imagePlease note that the wording of statement 1 of the Valencia Consensus has been changed on the Image specialists agree on a basic set of image characteristics on the Shroud of Turin page of David Rolfe’s blog with the addition of the part in italics within parentheses.

The body image is created by molecular change of linen fibres. There are also bloodstains. There is no body image beneath the bloodstains. (For the avoidance of doubt, this characteristic does not exclude the possibility that the molecular change may have taken place in an impurity layer at the linen surface).

I find this acceptable though I much prefer a single sentence without a parenthetical phrase because I find both the notion of molecular change of the fibers or of an impurity layer as having equal footing based on the evidence.

I still object to the notion of science by consensus. Presby Theo commented well this morning when he quoted from a speech by Michael Crichton at the California Institute of Technology on Jan. 17, 2003:

I regard consensus science as an extremely pernicious development that ought to be stopped cold in its tracks. Historically, the claim of consensus has been the first refuge of scoundrels; it is a way to avoid debate by claiming that the matter is already settled. Whenever you hear the consensus of scientists agrees on something or other, reach for your wallet, because you’re being had.

Let’s be clear: the work of science has nothing whatever to do with consensus. Consensus is the business of politics. Science, on the contrary, requires only one investigator who happens to be right, which means that he or she has results that are verifiable by reference to the real world. In science consensus is irrelevant. What is relevant is reproducible results. The greatest scientists in history are great precisely because they broke with the consensus.

There is no such thing as consensus science. If it’s consensus, it isn’t science. If it’s science, it isn’t consensus. 

Does this mean that all consensus in science is wrong? Some would argue no, not when consensus is widespread having survived repetitive consideration over time. That is not the case here, however. We have a consensus of only five scientists formed in a day or two. Will it seem that they are sufficiently representative of the Shroud of Turin scientific community?