The Shroud of Turin and the Wikipedia Edit Wars

July 28, 2014 1 comment

In the last 60 days, the Wikipedia article on the shroud was viewed some 56,000 times.
Pages in this blog were viewed 161,000 times by at least 48,000 visitors.
Yes, I know that is apples and oranges.

imageReligion News Service (RNS) has an interesting story about Wikipedia editing wars:

The problem confronting many Wikipedia editors is that religion elicits passion — and often, more than a little vitriol as believers and critics spar over facts, sources and context. For “Wikipedians” like Willey, trying to put a lid on the online hate speech that can be endemic to Wikipedia entries is a key part of their job.

Religion is among several of the top 100 altered topics on Wikipedia, according to a recent list published by Five Thirty Eight. Former President George W. Bush is the most contested entry, but Jesus (No. 5) and the Catholic Church (No. 7) fall closely behind.

For instance, a graphic for the RNS story tells us that the Wikipedia article about Jesus has been revised 26, 580 times; about the Catholic Church, 23,884 times; about Christianity, 17,273 times. 

That made me wonder: How many times has the Wikipedia article on the shroud been revised? According to Wikipedia statistics for the page it has been revised 4,235 times since 2002 (click graph to enlarge).

image

A New Paper by Paul Maloney

July 28, 2014 1 comment

a personal opinion that would not, could not be changed

Joe Marino passes along this important new (July 2014) paper by Paul C, Maloney entitled Walter C. McCrone and the Max Frei Sticky Tapes of 1978: A Background Study.

This is a MUST READ paper if you have any interest in the pollen found on the shroud. The concluding paragraph sums up what I think many of us have come to think about Walter McCrone’s thinking:

We may thus draw the conclusion that Dr. McCrone’s statement, sent to Joe Marino on 9 April, 1998 is a conflation of ideas that formed in Dr. McCrone’s mind over the years. My own reading of Dr. McCrone’s responses to Joe Marino’s e-mails convinces me that even if McCrone had had access to my published study, it would not have changed his mind (as evidenced by McCrone’s terse statement to Joe Marino on 19 April, 1998 (Wrapped up in the Shroud, p. 239)—any more than the large photo-mosaic had any effect on McCrone’s thinking on Saturday, July 23, 1988. Some may prefer to believe that this was dishonesty on McCrone’s part. I prefer to think that this conflated statement ceased to represent the science of the Shroud and had become a personal opinion that would not, could not be changed. To have done so would have meant that McCrone could not “save face” for his stance toward the Shroud developed very early on in his messages to STURP.

Picture:  Paul Mahoney at the 2008 Ohio conference

Another Paper by Yannick Clément

July 27, 2014 2 comments

imageOn July 20th, I posted a lead to a new essay by Yannick Clément. At the time I mentioned that I would mention another paper soon.  Today, I noticed a link to it on The Holy Shroud Guild Facebook page. That prompted me to get going and mention it here. It is called My thoughts on a recently published paper by Raymond N. Rogers by Yannick Clément dated July 9, 2014.

Yannick begins:

I would like to express some thoughts about the « new » paper of Rogers that was recently published on the website Shroud.com, which is entitled “An Alternate Hypothesis for the Image Color”1 . This article was written by Rogers in 2001 but was never published anywhere before.

By-the-way, here is a link to the paper at shroud.com. An Alternate Hypothesis for the Image Color

After several pages of discussion, Yannick begins his several paragraphs of conclusion:

There is no doubt in my mind that this “new” paper of Rogers constitutes a real historical finding, which can help us to understand all the different steps that were taken by Rogers in his study of the Shroud image. These steps indicate the high level of scientific professionalism with which he did his work in order to discover the best rational hypothesis to explain this image without underestimating or leaving out any important data and observations. In consequence, this paper can also help us to realize the poor scientific value of the work done by some other “scientists” on the Shroud image, especially when we consider the fact that those researchers have not at all followed the same scientific “path” of Rogers. In the end, I think we can really see in this particular paper, which was the first attempt of Rogers at describing his impurity hypothesis for the image chromophore, as being the genesis of the Maillard reaction hypothesis he proposed the year later (in 2002)45 and which he never stopped refining until his death, two years later.

FYI:  Apparently, the two recent papers by Yannick have also be published on The Holy Shroud Guild site:

Penn & Teller’s Hateful Bullshit

July 27, 2014 11 comments

The mocking of Fred Zugibe is particularly nasty.

imageSometimes I don’t get the way Facebook works – or is it that I never do. Just this morning I took a quick look at the page for The Holy Shroud Guild. The topmost recent post was dated May 5th. That was followed by one from just a few hours ago (I’ll get to that in a subsequent post), then one from later in May and then things seemed to settle down with normal posting sequences going from recent July down the page to the oldest entries.

