Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Point-by-point critique of Mike Bara's latest book

Ancient Aliens and Secret Societies; pub. Adventures Unlimited, ISBN 978-1939149404
        We don't have to wait long for the first error in this incompetent book. Just as far as line 8 of the Introduction, to be precise, where we find the word 'Parrott.'  However, I'm not going to nit-pick all the keyboard errors (I refuse to call them 'typos') other than to say there are altogether too many, and a Grand Old Man of aeronautics like Theodore Von Kármán deserves to have his name spelled correctly (see pp 180,192). On to more important things.

1 >> p.33 "Modern man needs sunglasses in the modern daylight." 

 Chapter 1 is about the ubiquity of flood myths across many cultures, and Bara cites biblical sources as well as many others. Here he's citing the creationist Water Vapor Canopy theory, according to which everything was much darker before the flood. However, neither the need for eye protection nor the theory itself are true. Bara may need sunnies to look cool for the Las Vegas strippers he hangs around with, but the human eye is well able to adjust to all but the most extreme conditions. It's been calculated that the canopy, if it existed, would imply an atmospheric pressure at the Earth's surface 900 times what it is today.

He returns to the point later, on p.85, and manages to get it  even more wrong. By this time he's waded deep into the bullshit that is Zecharia Sitchin, and he's trying to wriggle out of the obvious  problem with the idea of living beings (the Anunnaki) on a planet (Nibiru) with such an eccentric solar orbit that the temperature at aphelion would be near absolute zero. Perhaps, he writes, Nibiru is not a planet but an orbiting moon of a brown dwarf (by the way, if it's orbiting a brown dwarf star, it's still a planet,not a moon. Duuhhhh.) And he adds, "Maybe we have Anunnaki eyes." Oh, Brother!

Later still, on p.97, he reports Sitchin's hilariously wrong explanation for Nibiru's thermoregulation. All it takes, according to this idea, is a very thick atmosphere and a constant flow of volcanic eruptions, to keep the planet warm while out beyond Pluto. And when it's at perihelion? Why, then the atmosphere deflects [sic] excessive heat. Oh, brother again!

2 >> p.41 "the Water Vapor Canopy theory certainly has its critics among the anti-Christian left and the science trolls."

So, objecting to some unsubstantiated idea on scientific grounds makes you a troll, in Bara's eyes. Mmmkay.

3 >> p.86 "Sedna blew away all the preconceived notions of orbital mechanics."

It did nothing of the kind. Bara correctly notes that Sedna, an inner Oort cloud object, was discovered in 2003 and has an orbit even more eccentric than that of Sitchin's imaginary Nibiru (period 11,400 years cf. Nibiru 3,600). But this is not in conflict with the orbital mechanics of Kepler and Copernicus at all.

What astronomers have said about Nibiru is that it's very unlikely that an orbit that eccentric could be stable over many passes through the solar system. Nobody is claiming that Sedna's orbit is stable -- how could they, we've only seen 12 years of an 11,400 year orbit so far.

4 >> pp.96-143 The material on these pages is absolutely gob-smacking. It is nothing less than a complete re-telling of Sitchin's book "The Lost Book of Enki" complete with extended quotes. How the fuck does Bara get away with quoting 47 pages of copyright text from an author who's only been dead five years? It's irritating to read because of Sitchin's reversed syntax. Here's a sample:
"At the Place of the Chariots multitudes gathered, to bid farewell to the heroes and their leader (Enki) did they come. The last to embark was Enki; to the gathering he bid farewell. Before his father Anu he knelt down, the king's blessing to receive. So did Anu to his son speak a blessing, bidding him farewell. 'My son the Firstborn: A far journey you have undertaken, for us all to be endangered; let your success calamity from Nibiru banish; go and in safety come back!"
The setup of the original work is that this tale was recovered from 12 Sumerian stone tablets--but Sitchin himself admits in his Introduction that the text is only "as if translated." Bara reports it all as fact, complete with the biting-off of a penis and some sneaky genetic engineering. Oh Brother again.

5 >> p.154 "Buzz Aldrin [performed] a ceremonial offering to Osiris on July 20, 1969."

