Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Richard Hoagland's incredible arrogance

        Richard Hoagland made a surprise appearance on Howard Hughes' The Unexplained web-radio show yesterday. I say "surprise" because he didn't promote it at all. Nothing on his Foolbook pagenote 1(last updated May 2012), his twitter feed (taken over by his homeopathist woman) or even the awful Enterprisemission website (last updated six months or so ago.) In other words, his PR is non-existent these days. If I hadn't come across a reference to it on Coastgab I'd have missed this supreme example of arrogance.

        Hughes had obviously been getting e-mails from people urging him to get a little tougher with the Hoagland propaganda machine. Make him answer some of the many, many criticisms that have been flung at him (and not just on this blog, by any means.) Hughes tried hard, but Hoagland was having none of it.

10:57 Hughes: (after a brief discussion of social propaganda) There would be those who would say -- and I'm going to say it to you now -- that this is a very good backdrop for people to spread lies, disinformation, or just pure misguided falsehood.
Hoagland: Comes with the territory. 
Hughes: Those things of course are things which...
Hoagland: ...trolls and disinformers are spreading all manner of lies against those people that are trying to buck the tide, trying to actually... you know, sound a clarion call about truth, and standing up for what you believe and what you can verify in evidence, and the scientific process in the area that I have chosen. Yeah, we have quite a few enemies. And they're the same tired list. A lot of them are very nicely paid, so their job, 24/7, is to make sure that whatever ideas we put out, whatever papers we publish, whatever discussions we enter into in public media, are denigrated at every turn.
Hughes: OK, well I want to get into this quickly. You know what I'm going to say to you now. I get a lot of e-mails about you...
Hoagland: Who cares?
Hughes: A lot of good e-mails about you...
Hoagland: Look, it is one o'clock AM my time in Albuquerque. It is 8 o'clock -- 8:15 actually --  your time.  You know, I'm doing this because I care about your show, I care about your audience. I'm not going to waste time answering stupid ridiculous ask... accusations from known trolls. Trolls who have in the past tried to actually bribe me. Out of sedition and subterfuge.
Hughes: All right, I want to ask you....
Hoagland: provide them data, and did not have the guts to tell me that they wanted to subject it to independent test. They  actually went through this whole incredible chicanery to get access to information that we published freely on the Enterprise website.note 2  These people have no character. They are certainly not any people that I would... would possibly want to answer to because they're not in the conversation. They are deliberate disinformation artists designed to submerge the truth. So let's move on to the substantive issues in the limited time we have.
Hughes: All right, let's do that, but let me just address one thing if I may, and then we move on, in 30 seconds.
Hoagland: I will not answer any of these stupid accusations. None, zero.
Hughes: All right, I tried. The person e-mailed me and asked me to make a point to you about Explorer 1 and what you said about Explorer 1,note 3 and how that may have been based on incorrect assumptions...
Hoagland: You're trying to do it anyway.
Hughes: Well, I'm trying to do it anyway because that's... that's my job, I'm a broadcaster...
Hoagland: It is a stupid, pointless discussion.
        Well, Mr. Hoagland may consider the discussion pointless, but I think there's every reason to discuss his failure to address what is unquestionably a gross mathematical error. He calls himself a scientist, he concedes that the error exists, but fails to correct it for five years and refuses to discuss the point. Shameful.

        At that point Hughes gave up and moved on, although some people might think he should have just put the phone down. So it was on to the usual performance. Comet 67P is an abandoned space station, Ceres is artificial, even Pluto may be found to be a spaceship when New Horizons arrives next month. On comet 67P, with wonderful imagery still coming in from the ESA's Rosetta mission, he insisted that the science involved was merely a front, a cover story. "Science can be done in an afternoon," he declared, revealing his gob-smacking ignorance of the realities. The real mission, he insisted, is learning about the extraterrestrials who used to live there. At this, Hughes had another valiant attempt to divert the conversation into some semblance of logic:

