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To be lost in a sea of trolls and spam

September 26, 2014 4 comments

imageColin Berry tried to comment to the Jeff Schweitzer’s article, Ignorance Kills, the in the Huffington Post. Over at Colin’s site (and then scroll down to comment 75 or so) he restates the comment he tried to post:

Beautifully written article.

One small aside re the Turin Shroud (this commenter’s special interest on his sciencebuzz blog). It’s not so much ignorance and superstition that fuels the continuing interest and publicity. It’s agenda-driven pseudo-science. Shame on the media for not submitting each new press release re uv laser beams, corona discharges, radioactive emissions from earthquakes etc etc to a panel of appointed mainstream scientists before polluting first their own outlets then the search engines with this kind of self-serving drivel.

sciencebod

Unfortunately, the Huffington Post site asked him to log in to his Facebook account or create an account with Huffington Post before posting. Given the size of the Huffington Post and the number of troll comments and the amount of spam websites like that get, this is reasonable. I spend time every day blocking troll comments and spam comments trying to sell diet supplements, e-cigarettes, gambling sites and such. I do that just so comments can flow freely here. I’ve toyed with the idea of using passwords but have chosen to not do so.  Colin sees it differently:

. . . It is scandalous that one cannot respond to an MSM so-called "blog" (ha ha) without being served up as fodder to the likes of Facebook. . . .

Am I the only one to think that the MSM set out deliberately to kill citizen blogging in its early days (circa 2005 onwards) by drafting in its own journos and others to write MSM so-called “blogs”? Blogs they ain’t. (Blog being short for weblog, there being no log about it of there’s no personal or thematic interest, merely a series of disjointed pieces that are designed as click-bait for those who instal themselves on MSM Comments sections, using them as their own "blog" to browbeat others. Ring any bells?

Colin, if you want it your way then your comments will be lost in a sea of trolls and spam. And despite what you think, we do want to hear what you have to say. And so do the editors at the Huffington Post. Well, maybe not. But they are nonetheless trying to give you the opportunity in a reasonable way.

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Why not use sweat if the objective is to make it look like sweat?

September 25, 2014 Leave a comment

imageI’ve said it before, you are missing the best part of this blog if you are not reading the comments. For instance, Hugh Farey gave us his view of three alternative hypotheses in what is a comment to a comment on a comment in the posting, So Maybe it is a Painting After All.

Hypothesis One: The Shroud image could have been produced by the application of pigment, binder and medium, . . .

Hypothesis Two. The Shroud image could have been produced by the decomposition of a human body within which it was wrapped, the products of which, chemical, electromagnetic, or nuclear reacted with the cloth . . .

Hypothesis Three. The Shroud image could have been produced by a miracle. This cannot be tested. It cannot be refuted. It is not a scientific hypothesis. . . .

Do read Hugh’s comments in their entirety and all of the other comments in that posting.

Paulette commented. She was inspired to ask, “So where is Colin Berry in all this?”

Colin is commenting over on his own blog. “[H]ere’s a LINK that takes you straight to Comments,” he tells us. Once you get there, scroll down through 72 lengthy comments he has written in the last several days to the last two on September 24th. There we can read his reaction to Hugh’s comments:

Why paint in the negative? . . .

In fact, several features of the TS image may be considered give-away clues to a template having been used – the largely empty eye-hollows with no attempt to portray proper eyes, whether open or closed, . . .

If the TS had been intended to be a painting, even one from which the pigment has now flaked off, then why use blood to portray wounds? . . .

Free-hand painting makes no sense to me whatever. One does not paint a life-sized image onto linen (as distinct from canvas) of a naked man unless the aim is to simulate a REAL contact imprint left somehow by the corpse, whether as sweat (my preferred view) or as a miraculous flash or radiation (that more fanciful interpretation probably having arrived much later – possibly centuries). If the aim is to simulate a sweat imprint, one does NOT paint free hand. One imprints off a template.

Hmmm!  Why not use sweat on a body if the objective is to make it look like sweat on a body?

Anyway. This posting is really just a pointer to Colin’s thoughts and the other posting, So Maybe it is a Painting After All. That’s where comments should probably go so I have closed comments here for that reason. (You can also comment over at Colin’s blog, instead or as well).

Mars, Weeping Mary and the Shroud

September 25, 2014 23 comments

imageAn inner voice was pestering me as I read the article. How can I disagree? My inner voice wanted to know. I can’t:

Without an ability to reason critically, people believe in weeping statues of the Virgin Mary, the existence of a carved face on Mars, out-of-body experiences, and Christ’s image captured on the Shroud of Turin.

That is what Jeff Schweitzer had just written in the Huffington Post Science blog. I like Schweitzer’s postings. He is a marine biologist and a strong advocate of scientific skepticism. He served as a scientific advisor in the Clinton White House.  I don’t get around to reading him enough. This time I did, possibly because Google caught the reference to the shroud.

