Recent Research on the Shroud of Turin
Below are the papers written by Robert A. Rucker on his recent research on the Shroud of Turin. Abstracts are listed for each paper and the source is given for downloading each paper from www.academia.edu . The papers are listed under four categories: the carbon dating problem, image formation on the Shroud, the disappearance of the body, and miscellaneous. Research presented at the International Conference on the Shroud of Turin (ICST-2017) July 19-22, 2017, at the TRAC center in Pasco, WA, is listed on the Conferences page.
The Carbon Dating Problem
1. "Shroud of Turin Carbon Dating Problem, Part 1: The Neutron Absorption Hypothesis" by Robert A. Rucker, This paper is still in review. It will be released as soon as reviewer comments are resolved.
In 1988, the C14 dating methodology was used to date samples from the Shroud of Turin. This process concluded that the Shroud dated to the Middle Ages rather than to the first century primarily because the statistical analysis failed to recognize that the disagreement between the mean values for the three laboratories had only a 1.4% probability of being consistent with the measurement uncertainties. This indicated a 98% probability that something other than random measurement variation was affecting the measured values. In statistical analysis terminology, a position dependent systematic bias was altering the measured values. This means that each measured value Mi was the result of the actual age (A) of the Shroud plus the bias B(xi, yi), where the xi and yi are the prior position coordinates of each subsample (i) on the Shroud, combined with the one sigma random measurement error Ri. The equation for this is Mi = A + B(xi, yi) ± Ri. This bias caused the samples to give an apparent date (Middle Ages) instead of the true date (first century). According to the neutron absorption hypothesis, this systematic bias was caused by the natural distribution in the tomb of the neutrons that were included in the burst of radiation emitted from within the body that burned the image onto the Shroud. These neutrons would have produced new C14 on the Shroud by the (N14 + neutron --> C14 + proton) reaction, thus shifting the measured C14 date in the forward direction by hundreds to thousands of years.
By the mid-1980s, sufficient scientific and historical evidence had accumulated to convince an increasing number of people that the Shroud of Turin was the authentic burial cloth of Jesus of Nazareth. But in 1988 samples from the Shroud were dated by three laboratories to 1260 to 1390 AD “with at least 95% confidence”, thus supposedly providing “conclusive evidence” that the Shroud could not be the authentic burial cloth of Jesus. But the technology to form the bizarre characteristics of the image on the Shroud did not exist in any previous era or even today. This paper argues that this apparently irreconcilable conflict can be resolved by the neutron absorption hypothesis. This hypothesis argues, based on the evidence on the Shroud, that a burst of radiation was emitted from within the body to form the image on the Shroud, i.e. the image is a radiation burn. And neutrons were evidently included in this burst of radiation so that the C-14 dating methodology would not necessarily be accurate for the Shroud, especially in consideration of the other dating methods that are consistent with a first century date. If neutrons were emitted from within the body, a small fraction of the neutrons would be absorbed in the trace amounts of N-14 in the linen thus forming new C-14 atoms by the (N-14 + neutron --> C-14 + proton) reaction. This newly created C-14 would be indistinguishable from the original C-14 that was taken into the plant while it was alive, thus shifting the apparent C-14 date in the positive direction by up to hundreds or even thousands of years. Thus, this burst of radiation must have burned the image onto the Shroud (by charged particles and/or ultra violet) and shifted the C-14 date from the first century to the Middle Ages (by neutron absorption in N-14 in the Shroud).
The concentration of this newly created C-14 would depend on the location on the Shroud because of the neutron distribution in the tomb that would result from neutrons being emitted from within the body. The shift in the C-14 date for any sample would depend on the sample’s prior (x, y) coordinates on the Shroud. This would constitute a systematic bias [B(x, y)] that would affect the C-14 date measurement of any sample taken from the Shroud. Thus, the measured age (M) of any sample (i) would depend on the actual age of the Shroud (A) plus the position dependent bias [B(xi, yi)] plus a one sigma uncertainty term (± Ri) to account for the ransom measurement error: [ Mi = A + B(xi, yi) ± Ri ]. The chi squared statistical analysis of the C-14 date measurements concludes that there is only a 1.4% probability that the C-14 date measurements are consistent with the measurement uncertainties without this bias term, so that without this bias term, the validity of the C-14 date measurements should be rejected. The original analysts of the C-14 date measurements, not recognizing the possibility of the samples having such a position dependent bias, simply assumed that the inconsistencies in the data were due to an understatement of the random measurement errors. It is shown that the magnitude of the required understatement in the random error is not credible. Thus, this paper assumes that the C-14 date measurements were done correctly, but it is concluded that the measurement data was misinterpreted because the presence of the bias term [B(x, y)] was not recognized. It is this bias due to neutron absorption that shifted the C-14 dates from the correct date (first century) to the incorrect date (the Middle Ages). Evidence that this neutron absorption hypothesis is correct is based on nuclear analysis computer calculations that can obtain the correct gradient or slope of the C-14 date measurements (about 36 years per cm) for the Shroud of Turin as well as the correct C-14 data of 700 AD for the Sudarium of Oviedo, which is believed to be the face cloth of Jesus. Results of these computer calculations can be used to predict the C-14 dates for samples from other locations on the Shroud. Other proposed explanations to the C-14 dating problem and objections to the neutron absorption hypothesis are discussed.
