Thursday, October 17, 2013

Mike Bara: As wrong as it's possible to be

James Concannon guest-blogs:

        Well, that was pretty funny.I've been contributing to a lively discussion about the so-called "Face" on Mars, on the Final Frontier Farcebook page. My posts today amounted to the following:

Features claimed by the gullible, when the resolution was 125 m/px:

- Headdress
- 2 eyes
- A tear duct in one eye
- Nostrils
- Teeth
- Lateral symmetry

Now that the resolution has improved to 0.3 m/px, all those have gone away. All they have left is lateral symmetry of the BASE, which is striking but not too unusual.

You'd have to be really, really gullible or really, really obstinate to persist in claiming artificiality.
Mike Bara's new book "Ancient Aliens on Mars" is due out 1st November. We can confidently expect fresh claims that this is a large artwork made by ancient aliens, since Bara falls into both categories "really, really gullible" and "really, really obstinate." He also belongs in the categories "really, really inaccurate" and "really, really obnoxious."

        Well, behold, just minutes later Mike Bara posted this utterly wrong, utterly hilarious essay to his blog.

How wrong is Mike Bara? Let me count the ways...

º "In recent years, as better and better images of the Face on Mars and other anomalies on the Red Planet have become increasingly recognized as artificial..." No, Mike, the "Face" is increasingly recognized as just an eroded mesa. See my text from FB.

º "Debunkers ... never ... use the far more accurate and more directly overhead views, of which there are now many. " Oh yes we do, oh yes we do. In fact, the excellent image taken in 2007 by the HiRISE camera on Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter is the very first thing I would use if explaining this controversy to someone who didn't already know about it.

credit: NASA/JPL/Univ. Ariz.
        That's the one whose resolution is 0.3 m/px. The full version is here. Anyone see any tear-ducts or teeth? Headdress? By the way, it's upside down. They did that to annoy George Haas.

º Bara states, emphatically, that no scientific or medical literature exists authenticating pareidolia. Oh yeah??

Hadjikhan et al. "Early (M170) activation of face-specific cortex by face-like objects" in Neuroreport 2009 Mar 4;20(4):403-7. doi: 10.1097/WNR.0b013e328325a8e1

Uchiyama et al. "Pareidolias: complex visual illusions in dementia with Lewy bodies" in Brain 2012 Aug;135(Pt 8):2458-69. doi: 10.1093/brain/aws126. Epub 2012 May 30.

Maranhão-Filho et al. "Neuropareidolia: diagnostic clues apropos of visual illusions" in Arquivas de neuro-psychiatria 2009 Dec;67(4):1117-23.

º Bara cites prosopagnosia as a well-documented and medically-established disorder, "unlike pareidolia." He should have followed his own hyperlink, and actually read the text. It reads, in part,

"The specific brain area usually associated with prosopagnosia is the fusiform gyrus,[2] which activates specifically in response to faces. Thanks to this specialization, most people recognize faces much more effectively than they do similarly complex inanimate objects."

º Bara might usefully have followed, and read, the hyperlink in his own footnote.

"In 1978, some 8,000 people made pilgrimages to the home of a New Mexico woman who discovered a picture of Jesus in a burned tortilla. And in 2001, thousands saw the face of Satan captured in a CNN video and Associated Press photos of smoke billowing from the World Trade Center."

        Bara cited this article from Wordspy to establish that the earliest citation was from Skeptical Inquirer 1994. True. But it also establishes that, regardless of what you call it, it's REAL.

º One final point: If the ancient aliens built a 2 km long sculpture to resemble a face, weren't they relying on pareidolia (regardless of what they called it) for us to recognize it as a face?

--James C (thanks to Chris Lawrence for speedy research and Photoshoppery)


This just in from Mike Bara to me:

"As to the papers you cite (we all know there is no "James Concannon") the first only measures how fast a portion of the brain responds to visual stimuli, and nothing more. The 2nd only makes subjective conclusions about patients with dementia, and the 3rd is a study of animals. None of these establishes that there is any such thing as "pareidolia" in humans. So once again, you have nothing to stand on. Good luck finding a real medical study on the subject. There isn't one. It doesn't exist.

Nice touch turning the image of the Face upside down. All it does is prove how desperate and pathetic your arguments are.

Not that anybody's paying attention to you anyway."
A study of animals??? Yes, the pareidolic images of animals IN THE HUMAN BRAIN. Sheesh...


Chris said...

So he claims that Isis and 33rd intersect and then posts an screenshot showing that they don't intersect.

He claims that paredolia doesn't exist and posts links which state the mechanism by which paredolia works.

Hoagland claims that there's a glowing glass dome on the moon and posts a picture which states that glow is caused by interstellar dust.

