I Just Don’t Believe It.
There seems to be a lot of deniers out there these days. They seem to deny everything too, from the earth being round and man landing on the moon to the Holocaust.
Most recently, I came upon some denier threads that maintained that the launch of Elon Musk’s Tesla into orbit was faked. “It was a nice CGI job,” one wag said, “but they forgot to add the stars.”
Well, let’s start with the basics. Once outside of earth’s atmosphere, the light from the sun near earth is extremely bright, far brighter and harsher than here on earth. Stars, for their part, are relatively dim, largely because their light is so far away. In order to take a decent photo in space, the aperture of a lens needs to be stopped way down in order to get the proper exposure. This is exactly the opposite of what you do here on earth, which is to open the aperture as much as possible to capture more, not less, light.
Of course, photos of stars require a tripod and really long exposure times on earth or else everything looks blurry. Everything needs to be really still for a long time. Imagine having a tripod zooming around the earth at thousands of miles per hour trying to get a clear picture with GoPros, which is the cameras they had on board. Not exactly a great photographic platform for capturing pictures with stars. That’s why we have Hubble; to take those amazing photos since it’s in a stationary orbit and has the right kinds of cameras.
The sad part is, you can’t explain this to any of the deniers. Not exactly long on intellect, they will say that all space missions have been CGI’d and Photoshopped, even though those software technologies didn’t exist during the bulk of the space program. And really, any hobbyist photographer can tell which photo has been doctored back in the days of darkrooms, dodging and burning. It’s not exactly rocket science.
Now, I think it’s just fine if you want to believe the earth is flat or that all the space missions are fake. I have watched the rockets launch from Cape Canaveral in person and can safely say that no one – especially a private company – is going to drop $90 to $350 million to launch a rocket up into space, only to have it purposely fall down again in the ocean. You have to be really in denial to think that one.
Of course, it’s easy to be a denier when you have no interest or curiosity about the world and just like to have things spoonfed to you from the Internet.
Basic physics demonstrates why the earth is round and it’s easy to disprove that it’s flat with a record turntable. Try it for yourself. Put some toy soldiers on the turntable and turn it on. In no time, the army guys are sailing across the room because of centrifugal force, the very thing that gravity compensates for.
Yes, I hear you deniers. You don’t believe anything that challenges your simple world. And that’s where I feel most sad for you.
By denying things that are actually real (and I know things are fake, including some faux science people are spreading around on both sides), you miss the excitement and joy of being alive. There’s no wander, no magic, no miracles in your small world. To you, there’s nothing worth exploring because it may teach you something new, and that new thing will challenge your limited belief systems.
Take flight, for example. If you are a real hardline denier, you would have to deny that something as big as a 747 jumbo jet can fly. Certainly, your great-grandfather the denier believed flight was impossible at the turn of the 20th Century.
And yet, you prove your great-grandfather is wrong every time you hop on a plane. You are doing the very thing your great-granddenier thought was impossible. Hell, if you looked out the damned window at 35,000 feet as the sun sets you can even see the earth’s slight curvature on the horizon and kill two birds with one stone (though some deny this feat is possible).
I know that learning is hard and scary. It takes a lot of research. It also takes an open mind. It takes original thought and critical thinking. Unfortunately, the deniers I’ve come across engage in none of this hard work. Instead, they quote some rote piece they read on a blog somewhere; touting its authenticity.
Expanding your world is indeed scary stuff. You can choose to go all Amish with your life, and sink into a safe world where you don’t have to worry about things like space exploration, leaky gravity, the possibility of other dimensions or even the fact that this entire world could be made up by “group think” and nothing else. We could all be imaginary.
Still, deniers are not Amish. Denial is not a religion, it is head in the sand logic at best. Deniers got off at one stop or another on their long journey through existence. They got off the bus at a simpler point in time when we didn’t have all this technology and advancement.
Yet, in doing so, they pick and choose what to deny. Those same flat earth deniers love their iPhones, flatscreen TVs and GPS systems that were flights of fancy in the science fiction books I grew up with (by the way, GPS shows the earth is round – look it up if you dare).
But when it comes to space exploration, hey, that’s just CGI or PhotoShop. Live cameras from the ISS are faked in a studio they say, even though you can see the space station go over you at night with a consumer-grade telescope. Of course, the Apollo landings were also faked, even though you can go to an observatory and see the tracks of the lunar rover’s wheels on the surface of the moon any time you want.
I suppose there have always been and always will be people in our world who can’t believe we live in such an amazing place and time.
I do, however, find it terribly amusing that they have glommed onto the Internet to share their ignorance so willfully. I mean, we all know the U.S. government invented the Internet just so they could track our every thought and eventually control our minds. You’d think they’d be scared of the thing.
But then again, maybe they’re just in denial.
In the Emerald City, filled with wander and wonder,