Still more manure from the owner of

I shan’t waste a second more than absolutely necessary in responding to the manure dumped on this blogger by the host of

manure happens

I’ve responded with the first comment, reproduced below, and if anyone is interested in knowing the facts regarding Bertrand Russell’s intervention in the JFK investigation, back in 63/64, they will find C&Ps and links provided. Needless to say, Russell’s listing of 16 points was not a literary exercise, nor was it a scientific thesis – it was simply an analysis of available evidence and testimony indistinguishable in tone or approach from that of any  lawyer or investigative journalist, albeit still showing a sharp mind for inconsistencies and detail, despite his advanced age.  So what price the charge that I am aping a “hybrid mix” to construct a conspiracy theory when Russell was not doing so, nor was he constructing a conspiracy theory?

First, my comment:

November 22, 2013 at 8:40 pm | #1

“… this strange hybrid method, through which a literary genre convinces itself it is a science..”

Bertrand Russell had his faults, a somewhat simplistic brand of philosophy being one of them, but to debunk his interest and analysis of JFK’s assassination, where probably a minority to this day believe Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone – has to be one of the most bizarre and mindless pieces of journalism I have read in a long time.

I would also suggest folk here read Mario Latendresse’s introduction to those curiously symmetrical sedillis marks on the “butts”.

They should then ask who is pushing the agenda, which while not a full blown conspiracy theory displays arguably some of its elements, like an attempt to demonize those who question what to them is received wisdom (or in the case of the Shroud, holy writ despite being curiously overlooked in the New Testament account of events between the crucifixion and resurrection).

Folk may also notice that I did not attack Mario for expressing his opinion, despite disliking the partisan introduction. I addressed the facts regarding those markings, and proposed an alternative explanation for those who, like myself, had never even heard of those sedillis. and doubt whether they were precisely as described by Mario anyway.

It’s disappointing to say the least that my proposals are not being judged on their practical merits or otherwise, but are being summarily written off as  “a strange hybrid method”, and placed alongside an equally grotesque description of Russell’s analytical approach to the events of ’63. It is lesser men and women, aping Russell’s style, who created the conspiracy theory industry, mainly in the USA I hasten to add, in which every tiny detail, significant or otherwise, is mustered to assemble a damning indictment. Whilst not having read Russell’s thesis, I strongly suspect there was anything there that was trivia dressed up as crucial evidence.

And why the reference to science? Russell was not a scientist, and never to the best of my knowledge claimed to be one. He was a philosopher, logician, mathematician, historian, social activist and lots of other things besides. So why the crass reference to a hybrid of “science and literary genre”. Is that code for an atheist who expressed himself well? Is he seen in some quarters as an early prototype for the demonic Richard Dawkins, also an atheist who expresses himself well. Oooh look, they are both Brits !!!!! That means we can say what we really think (in code of course). Can no one Stateside especially (though not exclusively) be bothered to do their homework these days before writing that kind of manure about them Godless Brits – or giving it an airing here as yet another snide putdown, same old, same old. Give it a rest Dan Porter. I can’t see you winning much in the way of kudos any way with this style of feline blogging, even among the ardent of authenticists here, whom I suspect prefer dossiers to your corrosive drip drip of carefully-crafted put downs..

But I will make lots of allowances for Mark Latendresse. His Shroud Scope continues as a magnificent resource for those of us interested purely in the detail of what’s there. How strange it gets so little mention here on this site. Did it not get the Barrie $chwortz. seal of approval? Is the blood not red enough? How many folk here can truthfully say they had spotted those markings for themselves before reading Mario’s views?

And now for the research material, for those interested in the FACTS:

First, here’s a link to the business-like verbatim account of the 16 points made by Russell:

Secondly, here’s the passage from Russell’s wiki entry dealing with his JFK involvement. Note that it confirms what Russell said in the above link,  that his dossier was constructed largely on the basis of information supplied to him by the NY criminal lawyer Mark Lane, appointed by Oswald’s mother to act as his defence counsel., never fulfilled after the bizarre intervention of Jack Ruby and his pistol.

From wiki:

According to historian Peter Knight, after the John F. Kennedy assassination, Russell, “prompted by the emerging work of the lawyer Mark Lane in the US … rallied support from other noteworthy and left-leaning compatriots to form a Who Killed Kennedy Committee in June 1964, members of which included Michael Foot MP, Caroline Benn, the publisher Victor Gollancz, the writers John Arden and J. B. Priestley, and the Oxford history professor Hugh Trevor-Roper. Russell published a highly critical article weeks before the Warren Commission Report was published, setting forth 16 Questions on the Assassination and equating the Oswald case with the Dreyfus affair of late 19th century France, in which the state wrongly convicted an innocent man. Russell also criticized the American press for failing to heed any voices critical of the official version.[6

 My conclusion:

Bertrand Russell was NOT promoting a conspiracy theory, even if his findings provoked profound disbelief in the official account, with folk reasonably asking “What are they not telling us and why?”. He was questioning the official account, basing his case of information supplied by Mark Lane.  His chief concern seemed to be that Oswald had been wrongly implicated as the assassin. There was no attempt to be either literary or scientific. It was simply an analysis of the records, such as might be made by a lawyer or investigative journalist. It is quite grotesque to see it referred to as a hybrid of literary genre and  science.  One has to examine the motives of anyone who employs such crass language as to defame the memory of one of the 20th century’s greatest thinkers. One does not have to agree with everything someone says to recognize the quality of mind and analysis.

