In a letter to the editors of Skeptical Inquirer magazine, in response to criticisms leveled at him by Joe Nickell, one of the magazine’s non-scientist columnists who had raised questions about Rogers’ scientific competence, Rogers wrote:
I accepted the radiocarbon results, and I believed that the “invisible reweave” claim was highly improbable. I used my samples to test it. One of the greatest embarrassments a scientist can face is to have to agree with the lunatic fringe. . . . Joe [Nickell] did not understand the method or importance of the results of the pyrolysis/mass spectrometry analyses, and I doubt that he understands the fundamental science behind either visible/ultraviolet spectrometry or fluorescence. He certainly does not understand chemical kinetics. If he wants to argue my results, I suggest that we stick to observations, natural laws, and facts. I am a skeptic by nature, but I believe all skeptics should be held to the same ethical and scientific standards we require of others. #1#
It would be unfair to blame the teacher in Alaska for not knowing the latest information about the shroud’s carbon dating if Dawkins and so many others are seemingly unaware. But Molly was aware or became aware. Maybe her religious convictions led her to read about the shroud on the Internet. Maybe she was inspired by science class and wanted to know more. Perhaps she had no idea what the Shroud of Turin was and looked it up in Wikipedia. She went the extra mile by finding additional information. She was fully entitled, in fact one might say obligated, to question her science teacher’s claim on scientific grounds. The teacher’s proper response should have been, “let me see what you have.” The teacher might very well have turned this into a learning experience for her and indeed the whole class.