(ed: I've been taken to task elsewhere for that "prove me wrong" challenge. I've been accused of the very thing I condemn on this site (pseudoscience). Methinks the gent concerned should acquaint himself with the history and practice of science before attaching the p word to a published scientist, albeit long retired. He could do a lot worse than read up on the Higgs boson, whose existence was first predicted by Peter Higgs in 1964, but it was needed as a vital component of the Standard Model (explaining why subatomic particles have extraordinary mass over and above relativistic mass that is predicted by e = mc squared). Higgs did not have the technology to prove the existence of his particles, nor did anyone else, until CERN's LHC proved its existence in 2012. Nobody condemned Higgs or anyone else for assuming the particle was there, if only to maintain the most all-embracing Theory of Nearly Everything. (except Gravity Dammit). Indeed, Higgs was awarded a Nobel Prize last year, despite having no hand in the experimental confirmation. Homo interneticus, bereft of any formal scientific qualifications or research experience, likes to think he understands the scientific method, but in my experience rarely appreciates the respect accorded to hypotheses and theories that unite a lot of existing disparate observations, but which still await the kind of experimental data that banishes most lingering doubts held by (fair-minded) sceptics. I exclude the flat-earth tendency from that final description, like those who think the radiocarbon dating MUST be wrong because it conflicts with their dossiers of "historical" and other evidence. It never seems to occur to them that the radiocarbon data conflicts with their self-serving agenda-driven quest for "spy clues" to the existence of the TS pre-14th century. Some of those spy clues, like tiny ink-drawn circles on an otherwise obscure Hungarian codex being evidence the illustrator was signalling he had seen the Shroud with his own eyes are frankly risible, indeed, faintly ludicrous, but to many in Shroudie Land they constitute incontrovertible evidence against a 14th century provenance, and woebetide anyone who suggests otherwise. No, I'm not and never will be a Peter Higgs, with a 360 degree view of his chosen area of research. Mine's more like the standard 45 degrees. But I'm not a pseudoscientist either, like so many others I could mention who have dabbled in Shroudology, playing to the same old gallery).
Postscript: here's a link to a posting I did over 6 months ago - admittedly not my finest hour re concise reporting of new experimental findings - that I suspect gives the strongest clue as to why fabrics like linen and cotton (cotton especially) can take a scorch-imprint without falling apart.
Basically, what I found was that cotton can be scorched more easily than linen at any given temperature, but that the difference is reduced by pre-treatment of the fabric with strong alkali.
I interpret that as cotton having a greater concentration of fragile (thermolabile) non-cellulosic polysaccharides in the outermost primary cell wall, due either to genetic differences, OR the fact that cotton requires no retting to separate fibres, and that alkali targets those fragile polysaccharides (hemicelluloses etc) leaving cellulose largely intact, at least chemically. That leaves less target-material ON THE SURFACE for imprinting an image. The underlying cellulose (especially the highly crystalline inert variety in the core of the fibre, representing the secondary cell wall) seems to be largely irrelevant where contact scorching is concerned, at least where imprinting of a highly superficial image is concerned - one that attempts to model the faint image on the Shroud.
Here's a graphic from that posting, showing how alkali-treated cotton gives a less intense scorch than control(untreated cotton).
The difference seems to be greatest in the second-from-left imprint where the template was still very hot and held longer against the fabric, before 'serially imprinting' while progressively cooling (images to the right). That's suggestive of there being more than one chemical species qualifying as 'more thermolabile than cellulose'. There's a largely unexplored world where knowledge of contact scorching is concerned, one this kitchen-experimenter can only hint at. Who would know or even suspect it - looking all those categorical and dismissive comments made in Shroudie Land, like the one in the title.
When in doubt - experiment. It's the sure way to experience the buzz of real science - as distinct from received wisdom/dogma, all-too-often pseudoscience. Not for nothing is this site called "sciencebuzz". As the song goes: "It ain't necessarily so..."
*A Summary of STURP's Conclusions
Editor's Note: After years of exhaustive study and evaluation of the data, STURP issued its Final Report in 1981. The following official summary of their conclusions was distributed at the press conference held after their final meeting in October 1981:
No pigments, paints, dyes or stains have been found on the fibrils. X-ray, fluorescence and microchemistry on the fibrils preclude the possibility of paint being used as a method for creating the image. Ultra Violet and infrared evaluation confirm these studies. Computer image enhancement and analysis by a device known as a VP-8 image analyzer show that the image has unique, three-dimensional information encoded in it. Microchemical evaluation has indicated no evidence of any spices, oils, or any biochemicals known to be produced by the body in life or in death. It is clear that there has been a direct contact of the Shroud with a body, which explains certain features such as scourge marks, as well as the blood. However, while this type of contact might explain some of the features of the torso, it is totally incapable of explaining the image of the face with the high resolution that has been amply demonstrated by photography.The basic problem from a scientific point of view is that some explanations which might be tenable from a chemical point of view, are precluded by physics. Contrariwise, certain physical explanations which may be attractive are completely precluded by the chemistry. For an adequate explanation for the image of the Shroud, one must have an explanation which is scientifically sound, from a physical, chemical, biological and medical viewpoint. At the present, this type of solution does not appear to be obtainable by the best efforts of the members of the Shroud Team. Furthermore, experiments in physics and chemistry with old linen have failed to reproduce adequately the phenomenon presented by the Shroud of Turin. The scientific consensus is that the image was produced by something which resulted in oxidation, dehydration and conjugation of the polysaccharide structure of the microfibrils of the linen itself. Such changes can be duplicated in the laboratory by certain chemical and physical processes. A similar type of change in linen can be obtained by sulfuric acid or heat. However, there are no chemical or physical methods known which can account for the totality of the image, nor can any combination of physical, chemical, biological or medical circumstances explain the image adequately.
