An Apology to Colin Berry. And Some Comments.

imageColin Berry writes on his site:

No Dan Porter, I am not a small boy playing with flour, and your continued attempts to infantilize do you no credit whatsoever. Nor does your attempt to block free speech. Nor does your tolerance of trolls on that site of yours who specialize in making character attacks.

Go boil your head, Dan Porter. I’m heartily sick of you and your tedious popgun attacks, 

Since I offended you Colin, I apologize. I have removed the picture from the blog posting. It was not my intention to insult you with the picture. No one, as I imagined it, would think you are like a small boy playing with flour. In fact, I’ve been intrigued by your experiments and have said so. I was merely injecting a bit of humor into the posting, or so I thought.

Sometimes I use a picture to make a point.  I did so long ago with a picture of Don Quixote attacking a windmill because that is how I saw what you were doing at the time. You have repeatedly expressed your displeasure about that picture. In that case I said nothing. The picture was an editorial stance no different than my use of an ostrich with his head in the sand to characterize Stephen Jones’ comment that he doesn’t know about some of the shroud news because he will not look at my blog and has not done so since May. 

You say I am trying to block free speech. No, I’m not. You have made 1,461 comments in this blog (18 after you switched to another ISP).  I have discarded 2 comments by you and edited the contents of another 6. All but one were because of insults.  One that I discarded had the single word ‘bye’ in it and was redundant. I will put that one back.  I have periodically pre-moderated your comments when you started dishing out excessively insulting remarks and then opened up comments again usually in a day or two.

People have left this blog because of insults. They have mentioned you.  I have tried to stick to some principles. Anyone should be able to comment. Right now, I have a list of 4 people who are blacklisted because they have trolled the site, been excessively insulting to others or used excessively anti-Catholic rhetoric.  You are not on that list.

This blog is not a public blog. Even so, I try to be fair, balanced and accommodating to everyone.  But, like a newspaper, I don’t have to publish every letter to the editor. Is that blocking free speech?  No, it is not. Not good enough? Well . . . you do have that corner in Hyde Park and you have your blogs.

There are no trolls on this site “who specialize in making character attacks.”  And this is a picture of me boiling my head.

29 thoughts on “An Apology to Colin Berry. And Some Comments.”

  1. CB besmirched Rogers and STURP. He insulted everone involved with the St. Louis Conference He mocked the Enea scientists. He expects respect. Why?

    1. Somebody needs to learn the difference between being insulting and taking severely to task.

      No, I don’t expect respect, but neither do I take kindly to being made the target for cheap shots and gratuitous insults

      Just stick to the facts, OK? it’s the facts that are in contention. Like where is Rogers’ starch and saponins? Like why were no questions permitted to speakers at the St;Louis pseudo-conference? Like why didn’t ENEA deploy bog standard physics and chemistry before resorting to uv excimer lasers, before invoking supernatural intervention? “Scientists” you say?

      It’s to do with issues, serious, grown-up issues that need to be addressed, to do with science v pseudo-science, not personalities. Oh and why will this comment be pre-moderated given this blogger sticks to the issues, and while guilty of occasional indiscretions does NOT make character attacks?

      For me, it’s free speech or nothing, not here at any rate.

      1. Rogers starch has been detected first by McCrone and then, Rogers himself independently confirmed the presence of this substance, which, in his mind, is the main product that composed the thin and uneven layer of carbohydrate impurities that has been colored during the image formation process. You, Fanti and all the others who know that your own image formation hypotheses do not fit with a chromophore located in that kind of impurity layer can say what you want… That will never change the FACT that starch deposits (and also pectin deposits found by Adler) have been found on image fibers. This FACT alone is enough to consider Rogers’ hypothesis for the chromophore as the most probable. And if one day this kind of chromophore is confirmed, this will put your own hypothesis for image formation, as well as a bunch of supernatural hypotheses to the garbage for good. I hope to see this day coming before my death. ;-)

      1. That’s in fact the very type of comment to which I take such exception Paulette. It’s troll talk (noting your deployment of that term of endearment “fake”).

        Let’s not mince our words, Paulette. You’re making a covert character attack. I say there is nothing fake about me, and folk who know me better than you do will I hope concur. If you think there is, then go on, spell it out. State chapter and verse. Deliver your damning indictment. Be my guest. Make my day.

