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Peter B
2007-Apr-04, 06:19 AM
Folks

In case anyone is interested, I'll be doing a talk for the Canberra Skeptics on Friday week about the Apollo Moon Hoax.

= = = =

Brilliant Stupidity - Why the Apollo Moon Hoax makes no sense

OR

Testing conspiracy theories - it isn’t rocket science!


Speaker: Peter Barrett

On Friday, 13 April 2007
Time: 6:00 p.m.
Place: Visions Theatre, National Museum of Australia, Acton Peninsula

Free admission


There are people who believe that NASA faked the Moon Landings, that Neil Armstrong said his famous lines on a sound stage in Area 51, or Sudbury in Canada, or somewhere in Australia - and many people find Moon Hoax arguments superficially convincing.

When compared with other issues that Skeptics deal with, the Apollo Hoax is small beer. But the Apollo Hoax is a conspiracy theory, and it’s worth looking at from the point of view of how to test a conspiracy theory when you don’t have relevant technical knowledge.

This talk will outline a few of the arguments presented by Apollo Hoax Believers, explain some of the non-technical methods you can apply to conspiracy theories, and then apply those methods to the Hoax arguments.

Warning! This talk may contain traces of technical jargon.

Damien Evans
2007-Apr-04, 06:45 AM
DAMN!

If only you were in Melbourne not Canberra...

Any chance of you paying LaTrobe Uni a visit here in Bundoora?

Peter B
2007-Apr-04, 07:32 AM
DAMN!

If only you were in Melbourne not Canberra...

Any chance of you paying LaTrobe Uni a visit here in Bundoora?

Heh. I'd love a trip to Melbourne. I know my wife would too.

You paying? ;-)

pzkpfw
2007-Apr-04, 08:23 AM
Warning! This talk may contain traces of technical jargon.

Better than the "other side", that contains traces of nuts.

paulie jay
2007-Apr-04, 09:50 AM
Hope it goes well Peter. I could make the 3 hour drive down to Canberra I suppose... I'll have to check the petrol prices :)

peter eldergill
2007-Apr-04, 12:48 PM
Damn! If only I was in Melbourne instead of Toronto....

Good luck

Pete

Irishman
2007-Apr-04, 04:26 PM
Let's see, round trip ticket from Texas to Canberra, hotel, rental car (?), two day flight each way, time off work....

Nope, not gonna make it. ;-) But hope it goes well.

CJSF
2007-Apr-04, 04:52 PM
Damn! If only I was in Melbourne instead of .. um .. Melbourne...

...Florida.

CJSF

JayUtah
2007-Apr-04, 06:07 PM
I saw your announcement here and at Apollo Hoax -- good luck!

Skyfire
2007-Apr-04, 07:04 PM
Better than the "other side", that contains traces of nuts.

Of course you are referring not just to Brazil nuts, but nuts from most countries of the world. (There might even be some called Hazel)

Then there are the worst kind, the so called academia nuts, but which on closer inspection turn out to be not what they appear to be at first .....



:)

Gillianren
2007-Apr-04, 08:55 PM
If only I were in Melbourne instead of Olympia!

Add my good wishes, though. Let us know how it goes for those of us on other continents.

Peter B
2007-Apr-05, 06:20 AM
Well, you can all go to Melbourne if you want, but seeing as the talk's in Canberra, why not come here instead?

And thanks to all who've offered their best wishes.

pzkpfw
2007-Apr-05, 06:39 AM
Is anyone planning to tape it?

Cheers,

Serenitude
2007-Apr-05, 06:41 AM
Yes, I would be extremely interested in some sort of audio version :)

AGN Fuel
2007-Apr-05, 06:54 AM
Hey Peter,

You couldn't push it back 1 week could you? I'm on holidays the week after your talk and I was thinking about heading down to Canberra for a couple of days!

Hope it goes well for you! :)

Svector
2007-Apr-05, 06:55 AM
Yes, I would be extremely interested in some sort of audio version :)

I'll second that. I think an MP3 of the talk would be fantastic. Hey Peter, if you can tape it, I'll be glad to convert it to an audio file and even host it on my site if you want. Let me know.

Serenitude
2007-Apr-05, 06:59 AM
Ah, that would be fantastic. Good on you both, if you can coordinate it! :D

Peter B
2007-Apr-05, 07:16 AM
Folks

Recording the talk would be good, I suppose (you're going to make me nervous), but I have no control over whether the show will be recorded.

I'll contact the Canberra Skeptics committee, and ask them if anything can be done.

Gillianren
2007-Apr-05, 09:40 AM
Well, you can all go to Melbourne if you want, but seeing as the talk's in Canberra, why not come here instead?

And thanks to all who've offered their best wishes.

That's what I get for letting my brain go along with other people's posts instead of the relevant one, I suppose. But you have to admit, Melbourne would be a lot closer than most of us are now. If I could get to Melbourne, the last stretch would be a cinch!

