Saturday, April 17, 2010

`Ian Wilson's Turin Shroud theories are the worst kind of junk history'

Ian Wilson's Turin Shroud theories are the worst kind of junk history, Telegraph.co.uk, Guy Walters, April 13th, 2010.

This is a good (or bad) example of a modern scoffer's (2 Peter 3:3; Jude 1:18) attack on the

[Right: Ian Wilson. Rear cover of "The Shroud: The 2,000 Year Old Mystery Solved," Bantam Press: London, 2010.]

authenticity of the Shroud of Turin, through a sustained ad hominem personal attack:

"An Ad Hominem is a general category of fallacies in which a claim or argument is rejected on the basis of some irrelevant fact about the author of or the person presenting the claim or argument. Typically, this fallacy involves two steps. First, an attack against the character of person making the claim, her circumstances, or her actions is made (or the character, circumstances, or actions of the person reporting the claim). Second, this attack is taken to be evidence against the claim or argument the person in question is making (or presenting)." ("Fallacy: Ad Hominem," The Nizkor Project, 14 April 2010);

on leading Shroud theorist Ian Wilson. Wilson's attacker is Guy Walters, who "is a British author and journalist." ("Guy Walters," Wikipedia, 23 March 2010).

[Left: Guy Walters: www.guywalters.com.]

Significantly, Walters presents no actual facts or even arguments that the Shroud of Turin is not the burial sheet of Jesus, but instead tries to discredit Wilson personally, presumably so that readers will not bother reading Wilson's new book, "The Shroud: The 2,000 Year Old Mystery Solved" (2010).

While I was putting the finishing touches to this my own response to Walters' attack on Wilson, and through him the Shroud itself, I discovered that in the meantime Ian Wilson had himself responded to Walters' article, so I will also quote Wilson to support my points and to add information that I was not sure of. Walters' words are bold to distinguish them from mine.

If one object encapsulates the practice of junk history more than any other, then it's the Turin Shroud, which is currently on display until May 23.

Because Walters is merely an "author and journalist," he therefore has no standing as a leading professional historian to determine what is, or is not, "junk history." It seems that "junk history" for Walters is what he does not personally like or want to be true.

According to Walters' (presumably) own self-description above this article, he "sees it as his personal mission to wage war on ignorance and misconceptions about the past":

"Guy Walters is the author of nine books, which include four wartime thrillers and the critically acclaimed histories Hunting Evil and Berlin Games. Frustrated at the enormous amount of junk history around, Guy sees it as his personal mission to wage war on ignorance and misconceptions about the past. His website is www.guywalters.com."

But if the Shroud of Turin is the burial sheet of Jesus (and the evidence is overwhelming that it is - see my "The Shroud of Turin is the Burial Sheet of Jesus!"), then Walters is himself perpetrating "ignorance and misconceptions about the past"!

Now that would not really matter much about most things. But again if the Shroud is the burial sheet of Jesus, and bears the image of His crucified and resurrected body (as again the evidence overwhelmingly indicates it is and does), then to be in "ignorance" and have a "misconceptions about the past," of not believing that in "Jesus Christ ... God really lived on earth as a man and said and did the things that the Gospels report":

"What is the most important event in recorded history? ... Christians should be able to give a confident answer to the ultimate question on the premise that the Gospels, summarized in the introductory verses of the Gospel of John, tell the truth. The incarnation and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the Word that became flesh and dwelt among us, is undoubtedly the most important event in the history of mankind if it actually happened as the Bible says. One may not know all sorts of things and be none the worse for it, but if God really lived on earth as a man and said and did the things that the Gospels report, then not to know these sayings and deeds, or to disregard them, is to be missing the one key that is capable of unlocking everything else. That is why it is of supreme importance that the good news must be made available to everyone, whether or not they choose to believe it. The most devastatingly negative judgment must be made of any educational system which insists, as the schools of most nations do now, that students should not be taught the information they need to give an informed answer to the question posed by Jesus: 'Who do you say that I am? [Mat. 16:15-17]'" (Johnson, P.E. 2002, "The Right Questions: Truth, Meaning & Public Debate, InterVarsity Press: Downers Grove IL, pp.172-173).

is the most important "ignorance and misconceptions about the past" of all!

Those who study this piece of cloth grandly call themselves sindonologists, as if concocting crackpot theories about a 13th or 14th century hoax were a legitimate branch of academia.

