Try not to be ‘substandard’ when questioning Sir’s grasp of the facts – to say nothing of his slanted narrative…

“How dare you contradict me, you insolent young fellow you”

Update: 6 November:  I see that mystery man Dan Porter  – someone about whom we know next to nothing  despite his years (decades?) of blogging and Shroudie PR –  has once again copied/pasted an entire posting of “mine”,  well, the  re-formatting  at any rate to make it more reader-friendly than Stephen E. Jones’s  original copy.  Not content with his hallmark brand of genteel piracy (when is he going to say something that is not a rehash of someone else’s work or views?) he works in the usual ‘ad hom’. No, Mr. Porter, I do not over-react to criticism and that “squeal” reference is frankly a cheap shot. I welcome genuine criticism of my views on the Shroud  and indeed factored it in at the outset of my 9 months blogging on that intriguing artefact, especially as I had ‘pseudo-science’ firmly in my sights.  It is ad hominem attacks on an individual – his integrity, his honesty, his character – that I cannot abide. That’s why I no longer comment on your site, since with rare exceptions you allow your true-believer Shroudie regulars  and/or  occasional snipers to engage in  systematic ad hominem comment.

Oh, and my calling Stephen E. Jones a “boil on the bum of the blogosphere” may be a colourful insult, but it is not, repeat NOT, an ad hominem attack.  The man’s hostility, irritability, his tetchiness, his short fuse personality are plain for all to see. I am commenting on a characteristic  of the man that stands in the way of civilized debate. It may surprise you to know that I once wanted to engage more with him, but instead found myself branded (and reported to Blogspot as a “spammer”!) merely for posting comments after being told I had “exceeded my limit”. His real beef was not just my “boil” comment, but my criticism of his then ‘one-comment only’ policy that denied one the right to reply to his reply, so to speak.

On a different subject – beware incoming self-promotion – have visitors to this posting seen my current one: “Can one bottle a scorch image etc”? 

”””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””’

Here’s how “Sir” (my description, but better known as schoolteacher Stephen E Jones) , irritable host of the theshroudofturin.blogspot site, has responded to one “Weaving fan”.  The latter had dared to dispute Jones’s claim that the 3/1 herringbone weave, as per Shroud, was virtually unknown in the medieval era.

(I should perhaps say that what follows is not the actual exchange in real time, but “Sir’s”  tearing into selected passages from one of Weaving Fan’s comments, but with that caveat  is exactly as published on Jones’s site but for a little reformatting).

Weaving fan: ‘A further highly unusual [sic] feature of the Shroud’s linen is the weave itself. … an altogether more complex three-to-one herringbone twill …’
Jones: I regard your putting a “[sic]” in Wilson’s words quoted by me (and therefore my words) as substandard and personally offensive. The only valid excuse would be if Wilson or I made a spelling or grammatical mistake, which we didn’t.

Weaving fan: Ian Wilson, not so far as is known an expert on textiles.

Jones: This is FALLACIOUS. Wilson has spent a LIFETIME studying the Shroud and has met, seen and heard at Shroud conferences, and corresponded with, many “an expert on textiles”. To dismiss what Wilson says about the Shroud’s weave because he is not “an expert on textiles” is also substandard.

Weaving fan:  Compare: Gilbert Raes, renowned expert on ancient textiles: … The type of weave [the herringbone pattern of the Turin Shroud] is not particularly distinctive and does not enable us to determine the period in which it was produced” .

Jones: This is also substandard. As I previously pointed out, Raes was talking about not being able to pinpoint the weave of the Shroud TO THE TIME OF CHRIST. He was not saying that 3:1 herringbone twill weave linen was produced in Europe in the Middle Ages.

Weaving fan: There is nothing particularly special about 3/1 weave which is why it is so widespread, even way back in ancient Egypt and still used by weavers today.

