‪An invitation to discuss the Shroud of Turin. You’ve got to be kidding.


These guys (Skinny Guy and Bearded Guy) don’t like me. I’m not going to argue with these guys. I made it clear that I’m not joining them on their venue. But you should watch them. Watch their 45 or 50 minutes of attack largely directed at me and what I believe (or what they think I believe) and read what I have to say below to see why I wouldn’t dream of appearing on their YouTube broadcasting venture. 

They think I might appear but only because they “have called me out.” Watch this. Warning it runs for over an hour: ‪TNRL Episode 14: An invitation to discuss the Shroud of Turin… or anything really‬‏ – YouTube

I was critical of their factual information (links below) before. I still am in almost everything they say. I’ll just give you one example. Somewhere around the twenty minute mark (up to now they have mostly focused their attention on me) they imply that those who believe the shroud is real accept certain pollen evidence developed by the late Max Frei, a Swiss criminologist.  Now, the fact of the matter is that some do and some do not. Most shroud scholars that I know have serious reservations, but not for the reason the shows’ cast offers. My view is that the pollen evidence is too weak and unsubstantiated to be considered as part of the authentication argument.

Here is an amazing tidbit from their show:

BEARDED GUY: I think part of what we’re seeing is not just that skewed logic, but part of it is pious fraud. I think someone in there at one point – I’m not going to say Max Frei – but that’s who I think it was, or either he was duped by somebody else who was committing pious fraud, because its another aspect of the shroud that gets held up a lot is this pollen grain analysis and-and that was Max Frei who did all that work and either he committed the fraud or he was duped by somebody else . . . Max Frie is not a credible guy, you know he has a history of being wrong.

SKINNY GUY: Not just wrong but intentionally dishonest in his research.

BEARDED GUY: Even the most well meaning person can be fooled by pious fraud . . . I can’t say what is or isn’t pious fraud . . . Max Frie is not a credible, reliable source.

SKINNY GUY: Give us an example of Max Frie.

BEARDED GUY: He was the guy that authenticated the Hitler Diaries.

These guys are not just wrong but UNintentionally dishonest in their research. I suspect that their sole source on this subject is Joe Nickell who is always misleading. In an interview with John C. Snider, the editor of SciFiDimensions, a science fiction magazine Joe Nickell responded to a question about the pollen evidence. It is illustrative:

NICKELL:  Max Frei was a Swiss criminologist – a sort of jack-of-all-trades criminologist – who made a fool of himself authenticating the notorious Hitler Diaries. . . . The pollens were very suspicious, as pollen experts quickly pointed out . . . . they all looked brand-spanking new – they looked like lab specimens.

Nickell had missed the obvious. Some of the photographs were lab specimens. Granted, Frei should have made it clearer, but there is no reason to think his intent was pious fraud. But the argumentum ad hominem, the argument against the man, the suggestion that Frei made a fool of himself, leveled by these two in their show, was completely unwarranted.

Frei was multi-disciplined. He knew pollens and he knew handwriting analysis and many other specialties. We would expect that from a former director of a major forensic science laboratory. The charge that he “made a fool of himself authenticating the notorious Hitler Diaries” is pure exaggeration.

In 1981, the publisher of Der Stern, a German news magazine bought several volumes of a handwritten diary supposedly written by Adolf Hitler. It was understood that the diary had been in East Germany since the end of World War II after a plane carrying some of Hitler’s personal possessions had crashed near Dresden. As the story goes, farmers had recovered the diary in the wreckage and passed them on to an East German general. They were subsequently smuggled into West Germany hidden in pianos by a certain Dr. Fischer. Fischer approached Gerd Heidemann, a journalist for Der Stern, who acted as a middleman between Fischer and the magazine.

Der Stern had been skeptical at first but eventually became convinced that they were genuine. Having bought them, by various accounts for somewhere between two and four million dollars, they announced their acquisition. Newsweek and The Times (of London) were trying to buy them. The Times requested that they be examined by Ordway Hilton, a document specialist from South Carolina, and Frei, also a well respected expert in document verification. Using a sample of Hitler’s handwriting provided by the West German Federal Archives, Hilton and Frei concluded that they were indeed written by Hitler.

