Poor Richard C. Hoagland. Not too long ago, he was on Coast to Coast AM with George Noory (he's their science advisor, which is kind of like taking Donald Rumsfeld's advice on military strategy), gleefully bashing Steven Greer in particular, and ufology in general. Now, while I actually agreed with the former (Greer had been ranting on about a SETI cover-up a few nights before), the latter was a bit much to take coming from Hoagland, especially when he said - and I paraphrase here - that the evidence he had for the Face on Mars (and all the other things he seems to think are on Mars) is better than the evidence that ufologists have for the reality of the UFO phenomenon. And then he went on to plug his upcoming conference, where "new secrets" about Mars would be revealed.
Needless to say, many in ufology were not pleased, and said so publicly (Tim Binnall pops to mind). I listened to the episode, and laughed most of it off, because no-one really takes Hoagland seriously anymore. He's the Steven Greer of the "Face on Mars" crowd, which is a delicious irony that I have no doubt neither of them appreciate.
So, with the recently released European Space Agency photos of Mars that seem to show that there's nothing human, or alien, about the "Face", ufologists could be forgiven a few laughs, even snide remarks, at Hoagland's expense. Karma, as they say, is a bitch.
Perhaps it's not quite time to throw the whole "Face on Mars" thing to the curb just yet. I've never really thought that there was anything to it - it never looked like much of a face to me - but other people, including guys like Mac Tonnies, who I respect, are still intrigued, if not necessarily by the "Face", then by Mars in general, and the possibility that there once could have been life there. While I may not buy the "Face", I also keep an open mind (moreso about past life on Mars).
Because Hoagland is such a controversial figure, and because he's made some pretty outlandish claims, ufology has kept its distance - just as most scientists keep their distance from ufology, because of its more controversial figures and outlandish, unsupported claims.
But just as Steven Greer or Michael Salla don't represent everyone in ufology, neither does Richard Hoagland represent everyone who is interested in the "Face on Mars" (or the prospect of a previous civilization on Mars). There are still good people out there who are worth listening to. As Alfred Lehmberg said in response to Jerry Clark Saturday on UFO Updates - mark this down, folks, because I'm about to agree with Mr. Lehmberg, which may represent one of the signs of the Apocalypse - we still don't know, either about Mars in general, or about the "Face" in particular.
After all, photos are not always conclusive, are they? To those ufologists who say, "well, that's it for the 'Face on Mars', because the photos solve everything" I can only offer two words - Trindade and McMinnville. When you're done debating those photos, and have come to a conclusion that everyone can accept, one way or another, then perhaps you can safely close the book on the "Face on Mars".
In the meantime, just be satisfied with closing the book on Hoagland.