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View Full Version : When Do the CT's Claims and Accusations Cross the Line?



valleytenderfoot
2010-Sep-10, 12:58 PM
Hi all, I have been a lurker/observer here on BAUT for a year or so, however I don't post much.

Just a question regarding some of the Conspiracy Theorists and the grandiose claims they sometimes make. When does it cross the line? Specifically, when a CT makes accusations of criminal actions against a known public figure, in a public forum, when do those public figures decide to do something about it? Or is it dismissed as "The claim is so outlandish or ridiculous that it simply would not be taken seriously by any court"?

Just wondering as I have a specific recent example in mind.

Thanks,

vtf

PetersCreek
2010-Sep-10, 05:41 PM
Moderator's note: Normally, a thread like this would be moved to a forum like Off-Topic Babbling since a claim isn't being made or substantively discussed. I'll leave it here, at least for now, given the OP indication that a specific case might be discussed.

Gillianren
2010-Sep-10, 05:47 PM
I don't know of a single case where anyone has taken a CT to court.

Actually, I think there's a libel case against a holocaust denier, but I'm not certain. It might have been the other way 'round. My memories of the case are hazy.

valleytenderfoot
2010-Sep-10, 06:41 PM
Brett, by all means if it is more appropriate to move this thread to another forum, no worries here.

This instance involves a former (now banned) poster from BAUT who is a proponent of the Apollo moon landing hoax theory. His theories/hypotheses were quite thoroughly examined here last year and debunked. He seems to have gone away with a bit of a personal grudge against Jay. He has recently been posting on YouTube (yes, I apologise, but I do look at vids on YT and occasionally post comments :)) and he specifically made accusations against Jay Windley and Phil Plait.

I realize as public figures they are likely the subject of both positive and negative attention, however it was offensive and obviously defamatory. I was just wondering how seriously those sorts of things are taken. The vid was: www.youtube.com/watch?v=RMINSD7MmT4

I have tried sending a PM to Jay here on BAUT but due to my "newbie" status I am not sure if it went through.

LaurelHS
2010-Sep-10, 08:05 PM
Or is it dismissed as "The claim is so outlandish or ridiculous that it simply would not be taken seriously by any court"?
That could be one reason to dismiss such claims, but also, such a court case would just give the conspiracy theorist more of the publicity that they desperately want, and maybe the public figure doesn't want to play into their hands.

Garrison
2010-Sep-10, 08:08 PM
I don't know of a single case where anyone has taken a CT to court.

Actually, I think there's a libel case against a holocaust denier, but I'm not certain. It might have been the other way 'round. My memories of the case are hazy.

There was certainly a criminal case against one in the shape of David Irving (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Irving). Here's a quote from the Wiki page:


Irving was arrested during a visit to Austria and convicted of "glorifying and identifying with the German Nazi Party" in a speech he made in 1989, a crime in that country since 1992 in the Holocaust denial section of the Verbotsgesetz law. He served a prison sentence there from February to December 2006.

ETA: somehow missed the part on the Wiki where it mentions he brought and lost a libel case on the subject, So maybe that is what you were thinking of Gillianren

valleytenderfoot
2010-Sep-10, 08:26 PM
That could be one reason to dismiss such claims, but also, such a court case would just give the conspiracy theorist more of the publicity that they desperately want, and maybe the public figure doesn't want to play into their hands.

I certainly see that aspect, the desire for attention often seems paramount with CTs, far outweighing their ability to provide any logical or reasonable defense of their claim. But the accusations are still offensive, gosh darn it.

I guess it would be an individual decision based on how negatively one feels the slander would/could affect ones image.

SpitfireIX
2010-Sep-10, 08:46 PM
I don't know of a single case where anyone has taken a CT to court.

Actually, I think there's a libel case against a holocaust denier, but I'm not certain. It might have been the other way 'round. My memories of the case are hazy.

Briefly, pseudohistorian and Holocaust denier David Irving sued an author and her publisher for calling him a racist, anti-semite, and Holocaust denier, expecting to win a judgment under Britain's draconian libel laws. However, his plan backfired spectacularly when the court found that the claims were substantially true, and Irving was forced to pay the publisher's considerable legal fees, bankrupting him. See here (http://www.guardian.co.uk/irving/) for more information.

