Posts Tagged ‘ET’
Posted by mattusmaximus on March 13, 2011
Last week the media was all abuzz about a story that a NASA scientist had discovered “definitive evidence” of alien life in a meteorite. In fact, they apparently even had photos of the little critters…
Here’s the headline:
Aliens exist, and we have proof.
That astonishingly awesome claim comes from Dr. Richard B. Hoover, an astrobiologist at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center, who says he has found conclusive evidence of alien life — fossils of bacteria found in an extremely rare class of meteorite called CI1 carbonaceous chondrites. (There are only nine such meteorites on planet Earth.) Hoover’s findings were published late Friday night in the Journal of Cosmology, a peer-reviewed scientific journal.
“I interpret it as indicating that life is more broadly distributed than restricted strictly to the planet earth,” Hoover, who has spent more than 10 years studying meteorites around the world, told FoxNews.com in an interview. “This field of study has just barely been touched — because quite frankly, a great many scientist [sic] would say that this is impossible.” …
The “field of study” to which Dr. Hoover is referring is astrobiology, and it is a legitimate scientific endeavor that attempts to study the question of life beyond Earth. Unfortunately, Dr. Hoover is somewhat of a crank, and his claims are quite overblown, as evidenced by the ruthless criticism he and the “peer-reviewed” Journal of Cosmology received from the wider scientific community. Here are just a few samples of how these trumped up claims of “alien life” simply wither under scrutiny…
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Posted in aliens & UFOs, scientific method, space | Tagged: alien, astrobiology, astronomy, bacteria, Bad Astronomy, biology, bug, debunked, Dr. Hoover, Dr. Richard B. Hoover, ET, extraterrestrial, Fox News, journal, Journal of Cosmology, life, meteor, meteorite, microbe, microorganism, NASA, panspermia, peer review, Pharyngula, pseudoscience, science, scientific method, skepticism, space, virus, Washington Post | 5 Comments »
Posted by mattusmaximus on February 2, 2011
Recently, I’ve posted about how Fox News personality Bill O’Reilly displayed a great deal of scientific ignorance when he tried to argue that God exists because “we cannot explain the tides”. Of course, scientists do know how the tides work (as astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson states: it’s gravity from the Moon, duh); but rather than admit his error, Bill O’Reilly has decided to double down on the stupid. Just watch this…
Once again, O’Reilly makes the all-too-common argument from ignorance, specifically the god-of-the-gaps argument. Of course, we actually do have scientific answers to many of the questions brought up by Mr. O’Reilly. Let us examine some of his statements/claims… Read the rest of this entry »
Posted in physics denial/woo, religion | Tagged: argument from ignorance, astronomy, astrophysics, atheism, atheist, Bill O'Reilly, Deimos, ET, evolution, extra terrestrial, FN, Fox News, God, god of the gaps, gravity, Isaac Newton, life, mars, Moon, Newton, O'Reilly, ocean, Phobos, physics, stars, Sun, tidal forces, tides, universal law of gravitation, universe, water | 4 Comments »
Posted by mattusmaximus on January 31, 2011
Time for me to toot my own horn a bit :)
Recently, my blog was listed atop the list of Top 25 Paranormal Skeptic Blogs from the PharmacyDegree.net website. Actually, another reason why I wanted to share this information with you is because the list contains a large number of very useful links to other skeptical blogs. Here it is…
Do you believe? Whether you’ve had a firsthand experience with the paranormal or seldom believe the ghost stories you heard as a kid, these are the blogs to turn to when you want a major myth or paranormal experience debunked. Some paranormal historians have made a career out of this and now blog on the topic to prevent folks from being spooked by events and reports that can be explained with pure logic…
Click here to access the entire list of blogs
Posted in aliens & UFOs, ghosts & paranormal, skeptical community | Tagged: aliens, blog, blogging, ET, extra terrestrial, extraterrestrial, ghosts, paranormal, Pharmacy Degree, skeptic, spirits, UFO | 1 Comment »
Posted by mattusmaximus on December 11, 2010
I have to say that last week I was pretty upset with NASA, because – if you recall – there was a lot of hay being made by NASA about a big scientific discovery they were going to announce. In the process, there was a great deal of media spin & speculation on whether or not it was going to be an announcement of the discovery of “alien life” or something similar.
But when it came time for the announcement, it ended up being something quite less spectacular: it was about how a group of NASA scientists had uncovered a form of bacterial life which seems to have adapted itself to living in the harsh conditions of a lake laced with heavy concentrations of arsenic – the original NASA press release can be accessed here.
NASA has made a pretty big deal out of this discovery, but there are some problems with how they’ve rolled it out, in my opinion. I am of the view that they’ve oversold this thing, with overly dramatic phrases (from the above press release) such as…
NASA-funded astrobiology research has changed the fundamental knowledge about what comprises all known life on Earth.
This finding of an alternative biochemistry makeup will alter biology textbooks and expand the scope of the search for life beyond Earth.
