.  What follows, taken from recent comments by Joe Marino, offers a significant response to the historical questions surrounding invisible mending.


by Joe Marino

The Middle Ages is generally considered to have been between the 5th and 15 centuries and the Early Renaissance is generally considered between the 14th and 17th centuries, so there is actually a bit of an overlap. So, I don’t think the use of “medieval” [as suggested by one reader] is a huge issue here. Regarding the invisible mending being a “pseudoscientific hypothesis,” … I would like to address several points in the authors’ editorial in addition to a previous posting countering their assertion that the invisible mending idea was based on low resolution photographs. They use the phrase “so called invisible mending.” The use of the pejorative “so called” is obviously meant to belittle the idea of invisible mending as a technique. For the validity of the technique, see for example:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Invisible_mending

http://www.thefrenchreweavers.com/faq.htm

http://www.invisible-mending.com.au/

Also, if you look at 2 articles I co-authored, various people postulated that different types of repairs may have been made on the Shroud over the years (see pre-1988 entries). Those articles can be found at:http://www.shroud.com/pdfs/chronology.pdf (link to 2nd article can be found at end of aforementioned link).

I would also like to address the authors statement: ” “No one has hypothesized this before 1988 (before C14 analysis gave an ‘undesired’ date for the linen); …”

Not true. Discussing preparations for the 1986 planning meeting in Turin, Gove writes in his 1995 book “Relic, Icon or Hoax: Carbon Dating the Turin Shroud” (Bristol and Philadelphia: Institute of Physics Publishing, 1996, pg. 90), “Tite felt there should be a textile expert present, if samples were to be taken, to make sure that we were getting a piece of cloth from the main body of the shroud on which the image was imprinted and not a rewoven area or a patch.”

Note that this 2 years before the 1988 dating.

The following passages about invisible mending on the Shroud are taken from the book “The Untold Story of the Holy Shroud” by Carlos Evaristo, the archivist for the Savoy family, who owned the Shroud until King Umberto died in 1983.

(pp.217-218).

According to the testimony of King Umberto II of Savoy (later recalled by friends, the exiled Monarch entertained in the 1950s, at Villa Italia, in Cascais, Portugal), oral tradition in the Savoy Royal Family confirmed that the Custodians of the Holy Shroud, from the earliest medieval period, had sporadically made copies of the Shroud,but also removed fragments from all around the outermost edges of the Burial Cloth, even as far inward as 10 centimeters and distributed these to close relatives, devotees and allies.

That a mysterious seam or pronounced crease mark is visible all along one length of the Shroud is a fact that has baffled Scientists, some of whom have gone as far as to ridiculously (?) propose that a removed section was used to bind the Shroud to the Body at the chin, hands and feet and then sewn back onto the sheet, at a later date.

What could also be probable is that this thick, long strip of the original cloth was removed at one point [and] cut up into sections for distribution in reliquaries.
Another possible scenario is that this strip was used in a transfer boiling ritual or else separated, thread by thread, so as to have been incorporated into Ex Extractum copies of the Holy Shroud.

Any one of these processes could have been carried out by the Canons guarding the Shroud at Lirey or Chambery without the consent or knowledge of whoever owned the Sacred Relic. Once carried out or the abuse discovered, the section could have ordered or rewoven, back onto the original whole or else the section in question was substituted with another piece of similar cloth.

pp. 218 & 220 (there is a picture on pg. 219)

According to King Umberto II, the pious practice of sharing Major Relics of the Holy Shroud was, according to tradition, continued by the first three Savoy Lords who possessed it, although they, unlike some of their predecessor Guardians, never purposely removed fragments from their areas with the image of the Corpus Sancti (Holy Body.)
Another fact confirmed by His Majesty was that it was traditionally affirmed, that at one point in the past, he edges of the Lenzuoli (Sheet) had become so tattered as to cause embarrassment or criticism of the Custodians, and those areas were repaired and rewoven using identical techniques, but obviously with similar, yet newer, materials containing dyes and other medieval manufacturing ingredients, in an attempt to better blend the new sections in, as best possible, with the original fabric.

In truth, the presence of medieval dyes was detected in these areas and this fact has been already pointed out by Scientists as additional proof of the inaccuracy of the 1988 Carbon 14 dating test results that placed the samples taken from these areas, as having been fabricated sometime in the middle ages.