SpitfireIX
2010-Sep-10, 08:54 PM
Also, Bill Kaysing sued Jim Lovell for libel. From a Wikipedia article (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bill_Kaysing):


In 1997, Kaysing filed a lawsuit against astronaut Jim Lovell for libel when Lovell called Kaysing's claims "wacky" in the San José Metro News, July 25-31, 1996.

The guy is wacky. His position makes me feel angry. We spent a lot of time getting ready to go to the moon. We spent a lot of money, we took great risks, and it's something everyone in this country should be proud of. — James Lovell

The case was dismissed in 1999 following the granting of a Motion for Summary Judgment filed by San Francisco attorney John Hardy, representing James Lovell. The judgment was affirmed on appeal on First Amendment grounds. As a result of Kaysing's claims he believed there was a conspiracy against him. [citations omitted]

SpitfireIX
2010-Sep-10, 08:59 PM
Hi all, I have been a lurker/observer here on BAUT for a year or so, however I don't post much.

Just a question regarding some of the Conspiracy Theorists and the grandiose claims they sometimes make. When does it cross the line? Specifically, when a CT makes accusations of criminal actions against a known public figure, in a public forum, when do those public figures decide to do something about it? Or is it dismissed as "The claim is so outlandish or ridiculous that it simply would not be taken seriously by any court"?

Just wondering as I have a specific recent example in mind.

Thanks,

vtf


You might like to try this question at the James Randi Educational Foundation (JREF) Forum's Conspiracy Theories (http://forums.randi.org/forumdisplay.php?f=91) section, as discussion of all CTs is allowed there.

valleytenderfoot
2010-Sep-10, 09:07 PM
You might like to try this question at the James Randi Educational Foundation (JREF) Forum's Conspiracy Theories (http://forums.randi.org/forumdisplay.php?f=91) section, as discussion of all CTs is allowed there.

Thanks Doug, I will pop over to JREF and have a look around :)

geonuc
2010-Sep-10, 10:04 PM
I realize as public figures they are likely the subject of both positive and negative attention, however it was offensive and obviously defamatory.

I doubt that courts would consider either a public figure, particularly Jay. Mind you, that makes it easier for either of them to succeed in a defamation lawsuit. Easier, but not likely.

Strange
2010-Sep-10, 10:28 PM
Briefly, pseudohistorian and Holocaust denier David Irving sued an author and her publisher for calling him a racist, anti-semite, and Holocaust denier, expecting to win a judgment under Britain's draconian libel laws. However, his plan backfired spectacularly when the court found that the claims were substantially true, and Irving was forced to pay the publisher's considerable legal fees, bankrupting him. See here (http://www.guardian.co.uk/irving/) for more information.

I love it when a plan goes so spectularly wrong. So wrong it is right.

Gillianren
2010-Sep-10, 11:47 PM
Briefly, pseudohistorian and Holocaust denier David Irving sued an author and her publisher for calling him a racist, anti-semite, and Holocaust denier, expecting to win a judgment under Britain's draconian libel laws. However, his plan backfired spectacularly when the court found that the claims were substantially true, and Irving was forced to pay the publisher's considerable legal fees, bankrupting him. See here (http://www.guardian.co.uk/irving/) for more information.

Thank you; yes, that's the case I had vague memories of.

novaderrik
2010-Sep-11, 08:58 PM
personally, i think every wacky conspiracy theorist should be handled the way Buzz Aldrin did it- with a punch to the face (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZOo6aHSY8hU). skip past all the fancy talkin' and just go for it..

Bobbar
2010-Sep-13, 01:24 PM
Brett, by all means if it is more appropriate to move this thread to another forum, no worries here.

This instance involves a former (now banned) poster from BAUT who is a proponent of the Apollo moon landing hoax theory. His theories/hypotheses were quite thoroughly examined here last year and debunked. He seems to have gone away with a bit of a personal grudge against Jay. He has recently been posting on YouTube (yes, I apologise, but I do look at vids on YT and occasionally post comments :)) and he specifically made accusations against Jay Windley and Phil Plait.

