Bertrand Russell comes to mind

imageColin Berry writes, The Turin Shroud Man IS a scorchograph – and I challenge anyone to prove otherwise…:

I challenge anyone out there – in the world of science and/or the blogosphere – Dr.Di Lazzaro and his ENSA colleagues (with their busted flush radiation model), Dan Porter, Barrie Schwortz  etc. etc.-  to prove me wrong. But please read the preceding post before rattling off those same old checklists …

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PS: at the risk of appearing immodest (a pointless attribute with which I have rarely been afflicted) I believe this to be the first time that a piece of start-to-finish scientific research has been reported in real-time on the internet, encompassing the postings on my new site here, and the 20 or so previous ones on my science buzz site (see side bar).

We have so many hypotheses from Corona Discharge to photographs directly on linen to reverse bleaching to acid etched fibrils by people who are convinced they are right. It helps if one can ignore checklists, or facts and observations as scientists tend to call such things. He seems to be mostly guessing.

Bertrand Russell comes to mind:

If I were to suggest that between the Earth and Mars there is a china teapot revolving about the sun in an elliptical orbit, nobody would be able to disprove my assertion provided I were careful to add that the teapot is too small to be revealed even by our most powerful telescopes. But if I were to go on to say that, since my assertion cannot be disproved, it is intolerable presumption on the part of human reason to doubt it, I should rightly be thought to be talking nonsense.

No, I don’t need to prove Colin wrong. Why should I not instead declare the image a miracle and challenge Colin to prove me wrong.

17 thoughts on “Bertrand Russell comes to mind”

  1. Oh come now, Dan. You know as well as I that science works by falsifying hypotheses (scientific ones that is), not by proving them.

    I have put my head above the parapet with a scientific hypothesis* as to how that image came to be formed. The onus is now on you and others to falsify it. Labelling it facetiously as a “miracle” as you have done here is not falsifying – it is to evade and trivialize.

    * my preferred term is “theory” since the ‘scorchograph’ phenomenon is already backed by plenty of empirical and experimental evidence.

  2. Dan, you have to admit Colin has been very entertaining. And the old boy did try something though he came short of actually stepping in the arena. And even though all his experiments were invalid and he proved nothing he did put on a good show.

  3. man has not been able to create life; so evolution is used as an answer of starting life over a very long period of time that no scientist can replicate becase of the long time procees.. the shroud is said to be a fake that was created over a short period of time by a middle ages man with little scientifiic knowledge; but no scientist has fully replicated it in over the past 100 years which is longer than the productive lifespan of any human being. What am I missing

  4. A variant on Russell’s orbiting teapot commentary:-
    “What is gratuitously asserted, can be gratuitously denied!”
    John P Meier in “A Marginal Jew”.

    One need only refute those assertions for which a serious case can be considered – One is entitled to ignore Straw-man hypotheses, and likewise also Tin-Man hypotheses, as there ain’t no Man of Tin!

  5. Might I suggest you take another look at Jackson’s experiments with “tin man” – statues and bas-relief. Jackson made no secret of how impressed he was with the initial data – including that “encoded 3D information”- but (regrettably to my mind) finally rejected the model, not on the essential grounds of principle so much as failure to reproduce the full range of Shroud detail. But he was simple stretching linen across his heated template. There are better ways of doing it – as I have proposed, notably by using a sand bed. I find it incredible that he should see the potential in scorching as a model for image production, and then proceed to conflate and confuse conduction and radiation as the method of energy transfer, which operate by entirely different physical principles that differ profoundly in requirements and constraints.

    There is no “straw man” where scorching by contact/conduction, and I would not be wasting my own time if I thought was remotely possible, far less that of others. As far as I’m concerned, any radiation model is a non-starter where while linen is concerned, As far as I am concerned, scorching by contact/conduction is the ONLY game, sorry, theory, sorry, hypothesis in town.

  6. Colin, even if you were ever able to prove conclusively beyond all shadow of doubt whatsoever, that the image was produced by a scorch, I still would be quite unable to say that the Shroud is a fraud. I would merely say that’s how Jesus did it – by scorching the linen! To my mind, there is too much forensic detail on the Shroud, which was utterly beyond the ken of any medieval fraudster. That’s why I say, there was no Tin-man!
    At our present state of knowledge, or lack of it, I prefer to allow that there may have been some as yet unknown natural means of producing the image. I prefer to allow that possibility to be exhausted before conceding that the image was produced by some miraculous means. Because if it is a scorch, then it had to be a miracle. There was never a Tin-man that produced this image, whether it was a scorch or not! If you succeed in proving that it was a scorch, you will have proved that it was a miracle, and you would have scientifically proven the Resurrection!