2. "MCNP Analysis of Neutrons Released from Jesus' Body in the Resurrection" by Robert A. Rucker, October 11, 2014, The PowerPoint slides and the narration to the PowerPoint slides are available below.
This paper was presented Oct. 11, 2014 at the international conference on the Shroud of Turin, titled “Shroud of Turin: The Controversial Intersection of Faith and Science” held in St. Louis October 9-12, 2014. The presentation included 54 PowerPoint slides. The narration for these slides is given similar to that presented at the conference, allowing some flexibility for completeness and a few changes and corrections. Many have speculated that the image is the result of radiation emitted from the body. If this is true, and if neutrons were included in this radiation emission, then the neutron emission might explain the C-14 dating problem. The body wrapped in the Shroud laying in a tomb as it would have been designed in first century Jerusalem was modeled in the MCNP (Monte Carlo N-Particle) nuclear analysis software. Computer calculations were performed using this model assuming that neutrons were emitted uniformly from within the body. It was found that making the one assumption that neutrons were emitted uniformly from within the body can explain three things related to C-14 dating: 1. It explains why the Shroud was dated to 1260 AD rather than to the first century, 2. It explains the slope in the average C-14 date between the three laboratories, and 3. It explains why the Sudarium of Oviedo, believed by many to be Jesus' face cloth, was dated to 700 AD. Explaining these three mysteries by one assumption indicates that there is probably much merit to the assumption.
Image Formation on the Shroud
1. “The Role of Radiation in Image Formation on the Shroud of Turin” by Robert A. Rucker, October 5, 2016
Formation of the image on the Shroud required three things: a discoloration mechanism, energy, and information. There must have been some process or mechanism that caused discoloration on the top portions of the fibers that make up the image on the Shroud. Energy would have been required for the functioning of the discoloration mechanism to alter the covalent bonds of the carbon atoms in the cellulose molecules that caused the discoloration. And information defining the shape of the body and the presence of some of the bones was needed to guide the process so that front and back images with good resolution could be formed. It is argued that if we follow the evidence where it leads and not be constrained by a presupposition of naturalism, then we find that the best explanation for the evidence on the Shroud is that the required energy was delivered to the Shroud by radiation emitted from within the body, and that this radiation must have been vertically collimated both up and down. Seventeen reasons are given for this view. The radiation that was emitted from within the body, by means of its intensity and direction, carried the necessary information from the body to the Shroud so that the image could be formed. A working hypothesis is developed for this emission of radiation from within the body in terms of when, where, what, why, and how. Responses are given to multiple questions that arise regarding this working hypothesis. And lastly a two-step image formation mechanism is proposed based on radiation emitted from within the body, which caused a corona discharge on the top portion of the fibers, which caused the discoloration of the fibers making up the images.
2. "Information Content on the Shroud of Turin" by Robert A. Rucker, June 28, 2016
People can see the image of a crucified man on the Shroud of Turin because the threads of the Shroud contain fibers that are discolored in a pattern that contains the information content that defines the appearance of a crucified man. This information could only have come from the body that was wrapped within the Shroud, because this information was only inherent to the body and not to its surroundings. After considering the five possible options for how information can travel from one location to another (radiation, waves in a medium, direct contact, a flow of particles through physical connections, and diffusion of molecules), it is concluded that the only credible option for how this information could have been communicated from the body to the Shroud is by radiation (photons and/or particles) emitted from within the body which was then absorbed onto the Shroud.
