The Skeptic Canary

The blog of Dr Tom Williamson, atheist, humanist, skeptic and Norwich City fan!

Archive for the ‘conspiracy’ Category

Channel 5 airs atrocious “Did we land on the Moon?” conspiracy documentary

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Moon flag

Did we land on the Moon? Yes. Yes we did.

I’ve just spent the last hour launching a furious diatribe on Twitter having sat through one of the worst pieces of television it has ever been my misfortune to witness. Channel 5 have just broadcast a “documentary” (and I use the term very loosely) asking “Did we land on the Moon?”. They trotted out the same tired old arguments, let me just run through a few of them:

  • How could the flag fly if there was no atmosphere? – They had a pole running through the flag
  • How come shadows appeared at different angles? – Perspective. The moon is quite big.
  • How could they have used those chest-mounted cameras? – They practised before they went.

 

I could go on, but pretty much every Moon hoax conspiracy has been debunked many times on clavius.org. However, this program went far beyond the usual shite, and got pretty damn sickening. In 1967, the Apollo 1 mission ended in tragedy when three astronauts (Gus Grissom, Edward H. White and Roger B. Chaffee) died in a cabin fire. A terrible accident? Not according to the documentary. They went so far as to ask if the three astronauts could have been killed because they “knew too much”. Unbelieveable. I find that this kind of lazy sensationalism an afront to the memory of those brave, pioneering heroes.

I also find it incredibly distasteful of Channel 5 to broadcast such a shoddy and morally bereft program about the Moon just days after the death of Patrick Moore. If you really want to watch “Did we land on the Moon?” the page for the program on Channel 5’s website can be found here. There is talk on Twitter of complaining about the program to Ofcom. I don’t know what the grounds for complaint would be but I will certainly consider it.

At least Brian Cox has the right idea.

 

Written by Tom

December 12th, 2012 at 9:39 pm

So what if 9-11 was a conspiracy?

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George W Bush

Capable of a coverup?

Before I address the deliberately provocative title of this post, I’d like to let people know that the videos of the Conspiracy Debate at MMU are now available on We Are Change Manchester’s YouTube channel. They were filmed by WACM, and show the debate between Steve and Paul which I covered on an earlier blog post. The videos contain one anomaly which I’m sure is perfectly reasonable, but I’d just like to ask: why is Steve’s bit audio only? I know there were a few technical problems so I can understand a bit of editing, but why cut out the video altogether, especially when Steve used lots of video evidence? Paul’s part is there in it’s entirity, and Steve obviously has no problems with being identified as he’s sat there quite clearly on Paul’s segments. Can anyone form WACM help me out on this one?

Anyway, the point of this post is to ask this question: if 9/11 was a conspiracy, what difference would that make? Say George W. Bush crawls out of Crawford and holds his hands up saying “The Truthers were right all along, 9/11 was an inside job. We planted explosive in the Twin Towers and WTC7″. What would happen after that? What would it mean for the global conspiracy? What would it mean for the planet? Answers below please!

Written by Tom

April 6th, 2011 at 10:38 pm

Posted in conspiracy,events

Review of THE 9-11 Conspiracy Debate at MMU

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wtc collapse

Controlled demolition? Er, no.

Last night saw THE Conpiracy Debate (their title, not mine) at the Manchester Metropolitan University.  Despite being billed as a general debate on conspiracy theories, it focused pretty much exclusively on the terrorist attacks of September 11th 2001. The belligerents were the be-suited Steve from the 9/11 Truth group “We Are Change Manchester” (WAC) and Paul, otherwise known as the political cartoonist Polyp, represented the skeptics.

Opening the debate was Steve who (attempted to) take us through 6 discrepancies related to the collapse of the buildings, demonstrating his points with some youtube videos. His talk was beset with technical problems and difficult to follow, and in my opinion he didn’t come up with any arguments for controlled demolition that haven’t already been debunked. Free fall speed, explosions, buildings never being destroyed by fire and eye witness testimonies were all stuttered through quite nervously. For me though, the highlight was a video demonstration of the French demolition technique of Verinage, where the central floors of a building are weakened, prompting the top to collapse down onto it. The example given looked strikingly like the collapse of the twin towers. Although Steve used this as an argument for controlled demolition, it fits perfectly into the current explanation for why the buildings came down, which I will explain later.

So, whilst Steve’s approach was just a little unsure, Paul’s rebuttals were clearly thought out, calmly argued and convincingly delivered. I won’t go into the debunking arguments, as pretty much everything has already been debunked really well by RKOwens4 on youtube. Needless to say, the irrelevancies of certain arguments and the truther’s misunderstanding of various scientific principles were addressed.

Following a break for drinks at the bar, the debate moved on to Q and A. Unfortunately, we ended up hearing about 5 or 6 questions before the panellists were allowed to answer. This, coupled with time restrictions, meant that many of the questions weren’t addressed. However, the questions were varied and passionate from both sides, covering nit-picking of structural details, through to much larger questions about the role of 9/11 in wider global conspiracies.

At the end of the day, no-one was swayed either way by the debate (no surprises there) but the real winner was civility. There was no shouting, little heckling and absolutely no name calling. It showed me that while people may have contrasting and conflicting opinions, if we can all engage in calm, polite discussion we might get somewhere. I would class the debate as a success, althogh less questions and more answers would have been welcome.

Right, as I alluded to earlier, I’d like to explain how the towers came down. When the planes hit, they started massive fires. Those fires heated the steel trusses (the horizontal bars that hold up each floor). When a metal such as steel is heated, it expands, expanding most where there is least resistance. The support columns provided resistance against sideways expansion of the trusses, so the trusses expanded downwards. This caused them to pull on the columns, leading to visible “bowing” , which can clearly be seen in footage and photographs. Eventually, the pulling on the columns caused them to snap. When this happened, the towers effectively lost a floor, causing them to collapse in a verinage-style shown in the video above. I’ve taken the liberty of including one of RKOwens4’s videos which explains it better than I can:

In conclusion, I remain totally unconvinced by the 9/11 truthers. Worse than that, I think the 9/11 truth movement is nothing but a huge distraction from the real crimes of 9/11: the terrorism from the Islamic extremists, the gross incompetency of the Bush administration, and the use of the attacks to justify the retraction of civil liberties and the war in Iraq. If the truthers stopped trying to nit-pick tiny details to try and show the buildings came down with controlled demolitions, they could concentrate on the bigger picture. I await the thoughts of the truth movement in the comments.

Written by Tom

March 24th, 2011 at 11:46 pm

Posted in conspiracy,events