Boston paranoia level about to go up a notch

By Phil Plait | September 12, 2008 10:30 am

D’oh! I totally forgot to add a tip o’ the spacesuit visor to Rebecca for telling me about this article!

Tonight, Fear Factor host and guaranteed conspiracy whacko Joe Rogan will be doing standup in Boston.

Why do I care? Because in the Bostonist article linked above, he said something about me that someone less charitable than I would call a lie. Let’s say it’s just completely wrong.

Bostonist: There’s another topic that you like to push the status quo on and that’s wether [sic] or not the Apollo moon landings happened. A couple weeks ago, they repeated the Penn & Teller “Bullsh*t!” show that talked about the moon landings and you’ve had some debates directly with them about it. As a kid who walked around with an astronaut lunchbox back in the mid-70s, I’ve always thought it was weird that we haven’t been back on the moon in almost 40 years.

OK, maybe this isn’t the pinnacle of journalism, but maybe it would’ve made some sense to the reporter to ask, y’know, someone with experience in this field?

Nope. He asked Rogan, who replied:

Joe Rogan: I just think it’s not smart to just accept things if you have this kind of doubt about them. It’s not that we haven’t been back to the moon, it’s that we haven’t been more than 400 miles from the earth’s surface since the last Apollo mission and yet supposedly we traveled a quarter of a million miles out and back. There’s too many inconsistencies with the evidence and data from Apollo for me to not question it. What’s funny is that I’ve been on the radio and debated an expert [Dr. Phil Plait] and the guy just couldn’t answer my questions about the photography, the press conferences, and other things that just seemed inconsistent.

Well now, that’s not how I remember it. I debated Rogan on Penn Jillette’s radio show last year (twice), and while he had me a bit weirded out for a while the second time we talked, I recovered later and was able to show where he was being silly. In the first part I had him on the ropes. Sadly, Penn’s show is off the air, but the shows are archived. So you don’t have to trust my word on this (though George Hrab agrees with me here); go grab Part 1 and Part 2 yourself!

Anyway, I was able to answer all his questions on photography — I just don’t think he was listening. I don’t remember what he said about the press conferences, so I can’t comment about that without hearing the show again. As I said, he did have me wondering what he was talking about for a few minutes, when he brought up a trip Werner von Braun took to Antarctica around the time of Apollo 11. Rogan thought this was very suspicious, though he never could give a reason why. The best he could come up with is that a lot of lunar meteorites were found in Antarctica, so maybe von Braun was there collecting them.

I was baffled by this claim for a while, because it made no sense to me. But eventually I figured out why it was so silly: if they were faking lunar rocks, why send the head of the Apollo program to the south pole to look for them? That’s dumb. If Rogan’s theories held any water at all, NASA would have sent a couple of goons down there, trained them how to look for rocks, and when they returned with a bag, taken them behind the Vehicle Assembly Building and shot them.

Oh– the reason von Braun went? It was a working vacation; he was fascinated by exploration and wanted to go on an expedition. I can’t blame him at all; I have always wanted to go see Antarctica, and I imagine it was the one place on the planet at the time that he could get away from the press. And I should add it was in 1967, two years before Apollo 11.

Anyway, when Rogan wasn’t constantly interrupting me in the second part he was actually very funny, and enjoyed sparring with him the first time. So if you’re in Boston and want to see him, please feel free. I’m sure you’ll get a laugh or two. And I’ll add that Joe and I do agree on one thing: Carlos Mencia isn’t funny.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Antiscience, Debunking, NASA, Skepticism, Space
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Comments (72)

Links to this Post

  1. News From Around The Blogosphere 9.12.08 « Skepacabra | September 12, 2008
  1. Phil,

    Give Rogan a break – he’s just doing what you said to do in your last post:

    “And doubt. Doubt doubt doubt. It’s one of the greatest strengths of the human mind, and perhaps the least used of all.”

    Maybe he’s trying to make up for all the non-doubters out there 😉

  2. Michelle

    There’s a difference between doubt and being irrational. When you’re proven wrong, live with the facts.

    I think Rogan’s being low. I had no idea he was such a liar.

  3. I’ll back you up, Phil. When you appeared on Penn’s radio show, I thought you did a great job answering Joe Rogan’s questions. In fact, that’s when I discovered your site and have been a regular ever since.

