Social Encyclopedia-ing, the Shroud of Turin and Channel 5

November 24, 2014 77 comments

After all, we do find in Wikipedia “that Leonardo da Vinci had faked the Shroud.”

imageA reader from Spaniards Bay, Newfoundland, writes:

I discovered this morning that the “Shroud of Turin” entry in Wikipedia no longer contains attempts by Freeman and Berry to include their -hypotheses in this, their latest attempts at social encyclopedia-ing. In fact, their names cannot be found at all on the page. It was like awakening from a strange dream.

It was real. It wasn’t a dream. Moderator comments do state:

  • Deelted (sic) Colin Berrys removed as self promotion unsubstantiated in theory or peer reviewed in notable articles)
  • Removal of Charles Freeman theory article overloading on theories

Colin fired back on a discussion page that Wikipedia created for him:

I concluded my account with:

"Links to Berry’s ‘simulated sweat imprint’ hypothesis"

Note the term "hypothesis", meaning idea. So where’s the conflict of interest in expressing an idea? Where’s the self-promotion in expressing an idea? Why bandy around these silly terms in a way that totally misrepresents this researcher’s interest in the Shroud? Are you aware that I have published over 250 postings on my science buzz and specialist Shroud sites, many with original research findings you will not find elsewhere. As for deleting the earlier reference to my scorch findings that someone else, not I, chose to publicize, that is just small-mindedness.

My IDEA is any original one, as you can check for yourself by googling, that can be expressed in a few words,and which does not need "peer review" to which incidentally I am no stranger:

The faint yellow Shroud body image was almost certainly an attempt to simulate a sweat imprint on linen, as if from a recently crucified man. In reality it was probably a thermal imprint ("scorch mark") from a heated 3D or bas relief template.

Do you not consider that folk who consult wiki have a right to be informed of the latest thinking? Do you not understand the difference between hypotheses that invite further experimentation and tendentious claims?

Colinsberry (talk) 23:07, 23 November 2014 (UTC)

Colin Berry PhD

Does Colin have a point? He has done a lot of experimenting (not that I’m convinced by it). I don’t buy into the simulation of a sweat imprint idea but, then again, compare it to some other ideas that have been floated. After all we find this on the Wikipedia page:

Lynn Picknett has written a book proposing that Leonardo da Vinci had faked the Shroud. Picknett and Larissa Tracy appeared on a Channel 5 (UK) TV program that announced that the Shroud was the oldest known surviving photograph.

Colin, it seems that all you need to do is appear on Channel 5.

Ignoring the Weight of the Evidence

November 24, 2014 4 comments

imageJoe Marino writes in a comment to Second Annual Bertrand Russell Award in Sindonology:

Russell’s comments about the JFK assassination brings out an important point: despite thousands of books and articles that suggest that the Oswald-did-it-alone theory is not plausible, there are plenty of people who still buy into it. In other words, evidence doesn’t play a big factor in their opinion of what happened. It’s similar with the Shroud–and I realize that pro and con both feel that the other side is the one ignoring the weight of the evidence.

Is there a way to change that?

This past June, Business Insider did an entertaining and informative feature, 58 Cognitive Biases That Screw Up Everything We Do. It leads off:

We like to think we’re rational human beings.

In fact, we are prone to hundreds of proven biases that cause us to think and act irrationally, and even thinking we’re rational despite evidence of irrationality in others is known as blind spot bias.

The study of how often human beings do irrational things was enough for psychologists Daniel Kahneman to win the Nobel Prize in Economics, and it opened the rapidly expanding field of behavioral economics. Similar insights are also reshaping everything from marketing to criminology.

Hoping to clue you — and ourselves — into the biases that frame our decisions, we’ve collected a long list of the most notable ones.

Tip:  Click on the small link that says, View as one page.  And first pour a big cup of coffee or whatever.

How to Become Famous

November 23, 2014 20 comments

Shall this become the future of the Shroud of Turin entries in Wikipedia, where every
person with an idea posts his own theory out there? What about the guy in Australia
who has discovered that if he tilts his laptop screen at a certain angle he can make
Jesus’s eyes open, thus proving he is alive. Or Stephen Jones (is there something
about the equator or something) who concludes that the carbon dating was hacked
by the KGB. And  . . . oh, no, we don’t want to tip him off to the idea.

imageColin Barry tells us in his blog:

Yes, I’ve taken a leaf from Charles Freeman’s book, and submitted a brief synopsis of my ‘simulated sweat imprint’ idea to wikipedia. Charles sent his to the History of the Shroud page, but noting there was now a version of the same at the end of  the main Shroud of Turin entry under "Recent Developments" . . .

