A New Rule and this Blog’s Raison d’etre

imageI delayed approving the following comment from Colin Berry while I thought about it. He did submit it as a comment to be seen. He knows what he is doing. See it you shall. It says a lot.

First, you should be aware that a number of people have dropped away from the blog, some for good. One person wrote, “You have lost your way. You have allowed back and forth insults to dominate and kill almost every meaningful discussion.”

I know that a few people participate in the back and forth insults and that Colin is often the target. But invariably, he starts it. Then when the verbal brawls turn against him, he complains. That is how I see it.  This pattern began when he first came on the scene over a year ago, when instead of substantively criticizing the work of other scientists like Al Adler, Ray Rogers and Paolo Di Lazzaro, as he might have done, he resorted to calling their work “Mickey Mouse science.” He referred to the scientists at ENEA as “idiots” and a “bunch of jokers.” He accused almost everyone of practicing pseudoscience which he never would define. Even then we lost many readers and potential contributors to meaningful discussions.

Here is his most recent comment:

Urgent message to site “moderator”, i.e. Dan Porter. This attempt by MPH and others to pillory me on your site must cease, and cease immediately. Yes, I know you have blocked some of MPH’s comments, but that is not good enough, given the background of systematic harassment that I have been receiving from MPH and several others too.

For the record, it is I who operated at professorial level in the late 1980s, as the link below (just one of several I could cite) will demonstrate, when I was employed as a departmental head at an industrial research association, outwith a University, but could still find myself being invited – professor-like – to act as public examiner for a Swedish doctoral thesis, i.e. at the prestigious Lund University.


Yet you have allowed MPH to belittle my academic credentials on an almost daily basis, while an academic nonentity, with no visible track record on the internet, bar some attendances at Shroudie congresses, claims to have been a University professor some 35 years ago when that clearly was not the case. There is no evidence that he ever operated at that level. You have also allowed a Florida-based medic of Ukrainian origin, Soviet-era, to question my mental health (clear abuse of pseudo-psychiatry against a perceived dissident) and you have allowed daveb to attack my personal integrity, claiming without a shred of evidence that I engage in pseudoscience. Too cap it all, you yourself have now attempted in this posting to make a vaguely worded personal attack, and blocked at least one of my replies, possibly two, denying me the right of reply, allowing further comments to appear that attempt to blacken my credentials as a scientist and as a sane and responsible commentator.

As I say, this has to stop, and it has to stop now. I shall not make idle threats now, but rest assured there will be a corrective action taken if you continue to allow your site to be used systematically in this fashion for character assassination and/or to undermine and damage my professional credentials.

I don’t like threats. My impulse is to fight back. But this blog is about the Shroud of Turin. It is a hobby for me in my retirement years. It is a lot of work and I enjoy it. I enjoy the different points of view. I want to keep it going and not have people chased away by demeaning fights.

The easiest thing to do is this: I’m asking everyone to stop all criticism of Colin. Let’s do exactly as he says. (And while we are at it let’s try to show more respect for each other. We’ve had other dust ups, recently.)

Colin may, if he wishes, submit comments. But none that contain insults will be allowed. I did write to him to tell him that his threat was noted and I thanked him for his past participation. He wrote back:

Intent (not threat) will now be acted upon. The opposition is not just from agenda-pushing authenticists. It is from the site that gives them a platform on the internet from which they can engage in character assassination.

Watch my sciencebuzz site. It will now become  an anti-shroudstory.com site. I’ve finally sussed out your raison d’etre. Every aspect of your MO will now be scrutinized in detail.  You have become my latest research project.

imageRaison d’etre is a pretty good craft ale made by Dogfish Head on this side of the pond. July and August are coming. Typically, shroud discussions get slow in these hot months (except for DaveB, down under). A good craft ale might help me think of new ideas for the blog, to keep things going without the excitement generated by personal insults.

So the new rule is understood? And the raison d’etre? Right? We have a choice. This blog or the other blog. Or both.

Colin, really, we need your worldview, your skepticism, your creative mind and your friendship.


8 thoughts on “A New Rule and this Blog’s Raison d’etre”

  1. Dan,

    I think it is very sad that Colin Berry’s rants have driven people away. The problem is, how to react. There may be pseudo-science but there is also pseudo-skepticism. That is skeptics who claim to be impartially seeking the truth but instead are merely seeking to justify there own view. Perhaps the most prominent pseudo-skeptic of our time is Richard Dawkins, author of “The God Delusion.”

