Bara's Response, dated May 3rd, 2001

Note that the indented passages are
from my message, dated May 2nd..

From Fri May 4 12:56:33 2001
Date: Thu, 3 May 2001 21:35:14 -0500
From: Mike Bara
To: Ralph Greenberg
Subject: Re: A first step.

  Dear Mr. Bara,

      You write: "Ok, Ralph I tried." I don't feel that you have tried at all. That is my reaction to your letters. But I want to suggest a first step in the right direction - something that should have been done a long time ago.

      I suggest that you urge Hoagland to make a drastic revision of one of the pages on the Enterprise Mission website - the page which introduces "The Europa Enigma." I will refer to it as "europa.html." Here is the URL:

      I imagine that the Enterprise Mission website has a regular stream of new visitors. Many will find their way to the above page. It is likely that very few of those visitors will know anything about the history of ideas concerning Europa.

      The issue is simply this: Does Richard C. Hoagland want those visitors to believe that he was the first person to propose the possibility of an ocean on Europa? Or does he not?

      As it stands, "europa.html" is extremely deceptive. Please read that page carefully, asking yourself how such a visitor is likely to interpret what is found there. Let me point out a few things on that page.

It is not deceptive, but niether is it clear enough. It was written many years ago by Richard's former girlfriend, who did not understand the scientific or technical issues well enough. It is on my list of items to revise, but there are only about twenty articles in line in front of it.

1. The statement that Hoagland published a "radical new theory" in which he proposed "that a planet-wide ocean still exists under the tens-of-miles-thick sulphur-tinged ice now completely covering Europa." Next to that statement, one finds an illustration of a cut-away view of Europa showing such an ocean under a crust of ice.

2. The statement that "Hoagland's theory" encountered "overwhelming opposition" from most NASA scientists in 1980. Later one finds the statement that NASA scientists have astonishingly reversed their previous opinions and are "now on record as eagerly awaiting confirmation of the existence of Europa's planet-wide, ice-covered ocean via GALILEO information."

3. Arthur C. Clarke's generous, but strangely ambiguous acknowledgement of Hoagland's 1980 article about Europa.

      Mr. Bara, there are people who have read "europa.html" and concluded that it was Hoagland who first proposed the existence of a Europan ocean. I suspect that there are many such people. Doesn't that page state quite clearly that his new theory included a proposal of such an ocean? And isn't it logical for a reader to assume that the adjoining illustration is there to show the ocean part of Hoagland's new theory? Doesn't the assertion that the theory was new imply that no one thought of the theory before Hoagland - including the possibility of a Europan ocean? There is not even a hint that various scientists had proposed this possibility before Hoagland even thought of writing an article about Europa.

Actually, Cassen, Reynolds and Peale were the only ones to make any kind of detailed, coherent theory about an ocean on Europa, and Hoagland cites them in his paper.

      Furthermore, if NASA scientists were once opposed to Hoagland's theory and have reversed that previous opinion by now believing that an ocean might really exist on Europa, isn't it reasonable for the reader to conclude that the the ocean idea must indeed have been part of the theory that NASA scientists had previously opposed - Hoagland's theory?

The ocean idea and the model for life cannot be seperated. They are part and parcel to each other. Previous models had supposed that an ocean ONCE MAY HAVE EXISTED -- but it was now frozen (Europa being too small to retain a significant radioactive heat source over billions of years ...). Even the Peale, et al tidal model had a fifty/fifty chance of now being frozen (which they themselves admitted in their original Science paper, in the Spring of '79 -- published just as Voyager got there).

But, in looking at the cracks seen in the incoming Voyager '79 images, Hoagland was convinced they signified a CURRENT, LIQUID ocean (because of the striking resemblance to polar cracks seen in the ice in the Arctic)!! That was the breakthrough ... because if that was fact, then it (the "ocean") had to have been LIQUID from the _beginning_ of the solar syetem ... which was 4.5 BILLION years. And that was exactly the same amount of time Earth's oceans had had to produce all its "complex life forms."

