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From: "Gareth Edwards" <abk49@dial.pipex.com>
Subject: Face of God on Moon!
To: "Fredric Rice" <frice@skeptictank.org>
Date: Tue, 22 Jul 1997 01:17:34 +0100

Hi,

Thanks for your reply, I'd forgotten about the message I sent - actually your name has become familiar over the past few days - as I've been looking at the Skeptics Dictionary in more detail - more about that later. If you've got time I'll introduce myself and recant a little story..

I'm 2 years into a Ph.D in machine vision in the dept. of Medical Biophysics at Manchester University, UK. I suppose I'm still just ahead of schedule with it, despite a fairly depressing couple of months - I'll have a new web page in a few days with my publications on it - I'll send the address when I know what it is.

It so happens that my research is automatic face recogntion - there's also some overlap with human vision as we try to develop tests for Schitzophrenia based on expression recogntion. There's anecdotal evidence to suggest it works, so if the double-blind trials fail I can always sell it in a health food shop.

A few months ago we had a visit from a Moslem guy who claimed to be a barrister ( I don't particularly have any reason to doubt this claim). He said that he had a new scientific theory of something or other, and he was looking to fund research. It's not often people walk in with money to hand out, so a meeting was arranged with a senior member of the academic staff. The guy in question was then referred to me ( the alleged expert ) although he hasn't turned up with his data yet.

Anyway his story basically starts like this. Apparently it's well known that astronauts often see human faces flying alongside their rockets. I must admit to being unaware of this 'well-known fact', but maybe I don't watch the X-files enough. If it is true then it's certainly facsinating, and I would line up a number of potential explainations to test - reflections in the glass misinterpreted by tired and stressed people for instance, someone even mentioned cosmic ray interactions triggering the face-recognition hard-wiring in the brain - though O's razor suggests we might leave this 'til considerably later.

However there is no need to think of any more explainations - this guy has already found the solution....it's the face of God! (or Allah or whatever). All that remains is to prove his solution to be true to rest of the world and we're all heroes - the new messiahs - we might even knock the Bible Code off the bestseller spot( I wonder if the code predicts that? ) Coming up with the proof is where we are supposed to help.

Apparently, this guy has been all over the world 'trying to get help'(sic) but NASA turned him away ( they would though - too busy negotiating treaties with grey-headed aliens ) So he looked up Face Recogntion and found us. Now these tales from former astronauts (unnamed) are just that - stories - so he hasn't actually got any pictures or anything. However he's neatly got round that problem by working out where the images come from - the moon!. Obvious when you think about it.

So all we need to do now is find faces on the moon and that will prove that God shows his head to astronauts ( maybe he's just like one of those window cleaners at traffic lights ). I thought that this would definitely win me the Nobel Prize, but it would take a few days work to find God's magic moon latern.

However it's even easier - he's already found the face of God on the moon - and better still he's photographed it. Now we never actually got to see the photographs - I think we were asked to sign all manner of stupid things - you know - like promising not to take over the world with our new found knowledge. As any scientist knows, you can't sign things like this, it is our duty as scientists to try to take over the world - I've got a few ideas, but I can't afford the dug-out volcano with the sliding lake yet.

It gets better still...not only has he found the face of God, he can shut the feminists up for good - God is a Man. Now I do have a system that is pretty good at distiguishing faces, and deciding the sex of unknown faces - so he wanted me to check with this system that God was indeed a man. No doubt this would establish whether or not my system is any good. Apparently further investigation would allow us to establish whether or not God was happy or angry. I could go on, but I think you probably get the picture...

Now as a student I'm usually completely broke - and the thought of earning money by fitting ad-hoc patterns to random data , for a idiot of a customer - is quite appealing.

I suppose my common sense and a supervisor who is reknowned as one of the leading experts in machine vision and statistical pattern recognition talked me out of it. I don't think he'd like his name in the same galaxy as this guy. I did suggest a pseudonym, in fact I suggested all manner of things - you'll do anything when you aint got no money, but we've never even had the chance, since our barrister chap seems to have gone to pester someone else.

I was at the web-page of the Bible Code book - looking at the reviews ( and adding one - number 156 I think ) and it seems that they all want a copy of Drosnin's software in order to find out what the bible says about themselves. He's very mean not making it avaiable, so I've decided to write some myself to help these people. I think the program has bug though, every time I run it I get this garbled string of characters "Drsnoins obvusio a fruad ro a ttoal fuckwti"

I'm afraid this mail is getting longer than I thought and my eyelids grow heavy (it's 1am in Manchester ) I did have a few other ideas about the Skeptics Dictionary - particularly in England - but I'll try to write again tomorrow.

I hope you feel better now that you know God is male.....

Regards,

Gareth Edwards

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