Jim
2007-Apr-05, 01:28 PM
Recording the talk would be good...

That is a good idea. But be sure to line up someone to translate it from Aussie to Amurican.

Svector
2007-Apr-05, 01:55 PM
That is a good idea. But be sure to line up someone to translate it from Aussie to Amurican.

No problem. I have a narrator who speaks Texan. :)

Svector
2007-Apr-05, 01:57 PM
Folks

Recording the talk would be good, I suppose (you're going to make me nervous), but I have no control over whether the show will be recorded.

I'll contact the Canberra Skeptics committee, and ask them if anything can be done.

Would it be a problem for you to put a mini-cassette recorder on the podium and just let it run?

Peter B
2007-Apr-12, 05:37 AM
No problem at all, except that I don't have one. :-(

Damien Evans
2007-Apr-12, 02:11 PM
Heh. I'd love a trip to Melbourne. I know my wife would too.

You paying? ;-)

if only i had that kind of money...

Peter B
2007-Apr-13, 05:39 AM
Hooray!

Picked up a fairly cheap MP3 player. Should be able to record the whole thing, and then transfer to laptop.

Fingers crossed.

DogsHead
2007-Apr-13, 05:54 AM
Good luck from Syders Pete! T minus 135 minutes to show time!!

Svector
2007-Apr-13, 08:46 AM
Hooray!

Picked up a fairly cheap MP3 player. Should be able to record the whole thing, and then transfer to laptop.

Fingers crossed.

Great. Will look forward to listening to it.

Peter B
2007-Apr-16, 03:10 AM
Okay, the talk went well.

There were about 100 people in the audience (the organisers thought as many as 130, but there seemed to be a lot of empty seats), and they were all very well behaved. They even laughed at my occasional jokes, and at some of the more absurd conspiracy theory beliefs. Afterwards, my wife Lorraine couldn't stop smiling, and said I was very clever.

At first, I thought there weren't going to be any questions after the talk, but after a couple of minutes, things got going, and Q&A went for about half an hour.

The whole talk and Q&A was videoed (from up the back of the theatre), and the guy who did so said he'd be posting the video on YouTube. So I'm hoping the talk might get a little bit more publicity. I didn't record the talk myself.

The one experiment I did went reasonably well. I used some talcum powder to show how dry powders hold a thumbprint, and then used a can of flyspray to simulate the blast of the LM engine. Best of all, the powder showed an ersion pattern quite similar to that shown in photos of the ground underneath the LMs.

I also used PhantomWolf's photos from the recent gathering to show shadow anomalies.

I've also been asked to present the talk to another group. I supported the talk by putting the major points in a Word document which I projected, instead of a Powerpoint presentation. But I'd like to develop a Powerpoint presentation, as it would probably look better. I'd like to get to the point where I could present the talk as confidently as the Bad Astronomer presents his Moon Hoax talk.

The structure of the talk was: Part 1 - some Apollo Hoax arguments; Part 2 - some tests to apply to conspiracy arguments; Part 3 - applying the tests to the Apollo Hoax arguments. However, Lorraine suggested I should cut Part 1, as this would cut out a lot of repitition.

SpitfireIX
2007-Apr-16, 02:34 PM
Okay, the talk went well.

Marvelous. Well done, Peter. :clap: :clap: :clap:

Afterwards, my wife Lorraine couldn't stop smiling, and said I was very clever.

<cue Tammy Wynette song (http://www.stlyrics.com/lyrics/sleeplessinseattle/standbyyourman.htm)> "Stand by your man . . ." :D

At first, I thought there weren't going to be any questions after the talk, but after a couple of minutes, things got going, and Q&A went for about half an hour.

Next time, you might try planting a couple of questions with audience members whom you know, in order to break the ice. People generally hate to be the first to ask a question, for fear of appearing ignorant, or of imposing upon the speaker. Also, if you do create a PowerPoint presentation, having a few back-up slides that anticipate possible questions might prove helpful.

[edited to add: Note to myself for future reference--this is my 1000th post. Yay me. ]

The one experiment I did went reasonably well. I used some talcum powder to show how dry powders hold a thumbprint, and then used a can of flyspray to simulate the blast of the LM engine.

You should have used a leaf blower. :D

I also used PhantomWolf's photos from the recent gathering to show shadow anomalies.

Here's another photo (http://www.unlockingthearchives.rgs.org/themes/everest/gallery/resource/?id=216) you could use, although the "anomalies" aren't as obvious as in some of the shots that Jay, PW, and others have deliberately composed for the purpose of showing such. You could also use this to ridicule Co(s)mic Dave's claims (http://www.bautforum.com/showthread.php?p=20849&highlight=sherpa#post20849) about how a lack of photos of Sir Edmund Hilary on the summit would have been (!?!) suspicious. If you really wanted to lay it on, you could add, "It's obvious from the anomalies in this photo, plus the lack of pictures of Sir Edmund, that the 1953 conquest of Everest was a hoax." :D

[Edited to add: Note to myself. This is my 1000th post. Yay me! :D]

Donnie B.
2007-Apr-16, 06:18 PM
Rather than cutting Part 1 entirely, why not just turn it into a very brief "close encounter with a HB" introduction? You describe meeting some guy, getting onto the topic of Apollo, and getting hit with a half-dozen rapid-fire "proofs". That would be enough to get the audience thinking... and maybe even starting to give it some credence. Then later, as you do Part 3, you can demolish all the "proofs" as examples of applying your tests.