In truth, any one of the aforementioned practices alone would also account, for not only the contamination of the fabric resulting in inaccurate Carbon 14 dating results, but also, the different types of linen, dyes, resins and fabric patches, discovered to have been present on the outermost edges of the sheet that usually held by Bishops during the exposition of the Sacred Relic to the public for veneration.

(pp. 265 & 267 (picture on pg. 266) of the Evaristo book.

The removal of all patches and of the reinforcement Holland Cloth backing of the Holy Shroud, in the year 2002, confirmed what King Umberto had stated, namely that small sections of the repaired and rewoven edges, had continually been removed from the Sacred Relic and probably as late as the second half of the 17th century. That the practice of removing small fragments and even full length or width threads from the outer edges [of] the Holy Shroud, was a family tradition only finally suppressed by Duke Vittorio Amedeo II of Savoy, was another fact Umberto II of Savoy confirmed to Blue Army Founder and Shroud Devotee John Mathias Haffert, in the mid 1960’s.

It was the same Vittorio Amedeo II, who along with his wife, the Infanta Anna d’Orleans, personally assisted Blessed Sebastiano Valfre on June 6th, 1694, in repairing the Sacred Burial Cloth of the The Christ, shortly before transferring the Sacred Relic to the new Chapel of the Guarini. Later, it became a tradition on June 6th of each year for the Savoy Royal Family to distribute relics of the backing cloth.

It was in 1694, that in accordance to the Savoy Family tradition, some of the removed sections of thread were then woven into full size replicas of the Sindone (Shroud) for private or public veneration in Convents and Cathedrals during popular Holy Week celebrations. Unlike the meticulous repair work that had been carried out in previous centuries by religious expert weavers following the damage caused to the Shroud by fires and which left little trace of the removed sections, the intervention of the Savoy and the Blessed was aimed primarily at replacing the cloth backing of the Relic giving it added thickness and strength and also a better contrast to the image.

The last intervention by religious sisters had been considered poor by the various members of the House of Savoy since, rather than reweaving the areas nearest the outermost edges that were either missing or had frayed from manipulation and wear, they had camouflaged them with cloth coverings and patches.

The backing of black cloth added by Blessed Sebastiano Valfre was later removed byPrincess Maria Clotilde di Savoia, (1843-1911) Consort of Prince Napoleon, who substituted it for a pink silk on April 28th, 1868, on account of the backing having also become deteriorated from manipulation and removal of pieces for relics.

Note what Piero Savarino, who was scientific advisor to the Turinese Cardinal Poletto, wrote.

In a 1998 booklet, he stated that the 1988 C-14 testing might have been erroneous due to “extraneous thread left over from invisible mending‟ routinely carried out in the past on parts of the cloth in poor repair. Savarino went on to emphasize: ―…if the sample taken had been the subject of invisible mending‟ the carbon-dating results would not be reliable. What is more, the site from which the samples actually were taken does not preclude this hypothesis. (Source: Savarino, P. and Barberis, B. “Shroud, Carbon Dating and Calculus of Probabilities.” London: St. Paul‘s, 1988, pp.21-22.)

Now, it’s possible that in the original Italian, “invisible mending” might not equate specifically to the type of technique we hypothesized, but it’s another strong example of the fact that it is known that repairs have been made to the Shroud, making such a technique plausible.

The authors of the editorial conclude “The work of the late Dr. Rogers has been exploited to support a pseudoscientific hypothesis which is in no way confirmed by the reported data.”

The ascription of the word “pseudoscientific” to a clearly scientific theory again suggests a bias on the part of the authors. I agree with the last part of their last sentence that “the scientific community and the general public can only be misled by this paper,” but with application to their own paper. Rogers was a brilliant scientist who was not easily exploited and was actually one of the founders of Thermochimica Acta. He actually thought he would be able to prove me and my late wife wrong in 5 minutes, and said he was actually embarrassed to have to say we were right. His 2005 paper fully supported our claims from 2000. In addition, another paper by me and my wife was published in 2008 in a peer-reviewed journal called Chemistry Today and was titled “Discrepancies in the radiocarbon dating area of the Turin shroud (http://www.shroud.com/pdfs/benfordmarino2008.pdf)

Finally, if one of the points of peer-reviewed literature is to help fine-tune the author’s thinking, it seems a bit questionable that this editorial comes 10+ years after the original article by Rogers and the death of the author.

Categories: Article, History Tags:

It helps to read what you cite

June 9, 2015 4 comments

imageCan you spot the flaw in yesterday’s posting, Carbon dating and the Shroud of Turin, by John Leonard?

