New site under construction – shroud2ndstorey, building on shroudstory…

When complete, this blogger expects be moving in shortly to the new 'upstairs' on the existing building, and will be taking a keen interest in what's happening downstairs. Expect to hear occasional clumping of heavy boots from upstairs.

When complete, this blogger expects be moving in shortly to the new ‘upstairs’ on the existing building, and will be taking a keen interest in what’s happening downstairs. Expect to hear occasional clumping of heavy boots from upstairs.

“Downstairs” is  Dan Porter’s shroudstory.com, needless to say.

Watch this space. New additions will go ON TOP above the double separator line below, i.e.  in reverse chronological order.

Topics to date:

15th entry (final): preview of next new-look posting, Week 32, 2015.

(Scroll down to the next red text below).

14th entry: Re those alleged appearances of the “Shroud” during the first “1300 years” of its supposed pre-Lirey existence.

13th entry: “Nobody ever got rich …”

12th entry: Wackypedia

11th entry: my comment posted to shroudstory.com, regarding its ‘New Age capitalism’

10th entry: one of sindonology’s most egregious examples of ‘cherry jam’, and from a STURP team leader no less.

9th entry: more promotion of “cherry jam” pseudoscience by a serial browbeater running amok on shroudstory.com

8th entry: my newly discovered historical link between Joseph of Arimathea and sweat (not just blood) of  Jesus.

7th entry: “Cherry jam” – my shorthand term for pseudoscience that is driven and reinforced by preconceptions.

6th entry: Repudiating the absurd and baseless claim of plagiarism made on shroudstory site.

5th entry: re fatuous charges of plagiarism from commentator on the shroudstory site.

4th entry: more on Robert Bucklin MD.

3rd entry: Rogers and Arnoldi, specifically their deeply flawed Maillard model

2nd entry: More on Robert Bucklin MD and his pro-authenticity leanings.

1st entry: Robert Bucklin MD

15th (and last) entry on this posting, 06:30, Monday 3 Aug

Will shortly be starting a new posting, more correctly a series of generic postings, each individually date-stamped.

Title (generic): Is the Shroud of Turin really just 18 years short of its 2000th birthday? See this blog for an informed digest of current wrangling (2015, Week 32)

The aim is a maximum of 15 entries per week, generally 2 per day. The primary source will be mainly the current postings and discussion on Dan Porter’s shroudstory site (a reversal of the previous oh-so genteel predator-prey relationship 😉

Beware the cherry pickers who select facts helpful to their case, studiously ignoring the rest. Most of all, be aware of the purveyors of home-made “cherry jam” (seemingly wholesome-looking preserve, but based on home-grown selected fruit, i.e. preconceptions).

Some of the biggest names in sindonology are/were cherry pickers and/or covert or blatant manufacturers of cherry jam.

14th entry: 16:50 Sunday 2 Aug

Here’s an example of the kind of comment one sees repeatedly, namely that there’s irrefutable evidence that the Shroud image was being referred to in history centuries before its first definitive display at Lirey, france, circa 1355.

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Nope. The only evidence that some of us would regard as irrefutable is that which shows the Shroud as a double-image, head to head – in other word the iconic configuation that is unique to the Shroud. This blogger has never seen a single representation of the crucified Jesus in that head-to-head frontal/dorsal configuration that predates the Lirey pilgrims’ badge. So kindly cease blathering on, trotting out this mantra,  insulting our intelligence, all you archaeo-pre- medieval Shroud spotters. You are seriously boring. Remember: the 1355 display was just 600 or so years ago, a mere 30% of its age were the Shroud really  2000 years old.  There would have been some kind of back-story. Do you seriously imagine that an iconic double image could have been preserved for 1300 years or so without its distinctive appearance entering the individual or collective consciousness of th0se who wrote or painted or sketched?

13th entry: 14:00 Sunday 2 Aug

Still, the Shroudie roadshow grinds on its relentless way, brought to you this time by Russ Breault Inc, in association with shroudstory.inc.

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Note the phrase “for how the napkin was wrapped around   human head”. Who needs subjunctive tenses like “might have been wrapped around etc…”?

The business of promoting a narrative is far too important to be compromised by those tedious subjunctives. Nobody ever got rich by overestimating the intelligence of the average, er, er, sorry, have momentarily forgotten how it ends…

Actually, Russ seems a decent kind of guy who doesn’t ‘over egg the pudding’ as we say. It’s the pudding this blogger objects to – not the egg content.

See this report by Mark Guscin on the Sudarium of Oviedo. Better still, don’t, it being the kind of ‘cherry jam’ that passes for science in ‘sudariumology’ as well as sindonology.

