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Birthers and the Moon landing hoax

American astronauts set foot on the Moon in 1969, or at least most folks think so—“one small step for man…” and all that. There are some folks (6% in a 1999 poll) who think it was all a hoax with film shot in a studio.

The Moon landing hoax is not a subject I’ve read much about, but while watching old episodes of the Discovery Channel’s popular series MythBusters, I saw their program devoted to the topic of the claims of conspiracy theorists that the Moon landing never happened.

MythBusters looked at three specific claims of anomalies in film footage from 1969: contradictory angles of shadows, images of low-gravity jumping, and how a flag waved in a vacuum. The show was interesting [spoiler alert] but the “anomalies” were simply debunked. The angles appeared as they did because one of the objects casting a shadow was on a hill, the low-gravity jumping was actually how it was supposed to look, and the waving flag was caused by no atmosphere to damp the swinging of the flag once set in motion by being moved.

The Moon landing hoax conspiracy theorists did not find anomalies because there was something wrong with the film footage; they found anomalies because there was something lacking in their competence.

Today, I thought about how similar the Moon landing hoax image analysis is to the birther analysis of Obama’s identity documents. Both hinge on anomalies, claims that things are not what they should be. As with the Moon landing images, a little thought and experimentation show that Obama’s documents are normal, and that it is the competence of the birthers that is questionable. As I have said many times, birthers dig into deeper and deeper detail until they find something that they don’t understand. Rather than admit that they don’t understand, they claim an anomaly, and from there they conclude fraud, but they have no more experience down in the nitty-gritty of PDF compression than they do walking in a vacuum in low gravity.

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55 Responses to Birthers and the Moon landing hoax

  1. avatar
    Loren July 23, 2013 at 7:09 pm #

    Birthers are also similar to moon hoaxers in that they both are the rare sort of denialist/conspiracist who (at least initially) claimed that all doubt could be removed if only the government published a specific piece of evidence. For Birthers, it was the long-form birth certificate. For moon hoaxers, their holy grail was telescope imagery of the moon, showing the landing site.

    Removed from all context, neither of these demands seems terribly unreasonable. But both were unnecessary in light of already-available evidence. It was assumed that if efforts were made to placate either group, they’d simply deny the proof or move the goalposts. And in both cases, Birthers and moon hoaxers alike argued that the failure to accede to their demands for this particular evidence constituted evidence of a cover-up.

    Eventually, both of these demands were met, exactly as requested. Obama published his long-form birth certificate, even holding a televised press conference about it. And NASA released the best imagery of the landing sites ever; it’s not exactly Google Maps-level quality, but you can see the scorching of the surface and the walking paths that the astronauts left.

    And what did both Birthers and moon hoaxers do when they got that single piece of evidence that they’d long demanded, and had insisted would settle their respective controversies? They kept denying reality, and nothing got settled. They both argued that the evidence was forged and falsified. They argued that it was inconclusive. They broadened their demands for additional proof. And because they were now convinced that the provided evidence was faked, they took that conclusion of forgery and claimed that it *bolstered* their denialist beliefs. Because, after all, if Obama/NASA were willing to fake the certificate/images, what were they trying to hide?

    While they may often get grouped in with Truthers, I honestly think that there’s no other group of conspiracy theorists that Birthers have more in common with than Moon Hoaxers.

  2. avatar
    Dr Kenneth Noisewater July 23, 2013 at 7:27 pm #

    Ive found that birthers often believe in multiple conspiracy theories not just about Obama but on a whole range of subjects.

  3. avatar
    misha marinsky July 23, 2013 at 7:36 pm #

    Loren: I honestly think that there’s no other group of conspiracy theorists that Birthers have more in common with than Moon Hoaxers.

    Holocaust deniers.

  4. avatar
    Crustacean July 23, 2013 at 8:05 pm #

    So you think those “astronauts” were really walking on the moon, huh? Apparently you missed our friend Squeeky Fromm, Girl Reporter’s no-holds-barred expose on the so-called “moonbats” that ruined NASA’s little photo shoot.

    Bats on the moon? Sounds kind of fishy to me.

    By the way, those Mythbusters (Jamie Hyneman and Adam Savage) are pretty good, but remember: they’re the same guys who once fired a cannonball into a residential neighborhood. I think they were trying to bust the myth that Discovery Channel has unlimited powers to keep them out of jail.