I realize as public figures they are likely the subject of both positive and negative attention, however it was offensive and obviously defamatory. I was just wondering how seriously those sorts of things are taken. The vid was: www.youtube.com/watch?v=RMINSD7MmT4

I have tried sending a PM to Jay here on BAUT but due to my "newbie" status I am not sure if it went through.

I'm interested in perusing the old thread. Can you provide a link/title?

MAPNUT
2010-Sep-13, 02:25 PM
As to suing a conspiracy theorist for slander, it isn't enough to prove you were slandered. If you want to collect damages, you have to show that you were damaged. I don't think any lawyer would take such a case on contingency, even if "winning" was a sure thing.

R.A.F.
2010-Sep-13, 05:27 PM
I think it a mistake to sue as it only gives these "people" what they crave...publicity.

Bobbar
2010-Sep-14, 07:21 PM
I'm not sure how much publicity one could expect from a suit involving Youtube comments.

richy
2010-Sep-16, 11:13 PM
I think its high time someone sued Nasa for the Apollo Hoax Missions

I consider it to be fraudulent by stealing $Billions from the US taxpayers

and financing the later part of the Vietnam war

Its treason :evil:

richy
2010-Sep-16, 11:24 PM
Nasa faked the apollo missions, its patently obvious.
Since 1973 no manned space flight has ever been further than 500 miles from earth
and yet the moon is 240000 miles away, how ironic.

Those are grounds to sue

Van Rijn
2010-Sep-17, 12:17 AM
Nasa faked the apollo missions, its patently obvious.


It's not obvious to me. Would you care to present your evidence?

LaurelHS
2010-Sep-17, 01:14 AM
I think its high time someone sued Nasa for the Apollo Hoax Missions

I consider it to be fraudulent by stealing $Billions from the US taxpayers

and financing the later part of the Vietnam war

Its treason :evil:
NASA financed the Vietnam War? :confused:

JayUtah
2010-Sep-17, 01:15 AM
...

I think its high time someone sued Nasa for the Apollo Hoax Missions

So why haven't you hired a lawyer and filed a class-action lawsuit yet?

Nasa faked the apollo missions, its patently obvious.

Not to me. I'm professionally qualified in the sciences and technologies used to go to the Moon. To me, and to all those who are similarly qualified, it's patently obvious that they did go. I've given the hoax theorists a fair hearing. For ten years I've asked them to present their best evidence, and it very quickly falls apart.

Since 1973 no manned space flight has ever been further than 500 miles from earth
and yet the moon is 240000 miles away, how ironic.

And what exactly is that argument intended to prove?

You mention the taxpayers. Guess who's keeping NASA from conducting new manned missions to the Moon? The taxpayers. No fewer than three U.S. Presidents have directed NASA to resurrect its manned lunar exploration. And no fewer than three times the funding has been withdrawn because the taxpayers consider it a waste of money.

Now you'll find no valid technical reason why manned missions to the Moon would be impossible. But it takes more than technical know-how. If it's going to be publicly funded, it takes sustained public will to do so. That's what you'll find to be absent.

NGCHunter
2010-Sep-17, 01:19 AM
Since 1973 no manned space flight has ever been further than 500 miles from earth
and yet the moon is 240000 miles away, how ironic.

How is that proof that Apollo is a hoax? Are are you aware of the change in velocity (delta-V) needed for transfer to a lunar orbit from a low earth orbit vs the delta-V available given the man-rated booster and spacecraft systems used since 1973? Are you aware of how much delta-V the Apollo spacecraft system provided or do you have some evidence to contest that amount?

Graybeard6
2010-Sep-17, 04:53 AM
richy, could you provide me with a definition of "delta V?"

ineluki
2010-Sep-17, 01:24 PM
Those are grounds to sue

I have the feeling this is some rather lame joke, but if it isn't:

DO IT!
Now! Don't waste your time whining on the WWW, just act like a real patriot and don't wait for others to take action.