Walters continues with his ad hominem fallacy `arguments,' i.e. "crackpot," "hoax" and "high priest" (see below). But irrespective of Walters' disdain for the term, "sindonology," it has entered the dictionary as a legitimate field of study, "the scientific study of the Shroud of Turin":

"sin·do·nol·o·gy ... - noun the scientific study of the Shroud of Turin. ... Origin: 1965-70; < It sindon(e) the shroud in which Christ was interred (< Gk (NT) sindon winding sheet, Gk: muslin sheet; cf. sindon) + o + -logy - Related forms sin·do·nol·o·gist, noun" ("Dictionary.com Unabridged," Random House Dictionary: Random House, 14 April 2010).

But in fact Wilson points out that he does not use of himself, or like, the term "sindonologist":

"Nor in four decades of Shroud researches have I ever called myself a `sindonologist', a term I dislike as much as he does." (Ian Wilson, "My response to Guy Walters and his critique," Telegraph.co.uk, 15 April 2010).

And no one yet (including Walters) has shown the Shroud to be "a 13th or 14th century hoax." Indeed, the idea that an unknown forger in the "13th or 14th century" perpetrated a "hoax" that the science of the 20th-21st centuries still has not been able to explain how it was done, or who did it, is itself increasingly bordering on a hoax!

Classics scholar Mark Guscin, in his book on the Sudarium of Oviedo, points out (with satirical "embellishments"), what a forger

[Above: Perfect match of bloodstains on the Sudarium of Oviedo (which has been in Spain since at least "AD 840") and the Shroud of Turin, proving that they once covered the head of the same crucifixion victim: Bennett, J., 2001, "Sacred Blood, Sacred Image" Ignatius Press: San Francisco CA, p.122]

would have to do, to fit the known facts about the Shroud and concludes that "Such a story ... is more incredible than the Shroud's authenticity" (my emphasis red):
"However, let us suppose for a while that the results obtained from the carbon dating of both the sudarium and the Shroud are accurate, and neither cloth ever touched the body of Jesus. In that case, the following story would have to be true. Sometime in the seventh century, in Palestine, after reading the gospel of John, a well known forger of religious relics saw the opportunity of putting a new product on the market - a cloth that had been over the face of the dead body of Jesus.

This forger was also an expert in medicine, who knew that a crucified person died from asphyxiation, and that when this happened, special liquids fill the lungs of the dead body, and can come out through the nose if the body is moved.

The only way he could get this effect on the cloth was by re-enacting the process, so this is exactly what he did. He crucified a volunteer, eliminating those candidates who did not fulfil the right conditions - swollen nose and cheeks, forked beard to stain the cloth, etc. When the body was taken down from the cross, he shook it around a bit with the help of a few friends, holding the folded cloth to the dead volunteer's nose so that future generations would be able to see the outline of his fingers.

He even stuck a few thorns in the back of the dead man's neck, knowing that relic hunters would be looking for the bloodstains from the crown of thorns.

Being an eloquent man, he convinced people that this otherwise worthless piece of cloth was stained with nothing less than the blood and pleural liquid of Christ, and so it was guarded in Jerusalem with other relics, and considered so genuine and spiritually valuable that it was worth saving first from the invading Persians and later from the Arabs.

A few hundred years later, some time between 1260 and 1390, another professional forger, a specialist in religious relics too, decided that the time was ripe for something new, something really convincing. There were numerous relics from various saints in circulation all round Europe, bones, skulls, capes, but no, he wanted something really original. Various possibilities ran through his mind, the crown of thorns, the nails from the crucifixion, the table cloth from the last supper, and then suddenly he had it - the funeral shroud of Jesus! And not only that, but he would also put an image on the Shroud, the image of the man whom the Shroud had wrapped!

The first step was difficult. Being an expert in textile weaves, (one of his many specialities, the others being pollen, Middle East blood groups, numismatism of the years of Tiberius, photography, Roman whips, and electronic microscopes) he needed linen of a special kind, typical of the Middle East in the first century.

Once this had been specially ordered and made, he folded it up before starting his work, as a neighbour had suggested that such a cloth would have been folded up and hidden in a wall in Edessa for a few hundred years, so the image would be discontinuous on some of the fold marks.

Leaving the cloth folded up, he travelled to Oviedo in the north of Spain, where he knew that a forerunner in his trade had left a cloth with Jesus' blood stains.

