image Steven Novella in NeuroLogica Blog: Dr. Novella, an academic clinical neurologist at Yale University School of Medicine, is the president and co-founder of the New England Skeptical Society. He is the host and producer of a weekly science podcast, The Skeptics’ Guide to the Universe. He is also a fellow of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry (CSI). Here in a blog article he chooses to follow the arguments of Joe Nickell rather than the evidence. He ignores the overwhelming peer-reviewed science that clearly invalidates the carbon dating. He writes:

For example, they claim that the carbon dating is inaccurate because of contamination. Contamination may alter carbon dating, but the shroud would have to be dripping with it in order for the date to be as far off as they claim it was.

He certainly can’t be getting his “dripping” claim from the peer-reviewed science on this subject. The apparent quantity of newer thread may be as much as half. Yes, really! It doesn’t matter anyways. Many scientists agree that the test are invalid. Invalid is never partly invalid just like pregnant is never partly pregnant. Even the director of the Oxford Lab agrees that new tests are needed.

Novella compares the controversy surrounding the shroud to other controversies including creationism, vaccines and autism relationships and HIV denial. To do so demonstrates complete ignorance about and academic disrespect towards those who are open minded or are proponents of the shroud’s authenticity. Argue with facts, not characterizations, Dr. Novella.

And then this Yale scientist goes on to tout the accomplishment of the Italian chemist Luigi Garlaschelli in producing an image that appeared to be like the image on the shroud. The logic is astounding: if a fake can be produced that looks like the real thing then the real thing must be a fake. In other words if I create a forgery of a great painting then . . . well you get the idea. He hedges his bet slightly:

Garlaschelli’s efforts are interesting, if they hold up, and his claims are highly plausible and consistent with the efforts of others. He recognizes, however, that it won’t end the controversy.

Well, you might want to check out the highly respected peer-reviewed Journal of Imaging Science and Technology, "Microscopic and Macroscopic Characteristics of the Shroud of Turin Image Superficiality," authored by a team of scientists from different countries: G. Fanti, J. A. Botella, P. Di Lazzaro, T. Heimburger, R. Schneider and N. Svensson. (BTW: Dr. Novella, you might want to check out the credentials of these scientists before calling those who are proponents of the shroud or those who are open minded “so-called scientists,” as you do.

Here is the abstract from the Journal

The “superficiality” of the Turin Shroud body image is a characteristic frequently described in scientific papers but too often in vague terms. Originating from a discussion among the members of the Shroud Science Group, this paper was compiled thoroughly describing the unique characteristics of the body image superficiality. This concept of superficiality is here described at the fabric, thread and fiber levels. At the fabric level, we show the importance of the geometry of the fabric. At the thread level, the very specific distribution of the color is emphasized. Finally, at the fiber level, we confirm that the color is a chemically altered layer about 200 nm thick found at the surface of the colored fibers (the inner part remains uncolored). We suggest that the chemical alteration that produced the discoloration is related to the primary cell wall of the linen fiber. The description of image superficiality here reported will be useful for the formulation of future hypotheses about the body image formation process.

Garlaschelli comes nowhere close. Follow the evidence not Joe Nickell.