Avi Loeb found what he was looking for


You were expecting little green men?

Because of course he did, since he was going to happily declare anything he found to be of extrasolar origin. The preliminary analysis of the metal spheres he found at the bottom of the ocean has been published in ArXiv, as he announced on…the Michael Shermer podcast? I’m already prejudiced against believing him.

From a July expedition off the coast of Papua New Guinea, a collection of small metallic spheres was recovered from the sea floor, which famous Harvard scientist Avi Loeb said Tuesday are from outside our solar system.

Tuesday’s press release, first reported by USA Today, suggests that 57 of the 700 metallic spheres, which were recovered by using a magnetic sled the team dragged through the water and sand, are interstellar in origin “based on the composition and isotopes.” That is unmatched by existing material in our solar system, Loeb said in an interview on “The Michael Shermer Show.”

“This is a historic discovery because it represents the first time that scientists have analyzed materials from a large object that arrived to Earth from outside the solar system,” Loeb wrote in his Tuesday blog post on Medium.

The paper has also been posted on the X, formerly known as Twitter, shitshow.

Not peer-reviewed, obviously, and Shermer and X are the outlets used to display the results? Not impressive.

So what did he find? I don’t know. I’m not really qualified to interpret this result — maybe you are.

What he found is that the tiny little spheres he pulled up are enriched for beryllium, lanthanum, and uranium, which is unusual compared to C1 chondrites. Carbonaceous chondrites have an elemental composition reflective of the elements in the solar system as a whole, so this difference is taken as evidence that the meteor was from different star system altogether. Or, as was my first thought, that the meteor was not a carbonaceous chondrite. Or that the melting as it passed through the atmosphere altered the distribution of elements. Or that sitting in the ocean for a decade degraded the material in interesting ways. Or that his sampling technique was biased towards plucking out unusual samples. I don’t know, this is way outside my expertise, I just know I’m extremely suspicious of anything Avi Loeb says. I mean, he also declared that meteor was of interstellar origin based on a letter that used wobbly estimates of its speed and trajectory.

The interstellar origin of IM1 was established at the 99.999% confidence based on velocity measurements by US government satellites, as confirmed in a formal letter from the US Space Command to NASA.

I love the fact that he got 99.999% confidence from a third-hand letter based on largely confidential evidence. That tells me all I need to know.

But also, all the recent foofaraw about UFOs, like the recent congressional hearings, is rich old fools with no scientific background. They’re just certain that the aliens are here.

In a 2017 interview with 60 Minutes, Robert Bigelow didn’t hesitate when he was asked if space aliens had ever visited Earth. “There has been and is an existing presence, an ET presence,” said Bigelow, a Las Vegas-based real estate mogul and founder of Bigelow Aerospace, a company NASA had contracted to build inflatable space station habitats. Bigelow was so certain, he indicated, because he had “spent millions and millions and millions” of dollars searching for UFO evidence. “I probably spent more as an individual than anybody else in the United States has ever spent on this subject.”

He’s right. Since the early 1990s, Bigelow has bankrolled a voluminous stream of pseudoscience on modern-day UFO lore—investigating everything from crop circles and cattle mutilations to alien abductions and UFO crashes. Indeed, if you name a UFO rabbit hole, it’s a good bet the 79-year-old tycoon has flushed his riches down it.

If Loeb is famous now, it’s for quickly jumping on that cash cow and riding it hard. He found a UFO fanatic sugar daddy, and is milking him for everything he can.

From a scientific standpoint, all this money seems wasted on a zany quest that is akin to the search for Bigfoot or Atlantis. The same might be said of Harvard astrophysicist Avi Loeb’s recent hunt for evidence of extraterrestrial life off the coast of Papua New Guinea, which cost $150,000 and was funded by cryptocurrency mogul Charles Hoskinson. Loeb’s polarizing claims of finding traces of alien technology and of having a more open-minded and dispassionate approach to fringe science have garnered a truly staggering amount of media coverage, but his peers in the scientific community are rolling their eyes.

