Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Quote of the Day: On the Apollo landing

There was an aura of triumph about the entire mission of Apollo 11, from the perfect launch to the climax. An assurance of success was growing in the wake of the rocket through the four days of its moon-bound flight. No, not because success was guaranteed—it is never guaranteed to man—but because a progression of evidence was displaying the precondition of success: these men know what they are doing.
    No event in contemporary history was as thrilling, here on earth, as three moments of the mission's climax: the moment when, superimposed over the image of a garishly colored imitation-module standing motionless on the television screen, there flashed the words: "Lunar module has landed"—the moment when the faint, gray shape of the actual module came shivering from the moon to the screen—and the moment when the shining white blob which was Neil Armstrong took his immortal first step. At this last, I felt one instant of unhappy fear, wondering what he would say, because he had it in his power to destroy the meaning and the glory of that moment, as the astronauts of Apollo 8 had done in their time. He did not. He made no reference to God; he did not undercut the rationality of his achievement by paying tribute to the forces of its opposite; he spoke of man. ‘That's one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.’ So it was.” 
                                                                           - Ayn Rand, ‘Apollo 11’ from The Voice of Reason 
at tip Samizdata UK. Painting by Sylvia Bokor]


  1. Thank you for this post.

    "So it was."

    I think I now understand the origin of the spectrum upon which the philosophy of the NZ libertarians lie.

    The spectrum of individualism vs. collectivism.

  2. Can you imagine today's American doing that? There's be jebus-praising from dawn until dusk.

  3. Oh, and speaking of which, The Onion has ditched the satire and gone 100% factual!

  4. One big lie.....probably the biggest in history...maybe that's why he never mentioned God!

  5. One big lie.....probably the biggest in history.....God.

  6. Hello LGM,

    It is most interesting to note you spell 'god' with a capital G.

    Leaving that aside, you have said 'God is probably the biggest lie in history.'

    Probably? You are not sure?

    So let's rephrase your statement.

    "God is a probable lie."

    First, you accept lies exist.

    If you accept lies exist, you choose to include God in your realm of lies.

    If you include God in your realm of lies, you accept the idea of God.

    If you accept the idea of God, you accept the existence of God.

  7. Shari

    "God" is a proper name, hence has a capital "G".

    I accept the existence of the idea or concept, "God." People posess that idea, discuss it and debate it.

    I do not accept that God exists. There is no such identity. That is, the idea does not correspond with reality.


  8. Hello LGM,


    You have said "I accept the existence of the idea or concept, "God".

    You have also said: "I do not accept that God exists".

    How is it possible for you to accept an idea, or a concept, without accepting it exists?

    Perhaps the question you may wish to answer is:

    What is your idea, or concept, of God?

  9. Shari, speaking for myself, I acknowlege the existence of "the ideas of" dragons, pixies and fairies at the bottom of my garden; of James Bond, Philip Marlowe, Luke Skywalker and the Man in the Moon; of Flopsy, Mopsy Cottontain, Wotan, Donner and Blitzen.

    Doesn't mean I accept their existence.

    People dream up all sorts of foolish nonsense -- the existence of gods and monsters, the efficacy of Marxist socialism, the musical talents of Britney Spears, the legal defence of provocation -- but just because they've been dreamed up doesn't mean they're true.

  10. "One big lie.....probably the biggest in history..."

    Um . . . where to begin?

  11. Hello Peter,

    You have covered ideas, or concepts, in literature, spirits, politics, music, and law.

    That's quite a wide range.

    Out of that lot, it would be fair to suggest the matter at hand is that of the idea, or concept, of spirits.

    Namely, as you have put it, gods and monsters.

    How would you describe your idea, or concept, of gods and monsters?

  12. PC, what do you mean Blitzen doesn't exist? That's just crazy talk!

  13. LGM said...
    ne big lie.....probably the biggest in history...

    If the co-conspiracists in that lie are still alive today (which most of them still are), then why keep quiet about something of that magnitude (if they ever paid at the time to be quiet), when if fact they can reveal the truth to CNN, Fox News , New York Times for perhaps $20 US millions? Oh, wait, but conspiracists will say, that US black-ops agetns (who supposedly the same US government division that keeps the existence aliens secret from), had been threatening those who participated in the hoax not to speak out. Right, then Bob Woodward & Bernstein would have been killed by black-ops for trying to bring a president down (Watergate).

