Re. How to spot a crackpot (was Planetary SETI)
Thu, 15 Jul 1999 20:35:06 EDT

>This post provides a very instructive lesson on the rhetorical
>tools used by nonsense-peddlers:

_This_ post provides a very instructive lesson on the rhetorical tools used by people who can't tell nonsense from speculation. I hate getting into these inane arguments, but this post was too personal and just plain wrong-headed.

>> The processed images of the Face have produced a wealth of evidence
>>consistent with artificiality, though the controversy is far from over.

>"Consistent with" is a great weasel phrase. All the "wealth of evidence"
>(by which he means 3 pictures) is also "consistent with" the fact that
>it's just a bleeping rock. Suggesting that there is a controversy when
>there really isn't one also helps; there's only a controversy because
>a few hard-headed idiots won't face the facts.

Could it be a rock? Absolutely. But not only is the Face formation consistent (yes, _consistent_) with the Artificiality Hypothesis, it actually confirms some of the features just hinted at by the original Viking frames. And where did you get "three pictures"? I think of at least 100 shots of Cydonia and areas with similar topology that have helped in the development of the Artificiality Hypotheis, not to mention any number of studies using everything from fractal algorithms to CAD imaging to classical sculpting techniques.

Again, I'm not saying the Face on Mars is an ET artifact! But it's worth a closer, better look. I stand by this quite strongly.

>Creating serious-sounding organizations makes your press releases sound
>more credible without having to have any actual credibility.

I didn't create SPSR (though I'm flattered by your accusation). SPSR is a group of trained scientists of various types who single-handedly convinced NASA to take a second look, and who have presented papers at the American Geophysical Union and elsewhere. I might add that not all of them even endorse the Artificiality Hypoethesis. But they know an anomaly when they see it, and they've done soem awfully good work on the subject. Since you seem to be aware of them, I'd like your reaction; they may not be popular, but you'd have to have a real problem to accuse them of being crackpots.

>> asking for high-resolution views of a specific, architectural-looking
>>known as the "Fort," which, because of its morphology, should do much to
>> illuminate whether or not we're dealing with artificial structures. The

>Pointing to future tests/research plants the suggestion in the reader's
>mind that such will be favorable to the speaker's point of view, even if
>that's very unlikely. Also note the overuse of technical-sounding words
>like "morphology" where "shape" would be simpler and more direct. This
>also makes a speaker sound more educated to the masses.

Oh, jeez. Bad word choice! You got me! I might add that I know full well that I'm _not_ writing for "the masses." I got on this list because I suepected there was a general level of intellectual sophistication that you just don't get on, say, "Unsolved Mysteries."

>> 8 photo was very close, taking a close-up of the "Main Pyramid" formation
>> instead (next to which is a crater with probable water ice).
>> I think we'd be well-served if Malin Space Science Systems (NASA/JPL's
>> camera contracter) got some encouraging email from interested groups who
>> _aren't_ bogged down in conspiracy theory. This is not "The X-Files," but
>> very touchy and completely falsifiable hypothesis which needs further
>> exploration.

>"This is not the X-Files"; "This isn't about sex"; "This money-making
>system is completely legal"; "This is not spam". Direct denial of the
>obvious is cheap and surprisingly effective.

Same as above. You're going to considerable lengths to make me look stupid, and all you can dredge up is this?

>> I recommend the websites of Dr. Mark Carlotto
>> ( and Dr. Stanley McDaniel
>> ( for background information.
>Nothing like a paid-for PhD to make people take you seriously.

A biographical sketch of _MR._ Mark Carlotto's can be found here: His work on the Face made the cover of "Applied Optics," he was a contributor to Carl Sagan's "Cosmos" series, etc.

I wouldn't be recommending someone's work if I thought they weren't for real. It may of interest that Carlotto has yet to write _anything_ proclaiming the Mars anomalies as "real." He's simply taken vital, completely reproducable steps with the evidence we have in an attempt to arrive at a conclusion. I've always thought that was good science.

Mac Tonnies