Author Topic: What should we really be doing?  (Read 7151 times)

Offline ka9q

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What should we really be doing?
« on: February 23, 2012, 10:13:11 PM »
This move to a new forum has gotten me thinking: what should we "Apollogists" really be doing?

I've certainly met a lot of interesting people of all kinds, on all sides. I've learned a lot from other debunkers and from researching my own answers to hoax claims. And yeah, though we don't really like to admit it, sometimes it can be a little...um...gratifying...to ridicule the most absurd hoax claims. But I'm wondering: what do we reasonably hope to accomplish? Is there a better way to do it?

It's obvious to anyone who's been at this for any length of time that it's almost impossible to change a "hard core" Apollo denier's mind with facts and reason. We can probably count our collective successes on the fingers of one hand, and I'm not sure that any of them even qualify as "hard core". This should not be a surprise since most deniers didn't arrive at their original beliefs with facts and reason in the first place, though a few hotly claim to have done so. Quite frankly, I think many if not most of the really hard-core hoaxers are probably suffering from some sort of mental illness and have more serious problems in their lives that none of us are in any position to help them with.

So what do we hope to achieve? Obviously we'd like to stop their nonsense from spreading through the population at large, and maybe even turning it into opportunities to learn and teach. Human history is rife with sad examples of a few psychotics somehow infecting entire populations of otherwise normal healthy people with their delusions. But what's the best way to stop this? Is it even possible?

I know I've asked a lot of questions, I wish I had answers for at least some of them.
« Last Edit: February 23, 2012, 10:14:55 PM by ka9q »

Offline gillianren

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Re: What should we really be doing?
« Reply #1 on: February 23, 2012, 10:28:46 PM »
We should hope to achieve what we have achieved.  No, we won't change the minds of any hard-core hoax believers, but there are plenty of hoax believers who aren't.  We're changing the minds of reasonable people.  We are providing answers for people who've heard just enough so that the hoax sounds believable but not enough so that they understand that it isn't. 

Is there a better way to do it?  Yes, but going door-to-door isn't feasible, and critical thinking isn't taught well enough in the schools.
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Offline LunarOrbit

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Re: What should we really be doing?
« Reply #2 on: February 23, 2012, 10:44:50 PM »
I believe that most hoax believers are only mildly convinced that the moon landings were faked and will change their minds when exposed to the facts. If we can convince them then I'm happy. The die hard hoax theorists can't be convinced because they don't want to be, so they're a lost cause. And I suspect many of them don't even believe the garbage they're spreading online, they have other motivations for saying what they do (fame, money, or whatever).

I think the hoax theory is basically dead anyway. Ever since the LRO images of the Apollo landing sites were published only fools continue to claim the landings were faked. But the Flat Earth Society has shown us that there will always be fools.
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Offline LunarOrbit

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Re: What should we really be doing?
« Reply #3 on: February 23, 2012, 10:46:52 PM »
Is there a better way to do it?  Yes, but going door-to-door isn't feasible, and critical thinking isn't taught well enough in the schools.

We give Google something to show to the people who search for "moon hoax" besides Jarrah White videos. It's a start.
It suddenly struck me that that tiny pea, pretty and blue, was the Earth.
I put up my thumb and shut one eye, and my thumb blotted out the planet Earth.
I didn't feel like a giant. I felt very, very small.
- Neil Armstrong (1930-2012)

Offline ka9q

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Re: What should we really be doing?
« Reply #4 on: February 23, 2012, 11:07:51 PM »
I believe that most hoax believers are only mildly convinced that the moon landings were faked and will change their minds when exposed to the facts
I think you're right but the problem is that most of the forums where we could do that are controlled by the hard-core, and they're quick to block you as soon as you start to turn their audience against them.

Offline sts60

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Re: What should we really be doing?
« Reply #5 on: February 23, 2012, 11:54:55 PM »
I think we should build a comprehensive catalog of debunking, organized along the lines of the TalkOrigins catalog.  It would be something of an expanded version of Clavius, with plenty of quantitative analysis - especially of the kind of Bob's excellent work - and could draw heavily from work done in posts at AH, BAUT, etc., collated and expanded as necessary.  Then we could just provide a link to, say A.13 and D.27.

I admit it does sound like a lot of work.  You go first.

Offline ka9q

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Re: What should we really be doing?
« Reply #6 on: February 24, 2012, 01:33:58 AM »
Can we really improve on Clavius? An awful lot of good work has gone into it over a few years. Do you have any specific items in mind that it doesn't cover, or cover well enough? Would it be better to approach Jay about incorporating it into Clavius, or should it really stand on its own?

Lately I've been debunking some of the more esoteric engineering-related Apollo hoax claims, especially from Hunchbacked on Youtube. Fortunately, judging from his very low view counts I doubt he has much appeal to the average person. If I just put my responses on my own personal website, anyone who finds him in a Google search will probably also see me and realize that at least one engineer who knows this stuff strongly disputes him even if the gory details are obscure. I don't like appealing to authority even when I'm the authority, but it may be the best I can hope for.