Sample: “There are smaller bloodstains at the side of the main group. It would appear that the sudarium was pinned to the back of the dead man’s head, and that these spots of blood were from small sharp objects, which would logically be the thorns that caused this type of injury all over Jesus’ head.”

Don’t you just love that term “logically” (which I have bolded) ? The starting point for logic is supposed to be a premise, clearly stated, that is a statement of belief which may or may NOT be fact. There is no premise to be seen in that Guscin report or the so-called “medical investigations”  he quotes centred on a blood-stained cloth of unkown provenance. Instead we see the word “cross” suddenly slipped in (my bolding):

“The cloth was not wrapped entirely round the head because the right cheek was almost touching the right shoulder. This suggests that the sudarium was put into place while the body was still on the cross. The second stain was made about an hour later, when the body was taken down. The third stain was made when the body was lifted from the ground about forty five minutes later. The body was lying at the foot of the cross for about forty-five minutes before being buried. The marks (not fingerprints) of the fingers that held the cloth to the nose are also visible.”

As I say, this is not sound scholarship. It’s not any kind of scholarship. It is preconception-promoting cherry jam, from start to finish, dressed up as medical science …

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12th entry, 08:50 Sunday Aug 2

The alternative wikipedia - for those of a more imaginative disposition

The alternative wikipedia – for those of a more imaginative disposition

Comment placed on shroudcock-and-bullstory site

Comment placed on shroudcock-and-bullstory site

See comments thread on Cherry Jam posting for what did occasion the unseemly mirth and jollity.

There’s supposed to be a page break here (!). It appears in Edit, so why not post-Edit?

11th entry, 20:10 Sat August 1: my comment posted to shroudstory.com, regarding its ‘New Age capitalism’

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10th entry: 14:00 Sat 1 August

See if you can spot the ‘cherry jam’ in this extract from a published paper (2003) The red underlining may help. maybe the yellow too,  the softening -up for what’s to come, but concentrate on the red.

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Reminder: even at school, in biology lessons, one is taught how to test for starch, or rather the amylose part thereof (misspelt above as ‘amilose’). The reagent is iodine (NO AZIDE!!!)  and the colour is an intense blue-black if starch is present (not a “reddish background”).  So where does one go to find this bizarre test for “starch” using a reagent designed for something else?

Answer: here, the supposedly peer-reviewed journal Melanoidins (2003). Melanoidins are the  coloured (generally brown) end-products of Maillard reactions between amines and reducing sugars (not intact starch, note, but reducing sugars, thereby  adding a further bizarre twist to the above reporting.

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As for the serial browbeater (see below) who returns to shroudstory time and time again to bully the site into believing that Rogers DID find starch on the “Shroud”, does anyone seriously doubt  that the only evidence he could muster to back that totally wrong claim was what we see above? If there had been proper specific evidence, he would have shown it.

Yes, 2003, just two years before his death. HE DID NOT HAVE THE EVIDENCE HE NEEDED.  He substituted what you see above.

WHAT WE SEE ABOVE IS CHERRY JAM –  my term for phoney evidence, indeed non-evidence, driven by preconceptions,  now the ‘received wisdom’ in sindonology. Why?  Because it came from the guru chemist whose word must never be doubted, nor that of the groupies on shroudstory.com –  two in particular- who continue to force-feed us Rogers’  offering of cherry jam.

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9th entry: 10:30 Sat 1 August

Here’s the latest attempt from one of shroudstory’s browbeating fraternity to convince us, cross my heart, hope to die, that St.Raymond really did test systematically for starch impurities on the linen, and that he really did obtain positive results for starch  that met acceptable analytical standards . (No, he didn’t, as this one-time starch specialist has stated repeatedly, his “data” being little more than anecdotal, citing others’ results with a reagent that was not designed for starch tests, but something entirely different – sulphoproteins).

His ultimate authority? It’s that impressive listing of TS characteristics published by the Shroud Science Group in 2005. (Note carefully the year – ring any bells, oh serial browbeater?)

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Yes, that particualr year is highly significant. It’s the year Raymond Rogers sadly passed away (shame – this  Johnny-Come-Lately Shroud investigator (David Rolfe’s description -followed by   “… and you’ll always be a Johnny-Come-Lately”)  would have liked to have exchanged some emails).

What our serial browbeater omits to mention is that the SSG list he cites was dedicated to the memory of the then recently deceased Ray Rogers. It says so – right at the top in big bold letters.

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So it’s hardly surprising that references to Ray Rogers’ non-authoritative claims for starch impurities, buried in that list, would NOT have been edited out, even if the list went through the hands of a strict stickler (like myself) for maintaining scientific standards.

As for that bit near the end of the comment (above) acknowledging that Rogers did NOT use the term “primary cell wall”, but “that’s what he meant”, words fail me. Since when has it fallen to commentators on web forums – with no scientific qualifications that I’m aware of – to tell us what a dead scientist “really meant”. This is arrogance on stilts.