On obtaining permission to analyse the sudarium, he first checked the blood group - AB of course, common in the Middle East and relatively scarce in Europe - then made an exact plan of the blood stains (carefully omitting those which would have already clotted when the sudarium was used) so that his stains would coincide exactly.

After his trip to Oviedo, he went on a tour of what is now Turkey, forming a composite portrait of Jesus from all the icons, coins and images he could find. After all, he needed people to think that his Shroud had been around for over a thousand years, and that artists had used it as their inspiration for painting Christ. He didn't really understand what some of the marks were, the square box between the eyes, the line across the throat, but he thought he'd better put them on anyway. He didn't want to be accused of negligence, because he was an internationally famous forger and had a reputation to maintain.

Once he was back home, he somehow obtained some blood (AB, naturally) and decided to begin his work of art with the blood stains, before even making the body image.

Unfortunately, he miscalculated the proportions, and the nail stains appeared on the wrist instead of on the palms of the hands, where everyone in the fourteenth century knew that they had been. `Well', he thought, `it's just a question of a few inches, nobody will notice.'

Now, even the omniscient author is forbidden to enter in the secret room where the forger `paints' the image of Christ, a perfect three dimensional negative, without paint or direction. His method was so secret that it went to the tomb with him.

After a few hours, he opened the door, and called his wife, who was busy preparing dinner in the kitchen. `What do you think?' `Not bad. But you've forgotten the thumbs' `No, I haven't. Don't you know that if a nail destroys the nerves in the wrist, the thumbs bend in towards the palm of the hand, so you wouldn't be able to see them?'

`But didn't the nails go through the palms?' `Well, yes, but I put the blood on first, and didn't quite get the distance right'

`Oh, in that case ... and what about the pollen?' `What pollen?' `Well, if this Shroud has been in Palestine, Edessa, and let's suppose it's been in Constantinople too, it's going to need pollen from all those places.' Our forger loved the idea, got the pollen from all the places his wife had indicated, and delicately put it all over his Shroud.

And then, the final touch. Two coins from the time of Christ, minted under the emperor Tiberius, to put over the man's eyes. Our man had a sense of humour too - he decided that the coins would be included in the image in such a way that they would only be visible under an electronic microscope.

Such a story, even without the embellishments, is more incredible than the Shroud's authenticity."

(Guscin, M., "The Oviedo Cloth," Lutterworth Press: Cambridge UK, 1998, pp.84-88).

Their high priest is one Ian Wilson, who the BBC flatteringly refers to as a "historian".

Another ad hominem personal attack as a substitute for argument by Walters. Ian Wilson is not the "high priest" of "Those who study this piece of cloth." And Wilson is a historian, in that he "graduated in Modern History from Magdalen College, Oxford":

"Ian Wilson (born 1941) is the prolific author of religious and scientific books. He often mixes the two while examining his various topics, whether it's the Shroud of Turin or life after death. He graduated in Modern History from Magdalen College, Oxford. He has written and presented a three part Channel 4 TV series based on his book Jesus: The Evidence. He converted from Anglicanism to Roman Catholicism." ("Ian Wilson (writer)," Wikipedia, 22 March 2010).

and he is writes about "history," the "study of the human past":

"History (from Greek ...historia, meaning "inquiry, knowledge acquired by investigation" is the study of the human past. Scholars who write about history are called historians. It is a field of research which uses a narrative to examine and analyse the sequence of events, and it sometimes attempts to investigate objectively the patterns of cause and effect that determine events." ("History," Wikipedia, 5 April 2010 ).

Wilson himself makes further points in defense of his right to be called "a historian":

"First, Walters questioned my right to be `labelled a historian'. The facts are that I am a history graduate of Magdalen College, Oxford, where I studied under A.J.P.Taylor and others. I graduated with honours in 1963, and was conferred an M.A. in 1977. Walters fails to mention the historical biography of Shakespeare, Shakespeare: The Evidence, which I wrote in 1994. No-nonsense Oxford historian the late Dr. A.L. Rowse, reviewed this in the London Evening Standard as: `Full of good sense. The reader will not go wrong with it Ian Wilson is conscientious, as a good Oxford man should be." (Wilson, Ibid.).