  5. avatar
    Squeeky Fromm, Girl Reporter July 23, 2013 at 8:21 pm #

    Crustacean:

    Thank you!!! But, it was a pretty easy job after somebody sent me this hitherto undiscovered Reed Hayes document.

    http://birtherthinktank.files.wordpress.com/2013/06/readright-document1.pdf

    Squeeky Fromm
    Girl Reporter

  6. avatar
    Crustacean July 23, 2013 at 8:38 pm #

    Dear Squeeky,

    No, thank YOU for risking life and limb in obtaining that explosive document!

    (Sorry, I forgot Moon Bats should be two words).

    Your fan,
    Crusty

  7. avatar
    Andrew Vrba, PmG July 23, 2013 at 8:38 pm #

    Crustacean:
    So you think those “astronauts” were really walking on the moon, huh?Apparently you missed our friend Squeeky Fromm, Girl Reporter’s no-holds-barred expose on the so-called “moonbats” that ruined NASA’s little photo shoot.

    Bats on the moon?Sounds kind of fishy to me.

    The Aquabats have been to the moon.

  8. avatar
    Jim July 23, 2013 at 8:46 pm #

    That’s nothing, The Beatles have been across the universe!!!

    http://www.nasa.gov/topics/universe/features/across_universe.html

    Of course, that’s just further proof that the President could be an alien, from outer space.

    Silly birther History…Judge Land actually received a letter from a birther claiming that President Obama is an alien from outer space.

  9. avatar
    JPotter July 23, 2013 at 9:19 pm #

    6%????

    Oh, sweet Heavens to Murgatroyd. (:-\

  10. avatar
    JPotter July 23, 2013 at 9:19 pm #

    6%????

    Oh, sweet Heavens to Murgatroyd. (:-\

  11. avatar
    Keith July 23, 2013 at 10:28 pm #

    Interestingly, the SciFi Channel in Australia just started showing a ‘doco’ about the ‘hoax’. I haven’t seen it, but it has been promo’ed heavily for the last 3 weeks. Its first showing was on last Sunday.

    Perhaps this was shown in the US recently too?

  12. avatar
    misha marinsky July 23, 2013 at 10:32 pm #

    “There are some folks (6% in a 1999 poll) who think it was all a hoax with film shot in a studio.”

    Remember, I wrote that Liz Cheney, Arpaio and Boehner are fanning the embers.

    Buzz Aldrin punches Bart Sibrel after being harassed by him:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wptn5RE2I-k

  13. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy July 23, 2013 at 11:42 pm #

    Hmmm. I think there was an episode on the moon landing on the Fact of Fake? show but it was a couple of years ago.

    Keith: Interestingly, the SciFi Channel in Australia just started showing a ‘doco’ about the ‘hoax’.

  14. avatar
    Paul July 23, 2013 at 11:53 pm #

    Dr Kenneth Noisewater:
    Ive found that birthers often believe in multiple conspiracy theories not just about Obama but on a whole range of subjects.

    Just look at our friend Rudy in Dallas. Chemtrails, Flouride, 9/11, creationism… name a crackpot theory and he’s bought into it, hook, line and sinker. He’s even just posted two videos denying the Holocaust.

  15. avatar
    brygenon July 24, 2013 at 1:09 am #

    The Mythbusters are clearly correct, and the Apollo deniers are true lunatics, but in the name of fairness I’ll point out that bias works both ways.

    That space suit Adam Savage is wearing in the photo — that’s not just a costume for the show. That’s his own personal moon suit. He received it as a wedding gift, and made several modification for accuracy.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IWXmu-efH_I

  16. avatar
    The Magic M July 24, 2013 at 4:16 am #

    Another thing both conspiracies have in common is this:

    Both are trying to raise doubts within public opinion with the idea that debunking those doubts is so painfully technical that most people will not bother understanding it and therefore those “lingering doubts” will remain.
    Yet both are quite easily to debunk with a simple common sense argument – for the Moon Landing Hoax, it’s “why would the USSR have been silent about it?”. For the Obama BC, it’s “why would the GOP have been silent about it?”.
    To counter this simple argument, the conspiracy believers have to unroll their “they are all in on it” meme, but this is something that will *not* stick with the general public.

    Because conspiracy theories only have a chance to stick with a greater audience if they are believably simple (since people know about real conspiracies and they are all simple and involve few people). People don’t buy “they control everything” as much as they don’t buy “God did it” (lightning, thunder, storms) anymore.

  17. avatar
    The Magic M July 24, 2013 at 4:21 am #

    Following up on that, the other day I read about the meaning of Leonard Cohen’s song “First we take Manhattan” and Cohen’s broader definition of “terrorism” (paraphrased and simplified: any radical idea that changes society, like the works of Marx).