But they were not. The problem, as it was later discovered, was that the sample from the archives was also a forgery created by the same forger who had forged the Hitler Diaries, Konrad Kujau. Later, it was discovered that the paper had been manufactured after 1953. Tests on the inks used for the diary showed that it had only been on the paper for about one year. But Hilton and Frei had only been asked to compare the handwriting. They had done that correctly from the samples at hand. The task of doing chemical analysis had fallen to another laboratory.

To suggest that Frei was ‘[n]ot just wrong but intentionally dishonest in his research” is pure, shoddy, unwarranted ad hominem attack. Similarly, their on-and-on-and-on attack on me in which they totally misrepresent and wildly guess what I think and presume is dishonest and despicable.

Why are they attacking me for much of an hour?

To even imply that I first presume the shroud is real and then seek evidence to support that view is completely contrary to what I know and what I have said. To say that it is a necessary part of my worldview is unfounded and wrong. Pious Fraud? Prove it, skinny guy and beard guy.

SKINNY GUY: Its all about the evidence and its all about being honest.

LOL. He actually said that.

When I was critical of their scholarship, they blocked my comments. Finally they allowed them. In the meantime wrote two blog entries:

14 thoughts on “‪An invitation to discuss the Shroud of Turin. You’ve got to be kidding.”

  1. What I’ve noticed is there’s a whole bunch of young men in the current generation who want to style themselves as agnostics or athiests and think of themselves as philosophers. And they are incredibly BAD at it. They don’t have their facts straight. They are not actually interested in learning anything, they mostly like to swagger. That’s the way it seems to me, anyway.

    They think of themselves as superior because they question everything. However, they don’t have anything to offer. What they offer is a lot of Doubts about anything they don’t like. They’re skilled in offering criticisms and blasphemous doubts and that’s about all they’re good at. They’re not builders, they are destroyers.

    Catherine Marshall wrote an interesting phrase in her book, Christy. “Any fool can destroy but it takes a real man to build.”

    I think such young men should settle down and get real. If they are TRULY interested in finding TRUTH, then join those who are digging for it instead of scoffing and mocking on the sidelines. IMO.

    1. Annie, you’re so right.

      I have noticed that particularly on YouTube there seems to be a critical mass of these young air heads. They’re so abysmally unprepared for any intelligent discussion, yet they immediately jump on any pro-faith videos that are posted, antagonizing the believers and inciting arguments. I think they’ve assumed that all people of faith are dumb and that there is no need to know anything to prove their superiority of intellect.

      I recently did engage in a sort of argument with a couple of them. I’m not prone to wasting my time like that but the blasphemy they were spouting was so offensive. They immediately proved they had nothing of substance to argue. I gave up and left them to work their way out of the wet paper bag they’d willingly climbed into. But some people do get really worked up by them and I guess that’s what they’re after. Sigh. I will not click on that link and give them the satisfaction.

      1. Haha “air-heads” …well said Susana, I haven’t heard that expression in awhile. Nowadays I think the term most widely used is dumb-***. ;-)


  2. Dan, you wrote : “Why are they attacking me for much of an hour?”.

    I guess it’s probably because you’re one of the most known Shroud speaker these days… Take this like kind of a compliment ! ;-)

  3. I’ll give you another example. These wannabe skeptics wanted to complain about the Real Face of Jesus. But lacking any substantive arguments all they could do was ridicule the History channel for making so many ridiculous show. That is true. The History channel can be insane at times. But it also produces some great award winning series like the Universe, America the Story of Us and How the Earth Was Made. Are these to be ridiculed simply because the are from the History channel? Do you think they are aware that the Real Face of Jesus was nominated for two prestigious awards, the Banff World Media Festival Non-Fiction Rockies in Science and Technology and the Factual Entertainment Awards? These guys are way out of their league when it comes to the Shroud. Why did they go on for an hour. Because it bugs them that there is no real argument against it. And they know it.

  4. Holy Geez, I couldn’t watch more then 8 minutes of that youtube video, those guys are just plain retards.”I’m willing to listen to any credible evidence” why not search and ‘READ’ for yourself? These guys did not even research a single ‘credible’ thing before their no.3 episode let alone any peer-reviewed papers.Typical of alot of the new generation growing up now, they want everything handed to them and too lazy to do the work themselfs.Personally I would just ignore them, last count they had 70 hits on thier latest video, can anyone say FAIL.

