Date: 09-01-88 07:59 To: Jim Speiser Subj: Reply 1 Thanks for relaying the reply, Jim. Her

Master Index Current Directory Index Go to SkepticTank Go to Human Rights activist Keith Henson Go to Scientology cult

Skeptic Tank!

Date: 09-01-88 07:59 From: Jerry Lewis To: Jim Speiser Subj: Reply 1 Thanks for relaying the reply, Jim. Here are a few comments that I'd appreciate your passing on to Dan Drasin, Ufologist. . I meant my comments as notes by a skeptic. My training is in stellar astronomy; I am not a specialist in planetary geology. The principle I'm using here is: "Extraordinary claims demand extraordinary proof." The only "proof" available is a set of 4 photos that have already been examined and investigated by working planetary geologists at JPL. They found no evidence of non-natural formations in the photos. . Now, your allegations: . > a mature scientist would be unlikely to say "It's a case of making > meaning out of background noise". He would, rather, say "It *may* be > a case of making meaning out of background noise. Let us look into > this further." . I should have said this plainer: Like so many other pseudoscientific "investigations," it's a case of making meaning out of background noise. Nothing in Carlotto's article justifies second-guessing the opinions of the planetary geologists at JPL. > The 2 lower-resolution photos of Cydonia taken at radically > different sun-incidence angles are of more than sufficient resolution > to provide confirmation of Carlotto's shape-from-shading algorithms. . No, on page 1927 Carlotto specifically says "only the first two scenes have sufficient relsolution ... for our analysis." Actually, if 673B56 and 753A33 were of sufficent resolution the "face" problem could be resolved one way or the other. . > What's the point of turning the face upside-down so it looks less > like a face? . The point is that you are less likely to see a "face" that isn't there. There's a whole literature on the psychology of perception. I suggest you read some of it. . > (eyelid, "teeth", "turban folds" etc.) visible most strongly on the > left side. . "Turban" folds?? Give me a break! (This is like the Shroud, with people seeing all sorts of stuff in a few smudges.) > Our best guess is that the "Face" weas never completely finished. . My best guess is that the "face" was never started. . > The 5-sided so-called "D&M Pyramid" (not part of the "City" complex) is a > different story. It's shaped like a human figure with outstretched arms. > It's "head" points directly at the large "Face". That sightline forms the > hypotenuse of a right triangle, etc., etc., etc., etc. . Gee, I don't see any of this stuff. I suspect that I could take about any of the Mars photos that show a lot of fuzzy terrain and you could find lots of interesting objects. . > In what *sense* does Carlotto cite the Pozos and Hoagland books? . He cites the books both in the body of the paper and the endnotes (pp. 1926; 1928; 1933). He uses them as examples of previous interest in the "face," as if the books were legitimate scientific publications. > It is only the great scientists, not the hacks, who seem to have the > courage to re-examine the very fabric of their own assumptions. . A classic pseudoscientific statement. With a belief like this you could justify any lunacy you wanted to. . > To equate legitimate "expertise" with specialization in *geology* is > lamentably circular, to say nothing of narrow. . Viking planetary geologists have examined hundreds of pictures of Mars and other planets. Their analysis of the Viking photos has been published in refereed journals and is backed up by geolgists world-wide. None of the planetary geologists have any difficulty telling the difference between artificial and natural formations. . > Now, I challenge you to name even one NASA anthropologist, or one person > on the Viking team who's ever studied and understood the work of > Paolo Soleri. . They don't study or understand the work of Velikovsky, either. It's just not relevant. > But *cynics* need not apply --they are mostly on ego-trips and > tend to waste people's time. Almost without exception they generate > much heat and very little light. . This is the pot calling the kettle black. Much heat has been generated by UFO believers about the "face" on Mars, and none of it is based on solid evidence. My advice: either put up or shut up. . > If you put no conditions on it, i.e., explore with an open mind, you will > collect a great richness of data . Yep, and the more open the mind, the richer the data will be. Ask Shirley MacLaine. . > Don't believe me; read Thomas Kuhn's *The Structure of Scientific > Revolutions*. . Poor Tom Kuhn. Every recent pseudoscientist, including creationist Henry Morris, has cited Kuhn as evidence that they are right and the scientific establishment is wrong. As Phillip Kitcher wrote, "Thomas Kuhn's book has probably been more widely read -- and more widely misinterpreted -- than any other book in the recent philosophy of science." (Abusing Science, p. 168) . > Mr. Lewis' phrase, "the ridiculousness of what was being enhanced" > brings to mind a favorite phrase of Dr. Hynek: "Ridicule is not part > of scientific method." . "Ridiculousness" was used in the secondary meaning of "something preposterous," *not* in the sense of "deserving ridicule." My point was that the "Applied Optics" was evidently more interested in the techniques Carlotto was using on the images than the images themselves. . Note: Sarcasm has no place in scientific papers, but I don't consider this forum exactly on the level of "Nature." It's part of my style; ignore it if that'll make you feel better. --- * Origin: Verbose Ink * WOC'n with Words * Big D * (Opus 1:124/125)


E-Mail Fredric L. Rice / The Skeptic Tank