        “Answer questions”? What questions? Ask some questions, Paulette, and I will endeavour to answer them. But I suspect your choice of questions will tell us more about you than my (truthful) answers will about me. I’m an open book Paulette. Some say it’s my chief weakness. Can you say the same?

  2. Your last answer:
    “In a word, temperature. Content yourself with that. Bye troll.”

    a- “in a word, temperature” is not an answer, just read your post, it was all about temperature, the “other grounds” are obviously not temperature or it does not make sense

    b- “content yourself with that” arrogant, following a non answer, easy fake way out

    c- “bye troll” redundant bye, and explicit, systematic, character attack “troll”

    And you’re still complaining and attacking?

    I’m signing off this thread, seriously.

    1. My answer was brief for the reason I have stated many times previously – I do not feed trolls. You are a troll, anoxie, as your present behaviour demonstrates, and you are now running away because I have blown the whistle on you.

      I have thought and written a great deal about the huge temperature response (in relative terms) of Maillard reactions in the region of 50-55 degrees Celsius (yet considerably greater than those that could pertain to post-mortem putrefaction). Yesterday I discovered a paper by a Dutch food scientist who agrees with me that Maillard reactions in that range of temperature are probably under thermodynamic, not kinetic control as was presumed by Ray Rogers. (but then he was never exposed to the realm of thermodynamic control, working as he was with metastable high explosives). Yet you in your typical fashion allude in an insulting fashion to that long and detailed analysis of mine with a derisory one- liner, and then try to set Thibault Heimburger against me, despite his reservations having only peripheral relevance to temperature.

      That is simply not good enough anoxie. You must argue a case, instead of appearing here intermittently as you do, simply to hurl abuse – and then running off.

    1. I repeat. Ask a question, making your meaning clear. Do so without working in your customary insult, and I will endeavour to reply.

      If you cannot bring yourself to do that, then send your question(s) to Dan Porter and I will forward my response to him.

    1. OK. then re-phrase it to make it totally transparent. Don’t assume everyone has a photographic memory for what was written months or even years ago.

    1. Even now, having asked that anoxie makes clear the question I’m supposed to be answering but allegedly evading, she simply gives a link to another posting, and expects me to know immediately what is expected of me. Sorry, anoxie, I am not a mind reader.

      I think I may know what’s bugging her. It’s to do with a posting I did over 2 years ago, and the awkwardness that arose when Thibault Heimburger chose to express his thoughts here on this site, rather than mine where the posting appeared. Dan Porter was less than happy with the way I dealt with the situation, and referred to “netiquette”.

      I for my part felt that as the originator of new content, I should not be summoned to another site in order to answer questions. I too have a legitimate interest in website rankings and visibility on search engines.

      Here’s a link to Thibault’s posting, as I say, over 2 years ago.

      If my hunch is correct, if it’s events from the past that anoxie regards as ‘unfinished business’ then she should simply pinpoint the particular scientific point that bothers her, and I’ll do my best to respond (here!).

  3. “Even now, having asked that anoxie makes clear the question I’m supposed to be answering but allegedly evading, she simply gives a link to another posting, and expects me to know immediately what is expected of me. Sorry, anoxie, I am not a mind reader.”

    Let me see… click on the link, re read the question (it appears just above your answer…):

    ”There’s more I could say – on the role of chemical kinetics – on why I think that a Maillard reaction is a complete non-starter, not just in thermodynamic terms, but on a host of other grounds- but writing this has been draining.”

    “Please, could you be more specific regarding the other grounds on which a Maillard reaction is a complete non-starter?”

    “In a word, temperature. Content yourself with that. Bye troll.”

    I’m feeling free to ask questions, feel free to answer or not. Re read your post, you’ve been talking largely about temperature, Thibault’s answer was about temperature, then if the “other grounds” why a Maillard reaction is a complete non-starter are temperature, it makes definitely no sense.

    1. OK. Here’s a quick checklist reply to those questions.

      Problems with the Rogers’ hypothesis:

      1. There’s been no definitive evidence that I’m aware of for an even coating of starch capable of giving a homogeneous image. All we have is spot test evidence, and even that is unconvincing when it relies on reagents intended for other tests (like iodine/azide reagent for sulpho-proteins).

      2. Even if there were that even coating of starch, that does not provide the reducing sugars required for a Maillard reaction. Referring to “starch fractions” or “dextrins” is hardly helpful. Each starch fragment would supply only one reducing aldehydic end group, and what is the agent that is miraculously breaking up the starch into an amenable population of short fragments?