Anyhow, sounds like you had an interesting time. 100 attendees sounds like a lot! Nice.

PhantomWolf
2007-Apr-16, 11:48 PM
You could also use this to ridicule Co(s)mic Dave's claims about how a lack of photos of Sir Edmund Hilary on the summit would have been (!?!) suspicious. If you really wanted to lay it on, you could add, "It's obvious from the anomalies in this photo, plus the lack of pictures of Sir Edmund, that the 1953 conquest of Everest was a hoax."

Dang, gunna have to remember that the next time the "why aren't there any photos of Armstrong?" question comes up.

Irishman
2007-Apr-18, 11:35 PM
Peter B, perhaps you can integrate part 1 into parts 2 and 3. Tie in claims with their rebuttals and tests.

Peter B
2007-Apr-25, 03:22 PM
I thought people might be interested in the ten tests I developed which people can apply to conspiracy theories.

= = = =

Questions to test conspiracy theories

Test 1: Is the argument factually correct?

It’s remarkable how many conspiracy theories are based on arguments which are simply factually incorrect. If you’re presented with a conspiracy theory argument, the first thing to do is to check the surrounding facts. Many incorrect arguments are repeated in ignorance. But it’s also been my unhappy experience that there are some purveyors of conspiracy theories who knowingly repeat arguments they know are incorrect.

Test 2: Is the argument relevant to the theory?

A second common problem with conspiracy theories is that they cloud the issue by attaching true, but irrelevant, arguments. Just because an argument is true doesn’t mean it’s relevant to the theory you’re testing. This is a form of guilt by association, and gives the impression that the theory is being padded.

Test 3: If the argument is true, what implications does it have in other areas?

An argument on its own may appear to be plausible. But if we apply the argument to related fields or subjects, does it continue to make sense? Or would it require the world to be very different from how we see it?

Test 4: Is the argument consistent with other arguments used to support the theory?

There’s a temptation to judge a theory simply by the number of supporting arguments, regardless of how they interact with each other. But amongst all these arguments, there’s the danger that two or more of them contradict each other. This immediately means that at least one of the arguments is wrong, but in the context of conspiracy theories, it’s perhaps worthwhile doubting both.

Test 5: What do relevant experts say about a particular argument?

Conspiracy theorists often tout their apparent expertise with a body of knowledge in order to bolster their arguments. But, perversely, they also often decry other experts in the field. This is often because the expert consensus in that field is contrary to the argument presented. Similarly, they often quote experts speaking inaccurately outside their field of expertise.

Test 6: Is there actually an argument in the argument, or is it just an opinion?

An argument which merely expresses an opinion, but which doesn’t have any supporting evidence, adds nothing to the theory, and should be ignored.

Test 7: Does the argument offer any supporting evidence?

Some arguments are presented with weasel words such as “could have” or “maybe”. Without any supporting evidence, these aren’t arguments – they’re just speculation. They too should be ignored.

Test 8: Is the explanation provided by an argument the only possible explanation for the evidence?

There are cases when an argument presents two alternative explanations for an event. One is the conspiracy explanation, while the other is said to be the official explanation. When the official explanation is debunked, the conspiracy explanation appears to be correct by default. Problems arise, though, when the apparently official explanation turns out to be a straw-man misrepresentation of the official explanation.

Test 9: How does the argument deal with positive arguments which contradict it?

Theories aren’t built out of opposition to other theories. Instead, they’re created to better explain the evidence than previous theories. Therefore, any conspiracy theory has to address evidence which contradicts it. Ignoring the evidence isn’t acceptable, and should be treated as a major weakness of the theory.

Test 10: Would an experiment of your own help shed light on an argument?

Some conspiracy arguments rely on you accepting them without question, perhaps by an appeal to common sense. Sadly, common sense can lead us astray. This is where simple experiments, or even just careful observation of the world around us, can provide useful insights into the accuracy of an argument.

Conclusion: Is the conspiracy theory a coherent theory?

A problem with many conspiracy theories is that they exist only as a challenge to the official version of events. Yet if the conspiracy theory is true, a series of events must have occurred to bring the conspiracy to fruition. However, many conspiracy theorists aren’t willing to spell out exactly how they think the conspiracy was achieved. This appears to be a tacit acceptance that their arguments don’t add up to a coherent theory. What they often have, instead, is an ad hoc collection of arguments which, if put together, create an implausible, self-contradictory and ad hoc narrative.