  4. Colin J

    The problem is that he doesn’t doubt that HE could be wrong!

  5. It’s the same thing that they all do. I watched Richard Dawkins on the Bill O’Reilly show once, and Dr. Dawkins answered everything O’Reily said and more, except it ended with a short speech by O’Reilly, afterwards the interview ended. Sometime later, I heard O’Reilly say on his radio show that he debated Dawkins on his show, and that he (O’Reilly) came out ahead. I immediately had to ask myself if he was talking about the same interview.

  6. Cheyenne

    Phil – I listened to Penn’s show with you and Rogan on it last year and just want to say that you handled him pretty darn well. I think he’s a guy who opened up his mouth about a conspiracy and now feels like he can’t back down from it (despite massive evidence to the contrary). Sad. I wonder if he read your first book or saw the Mythbusters episode? I think Rogan is just on the cusp of being able to understand the reality of the Apollo program (unlike some of those really fringe wackos) if he could read some of the facts about it.

    I think what is a bit appalling about this is that there were a lot of people that worked really hard (many of whom literally risked their lives) to pull off an extraordinary achievement – and now we have to listen to these conspiracy nutjobs claim it was all a scam.

    “The guy couldn’t answer my questions…”. Rogan – You’re a liar. And Neil and the boys that strapped themselves onto those rockets and went to the frickin moon are 100 times cooler than a guy that does 2nd rate stand up (If that comes off as being a little disrespectful to you than congratulations- you do have couple of functioning brain cells).

  7. Larry Gardner

    Just a quick comment. I have always heard people saying that the moon landing never happened. And since it is hard to refute their claims, due to the moon being 384,000 km away it is not an easy thing to go look for footprints. But, the Moon-Earth distance is increasing! How do we know this, the Apollo Astronauts placed mirrors there that we today bounce lasers off from to determine the rate at which the Moon is getting further away from the Earth. Which just happens to be three feet per century. So, if we never went to the moon, how did the mirrors get their?

  8. Patrick

    Y ou whooped him. He’s deluded (shocking). He pulled the million little details gambit, but you dealt with it as well as you could. Esp considering he was interrupting you constantly. I still have those shows on my ipod after all this time.

  9. Deepsix

    “And I’ll add that Joe and I do agree on one thing: Carlos Mencia isn’t funny.”

    I think that’s one thing we can all agree on.

  10. PG

    @Moist Rub: Sure, he’s doubting- that’s great. But he’s ignoring the evidence right before his eyes without thinking about it, ignoring what people with evidence and logical thinking have to say, and claiming that Phil “couldn’t answer his questions” (which is clearly incorrect if you listen to the show). I agree with Cheyenne’s post above.

  11. I was joking. Did you see that little smily face thing?

    Carry on.

  12. Beelzebud

    Joe Rogan also likes to be in company of total idiots like Alex Jones, so it’s no surprise that he would call you a liar after not listening to what you had to say.

  13. The Mad Grammarian

    Phil, I think the correct spelling is “wacko.”

  14. Cheyenne:

    And Neil and the boys that strapped themselves onto those rockets and went to the frickin moon are 100 times cooler than a guy that does 2nd rate stand up (If that comes off as being a little disrespectful to you than congratulations- you do have couple of functioning brain cells).

    Actually, I was thinking that it’s being a bit disrespectful to “Neil and the boys”. Only 100 times cooler?

  15. Calli Arcale

    Anyway, I was able to answer all his questions on photography — I just don’t think he was listening.

    I’ve heard fringe believers on many topics express the sentiment that the experts and/or those on the other side of the debate have never answered their question to their satisfaction. They will constantly quibble about what it would take to satisfy them, moving goalposts, dismissing evidence on tenuous grounds, and, in extreme cases, sticking their fingers in their ears and going “LA LA LA!!!!” This is because, although they will not admit it even to themselves, the only evidence that would satisfy them is evidence which supports their existing view.

    I do not know whether Rogan is as far out there as that, but I find that many have so much emotional investment in their pet topic that they are no longer able to be rational about it. We’ve all done it from time to time. I’ve been to meetings all fired up about something that I thought was gravely wrong, and everybody else had perfectly good reasons for doing it the way they did, and I wasn’t able to see how blockheaded I was being until I calmed down. (That’s another advantage to having good discipline in critical thinking — you notice your errors before you embarrass yourself like that.)