Upon hearing about this discovery, and not being a biochemist or evolutionary biologist myself, I decided to look past the spin being put on this by both NASA and the news media in general and go to people who know the field far better than me. In a short amount of time, I found a great post by PZ Myers over at Pharyngula on the matter, wherein he states, among other things…
… I finally got the paper from Science, and I’m sorry to let you all down, but it’s none of the above. It’s an extremophile bacterium that can be coaxed into substiting arsenic for phosphorus in some of its basic biochemistry. It’s perfectly reasonable and interesting work in its own right, but it’s not radical, it’s not particularly surprising, and it’s especially not extraterrestrial. It’s the kind of thing that will get a sentence or three in biochemistry textbooks in the future. …
… So what does it all mean? It means that researchers have found that some earthly bacteria that live in literally poisonous environments are adapted to find the presence of arsenic dramatically less lethal, and that they can even incorporate arsenic into their routine, familiar chemistry. …
… This lake also happens to be on Earth, not Saturn, although maybe being in California gives them extra weirdness points, so I don’t know that it can even say much about extraterrestrial life. It does say that life can survive in a surprisingly broad range of conditions, but we already knew that. [emphasis added]
And, unfortunately, it seems that the story could get worse for NASA, because if you know anything about how the scientific community operates, you know that when someone makes a really bold claim (such as how the NASA researchers did) then other scientists are going to want to review the work & offer criticism. Well, upon doing so, there has been some quite withering criticism coming from many DNA & biochemistry experts about the manner in which the NASA researchers conducted their work…
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Posted in aliens & UFOs, media woo, space | Tagged: alien, arsenic, astrobiology, bacteria, biochemistry, biology, cold fusion, criticism, DNA, Earth, ET, evolution, extraterrestrial, GFAJ-1, hype, intelligent, life, media, microbe, Mono Lake, NASA, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, phosphorus, research, science, space, spin | 1 Comment »
Posted by mattusmaximus on April 7, 2010
Okay, shameless plug time :)
This past Friday I had the priviledge of being interviewed by SETI astronomer Seth Shostak on SETI Radio’s monthly “Skeptic Check” segment. Apparently, Seth and executive producer Molly Bentley had caught the article that I wrote to Skeptical Inquirer magazine about the Edmund (Pseudo)Scientific ghost detector (my blog post on the subject is here) and how that once respected science teaching outlet had now decided to go down the rabbit hole of nonsense.
It’s a short interview (only about 6-7 minutes long), and you can listen to it here (fast forward to the 24:00 mark to get to my interview)…
Posted in ghosts & paranormal, skeptical community | Tagged: alien, Edmund Scientific, education, electromagnetic fields, EMF, equipment, ET, extraterrestrial, ghost hunter, ghost meter, ghosts, infrared, paranormal, physics, pseudoscience, psychic, science, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, Seth Shostak, SETI, Skeptic Check, teaching, temperature, waves, woo | 3 Comments »
Posted by mattusmaximus on February 24, 2010
Recently we celebrated the 20th anniversary of a remarkable photograph that was taken by the Voyager 1 spacecraft as it began its long, slow exit from our solar system. That photo was of the Earth, and the image was immortalized by astronomer Carl Sagan in his book called Pale Blue Dot. For a fuller story on this image, I suggest reading up on it all at this excellent NPR story.
Here’s the photo, and Sagan’s eloquent words about it…
Look again at that dot. That’s here. That’s home. That’s us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every ‘superstar,’ every ‘supreme leader,’ every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there — on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.
Posted in space | Tagged: alien, astronomy, Carl Sagan, Earth, ET, extra terrestrial, NASA, Pale Blue Dot, planet, solar system, space, space exploration, space probe, spacecraft, sunbeam, Voyager, Voyager 1 | 1 Comment »
Posted by mattusmaximus on June 17, 2009
Every now and then you run across a really silly bit of woo cross-fertilization. Such is the case with a recent article in the UK’s Telegraph wherein the reader is told, in no uncertain terms…
Crop circle experts believe the latest pattern to be discovered, a phoenix rising from the flames in Wiltshire, may give a warning about the end of the world.
Are you kidding me?! No, really… you must be kidding… right? Because, knowing how these crop circles are made, no one in their right mind could seriously mean this.
Sadly, they aren’t kidding:
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Posted in aliens & UFOs | Tagged: 2012, aliens, argument from ignorance, armaggedon, cereologist, cereology, Circle Makers, crop circle, end of the world, ET, extra terrestrial, god of the gaps, intelligent life, Long Count, Maya, Mayan calendar, phoenix, prophecy, pseudoscience, skeptic, skepticism, UFO, visitation | 4 Comments »
Posted by mattusmaximus on June 14, 2009
Well, most of us in the northern hemisphere would call it summer, but when it comes to woo, that’s the time of year that supposedly other-worldly crop circles start to pop up. These wonderfully wrought works of purely terrestrial art often appear overnight in farmers’ fields, yielding a variety of incredible designs…
More interesting than the designs that various (completely human) circle-makers are able to come up with and implement is the fact that many people consider crop circles to be definitive evidence of visitations to Earth by aliens! Of course, nothing could be further from the truth.
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Posted in aliens & UFOs | Tagged: aliens, argument from ignorance, cereologist, cereology, Circle Makers, crop circle, ET, extra terrestrial, Gavin Turk, god of the gaps, intelligent life, pseudoscience, skeptic, skepticism, UFO, visitation | 3 Comments »