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Educational value of going through a Hoagland webpage?

  1. Apr 19, 2004 #1

    Nereid

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    A PF member recently started a thread here ("Methane Everywhere (I Told You All!)") about the recent discoveries of methane in the atmosphere of Mars. One post in this thread has links to three webpages by Richard C. Hoagland, entitled "Methane on Mars: Or ... "Back to the Future ...?"".

    IMHO, Richard's three pages contain a curious mixture of accurate reporting, faulty logic, inaccurate reporting, and just plain misunderstanding of the results of various science missions. (There's also plenty of self-aggrandisement sprinkled in too, but surely PF readers can see through that).

    However, I feel we could all learn a lot about the various Mars missions and the results from them by taking a page or two and going through it carefully together; if nothing else, we may see how weak the case which Hoagland proposes really is.

    What do other PF members think of this idea?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 19, 2004 #2
    Great Idea

    A great idea.
    Perhaps you could start by pointing out the "inaccurate reporting" and other claims against inaccuracies?
     
  4. Apr 20, 2004 #3
    Come On!

    Still waiting.
    You're all SO QUICK to come in and shoot-down in flames a VALID THEORY on Methane (On Mars, being cause by present day life), by recognising ONE NAME (Hoagland).

    Yet, all I hear is silence!

    Come on! Point out what is bad science in the link!
     
  5. Apr 20, 2004 #4

    russ_watters

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    Ehh, maybe. Hoagland's sh-er, stuff is so bad, its hard to learn from it. Good luck though (and I'll certainly try to help). THIS may be a good place to start.
     
  6. Apr 20, 2004 #5

    Bystander

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    Groundless assertion 1: planetary atmospheres will be at equilibrium in the absence of life processes.

    Groundless assertion 2: all methane originates from life processes.

    Plus other groundless assertions I do not feel like cataloguing at the moment; these two will do for demonstrations of "bad science."

    1: equilibrium in the complete absence of the rest of the universe perhaps, but certainly not within this solar system.

    2: a solar wind flux of 10-20 M particles, mostly "hot" hydrogen, per (insert) square centimeter per (end insertion: sorry about that) second impinging on a rarified atmosphere is going to generate enormous quantities of methane.

    You ever seen Hoagland's song and dance in person? He used to be regularly inflicted upon federal employees --- sort of a "humor this clown, or we'll fire you" charity for a nut case who has done some good work --- it's not unlike watching amateur comedians lay eggs --- embarassing to even be present at someone's public demonstration of incompetence.
     
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2004
  7. Apr 20, 2004 #6

    Nereid

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    Thanks everyone.

    Before I start, I'd just like to be sure of one thing.

    We'll be quoting from the Hoagland pages (well, I will at least), but each page has the following on it:

    "By Richard C. Hoagland
    © 2004 The Enterprise Mission"

    I want to be 99.9+% sure that quoting from pages with these marks is OK by Greg (and chroot); of course, we must be sure to acknowledge the source, and use quote marks, etc.

    When we do get the go ahead, I'd like to start with a) references to scientists' work, as reported by Hoagland, and b) colours.

    Any particular favourites from others?
     
  8. Apr 20, 2004 #7
    Great stuff Russ! That will keep me going for hours!
    Check “The Bad Astronomer” out people!
    Philip Plait’s site (HA HA!);
    http://www.badastronomy.com/info/whois.html
    What a genius (HA!);
    http://www.psitalk.com/plait.html
    Visit his Forum (HA!);
    http://www.badastronomy.com/phpBB/viewforum.php?f=12&sid=4bedb5088538dafc4edaa544f35bc118

    Posted by Bystander;
    “Groundless assertion 1: planetary atmospheres will be at equilibrium in the absence of life processes.

    Groundless assertion 2: all methane originates from life processes.”

    Oh gee guys, amateur beyond belief. I really didn’t expect any better than this. It just shows the vacuum of knowledge related to the subject on this Forum is exactly what I thought it would be. 2 points out of all that. Pathetic.

