Doug's Darkworld

War, Science, and Philosophy in a Fractured World.

Posts Tagged ‘Moon landing hoax

Age of Unreason II

with 3 comments

Well, sure got some interesting comments on my “Age of Unreason” post. So I am going to address them, well, at least the ones that deserve a reply. I deliberately omitted the authors because this isn’t personal. Comments are in italics, spelling errors corrected:

Been awhile since my last post… As always Doug the person defining the rules wins the match. Ancient astronauts? Earth only 7 k years old? Please… Absolute stupidity. How about the ‘Karen Silkwood’ conspiracy? Valid? Or the holocaust– Germans were solid fact checkers, and even calculated the lifespan of each fire-brick in each oven used to dispose of human remains. When one adds up the number of firebricks actually used, its pretty obvious that 10 million bodies couldn’t have been disposed of… A lot of bodies? Yes absolutely, but not the numbers universally agreed as true and irreproachable. Don’t get me wrong- the Nazi Regime was one of the darkest stains on humanity, but compared to Stalin or Chairman Mao– they were pikers!

 Well, the holocaust was certainly muddied by Stalin and others for propaganda purposes even before the war was over. I’m not going to go into the details of why I (and virtually all historians) look askance at holocaust denial, there’s plenty on the web for people to look at. The question I would ask is this, why then have none of the people charged with holocaust era crimes claimed “It didn’t happen?” I might do a dedicated post on the holocaust and holocaust denial some day, especially since some new information has come to light recently. I might look also into Karen Silkwood someday, I have no opinion currently.

I think you have to look at any of these “conspiracy” theories with an open mind. History is defined by the conquering force. If Hitler would have took over, I doubt there would be any mention of the Holocaust. As for the ancient astronauts, the history channel has a really informative series regarding this conspiracy, worth watching if you are curious. The moon landing, well I guess we will find out if the Americans where there if the Chinese or Russians get there in the next decade.And the young earth creation. Well I think way to many geologists and archaeologists would have way to many examples of older artifacts and rock samples to prove that conspiracy wrong. At any rate it is a great post Doug. I try to keep an open mind, then I realize that we as humans are hardwired to chose, either right or wrong.

I look at all theories with an open mind. As for Hitler hiding the holocaust, Mao and Stalin won … yet were unable to hide their crimes. In the past with far more limited travel and communication, it was most certainly possible for winners to rewrite history.  Increasingly in the twentieth century historians have such a  wealth of sources, and global communication and travel are so prevalent, that rewriting history has become far more difficult. Captive populations like North Korea might be fooled, brainwashed populations might be propagandized into believing nonsense, but historians are much harder to fool these days, especially on a global scale. On a related note, “Fatherland” is an interesting movie with just that as a premise, Hitler won and concealed the holocaust.

So, somewhat related.. are we to just ‘take the governments word’ and believe Bin Laden was captured and thrown in the sea? Or is it ‘OK’ to have another view, in light of who is telling us to ‘believe it’ ? Just asking.

I have always maintained that everything governments say is suspect, a government’s statement has zero intrinsic  prohibitive value. It is frankly kind of annoying that I have been repeatedly accused of blindly believing what the government says, simply because I register disbelief at someone’s theory. Because I say I find the 9/11 Truther’s theory or any other theory unconvincing does not mean that I believe the government’s version of events. If that’s not clear enough, I’ll spell it out with shorter easier to understand words next time, because it’s a very simple concept. Sheesh.

As mentioned earlier – history is defined by the winners and text books are re-written continuously. Reality is relative.

• CONINTEL

• J. Edgar Hoover hides the existence of the mafia.

• Operation Mockingbird

So how much is a belief in “conspiracies” and how much is the willingness to admit we have been repeatedly lied to by media and government so it may be best to keep an open mind.

It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.

~Aristotle

I am about half-way through “The Creature from Jekyll Island” – a historical look at the Federal Reserve written from a “conspiracy” perspective.If we agree that alchemists and illusionists exist – then we can ask what is it they want us to see (or not see) and why is it important that we see it (or not see it)? The “Expando Earth” theory is interesting – but is it considered a conspiracy?

No, history books are relative, reality is what actually happened. I am perfectly aware that much of what we were taught as history in the USA is a lie, and other countries to a greater and lesser extent are the same. Because I express disbelief in a  theory does not mean I have a closed mind, it means I examined the evidence presented and currently find it unconvincing. Again, a simple concept that I shouldn’t have to repeat.

As for the Expanding Earth Theory, I am perfectly happy to accept the scientific consensus that it is not a viable theory.  At least it’s a real theory, some papers were published on it. As for the claim that scientists are afraid of a theory because it upsets so many apple carts,  what a load of horsecrap. Scientists have repeatedly throughout history accepted applecart upsetting theories when the evidence in support of them became conclusive. The Big Bang Theory, Plate Tectonics, and Relativity being three excellent recent examples.  Frankly, when someone claims that science refuses to look at their theory, they might as well hang a sign around their neck that says “I am a crackpot.” Prove your scientific case, don’t claim there is a conspiracy against you.

And that’s that. I’m glad I didn’t blog about anything sensitive or taboo, that would really get me skewered. I apologize for being a little snarky in some of my replies, but I think I made a good case why I was so inclined. Next, maybe a nice safe uncontroversial post about atheism.

