I read your piece on the Turin Shroud and being quite fascinated by the object I thought that I’d drop you a short note.
By any measure of logic the shroud is a fake.
It turns up in the middle-ages with no satisfactory explanation as to where it had been kept or hidden for the previous 1000 years.
At that particular time there were thousands of bits of the true-cross and crowns of thorns and nails used in the crucifixion etc and forgery of these "relics" was big business.
The shroud was tested and found to be of medieval origin.
It would seem incredible to believe that the scientists who tested the shroud could not differentiate between the original cloth and pieces that had been repaired.
But – and a big but: if it is a forgery then it is the cleverest forgery in history. The forger had to have knowledge of things that would not be known until 800 years into the future.
How was the image put on the cloth and be in the form of a photographic negative etc etc etc.
A real mystery if there ever was one.
What things would not be known until 800 years into the future? Or were they just flukes?
So many people have asked themselves, how is it that the Holy Shroud of Turin, will be on display again so soon, just five years after the first public exhibit? Well, we could say Don Bosco was able to make it happen.
– The Rev. Roberto Gottardo
Diocesan Commission of the Holy Shroud
Video runs about two minutes. It is worth watching.
Hat tip: Russ Breault
Each of us has boldly claimed that whether the Shroud is authentic or a fake, that it doesn’t really matter as to what we believe about Christ. Looking at our reactions to each other on this blog at times, I think we’re not being honest with ourselves.
Mattias chimed in:
Great point. Many here DO seem to be clinging to Shroud authenticity to support their faith, despite what they say
And Mike M added:
You are absolutely right. By the same token I have also noticed people clinging to fantasies to support their lack of faith, despite what they say( that they are only interested in scientific proofs and so forth).
And then, too, Louis also added:
No one has noticed that there are bloggers who react to other bloggers depending on how yet other bloggers react?
I wonder this every now and then? I think we should ask ourselves if we are being honest with ourselves and others.
Stephen Jones has posted Off-topic: Archaeologists Carbon-Date Camel Bones, Discover Major Discrepancy In Bible Story? in his blog. He begins nicely and I agree with the way he begins (his text is in bold).
Researchers Lidar Sapir-Hen and Erez Ben-Yosef from Tel Aviv University have discovered what may be a discrepancy in the history laid out in the Bible. Using carbon-dating to determine the age of the oldest-known camel bones, the researchers determined that camels were first introduced to Israel around the 9th century BCE. This is fallacious. Just because the oldest camel bones that archaeologists have yet found in what today we call Israel (assuming the carbon-dating is correct) are 9th century BC, does not mean that camels were not in Israel before then. . . . That is a version of the fallacy of the Argument from Ignorance: "We haven’t found it, therefore it did not exist"!
But soon it becomes apparent that this is not a posting about carbon dating or camels or logical fallacies. It quickly evolves into a defense of biblical literalism up against “naturalism” that “so dominates the academic world that group-think . . . prevents the Christian, Biblical position from being heard in the secular schools and universities” (AND the Shroud of Turin, according to Stephen is an example). And what specific Christian, biblical position is under attack? That Abraham had camels.
Stephen tells us:
Dr. Robert Harris, an Associate Professor at the Jewish Theological Seminary, says this [the carbon dating of the camels] shouldn’t come as a shock to the theological community. “While these findings may have been published recently, those of us on the inside have known the essential facts for a generation now," Harris conveyed to HuffPost Religion through associates at JTS. "This is just one of many anachronisms in the Bible, but these do not detract from its sanctity, because it is a spiritual source, not a historical one.”This might be the modern Jewish position but it is not a consistent Christian position. The Christian New Testament states the entire Bible, Old and New Testament, was "breathed out by God":
Wait a minute! I’m a Christian. While I fully respect Stephen’s beliefs in biblical literalism, I don’t agree with his assertion that what Harris says is inconsistent with Christianity. I don’t mind if Genesis is wrong about Abraham having camels. In fact, I rather imagine that Abraham was a composite figure developed as part of the early Jewish history legend about 1500 years after he was supposed to have lived. Stephen should believe what he wants but he should not imply that his specific beliefs define Christianity. (I wouldn’t even get into this discussion but for the fact that he is, for some reason, writing about the Shroud of Turin).’’
He quotes scripture:
2Tim 3:16: "All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,"
It depends. I’m a Christian. I use the Bible. To my way of thinking, using literal words from the Bible to argue that the Bible is literally true is about as big a fallacy as you can have.
The real problem is that Naturalism, the philosophy that "nature is all there is-there is no supernatural", so dominates the academic world that group-think . . . prevents the Christian, Biblical position from being heard in the secular schools and universities.
A prime example is the Shroud of Turin. . . .
The Shroud of Turin? How did we get here?
