Shroud of Turin: silence from Borrini and Garlaschelli on rebuttals to their study

The bloodstains imprinted on the Sacred Shroud would have been incompatible with those of a crucifixion. The claim to have proved it comes from two researchers notorious for their numerous attempts to discredit the authenticity of the relic. Luigi Garlaschelli (retired chemist) and Matteo Borrini (University of Liverpool). However, their experiment was flawed by enormous ingenuities and mistakes that we have duly listed in our immediate response.

A well-documented criticism also arrived from Doctor Paolo Di Lazzaro, research manager of the Aeneas of Frascati and Vice Director of the International Centre of Sindonology. Anyway, on the media other replies appeared, but none of them goes so much into details.

Beside the words of the Archbishop of Turin, Cesare Nosiglia, we read (and listened to) the speech by Pierluigi Baima Bollone, full professor of forensic medicine at the University of Turin, who pointed out that «the job is based on a system called BPA, widely criticised at the scientific level. From the look of the blood stains, you deduce how they were procured with often questionable results. This method has created not few problems and has been disproved in many judicial cases in which it was used». Emanuela Marinelli, interviewed on Vatican News, criticised, in her turn, the not too scientific method of Borrini&Garlaschelli: «Does it seem like a scientific criterion to take a mannequin — like the ones used to display clothes in a store window — and a sponge soaked in fake blood attached to a piece wood that is pressed on the right side of a dummy to see where the streams of blood fall? There is nothing scientific».

It has thus been easy for Garlaschelli and Borrini to overlook and ignore the more technical criticisms – made by Professor Di Lazzaro (and by our website) – while preferring to reply only to Professor Marinelli, who also hypothesised that the study was funded by atheist communities and that Garlaschelli worked following his funder’s spirit. The CICAP’s chemist replied writing that the research is independent and that he «does not prostitute his scientific integrity». Also Matteo Borrini ignored the most decisive objections, by limiting himself to denying the alleged atheist subventions and qualifying himself as a “Catholic scientist”, restating, however, his conviction of the falsity of the Shroud and that the faith – here he is right – does not need that relic.

Too easy, in this way. If the two researchers have read the interview with Emanuela Marinelli, it means that they paid attention to the mediatic feedback of their job (indeed, they looked for it at all costs, by committing to uncountable press releases): therefore, they cannot have missed the more detailed and technical rebuttals published on UCCR and on Vatican Insider (Paolo Di Lazzaro). Despite this, no counterreply to these objections has arrived, thereby raising the suspicion that they have understood the huge limitedness and incorrectness of their experiment and do not know how to reply or do not like the idea of giving visibility to criticisms that, indeed, invalidate their study.

Three are the pertinent objections Garlaschelli and Borrini would have to answer. We summarise them:
1) The authors of the study evaluated the blood dripping by comparing two completely different surfaces. The one of the plastic mannequin, smooth, clean, and intact, and the cutaneous one, dirty, swollen, and lacerated of the Shroud’s Man. It is obvious that the direction of the blood flow is different; the opposite would have been impossible.

2) The authors of the study put in comparison two different substances. On the plastic mannequin they poured a bag of blood added with an anticoagulant, which made the liquid more fluid than normal, similar to water (this can be clearly seen in the video they published). The blood come out of the Shroud’s Man, instead, outflew from wounds and had not been prepared in a lab, which is why it presented itself as viscous, also in consideration of the traumatic stress he had undergone (the shroud image shows the signs of the torture suffered by the man). Even in this case, it is a foreseeable banality that some fluidified and some more viscous blood may respectively take very different directions. A comparison between two different situations.

3) The authors of the study ignored numerous variables which are very influential on the bloodstains. Beside not knowing the data of the speed at which the blood comes out of the wounds as opposed to the one at which the blood is poured on the mannequin in the lab, they did not consider that the corpse of the Shroud’s Man has been certainly touched after his death, came into contact with the very linen cloth in which the Man’s image was mysteriously imprinted like a photographic negative (by colouring, inexplicably, only the superficial fibrils). Furthermore, the Man certainly had spasms and foreseeably moved because of pain whilst wounds were inflicted. These variables have certainly deviated, obstructed, or interrupted the “normal” dripping or pathway of the blood on his body. None of this was considered by the two researchers.

The editorial staff

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