It was Rogers’ failure to recognize the existence of the primary cell wall, thin, very thin (like, you know, incredibly superficial, 200nm, oddly enough the same thickness or thereabouts  of the TS image layer) that allowed him to slip his “starch impurity layer” into the literature, citing Pliny and/or other biblical-era sources, and creating what I yesterday called CHERRY JAM: phoney data that supports and reinforces preconceptions. And we have that serial browbeater regularly popping upto tell us that St. Raymond’s canon of Shroud research is not to be questioned, not even by  long-in-the-tooth scientific investigators like myself, who simply don’t qualify in his book as “experts”. Now there’s someone else who should have  had the key taken out his ignition a long time ago, Dan Porter, someone who is promoting pseudoscience (“cherry jam”).

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8th entry: 06:30 Saturday 1 August

Joseph of Arimathea with two cruets, one blood, one sweat (or both sweat) Stained glass. St. John's church, Glastonbury, England.

Joseph of Arimathea with two cruets, one blood, one sweat (or both sweat) of the crucified Jesus.
Stained glass. St. John’s church, Glastonbury, England.

This blogger’s personal ‘take’ on the Turin so-called Shroud, i.e. that it was meant to be seen by its medieval designer(s) as a sweat (+blood) imprint on Joseph of Arimathea’s linen received help from an unexpected quarter yesterday (namely the commentator who signs himself on shroudstory as Louis – a significant presence in sindonology, and it goes without saying – deeply pro-authenticity).

Why, how you may ask? Well, it’s like this. The difficulty I have is establishing a nexus that has sweat as well as blood at its centre, based on historical or even semi-historical sources (myth. legend etc), given the paucity of sources one can quote (not that such considerations ever bothered a certain historian who dismisses the “Shroud” as “simply a disintegrated painting). Here is a schematic of a nexus I had in my mind’s eye until yesterday, minus the newly-added red.

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This morning, I added that solid red line linking Joseph of Arimathea’s linen with sweat, and the dotted line that then links the Turin “Shroud” with sweat, i.e. as a sweat (+blood) imprint.  So where did the evidence come from in support of those two red additions?

It came from Louis’ comment yesterday on Dan Porter’s  coverage of my  “Cherry Jam” posting.

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Yes, Joseph of Arimathea was a bit of a dark horse, wasn’t he, and while he’s mentioned in all 4 gospels, they don’t tell us much more than one can read in Louis’ comments. But he’s the centre of much legend, especially here in England, so I decided to do some research. Avoiding wikipedia, as is now my wont, I found this item on the BBC from last year:

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Well now, that IS interesting, overlooking the anglocentric romanticizing,, namely that Joseph of Arimathea should have been seen in medieval times as someone who had saved a little of the blood AND sweat from the newly-crucified Jesus. I see that as one more piece in a jigsaw that supports my thesis that the Turin so-called Shroud is/was a SWEAT IMPRINT as regards that faint brown body image. Thus the extra red lines added to that evolving nexus schematic. The other pieces? They don’t take long to list – the Machy mould’s Veronica-like vignette above the word SUAIRE (face cloth), made one assumes for a Mark2 Lirey Pilgrim’s badge, the letter that St. Francis de Sales, then Bishop of Geneva,  wrote to his mother from Annecy in 1614 enthusing over his viewing of the Shroud with copious references to sweat as well as blood.  So when it comes to historical sources, every little helps. Thanks Louis. Thanks shroudstory.com.

Note: it doesn’t matter a jot as to whether Joseph of Arimathea really visited England, or whether he really did harvest some sweat, over and above that which may or may not have been imprinted onto his linen which he may or may not have saved for posterity. What matters is the legend that links the man and his timely provision of linen with bodily sweat as the putative imprinting agent in my model AND in the medieval thought experiment that hit on the idea of sweat as an imprinting agent, modelled in turn by a hard-nosed take on the  physiology that could have imprinted a proto-image of the face of  Jesus on the Veil of Veronica. Think of the Turin “Shroud” as a bigger and better version of the Veil, both requiring some human intervention to get a good imprint by brief manual moulding of cloth to body contours.

