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Real 1st century or simulated 14th century sweat imprint?

November 12, 2014 20 comments

The first question is sweat imprint? The second is like unto it: real or not?

Colin Berry has started a Checklist of reasons for thinking the Turin Shroud image represents a dried-on sweat imprint. Real 1st century or simulated 14th century?  As of this posting he has twenty items. Do have a look. 

Here is number 19, just as an example:

19. Many have  commented on the unnaturally-long fingers on the TS man and their ‘boniness’, with some even going so far as to posit some kind of X-ray emanations with radiographic imaging. (Yes, seriously!) While I cannot account for the length, simple modelling with hand imprinting, using a sticky spread, shows how fingers that are held together imprint as if separate, due to preferential imprinting of skin directly over bone. Any direct visual evidence such as this for contact imprinting can be legitimately brought forward as evidence for simulated ‘sweat imprinting’.

(the picture is on Colin’s blog, click on it  to  see a larger version of it)

Here is A Guest Posting by O.K. on the Allegedly Too-Long Fingers from November of last year.

Maybe we can look at some of the other items on the list in the days to come.

Colin Berry Trumps the Daily Express Headline Writer

November 7, 2014 5 comments
Categories: Other Blogs Tags:

More on Charles Freeman’s Article and Podcast from the OSC IB Blog

November 4, 2014 1 comment

A podcast interview with historian Charles Freeman (25 minutes)

I previously noted in this blog in my posting How Knowledge is Created: The Shroud of Turin:

From the OSC IB Blogs for Students and Teachers (Oxford Study Courses International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme) we get some opinion on examining the Shroud of Turin in TOK classes (Theory of Knowledge). Eileen Dombrowski has written a long, interesting blog posting, The Shroud of Turin: perspectives, faith, and evidence.

Eileen Dombrowski, now, seems to be getting really excited about Charles Freeman’s article:

This topic of the Shroud of Turin just keeps getting better and better for TOK. In my last post, I outlined TOK lessons based on it. But now – even better materials for launching a class! A podcast interview with historian Charles Freeman (25 minutes), linked from the website of History Today,  readily sets up a leaner lesson on the methods of research of an historian. The interviewer applauds Freeman’s research as “historical detective work” on an “unsolved mystery” and invites him to explain his methods of investigation.

In preparation for class discussions on methodology in history, I recommend giving this podcast to your students, along with guiding questions that help them focus their minds analytically as they listen. Below is a set of questions I worked out myself as I listened. You’re welcome to use them yourself if you find them helpful.  (You can download a pdf version of the questions here: Turin Shroud Freeman podcast questions)

Guiding questions?

  • “What does he say that the “shroudies” assume, and what are the consequences for their explanations?”
  • “Notice Freeman’s steps in reasoning: ‘So what clinches this further…’ ‘So we’re coming closer…’ ‘What actually clinched it…’”
  • “Why does Freeman rule out forgery and deliberate hoax?   Why does he think that his research and explanation will be favourably considered by the Catholic Church?”
Categories: History, Other Blogs Tags:

Those Dark Specks in the Mark Evan’s Photographs

October 31, 2014 33 comments

that unforgivable hoovering

Colin Berry, with his non-stop observant and inquisitive mind:

Am I not correct in thinking that there are dark specks associated with the tan-coloured areas, which are unlikely to be artefactual (chance deposits of dust etc) given they are absent for all intents and purposes in the less-strongly coloured non-image areas?
Flour particles, toasted?

(click on picture to see enlarged version)

A working hypothesis:

Working hypothesis. There are (or were, before the 2002 conservation measures, including that unforgivable hoovering) a scattering of dark-coloured particles on the TS concentrated mainly in the image-bearing regions, with far fewer in non-image regions.

An analysis of those particles would show them to be a substance that has been rendered yellow or brown by thermal energy ("heat" in common parlance). A possible candidate might be white flour particles  – an intentional additive – one that  acquired colour via a Maillard reaction, thus contributing to the image-forming process and  hence its heterogeneity and complexity.

Do they match what we see in the Mark Evans pictures?

