Home > Paper Chase, St Louis 2014 > Should a St. Louis Conference Paper be Withdrawn?

Should a St. Louis Conference Paper be Withdrawn?

January 23, 2015

Please, somebody who was there, tell me you noticed!

imageA reader wanted to know if I had seen Hugh Farey’s comment about Jeffrey Skurka’s presentation?  No, I had not. 

Should it not be withdrawn?, he or she wondered.

Well, now I have read it. And I read, as well, Piero’s comment referenced by Hugh (which is reproduced below). Well done, Piero!

First, here is Hugh’s comment:

Piero, you appear to be absolutely correct. I cannot be sure what the “measured age” of 106.8+/- 0.6% refers to, but the comment “reported result indicates an age of post 0 BP” means that the book was found to have been made after 1950, which is, by convention 0 BP.

The page on the [right] of slide 83 of Sturka’s presentation is a general Explanation Sheet, which shows how a normal test is calibrated. it takes, for example, a date of 2400 +/- 60 BP, and shows how it correlates, on the chart below, to a calendar date of 530 BC to 390 BC. Presumably the same sheet accompanied every report the Dating Company made. In a feat of quite staggering incompetence, Jeffrey Skurka has

1) assumed that the illustration on the Explanation Sheet actually refers to the radiocarbon test report itself,

2) assumed that a calculated radiocarbon date of 2400 BP in fact means a calendar date of 2400 AD.

At the 2014 conference where he presented this, there were a number of very distinguished, and very experienced physicists, who might have been looking out for evidence of a 2400 AD radiocarbon dating result having read about it in the abstract beforehand.

Please, somebody who was there, tell me you noticed!

Noticed?  With 112 PowerPoint charts attempted in half an hour? Strange topics like spontaneous human combustion and shrunken skulls?  High-speculation and the paranormal posing as science? I don’t think anyone was paying attention anymore by chart 83.  I wondered if we even saw chart 83? If so, what was said? I could go to the tape (see the 32 minute mark of what was a 40 minute talk – we did see it) but that isn’t the real question. The real question is should this presentation stand?

Here is what I think before a second cup of morning coffee:

  1. Jeffrey should fix the mistake and resubmit his presentation.
  2. In the meantime, shroud.com should withdraw the paper and not at the next update cycle, but now. Simply annotating the list of papers is insufficient in that search engines don’t pick up warnings that way.
  3. The YouTube of the presentation should similarly be withdrawn by Shroud University.
  4. The conference program, still online, should be annotated with the fact that the paper contains a serious mistake and that it has been withdrawn pending correction.

Too harsh?  Too embarrassing?  Unnecessary?

Here is Piero’s comment that deals with more than just the above problem:

Here I want to consider another time the following questionable statement
(taken from the words by Siefker) :
>The body image would lose its optical properties, a result of alignment being lost
over time possibly just by moving the cloth through earth’s magnetic field
such as when the cloth is being transported.
(“The Enigma of the Apparent Age of the Shroud of Turin … etc. …”, slide 67 of 112)

because, in my opinion, this is a too vague hypothesis …
Where is the true proof on linen fibrils ?
Where are inherent experiments or useful references ?

Yesterday I didn’t consider the questions:
What were the exact conditions during the transport of the relic to/from Montevergine (Avellino)?
Who was the responsible about the (possible) photographic controls?

But I believe that I answered to the following question:
Where are the exact comparisons on inherent images?

because I indicated as irrelevant the possible comparison
and this was due to the inherent (probable) small magnitude
for the presumed effects…
— — —
Here the last phrase (of the same slide):
>Also, until confirmed the body image should be protected from any extraneous
magnetic fields such as magnets and electrical transformers.

So …
Which kind of magnetic fields were present during controls of 1978
(and subsequent “manipulations”)?

Another strange thing = slide 65 of 112 :
“The Resurrection Event” = “The electric current is running along
the threads of the linen cloth and normal to the surface
as is the magnetic field …”
In normal conditions electric current doesn’t run along
threads of linen because linen is an insulating material.
So, Siefker had not specified in a clear manner what
were these particular conditions.
In short, there is not this useful explanation…
Here the last curious thing.
Observing the document that appears on the slide 83 of 112
we can read:
Measured C14 age = 106.8 (and then this is not 2400 !)
Then : near 100 years old = “modern”… as you can easily read in that paper.
Perhaps that result was a “good approximation” for radiocarbon dating a modern book…
On the other side (see at right side of this slide) there was only a simple explanation about the Dendro-Calibration
( = Calibration of Radiocarbon Age to Calendar Years…) with an example…
Am I wrong in my conclusion?
I hope in your attention…

Categories: Paper Chase, St Louis 2014
  1. January 23, 2015 at 1:30 pm

    No, don’t withdraw it. It happened. I don’t like rewriting history, and as I have said before, I think it is important to review every idea about the shroud on its merits, and not pretend it doesn’t exist. So we looked at David Roemer’s Gnostics idea, Stephen Jones’s Russian spies, and Vincent Ruello’s angled screen negatives, to name but a few. An idea that is not openly available, discussed and approved or discredited tends to fester. The trouble with Skurka’s mistake is that it is not just a slip of the pen or minor oversight (goodness knows I make enough of those myself, even on this very blog), but one of the cornerstones of Skurka’s neutron emission hypothesis, which he has been working on since before 1998, when this book cover was tested. Do we really think he didn’t look carefully enough at his evidence to notice such a basic mistake? Do we think his indeterminate picture of a pile of ashes and a few burnt bedsprings really shows a shrunken skull? (I notice he shows the picture in his presentation but simply mumbles “Kind of a picture. It’s very blurry. I couldn’t get a good one.”) And what happened with his X-ray film? Was there any kind of control – don’t all ashes or bits of dirt scattered on an X-ray film produce the same kind of picture? Maybe Skurka will respond to Joe with satisfactory replies, but I can’t say I’m holding my breath with anticipation.

  2. Dan
    January 23, 2015 at 2:51 pm

    Corrected papers are often published. It should include the word “Corrected” under or above the title on the title page and a brief explanation should be offered at the end of the paper.

    Roemer’s Gnostic speculations, Jone’s conspiracy theory and Ruello’s made up discoveries in science were not conference reports nor would they have been. The problem is that conference papers are often treated as though they were (in a sense) peer reviewed. A citation study might be very revealing.

    Papers like this, when not called out, reflect on the entire community of researchers. I’d like to see Jeffrey have a chance to make corrections. If not, at the very least, archive sites should provide notices.

  3. January 23, 2015 at 5:52 pm

    Papers may be corrected but not videos. I have no plans to take it down. I can add a correction if need be to the metadata that describes the video.

  1. April 16, 2015 at 4:42 am
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