OddBall
2007-Apr-25, 07:08 PM
The whole talk and Q&A was videoed (from up the back of the theatre), and the guy who did so said he'd be posting the video on YouTube.

Any idea when? I really wanna see it. :)

CJSF
2007-Apr-25, 07:41 PM
Is YouTube the only avenue for posting videos, or just the most convenient? It's blocked by my employer's firewall/security system.

CJSF

JayUtah
2007-Apr-25, 08:12 PM
I thought people might be interested in the ten tests I developed...

I saw you posted them at Apollo Hoax too, where they have already garnered some discussion. They do indeed bear wider exposure and discussion, either here or there.

Test 1: Is the argument factually correct?

Attendant to this is a phenomenon I've called confidence creep. This is where something is initially proposed as a tentative possibility, but as it circulates it acquires greater credibility simply because it's so often repeated. It starts out as what if and ends up as That's incontrovertible historical fact. Very often we see statements repeated verbatim on web sites, indicating that the authors are clearly copying one another. But no one knows the ultimate authority for those statements; the "authority" is simply in their having been referred to by so many people.

For example, everyone "knows" the Apollo lunar module was unstable and poorly tested. They don't know how or why they can say this, but it's a commonly-repeated "fact."

David Percy is a master at this technique. At the beginning of some section he'll propose that something "may" be the case, and then by the end of that section he'll be touting it as an inescapable fact.

Test 3: If the argument is true, what implications does it have in other areas?

I've always expressed this as the maxim The degree to which a theory is plausible is in inverse proportion to how much other accepted knowledge must be written to accommodate it. That relates to parsimony, of course, but is not strictly identical to Occam's Razor.

I think the worst example I've seen of this in the Apollo hoax arena is the notion that the entire Cold War was staged.

Test 4: Is the argument consistent with other arguments used to support the theory?

This is a special case of the Limited Scope fallacy with a little frosting on top. A hypothesis commits the Limited Scope fallacy when it explains only the data pertinent to some question, not the entire data set. As ad hoc explanations pile up, each committing the Limited Scope error, chances are they'll start to imply contradictions.

Test 5: What do relevant experts say about a particular argument?

The treatment of expertise in conspiracism is a topic in and of itself. In addition to claiming expertise they don't have, conspiracists often deny that any specific expertise is needed, e.g., "You don't have to be a rocket scientist to see that the lunar module could never have flown." The argument implies that intuition wins out over expertise every time.

They also try to shift the argument from expertise to trustworthiness. People who don't know what they're talking about are still better witnesses if they're accepted as trustworthy.

Test 6: Is there actually an argument in the argument, or is it just an opinion?

That's very similar to my If I Ran the Zoo argument, with apologies to Dr. Seuss. Sometimes, as you say, an argument is just an expression of belief or opinion. Other times it's a conclusion drawn on the basis of an opinion, often a begged question: "I would have tested the lunar module on Earth first, or with a chimpanzee."

Test 7: Does the argument offer any supporting evidence?
Some arguments are presented with weasel words such as “could have” or “maybe”.

It's important to know where that kind of argument belongs. Very often conspiracists wrongly believe that they're required only to erode faith in some "official" story in order to establish an alternative. They believe the official story is held only by default, so any attack on it will topple it. Not true, of course -- they have to demonstrate that their proposed scenario actually happened, not merely that it isn't impossible.

But on the other hand, conspiracists often make indirect arguments of the form, "It must have happened this way because no other way was possible." When that's the argument, the conspiracist has the burden of proof to show that he considered and eliminated all possible competing scenarios. That burden is never satisfied; obviously because it's an impossibly heavy burden. When rebutting that type of argument, it's sufficient only to show that there exists at least one alternative the conspiracist didn't consider and eliminate; you don't have to prove it happened that way, only that the conspiracist didn't consider it and therefore he can't hold some other conclusion by default.

Conclusion: Is the conspiracy theory a coherent theory?

You've done an excellent job of showing why ad hoc poking of holes in the "official" story doesn't work. A viable theory is not just a laundry list of what's wrong with some other theory.

Along with this is bidirectional viability. Many conspiracy theories start with an observation -- "anomalous" or otherwise. Then they propose some process by which that observation arose, according to the premise that the process must belong to some conspiracy or hoax. Having backtracked from effect to cause, they think their job is done. But often the proposed process simply doesn't make sense, or is silly when considered as something conceived and undertaken by someone to achieve the presumed purpose.

The best example of this in Apollo is the allegation that the Apollo 1 fire was started on purpose to murder the crew. What a stupid way to eliminate a crew! And what stupidity leads to murder as the only way out?

The various theories by which the crosshairs in the photos are variously misplaced or removed are good examples of this too. The allegation says the crosshairs were made by laying a clear sheet inscribed with crosshairs over the pasted-up artwork, then photographing it. If the sheet wasn't precisely aligned, the crosshairs would be in the wrong place. A separate (and incompatible) allegation says that crosshairs were on the background plate, and foreground elements pasted over them occasionally obscured them. The only virtue in those allegations is that they seem to explain the observations. They don't represent credible or defensible ways of faking photographs.

