Friday, June 8, 2012

Frantic fun in Facebooklandia

        More kudos to Irene Gardner, for a very daring raid on Hoagland's smug arrogance yesterday, which included these words:
"You are a liar Hoagland. YES THAT IS LIBEL. Take me to court you bastard."
        I <3 it. I've preserved the entire text plus the 67 comments it attracted. It even brought the notorious Max Kiejzik out of the psychiatric hospital to peddle his ridiculous pseudo-geometry for the 5,000th time. Hoagland himself must be in one of his periodic attention-lapses, because Irene's bold challenge has been allowed to remain for nearly 24 hours now.

        Then today, courtesy of Esteban Navarro Galán, we got this treat:

image credit: icanhazcheeseburger

        Well, not that exactly, but something related. You know how Richard Hoagland never tires of reminding us that he and Carl Sagan were such good buddies they were practically a mutual admiration society? Well, Esteban dug up a quote from Sagan which cast some doubt on that. Sagan gave a keynote address at the CSICOP Conference in Seattle, Washington, June 23—26, 1994. This was just three weeks after Hoagland's lecture at Ohio State, which this blog has referred to. He took questions, and this was one of them:
Richard Hoagland has recently got hold of some pictures, Hasselblad pictures from NASA, which were taken some twenty years ago of the moon, and he has been describing those in great detail. He gave a talk at Ohio State University a couple of weeks ago and he had video cameras on and they were supposed to have videos available. I wonder if you’ve heard about this and had previous knowledge of...
Sagan responded:
Richard Hoagland is a fabulist. By the way, it’s not difficult getting hold of the hand-held Hasselblad camera pictures; NASA freely releases them to everybody. ...The aspect of this story I know best has to do with the so-called Face on Mars. There is a place on Mars called Cydonia, which was photographed in a mission I was deeply involved in, the Viking mission to Mars in 1976. And there is one picture in which along a range of hulking mesas and hillocks, there is what looks very much like a face, about three kilometers across at the base and a kilometer high. It’s flat on the ground, looking up. It has a helmet or a hair-do, depending on how you look at it, it has a nose, a forehead, one eye—the other half is in shadow—pretty eerie looking. You could almost imagine it was done by Praxiteles on a monumental scale. And this gentleman deduces from this that there was a race of ancient Martians. He has dated them, he purports to have deduced when they were around, and it was 500,000 years ago or something like that, when our ancestors were certainly not able to do space flights, and then all sorts of wonderful conclusions are deduced and “we came from Mars”or “guys from other star systems came here and left a statue on Mars and left some of them on Earth.” By the way, all of which fails to explain how it is that humans share 99.6 percent of their active genes with chimpanzees. If we were just dropped here, how come we’re so closely related to them? What is the basis of the argument? How good is it? My standard way of approaching this is to point out that there is an eggplant that looks exactly like former President Richard Nixon. The eggplant has this ski nose and, “that’s Richard Nixon, I’d know him anywhere.”
What shall we deduce from this eggplant phenomenon? Extraterrestrials messing with our eggplants? A miracle? God is talking to us through the eggplant? Or, that there have been tens, hundreds of thousands, millions of eggplants in history, and they all have funny little knobs, and every now and then there is going to be one that by accident looks like a human face. ... I think clearly the latter. Now let’s go to Mars. Thousands of low, hilly mesas have all sorts of features. Here’s one that looks a little like a human face. When you bring out the contrast in the shadowed area it doesn’t look as good. Now, we’re very good at picking out human faces. We have so many of these blocky mesas. Is it really a compelling sign of extraterrestrial intelligence that there’s one that looks a little like a human face? I think not. But I don’t blame people who are going into the NASA archives and trying to find things there; that is in the scientific spirit. I don’t blame people who are trying to find signs of extraterrestrial intelligence—I think it’s a good idea, in fact. But I do object to people who consider shoddy and insufficient evidence as compelling.
        Bravo, Sagan. As clear and convincing as ever. And Gracias, Esteban, for finding it.

         A Hoagland disciple called Val Williams, evidently outraged, posted "Don't bother reading......SMEAR CAMPAIGN!!! aka 'INFLAMING' 'BAITING'". It's not clear who Val thought was doing the smearing —Sagan or Galán. If any more similarly craven or intolerant comments turn up, I'll add them.

        I think we're done with the thread. It's still there but so far down the scroll-mountain that nobody's going to find it. Here's the final comment, from Max Kiejzik—not so much craven as all too self-revealing:
 Is it the ~crazy train~
Decide for YOURSELF.
ALL ABOARD!!!!! Ha ha ha ha ha ha haaaa! Ay, Ay, Ay, Ay, Ay, Ay, Ay...


Jiminy Oddbird said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jiminy Oddbird said...

If you've seen one, trickyDick, you've seen 'em all!

jourget said...

Phenomenal sleuthing, Esteban!

Now we just need one of us to fib our way through the screeners next time Hoagland's on Coast to Coast and solicit his opinion on the quote.

Esteban Navarro said...

