There is no RationalWiki without you. We are a small non-profit with no staff — we are hundreds of volunteers who document pseudoscience and crankery around the world every day. We will never allow ads because we must remain independent. We cannot rely on big donors with corresponding big agendas. We are not the largest website around, but we believe we play an important role in defending truth and objectivity.
If everyone seeing this today donates $5, we will meet our goal for 2018.
| Fighting pseudoscience isn't free.|
We are 100% user-supported! Help and donate $5, $20 or whatever you can today with !
| The fault in our stars|
Mike Bara is an author of unintentional fiction, and a general laughing-stock among those who actually understand physics, astronomy, and the history of spaceflight. He describes himself as "a born-again conspiracy theorist."
He has written six and a half books, whose defining feature is the total, laughable inaccuracy of many things in the realm of science. He has appeared as a talking head on the all-bullshit TV series Ancient Aliens, again making frequent howling errors of the type that would make a 6th grade science student cringe. Bara is an evolution denier and a global warming denier.
In common with other delusional people who are fractally wrong, Bara makes debate with him impossible. His immediate response to any challenge is insult, then if pressed he will descend to the next fractal level, typically by retorting "I never said that" even when confronted with verbatim quotes from his own writings. So, he's a liar as well.
- 1 Education, work experience
- 2 "Literary" (ROFL) work
- 3 Talents
- 4 Political opinions
- 5 Religious opinions
- 6 Cultural sensitivity
- 7 Opinions of working scientists
- 8 Opinions of astronauts — astronomic levels of projection
- 9 Words of wisdom
- 10 Publications
- 11 External links
- 12 References
Education, work experience
Bara was born in Auburn, Washington State on 26 January 1960. He attended Chief Sealth high school, then registered at Seattle Pacific University but dropped out. For several years he made a living as a CAD-CAM technician (basically a jumped-up draftsman) in the aerospace industry. After being laid off by Boeing, he met the pseudoscientist Richard C. Hoagland, who persuaded him that there was an easier living to be made publishing utter balderdash and pretending it was science. For some time Bara ghosted articles for Hoagland's appalling website, The Enterprise Mission, then did most of the work on a jointly-authored book, Dark Mission: The Secret History of NASA, while Hoagland took most of the credit. The book was ranked 21st on The New York Times listing for paperback nonfiction for the week of November 18, 2007. This ranking might be a legitimate source of pride for any author, but since the "Best Seller List" is, by definition, a list of the top twenty sellers, this book missed it by one ranking point, and instead led the "Also Selling" list. That does not stop its authors from describing themselves, often and insistently, as "NYT best-selling authors."
"Literary" (ROFL) work
Dark Mission was an attack on NASA and on several other organizations and people who had failed to worship at the altar of Hoagland over the years. One critic, writing for Amazon, wrote of this work:
- As a scientist … I was sent an advance copy of Dark Mission to review for a prestigious national publication. Even though it cost me the fee I would have received for writing the review, I convinced the publication's editor that the book was worthless and not deserving of any review. … My professional critical conclusion was that it was so false that it was not worthy of a review in a serious publication. It is bunk — bunkity bunk bunk — of the worst sort.
Bara's first book as sole author was an attempt to cash in on the public fear of the Mayan apocalypse in December 2012. Named The Choice, it advanced the startling idea that anyone can choose to make the world whatever he or she wishes, merely by choosing it, kind of like the law of attraction which had been popular 4 years earlier. Bara did not address the question of how seven billion people can simultaneously change the world to suit their personal tastes.
To give a flavor of the laughable inaccuracy of this work, it contained this passage in support of the discredited theory of planetary formation by solar fission:
- Mars's orbit is so eccentric that its distance from Earth goes from 34 million miles at its closest to 249 million miles at its greatest (The Choice, p. 34.)
Unabashed by the failure of this book to attract any serious attention, Bara next attempted to cash in on the popularity of the rubbish TV series Ancient Aliens, writing 232 pages of garbage titled Ancient Aliens on the Moon. One of his prize exhibits, which he devoted most of a chapter to, was what he called a ziggurat on the far side of the Moon. He found the image on a video-game forum, Call of Duty Zombies. Even though at the time he had no idea where the image originally came from, he went ahead and published the "fact" that there was a one-mile square ziggurat on the Moon. After publication, critics pointed out that far better imagery of that site, not only from an advanced NASA/JPL orbiter but also from the Japanese orbiter Selene, clearly showed that there was no such structure. Nevertheless Bara insisted that the teenage gaming version, whose provenance, remember, he knew nothing about, was the only trustworthy image of that site.