What kind of idiot would put a "final" feature element on a background plate that he knows will be festooned with pasted-up foreground elements? And the clear sheet method is silly when you realize that the reseau plate is a standard accessory. The process camera that photographs the final image on the animation stand can be fitted easily with a standard reseau plate, eliminating all the possible errors.

Even within the context of a conspiracy or a hoax, there are clearly smart and clearly stupid ways to do things. So not only must a proposed hoax scenario be reasonably fleshed out and reasonably coherent, it must be reasonably intelligent. You can't rely for your theory's credibility on people doing stupid things for no reason.

Fazor
2007-Apr-25, 08:36 PM
Well Jay, if you expect people to be able to show that every part of the highly detailed appollo mission was beyond a reasonable doubt faked, how do you ever expect them to prove this was a hoax? There's way too much evidence that needs to be refuted, it just isn't possible.

Now...an inteligent person would take this to mean that there actually wasn't any hoax. But fortunately there's plenty of people willing to overlook that, and continue to "preach the 'truth'". :)

Ever feel like you're running on a hampsterwheel? I do. :)

Donnie B.
2007-Apr-25, 09:17 PM
Test 3: If the argument is true, what implications does it have in other areas?

I've always expressed this as the maxim The degree to which a theory is plausible is in inverse proportion to how much other accepted knowledge must be written to accommodate it. That relates to parsimony, of course, but is not strictly identical to Occam's Razor.

I think the worst example I've seen of this in the Apollo hoax arena is the notion that the entire Cold War was staged.
As in, "The Russians were in on the hoax; we bought them off with wheat." Sheesh.

The only way anyone could think up, or buy into, this codswallop is if they weren't alive during the era in question. If you were there you knew perfectly well that the Cold War was as real as any other, complete with proxy shooting wars and very real casualties (though at a lower rate than in open warfare). To think the Soviets wouldn't have blown a very loud whistle for a very long time is preposterous.

On the other hand, for someone too young to remember those times, it might well seem plausible that the whole thing was a sham to further some imagined common agenda.



Even within the context of a conspiracy or a hoax, there are clearly smart and clearly stupid ways to do things. So not only must a proposed hoax scenario be reasonably fleshed out and reasonably coherent, it must be reasonably intelligent. You can't rely for your theory's credibility on people doing stupid things for no reason.Well said! CTs often end up painting a picture of conspirators who are at once incalculably brilliant and utterly foolish. The thread on the "missing Venus" issue on ApolloHoax is a perfect example. In that case, the hoaxers had to be too stupid to put stars in the photos (because they were too dumb to figure out how they should appear from the Moon), yet so clever that they put barely-discernable images of Venus in some photos, in just the right spot!

JayUtah
2007-Apr-25, 09:44 PM
Ever feel like you're running on a hampsterwheel? I do. :)

Yes, you've hit the hamster (er, um, nail) right on the head. The aim of a conspiracy theory is to perpetuate the debate over it, not to come to any resolution. If the question is resolved one way or another, the conspiracist's revenue stream and calendar of appearances dries up. As long as the debate can rage indefinitely, there's money and notoriety to be had.

JayUtah
2007-Apr-25, 10:05 PM
CTs often end up painting a picture of conspirators who are at once incalculably brilliant and utterly foolish.

One of my favorite exchanges occurs when a conspiracist tries to handwave past a major hole in his hoax theory by saying, "With a $30 billion budget NASA could have pretty much done anything necesssary." To which I answer, "...except go to the moon."

That exchange is very telling. The conspiracist simply isn't thinking outside the Apollo was hoaxed mindset. At all.

PhantomWolf
2007-Apr-26, 01:10 AM
I think the worst example I've seen of this in the Apollo hoax arena is the notion that the entire Cold War was staged.

This leads to an interesting problem.

Apollo was hoaxed to distract people from the Veitnam War.
The Soviets didn't say anything because the Cold War was staged.
Since the Cold War was staged, all proxy wars were scripted.
Veitnam was a Proxy war, thus scripted.
Apollo was hoaxed to distract people from a scripted war????

Peter B
2007-Apr-26, 03:47 AM
Any idea when? I really wanna see it. :)

Thanks OddBall. Unfortunately, I don't know.

I illustrated the major points of my talk using a Word document (a poor man's Powerpoint presentation). But the text is too small to see on the video. So the guy who's preparing it is adding subtitles. As I don't know how fiddly that is, and as this is a labour of love for him, I don't know how long it will take him.

Peter B
2007-Apr-26, 03:50 AM
Is YouTube the only avenue for posting videos, or just the most convenient? It's blocked by my employer's firewall/security system.

CJSF

It is for me, too.

I've got someone else I can talk to, but I'll save that until I can see the quality of the video.

Peter B
2007-Apr-26, 03:54 AM
I thought people might be interested in the ten tests I developed...