  16. RL

    I’ve listened to the broadcasts before and there was confusion at times as Phil and Joe at times didn’t understand the others point. A charitable thought is this. When Joe says Phil couldn’t answer his questions, its not that Phil didn’t try to answer (or answer – Phils perspective), its that Phil didn’t provide answers that convinced Joe. From the excerpt that Phil supplied in this post, that is an equally likely possibility.

    I’d also point out that you can’t always trust quotes in newspapers. They get butchered and made wrong all the time.

    I am curious to know what Joe Rogans reaction to the Mythbusters show on Moon Fakery was. I’ll bet I can guess. But I’d be interested to know.

  17. good thing about this argument is that it made me search for and find the amazing images of Apollo in the nasa archives.

    the dust under the lander really seems to be undisturbed. I would have expected some sort of crater…

    The argument of how the movements in low gravity should look could only be debunked by the Mythbusters I think. Even if Rogan says he watched it hundreds of times and it seemed to be slomo to him, the comparison of the Mythbusters team shows that he it is just wrong, plain and clear to see for anybody who has no agenda, or subcontious wish to just see what he wants to see.

  18. Stephen

    I also listened those on podcast, Phil was unfortunately dependent on the truth. Its the tactic of bring on all sorts of obscure “facts” which the opponent has no knowledge of and claiming victory because they are not refuted. And of course ignoring any refutations that the opponent does know about.

  19. GST

    Anyone else get annoyed that after any statement that Rogan made, he immediately said, “ISN’T THAT WEIRD??”

  20. mk

    “But what about…”
    “But what about…”
    “But what about…”
    “But what about…”

    The mantra of every conspiracy theorist/nut. They will not be sated.

  21. Craig

    Rogan’s comments were about one thing- raising the ire of BA fans everywhere and to get everyone talking. In other words, FREE ADVERTISING for his show.

    He just poked a stick into the hornet’s nest, and let the drones do the rest. Now more people than ever know about his upcoming Boston performance.

    On the other side of that coin, Phil just got a lot more people aware of his debate with Rogan and provided links to it, so Phil’s opinions are now more accessible. It’s a win-win situation for both. If I was a conspiracist, I would say that Joe and Phil planned this whole thing to help raise their mutual public profiles. But I’m not, so I won’t.

  22. “When Joe says Phil couldn’t answer his questions, its not that Phil didn’t try to answer (or answer – Phils perspective), its that Phil didn’t provide answers that convinced Joe.” – RL

    Surely, it is difficult to answer a question when you can’t even accept the premise or unstated assumptions. In addition, there is the fact that a “true believer” cannot be convinced by good answers. Phil can’t satisfy him, but his answers can help educate the listeners who truly want to look at all the evidence.

  23. I actually kind of liked Rogan up until reading this. I can’t stand liars. Period. There’s no excuse for Rogan to lie, except to make himself look good at the expense of Phil. I have a tremendous amount of respect for Phil, and this makes a good person look bad. Fortunately we have the evidence in the recording of the interview itself. Rogan knew that Phil answered all of his questions, in effect destroying the conspiracy theory that Rogan and others believe in. So, why lie? Why not say that he debated with Phil, and he disagreed with him? Why not say that he believed Phil’s explanation wasn’t enough? Why? Because Rogan knew that his belief was shot down. It’s sad that people, in the light of undeniable evidence will still refuse to see the truth.

    Phil, keep up the good fight. You are a hero in my eyes!

  24. zaardvark

    Joe Rogan is every bully I ever ran into, all fused into one hellamegabully. Well, that’s just my impression of him, anyway; he seems deeply angry at a lot of things, but I can’t tell what things those are. *shrug*

  25. Kirk

    The thing that really chapped my hide in the second part (I believe) was when Rogan kept repeating over and over again that Von Braun was a Nazi. It was nothing more than an ad hominem attack that had nothing whatsoever to do with whether we landed on the moon. I was very upset that neither Phil nor Penn called him on that.

