What makes something "debunked"?

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Joe Newman

Active Member
I think there's a variety of reasons. I'm really not that interested in debunking supernatural/religious stuff now. I'd certainly not say that my debunking of chemtrails or 9/11 comes from religion or fear at all.

Well, that's what I'm interested--where it is coming from. I'm not speaking of you per se, but as a general idea. Having wandered all over this site the last few days, it's interesting to see the way it rolls. I'm curious as to what you guys mean when you label a topic "debunked"? I don't know if it is the intention, but it does seem to have a "nothing more to see here" aroma wafting from the page, as if the book on that particular topic was closed, at least to the wise.
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
"debunked" generally means that the identified bunk has been removed. It varies by topic.

Is there an example you feel where the label has been badly used?
 

Joe Newman

Active Member
"debunked" generally means that the identified bunk has been removed. It varies by topic.

Is there an example you feel where the label has been badly used?

It wasn't so much a particular item as much as it was the idea of a person or an entire area of focus. I get the impression that there are folks in the debunking crowd who essentially feel that the book has been closed on certain subjects and that the only folk who still are interested in them are those dimwits who haven't gotten the memo.
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
It wasn't so much a particular item as much as it was the idea of a person or an entire area of focus. I get the impression that there are folks in the debunking crowd who essentially feel that the book has been closed on certain subjects and that the only folk who still are interested in them are those dimwits who haven't gotten the memo.


I would not use the term "dimwit", but there are certainly some individually debunked things that come up again and again (say - the shadows on the moon looking fake). That's not to say you can't be interested in a subject though, more so that it has been debunked, and people either are not aware of the debunking, or they don't understand it, or they just ignore it.

You can't use the label to things like 9/11 though, as the subject is too broad in scope. You need to focus.
 

Joe Newman

Active Member
I would not use the term "dimwit", but there are certainly some individually debunked things that come up again and again (say - the shadows on the moon looking fake). That's not to say you can't be interested in a subject though, more so that it has been debunked, and people either are not aware of the debunking, or they don't understand it, or they just ignore it.

You can't use the label to things like 9/11 though, as the subject is too broad in scope. You need to focus.

Funny, I've heard the idea that 9/11 has been debunked over and over, so I am glad to hear you disabuse the label there. But it's odd to hear of an entire subject being classified as debunked, which is quite the extraordinary claim.
 

Jay Reynolds

Senior Member.
Just because a thread title includes the word debunked doesn't mean that every single item is covered. Like Mick says, these subject are sometimes very broad and often ever morphing. Sometimes the underlying basis upon a claim can be debunked in which case additive claims based on the same underpinning idea are debunked by default. Sometimes there is simply not enough to a particular claim to allow any factual rebuttal, instead all that is needed is to demonstrate logical flaws in the claim. Sometimes one has to show that insufficient information has been shown to come to any conclusion in which case a firm debunking showing falsification isn't possible and the onus remains on the claimant to overcome the lack thereof.

Stick around and you will see all of the above and endless perturbations. One of the attractions is the mental exercise, the learning one must do to be effective and the satisfaction of one's curiosity which is set in motion by the act of debunking.
 

Cairenn

Senior Member.
Joe, I find that the debunkers here, spend a lot of time in finding support for what they debunk.
 

cosmic

Senior Member.
Which one?

I'd imagine the most common Apollo conspiracy claims in circulation are attributable to Kaysing, Sibrel, and René‎. As they tend to follow the same narrative, there don't appear to be wildly different variants. In my experience your question is rather apt though, since the majority of the "hoax" believers I encounter seem completely unaware there were six lunar landings.
 

Joe Newman

Active Member
All of them. Is there one you think proves the Moon landing was faked?

Well, I have to admit I wasn't there, so I don't have the whole story and can't prove anything, but I'm guessing you knew that. I'm of the mind that they went there and probably faked some of the footage we saw. They certainly had the capacity and shot the shit for no other reason than a Milli Vanilli backup.

