Keeping the Hoax Alive
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Notably, Neil Armstrong is eschewing the anniversary hoopla.
Some of my reasons for doubting the moon landings are here, and A.P. has written more here.
The Times has an obligatory take-down of the truth here:
Vocal Minority Insists It Was All Smoke and Mirrors(article continues for several more paragraphs)
By JOHN SCHWARTZ
They walk among us, seemingly little different from you or me. Most of the time, you would never know of their true nature — except that occasionally, they feel compelled to speak up.
Take an example from Lens, this newspaper’s photography blog. A recent feature, “Dateline: Space,” displayed stunning NASA photographs, including the iconic photo of Neil Armstrong standing on the lunar surface.
The second comment on the feature stated flatly, “Man never got to the moon.”
The author of the post, Nicolas Marino, went on to say, “I think media should stop publicizing something that was a complete sham once and for all and start documenting how they lied blatantly to the whole world.”
Forty years after men first touched the lifeless dirt of the Moon — and they did. Really. Honest. — polling consistently suggests that some 6 percent of Americans believe the landings were faked and could not have happened. The series of landings, one of the greatest gambles of the human race, was an elaborate hoax developed to raise national pride, many among them insist.
They examine photos from the missions for signs of studio fakery, and claim to be able to tell that the American flag was waving in what was supposed to be the vacuum of space. They overstate the health risks of traveling through the radiation belts that girdle our planet; they understate the technological prowess of the American space program; and they cry murder behind every death in the program, linking them to an overall conspiracy.
And while there is no credible evidence to support such views, and the sheer unlikelihood of being able to pull off such an immense plot and keep it secret for four decades staggers the imagination, the deniers continue to amass accusations to this day. They are bolstered by films like a documentary shown on Fox television in 2001 and “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Moon” by Bart Sibrel, a filmmaker in Nashville.
“There are smart, normal people who buy into these conspiracy theories,” said Philip Plait, an astronomer and author who counters the conspiracy theorists point by point and at excruciating length at his “Bad Astronomy” Web site. He is one of many people who have joined the fight to affirm that It Happened. A group effort, at www.clavius.org, debunks with gusto; its main author, Jay Windley, named the site for the Moon base in Arthur C. Clarke’s classic science fiction novel, “2001: A Space Odyssey.”
Even though the so-called evidence from the conspiracists can clearly be proved wrong, Mr. Plait said, understanding the proof can require a working knowledge of history and photography and of science and its methodology. “You’ve got to do the work; you’ve got to put the elbow grease to it,” he said, “and most people don’t do the work. So these things get traction.”