26:25 Hughes: If there was a secret agenda behind this mission, with all of these nations involved, does it strike you as strange or interesting in any way that so far, nobody has broken ranks and actually spoken about the real purpose of this mission?
Hoagland: Well, what would happen to them if they did? If they didn't have the evidence?
Hughes: People do disappear don't they?
Hoagland: I'm not thinking that, I'm talking about just professionally. They would be completely ostracized from all the other folks. They would be cut off from access to any more data, the good data. They would not be able to publish, they wouldn't have a job, because the job comes from one of the European governments or the private contractors who are getting their money from one of the European governments as part of this consortium called ESA, the European Space Agency. So they'd basically be reduced to driving a cab. Who in their right mind if the game is rigged, and even if they wound up on... on... you know, some... let's say the BBC. Who the hell would believe them if they were one voice in a chorus saying "You're nuts. You've cracked. You obviously have lost it, you need to go to a nice home. You know, take off for a few years."
        That would be good advice for Richard Hoagland himself right now. He came across as a case of senile dementia, frankly.

        There's one other event to watch for in July, other than the Pluto encounter. Promise of a total redesign of Hoagland's Geocities-style website. Wonderful, if it ever happens.

[1] He actually has two FB pages. Nothing on the other one, either.

[2] I assume he's referring here to this brilliant high-risk gambit from Irene Gardner three years ago. It is not true that all the information was available on enterprisemission -- he published no baselines and no controls, and without those the data is useless. It is not true that Irene didn't "have the guts" to say that she wanted to subject the data to independent test. She specifically said that was the whole point.

[3] Here he's definitely referring to this. Although Explorer 1 is a hobby-horse I've ridden around a bit, here and elsewhere, it was not I who urged Howard Hughes to press that point.


Dee said...

"...the awful Enterprisemission website (last updated six months or so ago)."

Time flies if you're mostly dreaming! If I recall your blog correctly (I have a dream today) it's been already more than a year!

We're still waiting rahter breatless on part II as announced at the end: "The 'Moon Goddess' Chang'e ... Her Pet 'Jade Rabbit'...and a Flock of 'Lunar Crows' ....Part II".

My God, Hoagland is sounding crankier than ever! In every sense of the word.


Coming Soon

jourget said...

Whenever I start listening to a Hoagland broadcast these days, I know ahead of time that I'm going to have one of two thoughts: either "I thought I had heard him at the craziest he could possibly get, but here we are" or "I thought I had heard him at the most desperate and marginalized he could possibly get, but there's apparently still more".

He's usually pretty good at hiding how stressful it must be to have fallen so completely through the cracks. He's still a pretty smooth talker most of the time, despite the website and Facebook page having fallen silent, the conference appearances having completely dried up, and his apparently sole source of income for the year having to be split 13 ways. But there have been two recent moments I can think of where the mask has slipped a bit.

The first was RCH's appearance on Coast for two hours with guest host Richard Syrett back on March 27. Far from RCH being his usual gregarious self, that appearance was an insane word salad of disjointed comments, almost desperate self-aggrandizement, and delirious leaping from one unsupported claim to another. It had been three months since his appearance anywhere, and you could tell that his single goal was to sell books, and a lot of them, as fast as possible.

The second is this appearance you document so well, where his frustration might be even more evident. I think one thought is on his mind more than any other these days: counting down to July 20, when Art Bell gets back on the air and he once again has a reliable outlet and a last chance to grab the magic of the old days.

expat said...

I wouldn't count on Art Bell reviving Hoagland at all. They didn't get on too well when RCH appeared on Art's SiriusXM show in September 2013.

,jourget said...

We can hope, but his return engagement is scheduled for six days after New Horizons' flyby of Pluto, which RCH has been going on about for months. Art will undoubtedly be fielding loads of emails begging for a spot from Hoagland, and with Pluto in the news, he might think it'd be a good draw to kickstart the show.

Erickson said...

