imageCharles Freeman, by way of a comment, asks:

Can anyone enlighten me on these conferences? When I read papers from those held in the past they only seem to include papers from those who believe the Shroud is authentic,in fact they even seem to be used primarily as a meeting place for old friends (nothing wrong in that). So if someone sends in a paper arguing in favour of the radiocarbon dating or a haematologist sends in a paper disputing that there are bloodstains on the cloth , do they get rejected or accepted on scientific merit? It is a pity that there never seem to be actual debates -perhaps I am wrong but it seems to be largely papers read out .

I would certainly like to see a DEBATE on the alternative routes from Jerusalem that a burial cloth might have reached northern France in view of the fact that we have early relics close to Lirey that were said to have come from ‘the Lord’s tomb’ as well as all the crusader evidence of cloths being brought back to France from crusades earlier than the 1350s. These seem to have been relevant but completely neglected in favour of the Edessa route (that as a historian, I can find no merit in but could be included as one of the alternatives by someone who believes in it).

Should conferences be open to opposing views on authenticity? I think so.

Are debates a good idea?  Formal debates?  Roundtables (similar to cable news discussions)? I prefer the latter and think it is a good idea.