It’s the latest stunt by Loeb, who also helms a controversial UFO project and previously drew the ire of his colleagues with outlandish claims about the supposedly artificial nature of an (admittedly weird) interstellar comet. Steve Desch, an astrophysicist at Arizona State University, recently told the New York Times: “What the public is seeing in Loeb is not how science works. And they shouldn’t go away thinking that.”

Exactly. Loeb is just the latest in a long line of ignoramuses and charlatans who claim to have extraordinary evidence for extraordinary claims, but when asked to show it reveal a thimble full of cherry-picked dirt. Unfortunately, it’s another symptom of the inequitable and unearned distribution of wealth, which allows absurdly wealthy people to throw barrels of cash undiscriminatingly at anyone willing to endorse their delusions. They keep sucking up unwarranted acknowledgements from prestigious institutions as well!

Unfortunately, much of this nonsense has, at one point or another, been masked with an aura of legitimacy by prestigious institutions. For example, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology lent its imprimatur to an alien abduction conference in the early 1990s—which Robert Bigelow helped pay for. A generous benefactor to academia, Bigelow also gave millions to the University of Nevada during the 1990s to study supposed psychic phenomena, such as telepathy, clairvoyance and the possibility of life after death. (In recent years, the billionaire has turned his attention and money largely to the afterlife.)

Indeed, there is a long tradition of fringe science at prestigious universities. The dubious field of parapsychology, for instance, owes its existence to the decades of pseudoscholarship churned out at Duke and Harvard University–and financed by wealthy private patrons. Some of our most illustrious thinkers, such as the eminent psychologist William James, have fallen for it. Belief in Martians sprang in large part from a wealthy amateur astronomer, Percival Lowell, who built the observatory that still bears his name. A University of Arizona psychology professor attracted criticism in recent years for taking money from the Pioneer Fund, founded in 1937 by textiles magnate to promote the racist science of eugenics.

You know, universities — especially the large already rich ones — are often fueled by capitalistic grasping at money, right? And when idiots have lots of money, they aren’t shy about pandering to them.

By the way, Loeb made this announcement on the day his new book, Interstellar, was released. Very convenient.

Comments

  1. markp8703 says

    This has a whiff of that crank who claimed to have found extra terrestrial diatoms.

    I can’t remember his name or find the story online, so perhaps he’s retracted his nonsense.

  2. StevoR says

    Well, I’m sure they just Loeb all that money and making things as Bigelow as they want for it..

  3. Dan Phelps says

    A geochemist would have a field day reviewing this crap if it were submitted to a real journal. Announcing this on the same day as his book is released seems like an enormous conflict of interest. Does Harvard have any guidelines for their faculty? Most places would have no problems with faculty making all sorts of bizarre claims; such actions are protected under academic freedom. But selling a dubious book at the same time would seem problematic and needs to be addressed as a conflict of interest. Geology and paleontology journals require authors to sign a disclosure of conflict of interest when papers are submitted (imagine a petroleum geology paper being published by someone who is suddenly selling oil and gas leases in a region discussed in the paper). I assume other fields, especially those with money at stake, like pharmaceutical research. have similar or more stringent requirements.

  4. raven says

    Tuesday’s press release, first reported by USA Today, suggests that 57 of the 700 metallic spheres, which were recovered by using a magnetic sled the team dragged through the water and sand, …

    FFS, there is so much wrong with this so called research, it is hard to know where to even start.

    Where are the control groups?

    They dragged a magnet through the sand in Papua, New Guinea.
    What happens when you drag that some magnet through the sand in Boston, Florida, Santa Monica, California, Hawaii, or just about anywhere else?

    I would predict they would find the same thing.
    A whole lot of magnetic spherules of meteoritic origin that differ in their compositions.
    A significant fraction of sea floor sediments are made up of meteorites that have been hitting the earth for the last 4 billion years.

