Thursday, November 10, 2011

One candle on Mike Bara's "I never said that!" cake

          It's a year since Mike Bara was on Coast to Coast AM plugging his nauseatingly inaccurate book The Choice. That's when I called in to challenge his woefully wrong orbital mechanics. Mike point-blank refused to answer, calling me crazy and saying several times "I never said that" despite the fact that I was reading word-for-word from his book. George Noory, an official endorser of the book, protected Bara and cut me off.

          The blog Exposing PseudoAstronomy decided to mark this anniversary by recording a podcast with me, including the original call-in and my further comments. It runs around 42 min.

          ExPA honored my request to remain pseudonymous, although I did summarize my background (which, oddly enough, ran parallel to Richard Hoagland's for a few years before he stopped working and I didn't.) I'm not keen to fully reveal my identity because this blog is not about me, and it's not even about Richard Hoagland and Mike Bara personally. It's about the accuracy of what they publish and what they say in public lectures.

          Mike has called his critics "blithering idiot" (Phil Plait), "crazy" (me), "douche-bag," "idiot," and "moron." I don't believe I've ever used any insulting epithets to describe either of them. I guess I've mocked Mike Bara's life-style, because it's irresistible, but other than that I've tried to keep this blog to the content of what they say, not who they are.

          Personally, I don't think it's acceptable for an author to go on a radio show knowing that he is expected to field phone calls, and then refuse to answer a reasoned, non-hysterical, criticism from a caller. Neither do I think it's acceptable for the host of the show to endorse the book and then support the author's refusal. See what you think.


Anonymous said...

I am teaching now for more than 20 years philosophy in a college. I`m not saying, that I`m free of mistakes and failures, no way. But I have observed this:
many basics, actually of philosophical nature, are simply not clear.
There is a difference between perception and truth.
There is a difference between language and truth.
There is a difference between meaning and truth.
And there is a difference between thinking and truth.
I often offered a course in art and philosophy. At the beginning I had a big painting in front of the class and asked them simply to tell me what they see. Unbelievable, instead of simply telling me about forms, colours, figures, shapes, spots etc., they often started with interpretations, feelings etc., things that belong to the end of a perceptional process.
This seems an important point - people are not aware of what is really happening while perceiving something or a process happening. And this opens the door to short circle thinking - I think so, therefore it must be true, I perceive so, therefore it must be right. And we have not spoken yet of phenomena like pareidolia, apophania or the monkey tree phenomenon, to have some examples.
It seems, that not a few people fear the very sober results of scientific approaches while bathing in more sense giving imaginations, as though sense giving is the main goal of science. No, it is not! First it is simply showing what is really happening!
Rich & Co. are secular preachers of sense thus catching attention, not reluctant miners of the gold of knowledge and truth. Too bad!
Greetings from Germany!

Chris Lopes said...

Good show Expat. I guess it's tough though, to cover the ever growing mess that is Hoagland and Bara's belief system in a short interview. The stuff is so convoluted and self-contradictory (that's why "the lie is different at every level") that it takes some time and effort understand where they are going (nowhere usually). You and Stuart did a good job though, that was fun.

expat said...

Glad you liked it, Chris. I think it was quite long enough -- maybe a bit too long, really.

astroguy said...

I actually toyed with cutting out the last few minutes on debating tactics and issues related to the point of debating people like Hoagland and Bara, but in the end I left it in because it was something we discussed and I didn't want to seem to be cutting out reasonable material.

Chris Lopes said...

Actually I found the discussion of debate tactics to be an interesting one, particularly with regards to Hoagland. Bara is obviously ill suited to debate anyone about pretty much anything, which is why he prefers to just be the bigger SOB in the argument. Hoagland on the ither hand, has too high an opinion of himself to just let things slide, so you could probably get him to engage at least for a bit.

As you both noted though, you'd never get an honest debate out of the guy, that's not his style. He's both well spoken (glib is the word), and he knows more about his nonsense than anyone else is ever likely to. He also has a deep abiding affection for the sound of his own voice. So yeah, you're not likely to get s word in edge wise. That's certainly how he plays it on his Face Book page.

expat said...

Chris, I'm literally shuddering thinking about how it would go. Before the first verbal shot was fired he'd be in with "If you had read my books and followed my scientific research, which has spanned almost 40years, you would know..."


And since you now know what I've been up to in this life, you'll understand that I'm not that impressed by 2 books and one shitty website to show for 40 years.

Chris Lopes said...

Yeah, that was another thing I've always wondered. What the hell has he been doing for 4 decades that he only managed a couple of books (one with a coauthor, and the other one almost unreadable) and a dozen or so DVD's? I mean pretending to be a scientist can't be THAT time consuming. He obviously doesn't put any effort into actually doing research to, you know, get his facts straight. So what the hell is he doing with his time?

Binaryspellbook said...

Nice job on the podcast Expat. Noory's protection of Bara was disgusting. Just the same as he protects Captain Hoagwash.

expat said...

Thanks, binary.