Monday, August 13, 2018

My critique of Borrini, M. & Garlaschelli, L., 2018, "A BPA Approach to the Shroud of Turin," Journal of Forensic Sciences, 10 July

© Stephen E. Jones[1]

This is my promised critique of the paper, Borrini, M. & Garlaschelli, L., 2018, "A BPA Approach to the Shroud of Turin," Journal of Forensic Sciences, 10 July. As previously mentioned, I have decided to not waste my time responding to sycophantic news articles in support of this paper, their similarity of wording indicating they are based on a press release from Borrini and/or Garlaschelli, but instead critique the paper itself. The paper's words are bold to distinguish them from mine. Emphases are minew unless otherwise indicated.

Matteo Borrini,1 Ph.D.; and Luigi Garlaschelli,2 M.Sc.

"The one who states his case first seems right, until the other comes and examines him" (Proverbs 18:17)!

Borrini and Garlaschelli are not neutral on the Shroud's authenticity (to put it mildly). Both are members of CICAP, "an Italian ... skeptic ... organization ... [its] main goals are the promotion of the scientific analysis of alleged paranormal and pseudoscientific phenomena":

"CICAP (Comitato Italiano per il Controllo delle Affermazioni sulle Pseudoscienze; in English Italian Committee for the Investigation of Claims of the Pseudosciences) is an Italian, non-profit, skeptic educational organization, founded in 1989. CICAP's main goals are the promotion of the scientific analysis of alleged paranormal and pseudoscientific phenomena. It is a member of the European Council of Skeptical Organisations"[2].
And it is a CICAP article of naturalistic (nature is all there is - there is no supernatural) faith that the Shroud is an example of "pseudoscientific phenomena":
"Italian group claims to debunk Shroud of Turin ... Scientists have reproduced the Shroud of Turin - revered as the cloth that covered Jesus in the tomb - and say the experiment proves the relic was man-made, a group of Italian debunkers claimed Monday. The shroud bears the figure of a crucified man, complete with blood seeping out of nailed hands and feet, and believers say Christ's image was recorded on the linen fibers at the time of his resurrection. Scientists have reproduced the shroud using materials and methods that were available in the 14th century, the Italian Committee for Checking Claims on the Paranormal [CICAP] said. The group said in a statement this is further evidence the shroud is a medieval forgery ... Many still believe that the shroud `has unexplainable characteristics that cannot be reproduced by human means,' lead scientist Luigi Garlaschelli said in the statement. `The result obtained clearly indicates that this could be done with the use of inexpensive materials and with a quite simple procedure.' The research was funded by the debunking group and by an Italian organization of atheists and agnostics, he said"[3].
See my demolition of Garlaschelli's `Shroud' at "Italian scientist says he has reproduced the Shroud of Turin" (8 October 2009).

Garlaschelli [Right[4].] is one of CICAP's founders:

"CICAP was started by the Italian science journalist Piero Angela together with a group of scientists including Luigi Garlaschelli"[5].
Indeed reference "2" above in "Luigi Garlaschelli,2" is not to Garlaschelli's current academic position, but to "CICAP":
"2CICAP – Italian Committee for the Investigation of Claims of the Pseudosciences, via Pascoli, 1, 35125 Padova, Italy (Formerly: Department of Chemistry, University of Pavia, Via Taramelli 10, 27100 Pavia, Italy)"!
Matteo Borrini [Left[6].] is likewise a member of CICAP:
"CICAP ... Technical and scientific consultants ... Matteo Borrini ..."[7].
A BPA Approach to the Shroud of Turin*

"BPA" stands for "Bloodstain pattern analysis," which "... has drawn more skeptical scrutiny since 2000 ... BPA is done by crime investigators using subjective hunches ... The National Academy of Sciences in 2009 ... questioned the reliability of their methods in the courtroom":

"Bloodstain Pattern Analysis (BPA), one of several specialties in the field of forensic science, involves the study and analysis of bloodstains at a known or suspected violent crime scene with the goal of helping investigators draw conclusions about the nature, timing and other details of the crime. The use of bloodstains as evidence is not new; however, new experts have claimed to be able to use fluid dynamics, physics, and other calculations to determine with accuracy previous events at a crime scene. For example, the shape of blood droplets might be used to draw conclusions as to how far away the victim was from a gun when they were shot. This technique of forensic science has drawn more skeptical scrutiny since 2000; large amounts of the body of work in BPA is done by crime investigators using subjective hunches rather than scientists from other disciplines. A report released by The National Academy of Sciences in 2009 highlighted several incidents of blood spatter analysts to overstate their qualifications as well as questioned the reliability of their methods in the courtroom"[8].
As we shall see "subjective hunches" play a decisive role in this attempt by Borrini and Garlaschelli to discredit the Shroud!

