How to handle hoaxers

By Phil Plait | June 24, 2008 2:00 pm

I am, by nature, a nice guy. When I encounter an antiscientist, I prefer not to insult them, or yell at them, or stab them in the eye with my car key. It’s just my way.

Not that I don’t imagine doing that, of course, with a slight smile and wistful sigh. I am also human.

Happily, BABloggee Tom Dickson didn’t hold back… at least, after his encounter with a Moon Hoaxer he wrote up a satisfying diatribe. It’s fun to read!

And it reminds me, I really need to update my Moon Hoax page. I have some statements on it that could be clearer. The one Tom quotes, about there not being a vacuum stage big enough to hoax the landing set, isn’t right. There is one that’s pretty big, and could house a small set. Not big enough to hoax, say, the rover making little parabolic arcs of dust during Apollo 16, but still. I’ll just have to get to it in my copious spare time.

And don’t even get me started that there is still a need for a Moon Hoax debunking page. That little fact makes me sad. Sigh… and not the wistful kind. The sad kind.

Eternal vigilance, me droogs. They’ll keep making more nonsense, and we’ll keep fighting it. That’s the real truth in the Universe. But we have a secret weapon: we have the facts on our side. Reality’s with us.

Comments (66)

  1. It doesn’t matter that reality is on our side. Well, it does to me, I guess, but not to THEM. Reality is a convenient place to rest your hat when you have to, say, make a cell-phone call or get a limb x-rayed…. but reality tends to be an inconvenient hindrance for when you want to partake in a rousing game of “oooo that’s more interesting than what the facts say! I bet there’s something to that conspiracy!”

    The problem is that reality isn’t quite as much fun as the juicy conspiracies, you know?

  2. Kevin

    There was just a news item a few weeks ago on a podcast I listen to (slice of sci-fi) where they talked about some Hollywood idiot remaking Capricorn One. This lead to a short discussion about “oh great, now the people who think we never landed on the moon will come out again.”

    I send them a message telling them that the moon hoax proponents have never went away, and the fight against them rages on. I also pointed them straight to your site Phil.

    When people tell me that we didn’t land on the moon, I tend to roll my eyes, sigh deeply, and (in my head) giggle at the stupidity of the individual. Then I attempt to set them right) and point them to badastronomy.com of course!!

  3. stas peterson

    MY cousin was in the Eagle when it landed on the Sea of Tranquillity.

    Nothing makes him go Bonkers more than CapricornOners with their idiotic Conspiracy Theories. There must be something in the water that the Lib/Socialists drink that induces mass hysteria and mass hallucinations. I wonder what it is.

    He remembers well, wondering if they were doomed to slow asphyxiation, as they tried to determine the damage done when Armstrong’s spacesuit backpack smashed the command console. He recalls the relief when it looked they had a workaround.

  4. Richard H.

    Well, if a person claims that we never landed on the moon, then talks about the Illuminati, then on to Bigfoot, then that person is most likely doomed to fantasy land.

    It’s the one’s who don’t quite know that have any chance at finding out for themselves. Just point them to the evidence, hope they have good critical thinking skills, and let them figure it out. That whole “listen to us because we truly know” has only ever lead to True Belief.

    True Belief also gave us “curiosity killed the cat.” Might have killed the cat, but the cat also had a good sense of humor and discovered something new. The ones without curiosity only ever spouted eternal damnation and that ain’t all too fun.

    I saw a documentary on the race to the moon between the US and the USSR. Apparently, the Soviet cosmonauts used automated spacecraft while the American astronauts flew their spacecraft like aircraft–astronauts having had flown aircraft, and such. What a little tidbit to know. That would explain why the lunar spacecraft had far less processing power than a calculator: the astronauts were far more hands on than their Soviet counterparts. It’s not how much processing speed you have in your spacecraft as much as how much experience is inside one’s head.

    BTW, Thanks for the awesome work, Mr. Plait.

  5. @ STAS -
    “MY cousin was in the Eagle when it landed on the Sea of Tranquillity.”

