"Just the facts, ma’am."
1) I was buttonholed outside the ballroom where the conference was taking place. I don’t remember the exact conversation that took place. This is what I can reconstruct from what I remember:
“The facts are not in dispute,” the conferee said, suggesting that I was doing a disservice to the public by allowing facts to be questioned.
“Which facts? Which list of facts are we talking about?” I wanted to know.
“Certainly, not Fanti’s list,” he said.
Point made? I think so.
2) During the only truly skeptical-of-authenticity presentation, Speculations On The 14th Century Origins Of The Turin Shroud by Joe Accetta, someone leaned over and whispered,”Joe was part of STURP, he should know that [wood block printing with iron gall ink] won’t work because there is no image under the bloodstains. He knows the facts.”
3) Overheard during breakfast: “Everyone is entitled to their own opinions but not their own facts’. Really? See the posting Everyone’s Own Facts published on this blog June 20th, this year.
4) Also overheard during breakfast (same person): “If you want facts stay away from Porter’s blog.”
5) Oh, by-the-way: Sgt. Friday never said those words in the TV show. No, really, that is factually incorrect! Those words are from a movie staring Tom Hanks and Dan Aykroyd.
Therefore, it was refreshing to hear Bruno Barberis, in his paper, The Future Of Research On The Shroud, call for re-examination of factual information. Here are a few of items that I quickly jotted down:
- Iron concentrations at different places on the shroud, image and non-image areas, bloodstains, etc.
- Presence of proteins at different places on the shroud
- Oxidation and dehydration origins and characteristics
- Aragonite traces
- Pollen identification
- Confirm that there is no image under the bloodstains
- New and expanded analysis of the bloodstains
My notes are inadequate, but you get the idea. Oh, by-the-way, Barberis pointed out that the STURP results should be the starting point. In other words . . .
And Professor Barberis didn’t hold out much hope that this would happen soon. “I’m not the pope,” he said. And he doubted that he would be the next pope.
I think I should do what I started before and didn’t finish: discuss the facts that are out there in the public mind. Maybe I should tackle one fact a day for weeks and weeks.