As ever, more and more work beckons. First, one will need to do microscopy on the flour-coated  imprinted linen to see what happens to the appearance of individual flour particles, and whether or not they match the specks one sees in the above Mark Evans pictures, at least in terms of size.

And what did McCrone see?

Then comes the difficult part: to track down such papers are available online from the Walter McCrone Microscopy Institute on the studies he did on sticky-tape samples supplied by Ray Rogers. I definitely recall seeing one summary that had a long long list of the different types of particle he had identified.

One wonders what he would have made of those dark specks we see above if indeed they were flour or some other ‘food’ type particle that had undergone a Maillard reaction. One imagines it would take some fairly sophisticated kind of spectrographic microscopy  to make a positive identification, but that is not my area, so there’s a steep learning curve that will need to be climbed to make headway.

How Knowledge is Created: The Shroud of Turin

October 31, 2014 8 comments

In part, we can enjoy the human spectacle of varying views and hot reactions.

From the OSC IB Blogs for Students and Teachers (Oxford Study Courses International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme) we get some opinion on examining the Shroud of Turin in TOK classes (Theory of Knowledge). Eileen Dombrowski has written a long, interesting blog posting, The Shroud of Turin: perspectives, faith, and evidence:

. . . Earlier this month (Oct 9-12), a conference in St. Louis, Missouri brought together international presenters and participants on the topic “Shroud of Turin: The Controversial Intersection of Faith and Science”. However, it is an article by historian Charles Freeman that may at last give some definitive answers. In an article published this week in History Today, he argues that the cloth is neither a miraculous burial shroud nor a deliberate hoax, but a 14th century cloth used in church Easter rituals with significance attributed later. His research is riveting for those of us interested in how knowledge is created.

As a starter for Theory of Knowledge teachers potentially interested in using the Turin Shroud in class, I’ll offer some ideas on whether and how to use it in class. . . .

It’s important to realize:

Certainly, the overall controversy over the Turin Shroud raises knowledge questions about the role of faith in interpretation of evidence – or more broadly about the role of perspectives in what is even considered to be “evidence”.Indeed, the basic beliefs or assumptions of perspectives are a good starting point for questions:

  • if people do not accept the possibility of divine miracles and/or the divinity of Jesus Christ, they are likely to reject knowledge claims that the Turin cloth is His burial shroud;
  • if they do accept this possibility, or if they are uncertain, they may or may not be persuaded by “evidence” the first group is likely to discount.

Relevant here are a coherence check for truth (Does this knowledge claim fit with what I already know?) and confirmation bias.

From a short list of potential course resources (do read Eileen Dombrowski’s posting):

  • Some videos A short video linked from the website of the recent conference in Missouri provides a lively introduction to the controversy. It refers to investigations done by the Shroud of Turin Research Project (STURP) and stresses the “fabulous mystery”: “Shroud Encounter: Experience the Mystery”.  The conclusions reached by Shroud of Turin Research Project (STURP) are available.

  • [ . . . ]
  • The article by Charles Freeman is essential as one of the sources for a TOK critical treatment of the topic, and for a demonstration of the methods of the historian: “The Origins of the Shroud of Turin”, History Today. His article summarizes evidence such as carbon dating previously done and adds new research findings.
  • It would be sad not to introduce students to a sense of the continuing controversy – not just its content but its tone. Refer students to the blog by Stephen Jones  in which he rages at Charles Freeman – for his credentials as an historian (which, I must interject, are excellent!), the religious beliefs Jones infers that he must have, and his treatment of evidence. Stephen Jones’s own assertions are in turn dismissed with cutting brevity by another blogger, who accepts that the shroud may be authentic but ridicules Jones’ treatment.  If you want to demonstrate how controversial knowledge claims can lead to emotional ranting and silliness, try clicking into some of the reader comments added to articles on the shroud.

Emotional ranting and silliness?  At least . . .  oh, well.

imageTheory of Knowledge and the Shroud:

Discussion of the Shroud can lead to appreciation of how very much people really care about particular knowledge claims and what justifications they accept and pass on. In part, we can enjoy the human spectacle of varying views and hot reactions. Most important, though, we can hone our own critical thinking skills by seeing knowledge claims in context and evaluating the justifications offered.