    THAT’S just what THEY want you to believe!!

    (see how easy that is? watch this – it gets better)

    How do I know you’re not just a plant from the mega-corporate-governing-complex? Big SCIENCE has its hands everywhere!

    (see, you just need a couple of buzzwords, like MEGA or BIG PHARMA to get these guys drooling. Here’s another one)

    Way to fall into the trap of the NASA loons! They’re just a cover for the greys!

    (See what I did there? Equated NASA insanity with being a cover for the aliens taking over our world. Because that’s somehow more believable than, say, flying to and from the moon. Right?)

  6. tsg

    You know you’re dealing with a crackpot when the number of people that would have to be “in on it” for it to work exceeds the number of people who are being fooled by it.

  7. Irishman

    Richard H. said:
    > I saw a documentary on the race to the moon between the US and the USSR. Apparently, the Soviet cosmonauts used automated spacecraft while the American astronauts flew their spacecraft like aircraft–astronauts having had flown aircraft, and such. What a little tidbit to know.

    While that statement is technically accurate, it is somewhat misleading. The U.S. used robotic probes before the manned landings (Surveyor, Ranger). The Soviets did land mobile robotic landers that performed sample return, but their intent was to send cosmonauts. It’s just that given certain hardware failures and the success of the US, they chose to terminate their manned attempts and claim they had no intent to go there.

    The Soviet program did rely more on ground control and automation than the US program.

    >That would explain why the lunar spacecraft had far less processing power than a calculator: the astronauts were far more hands on than their Soviet counterparts. It’s not how much processing speed you have in your spacecraft as much as how much experience is inside one’s head.

    It is true that the astronauts were essential to the Apollo program and controlling the spacecraft as designed. As for why the computer processing was so minimal, there are a few factors. Notably, they ran dedicated systems that did precisely their job and were not trying to run complicated interface systems (GUI, mouse, full color screens, etc). Also, a fair amount of computer processing was done on the ground and relayed to the computer and astronauts on board. Furthermore, things in general relied less on computer controls then. Just look at your automobile, and compare a modern 2008 model car with a 1969 passenger car.

  8. davidlpf

    The thing with the moon landing is that they were 400 000 people envolved in the project all the over states and elsewhere. Some the people who designed it and built it a couple decades earlier were trying to kill each other or were rivals at companies that were trying to out do each other. The chances that the only people who decided come out were a couple of people is astronomical.

  9. It’s hard to believe that people out there actually think that the moon landings are a hoax.

    Can I be a moon hoaxer hoaxer?

    They’re merely pretending to disbelieve in order to… umm…

    well…

    I got nothing. Still, I don’t believe moon hoaxers really exist.

  10. Mena

    I still think that the line in Phil’s video about Stephen Colbert about letting Buzz Aldrin deal with it is still the best solution. You go, Buzz! ;^)

  11. Ken

    The thing with the moon landing is that they were 400 000 people envolved in the project all the over states and elsewhere. … The chances that the only people who decided come out were a couple of people is astronomical. — davidlpf

    But the rules and axioms of Conspiracy Theory are now in force. Lack of evidence for The Conspiracy is PROOF! The Conspiracy Is So Vast It Can Silence Anyone. (Except for the heroic Lone Conspiracy Theorist, that is.) Evidence against The Conspiracy is PROOF! The Conspiracy Can Plant Its Disinformation Anywhere And The Sheeple Will BE-LEEEVE It. (Except for the heroic Lone Conspiracy Theorist, that is.)

    “If your conspiracy theory doesn’t fit the facts, invent a Bigger Conspiracy.”
    – Kooks Magazine

    Until The Conspiracy becomes so vast that Everybody Except The Heroic Lone Conspiracy Theorist IS Part Of The Conspiracy. op cit Bob Dylan’s “Talking John Birch Society Blues”, last verse.

    Which explains why Heroic Lone Conspiracy Theorists are always so bitter. They are the only one in the entier cosmos who wasn’t invited to go in on The Conspiracy.