This belligerent author returned to the topic in his next book, even though it had nothing whatever to do with the book's subject matter. In a long foreword to Ancient Aliens on Mars he launched an attack on his critics, accusing them of sending sexually harassing messages to his attractive female Facebook friends, reiterating his insistence that the Call of Duty image was authentic, and utterly failing to explain why the ziggurat did not appear on the better and more recent imagery.
The body of the book was one chapter of boilerplate Mars-stuff copied from the net, followed by seven chapters of absolute rubbish copied from Richard Hoagland.
Ancient Aliens on Mars II, published in July 2014, contained nothing quite as comical as the belligerent "forward" [sic] of its antecedent, but it made up for it in other ways. Pages 139-140 contained a strongly-written denial that pareidolia is a real phenomenon.
"According to the debunker crowd, pareidolia is a supposed human tendency to recognize facial characteristics where none actually exist. This mythical, made-up tendency has no basis in fact, has never been written up or published in any scientific or medical journal, and has failed to meet even the most basic standards of a true medical or psychological disorder."
There follow approximately 100 images of Martian rock formations that very precisely illustrate the power of pareidolia — not merely pseudo-recognition of faces, but of whole animals, buildings, bits of machinery etc. Some samples:=
- A roadrunner
- A parrot
- A portrait of Queen Nefertiti
- A replica of the Theme restaurant at Los Angeles airport
- A grove of palm trees (this one can only be seen correctly when viewed upside down)
- A skull (well, several skulls)
- A projector
- A Hasselblad camera
- An adjustable wrench
In an introductory passage, this comedy of an author wrote that the book was about "…the kind of truth that you can only know in your heart and in your mind." In other words, not the kind of truth that is actually… er, true.
In Ancient Aliens and Secret Societies (2015), Bara claimed that NASA is run by mystics who worship Egyptian Gods, and the Agency times all launches according to astrological readings. He wrote "What I do know is that NASA continues to follow these rituals to this day, on virtually every mission they undertake." Sadly, he quite forgot to produce any shred of evidence for this self-evidently daft claim.
Hidden Agenda: NASA and the Secret Space Program (2016) was likewise very short on evidence. One of Bara's principal themes was that the real secret purpose of Project Apollo was to retrieve the technology of the Anunnaki from the Moon. He offered no actual evidence of this at all, instead preferring to speculate about ruins that NASA covered up. In later chapters, he affirmed that sources such as Bob Lazar and Clifford Stone are reliable and accurate. He also expressed a strong belief in Project Serpo.
Nothing illustrates Bara's abject ignorance of technical matters better than the case of Explorer 1, the very first American satellite (launched 31 Jan 1958).
The brainchild of Wernher von Braun, Explorer 1 was the success the nation craved after several failed attempts to match the Soviet achievement of Sputnik 1. Because of the imprecision of the rocket fuels of the 1950s, and the fact that the Juno rocket had no guidance after first-stage burnout, the orbit parameters were not exactly as planned. It went into a 223 x 1592 mi orbit, cf. the planned 220 x 1000 mi. Given that the Earth's diameter is 7922 mi, that makes its semi-major axis 4868 mi, cf. the planned 4571, an excess of 6.5%.
Mike Bara, unschooled in orbital mechanics and having no flair for mathematics, totally botched this story. He compared the apogee as measured from the Earth's surface with the planned apogee and quite incorrectly deduced that the rocket had 60% excess power. In Ch. 12 of The Choice, he wrote:
- I won't bore you with the details, but the fact is a miscalculation of that type simply cannot happen. (The Choice, p.144)
He should, perhaps, have bored himself with a little research on the topic. As he did not, he utterly embarrassed himself by writing an entire chapter about some imaginary "anti-gravity effect" on the basis of a fundamental error. Bara repeated the exact same error in his 2016 book Hidden Agenda.
"Crystal towers of the Moon"
In his book Hidden Agenda (2016), Bara used this image from Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, showing a landslide down the rim of crater Marius, in the Ocean of Storms. But he turned it upside down and claimed it was a crystal tower. His caption was Jagged, crystalline spires poking miles above the surface of the Moon. Luckily for Mike Bara, there is no organization policing non-fiction books and banning authors who use blatant trickery to make their points. Who knows; maybe he just really wishes Sailor Moon was real.
