I had developed a theoretical model for holding actually effective public debate – and, figured that the Shroud of Turin probably made for the perfect test case.
I would represent the pro-authenticity side myself, but could certainly use a lot of help, and figured that followers of Dan’s blog could — and might be willing to — provide that help. And indeed, I was quickly able to recruit a small team of able helpers.
Unfortunately, able helpers seem to have a lot going on in their lives, and I gradually lost the core of my team to more pressing matters – though Dan, and Barrie Schwortz, have remained on as serious “advisers”…
The team was able to develop a website for hosting debates re the Shroud. You can check it out at http://shrouddebates.com/. I think we did a pretty good job… And by going there, you should be able to get a much better idea of what we’re talking about.
I then started looking for notable opponents and stumbled upon the James Randi forum — http://forums.randi.org/index.php. I joined the thread at http://forums.randi.org/showthread.php?t=226761, and posted my first question (I’m “Jabba”) at post #17. That was only three weeks ago, and at this writing, there are 513 posts. Almost every post since I logged on has either been written by me or by someone attacking me. I think there are like 40 posters involved, and I’m the only one arguing for authenticity.
Being on ‘their’ website, I can’t determine the rules, so I’ve had to go along with theirs, and you can see my problems. But yet, we seem to be slowly progressing (though my opponents wouldn’t agree with that) and with time — and your help, we might actually begin changing some minds…
My ultimate goal is still to attract a notable skeptic or two for debate on our website – but then, I do sense some real possibilities in trying to develop effective debate right there on the Randi site.
Anyway, I would encourage anyone (who might possibly be interested in helping) to contact me through this blog (or at firstname.lastname@example.org), check out our website, check out the Shroud thread on Randi’s forum and/or join with me on that thread.
I think we have some interesting options available to us.
“Jabba” (Rich Savage)