Face Lessons

Let’s ponder the last posting in more detail.

The first picture, as a function of its low resolution, is ambiguous. It looks like a face, but because we know it could be a trick of the light, and because we know we have a tendency to read faces into inanimate objects, it exists only as a meager clue that might lead some to suspect a Face exists in Mars. Some people got ahead of the data and proclaimed a Face exists, while others dismissed it completely. What was needed was a closer look.

The closer look, via the higher resolution analysis, clearly weakened the original suspicion to the point where it no longer seems plausible that it is a Face. It remains possible, for as Russell said in the comments, it might be “some statue/monument dismembered by environmental causes.” Yet without having seen the original picture first, I doubt anyone would have noted that. Nevertheless, the point is that the higher resolution photo seriously weakened the original suspicion and most people would therefore abandon it.

However, if the third photo was the actual higher resolution analysis, I think it safe to conclude that we would all agree the original suspicion of an artifact (design) was very significantly strengthened. And that is key. All we needed was better data to make the “look like” argument more solid. Yet it remains a “look like” argument.

While there would clearly be more room for further investigation, as we could not claim a Face had been proven to exist on Mars if the third photo was real, I think this is how it breaks down.

  • The first photo made is plausible to suppose a Face existed on Mars. But not probable. It was not difficult to deny it was a Face.
  • The second photo took the plausible standing of the original hypothesis to a position of mere possibility, as it looks more like a mountain than a Face. It is difficult to insist it is a Face.
  • The third photo would have taken the plausible hypothesis and made it probable. It would be difficult to deny it was a Face.

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