    In a way, many conspiracy theories are like such an abstract form of terrorism – just like “detonating a bomb on a market square to influence people”, conspiracy theories seek to influence people negatively towards government/society/religious groups etc. by “detonating” a “doubt bomb” within the general public.

  18. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy July 24, 2013 at 9:02 am #

    They do get stuff wrong. I remember the notorious walk vs run in the rain. But they redid that one in a later show and got it right.

    The problem with that show in my opinion is that it is math and simulation averse.

    Crustacean: By the way, those Mythbusters (Jamie Hyneman and Adam Savage) are pretty good, but remember: they’re the same guys who once fired a cannonball into a residential neighborhood

  19. avatar
    scott e July 24, 2013 at 9:52 am #

    I think that there were no stars in the sky was a thing too.

    it should never bother the antibirthers, this or any other controversy, for people just to inquire. I have always said, the stakes couldn’t be higher. that add to the intrigue and compelling nature of this subject. the way all of you act compounds that sentiment.

    but look at it from my perspective. since the beginning of this I have been encouraged to simply move on, for get about, trust Obama and the government, there are more important things to work on.

    unfortunately that’s not the way i’m wired, that narrative just by itself was enough to make me suspicious. and I remain suspicious, of all of it.

    and I like the mythbuster guys, but they did fire a cannon into an apartment complex, (something like that). so maybe there’s a clue.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2070977/Mythbusters-crew-shoots-cannonball-HOUSE-van-stunt-goes-terribly-wrong.html

  20. avatar
    scott e July 24, 2013 at 9:59 am #

    Dr Kenneth Noisewater:
    Ive found that birthers often believe in multiple conspiracy theories not just about Obama but on a whole range of subjects.

    that’s where I have always differed from the pack.

  21. avatar
    Majority Will July 24, 2013 at 10:24 am #

    Dr. Conspiracy:
    They do get stuff wrong. I remember the notorious walk vs run in the rain. But they redid that one in a later show and got it right.

    The problem with that show in my opinion is that it is math and simulation averse.

    Entertaining but it’s about as true and accurate to science as the History Channel is to history.

  22. avatar
    Kiwiwriter July 24, 2013 at 2:13 pm #

    The best response I ever heard of to the “moon landing hoax” people was when one of them confronted Buzz Aldrin in front of a hotel, brandishing a Bible, trailing a movie cameraman and camera, demanding that Aldrin swear on the Good Book, on video, that he had been the second man to walk on the moon.

    The former Astronaut and Air Force fighter pilot punched the hoaxer in the nose. The hoaxer did not press charges, and I believe he subsequently apologized to Aldrin for his boorish behavior.

    I’m sure that some birthers are also Moon landing hoaxers, and probably Holocaust deniers, too. Orly is probably not, being a Jewish refugee from Russia who compares the US system to Herr Hitler’s.

    And as for Scott E and his lack of trust in Obama…fine. That’s your prerogative. A lot of other Americans voted for Romney and other candidates. You don’t have to “trust Obama,” and you can campaign against his policies and positions. In three years, you and your pals get another crack at the White House and you can do your best to get your man elected, reverse his course, and set new policies.

    But I agree with all the folks who are encouraging you to “move on.” He won. Your side lost. He was born in Hawaii. He’s president until Noon, EST, January 20, 2017. After that, it’ll be somebody else’s ball game.

    In the interim, try using the massive energies and passions you have for something positive in your community. Clean up an empty lot. Learn CPR. Raise money to fight a disease. Campaign for the politician of your choice. Take jury duty seriously. Mentor a kid. Coach a Little League team. Feed the homeless at a soup kitchen. Welcome home returning combat veterans. Sign an organ donor card. Give blood.

    Do something positive with your life instead of wasting it on an empty and futile cause.

    Neo-Nazis have been holding high the banner of their beloved Fuehrer for 70 years, trying to breathe life into the corpse of Hitlerism. They all think they’re waging some big struggle to “save the white race” from an impending apocalypse, which has never happened, will never happen, and only turns them into marginalized fools and objects of ridicule, having done nothing positive for their community but create verbal pollution. Nothing written on their tombstones but: “He hated.”

    See if you can write a better legacy for yourself.

  23. avatar
    Kiwiwriter July 24, 2013 at 2:16 pm #

    Majority Will: Entertaining but it’s about as true and accurate to science as the History Channel is to history.