Colin tells us that it was erased but . . .

Tried re-submitting my screed, but this time logging into wiki, which had fortunately remembered me from a long time ago, attempting to edit something or other (non-TS related).

My piece  now appears like an old-fashioned ticker tape/ telegram at the end of the Recent Developments section, and I’m still none the wiser about how to format in wiki.

It remains on the page in a strange, so-called edit format. This is what it says after you clear it up a bit:

Shroud researcher Colin Berry (mentioned earlier) has recently made a significant modification to his belief that the body image was imprinted onto linen as a scorch from a heated template. He had originally speculated that the scorch technology had been chosen deliberately to represent either Templar Grand Master Jacques de Molay or Geoffroi de Charney midway through being slowly-roasted to death at the stake in Paris, with a fanciful imprinting of hot tissue onto a burial shroud. In that view the de Molay image was later‘re-invented’ as that of the crucified Jesus by additions of blood at the appropriate wound locations described in the New Testament accounts.

The Templar link has now been abandoned. While Berry still considers the TS image to be a contact scorch, he proposes that it was intended to be seen by the very first cohorts of pilgrims at Lirey in 1357 as the genuine sweat (and blood) imprint left on linen by the recumbent crucified Jesus (228,229) . In other words, the scorch technology was designed to simulate the appearance of an ancient sweat imprint, yellowed with age. That interpretation may have found a resonance with mid-14th century pilgrims, given that the highly venerated Veil of Veronica had been attracting large numbers at the same time, notably in the ‘Holy Year’ 1350, just 7 years prior to the first known Lirey display. The ‘Veronica’ too, according to legend, was initially a body imprint, solely of the facial features of Jesus, captured onto a bystander’s veil as she stepped forward in a charitable gesture to wipe sweat and blood from the face of Jesus as the latter passed by, bearing his cross to the site of execution at Calvary. Might this idea of sweat/blood imprinting have served as the inspiration for a medieval ‘thought experiment’ combining art and technology, imagining how a similar whole body imprint, both frontal and dorsal sides, of the recently deceased and traumatized (bloodied/sweat-soaked) Jesus might look after 13 centuries of ageing and yellowing?

Links to Berry’s ‘simulated sweat imprint’ hypothesis

Ref 228

Ref 229

Edit contributed by Colin Berry, Nov 23, 2014

Paper Chase: The Shroud of Turin and its Radiodating

November 23, 2014 18 comments

The proportion of the "youngest" threads is 32.23 % – almost a third of the total
– on the whole SAMPLE. In the case of the "cleaned", radio dated sample,
it increases to 41.65% – approaching the half.

imageIt was one of those things I had put in a stack of things to get around to. Don’t believe me if I say I didn’t have the time. I did. Maybe the best excuse I can invent is this: Those stacks, these days, are virtual, electronic reminders that buzz and beep at all the wrong times. I have developed many ways of ignoring electronic reminders. It was easier when papers piled up in stacks so high you could use them for footrests.

So I appreciated hearing from Joe Marino:

Barrie’s October 5 update had a paper from the 1993 Rome symposium by the late archaeologist Maria Grazia Siliato titled "The Shroud of Turin and its radiodating".

I think you mentioned Barrie’s update at the time but no special mention was made of this paper.  I just reread it again this morning and although I’m biased, I think it’s an excellent article that didn’t get the notice it deserved at the time and still doesn’t, but in light of all the other evidence that has come out about the reweave theory since then, I think it is a most significant paper.  Give it another read and see if you don’t agree.

I agree. The Shroud of Turin and its radiodating by Maria Grazia Siliato, translated by Dr. Augusto Monacelli, demands the attention of everyone interested in the 1988 carbon dating. Here is a sample (pun intended):

We have come to the core of the problem.

At that time, product analyses carried out by experts Timossi and Raes calculated, with good accuracy, the MEDIUM WEIGHT PER SQUARE CENTIMETER OF THE SHROUD’S CLOTH.

It was also calculated with radiographs by Morris, London and Mottern in 1978, and the result was consistent with the previous ones. The lowest average weight was the one proposed on another occasion by the operator in charge of the sample to be radio dated.