7th entry: 14:10 Friday 31 July

My “cherry jam” metaphor is the subject of a new posting on shroudstory.com. Dan Porter wants the metaphor explained. I thought, I hoped it might be self-explanatory. Am busy right now, so a few words will have to suffice. Setting up contrived experiments that are designed to illustrate or “confirm” one’s preconceptions, ones that can then be said to support one’s preconceptions, is not science. It is pseudoscience. This blogger wanted a shorthand term for pseudoscience. It’s “cherry jam”.  It has its roots in the expression “cherry picking”. That’s a practice that is on a slippery slope to pseudoscience where the proponent of  an argument, the latter often dubious, selects those items of evidence that support the case, ignoring the others. But at least there’s existing evidence that may be valid and worthy of consideration if based on real science, free of preconceptions. It becomes pseudoscience when phoney evidence is acquired by taking a preconception as if established fact, then collecting evidence that is contrived or carefully selected that seems to support it, and then claiming that the initial preconceptions are then supported by objective experimental data.  I call that contrived experimental data “cherry jam”. I could cite examples from numerous different ‘sindonologists’, whether open or closet variety where the so-called supportive evidence is nothing of the sort, where the design and/or interpretation of data have been tainted by initial preconceptions, creating a closed positive- feedback loop as per schematic diagram between preconceptions and experimental findings. I call that kind of output “cherry jam”. Some find it sweet. I find it sickly. It damages the reputation of science. It risks seeing science branded in the same way as statistics: lies, damned lies and science. 90% or more of what one reads from sindonology congresses is “cherry jam”. The so-called science is in fact pseudoscience, driven by preconceptions.

6th entry: 12:45, Friday 31 July

(Still to be given a final  proof-read)

If  I had to single out a particular highpoint in my 3.5 years of investigating the “Shroud” it would be the one in April 2014 when the nitric acid finally arrived, and I tested its effects, first on linen, then on a variety of imprints on linen (milk, flour paste, gelatin, egg white etc). All predictions were confirmed. Nitric acid could produce a yellow colour in linen, not much admittedly in untreated linen but a very visible effect when coated with any of the aforementioned substances. The reason? Almost certainly due to the presence of protein which on nitration of aromatic amino groups (the xanthoprotein reaction) became yellow. See the banner on this site (even if the focus has now switched to thermochemical development with a hot iron, due to Maillard reactions between protein and reducing sugars).

I posted the findings to my sciencebuzz site, and immediately informed readers on Dan Porter’s site as a comment on an unrelated posting (C-14 dating). I was immediately set upon by the Usual Suspect, claiming as he had done on so many previous occasions,  that I was plagiarizing his “thought experiment” (so far not tested experimentally it seems, or if so, not published).  . The usual shorthand is “stole his idea”. Let’s use the shorthand. He seized on a particular word I had used- “fumigation” stating that fumigation was his idea. No, fumigation is not his idea. It’s simply a word which he has used in one context – pro-authenticity – and I had used in an entirely different context – medieval context. Look under comments and you will see my trying to disabuse him of his outlandish claims in as polite and gentle a fashion as possible, all to no avail. What made matters difficult was that I had initially selected fumigation  (“exposure to vapour”) as the  preferred means of exposing my linen to nitric acid. It allowed for small easily-controllable amounts of nitric acid initially, and there was little or no risk of anything being washed out as might happen with nitric acid solution.

Now here’s the irony. A week or so later, I tested nitric acid solution, found it worked faster than nitric acid fumes, with no appreciable washing out. I now routinely use nitric acid solution. But still I am accused of “stealing” the man’s fumigation model, or failing to give credit or both.   To make matters worse, additional “stolen words” have appeared on the charge sheet,  common words (“alkali” “compression” “mordant” etc). Wrong on all counts. I have freely acknowledged my debt to those who got me thinking about acids as the agents for etching linen fibres chemically instead of merely coating their surface with pigments and inks or employing natural dyes, with or without a mordant.. We’re talking now about Luigi Garlaschelli, Joe Nickell, Hugh Farey, Joe Accetta and the authors of the STURP summary who made a brief reference to sulphuric acid. In  fact it took very careful and somewhat hazardous experimention to exclude sulphuric acid, prompting the search for an alternative acid and quickly fastening on nitric acid (first as fumes, then as solution). Everyone who got me thinking about acids as playing a possible role has been acknowledged. No one has been excluded. That is my standard modus operandi, and has been throughout a long career in reseacrh – to give credit where credit is due. I  acknowledged Tony McDonagh when proposing my singlet-oxygen model for bilirubin photoxidation in 1972, preceded by  a novel photoisomerism step. I acknowledged  Arnt Winsnes in my three-component regulatory model for UDP-glucuronyltransferase in 1975 or thereabouts. I acknowledged a fellow FMBRA employee (R.Collison) whom I never got to meet (he left before I arrived) for help with understanding retrogradation in my model for resistant starch as  linear short chain alpha-glucan crystallites (now said to be double helices:any Nobel prizes to be won perhaps with short chain double helices?) It’s simply unacceptable to find oneself constantly charged with plagiarism on a public internet forum. It is a character attack. It is defamatory. It is potentially damaging to one’s professional reputation.  Most of all, it is just plain irritating to be trolled and exposed to abuse and ridicule on a daily basis.  It has to stop Dan Porter.  Take the key out of his ignition please, and do so  soon. There’s no time like the present.

