Colin 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.
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.
Jennifer Wentz reports in The Evening Sun of Hanover, Pennsylvania, that Shroud of Turin experts prepare visit to Hanover area. Hanover is a town about 15 minutes east of Gettysburg:
A 42-square-foot piece of linen displayed in a cathedral in northern Italy bears the image of a man.
Is that man Jesus of Nazareth? That’s a question historians, theologians and scientists have debated for centuries.
In 1978, John Jackson led an in-depth study of the cloth, known today as the Shroud of Turin. His wife, Rebecca, has also devoted her life to its study.
These two scientists will come to Conewago Township on Oct. 18 to discuss their findings as part of a two-day seminar organized by Hanover residents Jess and Luz Socrates. [ . . . ]
Shroud of Turin Conference
Oct. 17 from 3 to 9 p.m. and Oct. 18 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Sacred Heart Basilica, 30 Basilica Dr., Conewago Township
$50, includes dinner on Friday and lunch on Saturday
I’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).
From december it is possibile to make an online reservation to attend the Shroud exhibition from 10 april to 23 may 2010.Reservations are required.
During the exhibition it will be possibile to enter the Cathedral without a reservation but then the Shroud will be only visible from a distance.
It will also be possibile to make a reservation directly in Torino at the "reservations area" you can find at the beginning of the exhibition route.
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.
Hugh Farey writes in a comment:
The ‘shroudological’ concept of what a painting is, and what might constitute evidence for one, has changed a lot since the 70s. Why this should be I’m not sure – possibly because ‘Science’ trumped ‘Art’ when it came to authority in those days, and the scientists involved in the Shroud showed little evidence of knowing much about painting. There was much talk of ‘a painting would seep through the cloth and be visible on the back’ and ‘a painting always shows the directionality of brush strokes’ and ‘a painting always has shadows which show where the light was coming from’ and even, ‘a painting always has outlines,’ all of which seem rather naive, and fairly obviously to anybody who’d actually visited an art gallery, simply untrue.
They were on better ground in the search for pigment, although even here, they did not really know how much pigment could be sufficient, so that their arguments were not about whether there were any iron oxide particles, but whether there were enough to create an image. McCrone thought there were, and produced at least one experiment which appeared to demonstrate it. I do not know if it was challenged by any counter-experiments showing the opposite.
The scientists were on even better ground in their search for a colourless binder that would hold the pigment to the cloth. This, it could be reasoned, might remain even when most of the pigment had rubbed (or been washed) off. According to STuRP (Schwalbe & Rogers), McCrone’s chemical test for a proteinaceous binder (amido black) shows positive for any linen and could not have identified anything on top of it, while their own tests were more specific and definitely ruled out any protein on the image area. However they also ruled out any possibility of starch being the binder, a finding that was later retracted by Rogers, who decided he could find some after all. This suppported his ‘starch and saponin’ surface layer hypothesis, but could also support McCrone in his search for a binder.
Even lower, as it were, than the binder, would be any chemical deterioration of the cloth itself, caused by pigment, binder, or carrier, all of which had disappeared. Guarlaschelli’s painting hypothesis depends on this, I think, and chemically, has not been demonstrated to be untenable.
So, no, the painting hypothesis has not definitely been ruled out.
Click on the image to enlarge it
There’s a wonderful, perhaps apocryphal story that people tell about Daniel Patrick Moynihan, the brilliant, prickly, and iconoclastic late senator from New York. Apparently, Moynihan was in a heated argument with one of his colleagues over an issue, and the other senator, sensing he was on the losing side of the argument, blurted out: “Well, you may disagree with me, Pat, but I’m entitled to my own opinion.” To which Moynihan frostily replied, “You are entitled to your own opinion, but you are not entitled to your own facts.”
The use of the word apocryphal was refreshing because the story may not be factually true. The quotation, with variations in wording, can be traced back to many people.
When it comes to the shroud, it seems, we should label every fact “perhaps apocryphal”. We can blame some of this on the media. We can also blame some of this on a tendency to mix religious opinions with facts.
. . . at the International Shroud of Turin Conference in St Louis, Oct. 9 – 12th.
He calls his presentation, "The Shroud of Turin and Nuclear Physics: Why the Radiocarbon Dating Results is Proof of the Resurrection!"
The newspaper’s reporter tells us about the 1988 radiocarbon dating of the shroud and then writes:
Soon, a dissenting view was heard from scientist R.N. Rogers of the Los Alamos Laboratories and the University of California. In a 2004 paper published by Thermochimia Acta, a leading platform for high quality, peer reviewed scientific papers, Rogers postulated that exposure to radiation at some time during its history could have skewed the radiocarbon date, and made the Shroud appear to be of much more recent vintage that (sic) it actually is.
Skurka’s own theory takes Rogers’ scientific paper one step beyond, theorizing that the act of Christ’s "resurrection to a glorified body," physically involved some sort of what we would call today a nuclear event. And that the effect of this on the cloth would result in a skewed radiocarbon reading.
Leading, a few paragraphs later, to this direct quote from Skurka:
But if my hypothesis is correct, I do know why the superficial body image is on the surface of the cloth. It was ‘Superparamagnetism’ just before the resurrection event that left a residual alignment of the unpaired electron spin in the hydrogen and possibly even the nitrogen atoms in the cloth. It’s also this Superparamagnetism which is responsible for the shrunken skulls of George Mott and Mary Reeser and is what gives my hypothesis credibility.*
This alignment of the electron spin is also what is giving the body image the properties of being like a hologram, which is normally created with constructive/destructive interference from the monochromatic light of a LASER, and the other optical anomalies known about the image.
Link to an abstract of Jeffrey Skurka’s presentation for October 10.