September 26, 2007

Man On The Moon–A Colossal Hoax that Cost Billions of Dollars (or not)

Been wanting to get on with more woo-woo busting, and now found the time.

If you are kind enough to point your browser to you will see some cowardly plug for irrationality by the Hare Krishna cult.

Let me quote a certain paragraph.

We realize that this is very difficult for you to accept, since it directly contradicts your established beliefs. But since you yourself have not actually gone to the moon, you owe it to yourself to consider why you are so confident that the astronauts actually have gone there. Why do you accept the popular version of the manned moon landing? Because you believe the authority of the scientists, the journalists, and the politicians who propagate that version. When we cite the Vedic scriptures, which state that the “astronauts” could not have gone to the moon, we are simply favoring another authority. In both cases, it is a matter of accepting an authority and believing what it says.

This seems to be the central defense for the entire essay. You base your beliefs on science as an authority and we on the vedic scriptures. The above is hidden in a fairly long FUD, and a naive reader may overlook the problem with the above logic.

To cite an analogy, consider a 6 year old boy at the edge of a high cliff. His parents (could be from a cult) tell him it is safe to jump off, he would descend safely as it is written in the scriptures. Reason, however, tells the boy that he wont survive it. Form the time he started walking (and falling), every time he fell off the stairs or off the window sill, or off the tree house, experience has taught him that it causes bodily harm, and risks his life. He is able to recognize that the higher the fall, the more he gets hurt. But being just a 6 year old, he also has learnt to obey his parents words. So what should he accept? Reason and experience? Or authority and blind belief?

Apply this analogy to the quoted portion when you reread it. When the cultists state “Because you believe the authority of the scientists, the journalists, and the politicians who propagate that version. When we cite the Vedic scriptures, which state that the “astronauts” could not have gone to the moon, we are simply favoring another authority”, they make it sound as if it our outlook were simply a matter of choice. As if it were a choice between the authority of the scientist and the authority of a divine person. It is not. It is a matter of Reason, which scientists represent, and Authority, which the ‘vedic scriptures’ represent. Make your choice.

Roughly translated, the cultists are saying “You choose to believe Reason, we choose to believe Authority”

Now that we have that cleared, we move to the apologist’s reasoning (pun unintended) for his choice of vedic scriptures over scientists’ opinion. It is because the vedic scriptures are based upon apaurusa, i.e, they emanate from God. This, ladies and gentlemen, is the classical loop aka Begs the question fallacy. Watch this to see this fallacy explained.

And then

The Vedic account of our planetary system is already researched, concluded, and perfect. The Vedas state that the moon is 800,000 miles farther from the earth than the sun.

Ah, bet the researchers were cultists too. Surely must have won the Nobel prize for such work. And solar eclipse, according to the vedic scriptures, simply cannot occur. Must be those damn scientists deceiving the population.

When we contradict the revered scientists like this and warn people that, through the use of brainwashing propaganda, they are being cheated out of billions of hard-earned tax dollars–we ourselves are accused of brainwashing. But which is better: a sober warning or a colossal multi-billion-dollar hoax?

And when I debunk your likes, I’d probably be accused by you and your followers of ungodly behavior. But which is better? A sober warning or colossal excreta spread across a whole page on the internet?

..before going there the scientists themselves predicted they could not live in that atmosphere, and upon reaching the moon they discovered the same thing–that they could not live there. So what is the value of this kind of billion-dollar excursion, which has produced only a few rocks?

Some men, unlike you guys, have a grand view of life, of success, of the limits of humanity. And they revel in pushing knowledge beyond the known. Through reason. And evidence. That in itself is a goal for some. There are those for whom goal of human life is not “to free the soul from its continuous transmigration among different species of life on various planets, and to transfer to the spiritual planets, where life is eternal”. Sooner or later natural selection will take care of you.

There is a lot more I’d like to talk about, including the mental state of the author of the article, and whether it was delusion or greed that gave life to the article. I’ll save it for later.

[EDIT: to all the folks who find this page using google searches like this and this and this : Seriously, stop being so easily manipulated by the scams of moon hoax. Even better visit Phil Plait's excellent page debunking the whole myth and the so called logical fallacies.]