Savage Treatment in Randi Land

imageRich Savage, a friend of this blog, has been spending time over at the Randi forums (of the James Randi Educational Foundation – that’s magician The Amazing Randi – pictured here –paranormal investigator and Joe Nickell mentor) on a Shroud of Turin discussion thread that has grown to some 2456 comments as of this morning. Here is the latest comment, as an example. Jabba, mentioned in this comment, is our friend Rich doing a sort of David facing Goliath and an entire army:

I notice Jabba has left out the fact that there is no proof whatsoever of the provenance of the threads Rogers tested in his kitchen. Dinwar rightly presses this point but Jabba seems to ignore it completely in the summing up.

We’re still waiting for some reason to imagine there is an invisible weave in the TS. It seems incredible Jabba would think the presence of such a patch would have escaped notice in the 2002 restoration of the TS.

Rich writes:

Over on the Randi forum
(http://forums.randi.org/showthread.php?t=226761&page=59), we’re focusing on the possibility of an “invisible reweave” – I’ve given that as my best guess as to explaining the results of the carbon dating.  Is that still your best guess?

Anyway, of my 60 or so opponents over there, I’ve finally run into a friendly and rational one — “davefoc”  – and he’s provided a lot of reasonable reservations and questions re the re-weaving hypothesis over there, and I’d like to give him our best answers.

At the moment, we’re discussing the apparent fact that the calcium, iron and strontium contents of the Raes sample are roughly identical to that of the larger Shroud.  Here’s what I’ve said so far.

  • So far, at least, I haven’t been able to find an obvious explanation…
  • Apparently, everyone accepts that these elements are introduced by the
    “retting,” — and wherever and whenever the linen was retted, it would
    contain these elements as “trace elements.”  However, the amount of these
    elements present should be somewhat different if one set was from 1st
    century Mideast, and the other, 16th century Europe.
  • Accepting — for the moment at least — that the two sets are “roughly
    identical,” how different SHOULD they be, and how different ARE they?  You
    and I don’t know.
  • So far, I give the advantage on this “sub-issue” (round?) to your side
    (the dating validity side), but I’m still looking…

How would you answer that question –, and/or, can we ask that question of your audience?

I have a list of other serious reservations and questions from davefoc, but need to paraphrase them better.  I can provide those if you can use them.

11 thoughts on “Savage Treatment in Randi Land”

  1. I have been blessed to see a copy of a drawing done by Gonella himself showing that, exactly has Rogers said, he took for himself some threads right in the middle of the sample (I mean in the middle of the whole complete single sample that was originally cut) used for dating the Shroud in 1988. Since that day, I have absolutely no doubt at all concerning the validity of Rogers sample that hallowed him to proof that the corner used for dating the Shroud was not representative of the main cloth. Rogers was not a liar and that drawing from the hand of Gonella himself was the best proof of that. Unfortunatelly, since the Anti-Rogers crusade rages on in the Shroud world since he died in 2005, some people have tried very hard to discredit Rogers credibility, and the validity of his C14 sample was one sorry episode with a sad purpose like that among others… Final note : Trust me, Rogers sample was exactly what he said it was : a sample of a few threads that were kept by Gonella in 1988 and that come right from the middle of the whole C14 sample. These few threads (if I remember well, Rogers received 2 of them) were probably taken when the whole sample was cut in 2 pieces, one for reserve and the other for the C14 labs. So, you can sleep well tonight, Rogers samples were totally valid to challenge the C14 result of 1988. No matter what the Anti-Rogers clan can think or make believe, this is another perfect proof of the rigor, profesionalism and honesty of Raymond N. Rogers. I know this because I’ve seen the drawing done by Gonella in 1988…

  2. Jabba, regarding the trace element issue, a recent paper (1) has shown that using a set of 11 trace elements (Al, Ti, Ni, As, Rb, Y, Mo, Ag, Cd, Ba, and La) it is possible to identify the region of the world a linen comes from. The authors have achieved to distinguish linens from Poland, Italy and Japan using those 11 trace elements.
    I think it would really be helpful to carry out the same analysis on the Shroud and clearly establish whether its linen comes from the Middle East (one point for authenticity) or from let’s say France.
    A second recent paper (in this case with cotton(2)) shows that particular combinations of trace elements can allow a correct identification of the state (in USA) the cotton comes from in 81% of the cases. In this case, the authors obtain “results of very clear and distinct clusters with no overlap”. I think that this sounds promising.
    Finally, there is a third paper written in 1988 (3) . Though one of the coauthors was a STURP member, to the best of my knowledge this paper has largely gone unnoticed.
    They suggest that the use of 18O/16O ratios of cellulose and the D/H ratios of cellulose nitrate allows the separation of most linen samples from Europe from those originating in the Middle East when D. The authors say that it may be possible to use the isotope ratios of cellulose prepared from the Shroud of Turin to resolve the controversy concerning its geographic origin.