Jones: This is merely an ASSERTION by you. It is also FALLACIOUS. That 3:1 herringbone twill weave is “widespread” TODAY and was known “in ancient Egypt” does not thereby mean it was produced in Europe in the Middle Ages.

Weaving fan: Wilson is misleading here. Remember also that Tite had to find a piece of linen that the owners would allow to be cut up to be used as a CONTROL.

Jones: This is FALSE. The amount of linen needed as a control in the 1988 AMS radiocarbon dating was only the size of a POSTAGE STAMP. So it would NOT mean it would have to be “cut up”. The Shroud is of FAR GREATER value than any individual medieval linen and so the Vatican would never have allowed the Shroud to be C14 dated if that meant it would be “cut up.”

The fact is that Tite of the British Museum could NOT FIND a medieval piece of linen AT ALL which was 3:1 herringbone twill and therefore visually identical to the Shroud, so that the C14 dating labs could not tell which was the Shroud. But if medieval European 3:1 herringbone twill linen was so common as you claim it was, it would have been NO PROBLEM for Tite to obtain a POSTAGE STAMP sized sample of at least ONE of them.

Weaving fan: Wilson seems to imply that there were no similar herringbone cloths around in the Middle Ages. This is not true- it is simply that most are in museums (e.g the Victorian and Albert Museum in London) and can not be cut up to provide a control sample.

Jones: This is FALSE. See above.

As I pointed out above, several aspects of your comment I found to be substandard and even offensive, and so according to my policies it should not have appeared (see below). I only allowed it to appear so that I could further refute your argument.

I used to have a policy for those who like to argue and waste my time by reiterating the same false and substandard arguments:

“Each individual will usually be allowed only one comment under each post. Since I no longer debate, any response by me will usually be only once to each individual under each post.”

This policy was not permanently abolished, but only temporarily relaxed, and is held in reserve by me to invoke whenever I deem it necessary, as I now do.

Therefore you have had your last comment under this post. You are free to comment under other posts on this blog, but if they are similarly substandard they won’t appear.

Stephen E. Jones
———————————–
Comments are moderated. Those I consider off-topic, offensive or sub-standard will not appear. I reserve the right to respond to any comment as a separate blog post.

November 3, 2012 9:06 PM

Postscript:  on the very first occasion I tried to question Stephen E Jones’s grasp of the facts, I was given a brusque dressing-down for exceeding his  previous “one comment only per posting” policy. ( I had not spotted the latter, and would in any case have never imagined such a thing  existed on a blog site inviting comments,  having used Google’s Blogspot myself on and off for some years). When I remonstrated it was  to be  greeted with another waspish tirade.  Being taken aback, I instantly fashioned what I considered an appropriate alliterative response (of which I’m still quite proud) :

“You, Mr. Jones”, I said, “are a boil on the bum of the blogosphere”.

(And if my memory serves me right, it was in a private email – not as a comment)…

His response, then and later, when I tried to submit another factual comment: to report me to Google for “spamming” his site.

Well, having just read the above exchange with the polite and clearly learned “Weaving fan”, I say again to Mr.Stephen E. Jones, a little louder this time:

You, Mr. Uptight Stephen E.Jones, are not just a martinet, but A BOIL ON THE BUM OF THE BLOGOSPHERE!

(I pity those poor pupils of yours in Perth, Australia  who have to suffer your touchiness and ill-temper…)

There’s a upside: I gather Mr. Stephen E(rupting) Jones  is merely a part-timer who covers for staff absences – what we in the UK call a supply teacher.

Oh, and one final thing:  the title of this post makes reference to a “slanted narrative”.  Here’s an egregious example from Jones’s current posting, the one that carries the above exchange. I have applied bold format to the last sentence.