  12. Engineerbill

    We just built a vacuum chamber that is 40+ feet wide. 80+ feet long and 40+ feet high.
    Would that be big enough?

  13. davidlpf

    stas, say hi to your cousin I hope he still can throw a mean punch just in case some one follows him around with a bible again.

  14. Jose

    Can we please be clearer, and refer to these people as hoax proponents, and not hoaxers? I’m proud of the fact that I get dressed up as bigfoot and run around in the woods every weekend, hoping someone will snap a blurry photograph of me. I resent being lumped in with these loons. If this slander continues, I may be forced to stop setting my dog loose every night dressed as a chupacabre. I don’t want people to think I’m an idiot.

  15. As for why the computer processing was so minimal, there are a few factors. Notably, they ran dedicated systems that did precisely their job and were not trying to run complicated interface systems (GUI, mouse, full color screens, etc).

    You mean they couldn’t play SOLITAIRE?!?!!!
    ;)

    J/P=?

  16. AJWM

    On a related note, how would one go about concealing a mission to the Moon? Say an Apollo 18 mission using the leftover hardware that for some reason the gov’t wanted kept secret. (I’m working on a story based on this very idea.) You can probably get away without using foreign-based elements of the tracking network, but it’s pretty hard to hide a Saturn V launch. If you use misdirection (“it’s a Skylab test launch” or some such) you might get away with it.

    Heh, maybe I should write it as non-fiction, “The REAL Moon Hoax: Secret Missions to the Moon”. Or not.

  17. Guysmiley

    We just built a vacuum chamber that is 40+ feet wide. 80+ feet long and 40+ feet high.
    Would that be big enough?

    Does the inside of it have 1/6th gravity?

  18. I keep wondering… Has anyone tried to use one of the bigger telescopes to image the Apollo landing sites? It seems like we should be able to get a pretty good picture with even a land-based observation.

    Not that it would silence the hoaxers, of course, but it would be cool!

  19. Celtic_Evolution

    @ Jim Seymour

    That’s a common question, and the short answer is no… even the most powerful telescopes we have aren’t capable of imaging the landing sites, small as they are… and this includes the hubble.

    From the website http://hubblesite.org/ :

    An object on the Moon 4 meters (4.37 yards) across, viewed from HST, would be about 0.002 arcsec in size. The highest resolution instrument currently on HST is the Advanced Camera for Surveys at 0.03 arcsec. So anything we left on the Moon cannot be resolved in any HST image. It would just appear as a dot.

    CE

  20. brutus

    “There must be something in the water that the Lib/Socialists drink that induces mass hysteria and mass hallucinations.”

    You’re kidding, right?

  21. Celtic_Evolution

    You know, if I ever had the chance, I’d ask one really simple question to moon hoaxers like Hoagland and Kaysing (yeah… I know he’s dead, but I still would love to have asked him the question when he was living):

    So, assuming you are right and there’s this HUGE, secret, governement backed organization that has gone to enormous lengths to pull the wool over our eyes… willing to do whatever it takes to keep silent anyone who might “blow the whistle” on the whole conspiracy, including killing astronauts! How in the world is it that you are alive?

  22. Matt

    “Eternal vigilance, me droogs.” Is that from ‘Harry Potter and the Clockwork Orange’? Somehow I missed that one. I imagine Draco on some milk plus.

  23. Simon

    I watched the feather and hammer video with interest. Both fall quickly but both fall more slowly then they would on Earth. Of course it would probably be easy to hoax but a careful analysis of the motion of the falling objects would reveal even a small discrepancy from what should be happening on the moon.

    I did a rough calculation on the time taken for the feather to fall. I was just over one second …I think. This would be only true in 1/6 earth gravity i.e. on the moon. On earth the time taken to fall approximately 1.5m would be 0.55 secs. Time on the moon would be 1.35 secs.

    one thousand and one……..

