Saturday, August 16, 2014

It's time to change the record, all you authenticity-promoting Shroudologists. Thermal imprints can be superficial at the level of linen threads AND their component fibres.

A few photographs should suffice to justify the title of this post. Whether they will silence those who continue to disseminate mis- and disinformation about the thermal imprint, aka contact scorch hypothesis is another matter. Planet Shroudology is a world in itself, cut off it seems from earthly reality, content to parachute-drop its mock-authoritative missives or pdfs etc from on high before high-tailing it back to base.

To the science:

First, I established it was possible to 'unspin' linen threads, simply by rolling the ends between thumb and forefinger to alternately untwist then re-twist, with occasional  (gentle) stretching and compression to separate the individual fibres.

The next step was to select a contact scorch from my now extensive archive, and to unpick the weave, separating individual threads, each with its scorched and unscorched portions.

The threads were then 'unspun' as described, and examined under the microscope at low magnification. Photographs were taken directly through the objective eyepiece lens (a bit tricky, but done to avoid previous problems with a USB link to the laptop screen, with excessively high magnification/poor resolution from the dedicated 'eyepiece' lens).

Here's what one sees at the lowest magnification (x40), two highly localised scorch areas, the unscorched region between them having been protected from the hot template by an overlying thread. 

This  view at higher magnification shows the superficiality of scorching , inasmuch as single fibres are lightly scorched on just part of their length, while adjacent fibres are not.

This makes the same point, what one sees being regionally- scorched fibres, NOT threads.


So what price shroudology's oft-repeated claim that the TS image is far too superficial to be a contact scorch, at least at the level of threads and fibres (claims for superficiality at sub-fibre level being largely speculative or at best anecdotal, and needing more targeted research). Those attempts to dismiss out of hand  the scorch hypothesis and indeed scoff at those who consider it viable generally come with no supporting evidence from actual experiment. In other words they are unscientific, and mere resorts to rhetoric, bluster  and occasionally laced with ridicule and condescension too. Yet as seen above, the experiments are simple and straightforward, requiring just half hour or less at home, needing no specialized laboratory equipment.

I say it's time shroudology stopped making duff claims it cannot back up with experimental evidence. In the two instances where experimental 'evidence' has been proferred, the authors of those inappropriately-designed and/or misinterpreted experiments, made in both instances on Dan Porter's should do the decent thing and withdraw their claims.

1.  From Dr.Paolo Di Lazzaro

See my updated and final critique  (scroll down past halfway point to entry on  Saturday Aug 9) with my responses in blue font.

2. From Dr.Thibault Heimburger

See my earlier critique of this posting.

If they fail to do so, then Dan Porter ought in my view to take the initiative, and excise their misinformation from his blog. That's assuming he has no wish for his site to be seen as a repository of fatally-flawed so-called science,  supposedly mounting a robust defence of authenticity while in reality finding entirely imaginary errors in the opposition case.

Saturday pm (afterthought)

What about faint scorches, the sort we are told cannot possibly exist, the ones at the limit of visibility? How do they look under the microscope?
Well, I have some of those in the archive too, and would normally be hesistant to show them, given there's so little to see (odd, I know, given that we're assured that scorching is an all-or-nothing phenomenon). But look hard and ye shall see, not much admittedly, but enough I hope to be persuaded that a scorch can be as faint as you wish.

Here are two very faint scorches. I teased out threads from the cut side on the right. Locating the colour under the microscope took a little time, but it was there - at the limit of visibility.

Look hard and you will see a few very faint yellow fibres (CLICK TO ENLARGE)  but the great majority are uncoloured, proof if any were needed that a contact scorch can be highly superficial, affecting only a few surface fibres of a thread.

To conclude: here's a comment by writer/historian Charles Freeman on that other site, followed by my candid response:

August 16, 2014 at 1:33 pm
Thanks, David. Despite frequent claims that the Shroud is the most researched artefact in history, there are still a lot of areas, among them those raised here, where research has not yet even begun.

August 16, 2014 at 2:16 pm
My concern is less to do with research that has not yet been done through lack of academic curiosity. It’s to do with pre-emptive so-called research, read rhetorical dissing, designed to block off certain avenues, declaring them to be bad or dangerous neighbourhoods.

Shroudology reeks of agenda-driven control-freakery. I expect to be banned (or issued a yellow card) for saying that. So I’ll say it again. Shroudology reeks.

New addition Sunday Aug 17

Just to be absolutely certain, and to cover myself against the charge of selecting a 'fluke 'result' I have just this minute repeated the first experiment, starting with a highly-scorched imprint from the same piece of linen.

Detach a single thread

Intermittent scorch marks visible (CLICK TO ENLARGE)

Same thread, after 'unspinning'

Seen under low power "as is"

As above, with adjustment of brightness, contrast and midtone values to emphasise the scorched regions, confined one notes to short regions of particular fibres

New addition: Wed Aug 20

Comment from me posted to (to a posting that reports on this one):

August 20, 2014 at 1:36 am
It’s like acquiring a suntan without a sunburn. One starts with minimal exposure, increasing it until one gets the optimum result.

One does not start with maximum exposure, guaranteeing sunburn, and then broadcasting to all and sundry that it’s impossible to get a suntan without a sunburn. Yet that is what Messrs Paolo Di Lazzaro and Thibault Heimburger have been doing – and, what’s more, using this site to do it. Their so-called “science” is less than impressive…

That comment was shortly followed with this one:

August 20, 2014 at 2:52 am
Here for the record are their exact words:
PDL (2012, this site)
“We have heated a 5-cents euro coin at about 230 °C in contact with a linen cloth. Just 5 seconds after the coin reached the max temperature the whole cross section of threads in contact with the coin was colored. After 15 seconds all the thickness of the cloth was colored and the round shaped image of the coin appeared on the opposite side.
… In summary, when heating a linen cloth by a hot metal in contact, well known physics models foresee the pyrolysis of the whole fibers and threads, and this is exactly what we observe in the experiments.”
TH (2014, this site):
“The cross section experiments show clearly that a light scorch, which is able to give a superficial imprint at fabric level is not superficial at all at thread level: the entire thickness of the threads in contact with the template is colored (while the threads or portions of threads which are not in contact with the hot template are not colored). On the Shroud, only the 2 or 3 surface layers of fibrils at the surface of the image threads are colored.”
As I say, it’s essentially a claim in both missives ( missiles?) that a suntan is impossible without a sunburn. To which my response again is: NUTS.


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