    Logically, it is easier for the black-ops to kill just 2 journalists (or threaten them to keep quiet), then to threaten a supposedly 5000s (engineers & scientists) who would have participated in this massive hoax to stop them from revealing the truth. This wasn't the case at all. Black-ops managed to keep more than 1000 people silence about the hoax, but in fact they were incompetent to keep 2 amateur journalists quiet, when they brought down a president? It doesn't add up.

    The black-ops would have killed the whistle-blower US Marine who blew the whistle on prisoners maltreatement at Irag'a Abu Ghraib prison.

    There are thousands of examples that doesn't add up, if the idea that those involved in the hoax had been threatened since then black-ops not to speak is not coming forward to tell all for that reason is non-sense.

    Now, we can argue that they got paid well and they were silenced back then. No, this argument still doesn't hold today, for the reason that I highlighted above, because in today's media, people can make millions in revealing or tell all in an interview or for publishing a book even if what they're saying is fibs. Why kept quiet if each of the more than 1000 hoaxers were paid , lets say $500,000 each at the time, when they can make $20 millions in a tell all book deal? Again this doesn't add up.

    I just want to point out a couple of facts that not covered at those links that PC showed above:

    #1) The Soviet space-tracking stations (a few of them) did track the Apollo flight all the way to the moon. Had this been a hoax, then the first one to have ridiculed the US moon-landing would have been them (USSR). Unless the USSR, was in the hoax too.

    #2)The Appolo astronauts left a laser retro-reflector mirror, on the moon surface since the first mission. Scientists have been using these mirrors since the mission to measure the moon-earth distance more accurately by bouncing off these mirrors laser rays beamed from earth. So, these are facts and not prediction. In fact these measurements had been used to confirm theoretical distance calculated using gravitation laws.

    Researchers started using the retro-reflector in Lunar Laser Ranging Experiment, since the day the Apollo landed on the moon (1969). The fact is, you can't bounce off a laser beam from the moon's rocky surface as it would absorbed it all or even if there was a tiny reflection, the reflected signal would have attenuated a few miles from the moon's surface and not reached earth. Unless of course some aliens on the moon have been watching us here on earth, where they noted that scientists were about to fire a beam of laser towards the designated hoaxed landing site, where they were managed to be there in time, to put something in that spot to reflect the laser signal back to earth so scientists (innocent parties to the hoax), could measure the earth-moon distance. A likely scenario? I'll leave that to the conspiracists.

  14. FF

    How are you? We should get together for a beer some time soon. Things have been very quiet this winter. Let's do something about it. How say you?

    I'm not supporting the notion that the Apollo landings on the Moon didn't occur. They most certainly did occur. They are fact. No question about that. I was paraphrasing another contributor to deliver a somewhat different meaning from his.


  15. Shari

    People form ideas. Those exist within their minds. What the ideas describe may or may not confirm with reality. If the ideas confirm with reality, then they are true. They are factual. When they do not, then they are false.

    Some people have come up with the idea of a supernatural being which is said to have created the universe, is the source of all good, is all good, is omniscient, omnipotent, alters reality to favour them or alters reality to "test" them, helps them, responds to abject begging and prayers, forgives them their naughty sins and communicates with them in various ways. They name that idea, "God". That idea exists. It is an idea they hold in their minds. In reality though, there is no such entity in existence.

    Another way of putting the situation is that a person's imagination exists, but what he imagines may or may not exist. That you accept his imagination exists does not mean that you accept what he imagines exists.


  16. Hello LGM,

    Yes, people form ideas.

    Yes, ideas can be tested - either by observation or by experimentation.

    Yes, if the outcomes are consistent, they can become reality.

    Yes, they may then become facts or are factual.

    Yes, if ideas cannot be tested, they cannot be facts.

    Yes; to your description of what some people have of the idea of God in their minds.

    Yes, their idea of God cannot be tested.

    Yes, within the reality of what cannot be tested, the idea of God cannot exist.

    Yes, a person's imagination exists.

    Yes, what a person imagines may or may not exist.

    Yes, God is a probable lie.

    Yes, God is an absolute lie.

    Yes, the idea of God can be described.

    Yes, the existence of God as an entity cannot be proven.

    Yes, the existence of God as an entity cannot be disproven.

  17. Straight down to your last: "Yes, the existence of God as an entity cannot be disproven". Shari, the burden of proof is on you; to try and disprove something or other is illogical.

