What books are you reading ? (conspiracy related, science, etc...)


Senior Member
I have just finished re-reading "Moondust: In search of the men who fell to Earth" by Andrew Smith. It includes a bit about conspiratorial thinking that might interest you.

The book, well worth reading, covers the author's spending some time with astronaut Charlie Duke in London in 1999, during which word arrives of the death of another Apollo astronaut, Pete Conrad. Duke's sad remark that "Now there are only nine of us," nine human beings who know what it felt like to walk on the moon, leads the author into a quest to talk to them all and try to learn whatever it is they took from that experience, an experience the rest of us have never had and likely never will.

As it happens, Smith's subsequent meeting with Buzz Aldrin happens just after the famous incident when moon-landing conspiracy theorist Bart Sibrel got up in Aldrin's face one time to many and Aldrin punched him in the jaw. This leads to a moment later in the book where Smith meets Sibrel, somewhat anticlimactically, (Sibrel does admit that Aldrin's punch hurt), and in a following conversation with space historian and author Jim Oberg the subject of conspiracy theorists comes up. I quote the book:

"...(Jim Oberg) talks ominously of hoax theory as 'excercise of the immune system,' calling it 'an intellectual bug that is attempting to infect the current culture...and the way that the culture handles it will tell us a great deal about the strength of the culture.' "

The first time I read that, a couple of years ago, it would have seemed a quaint concern, if I noticed it at all. Sure, there were folks on the fringe that believed all sorts of fringe things, but the civilization we inherited and have fostered seemed to have handled that particular "bug" well enough.

In 2021, it looks a bit different, doesn't it? Culture is not handling the "bug" of conspiratorial thinking well at all, and what might have seemed relatively harmless delusions about flat Earth or Apollo hoaxes have metastasized into widely held conspiracy theories about 5-G Nanobots in the Vaccines and Bamboo Fibers in Ballots that are killing a lot of people and threatening the foundations of the American republic.

I don't want y'all to get the swell-head, but the work done here, while a lot of fun, is also a part of how civilization and culture is trying to defend itself from its antagonists. That's important, and I salute you all and say "Keep up the good work!"
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