Watts Up With That Double Feature: Invasion Of The Deniers And Gullible’s Travels

by Greg Laden via Scienceblogs

You may know the blog Watts Up With That. It is Anthony Watts’ anti-science blog, dedicated to climate change denialism.

A current post reports the finding of life forms from another planet, in a meteorite.

This looks to be a huge story, the first evidence of extraterrestrial life, if it holds up….

This is from a recent meteorite find in December 2012. A large fire ball was seen by a large number of people in Sri Lanka on December 29th 2012, during that episode a large meteorite disintegrated and fell to Earth in the village of Araganwila which is few miles away from the city of Polonnaruwa.

Look at what the electron microscope shows of a sample purported to be from the meteorite:

Then he shows a picture of a rock with a bunch of contemporary Earth-based diatoms stuck to it.

It is very fun to read the comments. I provided a comment that will not be printed because Watts never prints my comments, but I’ve screen captured it for you (it is below).

Phil Plait has reviewed the Alien Life in the Meteor story here, and as I said, it is not alien life come to earth in a meteor. It is (I guess) a fragment of a meteorite with fresh water diatoms stuck to it. There are fresh water diatoms stuck to your shoe, your car tires, your dog, everywhere. The silica bodies of these tiny algae are part of the dust, not as numerous perhaps as skin cells or, certain times of the year, pollen, or the loess blowing off the melting glaciers and such, but common. This is why real scientists grind down the meteorite, cross sectioning it, before looking at the sample.

As Phil points out, this report is by a “scientist” who has made many outrageous and incorrect claims about aliens, reported in a journal that is famous for printing bogus and incorrect science, the methods are obviously bogus and anyone who knew anything about, say, climate studies (where fresh water diatoms are used all the time as proxyindicators) would at least be suspicious, and would know how to check for veracity of the claim.

Anthony Watts, the anti-science global warming denialist, was not equipped to recognize this bogus science as bogus. We are not surprised.

JR UPDATE: Watts feels he was quoted out of context, that he put in appropriate caveats. His response is here. Greg Laden replies here. You decide.

JR: Don’t miss Plait’s piece at his well-named Bad Astronomy blog, “No, Diatoms Have Not Been Found in a Meteorite,” which has this awesome image:

If only it were this easy…

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22 Responses to Watts Up With That Double Feature: Invasion Of The Deniers And Gullible’s Travels

  1. Ozonator says:

    I missed the alien invasion on my first read-through. Maybe it was scratch&sniff as his flock appears to be studying to pass the NRA mental exam. “Counting Sunspots and Sunspot Inflation … Posted on January 4, 2013 by Guest Blogger … Guest post by Dr. Leif Svalgaard … 167 Responses to Counting Sunspots and Sunspot Inflation … davidmhoffer says: January 4, 2013 at 6:32 pm … AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARGH! … I figured I’d put a red dot with a felt marker on the screen over every sun spot so I don’t count any twice. I checked twice, I was SURE is was dry erase….” (Tony ‘who lacked a mothers’ love because she preferred suckling a pack of cleaner cigarettes’ Watts; whistlesuckers perfuming the stink at

  2. BillD says:

    Yeah–I’d have to get out taxonomic books to try to get species IDs but they sure do look like common freshwater diatoms. Were Tony and his posters very critical?

  3. Bart Flaster says:

    I’m sure Joe Romm would have something to say about the incomplete quotation of a statement as indicated by the … I read the article a few day ago.

    The next sentence reads, “I would remind readers that “extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence“.

    Fair is fair.

  4. prokaryotes says:

    Very cool comment :)

  5. Artful Dodger says:

    Hi Greg,

    I hope you (or perhaps Joe) can redact your email address from the image above. It’s silly to expose yourself to denier harassment when so unnecessary. Hope it turns out well.

    Kind regards,

  6. Ozonator says:

    I am sure they already have it, have used it, and abused it in lieu of working for a living. The good guys/gals (no guns needed) probably missed the email address.

