I happened across a Yahoo! News¹ article about conspiracy theorists who believe that the Mars rover landings were faked, having all taken place in the Canadian Arctic at…. Devon Island. Really.
I followed the link to Anonymous News, a source which is about as trustworthy as you might think, to find a lengthy, well “researched” article about the issue.² Did you know that NASA is merely a front for a gigantic US Navy program that has developed interstellar travel? Most NASA employees are simply stooges, the poor suckers.
As you know, I am more familiar with Devon Island than your average bear.³ I even have a glacial inlet on the island named after me. So I chuckled my way through the article, rolling my eyes so hard they could have spun right out of their sockets.
I clicked on the video of the news conference for the landing of the Mars Curiosity mission. As as I watched, and read the increasingly sarcastic subtitles accompanying the very genuine joy of the Curiosity team, my amusement turned to anger, to deep roiling rage.
The people who put together sites like this aren’t stupid. It takes a twisted intelligence to write authentic sounding articles that, if you don’t look closely or think about too much, seem quite plausible. The authors willingly mislead people who maybe don’t have the same intelligence they do, who can’t see through the ridiculous smoke and mirrors, who don’t see that the same Photoshop techniques that they accuse NASA of could just as easily be used to create the “documents” they use.
Nor are they mentally ill.4 Some mentally ill people believe in conspiracy theories, but so do plenty of people who are perfectly psychiatrically normal. The conspiracy theories swirling around the current political season provide ample proof of that.5
No, they are arrogant beyond belief. They self-indulgently feel — no, know — that just because they cannot understand how something has been done it must be fake. They cannot begin to understand the science, so the “scientists” must be lying.6 Hell, I don’t understand the science, and am humble enough to recognize that there are things I just don’t know; that by training or inclination or capability I can’t know.
They are willing to shit all over the life’s work of good men and women because they aren’t a part of it.
NASA scientists have spent years of their lives — in many cases their entire professional careers — developing and sending landers to other planets. They spend decades developing rovers and the spacecraft that will get them there. Whether the time that NASA takes is too long may be an open question: Space-X’s announcement that they were going to head to Mars by 2018 was novel and shocking.
The men and women who work on space programs, whether run by governments or private industries (yay for Elon Musk!), are our best hope for leaving this planet and maybe someday, centuries hence, obtaining the stars we are always reaching for.
Of course, by then, these bastards will have moved on to mocking somebody else.
¹The fact that they were willing to give “airtime” to this sort of thing may explain why Yahoo has lost all credibility and is heading down the tubes.
²After some thought, I decided not to link this article. If you feel really compelled you can get to it from the Yahoo! News piece.
³Unless your average bear is a polar bear, of course.
4Stating that people who believe in conspiracy theories are per se mentally ill is an appalling insult to mentally ill people.
5The theory that Hillary Clinton was behind the clusterfuck in Maricopa County during the primaries comes to mind.
6Climate science, vaccines, GMOs: there are a lot of things where people adopt this anti-science attitude. “I don’t trust the large [ag, pharm] companies, so I reject their experts. I reject science. I will become the expert.” All of which leads to people like the Food Babe, and anti-vaxxers. (And no, I’m not linking to those sites, either — I would suggest looking up Science Babe’s Facebook feed.)