Judging by how little RCH appears at many of the conferences/cruises/events where I might have expected to see his name, I was wondering whether he, too, had been subject to a scaler attack, no doubt launched from a 19.5 degree angle.

In April, he recapped his version of his career (with a lot of name dropping) on a internet broadcast (Richie Allen):

He explained that his current age of 70 years (10 x7) is important in hyper dimensional physical equations and concluded that things will get extraordinarily interesting in his field. So he is looking on his age as a new beginning, with the planet heading towards some kind of extraordinary breakpoint, a peak of that will be shape and transform the human condition. And he will be a part of that.

Indeed, the stunning and unequivocal images of ancient technology that has come from the Chinese moon lander, from Mars, and from the comet is setting the stage for what will be revealed on Pluto. Buy his new book! If he is right, 50 years of denial will come to an end. Private research and development is forcing NASA's hand. Technology that is on the moon (or buried on it) will revolutionize life on this earth.

The hardest question he was asked had to do with rumors of dead NASA scientists, but as an aside we learned that Hillary will not be the one and Richard hopes to go to the moon himself in the next five years. Who needs conferences when the moon is at hand?

Anonymous said...

Like many mainstream scientist's RCH is fallen ill to a classic case of "do not bother me with facts and/or use sound science on mind is made up and therefore I am a messenger of the truth". A paradox in itself :-)


Binaryspellbook said...

I also heard Hoagland say that he's been trying to debate Phil Plait for years but every time Plait takes off at warp 9 and refuses to debate. I find that incredulous.

astroguy said...

@ jourget -- RCH claimed that George is going to have an extravaganza with him on the day of the NH flyby of Pluto. Sigh.

@BSB -- It's an exaggeration, but it is true. Phil won't debate him. The reason is that Hoagland is simply too familiar with his mythology, and he will instantly Gish Gallop to a completely different part if he senses that Phil is about to explain away what Richard just said. It's a debate that Phil can't win, it would be to an audience that already gives he Win to Richard, so what's the point? That said, I'll step up ...

jourget said...


Yeah, I heard him begging for the NH show from George on Coast the other night. One of the most awkward moments of the evening. RCH wanted to turn it into an echo of "his" Mariner 4 broadcast 50 years ago, with George at JPL as a "roving reporter". I wonder if RCH even knows or cares that New Horizons isn't a JPL mission?

Noory shut him down pretty good, telling him they didn't have the budget to do that, and RCH sulkily said that if George didn't want to take part he could do it himself. Still, I'll bet George will be happy to have that half-serious bet that RCH could have his own Coast show finally off his ledger.

Didn't catch that he mentioned it on Hughes' show the other day, though. Thanks!

astroguy said...

Which night was that when he was begging? I remember him mentioning it some time recently, but I don't remember George saying they couldn't do it 'cause of the budget.

jourget said...

It was on his 2015-04-09 show with George. Hour 2, beginning around 27:00 in. Shortly after RCH said Isaac Asimov thought of himself as RCH's "surrogate father"...

Dee said...

Jourget: "Shortly after RCH said Isaac Asimov thought of himself as RCH's "surrogate father"...

Hey, lets follow that data! Deeper realities might start opening up when it comes to his ultimate motivations ;-)


Anonymous said...

Everyone here is mispronouncing the lunatic's name, and you need to stop it.

Pay attention. I only want to say this once:

It's pronounced "HOAXLAND".

Richard C (for Charlatan) Hoaxland.

And I can back up everything I said about the pronunciation using HippoDiversional Physics, utilizing the non-integer prime numbers of 19.5 and Pi-Over-De-Square-Root-'O-Two.

Nyaaaah. So there.

....On a more serious note, when is this BS artist going to go away, and stay away?

Anonymous said...

RCH is not a scientist. He used to be a planetarium director about 30 years ago, before he ran across the Face on Mars gig (from which he profited handsomely). Since then has dove off the deep end. I've heard him talk. I'm not paid to do so and not paid to say that what I heard was twaddle. You don't have to be paid to recognize idiocy when you hear it.