I saw you posted them at Apollo Hoax too, where they have already garnered some discussion. They do indeed bear wider exposure and discussion, either here or there.

Thanks for that, Jay.

You've made a number of comments which I wish I'd thought of, and which I'd like to incorporate into future versions of the talk (if I get to do such things).

Peter B
2007-Apr-26, 03:55 AM
I think the worst example I've seen of this in the Apollo hoax arena is the notion that the entire Cold War was staged.

This leads to an interesting problem.

Apollo was hoaxed to distract people from the Veitnam War.
The Soviets didn't say anything because the Cold War was staged.
Since the Cold War was staged, all proxy wars were scripted.
Veitnam was a Proxy war, thus scripted.
Apollo was hoaxed to distract people from a scripted war????

Excellent example. This belongs in the Moon Hoax Contradictions thread over at ApolloHoax.

Maksutov
2007-Apr-26, 12:28 PM
Peter B, my appy-polly-loggies (I seem to be in Nadsat mode lately) for the delay in joining the general acclaim re your fine presentation.

Part of the experience of being an HB debunker is knowing (usually feeling) the right time to jam a stick in the hamster wheel and send the HBs flying in various directions.

Too soon and they claim you're not receptive to all their "evidence". Too late and the fence-sitters decide, well, if that wheel's still spinning, there must be something to it after all.

Based on your descriptions, it appears your timing was right.

Once the video is posted, it seems a link to it should become a sticky for this part of the BAUT.

Irishman
2007-Apr-26, 07:28 PM
PhantomWolf said:
This leads to an interesting problem.

Apollo was hoaxed to distract people from the Veitnam War.
The Soviets didn't say anything because the Cold War was staged.
Since the Cold War was staged, all proxy wars were scripted.
Veitnam was a Proxy war, thus scripted.
Apollo was hoaxed to distract people from a scripted war????

I believe you have fallen for the fallacy of absolutist thinking.

Saying the Cold War was staged is an exaggeration of the HB claim (or most of them). It's not that the Cold War was a complete fabrication. Rather, there were issues where both sides found it pragmatic to negotiate a few deals in the dark so they could maintain their public animosity without looking hypocritical. They both got something out of the deal, but they still hated each other. Therefore, there really was a lot of animosity, there really were confrontations over missiles in Cuba, and Korea, and Viet Nam. But in the midst of being worked up over each other, the U.S. sold a bunch of wheat to the USSR to aid during a famine. Ergo, that aid was negotiated with a secret requirement that the Soviets "let" the U.S. beat them to the Moon. So the Soviets agreed, but then responded by claiming to have never seriously have been in the race, anyway.

Also, Vietnam was not about the Soviets. It was a proxy war for the Chinese, who were communist and spreading communism, but were not exactly on full partnership terms with the Soviets, either. Therefore, the U.S. was concerned about and resisting the spread of communism, and the Soviets were somewhat backing the expansion of communism, but there were other factors than just animosity between those two superpowers.

So in this version, Apollo was hoaxed and the Soviets were bribed with wheat to keep quiet, and Vietnam was still a political confrontation over the best ideological and ecomonic system.

Gillianren
2007-Apr-26, 07:48 PM
Saying the Cold War was staged is an exaggeration of the HB claim (or most of them).

Most of them, sure. But there's at least one on Apollo Hoax right now who really does think it's all staged by THEM. Who THEY are never does get answered, somehow.

Fazor
2007-Apr-26, 07:53 PM
Most of them, sure. But there's at least one on Apollo Hoax right now who really does think it's all staged by THEM. Who THEY are never does get answered, somehow.

Gillian, if we knew who They(tm) were, then they wouldn't be an evil, ultra-powerfull, secret organization, now would they? Isn't it enough to simply know that They(tm) are out there? :whistle:

stu
2007-Apr-27, 02:24 AM
Glad to hear it went well. When I do my Hoax talk, I have two main sections, the first one being claims and the second being some hoax psychology. In the claims part, I have three sub-sections of photography, environment, and technology. I have it so that each claim is presented and then the rebuttal immediately follows so that the audience doesn't forget what the claim was. It's a point/counter-point setup.

Maksutov
2007-Apr-27, 11:16 AM
I believe you have fallen for the fallacy of absolutist thinking.I believe you have fallen for the fallacy of posting claims without supporting evidence.
Saying the Cold War was staged is an exaggeration of the HB claim (or most of them). It's not that the Cold War was a complete fabrication.Oh, and what parts of it were fabricated?
Rather, there were issues where both sides found it pragmatic to negotiate a few deals in the dark so they could maintain their public animosity without looking hypocritical.Evidence. please?
They both got something out of the deal, but they still hated each other.Examples please.
Therefore, there really was a lot of animosity, there really were confrontations over missiles in Cuba, and Korea, and Viet Nam.Wow, that's really newsy news.
But in the midst of being worked up over each other, the U.S. sold a bunch of wheat to the USSR to aid during a famine.Sure that wasn't due to a wheat surplus the US needed to unload at a profit? And which Nixon and his plumbers botched rather royally? (http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,907450-3,00.html)
Ergo [ergot?], that aid was negotiated with a secret requirement that the Soviets "let" the U.S. beat them to the Moon. So the Soviets agreed, but then responded by claiming to have never seriously have been in the race, anyway. Evidence please.


