One of the assumptions conspiracy theorists make is that their conspiracy is actually possible. In the case of the 1969 landing of man on the moon, the conspiracy theory is that the landing never occurred, and what we were shown was actually just a movie made in a Hollywood studio or backlot. The assumption is that this was possible

This 13-minute video is surprisingly riveting — I couldn’t stop watching it. In it, SG Collins, a filmmaker, explains why the 1969 moon landing could not have been a hoax perpetrated by NASA using film, film crews, Stanley Kubrick, or a film studio. Why? Because it’s demonstrably true that the technology didn’t exist at the time to perpetrate such a hoax. Rockets to the moon? Yes, that technology existed. Film technology capable of replicating what was broadcast? Not even close.

There are a couple of jokes that I wouldn’t have told, but they are more than offset by the care with which this was made, the technical knowledge Collins brings to the subject, and the insights at the end, part of which I’ll quote here:

Why does any of this matter? My concern is with the ultimate fate of knowing, of seeing the difference of what you can know and what you wish for. . . . The urge to believe drives people to trade in part of their soul in exchange for the comfort of being a rebel.

Happy Friday!

Enhanced by Zemanta
Kent Anderson

Kent Anderson

Kent Anderson is the CEO of RedLink and RedLink Network, a past-President of SSP, and the founder of the Scholarly Kitchen. He has worked as Publisher at AAAS/Science, CEO/Publisher of JBJS, Inc., a publishing executive at the Massachusetts Medical Society, Publishing Director of the New England Journal of Medicine, and Director of Medical Journals at the American Academy of Pediatrics. Opinions on social media or blogs are his own.


7 Thoughts on "Why the Moon Landing Could Not Have Been a Hoax — It Wasn't Technologically Possible to Fake It"

Of course it was a hoax. My grandfather was one of the technical supervisors for the film crew at Tranquility Base. He had a staff of 6. He even smuggled home behind the scene photos.

And if you believe that then I have a bridge to sell you.

Conspiracy Theorists inevitably fail to grasp the irony of their notion that an Administration that couldn’t successfully cover up a hotel burglary was somehow able to pull off what would certainly qualify as the greatest hoax in the history of the world.

As someone who studies rationality I have long been fascinated by conspiracy theories. They are generally unfalsifiable which is their strength. Impossibility is a relatively weak counter argument just because it is a very strong claim. “Anything is possible” is a maxim. Moreover it is easy to dismiss the claimant as part of the conspiracy, like this Hollywood guy. When I was a kid there was a popular story that someone had invented a carburetor that got 100 miles per gallon in a gas guzzler but the oil companies were hiding it. Claiming that such technology was impossible was not a strong counter argument.

But conspiracy theories come in many shades and strengths. My favorite as a policy analyst is the widespread belief that politicians are all in somebody’s pocket. Whose pocket varies by ideology — corporate, communist, Catholic, the list goes on. Such views tend to blind people to how democratic government actually works.

In scientific publishing the pal review issue is basically a conspiracy theory. Entrenched ideas banding together against novel thinking. In some cases it may even be mildly true but I doubt it is a serious problem. New ideas should be met with skepticism.

The basic point is that while some conspiracy theories are clearly nuts there are in fact conspiracies and there is no bright line between these two extremes.

Exactly! It’s too muddy, the political water that surrounds us. Yes, there are conspiracies, and landing on the moon may indeed be one. 9/11 may also be a conspiracy as I have seen buildings fall the same after being rigged with explosives. The fact is, we don’t know what to believe, so healthy skepticism is he best policy. I wouldn’t believe a preacher or a politician as far as I could throw them.

You seem to have missed two of my points Keith. First the moon landing and 9/11 conspiracy theories are irrational skepticism hence not healthy. Everyone has to decide what to believe.

Second if you do not trust the politicians you cannot understand what is happening in the world. The politicians are the leaders, as that is how democracy works. Mind you it is also necessary to understand how the political system works and why the politicians in power do what they do. Neither is simple. But dishonesty is not a significant factor, at least not where I have studied which is the US federal system. In fact it is fascinating to see how the many conflicting wills of the American people get transformed into the actions of the world’s largest organization. That is what the political system does, hence what politicians must do.

But trusting the politicians is not the same as going along with them because many represent views one does not hold. The political system is essentially a struggle of underlying wills which is why politics is the art of compromise. The trick is to disagree without demonizing. Reasonable people can hold opposing views honestly. The job of the political system is to weigh these conflicts honestly and generally speaking that is what it does but it is a very complex process, as it must be.

Comments are closed.