## Sunday, August 7, 2011

### Wanted: Statistician. Must be willing to contemplate Hoagland-style nonsense

I will definitely NOT be buying a DVD of Richard Hoagland's FOUR HOUR speech at the Leeds Exopolitics Conference yesterday. FOUR HOURS???? Merciful heavens, was anybody left in the audience when the marathon ended??

Somebody called Mark Ward evidently stuck it out, and was very, very impressed. He reported to Facebooklandia:

BRILLIANT SPEAKER! Get this... the chances of the comet's data being naturally occuring coincidences is 44 billion to one! Worth every penny of my money.......and then some.

I can only suppose that the 44,000,000,000 to 1 number was arrived at by reckoning the chances of perihelion being on 9/11/11 AND closest approach to Earth being 19.5 UTC AND the period being 33,000 years. Let's leave aside that all three "facts" are wrong.

I'm not a statistician, but isn't this the CLASSIC fallacy of post hoc reasoning? I mean, suppose you choose any three different parameters at random, wouldn't the chances be the same?

And more generally, isn't the probability of any event happening at any specific time rather remote, UNTIL IT HAPPENS, then the probability becomes 100%?

Answers, please. But don't bother telling the Branch Hoaglandian cult members. They are deaf to anything that does not fall directly from The Master's lips.

#### 29 comments:

Chris Lopes said...

While I'm not a professional statistician, I have taken (and passed) a graduate level statistics course. As I remember, the odds of a particular thing happening are linked to the number of possible outcomes to begin with. You have, for instance, a 1 in 7 chance of being born on a particular day of the week, and a 1 in 24 chance of being born on a particular hour of the day. Your odds of being born on a particular hour of a particular day is 1 in 168.

As to Hoagland's calculations, if you figure the possible time of the perihelion as any given day of the year at any given hour and any given minute of the hour in any given time zone(365x24x60x25) you get the odds of 13,140,000 to 1. The number of possible comet periods can be calculated by subtracting the minimal possible comet period from the maximum possible comet period. For the sake of argument (and to save myself the time and trouble of looking it up) I'm willing to accept the figure of 3348 (the number needed to bring the odds to 44,000,000,000 to 1.

All of which goes to prove absolutely nothing. As you mentioned, the time and date are not significant to anyone on a cosmic scale. I'm sure that had the perihelion been at some other time on some other date, Hoagland would have found it "significant". It could have easily have been on Stanley Kubrick's birthday, or the anniversary of Gus Grissom's Mercury flight. Or (knowing Hoagland) it could have been something as stupid the exact date and time Apollo 8 went into trans lunar injection. It wouldn't matter because there isn't a date or time that he would consider insignificant.

BTW, if this thing is supposed to be a "blast from the past", how did those who sent it know how we'd end up dividing the day? I mean 24 hours isn't the most logical way to do that, and time zones (never mind UTC being the prime one) aren't that intuitive either. Considering all the possibilities, hitting that 19:51 mark (which, as you suggested earlier, works out to 19.85, not 19.5) would be a fluke. Of course logic was never Hoagie's strong suit.

Biological_Unit said...

Yes indeed ...

I don't think this changes my life in any way.
I cannot draw any conclusion from this, and no predictions.

Chris Lopes said...

BU,
The point is that Hoagland is once again playing rhetorical games. His figure for "the odds" is meaningless drivel, as those odds apply to any date and time for the perihelion and closest approach to Earth. Since there is no reason for whatever "intelligence" is behind Elenin to actually care about that date (at least not from the vantage point of 33,000 years ago), or even know how the cleaver naked apes would end up dividing time in any case, Hoagland's "proof" is nonsense.

Biological_Unit said...

He got lucky with an alignment, which chaps my ass along with everyone here.

He will use this to advance his exciting, revolutionary theories just to piss off everyone here. I feel helpless now.

Chris Lopes said...

BU,
I don't think Hoagland cares much about what we think. We don't effect his bottom line much. His real problem is that the market for his silliness is pretty limited, and there are a lot of other woo-masters selling the same stuff. Considering the fact that those other woo-masters are a lot more productive than he is, I'd say he's got to be feeling the pressure.

Biological_Unit said...

He won't specify what these alignments mean.

Chris Lopes said...

BU,
That's because the alignments don't actually mean anything. If he tried to specify a meaning to them, he'd have to provide a little evidence (which he doesn't have) to back that up. That evidence then becomes a way to falsify his thesis. That is, if the evidence doesn't hold up, neither does his "model". So he keeps it all as vague as possible, like any good conman.

expat said...

Yes, and I predict that we'll see the same performance over the so-called "torsion field" at Stonehenge. It won't be a measurement as such, at all. It'll be YES!!! STUNNING CONFIRMATION OF MY THEORY SHOWN BY MY ACCUTRON with no details, units of measurement, controls, baselines, all the stuff science requires.

Actually I'd be surprised if he's allowed anywhere close to the Heelstone. I don't think it does much good to say to a caretaker "I'm a famous American pseudo-scientist, let me through."

Chris Lopes said...

Expat,
If I'm reading the responses to a thread on Hoagland's FB page correctly, there seems to be some skepticism about his magic numerology. No one is saying Elenin is just a comet, but some seem to be saying that numerical coincidence isn't really evidence of "intelligent control".

Biological_Unit said...

Facebook minion of RCH sayeth:

we NEED to create a demand for the NASA images of Vesta NOW because of the geometric structures seen on the surface.

If I were an Alien, I would have made THE WHOLE ASTEROID a Cube or some other regular shape.

expat said...

Hoagland appears to believe that the alien master-race that created spaceships looking exactly like asteroids was surprisingly low-tech. Writing of Phobos, he opined "You can almost see the rivits[sic]."