Ha, ha, ha ...I knew you were watching ....Thanks, Expat!

That´s your turn to embarrass Hoagland in Coast to coast, jourget! By the way, How should sound a band called "Unpleasantly Pimp"? Oasis, Sex Pistols, Race Against the machine?... XD!

Hasta luego , amigos.

Chris Lopes said...

Great find Esteban. I don't think anyone here really thought they were best buds, and now we have proof.

Anonymous said...

But I thought Dick was best buds with his old friend Arthur C... no, wait, I mean Gene Roddenberry... or was it Ray Bradbury... it's to hard to keep track of all his closest friends

Biological_Unit said...

DICK DUCK and the DORKS was a Punk Rock band.

Eggplant is racist. Dick Nixon didn't suck that much.

FlightSuit said...

So I was watching the new film, "Prometheus" earlier this evening, and when they're landing on the alien planet, looking for signs of intelligent life, one character looks out the spaceship window and exclaims, "There! God doesn't build in straight lines!"

Which totally made me think of Hoagland.

I certainly wouldn't be surprised to see Hoagland trying to cash in on this film by in some way using its imagery to illustrate his theories.

Or better yet, I could even see him implying that this film in some way confirms some aspect of some theory of his, and then saying, "Which leads us to ask, of course, What did Ridley Scott know, and when did he know it?"

Remember, he's asked similar questions about Arthur C. Clarke.

Anonymous said...

I don't like to brag, but my dear old friend Ridley based Prometheus on my work. I'll be writing a paper on it soon.

Richard C. Hoaxland

Binaryspellbook said...

Brilliant work Esteban Holmes. What a find. Slim chance of that being asked on C2C. Noory ptotects Hoagland from potentially embarrassing questions. I would urge you to listen to the podcast by Stuart Robbins with Expat as guest. There is a clip of Noory cutting off Expat after he exposed Mike Bara as an incompetent fool. This is how he deals with risky questions to Hoagland too. Although Hoagland is better equipped to cope than Bara. Mike Bara being a truly dense individual.

expat said...

Yes indeed, here's the podcast:

I had similar treatment from the host of some pseud-psych internet radio show Mike Bara was on, just last month. Once again Mike just said "Obviously this new information scares people with traditional views" and refused to answer. On that occasion my question was "How many of the 135 shuttle launches and 133 landings conform to your Ritual Alignment Model?'

Binaryspellbook said...

Thanks for posting the link Expat. The fact that you stated to Stuart, regarding Noory being an endorser of Baras The Choice, really speaks for itself. He is more interested in protecting his investment in his bum chums than interesting controversial radio. As was pointed out by your daughter. Herself being in broadcasting. I would urge anyone to listen to that podcast. My favourite line being "an earlier version of Mike Bara would have really ripped into that guy." Oh really Mike? - Just like your twin brother challenged me to a "real life fight" for posting Expats podcast interview on your page. What a pair of dunces.

Binaryspellbook said...

Additionally. Mike Bara's lifestyle, hubris, and ego speak volumes. This is a man who talks about love, compassion, the power of human conciousness, and the power of intent.

What an utter phoney. Cougars, strippers, porn starlets and self aggrandising. Along with his fondness of telling people what kind of car he drives and where he lives. It is truly repugnant.

expat said...

Mike still has that horrible howler "...Americans are questioning the very basic tenants of our society.." up on his blog. I've left two messages pleading with him to fix it, but nothing happens.

You don't suppose he DOESN'T EVEN REALIZE it should be "tenets," do you?

FlightSuit said...

Hey, what's wrong with strippers and porn stars? I happen to have a very good friend who is both of those things, and she's a lovely person. Note that unlike Mike Bara, sex workers make an honest living providing a tangible benefit to the people who pay them.

Binaryspellbook said...

I listened several times to Bara's "I never said that" response to your Mars eccentricity question. I'm not a psychologist, nor anything of that ilk. Merely a curious engineer. Even so, Bara's response was that of a shaken man, clearly befuddled by the fact that his flim flam had been exposed. But damn, I wished you had gone with the "centrifugal makes us heavier" crap he pulled. I think that would have been easier for the audience to grasp. And harder for Bara to shit his way out of. Even Noory would have had a hard time defending that.
A question sir. Do you think Hoagland and Bara believe their theories. Or is it simply a repulsive commercial enterprise preying on the gullibility of the congregation?

expat said...

It's intriguing, isn't it? A clue to the "I never said that" reaction can be found in Amazon reader reviews. A reviewer made exactly the same point, writing "Eccentricity of a planet's orbit is measured in relation to the Sun, not to another planet." Mike responded "Gee, where in The Choice did I say that eccentricity WAS NOT measured in relation to the Sun?"

So, to him, because he didn't actually write the words "eccentricity is not measured in relation to the Sun" (even though he wrote something equally wrong) he's justified in saying "I never said that."

He also wrote, defending the book in a blog, "If both orbits were circular, there would be no such variation. They would maintain basically the same distance relative to each other." So it's obvious that he has a totally erroneous model of the solar system in that pretty little head.

