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?”