. . . The evidence is overwhelming that the Shroud is the very burial sheet of Jesus, bearing the image of his crowned with thorns, crucified, speared in the side, dead, buried and resurrected, body! But the secular world, dominated by Naturalism, rejects it out of hand.
I agree with Stephen’s statement up to the word ‘dead’. It may be an image of Christ’s resurrected body but I don’t think there is any evidence of that. (I believe in the resurrection but am not convinced that the shroud shows that).
Then again, if Stephen and I were to lay out what each of us thinks is the evidence pertaining to the authenticity of the shroud we would differ greatly. He thinks there are images of coins over the eyes. I’m quite certain there are not, and so forth. Can we even agree that the shroud is real if our reasons are different?
If you continue reading Stephen’s posting, he comes to the conclusion that the rejection of biblical literalism and rejection of the shroud’s authenticity tells us that the end is near. I think there is a fallacy in this thinking.
From Lumiere Technology: Imagine on a huge 165 cm (65 inch) plasma screen, a master-work from your collection revealed at 240 Mega Pixels definition from UV to Infrareds and compared side by side with the original thanks to the astonishing results of its multispectral digitization ! (Hat Tip to John Klotz)
This technology has been around for about four years and proving useful. What might we learn about the Shroud of Turin?
According to the AFP:
In Poland a team of French experts is studying a picture by Leonardo da Vinci and making some unexpected discoveries. The painting is the Lady with an Ermine in Krakow’s Czartoryski museum. The team has invented a camera which makes it possible to inspect the canvas minutely without touching it and discover details invisible to the naked eye.
Another source of pride for the church is its replica of the Shroud of Turin
- the cloth Jesus was said to have been buried in – which the Philly archbishop
brought to his archeparchy in the late 2000s from Italy.
At Philly.com, Philadelphia’s leading online news outlet there is an interesting article, Ukranian Catholics can find a dome of their own in Northern Liberties, by Vinny Vella, a Daily News Staff Writer:
EVEN IF you’ve never heard of the Ukrainian Catholic Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Northern Liberties, chances are you’ve seen it: Its signature golden dome is easy to pick out on the city’s skyline.
Northern Liberties is a neighborhood in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The assumption above is that if you are reading philly.com your live in Philly.
But the church is much more than a pretty facade – it’s one of four major hubs for the Ukrainian Catholic faith in America.
[. . . ]
Rev. Ivan Demkiv, who’s steered the congregation for more than a decade, explained what happens beneath the church’s brilliant dome. (Full disclosure: Demkiv is the father of one of this reporter’s college friends.)
Who we are: Demkiv oversees a congregation of about 300 families, some of the roughly 20,000 cultural Ukrainians who live in the greater Philadelphia area.
[ . . . ]
Where we worship: Immaculate Conception’s flock gathers in the Cathedral of the Blessed Virgin Mary, a massive edifice built in the Byzantine tradition – it’s modeled after the Hagia Sophia basilica in Istanbul, according to Demkiv.
The structure was built from 1963 to 1966 on Franklin Street near 8th Street. Though its iconic dome – covered in gold-infused Venetian glass tiles – is its claim to fame, the cathedral’s interior is even more magnificent, featuring rich, colorful mosaics of biblical scenes and hand-painted icons of the faith’s saints and prophets.
[ . . . ]
What we believe: Immaculate Conception is a Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, which follows the Eastern Rite of the Catholic faith. In Roman Catholic parlance, the Vatican and the Ukrainian Catholic Church are said to be in "full communion" – meaning the Ukrainian branch is a member of the larger whole, but with its own distinct cultural identity.
The beliefs are the same, but the way they worship differs slightly. For example, Ukrainian Catholics read from the Divine Liturgy of Saint John Chrysostom during services, instead of the Bible. Their churches feature painted icons (detailed portraits of holy figures) instead of the statues commonly found in Roman Catholic churches. And their hymns don’t have musical accompaniment – choirs and churchgoers sing without organs or other instruments.
[ . . . ]
Another source of pride for the church is its replica of the Shroud of Turin – the cloth Jesus was said to have been buried in – which the Philly archbishop brought to his archeparchy in the late 2000s from Italy.
[ . . . ]
God is . . . "Infinite power. Through him everything came to be," Demkiv said. "It doesn’t matter your faith, everyone can feel his guidance in their lives."
For the past two years, you have been a frequent participant in this blog. You have commented 1,294 times. Most of your comments have been comprehensive, thoughtful, and well written. Many of us disagree with you a lot, and that’s fine. It is only when we start insulting others that things get testy. Yes, you mostly start it. And yes, people return the favor.
You also maintains you own blog, The Shroud of Turin: medieval scorch? Separating the science from the pseudo-science… (formerly entitled, Shroud of Turin Without all the Hype). Oftentimes, I cover your own postings in your blog. I used to cover you more frequently but lately what you have been posting is mostly selected comments that have already appeared in this blog. Maybe that will change because as you wrote:
Firstly, I shall be wasting no more time on the shroudstory.com site.