Walters' here attempts to demarcate what is, and is not, "history," and who is, and is not, a "historian," so that one does not then have to listen to the arguments of those whom he decrees are not "historians" and do not write "history." But, apart from Walters being merely an "author and journalist," with no authority to decide what and who is in, and out, of those categories, what Walters and his Shroud anti-authenticity ilk need to do is provide a comprehensive, testable, alternative theory that fully and plausibly explains all the major features of the Shroud and how they were created by the perpetrator of "a 13th or 14th century hoax." That Walters is reduced to ad hominem personal attacks against Ian Wilson only shows the bankruptcy of the anti-authenticity position.

Quite why Wilson deserves this job description is unclear, because his works have little to do with history, and instead are books that hail from a strange sector of publishing nicely captured by Peter Wilson in The Independent in 2001:

Pick an ancient riddle to unravel. Mix together a pinch of history, a splash of archaeology, a soup├žon of theology, lashings of first-person travelogue and a hefty dose of maps. Then flavour it with talk of the pyramids, the Inca sacred sites, the truth behind the Bible and obstructive, conspiratorial clerics. Finally, garnish in a bold cover with gold letters and a sensational title about a lost civilisation, a missing continent or extra-terrestrial life. Watch the copies walk out of the bookshops.

Actually it was "Peter Stanford" (unless he and "Peter Wilson" are one and the same) and he was writing about Wilson's book on Noah's Ark, Before the Flood, not one of his books on the Shroud. But Stannard also concluded in the same review:

"I am inclined to give Ian Wilson the benefit of the doubt. As he points out a little too often, he is a trained historian (though the training turns out to be as a history undergraduate at Oxford). More important, there is his evident sincerity in an area where that quality is at a premium. In the course of writing The Turin Shroud, for instance, he became so close to his subject that he abandoned his lifelong atheism and became a Catholic. It is hard to imagine some of the young pretenders taking what they write that seriously." ("Ian Wilson: When mystery drowns history," The Independent, Peter Stanford, Saturday, 24 November 2001).

Wilson makes a living as a writer on controversial historical topics, for which he clearly takes great pains to research and tries to present the evidence honestly and factually. That he may be wrong on some of those topics, has no bearing on whether he is right (or wrong) about the Shroud.

A look at Wilson's back catalogue sheds little light on why he should be labelled a historian.

It is significant that Walters needs to "label" Wilson as not "a historian." That is another an ad hominem fallacious attempt to prevent readers taking seriously Wilson's arguments in favour of the Shroud's authenticity (see below on the "poisoning the well" fallacy). But as any fair-minded person, who has taken the time and effort to read through Wilson's books on the Shroud (as Walters hasn't-see below), they are models of well-researched works of history.

My favourites are The Turin Shroud: The Burial Cloth of Jesus Christ? (1979); The Evidence of the Shroud (1986); Holy Faces, Secret Places: An Amazing Quest for the Face of Jesus (1991); The Blood and the Shroud: New Evidence That the World's Most Sacred Relic Is Real (1998); The Turin Shroud: Unshrouding the Mystery (2000); and his latest shlockbuster, The Shroud : the 2000-Year-Old Mystery Solved (2010). Are you spotting a pattern here?

Note the derogatory term "shlockbuster" for Wilson's latest book, "The Shroud : the 2000-Year-Old Mystery Solved (2010)." which I am currently reading and finding very well-researched and well-written, with new facts which I was not aware of.

I thought it impressive that Walters had actually read all those books of Wilson's. But later in this same article, Walters lets it slip that: "I don't have time to read Wilson's books ..." So in what sense are they Walters' (sarcastic) "favourites"? It can only be that he is prejudiced against the titles of these books, or rather against the idea that the Shroud of Turin is the burial sheet of Jesus (see below on Walters' presumed Metaphysical Naturalism, the view that "nature is all there is," i.e. there is no supernatural).

Wilson adds, "The first rule of the professional historian is surely to familiarise himself with what he is writing about, thus avoiding the sort of `ignorance and misconceptions' that Walters says he so abhors":

"Surprising as it may seem, I share Guy Walters' frustrations at `the enormous amount of junk history around'. This therefore makes it all the more galling that Walters should have chosen me, Ian Wilson, as his number one target, lumping my books into this category without, on his own admission, having bothered to read a single word of them. The first rule of the professional historian is surely to familiarise himself with what he is writing about, thus avoiding the sort of `ignorance and misconceptions' that Walters says he so abhors. Yet Walters clearly saw no need to follow this rule when he rushed out his blog about me, condemning my standards as a professional author."(Wilson, Ibid.).