  24. Celtic… hate to correct you on this, but Hoagland isn’t on the Moon hoax team. He actually does believe NASA went there. He just thinks they found stuff there. He even has the grainy shadowy fuzzy pictures to prove it.

  25. glen

    1. I love the flag wiggling thing. It shakes for a bit right after they are done fiddling with it. Proof of wind! Then, never, ever does the flag even give a hint of movement. If this was filmed in doors, what, did someone open a door and let in a draft?

    2. Eugene Cernan says, basically, in “In The Shadow of the Moon”, “no one can write or say anything that will erase my footprints from the moon”.

  26. I used to work with a man who believed every conspiracy theory and paranormal claim he came across, except the moon hoax. He had built the chest plates of the lunar suits, and was determined that we had landed on the moon. I guess it was his one glory in life. But I could never get him to see the parallels between the moon hoaxers and the proponents of the other conspiracy theories.

  27. ScottB

    Good read, but I’d have enjoyed it more if the spelling, grammar and punctuation was correct. Surely it’s not that hard?

  28. @Kevin
    SOSF listener. w00t. Gnomes did it.

    @Jose
    Watch out when you’re in your bigfoot suit. It may not be a tourist with a camera taking aim. May be a good ol’ boy with a hunting rifle that may just think he’s just “kilt hisself a bear”. :-)

  29. Kevin

    Didn’t Clementine image the Apollo 15 site, and you could see the tracks of the rover?

    At least I think I remember seeing that.

  30. wow, the moon landing was real? what’s next, that the earth is not the center of the galaxy? j/k. I just thought I’d send you a comment since I always check out the blog. keep it up.

  31. Richard H.

    @jeremy

    Yes, kinda misleading however it makes a point. Some moon hoax proponents (making use of the term, yo!) often claim that there was so little in the way of computer processing power that there was no way humans could’ve landed on the moon.

    By the same token, some conspiracy theorists think that humans could’ve never have built the Great Pyramids in Gaza, Egypt.

    We actually have fully functioning humans who so disbelieve the power of human will that they would credit such feats to aliens that it’s no wonder that some (not all necessarily “Pyrimidiots,” mind you) disbelieve that humans could achieve the astounding feat of landing humans on the moon.

    But then, they probably all buy Kinoki foot pads. *snarf!*

  32. Richard H.

    Did anybody else see National Geographic Channel’s “Is It Real?”? Apparently there was this guy who put on a ape-suit who was in a joke with this one guy in Washington state. Turns out that this ape-suit-wearing guy walked with a gait that was very unhuman-like. At least that’s what one “expert” had said…when looking at the most famous of Bigfoot films.

    But of course that wasn’t said ape-suit-wearing guy, that’s just too clever to be human. (sarcasm included)

  33. Scott

    [i]“There must be something in the water that the Lib/Socialists drink that induces mass hysteria and mass hallucinations.”

    Actually, I’ve noticed that most of the people who make crazy claims like this tend to be of a rather more conservative bent.

  34. Kimpatsu

    BA, the vacuum stage used to fake the Moon landings was big enough all right: it covered the whole of Area 51! (They had to move aside the crashed Roswell spacecraft to make room to build the stage, but that’s OK, because the GREYS HELPED THEM BUILD IT!!!
    I know this because the NATIONAL ENQUIRER says so!!!
    You’re bound to deny this, but then you’re just a CIA stooge…
    ——
    (I have been off my meds lately…)

  35. Simon, you just don’t understand, or you’re an obvious NASA stooge. They faked the whole Scott hammer/feather thing, just like the rest of Apollo. They scaled up the sets and props by a factor of six. Then they called Hoax Central Casting and ordered up a 36 foot tall astro-NOT. When he dropped the hammer and feather in the Area 51 vacuum soundstage (!) it took just as long to fall in 1g as it would have on the moon at 1/6 g with a normal sized astronaut. Simple!

    As definitive proof that the entire Apollo program was a hoax, I cite the fact that that scene doesn’t show the top of the Lunar Module so we wouldn’t see the cables holding up the scaled-up LM so it wouldn’t collapse under its own weight.