I've been thinking of debunking Apollo denial as a sort of practice case for a much bigger problem: getting the general public to deal with important topics that are both highly politicized and extremely technical. Yes, every debunking effort must ultimately stand on the facts, which must always be made available. Ideally any interested person can understand them and draw their own informed conclusions. But that just isn't practical when things really get esoteric. I've had to come to terms with this in debates about global warming. I understand the basic physics of radiative heat balance but I'm by no means an expert on climate change. I don't have anywhere near the knowledge and expertise needed to independently evaluate the IPCC's conclusions, nor can I reasonably hope to get it. I just have to trust that the experts are following the scientific method and producing the theories that really do best explain all the data. It can be hard to persuade others to do the same when they're constantly overhearing direct and very well funded attacks on that entire branch of science. Like it not, experts do matter and so does their public perception.
« Last Edit: February 24, 2012, 04:36:50 AM by ka9q »

Offline Glom

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Re: What should we really be doing?
« Reply #7 on: February 24, 2012, 05:32:43 AM »
Many people who might espouse HBism are kind of people who do it because it appeals to a subversive sensibility.  They like that they're challenging the orthodoxy.  But demonstrating that the challenge is brain dead, it undermines the value as subversion.  Talking like a complete idiot is hardly a way of sticking it to the man.

And so by continuing to debunk, we can remove the seed of stupidity from quite a few minds.

Offline Echnaton

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Re: What should we really be doing?
« Reply #8 on: February 24, 2012, 09:38:26 AM »
My view of what we do is to give hoax believers a chance to prove their ideas.  They are free to come here to present and discuss hoax theories in a relatively liberal environment where they are not censored or quickly banned.  We, in turn, challenge them.  Not just to debunk but to give them an opportunity to explain a theory relative to accepted knowledge, something that is required if they hope to prove themselves.  The forum provides a open record of conversations than any hoax proponent can point to if they feel they have presented a positive case or been mistreated. 

We will not convince the HBs that are mentally ill, anti-authoritarian or simply conspiratorially aware.  But that is not the point.  The point is that this is the best place on the web to bring a case for a hoax to a forum where it will not be lost among the noise.  Any one doing a web search about a hoax will wind up here before long and just by providing such a open forum for discussion, we undermine the HBs' plausibly to a rational observer.  It is only a small part of the never ending work for greater rationality, but it is an important part and it an effort we believe in. 
The sun shone, having no alternative, on the nothing new. —Samuel Beckett

Offline Bob B.

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Re: What should we really be doing?
« Reply #9 on: February 24, 2012, 09:39:31 AM »
We should hope to achieve what we have achieved.  No, we won't change the minds of any hard-core hoax believers, but there are plenty of hoax believers who aren't.  We're changing the minds of reasonable people.  We are providing answers for people who've heard just enough so that the hoax sounds believable but not enough so that they understand that it isn't.

I agree, I think we are doing a lot of good even if we're not seeing the fruits of our efforts.  It doesn't seem like we're changing many minds because most reasonable people read the responses and visit sites like Clavius and change their minds before they post to the forum.  I don't think many people bother registering just to say "thank you", however I get quite a few thank you emails from people who've read my web page, so they're definitely out there.  The ones that end up posting here are just the hardcore ones who haven't already been convinced, and never will be.

Offline Mr Gorsky

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Re: What should we really be doing?
« Reply #10 on: February 25, 2012, 08:04:42 AM »
And it is always very educational for those of who believe in Apollo but don't know the ins and outs of all the science behind it.
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Offline gtvc

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Re: What should we really be doing?
« Reply #11 on: February 25, 2012, 04:23:23 PM »
I like this site I think is good for people around the world to learn the truth about the Apollo Program specially when youtube videos are everywhere, is good to learn more about the historical and technical facts and teach younger people not to believe all the false information they find in the Internet. :P

Offline ipearse

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Re: What should we really be doing?
« Reply #12 on: March 30, 2012, 02:17:25 PM »
And it is always very educational for those of who believe in Apollo but don't know the ins and outs of all the science behind it.

Absolutely! I don't have anything like the background needed to take part in some of these debates, but I learn an awful lot from just reading.
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Online raven

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Re: What should we really be doing?
« Reply #13 on: March 30, 2012, 04:16:14 PM »
Treat everyone with politeness and courtesy and hammer away with facts and truth.
In effect, talk softly and carry a big stick.
The biggest in fact, truth; can't get much bigger than that.
It's very tempting to be snide and sarcastic, to be insulting in that special way the Internet's apparent anonymity encourages.
Resist.
All it does is muddy the waters and make both sides look the same.
Oh, and I probably don't need to say it here, but would people please stop saying you can see the Apollo remnants with a backyard telescope?
It is simply not true, and truth should never be supported by lies.

Offline RedneckR0nin

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Re: What should we really be doing?
« Reply #14 on: March 30, 2012, 04:37:54 PM »
Treat everyone with politeness and courtesy and hammer away with facts and truth.
In effect, talk softly and carry a big stick.
The biggest in fact, truth; can't get much bigger than that.
It's very tempting to be snide and sarcastic, to be insulting in that special way the Internet's apparent anonymity encourages.
Resist.
All it does is muddy the waters and make both sides look the same.
Oh, and I probably don't need to say it here, but would people please stop saying you can see the Apollo remnants with a backyard telescope?
It is simply not true, and truth should never be supported by lies.

Exactly right, I remain as courteous as possible in this debate and never try to lower myself to name calling or insults. Of course it is easy to take the moral high ground when you have a almost endless amount of fact to back up your claims.

We landed..you too can learn this if you research