Understanding Cognition: The Moon Hoax Bias

in psychology •  2 months ago

Apollo12ConradSurveyor.png

You may have heard of the moon hoax landing, maybe you even subscribe to it. Well today I want to discuss how this hoax links back to an article I've just written on confirmation bias.

Fooling The World

To give you a brief history, in 1969 NASA's Apollo 11 mission successfully landed on the moon. At some point between then and now, a conspiracy theory sprung up that they didn't actually do so.

The story goes that they did actually take off in a rocket, because they had to. Then instead of carrying on their journey to the moon, they circled around for a bit and then landed a week later.

The conspiracy misses the fact that apart from the various professional agencies and amateur astronomers monitoring the flight. To 'circle around for a bit' would have been much more technically difficult and would have taken loads more fuel.

Origins

It is probably difficult to pinpoint the exact origin of the moon landing conspiracy. However if it did not start it, the movie Capricorn One definitely added fuel to the fire.

However the most recent theory that has fanned the flames, is the Van Allen Belt argument, which goes a little something like this.

The Van Allen belt is a region around our planet, beyond which lies deadly radiation. Any human that goes beyond this region, will DIE!

Confirmation Bias In Effect

This theory fails to take a lot of readily available and easily checkable facts into account.

  • It was NASA themselves who released data on the Van Allen Belt and they drew up a radiation plan to best protect astronauts.

  • The radiation levels in the Van Allen belt are NOT FIXED. They are closely tied to the 11 year sunspot cycle. So, in the period from 1969 through 1971 radiation levels in the belt were quite low. In the 1969 through 1971 time frame, radiation levels were at a minimum.

  • The two main Van Allen Belts are each around 3,000 miles thick. On both the outbound and return flights to the moon, the Apollo spacecraft were moving at between 24,000 and 28,000 mph So the astronauts got exposed to the most intense radiation for about 30 minutes in total.

  • There is plenty of third party evidence that NASA landed several astronauts on the moon. From Japan's space agency (JAXA) launching a probe to photograph footsteps (there is no wind on the moon) and lunar equipment. To photographs from China's second lunar probe, Chang'e 2.

  • James Van Allen discoverer of the belt, has debunked all conspiracies attributed to it.

  • The Russian space agency whom had their own space program and were bitter rivals to NASA. Monitored the entire flight and would be the first to cry foul if they hadn't really gone.

  • With almost 500,000 people involved in such a conspiracy. It would be far easier to actually land on the moon than to create such an elaborate hoax.

Missing Pieces

The fact remains that people who believe in the moon landing hoax theory are suffering from confirmation bias.

There is a wealth of evidence to completely and utterly put beyond a doubt one of humankind's greatest achievements. However there are a few pieces of information that viewed in complete isolation, with no scientific knowledge, appear to corroborate the hoax theory.

I'm sure that people will carry on believing this in the face of overwhelming evidence. These people aren't believing it because they are (necessarily) crazy or stupid. More simply because they already believe the hoax, and any 'investigation' they do into it, is tainted by that belief.

In the coming Cognitive Bias series we will explore other such biases and how they shape our thinking at a societal level.

Further Reading

Moon Landing - Wiki

Third Party Evidence for Apollo Moon Landings - Wiki

Van Allen Belt - Wiki

When Will NASA Admit They Faked Moon Landings? - Quora

Moon Landing Conspiracy Theories - Wiki

Understanding Cognition: Life Through A Lens Of Confirmation Bias - Cryptogee

WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT THE MOON HOAX CONSPIRACY? DO YOU SEE IT AS A MASS COLLECTIVE EXPERIENCE OF CONFIRMATION BIAS? OR DO YOU BELIEVE THERE'S SOMETHING IN IT? IF SO ARE YOU PREPARED TO LOOK AT THE OVERWHELMING EVIDENCE AGAINST THE THEORY? AS EVER, LET ME KNOW BELOW!

