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

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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:

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