    Pardon, there’s a knock at the door…

  36. Tyler Durden

    “The problem is that reality isn’t quite as much fun as the juicy conspiracies, you know?”

    I hadn’t considered it, but think about it… could it be that conspiracies are merely gossip for men?

    We all know that any time a woman begins babbling about the stupid things her roommate did at the bar the other night, our eyes begin to look for the nearest window to jump out of.

    But mention a current (or historical) event and cast it in a controversial light and it will take an open bar or a really stacked blonde to shut us up.

  37. glen, the flag doesn’t wiggle, the free corner actually swings like a pendulum. The slow rate is a clear demonstration of 1/6g and the long time it takes to stop is a clear demonstration of a vacuum.

    The one scene that the hoax believers think is the best proof of their claims is actually a very convincing demonstration that the scene WAS on the moon. Pretty funny if you ask me.

    Some of them even claim that the free corner of the flag must have been weighted to swing like that. How desperate can they get? They must have slept through the physics lesson that talked about the period of a pendulum.

  38. slang

    I was stunned to find out that one of my educated co-workers was a moon-hoax believer. “There are many facts that show the moonlandings were faked”. For the sake of the third person with us I replied “no, there are many facts that are being distorted to support that claim”. He then moved on that “it doesn’t matter, those merkins are so good at manipulating us that no evidence can be trusted anyway”. At that point I merely snorted, it being such an insane paranoid generalisation that I didn’t care to respond. I will some day ask him why he thinks the Soviets, Aussies and Brits and other countries with receiving dishes didn’t expose the hoax. Perhaps they were all manipulating. Illuminati and all that. *sigh*

  39. Tom K

    That rant would’ve been more readable if the writer wasn’t too lazy, or too snotty to capitalize.

  40. Shoeshine Boy

    Tom Dickson:

    Fear not, the shift key!

  41. Robert

    “…you were about as much fun to be with, the other night, as a born-again christian…”

    So you actually believe the way to “handle” moon hoaxers is to insult and demean Christians? I’m curious, is that part of the “tolerance” they teach at the University of Colorado in Boulder? I was looking forward to reading the article, since I think moon hoaxers are almost as bad as 9/11 Troofers.

    It fascinates me that so-called “intelligensia” can’t get their point across without insulting someone, especially people that don’t even have any involvement in the subject being discussed! I highly doubt you’ll find many moon hoaxers amongst Christians – or Jews for that matter.

    “I am, by nature, a nice guy. When I encounter an antiscientist, I prefer not to insult them, or yell at them, or stab them in the eye with my car key. It’s just my way.”

    No, actually, you let others do it for you. You link to a story that starts out by insulting Christians, you let your commenters carry on straw man arguments and ad homenems against those you disagree with, and quite frankly, condescension is simply another word for arrogance.

    I guess anyone who questions anything is an “antiscientist.” I’m just curious, however, what you call someone who is “anti-Christian?” Perhaps one of your resident geniuses can provide an answer…

  42. anti-Christian = Satanist?

  43. Celtic_Evolution

    @ Robert

    How typical… are you really so easily looking for reasons to be offended that you won’t even read the entirety of the very text you quoted?

    You quoted the phrase that included the term “born again christian” and then went on to rant about how he insulted all Christians… did you just skip the qualifier in that phrase? Or were your Christian sensibilities so offended that it didn’t matter… just having the word “Christian” included got your dander up.

    And furthermore, the comparison, as it was framed, was intended to equate the stubborn nature of a “born again” Christian with the same stubborn nature of a “Moon Hoax” believer. Neither of them are even interested in hearing reason or logic to argue the point. They believe what they believe and there’s not even a thought of questioning it. That is a generalization, I’ll grant you, but one based on repeated observation. I say the comparison is valid and appropriate, and if you need to feel offended by that… well, you’re probably the type that spends a good deal of your time offended, and I suppose nothing I say could convince you otherwise. It’d be like arguing with a moon-hoaxer… oops…

  44. Celtic_Evolution

    Oh, and Robert… nice job arguing any of the facts of his diatribe… it’s always easy to pick on the delivery when you haven’t got an argument against the facts. What was your point again, anyhow?