No he did not. He performed a version of the catholic mass. Aldrin is actually a presbyterian.

Later, on p.163, Bara refers again to this ceremony, incorrectly including Neil Armstrong in the event. In fact, Armstrong took no part in it.

Later still, p 245/6, he connects the ceremony to the Egyptian God Osiris by writing  that the catholic mass is "a recreation of a much earlier Egyptian rite." Bullshit. For a scholarly refutation of that assertion, see Logos Apologia 21 May 2012.

6 >> p.173 "The truth is, NASA was literally born in a lie and hid many unpleasant truths about itself from the beginning."

Well, now at last we're getting to the secret societies. Chapter 6 is all recycled Hoagland material, developing the idea that NASA was, from the outset, controlled by Nazis, Magicians and Freemasons. Of course it isn't actually true, and neither were the tenuous connections ever hidden, as far as I know.

Sure, Wernher Von Braun, Kurt Debus and the rest of the 'Paperclip' Germans were ex-Nazis, and they were in key positions, but they were not in from the beginning. NASA was formed in July 1958, and the Nazis weren't recruited until two years later, to run the newly-formed Marshall Spaceflight Center in Huntsville. There is absolutely zero evidence that their former allegiance to the Fuhrer had any influence on NASA whatsoever. Von Braun was hired to do a job, and we should all be grateful that he did it.

When Hoagland & Bara say "magicians" they're really only thinking of one man -- Jack Parsons, who was an orgiastic follower of Aleister Crowley in addition to being a rather brilliant rocketry pioneer. His story is well worth reading (and actually Bara tells it well on pp.180-192), but again there's no evidence that Parsons' weird ideas permeated JPL. On the contrary, I imagine that the few JPL personnel who actually knew about Parsons' high jinks were embarrassed by them.

As for the Freemasons--yes, there were plenty in the early years, Administrator James Webb for one--but so fucking what?

7 >> p.194 "The German space program led the way in rocket development in the early 1930s."

There was no "German space program" at Peenemunde. There was a ballistic weapons program, which was all too successful.

8 >> p.201 "From the beginning, NASA was under the thumb of the Department of Defense ... The agency was compromised from its inception. A civilian figurehead was trotted out for the public to consume, but he was always taking orders from the Pentagon on any question it determined was in the interests of national defense."

Nonsense. Although it would be fair to say that the NASA-DoD relationship was, and remains, complicated, the rivalry between the NASA Administrator and the Secretary of Defense was pretty much a contest of equals, especially once James Webb became Administrator. Webb was a powerful man in Washington -- he had access to the President, and used it. Check out the history of the Manned Orbiting Laboratory program some time. A US Air Force mini-space station concept, it was canceled in 1969 and NASA got the Skylab program instead. "Under the thumb", my ass.

If you want to read more, Dwayne Day's excellent chapter in the NASA History is definitive.

9 >> p.202/3 "[The Brookings Report] makes it clear that the discovery of extraterrestrial ruins ... falls under the dark blanket of national security ... It goes on to state that the discovery of such ruins would be wholly destabilizing to the civilized world, and actually recommends that if such discoveries were made, they should be suppressed until such time as society could be properly 'conditioned' to receive such news."

The Brookings Report made no such recommendation, neither did it ever say that such a discovery was a matter of national security. It recommended that research should be undertaken to gauge the likely public reaction, but no such research was ever funded. This blog has already covered the question, here and here (point #14).

By the way, Bara writes that Margaret Mead was on the staff that produced the report. Not so -- she attended one of the monthly meetings and gave sombre advice about what happens when primitive societies are visited by high-tech ones. The staff were all Brookings bureaucrats.


...and so we come, finally, to the much-recycled, much-debunked Ritual Alignment Model which this blog has written about a lot.

10 >> p.263 "There is no doubt ... that NASA absolutely launches, lands and performs key events in the space program not based on scientific or academic reasons, but to serve some bizarre and ancient occult belief system... I don't know if NASA does this because they believe that if the stars are not right, the missions will fail, or if they do it simply to follow the traditions passed down from the gods and cared for by the secret societies over the millenia. What I do know is that NASA continues to follow these rituals to this day, on virtually every mission they undertake."