But then a pair of amateur detectives/scientists named Joe Marino and Sue Bedford published a peer-reviewed research paper suggesting that the carbon dating test results for the Shroud of Turin were incorrect — not because the tests were flawed, but because the sample itself was flawed.

Bedford and Marino claimed that the sample that was carbon-dated came from a section of the shroud that had been expertly repaired to be undetectable by the naked eye.

Ray Rogers, one of the lead research scientists involved with STURP, became furious when he found out the integrity of his work product had been challenged by amateurs in a published, peer-reviewed paper. He said the claims of Benford and Marino were absurd and promised to prove they were wrong by testing material from the original sample still in his possession.

Instead, Rogers found powerful evidence suggesting Benford and Marino had been absolutely correct in saying the material for the original carbon dating tests had been taken from a contaminated section of the shroud, identifying cotton fibers in the sample not found in the rest of the shroud.

The paper linked to by John Leonard in his posting, the paper that he says made Rogers furious, refers to the late Ray Rogers.

Recently, additional information has been discovered strongly supporting, if not verifying, the validity of the invisible patch theory. In addition to the recent publication of a peer-reviewed article by former Shroud of Turin Research Project (STURP) chemist, the late Ray Rogers …

Wrong paper! Leonard might have read WRAPPED UP IN THE SHROUD, Chronicle of a Passion by Joe Marino and gotten the right paper.  In fact, he could have found the citation he needed by just reading the description of Joe’s book on Amazon:

Joseph Marino, a former Benedictine monk, has been studying the Shroud of Turin, believed by many to the burial cloth of Jesus, since 1977. He and his late wife, M. Sue Benford, presented a paper at the Sindone 2000 World Congress in Orvieto, Italy, hypothesizing that the reason the 1988 C-14 dating of the Shroud resulted in a date range of AD 1260-1390 for the cloth was because of a sixteenth-century repair in the sample area. Raymond Rogers, one of the scientists from the Shroud of Turin Research Project who studied the Shroud in 1978, thought the hypothesis was nonsense at first but later concluded that Benford and Marino were probably correct. Other scientists have independently verified Rogers’ findings, which were published in 2005 in the prestigious, peer-reviewed journal, Thermochimica Acta.

Carbon Date the Shroud Again?

April 20, 2015 108 comments

imageJoe Marino writes:

I was checking out some of the videos and stories related to the opening of the exhibition.  In one video, Archbishop Nosiglia said the church is not against new testing.  One of the new articles quoted Pope John Paul II in 1998 saying continued research should be done.  I think researchers have done their part in continuing research but one can only do so much with the 1978 data.  I know the Pope has a lot of things on his plate but if Popes and Archbishops are giving lip service to research/new testing, he really needs to reevaluate the role of the Shroud in the church.  If new testing did not disprove the authenticity, it could bring a lot more people to Christianity.  There have been expositions in 1998, 2000, 2010 and the current one.  A tremendous amount of time, energy and money have been spent in each of those.  It would have been nice if some of that time, energy and money could have been put in another multi-disciplinary study.  We now have Barberis saying another C-14 test should be done.  As we saw at the St. Louis conference, there is a lot of debate among researchers whether it should be done.  If it is done, a lot would obviously depend on the background study and the various entities involved in the testing.  Heaven forbid if it would be anything like the 88 testing.

In referring to Barberis, Joe is, I think, referring to  SHROUD: TRACES OF BLOOD FROM THE "CARBON-14": WHAT DOES SCIENCE SAY, a Google Translation of an article, SINDONE, DALLE TRACCE EMATICHE AL "CARBONIO-14": COSA DICE LA SCIENZA  in Famiglia Cristiana.

I favor retesting. Bill Meacham (The Rape of the Shroud) continues to advocate for it. Some people believe that the shroud cannot be tested accurately and oppose such testing. One reason: they think that a resurrection miracle changed the ratio of carbon 14 to carbon 12.  Maybe. But how do you test for that?

A Guest Posting by Joe Marino: If another C-14 test is ever done . . .

November 29, 2014 49 comments

At the recent St. Louis conference, there was an open discussion regarding future testing of the Shroud, with participation by Prof. Bruno Barberis.  Naturally, one of the topics discussed was another possible C-14 dating.

After hearing comments there and after rereading some material, especially Ian Wilson’s chapter "Carbon Dating:  Right or Wrong" in his 1998 book The Blood and the Shroud, I’m becoming more and more convinced that another C-14 test would be unwise and moreover, that the Shroud is simply not, and never has been, a suitable item to carbon date.