    Although, I believe I eventually turned that one off in disgust after I got tired of the obstinacy of Rogan in refusing to hear anything Phil was saying. Very poor showing on his part, and I was a bit upset at Penn for not providing the moderating role he should have.

  26. Kirk

    The “his” in “very poor showing on his part” refers, of course, to Rogan, if that wasn’t clear.

  27. Viewer3

    The only exposure I have to Joe Rogan is when he’s yelling about someone locking in a triangle and tapping out.

  28. I think that you are being too charitable, Phil. Grogan claims that you couldn’t answer any of his questions and you just go la-de-dah about it? Would Randi sit back and allow the woo-woos paint a picture of him as a befuddled old man?

  29. Sespetoxri

    I agree with Kirk. The one thing about the whole ‘debate’ was it was thoroughly and completely unmoderated. If indeed the premise was Phil and Rogan were going to debate, then it was Penn who really failed. Penn tried a few times to pull Joe back on topic and to keep things moving smoothly, but he gave up to allow the show (I assume) take a more organic flow to improve the comedy aspect of what Joe was doing.

    The only problem was, Joe was never really doing comedy. Sure, he was funny quite a few times (intentionally I mean), but he wasn’t trying to make it a funny show, he was simply yelling over Phil. Phil, the consumate professional he is, never allowed himself to be baited into a yelling match he had NO shot of winning. Notwithstanding his many negatives, Joe Rogan is indeed a very experienced stand-up comic. I kept sensing Joe was trying to put Phil into the position of heckling him, and thankfully Phil was smart enough not to fall for it. In that instance, Phil would have been toasted by Joe’s strength as a stand-up comic. In the end it was simply Joe was loud and rude and kept falling back on the minutia while Phil calmly and expertly rebutted his every ridiculous point.

  30. Nasikabatrachus

    “I think that you are being too charitable, Phil. Grogan claims that you couldn’t answer any of his questions and you just go la-de-dah about it? Would Randi sit back and allow the woo-woos paint a picture of him as a befuddled old man?”

    Hear, hear! I say Phil should challenge Joe Rogan to a duel–with flintlock pistols!

    Not loaded ones, of course, they should just make “pew pew pew” noises with their mouths. But that would certainly teach Rogan.

  31. Thomas Siefert

    Being loud is clearly not the same as being right, in a properly moderated discussion Joe Rogan would never have had a foot to stand on. To me he came across like a moron with his ears and mind plugged tightly closed.

  32. Gary Ansorge

    Knocking Carlos Mencia? How dare you? What, you don’t like Chicanos??? LOL and cackles,,,

    As far as Von Braun being a nazi:

    Amongst his comments about his NSDAP membership von Braun has said:
    I was officially demanded to join the National Socialist Party. At this time (1937) I was already technical director of the Army Rocket Center at Peenemünde … My refusal to join the party would have meant that I would have to abandon the work of my life. Therefore, I decided to join. My membership in the party did not involve any political activities … in Spring 1940, one SS-Standartenführer (SS Colonel) Müller … looked me up in my office at Peenemünde and told me that Reichsführer-SS Heinrich Himmler had sent him with the order to urge me to join the SS. I called immediately on my military superior … Major-General W. Dornberger. He informed me that … if I wanted to continue our mutual work, I had no alternative but to join.[citation needed]

    I’d like to point out, there are probably a number of scientists today who are members of the Republican party who don’t adhere to ANY of their policy positions, yet maintain their Party affiliations just so they can continue working. Does that make them”bad”?

    Von Braun didn’t care diddly about the Nazi extremist positions. All he cared about was his work in rocketry. Personally, if I had the chance to work on solar power satellites, I’d probably accept the devil as overseer.

    Just a thought,,,

    It is a human attribute to cling to our favorite ideas, against overwhelming critical opposition. Sometimes we’re right. Then we’re called a genius. When we’re wrong, nobody bothers to call us anything,,,
    Einstein said to his dying day “God doesn’t play dice with the universe”. His was a deterministic view of the universe. Everything could be known, if we just had enough data. He refused to accept that there were some things we might never, in principle, be able to know.