3. "Review of ‘The Shroud of Turin: Radiation Effects, Aging, and Image Formation' by Ray Rogers’" by Robert A. Rucker, Giulio Fanti, Mark Antonacci, Tony Flemming, and Keith Propp, June 28, 2016
The 2005 paper “The Shroud of Turin: Radiation Effects, Aging, and Image Formation” by Ray Rogers was reviewed to determine the correctness of his conclusions. This review was done because this paper was evidently never published or peer reviewed, yet is frequently referenced. His main conclusion as stated in his abstract is that formation of the image on the Shroud of Turin “could not have involved energetic radiation of any kind; photons, electrons, protons, alpha particles, and/or neutrons.” Review of Rogers’ paper found that this conclusion is not justified by the evidence that is presented, and in fact, the certainty of this conclusion contradicts the tentativeness of his last sentence in the body of the paper which says “I believe that the current evidence suggests that all radiation-based hypotheses for image formation will ultimately be rejected.” (Underlining added.) This contradiction may have resulted from Rogers not completing this paper due to his ill health and eventual death at the beginning of 2005. In contradiction to Rogers’ conclusion, this review also includes a summary of the reasons why radiation ought to be regarded as the most likely cause of the image on the Shroud of Turin.
The Disappearance of the Body
1. "The Disappearance of Jesus' Body, Part 1: Biblical and Theological Considerations" by Robert A. Rucker, June 28, 2016
This study investigates how Jesus’ body disappeared from the tomb. In Part 1, which is this document, how Jesus’ body disappeared from the tomb is considered from the Biblical references to his resurrection and from the theology of resurrection throughout the Bible. The perspective is that of Biblical Christianity. It is concluded that in the resurrection, Jesus’ body underwent a basic transformation, a metamorphosis, from what Paul called a “natural body” to a “spiritual body”. As described by the change in the adjective from “natural” to “spiritual”, this basic transformation in Jesus’ body is what allowed his body to exit the shroud and the tomb without disturbing either. Physical considerations related to how Jesus’ body disappeared from the tomb are analyzed in Part 2.
2. "The Disappearance of Jesus' Body, Part 2: Physical Considerations" by Robert A. Rucker, June 28, 2016
This document deals with physical/scientific aspects of how Jesus’ body disappeared from the tomb. Seven physical processes that might have been involved in the disappearance of Jesus’ body from the tomb are considered based on the laws of science as we currently understand them and based on an extrapolation of those laws as suggested by aspects of modern physics. Consideration of the pros and cons for these proposed processes indicates that disintegration of the body and involvement of a wormhole should be rejected as possible mechanisms for how the body disappeared. It is concluded that a transition into an alternate dimensionality is the best option among the seven proposed processes for how Jesus’ body disappeared from the tomb, at least among those that are in any way related to our current understanding of the laws of physics. Of course, a yet undefined process that is beyond even an extrapolation of our current laws of science could be the cause of the disappearance of the body, but this option could not be scientifically assessed due to its vagueness.
3. “Mr. Dotman in Lineland” by Robert A. Rucker, October 6, 2016
This is a short fictional story of Mr. Dotman in Lineland to convey what is meant by a transition into an alternate dimensionality. This concept has application to the Shroud of Turin to help explain what may have happened, in physics terms, when Jesus’ body disappeared from within the Shroud. A study of the pros and cons of several options for how this could have happened was done in “The Disappearance of Jesus’ Body Part 2: Physical Considerations”, which concluded that the most likely option that is within an extrapolation of concepts in modern physics is that Jesus’ body disappeared from within the Shroud by a transition into an alternate dimensionality. The story of Mr. Dotman in Lineland was excerpted from pages 13 to 15 of this previous paper.
1. "Ideas for Research on the Shroud of Turin" by Robert A. Rucker, November 10, 2016
This paper lists ideas for research that would be helpful to solve the main mysteries related to the Shroud of Turin. This suggested research includes questions to be considered, and ideas for calculations and experiments to be done. The ideas for this research come primarily from a review of the paper “Role of Radiation in Image Formation on the Shroud of Turin”.
2. "Review of 'Test the Shroud' by Mark Antonacci" by Robert A. Rucker, June 28, 2016
This is a detailed 8-page book review of “Test the Shroud at the Atomic and Molecular Levels” by Mark Antonacci, October 2015, Published by LE Press, LLC, Hardback, 502 pages, 223 pictures and figures, Size is 9.25 x 6.25 x 1.50 inches. The book contains 15 chapters in 333 pages, 9 appendices in 79 pages, 689 endnotes of references and extended discussion in 79 pages, and 11 pages of miscellaneous material. “Test the Shroud” by Mark Antonacci summarizes the current status of research on the Shroud of Turin and the need for, nature of and expected results of further testing. Writing for the layman, he covers all areas of the subject including the most difficult areas related to the C-14 dating, the image formation, and the blood transfer. His knowledge of references related to the Shroud is encyclopedic. And the main purpose of the book, to promote additional testing, is very timely.
For further information on Mark Antonachi's organization "Test the Shroud Foundation" and his two books "The Resurrection of the Shroud" (2000) and "Test the Shroud at the Atomic and Molecular Levels" (2015), visit www.testtheshroud.org.