If you wish to see hot from the presses the latest example of Shroudie tunnel vision, of seeing what you want to see, then spare a minute to have a look at the current post on Stephen E Jones’s site, and look at comment no.9 from Matt (yes, our very own Matt, who uses that site among other things to totally distort or misrepresent what I say here).
Here’s what he wrote. Take a look at the St.Alexius fresco, and see if you agree with me that he has overlooked the obvious fact (with so many figures duplicated) that it is a before-and-after scene, and that what he interprets as the Shroud of Turin is in fact the sick girl at death’s door – shown on the right again as being “on the mend”.
Stephen I got an interesting book on the Christian World in the Middle Ages, I found an image from the 11th century, a fresco from the church of San Clemente, Rome. It depicts scenes from the life of St Alexius, who lived in the fifth century, and interestingly was based in Edessa.
In this image, St Alexius is praying over a sick girl, but look at the object by his right side. It looks suspiciously like a representation of the Shroud of Turin, although it is a bit hard to decipher the detail. At the very least, it is Jesus’s full length image on “something”.
June 17, 2012 3:54 PM
Sorry, playmates, I am not able to embed the picture, since it’s sternly stated to be copyright. Never mind. Simply click on the link above. (Which saves me having to think up a caption, like “Move along, Shroudies – there’s nothing to see here, move along…)
Postscript: entry from the Merck Medical Manual (20th edition): SOTVD Syndrome (Shroud of Turin Visual Disturbance Syndrome) – a tendency to see the Shroud of Turin in all representations of religious art that predate the Shroud, as determined by radiocarbon testing. (With a subset of patients exhibiting a variant of the condition in which they make plaintive and equally delusional claims that the sample taken for analysis was modern material inserted by “invisible re-weaving”)
Treatment: mainly palliative, with constant reassurance to the patient that he or she is not suffering a generalised cognitive disorder. Advise patient to take plenty of bed rest, with strict avoidance of internet websites that reinforce their wish-gratifying perceptions.
OK, just kidding, playmates. The current Merck Manual is presently into its 19th edition…. But I’d be more than happy to offer a new entry…
Update( June 18, 10:45 UK time): this comment has just appeared from Matt on that other site:
“Colin has stated several times that he thinks the pray codex is an inconsequential distraction, given that it is strange he spends so much time trying to debunk it”
In fact, this Colin is on record as condemning what he calls “Shroudie XYZX circular debate”. First field argument X. If that doesn’t do the trick, field argument Y, then Z, and hoping everyone has by then retreated in boredom, cycle back to X…” And what is argument Y, the first line of defence of every diehard Shroudie, endlessly recycling the same old repertoire of “debating points”? Yes, you guessed correctly. It is that Pray Codex, which is why I have used up valuable moments of my life in looking at it in detail – long enough to see its obvious deficiencies, and its blatant selecting and moulding of facts to fit a preconception .
In fact, another flaw occurred to me a few minutes ago. We are told there is a mark on the forehead of Christ in the Codex anointing scene (not in any of the others in the series, but never mind). We are told that it is in EXACTLY the same place as the “reversed 3” aka Greek letter epsilon that is a prominent feature of the Man in the Shroud. But it is not a reversed 3/epsilon – it is just a vague mark.
Spot the epsilon/reversed 3 on the Pray Codex( right) that “exactly” matches that of the Shroud (left) – well, its position on the forehead, well, roughly speaking, well, allowing for some artistic licence and symbolism, well… (Spot the eagle-eyed art historian too who does not miss the finer details that you or I might overlook).
If the Codex illustrator had wanted to show an epsilon-shaped character as evidence he was basing his imagery on the Shroud, then he could, and indeed probably would have shown an epsilon – not a vague mark – and would probably have shown it consistently throughout the series of images. To suggest that a vague mark is a token effort at displaying a particular Greek letter is not only a sad reflection on the mental acumen and critical faculties of those who log and tediously list so-called “points of correspondence”, while flaunting their science degree. It is to insult the intelligence of his readers – such as still visit there – to say nothing of wasting their time.
Yes, Matt, I shall continue to make reference here on this my ‘strawshredder’ blog – the one I use to show up the level of Shroudie debate, and its use of pseudo-science and pseudo-scholarship. Those who bang on about the Pray Codex demolish their own credentials with no help from me – all I need to is flag up their desperate search for “clues”, any clues, that might temporarily prop up their disintegrating Tower of Babble.
Reminder – my mission is to expose pseudo-science wherever I find it, and I don’t care who I offend in the process, since I believe pseudo-science and its practitioners are responsible for impeding human development and progress.
Oh, and no, I have not been submitting comments to that site under a new username, and the host is revealing himself more and more to be a religious fanatic – one who is pursuing an evangelical agenda, indeed waging war against those whom he labels as “agnostics” or “atheists” simply for expressing scepticism re the authenticity of the Shroud.
People can think what they want, but that’s all they can do, i.e. speculate, since I rarely if ever discuss my theological and/or philosophical beliefs on Shroud forums. I try, as all scientists should, with a ranging shot across the bows to those who flaunt their BSc degree, to keep the testable science separate from the untestable faith and religion.