Also, Vietnam was not about the Soviets. It was a proxy war for the Chinese, who were communist and spreading communism, but were not exactly on full partnership terms with the Soviets, either.Actually Viet Nam was a civil disturbance where the folks there had become tired of foreign (French, US, et al) domination and tried to become an independent nation. Of course since the folks seeking independence were of the communist ilk, China gave them aid.
Therefore, the U.S. was concerned about and resisting the spread of communism, and the Soviets were somewhat backing the expansion of communism, but there were other factors than just animosity between those two superpowers.Really? Such as what?


So in this version, Apollo was hoaxed and the Soviets were bribed with wheat to keep quiet, and Vietnam was still a political confrontation over the best ideological and ecomonic system.Whose version? Sounds like yours.

Maybe it's I (OK, Gillianren?), maybe it's the rather diffuse nature of some of your posts, but it's often hard to tell which camp you're in, the science or the HB one.

:think:

Irishman
2007-Apr-27, 04:20 PM
Maksutov, I am not defending the hoax claims. I do not believe them, and do not lend them credence, so I do not need to provide supporting evidence. What I am doing is pointing out the strawman that is being argued against. My descriptions were not intended to defend those points, merely to clarify what the claims actually are versus how they are being presented.


Maybe it's I (OK, Gillianren?), maybe it's the rather diffuse nature of some of your posts, but it's often hard to tell which camp you're in, the science or the HB one.

I am on the side of clear thinking. I am on the side of rationality. If I see a weak or faulty argument, I point it out regardless of who made it. I believe in giving the HBs the benefit of the doubt. If I do not know someone's motives, I don't automatically assume those motives are selfish, shallow, or evil. I think ignorance and self-delusion are more common than malicious intent.

Maksutov
2007-Apr-27, 05:21 PM
Maksutov, I am not defending the hoax claims. I do not believe them, and do not lend them credence, so I do not need to provide supporting evidence. What I am doing is pointing out the strawman that is being argued against. My descriptions were not intended to defend those points, merely to clarify what the claims actually are versus how they are being presented.That's good to know.

However, when immersed in your commentary, it sometimes becomes unclear as to where you're coming from.

Don't take that the wrong way.

I appreciate subtlety, it's often part of my writing style (I like to think), and I sometimes wince as I see a little twist I've written get missed by everyone.

But with HBs, I think one has to be really straightforward and adamant, lest they take what you've written and use it for their own nefarious ends.

Maybe it's I (OK, Gillianren?), maybe it's the rather diffuse nature of some of your posts, but it's often hard to tell which camp you're in, the science or the HB one. I am on the side of clear thinking. I am on the side of rationality. If I see a weak or faulty argument, I point it out regardless of who made it. I believe in giving the HBs the benefit of the doubt.Agreed, until the the HBs demonstrate that they could care less about the validity of their arguments and stay on the course (There, I said it. Sorry all you politicos, etc., who have corrupted the language by omitting the "on")
If I do not know someone's motives, I don't automatically assume those motives are selfish, shallow, or evil. I think ignorance and self-delusion are more common than malicious intent.I hope you're right. But I have no idea what's common among the HBs. I just look for them to provide evidence which supports their claims. What I've seen over the last 50+ years is an average that's well below the Mendoza line.

Count Zero
2007-Apr-27, 05:50 PM
I appreciate subtlety, it's often part of my writing style (I like to think), and I sometimes wince as I see a little twist I've written get missed by everyone.
.
.
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Love inflames kinetic energy. - Melusine The acronym - Maynard G. Krebs All posts brought to you by Morgul the Friendly Drelb.


Start wincing.

Maksutov
2007-Apr-27, 06:03 PM
Start wincing.Wince.

Gillianren
2007-Apr-27, 08:36 PM
"It's I" is correct. "It's me" would be the idiomatic use that's more common. (I use "it's me," but I know that "it's I" is actually correct.)

ZaphodBeeblebrox
2007-Apr-29, 02:03 AM
Ever feel like you're running on a hampsterwheel? I do. :)

Yes, you've hit the hamster (er, um, nail) right on the head. The aim of a conspiracy theory is to perpetuate the debate over it, not to come to any resolution. If the question is resolved one way or another, the conspiracist's revenue stream and calendar of appearances dries up. As long as the debate can rage indefinitely, there's money and notoriety to be had.
OUCH ...

Won't Somebody, Thiink of The Hamsters ...

Actually, as Someone who's Raised Small Rodents, Sometiimes I Thiink The HB's Could Stand to Learn a Lesson from them, i.e. When to Chew Outsiide The Box!