    He was wrong about that(quantum mechanics),,,but his theory, as far as it goes, is right. It just doesn’t go far enough,,,

    Phil: Keep on trying. You never know when the dam might break,,,

    GAry 7

  33. Killyosaur

    I was deeply disappointed when Penn’s show went off the air, not so much because I miss the show (although I do) but because I was fully expecting a third part to the debate between Phil and Joe where Phil, armed with the information and answers he lacked the on the second debate, totally handed Rogan his butt. But it won’t ever be, sadly. I thought certainly in the first go around Phil handled himself deftly, the second time not so much, but then in any great trilogy it’s always darkest before the dawn.

  34. bigjohn756

    I’d say Round 1 was 10-9 for Plait and Round 2 was a 10-8 for Rogan.

  35. Thomas Siefert

    I’d say Round 1 was 10-9 for Plait and Round 2 was a 10-8 for Rogan.

    Does that mean that you think that Rogan had 19 points that were correct?

  36. I can only imagine I didn’t get a hat tip because I brought you nothing but annoyance with that link. 😛

  37. Michael L:

    There’s no excuse for Rogan to lie, except to make himself look good at the expense of Phil. … Rogan knew that Phil answered all of his questions, in effect destroying the conspiracy theory that Rogan and others believe in. So, why lie? Why not say …

    Because by saying “[Phil] just couldn’t answer my questions about …” he’s betting that people who are gullible enough to fall for his lies won’t bother looking into what, exactly, Phil did say. They’ll just pass along the “[he] couldn’t answer” at true, just like they pass along the long-ago-debunked “evidence” of a hoax as being true without bothering to find out anything else.

  38. I saw Carlos Mencia’s show in Fort Lauderdale last February. I thought it was really good, actually – and so did about 10,000 other people.

    But taste can’t be argued. You like what you like and that’s that.

  39. kuhnigget

    @ Gary Ansorge:

    “Personally, if I had the chance to work on solar power satellites, I’d probably accept the devil as overseer.”

    L5 in ’95?? :)

  40. I think some people will doubt your doubt just to be annoying or because it’s “fun” to believe in conspiracies. My own mother says that she doesn’t believe we landed on the moon. She never even thought about it before that awful Fox special. When I say something disparaging about the conspiracy is the only time she voices an opinion. I exchange looks with my father and move on because she’s just trying to be twee and doubt the doubter. I occasionally wonder if people who persist in these wacky conspiracies aren’t just doing it for the attention. What am I saying? Of course they are.

  41. Hi, thank you for reading the Bostonist interview with Joe Rogan.

    I’m the person that interviewed Joe Rogan for Bostonist. Joe was very articulate and intelligently presented his questions about Apollo. For the purposes of our post I couldn’t transcribe the entire 15 minutes we spent discussing Apollo so it was summarized by including that one exchange.

    Rogan obviously meant that Dr. Plait couldn’t answer his questions to his satisfaction – that was my mistake by not including everything we talked about as it pertained to Apollo. It was interesting enough to include as that point but we also wanted to talk about comedy and the Boston scene.

    To paint Rogan as an extremist wacko is misleading, uninformed, and unimaginative. He presented an interesting question in our interview: “Can you imagine if we didn’t actually go to the moon?” It’s fun and interesting to question the idea and I think that’s what he’s going for, not a witch hunt.

    Thanks again for reading our post and I appreciate Dr. Plait’s comments and your discussion.

  42. kebsis

    ”OK, maybe this isn’t the pinnacle of journalism, but maybe it would’ve made some sense to the reporter to ask, y’know, someone with experience in this field?”

    Well…no, because he is writing an article about Joe Rogan, not an article about the moon landings.

    But I wouldn’t doubt if Joe Rogan truely believes that Dr. Plait did not answer his questions. I think he is wrong, I wouldn’t go so far as to call him a liar. He reminds me of many people I know, who can have very selective memories about their odd beliefs.

  43. Phil

    Quick note on whether Werner Von Braun’s nazi affiliations were hidden at all: Tom Lehrer wrote the song “Werner Von Braun” around ’62-’63 (for the ‘That Was the Week That Was’ tv show) making many references to his prior Nazi affiliations. Everyone knew we had former Nazi scientists working for us.

    It’s a stupid point, but hey it’s something a little extra if you hit that one again.

    Nice job!

  44. hale_bopp

    Sometimes I wonder if people like that realize that recording devices have been invented.

