One final attempt to make the priggish “anonymous” on Dan Porter’s site aware of his profoundly unscientific approach to the TS.

This is a quickie post in which I shall simply post the provocative comments coming (yet again) from “anonymous”, as he now calls himself, on Dan Porter’s shroudstory.com site.priggish

My first replies were posted there initially, but a later longer one, where I felt obliged to set him straight, line by line, I’ve posted here only.

  1. Anonymous
    February 2, 2014 at 5:39 pm | #64

    To conclude this topic, I just want to summarize in a few words my thoughts about all the hypotheses for image formation involving a form of another of high energetic radiation (including the scorch hypothesis of Colin Berry or some supernatural hypotheses like the ones proposed by Di Lazzaro or Fanti): To me, believing that the Shroud image (especially when you consider its ultra-superficiality, which is the same in darker zones as it is in lighter ones, and also when you consider the probable fact that the bloodstains, which were not affected at all by the image formation, were on the cloth first) could have been formed by such a thing is as crazy as believing a painter could have uniformly painted such an extremely superficial full body image (front and back)!

    I don’t know for all of you, but for me, this is what logic and rational thinking leads me. And I’m not even talking about some other strange particularities (like the total absence of a body image of the back of the knee on the dorsal image), which gives any forgery hypothesis even less credit…

    • Anonymous
      February 2, 2014 at 5:42 pm | #65

      Complement : The absence of an image of the back of the knees, the presence of bloodstains before the image formation, the extreme superficiality of the image everywhere on the cloth (in darker zones as much as in lighter ones), etc.

      To me, all those things are well enough to discard any forgery hypothesis involving any form of an artistic technique and are well enough to put very serious doubts over any supernatural hypothesis that involve a form or another of high-energetic radiation.

      • February 2, 2014 at 6:03 pm | #66

        I can only repeat what I’ve said to you repeatedly, which you refuse to take on board. There is far, far more to science – the understanding of phenomena, natural or man-made – than the application of logic and rationality. Those two alone never led to the making of new discoveries, certainly not the new ‘paradigms’. The latter often come about through appreciating the limitations of existing data, and having the humility to realize that the data we have at our disposal are maybe incomplete, giving a misleading picture if over-analysed.  As the man said ” we do not know what we do not know”.

        Candidly, you would never hack it as a research scientist.

        Sir Isac Newton - arguably the greatest scientist who ever lived - judged by the originality of his  contributions to science and mathematics (optics, telescopy,gravity, differential calculus  etc etc). Yet most of his writing, based on word count was obscure (given his obsession with the search for secret biblical codes). But he managed to keep his science and his religion in separate compartments - a true measure of the  man's genius.

        Sir Isaac Newton – arguably the greatest scientist who ever lived – judged by the originality of his contributions to science and mathematics (optics, telescopy, gravity, orbits of planets ,the Moon  and imagined man-made satellites,  differential calculus etc etc. Yet most of his writing, based on word count was obscure (given his obsession with the search for secret biblical codes). But he managed to keep his science and his religion in separate compartments – a true measure of the man’s genius.

        You not only lack the vision thing. More importantly, you lack humility in failing to appreciate the shaky foundations on which your much trumpeted mantras are based (“ultrasuperficial”, “blood before image” etc). You are a peddler of half-truths. content merely to attack others’ ideas and/or working hypotheses, having nothing constructive to offer in their place.

        If you think the TS image was formed by chemical action, then produce your evidence.

        • Anonymous
          February 2, 2014 at 6:42 pm | #67

          I only talk about probabilities here. And once you consider all the pertinent data without to absolutely disauthenticate the relic and without being despair to link it with the Hollywoodish idea of what kind of burst of energy the Resurrection of Christ might have produced, then probabilities clearly point in direction of a natural formation involving a real crucified body (probably the one of the historical Jesus of Nazareth).

          I don’t say your hypothesis is 0.0 in term of probability. I just say those must be estimated as something close to, let’s say, 0.1%.