It is simply a mouthpiece (with some very mouthy contributors*) for the pro-authenticity, anti-radiocarbon dating agenda. Its host, Dan Porter, is almost certainly a front man for a behind-the-scenes organization, probably hard-line Roman Catholic, despite his declaring himself to be some kind of Anglican (Episcopalian). Or maybe it’s a soft-sell commercial operation. Who knows?
I had no idea. This organization is so behind-the-scenes that they have not told me. Shades of conspiracy thinking, is it?
I think this is the fourth or fifth times you have left vowing never to come back. C’est la vie, I guess. But if you change your mind you are welcome back. Really! And don’t stand on principle. None of us around here do.
You also wrote:
I would ask its host [that’s me] NOT to do cover posts on anything I post here in future.
Just as the news media doesn’t work that way, neither does social media. It would be analogous to a politician telling the New York Times not to cover him in the news because he doesn’t like what they write about him.
There are some things you can do, however. You can customize your blogging template to include the following meta command:
<meta name="robots" content="noindex, nofollow" />
If you do that, the search engines will eventually drop you from their results. This may take a few months because of the hundreds of comments you have placed in this blog. Google already knows too much about you. You must also stop using the promotional feeds. I see that you use Twitter, Facebook, StumbleUpon, Digg, Reddit. Tumblr, LinkedIn. No good if you don’t want people to comment on what you write. Finally, you may want to issue user codes and passwords to those people you want to see your blog. If it is 1) in public space, 2) about the shroud and 3) newsworthy, it will or may be covered.
. . . I’ll still be here, ploughing my lonely furrow for what I call genuine untainted agenda-free science. There will be short shrift to those who continue to malign the radiocarbon dating scientists . . .
Colin, I’m not a scientist. In my world if someone announces and endorse the results of a study, be it scientific, historical, financial, etc., they are quite naturally endorsing the methods used. You can’t get away with saying the scientists in the radiocarbon dating labs merely tested the sample given to them. They knew about anomalies in the sample. If they didn’t know then they were not doing their job. Rogers put it well to Vatican Insider:
Asked whether he [Rogers] thought the authorities at Turin had been aware of such evidence as the 1978 photographs indicating that the corner of the Shroud from which they took the sample was unlike the rest of the cloth, Rogers responded that “it doesn’t matter if they ignored it or were unaware of it. Part of science is to assemble all the pertinent data. They didn’t even try.”
The threat of short shrift is noted. I guess you can write about my blog and I’m not supposed to cover yours. Is that it? You can criticize scientists left and right, but I am not supposed to? is that it?
So, time to move on. But to where and how?
I’ve decided to put together a lecture presentation, with no particular audience in mind as yet, one that summarises my thinking about the TS, especially the hot template/hot Templar angle. Yes, it’s all hypothesis, but I try wherever possible to accommodate as much of the available data (hard data that is) while keeping ideas testable in principle.
This is a real-time endeavour, and has been from the start just over 2 years ago. So I will be assembling that lecture in stages, directly underneath here, using my blog essentially as a work area.
That’s the nature of the exercise. I suspect this may be the first time a sustained scientific investigation has been carried out in real time on the internet. . . .
Stephen Jones has just posted a continuation to his series, "The Shroud of Turin." This is part 25, "3.7. The man on the Shroud was buried (1)".
. . . the man on the Shroud’s left leg is bent, due to his left foot having been nailed over his right and it then remained fixed by rigor mortis in that crucifixion position.
This presumably is the source of the 11th century Byzantine legend that Jesus actually had one leg shorter than the other and therefore was lame. And also the source of the strange design of the Russian orthodox cross, which has a footrest angled with the left side higher than the right which fits Christ’s perceived shorter left leg on the Shroud.
In a caption to the photograph shown on his blog (and here) Stephen writes:
[ . . . "The Adoration of the Cross," Second half of the 12th century, The Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow, Russia, Cat No. 14245. Since this icon is dated from the "second half of the 12th century", i.e. 1150-1200, and if its strange inclined cross footrest is based on the Shroud, then this is further evidence that the "medieval … AD 1260-1390" radiocarbon date of the Shroud is wrong!]
As this form of the cross is universal among the Russians it must date from the beginning of the national conversion to Christianity, when missionaries in 988 came from Constantinople. But then the Shroud would have been in Constantinople in the tenth century. Which agrees with Ian Wilson’s Mandylion/Shroud theory that the Shroud arrived in Constantinople in 944, folded eight times in the form of the Mandylion portrait.