Bara is so pleased with a pic calling him an "Intellectual Bad Ass" he changes his Twitter profile pic to it, failing to notice at the bottom it references the site where the pic was originally posted as a "LoL", mocking him.

I know Bara is Hoagland's bitch, fronting Hoagland's ideas for him, but now he's surpassed even Hoagland's talent for proving himself wrong in a single post.

Chris Lopes said...

Bara is definitely playing Lennie to Hoagland's George on this one. While Hoagie can post incredibly stupid responses to his critics, he's usually smart enough to pretend they don't exist. Our man Bara can't seem to resist the temptation to show us how stupid he is.

Btw, nice shot at Haas. He's been his usual nasty piece of work on Final Frontiers these days, as he tries to use a combination of self referencing material and insults to prove his point. Apparently he really believes the upside down thing is part of the evil conspiracy. While vertically flipping an image might be beyond his ability, the rest of us are not so limited.

Unknown said...

Photographs are not admissible as evidence in a court of law without corroboration from a witness who can attest that the images are in fact an accurate representation as asserted. The Scientific Method has a much higher standard for evidence that does law. As NASA controls the data, and astronauts have poor recollection from controversial missions, there is no way to ascertain with certainty that images released by NASA have not been altered. The early images with lower resolution might well have been air-brushed by NASA to depict a face in the first place, to divert from truly significant archeology discovered elsewhere on Mars. When the higher resolution images are released and Hoagland becomes discredited for swallowing the bait, then nobody believes what appears to be seen in newly released images.

astroguy said...

Problem with using the internets is when you don't know how to use the internets. As someone pointed out to me over a year ago, the term was in use at least as far back as 1867. See

“… or, there is necessary an external and individual object very nearly corresponding in character to the false perception, whose objective stimulus blends with the deficient subjective stimulus, and forms a single complete impression. This last is called by Dr. Kahlbaum, changing hallucination, partial hallucination, perception of secondary images, or pareidolia. Those manifestations which have been hitherto termed illusions, are only in very small proportion actual delusions of the senses (partial hallucinations). For the most part they are pure delusions of the judgement, while a few are false judgments, founded on imperfect perception, or deceptions produced in the peripheral organs of sense and in external conditions.”

Trekker said...

Isn't the Rorschach test based on pareidolia? I wonder if Bara would deny such a test exists!

expat said...

Aren't smileys based on pareidolia? I don't think Mike denies understanding them. I'll have to ask him next time we're having a drink with Shana Eva.

Unknown said...

Listening to Art Bell's broadcasts as Dick Hoagland describes the pictures that he always brings to show on the radio, is like hearing Dick trying to get Art to see Bo and Peep in the fluffy white cloud formation of a "Blue Sky".

Dee said...

Misti: " The early images with lower resolution might well have been air-brushed by NASA to depict a face in the first place, to divert from truly significant archeology discovered elsewhere on Mars."

But you're moving the goal posts here. Now other evidence is needed to detail these "other" discoveries. And surely Hoagland never claimed the face was air-brushed in. So there's now a second claim, third claim, etc, all superseding and invalidating each other.

Photographs are admissible as evidence in the scientific "court" if the source is marked as "trusted" and "verifiable" by any agreed upon definition within those scientific bodies. The main method to deal with any "poison in the well" is to demand repetition and verification by other means, nations, crafts, people, camera's and experiments. At some point doubt then becomes unreasonable to maintain actively.

Understand this "goal post" problem and you'll see better what is unreasonable and what's not (which differs from what is "ultimately true" or "hidden reality").

expat said...

Interesting update

Chris Lopes said...

How would one test to see if there is pareidolia in animals?

Barry said...

It would be nice if Mike Bara occasionally stepped up to the plate and backed up his stories with some evidence.

Dee said...

Goalpost alert: now the critics are challenged to find a real medical study and Bara will remain the final judge what is a real study. When needed he'll add requirements and keep you running. Not to mention his reading disability which will give him an edge on judging which articles qualify for his consideration.

Other interesting links in the wiki article about face perception, which is important because it's clear we process faces using specialized areas in our brain to benefit (fast) communication, emotion and remembrance. We need special face processing. Faces are therefore unique objects to the human gaze and high sensitivity is therefore expected. The funny image of the moving boxes in the article is a good demo.

And there's Apophenia: "the experience of seeing meaningful patterns or connections in random or meaningless data."

Anonymous said...

'Goalpost alert: now the critics are challenged to find a real medical study and Bara will remain the final judge what is a real study. When needed he'll add requirements and keep you running. Not to mention his reading disability which will give him an edge on judging which articles qualify for his consideration.'