    I think that these papers show a promising path and in my view, the C14 path –recurrent requests for new tests- should definitively be left behind.

    (1)Takako Inoue, Kengo Ishihara and Kyoden Yasumoto.International Journal of Clothing Science and Technology Vol. 22 No. 2/3, 2010 pp. 174-186
    (2) Emily R. Schenk and Jose R. Almirall. Elemental analysis of cotton by laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy. May 2010 / Vol. 49, No. 13 / APPLIED OPTICS
    (3) DeNiro-M.J., Stenberg, L.D.,Marino,B.D.;Druzik-J.R. Relation between D/H ratios and18O/16O ratios in cellulose from linen and maize. Implications for paleoclimatology and sindonology Geochimica et Cosmochimia Acta, 52, 2189-2196,.1988

  3. – I appreciate your responses (very interesting information) and will salt them away for future use, but it’s starting to look like we don’t have a good answer to the apparent similarity of trace elements between the Raes sample and the rest of the cloth — which seems like strong evidence against the invisible re-weave hypothesis.
    – Any suggestions?

    — Rich

  4. So it’s “Savage Treatment ” to expect Rick/Jabba to actually support his assertions with facts and evidence? Wow.
    Look we understand that some people *need* the shroud to be real to shore up their weak faith but that doesn’t actually *make* it real. The evidence for the shroud being a medieval fake is far too strong and homogeneous to be doubted by a few scraps of dubious pseudo-science.
    And why continue the debate here? Why not come over to the JREF and deal with the science?
    well actually we know why, the need to control the debate.

  5. Just a voice of reason, pointing out that Rich’s characterization of one “friendly and rational” person out of “60 opponents” blithely, but typically, ignores the fact that a broad community of rational scholars and enthusiasts has been asking “Jabba” to provide _evidence_ against the Carbon-14 dating in a thread spanning 89 pages and 3500 posts. To date, the strongest “evidence” Rich has presented is that he “disagrees” with the experts (with no evidence). The posters asking, repeatedly, for Rich to present his arguments, rather than, for instance, proposing odd limitations on the discussion, or stooping to unsupported libel against professional with whose conclusions he disagrees, have been more than patient, for JREF. Rich’s problems have been of his own manufacture–he could easily defuse the entire situation my merely answering the questions put to him, straightforwardly and honestly, with no dodges about “not remembering” what has been said in previous posts.

    1. I won’t comment on Rich’s inabilities to answer your questions, but I will comment on the lack by anyone of the “rational scholars and enthusiasts” you mention to do their own ‘research’ on the matter… Why depend on poor Rich! These wnthusiasts cannot read for themselfs? For most on that site, i have noticed, have this type of understanding; quote; “The evidence for the shroud being a medieval fake is far too strong and homogeneous to be doubted by a few scraps of dubious pseudo-science.” unquote. If that is not the most rediculously stupid comment I have ever heard, I don’t know what is, and goes to show the actual lack of intelligence offered by anyone there. It is useless even trying to discuss any logic with these Neanderthals, yet Richard cannot see this and is just wasting precious time on the effort, as I have just done here responding to just another Neanderthal.

      R

  6. The limitations of the C14 dating are its sampling protocol and the absence of chemical/physical characterisation of the sample. These are facts.

    On which data can we rely to invalidate/validate the dating ?

    – raw figures of the dating
    – characterisation of the reserve sample

  7. Ron :
    I won’t comment on Rich’s inabilities to answer your questions, but I will comment on the lack by anyone of the “rational scholars and enthusiasts” you mention to do their own ‘research’ on the matter… Why depend on poor Rich! These wnthusiasts cannot read for themselfs? For most on that site, i have noticed, have this type of understanding; quote; “The evidence for the shroud being a medieval fake is far too strong and homogeneous to be doubted by a few scraps of dubious pseudo-science.” unquote. If that is not the most rediculously stupid comment I have ever heard, I don’t know what is, and goes to show the actual lack of intelligence offered by anyone there. It is useless even trying to discuss any logic with these Neanderthals, yet Richard cannot see this and is just wasting precious time on the effort, as I have just done here responding to just another Neanderthal.
    R

    Thank you for your “kind and rational” post. Truly, the forces of good are blessed to have you wielding the banner of .Truth™, and across such thin ice…
    What explanations do you offer for the homogeneity of the carbon dates? For the lack of witness to any “patch” by any researcher or expert who has actually, and demonstrably, handled the cloth? For the lack of any suggestion of a way in which the tested area might have been patched, not just in such a way as to fool a host of scholars, but in such a way that mixing of extraneous material would produce three concordant dates in three different labs?
    Do keep in mind that “I want it to be so” is not an explanation…
    I do not “depend on” Jabba for my research–but as with all such things, it is the burden of the claimant to support his claims.
    The cloth is a medieval artifact. To overcome that evidence, evidence is needed…not supposition, not remote chance, not third-hand character assassination–evidence.

Comments are closed.