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2002-Jun-04, 11:23 PM
John C. Dvorak authored this PC Mag article "Crackpots, Cranks, and Conspiracies". It´s definately worth a read !!

URL:

http://www.pcmag.com/article/0,2997,s=1500&a=27694,00.asp

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The moon landing quote:

"Another entirely different thread claims that Area 51 consists of various movie sound stages where we faked the moon landing. We're keeping it intact—rather than destroying the evidence—in case we want to go back to the moon. Exactly how they've kept all the military personnel who have worked there from 1969 to the present from blabbing about this is the biggest mystery, of course. I guess they kill you after your tour of duty. After all, have you ever met anyone who has worked there? (This is how these rumors start, by the way)."

And a second quote:

"I would think that perhaps a few high school courses in logic would improve people's ability to think. But logic isn't taught anymore. To me, the conspiracy sites are earmarked by a missing logic. Few of them address motives, and when they try, the logic falls apart. Things don't fall into place at all unless you assume there is some evil villain with a dastardly unexplained plot behind it all. The term "cover-up" covers all. The answers are all expected to be revealed at a later date, and then it will all make sense. Of course, that never happens."

URL: http://www.pcmag.com/article/0,2997,s=1500&a=27694,00.asp

(Please use Copy and Paste as the URL seems to break up after the first comma)



<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Cyberspaced on 2002-06-04 19:25 ]</font>

Peter B
2002-Jun-05, 12:07 AM
When I was doing the research for the little talk I gave at the science fiction convention a couple of weeks ago, something that occurred to me was the similarity between HBs and a couple of other groups of people I’ve come into contact with as a result of my work as a skeptic. These groups include opponents of vaccination, and people who believe in conspiracy theories regarding the assassination of JFK.

In each of these people’s cases, the belief appears to come first and the evidence second. In fact, as a consequence of the belief coming first, evidence is largely optional, though any evidence which can be used to support the belief is eagerly embraced. Evidence which doesn’t support the belief is belittled as faked, irrelevant or unreliable.

But the best bit about the lack of supporting evidence is the suggestion that what’s missing has been suppressed. This is a brilliant argument because it can’t be refuted, and, at least in the case of arguments where the government or big business is the bad guy, sounds plausible to many listeners. Everything slots together: the evidence which supports their belief either exists or has been suppressed, and the evidence which doesn’t support their belief has been fabricated. The result is a proven belief.

The other common factor, now that I think about it, is a complete absence of any understanding of logic (of which the preceding paragraph is an example). This is one of the excellent aspects of Jay’s site – he makes the effort to explain the concepts of logical thinking and argument which are necessary to understand both sides of the HB debate.

Tomblvd
2002-Jun-05, 12:10 AM
On 2002-06-04 19:23, Cyberspaced wrote:


"I would think that perhaps a few high school courses in logic would improve people's ability to think. But logic isn't taught anymore. To me, the conspiracy sites are earmarked by a missing logic. Few of them address motives, and when they try, the logic falls apart. Things don't fall into place at all unless you assume there is some evil villain with a dastardly unexplained plot behind it all. The term "cover-up" covers all. The answers are all expected to be revealed at a later date, and then it will all make sense. Of course, that never happens."

URL: http://www.pcmag.com/article/0,2997,s=1500&a=27694,00.asp

(Please use Copy and Paste as the URL seems to break up after the first comma)



<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Cyberspaced on 2002-06-04 19:25 ]</font>




A timely article, seeing as how cosmicdave has just treated us to the most illogical arguments on the web.

Let's review, shall we?



As proof of the Apollo landings, we point out the thousands of pictures taken on the moon. All very consistent and accurate in detail.


"Wait a minute", the hoax believers say. "You can't see any stars in these pictures, and since the sky is dark, you MUST be able to see stars, therefore Apollo is a hoax.

We then point out that even though the sky is black, it is indeed daytime on the moon, and the ambient light is too bright to see stars, let alone image them with a camera setup to take pictures in a bright setting.

"But look at this", says cosmicdave. "I've found a few pictures that have white dots on them, so they MUST be stars. Why? Because I say so."

So cosmicdave has essentially proven, within the arguments of the hoax believer, that we did land on the moon, because you can see stars.

Now, does anybody understand that?



Here's another gem.

As proof of the Apollo missions, we point to the telemetry and voice transmissions that were picked up on the way to and from the moon.

