Re: Unconvincing hype @ ST
> - The paper offers its own hypothesis as proof of itself:
> -- bacteria existed on Mars - purely hypothetical, no proof that this is true. There is no proof that life has ever existed on Mars. OK, I'll relax the constraint: there is no plausible indication that life has ever existed on Mars.
The paper does not seem to make that claim. There is certainly no reason to suppose that bacteria *doesn't* exist on Mars, which is not the same thing.
> -- there are mud bumps on Mars - possibly true but not proven by direct observation. Direct observation of a photograph of something is not the equivalent of direct observation of something.
The photographs are of very good quality. However, that they are photographs and not direct observation should be taken into account when evaluating the hypothesis. In either case, the truth will be determined by experimental verification. The "strength" of the initial hypothesis will have no bearing on the subsequent experimental evidence devised to test it in the same way that we don't believe something just because the assertion is made by an authority.
> -- the Martian bacteria formed the mud bumps on Mars - purely speculative, no proof that this is true, and no indication that this assertion could possibly be true.
The paper is very specific that this is speculation from parallels drawn from our experience on earth. I'm a bit confused by your assertion that there is "no indication that this assertion could possibly be true". The whole point of the paper is that it could be possible. Whether or not it turns out to be true depends entirely on what happens from here on.
Again: " no proof that this is true": that's because it is speculation. That's how hypotheses are drawn up. You seem to be predetermining the veracity of the hypothesis before it has even been tested. If everybody only hypothesised something that was intuitive or reasonably safe to assume up front, we would never have made any novel discoveries.
> -- therefore bacteria existed on Mars and formed the Martian mud bumps - no direct logical connection to any of the previous assertions. Just re-statements of the initial hypothetical assertions, presented as a logical conclusion.
Again, the paper very deliberately does not state this. It postulates it as a possibility and makes no assertion as to the likelihood of it. That is entirely from your own imagination.
The problem that you seem to have with this paper is that you intuitively think that the hypothesis is bunk. The paper is cautious and presented by someone who has enough experience in the field to know what she is talking about. Despite that, the paper goes to some length to stress that far more evidence is required.
All hypotheses are generated from observation, imagination and experience. Without it we cannot move forward. Some hypotheses turn out to be right, some wrong. That's why we have the scientific method, to guide us on the right path.
Regardless of what you think about the basis of the paper's assertions, the scientific method will determine the truth.