In case you’re curious, JE Brandenburg, the fellow who claims to have evidence of nuclear war between intelligent aliens on Mars, is commenting at length on my article criticizing his silly hypothesis. His arguments so far are 1) he’s a physicist, 2) there are radioactive deposits on Mars, 3) there was once lots of water and oxygen on Mars, 4) the mediocrity principle and the Fermi paradox, therefore…aliens.
I will agree with 1, 2, and 3 (which don’t support his specific hypothesis), but 4 is nonsense: the mediocrity principle is a philosophical position, that one shouldn’t assume that something is special until you’ve examined a sufficient sample, and you should by default assume that it is representative of an average. The Fermi paradox isn’t a paradox at all, if you don’t assume that intelligent life spawns in vast numbers all over the universe — the simpler assumption is that intelligent life is rare, which is a further strike against Brandenburg’s hypothesis.
This is stuff that could only get printed in a cheesy journal like The Journal of Cosmology. He suggests that you read his paper there, at http://journalofcosmology.com/JOC24/Brandenburg.pdf. You might want to copy and paste the link to make it work, since it seems that JoC has blocked referrals from Pharyngula.
The article is hilarious. It has a long section defending the existence of the Face on Mars, based on the work of Mark Carlotto, whose work I’ve also read — he’s an expert at making up anything he wants out of highly processed graphic images. The paper has 15 different renderings of the Cydonian Face, and also pictures of Olmec heads and the Egyptian Sphinx. It was a trip back to 1995 to see all that crap spewed out again.
By the way, here’s an article about someone who applied the Mediocrity Principle to the solar system, with even more interesting conclusions than Brandenburg’s.
Here’s what Dick figured. At the time, there were an average of 280 people per square mile in England. And because he thought every surface of our universe bears life, it would naturally occur at roughly the same population density. So from comets and asteroids to the rings of Saturn, if you knew how big something was, you could guess how many beings live there. Thus, Jupiter would be the most populated object in the solar system, with 7 trillion beings. The least populated would be Vesta, the second largest asteroid in the asteroid belt, tallying just 64 million.
Dick, you see, was a very religious man, but also a voracious scientist, one of the last of the so-called natural theologists, who looked for signs of God’s influence in nature. For Dick, it simply did not make sense for God to have created the cosmos just to have it sit around unoccupied. There must be creatures out there capable of enjoying its beauty, because God wants all his work appreciated.