Fascinating stuff. Better explained then I’ve read or heard it explained before. But there is just a bit too much ‘presumably’ – ‘and if its strange inclined cross’ – ‘it must date from’ – language of speculation to make me comfortable. To his credit Stephen uses this cautionary language and doesn’t carelessly make it sound like fact.
Items of expressive culture are not found in isolation. They are not found
without evidence of practice. If one excavates an ancient site and finds one pot,
one finds other pots like it, and the remains of failed or broken pots in middens.
– Danusha Goska
Last night, Barrie Schwortz wrote on STERA’s Facebook page:
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT… In the earlier days of the website, we sometimes published comments from our viewers, although that declined over the years as other online venues became available that allowed for more immediate interaction (like this Facebook page). Back in 2000 there was an ongoing debate about the work of Emily Craig, who believed the Shroud was an artwork. This stimulated a debate between Dr. Craig and Shroud scholars like Prof. Dan Scavone and Rev. Albert "Kim" Dreisbach, Jr. One particular comment came from then Ph.D. candidate (and now Ph.D.) Danusha Goska. She brought a completely different perspective to the study of the Shroud that is still relevant today.
Click HERE to read the page on shroud.com. Or read it HERE along with some thoughts by Colin Berry in the blog at Paper Chase: Danusha Goska’s Untitled Essay when I quoted Danusha to respond to Colin two years ago (Colin was calling himself sciencebod at the time) – my gosh, that was two years ago.
Here are a couple of other posts regarding Danusha:
In any case, the most important aspect of this work, from the point of view of physicists working in the field of AMS dating, is the methodological one concerning sampling strategy. First, sampling should always be done in agreement with and under the guidance of scholars and people involved in the historical or archaeological problem. In addition, whenever possible, collecting several samples from the object to be dated (as we did in the case of the two frocks) is definitely the right approach in order to reduce the possibilities of ambiguities.
– AMS radiocarbon dating of medieval textile relics:
The frocks and the pillow of St. Francis of Assisi
by M.E. Fedi, A. Cartocci, F. Taccetti, P.A. Mandò
An interesting thread within a thread brought us to the above important quote. daveb started it off:
The sampling area [of the Shroud of Turin] is clearly anomalous, and unrepresentative of the whole, never mind the details. No other area was sampled. To assert the truth of an hypothesis on such ambiguous evidence would never be accepted in any other scientific endeavour. It merely demonstrates wishful thinking on the part of skeptics and anti-authenticists, not to say their poverty of scientific reasoning. Precisely the same poverty of thought that Yves Delage encountered from the Science Academy in 1905, dominated as it was then by so-called free-thinkers and agnostics. Some things never change!
daveb then amplified this position:
My point is that it is bad science to assert any kind of conclusion from such a poor sampling protocol. Just reflect on the stringent sampling protocols for drug testing for instance. For some 10 years I was engaged in designing sampling systems for a significant Corporate’s Internal Audit function, together with various other sundry applications of Applied Statistics. So I know more than a little about drawing conclusions from sampled data. The laboratories may have had a good grip on the theoretical and technical physics aspects of Carbon 14 dating. But it is only too obvious that they had little idea on how a proper and persuasive scientific conclusion can be reached when they accepted such a poorly constructed sampling regime for their testing, peer reviews notwithstanding. . . . For any further understanding of the problem, I can only recommend any elementary Applied Statistics text book. It does turn out that the sampled area in this case was anomalous, and merely illustrates the folly of it. If it had turned out that the date reached conclusively proved a 1st century date, these very same scientists would have been the first to object at the sampling regime.
Hugh Farey chimes in:
I’m interested in daveb’s comment (although I appreciate that it is a commonly held view, not just his), that “To assert the truth of an hypothesis on such ambiguous evidence would never be accepted in any other scientific endeavour.”
A fairly similar problem to the Shroud arose in deciding where to take the samples from two garments and a pillow associated with St Francis in 2005. The details are in ‘AMS Radiocarbon Dating of Medieval Textile Relics: the Frocks and the Pillow of St Francis of Assisi,’ M. Fedi et al, Science Direct, 2009. (Behind a paywall, I’m afraid).
Beginning with “dating of materials connected to faith is always a delicate matter,” which has a familiar ring to it, the authors discuss where, exactly, they took their radiocarbon samples from. “Samples were taken following the advice of a textile conservator, who examined the manufacture of the relics. No darns or patches were present.” Sounds familiar? “Anyway, [interesting adverb...] we decided to sample several pieces from each frock.”
From one ‘frock,’ “supposed to have covered St Francis just in the moment of his death,” the team took seven samples, about 1cm2 each, three from the hem, two from the end of one of the short sleeves, one from the side, and one from slap in the middle of the back. The frock was made of several pieces of wool sewn together, and the samples came from different pieces. The samples were washed in an ultrasound bath, then in hydrochloric acid, but not in sodium hydroxide as it was thought detrimental to wool.