The title of the posting was Ignorance Kills; the following paragraph gives an idea of what it’s about but you should really read the whole posting; it will only take two or three minutes:

Scientific illiteracy is pervasive in the United States. Examples are depressingly easy to find. People opposed to irradiated food ignore the existence of more than 50 known strains of E. coli that can cause bloody diarrhea, kidney failure, and death. This is a typical case of poor risk-benefit analysis. People are duped by claims of harmful emissions from cell phones. Life-saving diagnostic x-rays are eschewed from fear of radiation, and vulnerable people are persuaded to rely on crystals and astrology for guidance. The public is unable to filter exaggerated claims by environmental groups (Alar in apples) from legitimate concerns like global climate change. This ignorance has deadly consequences; ask the parents of every child who died from a preventable disease, or farmers looking at starvation in the face of crops withering in a changing climate.

What does this have to do with the shroud? Nothing! Sometimes simple examples make for much better explanations than longer dreary narrative. Schweitzer stumbled, however.

It is true that without the ability to reason critically, you might believe that Christ’s image was captured on the shroud. I think that happens a lot. But it is unfair to compare the shroud to a carved face on Mars or weeping statues of Mary. The number of published peer-reviewed papers on each of the subjects might be a clue. Consider, too, the number of accomplished scientists and academics in many disciplines, all able to reason critically, who believe the shroud is authentic. You can, by reasoning critically, come to believe Christ’s image was captured on the Shroud of Turin.

Let’s Agree to Agree?

September 17, 2014 13 comments

imageA reader writes:

It is important that the shroud community stick together and speak with one voice. Let’s agree to agree for a change. Please stop attacking people like Mark Antonacci and Stephen Jones who are working so hard to convince non-believers that the Shroud is authentic. Did you see what Stephen said about you?  He is right, you know.

I’ll paraphrase much of the quotation the reader sent along and quote a small, salient part of what Stephen, himself, said. You can read the entire comment series HERE:

A commenter, Bippy123, expressed his hope that Giulio Fanti will offer up more information about his dating tests and let us know about the peer-reviewed journal to which he has submitted his work. Stephen replied that he knows nothing about this because in not reading “Dan Porter’s blog” he misses out on a lot of shroud news. But . . .

. . . the upside of saving time and not being character-assassinated by anti-authenticists on Porter’s blog (while Porter does nothing to restrain the assassins-presumably because he enjoys it!), outweighs the pro-authenticist news I temporarily am missing out on.

Assassins? I enjoy it?

“You should block negative comments,” the reader suggested. As for Mark Antonacci, he wondered, “What will you say when he is proven right? Will you have the [courage] to admit you were stupid?”

Dear reader, who are you? This is a joke, right?

The Length and Width of It

September 8, 2014 69 comments

imageStephen Jones has put together an interesting piece on the measurements of the shroud. This is a useful topic for the encyclopedia he is creating (see Shroud of Turin: Turin Shroud Encyclopedia).

Stephen seems to have decided on one set of measurements:

Now the dimensions have been authoritatively determined by Dr. Flury-Lemberg as 437 cm long by 111 cm wide." [Wilson, I., 2000a, "`The Turin Shroud – past, present and future', Turin, 2-5 March, 2000 – probably the best-ever Shroud Symposium,"British Society for the Turin Shroud Newsletter, No. 51, June.]

Authoritatively? I would have liked to have seen some discussion about other measurements. See , for instance, Length Measurements on the Shroud of Turin by Mario Latendresse. There are some significant differences:

Measurements taken by Bruno Barberis and Gian Maria Zaccone give (frontal image at the bottom left, dorsal image at the top) 441.5 cm for the right height, and 442.5 cm for the left height. The bottom width is 113.0 cm and the top width is 113.7 cm.

If Stephen doesn’t address these differences he is likely to be challenged. He needs to address the differences in the  length for the left and right sides (see the top edge in the partial image above) if he is going to quote Ian Wilson speaking of “conformity to an exact 8 by 2 Jewish cubits” in his 1991 book, "Holy Faces, Secret Places: The Quest for Jesus’ True Likeness.”

Exact?

For an encyclopedia entry there is too much topic drift and too much opining in the following:

Medieval forger? It is highly unlikely that a medieval forger would even know about the Assyrian standard cubit , and even if he did, it is even more unlikely that he would bother obtaining a first century fine linen shroud, especially given that fine linen then ranked with gold in value. And that is assuming that he could obtain one, especially one with the Shroud’s three-to-one herringbone twill linen, of which the Shroud is the only one remaining in existence!