Their paper is not new. The asterisk * above is to a footnote:

"*Presented at the 66th Annual Scientific Meeting of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences, February 17-22, 2014, in Seattle, WA; and the 67th Annual Scientific Meeting of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences, February 16-21, 2015, in Orlando, FL."
so it may not have been peer-reviewed. I doubt if any Shroud pro-authenticists (who are the true experts in the Shroud) have reviewed the paper, because of the many errors in it (as we shall see). Also it has taken more than four years from the paper's first presentation in February 2014 to appear on the Journal of Forensic Science's website, and it still has not been included in an issue. Hardly a ringing endorsement of it!

In fact Borrini and Garlaschelli's 2014 presentation was reported in an article in New Scientist: "Shroud of Turin depicts Y-shaped crucifixion," New Scientist, Linda Geddes, 2 April 2014, and I responded to it in a post of April 2014, "Shroud of Turin depicts a Y-shaped cross?" This has added significance (see below).

ABSTRACT: An investigation into the arm and body position required to obtain the blood pattern visible in the image of the Shroud of Turin was performed using a living volunteer. Here Borrini and Garlaschelli set up a strawman 'crucifixion victim' and then refuted that:

"A straw man is a common form of argument and is an informal fallacy based on giving the impression of refuting an opponent's argument, while actually refuting an argument that was not presented by that opponent"[9]
That is because a "living volunteer" is not a valid substitute for a living Roman crucifixion victim as Jesus, the Man on the Shroud (accordingly to the overwhelming weight of the evidence) was. Borrini and Garlaschelli's "living volunteer" (who actually may have been Garlaschelli) was not beaten about the face (Mt 26:67; 27:30; Mk 14:65; 15:19; Lk 22:63; Jn 19:3), scourged with a Roman flagrum (Mt 27:26; Mk 15:15; Jn 19:1), crowned with thorns (Mt 27:29; Mk 15:17; Jn 19:2), carried a heavy wooden crossbeam part of the way to the site of his crucifixion (Jn 19:17), nailed through his hands and feet (Jn 20:25-27; Col 2:14), hung on a cross affixed by nails for ~6 hours (Mk 15:25, 33-34, 37; Mt 27:45-46, 50; Lk 23:44,46), died on that cross (Mt 27:50; Mk 15:37; Lk 23:46; Jn 19:30), and was speared in the side to make sure he was dead (Jn 19:34), as Jesus (the Man on the Shroud) was. See my 06Aug13, 08Sep13 and 02Dec13. Therefore, it is impossible to experimentally simulate legally a first century Roman crucifixion, which Jesus underwent.

The two short rivulets on the back of the left hand of the Shroud are only consistent with a standing subject with arms at a ca 45° angle. This angle is different from that necessary for the forearm stains, which require nearly vertical arms for a standing subject. This is simply false! As illustrated by Wilson in 1978, over 40 years ago (below), based on the investigations of

[Above (enlarge): "The angle of the arms at crucifixion, deducible from the Shroud by determining the path of the blood flows in following the course of gravity. The main angle appears to have been 65 degrees, but there is evidence that at some stages the forearms were at 55 degrees, indicating that the man of the Shroud sought to raise himself, probably continually, during crucifixion"[10].]

surgeon Dr Pierre Barbet (1884–1961)[11], and supported by medical examiner Dr Robert Bucklin (1916-2001)[12] and forensic pathologist Prof. James Cameron (1930–2003)[13], the two slightly different angles of 55° and 65° of the blood trickles on the Shroudman's hand and forearms are consistent with blood dripping from nail wounds vertically under gravity, as the crucifixion victim (Jesus) alternatively raised himself on the nail in his feet to inhale and then slumped down on the nails in his hands to exhale[14]. By contrast neither Borrini (an anthropologist) nor Garlaschelli (a chemist) has any medical or surgical qualifications or expertise to contradict (directly or indirectly) these eminent medical and surgical authorities.