    Yes, the History Channel has really gone downhill…the only good thing it’s done in the past three years is the “Hatfields and McCoys” mini-series. That won Emmy Awards, because it had people like Kevin Costner, Bill Paxton, Mare Winningham, and Tom Berenger.

    The rest of its airing: Mountain Men, Ancient Aliens, Modern Marvels, Ice Road Truckers…it’s such incredible drivel.

    I saw an “Ancient Aliens” that theorized that Leonardo Da Vinci was a great inventor because space aliens yanked him up into a spacecraft for a few years and taught him a bunch of inventions. I had a hard time holding my McDonald’s dinner.

  24. avatar
    Majority Will July 24, 2013 at 3:04 pm #

    Kiwiwriter: Yes, the History Channel has really gone downhill…the only good thing it’s done in the past three years is the “Hatfields and McCoys” mini-series. That won Emmy Awards, because it had people like Kevin Costner, Bill Paxton, Mare Winningham, and Tom Berenger.

    The rest of its airing: Mountain Men, Ancient Aliens, Modern Marvels, Ice Road Truckers…it’s such incredible drivel.

    I saw an “Ancient Aliens” that theorized that Leonardo Da Vinci was a great inventor because space aliens yanked him up into a spacecraft for a few years and taught him a bunch of inventions. I had a hard time holding my McDonald’s dinner.

    The ancient alien stuff is particularly egregious and appalling especially when it’s on right after a decent hour of The Universe.

  25. avatar
    Arthur July 24, 2013 at 3:58 pm #

    Dr Kenneth Noisewater:
    Ive found that birthers often believe in multiple conspiracy theories not just about Obama beut on a whole range of subjects.

    Those at ORYR seem to share abelief that Sandy Hook and the Boston marathon bombing were hoaxes carried out by the govt. and that nobody was really killed.

  26. avatar
    Kiwiwriter July 24, 2013 at 4:07 pm #

    Arthur: Those at ORYR seem to share abelief that Sandy Hook and the Boston marathon bombing were hoaxes carried out by the govt. and that nobody was really killed.

    Which I find a ghastly manifestation of their utter moral bankruptcy, and complete lack of human empathy.

  27. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy July 24, 2013 at 4:46 pm #

    Pawn Stars is the best thing on the history channel. You can actually learn some history watching it.

    Kiwiwriter: The rest of its airing: Mountain Men, Ancient Aliens, Modern Marvels, Ice Road Truckers…it’s such incredible drivel.

  28. avatar
    Daniel July 24, 2013 at 5:01 pm #

    scott e:

    it should never bother the antibirthers, this or any other controversy, for people just to inquire.

    The moon landing hoaxers don’t bother me. I find them as entertaining as birthers.

    Birthers are entertaining, but beyond that, they actually do a lot of harm. Putting aside for the moment the fact that you birthers helped hand the election to Obama on a silver platter… birthers actually waste millions of dollars of taxpayers money, and abuse an already overloaded court system with your fallacious, frivolous, and fallacious court challenges. That’s money and resources out of my pocket that you’re wasting. Millions of dollars that could be spent fixing roads of buying textbooks for kids, and court time that could be better used for putting criminals in jail and getting justice for victims.

    So please don’t insult our intelligence by saying we shouldn’t be upset that you are just asking. When you start “just asking” on your dime, and not mine, I’ll go back to just laughing at you.

  29. avatar
    Kiwiwriter July 24, 2013 at 5:02 pm #

    Dr. Conspiracy:
    Pawn Stars is the best thing on the history channel. You can actually learn some history watching it.

    Pawn Stars is the best they’ve got…a little too much on the people bringing in their goodies and being horribly disappointed on how little they’re getting, and too much “Chumlee-Baiting,” but it is an interesting show.

    Much better than “Hardcore Pawn” on some other channel, with desperately poor people selling stuff, finding out it’s worth nothing, and winding up screaming at the pawnshop operators, who look and act like stereotypes, complete with immense bouncers.

  30. avatar
    Keith July 24, 2013 at 6:49 pm #

    Dr. Conspiracy:
    They do get stuff wrong. I remember the notorious walk vs run in the rain. But they redid that one in a later show and got it right.

    The problem with that show in my opinion is that it is math and simulation averse.

    In my opinion, they got the ‘bread lands butter side down’ myth wrong too.

    Adam’s simulation solution was to brush the buttered bread off a table top. Jaimie’s solution was to drop it edge first from the roof of a building.