It goes without saying; Just look on any youtube conspiracy video thread, and you'll find it's pointless pointing out obvious flaws in their 'evidence' of (example) chemtrails..because then the next thing they'll ask is 'Prove xy and z'...You do, and then it's not enough. They then want something else because they know their 'evidence' is shite, and then resort to pedantry that isn't relevant. Bara is no better; and as long as his publisher is moving copy, he will find guilible people to drink it up. Only way to do it is to have him on air (tv or radio) with an independent chairman/woman and (for instance) Dr Robbins, and a set of questions and then each gives their respective view backed up with science (or not)...and then go from there.


Unknown said...

This might be a bit OT but it looks like the California GOP got Mikey to design their anti-Hillary buttons.

Binaryspellbook said...

Bara blogging again......

First of all, "James Concannon," if he even exists, has sexually harassed numerous female Facebook friends of mine in the last several years, sending them harassing message after harassing message. At least 5 women had to block him to get it to stop. This is par for the course for both the Village Idiot and the distinguished Dr. Robbins, both of whom have proven time and again what complete creeps they are by pretending to be other people.

Unbelievable. Either Bara has lost the plot or he is doing some pre-emptive defence of his next book.


James Concannon said...

Yes, I take strong exception to that claim that I've been sexually harassing Mike's FBgfs. It's not true at all.

I used to monitor his main page even though I was blocked from contributing. Yes, I did sometimes message fans who I thought were overly credulous when Mike boasted of his triumphs. NOT just the pretty female admirers, but anyone at all.

I had a look through my FB message archive and didn't find many. Here's one from May 20th, addressed to Rhett Copelin:

Mike Bara is totally wrong. 33rd St dead-ends in a storage facility. Isis Ave. dead-ends in a parking lot on the other side of the rail track. He lied.

I swear by the entire works of Carl Sagan that there has never been the slightest sexual content in these messages.

On the other hand, I can show that a stream of obscenity has flowed in the other direction. There's the time Mike called Sarah Bilgri a cunt and advised her not to have children Then there's this pornography from Sara Shanae. Reverse sexual harrassment?

expat said...

Mike must have looked at the title of this thread and taken it as a challenge. Today he writes "Our health care system is still the envy of the world."

By "our" he means the corrupt and wasteful system of the US of A. FACEPALM.

Binaryspellbook said...


Not nice having such vile accusations leveled at you. Fuck her, and fuck Bara. They are probably one and the same, or at least Bara is allowed to edit her Farcebook pages.

Mikey boy's internet wife exposed.


James Concannon said...

I believe it was John J. Mercieca who complained in public about my PM (I had sent him a link to this blog's mockery of Bara's demo of Data's Head).

Bara replied "Good. Please send me the text, I'm building a legal case against Concannon."

That was 18th January.

Chris Lopes said...

How can he build a legal case against someone he claims doesn't exist?

James Concannon said...

It brought the following scene to my mind....

SCENE 21. DAY. INT. Offices of Messrs. Sue, Grabbit and Runne, attorneys at law. Downtown Seattle.

ESTABLISH office. Obviously busy, understaffed. Briefs are piled on a side table. DUNCAN GRABBIT, senior partner, is behind an impressive desk. 50-ish, perhaps some dandruff. He's just finishing a phone call. A PROMINENT laptop computer establishes that he's computer-savvy.

ENTER Mike Bara. Also 50ish, balding, a little overweight. Cocky.

Mr Bara, please come in and take a seat. How are you today?

Very fine, thank you. The Seahawks are still killing the opposition. Manchester City is a shoo-in for the Cup. I appreciate your making time to see me on this urgent matter.

No problem. I understand you're a famous author?

Well, not only that, I'm a very famous TV personality. You must have seen my many starring appearances on Ancient Aliens.

I don't get much TV time, Mr Bara. What can I do for you?

I'll come right to the point. I want you to sue a douchebag called James Concannon. Well, er... that may not be his real name. But...

We have our means of researching these things. What's this Concannon fellow done?

He gets all over the internet and he won't stop pointing out technical errors in my books. What he's doing is obviously illegal.

I see. And obviously he's made threats, otherwise you wouldn't be here?

No, not threats as such. Just very annoying criticisms. He's a douchebag.

Mr Bara, the law in this country still respects the First Amendment, and the internet is so full of criticism it sometimes seems to me that's there's nothing else out there. Will there be anything else? If not, I'm a busy man. My assistant Ms Chevrolet will see you out.

Ricky Poole said...

Could there be anything more ironic (or should I say painfully self-serving) than someone making a living claiming to find strange inexplicable artificial structures in pictures of dead planets while denying the existence of pareidolia?

Sounds like a natural-born used car salesman or a government spokesman.

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