The Planet X Saga: Mark Hazlewood
Most Ironic Quotation Of All Time:
Phil Plait has told so many lies about PX and any messenger of said information, that any thinking person that has done the slightest level of research, should be able to see right through who he is.
New! (September 16, 2002)
Unbelievable: Mr. Hazlewood equates Planet X with 9/11.
Mark Hazlewood claims to be a spiritual man in his book, "Blindsided, Planet X Passes in 2003, EARTH CHANGES!". This may very well be true. However, his grasp of basic science is pretty tenuous. He himself claims to have no scientific background. Maybe this is just me (and I know it isn't), but if someone is going to tackle a scientifically-based subject like a rogue planet, I would think at least some background in science would be necessary! This lack of scientific understanding on Mr. Hazlewood's part is clear in his book, which is grossly inaccurate every time he touches on anything scientific.
I could do a blow-by-blow of his book, but I took five pages of (terse) notes while I read it, and those were just pointing out his errors. So instead of listing them, I'll make some general points here.
He makes claims about Planet X based on his interpretations of the writings
of Zacharia Sitchin, who in turn interprets ancient text, like those of
the Sumerians. However, doing this is fraught with problems. Immanuel
Velikovsky tried it (and Sitchin based his own work on Velikovsky),
but failed miserably. Ironically, even Sitchin doesn't seem to claim
Planet X will be around in 2003, but Mr. Hazlewood ignores that small
Mr. Hazlewood claims that Planet X is a brown dwarf. As strongly as I can
make this claim, this is impossible. I
cover this on another page. He makes this claim several times in his
book, and it's wrong every time.
(late July 22, 2002): Up until July 23, 2002, Mr. Hazlewood had a picture
on his website,
claiming it was sent to him anonymously. The caption read:
He makes claims about Planet X based on his interpretations of the writings of Zacharia Sitchin, who in turn interprets ancient text, like those of the Sumerians. However, doing this is fraught with problems. Immanuel Velikovsky tried it (and Sitchin based his own work on Velikovsky), but failed miserably. Ironically, even Sitchin doesn't seem to claim Planet X will be around in 2003, but Mr. Hazlewood ignores that small fact.
Mr. Hazlewood claims that Planet X is a brown dwarf. As strongly as I can make this claim, this is impossible. I cover this on another page. He makes this claim several times in his book, and it's wrong every time.
(late July 22, 2002): Up until July 23, 2002, Mr. Hazlewood had a picture on his website, claiming it was sent to him anonymously. The caption read:
In his defense, once it was pointed out to him, he took the picture down (and
said he was mistaken on his listsev). For this I applaud him. However,
the very fact that he had it up at all says a lot. Mr. Hazlewood didn't
ask around to see what the picture was; he simply took an anonymously
posted picture and stuck it on his site. He didn't say it was Planet X,
but he did make inferrals about it being "face-on", and having
a tail. This is misleading at best. It says a lot to me about the quality
of his arguments.
Added July 31, 2002:
Added July 31, 2002:
Now, if you read what I wrote, you'll see that I say quite clearly that he posted to his website a picture someone else sent him; the problem was that he didn't bother to research it at all before posting it. So the person who wrote that was wrong. Also, there is no controversy in that image. It's clearly Io, and can be found on the Hubble website, to which I carefully linked. The reader is wrong again.
But then Mr. Hazlewood replies:
It sounds like he is accusing me of sending him that picture. I can assure you I didn't; I don't need to go to such lengths to show Mr. Hazlewood is wrong. The fact is that it doesn't really matter who sent it to him. He took a picture sent to him without reference, put it up on his site, and implied quite strongly that this was an image of Planet X. Incidentally, he is inferring motive behind someone sending him that picture, when he has no evidence for that motive at all. Maybe someone saw the image somewhere, and, like Mr. Hazlewood, was fooled by it. It's okay to make mistakes, of course. Everyone does. But it's best to check things out a bit first before jumping to conclusions. Anyway, his ideas of motivation are pure speculation, but he presents them as fact. They are nothing of the sort.
Then he goes on:
It is a risk to debunk things like this, for that very reason. But in this case the genie is already out of the bottle. There are several websites, bulletin boards and chat rooms talking about Planet X. Maybe I waited too long to get into this topic! But people are hearing about it now, and some people are getting scared needlessly by this stuff. I'd rather people read his site and mine both, because then they'll get all the information they need to make an informed decision.