    Adam’s simulation was a more realistic simulation and produced results that confirmed the myth. Jamie’s simulation had nothing to do with reality and produced results that busted the myth.

    For some reason, they chose Jamie’s solution to produce the show’s answer.

  31. avatar
    Dave B. July 24, 2013 at 8:32 pm #

    I’m just glad Matlock comes on every weeknight. Twice. Yay, Matlock.

    Dr. Conspiracy:
    Pawn Stars is the best thing on the history channel. You can actually learn some history watching it.

  32. avatar
    brygenon July 25, 2013 at 12:08 am #

    Dr. Conspiracy: They do get stuff wrong. I remember the notorious walk vs run in the rain. But they redid that one in a later show and got it right.

    The problem with that show in my opinion is that it is math and simulation averse.

    It’s still the best show about science ever. The others like to explain the results and sometimes the elegant experiments that established them. Real science is about the practical logistics of where to acquire one of these and how to move it over there and then attach it the other thing, and keep the whole mess from falling apart before getting any data.

  33. avatar
    Steve July 25, 2013 at 2:19 am #

    I remember watching the movie that the guy Buzz Aldrin produced. The one thing that stood out about it to me was how quickly they threw information at the viewer, not leaving the viewer any time to evaluate what was said.

    The other thing I remember was their explanation about how a project that would need the involvement and lifelong silence of so many people was possible. The filmmaker explained that everyone involved knew only one thing: their job, their piece of the puzzle, and nothing else. Only the people at the very top knew of the whole plan. I heard somewhere that’s how the Manhattan Project worked.

    I’m not sure I buy that. Seems to me a lot of people would still need to know it was a hoax.

  34. avatar
    The Magic M July 25, 2013 at 3:34 am #

    I remember a story on the Moon Landing Hoax on German TV that was styled in such a way that it first presented the conspiracy theory as legitimate and only in the last 10 minutes started debunking all the claims of “wrong shadows” or “marked rocks”.

    This was the closest I ever was to writing an angry letter to the author – after all, people who didn’t watch to the very end might end up believing the conspiracy theory. And I doubt the author would’ve styled a movie about Holocaust deniers in this way.

    I also remember how I had to tell my girlfriend to stay away from conspiracy sites after she had spent a day on Moon Landing Hoax sites and ultimately believed the crap she read there.

  35. avatar
    Pastor Charmley July 25, 2013 at 8:09 am #

    The Moon Landing Hoax claim that I find most interesting is the “there are no stars in the pictures” claim – this is because it is the most obvious of the “it doesn’t look the way I think it should look, therefore it is fake” claims. And it’s entirely backwards. Why is this? Well, because if you were faking the pictures, you would have stars in the background; look at the lunar surface scenes in Kubrick’s ‘2001’, or the much lower-budget lunar surface scenes in the surviving episodes of Doctor Who’s ‘The Moonbase’. Or, for that matter, the alien world in the Doctor Who story ‘The Web Planet’. In each case the special effects people behind the footage created lunar surface or moon-like scenes with visible stars in the background. This proves that with the budget available to NASA, a studio-bound Moon Landing film could have had stars visible in the sky. It does more, it suggests that had special effects experts created the footage it WOULD have had stars in the sky! So if there are no stars in the NASA footage, it suggests that the footage is genuine, because it doesn’t look the way we expect it to. A hoaxer would create footage that looked the way people expect it to, because his aim is to deceive. And one can apply that to the Obama birth question as well. A truly well-forged birth certificate would have no anomalies, and any vast conspiracy would produce an object that was perfect in every way.

    In the same way a truly faked election result created by the authorities would not look fake – because the claims that were being made was the the Obama machine had absolute control and was faking results, not stuffing ballot boxes. In that case all that would be needed would be for the villains to take the data from the previous election, alter it slightly to allow for demographic change, and produce entirely convincing results. But instead we were told that they had produced results that would disgrace a banana republic!

    Reality, it bears saying, is often unrealistic.

  36. avatar
    Pastor Charmley July 25, 2013 at 8:10 am #

    Steve:
    The other thing I remember was their explanation about how a project that would need the involvement and lifelong silence of so many people was possible. The filmmaker explained that everyone involved knew only one thing: their job, their piece of the puzzle, and nothing else. Only the people at the very top knew of the whole plan. I heard somewhere that’s how the Manhattan Project worked.

    It does of course bear repeating that the Manhattan Project was not covered up for ever – which is why we know about it! It was kept secret for a short period of time, then made public.