  45. @Gary Ansorge. You wrote:

    I’d like to point out, there are probably a number of scientists today who are members of the Republican party who don’t adhere to ANY of their policy positions, yet maintain their Party affiliations just so they can continue working. Does that make them”bad”?

    there is a line between joining a conservative party in order to advance your work and letting people be killed by forced labour for your dream of a rocket that would be used to inflict terror on the polulation of London. It’s a well known fact that the production of the V2 rocket did cost more lives than the use of the weapon itself: 20.000 inmates of the KZ Mittelbau-Dora. The programm was called vernichtung durch Arbeit, extermination through labour.
    Von Braun hand-picked his workers from KZ Buchenwald.
    See “Von Braun: Dreamer of Space, Engineer of War” by Michael J. Neufeld.

    “Von Braun didn’t care diddly about the Nazi extremist positions. All he cared about was his work in rocketry. Personally, if I had the chance to work on solar power satellites, I’d probably accept the devil as overseer.”

    Would you really go that far for your solar power?

  46. I remember those episodes and Rogan has one skill (if you can call it that) which keeps him from losing any debate. Changing the subject like a caffeinated rabbit with ADD using crystal meth. In essence, he’ll never lose a debate because he never actually *has* one.

    There was on thing he brought up that I thought of a good response for you, next time someone mentions it. He brought up von Braun going to Antarctica. There’s a very good reason he would go there that’s space related. He’s developing equipment that needs to operate for a very long time in the bitter cold of outer space, what better place to study the effects of cold on equipment than Antarctica?

  47. Pete

    You can’t use reason to debunk ideas when those ideas weren’t reached by using reason in the first place. This came out of a discussion of why it’s pointless to debate beliefs of religious faith.

  48. Grand Lunar

    I recall listening to the broadcast.

    Rogan seemed hung up on the fact that Von Braun was a Nazi, and so saw this as a yet another reason to question the nature of the moon landings.

    It is rather foolish for that journalist to ask Rogan instead of a scientist like you.
    What is it with the media?

  49. GregW

    Phil, I gotta hand it to you sir….I would have wanted to reach through the phone lines and strangle the guy about the time he started in on the von Braun/Antarctica evil nazi spiel.

    Good job keeping your cool. you do know how to put the “Bad” as in Bad-a@@ into Bad Astronomer

  50. Chas, PE

    Phil:
    You wouldn’t even need to teach the goons how to look for rocks. The kewl thing about looking for meteorites in Antartica is that they are lying on the surface of the ice. See a black rock? It’s a meteorite.
    (You might still have to take ’em behind the VAB, though….)

  51. mk Says: “But what about…”
    > “But what about…”
    > “But what about…”
    > “But what about…”
    > The mantra of every conspiracy theorist/nut. They will not be sated.

    Exactly, which is why my tactic, as I’ve said here before, is to never engage them on their terms. Turn the tables. Start asking them questions such as:

    1) Who was involved in the conspiracy? Obviously it had to include the head of NASA (side question, who was the head of NASA during Apollo?). How far down did it go? Division Managers? Project Managers? Engineering Staff? Prime Contractors? Sub Contractors? Suppliers? The answer is usually “All of them,” which, of course, runs to hundreds of thousands of people.

    2) A conspiracy this vast cannot be coordinated with phone calls and face-to-face meetings. To have been so successful, it needed modern management techniques meaning a paper trail. Do you have any memos, any phone records, any meeting minutes, even one shred of physical evidence to support an effort this massive?

    3) Do you know what an engineered solution is? (I use this one in the case of the “Van Allen Belt” argument) You figure out what the problem is and then you solve it within the parameters you need. In this case, we knew the level of radiation in the belts, we knew the transit time so we knew the total exposure. We also knew how much radiation a healthy body can tolerate, so the shielding only had to deal with that limited amount. Compared to the rest of the engineering problems going to the moon, this one was a piece of cake.

    …and so on. You get the idea. Don’t let them put you on the defensive. Be on the offensive!

    – Jack

  52. Rogan may be a nice guy, but he’s one of those losers who believes in every conspiracy theory around because it makes him feel important. It’s also easier to say you’ve never accomplished anything because the world is run by “them”, than to accept that’s it’s because you sat on your backside and never did anything.