PetersCreek
2010-Sep-17, 04:05 PM
richy is the reincarnation of a previously banned member and has been banned.

valleytenderfoot
2010-Sep-17, 07:39 PM
Thank you everyone for your input on the original question. I apologize for the intrusion of richy, he seems to have followed me here from YT.

I am gradually working my way through some of the other CT threads and I am gaining a much better understanding of the common trends of many of the hoax proponents.

Berengar
2010-Sep-20, 09:48 PM
Hello, valley.

I guess, I know the accusator, if you mean the youtube channels. Btw you know me from there, too. (catchword: Germany, guard) :-)

Bobbar
2010-Sep-21, 12:56 PM
Returning to the OP.

If you can manage to rationalize believing the incredible nonsense some of these hoax proponents are spewing then one might not have a firm grasp on 'the line' in the first place. Case in point; these fellers on the YT channel firmly believe that absolutely anyone who tries to explain why their claims are false is a paid government shill. They say they have proof of a hoax, but when asked to produce it, they will dodge the issue and never actually show that they did anything at all. Although they talk like they are serious about perusing legal actions (or worse) against the government and its shills for this great ‘fraud’, I’m sure that they will never act upon it. As is the case with pretty much all the conspiracy theorists, they beat their chests and make their claims, but never get their butts out of the chair to do any kind of real work or research.

Just let them fester with their delusions, trying to rationalize with them is only going to increase their paranoia. They have already done us a favor, at least in this specific incident, by confining themselves to YouTube.

agingjb
2010-Sep-22, 09:31 AM
I do wonder how sincerely CT promoters who are trying sell a book or place a TV program hold their beliefs. I suspect that they are actually indifferent to the truth.

ineluki
2010-Sep-22, 11:51 AM
I do wonder how sincerely CT promoters who are trying sell a book or place a TV program hold their beliefs.

It's hard to tell, I'm torn between:
- they really are stupid enough to believe their own nonsense, that's why they can't lie better
- they know they are talking nonsense, but they realize that their "customers" will accept anything and don't even bother to lie better

valleytenderfoot
2010-Sep-22, 03:09 PM
Well HI Berengar! Good to read you again! I have stopped posting on the Apollo vid on YT, it's just pointless and it plays to his agenda. Good to see you here on BAUT!

valleytenderfoot
2010-Sep-22, 03:20 PM
Returning to the OP.

If you can manage to rationalize believing the incredible nonsense some of these hoax proponents are spewing then one might not have a firm grasp on 'the line' in the first place. Case in point; these fellers on the YT channel firmly believe that absolutely anyone who tries to explain why their claims are false is a paid government shill. They say they have proof of a hoax, but when asked to produce it, they will dodge the issue and never actually show that they did anything at all. Although they talk like they are serious about perusing legal actions (or worse) against the government and its shills for this great ‘fraud’, I’m sure that they will never act upon it. As is the case with pretty much all the conspiracy theorists, they beat their chests and make their claims, but never get their butts out of the chair to do any kind of real work or research.

Just let them fester with their delusions, trying to rationalize with them is only going to increase their paranoia. They have already done us a favor, at least in this specific incident, by confining themselves to YouTube.

Ahhh, I see you had a glance at the video Bobbar. It is at times disturbing to read some of what is posted there (from both sides of the argument unfortunately) The main antagonist uses the same tactics that were used here, only with a LOT of profanity, personal insults and threats. Hopefully anyone reading the YT vid comments will have the sense to be skeptical and investigate the issue on their own (if they have any doubts of the veracity of the Apollo program that is).

Gillianren
2010-Sep-22, 05:39 PM
It's hard to tell, I'm torn between:
- they really are stupid enough to believe their own nonsense, that's why they can't lie better
- they know they are talking nonsense, but they realize that their "customers" will accept anything and don't even bother to lie better

I think there's a lot of the latter. However, if they believe what they're saying, they aren't lying. They're deluded.