Thus, the answer to the question of how the image was produced or what produced the image remains, now, as it has in the past, a mystery.
We can conclude for now that the Shroud image is that of a real human form of a scourged, crucified man. It is not the product of an artist. The blood stains are composed of hemoglobin and also give a positive test for serum albumin. The image is an ongoing mystery and until further chemical studies are made, perhaps by this group of scientists, or perhaps by some scientists in the future, the problem remains unsolved.
1. At the outset I could see scarcely if any scientific merit in non-contact scorch hypotheses, notably those involving radiation or of putrefaction products leaving a chemical imprint. But then advocates of those hypotheses seem content to assume them correct, while failing to seek and provide experimental confirmation. In short, those ideas are nor scientific, and it is thus pseudoscience to maintain that they are.
2. I initially envisaged the scorch technique as one of heating a metal template, probably bas relief, and pressing it down into linen spread out of a yielding material, e.g. bed of sand. But there were difficulties with that, notably that one could not easily monitor the progress of scorching, thereby risking over-scorching. There might also be excessive tenting of the linen between extremities, say between the kneesand the tips of the toes, with minimal imprinting of everything in-between,
3. When experimenting with a brass crucifix as template, I reversed the geometry, laying the heated template down on a hard surface, covering with linen, then, quickly, with a damp overlay, and manually moulding the two apposed fabric layers to the major surface contours. That procedure, which I call the LOTTO method (Linen On Top, Then Overlay) allows one to monitor heat flow (touchy-feely technology!), makes it harder to over-scorch (in fact, near impossible), gives a fuzzier, arguably more Shroud-like image, and seemed the right answer if one were aiming to develop the TS image in a single step.
4. However, the LOTTO method does not account for some alleged subtleties in the TS image at the microscopic level. While one has to take much on trust - much that is written being little more than anecdotal - one might with the eye of faith describe the TS image as showing a half tone effect, where apparent differences in image intensity are not due to continuously varying scorch intensities between neighbouring fibres, but to differences in a chosen area between numbers of fibres that are scorched to a particular maximum level OR unscorched, with no in-in betweens. The half-tone effect could be described as digital as distinct from analogue imprinting. Some might consider chemical precedents for "digital imprinting" are few and far between, encouraging one to seek explanations that involve two or more steps, rather than a single one.
Recently I have proposed just such a two step mechanism involving: 1. Intense analogue scorchimg as a primary step, i.e. at point of manufacture centuries ago. 2. Subsequent loss of all scorched fibres, except those that are minimally scorched, e.g. by selective pyrolysis of the outermost PCWs, that does not impair the mechanical strength of the whole fibre. The half-tone effect then gradually appears via a 'survival-of- the-fittest' process leaving finally just two (main) classes of fibre - minimally-scorched versus unscorched.
The transition from intense to fainter scorch could have been entirely natural and unaided, Alternatively, it may have been accelerated at some point early on, in order to 're-invent' a deliberately-contrived scorched image, representing say, a martyred Templar, as one of the crucified Jesus, with a fainter attenuated scorch being promoted as a Veronica-like sweat imprint. See the more recent postings on my now dormant specialist Shroud blog for more details on the "reinvention" hypothesis.
5. As hinted at earlier (but still little more than conjecture so far) I'm toying with the idea that that the LOTTO method was used, and, at least for the torso, might have used a 3D bronze that was half-embedded in sand to make it effectively a bas relief at the imprinting stage. What's more, the sand bed itself could be hot (used in fact to heat the template) relying on the fact that contact between linen and sand, far from being undesirable, might help to provide an instant aged yellow look to the Shroud linen, with a smaller contrast difference between image and background for your more authentic-looking Shroud .
Initially I considered that a bronze of the crucified Jesus might have been chosen, even if intending the image to be promoted, at least initially, as that of a more modern martyr, notably a Templar (Jacques de Molay?), the chemically pyrolytic/artistically pyrographic art form signalling the manner of execution (slow roasting at the stake). Another possibility has since occurred to me. Were there life-sized bronzes available in medieval times of St.Lawrence of Rome, who also was put to death by slow-roasting (258AD), with much medieval art work (painting) depicting him horizontally on his grid iron, often held down by men with tridents or pitchforks, with or without cords?
|Artist and date still unknown to this blogger, despite the above picture of St.Lawrence appearing in many different internet sites.|
The advantage of using an effigy of St.Lawrence, if available, is that hands may have been in the right location to start with, if the contemporaneous 2D representation in art were anything to go by.
Update: 22:30 Wed 9 April