Title image: By Alan BeanOriginal uploader was Bubba73 at en.wikipedia - NASA, photo ID: AS12-48-7134, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=6057460

Cryptogee

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So you are saying that there is a chance that the moon is still in fact made out of cheese?

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The finest cheddar in fact, nice and crumbly with a special moony tang :-)

Cg

And dont forget the bloody retroreflectors!

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Boom! Top comment. :-)

Cg

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@old-guy-photos,

You beat me to it. Touche.

Quill

This along with the flat earth conspiracy is pretty much nonsense. It seems to also break down along the lines of those who were alive and remember it as it happened know what reality was like during that era. Those born after 1970 seem most likely to think there's something real to these theories. I think the reason for this is that since about the early 1990's, combined with the phenomena of fake news is the fact that movie magic (CGI) made it possible to fake nearly everything.

We didn't have that technology back in the 1960's and if someone did, it would have leaked out. The only way to keep something secret between any three people is if two of them are dead.

Mathematics is actually quite enough to debunk most of this. @stan (who was a rocket scientist) actually did a really good video on this somewhere.

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Yup, the flat earth conspiracy is closely linked to this. It has been shown that it would be impossible to fake, for a start you would need around a billion LEDs to recreate the lighting.

The only way to keep something secret between any three people is if two of them are dead.

:-) Yup, imagine keeping a secret between half a million people!

Thanks for the tip of about @stan, he sounds cool. I'll check him out.

Cg

I think much of the debate around issues like these is focused around a disconnect of arguments. It seems like the "conspiracists" are constantly demanding evidences while repeated providing evidences on their own end as if they have not been debunked by further evidence, and the "mainstreamists" are generally confused that pointing out such a staggering body of evidence seems to make no headway.

The key missing part I think, as some of the other commenters have hinted at, is this idea of the trustworthiness of the "official narrative". The conspiracist argument, when pushed, tends to converge here: that all evidences provided from the well known sources: scientific literature, school, government agencies, "mainstream" media - are part of this "official narrative". If you consider all of these as untrustworthy, then it is no wonder that ideas like flat earth and moon landing hoax theories become viable.

So I think the discourse should be more centered around this, the actual point of contention. There needs to be more talk about this "official narrative" - first of which, I think, is to note that the "official narrative" is not one thing but multiple different sources that can each be independently analysed for reliability. We must endeavor to answer "why can I trust contemporary scientific literature" first, or all the investigations and evidences provided by the scientific community would count for naught.

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"official narrative" is not one thing but multiple different sources that can each be independently analysed for reliability.

Exactly, it's like when people say science say or scientist assert as if they are all one body of people pulling in the same direction, when in fact quite the opposite is true.

Cg

@cryptogee,

The fact remains that people who believe in the moon landing hoax theory are suffering from confirmation bias.

That's not all they're suffering from.

These people aren't believing it because they are (necessarily) crazy or stupid.

Your reputation for generosity proceeds you. :-)

You're right, of course, confirmation bias is one of our mind's greatest deceits (amongst many others). Despite the phenomenon being well known and understood, I am always astonished by how few people will actually challenge their own beliefs: "What do I believe and why do I believe it?"

Is having a brain and refusing to use it, any different than not having one at all?

To quote a great philosopher, "Too often, we enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought."

Quill

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Is having a brain and refusing to use it, any different than not having one at all?

Ah yes, this statement reminds me of stubborn horses and large bodies of water!

To quote a great philosopher, "Too often, we enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought."

Lolz! :-D

Cg

I think this post raises a much bigger question than just the moon landings.

The question being: Why do people choose to trust in the official narrative?

The list of lies from 'the establishment' go on forever and ever.
Why would people to choose an institution that is proven to be pathological liars? Time after time after time.
What makes this time different than the other million lies?

Only with the appearance of the internet, people for the first time in history, have the opportunity to examine the official narrative.

Recent events like 9/11, highlight the obvious cover up's, and so things are then examined in this context.

