Posting For a Slow News Day

Psychosis set in when the radiocarbon dating results for the Shroud of Turin were
announced, or when the due date of the Mayan apocalypse came and went.

imageIt is about apophenia and pareidolia: the short essay, Beware of the Man in the Ashtray by Neels Blom appearing in Business Day (BDlive of South Africa). Well, no, not really. It is about politics. Well, no, not really. Well maybe if you lived in South Africa you might think so.

Oh, did I mention the Shroud of Turin is mentioned. But it is not about that.  Fly fishing? Pluto?

It is entertaining. And if is very well written. And it is not an essay. It’s and Op Ed. That’s enough.

By-the-way, we’ve discussed apophenia and pareidolia many times in the blog (those are links to pages in this blog). We discussed fishing once.  Well, no, not really.

13 thoughts on “Posting For a Slow News Day”

  1. Dan I wish you had discussed falsely NEGATIVE optical illusions in terms of embedded informations and datas, which you haven’t (or cannot?). Reminder: an optical illusion is not ipso facto a false POSITIVE (I think I see what is not really there), it can be a false NEGATIVE too (I think I don’t see A CAT that is really there).

  2. Does that include cat-fish? As it’s Slow News day, I trust the summer fishing is OK in South Carolina, but if it’s trout you’re after, check out our Lake Taupo in the middle of the North Island. I see it’s just 11 deg C in Johannesburg, about the average sort of temperature we see in Invercargill in our extreme south, although Wellington has dropped below that over the last month of our mid-winter.

    Neels Blom has an amusing style of writing, but I guess you’d need to be South African to pick up the satire, Jacob Zuma in the detritus of an ash-tray? Well, that’s a variation from the pictures one sees in toast. There’s a story about an Irish-man whose toast landed butter-side up on the floor. Even when the bishop called the Vatican, they couldn’t declare it a miracle, as quite likely he’d buttered it on the wrong side. Slow news, indeed!

  3. Slow news day? Not on my site… Were you aware that STURP’s Robert Bucklin MD, consultant pathologist, was in fact doing his virtual biopsy a year before STURP’s trip to Turin (which Bucklin may or may not have joined, depending on whose account one believes), so was NOT done on the “Shroud” itself but on PHOTOGRAPHS. What’s more, the photographs used were long-in-the-tooth 1931 Enrie negatives, as this video still from David Rolfe’s “Silent Witness” shows, made in 1977 (released in 78) a year before STURP.

    How many people reading Bucklin’s autopsy would realize it was NOT based on the “Shroud” itself, seen in natural colour with his own eyes, but a B/W negative on which he claims to see “wounds” etc and much else besides? One suspects that Bucklin’s “autopsy report for STURP was written well before the STURP descent on Turin, so could not have benefited from the new photography done by Barrie Schwortz, Mark Evans and other documenting photographers, far less the far superior imagery we now have from Durante (2002) on Shroud Scope.

    Given the autopsy relied entirely on ancient photographs, why was ‘true-believer’ Bucklin(his own admission) selected as officlal STURP pathologist? Why weren’t the same photographs sent to other pathologists for their opinion? The more I learn about STURP and its largely self-selected personnel, the less I like.

  4. Actually, until proven otherwise, in the late 70s and early 1980s CE, Bucklin based his TS man’s autopsies from both Enrie’s and Miller’s life sized negative and positive photographs + VP8 image analyser 3D reconstructions (see Bucklin, Robert, M.D., J.D. “The Shroud of Turin: A Pathologist’s Viewpoint.” Legal Medicine Annual, 1981).

    1. How one can take seriously a “mise-en-scène” autopsy for the real thing? Bucklin never studied the TS man’s double bloodied body imprint just for the time of a 10 minutes’ film sequence! Are PHPL and CB really that naive? Bucklin wrote a research paper on 1981, i.e. three years after the 1978 STURP expedition. Shall I repeat, until proven otherwise, in the late 70s and early 1980s CE, Bucklin based his TS man’s autopsies from both Enrie’s and Miller’s life sized negative and positive photographs + VP8 image analyser 3D reconstructions.

  5. “The imprint on the burial cloth represents the body of an adult male, 71 inches in height
    and weighing an estimated 160 to 170 pounds.”

    “Height is estimated at between 5 ft. 9 in. and 5 ft. 11 in. (175-180 cm), weight at 165-180 lb. (75-81 kg), and age at 30 to 45 years.”