  5. says

    They are micrometeorites or microtektites. Nothing unusual about them. Micrometeorites rain down on the planet all the time. They were very common in Palaeozoic limestones I dissolved in acetic acid to extract conodonts.

  6. StevoR says

    What he found is that the tiny little spheres he pulled up are enriched for beryllium, lanthanum, and uranium, which is unusual compared to C1 chondrites. Carbonaceous chondrites have an elemental composition reflective of the elements in the solar system as a whole, so this difference is taken as evidence that the meteor was from different star system altogether. Or, as was my first thought, that the meteor was not a carbonaceous chondrite. Or that the melting as it passed through the atmosphere altered the distribution of elements. Or that sitting in the ocean for a decade degraded the material in interesting ways. Or that his sampling technique was biased towards plucking out unusual samples. I don’t know, this is way outside my expertise,

    Outside mine too but my suggestion would be that this stuff may not be form that meteor at all but rather minerals and accumulations of old meteoric material from other meteorites and underwater vulcanism and mineral nodules like thsoe increasingly sought in Deep sea mining. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deep_sea_mining) Do we have any real evidence that this stuff is from meteors at all let alone that specific supposedly extrasolar one?

  7. StevoR says

    @6. raven : “A significant fraction of sea floor sediments are made up of meteorites that have been hitting the earth for the last 4 billion years.”

    Pedantic technical note, sorry, but oceanic crust* is regularly – geologically regularly – recycled in plate tectonics, subducted and melted and recycled through vulcanism so none of it will be 4 billion years old or contain meteoric material that’s survived that long. The Pacific ocean is a particularly active area hence the “ring of fire” bit although I guess it depends exactly where and how near the plate boundarie sas to how long stuff has had to build up and how old the meteoritic (& tektite and volcanic) material can be..

    .* Wikipage : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oceanic_crust

  8. raven says

    What this guy found isn’t the least bit original or unique.
    It is estimated that 20,000 tons of meteorites hit the earth each year. Not a lot until you realize this has been every year for billions of years.

    Wikipedia Micrometeorites

    Ocean sediments
    Melted micrometeorites (cosmic spherules) were first collected from deep-sea sediments during the 1873 to 1876 expedition of HMS Challenger. In 1891, Murray and Renard found “two groups [of micrometeorites]: first, black magnetic spherules, with or without a metallic nucleus; second, brown-coloured spherules resembling chondr(ul)es, with a crystalline structure”.[21] In 1883, they suggested that these spherules were extraterrestrial because they were found far from terrestrial particle sources, they did not resemble magnetic spheres produced in furnaces of the time, and their nickel-iron (Fe-Ni) metal cores did not resemble metallic iron found in volcanic rocks. The spherules were most abundant in slowly accumulating sediments, particularly red clays deposited below the carbonate compensation depth, a finding that supported a meteoritic origin.[22] In addition to those spheres with Fe-Ni metal cores, some spherules larger than 300 µm contain a core of elements from the platinum group.[23]

    Since the first collection of HMS Challenger, cosmic spherules have been recovered from ocean sediments using cores, box cores, clamshell grabbers, and magnetic sleds.[24] Among these a magnetic sled, called the “Cosmic Muck Rake”, retrieved thousands of cosmic spherules from the top 10 cm of red clays on the Pacific Ocean floor.[25]

    Micometeorites were first found in ocean sediments in 1873.

    They aren’t all that uncommon.
    It is estimated that pelagic sediments are around 1% micrometeorites.

    Loeb is repeating experiments done 150 years ago and getting the same results.

  9. raven says

    Ironically, some of Loeb’s magnetic spherules might be from interstellar space.
    Our sun is considered a third generation star.
    Meaning, it condensed out of a cloud of dust and gas produced by first and second generation stars exploding and their solar winds.