  37. avatar
    Kiwiwriter July 25, 2013 at 10:31 am #

    Pastor Charmley: It does of course bear repeating that the Manhattan Project was not covered up for ever – which is why we know about it! It was kept secret for a short period of time, then made public.

    Not only that, a great many people in both the Manhattan Project and the Apollo Program knew the larger picture.The same was true in that other great secret project of WW2, Bletchley Park and the Enigma codebreaking. That also, was pretty well explained after the war, albeit somewhat later.

    Holocaust deniers, another collection of idiots, often point out that neither Churchill nor Eisenhower nor De Gaulle wrote much about the Holocaust in their memoirs. They didn’t write much about Bletchley Park, either, because that was still secret. And Churchill, Ike, and De Gaulle DID write about the Holocaust, only not a lot about it, because they didn’t deal with too much of it directly.

    Eisenhower, in fact, visited the Ohrdruf death camp, and was furious, ordering that Allied troops see the camp, and that American and British politicians and media both see it, saying then and in his later memoirs that such wide publicity had to be done at the time, so that people “60 years later” could not deny that it happened. He was a sharp guy.

    And Omar Bradley didn’t mention Bletchley Park in his first book, “A Soldier’s Story,” either, which was during the time it was secret. However, when Bradley co-wrote “A General’s Life” with Clay Blair, just before his death, Bradley referred to the Ultra decrypts in several places.

    It would be worth a study to see how birthers view the Moon landing and the Holocaust. Except for Orly Taitz, I expect they would denounce the latter as a hoax.

  38. avatar
    Jim July 25, 2013 at 2:35 pm #

    Pastor Charmley: It does of course bear repeating that the Manhattan Project was not covered up for ever – which is why we know about it! It was kept secret for a short period of time, then made public.

    It was difficult to cover up when all the pics and descriptions started filtering out of Japan. Sometimes, secrets are revealed simply because they aren’t secret anymore.

  39. avatar
    Keith July 25, 2013 at 3:39 pm #

    A friend of mine died recently at the age of 98. I’ve always understood he worked a Bletchley during the war.

    It turns out that he didn’t work AT Bletchley, he worked FOR Bletchley.

    He spent almost the entire war BEHIND enemy lines, in Belgium and Holland and France, feeding information back to Bletchley to help them figure out the codes the Germans were using. I’m not sure if he was involved in getting Enigma material, but he was getting other stuff. He may have been involved in ‘Lucy’ and/or other projects to disguise the source of the Enigma decrypts. I think that he considered a lot of what he did as still cover by the Wartime Secrets Act and didn’t talk a lot about it.

    Apparently, a few years ago a woman was giving a lecture about Bletchley Park at the Royal Victorian Historical Society and my friend went along and took notice of a couple of errors during the lecture. At the Q and A afterwards he asked a couple of questions that stopped her in her tracks. For those who were there that knew him, it was a revelation, because he was very mild mannered and reticent to talk about his war time experiences in any detail what-so-ever. He was, however, known for getting peeved when people who should know better said stuff he knew from personal experience just was not true.

    I really wish I’d known him better.

  40. avatar
    sfjeff July 25, 2013 at 3:45 pm #

    Crustacean: but remember: they’re the same guys who once fired a cannonball into a residential neighborhood. I think they were trying to bust the myth that Discovery Channel has unlimited powers to keep them out of jail

    You know that reminded me- whatever happened about that? I live in the Bay Area- Dublin is not that far away- and there was a lot of reporting but most of the feedback I heard over and over was ‘these are good guys, they will pay for the damages”

    I haven’t heard much of anything since then- Mythbusters really has a kind of good neighbor image here- and I think we like having eccentrics doing their stuff here.

  41. avatar
    Keith July 25, 2013 at 6:52 pm #

    sfjeff: You know that reminded me- whatever happened about that?

    I think what happened is they now go to the firing range if they want to set off a fire cracker.

  42. avatar
    Slartibartfast July 25, 2013 at 7:35 pm #

    I saw the episode in which the cannonball incident occurred and, when they got to the point it happened (it was the Build Team of Kari, Grant, and Torrey rather than Adam and Jamie), they explained what happened, apologized, and described what was done to understand how the error occurred and prevent anything similar from happening in the future. They didn’t show any pictures of the damage at the request of the victim (I believe that the cannonball hit a minivan—luckily no one was injured).