    In the days when the carbon dating provided an easy-out for skeptics, Father Rinaldi who did not live to see the results of Ray Rogers’ work stated atht he would not accept the results of the carbon dating until somebody could explain how the Shroud image was formed. That remains the challenge to not just the carbon test belivers, but for all of us. Call be a bliever if you will, but I believe that the mystery of the image will be either solved by science or remain insoluable. Maybe it will never be solved. Or maybe as science pushed further into the quantum enigmas, it might just face a solution that the pseudo-skeptics can never accept: It’s Him.

    I hope youcan recover your audience because the page has performed an important task in its healthy interchanges as contrasted to its braying ones.

    What the peudoskeptics will never admit is that there is no evidence that will suffice becasue they know the truth and the rest of us are poor, beknighted souls.

    “Keep the faith,” baby. Really! Whatever the final result of my endeavors without the blog, and of course, Shroud.com, I would be nowhere. And I am getting there, wherever “there” is.

  2. [edited out to here] . . . I was OFFICIALLY appointed Professor at the University of Riyad in 1976 (on cultural mission) and SERVED AS SUCH? If you don’t believe me . . . [edited out from here]

  3. Thanks Dan. Perhaps you should have done this some time ago. I’m not trying to complain, I’m just happy you are putting your foot down now.

  4. This is a good step Dan Porter, one that should have been taken months ago and, as you know, it was something suggested by me. Anyway, this is progress and perhaps the next step could be eliminating people hiding behind pseudonyms, making provocative comments, behaving like self-appointed judges? That is the reason why they hide behind pseudonyms, posting their curriculums, but making it difficult to track their location, unless they fall into the hands of “detective” Colin.

    We need Colin, as you yourself wrote, and he should be allowed to post his comments, however strong his scepticism may be. Was Dawkins not invited to the Vatican to act as a devil’s advocate some years ago? Didn’t Pope John Paul II go skiing with Italian president Sandro Pertini, who was an atheist? Has Archbishop Rowan Williams, a deep thinker and a great theologian, not debated with Dawkins, for everyone to see? These examples show us that true Christians should not be afraid, that faith is something that is not hollow.

    Let us hope that Max will fall in line with your new policy because we also need him. Best.

  5. Our NZ winter sport is Rugby Football, a hard physical game at which we excel. Unlike American Gridiron no sissy body-padding is worn, and head protection gear is not compulsory. Also unlike the more popular Association Football played elsewhere, there is hard body tackling as players seek to capture the ball from their opponents. Our international games commence with the posturing of the traditional haka, a war-dance of defiance which is how you will be welcomed to our Maori marae, and indeed you will be made very welcome if you pay the traditional ‘koha’, for it is a “quid pro quo” society and ‘utu’ is important. At the club level, despite the bruising, and occasional more serious injuries, and even sometimes ill-tempered fisticuffs, the teams get together afterwards in camaraderie, the contest over, for a few beers and sing rowdy rugby songs. A whistle-blowing referee controls the game to ensure compliance with the Laws.

    Our women folk also play a hard physical game of Netball against the Aussies and Jamaicans, and the ref’s whistling is even more frequent. Some of us imagine we can play cricket, a gentlemanly game much less boisterous, but even there the umpire’s word is Law. Our Parliamentary debates are also robust, and the House Speaker regularly sends the worst prima donnas out of the chamber for unparliamentary behaviour.

    A much rougher game is ‘Hardball’ where the rules of fair play are ignored and the only objective is to win at all costs. One version of the game is to attack the credibility of the opponents, using whatever arguments you can dream up, and when they retaliate you can cry “Foul!” and the umpire or moderator then steps in. You can play this as a long-term strategy, the pay-off being that more benign players no longer turn up for the next fixture, and you can eventually succeed in killing off the enjoyable discussions among those whose views differ from your own. Another version is to resort to incomprehensible technical jargon, and when this fails to persuade, you can act aggrieved, taking it as a personal insult, the pay-off being that your ego has been massaged.

    I see no problems with using a pseudonym, as those who have wanted to contact me have always been able to do so, by leaving a message on the site. For others, you can track me down through web-pages: http://tawacatholic.org.nz/tawa-catholic-news-2 or else http://shroudnm.com/docs/2012-03-30-David-Belz-Shroud-Article.pdf

    Personally, I have little use for fellow-bloggers assuming a supercilious moral high-ground for lack of a cogent argument, and being a regular church-goer, nor do I require to be preached at elsewhere, as if from a pulpit.

    My wife regularly plays Lawn Bowls, but I need to spend more time on the greens, having recently confined myself to umpiring including the nationals. Others could learn a sense of fair play from the occasional round of golf, or enhance their perspective on life by simply walking the dog. Croquet, anyone?!!

  6. Hullo Colin, it is a pity you have ceased commenting on this thread, but although an unbeliever, you must have read about Pope Benedict’s complaint about religious hypocrisy.

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