    Thus later generations of stars would start with a higher proportion of heavier nuclei, and would have different spectra than first generation stars. This coupled with estimates of the age of the universe and the age of our sun is how we believe the sun is a third generation star.

    This dust and gas cloud was likely to be heterogenous to start with and remnants are still around in our solar system. And then again, the earth is traveling through space as it orbits the galaxy so it is always going to be picking up interstellar dust.

    Loeb really needs a control group from elsewhere before he can say that his samples came from meteorite IM1 and that IM1 is interstellar in origin.

  10. stuffin says

    If he ever loses his job at Harvard, he could go to work for the Republican party. Far out conspiracies proven only by token facts, stir in unproveable speculation and bingo, you got a Republican.

  11. Reginald Selkirk says

    Out of my field, but there are numerous apparent weaknesses.
    1) They dragged a magnetic sled, so right away they aren’t going to be finding anything that isn’t magnetic.
    2) They covered a quarter of a square mile? That doesn’t sound very impressive. The sonar sea floor scanning in search of MH370 wreckage covered an area the size of New Zealand.
    3) As noted by others, lack of controls. “The BeLaU” abundance pattern is not found in control regions outside IM1’s path” – odd, since they didn’t mention running any controls, which would have to be carefully matched. Also, if the compositional variance is real, there could be other causes.
    4) Lighter isotopes of iron(Fe) preferentially burned off? I’m having trouble buying that, but again, it isn’t my field.

  12. hillaryrettig1 says

    I wonder if he’s getting, or will get money, from the offshore mining / drilling companies. There’s a big push on right now to mine the ocean floor, which would be catastrophic on many levels. He’s enabling that.

  13. Reginald Selkirk says

    @13 – oops, that was only a quarter of a square kilometer, not a quarter of a square mile.

    Their technique doesn’t seem to provide any chronological information, in a way that core sampling or some other techniques might. This would be holdful since they are trying to tie it to a specific event that happened in 2014. Showing that the weird particles were in a single layer of sediment could help make that case.

  14. drsteve says

    If only I had any snake oil sales skills and completely lacked a conscience, I’d combine the Yudkowsky grift with the UFO grift. I’d just need to find some appropriately gullible billionaires who could be convinced that the most effectively altruistic cause for their donations would be to fund my research, and develop an artificial general to manage relations with alien intelligences as humanity fulfills our “Galactic Manifest Destiny.”

  15. outis says

    Also not exactly my field, but I have seen such things done.
    There is a big caveat… be frickin’ careful when you estimate isotope abundance and ratios, cos it’s a minefield, especially if it’s something you drug up from a sea bottom. Sample integrity is a PITA.
    And no serious paper was ever published on the Twitters anyways.

  16. StevoR says

    @15. hillaryrettig1 : Good point / question. I wonder how much of this is deliberately or with that as a second hidden agenda hence the big $$$ funding here. Even if its not just a front for that, there are certainly getting some science data on the minerals that can possibly be “harvested / mined” & potential methodology here. See also my #8 here.

  17. Reginald Selkirk says

    @11 raven

    It would be ironic if they found traces of an interstellar meteorite – but it wasn’t IM1.

    Also, the current reports seem to be quiet on the claim that the spherules are not just traces of a meteorite, but are actual technology from interstellar aliens.

  18. tacitus says

    Who needs microscopic spherules when Congressional hearings have already proven that the government has warehouses filled with downed alien spacecraft?

    At least that’s what some UFO fans I’ve encountered online swear happened at that abjectly ridiculous UAP hearing held a few weeks back. It’s so bizarre how credulous these ultimate skeptics of government become the moment the government does anything more than acknowledge their existence.

  19. tacitus says

    @23:timgueguen

    Over at Lawyers, Guns, and Money Cheryl Roeper suggests Loeb’s search may have turned up the byproducts of nuclear weapons tests.

    From what I have see from his apologists, he’s claiming the isotopes don’t match those byproducts, or something like that.