Svector
2007-Apr-29, 07:55 AM
"It's I" is correct. "It's me" would be the idiomatic use that's more common. (I use "it's me," but I know that "it's I" is actually correct.)

Gillian - I've always wondered why "ain't" is considered improper. Other contractions are allowed, like "isn't" for "is not" and "aren't" for "are not".

Why not "ain't" for "am not"?

Enlighten me. :lol:

Svector
2007-Apr-29, 07:59 AM
CTs often end up painting a picture of conspirators who are at once incalculably brilliant and utterly foolish.

One of my favorite exchanges occurs when a conspiracist tries to handwave past a major hole in his hoax theory by saying, "With a $30 billion budget NASA could have pretty much done anything necesssary." To which I answer, "...except go to the moon."

That exchange is very telling. The conspiracist simply isn't thinking outside the Apollo was hoaxed mindset. At all.

...and I always ask them where NASA got the $30 billion, since there are literally reams of documented paper proving the money was paid to subcontractors, agents and employees.

Svector
2007-Apr-29, 08:57 AM
Thanks OddBall. Unfortunately, I don't know.

I illustrated the major points of my talk using a Word document (a poor man's Powerpoint presentation). But the text is too small to see on the video. So the guy who's preparing it is adding subtitles. As I don't know how fiddly that is, and as this is a labour of love for him, I don't know how long it will take him.

Just received the news from Mark that it's now live on YT. I'll create a new thread also so no one will miss it:


1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D8Vbp894PFU


2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fb1oe-Ik9aM


3: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nBjtYbNYqgA


4: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6wqvNKX1fDg


5: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y1FReYoQJcw


6: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_F_oXAHMJtw


7: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XIkkF2vQi-E


8: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vl-SXz6VpmI


9: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zz8T2hESDmc

Gillianren
2007-Apr-29, 09:03 AM
Gillian - I've always wondered why "ain't" is considered improper. Other contractions are allowed, like "isn't" for "is not" and "aren't" for "are not".

Why not "ain't" for "am not"?

Enlighten me. :lol:

Wish I could. It's true that it's a great failing in our language that we're missing a first person singular contraction for "to be not" in the present tense, given that we have contractions for those words in pretty much all other tenses/persons. However, them's the rules, I guess.

However, a lot of grammarians consider the restrictions against "ain't" to be unnecessarily fussy, and I, for one, only correct it in formal writing, even when I'm copy editing for people. I allow idioms to stand, such as in the last sentence of the previous paragraph.

Donnie B.
2007-Apr-29, 01:12 PM
Gillian - I've always wondered why "ain't" is considered improper. Other contractions are allowed, like "isn't" for "is not" and "aren't" for "are not".

Why not "ain't" for "am not"?

Enlighten me. :lol:Well, technically, "ain't" isn't a contraction of anything. "Ai not" is not an English expression, and "amn't" hasn't caught on for obvious reasons.

Of course, the real reasons go much deeper and have more to do with culture than anything rational. Interestingly, back in the 1920's, "ain't" was accepted as a contraction for "am not", at least in Britain. But in the real world it was used mostly by the lower classes and was not restricted to "I ain't". Instead, it became a generic contraction for any form of the verb "to be" -- e.g. "he ain't", "they ain't", etc.

Apparently that usage was just too lazy and lax for the English gods, so "ain't" became anathema even when used in its originally intended application.

Edit: ya beat me, Gillian! Your post was on page 4 here and I missed it. Ain't that a kick?

CJSF
2007-May-01, 04:04 AM
I just don't understand why it's "it's I" and not "it's me," but then I was never very patient with grammar.

CJSF

Gillianren
2007-May-01, 06:57 AM
I just don't understand why it's "it's I" and not "it's me," but then I was never very patient with grammar.

Do you really want me to explain?

Maksutov
2007-May-01, 07:25 AM
I just don't understand why it's "it's I" and not "it's me," but then I was never very patient with grammar.

CJSFIt's a byproduct of big city life, something to do with the Rapid Intransitive System which is linking all parts of the metropolis. But lost you shouldn't get. You can't sense the indicatives without a helping map.

As for me, if I were a grammarian, I would find all rules of English to be completely subjunctive.

http://img137.imageshack.us/img137/566/iconwink6tn.gif

Maksutov
2007-May-01, 07:32 AM
BTW, concerning subjunctivity, did you hear about the English professor who had a torrid love affair with a Physics professor? This particular prof sported a large, white beard and was notorious for presenting his lectures without the use of verbs.

The poor gal fell for the noun clause of desire.

CJSF
2007-May-01, 12:06 PM
Do you really want me to explain?

Strangely enough (?), yes, but you can do so via PM, so we don't clutter this thread up any more (I'll explain why I'd like to know, then).

Thanks!

CJSF

Gillianren
2007-May-01, 09:18 PM
Replied; the first lesson should be in your e-mail inbox by now.