    I think that one of the best measures of a person or a group is their reaction upon making a mistake (and this was a doozy) and the Mythbuster’s response to this only improved my opinion of them.

    sfjeff: You know that reminded me- whatever happened about that? I live in the Bay Area- Dublin is not that far away- and there was a lot of reporting but most of the feedback I heard over and over was ‘these are good guys, they will pay for the damages”

    I haven’t heard much of anything since then- Mythbusters really has a kind of good neighbor image here- and I think we like having eccentrics doing their stuff here.

  43. avatar
    Keith July 26, 2013 at 1:28 am #

    Keith: I think what happened is they now go to the firing range if they want to set off a fire cracker.

    Holy crap! They WERE at the firing range! Or rather the Bomb Disposal range.

    ‘Mythbusters’ cannonball busts through house

  44. avatar
    Keith July 26, 2013 at 2:44 am #

    This could have gone into any one of the recent posts discussing birther blogger behaviour, but since the initial paper described below dealt with Moonlanding hoaxs, I thought this might be the place.

    I picked up the current copy of “Skeptical Inquirer” magazine the other day. I highly recommend this magazine, the official Journal of Committee for Skeptical Inquiry”. There is lots of good stuff in the May/June 2013 issue, but this one caught my eye. One of the editors, Kendrick Frazier wrote a short review of a couple of papers out of Western Australia University about “conspiracist thinking in the rejection of scientific ideas”.

    When psychologists disseminated their paper about conspiracist thinking in the rejection of scientific ideas, the almost immediate result in the blogosphere was more conspiracist thinking.

    They’ve now written a second paper documenting that “recursive” phenomenon.

    Stephan Lewandowsky and colleagues at Western Australia University have been publishing a series of very interesting psychological papers about resistance to scientific findings. One of them, “NASA faked the moon landing–therefore (climate) science is a hoax: An anatomy of the motivated rejection of science,” caused the recent fuss. It was accepted for publication in the journal Psychological Science, but before that their university issued a news release and Lewandowsky put the paper online. That, he told SKEPTICAL INQUIRER, “was enough to get the attention rolling.

    The rest is documented in their second paper, “Recursive Fury: Conspiracist ideation in the blogosphere in response to research on conspiracist ideation”.

    When the first-mentioned Lewandowsky et al. article (its coauthors are (Klaus) Oberauer and Hilles E Gignac) became available on the internet in Jun-July 2012, the climate blogosphere responded with intensity. Some complained to the authors’ university alleging scientific misconduct. Multiple reanalyses of their data were posted on blogs purporting to show the effects didn’t exist. And a number of hypotheses were generated that had conspriacist content.

    Bloggers generated no fewer than twelve conspiracist hypothese in responding to the first Lewandowsiy et al. paper. Common to all of them was an alleged nefarious intent of the authors.

    A defining aspect oc conspiracy thinking is its resistance to contrary evidence, so the implications for science communicators are serious. Providing additional scientific information may have a “backfire” effect, reinforcing the rejection of the evidence rather than fostering its acceptance.

    As a result they argue against direct engagement with radical climate deniers (the roughly 6 percent of respondents in one survey who deny climate is changing). This subgroup tends to operate in a closed-system “echo chamber”. It is mostly immune to facts and evidence and has the ability to generate the appearance of a widely held opinion disproportionate to the small number of people who actually hold its views.

    The entire Skeptical Enquirer piece seems to be here: Psychologists’ paper on conspiracist thinking stimulates more of it.(NEWS AND COMMENT) which appears to be a for pay republishing site. I can’t find it on the CSI website.

    The original paper is here: MOTIVATED REJECTION OF SCIENCE: NASA faked the moon landing; Therefore (Climate) Science is a Hoax:
    An Anatomy of the Motivated Rejection of Science

    The second paper is here: Recursive Fury: Conspiracist Ideation in the Blogosphere in Response to Research on Conspiracist Ideation

  45. avatar
    brygenon July 26, 2013 at 3:59 am #

    Kiwiwriter: The former Astronaut and Air Force fighter pilot punched the hoaxer in the nose. The hoaxer did not press charges, and I believe he subsequently apologized to Aldrin for his boorish behavior.

    That was Bart Sibrel, as misha marinsky linked above, and he tried to press charges at the time.

    One of Sibrel’s lines as he harassed Apollo astronauts was that they could put an end to the argument by swearing on the Bible. Eugene Cernan and Alan Bean did swear on the Bible that they walked on the moon. Was Sibrel good to his word about ending the argument?