  20. tacitus says

    @17:drsteve

    If only I had any snake oil sales skills and completely lacked a conscience, I’d combine the Yudkowsky grift with the UFO grift.

    I was just skimming his Medium blog and thinking the same thing — if only I lacked a conscience. I love writing stories and speculative articles about the possibility of encountering alien life one day, but they’re either works of fiction, or grounded in the reality that if it ever happens, it’s either going to be at a very long long long distance or a very long long long time from now.

    I just can’t bring myself to generate the false hope in the gullible needed to fill my bank account…

  21. Reginald Selkirk says

    On the pitfalls of careless work with isotopes:

    Wild Pigs in Germany Are Mysteriously Radioactive, And We Finally Know Why

    Wild boars in southeastern Germany are known to contain high levels of radioactive cesium, which has been widely attributed to the 1986 Chernobyl disaster.

    But radioactivity levels have decreased in other animals while mysteriously persisting in the boars – a peculiar behavior known as the “wild boar paradox”.

    New research shows nuclear weapons tests from the mid-20th century are also responsible, and scientists say both sources continue to contaminate the boars via their diet…

    According to prior research, the ratio of cesium-135 to cesium-137 can determine where the cesium came from; a high ratio indicates nuclear weapon explosions, while a low ratio points to nuclear reactors as the likely source.

    The team set out to analyze cesium levels using 48 samples of wild boar meat collected by hunters during 2019–2021, from 11 regions of Bavaria…

    Using the ratio of cesium-135 to cesium-137, the researchers determined that nuclear weapons testing was responsible for 12–68 percent of the contamination in those samples that surpassed the safe consumption limit…

    Wild boars’ diets, which include underground truffles, have absorbed varying levels of contamination from both sources, which has contributed to the animals’ persistent radioactivity…

  22. raven says

    Over at Lawyers, Guns, and Money Cheryl Roeper suggests Loeb’s search may have turned up the byproducts of nuclear weapons tests.

    That is a good point.

    From the link.

    The Marshall Islands, where the United States did 24 atmospheric nuclear tests, some of them very large, are about a thousand miles northeast of Papua New Guinea. The Castle Bravo test famously exceeded expectations with a 15 megaton yield. Prevailing winds would drive fallout from US nuclear tests toward Papua New Guinea.

    These were open air tests and some of them were very large.
    The Bravo test was a huge disaster that contaminated a large area with fallout to the point where some islands had to be evacuated.

    Loeb is claiming his mystery spherules from Kpax IV contain beryllium, lanthanum, and uranium.

    The beryllium liner effectively acts as 1) a reflector which directs neutrons back into the plutonium pit; 2) a tamper which initially contains and thereby helps to increase the force of the explosion; and 3) a generator of additional neutrons.

    Beryllium and uranium were used in those nuclear weapons tests.
    Beryllium is a neutron reflector that is used as part of the trigger mechanism to start the fission chain reaction.

  23. birgerjohansson says

    Re@ 30
    As many of you know, a lot of Christians think “of course the UFOs exist, but they are demons masquerading as aliens”.

  24. nomdeplume says

    I call BS BS BS. Reminds me of creationist “research” which arrives, miraculously, at the conclusion they began with.

  25. Reginald Selkirk says

    with control areas north and south of that path

    How far away? I expect a meteorite fallout zone would cover quite a bit of area. How much area was scanned in the control areas?

  26. raven says

    Science magazine has already put out an analysis of this preprint.
    They aren’t impressed at all.

    It is not a long article but I’m just going to copy a few points they made.

    .1. They claim to have located the impact path of this meteor by satellite and seismometer observations. At that point the sea floor is deep, 2 kilometers down.
    That doesn’t mean that is where any small spherules from the meteor ended up.
    These are dust particle sized spherules weighing in the tens of micrograms ranges.
    They would have settled out of the water column slowly and ended up a long way from where they entered the ocean.