    For Bystander:
    The MAJORITY of methane on Mars must come from biological processes (It DOES NOT and could not have come from comets or volcanic activity).

    Please tell me how YOU think methane stays in the Martian atmosphere.
    Please.

    My guess is, YOU WON’T! Because you don’t have a clue, like the rest…
     
  9. Apr 20, 2004 #8
    I'm Rolling On The Ground!

    Me and a few of the lads here are pissing ourselves laughing at Russ' link!

    Quote from the SHOCKING ASTRONOMER's site;
    "Finally, am I really a bad astronomer? I don't think so! I would say I am an average one."

    This is SO funny. Russ, didn't you check that fella out?
    Or maybe you consider yourself "an average astronomer" as well.
    Oh man, we're going to start visiting his Forum.
    Beautiful stuff...
     
  10. Apr 20, 2004 #9

    Nereid

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    Yes, it's quite a good site, don't you think?

    Summary: Dogon asserts that
    a) "the majority of methane on Mars must come from biological processes", and that
    b) "It [the methane in the martian atmosphere] DOES NOT and could not have come from comets or volcanic activity"

    Would you care to share with us, Dogon, references to peer-reviewed papers which support either of your assertions? Alternatively, perhaps you have done your own research and analysis, and have a pre-print or two? If neither of these, then I'm puzzled as to how you came to be so certain (your assertions, IMHO, lack the tentativeness which characterises science as she is done today).
     
  11. Apr 20, 2004 #10

    Nereid

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    Well, I certainly agree with you that it's a very good site, and that hours spent there would be very rewarding.

    However, it seems that you are expressing derision rather than praise; would you care to share with us in what way you consider the site to be worthy of your derision?
     
  12. Apr 20, 2004 #11
    If You Can't Work That Out???

    Derision?
    I say Hoagland, you guys scream "OOOhhhhh, he's a crackpot".

    You guys point out bugger-all wrong with the science of Hoagland, then ask me to point out (what any 1st year Astrophysicist could) what is wrong with that crappy site?

    The hypocricy of you guys is staggering...
     
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2004
  13. Apr 20, 2004 #12

    Nereid

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    [nitpick]AFAIcansee, only Nereid has asked you why you consider Phil's site worthy of derision; why did you write "You guys"?[\nitpick]

    Nereid: "However, I feel we could all learn a lot about the various Mars missions and the results from them by taking a page or two and going through it carefully together; if nothing else, we may see how weak the case which Hoagland proposes really is."
    Nereid: "When we do get the go ahead, I'd like to start with a) references to scientists' work, as reported by Hoagland, and b) colours."


    Dogon: "You guys point out bugger-all wrong with the science of Hoagland"
    Dogon: "I say Hoagland, you guys scream "OOOhhhhh, he's a crackpot"."

    I continue to have difficulty with your logic: "... then ask me to point out (what any 1st year Astrophysicist could) what is wrong with that crappy site [Phil Plait's Bad Astronomy]?" AFAIK, several PF members have degrees in astrophysics and/or astronomy (so they used to be '1st year Astrophysicists'), and at least one does not find anything significant 'wrong' with Phil's site. Would you care to re-phrase your statement?

    In case you didn't see it, I asked you a question:
    Could you please do me the courtesy of answering this question?
     
  14. Apr 21, 2004 #13
    Answer YOUR CLAIMS FIRST!
    YOU STARTED THIS THREAD WITH GROUNDLESS ACCUSATIONS!

    Nereid;
    "IMHO, Richard's three pages contain a curious mixture of accurate reporting, faulty logic, inaccurate reporting, and just plain misunderstanding of the results of various science missions. (There's also plenty of self-aggrandisement sprinkled in too, but surely PF readers can see through that)."

    Everybody, look at Nereid's claims.
    Answer them, and I shall follow suit!

    I won't hold my breath sunshine, I'd be dead by tomorrow...
     
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2004
  15. Apr 21, 2004 #14

    enigma

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    I've already seen two points made that you shot down as irrelevant. You have been asked to provide proof that his statements were irrelevant.

