Hi Richard,Would you care to comment on what Carl Sagan and Andrew Johnson have said about you. I am particularly astonished at Carl Sagan taking a swipe at you, since I have on many occasions heard you refer to him as "my dear departed friend."
QUESTION: Richard Hoagland has recently got hold of some pictures, Hasselblad pictures from NASA, which were taken some twenty years ago of the moon, and he has been describing those in great detail. He gave a talk at Ohio State University a couple of weeks ago and he had video cameras on and they were supposed to have videos available. I wonder if you’ve heard about this and had previous knowledge of . . . .
SAGAN: You forgot to mention what is on those videos.
QUESTION: Structures on the moon.
SAGAN: Richard Hoagland is a fabulist. By the way, it’s not difficult getting hold of the hand-held Hasselblad camera pictures; NASA freely releases them to everybody. These are in the public domain, they’re available to anybody. You don’t have to do something remarkable to get the pictures. The aspect of this story I know best has to do with the so-called Face on Mars. There is a place on Mars called Sidonia, which was photographed in a mission I was deeply involved in, the Viking mission to Mars in 1976. And there is one picture in which along a range of hulking mesas and hillocks, there is what looks very much like a face, about three kilometers across at the base and a kilometer high. It’s flat on the ground, looking up. It has a helmet or a hair-do, depending on how you look at it, it has a nose, a forehead, one eye—the other half is in shadow—pretty eerie looking.
You could almost imagine it was done by Praxiteles on a monumental scale. And this gentleman deduces from this that there was a race of ancient Martians. He has dated them, he purports to have deduced when they were around, and it was 500,000 years ago or something like that, when our ancestors were certainly not able to do space flights, and then all sorts of wonderful conclusions are deduced and “we came from Mars”or “guys from other star systems came here and left a statue on Mars and left some of them on Earth.” By the way, all of which fails to explain how it is that humans share 99.6 percent of their active genes with chimpanzees. If we were just dropped here, how come we’re so closely related to them? What is the basis of the argument? How good is it? My standard way of approaching this is to point out that there is an eggplant that looks exactly like former President Richard Nixon. The eggplant has this ski nose and, “that’s Richard Nixon, I’d know him anywhere.”
What shall we deduce from this eggplant phenomenon? Extraterrestrials messing with our eggplants? A miracle? God is talking to us through the eggplant? Or, that there have been tens, hundreds of thousands, millions of eggplants in history, and they all have funny little knobs, and every now and then there is going to be one that by accident looks like a human face. Humans are very good at recognizing human faces. I think clearly the latter.
Now let’s go to Mars. Thousands of low, hilly mesas have all sorts of features. Here’s one that looks a little like a human face. When you bring out the contrast in the shadowed area it doesn’t look as good. Now, we’re very good at picking out human faces. We have so many of these blocky mesas. Is it really a compelling sign of extraterrestrial intelligence that there’s one that looks a little like a human face? I think not. But I don’t blame people who are going into the NASA archives and trying to find things there; that is in the scientific spirit. I don’t blame people who are trying to find signs of extraterrestrial intelligence—I think it’s a good idea, in fact. But I do object to people who consider shoddy and insufficient evidence as compelling.
Now we have a link to a page where a fair amount of libel (or is it ?) is being aimed at you. Check The Evidence.
Incidentally Richard, I heard an interview with Dr Wood, where she told the audience she doesn't know you, has never met you nor corresponded with you in any manner. She was also mighty peeved that you had taken her work and presented it as if you knew what you were talking about, made an arse of it and misrepresented her findings. She said you had no permission to do so.
Any comments ?