Thus, without my recognizing the reality of a CURRENT, LIQUID EUROPA OCEAN, the biological implications -- past and future -- would have been moot. They are INEXTRICABLY LINKED. Regardless of what you choose to believe, Hoagland was the first to have truly put this all togther, which he was only able to do on that afternoon at JPL as documented by Terrence Dickinson (see below). So, regardless of whether others had pieces of the puzzle first, Hoagland's idea was based on those first observations, with no prior knowledge of any of the obscure articles you seem to think are so important. No one else on Earth could have preceeded him, because until that day no one knew what Europa looked like.

      A visitor to that page would justifiably be disturbed to learn that it was really NASA scientists who first proposed the possibility that Europa might have an ocean due to tidal heating in 1979 and that the theory was discussed by many NASA scientists as a possible explanation of the smooth, almost crater-less appearance of Europa's surface, also in 1979.

Until they read his actual paper. And Hoagland was one of those "Nasa scientists" discussing it at the time.

      Concerning Clarke's statement, it is admittedly rather confusing as to its meaning, but that ambiguity disappears completely when it is surrounded by the other statements on "europa.html." It adds considerably to the deceptive nature of that page, giving the impression that Clarke himself attributed the idea that an ocean might exist on Europa to Hoagland. (Indeed, it is certainly possible that Clarke actually did believe that when he wrote the statement.)

It's only "confusing" to someone who is predisposed to assume that Hoagland is a thief. To anyone with even a slightly open mind, it could not be clearer. Clarke is giving Hoagland due credit for his role in introducing him to the idea that life might exist in a Europan ocean, and how it had evolved.

      Once I confronted you with some of Hoagland's misleading statements about Europa (on some BBS). You responded by saying that it is just a question of semantics. I cannot agree with that. The only important question is how people would interpret those statements. Your response suggests that this is not important to you. You totally ignore the fact that many people did in fact believe that the idea of an ocean on Europa originated with Hoagland. When one looks for the reasons for this wide-spread and mistaken belief, one finds statements like those above from "europa.html." Is it not reasonable to conclude that those statements may have been one of the reasons, and perhaps even an important one?

No Ralph. My response to you was only suggestive that your opinion about the statement Hoagland made was not important to me. I think Hoagland's statement could only be misconstrued by a sick mind that was desperate to find something to persecute him about.

      In one of your messages to me, you asked me to "publicly acknowledge that [I am] satisfied that Hoagland has never intentionally tried to mislead anyone about Europa." It is not possible for me to do that because I am convinced that Hoagland did intentionally mislead people. I believe that my article just cited makes an extremely good case for that accusation.

I think it just makes a good case for your somewhat perverse obsession with Hoagland. You choose to see him the most negative light possible, in spite of the fact that most of your "evidence" is nothing more than your (biased) opinion. Why should I take your opinion over the facts that I know to be true?

      But let me add here some simple observations. First of all, whatever is found on the Enterprise Mission website is there with Hoagland's complete approval. It would not be hard to accurately convey the truth about the origin of ideas about Europa. Not hard at all. It seems to me an inescapable conclusion that the misleading nature of "europa.html," in its entirety, is deliberate and is precisely what Hoagland wanted.

If you argue that, then you must also admit that the other pages -- the ones which also include Hoagland's full and original article which references the earlier work -- are "deliberate and is precisely what Hoagland wanted." How do you reconcile your twisted conspiracy theory -- that Hoagland meant to deceive the uninitiated masses -- with that little factoid? Further, how do you reconcile my articles on Europa (posted on his website) with their appropriate attributions, with it? You can't. Just like in your attempts to "debate" the geometry of Cydonia by excluding the mounds, you only want to include the data that fits your model. In this case, you only want to discuss the information which supports your weird little fantasies about Hoagland. If you were intellectually honest at all, you would admit that the evidence that Hoagland has been deceptive is at best contradictory. But you continue to insist that there is a conspiracy. This does not prove anything about Hoagland, but says volumes about what kind of person you are.

