Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Lies To Defend the "Truth"?

I was having one of my usual discussions on Twitter about the authenticity of NASA images of the Earth from space, with the person on the other end of the conversation giving the usual "they're all CGI" party line, posting memes, and calling me brainwashed for accepting anything from NASA.

During the conversation, I asked for proof that this image is faked:

Now, you might recognize this photograph, though you may not have seen it quite like this before, and it may also not be the specific one you've seen, This is a raw scan from one of the rolls of 70mm film taken by the crew of Apollo 17 in 1972. This shot, or one of the ones taken just before or after this one, became the basis for the famous "Blue Marble" that any of us who was alive in 1972 saw published in Life magazine. Many of us, including me, saw enlargements of this up close and personal in museums.

It wasn't exactly this. This is scanned directly from the slide film, about 30 years after the fact. It's slightly color-shifted and badly-composed. When it was published, it had been cropped and color-corrected. In fact, in that sense, there are many versions of the shot, because each art director who prepared a copy for publication may have had a different idea of how the colors should be.

When I linked to this shot, of course I got the usual "where are the stars?" which I've already addressed. In fact, the direct quote was, "So I am to believe I am able to see stars with the naked eye on earth but millions spent by NASA they can not capture stars." As if, first, the millions were all spent on the camera, and, second, spending millions suddenly changes how photography works.

But the point of this post is not the authentication of this photo, though I may get back to that in the future. The point is that this person also posted this: "There is no proof of apollo missions, you base beliefs on images and blogs. Mine are from primary sensory [sic]." Then, about an hour later, posted this meme:

So much for "primary sensory." But let's set aside the double standard and concentrate on the meme. The implication is that NASA took a photo of an Egyptian desert, modified it, and tried to pass if off as a picture of Mars.

And in fact, someone did that. But it wasn't NASA.

Google (which many flat-Earthers and conspiracy theorists denounce as an evil part of the conspiracy, even as they continue to use it), has a great tool, the search-by-image function in image searches. So, I though I'd give it a try. I extracted the Earthbound image from the meme, thusly:

And Google was able to find it in the Wikimedia commons. Here is the original image:

You can find attribution information (which the meme-maker never supplies) here. It was taken from the side of the road in the Black Desert. Now go try to find the Mars version. You'll only find it paired with this picture, in the meme and like this:

Here, of course, it is clearly identified as a fake Mars picture. I have not been able to find any indication that NASA or any serious science website has ever tried to pass this picture off as being from Mars.

So, did the poster who sent me this lie? Well, certainly in the sense of claiming to only use "primary sensory." In fact, this poster's timeline is full of memes from other Twitter users. But it's also a lie because the poster is taking someone else's word, without any further thought or investigation, to call someone else a liar.

Now, this particular poster is not important in the flat-Earth scene. With only about 60 tweets and 14 followers as I write this, this Twitter user is not having much influence.

But the tactics are rampant among flat-Earth proponents. Which, for a group that relies for their entire case on calling a rather large number of people liars, is the height of hypocrisy.


  1. Earth can NOT be flat as :
    - it moves because of the Foucault pendulum effect
    - it is round because everyone can check Al Biruni's depression of the horizon https://owlcation.com/stem/How-to-Determin-the-Radius-of-the-Earth-Al-Birunis-Classic-Experiment

    1. Indeed, the elegant simplicity that can be used to verify the shape of the Earth is lost on flat-Earthers, who come up with elaborate excuses to challenge hard, fast evidence.

    2. Gordon, there are multiple things anyone ,by stepping outside,can physically do , at any time,to verify we are on a fixed plane.

      You verify by inculcation.

    3. Well, slartybartfast-advertising, why don't you click at the top of the page on the "Flat Earth Tests" tab, and step right outside and do those experiments. If, indeed, the Earth is a plane, those experiments will show it. Have at.

  2. Al-Biruni's Classic Experiment fails versus a P900 camera, you can bring ships fully back into view, they are not behind any imagined curvature. They only seem to vanish because of your own perspective. Do it yourself, everyone can test this for themselves today. You rely only on models in school, NASA images (which are fakes as everyone can see by looking at the copied clouds etc.). And they just defend their belief vehemently, like any other orthodox true believer.

    1. So what you are trying to sell, is that using a zoom lens on a camera (as if those only existed starting with the P900) to view an object of indeterminate distance from an indeterminate viewing height, is more accurate than triangulation using an astrolabe (which flat-Earthers keep telling me, somehow, is proof of a flat Earth)?

      You're delusional.

      And have you ever noticed two things about videos of ships taken with the Nikon long-zoom camera? One is that the ships or (more often) boats are not moving toward or away from the camera, but across its field of view.

      The second thing is that, from the widest angle, where we cannot, on the screen, see the boat, the camera zooms right into it without hesitation, almost as if the person operating the camera could already see the boat.

      This is called cheating. And lying. More lies to defend "the truth"?

      Coincidentally, just what this blog post is all about.