    “Lorenzo Ferri, for example, reported that the body image was 186cm (74 inches); Father Peter Wayland estimated the height to be 71.4 inches when he measured the French Commission enlargements [but his print was 3.5 inches shorter than the real thing which] would afford a height of 72.5 inches.”

    “An anatomist, Dr Luigi Gedda, arrived at a measurement of 72 inches during the private exposition of the Shroud at Montevirgine in 1946. Both Dr Giovanni Judica-Cordiglia estimated the height of the man in the Shroud to be 70 inches.”

    “The height of the Man, 174 ± 2 cm, was therefore measured with different techniques and the
    results obtained were compared with the anthropometric indices derived from bibliography.”

    “I determined the height to be 5’11½” to 6’1″, give or take 1″ for linen stretch and shrinking, both of which are possible.”

    So, that’s: 180.3, 175-180, 186, 184.1, 182.9, 177.8, 172-176, 181.6-185.4 (± 2.5), and a range of 14cm.

    Experts, that’s who I trust!

    1. Mean value of the various heights that Hugh lists is 180.50 cm, standard deviation of 4.26 cm, a variation of 2.36%. The variations might be explained by changes in the length of the cloth as a result of unrolling and re-rolling, together with small errors in photo enlargement, and individual variations in photo processing. Possibly a more significant cause could well be the effect of the bent knees of the TSM, with its impact on height estimates, either over- or under-estimating the effect, or possibly even a failure to recognise the effect.

      For an appreciation of this effect, check out the bronze statue by sculptor Luigi Mattei. Google on “Luigi Mattei bronze statue shroud”, check ‘Images’ . Several of his other works can also be seen, but included in the images are several photos of his statue based on his geometrical studies of the Shroud, also the VP-8 imagery, all from different viewing angles.

  6. I want to underline something about Carl Sagan
    (a phrase written by him, taken as a sort of
    an “Ipse dixit”…) and the Shroud …

    >Carl Sagan suggested pareidolia is not a psychosis
    but an innate human tendency necessary for survival.
    >In The Demon-Haunted World, he wrote: “As soon as
    the infant can see, it recognises faces, and we now know
    that this skill is hardwired in our brains. … etc. … etc. …

    “ON THE WATER: Beware the face of the man in the ashtray
    by Neels Blom, July 27, 2015, 06:30”

    — —
    >…As an example, he recounts an encounter he had with a cab driver in which the driver asserted a belief in a variety of somewhat silly ideas: frozen extraterrestrials, channeling, Nostradamus’s prophecies, astrology, the Shroud of Turin, and so on. In each case Sagan had to point out that the driver’s belief was almost certainly misplaced, primarily because the evidence supporting those beliefs was lacking. …


    Ipse dixit.
    >Ipse dixit, Latin for “he himself said it”, is a term used to identify and describe a sort of arbitrary dogmatic statement, which the speaker expects the listener to accept as valid.
    >The fallacy of defending a proposition by baldly asserting that it is “just how it is” distorts the argument by opting out of it entirely: the claimant declares an issue to be intrinsic, and not changeable. …

    — —
    So, in my opinion, in “The Demon-Haunted World”,
    Sagan simply wrote a false statement about the Shroud…
    Then, we still have to check the truth, another time
    (using the adequate instruments and
    avoiding destructive approaches!).
    — —
    At the end… I suggest you to read Paul Grice
    (= philosophical logic, divergences and conversation…).


  7. When it comes to the height of the TS man recorded on a 3:1 herringbone twill linen planar surface and estimated on different displays, points in time and techniques, it is not at all surprising it can vary from 174cm-182cm in average depending on the real field of expertise of each expert. This the main disagreement as far as medical forensic is concerned.

    Don’t archsceptics make too much of it to misleadingly dismiss all the anatomo-pathological datas that tell out the shroud wrap a real corpse/body, most likely of a crucifixion victim who was severely flogged, crowned with ferocious thorns, nailed, sidewounded.

    Reminder: in less than 3,5 years CB –who repeatedly claims to be an expert in biochemistry and chemistry– have had several most contradictory theories to account for the TS image and each time it was a scientific and archeaological dead-end not to say total flop (no bloodstain recorded at all, very remotely reminiscent object/body imprints). Most curiously, CB is Hugh’s main expert for TS image formation process!

  8. Max:

    Y luego leemos que las imágenes obtenidas por Nickel, Garlaschelli, etc,etc, son CASI INDISTINGUIBLES de las de la Sabana Santa.

    ¿Pareidolia o “empanada mental”?


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