Corona Discharge for Shroud of Turin to be presented at COMSOL Europe

imageAt the 2012 COMSOL Multiphysics Conference – Europe, October 10-12, at the Marriott Hotel in Milan, Italy, there will be opportunities for user oral and poster presentations. This is found on that agenda.

imageNumerical Simulation of a Human Body Subjected to Electrostatic Fields for Study of the Turin Shroud Body Image

G. Fanti1 L. Matordes1 V. Amoruso2 M. Bullo1 F. Lattarulo2 G. Pesavento1
1Dip. di Ingegneria Industriale, Università di Padova, Padova, Italy
2Politecnico di Bari, Bari, Italy

The link above will take you to an abstract that begins:

The TS (Turin Shroud) [1,2] is a fine linen fabric showing a not yet explainable [3] double body image of a scourged and crucified man stabbed on the side. Many hypotheses have been formulated without success [4] and perhaps the most reliable is one correlated to the Corona Discharge [5] that supposes the presence of an intense electric field, amplified by the presence of ionization induced by radon. . . .

Will this get the sort of play the ENEA study got, make it into The Telegraph and infuriate someone like Colin Berry?

So what is the problem: Ian Wilson, Freeman, Jones or this “cult” of ours?

imageDavor Aslanovski’s posting on his blog is a must read: Is sindonology a relic cult?

I will not discuss the rest of [Freeman’s] article for several reasons:

1.) It offers the only thing that (scientifically orthodox) history can, at present, offer on the topic: yet another autopsy of a joke that had already been done to death. So there’s very little to add to it.

2.) In comparison to Andrea Nicolotti‘s autopsy, Freeman’s is incomparably less exhaustive. In comparison to mine, it is much more general. In comparison to Yannick Clement’s, much more anodyne. In comparison to those of Professors Cameron, Gramaglia, or Brock, Robin Cormack or Hans Belting, it is substantiated by far less of an academic career. So, all in all, as these autopsies go, this is not even a particularly remarkable one.

3.) By Freeman’s own testimony, the article was written primarily because Thomas de Wesselow gave Wilson’s theories ‘an imprimatur of a brilliant Cambridge art historian.’ And if you go on de Wesselow’s site, you’ll find that the two gentlemen seem to be enjoying their own private little war. So it’s probably best to stay out of that.

There is this:

The leaders of this ‘cult’ do not seem to have any problem with the fact that their obsessive followers hurl personal insults on their opponents, that they dub the entire academic establishment ‘evil sycophants,’ and think that ‘there is a deeper, darker dimension’ to the academic rejection of Wilson’s theories.
Just read these few lines:

‘Freeman and his anti-Christian ilk don’t realise that in so doing they are acting out their part in Christs’ Play. In “The Parable of the Weeds” (Mt 13:24-30) He whose image is on the Shroud told us that He allows these weeds to “grow … until the harvest” at which time (if they don’t repent) He “will tell the reapers, Gather the weeds … and bind them in bundles to be burned.’

Does this sound like a Christian relic cult? Have you ever visited a Christian church where a relic was exposed for veneration and heard anything like what you hear in ‘sindonological’ circles? Are personal insults, hate talk, and disrespectful qualifications the usual signs of the veneration of relics? And are the sick that flock to them usually encouraged to obsess about the intricacies of their historical provenance?

And there is this:

. . . Today, the lifestyle that Wilson has pioneered looks more like this: you wake up in the morning (or perhaps in the middle of the night), turn your computer on and go see whether there’s anything new on Dan Porter’s blog. There is! Some academic Antichrist, whom you have been warned about both in the Gospel according to Matthew and in the Apocalypse of John, is disagreeing that quiffs of hair are crucial to portraiture. You put on your shining armour and battle this dragon. You write something short and astute . . .

