Mike B. in Wisconsin writes:
I noticed that one of your blog’s readers, Dr. Colin Berry, wants to involve the Royal Society of London and its president, Dr. Paul North, in an examination of possible pseudoscientific practices in Shroud of Turin research. It will not happen.
While it is true, as Dr. Berry points out, that Dr. North has rightly stated that it is the duty of scientists to expose pseudoscience, we must remember that he does so only when it relates to important public policy issues such as climate change.
Just this past week, Dr. North gained two powerful allies, the new Pope in Rome and the Church of England’s new Archbishop of Canterbury on the home front. Pope Francis understands the issue. His words have been clear. He will be a powerful voice for the environment on the world stage. The Most Revd Lord Welby, also committed to preventing global warming, will be most influential with the British government and private institutions throughout the Commonwealth.
Therefore, it is implausible to think that the leader of the Royal Society would become embroiled in what would certainly be perceived as a smack down of the church over unimportant questions about the authenticity of a relic many Catholics and some Anglicans revere. He will not do so. He is not that foolish.
Moreover, to do what is being asked of the Royal Society by Dr. Berry, and do it well, would require countless hours of costly research and entangle the Society in controversy for many years to come. It makes no sense. It will not happen.
I imagine Mike B is right about this.