Earlier this week I had a pretty long post on The BEAST about a Shroud of Turin presentation I attended. Some of the details didn’t really fit with how I wanted to write the story, so I thought I’d add them here. This isn’t an admission of hiding facts which would have contradicted what I had to say about Russ Breault’s presentation. These are neutral omissions that just would have made the article too sprawling and rambling. Still they’re kind of interesting and I thought I should get them down somewhere and this is kind of the place for me for that sort of thing. So here we go:
The church this was held at had two flags on either side of its altar. One was a US flag and the other was a “Christian flag.” Now these are used by lots of Christian organizations, but they’re all pretty creepy. Here is is outside of the HQ of Focus on the Family:
And here it is at a Ku Klux Klan HQ:
There were ushers, but they didn’t… erm.. ush anyone. They just stood by the exits. One man was going to the bathroom towards the end of the event and an usher approached him and asked if he was leaving. I don’t know why, but it seemed ominous. Maybe that’s just my own paranoia though.
If Joe Nickell were there, he didn’t ask a question afterwards. I saw one person raising his hand after the Q&A ended, but I kind of doubt that was him since he’d have known to try to get his question out there quickly. Breault mentioned beforehand that his Q&A would have to be brief.
The pastor of the church’s name is Andrew Abraham. He shook my hand and told me God blessed me. He didn’t seem like an asshole.
Breault said that we were living in an age of skepticism. People seem to just lap that stuff up. I wish as many people showed up at skeptics’ conventions as they do to church on Sundays.
At one point Breault brought up a slide of the Pope holding that incense thing they use before Mass. Like a teacher in a classroom he said something like “And this represents… what?” and there was this really awkward pause because this is at a Protestant church and they wouldn’t be expected to know these things, apparently. A few people did and spoke up eventually.
One of Breault’s defenses against the Carbon-dating of the Shroud was that the scientists took a sample of it at a point where it had been handled. This is illustrated in the pic I have on The BEAST article where some Bishops are holding it. Breault used similar images to make this point. Then he made a few jokes about how scientists are stupid for choosing that sample. But during the Q&A it came to light that the scientists were following the Church’s protocol, since they owned the thing after all. Breault admitted this, therefore admitting that he was knowingly deceiving the audience by making it seem like this “error” – at least it was an error as he saw it – was the fault of the scientists and not the Church. I would speculate that the Church wanted to sample a part of the shroud which could be questionable so that they could always fall back on an excuse like the one Breault used to make it seem like it is at worst, still a mystery.
There were around 150 people there. Most of the pews were full. There were very few people under 40. I only saw one couple with children. I sat in the back corner in a ‘reserved’ section, but nobody seemed to care. They had water but nobody took any. It took place at 107 Smith Street in Tonawanda, NY, which is Immanuel Lutheran Church.
Breault was selling DVDs. He mentioned them once at the end, but didn’t cite them during the talk which would have been really annoying.
OK, that’s about it. Hopefully I’ll update this blog more often, but then again I always say that.