    When Alan Bean was swearing on the Bible, Sibrel got him to repeat “under penalty of perjury”, but when when Sibrel said “treason”, Bean objected. It wouldn’t be treason. Sibrel continued to demand that Bean swear under penalty of treason, and simply could not understand that Bean wouldn’t say it because it wasn’t true.

  46. avatar
    misha marinsky July 26, 2013 at 9:50 am #

    brygenon: That was Bart Sibrel, as misha marinsky linked above, and he tried to press charges at the time.

    Here’s the Wiki on him: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bart_Sibrel

    Sibrel has a violent temper.

  47. avatar
    ChiefTroll July 28, 2013 at 3:36 pm #

    TROLL HERE

    Bringing you an interesting video. I’ve been gone a couple years, but happened to stumble across this and wanted you Race Baiter Lovers to Debunk this one. (race baiter being the anointed squatter wasting the O2 in the white house)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TYx3lUTM2zQ#at=77

    [Oh wait, I see I’m to late, this is already talked about in another post. Well, I’ll leave this in case the video link expedites getting to the video]
    TROLL OUT

  48. avatar
    CarlOrcas July 28, 2013 at 6:26 pm #

    ChiefTroll:
    TROLL HERE

    Bringing you an interesting video. I’ve been gone a couple years, but happened to stumble across this and wanted you Race Baiter Lovers to Debunk this one.(race baiter being the anointed squatter wasting the O2 in the white house)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TYx3lUTM2zQ#at=77

    [Oh wait, I see I’m to late, this is already talked about in another post.Well, I’ll leave this in case the video link expedites getting to the video]
    TROLL OUT

    Any day now.

  49. avatar
    Arthur July 28, 2013 at 6:46 pm #

    ChiefTroll: TROLL HERE

    yawn

  50. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy July 28, 2013 at 6:50 pm #

    ” Document Expert Could Topple the Obama Administration ”

    Could?

    Wake me when something really happens. Birthers have been saying stuff like this for 5 years. You’ve exceeded your quota for “crying wolf” 100 fold.

    ChiefTroll: Bringing you an interesting video. I’ve been gone a couple years, but happened to stumble across this and wanted you Race Baiter Lovers to Debunk this one. (race baiter being the anointed squatter wasting the O2 in the white house)

  51. avatar
    misha marinsky July 28, 2013 at 6:50 pm #

    ChiefTroll: Bringing you an interesting video. I’ve been gone a couple years, but happened to stumble across this

    The video was produced by Joseph Farah. Does Joseph Farah spend an inordinate amount of time with barnyard animals? Does Joseph Farah have inordinate affection for barnyard animals?

    I’m not accusing Joseph Farah of anything inappropriate – I’m just asking questions.

  52. avatar
    The Magic M July 29, 2013 at 5:08 am #

    Kiwiwriter: It would be worth a study to see how birthers view the Moon landing and the Holocaust. Except for Orly Taitz, I expect they would denounce the latter as a hoax.

    If at some point in her life, Orly would have to decide between having to incorporate Holocaust denial into her conspiracist worldview or admit to herself she was wrong, I bet she’d do the former. If you’re already deluded, I don’t think being Jewish helps much.

    Dr. Conspiracy: Could?

    Obviously someone hasn’t read their birther propaganda rules. “Document expert could topple the Obama administration” of course must be rewritten as “Document expert will topple the Obama administration?” (maybe one day it will be worth writing an article on birthers’ specific use of question and quote marks in headlines as a propaganda tool).

  53. avatar
    Kiwiwriter July 29, 2013 at 12:25 pm #

    The Magic M: If at some point in her life, Orly would have to decide between having to incorporate Holocaust denial into her conspiracist worldview or admit to herself she was wrong, I bet she’d do the former. If you’re already deluded, I don’t think being Jewish helps much.

    Yeah, Orly has a problem…some of her best allies are people that she could not, as a Jew who has publicly ripped Nazis and the Gestapo, actually stand with on a stage.

    (Well, she has many problems, but that’s just one of them)

    Neo-Nazis have good reasons of their own to denounce President Obama, and they all match with her behavior, deeds, and rhetoric, and they are a source of attention, support, and money, but I’m sure being allied with them for her is like dancing with the Devil.

    It will be interesting to see what she does…she’s so crazy and wacky that she’s capable of nearly anything (but violence, I think).

  54. avatar
    misha marinsky July 29, 2013 at 1:47 pm #

    Kiwiwriter: I’m sure being allied with them for her is like dancing with the Devil.

    Orly is allied with the English Defence League.