When I was studying for my Science degree (2000-4), we were told that the first step in writing a scientific journal paper was to thoroughly research the topic of our paper for at least a year. Apart from Borrini and Garlaschelli should be aware of Wilson's 40 year-old illustration above and its explanation in his 1978 classic book, "The Turin Shroud," if Borrini/Garlaschelli had Googled "Shroud Turin angle arms crucifixion" (without the quotes) they would have found my posts, "Re: The Shroud of Turin: Evidence that Jesus was crucified on a cross, not a stake" of 25 April 2009 and "Shroud of Turin depicts a Y-shaped cross?" of 6 April 2014, especially the latter which mentions Borrini and Garlaschelli's names, both of which have the above illustration by Wilson with the explanation of the two slightly different angles of the blood trickles on the Shroudman's hand and arms. If Borrini/Garlaschelli didn't do that, they are guilty of scholarly incompetence. If they did do it but are concealing it, they are guilty of scholarly dishonesty!

The BPA of blood visible on the frontal side of the chest (the lance wound) It is indeed a lance wound, matching the leaf-like shape of a Roman lancea (see below):

"Then we turn to the Roman lancea, in Greek lonche, the very weapon described in St. John's Gospel [Jn 19:34] as having been used to check that Jesus was dead. This was a spear of varied length, with a long, leaflike tip, thickening and rounding off toward the shaft. Whereas the other versions were intended to break inside the body of the victim, making it impossible for the enemy to reuse them against the Romans, the lancea was designed for continuous use. As such it is quite typical of what we would expect to have been standard issue for the soldiers of the military garrisons guarding Jerusalem at the time of Christ. From excavated examples, the shape of the lancea's blade corresponds exactly to the shape of the elliptical wound visible on the Shroud. It is another strikingly authentic, and Roman, detail"[15].

[Above (enlarge): The wound on the right side of the man on the Shroud[16] (on our left because the Shroud is, like a plaster cast, a mirror image). Note the wound (circled in red) which corresponds to the incision of a Roman lancea[17] and the light and dark stains corresponding to blood mixed with lung and heart sac fluid[18], i.e. "blood and water" as the Apostle John saw it (Jn 19:34). The dark border to the right is the remains of a burn from a fire in 1532.]

A medieval forger would be unlikely to know the shape of a Roman lancea, because as the above quote by Wilson says, its shape is known only from comparatively modern "excavated examples". Nor would a medieval forger be able to deduce the shape of a Roman lancea from the New Testament Greek word lonche, because (apart from the fact that there was no published Greek New Testament until 1516), contrary to Wilson's quote above, the Greek word lonche does not specifically mean a lance, but:

"The point of a weapon. A lance or spear, specifically the iron tip which reaches an enemy (Jn 19:34)"[19].
shows that the Shroud represents the bleeding in a realistic manner for a standing position Borrini and Garlaschelli's `lance wound in the side' strawman 'experiment' was not even on a human body but a plastic "mannequin" [Right[20].]! Moreover they did not use post-mortem blood mixed with lung and heart sac fluid (as is on the Shroud - see above) but "synthetic blood"[21]! They also did not understand, or care, that the lance wound in Jesus' side occurred after He was dead (Jn 19:34), so the only blood from that wound would have come from the punctured right atrium (aka auricle) of the heart where blood accumulates after the heart's last beat at death had emptied its left ventricle[22]. They also did not consider or care that a dead crucifixion victim (Jesus) would have been slumped forward [Left[23].] held by the nails in his wrists. So any blood that did not adhere to the immediate vicinity of the wound would not have flowed down the body but dripped off onto the ground.

while the stains at the back—of a supposed postmortem bleeding from the same wound for a supine corpse—are totally unrealistic. Below is the bloodstain from the spear wound in the side of the man on the Shroud compared with the pool of blood across the small of his back from that wound. As can be

[Above (enlarge)[24]: Spear wound in the side (upper) compared to pool of blood from that wound in the small of the back (lower), flipped vertically and horizontally to match and outlined in red.]

seen it is totally realistic! Now compare it with the "totally unrealistic" (their own words!) strawman '`simulation' of Borrini and Garlaschelli below. But either they don't know the explanation in Shroud literature

[Above: Borrini and Garlaschelli's "totally unrealistic" (their words!) strawman `simulation' of how the pool of blood across the small of the back came from the spear wound in the side[25].]

that the pool of blood drained out of the head and upper body through the spear wound when the man was taken down from the cross and laid on the Shroud hours later[26], in which case they would be guilty of scholarly incompetence; or they do know that explanation but are concealing it from their readers, in which case they would be guilty of scholarly dishonesty! See also above.