    I was crushed by the end of Penn radio because I wanted to hear the interview with Chritopher Hitchens, more than the third debate. I can only listen to a goofball mutter the same nonsense for so long.

  53. ubik Says: “Von Braun hand-picked his workers from KZ Buchenwald.
    See “Von Braun: Dreamer of Space, Engineer of War” by Michael J. Neufeld.”

    Neufeld has had an agenda regarding von Braun for decades. This isn’t the first book he’s written “to tell the truth.” The problem is, he often uses the same techniques as the MHB’s such as cherry picking facts and leaving out contrary evidence.

    In his case though, it has a basis in fact. Von Braun really did develop the V2 and really did join the Nazi party. As a public relations animal, von Braun always downplayed his role at Dora/mittlewerk saying he was in R&D and the SS was in charge of production. At first he claims never to have been there at all, but when confronted with photographic evidence (and a paper trail, see my previous post) to the contrary, he ‘fessed up.

    Neither side is especially objective, but von Braun is no longer around to defend himself. That makes it open season for to opposition.

    – Jack

  54. I used to work with a similar individual, who believed in every conspiracy theory out there, except for the moon landing. He knew we landed on the moon. Why? He’d made the chest plates for the moon suits. It was his one glory, I guess. So it had to be true.

    I just wished he see the flaws in the moon hoax claims, and turn the knowledge on all the other theories. He was a smart guy, he just hadn’t really done anything, and knowing every detail of every theory out there made him look important to other people.

  55. mk

    Jack…

    Exactly. Great points.

    In the opening moments Rogan makes it clear he has no special information or proof; he’s not saying he knows for sure it was a total hoax, etc. Then he continues on by saying, “I’m just sayin’…” And that’s where it should have ended! It’s the extraordinary claims, require extraordinary evidence bit. And Joe, like all other conspiracy nuts, ain’t got nuthin’! Penn and Phil should ahve said, “Come back when you can do more than toss off a bunch of Yeah, but what abouts…”

  56. mk

    Ugh… typos and punctuation. Sorry. Need more coffee.

  57. Its been a while since I heard the episodes, but I was really put off when Rogan exclaimed to you, “it’s not that easy, bitch”. Is this his idea of challenging debate?

    I understand he’s a comedian, and its difficult for them to take their comedian hats off sometimes. But even on a comedic level, it doesn’t work, because Rogan (jokingly, perhaps) presented himself as cool and clever. Funny isn’t cool and clever! It’s lame, loser and depressing! Richard Pryor taught us all that.

    Anyway, I thought he was a bit of a dink.

  58. Rogan likes to work out and train with UFC fighters. The answer is that he has simply taken too many hits to the skull without the benefit of headgear.

  59. billseyeview

    >>I’ve always thought it was weird that we haven’t been back on the moon in almost 40 years.

    I have always thought this was the dumbest part of the would debate about whether we have been to the moon or not. It is like saying, since I have not been on my high school football field since I was a junior in high school, that some how proves that I did not play football. But yet there are photos and newspaper articles with my name in them to prove that I did indeed play high school football. But I guess since I have not put on a pair of shoulder pads since 1991 and run out on that field, I did not really play football.

  60. Hi Phil. I am usually in agreement with you but Carlos Mencía IS FUNNY. Maybe you have to be hispanic to appreciate his humor though… me, the guy cracks me up

  61. Nemo

    Joe Rogan:

    It’s not that we haven’t been back to the moon, it’s that we haven’t been more than 400 miles from the earth’s surface since the last Apollo mission and yet supposedly we traveled a quarter of a million miles out and back.

    Those first 400 miles are the hardest.

  62. mk Says: “Ugh… typos and punctuation. Sorry. Need more coffee.”

    I’m still laughing at the “caffinated rabbit with ADD on crystal meth” up above :-)

    – Jack

  63. Jose

    Miaybe you have to be hispanic to appreciate his humor though
    Nope. That’s not it.

  64. Gary Ansorge

    ubik:

    Yes!

    Why???
    Because solar power satellites are the “wedge” to space colonization, providing a reasonable profit incentive to attract curious monkeys. Humans will rarely do what is good for them in the long term but show them a chance to gain lots of “bling” and you can barely constrain them. I have every reason to believe that humanity MUST settle the High Frontier in order to ensure our long term survival and the survival of earth life in general.