Can you imagine the whole world staring at snow during the big leaps and little steps? Perhaps not, but I'm quite certain NASA could and did. Their track record hadn't exactly been spotless along the way and there was a freakish amount of pressure to pull it off.

"Oops" would have been perhaps less than sufficient to allay the loss of face with literally the whole wired world watching. You might want to blow that off, but they surely didn't.
 

Soulfly

Banned
Banned
Well, I have to admit I wasn't there, so I don't have the whole story and can't prove anything, but I'm guessing you knew that. I'm of the mind that they went there and probably faked some of the footage we saw. They certainly had the capacity and shot the shit for no other reason than a Milli Vanilli backup.

Can you imagine the whole world staring at snow during the big leaps and little steps? Perhaps not, but I'm quite certain NASA could and did. Their track record hadn't exactly been spotless along the way and there was a freakish amount of pressure to pull it off.

"Oops" would have been perhaps less than sufficient to allay the loss of face with literally the whole wired world watching. You might want to blow that off, but they surely didn't.

Here is a good debunk of faking footage.
 

cosmic

Senior Member.
I'm quite interested in discussing Joe Newman's statements, however I don't want to derail the thread any further. Is there an existing thread suitable for use, or should we create a new one?
 

Joe Newman

Active Member
Just because a thread title includes the word debunked doesn't mean that every single item is covered. Like Mick says, these subject are sometimes very broad and often ever morphing.

I am speaking of the ones formatted as "Debunked: such and such."

That has the stamp of finality to it, so I was wondering what that was about. Was it awarded by someone?

Sometimes the underlying basis upon a claim can be debunked in which case additive claims based on the same underpinning idea are debunked by default.

I heartily agree and sure am glad you got there first.

Sometimes there is simply not enough to a particular claim to allow any factual rebuttal, instead all that is needed is to demonstrate logical flaws in the claim. Sometimes one has to show that insufficient information has been shown to come to any conclusion in which case a firm debunking showing falsification isn't possible and the onus remains on the claimant to overcome the lack thereof.

Again, I'm really glad you got there first, as I'm guessing this stuff may come up along the way.

Stick around and you will see all of the above and endless perturbations. One of the attractions is the mental exercise, the learning one must do to be effective and the satisfaction of one's curiosity which is set in motion by the act of debunking.

I am all for curiosity and mental exercise, as well as effectiveness and satisfaction, so I'm game. :)
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
Debunking is about removing bunk. It's not about reaching conclusion - although you can quite frequently reach a pretty well grounded conclusion after all the bunk has been removed.

After every single moon landing "anomaly" has been given an explanation, you can say the subject is debunked, simply because you don't know of any outstanding bunk.

Of course the possibility remains:

A) You might be wrong about one or more item
B) You might have missed something
C) There might be things still to discover
D) They might have done it in a way that left no evidence.

Of course, these are things that can't really be eliminated.

So when someone says something is debunked, then they usually mean: "as far as I know, all the bunk in this subject has been exposed, and here's a list of that bunk"

Take the film "What in the world are they spraying".
http://contrailscience.com/what-in-the-world-are-they-spraying/

Did I "debunk" it? I think so, because I exposed all the bunk I found in it, and there was quite a bit. Did I cover the four possibilities above? No. But it's still debunked. Like when you debug code it does not mean you've fixed all the bugs, just all the known bugs.
 

cosmic

Senior Member.
Now that the thread has been split to a more suitable location...

Well, I have to admit I wasn't there, so I don't have the whole story and can't prove anything... <snipped>

Are you saying you'd have to be present to verify the landings occurred? Why? (And, where? Are we talking the landing zones on the moon, or observing from mission control, or somewhere else?)

What about the Mercury and Gemini programs which preceded Apollo? Are we to similarly doubt the authenticity of those missions, or whether or not the existing footage is legitimate? If so, why?

I'm of the mind that they went there and probably faked some of the footage we saw.

Why do you believe this, and, would it be possible for you to list specifics? Which footage in particular do you consider genuine, and how do you tell the difference between that and what you allege is "fake"?