Considering the irregularities of an ancient, handcrafted cloth, and in order to move within safer margins, we have applied a prudential, surplus tolerance to the measures indicated.

Let us therefore assume an average weight of 25.00 MILLIGRAMS PER SQUARE CENTIMETER of the SHROUD’S CLOTH.

Now, the following is what happened upon TAKING THE SAMPLE FOR RADIO DATING:

1) According to the official operator in charge of taking the sample, the sample measures cm 8.1 x 1.6, namely, cm² 12.96

2) In the video showing the taking of the sample, the weight measured on the scales is mg 478.1

3) Dividing the sample’s weight by its surface (mg 478.1: cm² 12.96), we obtain a WEIGHT of approx. mg 36.89 per cm².

Therefore, the sample weighs mg 11.89 per cm² MORE than the original cloth should – at most.

4) However, the operator in charge of taking the sample says that he removed some irregularities and some "free" threads from the sample. (Let us skip the singular procedure of "rethreading" and squaring such a precious, ancient sample, wasting further irreplaceable material). The operator reduced the sample’s measures to cm 7.00 x 1.00, namely cm² 7.00)



SHROUD → AVERAGE WEIGHT → 1 cm² (pict. of scales) mg 25.00 cm² 12%

WEIGHT mg 478.1

SAMPLE TAKEN → AVERAGE WEIGHT → 1 cm² (pict. of scales) mg 36.89 cm² 7.00

WEIGHT mg 300

RADIODATED PART OF SAMPLE → AVERAGE WEIGHT → 1 cm² (pict. of scales) mg 42.85

The sample bears recent restoration works of mg 17.85 per cm² – accounting for 41.65 % of the total


5) Then the operator reports the WEIGHT of the sample, "cleaned" and distributed to laboratories: mg 300

6) Dividing the weight of the "cleaned" sample by its surface of mg 300: cm² 7.00, we obtain a WEIGHT of mg 42.85 per cm².

The sample weighs mg 17.85 per cm² MORE than the original cloth should, at most.

This element is even more surprising and irregular than that of the "non cleaned" sample.

A few millimeters away, we find differences of nearly 6 milligrams per square centimeter. (Difference between 36.89 and 42.85 = 5.96).


8) The proportion of the "youngest" threads is 32.23 % – almost a third of the total – on the whole SAMPLE. In the case of the "cleaned", radio dated sample, it increases to 41.65% – approaching the half.

Many online sites are eliminating online comments

November 23, 2014 Leave a comment

clip_image001Doug Gross, writing for CNN, tells us that Online comments are being phased out.

Not on this blog.

Gross writes:

Online "trolls" and the emergence of social media are mentioned as reasons sites are abandoning comments.

[ . . . ]

[An announcement by Re/code] was just the latest in a recent wave of prominent websites removing or significantly scaling back their comment sections. Reuters, Popular Science and the Chicago Sun-Times have recently nixed comments.

Fairly or not, comment forums have gained a reputation as a haven for Internet trolls. Several of the sites that have banned comments noted the lack of civility in their decisions.

"As the news arm of a 141-year-old science and technology magazine, we are as committed to fostering lively, intellectual debate as we are to spreading the word of science far and wide," read a Popular Science post from last September. "The problem is when trolls and spambots overwhelm the former, diminishing our ability to do the latter."

[ . . . ]

Other websites have opted to moderate comments more strictly rather than disable them altogether.

[ . . . ]

At CNN, comments on most stories were disabled in August. They are selectively activated on stories that editors feel have the potential for high-quality debate — and when writers and editors can actively participate in and moderate those conversations.

[ . . . ]

Despite our best efforts to contain them, trolls are a persistent group and keep managing to slip through the gates.

It takes some effort and a lot of cooperation by everyone. Online comments are working well. Most comments appear instantly with no requirement for logging or typing in patterns of letters seen in an image in order to prove we are not spambots.

Without online comments this blog would be pointless. 

Categories: News & Views Tags: ,

Second Annual Bertrand Russell Award in Sindonology

November 22, 2014 18 comments

One year ago today, somewhat in jest, I nominated Colin Berry for the First Annual Bertrand Russell Award in Sindonology (see below). There were a lot of good comments including some by Colin. I wonder who it should be this year? 