And this conclusion:

But, lest this post become endless and I myself turn this madness into a lifestyle, let’s leave it at this. ‘Sindonology’ is definitely not a relic cult. It is what I have called it several months ago – a heresy. Primarily a scientific one, but not exclusively. Because it doesn’t just paint the wrong picture of what science is, it also paints the wrong picture of what Christianity is.

imagePerhaps Davor Aslanovski is right if this is a warning. But it isn’t quite time to tie us to the stakes. This blog tries to give a voice to everyone in order that ‘sindonology’ not become a cult or a heresy. Just look at everything that gets questioned and examined here. That means we have to be open to the views of a fundamentalist who makes parables of parables (a misuse of scripture, to some). That doesn’t mean we all condone the insult. Some do. I don’t. The meaning of the parable, as Luther and many have argued is about tolerance. It is used by Jones to mean the opposite. Jones has taken it on the chin, here, in this blog.

And so has Ian Wilson. But it isn’t just from Freeman or Aslanovski but also from Yannick Clement who strongly accepts the very same chemical story that Thomas de Wesselow accepts. And Yannick takes it on the chin from fellow ‘sindonologists.’

If one could limit the shroud to academia only, it won’t be studied much at all. I’m pleased that the amateurs – who are not heretics – are pulling in some people from academia.

And now some of us will put on our shining armor.

Believing is Seeing?

imageAs part of a comment, Yannick Clement writes:

. . . In his recent report about the Valencia Conference in Spain for the BSTS, Mark Guscin wrote this about a paper presented there by Pablo Di Lazzaro: “He showed (Di Lazzaro) how our brain works to FILL IN SPACES and make us “see” things that we WOULD LIKE TO SEE, but which quite simply ARE NOT THERE. In reference to the Shroud this could be applied to the supposed inscriptions, the supposed coins, the supposed flowers and the supposed many other things that people “see” from time to time.” I think M. Guscin should have add to his list the desire of Wilson and his followers to see the Mandylion, a small towel showing only the face of the living Christ, which we can see in a great number of ancient copies that has survived to this day, turn suddenly into a burial Shroud full of bloodstains that show 2 different images (front and back) of a complete body… This process can be called “Seeing things we desperately wants to see even if they are not really there” and it can start to operate not only from the eyes, but directly from the brain. Wilson’s hypothesis is a very good example of that.

That brings to mind an article in the current issue of Smithsonian Magazine: No, Really, There is No Secret Code in the Pyramids. A tidbit:

“A hidden code can be found almost anywhere because people are adept at recognizing and creating patterns,” says Klaus Schmeh, a computer scientist specializing in encryption technology. Schmeh has updated Kahn’s research, documenting dozens of bogus or dubious cryptograms. Some are more than a century old, but still making the rounds in books and on websites; others are more recent, such as a claim that all barcodes contain the satanic number, 666.

[ . . . ]

Schmeh says misguided cryptologists tend to believe that spectacular sources yield the most spectacular revelations. Since the 1850s, perfervid sleuths have been scrutinizing Shakespeare’s plays, claiming to have found ciphers denouncing the bard as a fraud and proclaiming the true author to be Sir Francis Bacon. Generations of investigators have been convinced that—through divine revelation or the assistance of extraterrestrials—the builders of the Great Pyramid embedded the sum total of scientific knowledge within the dimensions of the structure. Fringe pyramidologists persist in their claims despite a 1992 effort to debunk them by Dutch astrophysicist Cornelis de Jager, who demonstrated the dimensions of any object can be manipulated to yield a desired outcome; he derived the speed of light and the distance between the Earth and Sun from his measurements of a bicycle.

Still, amateur codebreakers take their work seriously. According to British psychologist Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic, who has studied personality profiles of conspiracy theorists, “They are altruistic,” since they think that they’re uncovering truths hidden from the public. For them, believing is seeing.

Believing is seeing? How much of what we believe about the shroud is what we think we see?

Part 7 of the Jones & Freeman Brouhaha about Ian Wilson

imageYup, we are up to part seven of Stephen Jones’ “My critique of Charles Freeman’s "The Turin Shroud and the Image of Edessa: A Misguided Journey," part 7: "The Turin Shroud and the Image of Edessa.” See previous part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4, part 5 and part 6. And there is more to come if I read Jones correctly.

