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.