  7. Good morning (here) Dave. At the risk of making myself a hostage to fortune, I would say that I am merely content to demonstrate beyond any reasonable shadow of doubt that it woz a scorch wot dun it. Yes, a plain old scorch, like the one off an electric iron, now very aged and hence barely visible, obtained by imprinting (“branding on”) from a heated 3D or semi-3D (bas relief) solid object, probably metallic

    I would like to kick into the long grass any suggestion that radiation was involved, except perhaps from a little infrared that had been absorbed by the primary scorch or by other opaque or semi-opaque material in contact with the linen, e.g. an underlying bed of sand. Any notion that ultraviolet radiation, X-rays or gamma rays were involved is comedic – what I call Mickey Mouse science.

    I’m not terribly interested in those “blood stains” if indeed that is what they are, or the degraded remnants thereof, given they are so easy to fake, and to be honest am only interested in knowing if the linen or blood is definitely 1st century AD, based on carbon-dating. The default position, based on present C-dating, is that the Shroud is a medieval fraud – and a very clever one at that, given it’s puzzled and intrigued a lot of able people (but sadly assisted by much pseudo-science or fanciful interpretations of minute details elevated to iconic status). If the Turin authorities didn’t like the first result, and feel that modern fabric had been substituted, albeit unwittingly, then they know what they should do, and tell those who ridicule the three laboratories to desist forthwith.

    It is entirely wrong that Shroud studies should bring science into disrepute (which is what first got the goat of this retired science bod when those ENSA idiots recently began deploying their uv lasers, continuing the earlier lunacy of Jackson et al with their ‘nuclear medicine’. I detest junk science – especially when I see it sloshing around the media and internet forums. Enough for now – family duties call…

  8. Ron, he’s just upset because he wasn’t able to prove anything and I think he notices that people are starting to get the notion that they ought not to take him seriously. Notice he keeps prattling on and on about it being a scorch without actually demonstrating that it is. It’s a shell game and he likes the attention.

  9. “… and he likes the attention…”

    Most issues could be reduced to those terms Chris – if one were sufficiently small-minded and mean-spirited as you reveal yourself to be with that unnecessary and uncalled for ad hom But as I have had to remind some folk before, scientific hypotheses are not proved – they are falsified – so until someone here is able to provide some sound reasons for thinking it is NOT a scorch, then I can take a back seat for a while – perhaps indefinitely (thus scotching any misjudged notions that I am an attention-seeker).

  10. Colin, I can see where you’re coming from in rejecting the radiation hypothesis, and maybe it should be kicked into the long grass. To produce the image by radiation, each beam would have to be extremely narrowly focused to hit just the crowns. The only possible way that I can think of is for some kind of interference pattern resonant with the crowns, maybe as a sequence of reflections from the cloth, and then back onto the cloth. But that may be too speculative and coincidental altogether.
    I think you’re being too narrowly focused and selective in ignoring all the other forensic evidence, and I don’t see that that can be good science.
    The presence of Dead Sea halophyte pollen and other Palestinan pollens, Jerusalem travertine aragonite limestone road-dust around the feet, the wrist nailing, reflex action of the thumbs, accuracy of the blood flows and other anatomical accuracies, detailed correspondence of the wounds with the gospel accounts, the use of Middle East looms to weave the cloth evidenced by cotton contamination, the Vignon markings, the triple burn holes and herring bone weave as shown on the Hungarian Pray maunscript, and a credible reconstruction of the Shroud’s history. The cumulative evidence is too insistent!
    You choose to turn your back on all of this and assert that some unknown genius fraudster did it all merely with the aid of a bas relief model. You should not wonder that so many of us find your thesis incredible, even if we could allow that the image may have been achieved by some unknown scorching process!
    As for Carbon dating, it might not indeed now be possible to obtain a reliable dating even with improved sampling because of all the treatment that the cloth has been subject to over the ages, including bacterial contamination and fire and likely absorption of CO2.

  11. You’re engaging in what i call XYX mantra shuffling, DaveB. When X doesn’t work, deploy Y. When Y doesn’t work deploy Z. When Z doesn’t work, return to X, hoping the opposition has forgotten how it started. Some of us have exposure to other interminable long-running internet debates – evolution, climate change etc and have seen it all before…

    Sorry, but science does not work like that. One focuses on a single issue in exclusion to all others. Call it reductive if you wish, make impassioned pleas if you want for a holistic approach, but that’s how science works… Yup, science does work, finally, in its own roundabout way, even if it takes an infuriatingly erratic trajectory toward the correct destination with much exploring of dead-ends en route……

    As for your final paragraph – theories that have an infinite number of escape routes command little or no respect in science. That’s not to say they are wrong – they simply fail to command respect… Science is quite particular and exacting in its terms of reference, narrrow though they may seem to those without a boring old scientific training …

  12. Your labelling of cumulative evidence as XYX mantra shuffling is more ostrich head in the sand approach. X does work, Y does work, Z works and so does Alpha all the way through to Omega! That’s how all good Courts of Law work, by appraising cumulative evidence. Not by ignoring important evidence at the expense of accepting some unproven theory. I’m well aware through contract litigation cases of how easy it is to get two experts contradictinig each other. All you have to do is pay their appearance fee!