(The above image is in the Public Domain, and may be reproduced freely. This particular WW2 submarine was indeed involved in some highly mysterious activity that to this day has never been explained. Conspiracies happen, sometimes they get exposed, sometimes they don’t, not arguing that point. It’s kind of a cool story so I will blog on it, and it’s why I am not identifying the submarine at this point. Yes, I know, tech savvy readers can no doubt identify the image and the submarine within minutes, if not seconds. Please don’t spoil it for those who want to wait for the blog post on same.)

The Age of Unreason

with 13 comments

I’ve been giving this a lot of thought, as inspired by some recent events in my life and my blog. Specifically, conspiracy theories. There’s a lot of them, especially if one uses the term conspiracy theory loosely, which I am doing. I see some commonalities in these theories, and have some speculation about them. I have picked four theories for purposes of discussion. First, I’ve tried to pick theories that are reasonably well defined and have a definite body of supporters. Secondly, I’ve tried to pick theories that are generally well known, for clarity and to forgo as much explanation as possible. And  I’ve lastly tried to pick theories that hopefully most readers of Doug’s Darkworld don’t subscribe too, but if I failed, well, bear with me, maybe we can both learn something. In no particular order:

  1. Holocaust denial. These are the people who claim that the holocaust either didn’t happen or was wildly exaggerated.
  2. Moon Landing Hoax. The theory at the Moon landings were faked by NASA.
  3. Ancient astronauts. The theory that aliens visited Earth and interacted with humans thousands of years ago.
  4. Young Earth creationism. The theory that the Earth is only about 7,000 years old.

There are any number of others, but these will do for what is a very rough analysis. I see several commonalities in all of these, as follows:

  1. There is enormous amounts of good, solid, empirical evidence showing that these theories are at best, wildly unsupported. In fact all of these theories have alternate scientific/historical explanations that are generally accepted among experts in their relative fields.
  2. The only evidence presented by advocates of these theories is interpretive, IE they look at evidence that the vast majority of people not only would find unconvincing, in many cases they would see it as evidence of the opposite. There is no direct empirical evidence for their theories.
  3. The followers of these theories are firmly convinced of their veracity, refuse to accept even the possibility of alternative explanation, and may very well perceive experts who disagree with their theory as “conspirators” deliberately acting as agents to deny the reality of their theory.

Interesting, nu? Now for the purposes of the following, I am assuming that the above theories are indeed poppycock. If a gentle reader feels differently, politely indicate in a comment, and I will write a future post (or even posts) dedicated to your particular theory and it can be commented upon at length. As my recent 9/11 Truther posts demonstrate.

I see a number of things going on here. (No, no more lists.) The first, and this isn’t original, is that the human brain is explicitly hard wired for pattern recognition. It’s what humans do, and more than anything else may be what separates us from the beasts. The fact that the gentle reader is able to effortlessly translate the black squiggles on this page into words, and then recognize the concepts being expressed by these words is proof positive of this. Pattern recognition is the default option, even if there is no possibility of meaningful patterns, like the shapes of clouds, humans can nonetheless recognize patterns in them. The fact that some humans might recognize conspiracy patterns where others don’t is perfectly understandable in this context.

Secondly, an this is where it gets interesting, as Seneca said: “Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful.” In other words, there are plenty of smart people perfectly happy to promote these theories for their personal gain. Be it monetary or otherwise. Some of them are sincere adherents of the theory, others are clearly laughing all the way to the bank. Worse, modern communication like the Internet and modern science coupled with propaganda/advertising has made it easier for people to promote and promulgate a theory. I don’t think there’s any question that modern conspiracy theories have achieved far greater penetration than such theories in decades past because of modern social media. Partly by just allowing their spread, partly by making it easy for people to reinforce their beliefs with confirmation bias.

Lastly, and this is conjectural, I think people belonging to some “select” groups satisfies seem deep human psychological urge. The people who believe in these conspiracies often seem to take great satisfaction that they are privy to some special understanding that others lack. They often put it far less diplomatically though. Maybe it’s a need to identify with some tribal entity. Maybe it’s like advertising, and people are programmed to express their identity through brand loyalty. Maybe it’s the same thing that makes people fans of particular sports teams,  don’t know. There’s definitely some psychology going on here and no doubt sociologists are working on it as I  type.

And on the gripping hand, let me conclude with the observation that people who subscribe any of these theories aren’t stupid. They may be annoying at times, but frankly when certain skeptics roll their eyes and make nasty comments about “believers,” they are pretty much exhibiting a lot of the believer characteristics they claim to deride. Not helping. No other real conclusion, this post is most emphatically primarily designed to stimulate discussion.

Discuss?

(The above image is Public Domain under US copyright law, as it was produced by a federal employee in the course of their duties. Credit and copyright: NASA. I used it because it’s a perfect example of the sort of “evidence” that believers claim is “obvious” proof of their theory. See the flag, it appears to be waving in a breeze. And since there’s no breezes on the Moon, it’s obvious proof that the picture wasn’t taken on the Moon. Of course why the people faking the Moon shots would have a fan going on their set making the flag wave is never explained … or even asked.)

Written by unitedcats

February 8, 2012 at 8:26 am