Detailed deconstruction of the "face" and pyramids on Mars claims

Jun 03, 2014 by Nancy Atkinson, Universe Today
The ‘face’ on Mars, a popular landform in Cydonia Region on Mars. Credit: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona.

Intrigued by the thought of alien artifacts on Mars, with structures like a Martian-built statue of a giant face surrounded by pyramids or even cities? Better check the math on that. Better yet, Stuart Robbins has already checked that math and BOOM! it doesn't check out.

So called "Mars anomalists" like Richard Hoagland have already been debunked mightily by folks like Phil Plait, but Robbins—who hosts the "Exposing Pseudo Astronomy" podcast—takes it to a whole new level. He's just put out a video version of his podcast about claims about the Cydonia region on Mars, some of the math behind it, an exploration of the "null hypothesis" (what the results would be if it were purely random), and draws conclusions based on the latest orbital imagery of Mars.

Hoagland and others claim some of the features in Cydonia display special geometry and numbers that are encoded within them. And, the only way those numbers and that geometry could be there is if it was created by some sort of intelligence, i.e aliens. Robbins provides detailed explanations of the mathematical simulations and the arguments against these claims.

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"What the Mars anomalists do is a really good example of cherry picking/the Texas Sharpshooter fallacy," Robbins told Universe Today. He concludes the video by basically saying, "Hey! Space exploration is still awesome and cool, and you really don't NEED the pseudoscience to make it amazing and rewarding."

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LariAnn
1.3 / 5 (13) Jun 03, 2014
I guess whenever someone who is accepted as part of the status quo spots something interesting, it is a "discovery", but when someone outside of the status quo finds something interesting that questions the status quo, it is "cherry picking". When a scientist makes an observation and decides that a particular item is worth studying, is that "cherry picking" if the only items worth studying are those that support the status quo? Heck, nothing really gets the blood going than the idea that life "may" have existed on Mars millions of years ago. Seems that the dedication to the idea that Mars is dead is so strong that even if something alive stared right into the lens of the Mastcam, it would be "debunked" by these status-quo zealots. Maybe part of the problem is that geologists are not interested in life, they are interested in rocks, dust and craters, which is all we hear about, unless it is "millions of years ago".
peter_trypsteen
5 / 5 (3) Jun 03, 2014
Link to article on Universe Today:
http://www.univer...-claims/
TheGhostofOtto1923
4.3 / 5 (11) Jun 03, 2014
Heck, nothing really gets the blood going than the idea that life "may" have existed on Mars millions of years ago
Naw lots of similar such idiot fantasies will do this. Even your delusions of grandeur are mundane.
julianpenrod
1.5 / 5 (15) Jun 03, 2014
Basically, another case of deceitful, anti discovery self congratulation. Any "debunking" is, at best, minimal. You can claim that specific collections of orientations can occur randomly, but that doesn't mean they did! A tactic of the liar, "if you can introduce uncertainty, you've opened the way to your winning". Like the lie machine of "science", this article conveniently, and illegitimate, glosses over the chasm between saying, "this can be explainable conventionally", to, "this is only explainable conventionally". The debased, depraved ersatz of Occam's Razor the liar "debunkers" employ, namely, "If you can concoct some collection of conventional phenomena that you can convince the dull witted is similar to a viewed phenomenon, no matter how unlikely or even insipid that claim is, then that and only that must be accepted as the 'explanation' for the phenomenon and nothing else may be spoken of ever."
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (9) Jun 03, 2014
Apophenia.

And you will find these 'unnatural ratios' all over nature. In the arrangement of petals to the way rocks crumble apart. Given the resolution of the images you could fit ANY ratio to these angles and distances. It's a perfect example of jumping to a conclusion and then trying to fit the data to that conclusion (i.e. NOT science)

When a scientist makes an observation and decides that a particular item is worth studying, is that "cherry picking"

No, because he doesn't- at that point - say that what he found IS true. He just says "what IF that were true - what would that predict if I try another experiment over here..."

Seems that the dedication to the idea that Mars is dead

There's no 'dedication' to the idea. That's just the current state of observation and a first guess (note how we continually ferry instruments to Mars to test for all sorts of stuff - even life. Would someone who holds a belief that Mars is dead do that? Certainly not.)
TechnoCreed
4.6 / 5 (9) Jun 03, 2014
@Otto
Right on! Watch the conspiracy theorist go bonkers. It is comedy hour :-D
Scottingham
5 / 5 (7) Jun 03, 2014
I really think that the propensity for conspiracy theories is closely related to the dunning-kruger effect phenomenon.

If you don't have any inkling how complex some of these conspiracy theories would have to be in order to be true, its much easier to swallow.
Maggnus
4.3 / 5 (6) Jun 03, 2014
What the Mars anomalists do is a really good example of cherry picking/the Texas Sharpshooter fallacy," Robbins told Universe Today.
Hmmm, seems to me this is fairly rampant in another anti-scientific area.
TheGhostofOtto1923
3.7 / 5 (3) Jun 03, 2014
Hey there is a face on the moon as well! Its true I tell you!
http://en.wikiped...the_Moon
Whydening Gyre
4.2 / 5 (5) Jun 03, 2014
I've got a birthmark on my butt that kinda looks like that face...
AP is right - LOTs of natural phenomena provide visual similarity
Mimath224
4.2 / 5 (5) Jun 04, 2014
Don't know what all the fuss is about. If all goes well with the Mars project then human's will be there within the next few decades...then we'll know for sure won't we! Unless of course those crafty underground Martians don't pop up and arrest them for trespassing ha!
alfie_null
5 / 5 (6) Jun 04, 2014
. . . the lie machine of "science" . . .

Ego.

Faulty observation. Erroneous thought process. Bias towards some belief you have invested a lot of time and effort into supporting. There are lots of easy reasons to be in the wrong.

Telling me that everyone else is wrong only reinforces my understanding of you. Letting me know that you, in fact, are the one who is wrong.
rockwolf1000
5 / 5 (5) Jun 04, 2014
@julian nimrod

"Any "debunking" is, at best, minimal."

None are as minimal as your attempts at debunking!
humy
5 / 5 (6) Jun 05, 2014
"...I guess whenever someone who is accepted as part of the status quo spots something interesting, it is a "discovery", but when someone outside of the status quo finds something interesting that questions the status quo, it is "cherry picking". .
….
......they are interested in rocks, dust and craters, which is all we hear about, unless it is "millions of years ago".
…"

That is a totally idiotic post. Obviously, "status quo" has nothing to do with it nor any other such real scientific analysis.
If you watched the video, you see how he completely debunks the rubbish about the supposed existence of "Martian-built" structure ( "Martian" as in intelligent resident of Mars ) by demonstrating that, mathematically, we would expect to see exactly the same kind of features and geometries and with the same kind of frequency actually seen there if all the Mars surface features were produced randomly by nature without any intelligence creating those features. Therefore, this proves the observations of the so called "Martian-built "structure is very clearly NOT evidence for intelligence creating those features.

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