Re: RE: Mars: "Rogue" memes and the laughter curtain
Thu, 22 Jul 1999 22:17:14 EDT

Billy wrote:

>Actually, I think what you've run into here is a perfectly rational
>response to a world filled with charlatans.

As long as I'm not one of the charlatans to which you refer, I agree with you.

>It isn't possible for me to personally research every unlikely claim that I
hear, >because there are simply too many of them. An intelligent, sane person will >deal with this problem by placing all such ideas into a mental holding tank, >labeled "probably false, but I don't actually know for certain", and ignore them >unless clear evidence turns up. He will actualy investigate one of these claims >every once in a while, as a way of keeping his classification scheme accurate, >and he will slowly build up a list of others who he trusts to accurately assess >such claims.

That's more or less precisely what I've been doing.

>Now, I know nothing about this "Face on Mars business". However, I am well
>aware of the fact that you can find any pattern you want to in a
>low-resolution photograph if you stare at it long enough.

That's been the running argument since this whole controvesy broke out in the early 80s. Some "reserachers" have certainly fallen prey to it. But I'm satisfied that the Mars formations aren't an example of this, for several reasons. For one thing, this isn't "conecting the dots" a la the Man in the Moon. The "Face," if it is a face, is a distinct, chiseled-looking morphology, not a mass of disconnected landforms connected by Lowellian sightlines.

>That, plus the fact that there have been several similar claims about alien
>artifacts on Earth and on the Moon (all of which have turned out to be
false), >leads me to suspect that these claims will probably turn out to be false. Since >the idea of technological aliens having visited our solar system in any fashion
>is itself problematic (it is virtually impossible to construct a scenario
>that makes any sense),

Huh? I could go a few rounds with you on that one, but I'm making a run for a latte in a minute, so I'll save that book for another time...

>I conclude that there is no reason for me to invest several days of my time
>learning all the details of the theory.

>If I happen to be wrong, firm evidence will turn up in time (and the fact
>that I dismissed it for a few years won't hurt me). If I'm right, I've
>saved myself some time. Either way I'm not going to waste time arguing
>with people who believe in the theory (I leave that to the people who have
>actually investigated this particular claim).

>Do you think there is something wrong with this strategy?

No. In fact, it's one of the maybe three or four reasonable posts on this subject that I've read.

--Mac Tonnies