One of the hem samples and the one from the side fell to pieces during cleaning and couldn’t be used. The others gave dates of between 1155 and 1225, a 70 year spread which was assumed consistent. This compares with the Shroud findings (12 samples from the same place) of between about 1225 and 1315, a 90 year spread.
St Francis died in 1226, which fitted this frock (and the pillow, as it happens) well. The other frock was dated to about 1300, and was therefore considered not a genuine relic, although the authors say, rather charmingly, that “these data are not to be read in a negative way, since the result of its dating can anyway be a valuable element for the reconstruction of the history of religion during Middle Ages.”
The circumstances of the two radiocarbon datings make interesting comparison, I feel. One important point is that, even in 2005, a 1cm2 area is considered a minimum sample for accurate dating, whereas in 1988 every laboratory subdivided its sample further and tested each one separately. No wonder their experimental error bars were so much bigger, especially those of Tucson, which dated roughly 0.2cm2 pieces.
Joe Marino focuses on an important point:
There were a couple of sentences I found most interesting in this paper: “In any case, the most important aspect of this work, from the point of view of physicists working in the field of AMS dating, is the methodological one concerning sampling strategy. First, sampling should always be done in agreement with and under the guidance of scholars and people involved in the historical or archaeological problem. In addition, whenever possible, collecting several samples from the object to be dated (as we did in the case of the two frocks) is definitely the right approach in order to reduce the possibilities of ambiguities.
This single procedural screw-up – it doesn’t matter who did it or who is to blame – opened the door to the Benford/Marino/Rogers observations that something was amiss; daveb simply says it was “anomalous, and unrepresentative of the whole.” This single procedural screw-up opened the door to worrisome statistical observations that the sample was not sufficiently homogenous. You can nitpick at this or that: did Rogers do this or that correctly or not? You can squabble about the statistics until you are wondering if Chi Squared applies to the problem of how many angels can dance on the head of a pin. In the end these many detail questions are like magnifying glasses held over wood shavings in the sun. They ignite, again and again, the single issue: “No other area was sampled.”
Note: Picture from Reuters story has been removed on February 4, 2013. See comments for explanation.
Joe Marino writes elsewhere:
Some of you have heard this story before but it bears repeating in this context.
In late 2001, Sue and [I] [pictured together] submitted to Radiocarbon our Orvieto paper. In a letter dated January 1, 2002, Dr. Timothy Jull, editor of the journal Radiocarbon, and one of the scientists from the University of Arizona laboratory that dated the Shroud in 1988, sent Sue and me a reply regarding the submission of our C-14 paper. For those not familiar with the process by which papers are published in scientific journals, the editor chooses various reviewers, usually anonymous to the author and supposedly objective, who then make suggestions to the author(s) on how to make the paper better. After changes are made, the reviewers read the paper again, and make their recommendations to the editor as to whether the paper should be published or not. However, the final decision is in the hands of the editor. The review of our paper was out of the ordinary insofar as the reviewers were revealed to us, something that normally doesn’t occur. They were all originally directly involved in the specific topic of our paper, the 1988 Shroud C-14 dating. It was our contention that the C-14 dating was skewed due to the presence of a sixteenth century repair. Here is a list of the reviewers of our paper:
- Paul Damon, head of the Arizona laboratory that participated in the 1988 Shroud dating
- Jacques Evin, French C-14 expert present at the 1988 sample-taking
- The late Gabriel Vial, French textile expert present at the 1988 sample taking
- Franco Testore, Italian French textile expert present at the 1988 sample taking
- Harry Gove, inventor of the AMS radiocarbon dating method, who had literally bet a companion that the Shroud was medieval and was heavily involved in various aspects of the dating
What were the chances that any of these men, each of whom would publicly look bad if our theory were correct, would want to see our paper published? The answer was obvious. Needless to say, our paper was not accepted. Most interesting was a comment by Evin, who wrote in the review sent by the editor to Sue and me:
The authors, who, for several reasons, are convinced that the shroud is authentic, want to publish an article in Radiocarbon only to introduce a doubt about the dating. All people involved in the sampling and in laboratory analyses, will be very angry with these suspicions turning on so an important mistake or a misconduct…
Enigmatic comment by Evin, is it not?
How fair or ethical was of it of Radiocarbon to use reviewers who were directly or closely involved with the Shroud C-14 dating?
Alan Holdren reporting in the National Catholic Register:
ROME — The Shrine to the Holy Face of Christ, tucked into Italy’s Apennine Mountains, is starting to catch the attention of the world, particularly that of American Catholics.
“We have a lot of Italians, of course, and many Germans, but now we’re seeing more and more pilgrims from the U.S.,” said Trappist Sister Blandina Paschalis Schloemer, a daily pilgrim who lives within eye-shot of the shrine.
