An icon of Dunning Krugerism: Joseph files frivolous suit against NASA

Oh brother, talk about a textbook crank.

Scientist sues NASA, alleges it’s failing to investigate alien life on Mars  – NY Daily News.

A self-described scientist has filed a lawsuit alleging NASA is failing to properly investigate alien life.

Rhawn Joseph, who’s written several books on extraterrestrial activity, wants the space agency to further analyze a strange rock on Mars, which he believes is proof of Martian activity.

The author claims researchers have not properly analyzed the stone, which somehow appeared in front of the Opportunity rover last week.

This guy has a case of the Dunning-Kruger syndrome. (He’s a neuropsychologist, not an astrobiologist.) He thinks he’s more of an expert than the experts. I think this piece applies here (long read).

Joseph writes for the Journal of Cosmology, not what the scientific community considers “peer reviewed” or reputable – it’s speculation and fringe theories. There’s nothing wrong with that but for this guy to suggest that he knows better than NASA is quite some hubris. Geez, dude, don’t you think if they thought it was important they would give all they got to investigate it? Who wouldn’t want to find something fantastic on Mars? It would give their org a great boost. I have a problem with those who think the worst of people all the time – scientists are on the take or stupid, for example.

He also believes in panspermia, so obviously finds this latest Mars mystery interesting. We all do. But, I’ll be blunt – this guy has a long record of crackpottery. I rarely get so personal but how arrogant can you get?! He is WELL KNOWN in the skeptical community. Rational Wiki calls him “eccentric”. He apparently has threatened other authors for web content, and he makes fun of P.Z. Myers with goofy photos. Very professional. No wonder he has the reputation he does.

Here is the legal filing.

What IS this thing? A stupid lawsuit is not going to help find out.

What IS this thing? A stupid lawsuit is not going to help find out.

  10 comments for “An icon of Dunning Krugerism: Joseph files frivolous suit against NASA

  1. Tom
    January 29, 2014 at 11:19 AM

    Obviously the irritated Martians are throwing stones at Opportunity. We must immediately send an Embassy Team led by Mr Joseph to explain our good intentions.

  2. Erik
    January 29, 2014 at 11:51 AM

    Meanwhile… any comment from Richard Hoagland?

  3. January 29, 2014 at 1:24 PM

    Kathy Moyd is having problems commenting and since she worked in this area, I wanted to make sure her say was included:

    Rhawn Joseph included a close-up image of the rock with very little area surrounding it and a fuzzy wide-angle image taken before. So there is no way to compare them. All of the reports previously had included a before image with the same size and resolution as the rock image, taken on the same SOL as the one Joseph used. They show that the rock was on top of all the area in the before image. (It did take a careful inspection to realize that.)

    I hope the judge throws it out as a frivolous lawsuit with a big fine, if that is possible, and requires him to pay any NASA legal fees.

    [If anyone else is having problems with comments, let me know (not here, send me an email). I may kill the Jetpack comments plugin.]

  4. lawn
    January 29, 2014 at 1:54 PM

    I keep sweeping out my garage, but gravel always reappears. Aliens.

  5. Lagaya1
    January 29, 2014 at 3:56 PM

    No one would be more thrilled than NASA scientists to find alien life on Mars, or anywhere else, for that matter. Does this guy think they would purposely ignore it? Ha!

  6. Stuart Robbins
    January 29, 2014 at 6:16 PM

    We might laugh at this (I got a chuckle), but then I think it’s important to take a step back and see what the costs are. In terms of time and money on the part of NASA legal folks and court costs and court tim to take care of this ridiculous lawsuit. Pseudoscience – regardless of how ridiculous – always has a cost. 🙁

  7. January 29, 2014 at 6:25 PM

    Well if he doesn’t like the job they’re doing then he can do it himself.

  8. BobM
    January 31, 2014 at 6:44 PM

    This piece link not functioning.

  9. Graham
    January 31, 2014 at 10:22 PM

    The only silver lining in this as Casey Drier of the Planetary Society puts it is that at least someone is still interested in the exploration of space.

  10. MisterNeutron
    February 4, 2014 at 11:11 AM

    This won’t last long – very quick dismissal coming. Joseph is clearly no lawyer, and doesn’t have a clue what “standing” means. In the law, it doesn’t mean, “I have a great reputation in my field.” It means, “I am legally entitled to file this action.” He isn’t.

Comments are closed.