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5th entry, 07:30 Friday July 31

Some fatuous charges have apppeared on Dan Porter’s site of plagiarism. ones I decline to discuss directly with the individual concerned. If the site had a clear set of red lines, as any open-access public forum should have, then the individual in question would probably have transgressed so often as to be permanently banned from the site (as he is from mine), simply for his torrid insults and aggression. What’s the French for “manners maketh man”? Note I am not callling for censorship of pithily-expressed views where nobody is considered above criticism. If that were the case, I too would be permanently banned and/or “pre-moderated”. It’s the brow-beating, the attempts to strip one of credentials, the bullying, the sheer repetitiveness of the onslaughts that are the issue and which the site owner has failed to address. So one is left to defend oneself, which is what I shall be doing this morning, albeit in a non-confrontational kind of way by setting out how I arrived at my present position re the “Shroud” being a medieval attempt to simulate a conjoint sweat /blood imprint on linen that was meticulously designed to be seen as a proxy for that supplied to the Cross by Joseph of Arimathea. It would take too long to summarize 3.5 years of serpentine but targeted research, but I don’t need to. The starting point will be February 2014, as these two cut-and-paste items show. The first is the start of a pointed comment placed two days ago on shroudstory, with corrected typo and highlighting of  a key passage.  The second is the posting to which it refers, placed on this site in February of last year:

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To be continued later today as Entry No.6

Before doing that, here’s a graphic I made yesterday for which there’s an immediate use on shroudstory (by way of emphasisizing the difference between the scientific method, and the pseudo-scientific method that attempts to ape it.

Beware pseudo-science. It's worse, much worse,  than cherry-picking to support a case. It's more akin to cherry jam manufacture,  separate contributions to make standard cherry jam.

Beware pseudo-science. It’s worse, much worse, than cherry-picking to support a case. It’s more akin to cherry jam manufacture!

And one cherry jam manufacturer has the nerve to accuse this retired scientist (with three published models under his belt, one highly cited and attracting patent applications) of plagiarizing his idea! Why? Because he used words like “alkali”, “fumigation”, “mordant”, “compression”, “paste” etc. As I say, I shall give a brief summary as to how I came to deploy those words in the course of my post Machy-mould modelling, and did so as a series of practical experiments, all reported in real time here or on my sciencebuzz site. That Dan Porter should allow a serial commentator on his site, one with no blogsite of his own, and unable for one reason or another  to provide links to a published model – any model – to make baseless charges time and again against a  senior investigator like myself, albeit long retired,   is quite simply unacceptable, totally unacceptable.

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4th entry, 22:50 Thursday 30th July

Here’s an oddity in that Bucklin so-called autopsy that I  mentioned briefly in the preceding posting, but did not attempt to discuss in detail. That I shall now do before moving on (tomorrow) to other more important matters. It concerns the scourge marks on the arms, or rather, absence thereof according to STURP’s pathologist. Here are his exact words, my bolding:

“Chronologically, the whip like injuries to the back would have occurred earlier than other injuries which the pathologist has found. The individual would have been upright and with his arms above his head at the time the whipping occurred since no whip marks are found on the upper extremities.”

How could he have missed the scourge marks on the arms? Fanti and Faccini didn’t, in their stocktaking and mapping of 372 scourge marks. Might it be further evidence that Bucklin was working with Enri B/W negatives’ ? Having no colour, they provided no distinction between details of the body image and the scourge marks, the latter we are told being entirely the result of an imprinting in blood. (I personally consider the imprinting of scourge marks entirely as blood despite the amazing detail of whip ends (“metal pellets” etc) to be a signature of medieval forgery, due to body image being intended as “policy decision” to represent a sweat imprint only with no attempt to represent torn or indented flesh,  but that’s by the way).

But when one compares Enri B/W negatives side by side with the 2002 as-is Durante images, both from Shroud Scope, one sees scourge marks on the arms in BOTH pictures. Here they are, highlighted within the coloured rectangles.

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Left: Enri B/W (flipped left-right from usual display to facilitate comparison with: Right: Durante 2002 positive with some added contrast. Both from Shroud Scope.

Robert Bucklin died in 2001, just a year before the Durante pictures were taken. What a pity he didn’t live long enough to see them, or benefit from Shroud Scope’s user-friendly aspects for homing in on features, and photo-enhancing if necessary, the older Enri picture included.  One wonders if he might have revised that opinion about the arms having no scourge marks. However, this blogger’s chief gripe is not the detail but the principle: he was already sold on the idea of authenticity   as far back as the early 60s at least- and interpreted what he saw accordingly. I shall present a schematic diagram tomorrow that highlights the all-too- human but unscientific trait or rather trap towards ‘closed-loop’ thinking, whereby preconceptions colouring interpretation of data, and that misinterpreted data then reinforces faulty preconceptions. Result: constant begging of the question, spurious positive feedback, despite looking superficially like science – until one starts looking more closely, as the sceptical scientist must.