          Anonymous
          February 2, 2014 at 6:44 pm | #68

          There was a missing word in my last comment. Here it is again: I only talk about probabilities here. And once you consider all the pertinent data without wanting to absolutely disauthenticate the relic and without being despair to link it with the Hollywoodish idea of what kind of burst of energy the Resurrection of Christ might have produced, then probabilities clearly point in direction of a natural formation involving a real crucified body (probably the one of the historical Jesus of Nazareth).

          I don’t say your hypothesis is 0.0 in term of probability. I just say those must be estimated as something close to, let’s say, 0.1%.

          1. February 2, 2014 at 7:49 pm | #69

            Anonymous :
            There was a missing word in my last comment. Here it is again: I only talk about probabilities here. And once you consider all the pertinent data without wanting to absolutely disauthenticate the relic and without being despair to link it with the Hollywoodish idea of what kind of burst of energy the Resurrection of Christ might have produced, then probabilities clearly point in direction of a natural formation involving a real crucified body (probably the one of the historical Jesus of Nazareth).
            I don’t say your hypothesis is 0.0 in term of probability. I just say those must be estimated as something close to, let’s say, 0.1%.

            I shan’t try responding to any of that. It’s gobbledegook – from start to finish.

            • February 2, 2014 at 7:51 pm | #70

              PS On second thoughts – gibberish.

            • Anonymous
              February 2, 2014 at 7:54 pm | #71

              You know I’m right. It’s just you not ready to admit it. If you really want to disauthenticate the Shroud, start looking for the naturally produced image of a real crucified man who looked like Jesus of the Gospel on a real burial cloth or, if you really want to keep the “forgery” path, at least, start thinking about a “natural” forgery done by someone who used of a real crucified corpse in order to produce naturally his body image on a linen cloth… That way, you and your hypothesis would become much more credible.

              February 3, 2014 at 1:35 am | #72

              You say “start thinking”. I have been thinking and researching and model-building for over 2 years, posting my results and thoughts as I get them. Yet when I ask you to produce your evidence for a chemical imprinting mechanism (evidence, not hankering for) you fail to deliver. Come on. You and that guru of yours have/had years in which to supply hard experimental evidence for the existence of a chemical signature on the linen, with acquisition of new matter from an exogenous source, e.g. a decomposing corpse. I repeat. Where is your evidence?

              If you wish to enter into scientific debate, instead endlessly reciting your impressionist dirges, then you MUST produce your evidence.

              And no. I do not know you are right, as you charmlessly put it. I believe you to be utterly deluded. Once you are willing to put yourself in the position of someone who has NOT rejected the radiocarbon dating, and then ask why someone would want to produce the unusual TS image, and more importantly HOW, and once you start to eliminate the possibilities (not a painting, since no pigment traces, and probably NOT a chemical imprint because there is apparently nothing there of exogenous origin), then you may well find that STURP and others were too quick to write off simple thermal imprinting.

              Look at the new banner on my site obtained with my latest (LOTTO) methodology, and you will see that tangible progress has been made over two years. But I am content right now to convince myself. Convincing the mantra-intoning diehards like you who accept negligible pro-authenticity evidence without question, who fail to see the flimsiness of the existing database or the agenda-driven nature of so much of what passes for Shroud-research, may take a little longer.

              1. Hugh Farey
                February 3, 2014 at 6:25 am | #74

                I believe Anon favours the Maillard reaction hypothesis suggested by Rogers and Arnoldi in 2003. It is interesting that they appear less certain of their methods than Anon does. The paper’s very title gives this away: An Amino Carbonyl Reaction (Maillard Reaction) May Explain the Image Formation.

                The paper describes how such a reaction could theoretically come about; the amino reactants may derive from a corpse, and the surface of the shroud could have been prepared using chemicals which rendered only the surface fibres susceptible. Experiments using ammonia as the gas and dextrin (very similar to gum arabic, as it happens) as the sugar showed that a Maillard reaction between these two components does, in fact occur.

                But that’s as far as it went. There was no attempt to carry out the experiments using a big piece of cloth, a more realistic starch & saponaria preparation, or any chemicals actually associated with dead body. Attempts to explain the precision of the image are vague in the extreme.

