Apollo astronauts were heroes. That is very clear to me and should be to everyone; they took an incredible risk to explore and further the knowledge of mankind.
However, that does not give them a "get out of reality free" card.
Ed Mitchell walked on the Moon for the Apollo 14 mission. OK, got that? He walked on the Moon. I have no issue with that.
However, he also believes aliens exist. That’s fine too; in fact, while wouldn’t use the word "believe", I strongly suspect there are aliens elsewhere in the Universe as well. Where Mitchell and I part ways is that he thinks that the aliens are and have been coming here, the government knows, and has been covering it up for decades.
Thing is, his feelings on this have been pretty clear for a while now. But he recently stated them on the radio, which has led to wide reporting on the topic, like say here. There are a zillion other sources if you care (roughly the same number of emails I’ve gotten on this topic).
OK, yes, an Apollo Moonwalker thinks greys are coming here and probing us or whatever. Fine. He can believe what he wants. I think he’s wrong, but he has the right to believe that.
Two points on this. First, of course, the UFO folks will go ballistic over this, because, after all, Mitchell was an astronaut and walked on the Moon. But then, see my "get out of reality card" comment above. Also, this is simply argument from authority, which is bad logic. It doesn’t matter who believes in aliens. What matters is — hello! — evidence.
Show me the clear pictures. Show me nonterrestrial-isotope-laden artifacts. Show me a frakkin’ flying saucer sitting on the White House lawn.
Show me anything other than blurry pictures and videos, eyewitness testimony, and black-out government documents. I want evidence.
The second point is Mitchell’s history. He has long been an advocate for what can be called at best fringe science, starting with his tests of psychic powers on that same lunar flight. That’s fine — in fact I support things like that, if done rigorously — but clearly in my opinion he goes way too far. Government coverups of actual aliens? Really? Where’s the proof of that? The evidence is always circumstantial, and that makes me suspicious indeed. We have governments that cannot coverup a simple break in, a tryst in the White House, or trade deals between Iran and the contras. Those are cakewalks compared to the massive conspiracy theorized by the UFO crowd.
My point is not to make an ad hominem attack Mitchell’s credibility; he is a nice man and a gentleman. I met him and he was very kind to me, and he told me he literally kicked Bart Sibrel out of his house, which makes my heart sing.
No, my point is that I don’t really see why this is suddenly news. He’s been talking fringe science for decades.
So I want to be very clear here: I have enormous, deep, and profound respect for all the men who walked on the Moon, and all the men and women who put them there. But that does not give them a pass to ignore evidence and to draw drastically unrealistic conclusions without evidence to support them.
Links to this Post
- Edgar Mitchell: Former Astronaut, Current Liar! « Blogging with Badger | July 27, 2008
- Dad2059’s Blog of Science-Fiction/Science Fact and Tinfoil | July 28, 2008
- Apollo 14 astronaut claims aliens HAVE made contact - Bad Astronomy and Universe Today Forum | July 28, 2008
- SciNoFi Comic-Con Roundup | Science Not Fiction | Discover Magazine | July 28, 2008
- Forget Al-Qaeda; Apparently It’s the Aliens We Need to Worry About | Reality Base | Discover Magazine | July 30, 2008
- Followup: Ed Mitchell and UFO believers | Bad Astronomy | Discover Magazine | July 30, 2008
- Edgar Mitchell is at it again. Yawn. | Bad Astronomy | Discover Magazine | April 22, 2009
- Edgar Mitchell is at it again. Yawn. « Skepfeeds-The Best Skeptical blogs of the day | April 22, 2009