Simulation of bleeding from the nail wounds contacting wood surfaces yielded unclear results. This is yet another strawman by Borrini and Garlaschelli, since the Shroud does not contain an imprint of the wood of the cross. They assumed that the bloodstain on the back of the hand (which is the side visible on the Shroud and that only of the left hand which largely covers the right

[Above (enlarge)[27]: Bloodflows down the left hand and arm of the Shroudman, flipped horizontally and then rotated 90 degrees, showing how the blood dripped off the hand and arm vertically under gravity. Because of the limitations of my software, the main bloodflows are not exactly vertical, as they would have been in reality. As can be seen, the blood from the nail wound flowed freely, so therefore the back of the hand was not in contact with the crossbeam.]

hand) would be altered by its contact with the crossbeam to which it was nailed [right[28]. But this ignores that a crucifixion victim (Jesus) would hang away from the crossbeam (see above) and so blood from the nail exit wounds on the back of the hands would not be altered by the crossbeam.

This is the end of this post. I originally intended to critique Borrini and Garlaschelli's entire 7-page paper, but by critiquing only the abstract, with photographs from the paper, I have refuted the paper's main points. I have shown that Borrini and Garlaschelli in their paper set up a strawman of the Shroud and refuted only that. And that they are guilty of either scholarly incompetence, in not being aware of the relevant Shroud literature, or scholarly dishonesty, in being aware of that literature but concealing it from their readers. Or both. They are an example of `the blind leading the blind' (Mt 15:14; Lk 6:39):

[Above (enlarge)[29]: "The Blind Leading the Blind," 1568, by Pieter Bruegel the Elder (c.1525-1569).]