Chris Lopes said...

BU,
Of course you would, that's because you would want EVERYONE to know the asteroid is a spaceship. Hoagland's alien master race on the other hand, only wants over the hill pseudo-scientists (with books and DVDs to sell) and their gullible followers to know. It helps if you understand who the target audience is. :)

As far as the rivets thing goes,Hoagland was obviously playing to the preconceptions of the crowd. When people think construction, they also think rivets (no matter how useless they might be on a space craft). Either that, or the alien race in question really never got beyond the Hugo Gernsback level of space craft design. :)

Biological_Unit said...

There are Egyptian Obelisks and Pyramids scattered all through the Solar System!
There are books written about it. Why would they print lies? And what if they were printed in America, would you still disbelieve them?

Chris Lopes said...

BU,
That argument sounds a lot like the one that Hoagland uses with HD physics. He says that the Russians have known about it and studied it for years, while our physicists have never heard of it. So while poor uneducated slobs like Brian Greene and Michio Kaku go around completely clueless, our man Hoagland has his hand on the pulse of the Universe. :)

Biological_Unit said...

These Scientists believe in Magnetic Reconnection. It's bogus. The consensus view doesn't understand our Electric Universe.

I still don't understand the Two-Slit experiment. A Single Photon should not be making the interference pattern. It happens, while not making any logical sense.

Chris Lopes said...

BU,
The two-slit experiment is just a demonstration of the particle/wave duality of light. The interference pattern is caused by the light waves. The really weird thing though, is what happens when you add a particle detector to the two slits, where the photons can actually be measured. When that happens, the interference pattern disappears. Such are the mysteries of quantum physics.

Biological_Unit said...

Correct.

I know a little more now.

Jim said...

I'm not a statistician. I am a CIA agent. Hoagland insists that I am because I questioned his fantasies. I am now blocked from his FB page along with many others because I asked questions that he did not want anyone to ask. Now all you can see on his FB page are kiss ass posts telling him how wonderful he is. It's bizarre to witness such devotion to a man who has nothing but fantasy.

James Concannon said...

Jim: Speaking as another notorious CIA agent, thanks for the comment.

I was never part of the "Enterprisemission Conference," but I understand the exact same process went on there -- gradual elimination of all dissent, then Hoagland walking away with everyone's membership fees.

If you haven't ever read this, it's good for a laugh.

Chris Lopes said...

James,
That was priceless. Hoagland uses the same worn out arguments there that he does now. I love the "I have to charge for access to get rid of the agents" ploy. It must really kill him that he can't do the same with his FB page. Perhaps that is another reason he hasn't updated his site in over a year; he doesn't want to give anything away for free anymore.

Jim said...

James: Oh my goodness! Thanks for the link, it was a joy to read Hoagland's closing line. "Talk is cheap...well no more, not at Enterprise." He's not the best salesman around, is he? :)

I downloaded the Elenin conference which some kind soul made 'freely' available with a quick search on Google for the torrent. Camelot charged 33 dollars (Why not 19.50 ?) for it and after watching for free I felt they should have paid me 33 dollars after watching their drivel. Hoagland talked about a computer game with a character called Otto as having significance in the Elenin/NASA cover up. It was hilarious.

It was all speculation and fantasy, nothing new, and then he went on Facebook trying to justify the charge by comparing himself to a doctor who charges for their work. Amazing! The whole thing was a joke, the apparent DDOS attacks were clearly just incompetence on the part of the Camelot technicians but Kerry and Hoag played the usual 'we're under attack from the PTB' card to spice it up for the morons to get excited.

If there is a 'waking up' and a rise in consciousness as we approach all these 'significant' occurrences and dates then the waking up hasn't hit the Hoagettes yet. They're still following Hoagland like zombies.

Chris Lopes said...

Jim,
You are a braver man than I for watching the whole thing. I started to, but 5 minutes of that silliness is all I could take. I'm glad you managed to get it without helping Hoagland with his "research" though. :)

Biological_Unit said...

I was a part of the "Enterprisemission Conference" durr derpa derp ...

I remember that hysterical "GRR8" Charlie. What a tedious minion and sycophant! Just Google GRR8 and ROFL.

I think someone should sign up just for larfs, but anyone signing up would probably shock them severely. I bet nothing is going on there.

Biological_Unit said...

THE CABAL DOES HAVE GRAVITIC CONTROL, and CAN ENGINEER IT.

GRR8

MAKES GREAT CLAIMS. NO SYENSE. BACKS IT UP WITH ALL CAPS.

Biological_Unit said...

Who is suppressing this? If I were in the Cabal, I would hover over Jerusalem and play "Deutschland Uber Alles" at deafening volume. This cannot happen!

Chris Lopes said...

BU,
I think that part of the enterprise mission went the way of the Dodo, just like the rest of the site. Of course Hoagland will never admit the site is (for whatever reason) dead. Even today, he claims he will have a paper up in about 2 weeks. Don't hold your breath waiting for it though. :)

Biological_Unit said...

If we place a DETECTOR at the Website, the pattern disappears ...

ALL CAPS will always be full retarded and or crazy, that never changes.

Chris Lopes said...

BU,
For some people (our favorite pseudo-scientist included) ALL CAPS is a sign of authority. If you type it in ALL CAPS, it MUST BE TRUE. :)

Chris Lopes said...

It appears that "Mr. Science" is now telling the faithful (when he isn't urging them to tune in their VHF equipment to Elenin) that Elenin could also be contacting them through dreams. I knew that without anyone around to point out how silly he is, he'd go off the deep end, I just didn't expect it this soon.