I tend to humor conspiracy theory proponents. They’re typically quiet, generally decent humans and more or less harmless as far as I’m concerned. Getting into a debate with one has the potential to be as mind-numbingly painful (not to mention useless) as debating a fundamentalist christian but if you just let them ramble on and nod every once and a while you can escape without tearing out your hair. I don’t believe this brand of lunacy should go on unchecked but when they person you’ve come toe-to-toe with ‘knows’ they’re right and has ‘evidence’ it becomes an exercise in futility.
Quite frankly, if nothing else, it amuses the hell out of me. Reading pages upon pages detailing the secret presidential meetings with space aliens (wherein the pres trades citizens for alien technology) that have been going on since the 50’s is one thing but having someone whom honestly believes this stuff tell you all about it is nothing short of hilarious.
However their is one group of people within the conspiracy peanut gallery that does have a tendency to piss me off. These particular few, ignorant to fact, science or any form of logical recourse, will tout with no hesitance that the U.S. moon landings were all faked. Some will even go as far as suggesting that the entire Apollo program was nothing but a high-budget slight of hand to trick the Soviet Union.
Every supposed ‘proof’ has been debunked time and time again, yet, they go on. The videos, books, TV shows and speeches by these people can come across as convincing and even well researched (to those susceptible to batshit lunacy) but not a single point made holds a shred of water against reasonable explanation…yet they persist.
When I heard the Mythbusters team was going to tackle the subject I was a little surprised. They tend to steer clear of ‘woo’ (avoiding prayer, voodoo and things of that nature, pyramid power not withstanding) but this must have seemed a bit more grounded in reality, enough at least to devote an entire show to it. No revelations will be made, no one will suddenly change their mind but it should prove to be an interesting and entertaining hour of television.
The episode airs tonight at 9:00 pm EST with an encore presentations at 1:00 AM. It’s also on at 10:00 pm on Thursday, the 28th, with a later showing at 2:00 AM.
Astronomer, writer, lecturer and Hubble telescope veteran, Phil Plait, has a great article with a breakdown and debunking of many of the popular ‘proofs’. It was written in 2001 in response to a program that aired on Fox but the arguments presented are some of the most persistent today. A link to Plait’s regular blog, “Bad Astronomy”, can be found here or in my blogroll.