  13. There is a crucial difference between science and a court of law. Science has no deadline by which to arrive at a guilty/non-guilty decision… Indeed , it does not even try to arrive at an either/or decision. Relieved of the time pressure, science can take its time in arriving at a sounder conclusion, based either on new facts, as and when they become available, or upon new interpretations of the existing evidence by those who have with no personal axe to grind.

    Now then, who has some compelling evidence that the Shroud image is not a scorch? Before replying, here’s a tip. Drop the opposition to the term “scorch”, given it’s purely operational – a discoloration (coloration?) produced by heat. Recall there are three methods of heat transfer – conduction, convection and radiation – and recall there is not just radiant heat (infrared) but visible light, ultraviolet, x-rays etc. Then understand there could be three kinds of scorches – those caused by each of the three methods of heat transfer. Then attempt to explain how radiant energy could cause a scorch on linen, and then how it could produce an image. Rather you than me…

    Conducted heat on the other hand can easily cause a scorch on linen AND an image too which is light/dark reversed (“a “negative”) So we should not be having this discussion in 2012. This is 19th century physics we are discussing here. The Shroud image should have been narrowed down a century or more ago to a scorch produced by conducted heat – requiring direct contact, no air gap – with any disputes centred on technology, not science.

    We have the purveyors of crackpot and pseudo-science to thank for sowing the seeds of confusion. The latter despise the conduction model, because it points to forgery. So they have cleverly and subtly pushed radiation models instead, debunking conduction models, because the idea of mysterious electromagnetic rays emanating from a cadaver panders to mysticism and the supernatural.

    There may or may not be a supernatural world, but you won’t find the answer in a length of scorched linen, which C-14-dating indicates to originate in the 13-14th century. Only the dyed-in-the-wool (thread?) denialista of the Shroudie world swallow the tale about invisible reweaving, spliced threads, alizarin-dyed new threads etc…

  14. colinsberry :
    Only the dyed-in-the-wool (thread?) denialista of the Shroudie world swallow the tale about invisible reweaving, spliced threads, alizarin-dyed new threads etc…

    Oh, how grand, we’re starting to see true colors. Colin, tut, tut! Such ad hom from someone who so vigorously protests such arguments.

    Seems like there’s more evidence for the patch theory than the scorch theory.

  15. This is starting to resemble a pointless game where only one of the protagonists is entitled to make up / change all the rules to suit themselves, all in the name of purveying their pet academic theory. The real world doesn’t operate like that, not in my part of it anyhow, in any field of human endeavour or enquiry. Very soon, he’ll discover he has no-one to play his game with him at all. Good-bye, Colin. I’ll miss you.

  16. I repeat – the Shroud image is a thermal scorch, produced by direct contact with a heated object. There is no need whatsoever to invoke any kind of radiation. It has taken this retired science bod several weeks of study and experiment to arrive at that categorical statement, one that I realize clashes with the preconceptions of you and others who may have studied, but who have done no experiments of your own, and consequently have no handle on the problem . (I am trying to close off the italics format – sorry about that)

    Now if you think this is a game, Daveb, or that I am pushing a “pet academic theory” then so be it. I prefer to think that I have made a sincere and honest attempt to establish the truth regarding something billed as the most intensively studied object in history.

    Anyone with a hot coin and a piece of cotton or linen can simulate the scientific principle that underpins the Turin Shroud. With care they can produce a highly superficial image which affects only the outermost cell walls of the cloth, probably the primary cell wall hemicellulose, which is light/dark reversed, which has encoded 3D information, which will almost certainly fade with time and so forth. There is no need to invoke magic where the Shroud image is concerned. To claim it defies modern science is complete and utter poppycock.

    The Shroud has become a symbol of pseudo-scientific misinformation, indeed, in some case, deliberate disinformation. I think I can safely say my work is done. I have stated my hypothesis, one that rationalises the image in terms of accessible, conventional science. I leave it to others to fine tune the technology, if they so desire. The secret of success, i suspect, is careful monitoring of temperature and a bed of damp, possible wet sand.

    Your bad-mouthing it – or me personally Daveb – won’t make the idea go away, even if I do…

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