It’s a good thing it happened because I had missed the May 5th posting by Danusha Goska. It was important. It was a link to something she wrote, Christophobia on Campus, Penn Jillette and Joseph Goebbels, and Shroud of Turin Talk Update, in her Save, Send Delete blog. She wrote (and you should read the whole posting):

Jillette and Teller’s performance was hateful. It was comparable to the kind of material that Joseph Goebbels used to produce. Goebbels also took distinctively religious icons – in his case Jewish ones – and associated them with derision in order to facilitate violence and hate.

I’ve often heard New Atheists complain that they have a bad reputation. They wonder why.

It was a good thing, too,  to read what Danusha wrote because four days ago a reader had written to me about the video. It was making the rounds on New Atheist blogs and such. He sent a link to a mid-July entry in The Thinking Atheist. Had I seen it? No! It was two and a half years old. So what, the reader said, it is out there and getting attention; you should show it. No, I won’t, I thought. Why advertise it?

Having read, Danusha’s posting, yes, I will. The readers of this blog are intelligent. I’m not promoting it since it is written by bigots for idiots and there are no idiots here. Maybe the comparison to Goebbels is a bit strong. Even so, Danusha makes an important point. The mocking of Fred Zugibe is particularly nasty.

John Klotz Issues a Challenge: Show Me an Image

July 26, 2014 33 comments

A reposting from Quantum Christ Image by John Klotz
(with permission)


A Challenge to the Skeptical Community: Show Me an Image

imageI have a challenge to those skeptical of the authenticity of the Shroud of Turin, Show me an image comparable to the Shroud of Turin at least five centuries old. It doesn’t have to be of Christ or have any relationship to religion. It can be of anything.

I am in the process of completing a manuscript with a current working title of: “The Coming of the Quantum Christ: The Shroud of Turin and the Apocalypse of Selfishness.”

It includes in the large part, the scientific study of the Shroud of Turin. Some weeks ago I challenged a skeptic on Dan Porter’s   Shroud Story blog to show me an image of sufficient relative antiquity that has similar characteristics as the image on the Shroud of Turin. I do not recall ever receiving a response. So now I the challenge to the larger skeptical community:

Show me such an image of that was in existence no later than 1500 CE [AD]. I choose that year as the cut-off because I believe no one can seriously dispute the existence of the Shroud by that year.

Not a painting. Painted images do not qualify because I submit that from one thing established by the Shroud of Turin Research Project (STURP) in 1978 and by additional research since that time, is that the Shroud is NOT a painting. Sorry Walter McCrone fans. In one of my chapters I cite Harry Gove’s initial impressions of McCrone when he first met him. They are not complimentary.

So here’s the challenge: direct me to an image currently in existence that was created prior to 1500 CE that has features comparable to the Shroud. That would include at a minimum:

  1. A depth of the image no greater than the outer shell of a fibril of linen. The image of the shroud is such, or even more probably, a darkening of by-products left on  the linen from the  retting of it by methods dating back to BEFORE 1000 CE but I won’t quibble about a measly 500 years;
  2. Sufficient definition (resolution) of the image to allow determination of important features of a human body to the extent those are determinable from the Shroud image;
  3. Difference of various parts of the image intensity to allow interpretation as a three dimensional object.

I am serious about this. My final chapter is 18; The Challenge of the Shroud and if anybody has a relevant image, I will comment there or maybe in a relevant earlier  chapter with proper attribution.

You may respond to this posting to QuantumChristImage.blogspot.com. Warning, I am looking for a specific item: an image that has the characteristics of the Shroud image that predates 1500 CE. It does not have to be of Christ. If you  wish to direct me to such image please respond. However, I  will delete argumentation about my criteria which fails to cite an image which matches the criteria.

Pseudoscience Again

July 26, 2014 Leave a comment

He writes: “From an artistic and anatomical perspective, the shroud image
follows the standard conventions of its time.”

Oh, really?

imageStrange: when the article, Pseudoscience: Great for Business… But Not Much Else!, by Sten Odenwald (pictured), appeared in the Huffington Post Science blog, the top picture was of the Shroud of Turin face with a photo credit to Joseph Eid via Getty Images. That was at 12:06 yesterday. Later, I noticed that the picture has been removed and the blog entry had been updated.