Read slowly. You may have to read the following quote twice; maybe three times:

Freeman’s "For reasons that completely escape me, Wilson claims that the Image of Edessa is none other than the Shroud of Turin," is an "Argument from Ignorance" ("I cannot understand this, therefore it cannot be true") by Freeman, if not an "Argument from Personal Incredulity" ("I cannot believe this, therefore it cannot be true"). That it completely escapes Freeman the reasons why Wilson claims that the Image of Edessa is the Shroud of Turin (apart from it being an damaging admission for a scholar to make, that he cannot understand the position he is criticising), is no reason why the Image of Edessa cannot be the Shroud of Turin!

And why this? Is there not a more respectful way of making this point?

imageBut perhaps the real reason Freeman only allowed his readers to see a blurry photograph of this copy of the Image of Edessa is because it reveals at least eight "Vignon Markings": wisps of hair representing the reversed 3 bloodstain (no. 15);

Charles Freeman: the manifold problems with Wilson’s hypotheses

imageCharles Freeman, by way of a comment, writes:

I accept Stephen Jones’ ‘apology’ .

I have been a professional historian for thirty-nine years- first pay-cheque came in September 1973!- and have written over twenty books with several hundreds of reviews (Probably nearly 150 on Amazon alone-they can easily be found.) So Stephen Jones’ and other critical comments are part of life and don’t worry me. I only intervene when there is clear inaccuracy as here, especially one which may affect the professional reputation I have spent many years earning.

I do not always write for money and most blogs pay nothing as here. I choose my projects carefully. I am not a ‘hired gun’ and will write an article for nothing as in this case if I feel I have something to contribute. I believe in the arguments I present so ‘WHAT HE KNOWS TO BE FALSE’ is another inaccurate statement, that could equally be seen as damaging to my professional reputation. Historians have successfully sued in the British courts for much less.

The rebuttals of Wilson have been widespread across the academic community and anyone who works on the material and reads the work of historians who specialise in Byzantine history and literature comes up with many of the same points. I was not surprised to find that Yannick Clement has found the sources Wilson uses as inadequate as I have and he is opening the debate wider among a community who are often unaware ‘of the manifold problems with Wilson’s hypotheses’.

I am still not convinced by Charles or Yannick but I value the debate.

Hat trick to Freeman! Jones Unhorsed! Too Bad!

imageStephen E. Jones has just posted this comment on his site in a critique of Charles Freeman’s "The Turin Shroud and the Image of Edessa: A Misguided Journey,"

I have deleted all my comments in which I wrongly assumed that Charles Freeman must have been paid for his articles on the Image of Edessa (see above).

I have reposted those deleted comments minus anything about Freeman being paid for his articles.

Some of the comments are now out of chronological order, but there does not seem much point to reposting the reposted posts in current chronological order because they will be out of sequence with the posts they were a continuation of.

This followed this unusual comment from Jones on my blog:

I don’t normally read comments to Dan’s blog, but I was tipped off by a commenter on my blog that Charles Freeman had replied to a comment on my blog, on Dan’s blog, where the comment, as far as I am aware, has never appeared. . . .

which followed an even stranger comment from Charles Freeman:

Dan. I have no objections to you reproducing Stephen Jones’ attempted critique of my articles on the Free Enquiry website. They are good publicity for the articles themselves which often cover much the same material as Yannick Clement here and other scholars on the manifold problems of Wilson’s hypotheses. They keep debate open. However, I do urge caution. As earlier posts of his critique on your blog show Jones has had to rewrite one of his misrepresentations of my work (Your blog August 8th) and on July 11th a poster, David Mo, showed up the inadequacy of Jones’ argument. So far as I am concerned he has consistently failed to tackle the actual points I have made but that is his problem not mine. . . .

Hat trick to Freeman! Jones Unhorsed! Too bad, because if you strip away the unnecessary accusations and errors, Jones is rightingwriting some useful and powerful comments.

What difference does it make if Freeman is paid, anyway?