Oh, and here’s the full passage with that writer’s bizarre description of Russell’s writing style: (my bolding)

“The logician went to work. Meticulously, Russell documented the discrepancies between each first-person account and the divergences between each report in the media. He gave his document a modest, scientific-sounding title (“16 Questions on the Assassination”) and a just-the-facts tone. This strange hybrid method, through which a literary genre convinces itself it is a science, has become not just a template for ornate conspiracies but a defining way in which American stories are told.”

Since when has asking awkward questions been a “strange hybrid method”, a mish-mash of anything?  At the time of the Kennedy assassination, I used to be a regular reader of the satirical “Private Eye”. magazine.  I’d have wasted no time in submitting that bolded passage above to its weekly “Pseuds Corner” slot.

Now back to Shroudology. What a complete waste of time (and  with one welcome exception – David Goulet – no response yet to my alternative ideas on those curious marks on the TS Man’s posterior).

PS: the blogmeister also writes: “remember that for awhile Colin was championing something to do with Jacques de Molay, the last Grand Master of the Knights Templar. Now it is a remodeled crucifix”

If you are going to run a blog, publicizing news and views about the Shroud, ought you not at least to get acquainted with said views, and eschew words like “something to do”. This blogger is still spitting blood at the way Porter reported my Templar theory, claiming I had mixed up two individuals with similar names – Geoffroi de Charney and Geoffroi de Charny. I had not. I had given their separate spellings and even pointed out the view of genealogist Noel Currer-Briggs that they were uncle and nephew respectively, the first being burned at the stake in 1314 alongside Jacques de Molay, the second being the squire whose wife Jeanne de Vergy put the Lirey Shroud on display in 1357 approx. “Something to do… Yes, you could say that when there was a possible close family relationship between those two Geoffreys that could provide clues as to the provenance and raison d’etre or the Shroud as a Templar accoutrement, possibly linked to the terrible events taking place in France at that time. But more to the point, there is absolutely no shifting of ground re de Molay and life-size crucifixes, far from it. If someone wanted to depict de Molay in a Christ-like posture on a shroud, roasted over charcoal, but looking to the casual eye as if post-crucifixion, they could do a lot worse that get hold of a life size crucifix, and heat it over charcoal so as to leave a thermal imprint on linen. But there is the problem of what to do with arms – outstetched (crucifixion) or down at sides, with hands neatly folded over groin area.

There is no point in patronising a site where one’s  ideas get mauled or ridiculed. Better to plough one’s lonely furrow on one’s own site. If the ideas get publicized elsewhere, and attract comment, then fine, but I’m not going to that site to respond, not while someone is there ready to poke fun at one’s hypothesizing – the essential first step in scientific enquiry – and who implies it is merely a literary genre on display with no real scientific content. What could be more scientific than maintaining the Shroud image is simply a thermal imprint, and steadily refining one’s experimental model to tick more and more boxes at the macroscopic and microscopic  levels…?  Doh!  Who’d be a scientist in this world of slick PR –  with  money or mind control the bottom line as often as not?


Oh, and this has just appeared.

November 23, 2013 at 10:38 am | #5

Dan’s posting was humorous. There was absolutely nothing insulting about it. You’ve got to admit, Colin, that your scenarios sound crazy. Dan didn’t even say so. He used your words. Can you laugh at yourself? Dan has poked fun at others along the way. That was all he was doing. Colin, go down to the pub, cool down with a pint, and come back tomorrow.


What’s so crazy about saying that Mario’s barb-like “sedillis” were not puncturing the posterior of a real person,  but a support system for the crucifix from which the Shroud image was produced. One is a explanation that fits the authenticity narrative (with some triumphalism on Mario’s part), the other which fits the medieval provenance theory. Since I have the radiocarbon dating on my side, no matter how flawed, it is in fact Mario who should be scolded for resorting too quickly to biblically-friendly narratives, and failing to consider all possibilities.

On a more general note the commentator has overlooked the way that Porter picked  up the dumbest quotation I’ve seen in a long time, and placed it at the top of his posting, using it the way a preacher takes a text.

“… this strange hybrid method, through which a literary genre convinces itself it is a science..”

Repeat; there was no hybrid method. That is a figment of the journalist’s imagination. There was no attempt on Russell’s part to posture as a scientist – the suggestion that the title “16 Questions on the Assassination” was an attempt to posture as though a scientist is simply too ludicrous for words. Since when did scientific dissertations consist of a list of questions, with no attempt at providing answers?



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.
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