3rd entry,  06:00 Thur 30th July

Topic: the Rogers & Arnoldi modelling of a Maillard reaction, using artificially-degraded (sugary) starch instead of intact starch.

Here’s a new comment I found just now on shroudstory from one of those ‘groupies’ I was complaining about a short while ago.

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This commentator’s speciality these last 3 or 4 years has been to try and elevate his chemical guru to near sainthood, requiring us ordinary mortals, scientists included, to instantly genuflect. The guru in question was Mr. Raymond N .Rogers, for  most of his career a chemical explosives specialist at the Los  Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico, USA. His chief  contribution to science? As far as one can tell from Google Scholar  it lay in the application of  two physical techniques – mass spectrometry (MS) and differential scanning calorimetry- to testing the stability and safety of high explosives on storage.  This blogger can claim some kinship with both of those, having used MS in his very first published paper in 1972 to identify bilirubin photoproducts in a model system for neonatal phototherapy, and later co-authored a paper with a DSC expert to help confirm his now highly cited model for resistant starch as short chain linear alpha-glucan (demonstrated by generating in high yield by enzymically cleaving the branch points in amylopectin with an alpha (1-6) glycosidase) to produce low-DP, easily crystallizable fragments.

BERRY, C. S., I’ANSON, K., MILES, M. J., MORRIS, V. J., and
RUSSELL, P. L. 1988. Physical-chemical characterization of resistant
starch from wheat. J. Cereal Sci. 8:203.

Model building is and always has been this particular science bod’s forte, now and throughout his entire career.  Always, without fail, the model, usually entirely novel (if not, I say so)  is or has been put to the experimental test and then published in the peer-reviewed literature. Here incidentally is  a link to a third model that I proposed and tested to do with one of the liver’s major detoxifying enzymes (UDP-glucuronyltransferase)  one where I collaborated with a protein-purification specialist to test it, confirming a key prediction of the model.  That crucial experiment using radiolabelled tracers received independent confirmation by a Belgian group in 1997. So when non-scientists on Dan Porter’s site bandy around terms like “crap” or accuse me of plagiarizing their own half-baked and untested theories posted as comments to other people’s sites I simply keep calm and carry on. This scientist has a track record for successful (occasionally only partially successful)  model building that they probably don’t know about, and/or can’t be bothered to check, say with Google Scholar).

As for that Maillard model of Rogers and Arnoldi  that is held up as the last word on “Shroud” image modelling, see my critique towards the end of the previous (long, long) posting. How can one put this politely (not that excessive politeness is required in science when one takes a strong dislike to flawed methodology)? their experiment, hailed by Dan Porter as a “success” is not all it appears to be. It claims to demonstrate that a starch impurity coating on linen can react with putrefaction amines (or at any rate plain old ammonia gas) to form a yellow Maillard product. What the reader must beware of is the substitution of the term “crude starch” and “starch products”for starch,and when you wonder why, and look closely at the paper one finds why. Starch did not give the displayed result.

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Sugary dextrins were substituted for starch. That yellow stain, assumed without evidence to be a Maillard product, required a temperature of 66 degrees C, way above that of the assumed 1st century rock tomb scenario. Conclusion: more cookery than chemistry.

Yes, “success” was based on substituting “dextrins” for starch, i.e. highly degraded starch that has the required reducing properties due to low molecular weight sugar-like fragments. But starch does NOT break down appreciably under normal conditions to form dextrins or other ‘sugary’ fragments. Obtaining dextrins requires either treatment with specific starch-degrading enzymes (amylases) OR prolonged exposure to strong mineral acids. The “dextrins” used by Rogers and Arnoldi were probably so-called lintnerized starch obtained by acid hydrolysis that would not have been on their hypothetical starch-coated linen. In short, their experiment was fudged, or as we used to say in student-parlance, “a cooked result”, being cooked literally  and metaphorically. Yes,  one can make other severe criticisms of the methodology and presentation of data, like (a) showing a photograph of a best-case result that used a highly elevated unphysiological temperature (66 degrees C),  Maillard reactions being highly-temperature sensitive, like (b)  using excess ammonia that raises pH (favouring Maillard reactions), like (c) adding some “biblical era” saponins (more prone to Maillard reactions). In short, the Rogers/Arnoldi model rests for demonstration on a highly contrived set of experimental conditions, justified on the basis of “1st century relevance”  and non-existent totally fictional starch chemistry  that bear absolutely no relevance to the proposed scenario involving a 1st century tomb, and which, more importantly, beg the question on authenticity – a major lapse in scientific probity.  That paper  was bad, bad science from start to finish, and ought never to have been accepted for publication. Had it come to me (previously a referee for Biochemical Journal and other biochemical/biomedical publications) I would have taken it home for a long, long peruse,  and then have recommended its outright rejection.