And I'll note again I am not trying to bait him. I don't see the need to! I was never on the attack with Mr. HazlewoodAs I show below, I was persistent with him, but never rude, despite the tone he took with me.
August 6, 2002: Hard on the heels of the misidentification of Io, Mr. Hazlewood finds yet more dubious-- and easily refuted-- evidence of a NASA coverup. Some pictures have been circulating the 'net supposedly showing Planet X as seen from a Russian space probe called NORLOK. I will post these images soon, but I will say here they look to me to be obviously faked for a number of reasons (not the least of which is that the captions on the image, which are supposed to be from the spacecraft itself, are in English). These images have caused a minor buzz among the Planet X folks.
Mr. Hazlewood, of course, has jumped right on the bandwagon for this. In his listserv, he says,
I was curious, so I typed the same thing into Google. The website they find is from SOHO, a joint European/NASA satellite designed to observe the Sun. When the page itself came up in my browser, I couldn't help myself: I laughed out loud. The page is not really a webpage, it's a binary file. SOHO takes images which are saved to disk as computer language files. Astronomers don't save images as GIFs or JPGs because they are not the best way to store data; astronomers use a special type of file called a FITS file. A FITS file has a text header with image information in it (like what telescope was used, what the target is, when the image was taken, etc.) and the image itself in binary format.
So, if you try to read a FITS file using a browser or text editor, you can read the header, because it's text, but the data is interpreted by your browser as just long strings of gibberish in ASCII format. That's precisely what is going on with this NORLOK stuff. By coincidence, that string of 6 letters in that order happens to be found deep in the binary part of the SOHO image. It is a coincidence. How do I know? Well, try going to Google and choosing some other strings. I tried "N+O+R+L+K" and got a SOHO page. I also found one for "G+O+O+G+L+E". Maybe they're in on the conspiracy! I also found one for "M+A+R+K+H", so I guess NASA is on to him. ;-) Ironically, "P+L+A+I+T" is not in the SOHO files, so I guess that proves I am not a disinformation agent.
The point here is that in a sufficiently long enough string of "random" letters, you are bound to find almost anything. In this case, a coincidence, when seen through prejudicial eyes, has led Mr. Hazlewood (and others, who have picked up on the story) to find meaning when there is none.
I'll also note that Mr. Hazlewood's informant mentions they could not understand what they were seeing. When I don't understand something, you know what I do? I pick up the phone and call someone who might. In this case, there are lots of SOHO scientists who would have been happy to explain what a FITS file is. They could have even (gasp!) emailed me and I would have explained it. Instead, they decided to make a mountain out of a particularly small molehill.
New! (April 24, 2003):
Mr. Hazlewood claims that the orbit of Planet X brings it by the Earth every 3600 years. Of course, he can't seem to make up his mind; on page 8 he says the orbit is "stable", and on page 17 he says it in "unstable"! Let's look at both.
If it's stable, then we can calculate how far away it must be. I do this on the science page, and conclude that it cannot be more than 900 million kilometers away, which would make it very obvious in the night sky. We don't see it, so it must not exist.
If it's unstable, then you cannot make predictions about where it is, especially from ancient Sumerian writings! By definition, it is unstable and therefore unpredictable. if it's unpredictable, he cannot state it's on a 3600 year orbit. Therefore, Planet X does not exist, or else it has magical properties that make it both stable and unstable at the same time. You can guess how I feel about that.
This has not stopped him, of course. I actually tried to explain this to him personally. He and I were both posting to a Yahoo!Groups email listserv called "prep2003discuss", a list to talk about Planet X. I explained to him that we understand very well how gravity works, and that objects as big as planets follow these laws. He claimed that we don't understand why gravity works, so we can't say for certain that planets follow the laws of gravity.
I told him that assertion doesn't work. We need not understand why it works when calculating the force of gravity; only that it does work. I don't need to understand the quantum and molecular forces of a knife edge to know it'll cut an apple in half.
