A reader writes by way of email:
I am not convinced that the shroud is genuine. But I do remain interested and I enjoy your blog entries. I admit, I have no idea how the images were formed.
I have met Dr. Novella and was surprised to read some of what he wrote in his blog.
Years ago, during a coffee break at a conference, I made the mistake of referring to scientists who support the idea of ID [intelligent design in evolution] as “so-called scientists.” There was a distinct groan behind me, and given that this was a conference on evolution, I interpreted this as agreement with my characterization. Someone tapped me on the shoulder and I turned around to confront one of our country’s leading evolutionary biologists. He angrily told me how unhappy he was to hear me refer to other scientists, with whom we both obviously disagreed, as “so-called scientists.”
He was right to correct me. Now I notice when someone refers to other scientists as “so-called scientists.” Would I become one, I wonder, if I came to believe that the shroud was real. . . .
Ray Rogers is a good example. Does Dr. Novella realize that Ray Rogers was an honored Fellow of the Los Alamos lab and that in New Mexico and that he had been a charter member of the Coalition for Excellence in Science Education? Does he know that he served on the Department of the Air Force Scientific Advisory Board? Does he know that in his lifetime he had published more than fifty peer-reviewed scientific papers in highly respected scientific journals?
Does Dr. Novella know that Rogers was a member of the skeptical organization, New Mexicans for Science and Reason (NMSR) an organization affiliated with the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry (CSI) just as Dr. Novella’s organization is. Does Dr. Novella know how actively Rogers’ worked to oppose the teaching of creationism and intelligent design in New Mexico’s schools?
When Rogers died, the skeptic Kim Johnson of New Mexicans for Science and Reason (NMSR) wrote in an obituary for Rogers on the organization’s web site:
He was a Fellow at Los Alamos National Laboratory, and tried to be an excellent, open minded scientist in all things. In particular, he had no pony in the "Shroud of Turin" horserace, but was terribly interested in making sure that neither proponents nor skeptics let their scientific judgment be clouded by their preconceptions. He just wanted to date and analyze the thing. . . . He was a good man, and tried his best to do honest science.
Rogers was just one of many real, fully qualified scientists who have studied the shroud. Rogers came around late to thinking it was real.