The modest basilica houses a curious image of the face of Jesus Christ. Depending on the light, it is at times visible and at other times transparent.
Sister Blandina herself proved that the face is exactly proportionate to that on the Shroud of Turin, but whereas in the shroud, Christ’s eyes are closed, here they are open.
Some believe the image is the storied “veil of Veronica,” the cloth Veronica in the Gospel used to dry Christ’s face as he carried the cross to his crucifixion. Others say it is the “Resurrection cloth,” a sudarium that covered Christ’s face in the tomb. Still others take it as a centuries-old hoax.
[ . . . ]
Just last weekend, Cardinal Sean O’Malley of Boston offered an introduction to an exhibit on the “Holy Face” unveiled in New York City. While the Capuchin cardinal avoided taking sides on the debate of the image’s provenance, he did allude to the strength of such depictions.
“Images of Christ have the power to move our hearts; they can catechize without words and allow us to contemplate the beautiful face of God revealed in his own Son,” Cardinal O’Malley said in his introduction.
Colin Berry has posted Critique of Rogers’ so-called vanillin clock for dating the Shroud: why was Stanley T.Kosiewicz not a co-author (and where’s the data)? in his blog. Therein he writes:
Some, myself included, say it [= Studies on the radiocarbon sample from the shroud of Turin by Raymond N. Rogers] should never have been published. Unsentimental, certainly, but science has to be ruthlessly unsentimental, or it would quickly cease to be science.
The same standards should apply to any paper submitted for publication, regardless of what the journal’s referees and editors might know about the paper’s authors, which in the case of Thermochimica Acta would have been a great deal (since according to his wiki entry Rogers was both a founder and long-term editor of the journal).
There may be a lesson in how writing for clarity in this. One might mistakenly think Rogers was the long-term editor when the paper was submitted in April of 2004, One might even think he was still editor, when after months of peer review, the paper was accepted in September of 2004 and finally published in 2005. Here is a paragraph from Wikipedia article Colin cites (it would not have been too much to include it or at least include the last sentence).
During his career Rogers published over forty peer-reviewed papers on chemistry. In 1981 he was named Laboratory Fellow at Los Alamos National Laboratory. Other honors included being named a Tour Speaker for the American Chemical Society in 1971, the Los Alamos National Laboratory, Distinguished Performance Award in 1984 and the Department of the Air Force Exceptional Civilian Service Medal in 1991. He also served as the editor for Energetic Materials, a peer-reviewed scientific journal from 1983-1988. He was also on the editorial board of Thermochimica Acta from the first issue of this journal in 1970 (also the very first paper published in the first issue of this journal is authored by him) until his retirement in 1988.
He had not served on the editorial board since 1988. That was how many years before he submitted the article. And I don’t see where he was the long-term editor. Where did that come from?
Does Colin agree, then, that the following is a problem, given his constant defense of the scientists involved in the carbon dating in 1988. Quoting from a paper by Mark Oxley:
In late 2010 the scientific journal Radiocarbon published a paper entitled “Investigating a Dated Piece of the Shroud of Turin” by Prof Timothy Jull of the University of Arizona and Rachel Freer-Waters. In this paper they described how they had microscopically examined a sample cut from the Shroud of Turin and found no evidence for any contamination, particularly in the form of coatings or dyeing, in the material of the sample. They concluded that they could find no reason to dispute the original carbon-14 measurements which, in 1988, had shown the Shroud to be dated between 1260 and 1390.
Radiocarbon is peer-reviewed. Jull was editor of the journal when his article was published. One must wonder, did he pick the peers? Did he review and respond to the peers as the author of his paper or as the editor of the journal? I had raised these questions. I was not concerned about Rogers when I wrote this because he was no longer on the editorial review board; it had been several years. But Jull, in my mind, was a different issue.
Colin wrote, “[S]cience has to be ruthlessly unsentimental.” While those weren’t my words, it was what I thought. Paolo Di Lazzaro disagreed with me. He defended Jull on this issue when he wrote:
It isn’t the first time that an Editor is co-author of a paper submitted to its own journal. And usually the (formal) problem is easily solved by a blind review procedure.
As an example, I faced a similar spot when I submitted two papers for publication in the Proceeding volume of IWSAI (International Workshop on the Scientific approach to the Acheiropoietos images). I was co-author of two papers and at the same time editor of the Proceedings and responsible for the choice of the Referees.
I solved this problem asking to a colleague to manage the review procedure: select the Referees, receive from each Referee the anonymous review, and send me the same reviews. She received my reply and the corrected paper and she sent it to the Referees for the final response.
In summary, there are simple rules to avoid a conflict of interest. It is likely Jull followed the same method.