I do not expect any of this to have the slightest effect on the commentator above who bandies around words like “crap”. He has shown himself these last 3-4 years to be a “true-believer” re the Shroud’s authenticity, a belief that hangs on the correctnessof the Rogers’ model, despite Mr.Rogers having been a non-starch specialist from an entirely different area (explosives).  This writer in contrast has penned one of the most highly cited papers in recent years on starch (specifically enzyme-resistant starch), the number of citations, presently 415 – see below-  still rising with each passing month and year.

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The Rogers-besotted  commentator shown himself totally immune to reason, and incapable of entering into rational two-way dialogue, his modus operandi being to post emotive pleading rants, each one longer than the last. Why does Dan Porter allow his site to be hijacked in this fashion. Has he never heard that a gentle word in the ear is sometimes needed to preserve the reputation and standing of a site, needed to prevent it being jsed and abused by fanatics as a free billboard for promulgating their own extreme views? Is he not aware that internet forums require constant oversight and occasional policing. Suppliers of content to those sites have rights too…

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2nd entry,  20:50 Wed 29th July

Topic: More on Robert Bucklin MD

Here are those comments that attempt to close debate on Robert Bucklin, based on my having no medical qualifications (am a PhD biochemist by training):

Three comments appearing earlier (29 July) on the shroudstory site

Three comments appearing earlier (29 July) on the shroudstory site

They are concerning that so-called “autopsy” that Robert Bucklin carried out for STURP.

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As I say, this misses the point entirely. Look at what is on the pathologist’s trolley in that still photograph (below)  from “Silent Witness”? Is it a cadaver, with wounds? Is it something entirely outside the experience of this scientist?  No, it’s simply a photograph, a negative photograph, one taken by Enrie in 1931, some 84 years ago no less,  of the Man on the Shroud. That IS within this scientist’s experience, having spent the last 3.5 years poring over photographs of the Shroud, most of them superiuor to the one that was Bucklin’s standby. But we haven’t got to the main point as yet, which is this: Bucklin interprets details on that photograph (“wounds” etc) as if he were looking at a photograph of a corpse. But he wasn’t! He was looking at a photograph of a mystery image. But the original image itself is NOT a photograph. Quite what it is nobody knows for certain. I believe it to be a contact imprint, but that’s merely an educated guess. What one cannot do is look at a feature on the Shroud (or a photograph thereof) and say with certainty “Ah, here we see a wound site”. Why not? Because we cannot be certain that wound sites were imaged given we don’t know the mechanism of imaging. But that is precisely what our expert pathologist was doing – making assumptions for which there is no evidence, which were therefore unwarranted assumptions that render invalid all his observations and conclusions, no matter how impressive his pathology credentials (which I don’t dispute).

It gets worse. By using a B/W negative in which all features are shades of black, white or grey, there was no discrimination between body image and blood. Bucklin says in 1982 that he had sight of STURP close-up photographs of bloodstains with distinctly different colour from body image, which was better than nothing.. But he did not have access to the Durante 2002 photographs (as-is positive)  that all of us can now access on Shroud Scope which can be photoenhanced to provide for better distinction between blood and body  image across the entire frontal v dorsal images. They incidentally show quite clearly the presence of scourge marks on the forearms. yet Bucklin said in his “autopsy” there were none of the forearms. That is deeply worrying, since the Shroud Scope image of the Enri photos also show the scourge marks clearly on the arms. Why didn’t Bucklin see them? One has to wonder about the quality of the Enri print he was using. But let’s not get too concerned about technical detail. What matters is the principle. All the medical and pathological expertise in the world counts for nothing if one is examining an image obtained by an unknown process, that may or may not have captured features like “wounds”. In fact, if my “sweat imprint” hypothesis is correct (whether a ‘real 1st century sweat imprint or, more likely,  a 14th century modelling of a ‘make-believe’ sweat imprint) there are grounds for thinking that injuries per se (torn skin etc) would not have been simulated at all, the ‘forgers’ being content to apply blood, real or simulated. to the chosen sites, not attempting to mimic the injuries per se (that being regarded as sufficient given that blood would mask any weak imaging of a wound site that may be visible (?) in a simulated sweat imprint).