                It is not impossible that some form of Maillard reaction was involved in the formation of the image, although, since Rogers and Arnoldi experimented using only ammonia, there is no suggestion that a dead body was an essential part of the image formation. Ammonia was common enough in medieval Europe, and if it was known to discolour cloth, might have been a good choice for a forger!

                • February 3, 2014 at 7:03 am | #75

                  Yes, but where’s the chemical signature on the TS linen image for a Maillard reaction, or, for that matter. any other fixation of exogenous chemicals (amines, reducing sugars etc)?

                  Surely that Maillard reaction should only have been touted as a possibility by first discovering the appropriate chemical signature. But that was never attempted (to my knowledge) although there is one reference as I recall to there being NO surplus of fixed nitrogen in image fibres.

                  So we have an essentially mythical reaction being promoted here on an almost daily basis by one of Rogers’ devotees as though it were a scientific given. It’s not, and what anonymous is doing here is attempting to preempt or replace sound if slow and systematic science with pure fantasy.

                  He hasn’t the first clue as to the scientific method, and is all at sea as well with that chosen instrument of his (logic and rationality) given that he does to appear to appreciate that logical argument agrees with the sharing of a initial premise. If his premise is that the radiocarbon dating was wrong by 1300 years, and mine is that it was broadly correct, then is it any wonder that with conflicting premises we arrive at totally different conclusions?

                  There’s more I could say about his attempts to specify how a medieval forger would operate, to which I would reply: he’s probably been giving that serious thought, if at all, for the last few hours. Some of us have been thinking about it for years – in depth – and writing about it, willing to entertain objections – and find his reasoning, dare I say logic, is flawed in that respect too, judging by what he has said earlier on this thread. I may expand on that later if he refuses to get off that high horse of his, claiming as he does a monopoly on making all the the right connections. I hope for his sake he’s not a DIY electrician.

                      • Hugh Farey
                        February 3, 2014 at 9:07 am | #76

                        Well I agree, of course. What I was hoping was that Anonymous would return to the source of his conviction and maybe appeciate why it is not quite as obvious to some people as it is to others. Then he might feel less frustrated by their apparent obduracy!

                  1. Anonymous
                    February 3, 2014 at 11:45 am | #77

                    I’m not frustrated. I just don’t understand why some people like you still consider human-made forgery hypothèses, which have all been set aside by STURP (and that are obviously off-track concerning the Shroud and the sum of very particular characteristics associated to it), instead of taking STURP conclusions seriously and start looking for some natural interraction between a real crucified corpse (which could still have been, if you don’t want the relic to be authentic, another person than Jesus) and some reactive products that were concentrated on the top-surface of the cloth (possibly on both sides). To me, it is as obvious as the nose in anyone’s face that this is the right path to follow in order to solve the mystery of the Shroud image… I think the main error you did (note that many other researchers did the same error over the years) is to consider separately the body image and the bloodstains, which must be considered as a whole.

                  2. Anonymous
                    February 3, 2014 at 11:55 am | #78

                    By the way, I don’t know if Rogers hypothesis was right on the target. More tests need to be done to verify this. I still wait for such tests to be done… I also think Fazio and Mandaglio’s hypothesis of a very weak and natural release of energy (probably heat) by the corpse that could have yield the dehydration of some superficial fibers (or more probably of a thin layer of impurities) deserve to be tested properly under good lab control. And it’s the same thing for the hypothesis proposed by John De Salvo concerning a possible Volckringer pattern phenomenon (or something very similar in nature).

                    Have you noticed that all those hypotheses still wait to be tested properly under good lab control? Only Rogers had time to make some preliminary tests, but those were just preliminary stuff… More researches need to be done regarding all those interesting hypotheses.

                    ############################################

                    This discussion is clearly going nowhere, so here’s what i hope can be a final position statement from this sceptic under constant attack from a true-believer (who imagine himself to be in permanent occupation of the academic high ground). It’s a point-by-point rebuttal of the comment above.