1. This post is copyright. I grant permission to quote from any part of it (but not the whole post), provided it includes a reference citing my name, its subject heading, its date, and a hyperlink back to this page. [return]
2. "CICAP," Wikipedia, 12 March 2018. [return]
3. "Italian group claims to debunk Shroud of Turin (Update)," PhysOrg, October 5, 2009. [return]
4. "Luigi Garlaschelli," Wikipedia, 17 July 2018 (translated by Google). [return]
5. "CICAP: History," Wikipedia, 12 March 2018. [return]
6. "XIV Convegno Nazionale CICAP - teaser: Matteo Borrini," YouTube, 20 August 2017. [return]
7. "CICAP: Organization chart," Wikipedia, 17 July 2018 (translated by Google). [return]
8. "Bloodstain pattern analysis," Wikipedia, 28 July 2018. [return]
9. "Straw man," Wikipedia, 29 July 2018. [return]
10. Wilson, I., 1978, "The Turin Shroud," Book Club Associates: London, pp.50L; Wilson, I., 1986, "The Evidence of the Shroud," Guild Publishing: London, p.22. [return]
11. Barbet, P., 1953, "A Doctor at Calvary," [1950], Earl of Wicklow, transl., Image Books: Garden City NY, Reprinted, 1963, pp.82-83ff; Brent, P. & Rolfe, D., 1978, "The Silent Witness: The Mysteries of the Turin Shroud Revealed," Futura Publications: London, pp.44-45. [return]
12. Bucklin, R., 1982, "The Shroud of Turin: Viewpoint of a Forensic Pathologist," Shroud Spectrum International, No. 5, December, pp.3-10; Bucklin, R, 1998, "The Shroud of Turin: A Pathologist's Viewpoint," in Minor, M., Adler, A.D. & Piczek, I., eds., 2002, "The Shroud of Turin: Unraveling the Mystery: Proceedings of the 1998 Dallas Symposium," Alexander Books: Alexander NC, pp.271-279, 273. [return]
13. Cameron, J. M., "The Pathologist and the Shroud," in Jennings, P., ed., 1978, "Face to Face with the Turin Shroud ," Mayhew-McCrimmon: Great Wakering UK, pp.58. [return]
14. Scavone, D.C., 1989, "The Shroud of Turin: Opposing Viewpoints," Greenhaven Press: San Diego CA, p.25; Tribbe, F.C., 2006, "Portrait of Jesus: The Illustrated Story of the Shroud of Turin," Paragon House Publishers: St. Paul MN, Second edition, p.94. [return]
15. Wilson, I., 1979, "The Shroud of Turin: The Burial Cloth of Jesus?," [1978], Image Books: New York NY, Revised edition, pp.48-49. [return]
16. Extract from Latendresse, M., 2010, "Shroud Scope: Durante 2002 Vertical," [return]
17. Meacham, W., 1983, "The Authentication of the Turin Shroud: An Issue in Archaeological Epistemology," Current Anthropology, Vol. 24, No. 3, June, pp.283-311, 290; Iannone, J.C., 1998, "The Mystery of the Shroud of Turin: New Scientific Evidence," St Pauls: Staten Island NY, pp.62-63; Antonacci, M., 2000, "Resurrection of the Shroud: New Scientific, Medical, and Archeological Evidence," M. Evans & Co: New York NY, p.120; Wilson, I., 1986, "The Evidence of the Shroud," Guild Publishing: London, pp.33-34; Oxley, M., 2010, "The Challenge of the Shroud: History, Science and the Shroud of Turin," AuthorHouse: Milton Keynes UK, p.174. [return]
18. Borkan, M., 1995, "Ecce Homo?: Science and the Authenticity of the Turin Shroud," Vertices, Duke University, Vol. X, No. 2, Winter, pp.18-51, 26; Iannone, 1998, p.63. [return]
19. Zodhiates, S., 1992, "The Complete Word Study Dictionary: New Testament," AMG Publishers: Chattanooga TN, Third printing, 1994, p.926. Liddell, H.G., Scott, R. & Jones, H.S., 1883, "A Greek-English Lexicon," [1871], Seventh edition, Clarendon Press: Oxford, Reprinted 1935, p.417; Abbott-Smith, G., 1937, "A Manual Greek Lexicon of the New Testament," [1921], T. & T. Clark: Edinburgh, Third edition, Reprinted, 1956, p.271; Thayer, J.H., 1901, "A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament," T & T. Clark: Edinburgh, Fourth edition, Reprinted, 1961, p.382; Bauer, W., Arndt, W.F., Gingrich, F.W. & Danker, F.W., 1979, "A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature," University of Chicago Press: Chicago IL, Second edition, p.479. [return]
20. Borrini, M. & Garlaschelli, L., 2018, "A BPA Approach to the Shroud of Turin," Journal of Forensic Sciences, 10 July, pp.1-7, 5, Fig. 7. [return]
21. Borrini & Garlaschelli, 2018, p.5. [return]
22. Barbet, 1953, p.206; Brent & Rolfe, 1978, p.46; Wilson, 1979, p.44; Antonacci, 2000, p.31; Oxley, 2010, p.167. [return]
23. Ricci, G., 1978, "The Way of the Cross in the Light of the Holy Shroud," Center for the Study of the Passion of Christ and the Holy Shroud: Milwaukee WI, Second edition, Reprinted, 1982, p.61. [return]
24. Extract from Latendresse, M., 2010, "Shroud Scope: Durante 2002 Vertical," [return]
25. Borrini & Garlaschelli, 2018, p.6, Figs. 8a & 8b. [return]
26. Wilson, 1979, p.23; Heller, J.H., 1983, "Report on the Shroud of Turin," Houghton Mifflin Co: Boston MA, p.3; Wilson, 1986, pp.26, 28; Wilson, I., 1998, "The Blood and the Shroud: New Evidence that the World's Most Sacred Relic is Real," Simon & Schuster: New York NY, p.38; Wilson, I. & Schwortz, B., 2000, "The Turin Shroud: The Illustrated Evidence," Michael O'Mara Books: London, p.64; Wilcox, R.K., 2010, "The Truth About the Shroud of Turin: Solving the Mystery," [1977], Regnery: Washington DC, p.3. [return]
27. Extract from Latendresse, M., 2010, "Shroud Scope: Durante 2002 Vertical," [return]
28. Borrini & Garlaschelli, 2018, p.2, Fig. 2b. [return]
29. "File:Pieter Bruegel the Elder (1568) The Blind Leading the Blind.jpg," Wikimedia Commons, 29 March 2018. [return]

Posted 13 August 2018. Updated: 13 April 2022.


Angheran70 said...

Great coverage and fundamental focus on Cicap , thank you Mr.Jones

Stephen E. Jones said...


As notified in my post dated 07Sep18, I discovered on 9 September 2018 that Blogger had not been notifying me by email of comments and therefore I had a backlog of 37 of them! I have started publishing those comments that I consider worth replying to, from the most recent backwards. To save commenters the trouble of continually checking if I have answered their comments, I will notify when I have answered a comment under the heading "Comments" in subsequent Shroud of Turin News "Editorial and Contents" posts.

>Great coverage and fundamental focus on Cicap , thank you Mr.Jones

Thank you.

Stephen E. Jones
MY POLICIES. Comments are moderated. Those I consider off-topic, offensive or sub-standard will not appear. Except that comments under my latest post can be on any Shroud-related topic. I normally allow only one comment per individual under each one of my posts.