  18. Shari

    "Yes, people form ideas.

    Yes, ideas can be tested - either by observation or by experimentation."

    Ideas or concepts should be formed according to experience of reality. They should be generated from evidence from reality.

    "Yes, if the outcomes are consistent, they can become reality.

    Yes, they may then become facts or are factual."

    I'm not certain exactly what you mean by your statement. To clarify my position, it is that if the ideas generated by an individual are consistent with reality then they are factual. If they are not, then they are a work of fiction or a falsehood.

    "Yes, if ideas cannot be tested, they cannot be facts."

    If there is no evidence to support an idea, then it remains a supposition or an arbitrary claim. Arbitrary claims may be dismissed immediately and without any further consideration whatsoever.

    "Yes; to your description of what some people have of the idea of God in their minds.

    Yes, their idea of God cannot be tested."

    There is no evidence that supports their claim, hence it is properly dismissed immediately.

    Worse is that the idea directly contradicts itself and also contradicts aspects of reality. No real evidence exists to support the claim. Strike three! It's out!

    "Yes, within the reality of what cannot be tested, the idea of God cannot exist."

    There is no evidence to support the idea. It's an arbitrary.

    "Yes, a person's imagination exists.

    Yes, what a person imagines may or may not exist.

    Yes, God is a probable lie.

    Yes, God is an absolute lie.

    Yes, the idea of God can be described.

    Yes, the existence of God as an entity cannot be proven.

    Yes, the existence of God as an entity cannot be disproven."

    With regards to your last two points, it is important to recall that the burden of proof lies upon he who asserts the positive. That means that if a person asserts something as fact (makes claim that something is real), then when challenged they must provide sufficient evidence from reality to prove the assertion corresponds with reality and hence is true- is fact.

    On the other hand, there is no requirement to prove an assertion is false even though in some cases it is indeed possible to so do.


  19. Hello Hooligan,

    Yes, the burden of proving or disproving the existence of God as an entity is on me.

    Yes, to disprove something or other sounds illogical.

    However, to prove something or other may result in disproving another something or other.

    I could say to you I am God.

    As God, what would I want to prove to you?

    I don't know.

    I may want to prove to you that I love you.

    How would I do that?

    I don't know.

    Or I may say to you: "What is it to you if I love you?"

  20. Hello LGM,

    I am delighted to note that the manner in which you have expressed your thoughts in the past few days far surpasses your standard displayed in our 'spectrum of government' discussion 5 weeks ago.

    What if I were to say I love you?

    Would you like me to prove it or disprove it?


  21. What if I were to say I love you?

    Shari, aren't you suggesting to getting a room together (only if you're a female)? Are you?

  22. Hello Male God,

    That depends.

    What is your idea, or concept, of love?

  23. Shari

    Now you are getting very silly.

    Anyway, your statement is false. You do not know me. We have never met. Therefore you are not in the position to even start evaluate me as corresponding to the highest of your values and hence a person who you can express love for.


  24. Hello LGM,

    It is most unfortunate you are choosing to take my thoughts personally.

    Perhaps my earlier comment to Hooligan was unseen by you, and thus my comment to you has been taken out of context.

    However, in the spirit of exchanging ideas, may I suggest an alternative.

    Let's say a man says to a child that he loves him.

    How will the child know this to be a true statement?

    How can the child prove or disprove what the man has said to him?

  25. Shari

    By observing the consistent actions and behaviour of the man towards the child- evidence from reality.


  26. Hello LGM,

    Apologies. Your very succinct response needed pondering over a period of time.

    "By observing" - the art of observation is dependent solely upon the mind of the subject attempting to perceive the object.

    "consistent" - implies a similar outcome over a period of time.

    "actions" - implies a physical activity taking place either by the subject or the object.

    "behaviour" - implies a subjective action.

    "evidence" - anything self-evident.

    "reality" - implies perception of the subject.

    Would age and experience count when one is attempting to prove or disprove something?

    Perhaps only when one is attempting to express in words the 'thing' that requires proving or disproving.

    What happens when one is not equipped with the ability to express the words?

    Perhaps one's vocabulary may be limited, or perhaps one is mentally or physically handicapped.

    What about people who are deaf or mute?

    I don't know.

    It is fair to say I have a conception of what perfection is.

    But I am an imperfect and flawed being.

    So where does this idea of perfection come from?


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