A friend of mine, a chemist with a major corporation, also corrected me. In specialized fields, he explained, recognized experts are often called upon to serve as editors or on editorial committees of journals for which there are few or no competitive journals. Scientists picked for editorship and committees are among the best in their fields. Thus they are the same people most likely to publish often. And publish they do and they do so in “their” journals. It would be ridiculous and unscientific to deny them the opportunity to do so or to force them to publish in lesser journals. Check it out. The best scientists serve the best journals and they do ethically. They are in those positions because in addition to being talented they are trusted. The criticism, mine at the time, is without merit.
I learned from this. I hope that Colin reevaluates his position. He is widely published as a chemist and he may want to check with some publications with which he is familiar. This would be a valuable contribution to everyone’s understanding of the peer review process.
Barbie Latza Nadeau (pictured), the Rome bureau chief for The Daily Beast, yesterday penned an article for news journal entitled, Who Stole John Paul’s Blood And Christ’s Foreskin?
The theft of John Paul II’s blood from a church in Abruzzo has been the worst case of relic theft since Jesus’s prepuce disappeared from Rome in 1983.
[ . . . ]
Relic theft is a common problem in Italy’s churches, especially those that are unattended in the outlying regions where surveillance cameras and guards are too costly. And all of Italy’s churches are required to have at least one holy relic, as decreed in the Middle Ages. Among the most famous is the Shroud of Turin, which is thought to be a burial cloth placed over the face of Jesus, which is kept under guard at St. John the Baptist church in Turin. (emphasis mine)
Really, you’d think that a bureau chief in Rome for a major news outlet (15 million unique visitors per month), who has been in Rome since1996, would be able to offer a more accurate description of the shroud than “. . . a burial cloth placed over the face of Jesus.”
Of far greater importance: Nadeau’s short article makes me wonder about how safe the shroud is, not just from theft but from terrorist attack?
In an article, Shroud of Turin – Conversation & Controversy, appearing in The Culture Concept Circle, Carolyn McDowall writes:
Ian Wilson (1941 – ) is a prolific, internationally published author specializing in historical and religious mysteries. He graduated in Modern History at Magdalen College, Oxford, England, in 1963 and studied art at Oxford’s Ruskin School of Art during the same period.
He continually and enthusiastically conducts wide-ranging research projects, both at home and around the world, often giving exciting, tantalizing talks, pushing the edges and boundaries of a subject.
[ . . . ]
On 9th February at 3pm at Melbourne, all interested parties are invited to hear Ian Wilson present a lecture Latest Researches into the Shroud’s History – New Approached and Intriguing New Developments.
He is sure to create a few waves, because he will be talking about The Shroud of Turin, which is one of the most controversial subjects and most studied artifacts in history.
The design is excellent. Click HERE or on the above image to explore the site. There is an updates section that you will want to bookmark and visit frequently. For instance, you will note that . . .
The organizing committee extended an invitation to Prof. Bruno Barberis, Director of the International Center of Sindonology in Turin, and he has accepted.
We also already have preliminary commitments from six members of the Shroud of Turin Research Project (STURP). Many other scientists and Shroud researchers are expected to attend. In addition to many new and exciting papers, roundtable discussions and open question & answer sessions are planned.
There is also a subscription mailing list for updates on the conference. The sign up form is conveniently located on every screen of the site in the lower right-hand corner.
Key dates to note for presenters:
- Submission of Abstract: 15 April 2014
- Acceptance/Rejection: 30 May 2014
If you were holding your breath waiting for the next installment of Stephen Jones’ The case for fraud in the 1988 radiocarbon dating of the Turin Shroud, relax: breath. He informs us:
Note. I have now realised that this topic is going to require a lot of research, which will distract me further from my series " The Shroud of Turin." So I am putting it on the backburner until I get to the topic in that series of the 1988 radiocarbon dating of the Shroud, in "6. Science and the Shroud," which will be after I have covered "4. History of the Shroud" and "5. Art and the Shroud." That will enable me to then refer back to what Prof. Christopher Ramsey, Director of the Oxford Radiocarbon Accelerator Unit admitted was the "lot of other evidence that suggests to many thatthe Shroud is older than the radiocarbon dates allow":
"There is a lot of other evidence that suggests to many that the Shroud is older than the radiocarbon dates allow and so further research is certainly needed. It is important that we continue to test the accuracy of the original radiocarbon tests as we are already doing. It is equally important that experts assess and reinterpret some of the other evidence. Only by doing this will people be able to arrive at a coherent history of the Shroud which takes into account and explains all of the available scientific and historical information. Christopher Ramsey (March 2008)" ("The Shroud of Turin," Oxford Radiocarbon Accelerator Unit, Version 143 Issued 31/10/2013).
See: Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Jones for a bit of background in this.