Anyway, that isn’t important. Odenwald opens with a simple paragraph with a list of issues he doesn’t really address:

A quick study of cable TV uncovers numerous programs purporting to use scientific techniques to uncover bizarre twists in history. Although card-carrying archeologists have long-since passed judgment on these ideas and moved on to far more interesting issues, pseudoarcheologists keep these ideas alive because (1) they sell books and bring in sightseers, (2) people are fascinated by the way they represent underdog ideas that "threaten" the establishment, (3) most people have no clue what scientific research is really all about, and (4) people view all scientists as equivalent experts on a given topic.

He then goes on to discuss the Kensington Rune Stone, supposedly carved in America by the Knights Templar; the Newberry Tablet; America’s so-called Stonehenge; the Grave Creek Stone; the Sinaia lead plates (that is Sinaia, Romania not to be confused with the Sinai) and, of course, the Shroud of Turin. He writes:

In 1988 a radiocarbon-dating test was performed on small samples of the shroud. The samples dated from the Middle Ages, between 1260 and 1390. From an artistic and anatomical perspective, the shroud image follows the standard conventions of its time. The artistic errors are so severe that it is impossible for it to be the image of an actual human body. Writes Gregory S. Paul, "Exceptionally tall for his time and place [over 6 feet], his rather narrow head was so shrunken and low browed that it would have indicated a unique form of hypocephaly so serious it would have impaired his mental function."

The apples and oranges comparison is amateurish. The Gregory S. Paul article, to which he refers, appeared on The Secular Web in 2010 and is significantly based on naïve and mistaken proportion peculiarities and contains this pseudoscientific gem:

Since the cloth is a proven fraud all attempts to show otherwise are at best misguided and gullible, and perhaps fraudulent.

The Shroud of Turin and Near Death Experiences

July 25, 2014 4 comments

clip_image001He calls his posting “The Near Death Experience: A believer’s evidence, a skeptic’s challenge.” The blogger of He Rose for Grace, uses the Shroud of Turin as an example to explain how accumulations of evidence give credence to near death experiences or NDEs.

Jeffrey Long, M.D. [pictured] has spent a life time studying near death experiences (NDE). Evidence is a curious thing. Standing alone, any evidence can only vaguely point a finger toward a specific direction of truth. Oftentimes, as in the belief in Christ or God, Himself; by taking only one piece of evidence, you can’t eliminate enough variables to keep a convincing argument.  To say, for example, that the pollens on the Shroud of Turin are a dead ringer for the species that grew in Jerusalem at the time of Christ, therefore the cloth is authentic, doesn’t give enough evidence.  However, when you consider that the scorch is of an unknown origin, and can only be caused by vacuum ultraviolet radiation  with a wavelength of 200-100 nanometers from laser pulses lasting less than 50 nanoseconds, it helps.  . .  . As we study, painstakingly sweat in the labs, carry on discussions, and bleed our brains over midnight oil for variables to give us another alternative, at one point, we finally realize that the variables have been nearly explained away, given enough lines of evidence.  It is  the gift of reason.

The blogger continues:

Jeffrey Long is a radiation oncologist.  For more than ten years he has studied the incidences of NDE. He is the author of Evidence of the Afterlife; the Science of Near Death Experiences. His web site is the largest known account of NDEs. Jeffrey says that the Gallup Poll numbers those who have had NDEs then lived to tell about it  are 5% of the population.  Blissful state, Heavenly realms, and those recovering wake up unafraid of death.  His claim is that consciousness is outside of the body. These people come into infinite love and a feeling of being in touch with divinity.  Some feel a universal knowledge. The changes they emotionally go through impacts them for the rest of their lives.  They come back to life convinced there is life after death.  Relationships become important, materialism slides into the background and its importance often dissipates.  Sometimes they change professions and begin to work in areas that are geared more toward nurturing and love for fellow man.

According to Dr. Long, the nine lines of evidence that surpass any medical reasons follow.

You can read the entire posting if you wish. It is well written.

imageALSO:  Skeptiko has published DR. JEFFREY LONG TAKES ON CRITICS OF, EVIDENCE OF THE AFTERLIFE, following reviews of his book,  Evidence of the Afterlife. In the Skeptiko article, I found:

Dr. Long also discusses the nature of NDE skepticism, “The other issue I’ve seen with skeptics is they often have their pet theory. Their theory of how the world works, how things work, and it’s very, very difficult to dislodge them from their pet theory, even with overwhelming evidence.”

In the end Dr. Jeffery Long believes in his evidence, “I have confidence in the substantial majority of people. When they hear evidence, and it’s presented in a straightforward way, they’re smart enough to understand what’s real evidence and what’s evasiveness.”

Pet theory! That sounds like the world of shroud skeptics, as well. . . well. some of them anyway. 

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