Weave. The cloth’s weave is known as “3 to 1 twill” because each transversal weft thread passes alternatively over three and under one of the longitudinal warp threads[16]. This gives the weave the appearance of diagonal lines which reverse direction at regular intervals to create a herringbone pattern[17]. Such complex herringbone three to one twill weaves are known from antiquity, for example, from Egypt and Syria, but they are not known from the Middle Ages.[18]

“Complex” is a loaded term, needless to say. What’s “complex” about  passing one thread over 3 others, then under one, then over three etc  and reversing every so often.  That’s fiddly, maybe, and a little more labour intensive (while perhaps breaking the monotony for someone at a primitive loom). But it is by no stretch of the imagination  “complex”. And even of it were complex, the end-result is more interesting and attractive than a simpler weave, and is unlikely to have been “uninvented” such as to be “not known” from the Middle Ages. There is always a demand for something that is a little different, a bit more “up-market”.

What one reads  above is not scholarship. It’s  old-fashioned pamphleteering – or mere propaganda to put it bluntly. I for one do not care for propaganda, least of all that which is dressed up as if scholarship, least of all by those who flaunt their university degree  and postgrad diploma, but who then turn suddenly and unexpectedly on their critics, seething with ridicule and contempt, indeed near-incandescent with rage it would appear. Not a pretty sight, Stephen E.Jones BSc (Biol), Grad Dip Ed…

There, somebody had to say it.

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About Colin Berry

Retired science bod, previous research interests: phototherapy of neonatal jaundice, membrane influences on microsomal UDP-glucuronyltransferase, defective bilirubin and xenobiotic conjugation and hepatic excretion, dietary fibre and resistant starch.
This entry was posted in Shroud of Turin and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Try not to be ‘substandard’ when questioning Sir’s grasp of the facts – to say nothing of his slanted narrative…

  1. colinsberry says:

    Here’s an update I have added to this posting – which speaks for itself:

    Update: 6 November: I see that mystery man Dan Porter – someone about whom we know next to nothing despite his years (decades?) of blogging and Shroudie PR – has once again copied/pasted an entire posting of “mine”, well, the re-formatting at any rate to make it more reader-friendly than Stephen E. Jones’s original copy. Not content with his hallmark brand of genteel piracy (when is he going to say something that is not a rehash of someone else’s work or views?) he works in the usual ‘ad hom’. No, Mr. Porter, I do not over-react to criticism and that “squeal” reference is frankly a cheap shot. I welcome genuine criticism of my views on the Shroud and indeed factored it in at the outset of my 9 months blogging on that intriguing artefact, especially as I had ‘pseudo-science’ firmly in my sights. It is ad hominem attacks on an individual – his integrity, his honesty, his character – that I cannot abide. That’s why I no longer comment on your site, since with rare exceptions you allow your true-believer Shroudie regulars and/or occasional snipers to engage in systematic ad hominem comment.

    Oh, and my calling Stephen E. Jones a “boil on the bum of the blogosphere” may be a colourful insult, but it is not, repeat NOT, an ad hominem attack. The man’s hostility, irritability, his tetchiness, his short fuse personality are plain for all to see. I am commenting on a characteristic of the man that stands in the way of civilized debate. It may surprise you to know that I once wanted to engage more with him, but instead found myself branded (and reported to Blogspot as a “spammer”!) merely for posting comments after being told I had “exceeded my limit”. His real beef was not just my “boil” comment, but my criticism of his then ‘one-comment only’ policy that denied one the right to reply to his reply, so to speak.

  2. Patrick Ladegourdie says:

    … Why did the radiocarbon 14 dating test indicate the worst possible results for Shroud of Turin believers ? Because it’s a fake ! Is it not revealing that the date ( 1260–1390 AD )was exactly in accordance with what shroud sceptics had forecasted prior to the testing ? The test result could have indicated any date (radiocarbon dating can accurately estimate the age of carbon-bearing materials of up to about 58000 years), but , it indicated the one and only date that proved that sceptics and historians were right. The medieval repair theory is preposterous as the sample was taken after considerable precaution and it is extremely unlikely that the specialist who took the sample would have made such a blatant mistake. Archaeologist William Meacham has stated that “it is highly questionable that any medieval restorer would have had the skill and/or taken the time to do a re-weaving that would not be immediately obvious to a textile expert and Mechthild Flury-Lemberg, former head of the textile department of the Abegg Foundation in Switzerland and THE reliable source on ancient textiles, who has had FACE TIME with the Shroud, has stated that “invisible reweaving” of the level required to evade STURP microscopes and photography did not exist in the Middle Ages. Furthermore,In 2002, the Holy See had the shroud restored and thirty patches were removed(it’s not a surprise as it was always known that there were indeed some very visible patches on the shroud) and you can be 100% sure that if they had found any patches near the area where the sample was taken, they would have let us know. Case closed.