  45. Celtic_Evolution

    @ Michael L

    Celtic… hate to correct you on this, but Hoagland isn’t on the Moon hoax team. He actually does believe NASA went there. He just thinks they found stuff there. He even has the grainy shadowy fuzzy pictures to prove it.

    Yeah… should have been more clear on that… I was referring to the him as a member of the “conspiracy theorists” sect where the moon is concerned… but you’re technically correct, and I did describe Hoagland as a “hoaxer” in my sentence. My bad.

    But my point would remain the same for him as well… maybe even moreso.

  46. Robert

    “…you were about as much fun to be with, the other night, as an evolution-believing celtic…”

    Makes about as much sense, doesn’t it? Meaning: It doesn’t. There’s no connection between Christians and Moon hoaxers, and taking a swipe is nothing more than that. Taking a swipe. Sorry, go back and read what I said, and perhaps you can find where I said “offense, offended, offend” or anything even remotely like that.

    No, go put your cute little straw man back in his closet for later on, and try actually forming a coherent argument about what I actually said for a change…

    Robert

  47. wisnij

    I have a spare shift key if Tom would like to borrow it.

  48. Celtic_Evolution

    @ Robert

    Right… how could I have possibly inferred offense from your rant. Silly me. If I go on a rant about a subject… ANY subject, and spew on using phrases like “so called ‘intelligensia’” and “insult and demean Chrsitians”, you certainly seem offended. And if you weren’t, what exactly was the purpose of your little speech?

    And making snarky little comments about my “strawmen” doesn’t make you look any smarter, nor any more right, despite your frequent use of the word.

    Whether you used the word “offended” or any derivitive of the word is not the sole factir in determining your level of offense. Based on the content, slant, and tone of your post, I quite resonably inferred that you were in fact offended. I fail to see the “strawman” in that. Puh-lease.

    Using your logic, one could say the following: “I beat that man… i put my hands around his throat, I throttled him, kicked him and pounded him about the head and shoulders until he was no more… until he ceased to exist and the breath no longer escaped from his mouth.”

    Oh… so you killed him?

    “I never said that! Keep your cute strawman arguments to yourself.”

    Look up “strawman”, show me where I used it, and stop taking yourself so seriously. Really. You’ll live longer.

  49. Nicole

    “When I encounter an antiscientist, I prefer not to insult them, or yell at them, or stab them in the eye with my car key. It’s just my way.”

    No, that’s just physics. If a scientist even touched an antiscientist, the resulting explosion would be catastrophic!

    (lame, but I had to)

  50. Steve G

    The comments on this blog are getting pretty warm. Robert and CE may want to consider counseling to work through their differences.

    Seriously, Robert makes a good point, or alludes to one. On this blog, and many others like it, we far too often associate belief in science and the scientific method with atheism and disbelief in any of science’s theories with religion. We’re bound to offend someone. Mr. Dickson’s comparison of moon hoaxers to born again Christians is unkind and unnecessary. Defending it is unwise.

    We would all do well to separate science and religion in our discussions. They are not always mutually exclusive. But more importantly, we have little to gain and much to lose by alienating individuals with a spiritual commitment.

    I am an atheist (or agnostic – I don’t worry too much about the label) but I co-exist peacefully with religious individuals and often have scientific discussions with them. If I began assuming that every overly stubborn person I met must also be overly religious, or that every devout Christian must also be pig-headed and against scientific knowledge, I would not only be wrong, I be needlessly insulting the very people I want to engage.

    Let’s just leave religion out of it.