Wilson points out in his book (pp. 190-191) that in the 1960s, 2 Harwell lab scientists warned Vera Barclay, a British proponent of having the Shroud carbon dated, of pitfalls.

Dr. J.P. Clarke told Barclay,

There appears to be some doubt as to whether the carbon content of the material has remained constant over the years.  It would be an assumption of any dating that the addition of something at a date later than that of the fabrication of the Shroud.

P.J. Anderson told her: 

The history of the Shroud does not encourage one to put a great deal of reliance upon the validity of any C14 dating.  The whole principle of the method depends upon the specimen not undergoing any exchange of carbon between its molecules and atmospheric dioxide, etc.  The cellulose of the linen itself would be good from this point of view, but the effect of the fires and subsequent drenching with water . . . and the possibility of contamination during early times, would, I think, make the results doubtful.  Any microbiological action upon the Shroud (fungi, moulds, etc., which might arise from damp conditions) might have important effects upon the C14 content.  This possibility could not be ruled out

Wilson himself goes on to say: 

That such concerns have been far from eliminated by more modern methods is quite evident from a recent booklet by Dr Sheridan Bowman, Michael Tite’s successor as Keeper of the British Museum’s Research Laboratory, in which she lists the sorts of conservation and packing materials that archaeologists should avoid using when sending their samples for processing by a radiocarbon-dating laboratory: ‘Many materials used for preserving or conserving samples may be impossible to remove subsequently:  do not use glues, biocides . . . [etc.]  Many ordinary packing materials such as paper, cardboard, cotton, wool and string contain carbon and are potential contaminants.  Cigarette ash is also taboo.’  It is worth reminding ourselves here of the variety of already listed carbon-containing materials with which the Shroud maintains daily contact, e.g., a sixteenth-century holland cloth, a nineteenth-century silk cover – quite aside from the innumerable candles that have been burnt before it, the water that was thrown over it at the time of the 1532 fire, and so on.  And those are merely the events we know about.

One other excerpt worth noting here (pg 193):

Archaeologists, who routinely call upon radiocarbon-dating laboratories’ services, tend to shy from openly criticising the results they receive, even if they do not necessarily agree with some of them, but one who certainly has no qualms is Greece’s Spyros Iakovidis, speaking at an international conference in 1989:  ‘In relation to the reliability of radiocarbon dating I would like to mention something which happened to me during my excavation at Gla [in Boeotia, Greece].  I sent to two different laboratories in two different parts of the world a certain amount of the same burnt grain.  I got two readings differing by 2000 years, the archaeological dates being right in the middle. I feel that this method is not exactly to be trusted.’ [Italics in original]

Because of such opinions–and keep in mind the above ones are by people who actually used the C-14 technique, it was all the more unfortunate and detrimental that the C-14 test wasn’t at least done as one of many other tests at the same time.  Those other tests may have provided overwhelming evidence that the Shroud was from the 1st century, and since it’s not uncommon for C-14 dates to be disregarded in some instances***, there would not be as much ink being spilled on the Shroud C-14 results.

If another C-14 test is ever done, it will take a lot more background study, and hopefully it wouldn’t be done in isolation from other multi-disciplinary testing.

***Rogue dates are common in archaeology and geology . . . Such has been my experience as an archaeologist who has excavated, submitted and interpreted more than one hundred carbon 14 samples from Neolithic, Bronze Age and Early Historical sites.  Of these dates obtained, 78 were considered credible, 26 were rejected as unreliable and 11 were problematic.  I mention this merely to inform the non-specialist . . . —William Meacham, archaeologist, Centre of Asian Studies,University of Hong Kong, 2000

* * *

Joe

Ignoring the Weight of the Evidence

November 24, 2014 4 comments

imageJoe Marino writes in a comment to Second Annual Bertrand Russell Award in Sindonology:

Russell’s comments about the JFK assassination brings out an important point: despite thousands of books and articles that suggest that the Oswald-did-it-alone theory is not plausible, there are plenty of people who still buy into it. In other words, evidence doesn’t play a big factor in their opinion of what happened. It’s similar with the Shroud–and I realize that pro and con both feel that the other side is the one ignoring the weight of the evidence.

Is there a way to change that?

This past June, Business Insider did an entertaining and informative feature, 58 Cognitive Biases That Screw Up Everything We Do. It leads off:

We like to think we’re rational human beings.

In fact, we are prone to hundreds of proven biases that cause us to think and act irrationally, and even thinking we’re rational despite evidence of irrationality in others is known as blind spot bias.

