Monday, March 10, 2008

Forgetomori (a blog you should bookmark if you haven't already) just turned me on to this excellent video trashing the "little man on Mars" I railed about not too long ago:

And don't miss this oddly disturbing clip of a CGI Gray speaking in an appropriately alien tongue.

(By the way, you're reading this blog's 7,000th post.

Not impressed? I didn't think so.)


Anonymous said...

Much of what he said could have been said and has been said about the face on Mars.
I agree that the "statue" is probably a rock. However, this kind of automatic comeback about the mind seeing what it wants, gives a perfect excuse for not exploring things we don't "expect" to see on another planet.


Anonymous said...

"and that guy tripped!" That was great!


Mac said...

Much of what he said could have been said and has been said about the face on Mars.

True ... but he would have been leaving out a lot. In the case of the "little man" there's really not a hell of a lot to tell in the first place.

W.M. Bear said...

Mac, please don't get me started. (OK, you got me started.)

A) I thought the whole send-up was totally stupid since no rational person looking at the photograph would think it was a LIVE humanoid being of some sort. Why ridiculing this notion (which I agree is stupid as well because it calls attention away from what the shape might actually be) seems to many to serve as "conclusive proof" that it can't have ANYTHING to do with possible artifacts on Mars is beyond me.

B) What are the arguments against this being a possible (note, I said POSSIBLE) artifact. None whatsoever. (As I said, ridiculing a notion that makes no sense to start with in no way rules a valid notion that DOES make sense. And yet, this seems to be the logic behind this kind of thing.)

C) Note -- I am not saying the object IS a statue, I am saying it is a POSSIBLE artifact. Either you believe there never was an ancient civilization on Mars (in which case, there goes the famous Face too) or you are forced (it seems to me) to admit that this civilization may have left microscale as well as macroscale artifacts....

So this object could be a POSSIBLE artifact. I said could be, could be, could be; I said possible, possible, POSSIBLE....

(And it is no argument against this possibility either to to say, "No, I don't think it's a statue," or to point out that human beings are prone to find shapes in all kinds of natural objects. The whole point about this shape is that it DOESN'T look natural or even -- to me, anyway -- much like a simulacrum, which is the generic name for natural objects that look as though they were sculpted into recognizable forms such as human beings or animals.

Thank you for shopping Wal Mart.

Mac said...


I thought the whole send-up was totally stupid since no rational person looking at the photograph would think it was a LIVE humanoid being of some sort.

Actually, I *could* posit that the "little man" is evidence of an actual lifeform. After all, who's to say it isn't? Can they *prove* it?

And if they wanted to disagree I could point to mountains of evidence -- some solid, some speculative -- supporting the possibility of a living Mars. I'd even drop the panspermia bomb and argue that the "little man'" generally humanoid appearance is entirely in keeping with astrobiological thought...

My point being that sure, the "man" COULD be a sculpture. Just about anything COULD be something else if one's sufficiently predisposed.

I admire your staunch agnosticism on this. But I think trying to keep the case for the "little man" being the work of nonhuman intelligence is contaminated by the desire for it to be anything other than the rock it almost certainly is.

W.M. Bear said...

Mac -- All I'm saying is that the object looks credibly like it could be a statue. As far as your whole "could be" logic is concerned, the same holds true of the famous Face. If there was an ancient civilization on Mars, clearly it left small as well as large artifacts littered around. It's certainly not implausible that some of these small artifacts are showing up in the rover pix and no one is seeing them.

So you have a choice. Either, like many so-called skeptics -- the same ones who point to the "smiley face" and say, look, that's clearly a natural formation so THEREFORE so is the Face. The logic applied here is not different. I'm really just trying to get people to see that logic rather than plumping for anything in rover pix as actually BEING an artifact. I have simply seen a number of things (including this one) that I believe CAN'T BE RULED OUT as possible artifacts unless you believe that an ancient civilization on Mars was IMPOSSIBLE (and most planetary scientists do believe this).

So, if an ancient civilization on Mars is a priori impossible, then the Face is not artificial either. NOTHING on Mars is.

If you do not regard an ancient civilization on Mars as being a priori impossible, then you logically constrained (it seems to me) to admit the possibility of artifacts, large and small. I'm "agnostic" because, at this stage, it IS impossible to determine whether a given object (like the "statue") may or may not be an artifact.

All I can say -- to paraphrase one of your SETI articles -- is that if some of the things (including the "statue") had shown up in photographs of areas on Earth, archeologists would be rushed to the scene.

And I especially dislike the use of ridicule by people like "Captain Disillusion" to make stupid points like the one about the object.