    .2. This commentary brings up the control problem.
    Their controls weren’t very good.
    For an extraordinary claim, you really need better data including good controls.
    Ironically, if they did have good controls, no matter where these spherules came from, it is still very interesting data. We know some of the dust hitting the earth has to be of interstellar origin since some of it has already been found in Antarctica.

    https://www.science.org/content/article/did-interstellar-debris-fall-sea-floor-claim-meets-sea-doubt

    Did interstellar debris fall to the sea floor? Claim meets sea of doubt

    Desch says a meteor hitting the atmosphere at 45 kilometers per second would probably be completely vaporized, leaving barely any solid debris at all. He also says the link between the spherules and the 2014 fireball is tenuous. Even if the spherules hit the ocean where Loeb says, they would have likely drifted by tens of kilometers in ocean currents before settling on the seabed, Desch argues. Loeb’s team collected too few control samples from elsewhere on the sea floor to be sure their finds were unusual, Desch says. “They knew what they were looking for and that makes it prone to confirmation bias.”

    Jacobsen says the spherules could yield more clues. He wants to look for other isotopic variations in trace elements such as neodymium, which could indicate formation around another star. But given the spherules’ small size—one weighed only 27 micrograms—teasing out that signal could be a challenge.

  27. raven says

    Interstellar dust was found in Antarctica.
    They melted 500 kilograms of snow, filtered out the dust, and analyzed it.
    The signal is an iron isotope, Fe-60.

    Space dust from ancient supernova found hiding in Antarctica
    The cosmic grains originated in a stellar explosion millions of years ago.
    Aug. 14, 2019, 9:07 AM PDT
    By Mindy Weisberger, Live Science

    Cosmic dust found in Antarctic snow was likely birthed in a distant supernova millions of years ago. The dust’s interstellar journey eventually brought the material to Earth, where scientists discovered the ancient grains.

    This dust stood out because it contains an iron isotope called iron-60, which is commonly released by supernovas but very rare on Earth. (Isotopes are versions of elements that differ in the numbers of neutrons in their atoms.)

    In the search for elusive space dust, scientists analyzed more than 1,100 lbs. (500 kilograms) of surface snow that they gathered from a high-altitude region of Antarctica near the German Kohnen Station. In that location, the snow would be mostly free of contamination from terrestrial dust, the researchers reported in a new study.

    The investigators then sent the still-frozen snow to a lab in Munich, where it was melted and filtered to isolate dust particles that could contain traces of material from space. When the scientists examined the incinerated dust using an accelerator mass spectrometer, they detected the rare iron-60 isotope — a relic of an ancient supernova.

  28. expatlurker says

    If I understand this correctly (and I probably don’t), our new alien overlords are tiny beryllium spheres. They’ve been hiding out on the bottom of the ocean, abiding their time, waiting for the right moment to pounce. I’m not saying they’re aliens, but it is obvious they’re aliens.

  29. mineralfellow says

    I did my postdoc on cosmic spherules, which are basically the remnants of shooting stars. There are thousands of tons of the stuff falling on the surface of the Earth every year. The ones I studied were from Antarctica, but the earliest studies of them were from dredging the seafloor. A few things to note:

    Tiny round things with melted textures are incredibly common on Earth. You have them on the roof of whatever building you are in right now. They can be cosmic spherules, volcanic debris, or industrial byproducts. Most of the particles of this type on your roof come from factories and cars. We usually use oxygen isotopes as a way to differentiate terrestrial from extraterrestrial material. Essentially, you cannot publish a paper on cosmic spherules or micrometeorites without oxygen isotopes. This manuscript does not report oxygen isotopes.
    Because debris falls on Earth all the time, and the ocean has currents in it, there is no way to connect any given cosmic spherule found on the seafloor to an event that occurred in the atmosphere.
    Dredging the seafloor with a magnet preferentially selects cosmic spherules that are magnetic. A lot of my personal work involved examining the cosmic spherules that are not magnetic. Only examining the magnetic ones biases the results.
    Figure 7 shows a compound particle that looks like an agglomeration of multiple particles. I looked at hundreds, maybe thousands of confirmed cosmic spherules, and I never saw anything like that. When a dust particle is moving through the atmosphere, it can either have an aerodynamic texture where there is a clear front that is melting, and material is pushed to the back, or it can have a spin texture, where it can be either dumbbell shaped or teardrop shaped. I do not know how a super-high velocity object moving through the atmosphere could produce this object.