[ . . . ]

Proof the Shroud is authentic. So even the dimensions of the Shroud of Turin are among the many proofs beyond reasonable doubt that the Shroud of Turin is authentic . . . .

It may be that or maybe, just maybe, a not so startling coincidence of something that is approximately so!

Note: All quotations and the picture snippet in this posting are considered Fair Use under the provision of Title 17 of the United States Code, Limitations on exclusive rights: Fair use and the Berne Convention Treaty along with the WIPO Treaty of 1996. (Fair Use is known as Fair Dealing in the jurisdictions of the Commonwealth of Nations). Copyright is a legal right with limits. The practice of quoting multiple paragraphs of text, for the purpose of criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright. Stephen’s footnote #1 to his posting only underscores the need for Fair Use provisions in the law.

Shroud 4 Kids: Great Site

August 31, 2014 3 comments

Yahoo News was reporting out the following brief notice this morning. I’m not sure I know why:

THE SHROUD OF TURIN for Children – HOME

shroud4kids.com

THE SHROUD OF TURIN for Children: HOME; Here is the Story….. En Español: Some Interesting Facts: Your Drawings & Paintings: READ ABOUT THIS AMAZING PICTURE OF JESUS!

That picture looked familiar. Hadn’t I covered this before? Yes, and I was critical at the time. Diane, the owner of the site, promptly made changes and all looked good.

It was time to look again. I like it! And I like text that reads like this. It shows that you can write objectively, even for children:

But what is so special about this shroud? Well, the Shroud of Turin holds a mysterious picture of a man, front and back, and no one knows how this picture was made!

And although the picture is hard to see, you can tell where the man was wounded in his hands, feet, and side. He was crucified just like Jesus of Nazareth. Also, there are wounds all over his head, which could have been made from a crown or a cap of thorns.

A slideshow is in English and in Spanish. It is a gem.

Time will tell.

August 30, 2014 15 comments

imageI’ve decided that I no longer mind it when one scientist calls another scientist a “Mickey Mouse Scientist,” as Colin Berry does this morning in his blog. I may be wrong, but I realize now that it is a cheap shot in lieu of being able to criticize effectively. My personal vision of a good scientist doesn’t embrace derision of colleagues. To so insult a fellow scientist defines the source.

Colin, in his blog, reminded me this morning (afternoon for him) of a posting from February of 2012. He writes, “Here’s a link to a Mickey Mouse scientist.” He is referring to Paolo Di Lazzaro. At Colin’s urging, go have a look.

Paolo never came back to this blog after the insult. Maybe I should have kicked Colin out then but I stood on principle. I wanted all voices represented. Too many people have been driven away by Colin’s insults.

I do happen to think the shroud is real. That is different from knowing it is real. Colin accuses me of pushing a pro-authenticity agenda. In another blog Stephen Jones accuses me of being anti-authenticity. Take your pick. Would I rather know the truth about the shroud no matter what it is? Of course, I would. Does Colin believe that? I doubt it. Should I wonder if Colin is completely objective?  Would I believe him if he said he was? I would like to think so. I wonder, though.

I am a skeptic at heart. I am skeptical of many things claimed about the shroud. I don’t think there are coins on eyes or images of flowers on the cloth. I’m not convinced by the evidence that there is no image content under the bloodstains. When it comes to possible material intrusion in the area from which the radiocarbon dating samples were taken, I’m not convinced that the blue quad mosaics tell us anything useful. I don’t buy some of the interpretations by John Jackson or Don Lynn concerning the 3D data inherent (not encoded) in the images. There are many things I doubt.

imageYou must read Colin’s latest posting in which he covers so many, many things. A thousand words is worth a picture, right? His newest posting, today, is more than 5,000 words. Read what he says about Paolo.

I agree with much of what he says and I disagree with other things he says. For now, there is too much to discuss. But have a look at the ImageJ work he is doing. Is that cityscape-like image partly the result of banding?  Click on the image to see it enlarged in Colin’s blog space.

I’m disappointed to see how he generalizes and characterizes people who think the shroud is real (Fair Use):

It’s got to be a photograph of the crucified Jesus, miraculously preserved , right,  albeit as a non-photogenic negative, intended as a present to 20th century man, right? Right? Do I hear any voices of dissension? No?  [ . . . ]

I am a voice of dissention. Colin should know it. I have repeatedly said that I have never found a single theory or hypothesis for the images that I can accept. Nothing yet appeals to me and it is not because of my world view or my religion or any assumptions. I have never seen enough evidence to convince me that the image is or is not God-made, naturally made or manmade. Who knows, maybe Colin will be proven right in the end. Maybe it is a contact scorch. Maybe it is a picture of Jacques de Molay. I doubt it but let’s see. Colin seems to think it is our job to prove that he is wrong.

Time will tell.

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