As promised on The Other Site, I shall no longer mince my words, This retired science bod grows ever more appalled by the pseudo-science being peddled to support the authenticity of the Shroud as the cloth that was used to wrap the crucified Christ.
The latest egregious example is from the same paper that was the subject of my previous posting, the one by Barbara Faccini and Giulio Fanti (“F&F”)at the International Workshop on the Scientific Approach(sic) on the Acheiropoietos Images (May 2010) .
Their paper makes an extraordinary claim in the Introduction, repeated in the Conclusions, namely that one can discern a time sequence of events by examining the bloodstains on the Shroud – the latter including the scourge marks. They claim that there was a caning first with flexible rods (Type 2 implement) followed by scourging with the Roman flagrum (Type 1) followed by some limited beating of the legs (Type 3) followed finally by the major stains from the nail wounds in the wrists, the spear in the side etc,
I have been through the findings of their paper. Nowhere do I see any evidence displayed for one type of stain overlaying another. All I see is a brief reference to “overlap”. The authors state that the “overlap” is seen particularly in scourged areas that impinge on wrist blood and the so-called “blood belt” seen on the dorsal side. But when you look at their map, there are relatively few scourge marks in those areas.
It goes without saying that I have trained the invaluable Shroud Scope on those areas, and while able to discern a few instances in which scourge and major blood stain overlap, in no instance has it been possible to determine which preceded which.
I can display more of those pictures if anyone is interested,
Is it not a nonsense anyway to imagine that the assorted bloodstains would somehow be transferred to the linen in the reverse chronological sequence in which they were acquired? There was no printing from victim to linen after each separate stage of torture. So why would anyone expect a series of contact prints – all overlaid in the correct time sequence? Reminder – not that it should be needed: the linen was supposedly wrapped around someone who arrived at the tomb with all those blood stains in place, and probably clotted into a congealed smear. How on earth could there be orderly reverse transfer onto cloth of the kind suggested – to create a chronological archive? Yet that claim is made not just once but TWICE. It was clearly intended to create a frisson of delight – to be the paper’s take-away message.
Since when has it been the role of allegedly scientific congresses to peddle fantasies that are unsupported by data? Those two authors do a disservice to science (but I note that the second is an Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering, so may not be too bothered about the sensibilities of scientists such as myself).
How much longer must we see science being prostituted in this way purely to serve a Bible-supporting/embellishing agenda? One has only to read the paper’s observations of the Type 3 scourge marks to appreciate that was the author’s real agenda, suggesting that some atypical marks on the legs were the final goading cane strokes delivered on the final cross- bearing route to Calvary.Indeed, the use of that Greek term in the Congress title (Acheiropoietus) is dubious to say the least (“made without hands”) which virtually guarantees there will be much begging of the question re the Shroud authenticity, and many liberties taken with strict scientific objectivity.
You couldn’t make it up. Well, you could and you probably do – frequently – if you are a Shroudie so-called scientist. Yup, someone was clearly intent on getting a rapturous round of applause at the end of delivering that paper to fellow Shroudies at their so-called ” International Workshop on the Scientific(sic) Approach”.
Methinks that mechanical engineers should stick to doing the things they do best – like designing and making things – and leave the science to the scientists…
PS: Dan Porter is free as usual to flag up this paper on his shroudofturin site, but I shall no longer be responding to questions there.
Semantics footnote: I use “begging the question” above in its original sense, not to be confused with “inviting the question”, i.e.
“Begging the question” is a form of logical fallacy in which a statement or claim is assumed to be true without evidence other than the statement or claim itself.
There is, sad to say, an element of begging the question in the crucial terminology employed in the F&F paper. I refer to the introductory description of the Type 2 scourge marks as resembling “elongated furrows”, although to their credit, but much later in the paper, that is corrected to “striations”. A furrow is a groove – a three-dimensional entity. What is the evidence if any that the Type 2 scourge marks represent 3D information of any kind, as distinct from mere striations on cloth of provenance that can only be conjectured – and conjectured differently depending on whether the Shroud is an entity “made without hands” or the work of a hoaxer or forger. It is yet another instance, all to frequent in Shroudology, to adopt terminology that begs the question.