    They are not worth your time Dan.Or even anymore mention.


  5. I agree with Ron. Seventy pitiful hits. Some of those are click ins from YouTube’s automatically generated suggestions. Some are probabably links from this blog. I would be surprised if anyone watched the show from beginning to end. It is really awful. It is so obvious that they have not done any real research. Unable to really criticize the shroud, they spend their time ridiculing others.

  6. Nickell is a real hypocrite.
    Frei “made a fool of himself authenticating the notorious Hitler Diaries.”?
    Nickell never remember when speaks or writes about the Shroud that to authenticate the diaries was also Ordway Hilton who was according NYT “One of the nation’s foremost authorities on detecting forged documents”.

    Let’s read as NYT justify Hilton’s mistake: “Given what he was told were photostatic copies of pages from the diaries and examples of Hitler’s writing, Mr. Hilton said that both sets of documents had been produced by the same hand. Indeed, they had, though the common hand turned out not to have been Hitler’s but the forger’s.”.
    It is evident that the same justification should be given to Frei if someone is honest!

    But there is other. Nickell is very very hypocrite because in his book “Detecting forgery: forensic investigation of documents” writes; “in 1983 three examiners declared the diaries genuine. Unforunatley they had allowed Stern magazine, who commissioned them, to supply the alleged standards; it turned out that some of those were also Kujau forgeries”.
    So Nickell knows the thruth but when he needs to attack Max Frei forget it!

    And Ordway Hilton is one of the handwriting expert most quoted in Nickell’s books about forensic science!

    1. Dominico, your so right.AND the worst part is the audacity of Nickell’s to claim Frei was “a-jack-of-all-trades”, when he alone is A Jack of All Trades AND a ‘Master of NONE’.Frei was an expert, a pioneer in his field and highly regarded by many of his peers.Can Nickell’s claim the same? I think NOT…Personally I give no credance to anything the man says and anyone who does should really do a re-think.


  7. I’ll bet bearded guy told skinny guy what to say ensuring that neither one knows what they are talking about. It is obvious that they have been fooled by reading and believing Nickell. I don’t know about silent guy. Watch him. He seems embarrassed by his buddies.

  8. Dan,

    I figured it out. A little late, but better than never.

    Back on 2/7/11, I claimed on your blog that I had a way to expose (to the world) the “wrongheadedness” of the notable detractors of the Shroud — and that such would be a very good thing. I went on to say that I would happily explain my approach if anyone was interested…

    You were the only one interested, but clearly that was plenty, so I wrote back trying to explain. You didn’t respond, so I figured that you weren’t particularly impressed, but that you were too kind, and busy, to explicitly say so. Or maybe, you just don’t have time to personally read all your email…

    In truth, you’ve always been especially rational and friendly, so I figured that I just wouldn’t bother you for awhile.

    But then, I have continued to think about what seems to me an excellent opportunity for helping people with their Christian faith. (I don’t think that faith needs to be blind.) And, while showing up the skeptics to the world wouldn’t necessarily prove anything, it would surely help.

    So anyway, my approach was to challenge any, and all, notable detractors of the Shroud to a public (on-line) written debate. I figured that our side would surely win an EFFECTIVE debate — and most importantly, that I KNEW HOW TO HOLD SUCH A DEBATE.

    And the first step in developing such debate would be putting it into writing.

    So anyway, I think that we (you, with us fans helping) should accept a debate, but not in an oral format. You should tell your adversaries that you would WELCOME a live, on-line, debate, but that it has to be in writing — as, ORAL debates tend to be little more than side shows…

    I’ll try again to lay out the parameters of my alleged solution in a minimal way, and put it on this blog. If I can’t abstract it sufficiently, I’ll send my best effort by email.

    If anyone is interested, one of my “treatises” regarding this plan can be found on my website at http://www.MessiahOrNot.com/Treatise.php.

    To see that I’m probably not a kook, you can check out my brief autobiography at http://www.MessiahOrNot.com/Biography2.php.

    Otherwise, I’ve been arguing with a bunch of atheists re the Shroud beginning with http://debate.atheist.net/showthread.php?t=3891. That’s Part I — I’m now on Part IV.

    I’m probably forgetting something critical.

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