If this snippet of a comment by realseekerministry isn’t the nicest thing anyone has said about STURP scientists in a long time, I don’t know what is:
. . . despite the constant uninformed complaints of fundy lay Atheists and Shroud skeptics that the STURP scientists are somehow violating scientific methodology by allegedly secretly believing the Shroud to be authentic prior to their investigations, from what I’ve learned from some of the top scientists in human history, I’d say that Pro-Shroud researchers fit right in with some of the best and brightest scientific minds in human history in terms of how they formulated their scientific ideas and hypotheses about the Shroud of Turin!
No argument here. I secretly believed this all along. Bright minds, yes. But the conclusions in the 1981 summary, which got this whole narrative going, had been questioned by bright minds too, some of them also STURP scientists including Rogers. My take is that some facts like the chemical nature of the chromophore and the superficiality of the image should not be called facts at this time because of Ray Rogers and Colin Berry, at least.
I did not mean to launch a discussion about the philosophy of science. I had only meant to criticize a characterization of the image as being so thin that it could be scraped off with a razon blade — and I think I was warranted in doing so. Paolo Di Lazzaro seemed to stretch and bend this a bit and suggested that journalists were at fault because they could not understand a summary written for them by STURP scientists. Paolo had written:
In fact, the STuRP summary was the “translation” made to be understood by journalists of an extreme summary of dozens of articles already published in scientific journals. Obviously, in the summary some important things are lost, but the fault lies not with the STuRP scientists, rather with the journalists who do not know the basics of chemistry, physics, biology but quietly talk about them as if they were experts. If one wishes to “call the chemical nature of the chromophore a fact” he/she has to study basics of chemistry and physics of materials, and then read the above quoted papers. Most questions find an answer (or partial answer) in the STuRP papers.
But if these journalists who could not understand a summary had read a bunch of scientific papers then maybe they would have also read a 2002 paper by Rogers and some blogging by Berry. And I should have kept quiet. I’m beginning to think that the only thing we know for sure we can call factual, is that the Shroud has stains and an image of a person on it.
BTW, I really enjoyed the discussion. Didn’t Feynman also say that the “philosophy of science is as useful to scientists as ornithology is to birds?”
Thanks for posting this and deeming my thoughts worthy of a Blog on your site; I’m glad that you enjoyed my take on your end as I tried to bring a different perspective than is typical in Shroud debates. I also just want to say that I was not meanign that I thought you were a “fundy lay Atheist and Shroud Skeptic” as obviously you’ve researched the Shroud evidence from both sides quite a bit, I was more referring to the lazy type claims whereby people just dismiss the Shroud as pseudo-science and religious nonsense without ever putting the effort in to research and make up their own minds based on the evidence itself- I encountered this quite a bit on my old Podcast series with my Atheist co-host.
So that was more where I was coming from here as your use of Feynman’s false dichotomy between Shroud studies either fitting a religious culture of faith or a scientific culture of doubts seemed a very simplistic and biased way of putting things. To be honest, it doesn’t even make sense, I seriously “doubt” (lol) that Feynman would summarize his life’s work as a scientist as just about his trying to raise “doubts”- no science involves asking probing questions and doubts, sure, but that is hardly the end goal, in the end we want to answer those questions and to quell those doubts as much as is humanly possible.
I appreciate the context of what you were trying to say on your end and that you do indeed agree that the STURP memebers were indeed using sound scientific methodology in formulating their hypotheses, etc. even if in the end you do disagree with some of their conclusions. You highlight issues like Berry’s quesitoning of the Shroud body image “ultra-superficiality” and I do agree that there is room for reasonable doubt (though I think Hugh Farey does a great job in the comments of your Blog on this responding to Berry’s objections). So, I’d still hold to the superficiality as what I call a “MRF” (stands for “Minimal Relevant Feature” whereby my approach to Shroud studies is similar to my friend Gary Habermas’ “Minimal Facts Approach” to the historicity of the Resurrection of Jesus (if interested I explain more details on my “MRF” approach in Parts 4 of my own Solo Shroud shows = https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hoYMn0itbVI ). .
Yep, the last quote definately sounds like Feynman and I think he is just saying the obvious point that most scientists don’t consciously engage in philosophical reflection before going about doing their day to day jobs as scientists- no much of the time scientists could do some of the practical stuff on autopilot as it were just as I did when doing the same scientific experiment multiple times in my 7th grade science class.
That said, if more scientists adopted the proper External perspective on the philosophy of science than I do think it would help scientists do better science at the very least in some of the more bombastic claims they make and perhaps it would even help to reduce some of the problems that arise with journalists as Paolo is talking about. Yes jounralists these days always want the big scoop and seem 9 times out of 10 just to want sensational headlines to use as clickbait and that is their fault, however I think I would agree with you (or what I gather is your implied point to Paolo) that scientists also bear some responsiblity not to cater to those journalistic dmeands; dumb things down or simplifying the findings and conclusions for laymen is fine, but not at the expense of truth and knowing that most jounralists will never go into the needed nuances in the lierature of their own accord does place some responsiblity on the scientists to spell out some of those nuances in ways that ordinary people will understand.
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