If it comes from an official narrative, I am automatically cynical.
Why?
Because history tells me that they are liars, and I never trust liars to tell me the truth.
But that's just me.

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Moon landings, flat earth, 9/11 = confirmation bias.

As I mention in the post, there are many, many, many 3rd party and independent debunks of the moon hoax and for that matter 9/11. However confirmation bias will not allow you to accept any of those. Preferring instead to believe that the official narrative is a single source story that is attempting to fool everyone.

Cg

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One second...are you saying that you accept the 9/11 official narrative?..
I'm confused...

Loading...
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So watch the Mythbusters clip that @old-guy-photos posts at the top of the comment section. Are they part of the official narrative?

Is everyone in that clip somehow in on this incredibly complex hoax? Or is the Occam's Razor at work here, and we simply went to the moon?

Cg

The Russian space agency whom had their own space program and were bitter rivals to NASA. Monitored the entire flight and would be the first to cry foul if they hadn't really gone.

I doubt this very much. The idea that the "Russian Govern-cement was our enemy" was a story. There is too much evidence of collusion between the two space programs. And if you look broader, you see that an enemy is what the media has always been painting. To the kings, its a game, to the pawns its a war.

The lunar landing was filmed on a set. It was filmed on earth. Study of the images, how they were made, how they were distributed leaves no doubt about that. Things like "the coke bottle" seen in one of those images puts paid to it all being a hoax.

Now, did we actually go to the moon? Maybe. There is actually quite a lot of evidence that they did go to the moon. And Richard Hoagland analyzes many of the pictures and gives some very good reasons why we never saw, or were told of what was there.

Further, we have operating space flying saucers. They are able to be seen by any who wants to look.

So, we have lies, on top of lies, on top of lies.
It is quite easy to see why many would just put the whole thing in the hoax category.

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You are suffering from confirmation bias, every single thing you have said in this reply has been reliably debunked by 3rd parties. Just click on the second link at the bottom of the post and you will see that.

However I'm pretty sure you won't, or if you do you will dismiss the overwhelming evidence, this is due to another bias. Of which I will write about later in the series, probably next :-)

Cg

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So watch the Mythbusters clip that @old-guy-photos posts at the top of the comment section. Are they part of the official narrative?

Is everyone in that clip somehow in on this incredibly complex hoax? Or is the Occam's Razor at work here, and we simply went to the moon?

Cg

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The problem with your logic is that there are documented conspiracies involving hundreds of people... who never talked.

So, Occam's razor not only fails in this instance, but doesn't even apply.

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there are documented conspiracies involving hundreds of people...

Please educate me and name one.

Cg

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Sorry, i do not remember names. But they were easy to find on the interwebs. There was a big one that was busted in Italy, or some country near it that sounds similar.

Further, you may be interested in what a 33rd degree Mason is.
Basically they have been told 32 different conspiracy theories. One at each level. 32 different stories about the same thing. The first ones are just tests to see if you are the talking type.
And, what is really interesting is that everything isn't really a secret, it is hidden in plain sight.
It is all there for you to read if you know how to read.

So, the Masons is one conspiracy involving hundreds of people.

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Sorry, i do not remember names.

Lol.

Cg

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[...] in Italy, or some country near it that sounds similar.

Double lol. :-)

Cg

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It really is a serious problem.
I take all the information in and never forget it.
But the names of people, i do not remember.

I even have problems remembering the names of my friends.

It makes talking about conspiracy theories and the like almost impossible.
It made taking tests about history very hard.

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Since i stated something that would be considered a third option, then it is hard to jump to "confirmation bias" as a causal attribute. So, what are you referring to?

I have reviewed all of the evidence that i could find. And these are my findings from those.
I am sure that if you reviewed all the evidence that you would come to the same conclusion.
But, maybe not. I have an engineering type mind, and so i am very aware of what is mechanically doable and what is not. And thus, things that are obvious to me (as obvious as things fall toward the earth) may not be obvious to you.

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