First Annual Bertrand Russell Award in Sindonology

November 22, 2013

this strange hybrid method, through which a literary genre convinces itself it is a science

imageBenjamin Wallace-Wells, in the latest issue of New York magazine, writes about 50 years of conspiracy theory. He is focused on American politics but he could have just as well been considering the shroud – think of Lynn Picknett and Clive Prince for starters.

The seduction of conspiracy is the way it orders chaos. In the summer of 1964, the English philosopher and logician Bertrand Russell—past 90 years old then and possibly the most famously rational person on the planet—read the early accounts of the Warren Commission Report [=The President’s Commission on the Assassination of President Kennedy] with mounting alarm. None of the important questions, he thought, were being answered. There was the matter of the parade route being changed without explanation at the last minute, so that the motorcade passed Lee Harvey Oswald’s workplace; the geometrically confounding arrangement of entry and exit wounds; the curious fact that an alibi witness who helped get an alternate suspect released from custody turned out to be a stripper at Jack Ruby’s club.

The logician went to work. Meticulously, Russell documented the discrepancies between each first-person account and the divergences between each report in the media. He gave his document a modest, scientific-sounding title (“16 Questions on the Assassination”) and a just-the-facts tone. This strange hybrid method, through which a literary genre convinces itself it is a science, has become not just a template for ornate conspiracies but a defining way in which American stories are told.

. . . or shroud scenarios are imagined. And thus I am inspired to nominate Colin Berry for the First Annual Bertrand Russell Award in Sindonology; remember that for awhile Colin was championing something to do with Jacques de Molay, the last Grand Master of the Knights Templar. Now it is a remodeled crucifix:

. . . How many folks here are aware of the presence of the so-called sedillis marks on each of the buttocks (symmetrical sets of 3 marks each forming a triangle)?

Mario Latendresse interprets them as an additional torture device of Roman crucifixion, and Yannick Clement, mentioned at the end of the above link, thinks they may be burns marks, not blood.

I think they are where mounting bolts(sawn off to flush stubs) or maybe open bolt holes for a lifesize crucifix existed and which imaged onto the dorsal view as a scorch. They were subsequently disguised as blood marks.

I’m presently revisiting some older ideas I expressed many moons ago that the Shroud was made from a crucifixion bronze from which the arms were removed and re-positioned. There was probably a loin cloth to be disposed of too, but that could help resolve some oddities re the figure on the Lirey badge, especially that curious coiled belt, which Wilson interpreted as blood from the lance wound, gathered on the underside of the back, and which I previously thought could be a chain used to secure a victim.


I’m now returning to the idea that the image was imprinted from a life-size crucifixion bronze, and yes, it would have had a loin cloth, but the artistically-rumpled up parts that identify it immediately as a tied-off cloth could easily have been filed off. What;s interesting me at the moment, especially thinking about the Shroud’s peculiar hands and fingers is the possibility that arms may have been sawn off and re-positioned to create the horizontal entombment posture with crossed hands, My little brass crucifix, bought a year ago in France, is providing lots of clues as to what needed to be done to re-model a crucifixion statue as a post-crucifixion template for the tomb scene.

Congratulations. And may we also welcome our friend from across the pond to the ranks of American thinkers.

Image of the Resurrection?

November 22, 2014 16 comments

imageYannick Clément writes:

I’ve seen the news concerning Freeman’s hypothesis about the Shroud that is now in Wikipedia.

My question is simple:  Why everyone interested by the Shroud, whether it is religious people, fans of the supernatural or skeptics like him always sees an image of the Resurrection on a cloth that ONLY shows the image of a DEAD CHRIST?

This simple observation is completely astonishing for someone Cartesian like me…  Should I refresh the memory of all those people by simply saying that, before the incapacity of STURP to find a complete explanation for the image formation and the curious C14 dating result of 89, the catholic tradition was always referring to the Shroud as being the burial cloth of Jesus-Christ showing an image of him after his Passion and death?  And most researchers prior to the post-STURP days (even catholic believer researchers) were convinced that the image was the result of some sort of interaction between the cloth and the DEAD BODY OF JESUS?

But does everyone see an image of the Resurrection (or of a resurrected Christ or a resurrecting Christ)?  I’ve never thought about what everyone sees much less thought about what I see in this context.  Is it (representative of) Jesus an instant before resurrection, Jesus during resurrection or the Christ an instant after resurrection but before opening his eyes, for instance?


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