      3.. There’s no strong grounds fore thinking that a corpse would produce decomposition amines in so uniform a distribution as to produce a homogenous image.

      4. There are all the problems of expecting amine vapours to produce images across air gaps, requiring all kinds of qualifying assumptions about short diffusion paths, laminar flow etc..

      5. Imaging of hair is problematical. The notion that hair would “trap” amines from the skin at high concentration is less than convincing.

      6. Maillard reactions are favoured by high temperature. generally the higher the better. It’s not simply a matter of kinetics, where a 10 degrees C rise in temperature generally doubles the rate of reaction. At the maximum temperatures that one can envisage in a rock tomb the rates of reaction between amines and.or proteins and reducing sugars is minuscule, so when one reads that a 10 degree rise gives far more than a doubling of rate, that is meaningless if the rate is negligible. It also suggests the reaction is not under simple kinetic control (see wiki entry on kinetic v thermodynamic control), and is slow due to marginal feasibility in energetic terms. Why is the system so sensitive to small increases in temperature (while having negligible effect on yield)? Answer: because the system is probably under thermodynamic instead of (or in addition to) kinetic control. Maillard reactions are barely feasible at low temperature due to unfavourable Gibbs free energy change, which is probably due to unfavourable order/disorder (entropy) change. Yes, this para is long, because the concept are tricky, and are still the subject of model-building requiring detailed knowledge of reaction pathways and higher mathematics.

      7. While glucose is not the most reactive of the reducing sugars in model Maillard reactions with ammonia, casein etc, and while pentose sugars perform better, as Thibault Heimburger has pointed out, that’s hardly relevant if (a) the absolute rates of reaction are still tiny, giving negligible yields, say at 50-55 degrees C, i.e. a highly optimistic scenario. and (b) there is no obvious source of those 5 carbon sugars, except by invoking the presence of saponins, say, (also highly conjectural, indeed agenda-driven speculation) and supposing there is some means for degrading those pentosan polymers to their individual monosaccharide sugars.

      Complex scenario? These points are merely the tip of an iceberg if the aim is to produce a recognizable negative image of a 6 foot individual on both frontal and dorsal surfaces, with no hints anywhere of sides or top of head. In short, the TS image is too stylized to have arisen as a fortuitous set of physical, chemical and biological circumstances. If it had happened once, with near-perfect outcome, one would have expected to see in numerous other situations involving shroud-enveloped corpses. maybe with a less perfect outcome, but the stuff of folk lore all the same.

      1. Thank you for answering.

        Debating here again would be endless, i would simply note that a sound basis to deal with his theory is the link on the right side. I’ve largely expressed my views on it.

        1. Laminar flow? We’ve tried to clarify Rogers’ views more than two years ago, and still talking of laminar flow? I may also add my contributions were a total waste of time.

          Just an example.

  4. Colin wrote “Like why were no questions permitted to speakers at the St;Louis pseudo-conference?”

    We’ve been over this before. You are trying to make it look like it was a control issue. I explained to you that there were so many accepted papers that there wasn’t time for question and answers. I also let everyone know that the conference site has a discussion forum in which there can be an ongoing discussion between the presenters and the attendees/public. Only a few questions and answers can even be done after a presentation so the forum has an advantage over the onsite forum. You made a point of saying you wouldn’t dream of having a conference without having questions and answers. I’ll say again what I said in one of my postings: it wasn’t your conference. And let me repeat again that with the conference site openly showing what was to take place, we had 162 people from 8 countries. Take a hint. People aren’t concerned that you consider it a pseudo-conference. Frankly, by saying again after my postings that no questions were permitted, you come across as someone who has an axe to grind, and you will win few people to your side.

  5. If one had a burning question(s) for a speaker, such a format doesn’t preclude one from finding the speaker & directly asking them-it wasn’t as though the speakers were whisked away & quarantined immediately afterwards. Most/all of them could be easily found in the lounge/lobby area at various times, alone, or in small groups. Another approach would be to simply stake out the cookie table in the back. Debate/discussion doesn’t always necessitate a microphone, it can occur on many levels.