    Patrick

    • Hugh Farey says:

      “it was always known that there were indeed some very visible patches on the shroud.”
      Are you talking of the burn restorations (after the 16th century fire), or patches more or less contemporaneous with the manufacture and original use of the shroud (ether 1st or 14th or some century inbetween)? If the former, then I don’t know how they would help in identfying the earlier composition of the shroud, and if the latter, then I for one have never heard of them, and never seen any evidence of them. Please let us know more.

    • colinsberry says:

      Hello Patrick. Welcome to the site.

      For my part I try to avoid all those wrangles on the reweaving hypothesis. One quickly gets bogged down with the qualifying assumptions and/or “free-rein to imagination” scenario-recreation that ‘Shroudies’ like to spring on one. (Like Margaret of Austria feeling obliged to make good the damage from having allowed portions to be cut out and given away to other churches, while strangely leaving those pre-1532 “poker holes” unrepaired. Listening to this stuff, one could be forgiven for thinking that some ‘Shroudies’ have a time machine at their disposal on which they can hop on and hop off like a push bike.)

      My answer is a more utilitarian one. There are TWO sides to the Shroud, and the frontal is far more important and photogenic than the dorsal. So why not take multiple random samples from non-image areas of the dorsal side for repeat radiocarbon dating? And if ‘invisible reweaving’ is as good as we are told it is (truly invisible), then rediscover the technology, and make good the damage to that dorsal side after sampling so that no one will ever know afterwards that it had been used for the “definitive” round of tests (circa 2013?) that finally determined the true age of the linen. End of wrangling… 😉

      Think ball, think Turin custodians, think court …

  3. Patrick Ladegourdie says:

    I was talking about the burn restorations.

  4. Patrick Ladegourdie says:

    It’s a pleasure to be on your website Colin.

  5. Hugh Farey says:

    I too am very inclined to accept the C14 results. However, I don’t think it is preposterous to query them, and Ray Rogers made quite a compelling case for his interpretation. However I agree with Colin that the Gordian Knot would best be undone by a new dating, especially as such a small sample is needed nowadays.

  6. colinsberry says:

    Glad to hear you say that Hugh. Of course there are those who say they would reject the results of a new round of testing if they came back with the same answer, citing “contamination”, and claiming there is no clean-up procedure that is guaranteed to separate original from acquired carbon.

    Actually there is, if you see my recent post

    It involves solubilization of the cellulose fibres of the linen in a cuprammonium hydroxide reagent, or one of the alternatives listed, and then regenerating them in a large volume of dilute acid. Strong alkali could be used at some point to ensure removal of lipid and protein. One would expect the re-precipitated cellulose to be highly pure – as could be verified by chemical analysis (it should be 99.9% minimum anhydroglucose). Since there’s no way that new cellulose could be acquired by contamination (other than that crazy decision to wear cotton gloves, but cotton and linen are easily distinguishable under the microscope) then only the most extreme diehard could claim that a modern contaminant was able to survive that kind of ferocious treatment.

    PS Oops. I’m forgetting that new cellulose could have been acquired by our old friend invisible reweaving, but I’m assuming that a new round of testing would take multiple samples selected at random, such that any re-weaving here and there would be detected in a failure to obtain a Gaussian distribution of values tightly clustered about a mean date.

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