They certainly had the capacity and shot the shit for no other reason than a Milli Vanilli backup.

Based on what evidence do you think NASA "had the capacity" to engage in the required fakery?

Their track record hadn't exactly been spotless along the way and there was a freakish amount of pressure to pull it off.

It's not like the missions went off without hitches (obviously). I'm curious to know what your insinuation is about NASA's track record, though: are you referencing the Apollo 1 fire (or the Apollo 13 malfunction), or are you suggesting some form of deceit on their part?
 

Joe Newman

Active Member
Debunking is about removing bunk. It's not about reaching conclusion - although you can quite frequently reach a pretty well grounded conclusion after all the bunk has been removed.

Sounds good to me. This is why I asked about the bit of the threads labeled "Debunked:___." Starting a thread that way strikes me as presumptuous at best.


After every single moon landing "anomaly" has been given an explanation, you can say the subject is debunked, simply because you don't know of any outstanding bunk.

Of course the possibility remains:

A) You might be wrong about one or more item
B) You might have missed something
C) There might be things still to discover
D) They might have done it in a way that left no evidence.

Of course, these are things that can't really be eliminated.

And if so, then it cannot be said that the topic has been debunked. Yet, I'm being told with certainty in this very thread that this is the case. It's that assumptive certainty that I find problematic and I see examples of such routinely.
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
Seems like your problems are chiefly epistemological.

One can never actually say anything with absolute certainty. Linguistic convention though is to ignore that. Hence apples fall down when dropped.

If I say I cleaned a room, and there's still a bit of dirt under the rug, then does that invalidate my statement?

If I expose the bunk in a topic, but later someone finds some more bunk, then have I still debunked it?

I think you are thinking of the word "debunked" as meaning something like "proven to be false", which it's not.

It's best not to get too obsessed with the precise meanings of words. Focus instead on what is actually happening.
 

Joe Newman

Active Member
Now that the thread has been split to a more suitable location...

Are you saying you'd have to be present to verify the landings occurred? Why? (And, where? Are we talking the landing zones on the moon, or observing from mission control, or somewhere else?)

No, that was my saying I can't prove anything about the moon landings or much of anything else, either. Some folks around here realize that asking for someone to prove something is weak sauce, others not so much. I figure it's nicer to point it out in the flow than pounce on it and "debunk" the person.

What about the Mercury and Gemini programs which preceded Apollo? Are we to similarly doubt the authenticity of those missions, or whether or not the existing footage is legitimate? If so, why?

I'm not saying word one about the authenticity of the missions. I believe they happened. I have doubts about the footage, yes.

Why do you believe this, and, would it be possible for you to list specifics? Which footage in particular do you consider genuine, and how do you tell the difference between that and what you allege is "fake"?

Based on what evidence do you think NASA "had the capacity" to engage in the required fakery?


It's not like the missions went off without hitches (obviously). I'm curious to know what your insinuation is about NASA's track record, though: are you referencing the Apollo 1 fire (or the Apollo 13 malfunction), or are you suggesting some form of deceit on their part?

Sorry, cosmo, I gotta run. I will get back to this tomorrow. This is an excellent post and I've already used it as an example of such in another thread. I'll explain tomorrow.
 

Cairenn

Senior Member.
Why do you doubt the footage? What about it makes you doubt it? Maybe you are too young to remember watching it live on TV. I watched it.
 

Soulfly

Banned
Banned
Do you have any evidence to back up your claims that something labeled debunked here is not debunked or just more opinions?
 

Soulfly

Banned
Banned
What footage do you believe was made on earth and what in that footage is a clue it was filmed on Earth? Was all or only part of the footage shot on Earth?
 

cosmic

Senior Member.
No, that was my saying I can't prove anything about the moon landings or much of anything else, either. Some folks around here realize that asking for someone to prove something is weak sauce, others not so much. I figure it's nicer to point it out in the flow than pounce on it and "debunk" the person.