The "pattern" that Walters finds so reprehensible in Wilson's books he has listed, seems to be that Wilson is open to evidence of the supernatural, whereas Walters appears to be a Philosophical Naturalist, i.e. a believer that "nature is all there is" (i.e. there is no supernatural, including God):

"Metaphysical naturalism, (or ontological naturalism or philosophical naturalism) which focuses on ontology: This stance is concerned with existence: what does exist and what does not exist? Naturalism is the metaphysical position that "nature is all there is, and all basic truths are truths of nature." ("Naturalism (philosophy)," Wikipedia, 14 April 2010).

and so he has a closed mind on the existence of the supernatural in general and on the supernatural origin of the image on the Shroud, in particular.

Wilson has also written about stigmata, reincarnation, and yep, you guessed it, Nostradamus.

This is a form of ad hominem argument called "poisoning the well," i.e. "a logical fallacy where adverse information about a target is ... presented ... with the intention of discrediting ... everything that the target person is about to say" (my emphasis):

"Poisoning the well (or attempting to poison the well) is a logical fallacy where adverse information about a target is pre-emptively presented to an audience, with the intention of discrediting or ridiculing everything that the target person is about to say. Poisoning the well is a special case of argumentum ad hominem ..." ("Poisoning the well," Wikipedia,19 December 2009).

Walters attempts to discredit Wilson's argument in favour of the Shroud, by telling his readers that Wilson had "written about stigmata, reincarnation, and ... Nostradamus." But Sir Isaac Newton wrote commentaries "on the prophetic Books of Daniel and Revelation" and in fact "wrote more on religion than he did on natural science" (Wikipedia). Does that make his other writings on Gravity and Optics false? Cosmologist Sir Fred Hoyle wrote fictional works like A for Andromeda and The Black Cloud (Wikipedia). Does that make his other writings on Cosmology false?

Apart from it being irrelevant as to the truth or otherwise of the Shroud, Walters does not say what Wilson's conclusions were about those topics. I myself don't know and don't have the time or inclination to find out, but unlike Walters I would not find Wilson guilty by association, just because he had "written about" those topics.

Indeed, as Wilson points out, he is not an "adherent of every topic" that he writes about and in fact does not believe in "stigmata, reincarnation, and ... Nostradamus":

"Second, and compounding his ignorance, Walters has assumed that I must be a card-carrying adherent of every topic that I write about. Had he actually consulted the books he might have found this to be very far from the case. In my book on reincarnation (Mind out of Time? 1981), I debunked the then popular myth that hypnotic regression could lead back to past incarnations. In Stigmata I showed this phenomenon to have a psychological rather than any spiritual origination. In Nostradamus: The Evidence I expressly showed the falsity of Nostradamus' prophetic reputation. Nostradamus' prophetic reputation." (Wilson, Ibid.).

It's clear that Wilson's "historical" enquiries are little more than excuses to peddle the type of bilge that appeals to those who believe in The Da Vinci Code.

This last is a falsehood, by which Walters discredits himself in his attempt to discredit Wilson and his writings, and ultimately the Shroud. There would be little correlation (if any) between "those who believe in The Da Vinci Code" and those who believe in the authenticity of the Shroud of Turin.

I don't have time to read Wilson's books, but it's clear from their reviews that his imagination easily outstrips that of Dan Brown.

This is truly an amazing admission. I had wondered whether Walters had really read all of Wilson's books on the Shroud (not to mention his other non-Shroud books). But here he answers my unspoken question. All he has done is read "reviews" of Wilson's books! Walters should be ashamed of himself, and so should the Daily Telegraph for allowing someone to write an article under their name, condemning Wilson's theories on the Shroud as "junk history," when he has never read first-hand from the original source what those theories actually are and the evidence which supports them.

For example, in Before the Flood (2001), Wilson speculates on the existence of Atlantis.

So what? Whether Atlantis existed or not, and whether Wilson believes it existed or not, is irrelevant as to whether the Shroud of Turin is the burial sheet of Jesus. This is just more "poisoning the well" by Walters.

But in fact, Wilson states that his "Before the Flood" did not speculate "on the existence of Atlantis" and that Wilson himself is not "a believer in Atlantis":

"Third, Walters is completely misinformed in supposing that Before the Flood speculated on the existence of Atlantis. I am no more a believer in Atlantis than Walters is." (Wilson, Ibid.).

But my favourite is The Blood and the Shroud, in which Wilson wonders whether the resurrection of Jesus took the form of a small thermonuclear reaction that corrupted the carbon-dating tests made on the Shroud.

