Update: 22:00 Monday, my time (see below under ‘Preamble’ for change of format):
One of those regular flyers appeared on Dan Porter’s enigmatic site a few days ago for the Russ Breault travelling road show – you know, the one that brings 200 visual aids to your local church and community relating the enduring Shroud mystery. There was also a bit about ‘Catholic Men’s Society” , which admits fathers and sons, but no members of the opposite sex (why not?). What caught my eye was a mention of the Shroud presenting a great evangelizing opportunity(!) Well, I ‘d long suspected that, but had never seen it put quite so baldly. Guess what? The posting quickly disappeared, with a posting from Dan Porter to say he’d been taken in by some kind of internet deception, the precise details of which escape me. Something about a spamming operation, bla bla, written in soporific prose guaranteed to induce instant amnesia.
Well, I have just this minute googled, and sure enough there’s a record of the now-you-see-it-now-you-don’t posting, and sure enough it confirmed my rec0llection of that mention of the Shroud as an “evangelising opportunity”. Note the website: shroudstory.com – in other words, Dan Porter’s. Click on it, and you find that the page is no longer available. It was quickly zapped!
In fact the one underneath is interesting too. I knew that the job-weary Pope Benedict had done much to promote Shroud authenticity, stopping just short of saying it’s the real thing. But if the first few words are to be believed, then it seems the Vatican’s role in promoting the Shroud as an evangelizing opportunity goes back much earlier. Is that why Dan removed it – it revealed too much about the role of the Shroud as a marketing tool?
Promote the Shroud as a holy icon if you wish, Vatican whatever. But kindly stop using junk science and your no doubt handsomely-rewarded place men to do so. You’ll simply rile this ‘agenda-driven’ blogger, one who believes that the reputation of science is damaged by such antics.
Update: 19:50 Monday, my time (see below under ‘Preamble’ for change of format):
Have just been looking again at the Siefer/Spicer “Critical Summary” of Shroud characteristics (see previous posting).
You won’t believe it, but nowhere in that 24 point checklist (the one in which the boss scores 24/24 – fancy) is there a mention of the Shroud image’s key feature – namely its lack of directionality. In other words, it does not look like any normal photo or picture where there’s some light and shade that gives a clue as to the direction of light source relative to subject.
I can think of only one mechanism that could result in non-directionality – applying a hot template to give a scorch. Branding, in other words. But that is taboo, is it not, to our friends – aka junk scientists – at the Shroud Center of Colorado? I repeat – junk scientists.
No scorching, please, we are a particular viral strain of proselytising US Catholics, with an agenda to push… Yup, there’s no mention of scorching in their mechanism table – not even under “Contact”. JUNK SCIENCE. (Start the way you intend to continue – from now on. The gloves are off…) To think that the BBC and its Rageh Omaar based a 59 minute TV documentary around the work of the Shroud Center of Colorado – with a long litany of reasons why the radiocarbon dating could not possibly be correct. Yup, junk science. As Joe Nickell neatly summrized it: they start with the desired conclusion, then work back to the evidence… And today’s documentary makers lap it all up, since 90% of the work is done for them (exhibits and soundbites).
I ‘ve decided the time has come to alter the style and format of this site. I shan’t bore you with reasons, but some of the more perceptive visitors here will probably know why when I say how I shall operate in future.
There will be few if any ‘formal’ essay-style postings in future, indeed no conventional style blog “postings”. They served their purpose in the past, with well over 150 of them, but it’s now time to recognize what one is up against where the authenticity-promoting Shroudocrats are concerned, and, as the title indicates, to change tack.
Future postings will take the form of a daily diary with regular updates throughout the day. .Admittedly, that’s harking back to the early days of blogging (yup, I was there!) when the blog was seen as a “weblog”, i.e. a diary in real time. What’s more, early blogs were supposed to add new content in reverse chronological order, so new additions appeared at the top, sparing folk from having to scroll down. Well, archaic though it may seem, that’s the model I shall return to.
What’s needed right now is someone who is prepared to instantly ‘ tell it the way it is’, and not bother too much about offending finer sensibilities. Of course, there will be those who say I am ‘agenda driven’, the charge I now routinely level against some powerful, well-funded interests. By adopting this new format I hope to disabuse fair-minded folk of any such idea, and by interlacing scientific comment with some more informal asides, help to lighten the content, and at the same time indicate what makes this retired scientist tick, and why the Shroud controversy has come to epitomize and crystallize in his mind some of the disturbing features of the way in which Shroud authenticity is being promoted. There will be no kid glove treatment from now on. The junk science will be mercilessly exposed, the perpetrators of junk science unhesitatingly named. There will be no more references to Mickey Mouse science, or Mickey Mouse scientists. From now on it will be Junk Science, and Junk Self-Styled Scientists. (The upper case is admittedly a bit of self- indulgence on my part, but is deliberately chosen to emphasize my disgust with the cynical hijacking of the scientific method, warping it for underhand ideology-promoting purposes to make it essentially a branch of ‘spin-doctoring’).
I’ll add a few lines later today to give a flavour of how opinions and issues that I pick up elsewhere are currently bothering me – and will be instantly flagged up.
OK, so it’s just one man’s view, and I am fallible like everyone else. But after a year of reading and research, I now claim to be as well as, and indeed better informed than most – false modesty not being hardwired into my DNA – and with my research background ( peer-reviewed publications etc ) am able to advance new ideas without worrying too much about being instantly shot down in flames. The latter could happen, Spitfire Berry could finally find himself in someone’s lethal gunsights – but no one has managed that yet, which raises the intriguing possibility that I may be heading in the right direction, towards the right target – re both the science and the perceived ‘politics’. Nope, too polite. The issue is – beware the world of ideas – the
POLLUTION PROPAGANDIZING of science (there may be some more fine-tuning of the semantics later).
More later in my new/old back-to-the future 1st generation blogger mode.
Signing off at 17:50 French time…
This image is needed for elsewhere!