  51. BarryW

    For those of you too young, or not in the Aerospace/Computer fields at the time. Computers were made with chips not on them. I worked on a flight rated system that had 16K thats (thousand) bytes of memory. The memory was non volatile and made out tiny magnets that you could see with a naked eye. The was no hard disk and the memory and storage were the same device. It was about the size of bread-box. Instruction cycle time was in the millisecond range. Systems similar to this flew in the Atlas missile. It was amazing what people were able to do with so little. Now we throw megabytes around like nothing. We had a party when we got the Air Force to give use 32K!

  52. kroosing 2 '42' via '37'

    How come we don’t get these kind of nutters in Europe? – not to that degree anyway, and then mostly illiterate. Do you know of a study on the cultural/intellectual/hollywoodical/hyperboredomical differences that explain why this behaviour is so typically American? Too easy academic degrees?

    Or is it linked to UFO’s having a weird taste for American abductees?

    Or just gullibility of Biblical proportions?

  53. Celtic_Evolution

    @ Steve G

    Mr. Dickson’s comparison of moon hoaxers to born again Christians is unkind and unnecessary. Defending it is unwise.

    That is your opinion… and you are entitled to it… just as Mr Dickson is entitled to his and to expressing it on his blog. And while you and Robert both bleet about whether it’s right or wrong to offend the delicate sensibilities of Christians, or more accurately in this case, born again Chrsitians… nether of you has argued the most important point, and the one that I was defending… and that is, whether you like it or not, whether you think it’s “nice” or not, it’s still accurate and an apt analogy.

  54. Steve G

    CE,

    Well it’s a generalization and accurate or not, it’s unnecessary. What’s the point? If he’s trying to be clever or going for a laugh, I think it’s misplaced (my opinion).

    The tension between religion and science is pretty intense just now and I think the country (not to mention funding for science) suffers because of it. Christians and born again Christians don’t have to have “delicate” sensibilities to be annoyed at being compared to people who Dickson goes on to portray in a rather unappealing way. Nor do you have exaggerate their sensitivities.

    My point is there was no reason to bring religion into an argument about people who don’t believe in science. It almost seems gratuitous and it just makes things worse.

    He could have said “you were about as much fun to be with, the other night, as a Nascar fan, or a stamp collector, or a sober Irishman, or libertarian, or a gay rights activist, or a homeless person”. It would always be insulting. And it would be so to someone completely out of the discussion. “Delicate” sensitivities or not.

    You can see my point can’t you? “It’s so easy, even a caveman can see it” (oops!)

  55. Actually, a spacecraft called Lunar Reconnaisanse Orbiter is being launched this fall, a clone of the the Mars orbiter which imaged the Mars rovers, Phoenix, etc. Which will easily see the Apollo hardware.

    It’s looking for landing sites and ice.

    I’m sure it will be “hoaxed”, though.
    KP

  56. Naked Bunny with a Whip

    Well it’s a generalization and accurate or not, it’s unnecessary.

    It’s a comparison and it helped me to relate to the author’s experience, since I’ve spent many an unpleasant evening with fundamentalist Christians but not with moon-hoax believers. If that’s not the sort of experience you’ve had, well then I guess it doesn’t work for you, but that’s the hazard of using comparisons in the first place. The fact that Robert found the comparison offensive and that you find it overly broad doesn’t impact it’s usefulness to me in the slightest.

    “you were about as much fun to be with, the other night, as a Nascar fan

    If the essay were aimed at people who were likely to have had unpleasant experiences with NASCAR fans (raises his paw) then it would have served the same purpose. The sooner people figure out they don’t have a right to not be offended, the sooner they can calm the heck down when it does happen, because it will happen…though, remarkable, less often.

  57. Paul

    Have you ever notices that people who style themselves as “truth seekers” (Moon hoaxers, creationists, Holocaust deniers and 9/11 “Truthers”) are usually more interested in perpetuating a specific lie?

    REAL truth seekers just quietly go about seeking the truth.

  58. Wow….it got real hostile in here pretty quick. Robert, you gotta simmer down a bit.

    [i]“It fascinates me that so-called “intelligensia” can’t get their point across without insulting someone”[i] (I hope my italics code worked, I don’t know much about html code, or whatever the frig this is)

    I can use your exact same reason and ask why a religious person can’t listen to a scientific point without being offended.