Judged purely as performances, Bara's TV and radio appearances are pretty good. He can deliver the stuff on cue. He's also shown himself capable of delivering book chapters on time, per contract. All this has great appeal for producers and publishers who are too ignorant to understand that what they're looking at is worthless, such as Giorgio Tsoukalos, Robert Kiviat and David Hatcher Childress.
Bara's other talents are for insulting his many critics, and also for arrogance.
He wrote in his blog "I must admit I take delight in humiliating people who think they're smarter than me". By "humiliating", he generally means just name-calling, not actual rebuttal of objections to his work. The favorite epithet is douchebag — which is strange because it seems unlikely that Mike, the all-American boy, has ever seen a douchebag. (Perhaps it takes one to know one.) To one female critic, he wrote:
- God Sarah I just looked at you pictures [sic] on your Facebook page. Please don't reproduce. You are just too ugly to be allowed to have children.
See also his comment directed at Tara Jordan here.
To a male critic he wrote, in e-mail:
- I hear John Travolta is looking for a new masseuse. I'm sure you qualify.
Bara clearly considers insinuations of homosexuality a stinging insult — not everyone would agree about that. In the height of the controversy over the non-existent lunar ziggurat, Bara wrote:
- "I am going to utterly and completly [sic] destroy you" "When I create a masterpiece such as this and smite my enemies, I love me some me [sic]...." "HAHAHAHA Haters!!!!! I have you now. I shall be merciless, and slow"
This is what the output of a third-rate author looks like when he doesn't have an editor to correct his copy.
Bara has accused his critics, in addition to being homosexual, of sending sexually harassing messages to his attractive female Facebook friends. He has even made this accusation in a published book. When challenged to provide evidence of this allegation, he has exercised his right to remain silent.
There is, however, evidence of harassment in the reverse direction. This blogpost from March 2013 transcribes a Facebook exchange between James Concannon, one of Bara's critics, and Sara Shanae, one of Mike Bara's FB friends and supporters. WARNING: NSFW.
On 10 September 2013, on Facebook, Mike Bara gave his opinion of President Obama:
- "[A] Kenyan douchebag impersonating an American speaking in phony platitudes."
I think that's all we need to know.
On 18 June 2015, after the papal encyclical Laudito Si, Mike Bara offered this advice to his holiness:
- "Dear Pope Francis; Stay out of the debate on the Global Warming Scam and stick to molesting altar boys you Illuminati whore."
On 26 July 2016, showing equal contempt for English orthography and religious freedom, Bara tweeted "Go back to the 3rd world shithole you came from Muslim's."
Opinions of working scientists
Responding to Neil deGrasse Tyson's dictum "The good thing about science is that it's true whether or not you believe in it", Bara wrote "The great thing about truth is that it eventually becomes self-evident no matter what the scientific materialists believe."
He added, "Trust me, neither you nor NDGT would like to see me debate him. He'd get beat worse than the Broncos in the Super Bowl." In a blog post on 22 September 2014, Bara described Tyson as a "science choad."
At other times he has expressed contempt for Stephen Hawking, Gerry Soffen and Michio Kaku. He described Phil Plait as "a grotesque little toad of [a] man," and Stuart Robbins as "my sworn enemy" and "A Paid Shill For NASA." He wrote "[F]rankly, taking one look at him, it’s pretty obvious he’s never even kissed a girl, or if he has, she wasn’t exactly a “Penny” in the looks department." He then posted a jpg of him cuddling Shana Eva, an attractive (but married) actress at the Conscious Life Expo.
Opinions of astronauts — astronomic levels of projection
Bara has written that John Glenn is a liar and that Apollo 12 LMP Al Bean deliberately ruined the new color TV camera to avoid showing alien cities on the Moon. He reiterated his opinion of Glenn in a blogpost on the occasion of Glenn's death in December 2016. When Neil Armstrong died in 2012, Bara also called him a liar, writing in Facebook:
“”RIP Neil Armstrong - a true American hero who wanted to tell the truth but was loyal to his oath.
Words of wisdom
In a blog post on December 15 2012, Mike Bara wrote the
nauseating cliché wise and profound thoughts on the Sandy Hook massacre saying, "out of tragedy we have at least one more proof that we are all connected, that there is a Force of love out there that binds us all together. Such proof can at least give us hope and comfort knowing that there is something beyond this crude, material existence we all inhabit." Incidentally he mentioned his recently published book three times.