    1. To you and others on this thread, Kelly (especially JoeM and DavidG) the issue is no longer about my views of conferences where there’s no provision for conferring (except in private). It’s about my right to have expressed my view on the matter not only when the ‘no conferring’ details were first announced many moons ago but after the event was over, all the participants were back home, when Dan Porter was describing the ecstatic response to one particular OTT paper involving magical neutrons and posting a big Thank You here to the ‘conference’ organizer. To say the response to my criticism, admittedly scathing on two separate grounds (the type of papers permitted, the lack of any formal opportunity to lodge a protest against pseudo-science), was ferocious is an understatement. Dan Porter condemned me in no uncertain terms, stating that my using his Thank You posting to say what I did would be remembered here with resentment or a long long time. (Odd. I thought this was an open-to-all forum, not a tight family circle). In other words the issue is or was no longer about the reasonableness or otherwise of my views, but my right to express them when and where I did.

      So it’s NOT about St.Louis anymore (and no, David, I would not have attended even if there had been Discussion slots, there being much else about the ‘look’ of the thing, notably the begging-the-question title, that frankly I found a bit of a turn-off). It’s now about free speech. It’s only re-appearing now because I have become aware of a big chill that took tangible form, like having my comments pre-moderated for no good reason that I could see. Then came the appearance of the child at play graphic which was the last straw (having been thus portrayed on at least one previous occasion) so I thank Dan for the apology and its removal.

      The pre-moderation has been lifted, but I sense that the embargo on free speech remains, that this site has invisible red lines that one crosses at one’s peril. There is also the tolerance shown towards one or two contributors who have set me and other sceptics up as hate figures, and who have slipped into a troll like modus operandi. One sometimes wonders if they are capable of seeing themselves as other do.

      Repeat: it’s about free speech – a non-negotiable right in my view when it’s confined to issues, including those that some may resent being raised, who see it as criticism of their views and actions (which it may be, but without being ad hom). ‘Free speech’ only become problematical when it’s an obsession with particular individuals for what they are perceived to represent (anti-authenticity spoilers?) making it near-impossible to engage in calm debate on matters of technical detail.

      At the risk of stating the obvious: this retired biochemist is only here for the science, real science, the untainted curiosity- driven as distinct from the narrative or agenda-driven fixated variety. I frankly fail to see why I should make the slightest effort to conceal my strong dislike of anything that smacks of narrative -driven science, or even my total loathing of agenda-driven pseudo-science. (Example, just one that some here will resent being articulated: Ray Rogers was a fine chemist, but he went spectacularly off the scientific rails with his first allusion to Pliny and starch/saponin impurity coatings. As a STURP team -leader he was supposed to be probing claims re authenticity v non-authenticity – not taking one or other side while still seen post 1982 as a spokesman for STURP).

      Pseudo-science, unchecked, damages the reputation of real science. It’s called guilt by association.

      1. Well articulated. I’d only add that the Shroud is not simply a science matter but also a history matter and an art matter. These realms are much more subjective and can be vexing when mixed with the science. For a person who prefers pure science it will indeed appear as pseudo-science. But it isn’t necessarily.

        There is the possibility that the science could reach a definite conclusion about the Shroud and still be wrong. Say what, Dave? The C14 tests may be accurate — but because we do not know everything of the Shroud’s history there is the possibility that something has altered the materials and thus the C14.

        This may be highly improbable, but it is not impossible and thus not unscientific to explore that avenue. Much the same way it is improbable leeches were used to bloody the Shroud, but not impossible, and therefore not unscientific for someone like yourself to explore it.

        I have no problem with any ‘researcher’ theorizing whatever they can imagine about the Shroud. Quantum physics, lazers, time distortions, Maillard, scorches, etc. The Shroud is a huge question mark and at this point the image formation is open to all possibilities. What matters is the logic of the explanation of the theory and what proofs the person gives to explain why they still see it as a possibility.

        There is too much certainty in the tone of too many folks around here. On both sides of the debate. Perhaps that is where faith has taken over — whether they realize it or not.

        1. OK David, a well-balanced comment as ever. But in my defence, I don’t ever recall having rounded on the Wilsons, Freemans etc. despite strong reservations from time to time about some of their views, whether pro- or anti-authenticity. I’m usually too enthralled by their skill with words to do that.

          Here’s a list of my prime targets these last 3 years: Paolo Di Lazzaro, Guilio Fanti, Raymond N.Rogers RIP, Alan D.Adler RIP. John Jackson, August Accetta, Thibault Heimburger …

          Notice anything?

Comments are closed.