    But I don’t, because I know that most religious people are respectful, thoughtful individuals, just as there are respectful thoughtful scientists. Phil is definatley the latter. You don’t appear to be the former.

    You talk of straw-men, and in the next breath feign gross personal insult and assault by,
    [i]“You link to a story that starts out by insulting Christians, you let your commenters carry on straw man arguments and ad homenems against those you disagree with, and quite frankly, condescension is simply another word for arrogance.”[i]

    [i]“No, go put your cute little straw man back in his closet for later on, and try actually forming a coherent argument about what I actually said for a change…[i]

    [i]“Perhaps one of your resident geniuses can provide an answer…[i]

    Please. Leave the passive-aggression in high school and stop acting like your moral fibre has been torn. You’re smarter than that to get so childish.

  59. nuts…the italics code didn’t work. Sorry.

  60. My point is there was no reason to bring religion into an argument about people who don’t believe in science.

    Now that is hilarious. I’m guessing unintentionally funny probably. But oh the irony.

  61. Robert

    Sorry about that Some Canadian Skeptic, but it’s called “demonstrating absurdity by being absurd.” For some odd reason, liberals in general tend to be offended when you direct the same vitriol back to them that they routinely use. Odd that, isn’t it?

    As I mentioned, I thoroughly enjoyed the moan hoaxer article on this website, and was looking forward to reading another one. But then it starts out with what was clearly a derogatory statement with no necessary reason for being there, or any relation to the argument. But, as someone pointed out, everyone has their opinion. Mine happens to be that I’d prefer spending a Sunday morning with a thousand Christians than one Saturday afternoon with an arrogant, self-serving, know-it-all atheist.

    You see? That was just as insulting, and had no bearing on what I was trying to say. Demonstrating absurdity by being absurd.

    http://prawfsblawg.blogs.com/prawfsblawg/2008/06/theophobia.html

    Have a nice day!

    Robert

  62. Robert,

    Mine happens to be that I’d prefer spending a Sunday morning with a thousand Christians than one Saturday afternoon with an arrogant, self-serving, know-it-all atheist.

    Oh god, I couldn’t think of anything worse than spending my Sunday morning sleep-in with several thousand anybodies.

    And Saturday afternoon with an ASSKIAA would depend on which football team they supported.

  63. Robert,
    Somehow, I doubt you were being satirical.

  64. I seem to have raised hackles with both my reference to born-again christians and my lack of a shift key … as for the former, I have no problems with people believing whatever they want to and, in fact, have friends of several different faiths who might, in fact, be on to something—what do I know? … but they recognize belief for what it is and don’t force on me … nor do I force my agnosticism on them … my problem is with people presuming certainty where there can be none and my experience with born agains came closest to paralleling how I felt in the presence of this hoaxer … as for using the shift key, it’s simply too much bother and, to charges of laziness, I plead guilty … tom

  65. further on the missing shift key … I sometimes have mixed feelings, myself, about this nearly-exclusive use of dots and lowercase, not only because I recognize how commercially limiting this is, but also because I know its non-conventionality will, right off the bat, discourage or repel many readers … with varying degrees of success, I strive to say things clearly and simply in my own voice and I wonder if my dots and missing capitals get in the way of this … but of all the things that go through my mind, the one I pay most heed to is my creative impulse to do what pleases me, not others, and how something looks to my eye, whether a picture or a page of text, is a very important part of that being pleased … this paragraph simply looks better to me than it would if conventionally dressed … the practice began with my observing that a paragraph’s starting capital and ending period are superfluous … things got out of hand after that … tom

  66. and lastly: I’ve removed the ‘born-again’ reference … though a truthful expression of what I was feeling at the time and not out of place in its original context, in this adaptation for general consumption it’s irrelevant and detracts from the message, as some have pointed out … enjoy the weekend … tom

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