      One can add to this other misleading statements that Hoagland has made or which are on his website. These are discussed in my article. He is perfectly able to express himself accurately. If his statements convey the impression that he was the first to propose an ocean on Europa, then I cannot believe that it is unintentional.

Again, they are only "misleading" if one accepts your initial premise, which I know (and I suspect, deep down, in your private moments, you do too) to be false.

      One can also add to this his silence concerning the misleading statements made by Terence Dickinson (in a Toronto Star article) and by Arthur C. Clarke (in "2010"). He had ample opportunity to correct the misimpressions conveyed by those statements, but failed to do so.

There is nothing whatsoever misleading or incorrect in Dickinson's statements. They are a factually accurate representation of the events in every way. Hoagland came up with the idea about a Europan ocean on the spot exactly as Dickinson describes. It was only later, during the research for his article, that he discovered the paper of Cassen, Reynolds and Peale. Contrary to what you would like to portray, the notion of Europan oceans or life were not widely known or taken seriously at all at the time by the few who did read the obscure articles you cite. If Clarke, Jastrow and Dickinson, three people who are always on top of the latest ideas in science had never heard of it before Hoagland, how can you possibly argue that it was well known, as you have done in the past?

Hoagland has no responsibility to "correct" the statements by Dickinson for one reason -- they are the truth.

      One can add to this Hoagland`s consistent unwillingness in the past to correct the misconceptions that people have had about Hoagland's role in proposing the idea of an ocean on Europa (which is nothing more than popularizing the idea and expressing his belief that it is right). Even when the idea was wrongly attributed to him in the media, he remained silent. Even when I was a behind-the-scenes pest about this situation during a period of more than one year, he refused to be honest about things and continued, defiantly, to make just one more extremely deceptive statement.

Hoagland has always corrected false impressions -- when they were false. What you want is for Hoagland to replace his version of events, which he actually lived, for yours, which are fallacious.

      Mr. Bara, do you realize that I first complained about this situation almost four years ago (in June, 1997)? Perhaps it is about time for something to be done.

      I have emphasized here the statements concerning the idea that an ocean might exist on Europa. This very significant idea evolved over the entire decade of the 1970s, based on the research and the imagination of a number of scientists. Hoagland knew very well that this was not his idea.

Again, Hoagland developed the idea independantly without any knowledge of the obscure research you have scoured up in your attempts to attack him. Even so, he gave appropriate credit when he wrote his paper.
That makes the statements on his website especially offensive. Those statements are disrespectful and unfair to the individuals who truly originated that idea. Above all, they are unfair to the visitors to his website who have been misled by them in the past and the new visitors who will be misled by them in the future.

      At the present time, Hoagland is also aware of the fact that he was not the first person to speculate about life on Europa. If and when Hoagland decides to make the drastic revisions necessary in "europa.html," I strongly suggest that he graciously acknowledge that others thought of that idea too. If he wishes to be honest and fair, that is obviously the right thing to do.

He has never said that he was the first. Just the first with his model, which is unique and specifc, as opposed to the ones you cite, which are general speculations not based on any significant data, since none existed.

      My next message will be about one such person, Gerald Feinberg, and the book LIFE BEYOND EARTH that he co-authored with Robert Shapiro. Feinberg scooped Hoagland! And he (together with Shapiro) made a more convincing case that life might exist in oceans not just on Europa, but on Ganymede and Callisto too! I will also include several comments about "The Europa Enigma," both positive and negative.

      Mr. Bara, can we hope for some progress on this issue? Then we can move on to other issues. Hoagland misleads people in many ways. But what is most disturbing to me is the negativity and the divisiveness which pervades his approach. It is destructive. It seems designed to put a wedge between people. I believe that it is deliberately conceived to do just that.

--Ralph Greenberg

There can be no progress as long as you continue your intellectually dishonest attempts to get him to "admit" things that aren't true, to repudiate people who have told the truth, and to substitute your revisionist version of events for those which actually took place. And, unless you repudiate CSICOP as I requested in my last e-mail, this will be the last time I communicate with you. There simply is no common ground here. You need therapy. I know several good thearapists in the Seattle area. Get yourself some help while you still can, Ralph.