The study of how often human beings do irrational things was enough for psychologists Daniel Kahneman to win the Nobel Prize in Economics, and it opened the rapidly expanding field of behavioral economics. Similar insights are also reshaping everything from marketing to criminology.

Hoping to clue you — and ourselves — into the biases that frame our decisions, we’ve collected a long list of the most notable ones.

Tip:  Click on the small link that says, View as one page.  And first pour a big cup of coffee or whatever.

Thanks All Around

October 15, 2014 111 comments

imageThe St. Louis Shroud Conference of 2014 was an outstanding success. A total of 162 people attended. Most were from the United States, as one might expect. But there were attendees from Australia, Canada, England, France, Hong Kong, Italy and Spain, as well.

Whether or not we were able to attended, we all benefit from new material emerging because of the conference. We all owe a debt of gratitude to Joe Marino and his committee. It takes a lot of work, diplomacy and imagination to manage such a successful conference. Thank you.

And we need to thank the authors of so many wonderful papers and presentations. How much we learned! Thank you.

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Joseph G. Marino   Chairman

Joseph Marino is a leading expert on the Shroud of Turin. He has researched, written and lectured extensively on the Shroud since 1977. He currently works at The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio.

Since the mid-1980s, Joe has worked extensively with many of the top sindonologists in the world. Much of his work has been in conjunction with the late Sue Benford. Both Joe and Sue performed exceptional work on researching the Shroud, and bringing its message to the world.

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Mark Antonacci

Mark Antonacci is an attorney and author of The Resurrection of the Shroud (New York: M. Evans and Co., 2000) the most comprehensive book to date on the Shroud of Turin.
He gave the keynote address at the international conference held in Italy in conjunction with the Shroud’s last exhibition in 2010. He has written the leading scientific hypothesis that not only explains the Shroud’s body images, but also its radiocarbon dating, its blood marks and all of its other unique features.

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Laura Clark

Laura is a security professional, specializing in surveillance detection training and consulting. She is a professional speaker and author. Her publishing company, Cradle Press, offers several books about the Shroud of Turin, all available on major online bookstores.

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Chuck Neff

Chuck Neff, Executive Producer of the Salt River Production Group, has more than 35 years of experience in the television, radio, and video production industries. He has worked as a news reporter, anchorman, and producer with NBC News in Chicago, as well as TV and radio stations in St. Louis, Denver, and Terre Haute.
Chuck also currently hosts “The Inner Life,” a Catholic radio program on the Relevant Radio Network. The program focuses on spiritual direction with a national cadre of priests.

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Keith Plein

Keith Plein is a veteran sales and marketing consultant, working for nearly 40 years in a Fortune 100 company. As President of his own firm, he brings his unique contributions to the Salt River Production Group, where he also serves as the group’s Director of Sales and Marketing. His career has spanned a series of diverse industries, including automotive, commercial transportation, agriculture, housing, and aviation.

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John Schulte

John Schulte has been following the Shroud of Turin for more than three decades. A retired architect, John travels extensively throughout the Midwest to make presentations on the Shroud. He has also written comprehensively on many of the details seen on the Shroud. Most notably, John has performed broad research on the blood seen on the back of the man depicted in the Shroud image.


Note: Pictures and bios shamelessly copied from the conference website.

Categories: St Louis 2014 Tags:

Thank You, Joe Marino

September 14, 2014 Comments off

imageAs the St. Louis conference rapidly approaches, it is good to be reminded about a previous shroud conference that was largely, wonderfully well organized by the same person organizing St. Louis: Joe Marino. Barrie Schwortz nicely does this on the STERA Facebook page.

As you may already know, there is a major Shroud conference being held October 9 -12, 2014 in St. Louis, Missouri, and we hope to see many of you there. The event is being organized by STERA, Inc. board member Joe Marino, who also served as organizer (with the late Sue Benford) of a highly successful conference held in Columbus, Ohio in 2008. Here is a link to the Ohio Shroud Conference page of our website where you will find links to abstracts, presentations, papers and the official conference website, in case you missed it: http://www.shroud.com/ohioconf.htm

A couple of fast links, vis-à-vis 2008, as well:

The 2008 Conference Papers: Titles, Authors and Links

2008 Keynote Address by Rex Morgan: THE SHROUD: AN ETERNAL CHALLENGE 

It takes a lot of work to organize a conference. Thanks, Joe.

Categories: St Louis 2014 Tags:
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