    I could say a lot more about the presentation of data, the preparation of the manuscript, the use of terminology, and the strength of evidence, but I don’t want to provide a full review.

    There was a writeup about this work with some interviews in Science: https://www.science.org/content/article/did-interstellar-debris-fall-sea-floor-claim-meets-sea-doubt

  30. birgerjohansson says

    The late creator of Tintin had an episode inspired by von Daniken in the 1970s with some intervention from a possible extra-terrestrial.
    The professor afterwards triumphantly displayed a small bar made of a cobalt isotope that is normally not found on Earth.
    A case of subliminal inspiration?

  31. birgerjohansson says

    If you look at the metal spheres through a microscope, you will find this inscription.

    “I am the Eschaton. I am not your god.
    “I am descended from you and exist in your future.”
    “Thou shalt not violate causality within my historic light cone. Or else.”

  32. says

    I have to wonder: If these spherules were from some interstellar meteor… then what? Would that answer or raise some particular questions? Would it open up new areas of research? Would they be useful in some way?
    I’m not an astronomer or geologist, so pardon me if it’s a stupid question, but what’s the point?

  33. flange says

    “We have conducted an extensive towed-magnetic-sled…”
    Probably found an extra-solar systemic 9.9 HP Evinrude down there too.

  34. StevoR says

    @42. LykeX : Well they might indicate what type of solar system the source object has at least to a small degree in terms of chemcla composition.. or indictae if something is truly alien by having unusual extoic chemitsry that can only be be produced in an lab or theory like finding molecules of unobtainium.. Of course extrapolating a lot from very minimal evidence is risky and
    quite speculative but still interesting.

  35. cheerfulcharlie says

    From Wikipedia

    The “Church of the Chelyabinsk Meteorite” has been set up in the Russian city of Chelyabinsk.[19] The founder of the church, Andrey Breyvichko, claims that the large meteorite fragment retrieved from the lake contains a coded “set of moral and legal norms that will help people live at a new stage of spiritual knowledge development”.[citation needed] Breyvichko opposes the operation to expose the meteorite fragment in a museum, claiming that only “psychic priests” of his church are qualified to decode and handle the celestial body, which they want to be placed in a temple to be built in Chelyabinsk for the purpose.[19]

  36. StevoR says

    FWIW The current issue (2nd Sept. 2023) of NewScientist magazine has a review of Avi Loeb’s Interstellar by someone called Simon Ings on page 29 which is, well, fairly pro- him & his work really. It is noted on the mags front cover : “Avi Loeb on alien First Contact” in allcaps but small font – rather misleadingly since it isn’t written by him but is a reviewer discussing his (presumably) new book – and it concludes :

    Arguments from incredulity are always a bad idea and sneering is never a good look.
    – Simon Ings whoever he is, Book reviewer for New Scientist, popular science mag.

    With Ings also saying therein that there has been “..some bad tempered oushback but Loeb doesn’t care.” Which I think is a bit unfiar to his critics, a mischaracterisation of the case against Loeb here and the valid points as made, well up thread and in the OP here. I suspect Ings is a Loeb fan and might be biased here and overlooking the validity of the criticisms raised and issues here but then maybe that’s my view FWIW. Simon Ings does note the book has a “rather cantankerous prose style..” and offers nothing to make readers familiar with Dyson & Lem blink.

    Afraid the article / review is probly pay-walled online but the mag is pretty cheap

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