BTW Book Mention:  IB Theory of Knowledge Course Book: Oxford IB Diploma Program Course Book (Oxford IB Diploma Programme) – May 19, 2013  by Eileen Dombrowski (Author), Lena Rotenberg (Author), Mimi Bick (Author)

An Apology to Colin Berry. And Some Comments.

October 29, 2014 29 comments

imageColin Berry writes on his site:

No Dan Porter, I am not a small boy playing with flour, and your continued attempts to infantilize do you no credit whatsoever. Nor does your attempt to block free speech. Nor does your tolerance of trolls on that site of yours who specialize in making character attacks.

Go boil your head, Dan Porter. I’m heartily sick of you and your tedious popgun attacks, 

Since I offended you Colin, I apologize. I have removed the picture from the blog posting. It was not my intention to insult you with the picture. No one, as I imagined it, would think you are like a small boy playing with flour. In fact, I’ve been intrigued by your experiments and have said so. I was merely injecting a bit of humor into the posting, or so I thought.

Sometimes I use a picture to make a point.  I did so long ago with a picture of Don Quixote attacking a windmill because that is how I saw what you were doing at the time. You have repeatedly expressed your displeasure about that picture. In that case I said nothing. The picture was an editorial stance no different than my use of an ostrich with his head in the sand to characterize Stephen Jones’ comment that he doesn’t know about some of the shroud news because he will not look at my blog and has not done so since May. 

You say I am trying to block free speech. No, I’m not. You have made 1,461 comments in this blog (18 after you switched to another ISP).  I have discarded 2 comments by you and edited the contents of another 6. All but one were because of insults.  One that I discarded had the single word ‘bye’ in it and was redundant. I will put that one back.  I have periodically pre-moderated your comments when you started dishing out excessively insulting remarks and then opened up comments again usually in a day or two.

People have left this blog because of insults. They have mentioned you.  I have tried to stick to some principles. Anyone should be able to comment. Right now, I have a list of 4 people who are blacklisted because they have trolled the site, been excessively insulting to others or used excessively anti-Catholic rhetoric.  You are not on that list.

This blog is not a public blog. Even so, I try to be fair, balanced and accommodating to everyone.  But, like a newspaper, I don’t have to publish every letter to the editor. Is that blocking free speech?  No, it is not. Not good enough? Well . . . you do have that corner in Hyde Park and you have your blogs.

There are no trolls on this site “who specialize in making character attacks.”  And this is a picture of me boiling my head.

Categories: Other Blogs

Bigger Fish to Fry Than Freeman

October 29, 2014 2 comments

Oh what a tangled website we weave,
When first we start with what we believe!*

* With apologies to Sir Walter Scott

imageWhen asked if he would be publishing more about Charles Freeman’s recent article, Stephen Jones in a comment replied, “Sorry, but I have bigger fish to fry than Freeman.”

He needs, he explained, to finish his series, "My theory that the radiocarbon dating laboratories were duped by a computer hacker" and complete:

. . . "The Servant of the Priest," which is unexpectedly very important) (e.g the Shroud (sindon) was not in the empty tomb but the risen Jesus took it with Him and gave it to "the servant of the priest," as recorded in the early 2nd century "Gospel of the Hebrews, who was either: a) Malchus (Jn 18:10); b) Peter (confused by a copyist error); or more likely c) John (who tradition records was a priest and is supported by the New Testament but too complex to give in this comment), and is supported by John knowing the name of the High Priest’s servant Malchus (see above), and being known to the High Priest, the High Priest’s servant girl and having easy and authoritative entry into the High Priest’s house (Jn 18:15-16); and therefore John may have even been a servant in the High Priest’s household, and his code name (in that early era of persecution was "the servant of the priest).

(emphasis mine)

Too complex?  I’ll wait.

Back to the subject of Charles’ article; I would like to see Jones rewrite and publish his criticism of Freeman’s article without the poisoning of the well and the defense of the hacker theory. Both of those things damage the posting’s credibility as an otherwise fairly good analysis.  

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