Again, how can this book be Walters' "favourite" (even sarcastically) when by his own admission he has never "read Wilson's books"?

Wilson, in his response wrote:

"Likewise my The Blood and the Shroud did not argue for a `thermonuclear reaction' having corrupted the carbon-dating tests." (Wilson, Ibid. Typo corrected).

This surprised me, because I was aware that in Wilson's The Blood and the Shroud, in the context of "arguments for how the Shroud carbon dating might have been in error" Wilson presented an "argument, by some high-level scientists... that if there were anything thermonuclear to the circumstance by which the crucified body image was created on the Shroud, then this ... could have made the Shroud appear younger than its true age":

"But what if Dr Garza-Valdes is found to be wrong? Would that mean the end of all arguments for how the Shroud carbon dating might have been in error? Another argument, also advanced by some high-level scientists, has been that if there were anything thermonuclear to the circumstance by which the crucified body image was created on the Shroud, then this in itself, by adding to the cloth's low-level radioactivity levels, could have made the Shroud appear younger than its true age. A letter from Dr Thomas J. Phillips of Harvard University's High Energy Physics Laboratory, published in the very same issue of Nature which carried the formal report of the radiocarbon-dating findings, commented: `If the Shroud of Turin is in fact the burial-cloth of Christ ... then according to the Bible it was present at a unique physical event: the resurrection of a dead body. Unfortunately this event is not accessible to direct scientific scrutiny, but ... the body ... may have radiated neutrons, which would have irradiated the Shroud and changed some of the nuclei to different isotopes by neutron capture. In particular some carbon 14 would have been generated from carbon 13. If we assume that the Shroud is 1950 years old and that the neutrons were emitted thermally, then an integrated flux of 2 x 1016 neutron cm-2 would have converted enough carbon 13 to carbon 14 to give an apparent carbon-dated age of 670 years [i.e. fourteenth century].' [Phillips, T.J., "Shroud Irradiated With Neutrons?," Nature, Vol. 337, 16 February, 1989, p.594]" (Wilson, I., 1998, "The Blood and the Shroud: New Evidence that the World's Most Sacred Relic is Real," Simon & Schuster: New York NY, pp.232-233).

But on reading more carefully, I found on the next page that Wilson makes it clear that he is not himself actually arguing for that hypothesis:

"The great difficulty in such a hypothesis, whether it comes from me or from a trained scientist, is that it demands that 2000 years ago something far beyond the normal order happened to the body of Jesus as it lay in apparent death. That something of this kind indeed happened has of course been claimed by Christian believers throughout those 2000 years. But the honest agnostic can understandably only throw up his hands in horror at what he must instinctively reject as scientific heresy, calling, as it does, for the occurrence of a 'miracle'. As Dr Robert Hedges of the Oxford radiocarbon-dating laboratory commented, back in 1989, on Dr Thomas Phillips's arguments: `If a supernatural explanation is to be proposed, it seems pointless to make any scientific measurement on the Shroud at all.' [Robert Hedges, Letter to the Editor, Nature, 16 February 1989.]." (Wilson, 1998, p.234).

This is supported by the fact that in his latest book, "The Shroud : the 2000-Year-Old Mystery Solved" (2010), in his Chapter 7, "What's in a Date?" regarding the 1988 radiocarbon dating of the Shroud as "between 1260 and 1390" (p.84), as far as I can see, Wilson does not even mention the "thermonuclear" argument.

You couldn't make it up. Neither could I. But Mr Wilson can.

If Walters had actually read Wilson's book, he would have realised that Wilson did not "make it up" but in fact a physicist, "Dr Thomas J. Phillips of Harvard University's High Energy Physics Laboratory" in a letter published in Nature, arguably the world's leading scientific journal, made the argument and Wilson was merely reporting what he wrote.

Actually Walters is the one who is making it up. He presents himself as a critic of Ian Wilson's theories on the Shroud of Turin, but on his own admission he has never "read Wilson's books" but only "reviews" of them. So it is Guy Walters who is here writing "junk," not Ian Wilson!