Well, they don't. It's as simple as that. The failure of Hoagland & Bara's own 'Table of Coincidence' -- in which 19 of 42 events fail to follow their own stated rules -- is enough. Bara doesn't even cite one single example from the Shuttle program -- 135 launches, 133 landings -- to support his case.

Instead, here, he gets all confused about that catholic mass of Buzz Aldrin's. When exactly did it happen? Was it 33 minutes after the landing, with Sirius at 19.5°? Or 3h 41m after landing, with Regulus at minus 19.5? He seems to conclude that both happened, one secret and one public.

In the last few pages of the book, Bara goes to some lengths to explain that yes, Aldrin could have seen Sirius with the Alignment Optical Telescope. What he doesn't explain is how Aldrin could have seen a star that hadn't yet risen. And by the way, that later time is the correct answer.

Consider this, too. Bara cannot claim any support for his whacky theory on the basis of Aldrin's little ceremony, regardless  of the astrology. It was not a NASA  event, not in the flight plan. Aldrin took his symbolic bread and wine in his personal preference kit, and NASA controllers probably didn't even know what he was planning to do with it. That being the case, within this book Bara has offered no evidence at all for the Ritual Alignment Model. FAIL.


Binaryspellbook said...

Well done Expat. Doing the hard yards so the rest of us don't have to. Thank you.

Let's all go look on Amazon and contribute our views.

Dee said...

Nice one Expat! I still have some critique on the critique too :)

"that the catholic mass is "a recreation of a much earlier Egyptian rite." Bullshit. For a scholarly refutation of that assertion, see Logos Apologia 21 May 2012."

This is unsubstantiated and your referring to a blog from some "bestselling author and Christian apologist" does not equal scholarly refutation. The guy has AFAIK near zero credibility in the field, well, a "Certification in Christian Apologetics" perhaps!

The actual situation of the research is that the first centuries of the "Church" do not lend itself for many conclusions at all. It was at the time most likely in constant fierce competition with various Greco-Roman mystery cults, so much that most evidence likely has been wiped out and only slowly pieces are now being reassembled. As Church father Justin Maryr called them "demonic imitations" of the one true faith (something educated apologists like C.S. Lewis still argued for 1800 years later). Very convenient for the Christian apologists I presume!

That said, a direct link between Osiris and Catholic mass remains unlikely but since many Greco-Roman mystery cults did absorb older rites from Egypt, some influence wouldn't be that unlikely and even strategically sound as it was not uncommon for the Church to absorb cultural "paganish" elements to beef up its local dominance. For example celebration of Christmas at the 25th of December, celebrating of Sundays and so on. It's not a matter of debate in scholarly circles but the problem is more the lack of solid evidence in this whole field. And this is exactly the type of situation where many authors start projecting speculative theories or where Christian apologists start to dismiss it altogether.

It's perhaps the same with the story on Jack Parsons since the first half of the 20th century was rather full of pseudo-religious and/or pseudo-scientific movements starting of thriving: e.g. Thelema, Theosophy, Thule Society, and modern offspring like Scientology.

It's interesting how authors since the 1990's are making such a big deal about what was seen as less strange, at least in the more "free-thinking" and unchristian circles at the time. A bit like freemasonry is not that terribly exciting and generally (at some point in time) not that different from lets say the Rotary Club in terms of the social fabric or subculture it was part of. It's in these cases the context of the author and his readership which can tremendously shift meaning as well as suspicion!

The morality of this all is that it's better to copy, steal and publish, rinse, repeat -- but never allow debate or platforms for rebuttals. And disown when it does happen (Mary Weaver). Yes, preferably burn all those heretics if one only still could! All that's now left is the martyr complex, I suppose. Look at us truth tellers being ridiculed and persecuted. We must be on to something!


expat said...

Thanks Dee, very useful comment.

Mary Weaver -- a name to conjure with, Haha. For readers who don't know, Hoagland persuaded MW to do a statistical analysis showing that more NASA launches obeyed the 'Ritual Alignment Model' than expected by random chance. She wrote the paper then had second thoughts and added a comment that her analysis was faulty. Hoagland deleted the whole thing.