Fox Conspiracy Theory: Moon Landing Hoax Discussion Questions



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Fox Conspiracy Theory: Moon Landing Hoax Discussion Questions
The Fox Network Moon Hoax program suggests skepticism is a double-sided sword which, if practiced carelessly or incorrectly, can lead one to disregard valid claims and embrace shaky ones. In order to cut in the

right direction, the central distinction still lies in being able to differentiate between valid and compelling evidence vs. compelling logic combined with observational selection, the observation of only that evidence which supports the claim/theory. TYPE YOUR ANSWERS


1) Compare the type of skepticism practiced in the Moon Hoax investigation with that argued for in Sagan's Demon Haunted World?
a) In what ways do the Fox MH producers practice the standard methods of skeptical empiricism (a.k.a. "good scientific thinking" and "Baloney Detection")? What specific scientific concepts do they use correctly?
b) In what ways do the Fox MH producers fail to use these standard methods? What specific scientific concepts do they use incorrectly? What specific types of logical fallacies or poor reasoning is used?
2) What does the MH video suggest about the differences between correct or useful appeals to authority vs. an "appeal to false authority" or abuse of an authoritative reference?

a) What are the valid uses of authoritative sources in an argument?


b) What are the ways appeals to authority can be misused?

3) Logical Fallacy: "Equivocation" aka "weasel words". How is the Fox claim "Now do you believe that the NASA moon landing photos could possibly be faked?" different than the claim "Now do you believe that the NASA moon landing was faked?"


4) Much of the Fox claim is based on the correct warrant that photos can be faked, and the MH supporters do well to question the validity of the NASA photographs (good scientific reasoning questions authority) . The laws of physics, however, cannot be faked. So while the MH supporters can cast doubt on the validity of the photos, they cannot cast doubt on the laws of physics, and their own arguments must be supported by and in keeping with common physical laws.
The www.badastonomy.com site (as well as sites linked from there) shows how the NH "faked photos" arguments are all based on faulty warrants or warrants without backing (the warrants are not valid because they are not backed, and they are not backed because valid backing undermines the warrant, meaning: the warrants are categorically false or counter to the laws of nature); the underlying assumptions/warrants linking the grounds to the reason are faulty.
Examples:

Reason: The photographs were faked and shot in a studio because

Grounds: shadows are not parallel.

Warrant: shadows (in photos) from a single light source must

be parallel or they are fake.



Backing: the MH supporters do not back this warrant (because it is false; (see the badastronomy.com web-site)).
Reason: The photographs were faked and shot in a studio because

Grounds: the astronauts are lighted when they should be

obscured by shadow.



Warrant: a single light source cannot illuminate objects in shadows; objects illuminated otherwise must be fake.

Backing: again, not backed because the warrant is false (see the badastronomy.com web-site).

5) Based on what you probably know about the moon landings, what factual and testimonial evidence is blatantly missing from the Fox argument/program?


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