As to the question of whether H&B actually believe the nonsense they say and write -- that's been debated often, in this forum and in others. I think there's evidence that they have a skewed idea of what truth actually is. All that lot are fond of saying "the so-called laws of physics are being changed all the time, so there is no truth." Then, at the outer edge, there are flagrant loonies like Kerry Cassidy, who wrote ".... what resonates with your heart and spirit is where the truth is.. .not in superficial details that don't add up or painting a logic trail with a broad brush saying this is black and this is white."

That, I think, underlies all the flim-flam. The idea that the truth can be sensed in one's heart.

Biological_Unit said...

The idea that the truth can be sensed in one's heart?

Subtle, insidious, deep Mars-Revealer Schizophrenia, with a helping of Unwarranted Self-Importance.

FlightSuit said...

Hold on a second: Are you saying Bara actually posts individual responses on Amazon to people who've reviewed his book there? That's kind of funny.

As for sensing the truth in your heart, I absolutely do that all the time when it comes to the details of my life. And my heart has proved extremely good at sensing those truths which are important to me. Surely we could eliminate an awful lot of tedious prediction, observation, and experimentation if we put my heart to work in the scientific community!

jourget said...


Your latter point is what makes Hoagland's endeavors especially infuriating to those with actual scientific experience. Kerry Cassidy's dreamy comments inspire a lot of eye-rolling, but at least she can claim a different epistemological framework. Hoagland, on the other hand, seems to base his conclusions around much the same principles, but claims that he's doing legitimate work that follows the scientific method.

In that way, he's very like the Creationist advocates who present their views as "Creation Science". Their desire for legitimacy is understandable, as this would perhaps put the opposing viewpoints on a more equal footing both politically and in the minds of the public, but the label “Science” requires that their conclusions be backed up by evidence. By its very nature Creationism is rooted in religion. Though this is not inherently objectionable, when its own adherents attempt to label it as science, the Creationist theory must conform to the standard all other sciences adhere to, or else lose all credibility.

The same is true with Hoagland. Bemoan the inability of others to understand your perspective of truth all you want, but what you are manifestly NOT doing is science. Call it something else, Rick. Maybe you SHOULD be doing astrology.

Chris Lopes said...

Exactly. I have argued this point with Hoagland supporters for a very long time. If Hoagland wants to call what he is doing speculative fiction, metaphysics, or anything else but science, he can do so and follow whatever rules strike his fancy. The minute he tries to wrap himself in the cloak of science though, the rules become quite defined and unchangeable.

As I've told such people more than once, if you claim to be a scientist, you have to act like one. That means letting 'total strangers' look at your data. That means getting the math right, and correcting it when you get it wrong. That means following Occam's razor once and a while, where that spot you see in the Apollo photograph just might be a lens flare and not a giant glass dome on the Moon. In other words, it means Hoagland not being Hoagland, because he doesn't seem capable of any of these things.

The rules of science are not arbitrary, they exist for some very good reasons. Peer review is needed because people are sometimes too close to an idea to see the flaws in it. Showing others how you got a result helps them corroborate that result. Experience has taught that in most cases, the simpler explanation is usually the correct one.

When followed, the rules of science let us see how the universe really is. That's the kind of power that Hoagland's imaginary HD physics can't possibly match. That's the kind of power that has made him so resentful (and envious) of real science.

Binaryspellbook said...

Excellent post Chris. I agree completely with your points. Especially Hoagland being resentful and envious of real scientists.

A case in point. WISE. Hoagland rejects its findings. Simply because they falsify his HD theory. Which requires one or two large planetary bodies beyond the orbit of Neptune. Is this not
an indication of an utter contempt for real science?

If I am wrong. I am still right. Because every astronomer on the planet is in on some huge conspiracy to attack "our work."

Will he ever be exposed for the liar he is? Ultimately yes. Unfortunately he will always be able to rely on his own flavour of a flat Earth society to defend "the Big Man."

So is it worth continuing the assault? Should we pack up and go home? Hell yes and Hell no respectively.

expat said...

Yes, Hoagland rejects WISE, with the sneering comment "Are you going to believe what a _government_agency_ tells you?"

Never mind that the data analysis was not done by a government agency.

Mike Bara rejects WISE, too, for the same reason -- it falsifies HD physics. But Bara doesn't even attempt to be rational about it -- just posts insults.

Anonymous said...

So on the one hand we have Hoagie telling us the NASA/JPL is clearly lying and hiding stuff when probes fail, or data doesn't fit with theory and that you can't trust them... and yet, this the the *SAME* NASA/JPL who gives us pictures of glass domes on the moon, comet data covered in 19.5s and photos of tetrahedral force fields.

We're so lucky we have Captain Enterprise to point out to us when it's ok to trust the "officials" and when it's not.

Biological_Unit said...

The methods and ideology of the Church of Scientology - it was a case study in using the occult to slowly indoctrinate members into a shared delusional belief system - where "objective reality" is an illusion and one learns to manufacture a new reality through consensus. It's the whole ARC = "affinity, reality, communication" - triangle.