Here’s an attempt to see whether there is, in fact, any encoded 3D information in those scourge marks, comparable to that which is perhaps an iconic feature of the Man in the Shroud generally. And not just 3D information: is there any evidence for furrows in any of those scourge marks that might offer some support to the idea they represent something more than mere bloodstains, but areas of indentations that are suggested by that loaded term “furrows”.
The first task is to choose an area of the anatomy with an assortment of scourge marks. The back has been tried first, where there are Type 1 and Type 2 marks (dumb-bell-shaped and striated respectively). The initial 3D visualisation with ImageJ software will be done with the Durante 2002 HD photographs from Shroud Scope without added contrast or other enhancement.
Here’s the region selected:
The next step was to “normalise” settings in ImageJ to ensure they produced realistic transformations of 2D image density to 3D. I used a technique described previously on my other Shroud site. Here’s the before and after result, with gain controls set a little high:
Now let’s apply those same settings to the scourge marks (apart from the scale setting needed to fit all the image to the screen):
Now there’s a surprise. There is indeed encoded 3D information in those scorch marks. But without exception, ALL the marks have produced convex images, i.e. humps, as distinct from concave “furrows”. Anyone trying to relate those marks to scourging would have to conclude that the images were raised weals, rather than furrows or other indentations caused by whips, whether tipped with metal spheres or not, biting into the skin to leave “furrows”. But this poster offers a simpler explanation: there is no genuine encoded 3D information. The scourge marks are simply surface smears, possibly ancient degraded blood, whose different image densities respond to 3D imaging, in the same way that my 2D scorch mark of King George VI responded to the software.
Here is another set of scourge marks, before and after 3D enhancement, this time from the upper (anatomical) left chest, this time with a preponderance of “Type 2” striations:
One thing seems clear: the so-called scourge marks, if indeed that is what they are, are not furrows or any other kind of indentation in the skin. Any imaging of the aftermath of scourging would have been purely as a consequence of transfer of blood and/or other body exudations onto linen. But how likely is it that such a process could be so precise as to leave those patterns of scourge marks, especially when one considers that the blood would have initially had time to clot, and that the liquefaction for transfer depended on the customized physiology that has been developed in Shroudology to allow imprinting of initially clotted blood, summed up in the term “fibrinolysis”?
There is a much simpler explanation, and recalling Occam’s razor, this retired science bod will always prefer the simpler explanation. There was no imprinting off a subject with scourge and other bloodstains. The scourge marks were simulated, by applying blood or a blood-like fluid directly to linen. They may have been painted on, or more probably printed on, using a small replica of a cane or flagrum. But they were careless with the geometry of the flagrum, as discussed in the previous post: while getting an imprint of the cord between the metal spheres, they failed to get one for the cord leading up to the spheres. F&F were not even able to image that cord between the spheres in their model system using a reconstructed flagrum. That suggests to me that the Type 1 flagrum marks were applied with something resembling a small hand stamp as dsitinct from a flagrum, real or simulates, which might explain the curious distribution the “scourge marks” on F&F’s map, especially visible on the back. The marks appear too localised, too clustered especially when applied with a flagrum, i.e. cat-o’-nail tails as we Brits tend to call it, each stroke of which might be expected to damage skin over a wide area, and be impossible to apply in so targeted a fashion.
While general body imaging is poor in peripheral areas, for reasons that invite much conjecture re the nature of the imaging process (miraculous flashes of light etc) there is no reason for thinking the same effect should apply to bloodstains on wrap-around linen.
The Shroud is a contrivance, aka forgery/fake. Those “scourge marks” and indeed the too-perfect blood trails from wrists, crown of thorns etc are the give-away. I see no reason to reject the carbon-dating.
Afterthought: If you wish to see who’s who in the world of Shroudology, as well as put faces to names, including those of our two scourge-mark specialists, going boldly where no man (and woman) has gone before, then check out this site with its portrait gallery. (Unlike the Ohio conference proceedings reported there, where it was Giulio Fanti who presented Barbara Faccini’s paper, it was the other way round apparently at the Acheirpoietus Workshop in Frascati. I have yet to discover BF’s bio to know her precise background and qualifications, except that it is in the Earth Sciences).