Sunday, September 04, 2016

Conspiracy theories.

A couple of decades ago I was shocked to discover that a highly intelligent colleague who was normally pretty closely in touch with the real world and capable of applying healthy scepticism wherever appropriate seriously believed that NASA had faked the moon landings.

Perhaps I had better explain why that shocked me. The reason I don't believe it is that the number of people who would have to be in on any such conspiracy - not just the astronauts and NASA and US leaderships and the people who faked the footage, but everyone at Mission Control, a significant proportion of the officers and radar operators of the aircraft carriers and other ships which fished the re-entry modules out of the sea - would run into thousands. It is sometimes said that "Three can keep a secret, if two of them are dead" and it seems to me most unlikely that a conspiracy involving thousands of people would stay secret for long without convincing evidence leaking into the public domain. The idea that sane people believe the government might be powerful enough to keep that kind of secret is what I found shocking.

This morning in the Sunday Times the journalist Sarah Baxter who happened to be in New York on 11th September 2001, had to run to avoid falling debris as the twin towers came down, and interviewed many survivors, described her reaction on being told by her hairdresser that there were no airplanes involved in the destruction of the World Trade Centre, that all the footage purporting to show the hijacked airliners crashing into the twin towers was faked and that the whole thing was a put up job organised by the US government, their motive being, quote "Oil."

Must confess I was not aware that there is any oil in Afghanistan, and I am sure the relatives of the 147 victims (not counting the terrorists) aboard Flight 11 and Flight 175 would like to know what happened to their relatives if no aircraft hit the twin towers.

But conspiracy theories seem to be worryingly common. There was the "Bring a pen" movement during the EU referendum from people who thought that the government was going to try to use MI5 agents to rub out people's "Leave" votes and replace them with "Remain" ones (I think the result of the referendum is pretty convincing proof that this did not happen.

And now we learn from YouGov, as you can read in an article called  "Eight more things we've learned from our Labour leadership election survey," that

* 55% of Jeremy Corbyn supporters believe that MI5 is trying to undermine their man (the proportion of Labour voters who think this is 23% and of all voters 19%)

* 35% of Jeremy Corbyn supporters believe that some Labour MPs are Conservative plants who have been put there to sabotage the left (the proportion of Labour voters who think this is 25% and of all voters 19%)

I don't know whether to laugh or weep.


Jim said...

The only way I can think to reasonably "fake it" would have been to sent the rocket and the astronauts up into LEO, then fake it from there. thus cutting down dramatically the number of people involved, even sending the LLM and the service module could have worked (so long as the CM had the supplies for a few days in LEO).

Though this can't have happened as the LRO has shown since.

Jim said...

Oh and yes, If you want to keep a secret, then don't tell government.

9/11 and oil can not add up, certainly were aircraft there. the building 7 can be explained reasonably (as shown in one of the few non sattire videos from Edward Current who does a blooming good job of making his case and is well worth watching here