Like Mick pointed out previously, there appear to be underlying issues with epistemology here. If you don't wish to address the specific question I asked, I'll just move on... though it'd be helpful if you'd clarify why you hold the beliefs you're describing.

I'm not saying word one about the authenticity of the missions. I believe they happened. I have doubts about the footage, yes.

Okay, since you accept there were six lunar landings, we know that a plethora of Westinghouse and RCA cameras made the journey. Why would anyone back on Earth go to the unnecessary trouble of faking footage? This all brings up additional questions but I'll pause there since we're still awaiting answers to others already posed.
 

Joe Newman

Active Member
Seems like your problems are chiefly epistemological.

Heh. I've heard differing versions over years about what my problems chiefly were, but you are the first to add epistemological to the list, so good one there. :)

One can never actually say anything with absolute certainty. Linguistic convention though is to ignore that. Hence apples fall down when dropped.

If I say I cleaned a room, and there's still a bit of dirt under the rug, then does that invalidate my statement?

If I expose the bunk in a topic, but later someone finds some more bunk, then have I still debunked it?

I think you are thinking of the word "debunked" as meaning something like "proven to be false", which it's not.

It's best not to get too obsessed with the precise meanings of words. Focus instead on what is actually happening.

Uh, I was focusing on what was happening and that's why I made the comment.

I was echoing what I thought was sound advice that I saw in another thread about how to effectively engage in a discussion because I've seen a lot of them derailed by food fights obsessing on the precise meaning of words.

I'm not a fan of food fights, but a big fan of discussion, so I thought it helpful to underscore the advice I thought was dead-on. Of course, it seems you disagree, so maybe you could point it out to the person who gave it. You may think he's obsessing over the precise meaning of words as well, but if so I'll leave you to take it up with him:

https://www.metabunk.org/threads/tip-ask-for-evidence-dont-ask-for-proof.1313/
 
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Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
That was me specifically advising people to use the word "evidence" instead of "proof". So I'm not clear what your point is. Perhaps you could restate it?
 

Joe Newman

Active Member
That was me specifically advising people to use the word "evidence" instead of "proof". So I'm not clear what your point is. Perhaps you could restate it?

My point was the same as yours re precisely the same point, as it came up in the following exchange:

The Moon landing hoax is fully debunked!

Which one?

All of them. Is there one you think proves the Moon landing was faked?

Well, I have to admit I wasn't there, so I don't have the whole story and can't prove anything
*
(cosmo came in and asked for clarification):

Are you saying you'd have to be present to verify the landings occurred?

No, that was my saying I can't prove anything about the moon landings or much of anything else, either. Some folks around here [alluding to you, Mick] realize that asking for someone to prove something is weak sauce, others not so much. I figure it's nicer to point it out in the flow than pounce on it and "debunk" the person.

Is it clearer now?
 

MikeC

Closed Account
Not to me - I find your posts are very vague and unclear, and any point you are trying to make opaque.
 

cosmic

Senior Member.
Not to me - I find your posts are very vague and unclear, and any point you are trying to make opaque.

This is why I'd asked such specific questions in the first place.

We appear no closer to actually having an Apollo discussion, either. I hope that will change.
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
What exactly your point is.

Is it: "I think people should avoid using the word "debunked", because the meaning is unclear, and often varies by individual"?
 

MikeC

Closed Account
I just did. What part are you having trouble grasping?

well this from a previous post for example:

It makes no sense to me at all - why is asking someone to prove something "weak sauce"? What do you mean by "weak sauce" in the first place? Like Mick I prefer to use the term "evidence" rather than "proof" these days because a level of "proof" is often subjective whereas evidenced is what it is - is that what you mean?

and "I figure it's nicer to point it out in the flow than pounce on it and "debunk" the person." - how do you debunk a person??o_O You can debunk evidence - remove "bunk" from it, and you can debunk what a person says or writes - but AFAIK the term "debunk(ing) a person" is nonsensical. Do you mean debunk the evidence??
 
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