As Wilson concluded his response to Walters' article, "Mr.Walters has acted recklessly and in complete ignorance - thereby abandoning his own professed historical standards" (my emphasis):

"Professing Christianity these days does not court popularity, and some of the subjects that I write about are undeniably controversial. However if Mr. Walters actually deigned to read my latest book The Shroud, published last month by Bantam Press, he would see that, although it is directed to the general reader, I maintain the critical standards appropriate to a trained historian. The extensive historical references that I have cited are not the garbage sources that typify true `junk history'. They are solid academic publications in every instance. Mr.Walters has acted recklessly and in complete ignorance - thereby abandoning his own professed historical standards." (Wilson, Ibid.).

PS: It is significant that the above article by Walters, and Wilson's response to it, are no longer at the end of the above links to them and cannot be found in searches of the Telegraph.co.uk site. It therefore appears that the Daily Telegraph has retracted Walters' article as sub-standard and possibly even defamatory of Wilson!

Stephen E. Jones.
My other blogs: CreationEvolutionDesign & Jesus is Jehovah!

6 comments:

gabirol said...

Thank you for your support to Ian Wilson. I fully agree with you.
I am finishing his new book and, in my opinion, it’s a very interesting, honest and well balanced book (although his English is a bit difficult to me).

Also in Spain most media never deal with shroud matters seriously (and many times making jokes). At the bottom, they don’t want to recognize the authenticity of the shroud because, if they do it, they would also have to recognize the resurrection of Jesus.

Thanks again.

Stephen E. Jones said...

gabirol

>Thank you for your support to Ian Wilson. I fully agree with you.

Thanks for your comment.

>I am finishing his new book and, in my opinion, it’s a very interesting, honest and well balanced book ...

Yes. But a problem is that few opponents of the Shroud's authenticity would take the time and expense to read it, as Guy Walters' hasn't and probably won't.

>Also in Spain most media never deal with shroud matters seriously (and many times making jokes).

I have seen jokes about the Shroud in the English-speaking media also.

>At the bottom, they don’t want to recognize the authenticity of the shroud because, if they do it, they would also have to recognize the resurrection of Jesus.

Agreed. The Shroud does bear witness to the resurrection of Jesus, and those who are opposed to that (either consciously or unconsciously) tend to reject the Shroud's authenticity without even considering the evidence.

Hopefully pro-Shroud blogs like mine, because they don't require the time and expense of reading a book, and can be stumbled upon while Googling the topic of "Shroud of Turin," will be read by those who are at least open to the possibility that the Shroud could be authentic, even they are not (yet) Christians.

Stephen

jocawa said...

I have read Wilson's book on Nostradamus. He admits it was written to a deadline and not as complete as he would have liked but I was struck by his balanced approach, using only accurate historical evidence, concluding Nostradamus was a fake. Very far from junk history. I recently read his 1998 book the Blood and the Shroud, having read his 1978 book about thirty years ago. I was again struck by his balance, his generous treatment of those who believed it to be a medieval forgery. All in all a disgraceful article but not untypical nowadays. I must read his latest.

Stephen E. Jones said...

jocawa

>I have read Wilson's book on Nostradamus ... I was struck by his balanced approach, using only accurate historical evidence, concluding Nostradamus was a fake. Very far from junk history.

Thanks for your comment. It was Guy Walters' `review' that was junk, because on his own admission he had never read any of Wilson's books. It is significant that the Daily Telegraph pulled Walter's `review' after Wilson responded. Walters' `review' was defamatory to Wilson personally and the Telegraph would not have a legal leg to stand on because Walters had never read any of Wilson's books.

>I recently read his 1998 book the Blood and the Shroud, having read his 1978 book about thirty years ago. I was again struck by his balance, his generous treatment of those who believed it to be a medieval forgery.

In my opinion Wilson is too generous towards some Shroud critics. For example there is good evidence of fraud in the radiocarbon-dating (I plan in the near future to write a blog post setting out that evidence) but Wilson refuses to entertain that possibility.

>All in all a disgraceful article but not untypical nowadays. I must read his latest.

Agreed. I also plan to write in the near future a review of Wilson's latest book, "The Shroud: The 2,000 Year Old Mystery Solved."

Stephen

rochelli said...

MR. WILSON WAS INSTRUMENTAL IN MY WORK ON BLACK HOLES AND THE SHROUD-SEE DAME ISABEL PICZEK. WOULD YOU EMAIL ME rlaura@uccs.edu to get permission with using your work in presentations.

Stephen E. Jones said...

rochelli

>WOULD YOU EMAIL ME rlaura@uccs.edu to get permission with using your work in presentations.

Could you please provide more information about using my work in your presentations? Thanks.

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