    For that I’d do pretty much anything,,,for some strange reason, I LIKE humans,,,go figure,,,

    GAry 7

  65. mk

    I’m dubious of this whole “[settling] the High Frontier” to ensure the survival of Earth. Or our species.

    Is living in an inhospitable environment within a manmade “colony” devoid of all the things we evolved an appreciation and in fact a need for really what “surviving” as a species looks like?

    Pass!

  66. Todd W.

    @mk

    In the short term, yeah, it won’t be a very welcoming experience. But, if we can advance terraforming technology to make uninhabitable places not only habitable but pleasant… Stepping stones, my friend. Stepping stones.

  67. mk, it’s all about having the eggs all in one basket.

  68. mk

    Shane…

    Don’t we need some other baskets, though? ;^}

    Todd…

    I’m genuinely interested in this concept. Should I just google it or do have any links that would get me going? Seriously. Thanks.

  69. Jon

    you know what really bothers me? people are going to read this article and most will immediately dismiss phil instead of seeking out the actual interview to decide for themselves. i used to think joe rogan’s standup routines were embarassing, but the moan hoax thing is even moreso.

  70. Todd W.

    @mk

    I don’t have any sources on terraforming, it’s just my speculation, and something that has featured in various forms in science fiction, which, while not currently feasible, can give ideas of where we might pursue the science. Just look at Arthur C. Clarke’s works.

    IMHO, colonies would likely be rather unpleasant places to live for years at a time: enclosed, cold industrial decor, few live plants or fauna except in special greenhouses or zoos, if even that. However, if the technology could be developed to, say, give a planet a more hospitable atmosphere (something that would probably take decades if not centuries to do), then colonies would not need to be enclosed. The way I figure it, pursuit of such technologies would probably start with trying to figure out how to repair the damage done to the Earth’s atmosphere and climate, once we get past how to keep the damage from progressing.

    Just speculation, but ambitions like these, especially if they are started early, can lead to grand developments in the future. Most definitely not in my lifetime, nor in the next generation or two, but definitely somewhere down the road.

  71. Buzz Parsec

    Rogan claims Von Braun went to Antartica to look for lunar meterorites in 1967, even though the first lunar meteorite wasn’t found until 1979? Was he psychic? (The 1979 meteorite, Yamato 791197, wasn’t identified as being of lunar origin until after 1982, when the 1st lunar meteorite, Allan Hills 81005 was discovered.) Or is he claiming that Von Braun discovered lunar meteorites in Antarctica in 1967, but NASA has kept this a secret ever since? If so how did Von Braun (an engineer, not a geologist or planetary scientist) know they were lunar meteorites without Apollo samples to compare them to? What happened to the extremely valuable (current Ebay market price $800 to $40,000 per gram) meteorites? They could never be passed off as Apollo moon rocks, because all meteors show evidence of passage through the atmosphere and/or high-speed collisions, whereas the Apollo rocks clearly do not.

    The total mass of Apollo samples is several hundred kilograms; the total for all the lunar meteorites found in 25 years of searching is 33Kg. So Von Braun fond more rocks surreptitiously in a week’s vacation than many people searching earnestly and openly for 25 years have found? (The Antarctic searches have found over 100,000 meteorites, but only a tiny percentage are lunar, and a similar tiny percentage are martian.)

    The Apollo sample rocks have unique chemical composition and physical structure. The only similar rocks ever found are the lunar meteorites. They are different from all other meteorites, all Earth rocks, Martian rocks, the Venusian surface, Titan, Eros (and all other asteroids ever examined close up) and anything else. But the Apollo rocks and the lunar meteorites clearly came from the same place, and that place matches the geological composition of the Moon as determined by the Surveyor landers and the Clementine and Lunar Prospector orbiters. (And nothing from SELENE or Chang’e-1 has cast any doubt on this, AFAIK.) And it all makes sense in light of theories of the Moon’s (and Earth’s) formation developed *after* the Apollo landings, but not at all what they were expecting *before* the Apollo landings. What, did Von Braun just make an extremely lucky guess?

    I got most of the lunar meteorite information from http://www.meteorites.wustl.edu/lunar/moon_meteorites.htm

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