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A friend of mine mentioned the paper referenced in the article as as being super sketchy, and another astronomer said that it appeared to be a story constructed entirely of red flags. I'll summarize as best I can:

* The journal the author claims it was published in (the Washington Academy of Sciences) doesn't seem to a reputation to speak of, or even have anything to do with radio astronomy http://www.washacadsci.org/journal/. Additionally, they haven't updated their catalog since 2013, so there's no way to even tell if it was published.

* The author has been accused of exaggerating his credentials before. He is an adjunct professor teaching two introductory courses at St. Petersburg College. He got a position as the Manager of Planetarium and Space Science Studies at the Museum of Science & Industry in Tampa, FL, which he announced on his website as "[Museum of Science and Industry] MOSI Selects Prof. Antonio Paris to Lead Space Program" (http://planetary-science.org/mosi-selects-prof-antonio-paris...). Additionally, his other credentials are suspect too. He claims to be the principal investigator at the site-B 10-meter radio telescope in central Florida. The "site-B 10-meter radio telescope" is his truck-mounted telescope.

> He also describes himself as an astronaut candidate with Project Possum, a four day suborbital flight program, and the director—and apparently also the sole employee—of the Center for Planetary Science, which he also founded. There's been a bit of disagreement as to Paris' education and the accuracy of his work, which Paris vehemently disputes. He claims that he was a former US Army Intelligence officer and as such, much of his life's work is classified. It's not exactly a clear-cut history

from http://www.popularmechanics.com/space/a20128/a-researcher-is...

* A year when there were stories about him running a Kickstarter to buy a new radio telescope because all the other ones were booked for the year. Others pointed out that this was not true https://www.theguardian.com/science/across-the-universe/2016... and super sketchy (read through the other comments too). It appears that he just wanted people to buy him stuff, not for any actual investigatory need.

* Everything on this story has been sourced from http://planetary-science.org/. planetary-science.org appears to be run by the author and the author alone.

* The paper the article covers offers no actual comparison between the magnitude of the signal received and the original Wow! Signal. It only shows the raw signal on his own equipment, so there's no way to determine its magnitude relative to the original. The paper handwaves the question of magnitudes away as the original telescope being more sensitive, or the comet being older now.

[edit] https://xkcd.com/1847/




I was literally thinking "I know you're supposed to read the article before commenting, but so often these days the article turns out to be complete bullshit, so I'm just going to briefly hit the comments section first."

Tada!


I have seen him on the History channel also I think recently. He is the "it wasn't aliens" guy now.


>"The paper the article covers offers no actual comparison between the magnitude of the signal received and the original Wow! Signal. It only shows the raw signal on his own equipment, so there's no way to determine its magnitude relative to the original. The paper handwaves the question of magnitudes away as the original telescope being more sensitive, or the comet being older now."

Thanks, you could have left out the rest of the post which consists of unreliable heuristics... The heuristics are to help you decide whether to read the paper in the absence of further info. Since you already looked at it and offered substantial criticism, that was all superfluous.


I personally find utility in it. If someone with a history like this says "I have a perpetual motion machine" I don't really need to look further. On the other hand if Steven Hawking said it I'd take a look.


Steven Hawking is a bit of an overcorrection in the opposite direction toward someone too famous for logical credentials to apply. Simply consider if some or all points were changed in the list:

* The journal it is published in is well known internationally for its astronomy coverage. The paper is freely available in their current online edition <here>.

* The author has understated their credentials. They are not just the described "professor", they are a senior research fellow at X university, and are not simply employed at the mentioned respected company, they actually were instrumental in creating it. They also didn't mention their awards or other involvements.

> The article describes the author as a principal investigator at Observatory 251. This IAU code references the telescope more commonly known as Arecibo, which was the largest such telescope in the world for some 50 years.

* The author is well known for their professional knowledge and research integrity.

* Everything in this story is verified by multiple respected sites.

I agree that there's utility in the list. The journal impact level, the quality and truthfulness of the author's credentials, the character of the author, and the article sources are the important question in this evaluation, not fame.


Restating some of what I said in an earlier[1] my point is that the article never should have been written, even by a non-scientist, because there are a ton of red flags. Making an extraordinary claim alone (like finding an explanation for the Wow! signal) should have prompted the author to ask themself, "Hmm, is this claim actually legitimate?" and then lead them to dig in a little more. If they were still unsure, they should have approached a physicist or astronomer and asked for their take. If you don't do that, then you basically just start churning out clickbait pop-science articles.

[1] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=14522080


You've already spent enough time on this paper to have formed an opinion about the actual content (are the methods explained well enough? Does it make any precise predictions or just vague fluff? etc). There is no need to dwell on these issues, it is your time being wasted though. Up to you.


I found these statements interesting at first but I got a little turned off after relizing they were mostly ad hominem. Except for the last one.


I don't think bringing up someone's past behavior is at all irrelevant or a cheap tactic. The main issue I had wasn't that there is a paper that has holes in it, but that the sites that have been covering it clearly didn't do any referencing first. Even if the journalists and people covering this paper weren't scientists, they could & should have evaluated it for significance. I don't know what to say other than that there are a lot of things here that should stand out to non-experts as suspect. People who cover this should make even a cursory effort to find out if what they're reporting on is real. A part of that is determining if the source is legitimate, and a part of THAT is looking at their source's past behavior & claims.

[edit] specifically, the personal-website-masquerading-as-real-organization-page, unheard of journal, and exaggerated credentials are all the hallmarks of people who come up with proofs for perpetual motion, ways to trisect an angle with a straightedge, and how time travel is possible. If you work publicly in science, or are just listed on the faculty page of a university department, your email gets bombarded with these papers constantly.


Given that most of us don't have the time nor expertise to validate his claim, it is perfectly reasonable to take into account the reputation of the author, the reputation of the journals that published his work, as well as obvious problems in his methodology. That doesn't disprove his claims but there are enough warning flags that should leave you highly skeptical of them.


If the claim being made is more in the category of testimony than logical argument, so questioning​ the credibility of the witness is fair.




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