JayUtah
2010-Sep-22, 06:48 PM
Yes, some points of view are disturbing, not in their content but in the vehemence and vitriol of their presentation. While I think most of them are paper tigers and can sit and stew at YouTube to their heart's content, there is always the occasional William Cooper who bubbles up out of the muck. It only takes one of those to remind you how real this can get for some people.

NGCHunter
2010-Sep-22, 07:36 PM
Just let them fester with their delusions, trying to rationalize with them is only going to increase their paranoia. They have already done us a favor, at least in this specific incident, by confining themselves to YouTube.
The problem is, what to do when the deluded start ranting and raving on your own youtube videos, even videos that were not meant to address conspiracy theories. If they see a video that contradicts their conspiracy theory by incidently providing evidence against that theory (whether intentional or not) they will sometimes start ranting and attack you, claiming that you're lying and are part of a grand conspiracy. It could be a video of ISS, it could be a video of an Apollo simulation, it could be a video of just about anything space-related and someone somewhere on youtube will have a problem with it because they believe in a conspiracy that says those things were hoaxes. Given the incredible volume of conspiracy related videos on youtube, there's probably at least one conspiracy theorist on youtube for any given thing.

NGCHunter
2010-Sep-22, 07:39 PM
While I think most of them are paper tigers and can sit and stew at YouTube to their heart's content, there is always the occasional William Cooper who bubbles up out of the muck. It only takes one of those to remind you how real this can get for some people.
Oh dear, I'm about to expose my ignorance, but I have to ask. Who is William Cooper?

HenrikOlsen
2010-Sep-22, 07:45 PM
UFO and CT nut whose anti-government paranoia escalated until he died in a shootout with the police, when they tried to arrest him for threatening people with a handgun.

Many CT'ers naturally consider it something done to silence him.

LaurelHS
2010-Sep-22, 09:12 PM
Cooper was also one of those irritating people who claimed that the Moon landings were faked and also claimed that the Apollo astronauts visited the Moon and filmed an alien base there.

No man has ever ascended higher than 300 miles, if that high, above the Earth's surface. No man has ever orbited, landed on, or walked upon the moon in any publicly known space program. If man has ever truly been to the moon it has been done in secret and with a far different technology.

Source. (http://www.mt.net/~watcher/masonapollo.html)

LUNA is the alien base on the far side of the Moon. It was seen and filmed by Apollo Astronauts.
Source (http://www.ufoera.com/articles/ufo-implant_1190311035.html).

They don't care if their claims contradict each other, they just want to accuse the government of lying about something.

HenrikOlsen
2010-Sep-22, 09:26 PM
Those two claims aren't totally contradictory, if the astronauts used alien derived technology to orbit the moon and film LUNA, that would be consistent with both.

JayUtah
2010-Sep-22, 10:01 PM
Those two claims aren't totally contradictory, if the astronauts used alien derived technology to orbit the moon and film LUNA, that would be consistent with both.

Except that Cooper's qualification identifies secret missions with far different technology (presumably than Apollo's). The witnesses to LUNA are specifically identified as Apollo astronauts, who conducted public missions with familiar technology.

JayUtah
2010-Sep-22, 10:13 PM
[Cooper was a] UFO and CT nut whose anti-government paranoia escalated until he died in a shootout with the police, when they tried to arrest him for threatening people with a handgun.

That raises the disturbing spectre of some hypothetical UFO nut who gets tired of hanging out at YouTube and decides that the world will be so much better off without "disinformationists" such as, say, James Oberg or Phil Plait. This is not to say that conspiracy theorists are naturally dangerous, or that conspiracism necessary progresses toward that end. But dangerous levels of pathological paranoia can arise simultaneously in people who incidentally happen to hold some particular belief or another.

Berengar
2010-Sep-23, 11:31 PM
Hello, valley. I stopped posting there, too. Always reading this self-proclamation as genius is tiring by the time. Now I do my research here.

valleytenderfoot
2010-Sep-26, 10:04 PM
Hello, valley. I stopped posting there, too. Always reading this self-proclamation as genius is tiring by the time. Now I do my research here.

Well, just so you don't feel totally cut off from him you can take comfort that CONSPIRACY REALIST still reads the BAUT forum, and then rants about it on youtube.