He countered that if we don't know why it works, then we don't know if there are loopholes in the law. But this is silly: we have watched the planets orbit the Sun for hundreds of years, we have orbited literally thousands of satellites around the Earth, and we have sent probes to other planets based on the fact that we know how gravity works. If it didn't work for objects as big as planets, we'd have seen it by now! Sending a probe to another planet isn't guesswork: it involves a lot of calculations, all of which are made assuming we know how gravity works. These probes do indeed reach their targets (of course, some fail, but these are inevitably due to engineering problems like broken valves, etc.).
Eventually, he stopped posting. He claimed that there were too many "spooks" (government agents) haunting the listserv, and included me in that group. In reality, at least in part he couldn't face up to me continually questioning his assumptions, as any scientist would. He left the group, and started his own read-only group, where he could control what is said.
You can read this discussion between Mr. Hazlewood and me starting with my own first post to the listerv. You may be surprised at the tone of the conversation. When I first posted a general comment to the listserv, he immediately attacked me, calling me a liar. Mind you, my first post was completely polite and did not attack him personally. I replied again, politely, and every time for quite a while he insulted and attacked me. I mention this simply to point out that I was never rude, nor did I ever say anything against him, yet he constantly attacked me, calling me a spook, among other things. He attempted to discredit me and others who questioned him but eventually only wound up making himself look bad.
I'm not the only one who feels this way, either. Ironically, his worst enemy may be Nancy Lieder herself! He "borrowed" a lot of her concepts for his own writing. She claims he posted several "get-rich-quick" scams to her own listserv. You can find more about that on The Skeptical Mind website. You can also read it on Ms. Lieder's site too.
Mr. Hazlewood makes a big deal that astronomers are covering up the arrival of Planet X. However, he has not one shred of verifiable evidence for this claim. Not one. All he has is hearsay and rumor, which is sheer speculation. Without any evidence to back up this claim, why make it? The answer is obvious: he makes these claims because they support his assertion that the government knows about Planet X, and is hushing it up. That makes his theory sound credible. But he has no evidence of a coverup, so in reality his support is a vacuum. Speculation is a great way to generate strong emotions, but a poor one to win a real debate.
This whole Planet X conspiracy theory is irritating, to say the least. It makes me upset that people like Mr. Hazlewood are scaring other people over something that doesn't exist, but I try to do what I can to balance things out rationally, calmly and with a tiny bit of scientific detachment.
But then something happens which changes all that. Mr. Hazlewood has thrown down a particularly vile and loathsome gauntlet. On his listserv, he says this (Note (January 13, 2007): that link no longer works. It goes to his old listserv, but it looks like he has erased all incriminating evidence. What a guy.):
Read that again, if you have to, and can stomach it. When I first did, I had a hard time believing anyone would say something this horrific and repugnant, but he did: he is indeed saying that the people covering up this imaginary Planet X are also behind the terrorist attacks that killed thousands of people on September 11, 2001.
Perhaps he is only including the government officials who, in his mind, are nefariously scheming to keep us common folks under their thumb. Perhaps he is including astronomers and scientists, people like me, in this statement.
Either way, this is the most astonishing, ridiculous, fetid thing I have heard come out of any piece of pseudoscience.
Mr. Hazlewood and others have accused me, over and over again, of attacking him and not his ideas. I have made my case in these discussions that I am only attacking his beliefs, but since he is the one holding them, in a sense these are indirect attacks on him. If you debate someone who truly believes in something, and you attempt to disprove it, is this not an indirect attack on them? Such is the nature of debate.
But this time I will make a personal statement:
By putting your revolting statement here on my page, I hope that the public you claim to want to protect sees you for what you really are. You talk of love, but spout hate. You talk of Oneness and togetherness, but incite divisiveness, an Us versus Them mentality.
When next May comes and goes with no celestial event even remotely resembling what you and your ilk claim, I hope the people who once followed you see you the way I do now. Enjoy your fame, such as it is, while it lasts. Come next May, you'll join the ranks of the thousands of other snake-oil salesmen who have come and gone, forgotten except in the moldy pages of future books documenting the folly of human belief.
I could go on and on, and when I get time I'll add to this list. Stay Tuned.
For now, though, you can read more about Mr. Hazlewood's history on
the Planet X and the Pole Shift website.
I could go on and on, and when I get time I'll add to this list. Stay Tuned. For now, though, you can read more about Mr. Hazlewood's history on the Planet X and the Pole Shift website.