The Danger in Abstracts of Scientific Papers

imageA reader from Halifax writes:

It is too bad that the public only gets to see abstracts of most scientific papers. Through the auspices of a friend at Cornell, I was able to read the Jull and Freer-Waters paper without having to subscribe to Radiocarbon.

It is particularly regrettable in this case that the paper is hard to acquire  because the abstract is little more than an unjustified premise in the guise of a conclusion unjustified by the paper itself. What Jull didn’t find, as others have noted, is both pointless and non-analytical. What he did find, interestingly enough, seemingly contradicts his premise and the abstract statement. He found cotton. He discovered different thread counts. He tried to explain away the cotton with nebulous speculation. He missed the thread count issue, altogether.  The paper is actually that unprofessional.

Rogers, Marino, Benford, Brown, Fanti, Walsh and a host of others argue that the sample was non-uniformly contaminated and/or physically non-homogenous. It was chemically non-representative of the shroud. They provided evidence. Cotton was part of the evidence. Jull, in finding it, without realizing it, gives credence to Rogers, et. al.

Rogers found evidence of dyestuffs, splices and differences in vanillin content. Brown found microscopic evidence of dying. Jull expressed speculative doubt about the dye adhering to linen. That is possibly why cotton was used. That is also speculations but it deserves mention if objectivity is desired. Walsh and others found unacceptable statistical variations in the sub-sample results. Jull seemingly ignored good, confirmed evidence in favor of ostrichism or he was unaware. 

A trivial sample split from the rest of the larger sample is insufficient to claim that by not seeing something it isn’t there elsewhere. That was the whole point by Rogers, et. al.

Jull could have just as easily used his observations to draw another conclusion.  It is a damn shame that the public only sees abstracts of scientific papers like this one.

The image is from the paper. It is a “High-magnification image of a fiber bundle, showing the presence of a cotton fiber, unidentified fibers, and debris. This area appears to have been exposed to more contamination than other samples.”

The letter is in reference to: Outstanding Response to Recent Carbon Dating Paper « Shroud of Turin Blog

2 thoughts on “The Danger in Abstracts of Scientific Papers”

  1. it’s a bit unbelievable that Jull and Freer-Waters are working on this small sample since the 2008 (http://uanews.org/node/22384) and after two years have produced a paper so poor: only microscopical analysis at max 320x (Rogers observations were at max 800x); no chemical analysis (Rogers made many chemical analysis); fiber unidentified! and they can not tel us if the cotton is on or in the threads!

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