- Hoagland, Richard C.; Bara, Mike (2007). Dark Mission: The Secret History of NASA. Port Townsend: Feral House. ISBN 978-1-932-59526-0.
- Bara, Mike (2011). The Choice. Pompton Plains, NJ: New Page. ISBN 978-1-60163-144-2.
- Bara, Mike (2012). Ancient Aliens on the Moon. Kempton, IL: Adventures Unlimited. ISBN 978-1-935487-85-2.
- Bara, Mike (2013). Ancient Aliens on Mars. Kempton, IL: Adventures Unlimited. pp. 286. ISBN 978-1-935487-89-0.
- Bara, Mike (2014). Ancient Aliens on Mars II. Kempton, IL: Adventures Unlimited. pp. 294. ISBN 978-1939149-31-2.
- Bara, Mike (2015). Ancient Aliens and Secret Societies. Kempton, IL: Adventures Unlimited. pp. 288. ISBN 978-1939149404.
- Bara, Mike (2016). Hidden Agenda: NASA and the Secret Space Program. Kempton, IL: Adventures Unlimited. pp. 208. ISBN 978-1939149664.
- Mike Bara's blog
- Mike Bara at the IMDB
- Mike Bara at LinkedIn
- Encyclopedia of American Loons, #469; Mike Bara
- Exposing Pseudoastronomy blog on Bara's anti-science beliefs, 10 November 2011
- Bara on Twitter, March 2014: "We do believe science is real. That's why we conclude evolution is a crock of shit.", in a reply to a user exasperated that they had "moved to a country where people do not believe science is real"
- New Satellite Temperature Data Proves That NASA/NOAA Claim that 2014 is "The Hottest Year on Record" is a Lie — Bara's blog
- See, for example, this blog post from July 2014, in which he denies ever having said that orbital eccentricity is measured from the Earth, or that centrifugal force makes you heavier. Both statements are documented. See Ancient Aliens on Mars, p.42, and The Choice, p.32. About the centrifugal force error, Bara soared to the heights of absurdity on Facebook in September 2012. To a critic who drew his attention to the error, he wrote "Show me the quote asshole. It doesn't say that. And it was a misprint anyway."
- Classmates.com, Chief Sealth Class of 78
- It has been said of that website "The 90s called. They want their HTML back"
- See the archived NYT page
- Fact: Mars' orbit is only slightly eccentric. Even if it were not eccentric at all, there would still be a very great difference between the closest and furthest approaches of Mars and Earth, because Mars and Earth both orbit the sun at different rates and are sometimes on the same side of the sun, sometimes on opposite sides. Confronted about this by a caller when Bara was guesting on Coast to Coast AM, Bara retorted "I never said that" (even though the caller was reading verbatim from the book.) More on this in Exposing Pseudoastronomy, November 2011. Bara compounded the error by repeating it almost word-for-word in a later book, Ancient Aliens on Mars.
- See, for example, blog posts by Astronomer Dr. Stuart Robbins and "expat" in the Emoluments of Mars blog
- Bara referred to this in his blog as a "forward"
- In April 2008, on the original Dark Mission blog, Bara posted "I live on Redondo Beach, California, I drive a 2007 BMW 5 Series, I’m a New York Times bestselling author, and I hang out with strippers and porn starlets half my age."
- Most of these can be seen on Mike Bara's blog
- The image at issue is a version of this Apollo 10 shot. A 10x8 glossy print was stored in a binder by Ken Johnston for approx. 30 years. It was then retrieved and scanned on Richard Hoagland's office scanner. The scanner was obviously contaminated — a human hair is clearly visible — and when Hoagland slammed the brightness up to max every scratch and smear on the scanner glass appeared in the all-black lunar sky. Hoagland & Bara triumphantly proclaimed that Johnston's print revealed glass towers that NASA had since "airbrushed out."
- Foreword to Ancient Aliens on Mars
- Facebook, 5 June 2014
- The urban dictionary defines a choad as a short, fat penis.
- "He’s just a sad, broken man who has lost his way" Mike Bara's blog, May 2011
- Bara 2014, p.70
- Believed to be a reference to a character in the TV comedy series The Big Bang Theory
- Blog, 2 October 2013
- Bara 2016, p.174. See this section
- Ibid., p.115. Bean and his Commander Pete Conrad nevertheless shot four magazines of high quality 70mm stills without apparently worrying about revealing Anunnaki.