Re. Re. Planetary SETI
Thu, 15 Jul 1999 21:04:45 EDT

>"...laughing my ass off" is the rest of the acronym. We're not
>ignoring the evidence, there just isn't any. None. Zero.

You're wrong. The evidence is not even limited to the Face, and I consider the Face as evidence since it has some most unusual features that have yet to be accounted for geologically. Plus, its extremely high degree of symmetry and orientation (a perfect match for at least four other really weird landforms in the same region--one of which looks like another face!) argue for a _possible_ non-natural origin. No one's claimed that there is the word "ARTIFICIAL" engraved on the Cydonian sands, along with the Martian equivelent of the Pioneer plaque. But there are some real oddities there, nonetheless--and how will we be able to live with ourselves intellectually if we ignore all of this because it's too "far out"?

>The only thing going on here is that there's a rock on Mars that kinda
>looks like a face. So what? I have a potato that kinda looks
>like Jay Leno.

This is old stuff. What makes the Mars face unique from any known terrestrial landform is that it looks like a face from any viewpoint, whether from orbit or from the surface of Mars. This implies, but does not prove, design. All of the terrestrial analogs (Jesus in a tortilla, etc.) don't fit this criteria, and aren't really in the same league, as far as mysteries go.

>The originator of this nonsense is Richard Hoagland,
>who richly deserves the "crackpot" title because he spent years
>hawking this as a great discovery and spreading the "experts are
>supressing the evidence" meme and other lunacy.

Hoagland is indeed a "crackpot"--at least by my definition. He didn't used to be, but that's another matter. But should science suffer because one of the original players went off the deep end?

>Of course Sagan called for more research--he'd say anything to beg for more
>money. But even he didn't take it seriously.

Probably not. Though since his endorsement appeared in "The Demon-Haunted World," I'm not sure money was a motivating factor. He was simply interested in Mars (an understatement, to be sure) and realized that to deny a _testable_ hypothesis because it didn't fit neatly into the current paradigm was irresponsible. Keep in mind that Sagan wasn't always so hostile to the idea of alien civilizations in Earth's proximity as he was in his later years.

>We'd all be thrilled with some real evidence of life on Mars, as
>I'm sure many of us were with the discovery of polycyclic aromatic
>hydrocarbons in that meteorite last year. /That's/ worth study.

You bet it is.

>A funny shaped rock is just a funny shaped rock.

We don't know that yet.

--Mac Tonnies