Then along come the HBs, "Aha, the CM could have been hidden in earth orbit and the transmissions falsified" (that is then followed by a large amount of handwaving as to how easy it would be to fake the transmissions, without really explaining it.}

We then point out that any spacecraft in low earth orbit would be easily spotted by any professional astronomer around the world, and it couldn't go undiscovered for long.

Once again CD comes to the rescue of the HBs and posts a news article in which astronomers in Japan spotted a spy satellite in orbit that hadn't been seen before.

So he considers an article where a secret satellite is discovered by astronomers, which then mentioned that the "secret" satellite is visible with binoculars, to be proof the CM could be hidden.

What did they say about logic?



I might post more examples if my headache ever goes away.

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Tomblvd on 2002-06-04 20:12 ]</font>

JayUtah
2002-Jun-05, 12:31 AM
Things don't fall into place at all unless you assume there is some evil villain with a dastardly unexplained plot behind it all.

That is exactly the worldview of the conspiracy theorists. It all starts with the evil government and goes from there.

Of course, that never happens.

Of course. If all the answers were revealed, the conspiracy theorists would lose their income. They rely on being able to keep the issue perpetually ambiguous.

2002-Jun-05, 12:56 AM
Just a tiny PS ...

I forgot to mention that you can also find the Dvorak article by going to PC MAG´s front page at:

http://www.pcmag.com

On the top of the page, just above the headline "Breaking News", there is a shortcut named

"John C. Dvorak
CRACKPOT SITES
Conspiracy sites flood
the net and our minds"

Click on that one and it will also lead you to the article.

JayUtah
2002-Jun-05, 01:32 AM
So cosmicdave has essentially proven, within the arguments of the hoax believer, that we did land on the moon, because you can see stars.

...

So he considers an article where a secret satellite is discovered by astronomers, which then mentioned that the "secret" satellite is visible with binoculars, to be proof the CM could be hidden.

This reminds me of a Star Trek episode, the one where Data plays a video game against the strategy guru with the baggy jowls. Data won by seeking a different goal than his opponent assumed was being sought. This applies to computer-based gaming, where the computer predicts its opponent's subsequent moves according to the assumption that the opponent is playing to win. You can sometimes really foul up those programs by making essentially random moves.

Okay, the point. The point is that Cosmic Dave is clearly seeking a different goal than we think he is. All of our efforts have been made toward challenging his argument that the moon landings were faked. We have presumed all his efforts were (or should have been) made toward defending those claims.

In fact he has a different angenda. Sure, he presents a boatload of material that looks impressive to the uninformed. But his discussion isn't geared toward trying to establish his arguments. It's geared toward trying to trap his his opponents and create the appearance of confusion or contradiction. Then he goes back to his followers and says, "See, when I present these arguments for experts, they can't decide on how to answer them. Therefore I must be on to something."

For him it's all about being clever. That's why he doesn't notice, and isn't bothered by, the inherent contradictions in his arguments. The arguments aren't important. They're only secondary to the primary goal: make Dave Cosnette look smart.

This is quite understandable in the psychology of the conspiracy theorist. A common trait is the desire to be respected for intelligence and insight. Unfortunately most of them lack the qualifications and recognition appropriate to that respect. They generally are not well-educated, or have fallen short of their goals.

The moon hoax theory gives them a chance to believe they've outsmarted the smartest. They point to NASA as a sort of epitome of sophistication and "can-do" capacity. There is the popular notion that if you want something impossible done, get NASA to do it. So if they can formulate a worldview in which they've outsmarted NASA, this is the ego boost they seek. "See," they say, "NASA tried so very hard to hide this, but I'm smarter than they are and I've figured it all out." And this is why it irritates them no end that NASA generally ignores them. Their payoff is the recognition that their ideas should be taken on equal footing with NASA's.

Peter B
2002-Jun-05, 05:27 AM
Cosmic Dave asked in one of his posts on the locked thread: "So all this Apollo stuff was only done for political security? Kennedy's speech about it being 'for the people' was a load of balony and only a kind of bargaining chip in the Cold War with Russia to make the Soviets believe that the US were more powerful and advance. Yeah I've heard that before too. And your accusing me of making the excuses?"

When I read questions like that, it makes me wonder about the world I grew up in, and whether my memory is going.

And of course, the world I grew up in was the world of the Cold War (am I giving away my age? /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_wink.gif ). It was a time in which two superpowers faced each other with their stockpiles of missiles and fought their proxy wars in Africa, Central America and South East Asia. It was the world of Greenham Common protests, Mushroom Clouds, the Doomsday Clock, ICBMs, Mutual Assured Destruction.

