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Pseudoscience Again

July 26, 2014

He writes: “From an artistic and anatomical perspective, the shroud image
follows the standard conventions of its time.”

Oh, really?

imageStrange: when the article, Pseudoscience: Great for Business… But Not Much Else!, by Sten Odenwald (pictured), appeared in the Huffington Post Science blog, the top picture was of the Shroud of Turin face with a photo credit to Joseph Eid via Getty Images. That was at 12:06 yesterday. Later, I noticed that the picture has been removed and the blog entry had been updated.

Anyway, that isn’t important. Odenwald opens with a simple paragraph with a list of issues he doesn’t really address:

A quick study of cable TV uncovers numerous programs purporting to use scientific techniques to uncover bizarre twists in history. Although card-carrying archeologists have long-since passed judgment on these ideas and moved on to far more interesting issues, pseudoarcheologists keep these ideas alive because (1) they sell books and bring in sightseers, (2) people are fascinated by the way they represent underdog ideas that "threaten" the establishment, (3) most people have no clue what scientific research is really all about, and (4) people view all scientists as equivalent experts on a given topic.

He then goes on to discuss the Kensington Rune Stone, supposedly carved in America by the Knights Templar; the Newberry Tablet; America’s so-called Stonehenge; the Grave Creek Stone; the Sinaia lead plates (that is Sinaia, Romania not to be confused with the Sinai) and, of course, the Shroud of Turin. He writes:

In 1988 a radiocarbon-dating test was performed on small samples of the shroud. The samples dated from the Middle Ages, between 1260 and 1390. From an artistic and anatomical perspective, the shroud image follows the standard conventions of its time. The artistic errors are so severe that it is impossible for it to be the image of an actual human body. Writes Gregory S. Paul, "Exceptionally tall for his time and place [over 6 feet], his rather narrow head was so shrunken and low browed that it would have indicated a unique form of hypocephaly so serious it would have impaired his mental function."

The apples and oranges comparison is amateurish. The Gregory S. Paul article, to which he refers, appeared on The Secular Web in 2010 and is significantly based on naïve and mistaken proportion peculiarities and contains this pseudoscientific gem:

Since the cloth is a proven fraud all attempts to show otherwise are at best misguided and gullible, and perhaps fraudulent.

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