I don’t know if you have seen what’s new on Mario’s webpage:
Besides, I would like to send those interesting pictures. The first one are Enrie photos from Wikipedia. The second one are processed in the ImageJ using Process>Find Edges function. Interesting as they outline no contours on the Shroud Image, as well as several folds.
Indeed. This is a nice and useful update. Check it out. And here are the pictures from O.K.:
I call your attention to the latest issue of the BSTS Newsletter and an article, “The Shroud and the Action Man” by Hugh Duncan which I discuss in the previous posting, Radiation Man: A New BSTS Article.
But here, in this posting, I want to call your attention to this nice touch at the end of the article. Thanks, Hugh. I think we can look forward to excellent and creative editing. This is what you will see in the newsletter.
Here, we draw about 1,000 visitors per day who access an average of 2.8 postings.
Of that, 582 people follow the blog by email, Twitter or Facebook.
Headline: Harvard Bible edX Course ‘Early Christianity: The Letters Of Paul’ Draws 22,000 Students From 180 Countries– And Counting
Harvard professor Laura Nasrallah’s edX online course "Early Christianity: The Letters of Paul," has been called the largest and most concentrated scholarly discussion of Biblical studies in history, according to edX.
[ . . . ]
"Early Christianity" began just last week, and currently boasts a registration statistic of 22,000 students from 180 countries, according to information from edX. So far, 14,343 students have accessed the course software, spending a cumulative total of 2,822 hours in the course (approximately 201 days) where it’s possible to annotate text using the Poetry Genius website, view video lectures, and complete exercises. Forum activity has reached over 22,000 posts, and is increasing every day, while scores of students have recorded video introductions to get to know their far-flung classmates.
[ . . . ]
Nasrallah told The Huffington Post that she’s been impressed with the respectful and intelligent academic interaction going on in the discussion boards. "Religion in general and biblical studies in particular can lead to people feeling uncomfortable or upset at others’ opinions," she said. "But I haven’t found this in the Early Christianity: Letters of Paul course module. For example, one ‘conversation’ I read was between a self-proclaimed atheist and someone who self-identified as a born-again Christian. . . and the discussion was thoughtful and respectful although they differed in interpretation!"
About Hugh Farey as the new editor of the BSTS newsletter, a reader writes:
I was a little surprised that Hugh chose to be quite so iconoclastic with his first edition. His “Mystery of the Invisible Patch” article appears to put the cat among the pigeons but, so far, I have heard no fur or feathers flying. As Barrie’s site has no forum perhaps you might get a response started. It seems to need one.
In an email to shroud.com subscribers, Barrie Schwortz writes:
Just a short note to let you know that our 18th Anniversary update is now online! Just go to to our Home Page and click on the January 21, 2014 date link to see the details.
This update includes six more issues of Shroud Spectrum International, the December 2013 issue of the BSTS Newsletter (with some bonus material), a new DNA paper by Kelly Kearse, more on the 2015 Shroud exhibition, links to many important new websites and papers, news from around the world and much more! We think you will find a lot of useful information that will keep you busy for some time to come. And don’t forget to visit our Private Subscribers Page [link changed to signup page*] for exclusive offers not available to the general public. You can also visit our Facebook page, which we try to update weekly.
[ . . . ]
If you have any questions, comments or suggestions, you can contact me directly by e-mail at the address listed at the end of this letter. Please be patient as I receive large volumes of mail. Although I do my best to answer most of the letters I receive, a response is not always possible. Your patience and understanding are appreciated.
Editor & Founder, Shroud of Turin Website
President, STERA, Inc.
Shroud of Turin Website Private Subscribers Page [*]
Shroud of Turin Education & Research Association, Inc. (STERA, Inc.) Page
Mail a Tax Deductible Charitable Contribution to STERA, Inc.
Make an Online Contribution Using Secure Contribution Form
*It is only fair to change the link here. But go ahead and signup if you have not done so. You are encouraged to do so; it’s free and you may withdraw your name at any time. And you will find out what the link is.
IF YOU ARE THE IMPATIENT TYPE, jump to the Update Table of Contents page and scroll about or click on one of these links within that page:
- Shroud Public Exhibition Scheduled For 2015
- Six More Issues of Shroud Spectrum International Added to Archives
- BSTS December 2013 Newsletter Issue No. 78 Now Online (with Bonus Material)
- New Paper Added To Website
- Shroud Conferences in 2014
- Links To More Information
- Shroud Booklist Updated With Polish Language Titles
- Shroud of Turin News from Finland
- Shroud of Turin News From Panama – Special Feature
- News From STERA, Inc.
- In Memoriam – Bartolome M. Saucelo, M.D. – TV Oommen – Fr. Jorge Loring Miró, SJ
- Lecture Schedule for 2014
- Some Interesting Statistics
- The Next Update
- Lots to discuss in the next several days.