Monday, May 29, 2006

Moon Landing Hoax.

I couldn't believe what I read in Computimes (now Tech & U) in the New Straits Times pullout last week. A little commentary insinuated that the moon landings were a hoax, and the jury is still out on whether it was a real event or not.

Comment by Ahmad Faiz: Are moon landings America’s greatest hoaxes?

It was a very short commentary on the IMAX new feature on 'Walking on the Moon' in 3D. However the reviewer of the film wanted alot more than that:
But pure entertainment is all that you should be looking for. If you are looking for answers to the question of whether man did land on the moon, you would be sorely disappointed.
He probably wanted something like Fox TV's "Conspiracy Theory: Did We Land on the Moon?" which was shown a coupla years ago. Of course all the 'facts' brought up by that programme has been thoroughly debunked by proper experts. The best being: on the Moon Landings by Philip Plait

However the NST commentary took an interesting turn. Instead of pointing out evidence of hoaxes, he goes on to define the 3 categories of positions on this issue:
Note that at the heart of this raging debate are three seemingly amorphous factions. The first are the die-hard nationalists who appear hell-bent on asserting that Americans did land on the moon in the 1960s and 1970s. The second faction comprises the sceptics, or conspiracy theorists as they have been dubbed, who are hell-bent on denying anything the die-hard nationalists say.
And the third faction comprises level-headed people who try to make sense of the first two.
So we have 2 extremes: The first are pro-Americans and the other, un-Americans. The third group lies somewhere in between. The problem with this assertion is that the issue is NOT about being a Die-Hard American Nationalist wannabe at all! Its about solid science and whether or not the mission to space and to the moon actually happened at all.

He also confuses the term sceptics. Conspiracy Theorists, by definition are not sceptics. We should be sceptical about their claims, as their 'evidence' is poorer than the case against them.
If you really want answers, you are better off sticking with the third faction. The first two have questionable intellectual integrity, in that they pick and choose issues they wish to answer, and thereby talk pass one another – a feat called spin-doctoring. They also tend to descend into mud-slinging matches and bitter personal attacks.
Unfortunately, it is so easy to slip into the muck of things even though you proclaim to be part of the third faction because no one is born into a vacuous state.
So either you have questionable intellectual integrity and make personal attacks, or you are a level headed person. I would like to think Im a level headed person.

HOWEVER the author states that because Im not born into vacuum (??) I will fall into the first category anyway and start quoting untruths and insulting people.

Can't I be a level headed person and yet know that the Americans landed on the moon? He leaves little position for that.
If you love America, you would probably think, “yes, mankind did land on the moon”, or if you have a dislike for Americanism, then you would be more inclined to think, “no, mankind could not have landed on the moon”, even before you look at the scientific evidence objectively.
If people took time to look at the scientific evidence objectively, then this Conspiracy Theory would dissapear. Again, its not about Americanism which makes people believe (thats too weak a word: 'know' would be better) that many people have stood on the surface of the moon, and Neil Armstrong was the first.

The Russians obviously did not LOVE Americans, but yet they conceded that they 'lost' the space race. With their abundant resources, Im sure they would have 'debunked' the American hoax the moment they saw NASA's pictures! They had so much more to lose: National Pride.

Again the two proposed positions are wrong. Logical Fallacies.
And for that reason, there will always be people who believe and people who do not. After all, truth equals belief, plain and simple.
The evidence be damned.
Truth = belief. I would counter with Knowledge = Truth. Because Belief is never necessarily the Truth.


2 lewsers:

Phil Plait, aka The Bad Astronomer said...

Hi-- that was an excellent rebuttal! You nailed it. The person who wrote that comment was wrong about almost everything he wrote! I especially like that you understand that his closing comment about belief was way off too.

Yoon Kit said...

Thanks Phil, your website is a real good source of information AND entertainment!