    Bystander is a chemist (unless I'm mistaken). I would tend to trust him over someone who seems to have a gripe with the scientific process on methane production, unless shown otherwise. So... pony up.

    EDIT: just for the record, anyone have a link to the site in question?
     
  16. Apr 21, 2004 #15
    Lets All Close Ranks...

    So Nereid's claims (On the very first Post) are irrelevant, and he does not need to back them up whatsoever?

    And Bystander backed up his comments with WHAT?
    His chemistry degree?

    Or are his comments SIMPLY good enough, because you know him personally?
     
  17. Apr 21, 2004 #16

    enigma

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    You've been given a few examples already...

    Errors which Bystander pointed out aren't good enough? They've got to come from Nereid?

    Why do you trust what the site says so much? Nereid simply suggested we go through it to find flaws, and not two hours later (not everyone can get on PF all the time, you know...) you're jumping up and down, waving your hands and yelling.

    Here's another one:

    The Mars stereoscopic cameras have an angular resolution of .0164 degrees/pixel. They are also located 1.3 meters in the air. Given that distance, and that some of the objects in this panoramic view are a ways in the distance, we'll be generous and say the distance is 5 m to some of the farther rocks.

    Now, the panoramic picture is a full 360 degrees. I'll be generous again and say that most or all of the rocks are less than 5 degrees wide. At a distance of 5m, that corresponds to 17 cm. The resolution of a single pixel is 1.5 mm. Those rocks which he's got posted shouldn't have more than 100 pixels to them. They do. They've got much higher resolution than that. He's photoshopped the pictures. In the one in the top left you can even see the level of pixelation in the adjacent rocks which doesn't correspond to the detail seen on the touched up one to the right.

    If touching up photos is evidence of life, why doesn't he just draw in a Coke can and be done with it? Oh yeah... that would make him lose his credibility :rolleyes:

    For reference, here is the website in question.
     
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2004
  18. Apr 21, 2004 #17

    enigma

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    Let us also not forget simple economics.

    NASA is driven by funding. Space research is driven by funding. Funding is always short. I know: I'm looking for money for grad school for space systems. Funding under the last several administrations sucked. Bush upped funding a litte, but not enough to do what he wants to do.

    If the Mars missions discovered life, you can bet your ass that a multi-billion dollar program will be announced in a matter of days. That program would keep NASA swimming in cash for at least a decade.

    To state that life has been discovered on Mars, but that NASA is covering it up has got to be the single dumbest thing I have ever heard.
     
  19. Apr 21, 2004 #18

    Bystander

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    Tie your kangaroo down, sport --- read the post: solar wind plus Martian atmosphere; do the chemistry; read your own links to Hoagland; note the residence times. "Stay" in the atmosphere? Best pay attention to what's written --- people don't waste time on trolls.
     
  20. Apr 21, 2004 #19

    Nereid

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  21. Apr 21, 2004 #20

    russ_watters

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    The reason for starting off with just two is to get good answers to those two. Its the opposite of tactic guys like Hoagland like to use: the shotgun/smokescreen tactic. Throw a lot of assertions (but never, ever support them) at someone and the'll spend all their time debunking them and lose sight of the fact that debunking them is not required. They must be actively supported by the one who makes the claim.

    Your beef with Bystander is he didn't provide a counter-argument. That's burden-of-proof shifting. Hoagland's assertions must be actively supported. Essentially, all Bystander did was bring the point up for discussion. Now its up to you to provide the support.

    If you don't like those two issues, perhaps you can suggest two others to discuss. Quite frankly though, those two issues appear to me to be the crux of the question (though there may be better ways to characterize them).

    I guess if you want, you can refuse to participate, but if you do, we'll be forced to hold the discussion without you. If we do that, we'll have to do all the analysis - both pro and con. And I don't think you'll like where our scientific analysis leads. If you have any good arguments, it'd help Hoagland's case if you'd share them.

    Nereid - these kind of tactics are the reason I don't expect such a discussion to be useful.
     
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2004
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