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:
- 2 eyes
- A tear duct in one eye
- 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, 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.
A study of animals??? Yes, the pareidolic images of animals IN THE HUMAN BRAIN. Sheesh...Not that anybody's paying attention to you anyway."