                    AnonymousI’m not frustrated. I just don’t understand why some people like you still consider human-made forgery hypothèses, which have all been set aside by STURP …

                    Me: Ridiculous STURP did not have the radiocarbon dating when they were working. It didn’t  come till 10 years later. In any case they did not set aside forgery – there is no reference to “forgery” in the STURP conclusions:

                    They simply said they could find no paint pigments, stains etc.

                    Anonymous:  … and that are obviously off-track concerning the Shroud and the sum of very particular characteristics associated to it), …

                    Me:  Your “sums” have no bearing whn each piece of evidence is weak. Half a dozen weak pieces of evidence  do not compensate for the lack of a single compelling  piece of evidence.

                    Anonymous:instead of taking STURP conclusions seriously…

                    Me: Please don’t make assumptions as to what conclusions other people take seriously. Dismissing other people’s conclusions does not mean they were not taken seriously initially (how would that be possible anyway, given there’s scarcely any information except that which came via STURP?)

                    Anonymous:and start looking for some natural interraction between a real crucified corpse (which could still have been, if you don’t want the relic to be authentic, another person than Jesus)…

                    Me:  You still don’t get it, do you – that if one does NOT reject the radiocarbon dating, then there are few if any grounds for suspecting that the TS ever enveloped a real crucified corpse.  If a medieval forger (or as I prefer to imagine, graphic artist) had intended to simulate the crucified Christ, complete with bloodstains in all the right places, he would hardly have started with a real bloodied corpse, even if one were available. He would have wanted  a base image with NO bloodstains, and painted them on in precise locations. What’s more the crown of thorns shows that the image was intended to be seen as Jesus, at least at the time of application, but for all we know that and other blood additions may have been made long after the acquisition of body image (by whatever means). As for natural interaction,  how could the artisan have arranged for that, given that centuries later we have no idea as to how a natural image could have been formed, bar that highly conjectural model  requiring putrefaction  amines to act in a homogenous fashion over the entire TS, both surfaces.

                    Anonymous:   … and some reactive products that were concentrated on the top-surface of the cloth (possibly on both sides).

                    Me: That’s model dependent, Rogers’ derived-speculation, for which there’s no real evidence on the TS that his Maillard type reactions occurred. Yet here you are again, trotting out Rogers’ blue sky thinking as though it were some kind of default position. There is no default where ideas are concerned that lack for a single solidly-based fact in their support.

                    Anonymous:  To me, it is as obvious as the nose in anyone’s face that this is the right path to follow in order to solve the mystery of the Shroud image…

                    Me:  I hardly think it is  for you to go telling anyone what is “the right path” to take. Research investigators pursue paths of their own choosing, and do not appreciate it when others second-guessi their decisions. It’s profoundly anti-science to sit in judgement on others’ research directions, especially as you have no track record  and publications as an  experimental scientists (whereas I, as it happens,  do)…

                    Anonymous:  I think the main error you did (note that many other researchers did the same error over the years) is to consider separately the body image and the bloodstains, which must be considered as a whole.

                    Me:  Ah, we’re back in Adrian Mole mode now,  pointing out other people’s errors of thinking.

                    That is simply a restatement of your belief that the TS is authentically that of a 1st century man who was tortured and crucified according to the Gospel narrative, with a relatively short time between an imprinting of blood, followed by body image.  The idea is to  see if the Shroud has any real bearing on that belief, or whether it’s become a prop. What you and others try to do is turn that on its head – assume that the Shroud is authentic, and then find arguments for getting round all the discrepancies, attempting to shifyt the burden of (dis) proof onto sceptics when you don’t even have the radiocarbon evidence on your side.

                    Have you any idea how priggish you sound when you refer to other people’s “errors” through not buying into your narrative. Repeat: your narrative lacks support from the radiocarbon dating. Unless you can prove the latter is in error, you have no business  casually imputing “errors” of thinking to other people. You sound just like a Maoist Red Guard  reciting from his little red book when you sound off about other people’s revisionist errors.

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About Colin Berry

Retired science bod, previous research interests: phototherapy of neonatal jaundice, membrane influences on microsomal UDP-glucuronyltransferase, defective bilirubin and xenobiotic conjugation and hepatic excretion, dietary fibre and resistant starch.
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