  7. Ozonator says:

    Stop the press – outfall from a skeptic tank. Martian Menhaden perish chasing denier diatoms. On a South Carolina beach, “Thousands of dead fish wash ashore in Pawleys Island” (By WMBF News Staff;, 1/15/13).

    In reality, empirical evidence strongly suggests their method of shocking fish is also the same as exposing themselves to art…

  8. Eric H. says:

    Interesting what you can learn when you show the complete statement:

    “This looks to be a huge story, the first evidence of extraterrestrial life, if it holds up. I would remind readers that “extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence“. This needs to be confirmed by others in the science community before it can be taken seriously.”

    How far will Mr. Laden go to smear Anthony? I believe you owe Watts and his readership an apology.


  9. Merrelyn Emery says:

    I’m not at all surprised they are diversifying into aliens – aftr all, that ‘no AGW’ thingy dingy is not going so well. Got to keep the membership up, ME

  10. Scribe says:

    Mr Watts has no tertiary qualifications. He’s a low wattage college dropout. We should not give him any air.

  11. D. R. Tucker says:

    Dr. Susan Shaw is a marine expert who says our oceans are becoming a toxic soup. She should know, she dove into the Gulf of Mexico after the BP oil spill almost three years ago. Despite 2012 being the hottest year in the US, climate coverage continued to be cool – we’ll talk to Shauna Theel with Media Matters of America. And last but not least we’ll chat with fellow PRN host, Caryn Hartglass about the connections between cleaner food and a healthier planet!

    Read more:
    Under Creative Commons License: Attribution

  12. JackmanTex says:

    Give Watts a break, the way the earth has been warming and ice melting and all the extreme weather events, he really has to scrap the bottom of the barrel to publish something… anything to feed his denier lunatics to get a few more google add clicks

  13. DCA says:

    Mr. Laden your comment is posted on WUWT.

    Also you misspelled “denailist”.

  14. Joe Romm says:

    Even many of Watts’ legion of followers knew this was a bogus story. The trick is not to spread bad information in the first place. The caveats are meaningless — especially for a post outside of the general realm of his blog.

    The fact is Watts routinely posts the most egregious disinformation and misinformation — and slander against me and countless others — with the mildest of caveats.

  15. Lore says:

    Watts is nothing more than a known provocateur. The Rush Limbaugh of environmental blogging who’s objective is to “troll” for a reaction in order to remain relevant in the discussion. He is less about science these days and more about conspiracies and sophomoric attacks on his detractors. Lately, most all his guest posts are coming from the lay fringe element.

    His phrase, “people send me stuff”, is his carte blanche to throw up any subjective matter and pass it off as having scientific value, no matter how ridiculous it may be. The purpose is to get a response and reap some coverage, good or bad, it doesn’t really matter. As long as he gets a reaction from his constant “bloviating” (his favorite new word) on the contrarian viewpoint he’s more than happy to accept the negative reviews and respond to them in a fashion that gins up his followers and financial contributors.

  16. Lucas says:

    Anthony Watts… oh right the guy that got $90000 from the Heartland institute.

  17. toby says:

    After the life-based-on-arsenic and faster-than-light-neutrinos fiascos I have a sneaking sympathy Watts on this one, though on not much else. We can afford to cut him some slack, a one time only offer.

  18. Ozonator says:

    µWatts lied to his readers. “Claim: Meteorite discovered with signs of life in it … Posted on January 14, 2013 by Anthony Watts …This is from a recent meteorite find in December 2012” (performing/perfuming the stink at Denier Watts scans for all events in the world to cherry-pick. He would know that there was no Sri Lankan meteorite reported. Thus, his claim of “a recent meteorite find in December 2012” was stolen from the Piltdown plankton story and fruit of the poison cherry-pick.

  19. Ozonator says:

    I am sorry to report that they keep going back to legal terrorism basics. “Aliens Cause Global Warming: A Caltech Lecture” (by Michael Crichton, bathroom buddy with Evil Inhofe;, January 17, 2003).

  20. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    Watts is merely a ‘secondary’ the shorthand term for a tumour metastasis. The primary neoplasm is the Right from which he springs and the capitalist system that pays for his outrages.

  21. Lore says:

    Can you say, drama queen?