It was also the world where both sides played propaganda games to attract the support of regimes around the world, like a pair of chest-thumping gorillas.

If people think Apollo at its heart was anything other than another piece of that propaganda game, then they don't know anything about the Cold War. That NASA was actually able to squeeze any science out of Apollo was a bonus.

In fact, when Cosmic Dave asked his question, he revealled the sterility of his arguments, and his seemingly complete lack of knowledge. Ask yourself why NASA would do Apollo for real. Then ask yourself why NASA would fake Apollo. In the former case, the answers would be either as propaganda or for science. But in the latter case, it could only be for propaganda. NASA certainly couldn't hope to do any science on a faked mission.

And finally, did Kennedy EVER say that Apollo was, as Dave quoted, "for the people"? I know Lincoln used the phrase in his Gettysburg speech, but the words of Kennedy that I associate with Apollo are these (from memory; someone tell me how close I am): [cue Boston accent] "We choose to go to the Moon - we choose to go to the Moon and do the other things, not because they are easy but because they are hard."

GrapesOfWrath
2002-Jun-05, 01:12 PM
On 2002-06-04 20:07, Peter B wrote:
In each of these people’s cases, the belief appears to come first and the evidence second.

Aha, a paradigm.

Distrust of authority figures could be a sign of mental illness--or it could be a result of the abuse of public trust by authority figures. One's a healthy skepticism, the other's not. The only way to tell them apart is by examining the evidence. Name calling and disparaging comments do not contribute to progress.

ToSeek
2002-Jun-05, 02:58 PM
On 2002-06-05 01:27, Peter B wrote:
And finally, did Kennedy EVER say that Apollo was, as Dave quoted, "for the people"? I know Lincoln used the phrase in his Gettysburg speech, but the words of Kennedy that I associate with Apollo are these (from memory; someone tell me how close I am): [cue Boston accent] "We choose to go to the Moon - we choose to go to the Moon and do the other things, not because they are easy but because they are hard."





We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too.
...
The growth of our science and education will be enriched by new knowledge of our universe and environment, by new techniques of learning and mapping and observation, by new tools and computers for industry, medicine, the home as well as the school. Technical institutions, such as Rice, will reap the harvest of these gains.

And finally, the space effort itself, while still in its infancy, has already created a great number of new companies, and tens of thousands of new jobs. Space and related industries arc generating new demands in investment and skilled personnel, and this city and this State, and this region, will share greatly in this growth. What was once the furthest outpost on the old frontier of the West will be the furthest outpost on the new frontier of science and space. Houston, your City of Houston, with its Manned Spacecraft Center, will become the heart of a large scientific and engineering community. During the next 5 years the National Aeronautics and Space Administration expects to double the number of scientists and engineers in this area, to increase its outlays for salaries and expenses to $60 million a year; to invest some $200 million in plant and laboratory facilities; and to direct or contract for new space efforts over $1 billion from this Center in this City.


- from Kennedy's speech at Rice University, (http://www.rice.edu/fondren/woodson/speech.html) September 12, 1962.

_________________
"... to strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield." - Tennyson, Ulysses

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: ToSeek on 2002-06-05 10:59 ]</font>

JayUtah
2002-Jun-05, 03:35 PM
Kennedy made it pretty plain to James Webb that he believed the moon landing was primarily a political statement. He wanted an excuse for the Soviets to fear the U.S.

The "true" purpose of Apollo is a matter of ongoing debate. Just because Kennedy believed one thing doesn't mean Webb had to agree. From Webb's point of view he was being given carte blanche to build a personal governmental empire. From von Braun's point of view he was being given a blank check to take a huge leap forward in technology. From the astronauts' point of view they were being handed the test pilot's ultimate dream. Clearly Apollo meant different things to different people, and it's not necessarily valid to hold up one person's idea of it and say this is what it "really" means.

sts60
2002-Jun-05, 05:24 PM
As a Rice grad, it's very pleasing that this special little point in history was played out there. Though most of the people probably wished it was indoors somewhere - Houston's pretty brutal during the summer, i.e., May through October /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_smile.gif

frenchy
2002-Jun-05, 07:30 PM
The quote that CD is harking about is certainly this one, in the same speach.

"We set sail on this new sea because there is new knowledge to be gained, and new rights to he won, and they must be won and used for the progress of all people."

But, I mean, that is standard political language. Just read any speach given about any president about anything of an international nature and of course it everything is always done in the noblest spirit possible. How could it be different?