Summary: it’s not about an upstart non-medically qualified scientist challenging the expert testimony of a pathologist. It’s about a scientist, with considerable experience with images of the Shroud, superior to those used by Bucklin,  stating categorically that Bucklin had no business performing an “autopsy” on a Shroud image as if it were a reliable substitute – comparable to a modern high definition photograph – for a real cadaver. It wasn’t. That his so-called autopsy should have been published under the auspices of STURP – ostensibly a scientific investigation – has to be seen as a major error. To make matters worse, Bucklin’s “autopsy” report makes no mention that he was a ‘sindonologist’ of some 50 years standing, one who had professed firm convictions as to the authenticty of the Shroud. Nor does it inform the reader that his “autopsy” was based on photographs not the Shroud itself as might reasonably be inferred (despite his being co-0pted to STURP), nor does his report show a single photograph, or specify the photographs that were used.  Bucklin’s “autopsy” is NOT a scientific contribution to Shroud studies. Indeed it is a travesty of science, given its preconceptions, innate bias, assumptions and omissions. That’s just the view of a single scientist, of course, without a single medical degree to his name.  But we are not dissussing a real cadaver. We are discussing  image interpretation, the image in question being of totally unknown provenance or historical era (bar the disputed radiocarbon dating).  Anatomy, pathology etc are therefore totally IRRELEVANT. Robert Buckley MD should never have been coopted onto STURP. His “autopsy” report should come with a ‘health warning’ at least. Better still, it should be filed away under “Shroud pseudoscience”, late 20th century, best ignored and forgotten. None of that refelcts in any way on Robert Bucklin’s credentials as a pathologist (when dealing with real corpses).

Afterthought: back in 2012, shortly after being made aware of the existence of Shroud Scope (strangely neglected to begin with) this blogger did an extensive search of its images after first making optimum adjustments to contrast etc for best differentiation between body image and blood. He failed to find a single imaging of a wound (as distinct from blood) that could be described as unequivocal. They simply weren’t there. he looked espeically closely at the site of the “lance wound” for which Prof. Fanti and colleagues had drawn a circle showing the wound site per se, and still found nothing. Nobody ever came back and said “take another look. It’s plain for all to see”.  What to the uninitiated may seem like micro-wounds — the scourge marks  – all 372 of them according to Fanti – are as we know, or at any rate assured, impressions in blood, it being tacitly  implied that if one took the blood away, e.g. with proteolytic enzymes,  there would be nothing left to see. What seems to have been overlooked is that scourge marks, if really just blood imprints (which I don’t dispute or at any rate choose not to challenge) can be considered a model for Shroud “wounds” generally. In other words, the so-called wounds are really “non-wounds”, merely additions of bllod, whether as trickles or imprints, that give the impression of “wounds”, especially to those who consider themselves to be looking at the real Shroud. Would Bucklin have arrived at the same conclusions if he had been working with Shroud Scope positives, maybe with contrast adjustment. I doubt it, and if he had, and was still alive, I’d be challenging him openly as I  previously challenged  Guilio Fanti openly back in 2012.

Links (will be added at leisure).

Shroud Scope: 20 close-up views.

372 scourge marks

The spear s0-called wound.

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1st entry, 13:40 Wed 29th July

Topic: Robert Bucklin MD (STURP’s consultant pathologist, author of that “autopsy” report performed on an Enrie B/W negative photograph)

Here’s a screen grab of a posting yesterday on shroudstory.com – one of the ‘comment promoted’ variety (my own!):

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I added some more comments, explaining why I considered it wrong that Robert Bucklin MD had been co-opted to STURP in 1978 as consultant pathologist. It was nothing to do with his skills as a forensic pathologist, where he was apparently held in very high regard (said to be the inspiration for the ‘Quincy’ series on US TV).  Robert Bucklin sadly passed away in 2001. It was to do with a total lack of scientific objectivity regarding the Turin Shroud in writings of his as a ‘sindonologist’ going back as far as 1961 (“Sindon” journal) and possibly earlier, and the naivete displayed in his reliance of the Enrie B/W negatives (see YouTube video still above) viewing them as if the “Shroud” itself was a photograph, and assuming he could see wound sites etc. in various places.  As is so often the case where shroudstory is concerned, one’s effort to delimit/circumscribe an argument prove to be a complete waste of time. One either has to endure the attention of trolls, as happened yesterday, or, as has just happened, new comments which show a total indifference to what one said and did not say. That’s why this blogger now chooses to respond to shroudstory here on his own site, without the needless hassle, and to do so in depth and in detail so as to address the issues I wish to raise, excluding a welter of irrelevance that others try to inflict upon one. I’ll stop here, but be back later with a screenshot of the three latest comments, one from a medical practitioner. It will be inserted ABOVE this comment as 2nd Entry with a new time stamp.

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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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