At the end of this admittedly uptight preamble, there are 7 photographs that I hope will demolish once and for all ENEA’s Dr. Paolo Di Lazzaro’s handy fantasy that a heat scorch can never be superficial. Readers may recall that claim being repeatedly cited, mantra-like, as the rationale for he and his ENEA colleagues firing off their uv laser beams at linen, generating all those lurid headlines from Dec 2011..
Paolo later tried to defend that fantasy of his with a belated ‘single-shot’ experiment using a hot coin, reported to the Other Site.
Yet despite singling me out by name for being mistaken in my views, he could not even be bothered to respond to my and others’ comments.
My main complaint was that he had employed too high a temperature, so it was not surprising that his scorch was too deep and penetrating (“not superficial”). Why did he not explore a wider range of temperature, instead of putting all his eggs into the 230 degree C basket (10 degrees higher than the reported pyrolysis temp of hemicelluloses as he himself acknowledged, citing my own literature search).
Had I read his protocol more closely, I could also have pointed out that he kept his hot coin pressed down on the linen (apparently, on close reading, with a means of keeping it at 230 degrees?) until it produced an intense scorch – so it was hardly surprising he obtained the result that he did.
Since that intervention/slapdown of his in February, I have been producing a drip feed of data that says a heat scorch (direct contact, conduction) can be as a faint and superficial as one wishes, right down to the limit of visibility. The problem has been in demonstrating that superficiality is not just at the level of whole threads, but individual
fibrils fibres in those threads, of which there can be scores if not hundreds. It would take very careful work with a microscope, which this retired science bod cannot find in his kitchen laboratory (I’ve turned out all the cupboards, and cross-examined the missus closely in case she’s had a lapse of memory in the utensil-acquisition department).
Here below, as I say, is a series of pictures obtained without using a microscope that to my mind (admittedly in its twilight phase) proves beyond all reasonable doubt that a heat scorch can be superficial, not just at the thread level, but that of the individual
fibrils fibres too. Enjoy.
Paolo di Lazzaro: kindly stop promoting that superficiality myth of yours. It never made sense on theoretical grounds (see my previous post) and is now rendered indefensible on experimental grounds too.
Amazing, isn’t it, the way these people speak with such authority on scorching when they have scarcely examined it as a credible mechanism, instantly dismissing it airily on phoney theoretical grounds – and then having the cheek to say the onus is on critics to do the experiments. Call that science? I called it Mickey Mouse science from the word go – and got a lot of flak for doing so. But I say, without fear or favour, that it IS Mickey Mouse Mouse science – and unless someone is prepared to blow the whistle on this kind of pseudo-scientific guff (agenda-driven for the most part – the agenda being to push Shroud authenticity – to promote mystery enigma, magic – the current Vatican-line) then science itself becomes the victim – reduced to a laughing stock by all those who casually or shamelessly blur the distinction between science and magic, and in some cases, science and theology).
Nope Dan Porter – the Disney tag is not a personal attack on an individual as you would have folk believe. It is a robust defence of science. If I have an agenda – then it is this – to defend the reputation of science and of scientists, real scientists that is, those who sometimes labour away for years, decades, sometimes an entire career, never reaching the public eye, because they are scrupulously adhering to the scientific method, and not taking short cuts to attention, publicity, fame or glory.
That’s what science is about – patient, plodding, unseen unglamorous beavering away at the margins of ignorance, trying this, trying that, having good ideas, occasionally bad ones, all grist to the mill, but always eschewing the default human tendency to assert a subjective view and then quickly move on. The latter is ANATHEMA to science. Scientists do NOT move on – they stay focused on a problem… continuing to question, probe, review, criticize. That’s why they are despised by some, at least on internet forums (“obsessional geeks”), to which I say – look at the modus operandi of Sir Isaac Newton, probably the greatest scientist who ever lived (more so in my view than the theoretician Einstein, vast intellect yes, but someone who never did a single lab or astronomical observation).
Newton, had he been living today, would instantly have been branded an “obsessional geek”. Yup, 350 years on, science in the UK has been described as ‘ghettoized’. But it needs to be if it wants to progress. Here’s an alliterative analogy off the top of my head to conjure with – the Golden Ghetto – the kind that Newton inhabited in mid 17th century Britain when forced by the epidemic of plague in her then flea-ridden rat-infested cities to abandon his studies at Cambridge and retreat to his grandmother’s Lincolnshire farm.
Long live the Golden Ghetto, I say. For scientists at any rate, retired ones included, it focuses the mind, it avoids distractions… Communing with the natural world is something entirely different from ordinary everyday life. On a different planet? Nope, still on Planet Earth, but fascinated by the latter, and often more interested with that earth and its wonders, animal, vegetable and mineral, than all the ephemeral interminable, repeatedly-going-over-the-same-ground chit-chat of the (allegedly) highly evolved lifeforms that exist thereon.
Anyway, having got that off my chest, here’s that experiment that shows just how wrong one particular Italian scientist is about homely scorching:
Message to all those who state categorically that scorching can never be superficial: stop the empty theorizing. Do what I have done: acquaint yourself with chemical theory (thermodynamics of spontaneous/non-spontaneous reactions, standard/non-standard states, Arrhenius activation energies, reaction kinetics, difference between continuous and discrete variables – time and temperature being the first of those), then confirm predictions by experiment if you feel you have to, or, in my case, coerced into doing so, and you too will find that heat-scorching can be as faint and/or superficial as one wishes, right down to the limits of visibility.
If you want to model the Shroud image, start with conventional energy sources – like conducted heat. Put your lasers away, and stop playing to the gallery… Yes, I know it’s hard: Shroudology has a reputation for playing to the gallery, but you cannot be a gallery-player and scientist at the same time… Oh , and kindly stop imagining your results could “prompt a philosophical or theological debate”. If that is your intention, then keep that for books – not (allegedly) scientific papers. the same goes for that fellow countryman of yours – Guilio Fanti – Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering, who concluded a recent paper of his (one I have heavily criticized for making claims that are not in his results) with a section headed “Theological Considerations”. Kindly stop compromising the objectivity of science. Kindly learn the difference between “seeing is believing” and your “believing is seeing”.
Postscript; the evidence that the Shroud image is vanishingly thin rests on those sticky tape samples taken and examined under the microscope by two now-deceased members of the original STURP investigating team, i.e. Raymond N. Rogers and Alan D. Adler. We are told that the body image could be stripped off, but that the coloured “ghosts” left behind when image fibres were pulled out were not resolvable under the light microscope. From that qualitative observation has come the much-bandied around, ‘quantitative’ 200nm guesstimate of maximum image thickness, based purely on what one can see in a microscope that depends on visible light., or rather, in this instance CANNOT see.
But when one examines that region and other sampled regions with Shroud Scope (high-resolution Durante 2002 photographs) there is no obvious sign of any rectangular shaped area that is denuded of body image, at least that I can see, despite being assured that the image was easily removable with sticky tape.
Can someone, anyone, explain?
Update: Sunday 16 Sep am. The comment that follows this intro has just appeared from Paulette on the Other Site. She was presumably not aware of this posting when she wrote it. Had she been aware, she would not have suggested the “teasing out” experiment reported here that I performed yesterday morning. Anyway, here’s her comment, with less of the ad hom that is customary from that lady – a science teacher – apart from that totally unnecessary flat-earther analogy. I addressed the question of “burden of proof” above, so have little patience with those who accuse me of the very thing of which they themselves are guilty. Enough said: over to Paulette: